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What’s with the pink flamingos in front of the fire station? (SonomaWest)

By Laura Hagar Rush, Townsy, February 24, 2021, Sonoma West. Sebastopudlians driving down Bodega Avenue Wednesday morning saw an unusual sight in front of the Sebastopol Fire Department: a flock of flamingos. Pink, plastic flamingos to be exact — some with hand-knitted scarves, some painted, some beribboned and one with a pink feather boa and pink flamingo glasses. [ Please click here to read more ]

Sonoma County begins housing dozens of formerly homeless residents (Press Democrat)

By Tyler Silvy, December 27, 2020, The Press Democrat. Following a successful campaign to secure a $25 million annual sales tax boost for county mental health and homelessness services, Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane was offered a special honor: a chance to name the county’s newest supportive housing site, the former Hotel Azura in downtown Santa Rosa. Zane didn’t want it named after her, and there’s already a property serving homeless veterans named after her father, World War II...

County efforts make progress on homelessness through the Access Initiative (Sonoma County Gazette)

By Access Sonoma, December 7, 2020. Accessing Coordinated Care and Empowering Self Sufficiency (ACCESS) Sonoma is a county initiative that focuses on the critical needs of residents who are experiencing physical and mental health challenges, economic uncertainty, housing instability, substance use disorders, criminal justice engagement and social inequity. In a matter of 10 months, Sonoma County has successfully moved 30 percent of residents into housing from Los Guilicos Village through its...

Sonoma County homeless census shows graying population (Press Democrat)

By Mary Callahan, November 20, 2020, The Press Democrat. Almost a third of the people counted in Sonoma County’s 2020 one-day homeless census were older than 50, reflecting, in part, an increasing number of people who are falling into homelessness as older adults. They are evidence of a disturbing trend first observed in the county’s 2018 count. This year, 19% of those surveyed said they had become homeless for the first time at age 50 or later. [ Please click here to read more ]

Sonoma Community Center Makes Fall Events Accessible to All (Bohemian)

By Charlie Swanson, October 6, 2020, Bohemian. Sonoma Community Center was one of the North Bay’s early leaders in offering quality virtual programming when the Covid-19 pandemic halted in-person events and gatherings in the North Bay this past March. For the last six months, art enthusiasts from around the world have Zoomed in on the center’s digital platform, and the Fall series currently underway covers an array of subjects including ceramics, culinary, fiber, painting, drawing,...

From Border Town to Healthcare Frontiers (Bohemian)

By Chelsea Kurnick, September 29, 2020, The Bohemian. Doctor Toni Ramirez, MD puts justice at the center of her practice in her office and community Dr. Toni Ramirez entered medical school as an act of rebellion. That, and she wanted to help people. In high school in El Paso, Texas, her guidance counselor mocked her ambition to become a doctor, despite the fact that she was at the top of her class. A Latinx child in a border town, Ramirez thought, “If you’re telling me I can’t do this, what...

FINDING POSITIVE HEALTH IN “FORTALEZAS” AND “COMUNIDAD”: A Case Study of Latinos/X in Sonoma Valley (Hanna Hawk)

Hanna Institute launched an 18-month study, “Finding Positive Health in ‘Fortalezas’ and ‘Comunidad’: A Case Study of Latinos/X in Sonoma Valley” in 2018. Using a community- engaged research team, the study explored the unique assets, power and resilience of the Latino/x population that enables it to cope with and overcome stress, including those exacerbated by structural inequalities. The study focuses on community, political, spiritual, cultural and physical resources perceived within the...

Santa Rosa receives nearly $26 million in grant money for housing, transit projects (Press Democrat)

By Chantelle Lee, June 25, 2020, Press Democrat. Nearly $26 million in state grant money was approved Thursday to fund several projects in Sonoma County, including new affordable housing in Roseland and an extension to the SMART system. The $25.8 million grant package was awarded to the city of Santa Rosa, SMART and Bay Area affordable housing developer MidPen Housing by the California Strategic Growth Council, a state agency focused on affordable housing and transportation. The state grant...

Woman who lost job turns focus to helping others (Petaluma 360)

By Kathryn Palmer, June 16, 2020, The Argus-Courier. Like many people, Debra Durgin has been spending a lot more time in her kitchen during shelter-in-place, documenting the fruits of her labor on social media. But instead of posting pictures of Sourdough bread, Dalgota coffee, cinnamon buns or other quarantine cooking trends, she’s been filling local feeds with images of individually-packaged meals she gives to some of Petaluma’s most vulnerable residents. Her posts show boxes lining her...

Santa Rosa opens homeless encampment during COVID-19 (KTVU)

By Debora Villalon, May 19, 2020, KTVU. The goal is to give people on the street someplace to stay that's sanitary and provides social distance. Already, the city has moved some people from its main homeless shelter into motels. The camp targets those on the streets. "I feel safe wherever I go, I honestly believe if the Lord wants me, he'll take me, " said James, 68, one of the first to arrive at the Finley Community Center. Please click here to read the full story.

Chris Smith: Santa Rosa landlord surprises tenants, won't collect rent due to coronavirus outbreak (Press Democrat)

Chris Smith, March 21, 2020, for the Press Democrat The full spectrum of misery being inflicted by this damnable pandemic isn’t only terrible but terribly uneven. Some, including all whose livelihoods have evaporated or are in stark danger of doing so, are hurting far more than others. Those worse off are on the minds of people like Marv Hyman and like Dennis Wilkes’ landlord and Deana Abramowitz, who devise ways to level out some of the pain. To read the full story, please open this link:...

Valley Forum: The necessity of change at Hanna Boys Center [The Sonoma Index Tribune]

By Brian Farragher, Aug 15, 2019, Special To The Index Tribune For almost 75 years Hanna Boys Center has been instrumental in turning around the lives of thousands of troubled, at-risk boys and helped them become productive citizens. We are proud of this heritage. But like many organizations — religious, educational, political and corporate — Hanna has had missteps and failures which have come to light. You’ve probably read about them. These incidents of sexual abuse over several years are...

Should Sonoma County merge its school districts? [Press Democrat]

By Susan Minichiello, Aug 11, 2019 for the Press Democrat As its schools face declining enrollment and shrinking budgets, local policymakers are asking why Sonoma County has 40 public school districts — and exploring whether they can save money and improve students’ education by consolidating. Only four counties in the state have more school districts than Sonoma County, which has been carved into an intricate, often overlapping mosaic of public agencies responsible for educating nearly...

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