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This is a rendering of what the interior of the Sonoma Cheese Factory would look like after it's remodeled. Photo courtesy of Ross Drulis Cusenberry

Big changes coming to Cheese Factory

A major expansion of the Sonoma Cheese Factory and its location are being considered. If approved by the city, the plan would build a walk-way and courtyard, directly linking the Sonoma Plaza with the Casa Grande parking lot and Depot Park to the north.

Council OKs five-year water rate hike

In order to be denied the ability to raise water rates on Sonoma residents, the City Council on Monday would have needed 2,177 written letters of protest submitted by local property owners.

Maribel Campos was named the 2014 Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley Youth of the Year. Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune

Maribel Campos named Youth of the Year

Maribel Campos’ moving speech began with a quote by positive thinking author Norman Vincent Peale: “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Maggie Espinosa, of San Diego, ended her 796-mile Mission Walk on Nov. 5, her 54th birthday.

San Diegan completes Mission walk

Maggie Espinosa completed her 796-mile Mission walk at Sonoma’s Mission San Francisco Solano on her 54th birthday, feeling tired, elated and emotional.

Tully Meyer, 10, a Cub Scout in Pack 16, was one of numerous Scouts sorting food at the Fiesta Plaza last Saturday during the annual Scouting for Food Drive. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts collected almost 3,500 pounds of food – enough to fill about 120 boxes. The total was about 1,000 pounds more than the Scouts collected last year. All of the food is for FISH's Christmas baskets that go to the needy. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Sorting food for FISH

Jaren Kneeland , 10, a Cub Scout in Pack 16, was one of numerous Scouts sorting food at the Fiesta Plaza last Saturday during the annual Scouting for Food Drive. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts collected almost 3,500 pounds of food – enough to fill about 120 boxes. The total was about 1,000 pounds more than the Scouts collected last year. All of the food is for FISH’s Christmas baskets that go to the needy.

Casa De Sonoma resident Kim Orellana, who suffers from diabetes and multiple sclerosis has been given a notice to vacate from the owners of  Casa De Sonoma on First Street West. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Apartment owner boots tenants

Imagine the following story: A 51-year-old single mother, living on a fixed income, bound to a wheelchair and suffering from type-one diabetes and multiple sclerosis, is told in October that her monthly rent at Casa De Sonoma on First Street West will be raised $100. Three weeks later, she is told she is being tossed out from the premises.

Members of the Sonoma County Library Commission will take a hard look at the coming year's budget following the defeat of Measure M, the Library Improvement Act, earlier this month. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Tough loss for library supporters

Brett Lear couldn’t hide his disappointment following the defeat of Measure M, the county’s Library Improvement Act, earlier this month.

Fourteen-year-old Madison Kate Temkin wants to represent the United 
States in a future Olympic Games as an equestrian.

Young equestrian has Olympic dream

Madison Kate Temkin is a 14-year-old who already states her long-term goal with a firm voice and look-you-straight-in-the-eye conviction that makes her sound like a seasoned corporate executive.

Sonoma Gateway proposal causes concern over size

Plans for a development at the old Sonoma Truck and Auto location are steadily taking shape, with city officials and members of the public giving more feedback at last week’s Planning Commission meeting.

Rent control board kills proposed rate hike

A contentious public hearing between de Anza Moon Valley Mobile Home residents, park owners De Anza LLC and Terra Vista Management, Inc. played to a standing-room-only crowd Nov. 12, at the city’s Rent Control Review Board hearing in City Council chambers.

Virginia Hayes, who has an extensive background in retail and marketing,  has opened "G's" General Store on West Napa Street. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

G’s brings a little Connecticut to Sonoma

Virginia Hayes opened “G’s” General Store at 19 W. Napa St. earlier this month. She spent a lifetime working behind the scenes in retail and now wanted to run her own business. She found a perfect location in the heart of Sonoma’s historic Plaza, looking across the street toward the park and city hall.

Raceway’s food drive to end Nov. 24

Only one week remains to help those in need this holiday season, as Sonoma Raceway’s 14th annual Thanksgiving Food Drive comes to a close on Monday, Nov. 24.

Sponsors sought for wreaths

The annual Wreaths Across America is set for Saturday, Dec. 13, with local ceremonies at 8:45 a.m. at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park.

Several hundred Sonoma Valley residents showed up Friday evening for the inaugural “Lighting of the Plaza.” Sonoma Mayor Tom Rouse was the master of ceremonies as Stephan Stubbins, with Transcendence Theatre Company, put some Sonoma lyrics to the song, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Stubbins first sang for the crowd, then led them on a sing-along as the lights around the Plaza came on. The event was hosted by the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. After, people wandered through the lighted trees – and this couple took a “selfie.” Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Let there be light(s)

Several hundred Sonoma Valley residents showed up Friday evening for the inaugural “Lighting of the Plaza.” Sonoma Mayor Tom Rouse was the master of ceremonies as Stephan Stubbins, with Transcendence Theatre Company, put some Sonoma lyrics to the song, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Stubbins first sang for the crowd, then led them on a sing-along as the lights around the Plaza came on. The event was hosted by the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. After, people wandered through the lighted trees – and this couple took a “selfie.”

Arnold Drive will get a facelift

Construction for a one-mile section of Arnold Drive from the north end of the bridge over Sonoma Creek in Glen Ellen to the Highway 12 intersection will get underway next week.

Submitted photo
Sonoma officials, including Mayor Tom Rouse, met with a delegation from the Sonoma-Tokaj Sister City Committee, and the Tokaj-Sonoma Association on Nov. 6. The nine-member Hungarian delegation were in town to introduce a wine marketing program called Furmint USA.

Mayor meets Hungarian delegation

Sonoma Mayor Tom Rouse welcomed a delegation that included Tokaj, Hungary, Mayor Janos Majer on Nov. 6, at City Hall. Attending were City of Sonoma officials, Sonoma Sister City officers, the Sonoma-Tokaj Sister City Committee, and the Tokaj-Sonoma Association.

Linus Maurer, the namesake of the blanket-wielding philosopher in “Peanuts," has been drawing cartoon for the Index-Tribune for more than 25 years. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

A man of many styles

When Linus Maurer was a boy, he knew he wanted to draw cartoons. Now he’s closing in on 90, and has lived his life in fulfillment of that wish.

The Blue Wing Inn on East Spain Street, which was undergoing a seismic facelift, was damaged in the August quake that shook the North Bay. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Napa quake delayed Blue Wing repairs

Last summer’s earthquake in Napa caused serious damage to the historic Blue Wing Inn on East Spain Street. California State Park officials said the ripple effects created damages severe enough that it forced delays in the continued restoration of the 19th-century adobe building.

School board mulls pool costs

Before the school board proceeds with a decision on a proposed pool at Sonoma Valley High, the committee looking at the school’s Facility Master Plan will get a look at a report with the costs.

Gabriel Preciado, from Steiny and Company, adjusts the Madrone Road sign on the newly installed traffic light pole. Weather permitting, the intersection of Madrone Road and Highway 12 will be striped on Thursday night and the lights will be turned on soon after. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Almost done

Gabriel Preciado, from Steiny and Company, adjusts the Madrone Road sign on the newly installed traffic light pole. Weather permitting, the intersection of Madrone Road and Highway 12 will be striped on Thursday night and the lights will be turned on soon after.

Council could OK water rate increase

Much of Monday night’s City Council meeting has been set aside for an issue hanging over Sonoma residents like a rain cloud: water rate increases.