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Who gets a California stimulus check? When?

California will soon be sending out $600 one-time stimulus payments to millions of low-income California households, with extra help for undocumented workers left out of the federal government’s pandemic relief.

Sebastopol City Council adopts mid-year budget adjustments

From Sonoma West Times & News

At its last meeting on Feb. 16, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved a resolution to adjust the city’s adopted operating budget for the fiscal year of 2020-21 as a part of the mid-year budget review.

Do you have old copies of the Sebastopol Times?

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Western Sonoma County Historical Society is on the hunt for copies of Sebastopol Times missing from its collection. They’re look for issues from February and March of 1921, as well as issues from all months of 1958 to 1961.

A ringside guide to Friday’s fiery debate on Measures A and B

The debate on Measure B was substantive and feisty, with 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, who is spearheading the campaign for Measure B, under attack by a well-organized group of hoteliers and local business owners.

Perpetrator of 2019 Bodega Bay rampage sentenced

Betai Koffi, who committed multiple crimes in Bodega Bay while under the influence of LSD on July 4, 2019, was sentenced to serve three years on felony probation and spend 12 months in county jail.

County will begin vaccinating people age 65 and up

From Sonoma West Times & News

As local COVID-19 case rates continue to decline, Sonoma County is opening up its vaccine eligibility a bit wider, making vaccines eligible to people age 65 and up and, starting Monday, making them available to food workers.

Newsom, lawmakers agree to $600 stimulus checks plus boost for undocumented workers

As Congress hammers out President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, California has worked out its own plan to get more cash into the hands of struggling Californians, particularly undocumented families left out of federal assistance.

Sebastopol must build 213 homes in the next decade

From Sonoma West Times & News

Planning Director Kari Svanstrom said the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) assigns each regional government a goal for how many housing units they must plan to make available for all income levels every eight years, known as a Regional Housing Needs Determination. Sebastopol’s quota: 213.

Sebastopol City Council Meeting Synopsis and Commentary

Sebastopol’s regional housing allocation, campaign finance reform, mid-year budget approval–and some hecka funny links.

West county schools working on COVID safety plans

From Sonoma West Times & News

Some west county school districts are positioning themselves to invite elementary and some middle schoolers back for in-person learning now that Sonoma County’s adjusted daily case rate has eased to below 25 per 100,000 residents for five days straight.

Sonoma County Conservation Action pushes moratorium on oak tree clearing

From Sonoma West Times & News

A group of conservationists from Sonoma County Conservation Action is urging the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to consider implementing a moratorium on county permitted tree cutting in an effort to save and preserve Sonoma County’s iconic oak woodlands.

Kevin Kilgore is Sebastopol’s new police chief

The city of Sebastopol has selected Kevin Kilgore, most recently a lieutenant with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Police Department, as Sebastopol’s next chief of police. 

County’s updated cannabis ordinance sure to draw a crowd

From Sonoma West Times & News

Long-awaited updates to Sonoma County’s cannabis cultivation rules are headed to public hearings in the coming weeks and are already being received with applause by potential growers and trepidation by some rural property owners.

WSCUHSD to change method of electing school board members

From Sonoma West Times & News

The West Sonoma County Union High School District trustees wasted no time at the Feb. 10 board meeting approving a resolution to shift to a by-trustee area election system and seek a waiver of a community vote to have the new system in play by the 2022 board election.

California shifts vaccine priorities again: People with health conditions are eligible next month

Californians with high-risk medical conditions will qualify for COVID-19 vaccines starting March 15.

County hosting virtual workshop Feb. 18 on winery event rules

From Sonoma West Times & News

Permit Sonoma is presenting an opportunity for the public to provide input at a virtual public workshop on Feb. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. regarding the development of the draft County Winery Events Policy. This effort is a countywide initiative related to agricultural zoning districts outside of the Coastal Zone.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sebastopol City Council meeting this week has a short but mighty agenda this week, as the council reviews the city’s mid-year budget, receives information about its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers and hold a public hearing and first reading for its campaign finance disclosure ordinance. The virtual meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

A Last Minute Valentine’s Day

A sweet collection of last-minute Valentine’s Day treats and activities for those, like me, that didn’t plan ahead.

High school district to lower graduation requirements for some students

From Sonoma West Times & News

Help is on the way for some seniors of the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) whose diplomas are on the line after nearly a full year capsized by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Take down your bird feeders. Cover your bird baths. Now.

On Feb. 8, California Fish & Game took the unusual step of asking residents of Sonoma County and several other counties to take down their bird feeders and bring in their bird baths because of an outbreak of salmonellosis among an innocuous little brown bird called the pine siskin. Here’s the whole story behind that decision.

Deadline to register to vote for March election is Feb. 16

From Sonoma West Times & News

Those who live in the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District or the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) have until Feb. 16 at midnight to register to vote in the March 2 special election to sink or support two measures on the ballot.

Sonoma County continues to push vaccine rollout

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sonoma County is administering COVID-19 vaccines at a faster rate than other counties of its size.

Sebastopol planning commission makeup under review

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sebastopol Planning Commission is facing a different question of design — itself.

County COVID numbers allow for the potential opening of TK-6 schools

From Sonoma West Times & News

A change in state guidance coupled with decreased virus case rates means that Sonoma County schools serving kids in grades TK-6 grade could potentially reopen, following district-specific approval from local and state health officials.

Sheriff’s Office info to ICE led to 31 arrests in 2019, 12 in 2020

From Sonoma West Times & News

In 2019 the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office responded to 72 of the 596 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests for impending inmate release information and in 2020 the Sheriff’s Office responded to 57 of the 466 information requests, ultimately resulting in 31 arrests by ICE in 2019, and 12 in 2020 according to data from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Detention Records Bureau.

Raising awareness and collecting donations to address “period poverty”

This Sunday, on Valentine’s Day, the Analy Mental Health Club will be collecting feminine hygiene products and new and lightly used bras at Rust Boutique in the Barlow between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The event is meant to raise awareness about the problem of “period poverty.”

Rental and utility assistance available to west county residents

From Sonoma West Times & News

A new portal of COVID-19 relief has opened for the west county community. West county residents can now apply to receive rental and utility assistance through West County Community Services (WCCS) and River to Coast Children’s Services (RCCS).

City seeks location for Sebastopol’s first commissioned public art piece

From Sonoma West Times & News

The city of Sebastopol’s first commissioned public art piece rounds another corner toward its first destination, but where the destination is exactly remains unknown.

WSCUHSD board to consider transition to new election method, more flexible graduation requirements

From Sonoma West Times & News

The West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) board will meet Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. over Zoom to go over the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 (CVRA) and possible action on the district’s next steps, potential approval of more flexible credit options for the graduating class of 2021 and more.

Public Notice: South Main Street Water Main Repair

At this time, all addresses from Walker Avenue to Maple Avenue with water services located on South Main will be shut down for this significant repair.

Measure B forum weighs tourism jobs versus services and schools

From Sonoma West Times & News

This is a report on the League of Women Voters Forum on Measure B, which asks voters to approve a 4% increase to west county’s transient occupancy tax for hotels and short-term rentals to help support west county schools and fire districts. Combined with Sonoma County’s 12% TOT tax, the TOT tax in West County would then total 16%.

Forum outlines the pros and cons of Measure A

From Sonoma West Times & News

The forum discussed Measure A, which asks voters to approve a $48 parcel tax for West Sonoma County Union High School District.

Ask Slow Cat

Have questions about Sebastopol? The city encourages residents to ask the big orange cat.

COVID advisory panel rejects higher vaccine priority for disabled Californians and those with chronic conditions

An influential group of California health experts is holding fast for now to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to make age the primary criteria for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The decision announced today dismayed advocates who hoped the group would recommend moving disabled people and those with chronic medical conditions to the front of the line alongside those age 65 and older.

County working to build equity-based COVID-19 vaccine rollout strategy

From Sonoma West Times & News

The county is engaging leaders of some of the hardest hit communities — low-income communities of color — to strategize around logistical obstacles like limited access to technology, transportation and time. It is also turning to healthcare providers to reach out to these communities as well.

Research project to investigate potential pesticide contamination in Graton

From Sonoma West Times & News

A research project aiming to investigate potential water and air contamination by agricultural pesticides is coming to Graton.

County to start vaccinating residents 70 and older starting on Monday

From Sonoma West Times & News

Starting Monday, Feb. 8, west county residents aged 70 and older will be able to get COVID-19 vaccines at county-designated clinics and at 11 Safeway pharmacies in Sonoma County, as well as at West County Health Center vaccination clinics in Sebastopol (at Analy High School) and Guerneville.

Sebastopol City Council Meeting Synopsis and Commentary

For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action.

Take a plant, leave a plant on Elphick

When Heather Kiyomi suggested building a “Take a plant, leave a plant” plant stand in Sebastopol, offers of help poured in.

COVID-19 cases declining in Sonoma County while vaccine supply remains low

From Sonoma West Times & News

Dr. Sundari Mase and Lynda Hopkins led a discussion of the newest COVID numbers and the state of the vaccination rollout in Sonoma County.

Vaccination eligibility categories expanding in west county

West County clinics’ vaccination eligibility expands to include farmworkers and food/wine production workers on Feb. 5; people over 70 and childcare workers on Feb. 8; and essential education workers on Feb. 15.

KRCB public radio, 91.1 FM, will finally get a stronger signal

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sonoma County’s and the North Bay’s public radio voice is about to get stronger when Northern California Public Media’s (NorCal) deal to acquire the FM radio frequency 104.9 for its KRCB-FM signal gains a final and expected approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

Council endorses Measure B, reports on Elderberry Commons and more

From Sonoma West Times & News

At their February 2 city council meeting, the Sebastopol City Council endorsed Measure B, the TOT tax for west county; gave a brief report on city’s new homeless shelter, and moved forward on several other fronts.

What Sebastopol thinks: CoMission discusses residential survey results

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sebastopol City Council received the findings of a residential survey conducted by consulting firm CoMission at its Jan. 19 meeting that posed questions for the council from start to finish.

Californians ask: Where are our coronavirus vaccines?

From Sonoma West Times & News

With Californians growing desperate to protect themselves from COVID-19 and put the pandemic behind them, many want to know: where are their vaccines?

School staff vaccination plans postponed

From Sonoma West Times & News

Plan to begin vaccinating certain school staff postponed following a shift in county vaccine priority.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol City Council to consider revised art proposal, selection committee and board of directors appointments.

How to look at a bird: A primer for would-be birders

Guerneville-based birding experts Miles and Teresa Tuffli gave a lecture called “Breaking into Birdwatching” as a part of the Laguna Foundation series, “Birding to Beat the Winter Blues.” Their lecture drew a large and appreciative audience from around the globe, and the Tufflis wowed them.

Forum about west county ballot measures being held Feb. 3

From Sonoma West Times & News

The League of Women Voters of Sonoma County is holding a virtual forum on Feb. 3 about the two March ballot measures impacting west county: Measure A, a parcel tax for the West Sonoma County Unified High School District, and Measure B, the transient occupancy tax aimed at supporting local fire agencies and west county schools.

Local health officials try to clear up confusion over vaccine distribution process

From Sonoma West Times & News

Nearly 85% of those who made appointments at the recently-opened Rohnert Park OptumServe COVID-19 clinic for folks over 75-years-old were under the age of 75, leading to the cancellation of many appointments and causing confusion in a time where folks are anxious to get vaccinated.

UPDATE: West County Health Centers to open two COVID-19 vaccination clinics

From Sonoma West Times & News

West County Health Centers (WCHC) will be starting up two COVID-19 vaccination clinics with online links to schedule an appointment as soon as Feb. 1.

New “real world” classes approved for Laguna High

By the end of West Sonoma County Union High School District’s (WSCUHSD) Jan. 20 board meeting, Laguna High School came away with four newly approved courses of study. The district’s trustees unanimously approved courses of study in statistics for life, sustainable living, construction and web development to be offered at the continuation high school as […]

County’s economic recovery tied directly to ending the pandemic

From Sonoma West Times & News

The pre-COVID-19 economy was very strong and can make a quick recovery in late 2021, economics professor predicts.

Educators, food workers join California’s priority list for vaccines

From Sonoma West Times & News

Educators, childcare workers, food and farm workers and first responders will join Californians age 65 and over who have priority to qualify for the coronavirus vaccine.

State budget proposal could ease high school district deficit

From Sonoma West Times & News

At a school board meeting on Jan. 20, the superintendent and chief business officer reported on the district’s shifting financial outlook, including the possibility that Governor Newsom’s new budget would help the district’s budget squeeze.

Applewood Inn’s new owners look to reopen in summer

From Sonoma West Times & News

Glick and Santiago Ripley are the newest owners of the Applewood Inn and Spa in Guerneville and therefore stewards of the nearly 100-year-old Belden House, a historic local landmark built in 1922.

County vaccination plans for school staff coming together

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sonoma County Office of Education and the Sonoma County Department of Health Services announced a COVID-19 immunization plan for school staff throughout the county.

Birding to Beat the Winter Blues

What has gotten you through the pandemic? For many people, the answer is birds. This winter, the Laguna Foundation is inviting people to experience the benefits of birding through a series of online events called “Birding to Beat the Winter Blues.”

High Wind Warning for Sebastopol and west county

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Sebastopol and west county to the coast from Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon. Expect sustained southerly winds from 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50-60 mph, locally to 70 mph.

Is WSCUHSD in violation of the California Voting Rights Act?

From Sonoma West Times & News

The high school district caught another rock in the rudder when some of El Molino High School’s most consistent and vocal advocates sent a letter to Superintendent Toni Beal saying they believed the district’s at-large trustee election method falls short of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.

Restaurants are reopening. Here’s a list.

Now that California has rescinded its regional stay-at-home order, Sebastopol restaurants are scrambling to respond. Some opened immediately, others needed a little more time to reassemble their staffs and get ready to serve outdoors.

Flash flood watch issued due to incoming atmospheric river

From Sonoma West Times & News

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flash flood watch for the Bay Area due to predicted heavy rainfall over the coming days. The watch is in effect from Tuesday, Jan. 26, to Thursday, Jan. 28.

Sebastopol Rotary Club community grant applications due soon

From Sonoma West Times & News

West county organizations that would like to receive a Rotary Community Grant must submit applications by Monday, Feb. 8, according to the club’s website.

Townsy Café opens up as WaccoBB closes down

To fill the void left by the imminent closing of WaccoBB, the venerable online bulletin board for west county, Townsy Sebastopol has opened a new bulletin board called Townsy Cafe.

Sebastopol City Council Meeting January 19, 2021 – Synopsis and Commentary

For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. Here’s his review of its most recent meeting.

Feeling the Bernie Meme in Sebastopol

Bernie Sanders visited Sebastopol yesterday — or at least his meme did.  Several local businesses and individuals seemed to be feeling the Bern as Bernie meme mania swept the country.

Sebastopol’s Enmanji Buddhist Temple seeks funds to strip lead paint for renovations

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Enmanji Buddhist Temple of Sebastopol is raising funds to help renovate the historic temple.

County receives HUD waiver to skip 2021 homeless count

From Sonoma West Times & News

Due to COVID-19, Sonoma County, like other Bay Area counties, received a waiver from the Department of Housing and Urban Development so that it will not have to conduct the yearly point-in-time count of homeless residents.

WSCUHSD board to consider new courses, COVID-19 Prevention Program at Jan. 20 meeting

From Sonoma West Times & News

The West Sonoma County Union High School District board and community will get back into the full swing of things at the Jan. 20 meeting at 6 p.m., dealing with topics ranging from proposed courses to the district’s COVID-19 Prevention Program to a potential lawsuit, based on the California Voting Rights Act.

Sebastopol City Council Preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sebastopol City Council convenes for a regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 19 over Zoom for a largely report-laden assembly.

Lynda Hopkins, the new chair of the board of supervisors, lays out the county’s priorities for 2021

From Sonoma West Times & News

Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins was sworn into her second term of office on Jan. 5 and took over as the new chair of the board of supervisors. Ending the pandemic is first on her list of policy priorities for the upcoming year.

Public hearing extended for proposed downtown Sebastopol car wash

From Sonoma West Times & News

Although the city council is leaning in favor of the car wash, there are some loud public voices in opposition. Discussion of the issue has been extended to the city council meeting on Feb. 16.

Jam’s Joy Bungalow offers free food twice a month

From her perch in her tiny kitchen on the plaza, Jamilah Nixon of Jam’s Joy Bungalow has a good view of the daily struggles of Sebastopol’s homeless population, many of whom spend the day in the plaza. But she knows that these days it’s not only the homeless who are struggling financially and may be in need of a good hot meal.

Rob Daly takes the helm at Acre Coffee

Acre Coffee announced this morning that it has changed ownership. Founder Steve Decosse has sold the ownership of the coffee portion of the business to longtime local coffee guy, Rob Daly, former CEO of Taylor Maid.

Winegrowers look back, and ahead, at changing market

From Sonoma West Times & News

A Sonoma County Winegrowers seminar looks back at a disastrous year and forward to an uncertain future.

Drought persists as warmer, high pressure dry spell moves in

From Sonoma West Times & News

Despite the recent rain systems that have passed through, Sonoma County is still experiencing a severe drought, and with a high-pressure stream and higher temps expected for early next week, there isn’t much rain in sight for the coming weeks.

As county ramps up vaccination effort, health officials ask for patience

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sonoma County health officials held a community COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 13 to address the state’s sudden vaccine eligibility policy change, which now prioritizes individuals 65 and older to receive the vaccine as demand ebbs among health care workers.

UPDATE: Assistant Fire Chief Mike Reeser has died

From Sonoma West Times & News

An interview with Chief Braga about his longtime friend and colleague, Mike Reeser

Congressman Jared Huffman talks impeachment at town hall meeting

From Sonoma West Times & News

Congressman Jared Huffman discusses the attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.

Sebastopol police chief pick withdraws, city to interview former candidate

From Sonoma West Times & News

The city of Sebastopol’s prized pick for a new police chief of the Sebastopol Police Department retracted his candidacy two weeks before he was scheduled to assume the role on Dec. 14, but an original staff favorite is now returning for interviews.

County partnering with Safeway for vaccination clinics

Sonoma County will partner with Safeway to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to county health workers and, eventually, the broader public.

Attack in Camp Meeker leads to arrest Santa Rosa man on multiple felonies

From Sonoma West Times & News

Deputies arrested a Santa Rosa man suspected of breaking into a woman’s home and attacking her in Camp Meeker before he led officers on a roughly six-mile car chase until the suspect lost a tire and spun out Saturday night.

Huffman to hold town hall about Capitol riots

From Sonoma West Times & News

Congressman Jared Huffman, Sebastopol’s congressional representative, is holding a virtual town hall to discuss the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. The town hall will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Exploring the readiness gap between white and Latinx children in Sonoma County

From Sonoma West Times & News

Only 26% of Latinx children were classified as prepared for kindergarten while 51% of white children scored as “ready to go,” according a recently released study of Sonoma County students.

What the heck are the ADEM elections — and why should you care?

Today is the last day to register to get your ballot to vote in the ADEM elections — your chance to influence the direction of the California Democratic Party from the ground up.

Stay home order extended

From Sonoma West Times & News

The state health department extended the stay-at-home order for the Bay Area region, including Sonoma County, on Friday, Jan. 9, meaning all restrictions that have been in place since Dec. 17 will continue until four-week projections show 15% ICU capacity.

New travel advisory issued to curb COVID spread

From Sonoma West Times & News

Except in connection with essential travel, Californians should avoid non-essential travel to any part of California more than 120 miles from one’s place of residence, or to other states or countries.

Sebastopol’s usual Friday demonstrations take on a new urgency

From Sonoma West Times & News

The attack on the Capitol by supporters of President Trump this week added tension to Sebastopol’s usual downtown demonstrations on Friday.

How’s the COVID-19 vaccine rollout going in Sonoma County?

From Sonoma West Times & News

About two-thirds of the county’s vaccines have been administered in this first distribution phase, which prioritizes healthcare personnel, residents and staff in long-term care facilities.

High surf advisory today

The National Weather Service has declared a high surf advisory for the Sonoma Coast from 6 a.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Saturday. A small craft advisory has also been declared for the coast.

The most important housing legislation you’ve never heard of

From Sonoma West Times & News

Unless you are in government or the building industry, chances are you’ve never heard of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). It’s part of an old state law, passed back in the dark ages of 1969, that is meant to make sure every Californian has a place to live in the Golden State.

WaccoBB, west county’s longtime online bulletin board, calls it a day

Faithful readers of the WaccoBB’s daily newsletter got a shock on Monday when Barry Chertov, founder and administrator of the venerable online bulletin board, announced that “The time has come to close the WaccoBB.net website.”

All the new laws coming online in 2021

From Sonoma West Times & News

The list of new laws passed in 2020, to take effect in 2021, is 56 pages long and covers every category and provision imaginable. Here are a few highlights from those pages.

Sebastopol man dead after four-vehicle crash on Highway 12

From Sonoma West Times & News

George A. Palma, a 32-year-old Sebastopol man, died Mon., Jan. 4 in a four-vehicle crash on Highway 12

Soco’s current COVID stats, plus vaccine rollout timeline

From Sonoma West Times & News

Read the newest COVID stats for Sonoma County, plus a detailed description of the vaccine rollout protocols

Year in Review: The Palm Drive Health Care District saga comes to an end

From Sonoma West Times & News

A decades-long struggle to keep a hospital open to the public in Sebastopol came to an end in 2020.

Tragic weekend a reminder of the dangers of the Sonoma Coast

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sonoma County coastline proved its perilous nature again when Michael Wyman, 40, of Petaluma, died Jan. 3 after a large wave pulled him and his two young children out to sea near Goat Rock in Jenner. The children are still missing.

Sebastopol City Council preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

The meat of this council meeting is a public hearing to consider whether a conditional use permit should be granted to operate an automated car wash on the Benedetti property at 6809 Sebastopol Ave.

New regional park and open space preserve coming to Sonoma Coast

Full of local history and ecological significance, this striking property, formerly known as the Carrington Coast Ranch, offers sweeping views from Jenner to Salmon Creek, Bodega Dunes, and Bodega Head.

SMART to install UV light sterilization on trains

From Sonoma West Times & News

The new UV light sterilization will provide a second line of defense against any airborne pathogens on SMART trains.