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Cash for carts

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 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

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In the global context of great issues – climate change, terrorism, clean water, poverty – a couple of high school golf carts don’t move the social Richter needle very far. And when those carts are old and decrepit, then you’ve got a serious problem.

But if you’re a maintenance worker at Sonoma Valley High School, and golf carts are what you use to haul trash, material and sometimes disabled people around a large campus – then they assume a role of disproportionate importance in your life.

Which is how things were at Sonoma Valley High School, at least until Steve Kyle, a member of the Teacher Support Network who has been volunteering to help students there with Senior Project essays, noticed that the school’s two dilapidated golf carts were well past their operational lifespan and were on the verge of total collapse.

Kyle, as reported in Tuesday’s edition of the Index-Tribune, brought the need for new carts to the attention of folks at Sonoma Golf Course who came up with a lightly-used, almost-new cart they happily donated to the high school.

That gift reportedly brought tears to the eyes of at least one school employee, and it was immediately pressed into service, whereupon the remaining old cart virtually disintegrated.

Kyle, who never met a cause he couldn’t help, spread the word about the ongoing cart need and the Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley pledged a matching grant of $5,000 toward purchase of a new, $10,000 utility cart with a flat cargo bed, expressly designed to address the needs of the high school. If the community can kick in the other $5,000 the school will have all its cart needs covered into the foreseeable future.

Kyle is urging anyone interested to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to Rotary to complete the purchase price. Checks can be made out to Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley, and mailed to Cart Fund, Rotary, P.O. Box 910, Sonoma 95476.

Goodbye to Herb Golenpaul

He was never elected to public office and never had official standing with the City of Sonoma, but Herb Golenpaul sometimes left the impression he was the sixth member of the five-person City Council, and no one doubted he cared as much about city business and the decisions guiding Sonoma as anyone sitting on the council dais.

One of the words Golenpaul’s widow, Tessa, used to describe her husband was “constant.” He was always there when she needed him.

That description aptly defines Herb’s presence in the council chambers, where he sat session-after-session, year-after-year, near the front row and close to the public podium, rising to address the council early and often, standing ramrod straight, speaking both forcefully and succinctly, rarely if ever exceeding the three-minute time limit on public comment.

Herb held strong opinions, was never shy about sharing them and was usually well informed, even if his facts were sometimes simply wrong. He heaped ample criticism on the City Council, but was equally lavish with his praise when he felt it was deserved.

As president of the Pueblo Serena Homeowners Association, he advocated tirelessly against conversion of mobile home parks to subdivisions and gave loud voice to the concerns of his neighbors and fellow park residents.

Herb Golenpaul died, at 92, on Dec. 13. He made a difference and will be sorely missed.

  • Celeste Winders

    Herb Golenpaul was the best part of City Council. He was this amazing presence in the room and Sonoma could always count on him being there and speaking up. He was never aligned with any one council member, he called them all out equally and without hesitation. He often said what so many were thinking and sometimes what many of us had never even thought of until he mentioned it.
    My favorite council memory was when council moved to change the date of council meetings because a newly elected member couldn’t meet on the current meeting date due to a scheduling conflict. Herb stood up and said exactly what many people thought (myself included) asking why he even ran for the position if he couldn’t meet on council meeting days then he told the council he had things to do too but he managed to be here every meeting because it was important. He had a point and he made it without pause or hesitation. They still changed the meeting date but Herb called out the elephant in the room and I remember talking to many people after that meeting who all loved that he said it.
    Herb was kind, steadfast and wonderful. I often have said I wanted to be just like him when I grew up and I still do. I have spoken at a few City Council meetings and often on topics where there was great discussion and debate, and Herb was a constant and level headed voice of reason in the room always and I always appreciated seeing him sitting in the room. I will miss him dearly and there is not a huge void in council chambers that I just cannot imagine will ever be filled. I thank him for all his service in his 92 years and he is a wonderful example of a life well lived. My condolences to his wife and family and my gratitude to them for sharing this wonderful man with our little town. Herb was a gift. RIP Herb.

  • The Village Idiot

    Had Herb Golenpaul ever run for City Council, he would have garnered more votes — from citizens of all political persuasions — than any ever elected to the dais. If he is not chosen as next years Alcalde, the honor should be tossed in the trash.