North Bay Voice

go-vegan4I can’t be the only one out here who wishes there was a vegan eatery on the west side of Petaluma… I’m not even vegan; more like pescetarian, without dairy or eggs. Or perhaps you’d say I eat a whole foods, plant-based-with-fish diet. But I crave a restaurant that offers healthy, seasonal vegan soups and salads. Macro Bowls. A daily selection of greens, beans and grains (gluten-free, of course). Organic, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. As a busy mom, I’d appreciate the convenience of a local vegan go-to for a satisfying, good-for-me, good-for-my-family, meal.

More and more research has shown vegan eating to be the healthiest alternative to the standard American diet of meat, cheese, sugar and processed foods. Some choose to eat vegan for health-promoting, disease-preventing, allergy-avoidance reasons. Others opt for a vegan diet out of an affinity with, and compassion for, all animals. And still others are most concerned with the welfare and sustainability of our earth, and eat vegan to use less resources and to challenge the hegemony of our industrial agricultural system.


If the U.S. were a pizza party, the wealthiest 1% would be eating more than one third of the pizza! This video tells the story of what the 99% can do about it.

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Chordsman_Photo_2The Redwood Chordsmen, Sonoma County’s premier men’s a cappella chorus, competed Saturday, April 14 in the Barbershop Harmony Society’s Far Western District, Northwest Division contest.  The Chordsmen not only captured the Most Improved Chorus and Best Small Chorus awards, but, for the first time in their’ history, the chorus also won the title of Northwest Division Chorus Champions. The Northwest Division includes 14 barbershop choruses located throughout central and northern California, and Hawai’i.

After their upbeat performance of “Who Will Buy” from the musical Oliver, and a tender medley combining the Civil War song “Aura Lee” with Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender”, the Santa Rosa chorus was ranked first among all competitors,  achieving the highest score in their 47 year history – a score matched by only one other chorus in the past seven years. Director Phil DeBar said that the Chordsmen “were proud now to be ranked among the top ten percent of the world’s 750+ Barbershop Harmony choruses.”

According to Membership Vice President Shelly Albaum, the chorus has almost doubled in size in the past year.  "Interest in a cappella singing is growing nationwide," said Albaum. "Our next Guest Night will be Wednesday April 25, and the Chordsmen's award-winning performance will certainly attract even more singers, both experienced and novice, who want to improve their skills and have fun singing in a barbershop chorus and/or a barbershop quartet."

The 45-member (and growing) Chordsmen group performs throughout the year, producing two annual shows. They also sing at contests, conventions, community events, and private functions. Their next scheduled public performance is on Saturday, June 16th, when they will pay tribute to that great American institution, the Garage Sale! See their web site for more information.

RealHeroeslogo2012Two teenagers saved a man’s life while traveling overseas; a doctor traveled to Nepal to perform life-changing cataract surgeries; a man saved a woman from a burning car.  These are just a few of the 11 powerful stories that will be presented at the 9th Annual Real Heroes Breakfast and Fundraiser. The American Red Cross, serving Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties, is presenting the invitation-only event on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:15 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park.  More than 50 individuals from the three counties were nominated as heroes this year. A committee of community leaders chose the winners. 

The Real Heroes Breakfast honors the extraordinary compassion and commitment of community members, while also raising funds to support essential local Red Cross services. Those wishing to attend the fundraiser may call the Red Cross at (707) 577-7627. There is no set ticket price, but guests are encouraged to contribute the suggested minimum donation of $131, which represents $1 for every year the American Red Cross has been serving the American people.


Good Samaritan, Youth: Caitlyn Hallman and Phil Coren put their CPR and First Aid training to use while they were on a study-abroad program. While visiting the cliffs of Portugal, Caitlyn and Phil went into rescue mode when heavy winds swept Canadian Mark Jefferies over the cliff. Both Caitlyn’s and Phil’s actions helped save Mark Jefferies’ life.  

Good Samaritan, Adult: Chris Cox was driving down Stony Point Road when he spotted a car on fire. Cox cut the seat belt of Ricki Ann Thiele, who was unconscious, and freed her dog, who was trapped in the car as well. Then, with the help of another bystander, he pulled the woman to safety. Cox, who lost his 19-year-old-son Danny in a car crash just three months earlier, was inspired by his son’s dreams of being a firefighter and helping others.

Louis_HopferGood Samaritan, Senior: Louis Hopfer (right)  is a volunteer at The Tamayo House, a home run by Social Advocates for Youth for 18- to 25-year-olds. The Tamayo House helps young adults transition from foster care or homelessness to becoming functioning, self-sufficient adults. Hopfer shares his life experience with those who need it most, guiding grateful youth in the right direction. [To hear Louis talk about his work at the Tamyo House on the North Bay Report, click here.]

Law Enforcement:  Santa Rosa Sergeant Clay VanArtsdalen is dedicated to public service and his profession as well as to improving the Police Department and his community. Sergeant VanArtsdalen helped organize the “Shop with a Cop” program. This event gives residents from children’s homes and shelters gift cards to purchase gifts during the holidays.

Education:  Dr. Glenn Langer, retired professor of medicine at UCLA, and his wife Marianne, founded the mentoring program Partnership Scholar in 1996. This program gives underprivileged youth the opportunity to succeed in school and attend college. In the last three years, almost 100 percent of the programs participants have been accepted into colleges.

barthMedical: Ophthalmologist Dr. Gary Barth (left) traveled to Nepal to assist renowned Nepal cataract surgeon, Dr. Bidya Pant with advance eye care surgeries for poor residents. In this farming community, blindness can mean severe hardship, and the surgery team does hundreds of surgeries per day. Dr. Barth has helped cure blindness in India, Cambodia and elsewhere.  [To hear Gary talk about his volunteer work in India and Nepal on the North Bay Report, click here.]

Animal: Dr. Grant Patrick is a veterinarian who volunteers his time caring for injured wildlife. He has treated as many as 100 fawns a year since 1987. He has also treated countless other animals, both domestic and wild, including foxes, jack rabbits, coyotes, mountain lions, squirrels, cats and dogs.

GOODINGMilitary: Lee Gooding, (right)  Executive Director of Helping American Veterans Endure (HAVE), works with veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. A Vietnam veteran, Gooding has created programs to help vets alleviate stress and live healthier. HAVE workshops include such activities as writing, humor, art classes and even pet therapy. Through HAVE, Gooding has created a place of healing for military veterans.  [Lee Gooding talked about his newly launched veterans suportorganiztion on  KRCB's North Bay Repor back in July , 2009. To hear that interview, click here.]

Rescue Professional: Firefighter Gabe Lopez, California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye, Security Operations Manager Steve Atkinson and Security Officer Byron Atkins saved the lives of two young men who were victims of a house fire in Hidden Valley Lake. While off-duty, Lopez spotted the fire and immediately went to help. Without any fire gear, Lopez went into the home to rescue one of the victims who was still in the house. Lopez was assisted by the other rescue professionals in treating the victims, getting the rescue helicopter to the site of the fire, calming the community. Both young men survived, although one had burns over 80 per cent of his body.

Environment: Thomas Furrer, a retired wildlife biology instructor, was teaching about the irretrievable loss of fish species, when one student asked: “What can we do?” That question, and Furrer’s dedication to the environment, led him to spend 30 years reviving our waters and fish. He founded the United Anglers Conservation Fish Hatchery in 1983. With the help of his students, Furrer’s hatchery is the only high school-based, fully licensed fish hatchery in the U.S., and is dedicated to protecting of the steelhead salmon from extinction. Furrer also founded the Adobe Creek Restoration Project, which, again with his hundreds of students over the years, turned a formerly dead stream into a vital, living creek.


RC_logoAmerican Red Cross is a neutral, humanitarian organization that provides relief to victims of disasters, and prepares people to prevent and respond to emergencies. Like all Red Cross chapters, the local chapter is self-sustaining and is funded by local contributions. All assistance to disaster victims and to members of the armed forces provided by the Chapter is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money by the people of Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties. Donations can be made at,, via mail to American Red Cross, 5297 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, or by phone at (707) 577-7627 (Sonoma and Lake Counties), (707) 463-0112 (Mendocino County).

criminal_justiceThe State Public Works Board today approved acquisition of three properties needed for the new criminal courthouse and related parking for the Superior Court of Sonoma County. The site is located in the Sonoma County Administration Center campus, north of downtown Santa Rosa.

The new courthouse will be located just east of the Hall of Justice, on a cleared site where the Old Jail facility was previously located. The nearly seven acres that the state will acquire from the county also includes two parcels for surface parking—one adjacent to the new courthouse, the other a current parking lot on Russell Avenue near the new courthouse site. The County of Sonoma will sell the land to the state Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), which is managing the project, for $5.2 million, at a discount from its appraised value.

AOCThe new courthouse will house 15 courtrooms, space for court administration, the court clerk, court security operations and holding, a jury assembly room, and building support space in approximately 173,500 square feet. The new courthouse will consolidate all criminal court operations in a single and secure facility for greater efficiency. Criminal proceedings will be moved from the Hall of Justice, built in 1965, which is inadequate, undersized, and lacking in security features to current standards. The new building will also replace two courtrooms in the current jail as well as administrative space formerly located in a leased facility.

Escrow on the property is expected to close by mid-June, enabling the AOC to proceed with architectural design. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2014 and be completed by early 2016, subject to change. 

The new courthouse project was ranked as an “Immediate Need” in the judicial branch’s capital-outlay plan, making it among the branch’s highest-priority infrastructure projects. It is funded by Senate Bill 1407, enacted in 2008 to provide up to $5 billion in funding for new and renovated courthouses using court fees, penalties, and assessments rather than taxpayer revenues from the state’s General Fund.

More information on the project can be found here.

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