Local News

News provided by Townsy Media and

SoCo News logo

Become a supporting member today

Sebastopol City Council approves new site for RV Park

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved a new location for a temporary RV village at 845 Gravenstein Highway North during its special meeting Nov. 30.

Sebastopol council naming mayor, discussing RV Park village and cyber fraud

From SoCoNews

Anyone thinking of logging on to Zoom for the Dec. 7 Sebastopol City Council meeting is in for a variety of items up for discussion and vote — the selection of the next mayor and vice mayor, inking an agreement for Sonoma Applied Village Services (SAVS) to run an RV park village and an update about the $1.2 million lifted from the city’s budget in a cyber fraud situation.

Sonoma County Fire District launches lawsuit against county over EMS operating areas

From SoCoNews

The Sonoma County Fire District and the California Fire Chiefs Association, Inc. filed a joint lawsuit against the County of Sonoma late last month after the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement on Nov. 16 that would allow Bell’s Ambulance to stay operational via the creation of an Exclusive Operating Area.

West County students walk out against vote to reinstate Analy name

From SoCoNews

Students rolled out of West Sonoma County High School Thursday morning for a walkout against the high school board’s 4-1 vote to reverse the decision to rebrand the consolidated high school and reinstate the Analy High School name.

Peacetown Family Village and snowflake hunt coming up in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

Sebastopolians are invited to make merry at the Peacetown Family Village and snowflake hunt on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 2-4 p.m. The free event will be held at Peacetown’s new brick and mortar location in the Barlow, across the street from Taylor Lane Coffee in the former Foundry building.

Sebastopol Tree Lighting is Dec. 2 – plus other holiday events

From SoCoNews

’Tis the season of community get-togethers, candles, tree-lighting ceremonies, live music, shopping locally for gifts and crossing your fingers for the raffle prizes — and these towns plan to deliver.

Boosters, small gatherings among SoCo’s holiday COVID recommendations, as U.S. cases rise

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase is advising Sonoma County residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 infection while traveling or attending gatherings during the holidays.

WSCUHSD board tiptoes forward on rebranding, surveys students

From SoCoNews

Time is running out for the trustees of the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) to decide the future name of its consolidated high school by January. The school board faces a bottleneck in the rebranding process for several reasons made clear at the Nov. 17 special meeting.

Applications open for Sebastopol committees and commissions

From SoCoNews

The City of Sebastopol is looking for residents to fill a number of vacancies on city committees, commissions and boards.

Sebastopol Rotary, Interact clubs collect 500 pounds of trash

From SoCoNews

The clean-up by the three clubs was part of the county’s Adopt-a-Road program, where individuals, businesses and organizations can “adopt” part of a county road.

Progressive Urgent Care partially reopens in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

Progressive Urgent Care Sebastopol broke its 20-month closure Friday, Nov. 12, opening its doors around the corner from Sonoma Specialty Hospital (SSH) on Palm Avenue.

A gallery with vision: Galeria Monarca in Sebastopol seeks inclusion

From SoCoNews

Using the Monarch butterfly as inspiration, Galeria Monarca is open and ready to welcome any type of artists.

Study set to explore K-12 district unification in west county

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County Office of Education has chosen a vendor to lead a district unification study that could give rise to a large, unified K-12 district in west county, replacing the patchwork of smaller, often single-school districts that currently exist.

Laguna High is serving up free food and community building to west county families

From SoCoNews

In the early days of the COVID pandemic, Laguna High launched a free, weekly grocery pickup program through the Redwood Empire Food Bank for Laguna families. Since then, the program has grown to serve between 60 to 80 families. It’s also credited with helping improve school graduation rates.

Two items on organic waste reduction at Sebastopol City Council

From SoCoNews

Of the eight items to come before the Sebastopol City Council at their regular Nov. 16 meeting, two regard compliance with state organic waste reduction laws (SB 1383). The other six include developing objective design guidelines, pension liability refinancing and a redesign of the city website.

As COVID case rates start to inch up, children across the county are starting to get vaccinated

From SoCoNews

Nearly 1,300 Sonoma County children aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the pediatric COVID vaccine and as case rates inch up across the county as more people gather indoors, county health officials are urging parents to get their children vaccinated.

Winged warning: Migrating birds hit hard by California’s drought

Migratory birds — protected by state and national laws and an international treaty — are suffering mightily during this drought, as the patchwork of wetlands they depend on has dried up around the state.

County issues COVID guidance for holiday travel, gatherings

From SoCoNews

The County of Sonoma released guidance Nov. 8 regarding COVID-19 and holiday gatherings and travel, stating that people planning to travel or gather for the holidays should prepare COVID-related documentation now as required by some destinations and airlines.

Sebastopol RV park village proposal meets more blowback

Residents of Sebastopol plunged into debate over the city’s actions to address homelessness on Morris Street at the Sebastopol City Council’s Nov. 2 meeting.

California redistricting 101: What you need to know

California’s independent redistricting commission is in its second week of looking at possible scenarios for redrawing lines based on how the state’s population has shifted.

Local dairies struggle to feed their cows as pasture feed dries up

From SoCoNews

Due to the exceptional drought in California and dry conditions across much of the west, the food that many farmers rely on for their cattle is dwindling and even alternative food supplies like almond hulls, oat and wheat hay are decreasing as demand outstrips supply.

WSCUHSD releases draft voting area maps before first hearing

From SoCoNews

The changeover from an at-large to a by-trustee voting area system in the West Sonoma County Union High School District is getting real, and quickly.

Morris Street RVs may move to proposed parking village down the street

From SoCoNews

The city of Sebastopol is considering relocating the campers along Morris Street to city-owned property behind Wischemann Hall.

Woman dies after being struck by a car on Highway 116 south of Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

A female pedestrian was hit and killed when crossing Highway 116 on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

WSCUHSD board discussing high school rebranding surveys

From SoCoNews

The West Sonoma County Union High School District board is discussing the early responses it received on its rebranding survey and possible next steps at its special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m.

Sebastopol City Council to discuss serving homeless locals, municipal finance services

From SoCoNews

The to-do list for Tuesday’s Sebastopol City Council’s special meeting is a short one, at least on paper. The virtual meeting starts at 5 p.m., Nov. 2 and aims to cover the past and present regarding the search for a municipal financial consultant, city efforts to serve the homeless community and more. The agenda and […]

Sonoma County Library offers reading inspiration with book bundle program

From SoCoNews

The Sonoma County Library has a fun, new reading initiative called the book bundle program where readers simply fill out an online form and answer a few questions in order to request a selection of books handpicked by a librarian to match their interests.

UPDATE: Threat against WSCUHSD deemed not credible, investigation closed

From SoCoNews

The local investigation into the threat that led to canceled classes at West County High School and Laguna High School is considered closed and not credible, according to a statement released by Sebastopol police Friday morning.

County vegetation management projects underway

From SoCoNews

Nineteen Sonoma County vegetation management projects are underway or completed as part of the county’s effort to minimize wildfire risk.

West County Museum pulls the tarp off Sebastopol’s automotive history

From SoCoNews

A look back at the golden age of the automobile, when there were 18 gas stations in Sebastopol.

Sebastopol Police Department lays it on the line in “Sebastopol, We Need to Talk”

Like most emergency services, the Sebastopol Police Department had a busy weekend because of the storm. Their phone (including 911) was ringing off the hook — and not always for matters that were police business.

Sebastopol police investigating Safeway parking lot shooting that left one injured

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol Police Department is searching for a suspect still at large who was involved in a shooting that injured one person this morning at the Safeway parking lot in Sebastopol.

Update: Two west county schools districts closed for the day

From SoCoNews

Schools in the Guerneville School District and Harmony Union School District are closed due to storm damage and power outages.

Storms close local parks

Sunday’s powerful atmospheric-river-fueled storm has led to several Sonoma County Regional Park closures due to flooding.

State issues temporary suspension on upper Russian River watershed curtailment

From SoCoNews

On Friday evening, Oct. 22, the California Division of Water Rights issued a temporary curtailment suspension for the upper Russian River watershed. The suspension notice came just a day after the division announced a temporary curtailment suspension for the lower Russian River watershed. The division of water rights cited the strong hydrological forecasts and data […]

Sebastopol fire and police departments respond to storm impacts on city

From SoCoNews

Sebastopol was not Sonoma County’s hardest hit by the major storm over the weekend, but Sebastopol Fire Chief Bill Braga said his department fielded over a dozen 911 calls for downed trees and powerlines and other weather-related emergencies.

Laguna High students flex new shoes from nonprofit

From SoCoNews

Some students returned to class with an extra spring in their step on Oct. 21 at Laguna High School after the Shoes 4 Kidz nonprofit visited to match teens with brand new kicks, just in time for the rainy weather.

UPDATE: Meeting postponed as Guernewood Park resort developers seek minor land use changes

From SoCoNews

The current owner of the property, Kirk Lok, of Lok Hospitality, has been trying to win final approvals to build a new resort since at least 1998.

Community Church of Sebastopol builds huts for unhoused safe parkers

From SoCoNews

When Sebastopol Community Church thought about finding space to house the homeless, they found a likely spot in the Church parking lot.

Few days left to get tickets to Aged to Perfection fundraiser and masquerade

Time is running out, but it’s not too late to snag a ticket to this year’s Aged to Perfection benefit bonanza this weekend.

Council Preview: Sebastopol council preparing for relaunch, discussing new police practices and efficiency

From SoCoNews

Scattered across the Sebastopol City Council’s Oct. 19 agenda are several items with the potential to define the city in its policing practices, economic relaunch, energy efficiency and water conservation and more.

County health officer says outdoor trick-or-treating is safe this year with precautions

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase announced that families can enjoy outdoor trick-or-treating on Halloween and outdoor Día De los Muertos celebrations this year provided they take a few simple steps to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Sebastopol police chief dyes hair pink for breast cancer fundraiser

From SoCoNews

Less than two weeks into fundraising, the Sebastopol Police Department met its goal of gathering $2,500 for the North Bay Cancer Alliance — as a result, Sebastopol Police Chief Kevin Kilgore dyed his hair pink.

Sebastopol looks to make Morris Street for everybody, for now

From SoCoNews

What an ideal Morris Street in Sebastopol would look like for bikers, drivers, current RV residents and nearby businesses is a key question that the Sebastopol City Council is exploring.

Toilets clogged with fruit and vandalized bathrooms prompt districts to address TikTok challenge

From SoCoNews

Several Sonoma County schools are reviewing school rules, expectations and social media decorum with students following a new social media trend on TikTok that encourages students to partake in various challenges that inspire vandalism and other inappropriate behavior.

Supes reject cannabis moratorium

From SoCoNews

Supes say no to cannabis moratorium, recommend ‘wide net’ exploring policy options.

WSCUHSD board to host regular meeting at former El Molino campus

From SoCoNews

The upcoming West Sonoma County Union High School District board meeting takes up multiple items that not only tell where the district has been but set some of the conditions of its near future.

‘Trash Trolls’ provide free garbage collection services to unhoused people in west county

From SoCoNews

An adventurous pair, calling themselves the “Trash Trolls,” is providing trash removal services for homeless people in west county.

Ethnic studies becomes graduation requirement for California students

After a years-long battle reignited in recent months by controversies over misunderstandings of critical race theory, California students will soon be required to take ethnic studies to graduate high school.

Red Flag warning and wind advisory declared

From SoCoNews

A gusty offshore wind event has prompted the U.S. National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills and valleys. The warning is in effect now through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12.

West county soroptimists search for past members to memorialize, seeking community help

From SoCoNews

Modern Sebastopol Soroptimists search for the identities of Soroptomists past to honor at gazebo in Ragle Park.

Retired prosecutor recalls years-long trial of Polly Klaas’ killer

From SoCoNews

Former Assistant D.A. Greg Jacobs share his story a final time on the anniversary of Polly Klaas’s kidnapping.

Sebastopol City Council to push for vitality, unhoused community services goals and more

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council will be in for multiple discussions relating to the city’s ongoing and future recovery and well-being in terms of its economy and vitality, its unhoused community, movement through its streets and more at the regular city council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 over Zoom.

Board of supervisors approve countywide ban on polystyrene foam products

From SoCoNews

On Sept. 28 the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance prohibiting the sale and use of disposable polystyrene foam food containers and other products containing polystyrene foam.

Lawsuit urges tighter regulation of well drilling

A Sacramento-based environmental group is suing to stop well drilling in the Russian River watershed until Sonoma County determines if the wells will steal underground water flows from the Russian River or its tributaries.

21 years later: Taking the lid off the Sebastopol time capsule

From SoCoNews

Maybe there’s no time like the present, but there’s also nothing like exploring a haul delivered through history in a metal drum, Y2K and all. Around 20 people flocked to the front of the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center late Saturday morning, Oct. 2, to see mementos stowed away in an underground time capsule since 2000.

Sage Casey Foundation is helping middle schoolers learn about suicide prevention, mental health resources

From SoCoNews

Hillcrest middle schoolers gathered for the school’s first suicide prevention talk, a presentation and interactive exercise organized by Rebekah Schmitt of the Sage Casey Foundation, which was established after Schmitt lost her child Sage, a Hillcrest student, to suicide in 2017.

High school rebranding put off until Fall 2022

From SoCoNews

If rebranding does come to pass for the consolidated high school, it won’t be until next fall, according to Superintendent Toni Beal at the Sept. 14 school board meeting.

Where can you go pumpkin picking west Sonoma County this year?

From SoCoNews

Sept. 22 marked the first day of fall and several local pumpkin patches in Sonoma County have opened or are preparing to open for the fall pumpkin season.

NEW PHOTOS – Fire destroys outbuilding and damages vacant home south of downtown

Fire fighters from Sebastopol Fire Department, Graton, Gold Ridge and the city of Santa Rosa converged on a two-alarm fire at the corner of Walker and Petaluma Avenues on Sunday afternoon, which burned down an outbuilding and damaged the back of a vacant home on the same lot.

Lawsuit challenging high school consolidation rejected on technical grounds

From SoCoNews

WSCUHSD won the day in court when a Sonoma County Superior Court judge rejected the district’s opponents’ lawsuit because they’d missed the 35-day window to object to the district’s determination that its plan was exempt from CEQA.

Patrick Nagle appointed WSCUHSD trustee to fill vacancy

From SoCoNews

The board of the West Sonoma County Union High School District became a band of five again after swearing in Patrick Nagle as an appointed trustee at a special board meeting on Sept. 22.

Multi-tenant commercial cannabis provisions curbed by moratorium

From SoCoNews

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to enact a temporary moratorium on a ministerial permitting process designed to reduce the barrier to entry for small cannabis growers.

Sebastopol police, county and community groups clear camps near Laguna preserve

From SoCoNews

Multiple agencies cooperated in this week’s “sweep” of homeless people from the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Homeless advocates said everyone who was asked to leave was offered a place to stay.

As California’s drought deepens, state water use drops only 1.8%

From SoCoNews

Californians reduced their water use at home by a meager 1.8% statewide in July compared to last year, even after Gov. Gavin Newsom urged residents to conserve 15% and drought continues to spread across the state.

WSCUHSD board to appoint new trustee at Sept. 22 meeting

A new face may be joining the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) school board by the end of its Sept. 22 special meeting, where the board will interview and appoint a new trustee to take former trustee Laurie Fadave’s place. The main session of the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the […]

Occidental Fire adds bulldozer to its fleet

Fire Chief Ron Lunardi said that Occidental Fire is the first district with its own bulldozer in Sonoma County, to his knowledge.

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.