Emily Charrier-Botts/Index-Tribune Entertainment Editor's Articles Related:  Entertainment | Events | Featured | Food & Wine | Lifestyle & History | News | Obituaries | Opinion | Real Estate | Schools | Sports

AT PREVIOUS YEARS, diners have crammed into any available space to enjoy the feast at the Sonoma Community Center, inspiring a move to the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building this year.

Community center’s Thanksgiving dinner gets a new location

For decades, the Sonoma Community Center has hosted upwards of 350 diners for Thanksgiving, who enjoy a gourmet feast prepared by a crew of talented chefs – all for free. In fact, the holiday has become so popular, it has outgrown capacity at the center, prompting a move to the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building this year.

THE HARVEST CREW at B.R. Cohn Olive Oil Company spent Tuesday collecting picholine olives, which went straight to the press to transform from olives to oil. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Olive harvest starts in Sonoma Valley

With the grapes tucked away to ferment for the year, Valley agricultural producers are focusing on Sonoma’s second most popular crop: olives. While this season’s limited rainfall has meant smaller fruit, when pressed, the oil produced is packed with flavor.

DUNBAR SCHOOL FIRST-GRADERS rode a train to a spot at Lasseter Family Winery where they tossed their “bee bombs” that were packed in eggs. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Dunbar students take a train ride to protect honeybees

Solidifying their title as the coolest neighbors in the Valley, last week John and Nancy Lasseter invited every classroom at Dunbar Elementary School to come take a ride on their private train. But it was more than just a joyride – students rode with hand-made “bee bombs,” a mixture of soil and wildflower seeds that will attract honeybees, which they eagerly threw into a vacant field on the Lasseter’s property.

A TRADITIONAL OFRENDA (altar) adorned with skulls, marigolds and butterflies will be erected at the Sonoma Valley Community Center. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Valley celebrating Day of the Dead

The origins of Dia de los Muertos can be traced back much further than modern historical archives. As many as 3,000 years ago, cultures across Central and South America honored their lost loved ones during the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, a tradition that Sonoma will honor this week with a series of exhibitions… Continue Reading >>

A drawing of what the interior of the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center will look like.

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center closes escrow

After a few twists and turns, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center finally closed escrow on its new site this week, at 19270 Sonoma Highway. Officials said construction will begin shortly to transform the former Sonoma Rental Center into a full-service medical hub, offering everything from primary care providers and obstetrics, to behavioral and dental… Continue Reading >>

ON TUESDAY, OCT. 22, more than 50 people gathered at Maxwell Farms Regional Park to remember Luis Miranda, who was killed in the park in 2007 when he was 17. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Luis Miranda memorial, vigil in question

For the friends and family of Luis Miranda, the 17 year old who was killed in Maxwell Farms Regional Park on Oct. 22, 2007, his memorial table is a place for both mourning and celebration of a life that ended too soon. Their annual vigil, held on the anniversary of Miranda’s death, attracts 50 to 100 loved ones who, bathed in candlelight, quietly recite the rosary in Spanish.

Danny Fay, Mike Benziger and Ben Flajnik of Envolve Winery show their pink pride for "Real Men Drink Pink," a benefit for the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation.

Drinking pink for mammograms

Breast cancer claims more than 41,000 lives each year, making it the second deadliest cancer for women in the United States. There’s no way to know how many of those deaths could have been prevented through early detection with a mammogram. To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation is hoping to… Continue Reading >>

La Luz honored with Jefferson Award

La Luz Center joins local luminaries such as Becoming Independent and the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance by earning a local Jefferson Award. The award, given for excellence in community leadership and civic engagement, will be presented during a countywide event on Nov. 5. “I felt humbled and honored,” said La Luz Center’s Executive Director Juan… Continue Reading >>

NOT ONLY DOES Moon Mountain offer spectacular views, it produces a unique style of wine that made it deserving of its own American Viniculture Area this month.

Moon Mountain gets its own American Viticulture Area

The puzzle map that makes up the Sonoma County American Viniculture Area got a new piece this month. After years of petitioning, Moon Mountain District – Sonoma County was officially added to the map. With rocky hillsides and cooling coastal breezes, proponents say it’s significantly different than the Sonoma Valley appellation, and thus deserving of its own AVA.

ON MONDAY MORNING, arborists from UC Berkeley came to Jack London State Historic Park to take samples of the 350-year-old coast live oak. Monte Rowan (left) operates the cherry picker so Douglas Schmidt, a research associate for UC Berkeley, can collect samples. From the ground, forester Stephen Bakken and state parks archeologist Breck Parkman look on. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Testing Jack London’s oak

In its estimated 350 years, the stately coast live oak tree at Jack London State Historic Park, shading the cabin where Jack and Charmian London lived, has watched the Valley transform, from the home of a handful of Native American tribes, to a thriving state park that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Sonoma Valley Hospital board bumps CEO pay

Citing her exemplary record, the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board unanimously agreed to a 6 percent salary bump for Sonoma Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kelly Mather, bringing her total salary for the 2013 fiscal year to $298,061. Mather also earned a bonus of $24,534 for meeting specific incentive goals directed by the board.… Continue Reading >>

Sonoma Valley Hospital expands, sells cell tower lease

Sonoma Valley Hospital’s board of directors unanimously agreed to move forward with selling the lease it holds on an AT&T cellular antenna that tops the hospital, which was discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board.

Feds’ shutdown impact mixed in Sonoma Valley

While health centers, the Veterans Administration and critical food assistance programs will continue to provide services while the federal government is shutdown, some are unsure how long it can last. Funds are in place for the month of October in many departments, but a prolonged shutdown would change the financial equation. Take California’s Women, Infant… Continue Reading >>

Fred and Amy Groth of Prohibition Spirits toast a new law, AB933, that allows them to offer tastes of their product line. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Sonoma distillery can now offer tastings

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB933 last week, distilleries giving the same rights that wineries and breweries have enjoyed for decades – the ability to charge for tastes of their products. This was especially good news for Sonoma’s Fred and Amy Groth, whose Prohibition Spirits distills everything from HelloCello to Sugar Daddy Rum.

Health care exchange starts today

Today marks the beginning of a seismic shift in the state’s health-care industry with the opening of Covered California, a health insurance marketplace that offers a variety of coverage options direct to consumers. It’s the cornerstone of the hotly contested implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare. To help Sonoma County… Continue Reading >>

This schematic shows how the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center plans to lay out its new clinic at 19270 Sonoma Highway.

Health Center secures finances for new site

With the combination of a $5 million loan, public and private grants, and more than $800,000 in donor contributions, the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center is within spitting distance of fully financing its relocation to 19270 Sonoma Highway. Officials expect to close escrow on the new site in coming weeks, with plans to begin treating… Continue Reading >>

Vintage Fest takes over Plaza this weekend

It’s the last weekend in September, which means it’s Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival time. California’s second longest-running festival marks its 116th year in Sonoma with a community celebration of the harvest season this weekend. “We’re always celebrating the history,” said Maria Toimil, president of the all-volunteer Vintage Festival board, who added that they… Continue Reading >>

Following the dream

Unlike Maricela and her family (profiled in part one), who were pulled toward Sonoma by the hope of prosperity that the American dream promises, Noe, a grape-picker originally from Jalisco, a rural Mexican town with a landscape similar to Sonoma’s, was pushed out by desperate conditions.

Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms at B.R. Cohn (David Bolling/Index-Tribune)

B.R. Cohn rocks the vineyards

Although Saturday’s downpour rained out a few acts, the sun dried out dancers by the early afternoon who quickly got back to swaying to “Takin’ It to the Streets” when the Doobie Brothers took to the stage.

Sonoma Valley Hospital a true blessing

Editor, Index-Tribune: A few Sundays back I fell and shattered my left elbow. Being a long-time resident of Sonoma Valley, I have found having the proximity of our small district hospital a source of solace and comfort when afflicted with the trauma of broken hips and now an elbow. I want our community to realize… Continue Reading >>

To the manor born?

Editor, Index-Tribune: In the article on the proposed Sidewalk Trip-Hazard Repair Policy (“Sonoma’s expensive sidewalk surprise,” Index-Tribune Sept. 20), Assistant Attorney John Abaci is quoted as saying, “My understanding from this proposal is to remedy those conditions that are found to be hazardous to the public and do it in a manor that will be… Continue Reading >>