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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 8, Number 5  May 4 - Jun 2, 2011

We are Family


Taking Care of those We Love...from Babies to Elders

I chose FAMILY as our main focus for the May edition because it's the time of year when we celebrate Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Grandparents Day. I think it would also be a great time to celebrate EVERY member of our family since it takes ALL of us to BE a family. We share responsibility for making our families whole and connected. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins all play a part in staying in touch and offering opportunities to gather in one place at one time. No matter what, we share DNA that binds us together. There's a sweetness in the love that started each story and carries it on into the future.

Link below for both personal and professional perspectives on what it takes to BE a family, HOLD a family together, and SERVE our families. There's much to be appreciated and much to learn from how people work together for the benefit of all.

Thanks for reading.

Sonoma County Family Services »

Bag Ban Gets Personal

Bag Ban Gets Personal

by Mary Munat AKA Green Mary

At a recent planning meeting for the Public Forum on single-use bags, the group was discussing what to serve for light breakfast fare, and at my suggestion of including fruit, Melissa Bushway said, "No fruit is in season locally now, so what can we have instead?" I lightly jerked back in the eco-chair inside my head, but externally smirked and nodded, delighted to be environmentally headed off at the pass by this principle-driven young woman. Working together on this all-volunteer campaign, I became ever more intrigued by the intelligent, charming activist on the bag-ban path beside me. Melissa demonstrates that relying on reusable bags and habits can be seamless.

The most striking thing about Melissa is her awareness of the impact of her actions and the core knowledge that what she does, what everyone does in every day life, matters, a lot. How does one get to be this way? Melissa grew up on a 14-acre, redwood-covered property in Santa Cruz, with an arborist dad and a gardening mom. The nearest neighbor, still her best friend today, was a quarter mile away and her house had no electricity. She came into the world from the woods and has always deferred to nature when making decisions.While going to school at UC Santa Cruz, her classes as an Environmental Studies major increased the number and complexity of her natural filters.

Sonoma County Bag Ban gets Personal »

Children Suffer from Budget Cuts

By Russell Nichols

Hardly anyone will be spared from the ripple effect of California's financial crisis, but the biggest victims might be those who don't know it yet: children.

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to take a machete to the state budget hasn't been settled yet, but up and down the state, child care and welfare programs are already feeling the pain. In his quest to resolve the $26.6 billion budget deficit, he proposes a $577 million cut to the state's child care program by reducing funding for each slot by 35 percent. The state's CalWORKS program - or welfare-to-work - would be cut by $851 million.

Another group in the red zone is First 5 California (the California Children and Families Commission), which distributes funds to local communities to provide critical services to parents, caregivers and children from birth to five years. The commissions fund various early childhood programs, such as oral health and child abuse prevention, and other services to keep kids from getting caught in other state systems. Each community has different needs. Brown initially claimed that state and local commissions had $2 billion in reserves. He wanted to redirect $1 billion from tobacco tax money to children's Medi-Cal and divert 50 percent of future First 5 revenues to other state services. But lawmakers rejected the proposal, opting for a onetime funding sweep of $50 million from the state commission and $950 million from county commissions. Even so, that's more than First 5 is ready to give up, says Sherry Novick, executive director of First 5 California.

Children Suffer from Budget Cuts »

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