Nov 25, 2019
by Thomas Martin
The Sonoma Petaluma Parks puts on a Holiday festive event that attracts several hundreds of people each year. On Saturday, December 14, there are three opportunities to join in caroling at the Sonoma Mission San Francisco Solano. Three programs begin at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. All community members are encouraged to participate in this FREE event. Advance tickets are available. For information call the Mission (707-938-9560).
Participants follow Mary and Joseph on a donkey to the door. Inside you receive a sprig of Christmas tree and a candle and sing traditional hymns and carols along with the Sonoma Valley High School Madrigal Choir. The program lasts approximately thirty minutes during which all participants stand. Impaired citizens and parents be prepared.
After caroling the Sonoma Barracks, Blue Wing area, and the Toscano Hotel are open and offer free hot cider, cocoa, and cookies. At the Toscano people are able to attend a concert by the Pickle Creek String Band, one of Napa’s finest. In the Barracks Courtyard join in songs by the Petaluma Children’s Choir and a camp fire.
This magnificent event is open to all. It marks the 34th year the Holiday season has been celebrated at the State Parks facilities. Many thanks to the Parks personnel and the Sonoma Petaluma State Parks Association for organizing this festival.
Sonoma Developmental Center
Sonoma Valley residents keep asking about progress at the SDC. The State of California turned its property over to the County of Sonoma months ago. We have heard of a residents advisory committee being formed. Also, that the water in the lake has been cut-off. Beyond that, “What’s happening?” We know the Permit Sonoma people are working on an announcement of a selected consultant who will work on the SDC. That will be welcome news. Then, what procedures will there be in place to allow for citizen involvement? As this writer understands the situation, the County has three years to present a final plan to the State. Time is passing.
Sonoma County brought together a committee to study whether there is a maximum threshold for absorbing wineries in the Dry Creek region and the Sonoma Valley. Two studies, one in 2016, and one in 2017-18, cite increasing pressures on local citizenry from traffic and commercial enterprise.
The issue in the form of proposed guidelines was to be brought before the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission (SVCAC) at its November 20 meeting. However, the committee representing stakeholders couldn’t complete the guidelines in time for the meeting. Thus, the County representative indicated the guidelines would have to be carried over to a later meeting. Since the SVCAC doesn’t meet in December it looks like a later date will be set.
After a two year study an organization contracted by the County called GHD made twelve complicated recommendations. The recommendations include traffic engineering changes, involvement of affected communities, and changes in winery and special event organization practices. These will be strongly supported and/or opposed by affected communities.
Keep your eyes peeled for this issue as it becomes public.
When the committee composed of vintners and residents makes its report to the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission be ready to voice your views on these important issues of how many events and wineries can we live. The report will not only deal with traffic and overcrowding from winery events, but also Sonoma Raceway events, marathon races, and bicycle jamborees, among others. It’s commendable that the County and interested parties are working on these issues of overcrowding and safety on our highways and by-ways.
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