FROM THE PUBLISHER

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Why in the world are we on Mars? Surely, we’re not bored with life on Earth, are we? We’ve got plenty to keep us occupied with a coronavirus pandemic, injured economy, crazy weather and mobs of people at each other’s throats. Forget all of that, our smartest scientists say. First, they want …

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COLUMNISTS

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I wanted to acknowledge Black History Month in this space, but then I realized there isn’t much Black history in western Sonoma County, at least that I know about. The one person who came to mind was the late Eugene Jones who was the first Black soloist for the San Francisco Opera.

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Editor's note: This column is from our sister news site, the Cloverdale Reveille. As the country surpasses 500,000 COVID-related deaths, we thought Pamela Tinnin's column might hit home to readers outside of Cloverdale. Tinnin is also currently the pastor at Guerneville Community Church.

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Fertilizer is food for plants that need a variety of nutrients to grow and thrive. While we humans get our nutrients from different foods we eat, plants get most of their nutrients from the soil. Sometimes soils don’t have the nutrients necessary for plants to grow and thrive, so we apply ch…

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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Since the recent celebration of Valentine’s Day, I have been thinking about, what else, love! Because when it comes to loving others, it just seems that there is more to love, more demanded by love, than simply the sentimental sweetness of a Valentine’s card and a box of chocolates, as nice …

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Are you miffed or relieved that the major social media platforms banned former President Donald Trump? I was relieved at first, then slightly miffed about the idea of a private company muzzling a public figure, then I decided that we’re arguing about the wrong thing.

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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I get a kick out of the report in last week’s Sonoma West Times & News telling us that, because of the COVID pandemic, Sonoma County along with other counties have received waivers allowing them to skip the mandatory counting of the homeless this year. Why would that amuse me, you might …

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If you own or work for a local business, these are tough times. From Thanksgiving through St. Patrick’s Day, some small businesses have to lay off staff, cut hours, slow down on purchasing or even give up and close. I’ve seen it happen year after year — winter is hard on commerce.

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Welcome 2021 — a new year that comes with new resolutions and reflections on the past year. For many, the past year dramatically changed how we live our lives and where we live it. Those lucky enough to have a garden, lawn or greenspace have found a place for gatherings, play and relaxation.…

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Near as I can figure, Arline and I arrived in Scranton, Pennsylvania, about seven years after Joe Biden, at age 10, moved to Delaware with his family. We had been married in Pasadena, California, exactly one week before, and had driven from the wedding reception to Scranton in six days. Happ…

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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OK, I’ll admit it. I’m an elitist. As the COVID pandemic deepens and spreads throughout the nation, I am stunned by people’s ongoing denial, irresponsible behavior and yes, just plain stupidity. I am thankful I live in Sonoma County where most people take wearing masks and maintaining social…

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Are you confused, angry and sad about the mess at the U.S. Capitol last week? Me too.

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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On New Year’s Daythere came to mind a little book I had read a good many years ago called “On Not Knowing How to Live.” I thought I’d put it up on a self with other little books I’d found particularly wise, but, wouldn’t you know, the book wasn’t on that shelf, or any shelf in the house, far…

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In many ways it didn’t seem like Christmas this year. We didn’t want to deal with people much, so didn’t get a tree. Didn’t get out the old ornaments. Didn’t utter the curse that helps untangle the string of lights. Didn’t fuss for some days over a jigsaw puzzle that, by tradition, we got at…

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The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at wschs.org, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at wschs.historycorner@gmail.com.

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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Long time Guerneville entrepreneur, children’s specialist, thespian, singer and cultural force Wallie Kass died during Thanksgiving week just past. These highlights of her life are condensed from her son Larry’s account of his remarkable mother.

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You’ve heard this message many times, but it bears repeating. A dollar spent at a local business ricochets around the community much more powerfully than a dollar spent online. Amazon.com does not buy tickets to your kids’ school fundraiser. Walmart.com doesn’t buy tickets to your local Kiwa…

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It goes without saying that plants are some of the most beautiful and important organisms we have on our planet. As a child I was always interested in the world of plants. A world seemingly so familiar yet so estranged from common understanding. As kids we run barefoot and play on the soft g…

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A colleague shares this story: “Our neighbors have large plywood letters bordered with Christmas lights that spell out ‘NOEL.’ Each year they mount them on the roof of their house and turn on the lights to spell out that joyful word.

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The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at wschs.org, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at wschs.historycorner@gmail.com.

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For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, s…

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Once upon a time, back in the 1990s, I was asked an unusual question. A nice fellow named Ben used to dress up in a red suit every year and play the role of a cultural icon. He was the star of an annual parade and he handed out candy canes to hundreds of good little girls and boys.

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Last Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year in Christian churches, and that’s the day I threw 60 years of sermons into the trash. It amounted to three file drawers and four large cardboard boxes packed full of sermons plus a number of manila envelopes w…

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As our nation waits uneasily for this presidential election to really and truly be psychologically over, we find ourselves wondering if our electoral system, and other institutions we cherish, will hold up, able to overcome misinformation, passionate anger and a sitting president’s accusatio…

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Disengaged and floundering, high school students are finding it increasingly difficult to adapt and thrive with the new standards of distance education. While the academic structure looks to be changing for an extended period, the students who come out as products serve as lab rats in the ex…

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In his book “Thanks!,” Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at U. C. Davis, tells us that “grateful thinking” will bring us better sleep, increase our energy and make us happier by as much as 25%. He defines gratitude as “wanting what we have.”

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Like everyone else in this sector of the solar system, I’ve been obsessed with the national elections for the past year, and the results have made me wonder what I believe.

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For a long time I’ve wondered how President Donald Trump’s loyal supporters can remain so fiercely loyal to him. “My goodness gracious, he’s been storyin’ to us every single day,” as my grandmother would say. To grandma, “storyin’” meant saying things that aren’t true, lying in other words.

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N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winning author, is a Kiowa Indian. He wrote an essay in which he reflected on a life-changing moment he experienced as a youth. He was taken early one morning by his father to the cottage of an old woman. His father dropped him off and left. Of all the places…

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The following snippets of history were prepared by volunteers at the Western Sonoma County Historical Society. For more information about local history, go to the WSCHS website at wschs.org, or email comments or questions about this History Corner to Mary Dodgion at wschs.historycorner@gmail.com.

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A few days ago, our Sonoma West Times & News featured a long article from CalMatters on California’s experience with opening the schools in this time of COVID-19. The article was generally upbeat, and in fact one school official called the situation “encouraging.”

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My neighbor is learning to ride her bike with no hands. She’s 9, and we live at opposite ends of a 300-foot lane off a busy residential street. Her family lives at the busy entrance and our family lives at the quiet end, but we see her often, riding her bike or scooter up and down, patient a…

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Somewhere in the week after Nov. 3, in our country and our community, we will reach a deciding moment in our collective lives when a series of major choices will be required. The choice could be, and should be, more than turn left or right, or even just stay the course. It should be a consci…

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Our main purpose these days is to survive. I’m not sure many of us fully appreciate that. Even as coronavirus infections reach new highs, we think we can devise plans and programs that allow us to do most of the things we did before the virus came along, like going out to eat, for instance, …

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