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New law keeps teens from driving and texting

Drivers under the age of 18 will be prohibited from texting, even if their cellphone is connected to a hands-free device, under a new state law that takes effect Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Park visitors picnic before a 2012 performance by Transcendence Theatre Company. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Jack London State Historic Park on the rebound

At the bottom of the fiscal trough that was California’s budget crisis, Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen was one of some 70 state parks slated for indefinite closure.

County DUIs hit double digits over holidays

Sonoma County drivers have been keeping California Highway Patrol officers busy over the past couple weeks thanks to drunken revelers, repeat offenders and a wanted felon from Ft. Bragg.

Around the region

The organizer of Cotati’s yearly accordion festival was arrested in his Petaluma home for possessing three pounds of cocaine, police said.

AFTER WORKING at Baksheesh since 2005, and running it for the last four years, Sofie Wastell bought the Sonoma Plaza store, which remains fully fair trade but will operate under a new name. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Baksheesh sold to longtime employee

After nearly 20 years in Sonoma and a decade on the Sonoma Plaza, Baksheesh will ring in the new year with a new owner – and a new name.

SONOMA COUNTY SHERIFF’S deputies arrested James Rivas on May 1, after a three-hour manhunt. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Manhunt subject gets four years

A man who was the object of a citywide manhunt in May pleaded no contest to three charges and was sentenced last month to four years in prison.

Council watcher Herb Golenpaul died Dec. 13 at the age of 92.

Herb Golenpaul passes at 92

The public record is unclear about when Herb Golenpaul first attended a meeting of the Sonoma City Council – his wife, Tessa, thinks it was sometime around 2005 – but once he did, he quickly became a fixture, selecting a seat in the first two or three rows, close to the public podium where he frequently rose to lecture members of the council or question their decisions.

EIGHT-YEAR-OLD CARTER HARRIS was helping to set the tables on Christmas Day at Vintage House. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Volunteers offer Christmas meals

While stockings were hung by the chimney with care on Tuesday, many Sonomans were preparing food with care in readiness for charitable activities Christmas Day.

Presentation School students Catherine Flaherty, 13; Megan James, 13; Olivia Williams, 12; Katelynn Kelly, 12; Maggie Nugent, 13; Hannah Porter, 14 and Alexandra Barber, 14, sang a mixture of religious and secular Christmas carols last week to an audience of about 20 at Vintage Sonoma. The students were accompanied by their music teacher, Lynn McArthur, on piano. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Caroling at Vintage Sonoma

Presentation School students Catherine Flaherty, 13; Megan James, 13; Olivia Williams, 12; Katelynn Kelly, 12; Maggie Nugent, 13; Hannah Porter, 14 and Alexandra Barber, 14, sang a mixture of religious and secular Christmas carols last week to an audience of about 20 at Vintage Sonoma. The students were accompanied by their music teacher, Lynn McArthur, on piano.

RAY MULAS demonstrates the dry soil in a field that should have oat hay growing nearly half a foot tall. Don Frances/Index-Tribune

Valley farmers hit hard by dry spell

“We shouldn’t be able to drive where we’re going to drive,” Ray Mulas said Monday. It was another sunny December day on his dairy farm off Highway 121 – sunny, crisp and dry, dry, dry.

HYDROLOGIST JENNY CHERNEY takes soil samples and digs test wells at Montini Open Space Preserve on Fifth Street West as part of an integrated water project. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Searching for water solutions

The City of Sonoma, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma Ecology Center are collaborating on a series of integrated projects to better manage Valley water, with the most recent work creating a highly visible presence at Montini Open Space Preserve.

Birders will be out in force Friday for the 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count.

Audubon bird count set Friday

The 114th Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place in on Friday, Dec. 27, in bird rich Sonoma and Petaluma watersheds from dawn to dusk.

Saturday was the 10th annual caroling through Glen Ellen, and it was probably more popular with the adults than the kids. For two hours, Neil Shepard and his Clydesdales pulled wagons of children and adults through the streets of Glen Ellen. Santa accompanied the revelers who sang carols with Bob Gossett lending his musical expertise on the guitar. Yvonne Soto-Pomeroy/Index-Tribune

Caroling around Glen Ellen

Saturday was the 10th annual caroling through Glen Ellen, and it was probably more popular with the adults than the kids. For two hours, Neil Shepard and his Clydesdales pulled wagons of children and adults through the streets of Glen Ellen. Santa accompanied the revelers who sang carols with Bob Gossett lending his musical expertise on the guitar.

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 gets new golf cart

Once plagued with two golf carts that chugged along ever so slowly, Sonoma Valley High School now has an almost-new, donated cart zipping about, with a second replacement a twinkling possibility, awaiting another wave of community support.

Mike Smith, center, a FISH volunteer, makes a last minute check of food boxes while 13-year-old Jesus Morales, left, and Jorge Morales, right, wait to load them into vehicles Friday morning at Hanna Boys Center. FISH gave out almost 400 Christmas food baskets last Friday. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Last minute checking

Mike Smith, center, a FISH volunteer, makes a last minute check of food boxes while 13-year-old Jesus Morales, left, and Jorge Morales, right, wait to load them into vehicles Friday morning at Hanna Boys Center. FISH gave out almost 400 Christmas food baskets last Friday.