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CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH took enforcement action against SDC’s intermediate care facility. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune file photo

Sonoma Developmental Center loses federal certification again

The embattled Sonoma Developmental Center – home to some 439 residents with a variety of developmental disabilities on a 1,000-acre campus outside Glen Ellen – was notified on Friday that its Intermediate Care Facility does not meet Medi-Cal compliance standards following a survey completed this month, and the facility will lose federal funding for 166 residents.


Editorial: A wine bridge to Cuba

When you stand on the shore of South Beach, on the edge of Key West, and look across the Straits of Florida, it’s not hard to imagine you can see over the intervening 110 miles of open water to the looming Castle of the Three Kings at the mouth of Havana harbor. It’s 50 miles closer than Miami, but viewed through a temporal lens it is more accurately 54 years away.


Editorial: Public pool is not a threat to water supply

The Sonoma Valley is the only area in Sonoma County without a single public swimming pool, a deficiency that has weighed on the hearts, minds and purse strings of Valley residents since the high school pool was plowed under nearly a decade ago.

AUGUST SEBASTIANI, president of The Other Guys wine and spirits company, was the winning bidder for the old Patten Street firehouse, with a $1.65 million bid. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Sebastiani wins bid on old firehouse

August Sebastiani, president of The Other Guys wine and spirits company, said Wednesday he is excitedly awaiting a signed contract for the sale of the old firehouse building at 32 Patten St., after his bid for the property was accepted by the city on June 23. The sale amount was $1.65 million.


Water reform – running out of time

At one time, as recently as the 1990s, there were well over 1 million acres of irrigated cotton in California, largely fed by cheap water contracts through the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. Each of those countless acres of cotton consumed something on the order of three feet of water, or more, per acre of cotton a year – well over 3 million acre feet, which is close to 1 trillion gallons a year. Cotton in California was a very thirsty crop.

An alcohol-fueled Fourth

Pack 10,000 people into eight acres, with unlimited alcohol, a reason to party and a 90-minute parade, and what you have is a Sonoma Fourth of July.

GLEN ELLEN’S LEXY FRIDELL will perform in a one-woman show running for two nights, Saturday and Sunday, as a part of Transcendence Theatre Company’s Artist Series. The two shows are sold out. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Lexy Fridell gets wired

Someday, it seems clear, there will be a category of musical-theater-comedy with her name on it.


SDC update

There is good news, bad news and no news concerning the fate of the Sonoma Developmental Center and the remaining 439 residents of the bucolic, 1,000-acre Glen Ellen campus now in the center of a policy debate over how, where and when to move the majority into small, mainstreamed community facilities.

DA: No charges in Lopez shooting

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch released a long-awaited decision Monday that the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, on Oct. 22, 2013, was not cause for criminal charges against Erik Gelhaus, the Sheriff’s deputy who killed the boy as he carried a toy replica of an AK-47 assault rifle on a Santa Rosa sidewalk.

ROB LYON received the Navy Marine Corps Medal, the highest and least frequent non-combat award given to any member of the armed services, on Monday – 50-plus years after earning it. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Rob Lyon finally gets his medal

Rob Lyon is a hero. It’s official. On Monday, he and his wife, Robin, went to the mailbox and found a small package from the U.S. Navy Personnel Command. Pinned inside a commemorative box was the Navy Marine Corps Medal, the highest and least frequent non-combat award given to any member of the armed services.… Continue Reading >>

FORMER SONOMA CITY MANAGER Pam Gibson is off on another jaunt around the country on a boat with her husband.

Pam Gibson sets sail – again

Pam Gibson, former city manager, former reporter, former member and chair of too many boards and commissions to conveniently count, author, mother, wife and cancer-survivor, is retiring again.


Transcendence – Just be there

Buried in the lyrics of “Being Alive,” Stephen Sondheim’s classic from the Broadway musical “Company,” is the encrypted password to the creative riddle of the Transcendence Theatre Company, which opened its 2014 season at Jack London State Historic Park – the third in its young and meteoric life – last Friday.

TRANCENDENCE THEATRE COMPANY opened its 2014 summer series at Jack London State Historic Park Friday evening with “One Singular Sensation.”  The 2014 Broadway Under the Stars concert series, through Sept. 6, will include four separate themed concerts, totaling 16 nights of performances, wine tasting, and pre-event picnics in the park. All events begin with a pre-show picnic at 5 p.m., with food and wine for sale from various vendors on site, with a 7:30 p.m. show time. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Transcendence opens with a splash

No one in the audience of the Transcendence Theatre Company’s opening night performance was surprised to hear that USA Today had rated the company’s “Broadway Under the Stars” concert series at Jack London State Historic Park as one of the 10-best “Outdoor Concert Venues You Shouldn’t Miss.”

Robert Arnold, grandson of Gen. Hap Arnold, shared insights about his grandfather, including an explanation of why he chose to retire in the Sonoma Valley. Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Roundabout dedicated to Gen. Hap Arnold

There is no monument in the Sonoma Valley to Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold, the double-five-star general who fathered the U.S. Air Force and began an all-too-brief retirement on a small ranch hard up against the side of Sonoma Mountain.


In defense of NASCAR

Over the years, some readers have expressed opinions ranging from baffled confusion to undisguised contempt over the space, time and attention devoted in this newspaper to coverage of motorsport activities at Sonoma Raceway, which lies just south of our fair city, on the northern shore of San Pablo Bay, and which only became unclogged with NASCAR weekend traffic late on Sunday.

WINNER CARL EDWARDS waves the checkered flag just after doing his usual backflip off the car Sunday afternoon at the close of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. David Bolling/Index-Tribune

All this … and a race too

There are moments in the life of a NASCAR event when it’s easy to forget there is a race going on. If the carnival midway stretched across the parking lot behind the main grandstand at Sonoma Raceway wasn’t distraction enough last Sunday, there were:


A better water bill

For the past year – and beyond – public dialogue in the Delta has been drowning in a flood of competing claims, studies, plans, proposals and promises for resolving California’s increasingly desperate water problems, with much of the hope hinging on a horrendously expensive, scientifically suspect document called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or just BDCP.

Dog leash

A real dog park priority

This may be how wars start. Over dogs. The great irony, of course, is that most of us profess to love our canine companions, and many of us would agree there aren’t enough places in this increasingly compacted world to let them run free. Or even, it seems, on a leash. And so it comes… Continue Reading >>


Raceway, CHP unveil NASCAR traffic plan

While NASCAR never releases figures on ticket sales, estimates of the spectator count at the annual Sprint Cup event at Sonoma Raceway usually hover around 100,000.

Drake's Bay oysters. Internet photo

One last Lunny long shot

Amazingly, you can still buy Drake’s Bay oysters. That’s because the oyster war continues to unfold on the Pt. Reyes Peninsula, where Kevin and Nancy Lunny – with family roots deep in Sonoma – have been driven to the brink in their stubborn efforts to continue farming shellfish. The Lunnys are still in business, but… Continue Reading >>


We hope to hear from you soon

From time to time we find it useful to explain to our readers the protocols required to have their submissions appear in print. But before reviewing the rules, let’s talk about the reality of the relationship between this newspaper and those who read it, many of whom have been doing so for decades. In a… Continue Reading >>


Top Two not real reform

If the electoral landscape looks a little sparse these days – gaps in the platform foliage, a decline in campaign diversity, the expansion of party monocultures – that could because of the incremental advance of political climate change. Compared to the campaign complexity of the 1970s and ’80s – when Sonoma County ballots were crowded… Continue Reading >>


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