Month: January 2019

Rio Nido Woman Faces Domestic Violence Arrest After Hospital Release – SFGate

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office released additional details Friday about a Jan. 8 domestic violence stabbing in a Rio Nido residence and a subsequent DUI crash that injured three people.

Two deputies responded to the 15000 block of Rio Nido Road east of Guerneville after a dispatcher received a 911 call from that address around 9:30 p.m., Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The caller hung up and deputies found the front door closed, lights on and a dog barking inside the unoccupied home. There was a key in a dead bolt lock on the front door, and deputies found blood drops throughout the home, Crum said.

Neighbors identified the residents and said they heard a woman yelling inside the home about five minutes before deputies arrived. A third responding deputy came upon an Acura SUV rollover crash into a tree on River Road near Woolsey Road, Crum said.

Jennifer Skelton, 43, and her unidentified 31-year-old boyfriend who lived in the Rio Nido home, were ejected from the rear window of the Acura. Skelton’s boyfriend appeared to have multiple stab wounds to his chest, hands and face, Crum said.

The driver of the Acura, Heidi Allen, 43, of Guerneville, was extricated from the Acura and the California Highway Patrol arrested her for DUI before she was released to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, CHP Officer David deRutte said.

Sheriff’s detectives determined Allen was heavily intoxicated and fell asleep at the Rio Nido residence before she was awoken by a domestic violence incident between Skelton and her boyfriend, both of whom who were also intoxicated, Crum said.

Skelton allegedly stabbed her boyfriend at least once with a kitchen knife, and detectives collected other knives in the home as evidence, Crum said.

Allen was driving Skelton and her boyfriend to the hospital before the crash, Crum said. All three remain in a hospital.

The sheriff’s office secured a warrant for Skelton’s arrest for felony domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon when she recovers from her injuries and leaves the hospital, Crum said.

Copyright © 2019 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 17, 2018 | Opinion – Sonoma West

Homeless related?

EDITOR: After reading your police and Sheriff’s logs every week I finally made up my mind that I could no longer keep quiet. I am very curious to find out why your paper feels the need to identify certain Sheriff calls with the final sentence “homeless related.” Why aren’t the other calls labeled in kind, such as “has home related.” The homeless in this county are already shamed and stigmatized for being just that. It seems to me that being a homeless person is the last group in society that it acceptable to ridicule and even “hate” without any repercussions. There seems to me to be no reason for your paper to identify any call as “homeless related.” It just seems to add to the ignorance of a very serious and sad problem.

Carolyn Kennon


From the editor: Thanks for your comment. It’s an interesting point. I will bring it up in our next editorial meeting and will let you know if anything changes.

Learn about Toolbox

EDITOR: The need for addressing the mental and emotional health of our youngest citizens is never more important than in today’s contentious environment. In our schools and in our preschools and daycare centers, there is a well-documented program available that gives children tools to cope with the demands of early childhood.

The Toolbox program is currently being supported by the Rotary Club of Sebastopol through a grant. The Toolbox tools (12 in total) empower children, teachers, parents and their communities with a common language and skills that form a cohesive, collaborative, nonviolent and caring community, which leads to hope for a meaningful, positive and lasting future.

We are inviting all Rotarians, neighbors, friends and family to attend a one-hour meeting after our Sebastopol Rotary meeting on Jan. 18 to learn the “tools” and talk about the program. Place: Sebastopol Community Church. Time: 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.

Peg Rogers

Community Service Director

Rotary Club of Sebastopol

Out of Hear: Staying afloat | Opinion – Sonoma West

One reason I live in fear of a future with Donald Trump as president is that I don’t think he knows what it means to live in a floodplain.

Frank Robertson column photo

Frank Robertson

I know he’s got a beach house in Florida, but it’s just a vacation place where he goes to play golf. The sun always seems to be out when he’s there, and the power stays on and he doesn’t need to throw paper towels at a crowd of hurricane victims.

He may not realize that when the U.S. government’s shutdown began last month it threatened to leave hundreds of lower Russian River property owners without flood insurance if they were customers of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials halted renewals of NFIP policies after the shutdown began and said new policies would not be issued.

The NFIP coverage lapse would have affected several thousand Sonoma County flood policyholders, mostly owners of property within the Russian River’s 100-year floodplain.

For the county’s approximately 9,000 Russian River floodplain residents, the no-renewal news came with the approach of January and February, historically the two most flood-prone months on the river.

I am a Guerneville resident of the river floodplain, and the federal shutdown coincidentally arrived with my annual $600 FEMA bill to renew my National Flood Insurance Program policy that expires next week.

I have NFIP coverage because I don’t have much choice: buying flood insurance is a mandatory condition of a federally backed mortgage, and the only affordable policies are through the National Flood Insurance Program.

My reaction to getting a bill for a policy that wouldn’t be renewed even if I paid the premium was a mixture of frustration, anger and disbelief. Was I reading this right? Even if my wife and I paid our premium, as we have for many years, the next flood could wash us out of our house with no insurance — all because Trump wants to build his delusional border wall, paid for with the help of my flood insurance premium.

Talk about a Catch 22. That’s the title of the famous Joseph Heller novel about bureaucratic absurdities.

The FEMA flood insurance SNAFU also sounded alarms among national mortgage industry officials who said the no-new-policies decision betrayed prior government shutdown agreements when congress made sure the NFIP would continue.

Pressure from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) seemed to convince FEMA to come to its senses, despite the president’s eccentric priorities. The Realtors were upset because, without NFIP flood insurance, homebuyers couldn’t get mortgages on floodplain properties.

“A critical win for home sales,” said NAR President John Smaby, in a Dec. 28 media announcement that the NFIP would remain in effect after all. The decision, said Smaby, “means thousands of home sale transactions in communities across the country can go forward without interruption.”

One thing you can say for Trump: he seems to have a preternatural fondness for real estate transactions. I was surprised to learn he’s even got flood insurance on his Mar-a-Lago mansion. He gets it through the NFIP.

The right thing for me to do, I guess, would be to move to higher ground and be done with the whole conundrum of flooding, flood insurance and not knowing when the next big one will hit or how bad it will be. But it’s not that simple.

I don’t want to move. I like it here, except when the river’s in my house, as it has been a couple of times. Thanks to FEMA, we’ve raised our cabin above the 100-year flood level, which is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimate of how high the river might be expected to rise once every 100 years.

Unfortunately, thanks to global warming, climate change and sea level rise — the new normal — no one seems certain anymore where the 100-year flood level actually is.

All the more reason to carry flood insurance. I mailed my check to FEMA last week. I hope there’s someone there to cash it.

Frank Robertson is a member of the Sonoma West Publishers staff.

Power Outages, Downed Trees and Roadway Debris in the Wake of Yesterday's Storm – KSRO

A woman walks in the rain while crossing an intersection in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. A series of storms dropped rain up and down the state and snow in mountain regions this week, but the latest storm could be the strongest that Northern California has seen so far this year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

As promised, the North Bay got walloped yesterday afternoon thru last night. The storms brought rainfall totals from 2 and a half inches to nearly 6 inches in the wettest locations. Wind gusts over 60 miles an hour brought downed trees and debris all over the roadway. P.D. reports a 20-foot tree fell in the Guerneville area and fell on 3 different properties there. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Brian Garcia checks in from the National Weather Service and says the worst is over:

Power outages were experienced all over the area, including Santa Rosa Junior College. The campus was evacuated just after 6pm and the Harlem Globetrotters game was cancelled. All eyes on the Russian River today, which is set to reach monitor stage at Guerneville, and settle a little over two feet below flood stage tomorrow morning.

150 Sonoma County Volunteers To Help With 2019 Homeless Count –

SONOMA COUNTY, CA — More than 150 volunteers and 60-70 paid homeless guides will participate in a “Point-in Time” street count of the homeless in Sonoma County later this month. The count between 5-9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 of people living outdoors is coordinated by the Sonoma County Community Development Commission and will cover all census tracts of the county, according to Michael Gause, the Commission’s acting homeless services manager.

Volunteers will meet at five deployment centers that are located in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Healdsburg, Petaluma and Guerneville.

The homeless count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order for the county to receive $3.4 million for a variety of supportive housing, Gause said.

“The count is also an opportunity to bridge relationships within the community. It’s a chance to tear down conventional attitudes toward homelessness. Participants typically find the experience eye-opening,” Gause said.

The volunteers, who are training this week, will split into teams led by the homeless guides and canvas streets on foot or car to count as many people as they can in each census tract on Jan. 25. Separate counts will be conducted for homeless youth ages 18-24 and everyone staying in shelters, in jail or institutions.

Data from the street count will be supplemented over the following two weeks by a survey of 600 homeless persons. The survey will estimate the number of individuals and families who are unstably housed, couch surfing or living in doubled-up circumstances.

The survey was added to the 2018 homeless count last year after the October 2017 wildfires. Approximately 2,000 households are being contacted this year between Jan. 11 and Feb. 3 to provide the demographic data.

Last year there were 2,996 homeless people in the county. The results of the 2019 homeless count will be published this summer.

By Bay City News Service

Photo via Shutterstock

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County looking for homeless count volunteers | News – Sonoma West

Sonoma County’s annual point-in-time homeless count is looking for volunteers. The count will take place on Jan. 25 and needs around 100 volunteers to help count Sonoma County’s homeless population.

The homeless count helps ensure that the county receives homelessness assistance funds (approximately $3.4 million) from the Department of Housing and Urban Design. In order to receive the money, however, recipients like the county need to conduct a point-in-time census.

There are two different volunteer roles looking to be filled, field team counter and deployment center team member. Team counters work with homeless guides and drive or walk over assigned routes to count the homeless. There are 90 volunteers needed for this role, and those who volunteer should be able to walk two miles and be comfortable being in the field. Deployment center team members, of which there are 10 volunteers needed, work at deployment centers to send out team counters.

Participating volunteers will be sent out from one of five locations around the county including Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Petaluma and Guerneville. Volunteers are expected to be able to walk approximately 2-3 miles and are expected to have a car and a mobile phone.

According to a statement from the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, “In all previous counts since 2009, county employees made up a significant portion of the volunteer base that teamed-up with paid homeless individuals, or recently homeless individuals, to canvass the entire county. Volunteers with automobiles, flashlights and cell phones are especially in high demand.”

According to the 2018 point-in-time count, the county’s homeless population increased by six percent last year to a total of 2,996 people, causing the county board of supervisors to declare the county in a “homeless state of emergency.”

This year’s count is taking place a month earlier than last year, on Jan. 25, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Those interested in volunteering to help with the count can sign up at Volunteers are also being asked to attend a one-hour training session prior to Jan. 25, on either Jan. 16 or 17. Regional training information is available on the SurveyMonkey form.

— Zoë Strickland

Powerful wind gusts up to 70 mph cause flooding, down trees, power lines across Bay Area – KGO-TV


As the Bay Area braces for powerful rains starting Sunday, the wind was the big issue for most of Saturday.

Out at the Pacifica Pier, lots of people came out to fish for crab.

Raymond Guo of Foster City came up empty handed, but crab fishing wasn’t the main purpose of tonight’s visit. He wanted his family to experience the full force of the wind gusts.

RELATED: Advisory lifted after strong winds, high tide flooded San Francisco Embarcadero

“I love it! So, I try to bring my kids to let them see (what heavy winds) can be like!” explains Guo.

However, the family spent all of 30 minutes out at the pier as the gusts of wind and rain were a bit too strong, even for what he was expecting.

“I didn’t realize that (it was going to be) super strong wind. The kids don’t like it,” said Guo.

RELATED: Track the weather on Live Doppler 7

Across the Bay Area, wind gusts reached between 50 to 70 miles an hour.

In San Francisco, strong winds during times of high tides caused flooded that forced parts of the Embarcadero to be closed, and an emergency warning for people to stay away.

In the city’s Richmond District, a downed tree blocked traffic for an hour, until firefighters were able to clear the road.

“For the past four to five years, every storm, there are always some branches that fall down. So, there is a lot of clean up afterward,” says Hal Malmud, who lives in Millbrae.

RELATED: Timeline of back-to-back Bay Area storms

This afternoon, a branch from a maple tree just missed this neighbor’s house. He says, when the winds pick up, he’ll even avoid walks through his nearby park because they are lined with big trees.

“I have lived here for so long, that I know there is always that possibility for the branches to be flying around,” says Malmud.

Farther north, there was even more damage. In Guerneville, winds pushed a tree onto a two-story house, tearing through the roof.

And there the usually wet spots as well, like flooding at the Manzanita Park and Ride in Mill Valley. This time, two cars got stuck in the water.

(Copyright ©2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Sebastopol Police and Sheriff's Log, Dec. 31-Jan. 6 | News – Sonoma West

Sebastopol Police Log

The following are excerpted from Sebastopol Police Department and Sonoma County Sheriff’s daily log entries.


1:33 a.m. Controlled substance paraphernalia at Petaluma Avenue and Abbott Avenue. Arrest made.

7:08 p.m. Driving without a license at Depot Street and Petaluma Avenue. Arrest made.


8:21 a.m. Driving on suspended license, probation violation  at Gravenstein Highway South and Industrial Avenue. Arrest made.

3:58 p.m. Driving with suspended license on Gravenstein Highway South and Elphick Road. Arrest made.


6:54 a.m. Deface with paint on Willow Street and Jewell Avenue.

12:23 p.m. Robbery, grand theft, carrying a loaded firearm, concealed firearm and unregistered gun with ammunition at Eleanor Avenue and Walker Avenue. Arrest made.


12:33 p.m. Driving with suspended license on Bodega Avenue and High Street. Arrest made.

2:38 p.m. Possession of burglary tools, violation of probation and driving without a license at Gravenstein Highway North and North Mays Canyon Road. Arrest made.


1:44 p.m. Post-release community supervision hold at Petaluma Avenue and Walker Avenue. Arrest made.


8:24 a.m. Burglary and grand theft in excess of $950 at Fellers Lane and Gravenstein Highway South.

10:24 a.m. Bench warrant at Duer Road and Sebastopol Avenue. Arrest made.

12:05 p.m. Hit and run with injury at Sebastopol Avenue and Walker Avenue. Arrest made.

12:34 p.m. Misdemeanor warrant served at Laguna Parkway and McKinley Street. Arrest made.

12:56 p.m. DUI with great bodily harm and hit and run resulting in death or injury at Gravenstein Highway North and Tocchini Street. Arrest made.

11:01 p.m. Possession of a controlled narcotic and unlawful possession of tear gas at Gravenstein Highway North and Tocchini Street. Arrest made.

11:47 p.m. Possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and probation violation at Sebastopol Avenue and Petaluma Avenue. Arrest made.


2:35 a.m. Corporal injury of a spouse at Sebastopol Avenue and Morris Street. Arrest made.

12:49 p.m. Vandalism at Gravenstein Highway North and Soll Court.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Logs


9:39 a.m. Auto burglary at Bay Flat Road, Eastshore Road and Eastshore Road Extension, Bodega Bay. Contacted.

10:46 a.m. Registered sex offender violation at Center Way and Guernewood Road, Guerneville. Officer reported.


1:48 a.m. Suspicious vehicle occupied at Fourth Street and Church Street, Guerneville. Subject advised.

12:04 p.m. Disturbance at Deer Trail and Green Fern, Sea Ranch. Contacted.

2:41 p.m. Tresspass at Laurel Dell Avenue and Sylvan Way, Duncan’s Mills. Contacted.


10:19 a.m Suspicious person at old Monte Rio Road and Duncan Road, Guerneville. Homeless related.

3:01 p.m. Suicide threats at Bay Flat Road and Kee Point Road, Bodega Bay. Contacted.

9:31 p.m. Suspicious person at First Street and Mill Street, Guerneville. Contacted.

9:53 p.m. Vandalism at Mill Street and Main Street, Guerneville. Arrest made.


9:53 a.m. Security check at Birkhofer Road and Drake Road, Guerneville. Homeless related.

10:41 a.m. Traffic stop at Birkhofer Road and Drake Road, Guerneville. Arrest made

10:40 p.m. Suspicious vehicle at Sunset Avenue and Morningside Drive, Guerneville. Contacted.


12:10 p.m.  Suspicious person at Mill Street  and Main Street, Guerneville. Contacted.

12:10 p.m. Suspicious person at Church Street and First Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

2:48 p.m. Violation of probation at Scenic Drive and Old River Road, Forestville. Arrest made.

2:51 p.m. Missing person at risk reported at Niestrath Road and Mitoma Way, Fort Ross. Report taken.

4:21 p.m Suspicious person at Mill Street and Main Street, Guerneville. Advised.

9:23 p.m Welfare check at River Drive, Summerhome Park Road and Old River Road, Forestville. Resolved.


10:14 a.m. Private investigator at Edmund Avenue and Morrel Avenue, Guerneville. Advised.

11:27 a.m. Disturbance at Hereford Drive and Willig Drive, Jenner. Contacted.

2:07 p.m. Suspicious circumstances at Armstrong Woods Road and Woodland Drive,Guerneville. Homeless related.

2:17 p.m. Vandalism at Canyon Drive and Highway 116 North, Guerneville. Contacted.


1:58 a.m Traffic stop at River Road and Odd Fellows Park Road, Korbel. Arrest made.

5:32 a.m. Disturbance at Guerne Way and Drake Road, Guerneville. Contacted.

1:14 p.m. Disturbance at Mission Street, Front Street and Market Street, Camp Meeker. Contacted.

1:58 p.m Welfare check at Church Street and  Third Street, Guerneville. Homeless related.

8:44 p.m. Petty theft at Armstrong Woods Road and Brookdale Drive, Guerneville. Report taken.

Tunnel of Love RR Sisters Bingo for Friends of Guerneville School, Feb. 9 – Sonoma West

The Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are proud to present an adults-only night of fun, fundraising and frivolity as only the Sisters know how  This is not like any other Bingo game you’ve ever played.  Picture your Grandmother’s church hall bingo crossed with the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the Sisters in their best drag-nun attire.

You will be participating with all your fellow players to raise money for FOGS – Friends of Guerneville School

The Friends of Guerneville School (aka F.O.G.S.) is on a mission to enrich the educational experience of every student at Guerneville School. Our school is in the process of building a STEAM lab. A STEAM lab is a makerspace that inspires integrative learning in science, technology, engineering, arts, and

mathematics (STEAM). This lab will be the first of its kind at Guerneville School. Thanks to our community we are able to use tax bond measure funds to build this amazing lab but because those funds are limited in scope we cannot use them to purchase materials needed to utilize the lab to its fullest. F.O.G.S would like to support the administration and provide funding to purchase these materials, especially consumable items like vinyl.

When and where Saturday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 PM at Guerneville Veterans Hall, 16255 1st St., Guerneville

18 years and older. Alcohol and scent free event.

YEAR IN REVIEW, Part 2: Cautious optimism on the river – Sonoma West

Lower Russian River residents greeted 2018 hoping for a better year but maybe a little skeptical that much of anything would change.

At best they seemed ready to welcome a balance of extremes, such as plans launched in January for a new state-of-the-art Guerneville health center with a free walk-in homeless clinic — just as another homeless resident died sleeping on the streets.

Here’s a month-by-month take on this year’s news along the river.


When the Metropolitan Community Church of the Redwood Empire hosted a January memorial service for recently departed Guerneville homeless at the Odd Fellows Hall, no one seemed to know how many homeless people had died along the lower Russian River in the past two years owing to homeless-related causes. Estimates ranged from one to two dozen. But whatever the total, “It’s too many,” said Community Church member Carol Degenhardt.

A lower Russian River Homeless Task Force also reconvened in January to spend another $300,000 in county grant money for homeless-related projects.


west county homelessness

HOMELESS IN WEST COUNTY – According to statistics from the 2018 Sonoma County Point-In-Time Count, the homeless population in west county slightly decreased over the last year.

“There are lots of ideas percolating” about how to use the money, said Sonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC) Executive Director Margaret Van Vliet.

Homelessness of a different dimension arrived after Sonoma County’s disastrous wildfire in October 2017. In January local fire and emergency first responders met with nearly 100 lower Russian River residents to talk about evacuation options if a wildfire threatened the wooded west county.

“The message we have today is empower yourself,” said Sonoma County Sheriff Community Engagement Liaison Misti Harris.

Veteran Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman agreed that advance planning and self-reliance should be key priorities for lower River residents. In the event of a wildfire with the magnitude of October’s Santa Rosa Complex fires, “We can make all the plans in the world,” said Baxman, “but it will be every man woman and child for themselves.”

In January the Russian River Chamber of Commerce announced the hiring of a new executive director, Elizabeth “Elyse” VanDyne, who took over the vacant job on Jan. 2.

VanDyne brought a background in non-profit community promotions and fundraising in Denver, Colorado, where she was executive director for the Colorado Maker Hub.

VanDyne brought a background in non-profit community promotions and fundraising in Denver, Colorado, where she was executive director for the Colorado Maker Hub.


In February a deepening mystery lurking in Guerneville was who’s supposed to empty the downtown trashcans?

“It’s not the chamber,” said a Russian River Chamber of Commerce staff member.

Clean River Alliance volunteers were emptying overflowing trashcans in February as part of the Alliance’s ongoing volunteer downtown cleanup efforts.

“I don’t think anybody really knows,” said Clean River Alliance founder Chris Brokate. “They’ve passed the buck. I don’t think anybody knows whose responsibly it is.”

A deadline was extended in February to recruit volunteers for a wastewater advisory group looking at sewage disposal options for Monte Rio and Villa Grande.

The Monte Rio group was the first of several county septic system advisory groups expected to take shape last year in anticipation of stricter state water quality rules targeting OWTS (“onsite wastewater treatment systems” in bureaucratic terms; also known to humans as septic systems).

A report in February said the Russian River area has the lowest life expectancy rate of anywhere in Sonoma County. The river’s overall life expectancy rate of 78.3 years is “significantly” below the average Sonoma County life expectancy of 81.9 years, said a “Measures of Health” report released by the Sonoma County Health Department.


In March about three dozen river residents met to learn more about possible lower Russian River governance options such as forming a Citizens Advisory Council or Municipal Advisory Council (MAC).


Russian River MAC August 2018

WORKING IT OUT — About 60 people gathered at Guerneville School to work on the structure of a proposed lower Russian River Municipal Advisory Council (MAC).

A report in March said the Russian River’s endangered native salmon population faces near extinction this century if current environmental hazards go unchecked, according to a report to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Entitled “Fish in Hot Water,” the report by University of California at Davis fisheries biologists “finds that if present population trends continue, 45 percent of California’s native salmonids are likely to be extinct in the next 50 years,” said NCRWQCB Executive Officer Matt St. John. The report said fish die-off could reach 75 percent within 100 years, owing mainly to climate change and global warming.

In March the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence celebrated 17 years of exuberant community fundraising with an anniversary bash at Guerneville’s Timberline Restaurant. And at the end of the year, they hosted their annual free Christmas dinner for hundreds of diners at the Vets Hall. 

Long-time Guerneville businessman and activist Herman J. Hernandez was honored with a Citizen of the Year award from the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce on March 29 at Sonoma State University.

“I feel humbled and fortunate,” said Hernandez. “I think its great” that Latino community engagement efforts are making a difference and getting recognition.


In May Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Guerneville man, Vincent O’Sullivan, age 55, on a felony terrorism charge after he allegedly stole two gay pride flags and threatened to set off pipe bombs targeting gays in Guerneville.


Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville celebrated 100 years as the Russian River’s go-to summer fun destination in June with two days of live music on the beach.


In July the Russian River Senior Center unveiled a new state-of-the-art commercial kitchen where at-risk youth will learn cooking and culinary skills and serve lunch to seniors.

As summer arrived, no-camping signs were posted along Guerneville’s Vacation Beach summer road, warning potential homeless residents to keep off the riverfront property where in recent years homeless camping had been condoned.


no camping

NO VACANCY — Sonoma County has posted no-camping signs on the Russian River summer crossing road at Vacation Beach. In recent years the site had become a homeless camp with services provided by Guerneville homeless advocates.

After recent health and safety problems with concentrations of homeless campers elsewhere in her district, “You can really see what can happen when these camps get out of control,” said 5th District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins.

In July Guernewood Park hotel developers professed a lifelong love for the Russian River’s rustic tranquility at a meeting with neighbors of a lavish riverfront resort planned west of Guerneville.


The Lodge on Russian River

DELUXE — Rendering of The Lodge on Russian River, a new upscale resort planned for Dubrava beach.

Hotel property owner Kirk Lok, architect Doug Demers and former 5th district county supervisors Efren Carrillo and Mike Reilly fielded questions from Guerneville residents, who generally expressed support for the hotel but wanted to know more about its design and potential impacts, such as increased traffic on Highway 116.


An effort got under way in August to preserve low-rent housing at Guerneville’s Fairie Ring campground on Armstrong Woods Road where residents awaited word of their fate under new ownership.


Fairie Ring campground

IT TAKES A VILLAGE — The future of Guerneville’s Fairie Ring Campground was uncertain this week after a foreclosure sale of the property on Armstrong Woods Road.

“We want to save Fairie Ring,” said Mario Torrigino of Friends and Residents of Guerneville (FROG), a neighborhood group hoping to join forces with local non-profit social services and 5th District County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, hoping to keep Fairie Ring’s residents from having to move out.

Fairie Ring is currently home to more than 50 year-round tenants living in a range of dwellings including tents, trailers and permanent structures on the 13-acre site. With Fairie Ring’s future plans up in the air, “We’re trying to keep these people from being thrown out on the street,” said Torrigino. (As of December the property remained on the market.)



Leslie “Jo” Booker Crane

Leslie “Jo” Booker Crane

In November it was announced that Guerneville resident and Friends of Stumptown non-profit founder Leslie “Jo” Booker Crane had won a Spirit of Sonoma County Award bestowed by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB). The awards go “to those who contribute to the economic development of the communities in which they live and work,” said the EDB’s announcement. Winners are selected for donating “their time and expertise in support of local business and in helping others.”

Crane was nominated for helping to save Guerneville’s two annual parades, the summer Stumptown parade and the winter holiday Parade of Lights that were in danger of cancellation owing to organizational challenges. The Russian River Chamber of Commerce nominated Crane for her contribution.


In December lower Russian River voters welcomed nine representatives to sit on the new Lower Russian River Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the county Board of Supervisors on river political issues. The nine were picked from a field of 28 candidates to represent Forestville, Hacienda, Pocket Canyon, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Monte Rio and Cazadero.

“I’m super excited to be working will all of the candidates,” said Fifth District Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. “Running for any kind of office is stressful, scary and sometimes insane,“ said Hopkins, “but our candidates were incredibly impressive, passionate and fun.”

Just like the territory they will represent.