FROM THE PUBLISHER

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Well, so much for a peaceful transfer of power. Five Americans died on Jan. 6 when an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and forced members of Congress to flee and barricade themselves for fear of personal harm. We all know what happened. We saw it on live TV. Most of us think we know why it…

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COLUMNISTS

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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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With newly confirmed Amy Coney Barrett now the sixth conservative on the bench, the next several months should be fascinating if not terrifying for those concerned about health care, the environment and the concentration of wealth. As expected, little was revealed during her confirmation hea…

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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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A confession – I have not voted in every election since I came of voting age. In my early 20s, I thought – like most of my friends and family – that voting was for establishment types, people who were oblivious to the truth that the system is rigged. (Sound familiar?)

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Today we consider some preexisting conditions besides the ones medical insurance companies are required to cover, at least until the Supreme Court convenes shortly after the election and decides whether or not this is constitutional.

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Have you ever awoken to a noisy sound on your street early in the morning and wondered what it was? If it was not your friendly solid waste truck collecting your garbage, it was probably your city’s street sweeper. Have you ever wondered why so many resources are spent to keep your streets c…

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Four years ago, I moved out of Healdsburg proper after living there for 10 years, to Brack Road off of West Dry Creek. The Walbridge Fire came within ¼ mile of where I am living and while I am fortunate to have escaped its ravages on many levels, I am humbled by the lessons it has already ta…

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We are all doing our own risk analysis to deal with the COVID scourge. It is becoming clear that while there are many unknowns, it is not rocket science. If you are smart and accept some basic principles, then risk goes way down. If you ignore the problem, it punishes you and others near you.

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While many Sonoma County residents feel wildland fire fatigue, we should embrace some hard facts about the underlying factors that have contributed to the situation. California, our county, the nature of the wildland-urban interface, climate change and human factors have led us to a critical…

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A story from Native American sources:  A boy was talking with his grandfather. “What do you think about the state of the world today?’’

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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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A shelter-in-place public health order is a not always a safe option for those at risk of intimate partner violence. Social isolation is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control over their victims. Isolation is all but guaranteed during the COVID pandemic. Studies have also …

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A few days ago, when the Glass Fire was burning its way into eastern Santa Rosa and people were being evacuated in a hurry and homes were not only threatened but burned to the ground, I saw a little internet blip about a fire in Monte Rio. And that’s all I ever saw about it. I just assumed t…

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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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