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The Sonoma County Gazette Newspaper is distributed FREE in Sonoma County to mailing addresses in Forestville, Guerneville, Graton, Monte Rio, Rio Nido, Occidental & Sebastopol and on NEWSSTANDS from Healdsburg to Petaluma and Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay, including Windsor, Larkfield, the Russian River villages of Duncans Mills, Cazadero & Jenner, and the West County towns of Freestone & Valley Ford - almost 300 locations across Sonoma County.

Volume 7, Number 7  July 1 - August 5, 2010

Jenner... The Little Town That Did

Jenner... The Little Town That Did

By Vesta Copestakes

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ M. Mead

How many times do we sigh deeply when forces larger, and better funded, than we are, undesirably affect our lives? This is the story of a small group of dedicated people who, for years, fought the giant, then won. Their persistence in strategy and response, combined with attention to detail, were vital to their successful outcome, but most importantly, they were united in their cause as they combined their individual talents.



When I met with Jenner residents Sharon Chang, David Kenly, Kathie Lowrey and Elinor Twohy, to recount how their "Little Town That Could" had struggled to save its watershed in the early years of the last decade, they spoke about the aspects of their town's involvement in the process that would lead ultimately to the acquisition of the Jenner Headlands. From the start, they repeatedly mentioned John R. Twohy, who no longer with us, had been a vital contributor to their success and an inspirational leader of their team.

Although the action started in the late 1980s, the story really began in 1964 when Jenner Water Works owner Mr. Bressie protested a plan to divert Jenner Creek in order to support a proposed 200 home development in the hills above town. Nothing came of that plan, but in 1979, a timber harvest plan fouled the upper reaches of Jenner Creek with silt, and Sharon Chang, then co-owner of Jenner's water system, realized that a complex and expensive filtering system was then necessary to guarantee clean water for the town. In the late 1980s, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, grant funding was approved to improve the water system. In 1990, the system was sold to Sonoma County to protect against diversion by the uphill ownerships.

Even then, many in the town were relatively unaware of how their surface water collection system was and could be affected. The causes of this problem weren't clearly understood until Sharon Chang read the geologist's report accompanying the 1999 proposal for yet another timber harvest plan. It was this document that revealed not only failures to remedy past actions, but many major reasons why timbering should not be conducted in the watershed as proposed.

Jenner... The Little Town That Did »




Sonoma County Vacation Rental Rules

Sonoma County Vacation Rental Rules Under Scrutiny

By Nic Pereira, Spa Dad and Son and Camille LeGrand, Russian River Getaways

If you live in unincorporated Sonoma County, there may be a quiet (or not so quiet) powerhouse of the local tourism industry in your neighborhood. Vacation rentals are single family homes, rented short-term to visitors whose spending in the county approaches $90 million dollars a year. While the vast majority of these homes are positive parts of their communities, a few bad apples have generated a litany of complaints ranging from noise to traffic and garbage.

There are no county guidelines governing the operation of vacation rentals despite their having been a part of the tourism landscape for decades and disgruntled neighbors complain they have no means to deal with the half-dozen or so problem homes. So, for what in any other instance would be a nuisance property, the county Board of Supervisors, led by District 1 (Sonoma Valley) Supervisor Valerie Brown, have decided to enact broad restrictions with the potential to seriously damage the county's tourism industry, particularly in District 5 (West County), where two-thirds of the vacation rentals are located.

Sonoma County Vacation Rental Rules Under Scrutiny »


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