Register your garden…

Update: 131 Gardens Registered in Sonoma County

Hello Gardening Enthusiasts,

Three weeks and counting….Gardens and plans are springing up around the county!

We really need you in these final days to grow this amazing vision of 350 new and revitalized waterwise gardens. Please register your garden today, and ask neighbors and friends to do the same. Earth Day brought 30 incredible Coast Guard volunteers to help revitalize existing community garden plots at the Burbank Heights Apartments Senior Housing in Sebastopol.

Check out the Huffington Post Article about the 350 Garden Challenge…..

Check out the the Press Democrat’s Earth Day Special about iGROW and the 350 Garden Challenge…..

Check out the Argus’ Earth Day Special about Daily Acts and the 350 Garden Challenge.

Oakland’s Victory Garden Foundation is ramping up–last time we checked they had over 100 gardens signed up. They’re matching our challenge.

Speaking of matching, we need your support! SCWA has provided a generous matching grant of $25,000. So please donate today and your contribution will get doubled!

Sign up your garden project by Clicking HERE


The 350 Garden Challenge Team

For more information, please call Beth Dadko at 707-565-6681


Rebuilding Together Petaluma–Community In Action

Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) is a local non-profit volunteer organization that provides home modification and repair services free of charge to individuals and organizations in our community who are in need of some helping hands.Rebuilding Together Petaluma

On April 17, 2010, 350 RTP volunteers came together to work on 15 projects in Petaluma.

  • The photos below document some of the volunteer efforts at the Petaluma Boys & Girls Club and a COTS transition home.
  • Photos from additional RTP projects will be included in a later article.
  • After the last photo (“Winston”), there is a slideshow of the photos included in this posting.

Individual photos may be “enlarged” by clicking on them…

Sidewalk Superintendent…


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Petaluma Fireworks! Time to Vote


Public events don’t happen by magic. This article attempts to illustrate how much effort goes into raising the monies necessary for Petaluma’s Fourth of July fireworks show.

Please Note: If you decide to participate in the Raley’s Reach contest discussed below, you have to be willing to register on the Raley’s website to do so…. Registration involves providing a valid e-mail address.

–Frank Simpson


In this busy Election Year, Petaluma voters are presented with still yet another opportunity to vote on an important issue.  This time, the public can cast their votes to help complete the funding for Petaluma’s Fourth of July Fireworks show…

Let me explain…

Jan Mandrell, the ever energetic and enthusiastic Recreation Supervisor at Parks & Rec advises that funding efforts are within $6.500 of the goal for this year’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show. Major donations by Kiwanis, Raley’s and others (see “Funding Background” at the end of this article) helped bring the funding to this point.

To help close the gap, Mandrell reports:

I recently discovered another community support program sponsored by Raley’s called Raley’s Reach.

Basically, Raley’s is asking communities in Northern California and Northern Nevada to submit ideas for local community projects that could be eligible to receive a $7,500 grant from Raley’s.

So we submitted a grant proposal to Raley’s Reach to help us close the gap. 

  • The trick is that it is one of several proposals and to succeed it must get the support of the public. 
  • The five ideas with the most votes will receive $7,500 to put the project into action.

Therefore, we are encouraging everyone to go to the Raley’s Reach Page (CLICK HERE)  to register and  vote!  Voting started April 21 and runs through May 12. You can vote once a day until the voting closes.

We are hoping if everyone votes on Petaluma’s Raley’s Reach proposal we will be one of the top five and will thus have enough monies to provide children’s activities on July 4th similar to those that took place at the 2008 Sesquifest Program.

Remember, individual contributions are still welcomed. If you care to donate in any amount, simply make your check  payable to “City of Petaluma/July4th” and mail it to Petaluma Community Center, 320 North McDowell Blvd. Petaluma, Ca 94954. Any monies not used for this year’s show will be held to help support the July 4th show in 2011.


Funding Background

For those who may not be familiar with the funding history for Petaluma’s Fireworks Show, Mandrell advises:

In past years we have been fortunate to have several sponsors donate money to support the annual July 4th Fireworks show in Petaluma. Several of the major sponsors in the past were not able to contribute this year.

Fortunately, Petaluma Kiwanis approached me in January of this year wanting to help with the organization of the program and committing $10,000 to kick-start the fundraising campaign.  A recent article in the Argus helped raise public awareness of the need to find funding and this article was read by a Raley’s executive. This led to a decision by Raley’s to donate $25,000 as they felt it was a community program of the type they wanted to support.

Raley’s contribution brought the funding level up to $35,000 of the $50,000 needed.  Additional contributions such as those from Jerico-$3,000, First Community Bank-$500.00, Petaluma Village Premium Outlet Mall-$500, Clover Stornetta-$250, Old Chicago Pizza-$100, Board of Realtors-$500, Ross Recreation Equipment-$150, Cal West-$250.00, and several other individuals from the community have closed the gap to $6,500. 

Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP)

Last Saturday, April 17, 2010 was the big project day for Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP)…

  • 350 volunteers
  • 15 Projects

I followed the activities of three of the teams and “collected” a rather large number of photos. It will take some time to sort through them all.

As a preview, I offer the following…

Bo-Duke & Anne

By Nina Zhito

At the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, Bo-Duke looks up at his guardian and rescuer, animal care technician Anne Mora, who has nurtured him since he first arrived at the shelter seven years ago. He had been surrendered to the county facility by a back-yard breeder of Doberman Pinschers who had fallen on hard times and who couldn’t afford to dock the pups’ ears and tails, making them impossible to sell.

Mora found the puppy cowering in a van with a litter-mate, covered in filth, urine and feces. The big-hearted shelter worker decided to provide a foster home for the dog, and his impound number #100380 instead became a name that paid tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard, television characters whom Mora’s young sons loved.

Soon, the transition was permanent, and Family Dog classes helped the once-timid puppy socialize and adapt as he grew into a majestic 117-pound “gentle giant”.

On the very morning this photo was made in February, Mora’s veterinarian had delivered wrenching news:  Bo-Duke was diagnosed with a life-threatening cardiac condition peculiar to ill-bred Doberman Pinschers. Euthanasia was recommended because sudden death could be imminent.

Mora wasn’t ready to say good-bye yet because she knew Bo-Duke was still enjoying life. She opted instead for a trial of medications that seem to have improved the dog’s comfort measurably. “The best thing is that he doesn’t know anything is wrong with him”, says Mora, wiping away a tear. “I do feel that I am truly blessed that he came into my life, and am thankful for every day I have him.”     

NOTE: Former staff photographer at the Petaluma Argus-Courier, Nina Zhito is a photojournalist who volunteers at the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.  For more information on her work, Click HERE

  • Bo-Duke’s portrait has been entered in a  “People’s Choice” photo contest, and votes in its support are welcomed. Click HERE 
  • For information about the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, click HERE


Lucchesi Turtle…Soaking up some rays!

Over the last few years I have managed to “capture” several “wildlife” photos in Lucchesi Park–an 8 point buck, pelicans, otters, and a great blue heron.

In March, I added another species to my photo collection. I had observed it once before; however, it disappeared before I could get my camera ready.  The creature is quite shy and, in spite of the popular mythology that it is slow, it can vanish into  the shelter of water in  seconds.

I returned  again and again until finally, on March 14, I managed to sneak up on it and get a few pixs…

I decided to name it “BT” (Big Turtle) for lack of a better idea. As it was a warm, sunny morning, BT was out soaking up the sun…

To be sure, BT is a turtle of some size….

However, this photo may give some perspective and sense of scale…

NOTE: Clicking on any photo will open it to larger size…at least it does on my computer! Clicking again on the photo will open a full screen image.