Happy news from Ukiah, where longtime Sonoma resident Rosemarie Indelagato, she of the green thumb and pink house, celebrated her 101st birthday on Christmas day. The noted gardener lived at France and Broadway until mid-2014 when she moved to Ukiah to be with family. She attributes her longevity to “hard work and good food.” Cheers!
Good news also for low-income families in the Springs. Through grants, Santa Rosa’s Center for Well-Being and the Sonoma County Library will work with families who otherwise wouldn’t have access to nutrition, cooking and physical education classes. The Springs was identified as one of four Sonoma County neighborhoods deemed most in need of nutritional services based on the “2014 Portrait of Sonoma,” a study of disparities in the county and the relationship among income, education and health outcomes.
Welcome to the Valley’s new fire chief, Steve Akre. The 29-year fire service veteran was most recently the acting fire chief for the City of Pinole. Here, the Sonoma resident will run day-to-day operations, overseeing the four fire stations and ambulance transport system comprised of 39 full-time employees and 40 dedicated volunteer firefighters, while managing an overall district budget of $8.7 million. The job, he says, is a lifelong dream come true. “This very Fire Department sparked my interest to become a firefighter. At the age of three, I would race down with my mother to the firehouse when the siren blared. I was able to start my career as a volunteer firefighter when I was a senior at Sonoma Valley High… Throughout my career, I have always embodied the values, passion, and camaraderie I learned at a young age in this department. I am incredibly excited and blessed to be able to come full circle in my career and return to the very department that I hold in the highest regard.” Akre will start January 9, working alongside current Fire Chief Mark Freeman and will officially take over as chief on February 2.
The Vintage House Singers are nothing if not positive. Their message to new recruits: if you can talk, you can sing. The choral group starts up again on January 11, and the general public is invited to join this fun and friendly group. If you are a tenor or bass, you are given a free latte and doughnut at each meeting. The ensemble meets Wednesdays from 10-11:30 a.m. Vintage House, 264 First St. E. Remember, says Jean Wong, “the only bad voice is the voice we don’t hear.” Call 707.996.0311 for more information.
Popo the Clown needs our help, and is putting on show to get it. Find out about the fundraiser. Another worthy outing is John’s March Against Stomach Cancer on Saturday, January 21, as Sonoma Raceway open its 12-turn road course to walkers and runners alike. The event is named in honor of the raceway’s longtime spokesman John Cardinale, who passed away in 2013 after a two-year battle with the disease, the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Registration is $40 per person, which includes the walk/run, a T-shirt and light refreshments following the March. A shorter, less hilly course will be available for those who do not wish to complete the full 2.52-mile circuit, and children and pets are welcome. Find out more at Crowdrise.com/JohnsMarch2017 or 707.933.3918.
And finally, we get crabby. Just when you thought it was safe to go for some local Dungeness crab – last year’s season was a wash-out because of a toxic algae scare – a strike breaks out. Crabbers along the coast up to Washington state are choosing to stay tied at the docks rather than settle for less money from processors. The going rate was dropped to $2.75 a pound, but the crabbers want it pegged back to $3, and threaten to stay put until they get it. Maybe there’s a claws in the contract.