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WSCUHSD in early mapping stages for switch to trustee-area elections

From SoCoNews

The switch to a by-trustee area election method is underway at West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD), inviting community feedback on mapping voting areas at its first public hearing on Sept. 14.

Art Trails is back in person this year

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County’s Art Trails event is back in person this year, and local artists are excited to once again open their studios to the public and interact with visitors.

The Sebastopol Apple Blossom Parade returns this weekend

From SoCoNews

The 2021 Sebastopol Apple Blossom Parade is rolling through town Saturday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. in a flash of good news for anyone feeling nostalgic for some public celebration.

Newsom overwhelmingly defeats California recall attempt

From SoCoNews

The attempt to throw Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office failed by a wide margin, according to vote counts released on Election Night in California’s historic recall election.

Ravitch recall fails to gain traction at the polls

From SoCoNews

As initial voting results came in, one thing was clear — returns indicate that Sonoma County voters do not support the recall of current county district attorney Jill Ravitch.

Peacemakers celebrated in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

This year’s honorees are Mary Moore, Adrienne Lauby, Fred Ptucha and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who did not attend the morning ceremony.

Torture orchard: Can science transform California crops to cope with drought?

From SoCoNews

A hive of PhDs at the University of California at Davis is working to reinvent food production in the Golden State.

Health orders issued for pharmacists, home health workers, indoor sports and jails

From SoCoNews

Three health orders issued earlier this month will require vaccination or regular testing for all pharmacists and at-home medical care professionals, in addition to mandating mask use for participants and spectators of indoor sporting activities, and requiring COVID-19 testing for inmates upon entry at Sonoma County detention facilities.

Out of time: California legislators won’t extend eviction ban

California’s eviction protections are expected to expire on Sept. 30, while Sonoma County’s eviction protections are set to expire on Nov. 1.

Three out of four eligible Sonoma County residents fully vaccinated

From SoCoNews

Seventy-five percent of Sonoma County residents have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, the county reported Sept. 7. Sonoma County has reached this milestone ahead of the rest of California and the U.S., where only 67% and 62% of the eligible populations have been fully vaccinated, respectively.

County expanding COVID testing capacity

From SoCoNews

The number of COVID-19 testing locations in Sonoma County has increased following a recent spike in demand for testing. According to Dr. Leslie Kimura, testing rates have increased by 88% in the past month.

Fire weather watch issued for Thursday evening, Red flag warning issued for North Bay

From SoCoNews

A red flag warning has been issued for North Bay mountains and valleys due to the possibility of dry thunderstorms and cloud-to-ground lightning, which has the potential to spark new wildfires.

West County High School shooting threat considered ‘not credible’ by police so far

From SoCoNews

“Based on the investigation, from last evening when we received the information to currently, the threat is not believed to be credible and may have been posted in an effort to have classes canceled,” Sebastopol’s police chief said on Tuesday.

Artist bids California a fond farewell in Sebastopol exhibit

From SoCoNews

Artist Aatika Rehman’s painting series, “Saying Goodbye,” showing in an exhibit at Retrograde Roasters in Sebastopol until the end of September, celebrates her 13 years living in northern California.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council is tackling a wide range of issues at its meeting on Sept. 7, from reviewing its Emergency Operations Plan to receiving presentations from its Zero Waste Committee to talking about the potential for a trail connecting Petaluma and Sebastopol.

Rapper J.Lately releases album named after Bodega Bay

From SoCoNews

Sebastopol-raised rapper J.Lately is back with a new album named for and greatly inspired by the peaceful flow and freedom of Bodega Bay. “Bodega,” released Aug. 27, is like “a love letter,” he said, to Sonoma County.

Call 988: California finds $20 million to help pay for new crisis hotline

Soon, Californians will be able to dial a new three-digit number when seeking help for a mental health crisis. After weeks in which funding to make the hotline work in California seemed uncertain, the state Department of Health Care Services announced late today that it would spend $20 million to help support the 9-8-8 network […]

Not enough subs: California schools face severe teacher shortage

Across California, the substitute teacher shortage is another burden in an already challenging school year. Administrators are taking desperate steps to make sure there’s an adult in the classroom when teachers are absent.

Sonoma County is seeing a decrease in COVID case rates

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County COVID-19 case rates are stabilizing and decreasing according to recent data revealed during a Sept. 1 community COVID briefing with local health officials.

WSCUHSD recall petitions fall short by thousands of signatures

From SoCoNews

The crusade to recall trustees who voted to consolidate Analy and El Molino high schools failed this week when the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office declared the petitions insufficient by thousands of signatures.

West County footballers shock Santa Rosa in season opener, 35-34

From SoCoNews

The West County High School (WCHS) football team couldn’t have scripted a better start to the 2021 campaign on Friday, staging a dramatic, fourth-quarter comeback to defeat visiting Santa Rosa, 35-34 in the season opener at Karlson Field. What began as an offensive showcase developed into a battle of heart and will for the newly […]

Sebastopol farm becomes grounds for rediscovering Afro-Indigenous permaculture

From SoCoNews

It’s not business as usual at EARTHseed Farm, 14-acres in Sebastopol stewarded with permaculture traditions of African and Indigenous peoples.

WSCUHSD trustee vacancy to be filled by provisional appointment

From SoCoNews

As anyone could have predicted, the West Sonoma County Union High School District’s first board meeting in person this year was a fierce one, filled with demands for the resignations of board members and complaints about the safety of West County High School (formerly Analy High School), which critics say is now overcrowded due to the consolidation.

Sebastopol Urgent Care opens for outpatient medical attention

From SoCoNews

Sebastopol Urgent Care is on the map with doors wide open for west county residents looking for nearby medical services. The region’s only “full-service” urgent care clinic celebrated its grand opening Saturday, Aug. 28.

Russian River Revitalization project is underway

From SoCoNews

A campaign to revive the Russian River watershed and restore the environmental, economic and recreational relationships that local communities have with its waters will launch this year.

Local wineries are busy as the height of harvest season arrives

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County is in the throes of grape harvest season and with cooler weather and less wildfire smoke this year, the 2021 vintage is expected to be a good one.

Organizers prepare to turn in signatures to recall WSCUHSD trustees

From SoCoNews

Organizers say they are on track to gather 9,000 signatures, almost 2,000 more than the 7,187 required to force a recall of one member of the WSCUHSD board. UPDATE: They only had 3,084 signatures and recall failed.

Sebastopol senior center temporarily cancels in-person activities

From SoCoNews

“With recent news of widespread delta variant, plus heavy smoke in the air, we wanted to keep our seniors safe,” Executive Director Katie Davis.

Voting at the polls on Sept. 14? Bring your mailed ballot with you

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County voters who plan to vote at their assigned polling place for the Sept. 14 election will need to bring the ballot they received in the mail to exchange it for an official polling place ballot.

California’s housing crisis: How much difference will a zoning bill make?

Senate Bill 9 would technically allow as many as two duplexes, two houses with attached units, or a combination — capped at four units — on single-family lots across California, without local approval.

A long history of Russian River droughts

From SoCoNews

The Russian River has been dwindling to a trickle for many summers and raging with overflowing winter floods well before weather records or written history was recorded.

Recall campaigners seek signatures during canceled WSCUHSD board meeting time

Signature gathering continues in the recall campaign to unseat three school board members.

WSCUHSD board meeting canceled due to lack of quorum

From SoCoNews

The highly-anticipated meeting set for Wednesday, Aug. 18, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25 because two of the board members are sick, depriving the board of a quorum.

Guerneville café defies mask mandate with $1 private memberships

From SoCoNews

A Guerneville coffee shop owner caused an uproar in the community after instituting an annual membership program she contends allows her customers to bypass the reinstitution of the indoor mask mandate designated by an Aug. 2 Sonoma County health order.

WSCUHSD board to meet in-person with packed agenda

From SoCoNews

The West County High School theater may be a full house by pandemic restriction standards Wednesday, Aug. 18 for the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) board’s first meeting back in person again.

County voter information guides being mailed out for gubernatorial recall election

From SoCoNews

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all active, registered voters will automatically be mailed a ballot in this election.

Red Flag Warning issued for Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning

From SoCoNews

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from 11 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 due to strong gusty winds, higher temps and extreme drought conditions in Sonoma County and in the North Bay Mountains.

Sebastopol Senior Center opens new affordable lunch program called The Harvest Café

From SoCoNews

After suspending its popular in-house lunch program amid the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, the Sebastopol Area Senior Center is instituting a new dine-in experience for area seniors and community members: the Harvest Café.

Laura Fadave steps down from high school board

From SoCoNews

Laurie Fadave, target of a recall by angry El Mo parents and Analy alums, has stepped down from the West Sonoma County Union High School District board.

The Lambda COVID variant is in California: 5 things to know

From SoCoNews

A new COVID-19 variant — named lambda — has arrived in California.

Humane Society of Sonoma County announces new executive director

From SoCoNews

The Humane Society of Sonoma County announced on Aug. 10 that Lindsay McCall will succeed Wendy Welling as executive director of the HSSC.

West County High School students start the year

From SoCoNews

Despite the hue and cry from Analy and El Mo alumni, West County High School, the new consolidated high school, opens its doors to students for the first day of school.

How has Armstrong Woods recovered almost a year after the Walbridge Fire?

Almost a year after the Walbridge Fire made its way down Austin Creek and into parts of the forest floor of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, the forest is showing healthy signs of regrowth.

Newsom makes California first state to require teacher vaccines or COVID tests

After months of reluctance, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday mandated that all California school employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be tested weekly.

California lawmakers and teachers unions stop short of a vaccine mandate

Legislators have put the decision in the hands of local officials, but most school districts haven’t made vaccination a requirement for teachers either because they’re still exploring the legality of a mandate or there isn’t enough support from local teacher unions. The California Teachers Association is strongly supporting vaccines, but has so far stopped short of endorsing a vaccination mandate for all public school teachers.

New school year, new rules and guidance related to COVID-19

From SoCoNews

All schools will be opening for full-time, in-person instruction, and distance learning or hybrid learning programs utilized in the previous year will no longer be available. Masks will be required for all students and staff, but the social distancing requirements have been eliminated.

Seb residents can highlight water savings, take meter survey

From SoCoNews

Water saving tips and conservation swag from the city of Sebastopol.

Teacher strike averted in Sebastopol’s Twin Hills Union School District

From SoCoNews

On Aug. 9, days before union teachers were poised to strike in Sebastopol, the Twin Hills Teachers Association ratified an agreement over salary raises after finding a compromise with the Twin Hills Union School District they could accept.

County, SCOE holding virtual webinars on returning to school

Webinars will be held on Aug. 10 and Aug. 12.

COVID patients have doubled in California hospitals

Propelled by the delta variant and large numbers of unvaccinated people, COVID-19 patients are flooding California hospitals at a rate not seen since last winter’s surge.

County set to hit the cannabis ordinance reset button next week

From SoCoNews

After pulling the plug earlier this year on comprehensive updates to commercial cannabis cultivation ordinances and rules, Sonoma County planners and consultants are launching their self-proclaimed reboot next week with a series of virtual visioning sessions to gather public input on an eventual environmental impact report and proposed ordinance.

Sebastopol exploring potential ban on new gas stations

Sebastopol may be following in the footsteps of Petaluma and Santa Rosa as it moves forward with exploring what a ban on new gas stations might look like.

Sebastopol townspeople decry proposed Woodmark Apartments

From SoCoNews

The developer of the Woodmark Apartments has applied for approval for the 84-unit, affordable apartment complex via a streamlined state process created by California Senate Bill 35, making an end run around Sebastopol’s design review board and the city council.

‘Summer surge’ prompts indoor mask mandate in Sonoma County, Bay Area

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County’s new mask mandate went into effect yesterday, Aug. 8 – and the response from local Sebastopol businesses was swift.

Some Sebastopol Police Department computers restored, incident still being investigated

From SoCoNews

Most of the Sebastopol Police Department’s computer systems have been restored since the July 11 incident, which is still under investigation

Drought threatens biodiversity of the river and laguna

From SoCoNews

The ongoing drought — and resulting historic low water levels in the river and laguna — are threatening riparian plants and animals throughout the Russian River watershed.

Sebastopol Police Logs, July 26 – August 1

From SoCoNews

False imprisonment with sexual battery, identity theft, assault with a deadly weapon and more.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council will discuss the Woodmark Apartments, rules about gas stations, a traffic study and more.

Sebastopol council implements conservation measures for commercial, industrial businesses

From SoCoNews

Three weeks after it imposed a mandatory systemwide 25% water reduction for Sebastopol, the Sebastopol City Council is adding wording to its conservation measures to address how the city’s commercial and industrial businesses can do their part when it comes to reducing water use.

Farm Trails staging Gravenstein benefit concert

From SoCoNews

Live music, local foods, plenty of apples for the Gravenstein Apple Fair benefit concert, which is a pre-sale only event.

County health officials urge people to get vaccinated, mask up

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County health officials are strongly urging vaccinated individuals to mask up in indoor public places and for unvaccinated individuals to continue wearing a mask in all indoor and outdoor settings and to avoid large gatherings as the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant makes its way through the county.

New CDC advice: Most vaccinated Californians should wear masks indoors

Nearly all vaccinated Californians should return to wearing masks indoors under new federal guidelines issued Tuesday for areas where COVID-19 is surging.

Legendary El Mo football, track coach Chan Castleberry dies at 80

From SoCoNews

Iconic El Molino High School educator, football and track coach Chan Castleberry has died at the age of 80 following a long illness, his family announced on Wednesday.

Occidental man located

Sonoma County Search and Rescue has located Lyle Keller, a 61-year-old man who had been missing from Occidental.

Sebastopol’s city budget adjusted for $1.2 million wire transfer fraud

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council adopted the city’s budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year and deferred funding for some departmental expenses at its July 20 meeting, days after the city announced a $1.2 million cyber theft dented its reserves.

West County Teen Clinic finds its full-time home in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

West County Teen Clinic is moving to Sebastopol for good to provide west county teens free and confidential sexual, reproductive and behavioral health services right where they’re at.

Two doctors teaming up to open a Sebastopol urgent care this August

From SoCoNews

Dr. Libby Flower and Dr. Kathleen Whisman plan to open their concierge care practices and an urgent care in Sebastopol on Aug. 23, to the left of Sonoma Specialty Hospital, though unaffiliated. To the right of the hospital is where its Progressive Urgent Care is planned to reopen. (Photo courtesy Access Health Sebastopol)

Sebastopol sculpture garden applications due Aug. 9

From SoCoNews

The Aug. 9 deadline is getting closer for artists who want their work considered for Sebastopol’s community sculpture garden. The sculpture garden is located at Ives Park and is put together by the city’s public arts committee. “Ives Park serves as the city’s ‘central park,’ hosting festivals, music events and ball games, as well as […]

California orders vaccine or testing for health care workers, state employees

Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced that health care workers and state employees must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks.

Should homeowners pay for climate change?

In hard-hit Napa Valley, which has burned multiple times this last decade, successful winemakers and longtime residents are weighing their options to rebuild or move out entirely simply by looking at their property insurance policies. “They just can’t get insurance,” said Democratic state Sen. Bill Dodd, whose district spans the region’s celebrated vineyards. “Or the […]

Universal basic income? California moves to be first state to fund pilot efforts

Universal basic income was championed by Martin Luther King Jr., promoted by Silicon Valley citizens as the “social vaccine for the 21st century” and endorsed by 2016 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, but it has never really caught on. Now its time may have come.

Sebastopol OKs free trial for app to rate police interactions

From SoCoNews

Residents of Sebastopol may find themselves using an app-based platform Sebastopol Police Chief Kevin Kilgore compared to giving police Yelp reviews

Permit Sonoma working on draft multijurisdictional hazard mitigation plan

From SoCoNews

ermit Sonoma is in the middle of creating a draft multijurisdictional hazard mitigation plan, a plan that identifies hazards for specific areas and mitigation measures/projects that can help reduce the risk of those hazards and can help local government agencies access federal funds for those projects.

Bulk of Sebastopol council meetings items postponed

From SoCoNews

After only addressing a handful of its scheduled agenda items, the Sebastopol City Council capped its July 20 meeting around midnight, pushing off eight of the agenda’s items for a future meeting tentatively set for the morning of Wednesday, July 28.

Vegetation fire near Sebastopol under control

From SoCoNews

A vegetation fire 3.2-acres in size is now “under control” with its advances halted since burning east of Sebastopol city limits Tuesday afternoon, July 20.

WSCUHSD sets course for budget and three-year LCAP plan

From SoCoNews

The trustees of the West Sonoma County Union High School District set sail toward increased mental health services, academic support and recovery and more during a June budget meeting.

Bodega Bay and Sonoma County Fire look to county to approve funding for consolidation path

From SoCoNews

The end may finally be in sight, seven years down the road, to consolidation for Bodega Bay Fire Protection District and Sonoma County Fire District.

Newsom signs homelessness funding bill in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Elderberry Commons, formerly the Sebastopol Inn, now housing for the homeless, on July 19.

Drought is here: Is emergency conservation working?

From SoCoNews

As drought conditions intensify, residents and businesses across Sonoma County are reducing water use to comply with emergent conservation requirements. Will it be enough to keep the taps on?

County recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public places

From SoCoNews

The county of Sonoma, along with six other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley are recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places.

‘Hustley, bustley and wonderful:’ The Sebastopol Area Senior Center hosts first in-person lunch

From SoCoNews

Before the pandemic changed everything, daily lunch events were one of the center’s most popular offerings. They were also sorely missed during the center’s closure.

Sebastopol hit with two cyber attacks

From SoCoNews

The city of Sebastopol announced that two unrelated cyber attacks had downed the police department’s computer system and stolen $1.2 million from the city’s reserves through a “fraudulent email request.”

COVID cases surging in California a month after reopening

A month after California’s reopening lifted most pandemic restrictions, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising, worrying public health officials as they contend with the more infectious Delta variant and the lagging pace of vaccinations in some communities. 

Artist discusses his whale of a work at Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Berkeley artist Jos Sances appeared before a sold-out crowd at Sebastopol Center for the Arts on Wednesday night, July 14, to discuss his work, “Or, The Whale.”  July 14 is Bastille Day, which set an appropriately revolutionary tone for the discussion of a work that offers a kind of Howard Zinn-like people’s history of the United States.

Sebastopol auto shop owner on a mission to give away 10 cars

From SoCoNews

Kate Jonasse is putting pedal to the medal to give away 10 vehicles this August for the Good Karma Car Giveaway’s 10th anniversary. The giveaway seeks to honor deserving members of the Sebastopol community with a free car.

Uptick in COVID cases coincides with presence of Delta variant

From SoCoNews

One death was reported on July 7 and four were reported on July 9, the most reported in any single day since February, signaling an uptick in cases and hospitalizations mostly among the unvaccinated and younger populations.

City Council Round Up: City prepares to adopt annual budget

From SoCoNews

At last week’s city council meeting, Mayor Una Glass called for Sebastopol city staff to prepare a final city budget for the upcoming year for adoption at the upcoming July 20 city council meeting. Haggling over a dozen outstanding budget items ensued.

County now offering rapid COVID-19 antigen tests

From SoCoNews

The County of Sonoma has partnered with Curative to offer BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 antigen testing at all Sonoma County Department of Health Services testing sites. The rapid tests enable those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get preliminary results in about 15 minutes.

Sebastopol’s only urgent care center has been closed for over a year. What’s up with that?

From SoCoNews

More than a year after Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH) of Sebastopol temporarily closed its Progressive Urgent Care to reduce COVID-19 exposure in March 2020, west county’s only urgent care is still shuttered.

Sebastopol council OKs mandatory 25% water reduction

From SoCoNews

Sebastopolians are about to have more stringent water use guidelines. The city is moving from requesting a voluntary 10% systemwide water reduction to making a 25% reduction mandatory.

RHNA numbers mean housing is coming

From SoCoNews

Bay Area cities, towns and counties will have new housing unit allocations to hit in coming years, or the state will come in and do it for them.

Peacetown opening at the Barlow this week

From SoCoNews

Sebastopol’s summer concert series, Peacetown, is heading to the Barlow this year for a multi-stage summer music and art series every Wednesday evening from July 7 to Sept. 8.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From SoCoNews

At its next regular meeting, the Sebastopol City Council is tackling water meters, water conservation and finalizing its budget.

75% of county residents have received at least one vaccine dose

From SoCoNews

Headed into the county anticipated its 597,219 administered doses count would tip over 600,000, a number that continues to outpace state and national averages for the rate of vaccine doses administered, according to the county of Sonoma.

Breakthrough COVID is rare in California

The breakthrough infections through June 23 amount to 0.039% of vaccinated Californians — or one case out of every 2,583 vaccinated people. 

Sebastopol camp counselor arrested for possession of child pornography

From SoCoNews

A Sonoma County camp counselor was arrested this week by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office for possession of child pornography.

West county tests radio communications in disaster scenarios

From SoCoNews

Testing the place of radio as a communication tool during disaster.

Biden announces $37M in fire mitigation funding for Sonoma County

From SoCoNews

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded $37 million in immediate funding to Sonoma County’s wildfire mitigation efforts.

Fire marshal issues reminder that all fireworks are banned in unincorporated Sonoma County

From SoCoNews

Those caught using fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county could face citations or even jail time and may be held criminally and civilly responsible for any damages caused.

Sebastopol Area Senior Center reopens to the community

From SoCoNews

After a year of caring for the community made most vulnerable by the pandemic, the Sebastopol Area Senior Center is reopening with a renewed mission: “helping seniors age in their own homes.”

Some things really are black and white

The Sebastopol Center for the Arts reopened last week on June 23, drawing a crowd of over 200 art lovers. They came to cheer the re-opening and enjoy two dynamite exhibits: the annual “Black White and Shades of Gray” and Berkeley artist Jos Sances’ massive piece, “Or, The Whale.”

Water shortages: Why some Californians are running out in 2021 and others aren’t

When it comes to the impact of drought, location is key. Rain and snow vary greatly across California’s myriad microclimates, leaving some towns, mostly in the north, accustomed to yearly refills of their rivers, reservoirs and aquifers. Others farther south have fewer natural supplies of their own, and in parts of the Central Valley, the drought never really left.

California’s eviction moratorium extension: What’s in it for tenants and landlords?

California renters, who are still struggling to pay the rent even as the pandemic wanes, will be shielded from eviction through Sept. 30, under a last-minute deal announced on June 28 by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.

Celebrate history by visiting a suffragist headstone

From SoCoNews

As part of its ongoing effort to recognize local members of the suffrage movement leading up to the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, the Western Sonoma County Historical Society has adorned each identifiable suffragist headstone in the Sebastopol, Green Valley and Forestview cemeteries with a sign denoting the person’s involvement in the fight for women’s voting rights.

How might the drought affect firefighting?

From SoCoNews

With a worsening drought, where will firefighters get the water they need to fight fire this year?

Vegetation fire near Sebastopol city limits contained

From SoCoNews

Several local fire departments, including Gold Ridge Firefighters, Sebastopol Fire Department, Graton Fire Department, Sonoma County Fire District, CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa and Santa Rosa Fire Department, responded to a vegetation fire on the Brown Farm which is located between Llano Road and the City of Sebastopol, south of Hwy 12/Joe Rodota Trail.

Sebastopol Police Department audit released to the public

When protests against George Floyd’s killing spread across Sonoma County last summer, the Sebastopol City Council decided to contract attorney Jerry Threet for an audit to see where its own police department stood with the city’s values, according to Mayor Una Glass.  The retired director and founder of the county’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement […]

Grand Jury calls for free phone services for inmates

Civil panel says jail should not be a profit center.

Medi-Cal expansion in the works

Legislature’s budget would remove some barriers for low-income residents.

Harmful algae blooms discovered in multiple Sonoma County rivers

From SoCoNews

The California State Water Resources Control Board and the Sonoma County Department of Environmental Health Services are warning boaters, fishers and swimmers to be cautious after multiple harmful algae blooms were discovered in the Russian River, Salmon Creek and Gualala River.

Alumni and community rally against renaming Analy High School

From SoCoNews

A “Save Analy” effort has formed to oppose the West Sonoma County Union High School District’s goal to rename and rebrand the consolidated school.

County adopts spending themes largely shaped by disaster responses

From SoCoNews

At the end of a full week of workshops, public sessions and final deliberations, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on June 18 unanimously adopted a $2 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2021-22.

Sebastopol looks to pull from reserves to cover deficit spending in 2021-22

From SoCoNews

The city’s $1.25 million deficit will be covered by its unassigned reserve.

Sebastopol council reviewing police department audit on June 17

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council is holding a special meeting to receive a presentation about the city’s independent review of the Sebastopol Police Department, conducted by Jerry Threet, the retired director and founder of the Sonoma County Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review & Outreach.

Twin Hills teachers plan to strike unless THUSD boosts the salary offer

From SoCoNews

The Twin Hills teachers union says teachers plan to strike on the first day of the coming school year if the Twin Hills Union School District doesn’t come up with a better offer on salaries.

Heat Advisory in effect until Friday afternoon

From SoCoNews

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Sonoma County from Wednesday to Friday, June 16-18.

Faces of West County: Jon Gonzales

From SoCoNews

There is a word in Yiddish that sums up Jon Gonzales. He’s a mensch. 

Climate Center founder Ann Hancock stepping down from leadership

From SoCoNews

Graton’s Ann Hancock, a one-woman mass protest march, is stepping aside from her two decades of leading local, regional and national efforts to fight a massive battle against global climate change.

Sonoma County reopens today, June 15

From SoCoNews

Starting today, June 15, Sonoma County will align with the California Department of Public Health’s plans to reopen the economy and will remove all pandemic-related limitations on restaurants, taverns, movie theaters and other businesses.

Sebastopol City Council preview

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council meeting on June 15 is all public hearings — one for the annual solid waste collection adjustment and one for the 2021-22 city budget.

California’s big reopening: What changes — and what doesn’t — on June 15?

If all goes as expected and promised, on June 15 our 15-month-long ordeal of public health restrictions, mandates, bans and color-coded tiers to stem the COVID-19 pandemic will finally come to an end.

Fire season is here, county urges preparation

From SoCoNews

At the June 9 briefing from the county on preparations for fire season, two things were made clear — fire season is here and everyone needs to be ready.

14th annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival is here and at home

From SoCoNews

The 14th annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival presents the human condition this week, streaming documentaries from Sonoma County and all corners of the globe. This is the festival’s second year online in a row due to the pandemic.

Winery events ordinance still a work in progress

From SoCoNews

Deemed confusing and vague, Sonoma County’s draft winery events ordinance is getting sent back for revisions.

Students share perspectives on upcoming consolidation through survey

From SoCoNews

While years of declining student enrollment and financial instability created the conditions for this decision to be made, many students and community members felt like their voices were not sufficiently heard by the school board.

Will California public schools continue free lunches for all?

Last week, legislative budget leaders unveiled a deal that includes $650 million for the Universal Schools Meal Program, which would allow schools to serve free breakfast and lunch year-round to all students — no paperwork or eligibility checks required.

Sonoma West becomes SoCoNews

From SoCoNews

Townsy Sebastopol gets its news from Sonoma West Times & News, a venerable Sebastopol institution since 1889.  Sonoma West is owned by a small newspaper group called Sonoma West Publishers, which also owns the Cloverdale Reveille, the Windsor Times and the Healdsburg Tribune.  Sonoma West Publishers has decided to combine its coverage of all four towns into a single news site: soconews.org.

How might the west county high school consolidation impact English learners?

From SoCoNews

English Language Learner students may see some changes when Analy High School and El Molino High School merge into one at the start of the coming school year.

WSCUHSD board to hold public hearings on draft LCAP and next year’s proposed budget

From SoCoNews

School’s out for summer, but long-term planning for the high school district’s student outcome goals and budget continues.

El Molino High School sends off its final graduating class

From SoCoNews

A procession of about 120 graduates in red and black gowns swept across the athletic field into chairs facing their families crammed in bleachers and rows spilling onto the track. Though the ceremony appears to be El Molino’s last, graduates spoke of their excitement to start the rest of their life after graduation.

Last class of Analy walks across the stage

From SoCoNews

The last graduates of Analy High School walked across the stage on June 3, an emotional and historic moment for graduating seniors of the Class of 2021, families, parents and faculty as the school is set to consolidate with El Molino High School this fall. While the schools are consolidating on to the Analy High School campus, the west county school board is working on rebranding the school with a new name.

Laguna graduating class nearly three times the size of last year’s

From SoCoNews

Laguna High School celebrated a boom of graduates Thursday morning, June 3, while dozens of families smiled and squinted under the high sun, flowers and balloons in hand. Nearly three times as many students walked off campus with a diploma as last year, according to Principal Allie Greene.

Board of supervisors approves over $3.7 million in grant funding for fire fuel reduction

On May 28, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved $3,722,160 in grant funding for 20 vegetation management projects across Sonoma County that will help reduce wildfire risk in the 2021 and 2022 fire seasons.

California extends outdoor dining, to-go drinks through Dec. 31

Even as the state prepares to lift all COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, some pandemic changes such as outdoor dining and to-go drinks will likely remain in many California cities — and many small business owners are embracing the proposed extensions. Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced extending those restaurant extensions through the end of the year.

Sebastopol City Council preview

From SoCoNews

At it’s June 1 council meeting, the Sebastopol City Council will discuss lighting, weed abatement, a letter of support for AB 965 (electric vehicle charging infrastructure) and more.

Armstrong Woods opening postponed

From SoCoNews

The opening of the park is waiting on outside contractors to finish the clean-up effort.

Vax for cash: Newsom offers big bucks for Californians who get their shots

For Californians who are insufficiently compelled by civic duty and self-preservation to get vaccinated, Gov. Gavin Newsom is offering another reason to get the jab: cold, hard cash.

Sebastopol launches water conservation program

A new program in Sebastopol makes water conservation technologies — like low-flow faucets, showerheads and toilets–more affordable for homeowners.

Zoë Strickland named managing editor at Sonoma West Publishers

From SoCoNews

Zoë Strickland has been named managing editor at Sonoma West Publishers (SWP), overseeing news coverage in Sebastopol and west county, Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale. Prior to being selected as managing editor, Strickland served as the editor of the Cloverdale Reveille, beginning in 2018.

Local youth hold vigil for George Floyd in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

Local high school activists welcomed attendees to a candlelight vigil for George Floyd in the Sebastopol Plaza on May 25, marking the first anniversary of his murder under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Update: Missing Sebastopol area boys found safe

From SoCoNews

The two young boys from the Sebastopol area reported missing as of Wednesday morning, March 26, have been “found safe,” according to a 12:14 p.m. Nixle alert from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. 

WSCUHSD board to consider third interim report, new classes, CBO recruitment

From SoCoNews

The agenda for the West Sonoma County Union High School District board meeting this Wednesday spans the district’s Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) Grant Plan, the third interim report coming due and the search for a new chief business official.

Supervisors approve business relief, pavement program funds

From SoCoNews

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors took action on various items during its May 25 meeting — including approving business relief funds, authorizing funding to help county roads and ordering a recall election for county district attorney Jill Ravitch following a successful recall petition campaign.

County releases evacuation zone maps

From SoCoNews

On May 21, the county of Sonoma released official evacuation zone maps designed to help residents be ready for an emergency that may require them to evacuate their homes.

County, SCOE to host virtual community webinar on youth vaccinations

From SoCoNews

A webinar to address questions about COVID-19 vaccinations for youth featuring local pediatricians is taking place over Facebook Live on Wednesday, May 26.

Twin Hills welcomes former student as new superintendent

From SoCoNews

Twin Hills Union School District board has chosen former student Anna-Maria Guzmán as their new superintendent.

Permit Sonoma publishes draft Winery Events Ordinance

From SoCoNews

On May 18, Permit Sonoma announced the publication of Sonoma County’s first draft Winery Events Ordinance, which would set new standards regarding parking requirements, food service, traffic control, event coordination and noise management for winery events.

WSCUHSD board recap from May 12 meeting: approves third vice principal, seals fewer layoffs

From SoCoNews

While the choice of a new name for the consolidated high school was the biggest news from the May 12 West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) board meeting, the trustees also approved a third vice principal for the future consolidated school, a bell schedule that allows students to take advanced electives at the El Molino campus and finalized fewer layoffs than originally issued.

Bicyclist dies days after being hit by suspected drunk driver

From SoCoNews

Fifty-three-year-old Mark Osborne, from Santa Rosa, was hit by a driver headed north on High School Road who lost control and collided with a 12-year-old boy and then Osborne while riding along the right shoulder of the road. Osborne died of his injuries on Thursday, May 20.

Sebastopol’s nonprofits and service club discuss community needs

From SoCoNews

Last week the city of Sebastopol and its economic vitality contractor, Comission, hosted the Community Needs Summit, a gathering of representatives from local service organizations and nonprofits.