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Aretah Ettarh, a student at the Culinary Institute of America, serves pancakes at Saturday morning's pancake breakfast on the Plaza. People started lining up at 8 a.m. for the free breakfast to commemorate the opening of the William-Sonoma store that morning. Somewhere between 800 and 1,000 guests were served at the breakfast. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

New Williams-Sonoma opens

On his 99th birthday last Thursday, Chuck Williams personally cut the ribbon and opened the new/old Williams-Sonoma store on Broadway, in the exact spot where he began what is now an international kitchenware chain.

St. Francis, Prestwood ‘Walk & Roll’

St. Francis Solano School and Prestwood Elementary School will be joining schools across Sonoma County Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the world-wide celebration of International Walk to School Day, doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion and improve community health and safety

Alice Friessen has volunteered more than 12,000 hours at Sonoma Valley Hospital since 1980. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Alice is ‘always on the move’

If it’s Friday, you’ll find Alice Friesen volunteering her time at Sonoma Valley Hospital, just as she’s done every Friday for the last 34 years.

THE SONOMA VALLEY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER will receive a $211,840 grant for its soon-to-be-open dental clinic. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Health center gets grant for dental clinic

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson announced that the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center will receive a $211,840 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).

Sonoma’s 2014 street rehab project started Thursday on the west side. As part of a $736,823 contract, Argonaut Construction crews will be replacing water service lines, repaving and build 16 new handicap ramps. The project will use more than 2,500 tons of asphalt. Work is due to be completed in 45 working days. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Street repairs start

Sonoma’s 2014 street rehab project started Thursday on the west side. As part of a $736,823 contract, Argonaut Construction crews will be replacing water service lines, repaving and build 16 new handicap ramps. The project will use more than 2,500 tons of asphalt. Work is due to be completed in 45 working days.

Sustainable farming fest at Jack London

On Sunday, Oct. 5, at Jack London State Historic Park, the Jack London Sustainability Farm Festival will highlight Jack London’s legacy as a farming pioneer and connect with the innovators of today and their vision to preserve the land for tomorrow.

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.

Gary Saperstein and Wendy Peterson serenade Sondra Bernstein Friday at the Tops in Sonoma breakfast. Bernstein's the girl & the fig was named Business of the Year by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

‘Tops’ of Sonoma Valley businesses

The very best of Sonoma’s business community came together to honor their contributions to the Valley during a morning brimming over with laughter and tears on Friday. The annual Tops of Sonoma recognized businesses old and new, including the Business of the Year, the girl & the fig.

HUGH HELM, of Oakmont, makes some notes on one of the maps Thursday evening at a meeting to discuss the Sonoma Valley bike and pedestrian trail. Helm wants to make sure the trail connects with trails in Santa Rosa. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

County gets bike trail feedback

About 40 people attended the first of three study sessions Thursday for the proposed Sonoma Valley bike and pedestrian trail that would run from Melita Road to Agua Caliente Road.

THENA TRYGSTAD was named the Sonoma 2014 Treasure Artist of the Year on Thursday. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Trygstad this year’s Treasure Artist

With bold, surrealist art made from found objects, Thena Trygstad’s signature style can be spotted from across a room. A bird cage becomes a hollowed-out doll and a fish is transformed into a wheeled contraption with her unique artistic touch.

The annual Plein Air Festival brought artists from across the country to capture the beauty of Sonoma Valley, all while benefiting local arts education. Professional paintings made during the week were offered for sale during an artistic festival on Saturday, Sept. 20. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Plaza Paintings

The annual Plein Air Festival brought artists from across the country to capture the beauty of Sonoma Valley, all while benefiting local arts education. Professional paintings made during the week were offered for sale during an artistic festival on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The Rev. Mike Kelly, pastor at St. Francis Solano Catholic Church, blessed the grapes and the wine Saturday morning as part of the kickoff to the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival. The festival attracted crowds to the Plaza all day Saturday and Sunday for what is billed as the oldest festival in California. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Blessed are the grapes

The Rev. Mike Kelly, pastor at St. Francis Solano Catholic Church, blessed the grapes and the wine Saturday morning as part of the kickoff to the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival. The festival attracted crowds to the Plaza all day Saturday and Sunday for what is billed as the oldest festival in California.

Jack London State Historic Park hosts farm festival on Sunday

On Sunday, Oct. 5, at Jack London State Historic Park, the Jack London Sustainability Farm Festival will highlight the famed writer’s legacy as a farming pioneer. Attendees can connect with innovators of today and hear about their vision to preserve the land for tomorrow.

For the third year, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival held its parade on Saturday night. The one-block-long parade was a hit as people lined both sides of Spain Street. Festival Vice President Robert Friedman said the parade would be “short and sweet.” And it was, lasting about a half-hour. The Soroptimists of Sonoma Valley were among the organizations to enter a float in the parade. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Everyone loves a parade

For the third year, the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival held its parade on Saturday night.

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.

Eight vie for three city council seats

There are eight candidates running for three seats on the Sonoma City council, including one incumbent and three other familiar faces from previous elections.

IGNACIO FIGUERAS, best known as Nacho, a world-famous polo player, takes a 7-year-old Giant Steps client named Grace Anne for a ride on his polo pony. Drew Altizer Photography/Special to the Index-Tribune

Nacho and Giant Steps draw polo crowd

Polo isn’t new to Sonoma Valley – it’s been played at the Wild Oak Saddle Club in Oakmont since about 1975 – but it may never have reached the heights of elegant attention in the Valley that it received Sept. 20, when the St. Regis Cup arrived at Wild Oak, in company with international star Ignacio Figueras, best known as Nacho.