Children of Today meeting, Tuesday Feb. 20th

The next Children of Today meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 20th. These meetings are wonderful. Here is the announcement. Further details can be found at www.childrenoftoday.wordpress.com

These gatherings are designed to provide information and support to the parents of The Children of Today (children who may not “fit” into the traditional systems possibly labeled ADD, ADHD , Autistic, Disruptive, Incorrigible, etc. and are viewed as “different”, “special”, and/or “psychic”) as well as introduce ideas and processes to help support our amazing children.

Every month on the third Tuesday, families gather to help support one another in today’s society with “tomorrow’s” kids.

Location: Kenwood School, 230 Randolph Avenue, Kenwood, Ca 95452
Date: Tuesday February 20, 2007
Time: 6:30pm-7:30pm

Please bring the kids, art supplies are available for their enjoyment. Everyone’s always welcome!

Donations always appreciated, never required.

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Ernie Smith Park now has a Dog Park!

Travelling between Verano Ave and Boyes Blvd on Arnold Drive, you may have noticed Ernie Smith park across from the Driving Range.

Map of 18776 Gillman Dr
Sonoma, CA 95476-4541, US

dpsign.jpg

It has always looked a bit scruffy, but not anymore!

Thanks to Prop 12 and park migitation fees, there was sufficient cash to make some much needed improvements. I spoke with Ken Tam at Sonoma County Regional Parks and got the scoop.

dpsign2.jpg

After meeting with local residents, it was decided to add a Dog Park to the facility. They are drilling a new well and will add grass to the Dog Park area as soon as the well is ready.

Dog Park #2

They also added a new pedestrian bridge to span the area that often floods in the winter, replaced failing pathways, and, GET THIS, planted 137 trees including:

Freeman Maple
Armstrong Maple
California Buckeye
White Alder
Dogwood Hybrid
Chinese Pistache
Coast Live Oak
Valley Oak
Red Oak
Coast Redwood

There is a nice play structure for the kids and a full basketball court.

dpkids.jpg

For more information or to just say GOOD JOB!

Ken Tam, Park Planner II

Sonoma County Regional Parks Department

2300 County Center Drive, Suite 120A

Santa Rosa, Ca  95403

707-565-3348

707-579-8247 Fax

email:  ktam@sonoma-county.org


				

Sonoma Garden Park Update

I just received this email from Tiona Gundy of the Ecology Center and the Sonoma Garden Park. If you haven’t yet experienced the Garden Park, you are in for a treat. Volunteer days are every Wednesday and Saturday, November 06 through February 07 from 10am to 1pm. Come spring, there will be a different schedule.

Winter Greetings from Sonoma Garden Park

Wow! 2006 was a big year for us. Reflecting over it, I think of so many wonderful happenings at the Sonoma Garden Park. Thanks to all the volunteers and staff, we have had a “fruitful” (pun intended) and delicious Harvest Market season, the community garden plots are thriving, many interesting workshops were held for adults and youth, and friendships and partnerships are growing! Thank you to all who taught workshops: Yeti “The Barefoot Gardener”, Marlie Wesner, Paul Wirtz, Bill Wiebalk, Tamara Unger and Angela Casazza.
New workshop calendar, coming soon!

The Beekeeping Project, headed up by Bill Wiebalk with much help from Tina Tovey, Will Ackley and Gabby Albright has flourished and we sold our first ever, Sonoma Garden Park Honey! We’ve created a label for our Lavender Hydrosol Mist which makes it an even better gift. (I can’t live without it and I know I’m not alone!). Seed packets were designed and decorated by one of our volunteers. Seeds were collected. Students from Justin-Sienna High School and Sonoma Valley High School put in Environmental Service Learning hours. Several youth groups came to volunteer, mulching fruit trees, building compost piles, weeding and harvesting. We appreciate the Sonoma County Volunteer Center and Roots for Youth for bringing young people to the garden! The Firemen’s Fund sent employees out for two days of pruning, weeding, mulching, and digging garden beds! Woodland Star Charter School continues to bring classes on field trips and to tend their garden plots.

We held some important fundraising events. Thank you to all who contributed! We are still accepting donations toward our matching fund grant, which will help us build an Education Center, restrooms and wheelchair accessible pathways linked to a Children’s Discovery Trail.
Please call me if you’d like to donate or need more information!

The Mid-Summer Garden Frolic was quite a lot of fun! Remember? The food, the wine and the music! I look forward to next summer’s events!

Happy Winter Solstice to everyone! May the return of the light be a joyous time for all!

*VOLUNTEER HOURS (Dec. – Feb.) WED. & SAT. 10AM – 1PM
Or by appointment… Hope to see you there!
Stop by to share ideas, harvest some swiss chard and carrots, and celebrate the coming New Year!

NEW WISH LIST ITEMS:
• several tarps to cover our compost piles
• straw bales (preferably rice straw which can be ordered through Brocco’s or the Granary Feed Store, or picked up at Larsen’s in Cotati)
• nursery starter soil mix (ask me about details)
• Garden forks
*
Sincerely,
Tiona Gundy
Sonoma Garden Park Coordinator
Sonoma Ecology Center
996-0712 X 120
cell: 337-2235

Sonoma Garden Park, a gift from Pauline Bond, is located at 19990 Seventh St. East and is an educational campus of the Sonoma Ecology Center.
www.sonomaecologycenter.org (click on garden link)

Robert Ferguson Observatory here in the Sonoma Valley

About a year ago, I joined some friends for a night of star gazing at the Robert Ferguson Observatory here in the Sonoma Valley. What? We have an observatory?

We sure do!

It was during this visit that I met David Cranford. David was the docent operating the robotic telescope that night. It was VERY dark, no one could see anyone else other than as vague outlines. David’s knowledge and humor emanated from the night and kept us all entertained. (His choice of background music? Pink Floyd’s, Dark Side of the Moon of course!)

On the spot, and in front of the crowd, I invited David to be part of my radio program. He accepted (with prompting) and became “Science Guy”!

He now has a Thursday night radio show on KSVY.

I caught up with Dave recently to find out more about the Observatory:

When and why did astronomy catch your interest?
The space program and I grew up together: I was 6 in May, 1961, when Alan Shepard became the first American in space; I watched every minute of the coverage of his fifteen-minute flight and I was hooked. I knew the names of all the astronauts; I knew all the mission profiles. On Christmas Eve, 1968, I listened to the crew of Apollo 8 as they read from the book of Genesis, and I was touched deeply by the convergence of engineering and spirituality – left brain and right, yin and yang. And I was floored by the notion that just as sailors had done for millennia, the astronauts navigated by the stars. Even at thousands of miles per hour, they used the same tools and techniques as the Phoenicians! A few years later I took an astrophysics class at City College of San Francisco and the more I learned the less I knew. I’ve been trying to figure it all out ever since.

Tell me about the observatory.

Robert Ferguson was an avid amateur astronomer who built telescopes and shared his enthusiasm for astronomy with everyone he met, especially children. He started Striking Sparks, a program that gives away ten telescopes each year to Sonoma County school kids through an essay competition. The telescopes are built by the Sonoma County Astronomical Society, an organization that Bob was affiliated with for many years. Bob was the inspiration for the development of an observatory as an educational and public resource for the community and thus bears his name.

The idea of a community observatory was in the “dream stage” for about ten years. The Valley of the Moon Observatory Association was founded in July of 1995. Phase 1 of the Observatory (the West Wing) was completed in February, 1997. The second phase (the classroom, bathrooms, library and East Wing) was finished in May, 1999. The final phase, the construction of a domed observatory for our 8” refractor, was completed in Spring, 2002.

How long have you been volunteering there? And how did you find out about it?

Along about 1993 I went camping with a dozen friends at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. It was a gorgeous evening in late spring, and after sunset most of us headed for a clearing to check out the evening sky. I remember thinking, “Man, what a great place to watch the stars! Somebody should – oh, I don’t know, maybe build an observatory or something!” Then the weekend ended and I forgot all about it. Fast-forward ten years to when a friend introduced me to George Loyer. George was doing project management at the time, which was how we connected, but he was (and is) also president of the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, the observatory’s parent organization. He invited me up during Mars Madness (Mars’s closest approach in 60,000 years took place in August, 2003) and I got a chance to see the layout and look through the scopes. After about fifteen seconds, I asked if they needed volunteers for anything; George told me that they started training courses in January and he’d let me know when to show up. I’ve been putting in a couple of hundred hours a year ever since. I especially like operating the robotic telescope; rather than an eyepiece it has a digital camera, and by displaying the image on a PC monitor we can involve a couple of dozen people at once instead of one at a time. You probably remember from your own visits that this kicks off some amazing conversations about the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. (Thanks to Douglas Adams we know the answer is”42″ but sometimes you want a little more detail.)

What programs does the observatory offer?
RFO offers a number of programs aimed at providing astronomical education to the public. We have at least one public viewing night a month (except December, when the weather rarely cooperates) as well as a number of courses throughout the year. My favorite is the Night Sky series; three courses a year (Fall/Winter, Spring, and Summer) with each course meeting six times. Our own very knowledgeable and personable Jack Welch goes through the mythologies of the various constellations and explains the objects within (galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae) and then the attendees spend an hour or two looking through a number of telescopes at those objects. It really drives home the material from the lecture. We also offer an observing laboratory; each session has a theme, such as stellar birth and death or multiple star systems, and each session has very limited enrollment to allow each attendee a maximum amount of observing time. And finally we offer private nights; for about $220 you can rent the observatory (with staff) along with the group campsite. Stay in the observatory as long as you like viewing whatever you like, then walk about fifty yards to your tent and hit the sack (or start a campfire and sing Kumbaiya, watch the sun rise, and eat s’mores until you’re sick – whatever). We’ve had bachelor parties, weddings, sweet-sixteen parties, sales meetings, youth groups, high school (and university) classes – and even just groups of friends. The campsite is limited to 50 people; that’s less than $5 apiece, cheaper than a movie!

What tips do you have for a first time visitor?
If you’ve never been to the observatory before, you should know that it can be wicked cold. Layer up! Warm socks, long pants, sweater and jacket, hat, and even gloves will all pay for themselves quickly. The more comfortable you are, the more you’ll enjoy your visit. Also, flashlights – because of the way the human eye works it takes between twenty and forty minutes for most people to adapt to the dark, and you just can’t see very much through a telescope until then. The problem is that any flash of white light makes your eyes start all over, which can be frustrating, and which is why astronomers (and sailors) use red light at night. So either bring a red flashlight, or rubber-band a couple of layers of red cellophane over the end of your regular flashlight. (We’ve usually got some on hand if you forget.) And finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You won’t appear dumb; you’ll be asking the same questions Einstein, Newton, and Hawking asked, and that puts you in pretty good company. All of our docents want to answer your questions for you, or better yet, guide you to find your own answers. It’s in our own best interest to help people feel comfortable wondering about the night sky and our place in the universe.

How can folks get more involved?
RFO encourages public participation on several levels. We’re in the process of building a new 40-inch reflector, which takes a lot of money even with most of the labor donated, and we’re always looking for funds for that. And members help support our ongoing outreach programs with their donations. And, of course, we can always use docents who volunteer their time in exchange for access to a world-class observatory. Docents don’t need any special training or knowledge; they just have to be interested in the night sky. We’ll provide training. We have astronomers, true, but we also have folks who help you park your car, take your money, and manage the traffic flow through the observatory. (And docents receive free admission to most of our programs!)

The Robert Ferguson Observatory www.rfo.org is located in the hills near Kenwood, California, in Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park

From Highway 12 east of Santa Rosa, turn on Adobe Canyon Road and follow it to the end. Cost for stargazing nights: $2 per adult, Children free, plus $6 per car parking.

We all had a great time at the Observatory. Be sure to bundle up and don’t forget the hot drinks! It is a great family affair and would be a fun surprise for the kids. Since it gets dark so early in the winter, you can visit the Observatory and still get home at a reasonable hour. As soon as the 2007 schedule is out, I will add it here. It will also be on the www.rfo.org website.

Thanks to David and all of the folks at the Observatory. Another wonderful part of this great Valley.

The Springs, CalTrans, The County, and us….

For those of you who live in Sonoma some of this will be a review, for those of you who don’t, here is a nice dose of small town-yet World Class Tourist Destination happenings.

What is commonly called Sonoma is actually 2.2 square miles of Sonoma City Limits and the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County immediately adjacent to the City. As you travel North on Highway 12 you leave Sonoma City behind when you cross over Verano Ave. I found a really cool map that lets you zoom in and see this in full color. (The town of Sonoma is in the lower right area of the map.)

The unincorporated area North of the City Limits is commonly referred to as The Springs due to the names of the communities within this area, Boyes Hot Springs, Fetters Hot Springs, El Verano, and Agua Caliente. I am a resident of the Springs.

The Springs is densely populated area with plenty of houses on small lots, apartment complexes, and mixed use buildings. The section of Highway 12 which passes through the Springs is a heavy pedestrian area with an elementary school , a charter school, a post office, a variety of shops and businesses, restaurants, a coffee shop, a half a dozen small markets, taco trucks in the evenings, etc. It is very common to see mothers pushing strollers up and down the highway. I once counted 50 pedestrians in about one mile at 8:30 pm on a Thursday!

All these folks are walking up and down a state highway isn’t designed for pedestrian safety. In places there is less two feet separating the edge of the road and passing cars, some of which are actually observing the 25 or 30 mph speed limit. At night it is virtually impossible to see pedestrians due to the lack of lighting. For those folks who have mobility issues it is a nightmare. The idea that you could navigate a wheelchair, walker or even a scooter in these conditions is ridiculous. When there are sidewalks, they are often not a standard height, they begin and end within the space of one store front, and the ramps are either non-existent or of a strange grade. Yes, people get hurt. Yes, they get hit by cars. Yes, children walk this highway to school, every day.

What we are asking for is sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and lighting.

Safety and beauty for this part of Sonoma.

Within City limits, the City Council has jurisdiction over things like road improvements. It is somewhat complicated by the fact that a state highway runs through the town, but over all, the city gets to say how things are done and they also get to say how the funds are allocated.

In the unincorporated areas, things are a bit different. As Highway 12 is a state Highway, its maintenance and improvements are handled by CalTrans. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is the governing body for this area.

Since Caltrans manages more than 45,000 miles of California’s highway and freeway lanes and the Board of Supervisors has 466,477 people in its county, you can probably guess that it can take a LOT to get their attention and action for our little stretch (about 1.7 miles) of highway.

Fortunately, it appears that we have managed to do just that. This evening, I attended a meeting of the Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Advisory Committee (RAC). This committee decides how the redevelopment funds (a portion of the property taxes from the Springs area) are spent. At the top of their list, is removal of physical, economic and social blight and safety improvements to the Highway 12 corridor from Verano Ave to Agua Caliente Blvd. YIPPEE!!

Yet, getting all the approvals, right of ways, permits, plans, etc. takes a lot of time. Then you have to actually have to do the construction which costs a lot of money (let’s forget for a moment what the construction traffic will be like).

The estimate that was mentioned tonight was in the $12 million range for the entire project. RAC currently has about $6 million in the bank allocated for Highway 12 improvements.

Two representatives from Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works were on hand to update the RAC on the progress being made on this project. They indicated that CalTrans, County Supervisor Valerie Brown, and Public Works are all motivated to see this project started and consider it a high priority.

It appears that they will be splitting the project into two phases. First they will work on the Southern part of the project area: Verano Ave. to Boyes Blvd. When I suggested that the other end of the project has more pedestrian traffic as well as both of the schools and it should be done first, I was told that there are more ‘right of way’ issues to be worked out in that section so it would mean a potentially long delay before anything could get going if that section was worked on first.

CalTrans already has a lot of the right of ways in place for the Southern section. So, starting there is the ‘path of least resistance’. That made sense to me. I didn’t like it much, but it made sense.

I couldn’t begin to imagine all the steps and people and meetings and paperwork and and and and and it has taken to get this far. Just the small amount of information presented in one hour at tonight’s meeting was enough!

Best case scenario is that bids are solicited in the Summer of 2007 for work to begin as soon as possible after that. Somehow, funds for the other end of the project will have to be raised. It is hoped that the State will assist us.

I wonder if the City of Sonoma might be able to assist us.

The City and the Springs have a symbiotic relationship. When tourists come to ‘Sonoma’, they aren’t only coming to just the 2.2 square miles of the City Limits. Within the Springs is lodging, entertainment, wineries, golfing, and a world class hotel the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Additionally, thousands of Springs residents shop, dine, and $pend within the city limits all of which adds to the city coffers. I would love to see this relationship honored by city residents and representatives with some kind of contribution to the beautification and safety of the Springs.

I will now remove my rose colored glasses…… It occurs to me that I have fallen into this us versus them energy during this last bit of commentary. I really don’t like the idea of ‘us here in the Springs’ and ‘them over in city limits’. But, it is hard to talk about this without it coming off that way. Especially when, right now, as I type, all sorts of city streets are torn up because…..drum roll please…..they are putting in new sidewalks.

The RAC meets the first Thursday of each month,7:00pm, at the Boys and Girls Club at Maxwell Park. Of course, the meetings are listed on the Sonoma Valley Calendar. Stop in some time, learn more and add your voice.

If this issue is important to you, let your representatives know how you feel. Our County representative is Valerie Brown . To contact CalTrans and encourage them to keep this project as a top priority, use this link.

Interview: Children of Today

Hello,

As I mentioned in my recent email newsletter, Randy Sue Collins, local parent, teacher and artist is offering gatherings for parents of the “Children of Today.” (i.e. all high vibrational children labeled Indigo, Crystalline, Rainbow, Autistic, etc.)

I interviewed Randy yesterday about her new project. The first event will be Tuesday Dec 12, 6:30-7:30. More information below.

Describe the “children of today” project.

Many parents are at their wit’s end when it comes to their child’s behavior. They’ve been told by medical professionals, teachers and administrators that there may be something “wrong” with their child and the first thing they prescribe is therapy and/or drugs (like Ritalin). The “Children of Today” project focuses on bringing information based on spiritual principles (not religious!) to the parents, grandparents, and caregivers of high vibrational kids that may have been labeled ADD, ADHD, Autistic, etc. and who don’t “fit in” with today’s traditional systems. I explain what I believe to be true as to their purpose here on Earth at this time and what parents can do to support the children’s growth and well being.

What are the kids like?

Most are hyper sensitive to many influences ranging from food, to clothing, to their enviornments.

Here’s some of the most common traits:

They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)

They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.

Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents “who they are.”

They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought. They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

They can be depressed and alone often seeking alcohol and drugs to “feel better”. They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).

They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

All are very psychic whether they admit it or not. They often see and hear things we cannot.

How common are these kids?

They are everywhere all around the world. Almost every child born these days is higher vibration.

How can I tell if my child is one?

Watch them, talk to them, listen to them, you’ll know….

What are the parenting challenges you consistently come across?

The biggest parenting challenge I find is “how to get them to fit in a traditional school system.” Also the sensitivities to foods, clothing, noises, etc. can be a challenge at times. Emotional upsets and with Autistic children, communication, seems to be the biggest challenge.

How can your gathering help with these challenges?

We talk about the reasons for the childrens’ “special ways” and I teach tools to help the parents and the kids to cope with their daily lives. Also having a support group to talk about the same challenges is always helpful. I am also putting together a directory of local healers who understand these children and can help in various ways.

What will the gathering be like?

An hour to an hour and a half depending on questions. At the beginning we’ll do a grounding exercise followed by a short lecture, then Q&A.

Should I bring my child?

YES! The children are very welcome and there will be art supplies available for them to use.

What if not all of my children show these symptoms, what does that mean about the ones that don’t?

Everyone’s an individual on a different path with a different purpose therfore it stands to reason that not all kids will act the same. (no one really acts the same as another anyway). It could be that one child may not be as hyperactive but still has the same high vibration with similar psychic abilites and may not be as open about their “gifts” or as rebellious.

Do you have any websites I can visit to learn more?

There are many beginning with www.indigochild.com.

How can I contact you to discuss this further or to reserve a place in your next event?

Call 707 833-5232, or email randysueart@comcast.net The first event will be Tuesday Dec 12, 6:30-7:30. Please call me for location.

If you are a healing arts practitioner and would like to be included in my directory, please call or email.