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The Sonoma County Gazette Newspaper is distributed FREE in Sonoma County to mailing addresses in Forestville, Guerneville, Graton, Monte Rio, Rio Nido, Occidental & Sebastopol and on NEWSSTANDS from Healdsburg to Petaluma and Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay, including Windsor, Larkfield, the Russian River villages of Duncans Mills, Cazadero & Jenner, and the West County towns of Freestone & Valley Ford - almost 300 locations across Sonoma County.

Volume 7, Number 8  August 5 - September 2, 2010

Sonoma County Heroes and Villains

Heroes & Villians

Sonoma County tends to be above average in environmental and social awareness, so when I got the call from a very upset visitor from Chico, I was rather taken aback by the tale she told. Barbara brought her family to camp at Doran Park on the coast to get away from Central Valley heat over the 4th of July holidays. She, her husband and two children spent the afternoon enjoying the beach until they heard loud woops and laughter coming from a family of revelers who were carrying a cooler up to their BBQ filled with something they had gathered nearby. She watched in horror as they pulled starfish and tiny crabs out of the cooler and threw them on hot coals... just to watch them die.

Heroes & Villains of Sonoma County's Environment »

Dramatic Rise of Hunger

Median Household Income $930 a Month of Food Recipients

By Bob Klose

The number of Sonoma County residents needing help to feed themselves and their families has risen 20 percent during each of the past two years, producing a growing community of people who are living on just one-fifth of the median household income of their neighbors, a study by the Redwood Empire Food Bank shows.

"Our most startling and ultimately significant finding is the incredibly low median monthly income of $930 a month reported by food recipients," the report said. "If you consider that $1,078 was the median rent for an apartment in Sonoma County in 2008, you can understand why there is little if any money left for food or necessities."

Dramatic Rise of Hunger in Sonoma County »

Local vs. Super-Centers

By Will Shonbrun

The Rohnert Park City Council decided to approve a proposal by Wal-Mart to expand its Rohnert Park store by more than 40,000 square feet, becoming a super-center selling both groceries and retail. Rohnert Park's Planning Commission voted to turn down Wal-Mart's proposal in April, but the company appealed the decision to the city council... and won.

There are pros and cons regarding this massive project though the negatives far outweigh the positives. What can be said in favor of the proposal, and has been said in a number of letters to the Press Democrat, is that it will provide a place for inexpensive foods and goods to many people on very limited incomes. It is also said that it will provide more jobs in the community though these are very low-paying ones, most with no health benefits.

Local vs. Super-Centers in Sonoma County »

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