Month: May 2018

Home and garden happenings

OCCIDENTAL

Beauty for the naked eye

Western Hills Garden is offering tours of plants in full bloom on Saturdays. The Giant Puya chilensis, for instance, is only flowering for the second time in 40 years. Another plant you can catch at its most fetching is the newest Chiranthodendron pentadactylon “Monkey’s Hand Tree” now in bloom. There will also be a big assortment of plants for sale, including those propagated from the garden, and there’s no charge to shop in the nursery. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 16250 Coleman Valley Rd., westernhillsgarden.com., 707-872-5463.

HEALDSBURG

Tea and memories in the rose garden

The Russian River Rose Co. invite people to come to their Healdsburg rose garden during Memorial Day weekend to quietly remember loved ones in a beautiful and fragrant setting.

“Tea and Memories in the Rose Garden” is a chance to sip tea, stroll through the gardens in the glory of their peak May bloom and place a personal message to a loved one on their Memorial Wishing Tree. As the weekend progresses the tree becomes filled with fluttering messages.

Visitors can also sample the nursery’s estate produced rose water and rose water sorbet and stroll the garden, filled with 650 varieties of roses. This is the last open garden of the spring season, so the nursery will be filled with plants on sale.

Cost is $4 per person, which includes tea. No reservations required. People are asked not to bring pets or picnics. 1685 Magnolia Dr., Healdsburg. 707-433-7455 or russian-river-rose.com.

GUERNEVILLE

Straw bale gardening

Marybeth Hull will teach people how to create a garden in a straw bale during a free workshop today. This will likely appeal to the alternative or beginning gardener. Perhaps you live in a place with poor or no soil. Or perhaps you wish you had raised beds, but dread the expense of constructing them. Straw bale gardening also is a great option for the disabled gardener or one with limited space. The master gardener will explain the pros and cons in Sonoma County. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Guerneville Regional Library, 14107, Armstrong Woods Rd.

CALISTOGA

Last call at Forni-Brown

Forni-Brown Gardens has long supplied some of Napa Valley’s premiere restaurants with fresh produce. Every spring they invite home growers to come to their Calistoga garden to stock up on summer starts.

The season is winding down but there are still a few more chances to claim some of their tested tomatoes, eggplants, squash, cucumbers, melons, cantaloupes, peppers, salad greens and herbs. The garden is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mary 18-19 and May 24-26.

This is also the last chance to visit the garden at its current location. The owners have announced that changes are afoot, which may include restructuring and relocating the garden, long located on Cedar Street, two blocks behind the Calistoga Inn and Brewery. The entrance is marked by a sign at 1214 Pie Street announcing “Plant Sale Today.”

For more information call 707-942-6123 or email fornibrowngarden@aol.com.

ROHNERT PARK

Tending native oaks

April Lynch will talk about these majestic trees and how to best care for them today. Lynch will detail 12 native oak trees and shrubs which can be found in the varied environments of Sonoma County. The presentation will be 90 minutes, with 15 minutes for questions. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library, 6250 Lynne Condé Way.

Savory Pinot Noirs

TOP PICK

Benziger

Benziger, 2016 Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 14.2% alcohol, $45. ★★★★

This is an earthy pinot that’s elegant with bright fruit of black cherry and raspberry. It has a touch of tobacco and a whisper of white pepper. This pinot has great balance and a lingering cherry finish. Lovely.

TASTY ALTERNATIVES

Sea Smoke, 2015 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 14.5%, $65. ★★★★1/2: The Sea Smoke has explosive fruit and savory notes of cedar and herbs in the mix. The fruit is concentrated and generous — strawberry and raspberry — with a hint of cherry. Crisp balance. Nice length. It’s pricey but if you have the disposable income, it’s well worth the splurge.

Siduri, 2015 John Sebastiano Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 14.2%, $50. ★★★★: Those who relish savory will find this pinot striking because it’s earthy and even a bit gamy. What’s more, it’s complex with layered notes of boysenberry and cola, and it has impeccable balance. Smart.

Three Sticks, 2016 PFV Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 14.5%, $65. ★★★★: This pinot’s savory appeal comes from its blend of plum and spice. Buoyed with crisp acid, it also has high-toned strawberry fruit, with a hint of blackberry. But it ultimately wins you over with its supple texture.

Portlandia, 2015 Oregon Pinot Noir, 13.5%, $20. ★★★★: This is a rustic pinot that has a great quench of red fruit — cherry, plum and a hint of cranberry. It has an edge, this pinot, and its earthiness is matched by its powerhouse fruit. Rock star.

Cloverdale, Russian River and Sonoma Coast dominate Sonoma County home sales

Cloverdale, the Russian River and the Sonoma Coast — three areas unscathed by October’s devastating wildfires — together saw a jump in home purchases this year that nearly equals all sales in 2018 for Sonoma County’s residential real estate market.

The three regions each saw home sales increase by 40 percent or more in 2018 compared to a year earlier, according to The Press Democrat’s monthly housing report compiled by Pacific Union International senior vice president Rick Laws. Property owners in those communities together sold 59 more homes during the first four months of the year than in the same period of 2017.

In comparison, sales for the entire county grew by 61 homes during that period, an increase of 5 percent from a year earlier.

Several reasons are given for the increased sales in those areas. Some buyers may be looking farther afield after last fall’s deadly wildfires, which destroyed nearly 5,300 homes in and around Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley. Some owners apparently decided that record prices make for a good time to sell, even if it means leaving the county. And out-of-area buyers continue to seek second homes at the coast, the river area and Wine Country.

“We have several folks who were fire victims who decided to buy out here,” said Steve Hecht, a broker associate at Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty in Bodega Bay.

Most coastal sales still involve those purchasing second homes, he said, but the fire survivors “certainly had an impact” of the increased sales.

The county’s real estate market has recorded six years of rising prices in the aftermath of a national housing crash that began in 2007. During that tumult, the county’s median price hit a low of $305,000 in February 2009.

The median price ended April at $685,000, less than 1 percent below the record high of $689,000 set two months earlier in February. The price increased nearly 11 percent from a year earlier.

April ended with fewer than 680 homes for sale, an increase of nearly 2 percent from a year earlier. That total amounts to less than two months’ worth of inventory at the current sales pace, which is generally considered a sign of a seller’s market.

On a countywide basis, the market data look similar to last year, agents and brokers said. But the picture changes when the focus turns to individual communities within the county.

Laws called it significant that so many more homes have been sold this year in Cloverdale and along the Russian River.

“I think buyers are going out to wherever they can find affordable housing,” he said.

Ron Pavelka and his wife, Jane, are Pacific Union agents in Cloverdale, and he said many homeowners there have decided this year is the right time to place their properties on the market.

“We do have a fair number of people who are putting their homes up for sale and moving out of the county,” he said.

Susan Packer, an agent with Zephyr Real Estate Russian River in Guerneville, said most properties listed along the river are getting multiple offers this year. The buyers include fire survivors, retirees and commuters to the county’s Highway 101 corridor.

Suspect charged in 2004 cold case of couple shot dead in sleeping bags on California beach

Jason Allen, left, of Michigan, and Lindsay Cutshall, of Ohio, are shown at their wedding shower in May 2004 at the home of Jason’s parents, Bob and Dolores Allen, location unknown.

AP

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. — A man arrested last year in the cold case of a couple found shot dead in sleeping bags on a northern California beach has been charged with their murders, reports the Napa Valley Register. Shaun Gallon, 39, was charged Friday with killing Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and Jason Allen, 26, in August of 2004, the paper reports. 

Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office also reportedly charged the Forestville man with the shooting death of his brother Shamus Michael Gallon in March 2017 and attempted murder in a package bombing in Guerneville in June 2004.

The complaint states an assault rifle was used in all three slayings, according to the paper.

The mystery surrounding the couple’s 2004 beach campsite killing long had drawn national attention: The bodies of Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen were found next to each other on a driftwood-strewn beach near Jenner, California, on Aug. 18, 2004. They were scheduled to be married a month later.

Shaun Gallon

CBS San Francisco

The two Christian youth-camp workers were still zipped into their sleeping bags, and authorities believe they were shot in the head as they slept.

Cutshall, a native of Fresno, Ohio, and Allen, from Zeeland, Michigan, had been on a weekend trip. They worked at a Christian youth camp in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills.

Authorities have said neither victim was robbed or sexually assaulted.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Shaun Gallon became a suspect in the double slaying. In March of that year, Gallon was arrested for the shooting death of his brother in the family’s home in Forestville, a rural community 66 miles north of San Francisco. Then-Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said at the time that Gallon was “well-known to authorities” and that he was a person of interest in the 2004 case, reported CBS San Francisco.

Questioned about the 2004 killings while in custody in his brother’s case, Gallon had relayed “information about the killings that no other person could have known,” Freitas said in May of last year, as he announced investigators believed him to be the. 

“We feel confident we have Jason and Lindsay’s killer,” he said.

Authorities have since found further corroborating evidence, he said.

No motive in the 2004 case has ever been made public. Freitas said authorities believed the killing of the young couple was random, and that there was no previous connection between the two and the suspect.

Authorities previously said they also were still trying to find a motive in the shooting death of Gallon’s brother, Shamus, saying there was no known conflict between the two before the shooting.

Gamus was also charged with attempted murder in a 2004 incident in which a bomb inside a package was left on top of a couple’s car in Guerneville, the paper reports. The device exploded, leaving a man with hand, arm and facial injuries.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s office told the paper they intend to try all three murder charges and the attempted murder charges together.

Gallon reportedly appeared in court on Monday but didn’t enter a plea. He is scheduled for another court date June 19.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Man charged with 2004 Northern California beach slayings

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) – (05-17-18) – A Northern California man has been charged with killing a Midwestern couple as they slept on a remote beach more than a decade ago.

Authorities Wednesday said Shaun Gallon of Forestville was charged last week with two counts of murder. He appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court on Monday but didn’t enter a plea.

Prosecutors say Gallon used a rifle to shoot 22-year-old Lindsay Cushall of Ohio and her fiance, 26-year-old Jason Allen of Michigan, as they lay in sleeping bags on Fish Head Beach in Jenner in August of 2004.

Authorities say Gallon didn’t know the couple, who were on a sightseeing trip.

Gallon already was charged with shooting to death his brother last year and trying to kill a man with a package bomb in Guerneville in 2004.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Man Charged With 2004 Northern California Beach Slayings of Michigan Man & Ohio Woman

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (CBS Detroit/ AP) – A California man has been charged with killing a Midwestern couple as they slept on a remote beach more than a decade ago.

Authorities Wednesday said Shaun Gallon of Forestville was charged last week with two counts of murder. He appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court on Monday but didn’t enter a plea.

Prosecutors say Gallon used a rifle to shoot 22-year-old Lindsay Cushall of Fresno, Ohio and her fiance, 26-year-old Jason Allen of Zeeland, Michigan, as they lay in sleeping bags on Fish Head Beach in Jenner in August of 2004.

Authorities say Gallon didn’t know the couple, who were on a sightseeing trip.

Gallon already was charged with shooting to death his brother last year and trying to kill a man with a package bomb in Guerneville in 2004.

© 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Man charged with 2014 Northern California beach slayings

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California man has been charged with killing a Midwestern couple as they slept on a remote beach more than a decade ago.

Authorities Wednesday said Shaun Gallon of Forestville was charged last week with two counts of murder. He appeared in Sonoma County Superior Court on Monday but didn’t enter a plea.

Prosecutors say Gallon used a rifle to shoot 22-year-old Lindsay Cushall of Ohio and her fiance, 26-year-old Jason Allen of Michigan, as they lay in sleeping bags on Fish Head Beach in Jenner in August of 2004.

Authorities say Gallon didn’t know the couple, who were on a sightseeing trip.

Gallon already was charged with shooting to death his brother last year and trying to kill a man with a package bomb in Guerneville in 2004.

Sonoma County survivalist charged with mysterious killings on Jenner beach

A Sonoma County survivalist who has long been known for strange and violent behavior — and who already stood accused of gunning down his brother — has been charged with murdering a young engaged couple in August 2004 as they lay in sleeping bags on a beach in Jenner.

Shaun Michael Gallon, the lead suspect in the Jenner case for the past year, faces two counts of murder in the rifle killings of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, of Fresno, Ohio, and her 26-year-old fiance, Jason Allen of Zeeland, Mich.

Gallon, 39, is eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted, but Sonoma County prosecutors have not said whether they will seek execution.

The Sonoma County public defender’s office, which is representing Gallon, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The charges, filed last week, are a major step in a long-running cold case. Sonoma County sheriff’s investigators spent more than a dozen years pursuing the beach gunman, searching for suspects across the country while looking at gun records and eying serial killers.

Gallon was long considered a “person of interest” in the slayings, but the break in the case did not come until March 24, 2017, when Gallon allegedly killed his younger brother in Forestville, shooting him multiple times.

Investigators said Gallon, after being arrested, confessed enough to police to tie him to the killings of Cutshall and Allen. But prosecutors held off on filing charges as detectives continued to dig into the case.

The allegations say Gallon, who was 25 at the time, shot the pair with a .45-caliber Marlin rifle at close range as they slept on secluded Fish Head Beach near the mouth of the Russian River.

The couple had been working that summer at a Christian youth camp along the American River in El Dorado County, and had gone on a three-day sightseeing trip up the coast that would have taken them through Forestville.

Investigators said Cutshall and Allen didn’t know Gallon, though it’s unclear whether they might have had an interaction with him hours before their deaths.

A motive has been elusive in the beach killings, as in the shooting of Gallon’s brother.

On that day, the mother of the two men called for help, saying 36-year-old Shamus Gallon had been shot with a rifle at the home where the family lived on the 9800 block of River Road. The family had moved to the home from Guerneville after the brothers’ father killed himself in 2013.

The mother reported that Shaun Gallon had left the house with the rifle and driven away in his minivan, officials said. He was swiftly apprehended.

It wasn’t Gallon’s first brush with the law. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for shooting an arrow at a man in Guerneville, just west of Forestville, on Jan. 27, 2009.

Gallon, described by investigators in that case as a survivalist, served a three-year sentence — spending some of his time at San Quentin State Prison — after wounding James McNeil of Monte Rio, who was sitting in a parked convertible on Mill Street when an arrow came through the soft top of the car and grazed his head.

Gallon had convictions in his 20s for resisting arrest, weapons possession, theft, drunken driving and hunting abalone without proper paperwork, records show.

Cutshall and Allen were killed sometime after nightfall on Aug. 14, 2004, and before sunrise Aug. 16, officials said. Their bodies were found in their sleeping bags Aug. 18. Both were shot in the head. Cutshall and Allen were killed just weeks before they were to return to the Midwest to get married.

Detectives on the case pursued a number of possible motives in the killings — from sexual assault to murder-suicide, all of which were ruled out.

Megan Cassidy is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: megan.cassidy@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @meganrcassidy

UPDATE: Stricter septic rules hit riverside property owners

County hearing next week on septic regulations

Sonoma County supervisors are set to vote next month on controversial new rules intended to help reduce Russian River pollution associated with substandard septic systems along the length of river.

But critics of Sonoma County’s new Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) regulations say the tighter rules could result in some houses becoming uninhabitable and may worsen the county’s housing crunch exacerbated by last year’s wildfire destruction.

And, although much of the heat generated by the proposed rules comes from lower Russian River communities, the new regulations will also affect riverside property owners in the north county as the meandering river skirts Geyserville, Healdsburg and Windsor before it reaches northern Forestville.

“They could be condemning properties” when the new rules go into effect this year, said Guerneville Realtor Herman Hernandez. “If you have a rental property that you have to bring up to code and you have to double the rent to offset the cost of a new septic system, then you’ve just eliminated an affordable rental home.”

The absence of designated government financial assistance to help low-income property owners comply with potentially costly mandatory septic upgrades has been a key sticking point in implementing the new state and county regulations.

“If you’re on a fixed income and you can’t do it, where do you find potential financial assistance?” asked Hernandez.

In some cases homeowners and rental property landlords could be looking at a $70,000 bill to bring a residential property into compliance with the new health regulations, say real estate agents and property owners familiar with the potential high cost of repairing or replacing antiquated and often unpermitted septic systems near the Russian River and its tributaries.

Alarm over the potential consequences of the new regulations has real estate agents urging a big turnout when the supervisors discuss adoption of the regulations at a May 22 public hearing.

The hearing had been scheduled for May 8 but was pushed back two weeks so residents will have more time to review the proposed revisions to the county’s OWTS manual, said Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.

“I requested two more weeks for people to review the materials prior to the hearing,” said Hopkins. The lower river’s worries “aren’t exaggerated,” said Hopkins, who inherited the OWTS controversy from prior west county supervisors going back through the terms of Efren Carrillo and Mike Reilly.

The county is now playing an intermediary role trying to facilitate local compliance with the newly evolving statewide rules governing OWTS, said Hopkins.

“We didn’t make the rules, but we have to follow the rules,” said Hopkins. “The state guidelines really don’t work very well on the lower Russian River and in the west county along the Laguna de Santa Rosa.”

For example, the new regs will require a two-foot separation between groundwater and a septic system, a condition that “is not really achievable for much of the lower Russian River valley and the Laguna,” said Hopkins. “That makes it incredibly difficult to implement any kind of affordable system.”

Residents of Healdsburg’s Fitch Mountain neighborhood and downstream neighbors on the river in Summerhome Park and Hacienda are also asking state and county officials for a smoother transition into this “new era of OWTS regulation in Sonoma County,” according to a letter from the OWTS Residents of the Russian River that says it represents the “non-sewer-served riverfront communities of the lower Russian River.”

If the new regulations are approved, “there will no longer be any voluntary repairs for septic system or failed leach systems,” said river residents Kyla Brooke, Susan Packer and Rich Holmer in a recent letter to the county. “New replacement systems will require a two-foot separation to groundwater, proof of adequate soil and must be designed by a licensed engineer. The average cost for a replacement system may run between $35,000 and possibly up to $70,000.”

Older substandard septic systems, such as cesspools, won’t be acceptable under the new rules, according to real estate agents and property owners affected by the tighter regulations.

“Small lots on steep slopes close to the river are going to be in trouble,” said Kyla Brooke, a Villa Grande resident and member of the OWTS Residents of the Russian River.

State estimates indicate that 10,000 septic systems may need upgrades in the Russian River watershed and 5,000 might have to be replaced to bring the properties into compliance with modern health and building codes.

Homes and businesses in Monte Rio, Healdsburg’s Fitch Mountain area and hundreds of other residences near the Russian River in Forestville, Summer Home Park and Hacienda will be affected by the coming regulations to bring older, substandard septic systems into compliance.

The state and local septic system policy, established several years ago by state Assembly Bill 885, applies to the state’s estimated 1.2 million existing septic systems and to all new septic system installations. In Sonoma County there are now about 53,000 onsite septic systems, according to state figures.

The revised manual is available online at the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department (Permit Sonoma) at the Board of Supervisors website.

Advisory group may strengthen lower river's political clout

An elected local advisory council could improve the lower Russian River’s political clout with the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins told an audience in Guerneville last week.

An elected lower river Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) would help all five county supervisors stay abreast of lower river issues, said Hopkins.

“I can go to bat for you guys all day long, and I do,” said Hopkins, but when its time for county government to get things done along the lower river and in the unincorporated west county “you have to be able to count to three votes” on the five-member Board of Supervisors, said Hopkins.

“I need your help, is what I’m saying,” said Hopkins. “I need a formal body” with the responsibility to weigh in on river issues before the Board of Supervisors.

MACs elsewhere in Dry Creek Valley and the Sonoma Valley have been effective in helping supervisors get a better understanding of issues and needs in supervisorial districts outside their own turf, Hopkins told the audience of about 60 people who showed up last Wednesday night at the Guerneville School multi-purpose room. The meeting was the second exploratory meeting this year to address the formation of a lower river MAC.

Last week’s turnout was small compared with the packed February MAC meeting Hopkins hosted at the Guerneville Vets Hall.

“We had a good turn out of community members who were receptive to the proposed MAC boundaries,” said Hopkins in a social media message following last week’s meeting. “We will be moving forward to create districts within the boundaries that will serve as starting points for those interested in serving on the MAC.”

Hopkins said it appears nine elected members may best serve the large lower river geographic advisory area tentatively comprising Forestville, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Cazadero. “We are interested in dividing the proposed boundary into nine equally populated sections,” said Hopkins. Residents in each section will be able to vote for their representative through a caucus with a date to be determined, but the election will not coincide with the June primary.

Hopkins said she hopes to have the new lower Russian River MAC up and running by next January.

River residents in the audience last week conveyed a wait-and-see attitude regarding the proposed nine districts’ boundaries. Each proposed district would have an approximately equal population, so a more densely populated area such as Guerneville might require two or three districts while more sparsely populated areas toward the Sonoma coast would have larger geographic districts.

District reps would be voted in for two years and could run for re-election (and serve an additional two years, or one more term), according to last week’s proposal.

“In addition to the MAC members, we would like to enable the MAC to rely on advisory committees to help best understand the pulse of the communities and their unique and collective needs,” said Hopkins. “These advisory committees would likely be composed of community members active in organizations like fire districts, park districts, school districts, parent-teacher organizations, chambers, business districts, etc.,” said Hopkins.

“I’m totally in support of this because now we don’t have anything,” said Guerneville resident Herman Hernandez. “We might have our special districts but we can only do so much,” said Hernandez, who serves on the elected Russian River Recreation and Park District Board of Directors.

“Look where the money goes” when the board of supervisors allocates county spending, said Hernandez. “Lynda’s right. The money goes to the Highway 101 corridor. And if you’re not there [at the supervisors’ meeting] or if you’re there by yourself you better be ready to lobby,” said Hernandez.

The process of creating a river MAC will probably require another town meeting to unveil proposed district boundaries and discuss the election procedure for the district representatives, said Amie Windsor, Hopkins’ field representative

For more information, Windsor can be reached by email at amie.windsor@sonoma-county.org

Man who allegedly stole rainbow flag twice from Guerneville appears in court

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) —

A man who allegedly threatened to harm the LGBTQ community with explosives and twice stole a rainbow flag from the Guerneville Chamber of Commerce made an appearance in court Tuesday.

It began with a pride flag stolen, and then tossed into the Russian River. Today, the story entered a new phase in Sonoma County Superior Court. It has been symbolic from the start. “Every time he is in court, I will be here,” said Beth Sheets, who joined several other people in watching proceedings.

RELATED: The mysterious case of the Guerneville disappearing rainbow flag

The flag, symbolizing LGBTQ pride, was stolen on April 26 from the building at 16201 First Street in the unincorporated area of Guerneville in Sonoma County.

The building arranged for a replacement, but the flag was again stolen on May 5. According to Sonoma County’s website, Guerneville became a “welcoming resort area for Bay Area gay men and lesbians” in the 1970’s.

A man named Vincent O’Sullivan, 55, is seen in this undated image.

This marked the first appearance of Vincent Joseph O’Sullivan, Jr. following his arrest last weekend. He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges Tuesday of stealing a pride flag from the county flagpole in Guerneville, and also to felony charges of a hate crime by threatening to blow up gay people, a grocery store, and sheriff’s substation with a pipe bomb.

RELATED: Arrest made after community threatened, rainbow flag stolen twice from Guerneville

“It is a terrorist threat. He did not take action to carry out that act,” said Sonoma County Sherriff’s Department spokesman, Sgt. Spencer Crum.

In open-minded and permissive Guerneville, both alleged crimes resonate disturbingly. Hence, a large group who came to court today. “We’re here to protect ourselves from people who want to blow us up,” said Guerneville resident Jennifer Wentz.

“It is about a community of people who have been discriminated against,” added Beth Streets.

RELATED: Man who created rainbow flag for gay rights has died

Beth Streets had lobbied with the county to place that pride flag in the town square, beneath the American and California flags. A surveillance video from last week shows two men. One of them covers the camera’s lens, and then the flag disappears. The thieves reportedly left a warning signed in the name of veterans. David Juarez told us today that the notes certainly do not speak for him. “I was leery of coming here. My husband said as a veteran and openly gay person you have to do that.”

So he did, and they did.

They will continue to be on hand as the cases move forward.

You might call it a matter of pride and principle.

Click here for more stories, photos, and video on LGBTQ rights.

(Copyright ©2018 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)