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Editorial: Thank you, Robin

Because he was far more than simply a brilliantly funny man, because he was also a gifted actor, intelligent, compassionate, unpretentious and kind, the loss of Robin Williams has created an almost incomprehensible hole in our cultural universe.

This is a rendering of what the swimming pool complex could look like.

City still mulling $500K pool loan

The Sonoma City Council held a study session last Thursday, Aug. 7, to discuss the terms of a proposed $500,000 loan to the Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association (SVHRA), the nonprofit organization incorporating Sonoma Splash, a citizens group hoping to build a community pool.

Editorial: The legacy of Deets Winslow

Competitive wrestling is not one of life’s glamor sports. It requires a high pain threshold, the ability to repeatedly lose (and sometimes gain) weight at will, and to spend a great deal of time on one’s knees. And wrestling teams seldom fill stadiums.

Sonoma Developmental Center appeals state penalty

The Sonoma Developmental Center submitted a formal request on Aug. 8, for an appeal of the decertification findings brought against the Glen Ellen facility by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

This 1968 Rally Sport Camaro, restored by Doug and Nathan Sanders, was stolen in broad daylight Thursday from the Safeway parking lot on Fifth Street West.

Father-son project car stolen

A classic Chevy Camaro, rebuilt from the ground up by a father-son team, was stolen in broad daylight from the Safeway parking lot on West Fifth Street Thursday, while the father was across the street at a car repair shop where he works as a mechanic.

FryerCreekDrains 02

Editorial: Shedding light on Fryer Creek

Examine any watershed in urban, suburban or even much of rural America, look at the topographical arrangement of streambeds, the channels carved by flowing water and the hand of gravity, and what you don’t see, hiding in plain sight, is plumbing.


Editorial: Heal, don’t punish, Sonoma Developmental Center

A close reading of the 207-page “Statement of Deficiencies” at Sonoma Developmental Center, released July 25 by the California Department of Public Health, leads to a variety of disturbing conclusions, by no means all of them about the quality of care at SDC. Those findings are of critical importance because they could lead to the loss of $2.5 million a month in Medi-Cal funding for the beleaguered facility.

This is a rendering of what the hotel would look like from West Napa Street.

Revised hotel plans submitted to city

Revised plans for a 59-room boutique hotel on West Napa Street were submitted to the Sonoma Planning Department by Kenwood Investments on Friday, and a study session to review the proposal is scheduled before the Sonoma Planning Commission on Aug. 14.

Ruling may cost Sonoma Developmental Center $2.5M a month

A litany of management and health care failures at Sonoma Developmental Center is outlined in a 207-page report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) July 25, that could eliminate federal funding of $2.5 million a month for 240 residents of the Eldridge facility near Glen Ellen.


Editorial: Lois Wolk’s water war

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, has been waging what at times seems like a one-woman campaign to point California in the direction of an ecologically sensible, economically affordable and politically possible water bond for inclusion on the November ballot.

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.