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Sonoma County Gazette
Occidental Oriented by MacKenzie Nekton

Off to College!

Aug 31, 2017
by MacKenzie Nekton


When I first started writing this column, in 2014, I didn’t really understand how much it would affect my life. It seemed like a fun thing to do while I was in high school, and a potential good resume point down the road. It has turned out to be those things, and so much more. I have written this column in good times and bad, and it has become almost a lighthouse. It helps me parcel off time and set goals for the coming month. I rely on the column as a place in which to share milestones, and for providing me with a reason to remember to look up what’s happening in Occidental. Going to high school in Santa Rosa has left me slightly disconnected from Occidental, but the column has always brought me home. Writing for you all is what I did to be here, even when I spent my days elsewhere. I will sorely miss writing this column, as I will miss Occidental herself.

By the time this is in your hands, I will have boarded my plane and flown across the country to Boston. I will be met by Devin, the boy who I have dated since the beginning of high school, since just before I started this column. I will be headed towards college at Northeastern University, where I will be studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE for short), in hopes that I will someday be able to use my training in these three major disciplines to improve the world we all share. I will look for an opportunity to write another column, or something like it when I get there.

I want to take this opportunity to extend some public thanks. Thank you to Vesta, who has put up with me sending her columns at all hours of the day, and all manners of late. Your kindness and understanding has not been unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity. Thank you to all the staff and teachers at Harmony Union School District, especially Ms. McBride. I look back with fondness at my time under your care. Thank you to the Occidental Center for the Arts, for providing low-cost and free art to the people of Occidental, and for indulging my 8th grade idea to have a student art show. Thank you to the Occidental Community Council, who have given me a platform more than once to help in ways I thought were meaningful, and also providing me with the opportunity to be an elf once a year. Thank you to Denny Rosatti, who has helped me get many jobs, and shared his adorable daughters with me. Tell them I say hi, and that I love them! Your mentorship and kindness has been invaluable. Thank you to the Sonoma County Junior Commission on the Status of Women, who, over the years, have given me such hope and done so much good work. I love you all, members past and future, and especially Tracy Cunha, Regina De La Cruz, and all the adult commissioners who served as mentors for us. I can never thank you all enough. Thank you to all the people who have read this column. Thank you to Wildflour Bread, who’s kind employees have welcomed me into their family. Also, thank you to the patrons of Wildflour Bread who tip generously. And last but not least, thank you, of course, to my family. You have made my life a joy. I love you all.

And with that, the REAL NEWS:

The long-awaited updates to the kiosk in front of  The Union Hotel have been completed! They will be unveiled to the public at 6:00 pm on Friday, September 8th. Walk down from the Farmer’s market and take a gander, if you can. The kiosk update features the history of the North Pacific Coast Railroad, a rail line that used to run through Occidental. The kiosk is part of a larger Heritage Trail Project undertaken by Eco Ring and The Occidental Community Council with partial funding from a Sonoma County Historical Commission Grant. Additional signage and projects will be undertaken soon! Stop by the unveiling to learn more.

Jerry’s Occidental Towing’s 16th Annual “U-Bet-Ja” Pot-Luck Block Party s onSunday, September 3rd, from 2:00 pm - 10:00 pm (that’s Labor Day weekend). There will be live music, BBQ and beer at the Jerry’s. If you don’t know where it is, just go down the Old Road until it ends and you hear the party. I’d advise walking from town or parking at the Camp Meeker Post Office and crossing Bohemian Highway carefully. 

If you aren’t a BBQ and beer kind of person, then you might be interested to hear that Saint Phillip’s Church is offering Kids Religious Education Classes starting on September 10th. I’m kidding, religion and beer aren’t antithetical to one another, but it seemed like a good transition line. Anyhow, for more information. 

There are only two more opportunities this year to visit Sturgeons Mill in Occidental! Remember them? I wrote a whole column about them a few months ago! The next opportunity is September 16th and 17thand the last is October 14th and 15th. If you haven’t done this before, it makes a great and educational outing. Kids love it! 

My final reminder (ever??) is that applications for the Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire are due by September 15th. Get your application online today at Occidental-CA-org


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