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The Sonoma County Gazette Newspaper print edition is distributed monthly to almost 800 newsstands, coffee shops, cafés, restaurants and stores COUNTY-WIDE...from Cloverdale to Petaluma and Sonoma to the Bodega Bay. FREE READING...Written by Readers...Connecting Sonoma County Communities with articles that cover news, events, social and environmental issues, education and information designed to encourage active participation in Sonoma County life.

Volume 8, Number 10  October 5 - November 2, 2011

Prepare your property for winter storms

Taking Care of Home

From our Families to our Houses & Communities

Prepare Your Property
For Winter Storms

By Barbara Landrith

Storms cause extensive damage to homes each year in California and the best time to prepare is now. The California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) recommends the following steps.

First - clean your gutters, including downspouts and drains. Extensive water damage can be caused by blocked gutters and drains which force the water to find another path. Check to make sure they are clear and working properly. Also, consider putting covers on your roof gutters to prevent leaves and other debris from clogging them. Rake your yard and remove any fallen leaves before a storm.

Remove damaged trees with cracked branches as well as healthy trees' branches that overhang homes, driveways etc. Likewise - trees that have shifted in the soil due to wind or burn damage and those with burned roots. Now unstable, these trees could fall or be blown against your home or windows.

Tips for Preparing for Winter »

Hidden Edpidemic

Hidden Epidemic

Sonoma County's Schools of Hope Program Targets Core Life Skills

By Sylvia WynnLindeman

This is strictly an editorial comment but to me it seems that so many people in Sonoma County are living the most amazing of lives. Surrounded by artists, foodies, wine enthusiasts, and those who wax eloquent about sustainability, we enjoy the beauty of our environment, conduct our business and interact with friends who are “just a cut above” in terms of philosophical bent and education...

How's this for a shocker, then?

In Sonoma County 54% of our third grade students are reading below grade level. Nearly 80% of third grade students who are also English Language Learners are reading below grade level.

Education is the cornerstone of individual community success. It is essential for finding and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits. Reading is a core building block of education and vital for mastering the skills necessary to thrive. Too many of our children are failing, and there is evidence of a wide achievement gap.

Research shows third-grade reading proficiency is a powerful predictor of later academic achievement. Children who have not mastered reading skills by this critical juncture continue to fall further behind in school and are much more susceptible to academic and behavior problems. Little wonder then that 25% of our students are not completing high school on time.

What can we do in this era of bare bones funding and governmental downsizing?

Sonoma County's Schools of Hope Program Targets Core Life Skills »

Upstream Matters

UpStream Matters

The Estuary is a culmination of everything upstream

Lawsuit Filed of Jenner Estuary Project Approval

By Brenda Adelman

Meandering 110 miles through Mendocino and Sonoma Counties’ scenic river valleys, the Russian River passes through a multitude of diverse habitats, even while it’s main channel and tributaries have been dewatered, dammed, channelized, stripped of gravel, timber, and riparian vegetation. The impacts are most obvious during drought periods when low flows highlight much of the resulting harm.

The river suffers from high temperatures, excessive sediment and nutrient pollution, and in some places, high bacterial counts. Excessive algae and invasive plant proliferation (especially Ludwigia) indicate extensive nutrient impairment coming from many different sources.

Thick sediments cloud the water in winter. And little is known about impacts from toxins, which are scarcely measured or regulated. It is only in the last forty years, after magnificent salmonid had survived for millennia, that they may now face their imminent demise as a result of the culmination of all these circumstances.

Exit to the Sea

The mouth of the Russian River at Jenner is the culmination of all that has happened upstream. Relatively little is known about its biological history but it has now become a focal point for a last ditch effort to save Steelhead salmon in what may be a futile and desperate attempt to find politically viable salmonid habitat improvement. (Most property owners along tributary streams are adamant about not having their water rights constrained. Dewatered streams are one of the largest contributors to loss of habitat, yet there is little political will to reverse this damage. This circumstance may be causing steelhead to spend more of their life span in the main Russian River where Chinook already reside.)

Lawsuit Filed of Jenner Estuary Project Approval »

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