KGO-TV coming to Sonoma to hear from you!


Sonoma Valley Events for March 24-28

Since I am late getting the events schedule out, I will include some events for early next week instead of just the weekend. More events and full details available at

Saturday, March 24th: Community Day: Free admission to A.R.T.S. (Art Rewards the Student) Sixth annual exhibition showcases the works of local fourth and fifth graders, curated by local high school students. Sonoma Valley Museum of Art on Broadway. Live performances and art activities

11:30am – 1:30pm EZ Kewl performs at the Boyes Springs Barking Dog Coffee Shop, 18133 Sonoma Hwy Across from Sonoma Mission Inn 707.939.1905

Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvienent Truth plays at the Sonoma Community Center

6:00 Reception in Andrews Hall
6:30 pm: Opening Ceremony of Environmental Commitment championing healthier lives and sustainable communities.
7:00 pm: Movie screening
Afterwards an open discussion on ways for Sonoma Valley to move toward sustainability with Claudia Reed.
Sunday, March 25th:

All Faiths Group, 10:30am

These circles open with a 15-minute reading or sound recording about
mindfulness, gratitude or forgiveness (sources are drawn from all
faiths). Followed by 15-minute silent prayer or meditation. Closes
with a guided forgiveness or gratitude meditation. Free. 996-8787

“True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf”
Performed by puppeteer Paul Mesner
Sonoma Community Center, Andrews Hall
March 25, 2007

Monday, March 26th:

Homestretch with JJ – Homestretch is simple and easy basic stretching. Stretching without straining and having fun. You feel more energized with an increased sense of well being. Contact JJ Crow to reserve your place at 707-996-8845

Painting studio and duplicate bridge club meets at the Vintage House on Mondays. 264 First Street E, 707-996-0311,

Tuesday, March 27th:

Free introduction to Love, Intimacy & Sexuality with the Human Awareness Institute (HAI) at 634 Napa Rd. in Sonoma. HAI can teach you skills to enhance your relationships, whether you’re coupled or single, gay or straight. More information at 1-800-800-4117 or 7:15 pm

Tuesday, March 27, 7:30 p.m. Nischala Joy Devi, author of “The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras,” and Janice Gates, author of “Yogini: The Power of Women in Yoga.” will be at Readers’ Books, 130 E. Napa St., Sonoma. For more information, call 707-939-1779.

WhyNot Entertainment will be doing weekly karaoke Tuesday nights at Little Switzerland starting at 9 pm! Dance floor and tons of songs to choose from. 19080 Riverside Dr, Sonoma

Wednesday, March 28th:

Channeling with Eloheim and Veronica, 7:00pm, by donation, Call Joseph at 694-0652 for directions and more information. Listen to audio clips and read quotes from Eloheim at

Here is an invitation from Eloheim:
Gathering in a group and sharing the journey together maximizes opportunities for spiritual growth. We invite you to experience group transformation as we learn the skills necessary to navigate the shifting energies and vibrations of the present, evolving moment.

Learn about Spinal Health at Adams Chiropractic. 100 years of application has resulted in a remarkable American success story. Learn more about chiropractic on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. FREE, all are welcome Reserve a space by calling 707-996-4535. Adams Chiropractic, 101 Andrieux Street, Sonoma
Further details and more events at If you are having an event, please add it to the calendar. It is free!

Sonoma Valley Events for March 1-4

A selection of upcoming Sonoma Valley events for Thursday March 1st through Sunday March 4th. Full details and more events at

Thursday March 1st:
Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Advisory Committee meeting, 7:00 pm, Boys and Girls Club. If you are interested in what is going on with the Springs Redevelopment, this is the meeting to attend!

Valley of the Moon Garden Club, 7:00 pm, Vintage House.

Anglea Pneuman author of the short story collection “Home Remedies”at Reader’s Books, 7:30 pm

Friday March 2nd:

Live Music at the Lodge at Sonoma, 7:00pm

Wanted: Greg Grabow, Local Singer and coffee roaster Greg Grabow sings at the Boyes Springs Barking Dog, 8:30 pm

Saturday March 3rd:

Spirituality, Faith and the Environment at First Congregational Church of Sonoma. Discussion of the movie An Inconvenient Truth. 9:00am

Center of the Universe Cafe at the Sonoma Community Center, 6:30pm

Live music at the Lodge and another performance by Greg Grabow

Sunday, March 4th:
Live music at Murphy’s Irish Pub, 6:00 pm

Doug Bauer, accompanied by Sue Miller, will read from “Death by Pad Thai,” a collection of the favorite food experiences of a number of well-known authors at Readers’ Books 7:30pm

Assemblymember Jared Huffman in Sonoma Feb 21st


I just received this email from Yannick Phillips. Yannick’s name is familiar to those who read this blog as she was recently elected a 6th assembly district delegate.

Sonomans, please come to the next City Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 21st, 7:00pm ,located on 175 1st West . Our Assemblymember Jared Huffman, will be there to introduce himself and is looking forward to meeting his constituents-you! You might want to ask him what he is working on in Sacramento and mention what issues you consider important to Sonoma. All are welcome, including age appropriate students.

I spoke with Mr. Huffman about the sidewalks in the Springs when I attended the delegate voting. He is easy to talk to and seems genuinely interested in our concerns for the Sonoma Valley.

Springs Plan Open for Public Comment until Jan, 31

A 71 page report is now available to the public for review and comments. The public comment period ends on January 31st. Before we go any further, I must ask Why is the public comment period so short???? I just found out about this report two days ago. That gives me a total of 12 days to read the report and comment on it. What about folks that haven’t even heard about it yet?

Please take a look at the Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Area Website
to read the report.

From that site:
The draft Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Area Strategic Plan is available for public comment. The draft Plan was developed by the Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Advisory Committee (RAC) that oversees funding priorities for redevelopment projects. The Plan, once completed, will guide the future redevelopment projects in the area as well as identify desired community improvements and services.

I haven’t had a chance to read the entire report. I do like the idea of creating a type of plaza near the Boyes Springs Post Office. However, I can’t even imagine how they will carve out the space to do that. I haven’t been able to figure it out from what is listed in the report. If you do, please tell all of us by leaving a comment.

More thoughts as I have a chance to review the material. I just wanted to make a quick post to help spread the word about this new report.

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


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.


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.


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


707-579-8247 Fax



Sonoma Valley Film Festival – Big discount for Sonoma residents

Sunday night I watched the new movie The Persuit of Happyness at the Sonoma Cinemas. I recommend it highly, but be sure to take some tissue. I was in tears by the final scene. What a powerful exploration of one year in the life of a man and his child. Will Smith and his son do a great job.

While at the theater I saw a brochure about the 10th Sonoma Valley Film Festival which is coming April 11-15, 2007. The festival features over 75 new independent films from all over the world.

The Film Festival folks are making a great offer to the residents of Sonoma Valley. Residents receive a big discount on the 2007 Festival Pass which gives you access to all regular films and panels plus free gourmet food and wine tastings before every screening. (Sonoma folks don’t tend to gather without food and fine beverages being involved – heck one group advertised that there would be wine and cheese with their hike of the Overlook Trail!)

The Festvial Pass is normally $225, but residents can purchase one for $100.

Contact: or call 707-933-2600

UPDATE:  The chance to buy the discounted passes has, well, passed.  However, full price passes are still available.

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.