May 20, 2020
by Lyndi Brown
PJ and Travis Awe delighted our neighborhood recently by hand-delivering bottles of their own Awe Wines Pinot Noir to 40 neighbors, along with a Happy Sunday message. “Travis and I have our own little family project called Awe Wines,” said PJ. “It's a bright beautiful Pinot and we make only one wine, once a year and release it to our mailing list. We make only about 2 to 4 barrels a year, so describing us a micro wine label is even an overstatement.”
New to the downtown neighborhood, they felt neighborly love is needed more than ever right now. “We were completely blown away by the response,” said PJ. “So many neighbors thanked us by dropping off jams, fresh eggs, a handmade bird feeder, handmade masks, etc. We did not expect anything in return but received so much love! We are so glad that we did it because it introduced us to so many in our neighborhood and brought us together in a time where it is easy to feel so isolated.” Check out www.awewines.com and learn more about their story.
Kim Hanson’s JavAmoré Café has been named Sonoma County’s Small Business of the Year by Sen. Bill Dodd. The café is our community hub, and provides a needed source of food and emotional nourishment during fires and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am completely taken by surprise and honored to have been selected when there are so many others who dedicated their businesses to the community,” Hanson said. “Thanks to Sen. Dodd for the recognition.”
Hanson, a resident of nearby Petaluma, opened the café in 2002. She continued to provide her homemade soups, gourmet sandwiches and fresh salads on a take-out basis as the town shut down because of the virus. The Main Street restaurant serves as the center for Hanson’s many volunteer efforts. Hanson is secretary for the Penngrove Social Firemen, a more than 50-year-old social service club that hosts the town’s homespun Fourth of July Parade (in conjunction with the Rancho Adobe Fire District pancake breakfast the day before, but canceled this year). She is lead organizer of the annual Luau in September, and Holiday Light Parade in December. All these events raise money to support cherished institutions including the community park. Monies from the Luau paid to plant four beautiful trees in the park. When she is not running an event, she is right alongside the other Penngrove Social Firemen, lending a hand. During last year’s crustacean feast, Hanson alternated between greeting people at the club’s front door and cracking crab in the kitchen.
“Kim is a tireless, hands-on community organizer who embodies the kind of welcoming and generous spirit that makes small-town life so great,” Sen. Dodd said. “Through her business and volunteer efforts she has enriched Penngrove in so many ways. I’m proud to call her a constituent and recognize her for all she does.”
If you drive Petaluma Hill Road between SSU and Valley House Drive, you’re probably wondered about the large home with the 5 *s (stars) lettering. A sculpture of David graces the circular driveway, there’s a large home behind gated walls, and three flags whip in the wind (American, California and Mexican). I often see Felix’s Landscaping trucks there, so when I called his business, Felix invited me over to learn his story and share with readers.
Felix Altamirano left Oaxaca for the U.S. in 1988. He was alone, 21 years old and spoke no English. “In those days, it wasn’t that crazy,” said Felix.
He came straight to Petaluma "on February 16, 1988 at 10:30 pm”, he recalls. “My first job was at Wendy’s and then I added a job at Petaluma Poultry where I met my wife Dolores. I also worked at Fino’s Italian in Petaluma, but dropped it to work at Wendy’s from 4 – 11 pm, then ride my bike to Petaluma Poultry to work 11 pm – 9 am. I’d go home for a few hours and do it all over again ,” said Felix.
When Dolores became pregnant with the first of three children, the couple turned to cleaning for needed income.
Felix and Dolores are energetic, hard-working people, who have built the successful Felix’s Landscaping and Tree Service business over the last 28 years. Clients are located from Marin to Petaluma/Penngrove. Son Dorian works in the company with Felix and six employees. The company was voted Best Landscaper in the People’s Choice Awards 2019 sponsored by Petaluma Argus Courier. “I love it all,” laughs Felix. I love and enjoy what I do, and I work my a__ off.” You can reach Felix at 707 -753-3032.
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