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Small Shops of Sonoma County 2011

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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.

December 2011

Small Shops of Sonoma County December 2011

Small Shops of Sonoma County - 9th Annual Guide December 2011 »

Pot Hole Activist

Pot Hole Activists

Sonoma County Pot Hole Activists Citizens Group Forms to Fix Roads

Save Our Sonoma Roads (SOS Roads) is a group of Sonoma County citizens that has formed to advocate fixing city and county roads. The goal of SOS Roads is to persuade elected officials to adequately fund the restoration of county roads and city streets. Roads are vital to public safety, property values and economic well-being.

The condition of our roads is directly correlated to insufficient funding for road maintenance and preservation. SOS Roads will educate individuals, groups and businesses on how our roads are funded and will advocate for appropriate allocation of public funds to roads.

Except for 219 miles of roads funded by federal and state funds, the supervisors have no plans to rebuild, repave or do anything but fill potholes on almost 1,163 miles (84 percent) of our county roads.

Under current policies, the county Department of Transportation and Public Works says that the orphaned roads will deteriorate to a point where they can only be ground up into gravel. SOS Roads says Sonoma County residents deserve paved, not gravel roads.

Sonoma County ranks near the bottom of 58 California counties in the Pavement Condition Index (PCI), according to "California Statewide Roads & Streets Assessment" a 2010 report prepared by a consortium of cities, counties and other transportation agencies.

More than fifty percent of these roads have a PCI level that is considered a failed condition. Rebuilding these roads will cost 10 to 15 times more than preservation techniques according to the county "Road Ahead" report. (A copy of this report is available on the SOS Roads website: in the Road Reports and Budgets section.)

At about $1 million per mile, rebuilding these roads could cost over $1.1 billion, almost the total annual County of Sonoma budget covering all county government expenditures. Unless budget priorities are changed, we can expect most roads to continue to worsen at an increasingly rapid rate. That is why it is so important to raise the priority of our roads now so this Herculean task can be accomplished over time.

Sonoma County Pot Hole Activists Citizens Group Forms to Fix Roads »

100000 Meals

Ceres Project Celebrates 100,000 Meals

By Cathryn Couch

In teen chef Carly Fernandez words, "...volunteering at Ceres (is) a life-changing experience." Carly joins dozens of other 13-18 year olds one afternoon each week volunteering in the kitchen of the Sebastopol-based Ceres Community Project. With guidance from adult mentors, they prepare nutrient rich meals for Sonoma County families dealing with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Much To Celebrate

At 4 ˝ years, the non-profit's volunteer "angels" will deliver their 100,000th meal this month. With help from hundreds of community members, the Ceres Project just moved into its permanent home in downtown Sebastopol. And with the creation of the Ceres Community Garden, the teen program now extends from soil to table – thanks to O’Reilly Media, Terry and Joanne Dale, and Sonoma Compost.

"We have been extraordinarily blessed." says founder and Executive Director Cathryn Couch, "Thanks to literally thousands of people, Ceres is now poised to make a much bigger difference."

The group's new commercial kitchen, more days available for cooking, and the new garden program mean Ceres will be able to expand the number of meals prepared and include nearly twice as many teens in the program. "If we continue to have the financial support we need from the community," says Couch, "we will grow from 45 to 70 clients each week by the end of 2012 and to 90 to 100 clients each week by the end of 2013." That means 45,000 meals next year and about 60,000 the year after that.

Value to All Concerned

The nutrient rich meals the group delivers can make a vital difference. "Instead of feeling worse and worse from the chemo, I started feeling better and better," shared a current client. "I was astounded. Despite the damage the chemo was doing to my immune system and body, I began healing. I've already gained back 20 of the pounds I had lost."

With the creation of a small vegetable and herb garden at the new site, and the nearby production garden at O'Reilly Media, Ceres will fulfill its goal to have every teen get their hands into the dirt as well as the mixing bowl. The two aspects of the teen program will be completely integrated, with head chef Rob Hogencamp and garden coordinator Sara McCamant working together to share the how and why of growing your own food. "...Young people in our community are hungry to make a real difference...," says Meal Program Director Margaret Howe, "at Ceres we give them that opportunity.... Teens will be responsible for all aspects of building and maintaining the new garden."

Ceres Project Celebrates 100,000 Meals »

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