Month: September 2018

Boys & Girls Club opens in Sebastopol

Two west county residents join Boys & Girls Club’s board of directors

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County is opening a club on the campus of Brook Haven School in Sebastopol.

“We are thrilled to partner with Brook Haven School and open our first club location in Sebastopol,” said Jennifer Weiss, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County. “Our programs strive to have young people attending after school achieve academic success, practice good character and learn healthy lifestyles.”

The new club at Brook Haven School is the third Boys & Girls Club location in west Sonoma County. The organization also has club locations on the campuses of Guerneville Elementary School and Monte Rio Union School. About 170 kids come to club programs in West Sonoma County programs every day.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma is also adding two West County residents to the organization’s board of directors, Elizabeth Fritzinger and Sue Rataj.

Elizabeth Fritzinger moved to Sonoma County and started a family with her husband, Matt, in 2012. She is the proud mother of two sons. Also in 2012, Elizabeth joined Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery located in Santa Rosa. Elizabeth specializes in the areas of employment law and civil litigation. She also serves as counsel to businesses in the wine industry, along with other clients in the private sector. Elizabeth has experience sitting on the boards of The Earle Baum Center and The Healdsburg School.

Sue Rataj retired as Chief Executive, BP Petro­chemicals, relocating from Hong Kong to Northern California in 2011. As CEO she led a global business with sales, marketing, manufacturing, technology and support functions located in 10 countries throughout Asia, Europe and the US. Prior to her final position with BP, Sue held a variety of roles within BP and Amoco over 25 years, across many business areas.

She has also served on several major corporate and non-profit boards of directors, including, locally, TLC, the Sebastopol Entrepreneur’s Project and CASA of Sonoma County.

She currently splits her time between Sebastopol and San Francisco with her husband, Michael, and their golden retriever, Braxton.

For more information, contact Alicia Morales at 707- 528-7977 or visit the Boys & Girls Club online at www.bgccsc.org.

Appointments in lieu of election for most West County school district boards

We’re well into election season, and although there are open seats on every school board in West County, so few people filed papers as candidates that only two districts — Forestville and Oak Grove — have contested races. In all the other districts, either too few candidates filed to fill the number of open seats or the number of people who filed exactly matched the number of open seats. When this happens, the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters automatically appoints all registered candidates the school board in lieu of election, and any remaining open positions are appointed by the school districts themselves.

Because of the low number of school board candidates in the following districts, the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters has appointed all registered candidates to their school boards in lieu of election. Most of those being appointed are incumbents, but there are a few newcomers:

Gravenstein Union School District had three open seats and three candidates, so  incumbents Gregory Appling, Jennifer Koelmeijer and Jim Horn have been re­appointed to their positions on the board.

Guerneville School District had three open seats and three candidates, so incumbents Vanessa Alexander, Isabel Klein, and Gay Guidotti have been reappointed to their positions on the board.

Harmony Union School District had only two candidates for three open seats, so incumbents Charlie Laird and Steven Bair have been appointed by the Registrar of Voters, and the district will appoint a trustee for the remaining vacancy.

West Sonoma County Union High School District had three open seats and three candidates so incumbents Lori Bruhner and Kellie Noe and newcomer Jeanne Bassett Fernandes have been appointed by the Registrar of Voters the WSCUHSD board.

Monte Rio Union School District had three full-term positions open and two short-term positions open. All of the incumbents filed as candidates, and there were no challengers so the Registrar of Voters has reappointed incumbents Roger Collins, Mary Cowan Baker, and Dino Fazio to the full-term positions and Noelani Price and Jesse Stearn to the short-term positions.

Sebastopol Union School District had three open seats and two candidates so incumbents Debbie Ramirez and Deborah Drehmel have been reappointed to the board and the district will appoint a trustee for the remaining vacancy.

Twin Hills Union School District had three open seats and two candidates so incumbent Monica Brent and newcomer Michael Fanning have been appointed to the board, and the district will appoint a trustee for the remaining vacancy.

Red Flag Warning issued September 19 at 11:37AM PDT until September 20 at 5:00PM PDT by NWS

…Red Flag Warning tonight through Thursday Afternoon… .A weather pattern shift will bring increased northerly winds and poor overnight recoveries tonight and low daytime humidities during the day Thursday. In addition to these conditions, very dry fuels will result in critical fire weather conditions during this period. The strongest northerly winds and critical humidity

Kidnapping Suspect, Victim Located After Sonoma Co. Alert

GUERNEVILLE, CA – Sheriff’s officials said a suspect and victim were found in a possible domestic violence kidnapping Tuesday night in the Guerneville area, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office

As of 9:01 p.m. the suspect Gilberto Valentin-Lopez, 41, and the victim had been found.

Sheriff’s officials earlier Tuesday evening issued an alert for Valentin-Lopez asking locals to be on the lookout for the man possibly driving a white single-cab pickup truck, but to not approach “because he may be dangerous.”

The alert was canceled at 9 p.m. Sheriff’s officials did not provide any other details.

–Bay City News/Image via Sonoma Sheriff

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Fire Weather Watch issued September 18 at 10:00PM PDT until September 20 at 5:00PM PDT by NWS

…Fire Weather Watch Wednesday Night through Thursday Afternoon… .A weather pattern shift will bring increased northerly winds and poor overnight recoveries overnight Wednesday and low daytime humidities during the day Thursday. In addition to these conditions, very dry fuels will result in locally critical fire

Guerneville domestic violence kidnapping suspect, victim found

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) —

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after a domestic violence kidnapping Tuesday night. The suspect and victim were found safely shortly before 9 p.m.

Gilberto Valentin-Lopez, a 41-year-old man, was named by police as the suspect. He was apprehended in the North Bay with his alleged victim, an unknown female.

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

Fire Weather Watch issued September 18 at 12:32PM PDT until September 20 at 5:00PM PDT by NWS

…Fire Weather Watch Wednesday Night through Thursday Afternoon… .A weather pattern shift will bring increased northerly winds and poor overnight recoveries overnight Wednesday and low daytime humidities during the day Thursday. In addition to these conditions, very dry fuels will bring locally critical fire weather conditions during this period. The strongest northerly

Sonoma County Officials Test Emergency Wireless Alert System

Sonoma County emergency officials tested their wireless emergency alert system on Wednesday to learn how it will perform during a real disaster.

The test comes after two incidents earlier this summer where some residents did not receive a cell phone alert during an emergency evacuation.

ALERTS PUT TO THE TEST

At 10 a.m., the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office activated the first of five wireless emergency alerts (WEA), sending a loud tone and text to five different parts of Sonoma County. The areas tested were Healdsburg, Guerneville, Roseland, Glen Ellen/Kenwood and Penngrove.

Sonoma County emergency officials on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, tested out their wireless emergency alerts in five different parts of the county.
Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

Wednesday’s test reached an estimated 20,000 cell phones and marked the first time anyone has tested the WEA system on the West Coast. Residents who received the alert were asked to fill out a survey so county staff could track exactly where the alerts landed and where there are gaps.

NBC Bay Area brought six cell phones on three different carriers to Roseland and observed the alerts. Five cell phones received the notifications in both Spanish and English, while one phone did not.

Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore said the county received numerous reports from residents and staffers throughout the morning that some of the target alerts missed the mark.

Particularly in Guerneville, a tourist hot spot that is also prone to dangerous flooding, supervisor Linda Hopkins said anecdotal reports were that no one received an alert when the test was activated.

“It shows you why people haven’t been using these systems because they are not 100% bullet proof,” Gore said.

“We’re hearing different stories that ‘[people] didn’t get an alert, nobody in my entire community did when you Geo targeted me.’”

In June, Sonoma County issued a wireless emergency alert in response to a three-alarm fire near Schellville. An informal survey discovered that AT&T users received the alert while Verizon customers did not.

A spokesperson for Verizon told NBC Bay Area that their users did not receive a message because government officials may not have properly targeted the company’s cell phone. “This would apply to any carrier,” a Verizon spokesperson said.

NORTH BAY FIRES

Sonoma County faced heavy criticism during the North Bay Fires for choosing not to issue a WEA fearing it would cause a massive traffic jam.

Interim Emergency Manager Chris Godley told NBC Bay Area last month that the county has since trained more 30 staffers how to activate an alert.

But as Wednesday’s test revealed, the alerts still failed to reach certain regions, while spilling over into unintended parts of the county, leaving emergency managers with a better picture of what still needs work.

The county will continue to collect survey results in the coming days and present their findings to service providers and the FCC with the hope that they will use this information to improve the system nationwide.

Project Nourish dishes it out in Guerneville

Better food and friendly young faces triple the number of senior diners at river area senior center

On Sept. 5, a new and improved kitchen officially opened at the Russian River Senior Center. The kitchen, which was remodeled with the help of Earthtone Construction, not only serves up food, but also serves as the site for Project Nourish, an intergenerational cooking program for seniors and teens, as well as a culinary job-training program for local youth ages 16 to 24.

Youth learn how to prepare food, run a kitchen, wait tables and gain other culinary skills with the support of West County Community Services (WCCS), the Guerneville nonprofit that operates the senior center on Armstrong Woods Road.

Tim Miller, WCCS executive director, said meals have been served for 30 years out of the senior center. In the past, the Council on Aging sent precooked meals out to the center where they were heated up to serve.

Now the ingredients are shipped out, and the meal is prepared in house. The kitchen will be serving made-to-order meals through the Council on Aging’s bistro menu. Menu items will include fish tacos, chicken Caesar salad, club sandwiches and frittatas.

Miller said the center used to serve meals to five to eight seniors at a sitting. Now with the help of the youth program, those numbers have more than tripled to 25-30. The increase is thought to be due to a couple of factors, Miller said.

“For one it just tastes better, and the other part is seniors like the engagement with the youth,” he said. “There’s an intergenerational learning part.”

The young chefs and servers are not only given wisdom from seniors in the kitchen as they prepare meals, but also are able to sit down afterward to chat with the community members as they eat.

Senior Center Manager Vicki Halstead said the center’s kitchen is open to the public for a nominal fee. The senior center is open to seniors 60 years and older, Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center offers lunch every Wednesday and Friday.

WCCS will also be working with its youth employment program to teach culinary skills, customer service and kitchen service.

“We’re looking at it from the employment training side,” said Miller. “Many of the restaurants and hotels are desperate for workers right now.”

The center was also recently used by the Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps, which worked with a crew on a farm-to-table concept, using the senior center’s garden on the property, along with fresh food from the Council on Aging.

Miller said the youth programs are only one way the kitchen will be used. “Our next steps will be to discuss what else we can use the kitchen for,” he said.

For more information, visit the senior center’s website at https://www.westcountyservices.org/russian-river-senior-center/.