Monthly Archives: January 2016

RRARA Community Update: 1/25/15

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Next meeting Reminder- Thursday, February 18th from 8:30 -10 AM at Fife Creek Commons,16376 Fifth Street, Guerneville
Community Activities and Opportunities
Russian River Watershed Workshop Hosted by the State Water Board: Today, January 26th 3pm-7pm: Opportunity for anyone interested in opportunities to improve water supply reliability and restoring fish-bearing streams. Attendees will learn about water rights, filling out applications for water rights and streambed alterations; local fisheries; flow enhancement actions under the state Water Action Plan; and funding opportunities for offstream water storage and habitat enhancement. North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Hearings Room, 5550 Skylane Boulevard, Suite A, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. For more information, contact Dan Worth,, (916) 341-5324
Clean River Alliance RIver Clean-up Events:  Yesterday they removed Approx.1600 pounds from the banks of Dutch Bill Creek and the Russian River. Lower Russian River and Beach cleanup on Saturday Jan. 30th. Meeting at Goat Rock at 10 am till 1 pm. Let’s Get Trashed Guerneville Town Clean up. Every Monday 4-6pm @ the Guerneville Town Square.For more info or to talk trash call Chris @ 707-322-8304
Help Prepare a meal for the West County Winter Shelter: If you would like to join RRARA members in preparing a dinner for the West County Winter Shelter, please provide your availability at this Doodle here to identify which date would work best. There is a kitchen we can use to prepare the meal. If you are interested in organizing another time to prepare a meal contact Debra @ 869-4215 for more information.

Post volunteer opportunities and search for opportunities on the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County’s online database: Volunteers can create a profile, search for opportunities, and view your upcoming events. Community-Based Organizations can post their opportunities to share with potential volunteers. Register your organization here or register yourself as a volunteer or search for opportunities here.

Covered California Enrollment Open through January and Medi-Cal Enrollment is Year-Round: The 2016 enrollment period for Covered California health insurance runs Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016. Residents can apply for coverage on the State exchange online at and, or in-person through at the County Human Services Dept. Economic Assistance offices and various locations throughout the County, including the Redwood Community Health Clinics. See the online listing ofenrollment locations, or call Economic Assistance at (877) 699-6868.

Local actions urgently needed for increasing access to early care and education: As you may know, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors priorities for 2015 included ‘Universal Access to Preschool’. The Board has a retreat planned for January 29th where they will be deciding their priorities for 2016.  Hearing from their constituents is important.  If you would like to see this continue to be a priority in Sonoma County, you can take one or more of the following actions: Before January 29th, email or call your supervisor and ask them to keep Preschool and Early Care and Education a priority for 2016. On February 2nd, First 5 Sonoma County and the Department of Health Services will be on the Board of Supervisor’s consent calendar for a Preschool Facilities Fund item.  This item requests approval for First 5 to accept additional funding into the Facilites Fund from Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and the Fort Ross Education Foundation.   Stakeholders are encouraged to show support for the Preschool Facilities Fund as well as support for increased access to high quality early education for all young children in Sonoma County.

West County Health Center Homeless Healthcare Services FAQ document: The document addresses some topics related to Health Center’s Homeless Healthcare Services, as well as the broader topic of homelessness. Link to FAQ document. The Health Center’s new Homeless Healthcare Program Manager, Jed Heibel, who drafted this document can be contacted with questions and ideas regarding how to best serve the homeless patients.

Russian River Health Center and West County Health Center Volunteer Training: There has been a huge outpouring and interest in supporting the Health Centers since the fire. There is an upcoming volunteer orientation on Wednesday, February 3rd from 1:30-4:30pm at the Forestville Wellness Center. To learn more about volunteer opportunities and the upcoming training contact Laura Moss, Community Programs Manager @ 823-3204 or See the attached flyer for more info.

Register Now! Sonoma County Food Forum, March 17th: It’s been 4 years since Sonoma County’s landmark Healthy & Sustainable Food Action Plan (FAP) became our shared vision for our local food system. We invite you to join your fellow community leaders to celebrate what has been accomplished to implement this vision, and to help shape the next phase of the FAP. Learn more and reserve your spot HERE.

RRARA Website Launch: The Russian River Area Resources and Advocates (RRARA) is excited to announce the official launch of our website at Please have a look and let us know if you have any suggestions. Also, if you would like to add your organization’s logo to the Partner page please respond to this email. We look forward to identifying how this website can best serve ours the community’s purposes. We would also like to thank Anselm McClain with Extremely Heavy Industries for his help with developing the site.

Join the 10 Week WellnessChallenge! Starting January 25th St. Joseph Health is excited to offer 3 Live Healthy Wine Country challenges in 2016. The first employer and community challenge will be their 3rd annual 10 Week Wellness Challenge. Registration will be open through February 5th. Last year over 1,500 people participated in the Live Healthy Wine Country Challenges including 28 local businesses and organizations. Grab your friends, family and co-workers or participate individually and let the 10 Week Wellness Challenge help you get moving to reach your fitness goals in this new year. To register or for more information visit:
VA contact with housing vouchers for Vets: Heather Dunn, Social Worker doing work with HUD VASH program for the Santa Rosa VA clinic has housing vouchers for vets. Her contact info is Phone: 707-569-2458 Cell: 707-373-7505 Fax: 707-569-2323 Email:

Homeless arrests up since town meeting: Sonoma West Times and News: Several street people in Guerneville and Monte Rio were arrested or cited last week on charges that included vehicle theft, drug use, obstructing a law enforcement officer and occupying a condemned building. The arrests came in the aftermath of a town meeting and a demonstration in Guerneville last week addressing problems associated with homeless Russian River residents. Coincidentally on Friday, a rally in the Guerneville town plaza drew about four dozen demonstrators protesting what they say is an influx of people committing misdemeanors including littering, public drinking, drug use and trespassing. Passing drivers on Main Street. last Friday evening honked in support as demonstrators waved picket signs that said “Save the River,” “Save Guerneville” and “We are taking back our town.” Article here.

Stuck in squalor: Hundreds of Sonoma County renters endure poor living conditions:Press Democrat: Squalid conditions have been reported in hundreds of housing units across the county, mostly in apartment complexes, public records show. Complaints by tenants to city and county code enforcement agencies, analyzed and tracked over the past six months by The Press Democrat, detail chronic problems with mold, infestations by rodents and other vermin, inadequate heating and broken plumbing — conditions that qualify as “substandard” under state laws meant to prevent people from living in slum housing. Inspectors say it is impossible to keep up with complaints against offending landlords. Link to article

BUILDING A DREAM CENTER: KRCB Video: How do people come together to create positive change in our community? Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) was founded in 1971 to serve homeless youth with housing and career development opportunities. As the need grew for larger facilities and expanded programs, SAY created unique partnerships to open the “Dream Center,” repurposing the former Warrack Hospital in Santa Rosa. Many area residents were concerned about this addition to their neighborhood. This video explores how people with differing opinions and viewpoints can work together for the civic good and find solutions and pathways to success for a stronger community. Watch video here.

How to Bridge That Stubborn Pay Gap: New York Times: More than a half-century after President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, the gender pay gap is still with us. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau.So what might work to close the gap? Social scientists and policy makers have some ideas, as do companies that have been trying to combat the problem in their work forces. Article here

The unbending arc: America’s race gap is stuck: Brookings: America is in danger of becoming stuck, with insufficient social, geographical, or economic mobility. Poverty persists across generations. Half of the black children born on the bottom rung of the income ladder (the bottom quintile) will stay there as adults. A boy who grows up in Baltimore will earn 28 percent less simply because he grew up in Baltimore. Sixty-six percent of black children live in America’s poorest neighborhoods, compared with six percent of white children. Link to article

Community Update- 1/7/16

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Next meeting Reminder – Wednesday January 20th, from 8:30 -10 AM at Fife Creek Commons,16376 Fifth Street, Guerneville

December Meeting Speaker – Donata Mikulik, Volunteer & Community Services Manager at the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County
Learn more about the Volunteer of Sonoma County and discuss opportunities for volunteer coordination in the lower Russian River area.
Emmanuel Moon, Community Benefit Coordinator for the United Way of the Wine Country will also share information about Earn it! Keep It! Save It! and Schools of Hope a couple of their volunteer driven programs in the lower Russian River area. There will also be an update about RRARA’s efforts to bolster the Russian River Senior Center Volunteer Driver Program.
Updates and discussion of RRARA and community activities.

Community Activities and Opportunities

Community Meeting for discussion and information about current community issues on the lower Russian River: Monday, January 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm at the Guerneville School Auditorium. The three main topics for discussion will be: the homeless/housing, health and public safety concern, and environmental issues.

Elected Officials and Community Leaders present will be:

  • Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor, Efren Carrillo,
  • Sonoma County Sheriff, Steve Freitas,
  • Sonoma County District Attorney, Jill Ravitch,
  • Sonoma County Community Development Commission Deputy Director, John Haig,
  • West County Health Centers Executive Director, Mary Szecsey,
  • West County Community Services Executive Director, Donna Roper
  • Russian River Fire Protection District Fire Chief, Max Ming
  • Russian River Chamber of Commerce President, Debra Johnson

Prepare a meal for the West County Winter Shelter: If you would like to join RRARA members in preparing a dinner for the West County Winter Shelter, please provide your availability at this Doodle here to identify which date would work best. There is a kitchen we can use to prepare the meal. If you are interested in organizing another time to prepare a meal contact Debra @ 869-4215 for more information.

Date Correction: The Sonoma County Early Learners Conference: A day of learning for all those working with children ages birth to twelve years: Infant/Toddler and Preschool Teachers, Family Child Care Providers, Transitional Kindergarten Teachers, Afterschool Staff, ECE students, etc. Is on Saturday, March 5, 2016 8:30am – 4:00pm @ Sonoma State University. More info here.

Immediate job opening with Restorative Resources: The program involves ongoing restorative dialogue with youth who have been experiencing behavioral issues at schools. The Somos circles of up to 10 youth will focus on positive individual and communal transformation and will include rites-of-passage elements to maximize the effects of restorative justice on individual maturation. See SOMOS JOB DESCRIPTION


Guerneville to talk fires and homelessness: Sonoma West Times and News Article: A series of unexplained fires including the blaze that destroyed the Russian River Health Center are expected to attract a big turnout of River residents at a Guerneville town meeting next Monday.The Jan. 11 meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Guerneville School all-purpose room and will bring in 5th District Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas and Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch to meet with River residents concerning the fires, homeless issues and a sentiment in Guerneville that no one seems to be in charge. Read here.

Russian River Health Center scrambles to maintain services after arson fire: Press Democrat Article: With their 30-year-oldcommunity clinic destroyed by an arsonist, medical staff at the Russian River Health Center in Guerneville are scrambling to maintain services to the 3,500 patients who relied on the charred clinic. Staff members have set up a mobile medical trailer across the street from the fire-gutted clinic to serve patients who cannot drive or find transportation to Sebastopol, where they have temporarily claimed space in two sister clinics. Eventually, West County Health Centers wants to rebuild the Third Street clinic, its flagship facility. But for now, it is sending patients to Sebastopol and treating patients in Guerneville inside a cramped mobile unit with two exam rooms, just enough to accommodate the patients for a single physician. Read more here.

CDC: Youth exposure to electronic cigarettes ads contributing to use: Washington’s Top News Article: Children in the United States are seeing lots of ads for e-cigarettes — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that is one big reason why the use of e-cigs is soaring among the young. A new CDC report says seven in 10 middle and high school students have seen these advertisements which — like cigarette ads of yore — use themes of sex, independence and rebellion to sell their products. “The e-cigarette advertising we’re seeing is like the old-time Wild West; no rules, no regulations and heavy spending,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden. Read more here.

Santa Rosa, Guerneville, Vallejo rank high in LGBT rights: North Bay Business Journal: Santa Rosa, Guerneville and Vallejo have received high marks from the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization for legal protections including being at risk of being fired, being denied housing or refused service, and benefits. The Human Rights Campaign released its fourth annual report assessing LGBT equality in 408 cities across the nation, including 55 in California. The average score for cities in California was 73 out of 100 points, which falls above the national average of 56. Santa Rosa came in with 86 points; Guerneville with 81; and Vallejo with 70. Read more here.

Clean River Alliance aligns with Russian Riverkeeper: Sonoma West Times and News: Marking its one-year anniversary, the Clean River Alliance is proud to announce that Russian Riverkeeper, the nonprofit river steward group for more than 28 years, is now the fiscal sponsor of the alliance. Starting this month, residents can support the Clean River Alliance’s efforts by donating to Russian Riverkeeper with a note, “Clean River Alliance” or “river clean up” on the bottom of the check to ensure donations go to river clean up efforts. Read more here.

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