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Max Young bought what used to be Little Switzerland on Grove Street a year-and-a-half ago and proceeded to spiff it up and rename it Rossi's 1906, after the original owner. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

108 years of tradition and counting

To call it an “institution” is almost an understatement. When it comes to the place long known as Little Switzerland – and recently rechristened Rossi’s 1906 – the Valley seems to be filled with many years of heartfelt personal memories.

Whether Measure M, the county library system’s one-eighth-cent sales tax measure, is bound for victory or defeat next month, the libraries will still have some issues to sort out when it comes to finances.

A complication for Measure M

Whether Measure M, the county library system’s one-eighth-cent sales tax measure, is bound for victory or defeat next month, the libraries will still have some issues to sort out when it comes to finances.


Where they stand: Council candidates drill down on issues

This November, Sonoma residents will chose from among eight candidates to fill three open seats on the five-member Sonoma City Council. To help voters make this decision, the Index-Tribune interviewed each candidate individually, posing a series of questions on issues relevant to city residents. Following is an overview of the candidates based on those interviews.

The eight candidates for the three seats on the Sonoma City Council faced off again Wednesday night at the Lodge at Sonoma. From left are Andrew Sawicki, Jack Wagner, Lynda Corrado, Madolyn Agrimonti, Gary Edwards, Ken Brown, Rachel Hundley and Cameron Stuckey. Robbi Pengelly-Index-Tribune

Council candidates make their pitch

Eight candidates for Sonoma City Council gathered with several dozen locals at The Lodge on Broadway Wednesday night for one of the largest in a series of candidate forums.

Sonoma City Council eyes water rate hikes

Sonoma took a big step toward higher water rates Monday as City Council members set in motion the potential for increases starting next year, with additional jumps each year afterward until 2019.

Altimira hosts ‘conversation’ with law enforcement on Tuesday

The legal aspects of the shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez, killed late last year by a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Rosa, essentially ended when the county district attorney opted not to press charges in the case.
But the emotional aspects take more time to sort out, which is why county leaders established the Community Engagement and Healing Subcommittee, part of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force.
The subcommittee includes El Verano Elementary School Principal Maite Iturri – and Tuesday night, tonight, there’s a community meeting to further address the matter.
Described as “an open conversation with Sonoma Valley law enforcement,” the meeting is open to everyone and billed as a chance to “ask questions, offer comments and share experiences” with the Valley’s law enforcement personnel, who fall under the command of Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett, a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant.
The meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Altimira Middle School Multipurpose Room, 17805 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.
Iturri was not available for comment Monday, but in a previous conversation with the Index-Tribune she said “good work is being accomplished” by the task force.
“The issues being tackled are very complex,” Iturri noted, adding, “Anything worth doing requires time and energy.”
Subcommittee members hope that through dialogue, the community and law enforcement personnel will come away with stronger bonds and renewed trust.
Lopez was shot to death on Oct. 22 by a sheriff’s deputy who mistook his air gun for an AK-47. The deputy, Erick Gelhaus, was absolved in July following a lengthy investigation by District Attorney Jill Ravitch, who concluded the shooting was justified because Gelhaus thought Lopez was carrying a real assault rifle when the boy turned to face him. Gelhaus continues to serve in the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.
The 21-member Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force was formed late last year by the Board of Supervisors in response to the shooting and the public outcry that followed. Task force members were broken up into three subcommittees, with Iturri sitting on Community Engagement and Healing.
For more on the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force, call 565-6611 or visit sonoma-county.org/communitylocallawtaskforce.

SONDRA BERNSTEIN, owner of the girl & the fig, worked with Michael “Bug” Deakin to redo the patio at the restaurant. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Reclaimed wood gets better with age

The great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed other places besides San Francisco. For example, the little rail town of Occidental, in western Sonoma County, suffered the same fate that day – and among that fire’s victims was an old-growth redwood tree.

Report offers snapshot of Valley

Policymakers and others interested in comparing the well being of Sonoma Valley residents neighborhood-by-neighborhood, now have an easy tool to do so: “A Portrait of Sonoma County.”

Agencies aid in finding Winslow’s body

Well-loved Sonoma wrestling coach Roger “Deets” Winslow was in water 160 feet deep when he died in a boating accident Aug. 9 on Lake Berryessa, and that made finding his body anything but easy.

Driver in fatal Arnold Dr. crash pleads guilty

The intoxicated driver who slammed his Jaguar into another car on Arnold Drive late last year – killing his own passenger and paralyzing a little girl from the waist down – may be put away for a long time after pleading guilty to 14 felony counts last week, prosecutors announced. Damodar Chandradas, 26, faces up… Continue Reading >>

Parks Supervisor Terry Melberg conducts a visual check of the Sonoma Plaza. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

For city workers, Plaza upkeep is no picnic

Red & White Ball. City Party. Sonoma International Film Festival. The Fourth of July Parade. All year long, Sonoma residents find uses for their historic Plaza, ranging from a single person lounging in the grass to a throng of 10,000 celebrating the nation’s birthday. All of it causes wear and tear, of course, which is… Continue Reading >>

Taxpayers group opposes college bond

Organized opposition to Measure H – Santa Rosa Junior College’s $410 million bond measure appearing on the upcoming ballot — has not been overwhelming. But a local taxpayers group is making a case against it by accusing the college district of not being forthright the last time it put a measure on the ballot. That… Continue Reading >>

Hospital bumps CEO’s salary

Sonoma Valley Hospital’s board of directors granted CEO Kelly Mather a $32,000 raise last week after concluding she’s doing a good job and should be paid accordingly. The unanimous vote to raise her yearly salary to $330,000, with a $25,000 bonus, was made during Thursday night’s board meeting following an evaluation of Mather’s performance in… Continue Reading >>

Jonathan and Alysa Rotella were the winners of the first auction lot as last Sunday's Harvest Wine Auction. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Giving mood, out-of-towners stimulated record Wine Auction

It was already known that the sixth Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction shattered all previous fundraising records. But now the full extent of last weekend’s success is becoming clearer, with a flurry of six-figure donations – some from out-of-state vintners – helping organizers hit the $4 million mark.

Sonoma City Council to discuss housing, Montini, raising minimum wage

A two-part meeting of the Sonoma City Council this Wednesday includes a brief study session on the city’s housing element, followed by the next in a many-part discussion on allowing dogs in Montini Preserve and – last but not least – a discussion on raising the minimum wage within city limits.

Plastic bag ban takes effect Monday

Hailing “an important new ordinance that will help reduce landfill,” the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency is reminding everyone that Monday, Sept. 1, is when the much-debated countywide ban on plastic bags finally takes effect.

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

Early praise for new hotel design

The proposal for a 59-room hotel on West Napa Street near the Plaza is off to a good start, based on feedback given at Thursday night’s city Planning Commission meeting. Of several local residents who spoke Thursday, and the Planning Commission members that followed, almost no one had a negative thing to say about the… Continue Reading >>

THE SONOMA COUNTY WATER AGENCY has posted four signs along the bike path that follows Fryer Creek, explaining what happened on July 23 when a clogged culvert opened and drained the creek. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Water Agency: ‘We hear you’

Sonoma County Water Agency officials say they have heard the complaints of residents regarding Fryer Creek, which drained suddenly three weeks ago to the shock of many who regularly enjoy the waterway.