Community is Kathy; on pools and hotels; London writing contest

Posted on January 21, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The outpouring of emotion over the death of Kathy Gerletti, the beloved El Verano Post Office worker who passed from a stroke in late December, has been extraordinary. Andy Weinberger, for one, will miss the vivacious redhead. “She was an amazing people person — not just energetic, but upbeat, and generous to a fault. Tragedy is an overused term, in my opinion, and this was more than that. This was robbery. Kathy was stolen away from us and God only knows why. Our world is a poorer place without her bright smile and relentless good cheer.” Read more tributes in our letter section, and on The Sun’s Facebook page… This week’s editorial asks, “What is Community?’’ This wave of communal grief is community, at its finest and most heartbreaking

What makes a swimming pool a “Community Pool?” The Sonoma Splash group would do well to explain that concept, particularly when its proposed on-site partner, Parkpoint Clubs, is private. As for Splash’s announcement that it will need to include the Paul’s Field little league park in the master plan, perhaps as a site for affordable housing, it sounds very much like re-selling the property to the highest bidder, for whatever use. Shouldn’t flipping be reserved for the diving board?

Another project long in the works for downtown Sonoma will soon re-grab headlines. The Enviornmental Impact Report on the erstwhile Chateau Sonoma project, now known as the Hotel Project Sonoma, is due on the City’s desk next week. That formal document will beget the series of study sessions, etc., leading ultimately to a vote by the Sonoma Planning Commission. The current plans are for a 62-room hotel, an 80-seat restaurant, a 5k-ish-square-foot spa, and 94-space basement garage, all for upwards of $40 million.

Inspired by Jack London, Sonoma Valley’s most famous literary celebrity outside of Kathleen Hill, the team at Jack London State Park is staging the “Discover Your Call of the Wild” writing contest for kids. Students in grades four through 12 are asked to write and submit an original London-esque short story about an animal, an adventure, or a quest. Entries will be judged on originality of thought and creative use of language by a panel of teachers and literary scholars. Winners in each age category will receive a cash prize, and selected winners will appear here in The Sun. Send submissions to, and find out more from, Karen Buchanan at [email protected]. The deadline is February 29.

Have you ever noticed the tiny vineyard on the north side of Leveroni Road, near Fryer Creek Road? The one-acre parcel is called Tex Juen Park, and is leased from the City by the Sonoma Home Winemakers. The group uses the property as a demonstration vineyard to educate the public; it also uses the harvested grapes to make wine often donated to local non-profits for fundraising. The vineyard is dry farmed, and the Club pays to water the frontage flower garden and rose bushes. The 10 –year lease, at $1 per, was just renewed.

Charity proceeds from the Sonoma Music Festival have been awarded. Regional recipients included: Fisher House, $85,000; American Legion Post 489, $10,000; Native Sons, $5,000; Bread and Roses, $20,000; Redwood Empire Food Bank, $40,000; and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, $10,000. While some recipients may have coveted Ringo Starr’s autograph, turns out Bruce Cohn’s signature is worth more.

— Val Robichaud

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