Cash for carts

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.