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Long-awaited West County School District Reorganization Study arrives

Is it economically feasible to consolidate the 11 school districts of West Sonoma County into one or two districts?

People’s Music closing after almost 50 years in business

On June 27, Alex Bryant, the owner of People’s Music on Main Street in Sebastopol, put a notice in black on the store’s Facebook page that the store would be closing on September 1 of this year. The response from loyal fans of the store was quick — dismay and resignation going hand-in-hand as yet another longtime Sebastopol institution closed its doors.

Run for Sebastopol City Council

The next General Municipal Election will be held on November 8, 2022. City of Sebastopol voters will be asked to elect three candidates to serve a four-year term on the City Council. Terms for Councilmembers Una Glass, Sarah Glade Gurney and Patrick Slayter expire at the end of this year. The Nomination period is July […]

Sebastopol City Council gets first look at draft city budget

The draft city budget shows a small deficit, but that’s likely to grow with almost a million dollars in projects on city wish list.

What’s happening with Townsy News?

Hi Townsy Readers – You’re probably wondering why you haven’t seen any recent news articles over the last month. That’s because the newspaper we depended on for our news (soconews.org, formerly Sonoma West) has ceased publication. We are currently looking for a new source of news. Hang in there. More details soon. The Townsy Team

Sebastopol council considering amendments to parking ordinance, fine structure

From SoCoNews

Tweaking the RV parking ordinance, increasing parking fines and more on city council docket for April 19 meeting.

Sebastopol council reviewing ordinance that would ban new gas stations

From SoCoNews

At the Sebastopol City Council meeting Tuesday night, April 5, the council is expected to hold two public hearings — one on an ordinance that would prohibit new gas stations in Sebastopol and another that would modify the eligibility requirements for planning commissioners.

Time Bank volunteers clean up the gardens around the library and city hall

On Saturday, April 2, a dozen volunteers from the Sebastopol Time Bank arrived with rakes, hoes, shovels, and clippers to clean up the gardens around the Sebastopol library and Sebastopol City Hall. But they couldn’t just wade in willy nilly because beneath and among the weeds were some very carefully chosen plants.

Sebastopol Rotary looking for swim class volunteers

From SoCoNews

Teaching kids to swim saves lives. Become a volunteer swim instructor through a Rotary program at Ives Pool. No experience necessary.

Graton’s Lee Walker Jr. remembered at large memorial service

From SoCoNews

An apple farmer with with a knack for baseball, Walker farmed his 50-acre ranch with his family for 70 years.

Rotary Club of Sebastopol donates nearly $30,000 to help support Ukraine

From SoCoNews

Since early march, the club has raised $30,000 and the amount just keeps on growing..

Vandalism, inappropriate use and trespassing at Brook Haven a concern for administrators, district

From SoCoNews

“Being an open campus in the middle of a neighborhood adjacent to Libby Park is (we’re) a neighborhood school, but it also comes with potential costs. Because we’re an open campus it is accessible to anybody at any time of day,” said Brook Haven Principal Sara Gramm.

New public art on display at Sebastopol’s library

From SoCoNews

There’s a new art installation at the front of the Sebastopol Regional Library, a 3D piece called “Gray Matter” by Sonoma County artist Michael McGinnis.

New recycling and redemption center open in Sebastopol

The new Beverage Container Recycling Pilot Program has come to Sebastopol. A new recycling kiosk housed in a shipping container is now open at the north end of town in the Community Church of Sebastopol parking lot at 1000 Gravenstein Highway N.

Viva Mexicana marries art with Persian and Mexican food

From SoCoNews

Viva Mexicana melds Mexican and Persian cuisine with striking art exhibits.

Pica Limón, the spicy business out of Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

What began as a pandemic side hustle quickly evolved into a more abundant business for the owners of Pica Limón.

Atkinson retiring as SoCoNews publisher and CEO

From SoCoNews

Rollie Atkinson, a 40-year veteran of local news, is retiring from his position as CEO and publisher of SoCoNews, the online descendent of Sonoma West Times & News and the Sebastopol Times, and the Healdsburg Tribune.

Sebastopol City Council meeting discusses emergency operations plan, Committee for Unhoused, Morris Street bike lanes and more

From SoCoNews

Agenda items include a public hearing item related to the city’s emergency operations center, a public hearing item adding language to the city’s municipal code about “police acquisition and use of government body specific equipment,” as well as regular agenda items about bike lane modifications to Morris Street, discussion and consideration of recommendations from Sebastopol’s Committee for Unhoused and more.

California mask mandate for schools to end, starting March 12

From SoCoNews

All students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, will no longer be required to wear a mask indoors at schools and child care facilities starting March 12.

Sonoma Water hosting drought town hall Thursday

From SoCoNews

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) is hosting a virtual drought town hall on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m.

Ives Pool closed starting Wednesday

From SoCoNews

The City of Sebastopol announced that Ives Pool will be closed beginning March 9, due to mechanical issues with the pool’s heater.

Sebastopol World Friends responds to the Ukraine crisis

There has been a tremendous outpouring of concern from the community regarding the crisis in Ukraine. Overwhelmingly, people want to know what they can do to help.

Teen poets power Laguna High School literary magazine

From SoCoNews

Keep your hand moving and cross nothing out, forget about spelling, punctuation and grammar for now, remember to lose control and do not even try to make sense. According to 16-year-old Julia Wright, these are the fundamentals of creative writing at the heart of Laguna High School’s literary magazine. Each semester, the magazine arranges poems, […]

Building a farm with intention

From SoCoNews

the owners of Radical Family Farms grow Asian fruits and vegetables as a way of connecting with their heritage.

Sebastopol council discussing 10-unit townhome project, housing strategy

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council is slated to hold two public hearings and a workshop at its meeting on March 1. The council will hold a public hearing for an ordinance about mandatory organic waste disposal and a hearing to consider a zoning amendment, conditional use permit and tentative map for the Huntley Square Townhomes. Additionally, the council will be holding a workshop on the city’s draft housing strategy.

Ceres Community Project rises to the new challenge of the omicron surge

From SoCoNews

Ceres reaches out to new volunteers to meet the challenge of the omicron surge.

Want to know what’s going on in Sebastopol? Come to a city meeting!

The best way to find out what’s going on in the city of Sebastopol is to attend the city council meetings. Want to find out what’s happening with an issue before it comes to the city council? Attend one of the many public commision or committee meetings.

Sebastopol Climate Action Committee hosts organic compost giveaway

The Sebastopol Climate Action Committee is hosting an organic compost giveaway on Saturday, March 12 from 10am to 1pm. Home and school gardeners are in invited to come to the pick-up site with COVID safe masks, shovels, gloves, a tarp and a car with containers or a pick-up truck and load their free compost

City Council passes Recreational Vehicle Parking Ordinance

To deal with the proliferation of recreational vehicles on city streets, the Sebastopol City Council passed an ordinance which prohibits parking recreational vehicles on any public street in the city that is zoned residential at any time.

Sebastopol Walks return February 26, lead by City Councilmember Sarah Gurney

Postponed during the pandemic, the 14-year strong Sebastopol WALKS program will return on February 26 with an easy 3 to 4-mile moderately paced “Peace Poles Potpourri” walk lead by Council Member Sarah Glade Gurney.

Harm Reduction and Needle Exchange Program offers safer supplies in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

People who use drugs and their loved ones can access supplies that reduce the risk of overdose and spread of infection in intravenous drug use through the Harm Reduction and Needle Exchange Program in Sebastopol.

Move-in begins at RV park village in Sebastopol

From SoCoNews

Tuesday, Feb. 15, was move-in day at the Gravenstein Highway North property that’s a part of the city’s year-long pilot program run by Sonoma Applied Village Services. The ultimate goal: to help those living in trailers transition into more stable housing.

Perspectives on Ukraine-Russia tensions from Sebastopol’s Ukraine sister city

From SoCoNews

Lately, even here in calm and relatively isolated Sebastopol, our lives have seemed somewhat fraught. The pandemic, national issues of great controversy, how to help the homeless and many other issues command our attention and our public discourse; but war on our border, next door, is not really something that occupies our attention. Unfortunately, for our friends in Ukraine, especially in our Sister City of Chyhyryn, war on their border is all too real.

West County club collects donations to address ‘period poverty’

From SoCoNews

Last weekend, the West County High School Mental Health Club gathered outside Rust Boutique in Sebastopol to raise funds and collect personal hygiene products and new and lightly used bras in an effort to combat “period poverty.”

WSCUHSD board gets new interim superintendent and official school colors

From SoCoNews

As the semester turns toward spring, the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) will continue with its tried and true school colors and a new interim superintendent to guide the district to the year’s end.

Sebastopol’s projected general fund deficit shrinks by over $700,000

From SoCoNews

Earlier this month, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved the city’s mid-year budget adjustments for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which demonstrated a far lower shortfall in the city’s general fund than what was expected when the budget was first adopted in July 2021.

WSCUHSD board to discuss school colors, interim superintendent

From SoCoNews

Another night of influential decision-making approaches at the West Sonoma County Union High School District’s public board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. The Zoom link and agenda are available at this link.

Sebastopol climate committee seeking public art submissions

From SoCoNews

Sebastopol’s Climate Action Committee is looking for public art submissions for a new community art project focused on climate change.

Ives Park Calder Creek Naturalization Project to keep ballfield

From SoCoNews

Calder Creek is getting some wiggle room in the Sebastopol City Council’s concept of choice for the Ives Park Calder Creek Naturalization Project. The plan chosen by the city council spares Polley Field, which would have been one of the casualties of the project if the council had chosen a different plan.

Newsom was the face of legal cannabis in California. Can he fix its problems?

When California voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in November 2016, it was also a victory for Gavin Newsom, who spent months traveling the state as the face of the campaign. At an election night party at a San Francisco nightclub, the then-lieutenant governor celebrated this “point of pride,”telling attendees that California had sent a […]

Wind advisory issued through Thursday

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County is included in a high wind alert issued by the National Weather Service — select areas throughout the county are under a high wind warning, while others are under a wind advisory, all lasting through Thursday.

Sebastopol City Council to address Calder Creek naturalization concept and mid-year budget

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council is set to juggle mid-year budget amendments, committee recommendations, board and committee recruitment, voting directions, and the coexistence of Calder Creek and Ives Park at its Feb. 1 meeting.

Arrest made after Sebastopol man drives hijacked truck into local business

From SoCoNews

A suspect believed to have seized a pickup truck from a Sebastopol business on Jan. 22 and then returned that evening to crash through the front of the building and steal money has since been arrested and released from jail.

Local hospitals facing strain from omicron surge

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County hospitals are facing strain from the omicron surge, creating staffing shortages and an inability to transfer COVID-positive patients to other facilities.

Beal says dismissal won’t solve district issues

From SoCoNews

When WSCUHSD board decided to buy out the Superintendent Toni Beal’s contract and place her on paid administrative leave, she reached out to a familiar figure, attorney Paul Boylan.

Sebastopol holding workshop to set climate priorities

From SoCoNews

The City of Sebastopol is inviting community members to virtual meeting on Feb. 2 to help the city set its climate priorities, ultimately helping create a Climate Action Framework.

WSCUHSD board cuts ties with superintendent

From SoCoNews

The West Sonoma County Union High School District voted in closed session Wednesday night to remove district Superintendent Toni Beal from her position, effective immediately.

Sebastopol Police Logs, Jan. 10-16

From SoCoNews

The following are crimes excerpted from Sebastopol Police Department daily crime log entries and listed at the time the alleged violation was reported.

WSCUHSD to consider new CTE courses, discuss proposed state budget

From SoCoNews

he West Sonoma County Union High School District’s (WSCUHSD) Jan. 19 board meeting is shaping up to show the range of what goes into an educational experience, from finances and budget planning to new courses, mental health services and discussions on skylights and roofing.

Tax suspension could alleviate burden on cannabis growers while supes consider tax reform

From SoCoNews

At their Jan. 4 meeting, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors deliberated on how to help alleviate the burden caused by industry-reported market conditions and increased state taxes by delaying or suspending county cannabis taxes.

Packed agenda for this week’s city council meeting

From SoCoNews

The Sebastopol City Council is slated to address parking policies for recreational vehicles, zoning for a townhome project, the needs and impacts of the city’s homeless community and health care for all at its virtual city council meetings on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Students walk out of West County High School against name change

From SoCoNews

West County High School students walked off campus Friday morning to protest the school board’s vote to reinstate the Analy High School name.

Black Lives Matter banner outside of Sebastopol library burned

From SoCoNews

A Black Lives Matter banner exhibited as part of a civic engagement display outside the Sebastopol Regional Library was found cut down and burned earlier this month.

Insurance starting to recover $1.2 million stolen from Sebastopol in cyber fraud

From SoCoNews

Locals finally got some answers about how $1.2 million was taken from Sebastopol’s reserves account held by the County of Sonoma in late April.

Harvest Cafe switches to take-out only amid omicron surge

The Sebastopol Area Senior Center has announced its Harvest Cafe will serve only take-out until further notice, as advised by Sonoma County Public Health with COVID-19 rushing through the county again. Led by Chef Gerald Lowe, the Harvest Cafe came together in the summer of 2021 after the senior center halted its in-house lunch program […]

COVID complicates winter homelessness services, providers push forward

From SoCoNews

Respite for unsheltered people from freezing temperatures and the rain in Sonoma County looks different in the pandemic than perhaps before, according to community development commission officials.

Here’s what’s ahead for California businesses in 2022

Clogged supply chains. Hiring struggles. New mask rules. A virus that trampled right over return-to-work schedules. Last year was chaotic for many businesses across California. What does 2022 hold?

County requires masks indoors in public places

From SoCoNews

Sonoma County is joining four other Bay Area counties in rescinding exemptions to local public health orders that allowed stable groups of fully vaccinated people to remove their masks indoors in some workplaces, gyms, churches and other public settings.

Proof of booster or twice weekly COVID tests for school employees and emergency workers

From SoCoNews

All schools in Sonoma County will soon be required to have school employees provide evidence, when eligible, that they have received a booster shot for COVID-19, or to test at least twice weekly.

Sebastopol’s Independence 4H holding tree-cycling fundraiser

From SoCoNews

Reindeers might help Santa put presents under the Christmas tree, but it’s the goats of Independence 4H that help recycle the trees once the holidays are over.

Year in Review: Health

From SoCoNews

In 2021, west county locals spent another year trying to keep calm and carry on through the pandemic, facing a mutating coronavirus and the ongoing need for regional health care options. This past year was one of strategy and adaptation, compared to the chaos of 2020.

Year in Review: Crime

From SoCoNews

Western Sonoma County has experienced a range of crime in one year’s time, from drunk driving and robbery to the arrest of former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob on suspicion of five felony charges, school threats and a costly fraudulent wire transfer.

Year in Review: Events

From SoCoNews

The calendar wasn’t exactly bursting with big events and gatherings in 2021, but west county managed more than a few special occasions and bad breaks alike during the second year of the pandemic.

Year in Review: Schools

From SoCoNews

2021 was another momentous year for west county schools under the pandemic. The year grew especially top-heavy for the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) striving for stability as consolidation rocked the community.

WSCUHSD board chooses trustee voting area map for future board elections

From SoCoNews

West Sonoma County Union High School District trustees have approved a map for the district’s transition to a by-trustee area election system.

Organizations collaborate to give holiday groceries Dec. 23

From SoCoNews

Helping needy families during the holidays.

‘More powerful together’: West County students come together for merged La Raza Unida Club

From SoCoNews

El Molino’s La Raza Club and Analy’s MECHA joined forces and became La Raza Unida.

Help a shelter dog this holiday season by visiting a Sebastopol giving tree

From SoCoNews

Giving trees are often set up for humans but Joelle Hoffman, a volunteer with the dog rescue organization Compassion Without Borders, has set up giving trees for the shelter’s rescue dogs at select locations in Sebastopol.

Sebastopol City Council gives RV village the go-ahead

From SoCoNews

Things are looking up for people living tenuously in their RVs on Morris Street who may move into the RV park village program approved Tuesday, Dec. 7 by the Sebastopol City Council.

‘Not our finest hour’: Sebastopol council selects leadership for 2022

From SoCoNews

After a back-and-forth discussion that some people called a show of theatrics, the Sebastopol City Council ultimately selected Patrick Slayter as mayor and Neysa Hinton as vice mayor at the Dec. 7 Sebastopol City Council meeting.

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.