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How are local salmon and steelhead populations faring?

Checking in on efforts to monitor endangered and threatened fish populations in our local streams and rivers.

County receives funding to purchase Sebastopol Inn

From Sonoma West Times & News

After languishing on a waitlist for several months, the county has received $6.375 million in funding from the state’s Project Homekey program to purchase the Sebastopol Inn to provide supportive housing for the homeless.

Annual count shows decline in homeless population

From Sonoma West Times & News

Last week, the county released the long-delayed Point-In-Time Homeless Census Comprehensive Report that showed a 7% decline of the county’s homeless population over the previous year.

UPDATE: Final election results for west county

Here are the final tallies from the registrar of voters. In the most watched race in Sebastopol, incumbent Neysa Hinton edged out challenger Evert Fernandez by 55 votes to claim her second term as a city council person.

Last week’s survey results on potential consolidation

From Sonoma West Times & News

Superintendent Toni Beal presented the results of a survey of the west county scholastic community on the potential consolidation of Analy, El Molino and Laguna high schools at the West Sonoma County Union High School District’s Nov. 18 board meeting.

Burn permit suspension lifted for Sonoma County

From Sonoma West Times & News

Effective Monday, Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. the burn permit suspension in Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Solano counties will be lifted. CalFire Sonoma Lake Napa Unit Chief Shana Jones is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises those possessing valid CalFire and air quality burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days.

UPDATE: High school board reconsidering the parcel tax proposal that would delay consolidation

From Sonoma West Times & News

The high school board first rejected, then announced it would reconsider a parcel tax proposal that would delay the consolidation of all three local high schools into one.  The West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) board will discuss this question and Lynda Hopkins’ TOT increase proposal at a meeting on Monday, Nov. 23. 

Sebastopol Kiwanis opening applications for school grants

From Sonoma West Times & News

Despite canceling its July fireworks and music festival fundraisers this year, the Sebastopol Kiwanis Club has raised money to help fund grants for local students, teachers and school administrators.

Not into cooking for Thanksgiving this year? No worries

While some people adore the day-long (sometimes multiple days-long) extravaganza of cooking and baking that a homemade Thanksgiving requires — others could do just as well without that as long as someone — preferably someone else — made the dinner.

Getting to know Sebastopol’s new police chief

From Sonoma West Times & News

As a new chief, Daniel Healy views his role as being open to discussing solutions, concerns and questions and seeking solutions to challenges identified by community members. Healy said he is open to conversations about reimagining the role of policing in regards to the issues of homelessness and mental illness.

New limited stay-at-home order to go into effect Nov. 21

From Sonoma West Times & News

On Nov. 19 the state of California announced it was implementing a “limited stay-at-home order” that would restrict activities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in all Tier One/Purple counties, including Sonoma County.

High School board to discuss parcel tax, consolidation and more

From Sonoma West Times & News

The board will deliberate and possibly take action on consolidating El Molino, Analy and Laguna high schools onto one campus, according to the agenda.

Operation Santa brings families in need together with those who want to help them

From Sonoma West Times & News

The United States Postal Service is expanding its Operation Santa Program to help kids in need enjoy the holidays a little more in this pandemic holiday season.

Governor announces new restrictions, county remains at most restrictive tier as COVID cases spike

From Sonoma West Times & News

As California’s COVID-19 daily case count climbed to nearly 10,000 – a height not seen since early August – Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced tough new restrictions as an “emergency brake” to slow a coming surge that could overwhelm hospitals during the holiday season.

Sebastopol Inn appears stranded on Project Homekey waitlist for state funding

From Sonoma West Times & News

Plans to convert the Sebastopol Inn into permanent supportive housing have stagnated on the waiting list for Project Homekey funding, as the state approval deadline draws closer.

Monte Rio property slated for county park and open space

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sonoma County Regional Parks purchased 515 acres of land in Monte Rio for future use as a county park and open space preserve.

Sebastopol City Council preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

A short agenda this time. Council will discuss campaign contribution limits and council initiative funds.

Temporary sculpture garden grows on hotel site

Local artist Ned Kahn is building a temporary sculpture garden in the weedy, empty lot just east of Sebastopol’s downtown plaza.

Funds keep flowing to fight county’s homeless crisis

From Sonoma West Times & News

Just in the past two weeks, the county government and other agencies committed to spend $6.3 million for a hotel in Santa Rosa to convert to permanent support housing, approved $5.5 million for expanded mobile support teams for homeless outreach and recorded the passage of Measure O by county voters to add a quarter cent sales tax to raise $25 million annually for mental health and other social services and facilities for children, adults, veterans and seniors experiencing homelessness.

Voters elect challengers to the Oak Grove Union School District board

From Sonoma West Times & News

Three challengers are expected to join the ranks of Oak Grove Union School District trustees: Erin Lagourgue, Lesley Jones and Hannah Kallok.

New guidance on best Thanksgiving practices to prevent the spread of COVID

From Sonoma West Times & News

On Nov. 9 the County of Sonoma announced recommendations for safer ways to celebrate Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, as well as recommendations for those who must travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding drive kicks off for the Graton Green

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Graton Green Group, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that created and maintains a small community park at the center of the Graton village, is conducting a fund drive to raise $5,000 to cover annual insurance and maintenance costs.

Amid debate, WSCUHSD board approves poll about new parcel tax

From Sonoma West Times & News

The West Sonoma County Union High School District board voted Friday night to poll west county voters to see if they’d support a parcel tax to keep the schools afloat until the board can get more community input around consolidation.

The F Bomb, Part II: Continuing to grapple with students’ failing grades

From Sonoma West Times & News

Twenty eight percent of students in west county (511 out of roughly 1,800 students) have at least one failing grade. That’s up from 22% the year before.

Commercial Dungeness season delayed, will open after Thanksgiving

From Sonoma West Times & News

Due to the presence of whales within the local fishing grounds and the potential for entangling the whales in crab pot lines, the season opener has now been moved to Dec. 1.

Former Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy indicted by grand jury for use of excessive force

From Sonoma West Times & News

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Blount has been indicted on two felony charges for his role in the death of David Glen Ward, which occurred on Nov. 27, 2019. The charges include involuntary manslaughter and assault under color of authority. Both charges include an allegation of personal infliction of great bodily harm.

Sebastopol Center for the Arts begins distance learning program for kids

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol Center for the Arts opened its new supervised distance learning program for elementary schoolers inside the cavernous Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Sebastopol on Monday, Nov. 2.

Sebastopol library extends curbside pickup hours

The Sonoma County Library is expanding curbside pickup hours at the Sebastopol branch, beginning Monday, Nov. 9.

WSCUHSD discussing the possibility of parcel tax feasibility survey

From Sonoma West Times & News

Can a parcel tax keep the high school district from closing one of its high schools?

Newcomers elected to high school board

From Sonoma West Times & News

The winners of the West Sonoma County Union School District board election are projected to be Julie Aiello, sweeping up 13,764 (39.84%) of the votes, and Laurie Ann Fadave, capturing 12,276 (35.54%) of the votes.

The Sebastopol City Council race: the numbers behind the numbers

According the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, there are 5,659 registered voters in the City of Sebastopol, and as of Nov. 4 at midday,  4,557 Sebastopol ballots had already been counted.

Registrar doing inventory of ballots, will update vote tally this weekend

From Sonoma West Times & News

County precincts are showing as being 100% reported and the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters’ office is hard at working tallying the remaining ballots from voters who dropped off or mailed in their ballot. To get a better idea of when voters can expect more election numbers to come in, as well as get a […]

Challenger Diana Rich tops Sebastopol council race

From Sonoma West Times & News

In the Sebastopol City Council election, incumbent Michael Carnacchi has lost his seat to Diana Rich while incumbent, Neysa Hinton, holds a small lead over challenger Evert Fernandez. The votes are still being counted on the day following the Nov. 3 election.

Voters endorse additional law enforcement oversight

From Sonoma West Times & News

Measure P, which strengthens civilian oversight of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, is projected to pass with 66.5% of the vote as of early Wednesday morning, according to the unofficial results posted by the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, with 72.9% of precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning.

Measure O poised to pass

From Sonoma West Times & News

Measure O — the Sonoma County quarter-cent sales tax proposed to fund mental health and addiction services and facilities for children, adults, seniors, veterans and those experiencing homelessness — appears to be passing as of Wednesday morning, Nov. 4.

Sebastopol names Daniel Healy as new police chief

From Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol’s new police chief will start at the department on Dec. 14 and will be sworn in on Dec. 15.

Watchdog report explores complaints against Sheriff’s Office and Measure P

From Sonoma West Times & News

The majority of the report discusses the complaints against the sheriff’s office, the audits of those complaints, the IOLERO director’s recommendations and the changes that have come from this process.

Suspect arrested for arson in Rio Nido

From Sonoma West Times & News

The fire started under a bridge at a former homeless encampment.

Public comment seethes over WSCUHSD consolidation talks

From Sonoma West Times & News

Wednesday’s town hall of the West Sonoma County Union High School District revealed a board pressured by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) to come up with a plan and a community barely catching up on the likelihood of consolidation.

Still haven’t voted yet? Read this.

Want to make sure your vote is counted by Election Day? At this point, you’ll have to take your mail-in ballot to the polls, exchange it for an in-person ballot and then vote in person.

Cazadero cannabis grower pleads guilty to felony environmental violations

From Sonoma West Times & News

Michael Silva, 37, of Cazadero pled guilty to three felony counts related to environmental violations on a property where he was growing 1,450 cannabis plants, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday night, Oct. 29.

What can we do as the county stays in the purple tier?

From Sonoma West Times & News

There’s a lot of confusion over what is and isn’t allowed under the current virus tier.  Find out the current rules.

The F Bomb: What’s behind the spike in failing grades?

From Sonoma West Times & News

High school students are struggling at new levels locally, and while distance learning in the time of COVID-19 is a piece of the puzzle, the emotional trauma of four years of fires, floods, evacuations, power shutoffs and now the pandemic is playing a larger role than previously realized.

Signs of the Times

Political signs  – you see them everywhere these days. That got us wondering: just what goes into the choice of political signage?

Senior Center’s Meal Delivery Program has room for 25 more seniors

The Sebastopol Area Senior Center’s Meal Delivery Program currently has space to accommodate 25 more seniors. If you would like to be included, please call 707-827-8429

Is election reform Carnacchi’s October surprise?  

At the Sebastopol City Council meeting on Oct. 20, Councilmember Michael Carnacchi proposed a sweeping raft of political reforms aimed at “increasing diversity” on the Sebastopol City Council.

Community weighs in on consolidation at WSCUHSD town hall

From Sonoma West Times & News

Board members, parents and other community members buckled in for a nearly five-hour long town hall meeting to discuss the possibility of consolidating the three high schools of West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) onto one campus.

Local coastal protections up for review in November

From Sonoma West Times & News

Public reviews of a proposed update to the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan — now two years in the drafting — will inch forward on Nov. 10 with a series of virtual workshops in front of the county Board of Supervisors.

High winds bring new Red Flag Warning and power shutoff predictions

A Red Flag Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for the North Bay from Sunday to Tuesday.

Want to be on the Planning Commission or the Design Review Board?

The city of Sebastopol has openings on two of its most critical committees: the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board. 

Nominate a local who makes a difference

Do you know a Sebastopol local who makes a difference in the community? The Locals Who Make a Difference program recognizes and acknowledges Sebastopol community members for their contributions in helping to make Sebastopol a better place to live. Nominations for the next honoree will close on November 1.

Participate in the creation of Sebastopol’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

The City will be hosting a public workshop on the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 7 p.m.

Sonoma County Registrar warns of unauthorized ballot drop boxes

Deva Marie Proto, Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters, is alerting voters that there have been recent reports in California of groups promoting unofficial ballot drop boxes that are not affiliated with county elections offices. In some instances, these groups are promoting their unauthorized ballot drop boxes as “official” or “secure.” The use of unauthorized, non-official ballot drop boxes is prohibited by state law.

County approves additional COVID outreach to underserved communities

From Sonoma West Times & News

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $4 million to support an enhanced series of strategies to assist with outreach to COVID-19 case curbing in at-risk communities.

Facing a 20% drop in revenues, Sebastopol dips into reserves to cover a $2.1 million budget deficit

“We always ran really lean as a city, so there wasn’t a lot of fat to cut,” said Hinton.

Measure P proposes strengthening civilian review and oversight of law enforcement

From Sonoma West Times & News

Voters in Sonoma County will decide this election season whether to strengthen the county’s office for civilian review and oversight of law enforcement or maintain its current powers and provisions through the Evelyn Cheatham Effective IOLERO Ordinance, or Measure P.

UPDATE: Local Goodwill president reverses decision to board up windows ahead of election night

From Sonoma West Times & News

A number of Goodwill stores in Sonoma County are boarding up windows ahead of the presidential election to minimize the risk of damage from possible civil unrest.

Sebastopol City Council preview

From Sonoma West Times & News

What’s happening at the upcoming city council meeting on Oct. 20?

Weather watch bumped up to Red Flag Warning

From Sonoma West Times & News

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay mountains from 11 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 19 through 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21. PG&E followed up with a Publc Safety Power Shutoff warning.

What the heck is going on at the Guerneville Post Office?

From Sonoma West Times & News

What’s behind the long lines at the Guerneville Post Office and the mess in the lobby?

Measure O proposes quarter cent sales tax for mental health and homeless services

This November Sonoma County voters will be asked to approve Measure O, an initiative that would increase the sales tax by 1/4 of one cent per dollar (0.25%) on all taxable sales in the county for 10 years in order to fund mental health and addiction services and facilities for children, adults, seniors, veterans and for those experience homelessness.

Local nonprofits receive CARES funding to provide rent relief, landlord aid

West County Services received $350,000 in funding, and the Community Action Partnership will share $1,227,000 with La Luz and Corazón according to a county press release. Residents can receive up to $6,000 for six months of rental assistance, which can include current and back payments of rent and utilities.

Sonoma County celebrates fall with local pumpkin patches

While COVID-19 has altered Halloween plans for some, it hasn’t changed pumpkin patches and there are a variety of pumpkin picking and collecting locations in west county and beyond.

First look at high school consolidation options

The school board held a virtual town hall to present the results of a feasibility study on the possibility of consolidating west county’s three high schools (Analy, El Molino and Laguna) into one campus as a way of managing the district’s hemorrhaging budget and declining enrollment.

UPDATE: Red Flag Warning issued for latter half of the week

The National Weather Service for the San Francisco Bay Area upgraded its earlier critical fire weather alert to a Red Flag Warning in effect for the North Bay hills from 5 a.m. Wednesday morning through 11 a.m. Friday morning.

Measure DD, a transportation measure, is one of several tax questions on the Nov. 3 ballot

Measure DD would extend for 20 years a ¼-cent sales tax first approved in 2004. It is due to expire in 2025 without a two-thirds voter approval of the Nov. 3 measure.

Meeting the school board candidates for the high school district

Candidates for the board of the West Sonoma County Union High School District include (clockwise from top left) Julie Aiello, Kyle O’Connor, Lynn Schallebaum Gleeson and Laurie Ann Fadave.

Rialto Theater raises more than $78,000 through GoFundMe

The Rialto Cinemas blew right past their fundraising goal of $75,000 on GoFundMe. The money will help them weather the shutdown.

‘Sebastopol Video Rapist’ sentenced to 50 years-to-life

Lonnie William Victory, 56, was sentenced on Oct. 9 to serve 50 years-to-life in prison after pleading no-contest in August to eight felony sex offenses.

Sebastopol moves forward with parklets plan

Parklets are spaces for tables and seating open to the general public installed over designated parking spaces and sidewalks, a popular compromise across the country between restrictions barring indoor business operations and those businesses striving to stay afloat.

Santa Rosa man pleads no contest for vehicular manslaughter near Sebastopol

From Sonoma West Times & News

Santa Rosa resident Wayne Thomas, 64, was sentenced to a year in county jail on Friday, Sept. 25, after pleading no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the September 2018 death of Sebastopol resident Guadalupe Martinez.

Should Analy and El Molino be combined? New report at special school board town hall

At a special meeting this Wednesday, Oct. 7,  the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) will be taking its first steps in discussing the possibility of consolidating El Molino and Analy. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

Preview of the Oct. 6 city council meeting

What’s happening at tonight’s meeting: A public hearing on the city’s capital improvement plan, a lottery for local artists, the power of parklets.

Meet Donald Mort, Sebastopol’s new interim police chief

Donald Mort is Sebastopol’s newest interim police chief. Sworn in in August, he’s taking the reins at a critical moment in the history of the Sebastopol Police Department.

UPDATE: Red Flag Warning extended through Sunday morning

The National Weather Service in San Francisco has extended its  Red Flag Warning, which is now in effect until 6 a.m.  Sunday. AFFECTED AREA…North Bay mountains above 1,000 feet. WIND…Northwest 10 to 25 mph with gusts 25 to 35 mph. HUMIDITY…15 to 25 percent but locally 8-12 percent with little or no nighttime recovery in […]

Diana Rich – Sebastopol City Council Q&A

Retired attorney and nonprofit administrator Diana Rich has won accolades for years for her thoughtful, careful and inclusive approach to public policy decision-making. Now she’s ready for a new challenge.

Michael Carnacchi – Sebastopol City Council Candidate Q&A 

Michael Carnacchi is the wild card on the council — a friendly and earnest iconoclast who goes his own way. For his many supporters, that’s part of his charm. A longtime small business owner, he takes a common-sense approach to policy making.

Evert Fernandez  – Sebastopol City Council  Candidate Q&A

Evert Fernandez is the classic American success story – son of a farmworker, now a financial planner and chair of the Sebastopol City Planning Commission. He brings financial acumen, experience with city government, and a resonant personal story. But do enough people in Sebastopol know who he is? If they don’t, they should.

Neysa Hinton – Sebastopol City Council Candidate Q&A

Neysa Hinton is seeking a second term on the Sebastopol City Council — and she’s got the endorsement of just about every Democratic luminary in Sonoma County.

Looking at this year’s city council candidates

There are five candidates for the two city council positions on the November 2020 ballot. We will be publishing candidate Q&As with them throughout the week, alternating incumbents and challengers.

Ash Monday

Sebastopol woke up Monday morning to a city covered in ashes, the fallout of the Shady and Glass fires in the mountains east of Santa Rosa. Sebastopol’s director of public works has some advice on how to deal with it.

Sonoma County Library creates “Community Memory Archive”

The library is seeking your experiences of this extraordinary time.

Katie Davis is the new director of the Sebastopol Area Senior Center

How did a an early job in the restaurant industry lead to a career working with seniors? Find out in this Q&A with the new director of the Sebastopol Area Senior Center.

The 16 worst streets in Sebastopol

You think your street has potholes? Take a gander at the streets that City Engineer Henry Mikus called “the worst streets” in Sebastopol.

Linda and Joe Maloney chosen as Locals Who Make a Difference

The city of Sebastopol has chosen Joe and Linda Maloney as the next Locals Who Make a Difference honorees. Their faces will soon adorn banners on Main Street.

Sebastopol City Council approves tobacco ordinance

The ordinance bans the sale of all flavored tobacco products, as well as the sale of nicotine e-cigarette devices, and requires all stores that sell tobacco products to have a tobacco retailers license from the city.

Sebastopol City Council approves business loan program

At its Sept. 1 meeting, the Sebastopol City Council approved $150,000 for a loan program for Sebastopol businesses. The city will offer two types of loans: smaller loans of up to $5,000 and loans of between $5,000 and $10,000.

Sprucing it up with the city’s Facade Improvement Program

Sebastopol’s Façade Improvement Program will now reimburse property owners or tenants for 75% of new improvements, up to $2,500.