Freeze Warning Lower Russian RiverLocal Weather Alerts

Freeze Warning
...freeze Warning Remains In Effect From 1 Am To 8 Am Pst Monday... * What...minimum Temperatures Between 28 And 32 Degrees Expected Over The Normally Colder Areas Of The San Joaquin Valley Prior To Daybreak Monday With Widespread Frost. * Where...the Central And Southern San Joaquin Valley. ...Read More.
Effective: November 30, 2020 at 1:00amExpires: November 30, 2020 at 8:00amTarget Area: Bakersfield; Eastern San Joaquin Valley in Kern County; Foggy Bottom; Fresno; Merced and Madera; San Joaquin Confluence; Southern Kings County; Tulare County; Western San Joaquin Valley; Western San Joaquin Valley in Kern County

River Rotary gives 19 scholarships to El Molino High School students
Local News

River Rotary gives 19 scholarships to El Molino High School students

The Russian River Rotary gave $27,000 in scholarships to 19 El Molino High School seniors at the Rotary’s annual scholarship awards celebration at Northwood Restaurant in Monte Rio Tuesday evening, May 8. Each student told about his or her plans for future education and careers.

Since 1979 the Russian River Rotarians, with 18 current members, have given more than $200,000 in scholarships to graduating El Molino seniors. They also give thousands of dollars every year to El Molino programs, and they give scholarships to Laguna High School students.

This year Nik Stires was selected to receive the Rotary’s top award, its John Jordan Scholarship in honor of the John Jordan Foundation’s support for education in Sonoma County.

Zoe Herron-Mocnik received the Rotary’s annual Samuel J. Pullaro scholarship, given in honor of the beloved educator who spent 43 years in the Guerneville School District, including 27 years as superintendent from 1972 to 1999.

“His legacy continues with you,” the Rotarians told Herron-Mocnik, who plans to be a teacher.

The other recipients were Caycie Hyde, Alethea Caddick, Patrick Palmer, Jack Fricker, Madison Potts, Lily Dimond, Antonio Moya, Sara Flores, Vivian Begley, Alicia Montano, John Clay Serrano, Abraham Martinez, Evelin Ramirez, Marcela Sanchez Carmona, Carmelo Salas, Justin Schaap and Domenico Piazza.

–Frank Robertson

Keeping the Faith: Win one for the Skipper
Local News

Keeping the Faith: Win one for the Skipper

Stumptown Daze came early this year, and the Stumptown Parade down Guerneville’s main thoroughfare is already blending into old memories of marching bands, hillbilly ensembles on pickups, well turned out horses and riders, kids scrambling for flying candy, and roaring, wailing fire trucks. But Grand Marshal Skip Cassady, smiling and waving from an open car, brought a particularly vivid memory my way.

When I was pastor of the Guerneville Community Church, my office window looked out on the schoolyard next door. I watched an entire generation grow up, framed by my office window. Among others, I watched Donna Hines get skinned knees there, and I watched her kids get skinned knees there too.

I noticed how third graders struggle with their games. I can’t remember a third grade baseball game in which anyone was ever gotten out. Everything that happens, even a strikeout, becomes a home run. That’s because any third grader can circle the bases faster than any other third grader can catch the ball, drop it, chase it, pick it up and throw it, only to have it caught, dropped, chased, picked up and thrown again.

When fourth graders take the field, it’s as if a different species has evolved. These youngsters can catch, throw, hit, slide and execute the double play. Furthermore, they have acquired many of the mannerisms of the big leaguers they watch on television. They hold the bat high and wiggle it with a menacing motion. They assume that hands-on-hips athletic pose of a professional batter in the on deck circle. They even chew (sugarless gum, I hope) and spit.

But in all of this, my greatest thrill in over 20 years of watching kids play sports on the Guerneville School athletic field, was watching Skip Cassady play football. Skip’s legs were sort of crooked and seemed not to respond well to his intentions. And so Skip got to and from the field on those light aluminum crutches that make a person look sort of spidery when they’re in use.

But crutches and all, from the first moment I saw him, I could tell Skip was going to spend a lot of time on the playing field. It was obvious he loved sports, and he wasn’t going to be a mere spectator. He was going to play the game.

By seventh grade, Skip was center for the Guerneville Gators football team. He would hike the ball between his crutches and his legs, and get in some defender’s way, helping out as best he could. No one ever brought a livelier spirit to the game. No one ever tried harder or gave more of himself.

There is no finer example of what a school sports program is for than when Skip Cassady, smiling his big smile, took the field and played football for the Guerneville Gators.

Skip went on to become manager of sports teams at El Molino High, from which he graduated in 1983. He’s been the announcer and scorekeeper at El Molino games, and he continues as a chief El Molino athletics booster. He still has troublesome legs, a wonderful smile and a winning spirit. He was a great choice for grand marshall of this year’s parade.

And because of Skip, I have one of the clearest pictures of courage I have ever seen: Skip Cassady, crutches flying every which way, running onto the football field to take his position over the ball. The Guerneville Gators and El Molino Lions would do well to take as their motto “Let’s win one for the Skipper.”

Bob Jones is the former minister of the Guerneville and Monte Rio Community Church.

Sebastopol Police and Sheriff Logs: May 21-27, 2018
Local News

Sebastopol Police and Sheriff Logs: May 21-27, 2018

The following are excerpted from Sebastopol Police Department daily log entries and the log entries of the Sonoma County Sheriff for the west county area.

The Sebastopol Police Log

MONDAY, MAY 21

12:45 a.m. Possession of controlled substance paraphernalia on Gravenstein Highway North. Arrest made.

2:24 p.m. Willful cruelty to child at Sebastopol plaza. Pending review by district attorney.

6:02 p.m. Obstructing/resisting a peace officer at market on McKinley Street.

8:07 p.m. Bench warrant, misdemeanor at Sebastopol Police Department. Arrest made.

10:35 p.m. Bench warrant, misdemeanor at business on North Main Street. Arrest made.

TUESDAY, MAY 22

6:55 a.m. Outside agency bench warrant, misdemeanor at Sebastopol Police Department. Arrest made.

7:45 a.m. Violation of conditional release at store on North Main Street.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

8:28 p.m. Shoplifting at market on Gravenstein Highway North. Arrest made.

THURSDAY, MAY 24

3:53 a.m. No proof of auto insurance, leaving scene of accident on Zimpher Drive. Pending review by district attorney.

FRIDAY, MAY 25

5:30 p.m. Assault with a non-firearm deadly weapon at service station on Highway 12. Pending further investigation.

11:32 p.m. Bench warrant, felony at business on Sebastopol Avenue. Arrest made.

SATURDAY, MAY 26

8:31 p.m. Bench warrant, misdemeanor at Ragle Ranch Park. Arrest made.

SUNDAY, MAY 27

12:44 a.m. Violation of conditional release on Sebastopol Road. Arrest made.

6:23 p.m. Disorderly conduct related to alcohol and violation of conditional release at market on Gravenstein Highway North. Arrest made.

11:14 p.m. Outside agency warrant, felony and possession of a controlled substance on Sebastopol Avenue. Arrest made.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department

MONDAY, MAY 21

7:21 a.m. Suspicious person at Third Street and Church Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

7:32 a.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied on Fourth Street and Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville. Homeless related.

8:07 a.m. Warrant attempt at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.

2:15 p.m. Warrant attempt at Fifth Street, Church Street and Sycamore Court, Guerneville. Arrest made.

10:34 p.m. Disturbance at Fire Road and Watson Road, Guerneville.

TUESDAY, MAY 22

3:52 a.m. Found person at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

11:44 a.m. Verbal disturbance at Bay Avenue and Willow Road, Rio Nido.

12:01 p.m. Suspicious person at Foothill Boulevard and Old River Road, Guerneville.

12:56 p.m. Suspicious vehicle at Laurel Dell Avenue and Sylvan Way, Duncans Mills.

4:13 p.m. Disturbance at First Street and Sheriff’s Department Guerneville substation.

6:01 p.m. Suspicious circumstances at Wright Drive and Wright Lane, Guerneville.

8:48 p.m. Traffic stop at Dubrava Way, Guernewood Lane and Highway 116 North. Reprimand and release.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

12:51 a.m. Traffic stop at Bohemian Highway, D Street and Highway 116 North, Monte Rio. Reprimand and release.

1:23 a.m. Suicide attempt at Fifth Street and West Street, Monte Rio.

9:10 a.m. Suspicious vehicle at Willow Road and Wood Road, Rio Nido. Reprimand and release.

9:18 a.m. Suspicious circumstances at Fourth Street and Brookside Lane, Guerneville.

10:26 a.m. Suspicious vehicle on Old Monte Rio Road and Santa Rosa Avenue, Guerneville. Coroner’s case.

1:08 p.m. Battery report on Drake Road and Guerne Way, Guerneville. Pending investigation.

4:01 p.m. Suspicious person at Third Street and Mill Street, Guerenville.

6:43 p.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied on First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

9:00 p.m. Suspicious person at Main Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

9:21 p.m. Suspicious person at F Street, Foothill Drive and Hill Street, Monte Rio.

11:26 p.m. Suspicious vehicle on Bohemian Highway and Church Street, Monte Rio.

THURSDAY, MAY 24

12:46 a.m. Stolen vehicle recovery at First Street and Sheriff’s Department Guerneville substation. Arrest made.

9:11 a.m. Resisting a peace officer at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

11:11 a.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied at Eagle Nest Lane and River Road, Rio Nido.

11:52 a.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied at Old Monte Rio Road and Santa Rosa Avenue, Guerneville. Reprimand and release.

2:58 p.m. Dumping/littering at Sequoia Ridge Road and Silvia Drive, Cazadero.

7:13 p.m. Coroner’s case at Doran Beach Road and Doran Park Road, Bodega Bay.

10:54 p.m. Violation of probation at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.

FRIDAY, MAY 25

12:50 a.m. Suspicious person at Hazel Way, Main Street and South Street, Monte Rio.

1:33 a.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied at Church Street and Highway 116 North, Monte Rio.

1:45 a.m. Traffic stop at Highway 116 North and Redwood Drive, Monte Rio. Reprimand and release.

1:54 a.m. Warrant attempt at Brookside Lane, Highway 116 North and Main Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.

7:29 a.m. Traffic stop at Bonita Avenue and River Road, Guerneville. Reprimand and release.

7:07 p.m. Warrant attempt at First Street and Sheriff’s Department Guerneville substation. Arrest made.

10:12 p.m. Call for help at Armstrong Woods Road and Laughlin Road, Guerneville. Homeless related.

10:47 p.m. Verbal disturbance at Armstrong Woods Road and Woodland Drive, Guerneville. Homeless related.

SATURDAY, MAY 26

1:16 a.m. DUI at Forest Hills Road and River Road, Forestville. CHP Arrest made.

3:13 a.m. Suspicious person at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

4:42 a.m. Suspicious circumstances at Third Street and Mill Street, Guerneville.

8:47 a.m. Music disturbance at Mesa Grande Terrace and Monte Vista Terrace, Duncans Mills.

9:30 a.m. Civil situation at Kingston Avenue and Mill Street, Monte Rio.

11:23 a.m. Suspicious vehicle at Eagle Nest Lane and River Road, Rio Nido. Homeless related.

11:39 a.m. Suspicious vehicle at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

12:23 p.m. Violation of probation at Main Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.

3:25 p.m. Battery just occurred at Benson Road and Lark Drive, Guerneville. Resolved.

8:08 p.m. Drunk in public at First Street and Sheriff’s Department Guerneville substation. Homeless related.

11:36 p.m. Suspicious person at Third Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.

SUNDAY, MAY 27

1:41 a.m. Suspicious person at Middle Terrace, Starrett Hill Drive and Terrace Road, Monte Rio.

3:40 a.m. Traffic stop at Odd Fellows Park Road and River Road, Korbel. Reprimand and release.

9:26 a.m. Suspicious vehicle at River Road and Sunset Avenue, Forestville. Citation given.

12:20 a.m. Traffic stop at Highway 116 North, River Road and Old River Road, Guerneville. Reprimand and release.

1:05 p.m. Civil situation at Fly Cloud Road and Timber Ridge Road, Sea Ranch.

1:52 p.m. Suspicious person at Fourth Street and Church Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

2:06 p.m. Security check at Grays Road and River Road, Forestville. Citation given.

2:19 p.m. Traffic stop at Meyers Grade Road and Smith Ridge Road, Fort Ross. Reprimand and release.

4:25 p.m. Promiscuous shooting at Guernewood Road and Neeley Road, Guerneville.

4:57 p.m. Promiscuous shooting at Duncan Road and Siri Road, Guerneville.

7:26 p.m. Suspicious person at Third Street and Church Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

7:40 p.m. Illegal entry at Benson Road and Lark Drive, Guerneville. Homeless related.

7:41 p.m. Suspicious person at Armstrong Woods Road and Woodland Drive, Guerneville. Homeless related.

10:08 p.m. Suspicious person at Fourth Street and Brookside Lane, Guerneville. Arrest made.

10:31 p.m. Disturbance at River Drive and River Road, Forestville.

Brees Secures Wooden Jersey for Purdue
Local News

Brees Secures Wooden Jersey for Purdue

May 30, 2018WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As soon as Drew Brees found out that an authentic John Wooden Purdue basketball jersey was going to auction, the former Purdue All-American quarterback wanted to win it for his alma mater.

The auction closed in the early-morning hours May 18, and bidding was serious among several interested parties. Purdue memorabilia guru Orlando Itin made Brees aware of the jersey – at the suggestion of senior associate athletics director Tom Schott – and bid on his behalf.

Brees is a collector himself, but from the onset, his intention was to loan the circa-1930s Wooden jersey to Purdue for display at Mackey Arena. Schott will work with memorabilia experts and curators to determine an appropriate presentation location and to have it insured.

“This jersey clearly belongs at Purdue, and I am excited we will have it on display for Boilermaker fans to see,” said Brees, who announced the acquisition at a John Purdue Club event Tuesday in Jeffersonville, Indiana. “I told Orlando we had to get it, and we did.”

Brees won with a total purchase price of $264,000 to ensure that the jersey would be coming home to Purdue. That amount is in addition to the more than $3 million that Drew and his wife, Brittany, have contributed to Purdue since 2007.

The consigner of the museum-quality item, John Neff of Guerneville, California, received the jersey following the death of his grandfather, Frank, who attended Purdue at the same time as Wooden, and the two remained in touch through the years. According to the Neff family, Wooden gave Frank the jersey.

Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services (MEARS), a leading sports memorabilia evaluation company, authenticated the jersey, which experts believe is the only one of its kind.

“I believe it is the rarest piece of college basketball memorabilia in existence,” Itin said.

A standout player at Purdue from 1930 to 1932, Wooden was a three-time All-American and the 1932 National Player of the Year. As a senior, he averaged 12.2 points per game in leading the Boilermakers to a 17-1 record and the Big Ten Championship. Purdue was named national champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation.

Wooden went on to be the head coach at UCLA from 1948 to 1975, amassing a 620-147 record, an extraordinary .808 winning percentage. The Bruins captured 10 national championships, including seven in a row from 1966 to 1973, and 19 Pac-10 titles. They put together unfathomable winning streaks of 88 games and 38 NCAA Tournament contests.

A native of Martinsville, Indiana, Wooden is one of just three individuals enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player (1961) and a coach (1973).

Sewer pipe inspections proposed for Guerneville to Geyserville
Local News

Sewer pipe inspections proposed for Guerneville to Geyserville

Property owners in Sonoma County sewer districts from Geyserville to Guerneville could face sewer pipe inspections and mandatory repairs under a proposed county sewer lateral ordinance under consideration.

The Sonoma County Water Agency will host community meetings in June and July to explain the proposed new lateral inspection plan and get public comment from residents in Geyserville, Larkfield-Wikiup, Guerneville, the town of Occidental and the Sea Ranch community.

“From research, we know that private sewers typically require repair after 20 or 30 years,” said Fourth District Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, who is also a Water Agency director. “In several neighborhoods, field inspectors have reported excessive flows in the sewer system – an indication that storm water has entered the sewer and repairs are needed.”

Gore, in his role as a north county supervisor, also serves as a director to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup and Geyserville Sanitation Zones.

The ordinance would give the Water Agency the ability to inspect, and if necessary, require the repair of sewer laterals that are failing and contributing to pollution and sewer overflows, according to a recent Water Agency’s announcement.

“The Water Agency and its sanitation zones are committed to working with property owners to address this challenge together,” said Gore.

The proposed ordinance “would not include mandatory inspections or repairs at this time, but would allow the Water Agency to require repairs if faulty laterals are detected during their own scheduled inspections,” said the agency’s notice.

The ordinance covers five Sonoma County sanitation jurisdictions: the Geyserville and Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup sanitation zones, the Russian River County Sanitation District and the Occidental County Sanitation District and the Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone, all managed by the Water Agency.

The ordinance aims to reduce the “inflow and infiltration” process through which storm water enters the sewer collection system during storms, said the Water Agency. “During a heavy rain, storm water getting into the sewer system from cracked or improperly connected private laterals can overwhelm the sanitary system, resulting in sewer overflows. These overflows pollute creeks, and can damage private property and result in fines to the zone or district.”

Reducing inflow and infiltration “is an essential measure to protect our waterways and reduce risk to private property,” said Fifth District Sonoma County Supervisor and Water Agency Director Lynda Hopkins, who also serves as a sanitation district director for the five sewer districts. “The Water Agency is taking proactive steps to maintain the public infrastructure.”

The first meeting will address the Geyserville and Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zones and is scheduled on Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Boulevard in Santa Rosa.

The Russian River County Sanitation District and Occidental County Sanitation District meeting takes place on Tuesday, June 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Monte Rio Community Center.

The Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone meeting is scheduled on Saturday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sea Ranch in the Del Mar Recreation  Center, 20600 Leeward Road.

The Water Agency anticipates that a proposed ordinance would go to the Board of Directors in fall of 2018 and, if approved, would take effect a year later, said Water Agency Public Information Officer Ann DuBay.

The effort to create a sewer lateral inspection program is part of a legal settlement stemming from lawsuits filed by California River Watch, the non-profit environmental watchdog group that files lawsuits accusing local government entities of noncompliance with state and federal anti-pollution laws.

Two years ago the Sonoma County Water Agency settled one River Watch lawsuit over alleged water quality violations at the Russian River Sanitation District. The settlement included $25,000 in legal fees and costs paid to River Watch and a requirement that the Water Agency develop a private sewer lateral ordinance for the district.

As a result of the River Watch litigation settlement, DuBay said, “We are systematically looking at sewer laterals and how they can be replaced so we don’t have as many overflows that we do in big storms. The idea is to replace sewer laterals that are failing.”

The Russian River Sanitation District that covers Guerneville went into service in the early 1980s so most of the sewer laterals are now reaching or have passed the 30-year benchmark for inspection and repair.

“We wouldn’t say categorically they all need repair,” said DuBay. “We definitely want to have them inspected.”

Inspections can be done by a licensed plumber using cameras that examine the interior of the lateral pipe. Estimates indicate the typical cost would run around $200 and up, said DuBay.

Interview: The 100th Anniversary Celebration of Johnson's Beach in Guerneville
Local News

Interview: The 100th Anniversary Celebration of Johnson's Beach in Guerneville

Dan Poirier and Nick Moore, co-owners of Johnson’s Beach, share a preview of the Centennial Concert and Russian River Blues Festival, Saturday June 9th and Sunday, June 10th.

They share with Pat how they became only the fourth owners of the property over the past one hundred years, the family tradition of the beach through the generations, the musicians that will be performing during the two-day celebration, the outdoor sports and swimming you can enjoy, and the types of locals and tourists who visit the property:

http://dehayf5mhw1h7.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/726/2018/05/29124519/05_29_2018_935_JohnsonsBeach100th_DanPoirierNickMoore.mp3

The Centennial Concert and Russian River Blues Festival:

Performance Lineup

Tickets

Homeless grant will fund Guerneville street clean-up
Local News

Homeless grant will fund Guerneville street clean-up

Homeless people will get hired to help cleanup downtown Guerneville’s streets this summer in exchange for meals, bus rides and movie tickets.

Sonoma County supervisors agreed to spend approximately $47,000 last week to fund a plan to recruit up to two-dozen homeless residents to work in teams cleaning the town streets twice a week.

“I hope to be part of it,” said Anthony Golden, a Guerneville homeless resident who has voluntarily helped clean Guerneville’s streets in the past.

So far he hasn’t heard about the new cleanup project, but he would be willing to sign up, said Golden, who was shoveling gravel last Sunday out in front of the old Guerneville church on First Street. “I guess the money has to go through channels.”

The Guerneville “CleanStreets” project approved last week will enlist the homeless to participate in downtown Guerneville cleanup events in exchange for vouchers for transportation, movie passes, meals “and other incentives,” said Sonoma County Community Development Commission Executive Director Margaret Van Vliet in her report to the Board of Supervisors. “The program will engage unsheltered persons by increasing participation in the larger lower Russian River community, ultimately changing the perception of community members towards homeless persons.”

The grant proposal, from Clean River Alliance working under the auspices of the Russian Riverkeeper, the non-profit Healdsburg-based environmental watchdog program, will enable Chris Brokate of the Clean River Alliance to recruit and coordinate weekly teams of up to six people to pick up trash and do other downtown cleanup chores. The cleanup will target downtown streets from the Highway 116 Bridge to Mill Street and from First Street to Fifth Street.

Clean River Alliance will recruit an estimated 15 to 24 homeless residents and train them in “safe and effective trash collection techniques, and complete 60 (twice weekly) town trash cleanups,” said Van Vliet in her report.

The homeless participants in the cleanup program will learn “soft job skills and will be engaged in housing and shelter services,” said Van Vliet.

Brokate and his Clean River Alliance effort, working under the auspices of the non-profit Russian Riverkeeper, got $100,000 earlier this year for a one-year Clean Camp and Education Program to facilitate homeless camp cleanups along the river and provide homeless camp residents with advice on how to be neater campers.

“Establishing relationships with unsheltered homeless persons offers Clean River Alliance the opportunity to provide environmental education while engaging homeless persons in debris cleanup efforts,” said Van Vliet’s report.

“These activities reduce the amount of waste in the river, engage the homeless population with services, build community relations between homeless and housed populations, and support the broader effort to move people towards shelter and housing opportunities,” said Van Vliet.

Also last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a total of $318,000 in lower Russian River grant funds targeting homelessness issues mainly in the Guerneville area.

Social Advocates For Youth (SAY) will get $70,000 to expand its Lower Russian River Housing Services program. West County Community Services (WCCS) was awarded $176,915 for rapid rehousing program.

West County Health Centers (WCHC) was awarded an additional $30,000 to support the training of their access coordinator team to aid people experiencing homelessness in the lower Russian River area.

SSU unveils new wine learning center
Local News

SSU unveils new wine learning center

(1 of ) A Sonoma State University student skateboards past the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(2 of ) A lectern with a computer screen is seen inside one of the technologically advanced classrooms at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(3 of ) Decorative wine bottles are seen in the lobby of the new Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(4 of ) Sonoma State University students play a pickup game of soccer in front of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(5 of ) Sonoma State University’s Dr. John Stayton, left, executive director of graduate and executive business programs, and Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute, share a laugh while giving a tour of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(6 of ) One of the student lounge areas at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(7 of ) Sonoma State University students mill around outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(8 of ) One of the student lounge areas, with outside views of university grounds, at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(9 of ) Sonoma State University English/creative writing major Jason Brendel of Windsor takes a moment to relax from finals at the Bouchaine Vineyards Terrace and Garden outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(10 of ) A view of the pyramid-shaped skylights at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(11 of ) An inside view of the iconic pyramid-shaped skylights at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(12 of ) A view of the Peter Michael Winery Executive Classrom at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(13 of ) A row of new vines grow outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)
Sewer pipe inspections proposed for Guerneville to Geyserville – Sonoma West
Local News

Sewer pipe inspections proposed for Guerneville to Geyserville – Sonoma West

Property owners in Sonoma County sewer districts from Geyserville to Guerneville could face sewer pipe inspections and mandatory repairs under a proposed county sewer lateral ordinance under consideration.

The Sonoma County Water Agency will host community meetings in June and July to explain the proposed new lateral inspection plan and get public comment from residents in Geyserville, Larkfield-Wikiup, Guerneville, the town of Occidental and the Sea Ranch community.

“From research, we know that private sewers typically require repair after 20 or 30 years,” said Fourth District Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, who is also a Water Agency director. “In several neighborhoods, field inspectors have reported excessive flows in the sewer system – an indication that storm water has entered the sewer and repairs are needed.”

Gore, in his role as a north county supervisor, also serves as a director to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup and Geyserville Sanitation Zones.

The ordinance would give the Water Agency the ability to inspect, and if necessary, require the repair of sewer laterals that are failing and contributing to pollution and sewer overflows, according to a recent Water Agency’s announcement.

“The Water Agency and its sanitation zones are committed to working with property owners to address this challenge together,” said Gore.

The proposed ordinance “would not include mandatory inspections or repairs at this time, but would allow the Water Agency to require repairs if faulty laterals are detected during their own scheduled inspections,” said the agency’s notice.

The ordinance covers five Sonoma County sanitation jurisdictions: the Geyserville and Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup sanitation zones, the Russian River County Sanitation District and the Occidental County Sanitation District and the Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone, all managed by the Water Agency.

The ordinance aims to reduce the “inflow and infiltration” process through which storm water enters the sewer collection system during storms, said the Water Agency. “During a heavy rain, storm water getting into the sewer system from cracked or improperly connected private laterals can overwhelm the sanitary system, resulting in sewer overflows. These overflows pollute creeks, and can damage private property and result in fines to the zone or district.”

Reducing inflow and infiltration “is an essential measure to protect our waterways and reduce risk to private property,” said Fifth District Sonoma County Supervisor and Water Agency Director Lynda Hopkins, who also serves as a sanitation district director for the five sewer districts. “The Water Agency is taking proactive steps to maintain the public infrastructure.”

The first meeting will address the Geyserville and Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup Sanitation Zones and is scheduled on Tuesday, June 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Boulevard in Santa Rosa.

The Russian River County Sanitation District and Occidental County Sanitation District meeting takes place on Tuesday, June 26, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Monte Rio Community Center.

The Sea Ranch Sanitation Zone meeting is scheduled on Saturday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sea Ranch in the Del Mar Recreation  Center, 20600 Leeward Road.

The Water Agency anticipates that a proposed ordinance would go to the Board of Directors in fall of 2018 and, if approved, would take effect a year later, said Water Agency Public Information Officer Ann DuBay.

The effort to create a sewer lateral inspection program is part of a legal settlement stemming from lawsuits filed by California River Watch, the non-profit environmental watchdog group that files lawsuits accusing local government entities of noncompliance with state and federal anti-pollution laws.

Two years ago the Sonoma County Water Agency settled one River Watch lawsuit over alleged water quality violations at the Russian River Sanitation District. The settlement included $25,000 in legal fees and costs paid to River Watch and a requirement that the Water Agency develop a private sewer lateral ordinance for the district.

As a result of the River Watch litigation settlement, DuBay said, “We are systematically looking at sewer laterals and how they can be replaced so we don’t have as many overflows that we do in big storms. The idea is to replace sewer laterals that are failing.”

The Russian River Sanitation District that covers Guerneville went into service in the early 1980s so most of the sewer laterals are now reaching or have passed the 30-year benchmark for inspection and repair.

“We wouldn’t say categorically they all need repair,” said DuBay. “We definitely want to have them inspected.”

Inspections can be done by a licensed plumber using cameras that examine the interior of the lateral pipe. Estimates indicate the typical cost would run around $200 and up, said DuBay.

Sonoma State University's wine business program takes root with new learning center
Local News

Sonoma State University's wine business program takes root with new learning center

(1 of ) A Sonoma State University student skateboards past the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(2 of ) A lectern with a computer screen is seen inside one of the technologically advanced classrooms at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(3 of ) Decorative wine bottles are seen in the lobby of the new Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(4 of ) Sonoma State University students play a pickup game of soccer in front of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(5 of ) Sonoma State University’s Dr. John Stayton, left, executive director of graduate and executive business programs, and Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute, share a laugh while giving a tour of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(6 of ) One of the student lounge areas at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(7 of ) Sonoma State University students mill around outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(8 of ) One of the student lounge areas, with outside views of university grounds, at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(9 of ) Sonoma State University English/creative writing major Jason Brendel of Windsor takes a moment to relax from finals at the Bouchaine Vineyards Terrace and Garden outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(10 of ) A view of the pyramid-shaped skylights at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(11 of ) An inside view of the iconic pyramid-shaped skylights at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, which is part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(12 of ) A view of the Peter Michael Winery Executive Classrom at the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

(13 of ) A row of new vines grow outside the Wine Spectator Learning Center, part of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)