Influence a young man’s life
EDITOR: A volunteer opportunity that benefits everyone is the best kind. That’s what happens when a family, a couple, or a single person hosts a young baseball player for the Prune Packers season in the summer.
Prune Packers Manager and Coach, Joey Gomes, says, “All the success stories of players that have been Prune Packers happened because, first of all, they had a place to stay. Host families are the MVPs of the Prune Packers team, because they offer the players the opportunity to fulfill a dream. The players are committed to success, and their host families contribute a great deal by setting the environment that makes that possible.”
The impact of host families provides a positive foundation in the lives and careers of these young men. Another adult, besides their parents or teachers, believes in them and is making a contribution to their success. It works both ways, too, because the experience for the host family is so rich.
These young aspiring athletes are special human beings. They must have good grades to be given the chance to play in college, then they have to excel at the game, then they have the opportunity to play summer baseball. The players don’t have a choice as to where they play for the summer. Especially if they have a scholarship from a big, cut-throat school, competition is fierce.
When they are told they are coming here to Healdsburg, they breathe a huge sigh of relief. It’s considered a privilege to play in Healdsburg, because this community is so warm and accepting. Players become part of the host family’s household and can earn being part of the family.
One player became a pal to the 10-year-old Little Leaguer in his host family. One host family has continued to go down to spring training to see “their” ball player play for the San Diego Padres. The day before he left for pro baseball, he drove up to see them. Another player had a rough experience at his college due to his coach. He was ready to quit both baseball and college, but he came to Healdsburg to play ball that summer. It rekindled his determination to succeed, and he finished college with a degree in finance. When he got his first job, he flew his boss up from San Diego with him, so that his boss could see what had influenced him. Accommodations for Prune Packers players are still needed.
If you have a spare bedroom, or a granny unit that you could share for 6-1/2 weeks with a player or two, please contact Laurie North (707) 490-6633 or Gerry North (707) 332-3331.
“We welcome anyone and everyone who has an inviting home.”
Jane St. Claire
Graduation rates improving
EDITOR: I’d like to take a moment to congratulate the roughly 4,500 students who will be receiving their high school diplomas in the weeks to come. I commend our graduates for their commitment to their education, often despite personal setbacks or challenges such as the 2017 wildfires. This major life milestone is a testament to their hard work and perseverance. It’s also thanks to the support of teachers, classified staff, school administrators, and of course, family.
Graduation marks the end of one journey but the beginning of another. Youths armed with a diploma have a world of possibilities before them, whether they choose to continue their education or begin pursuing a career immediately. That is why I am celebrating the fact that the number of youths exiting high school with their diplomas, and the opportunity they symbolize, is on the rise.
Between 2010 and 2018, the county graduation rate has risen from 75 to 81 percent. This is the case even though the state increased the rigor of the performance criteria used to measure graduate outcomes in 2017, resulting in more conservative graduation rates.
At the same time, the achievement gap between all students and Latinx students has almost disappeared. The graduation rate for Latinx students has risen 14 percentage points over the last eight years, to 80 percent. This progress wouldn't be possible without the dedicated work of Sonoma County public school employees and numerous nonprofit organizations that support our schools.
These same people are dedicated to further increasing the graduation rate for all students in the years to come. Interested to know more? Read about Sonoma County graduate outcomes at scoe.org/edfacts or access a calendar of Sonoma County high school graduations at scoe.org/graduation.
Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D.
Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools
Seniors on the path to success
EDITOR: I recently had the pleasure, along with Henk Peters and Kelly Larson, to interview seniors at Healdsburg High School for Rotary-sponsored scholarships. We had the opportunity to speak to 20 students, all of whom were deserving. Grade point averages, community service and the desire to learn was evident with all applicants.
Clearly Healdsburg High has a path for all students, whether it be a two-year college, four-year university or joining the workforce directly out of high school. With the CASA program, culinary program and many other great career paths to choose from, Healdsburg High is definitely a leader in education for the next generation. I
t is satisfying to know that all 20 students interviewed, no matter the career path the choose, will have a positive impact on our world.
Thank you to all the students who have worked so hard and thank you to Healdsburg High School for making all this possible.
Kiwanis thanks you
EDITOR: The Healdsburg Kiwanis Club held its 63rd annual pancake breakfast on Palm Sunday April 14th. We served over 600 guests which included our beloved fire department as well as the Bell’s Ambulance crews. Not only were there blueberry pancakes there were also chocolate chip pancakes. We had juicy sausage, fluffy eggs, fresh pineapple and hot coffee and tea.
It takes a village and we would never be able to carry out this tradition without the generous support of the many organizations here. The money that was raised from our breakfast goes toward scholarships for our Healdsburg High School graduates, support for the Healdsburg Education Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club and the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, to name a few. Our goal is to serve the children of the world, one child at a time, starting with the kids in Healdsburg. All are welcome to come join us either at our events or at our weekly meeting. We meet on Tuesdays at noon at the Villa Chanticleer Annex and/or the fourth Tuesday evening of the month.
Please look for us at the Future Farmers Country Fair over Memorial Day weekend and The Fitch Mountain Foot race in June. For more information, feel free to contact me at 707-272-8849.
President elect, Healdsburg Kiwanis Club
Peterson is no criminal
EDITOR: Regarding Mike Peterson/Davy Crockett: For over 40 years, Mike has been walking around town in the persona of Davy Crockett. Part of his costume has always been an unloaded flintlock rifle of the kind that must be packed with powder. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve researched it extensively and such pre 1898 antique rifles are exempt from open carry laws when unloaded. I spoke to a California gun rights attorney, who confirmed this.
Mike brought his rifle with him into a city council meeting on affordable housing in February. The rifle rested on the ground at his feet during the entire meeting. He admits that this was a dumb thing to do, but it was a case where he was afraid to leave it outside for fear of theft. Mike got exasperated in the course of the meeting and spoke angrily and out of turn, and Police Chief Kevin Burke escorted him out of the room.
Now he is in danger of going to jail. However you feel about guns, perhaps you agree with me that Mike isn’t a criminal. If you’d like to help him, please write a letter on his behalf to the district attorney and the judge.
Mike’s full name is Michael James Peterson. Case number is SCR-725619-1 His hearing will be held on May 28.
You can write:
Jill Ravitch, District Attorney Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office 600 Administration Drive, Room 212 J Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Hon. Mark Urioste Superior Court of Sonoma County 600 Administration Drive; Santa Rosa, CA 95403