Carole Kelleher/Special to the Index-Tribune's Articles Related:  Entertainment | Events | Featured | Food & Wine | Lifestyle & History | News | Obituaries | Opinion | Real Estate | Schools | Sports

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.


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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