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The summer vanished all too quickly for area students. Monday was the first day of school in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. At El Verano Elementary School, 5-year-old Ty Clark, a kindergarten student in Barbara Marek’s class, was playing with some plastic shapes while his parents, Stephanie and Jason looked on. Other area schools will be starting classes various days over the next week. Motorists should be aware of students going to and from school and remember to stop for buses. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

First day of school

The summer vanished all too quickly for area students. Monday was the first day of school in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. At El Verano Elementary School, 5-year-old Ty Clark, a kindergarten student in Barbara Marek’s class, was playing with some plastic shapes while his parents, Stephanie and Jason looked on. Other area schools will be starting classes various days over the next week. Motorists should be aware of students going to and from school and remember to stop for buses.

Online survey to gauge businesses

Sonoma Valley has more than 2,000 businesses, and the Economic Development Partnership of the city and the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce is hoping to hear from many of them.

Book sale kicks off Wednesday at library

The mid-summer Friends of the Sonoma Valley Library book sale will be held Wednesday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Aug. 23. The sale features a huge selection of books for everybody’s pleasure, from escapist fiction to practical how-to’s, to downright decadent coffee table “visual feast” books, plus about everything in between, including CDs, audiobooks, DVDs, VHS,… Continue Reading >>

Preservation group marks 45 years

The Sonoma League for Historic Preservation is celebrating 45 years of service in preserving Sonoma’s historic structures with a Sapphire Anniversary fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, in the gardens of the Maysonnave House, 291 First St. E. The evening will include Sonoma Valley wines, tapas, finger foods and live music by The Carrtunes. There will be a presentation… Continue Reading >>

Highway 12 could be bid late this year

It’ll now be close to the end of the year before the Highway 12 sidewalks and streetlight project is sent out to bid again, which means the project has been pushed back to 2015. The long-awaited project had been bid back in April, but when the county started opening the bids, it noticed some anomalies.… Continue Reading >>

This is a rendering of what the hotel would look like from West Napa Street.

Early praise for new hotel design

The proposal for a 59-room hotel on West Napa Street near the Plaza is off to a good start, based on feedback given at Thursday night’s city Planning Commission meeting. Of several local residents who spoke Thursday, and the Planning Commission members that followed, almost no one had a negative thing to say about the… Continue Reading >>

THE SONOMA COUNTY WATER AGENCY has posted four signs along the bike path that follows Fryer Creek, explaining what happened on July 23 when a clogged culvert opened and drained the creek. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Water Agency: ‘We hear you’

Sonoma County Water Agency officials say they have heard the complaints of residents regarding Fryer Creek, which drained suddenly three weeks ago to the shock of many who regularly enjoy the waterway.

The parking lot at Flowery Elementary School gets a new coat of ashphalt last month. Every school in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District had improvements done over the summer. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Sonoma spiffs schools

When Sonoma Valley students return to school Monday, they’ll find campuses that have been spiffed up over the summer.

DEETS WINSLOW, who led the Dragons to nine SCL titles and one NCS Redwood Empire Duals crown in 20 years, instructs Dragon wrestler Giordi Serafini, working on techniques with assistant coach Kyle Baird at the 2010 SCL Championships. Steven Serafini/Index-Tribune

Reflections on the life of Deets Winslow

Wrestling communities in the Valley and throughout Northern California were jolted by the tragic death of Roger “Deets” Winslow, who was killed in a boating accident last Saturday, Aug. 9, at Lake Berryessa in Napa County.

PAUL BARRON, marketing and community relations team leader for Whole Foods, corrals some healthy lunch food. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Kids can build a lunch Sunday at Whole Foods

With students heading back to school this week, Whole Foods Market in Sonoma is offering its popular Build-Your-Own lunch event this Sunday, Aug. 17. Local elementary school students and their families are invited to stop by from 1 to 3 p.m. for this free event.

Valley business survey launched

Sonoma Valley has more than 2,000 businesses, and the Economic Development Partnership of the city and the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce is hoping to hear from many of them.

Schools face huge increase in pension costs

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District board learned Tuesday that pension reform is coming – at a high price. At Tuesday’s school board meeting, John Bartolome, the district’s chief business officer, told the board that by the 2020-21 fiscal year, the district will be paying an additional $1.9 million a year into the California State… Continue Reading >>

This is a rendering of what the swimming pool complex could look like.

City still mulling $500K pool loan

The Sonoma City Council held a study session last Thursday, Aug. 7, to discuss the terms of a proposed $500,000 loan to the Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association (SVHRA), the nonprofit organization incorporating Sonoma Splash, a citizens group hoping to build a community pool.

Sonoma’s Kent Larson recently retired from the board at the Charles Schwab Bank, where he was a respected and esteemed director for many years. To honor his time served, and pay tribute to his immeasurable contributions, Charles Schwab Bank donated a check for $50,000 to the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance in his name. From left are Charles Schwab Bank President Paul Woolway, Mentoring Alliance Executive Director Kathy Witkowicki, program director Tina Baldry, board member Patsy Wynne and Charles Schwab Bank Vice President Michael Solomon.

Honoring Kent Larson

Sonoma’s Kent Larson recently retired from the board at the Charles Schwab Bank, where he was a respected and esteemed director for many years. To honor his time served, and pay tribute to his immeasurable contributions, Charles Schwab Bank donated a check for $50,000 to the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance in his name.

WORKERS AT GLORIA FERRER CAVES AND VINEYARDS started harvesting pinot noir grapes for its sparkling wines on Aug. 4. A Gloria Ferrer spokeswoman said it’s one of the earliest harvests on record and the earliest since 2004, when the harvest started on Aug. 2. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Grape growers see quality year

For grape growers throughout Sonoma Valley and the rest of Wine Country, the story is the same: This year’s dry but easygoing weather has yielded an early, excellent crop.