Month: December 2017

Guerneville man charged with Main Street robbery | News – Sonoma West

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Guerneville man on a robbery charge in downtown Guerneville last Saturday morning.

Jeffrey Pate

Jeffrey Pate, 36, was arrested about 10:30 a.m. near Church and Main streets, according to the sheriff’s office report.

Pate, whose address was listed as “transient,” remained in Sonoma County jail this week on a felony robbery charge. His bail was set at  $50,000.

Pate also was arrested by deputies last January when he was taken into custody for burglary and resisting arrest after reportedly trying to break into a woman’s residence in Guerneville on Drake Road. Sheriff’s substation deputies arrested Pate on Jan. 7 after responding to a 911 call from a woman reporting a man was trying to break into her home.

The woman said an intruder was tapping on her windows and trying to open her doors about 9:23 p.m. when she “yelled at him and he hid under her back stairs,” said the sheriff’s office report.

Deputies from the river substation who responded to the residence found a man without pants in the backyard, according to the sheriff’s report. When deputies confronted Pate, he ran away and crawled into a drainage pipe, then reappeared from a culvert and swam across Pocket Canyon Creek near Guerneville River Park on Highway 116.

“He was last seen climbing the embankment whereupon he fled into the dark woods,” said the sheriff’s report. “Deputies were able find the man hiding in a hollowed out tree near a resort on Neeley Road.”

When Pate ignored orders to surrender, the sheriff’s K9 dog, Falko, was brought in to help with the arrest and was able to drag Pate out of the tree.

“While attempting to take the man into custody, he violently resisted and fought the deputies,” said the sheriff’s report.

Pate was charged with attempted burglary, prowling, assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest. He was also charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance and violation of probation.

Guerneville church for sale | News – Sonoma West

Tenants fretting their future

Guerneville’s venerable Community Church property is up for sale, leaving a half dozen social service tenants uncertain about their future at the 2.5-acre property on Armstrong Woods Road.

The West County Community Services Empowerment Center, a free-food pantry, and non-profit FM radio KGGV (“The Bridge”) are among the permanent tenants renting church space.

However, a dwindling congregation and the expense of replacing the church’s damaged bridge across Fife Creek are taking a financial toll resulting in the decision to put the church property up for sale, said church representative Kit Mariah.

“We have not been able to resolve the bridge problem,” said Mariah. “We’re just not equipped. We don’t have the personnel.”

Mariah said she is reluctant to announce an asking price yet for the property, which has not been publicly listed. The market value will be affected because of lost parking access and the uncertain cost of solving the bridge problem, said Mariah.

When the property is listed it will be with Debra Johnson at Guerneville’s Berkshire Hathaway real estate office, said Mariah.  

Mariah said the church hopes to find a buyer that can fix the bridge and allow existing tenants to continue renting.

“Otherwise all these groups will have to relocate,” she said.

The church property also houses social service providers such as the St. Vincent de Paul—Salvation Army food pantry, weekly  Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and the West County Community Services Empowerment Center, which offers daily self-help services and programs for people with mental illness and  disabilities.

With the bridge was closed to vehicles, pantry volunteers have carried  food on carts and wheelbarrows, and musicians performing at music concerts have lugged instruments and sound equipment from Armstrong Woods Road over the pedestrian bridge.

When the bridge over the creek at the entrance to the church parking lot was found unsafe for vehicle traffic last year, Mariah said “we thought it was just a matter of going to the county and applying for a permit” for repairs.

Instead, they found the old timber bridge needs to be replaced with a new span that meets fire protection load requirements, projected to cost more than $100,000 and require federal, state and county permits and environmental studies.

The loss of vehicular access to the church parking lot has hit church revenues and activities, including the number of days when people book the church’s Birkhofer Hall for weddings, concerts and community fundraisers.

“We’re not in a position financially to deal with it,” said Mariah. “It’s going to take someone who’s better connected to solve this problem.”

Up until last year the church property was also on a county short list of sites under consideration for a permanent Russian River area homeless services center, but opposition from the next door Guerneville School, scuttled that possibility.

With the bridge closed to car traffic and little parking for special events, rentals have declined, said Mariah. The Dec. 23 holiday concert by the River Choir is the only event remaining on this year’s calendar.

The church still holds Sunday services that attract a small but loyal congregation, now down to about a dozen people from approximately 100 in the church’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s.   

Mariah said the church’s “small band of disciples” will find a new home, but “we don’t intend to close the church.”

“We can rent the senior center, or go to someone’s house,” said Mariah, who noted the church has been serving Guerneville since 1895.