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Sonoma County Gazette
Occidental Oriented by Gino Gaffney

Passing the Writer's Torch

Sep 27, 2017


Greetings fellow Occidentalians. My name is Gino Gaffney and I have been selected to be the new author of the Occidental Oriented column for the wonderful Gazette. I am Occidental through and through, having been born and raised here and currently living back in the town for the last year and a half.

This also represents the 3rd generation of my family to write about the happenings of Occidental. My Mother, Mary Gaffney wrote an article entitledOccidental Roundabout in the Sebastopol Times & News from 1986-88. I imagine at some point I’ll go back and recap for you some of the goings on deemed newsworthy in Occidental 30 years ago. After taking a long familial journalism break, we then skipped a generation as my niece Mackenzie Nekton has been writing the column since 2014. I think she’s done a wonderful job, thank you Mackenzie! As I’m sure some of you are interested, she is officially a New Englander, having been in Boston for the last couple of weeks as of this writing. She is enjoying her new life at Northeastern University, isn’t too homesick yet, and has been deluged with lots of homework immediately.

On to the news.

The OCA (Occidental Center for the Arts) will be hosting a Gallery Exhibit: 6th Annual Pointless Sisters Art Quilt Show October 6 – 29. A hosted reception with the artists will be held on Saturday, October 7th from 4 – 7 PM and is open to the public. The art gallery is in my old first grade classroom. Mrs. Eubanks was my teacher, and I remember doing a report about Great White sharks. It was also the year I got glasses for the first time because it was so hard for me to see the blackboard. I love to see the re-purposing of the old Harmony school and that it didn’t just get torn down. I recently helped with some landscaping work for friends who moved into the condo that was created from the old library building. It’s pretty trippy to walk into someone's living room and remember going through the old card catalog that used to sit where their couch now does. 

Also on Saturday the 7th, Harmony School will be having their annual Halloween Carnival from 12-4 at the YMCA. This event is open to all children, whether they attend Harmony/Salmon Creek or not.

It’s already that time of year again where the days are getting shorter, the fall breeze is blowing and the deck is covered with leaves the moment you turn around from sweeping it off. 

This means the Friday Farmer’s Market is winding down so be sure to stop by in the next few weeks. The Final Farmer’s Market for the year is October 27th:  Lucky 13th Annual Harvest Market Festival. Taiko, bellydancing, a fabulous cake walk, trick or treating, and day of the dead crafts.  Costumes strongly encouraged!

Have you heard about the Occidental ADA Improvements project from the county? Though I can’t resist mentioning fall(s) or frights in relation, I’ll get straight to the info. The project will begin any day now and will continue for 7 months or more. The ADA construction project will bring sidewalks, curb ramps, parking stalls, crosswalks and other paved areas into compliance with ADA standards and provide safer access for all users on both sides of Bohemian Highway within the commercial downtown area. For more info go to: ADA improvements

We’re down to the wire with getting a fix on Occidental’s Wastewater Treatment problem. It’s been a long time since the state told us to come up with a fix and 2018 is the deadline. Solution after solution has come before us and we have yet to find one we think is the best option.

he most recent option is trucking our waste to a state-of-the-art treatment facility out of our community. It’s time for us to weigh in on this potential solution because we’re running out of time.

You can see the ad here with where you can read copies of the Wastewater Transport Project and let the powers-that-be know what you think about it. Times up - pencils down as teachers used to tell us when the alarm rang and the test was over, whether we were finished or not.

I think that’s it for now. I am quite excited to step into this role for my home-town, and look forward to reporting on all things Occidental Oriented, past, present and future. On that note, feel free to e-mail me with any comments or information that you feel should find its way into this column.

Happy Fall to all!



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