January

Healdsburg’s 2008 Mayor was Lisa Schaffner, Vice Mayor was Jim Wood.

A major storm that dropped 5 inches of rain in 24 hours caused Foss Creek to overflow its banks and flood businesses on the 400 block of Healdsburg Avenue. Merchants reported thousands of dollars in damage. It was the first time downtown Healdsburg had flooded since the early 1990s.

Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Woznicki left the Chamber after 21 years to start her own business.

Police Sergeant Kevin Young celebrated 20 years of service with the department.

A giant oak tree fell into a home on Raven Court causing major damage to the home, but no injuries.

Healdsburg native Clarence H. Barney Barnard died at the age of 108.

Healdsburg schools reported they may have to make $2 million in cuts based on state budget reductions.

February

Healdsburg District Hospital opened its brand new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Emergency Department. The projects were made possible due in part to a $2 million donation from Harry and Maggie Wetzel.

A $3.25 million school bond passed in Geyserville to pay for upgrades to the schools.

Healdsburg Junior High School science teacher Phil Blumert was named Educator of the Year by his colleagues.

The first annual Wild Steelhead Festival was successful, drawing an estimated 3,000 visitors in its first year.

St. John’s School completed construction on a new library, art center and music room.

Healdsburg Rotary Club celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The Geyserville Fire Department won the Blood Bank of the Redwoods annual Bucket Brigade.

A curbside plastic bag recycling program was implemented countywide.

Healdsburg Post Master Randy Fetter said the downtown post office might close in an effort to cut costs and the Foss Creek facility would be renovated.

Healdsburg schools place a $3.5 million parcel tax on the June ballot. The money would pay for technology and other extra-curricular programs.

A revised draft General Plan and Environmental Impact Report were released.

March

Two city councilmembers, Lisa Schaffner and Eric Ziedrich declare potential conflicts of interest with the Saggio Hills development, causing them to recuse themselves. Only three councilmembers would take part in the public hearings for the project.

HUSD approved a three-year fiscal recovery plan, that would need to include hiring a new Superintendent, cutting the budget by $2 million and leasing Foss Creek School.

A large Plaza Barber Shop sign dating back to the 1950s was uncovered on the Plaza when owners of a new restaurant Scopa was renovating the front of the business.

Police Sergeant Kevin Young was named Sonoma County Officer of the Year.

Thirty-seven teachers and staff in the Healdsburg Unified School District were given layoff notices due to a $2 million budget shortfall.

City officials led talks with Post Office representatives to try to keep the post office facility downtown.

In a deal reached between River Rock Casino and Sonoma County Supervisors, the county agreed to stop opposition to the casino’s liquor license.

The city and downtown merchants formed a partnership to promote Healdsburg as a shopping destination to try to boost sales. The city would match the Downtown Business District with $30,000 in funds.

DiVine Pizza owner Michael Kennedy was crowned Mr. Healdsburg 2008.

Healdsburg schools hired Jeff Harding as the new Superintendent. He was formerly the assistant superintendent of the Windsor Unified School District.

April

A citizen’s group wanted to change Healdsburg’s growth policy by placing an initiative on the November ballot that would amend the city’s Growth Management Ordinance.

A jewelry store, Joyeria Mario’s, was robbed at gunpoint. An employee was tied up and more than $95,000 in jewelry was stolen.

Healdsburg Animal Shelter director Julie Johnson was fired after being told “she was not a good fit.”

The Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Saggio Hills Development.

Longtime Flakey Cream cook Joyce Robnett retired after 25 years.

The Healdsburg Community Chorus celebrated its 20th anniversary.

City Manager Chet Wystepek announced he would retire at the end of the year.

The first city council hearing on the Saggio Hills development was held and the pros and cons of the project were debated for more than four hours.

May

A special preview of the Healdsburg Farmers’ Market was held at the annual Arbor Day Celebration in the plaza.

After a few months of pressure, post office representatives decide to keep their downtown location.

Healdsburg Police welcomed new officer Katie Close to the department.

Plaza Farms announced it would close and Copperfield’s Books would take over its location.

The Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce hired its new Executive Director Craig Schmidt.

Geyserville students get a scary lesson in driving safely after they participated in the Every 15 Minutes program.

Hot, dry weather prompted an early fire season.

Thirteen teachers accept retirement incentives reducing the number of teachers that would need to be laid off during budget cuts.

The 59th annual Future Farmers County Fair and Twilight Parade were held.

June

The parcel tax that would have funneled $3.5 million into the Healdsburg Schools failed despite a strong show of support.

Class of 2008 graduates were sent into the world during ceremonies throughout Healdsburg and Geyserville.

The city of Healdsburg projected at $762 budget shortfall for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Healdsburg’s American Legion Post 111 appointed its first female commander, Lorraine Plass.

Following multiple lengthy city council meetings, five of the nine Saggio Hills entitlements were approved.

The 10th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival wrapped up 10 days of remarkable performances.

The city and the school district work out a lease agreement for the Foss Creek site, which the city planned to use for its Park and Recreation Department.

Longtime Healdsburg High School teacher Mike Berry retired after 45 years at the school.

A celebration was held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Lake Sonoma Dam project.

July

Some members of the community began calling for a voter referendum on the Saggio Hills project, but Healdsburg City Councilmembers quickly stated they disagreed with the growing sentiment.

The new HealdsBag was unveiled at a Tuesday Night Concert and there was so much support for the canvas and recycled milk carton totes that additional orders were made to keep them in stock. The program was subsidized by Big John’s Market and the city of Healdsburg.

The city restructured its sewer system to charge customers based on their use rather than charging a flat fee. Most residents saw a decrease in rates with the new system.

Veteran school board member Paul Deas announced he would leave the board after more than 14 years of service.

Healdsburg residents gave blood in record numbers in a show of support for Shannon Boaz who had been recently diagnosed with leukemia. The drive set a new record for Blood Bank of the Redwoods with 233 people giving blood.

Two new administrators were welcomed to the Healdsburg Unified School District: Peter Fong, principal of Healdsburg Elementary School, and Annie Millar, director of curriculum and instruction for the district.

Bob Raines was hired as the new superintendent-principal of the Alexander Valley Union School District.

August

Big John’s Market began imposing a five cent charge on plastic and paper bags in an effort to make a positive environmental difference by reducing the use of bags and increasing awareness of reusable totes.

The Dorr family proved to be expert cattle showman by taking home the top prize three years in a row at the Sonoma County Fair. Jacob Dorr, 15, won FFA Showmanship, Champion FFA Shorthorn, and FFA Reserve Grand Champion. His older sister, Gennefer, now in college, won in 2006 and 2007 and their younger brother, Davey, 9, this year was in a special junior division, and he won that.

The Healdsburg Education Foundation was in the midst of expanding as the school year was nearing. An executive director was hired and a new office inside district headquarters was opened.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church welcomed a new rector, Father Tyler Strand.

Caltrans workers closed Healdsburg Memorial Bridge for two days to perform multiple inspections, some of which will be used to help the city determine whether the bridge should be replaced or rehabilitated.

The school year began with higher than expected enrollment numbers for the kindergarten class and Heather Swicegood was hired three days before the first day of school to keep the average class size down.

Four candidates kick off campaigns for Healdsburg City Council. Mike McGuire, Gary Plass, Tom Chambers and Tony Pastene were running for three seats on the council. Mayor Lisa Schaffner had decided not to run for re-election after eight years on the council.

Saggio Hills developers offered an additional $1 million for affordable housing and increased the amount they would dedicate for the fire susbstation from $1 million to $1.75 million in an effort to reach an agreement with the city.

September

Healdsburg’s new police officer, Scott Eland, was sworn into office. He had been working as the department’s parking enforcement officer but with the retirements of two officers, a full-time position opened up.

As the Saggio Hills public hearings continued, Warren Watkins, a representative of Healdsburg Citizens for Sustainable Solutions, vowed to support any lawsuit that challenged the project if it was approved by the city. By the middle of the month, most of the Saggio Hills entitlements had been approved in unanimous 3-0 votes.

Healdsburg District Hospital reported a bright financial outlook, saying it was exceeding fiscal expectations set forth in the 2005 revitalization plan.

The same team of hoteliers that brought Hotel Healdsburg to town broke ground on their newest project h2hotel in the lot on Healdsburg Avenue next door to the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce.

Badly needed roadwork began on Matheson Street and Healdsburg Avenue to repair potholes and cracks in the roadway.

October

Ernie, Marty and Jim Shelton bought Anstead’s Market and began making changes to the local store, which included new lighting, a bulk food aisle and rearranging the check-out stands.

Dry Creek Vineyards took the Harvest Fair White Wine Sweepstakes with its 2007 Fume Blanc Sonoma County at the Fair’s annual awards gala.

A free wood chipper program was provided for Fitch Mountain residents to foster fire prevention and fire safety practices.

Five downtown shop owners won a Marketing Achievement Award for their collaboration, which hinged on working together to attract customers rather than competing for them.

After three years of public scrutiny, Saggio Hills is finally approved by Healdsburg City Councilmembers. Just days after the approval, Healdsburg Citizens for Sustainable Solutions filed a lawsuit against the city.

Healdsburg High School senior Vanessa Soto was crowned 2008 Homecoming Queen.

The Healdsburg Unified School District decided to keep its District Office at its current location (on the Healdsburg High School campus) rather than moving it to the Foss Creek campus as previously planned.

A moderately-attended city council candidate’s forum was held at the Raven Theater and highlighted few differences between the four candidates for the council.

Alliance Medical Center workers went on a one-day strike, saying the clinic’s administration was trying to break its union. Hospital CEO Jack Neureuter said he wanted to make the clinic an “open shop” where workers could choose if they wanted to be part of the union or not.

The Healdsburg Farmers’ Market Pumpkin Festival and the Healdsburg Dog House’s annual Howl-O-Ween parade were big attractions helping locals get into the Halloween spirit.

November

Mike McGuire, Gary Plass and Tom Chambers were elected to the Healdsburg City Council. Measure Q, the quarter-percent sales tax increase to fund the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, passed.

The Healdsburg Ridge Open Space Preserve opened to the public after a long-awaited agreement between the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and the city of Healdsburg for joint management of the property.

Longtime Healdsburg volunteer Yvonne Milligan was awarded the Marie Sparks Memorial Volunteer Award.

Plans were put in place to transform the woodshop classroom at Healdsburg High School into a black box theater.

Healdsburg District Hospital celebrated the 10th anniversary of the effort to bring the hospital back into public ownership.

The city council passed a “Green Ordinance” and continued developing a Green City Program to keep Healdsburg on the path toward more environmentally friendly practices.

County supervisors approved a million dollar study to find out whether a pipeline from Lake Sonoma to the Russian River is feasible to improve conditions for endangered native salmon populations in Dry Creek.

December

Mayor Lisa Schaffner said goodbye to the council during her final meeting on the dais. New member Tom Chambers took his seat as the council reorganized. The 2009 Mayor will be Eric Ziedrich and Jim Wood will serve again as Vice-Mayor.

The city agreed to extend its contract with the Healdsburg Auto Group for matching funds to promote buying and servicing cars in Healdsburg.

The Healdsburg Unified School District began discussing a potential parcel tax for 2010.

The 25th annual Senior Appreciation Dinner was held at the Villa. More than 285 seniors were served.

Healdsburg resident Daniel Mooney died in an apparent homicide after being stabbed twice by girlfriend Sheyna Douprea.

Grading plans and affordable housing studies move forward for the Saggio Hills Development despite a pending lawsuit.

The Geyserville Park & Ride is dedicated during a local ceremony.

Millie Howie’s column Wine Words appeared for the last time in the Tribune.

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