Page 3 ~ Val Robichaud


School is hard, lost cats, and a farmer’s lament

Posted on September 9, 2021 by Val Robichaud

Life — and homework — goes on at El Verano Elementary School, but without principal Maite Iturri, who resigned, suddenly and unexpectedly, shortly before school began. The well-respected Iturri had worked for the district for 25 years. She has taken position with the Petaluma School District. During her run at SVUSD, Iturri  worked under nine superintendents, including five in the past five years. Additionally, the district has recently lost five school principals, and several administrators. Amidst the blowback, the district is now forming a task force to “look at strategies to both recruit and retain high quality staff.”… Deeper systemic problems? Bob Edwards, for one, thinks so. “Whatever the causes, they need to be quickly and candidly identified and addressed for the good of students, staff and taxpayers. As it is, schools in Kabul seem to provide a more stable education environment than SVUSD.”

Gennifer Caven

Meanwhile, Gennifer Caven is El Verano’s interim principal at El Verano. She’s a familiar face, having been at the school for 16 years. “I’m honored and thrilled to serve the El Verano Community in this new capacity,” she said. “El Verano has been my home for so long. I look forward to supporting the great  work and staff that are in place here.” She also taught at Altimira. 

The candidates for the Sonoma City Council seat vacated by Amy Harrington are set for the special (as in $30,000) election on November 2. The lineup: James Cribb, Sandra Lowe and Mike Nugent… To vote, you must live in Sonoma and be registered by October 18. Cribb is inviting his opponents to a Voter Registration drive September 23 and 24 at the El Coyote Food Truck, at 1001 Broadway across from Sonoma Valley High School. “It’s great to be working together [with proprietors Jose and Jamey Vasquez] to get young people registered.” It’s an important time for the city, and as always, the choice will be difficult — taco, burrito or nachos? And if one’s too spicy, can we mount a recall?

Will Johnson wonders if all those ‘we found a lost cat’ social-media posts are a bit of an overreaction. Outdoor cats in his day were, you know, mainly outdoors. “They roamed quite a bit, and more than a few times I’d even see them a half mile and more away from our yard, stalking mice, lounging around under a tree, casting spells, writing poetry.  You know – cat stuff.”

Mike Benziger, former world-class wine grape grower, now grows cannabis. Like any good farmer, he’s obsessed with the weather. “This year has been a bitch to farm, with heat, drought and mega winds,” he told Jonah Raskin. “The two plants that like this shit are the tomatoes and the pot. We will see how the pot does when it has those big oily buds hanging out there.”

While on the subject, and perhaps a gummy or two, Sonoma County seeks public input to the regional future of the marijuana industry, with something called the Cannabis Visioning Survey. Me? I see tie-dye and doughnuts. 

— Val Robichaud, [email protected]


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