While we’re busy dealing with a pandemic, there’s another disaster looming on the cloudless horizon, a potential crisis flying under the Doppler: drought. State officials haven’t declared one yet, but two consecutive dry years have created conditions more severe than the brick-in-the-toilet spell of 2013 through 2014. Regionally, water supply levels at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma are at historic seasonal lows. Warns a bulletin from the Sonoma Water Agency: “We anticipate voluntary water conservation measures, and the potential for mandatory measures as well.” Gulp.
… Dr. Robert (Robbie) Cohen, a legendary presence at Sonoma Valley Hospital, has passed away. Cohen, 75, had a memorable career at SVHS. He began there in 1998 and ultimately served as the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. Along the way, Cohen treated, comforted, and advocated for multiple generations of patients. Hospital Chair Joshua Rymer finely spoke of his “kindness, empathy and dedication. He was beloved by all who worked with him and especially by his patients.”… He was also the guy that removed the cotton ball that my five-year-old daughter had decided to stick up her nose. Then he gave her stickers and got a hug, and it felt like a good trade. That was 15 years ago and we still tell the story of that crazy night. Thanks, Doc.
… On Sonoma’s east side, the concept of personal freedom has been kicked to the curb, where neighbors are up to their begonias in a controversy dubbed Hedgegate. It started as a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk with her children got a scare when a car suddenly backed out of a driveway. High bushes blocked the driver’s view; there was nearly a collision. The pedestrian was alarmed at the perceived danger, and made a complaint to the city. Sure enough, a long-forgotten and rarely-enforced rule states that front yard landscaping be no taller than three-feet tall or so. An official letter went out; fines were threatened. On one side, mature trees, hedges and bushes are a menace; on the other, claims of frivolous complaints. It’s likely the city will step in and mitigate.
… When it comes to going to the bathroom, it seems the great outdoors is not all that great. That’s why when camping at Sugarloaf State Park, you can get your very own Porta Potty. The word was, many campers were uncomfortable with sharing bathrooms with others. So the Personal Porta Potty Program was born. Said campground manager Woody Woodbury, “Campers like the safety as well as the convenience of having a toilet near their site.” What price relief? A nightly $10 donation is requested.
… The City of Sonoma has banned polystyrene, which takes the common form of those white-foam coffee cups and food to-go containers. Intuitively you always knew they were bad, like houses-for-cockroaches-after-nuclear-war bad. It’s now known that the synthetic creation does indeed contain “forever chemicals.” Under the new rule, restaurants must only use recyclable or compostable containers.
…Katy Bryne LMFT, Psychotherapist, writes the What’s Up With That? column for The Sun sharing her wry, witty takes on life’s “emotional hairballs.” Now comes The Power of Being Heard: The Cost of Unspoken Conversations, her first audio book, a collection of stories, lessons and advice — a sort of living syllabus to what she calls Relationship 101. There was plenty to talk about. Find it at: http://bit.ly/KatyByrne…
Cynthia Tarr — vocalist, songwriter, voice teacher, choir director, and Sonoma Treasure Artist of 2019 — has branched out in a new creative direction, fiction writing. The first in an ambitious five-book series, Ruby is a “cozy mystery, with adventure, humor, sex, spirituality… and baked goods.” Sounds delicious.
Despite her appearance — unrealistically proportioned, vacuous expression, blonde — Barbie was always ahead of her time. When she first appeared, in 1959, she was of the era, a plaything. But the diminutive dynamo (11” without the heels) was soon breaking barriers. She was a surgeon when that was still weird. She served as an Army medic, ran for president, coached soccer and was yes, even a rocket scientist. She even got in early on the Malibu real estate boom. And all while looking totally fab. Now she’s both model and role model in “BARBIE: Heroes & Reinvented,” a Trashion Fashion exhibit at the Sonoma Community Center… Staging the dolls in clever vignettes and backgrounds was Chris Weller, professional photographer and diorama installation artist. Weller admits that with the entries of “recognizable heroes” he expected a rash of Marvel and other fantastical superheroes. “But the majority of what the Center received were wonderful representations of flesh-and-blood heroes, pioneers and warriors for human rights,” he said. “It’s been a real pleasure to witness this recalibration of what we view as heroes in society today. For a modest show in what still feels like a small town, I think it speaks volumes.”
In Houston, Domino’s Pizza is testing delivery by robot. Texas can have it, says Springs John. “I’d rather eat the robot.”
— Val Robichaud, [email protected]