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Letters to the Editor, Feb. 9 - 12

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Doesn’t pass the smell test

EDITOR: Jason, thanks for your very well-written and presented article about the recent concern over the ginkgo at the Plaza (“City in a Stink Over Plaza ‘Poop’ Trees,” Feb. 2).

While the argument for future planting of such trees on City land is worth a debate, I agree.

Yet, I question the fiscal and practical aspect of tearing down some really lovely trees just because some people don’t like the smell or the mess.

If that is their only reason and the criteria for tearing down a magnificent tree, then most trees in any urban landscape, would have to go. The loss of those trees would leave some very noticeable gaps in the vegetation outline along the Plaza footprint.

Also, in terms of clean up and maintenance, all trees have some sort of maintaining. How are the three ginkgo trees at the Plaza more of a burden or hardship than any others? What about that mighty Eucalyptus at the Plaza that sheds and gives off smells too?

How did these ginkgo trees suddenly become a burden when they have been at the Plaza for generations?

What about the water that will be needed for new trees? Is not Sonoma drought conscious? Saplings typically require lots of attention, including extra water, etc.

What took decades to grow, will now have to be repeated, regardless of the species of tree. If one is looking at this from a cost and environmental point of view, then tearing them out seems a waste. It also seems contrary to Sonoma’s fiscal and environmental committments, as well as its historical integrity.

And, if this is all just a clever bureaucratic way of getting some tree removal crews a job via subcontract, that is only temporary – why not keep them and have those tree crews on a regular basis? That way, they have a job and people get to enjoy the shade and beauty of some trees that took decades to grow. Trees make the Plaza beautiful. The Plaza is what brings tourists to the area. I hope City Council sees and understands that fact.

I happened to see on the web that there is info both praising the tree and viewing it as one tree which should be planted only in moderation. No doubt, there will be follow up on this issue. Thanks again for your article.

Jonathan Farrell

Sonoma

Here’s to our health!

EDITOR: At last Thursday’s Sonoma Valley Healthcare District board meeting, the directors approved a formal alliance and collaboration with UCSF (“Sonoma Hospital to Affiliate with UCSF,” Feb. 6).

The combination of UCSF, a world class health care provider, with Sonoma Valley Hospital, our wonderful local community hospital, is extremely significant!

This will expand the offerings available to us locally while ensuring we have access to the best and brightest professionals in health care.

My hat is off to the SVH board and management for taking the initiative to ensure we continue to grow our health care offerings and capabilities… and now available in our own backyard!

The prospect of collaborating with UCSF makes our local hospital even more deserving of our support. This thinking outside the box is indicative of the progressive leadership in place! The critical SVH Emergency Room and now the UCSF alliance and collaboration is key for keeping our community healthy and well served.

Thanks to both institutions for helping all of us in the Sonoma Valley.

Gary D. Nelson

Sonoma Valley

The pathway not taken

EDITOR: I want to thank you for providing a successful Honors English pathway for my children at Sonoma Valley High School. I believe the pathways you currently have work very well for our students and should not be changed (“Honors English: To Be, Or Not to Be,” Jan. 26).

One of my children has struggled with English since he began talking. Freshman honors English was definitely not an option for him. The SVHS system worked and he learned a lot in college-prep English his freshman and sophomore years and it now getting a solid B in Mrs. Manchester’s 11th grade honors English (arguably one of the best and hardest English teachers at the high school). This could prepare him to take Advanced Placement his senior year, or continue on with Honors English (if it continues to be offered.) He struggled with the decision to take honors English this year. If there were no honors track, he would not have been prepared to jump into AP English. The honors track allowed his teacher to separate out some of the students that were advancing more than others. It allowed him to have a class of students with his similar abilities, which enabled his confidence and continued development to flourish.

I’ve heard people often say that Sonoma Valley High School is great for the really smart kids, and great for those needing services at the bottom levels, but that it really doesn’t provide for the middle of the road kids. I always speak up when I hear this to tell people our experience: SVHS does a wonderful job for the development of middle of the road students. And part of why SVHS excels is because they offer pathways that don’t force students to be with either the very top students, or grouped in a large group of “all others.” There is a pathway that lets them develop at a slightly slower pace than that of the AP track. Thank you for providing that for my student. His confidence and writing ability has grown phenomenally. I do not believe he would have had the same outcome without the availability of honors English in 11th (and 12th) grades.

Joanna Greenslade

Sonoma Valley

Keep the Wheels turning

EDITOR: We are writing to let you know of the critical shortage of drivers your local Meals on Wheels program is currently experiencing. In so doing, we hope some of you will answer our call for help.

Delivering meals to the homebound is a vitally important function. Not only are you delivering two nutritious meals per day, you may also be the sole human contact that person experiences on any given day.

We have openings for regular, as well as relief, drivers. As a regular driver, you will be delivering meals to approximately 10 clients one day per week. As a relief driver, you will be delivering when one of our regular drivers is unable to fulfill his or her function. In both cases the time commitment is approximately an hour to an hour-and-a-half per day.

We would so appreciate hearing from any of you who might like to help; you can contact us at 935-9141.

Sue Holman and Susan Weeks

Co-Directors, Meals on Wheels of Sonoma