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The Survivors Lap kicks off the annual Relay for Life, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sonoma Valley High School. File photo Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Relay for Life kicks off Saturday

When you fight cancer, or provide love and support for someone in the midst of the battle, you are a superhero. So Superheros Fighting Cancer is the theme of this year’s annual Relay for Life, where Batman and Superwoman will be seen rounding the track as participants are being encouraged to walk in costume.

Good things happening at the Grange

There are good things happening at the Sonoma Valley Grange, and the light on the horizon for a renovation of its building on Highway 12 is slowly glowing brighter.

LIA TRANSUE’S surreal collection of paintings, “Can’t Take It With You,” is on display this weekend at Alley Gallery at 148 E. Napa St. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

A sentimental journey

Flying through clouds as her husband pilots a small plane and swirling through the confounding reality of her late mother-in-law’s hoarding were the inspirations that found Lia Bonagura-Transue putting to paint a surreal collection called “Can’t Take It With You.”

ARDEN KREMER, who has been teaching swimming classes for 20 years, currently uses the pool at Hanna Boys Center for swimming lessons. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Kremer: Community pool a must

Swimming saves lives. That’s why Arden Kremer’s been teaching swim lessons for 20 years, 300 kids each summer, and why she’s adamant that Sonoma needs a community swimming pool.

RENA D’ENTREMONT BENZ spent two weeks at a hospital in India helping those suffering from leprosy.

Helping the lepers

Some of Rena d’Entremont Benz’ friends and family were worried when she told them she was off to India to help heal people with leprosy. Her husband, Bob, though, was ultra supportive and her daughter, Katie, 23, thought it was such a worthwhile idea she decided to tag along.

JACK MURPHY is the salutatorian and Christina Uzzo is the valedictorian of the Sonoma Valley High School class of 2014. Graduation ceremonies will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at Arnold Field. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Sonoma Valley High valedictorian, salutatorian prepare for the world

All valedictorians and salutatorians are, of course, impressive, if only by virtue of the inherent definition of being at the top of their class. But spend time with Sonoma Valley High School valedictorian Christina Uzzo and salutatorian Jack Murphy, and you’re instantly convinced that they are extra special.

DOCENT STEVEN HIGHTOWER approaches a wooden sculpture by Bruce Johnson, titled “Offering,” at the entrance to the gardens at Quarryhill Botanical Gardens in Glen Ellen. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Quarryhill: Noah’s ark for endangered plants

Twenty-thousand tourists visit Quarryhill Botanical Garden every year, yet Executive Director Bill McNamara says it’s sometimes called the best kept secret in Sonoma. Home to an amazing collection of rare Asian plant life, it’s a biological wonder many residents of the Valley of the Moon haven’t experienced.

ALBERT “ANDY” ANDERSON celebrated his 100th birthday with a party on April 13. Carole Kelleher/Special to the Index-Tribune

‘Andy’ Anderson reaches the century mark

If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to reach the age of 100, Albert Anderson will happily tell you that it’s pretty darn good. He appreciates each day and has no regrets. He just wishes his partner of 43 years, Joe Hines, had lived to see him reach this landmark birthday.

CHERYL YTREEIDE, left, and Pat Benfer opened the Savory Spice Shop in the Sonoma Marketplace in November. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Savory spices enhance sensory delights

If you’ve only tasted supermarket cinnamon, you’ll be wowed by a whiff of organic cinnamon from Ceylon, and tempted by the extra sweetness when the spice hails from Saigon. Chinese cinnamon is citrusy and Indonesian, the least intense, is the familiar one found in grocery aisles.

RICK CORCORAN, principal-for-the-day at El Verano Elementary School, takes questions from curious first-graders, who thought he might be a movie star or a secret agent. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Principal, hotel GM swap jobs

El Verano Elementary School and the Sonoma Mission Inn may not seem similar until you take an inside peek and learn they’re extraordinarily symbiotic. For 10 years, the hotel has lent the school a shoulder to lean on while the school shares the joy of helping children thrive.

BRENDA MALDONADO and her mentor Paula Burkhart share a laugh. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

A mentoring story: Brenda and Paula, together for life

When Brenda Maldonado, then a fourth-grader, arrived in Sonoma as “the new kid in class” at Sassarini Elementary School, she was shy, a little unsure of herself and ready to reach out for someone who would help her, even if she didn’t completely understand why.

FAIRMONT SONOMA MISSION INN’S Chief Concierge Jim Anderson is now a member of Les Clefs d’Or. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Gold Keys for Sonoma Mission Inn’s concierge

Life is golden for the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s Chief Concierge Jim Anderson, who just earned his membership in Les Clefs d’Or, the elite organization of the finest concierges in the world.

Ana Martinez surrounded by students from her second grade classroom at Flowery Elementary School.

Flowery teacher models perseverance and grit

Ana Martinez teaches her 29 second-graders at Flowery Elementary School reading and math, science and social studies, and English and Spanish using her highly professional skills.

SONOMA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL Principal Kathleen Hawing stands with donated golf cart and SVHS maintenance staffers (from left) Anthony Albini, Wendell Adams and Douglas Weidemann, and custodial crew members Max Hernandez and Eduardo Martinez. Maria Hawing/Special to the Index-Tribune

Sonoma Valley High School gets new golf cart

Once plagued with two golf carts that chugged along ever so slowly, Sonoma Valley High School now has an almost-new, donated cart zipping about, with a second replacement a twinkling possibility, awaiting another wave of community support.

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Raccoon Christmas card

Editor’s note: When Sonoma residents Betty Ann Bruno (she of Hula Mai fame) and Craig Scheiner began planning their annual Christmas card, an earlier visitation of uninvited raccoons came to mind. The card circulated, Index-Tribune contributor Carole Kelleher encountered it, and came up with the following poem: ‘Twas Raccoons Before Christmas Just before Christmas Betty… Continue Reading >>

A FISH VOLUNTEER sorts food at a holiday food giveaway. FISH will be distributing its holiday baskets on Friday, Dec. 20.

Adopt a family for FISH

Friends In Sonoma Helping, the Sonoma Valley’s grand central station of giving and goodness all year long, becomes like the North Pole when the holiday season rolls round. FISH elves kick into high gear for seasonal sharing, and they need help from everyone in the community to meet the needs of those among us who are struggling.

MICHAEL ACKER is the president of the Sonoma Valley Grange and designed the mural on the front of the building. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Sonoma Valley Grange is growing

The Sonoma Valley Grange is the go-to place for connecting with the agricultural community and learning about healthy food and farming. The host of pancake breakfasts and seasonal dinners and home to flea markets and cookie exchanges, it is a long-time organization that is finding a new direction in a community concerned with sustainability and farm-to-table food sources.

DR. DON MARTIN’S SON Bennett Martin, and daughter Julie McClelland will be at the lighting of the Hospice tree at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, on the Plaza. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Hospice to honor Dr. Don Martin

Don Martin, M.D., served his Sonoma patients for more than 50 years and now the Lights of Remembrance tree on the Plaza will twinkle brightly in his honor. This Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m., his family, friends and those he healed will attend the Hospice By The Bay tree lighting ceremony, and as the tree shines in the night sky they will recall what a blazing beacon he was to all who knew him.

GEORGE DAWNAY was commissioned to paint one mural at Sonoma Valley Hospital, but hospital administrators liked it so much they commissioned two more. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Creating murals in public spaces

George Dawnay has painted murals in Tuscan villas and Parisian entry halls, on Roman ceilings and the walls of a Sebastiani home in Sonoma. Now he’s made the leap from private mansions to public spaces, sharing the splendor of his amazing artistic talent on the walls and hallways of Sonoma Valley Hospital.

 
 

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