Signs & Scenes…2012

Well here it is, December 1. 2012, and another year has almost  come and gone. To wrap up 2012, I offer over seventy new photos from the year in Signs & Scenes Gallery 2012 

Thanks to the editing assistance of a few readers in putting it all together. I did add a few photos since our last review.


Hire Me, Fire Me, Anything Helps!

Poor and out of work in Petaluma…

McDowell & Washington Square February 24, 2012     © Frank Simpson

What is increasingly visible on the streets of Petaluma is, of course, part of the larger “picture” of the economy in the United States.

The BBC World Service documentary, America’s Poor, …explores America’s underworld of poverty where people live in storm drains and tented camps and where children go hungry.” BBC World Service

Related Link: Photos…Homeless in Petaluma (Updated!)

Turkey Day!!

Thanksgiving was a busy day in household kitchens around Petaluma. Given the overwhelming public response to the plea for Turkey donations (See Petaluma Fills The COTS Turkey Gap!), I decided to slip out early to visit the staff and volunteers at the Petaluma Kitchen to see how they were doing.

At 8:30 a.m. they were more than busy–preparing to serve 180 complete turkey dinners with all the trimmings, plus pie.  COTS Food Service Coordinator, Don Louvier advised that the Mary Isaak Center was also preparing to serve 100 turkey dinners.

I managed to squeeze in and get a few photos without disturbing (I hope) their efforts…


Petaluma Fills The COTS Turkey Gap!

This is the time of the year when I go into “Holiday Mode” and more or less tune everything out.  The world, however, has its own schedule.

On November 18, I checked e-mail around 10:00 p.m. and found a message from Meloni Courtway (A Mouse in the Pantry) alerting recipients to the fact that Petaluma’s COTS (Committee on the Shelterless) was in dire need of turkey donations to fill their food boxes on Saturday, November 21. 

Meloni’s e-mail moved like a tsunami through the Internet in Petaluma. Facebook pages lit up. Petalumans were preparing to take action.

On November 19, Frances Rivetti  posted an article on her site– Trot over to the Petaluma Kitchen with a Turkey Donation Today 

And trot they did! 

  • By noon on Friday, November 20, Elizabeth Hale, Director of Food Programs for COTS reported: “Since the email request went out, we’ve received 226 turkeys and they’re still coming! Petaluma is an awesome community!”
  • John Records of COTS advised  later in the day that they received 60 additional turkeys, bringing the total donations, at that time, to 286….
  • Records commented: “The run on the stores was so profound that one of my Facebook buddies reported that the clerk at Safeway guessed why she was buying the turkey.”

But the best news came at 2:22 pm Saturday in an e-mail from Elizabeth Hale…

Whew!  What an amazing day!  We were able to supply turkeys for all 230 food boxes and send 35 turkeys to low income seniors at Vintage Chateau.

And I just heard from my manager, Judy Hess, that Sunrise Rotary has delivered another 50 turkeys with a stated goal of another 50!

We emptied our freezer this morning and it’s filling up again!  This means not only will we have plenty of turkey to serve for our Thanksgiving meals at the Kitchen and the Mary Isaak Center, we will have enough for all the families who pick up their boxes during the week.

Many, many thanks to all who took their time, money, and energy to purchase and deliver turkeys to the Kitchen for those less fortunate.  You are the heart of what makes Petaluma a special place to live. 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Petaluma’s Streetwalkers–Working for Pennies


It is an understatement to say these are tough times for most of us. Everyone I know has cut back dramatically.  People are clipping coupons, staying home and digging in couches and chairs for any change that may have fallen under the cushions.

There is another group of people who walk the streets of Petaluma, day & night, scrounging for cans and plastic bottles.  I have seen the same individuals on both sides of town carrying multiple plastic bags that get larger and heavier as the day progresses…


At night they look like characters in some medieval village…

Pix A

When enough cans and bottles have been secured, they are compressed before taking to a recycling center for redemption…


This is how some are surviving in today’s Petaluma…crunching cans and bottles…