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Sonoma County News

Op-Ed: Micro Loan program is success in Northern California town Special

Sonoma - Business and real estate developer Simon Blattner is amazed at what a simple small loan can do. This past January, Blattner thru his work with La Luz Center provided a micro loan to barber Michael Ramos.

Op-Ed: Sonoma Film Festival supports media arts for Middle Schools Special

Sonoma - Kevin McNeely, Executive Director of the Sonoma International Film Festival was ecstatic when this reporter called, wanting to chat about the upcoming five-day event at the end of next month.

Review: A Cup of English Breakfast leads Sonoma man to tea business Special

Sonoma - One young man took his enjoyment of tea, saw a need and in meeting that need has embarked on an entrepreneurial path. His purpose is to provide the best high quality-organic tea in Sonoma County.

Op-Ed: Sonoma Valley Jazz Society is a tradition for nearly 30 years Special

Sonoma - The Sonoma Valley Jazz Society is pleased to announce that vocalist Tiffany Austin will be the featured artist at the annual members and sponsors event on Oct. 17 at The Woman’s Club on First Street, East.

Op-Ed: Little art Gallery in California wine country celebrates 1st year Special

Sonoma - Despite the woes of the economy and the rising cost of real estate and retail space, not far from the center of town is an art gallery called Studio 35. Rather ordinary from its cottage-like exterior, it has become a center for the arts in Sonoma.

Op-Ed: Landscape artist treasures his gallery spot in Sebastopol Special

Sebastopol - No matter how sleepy a town might be there is always a place for art and artists. And this is true for one such little town in Northern California called Sebastopol. On Main Street at the center of town is Sebastopol Gallery.

Op-Ed: Local small business has support of extended family Special

Sonoma - According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 23 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales. Furthermore, notes the SMBA, the small business sector is growing rapidly.

Importance of Interest Rates is lesson in itself, advisor says Special

Sonoma - Often times when people invest they do not pay much attention to interest rates unless the rates jump up real high or drop real low. Yet, financial advisors like Darren Blonkski of Edward Jones Investments believes people should take the time to learn.

Op-Ed: Church makes movie to tell true meaning of Christmas Special

Petaluma - For many believers in the Christian message, Christmastime is something special. This is especially so for the members of Eastside Free Will Baptist Church in Petaluma. The emphasis for them is to move away from the commercialism of the holiday season.

Op-Ed: Santa Rosa cafe is 'like home' to many who enjoy home cooking Special

Santa Rosa - Walking into Sam's For Play Café has that diner feeling to it. Yet amid the memorabilia on the walls, there is a sense of family here that is more than just another family-style restaurant.

Op-Ed: Sonoma's Studio 35 is more than an art gallery, it's community Special

Sonoma - With a bundle of canvas in her arms, artist Sonja Bakalyar was literally just walking in the door of Studio 35 on Patton Street as sculptor/painter Marsha Klein was taking her works down off the wall.

Op-Ed: Sonoma State Historic Park a tour package deal for only $3 Special

Sonoma - For those who like bargains for travels and love history, this reporter stumbled upon a neat little tour-package deal in Sonoma, the heart of California's wine country.

Organic Sonoma produce opens crepes and coffee brunch place Special

Sonoma - Focusing on a very simple menu of crepes, coffee and salad, The Divewalk Cafe is open only for three days a week. "That's just for now to get started," said owner Lorene Reed

Op-Ed: No rolling stops with this driving instructor, safety is first Special

Cotati - Drive just about anywhere in Sonoma County and chances are Rolieen Miller of Miller's Driving School has taught someone in that neighborhood how to drive.

Op-Ed: Bubbles for summer are in sparkling wine, not just soda Special

Sonoma - Like the lyrics in the Gershwin tune, "Summer time and the living is easy," what can be more relaxing and refreshing about summer time than a cool drink. Usually when most people think cool drink, they grab for a beer or a soda. But what about wine?

Op-Ed: Vella Cheese of Sonoma is home to a 'dry jack' sealed with cocoa Special

Sonoma - Away from the town square or plaza is the other cheese maker in town, Vella Cheese Company who like the Sonoma Cheese Factory was also founded in 1931. But uniquely Vella has its own signature cheese

Op-Ed: Summer school for financial topics now in session in Sonoma Special

Sonoma - 'Investing for the Long Term' was the theme of financial advisor Daren Blonski's talk on June 3 held at the Sonoma office of Zainer Rinehart Clarke.

Op-Ed: Sonoma gathers for 56th annual Memorial Day ceremony for Veterans Special

Sonoma - Hundreds showed up on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park to honor all those who have served the nation in military service. This past Monday was the 56th annual Memorial Day Observance for Sonoma Valley.

Op-Ed: 'Buddy-poppies' appearing, it is Memorial Day, time to reflect Special

Sonoma - As summer approaches, just about everyone knows that Memorial Day is the official day that ushers in the summer season. But for veterans and those that still remember the wars Americans fought in to preserve freedom, Memorial Day is one of honor.

Op-Ed: Cheesecake maker hopes to get some help with his cafe Special

Sonoma - For cheesecake lovers, there is two basic styles of cheesecake, East Coast or "New York style" and of course "West Coast" or as cafe owner Kevin Fay would call his version, "California style" cheesecake.

Op-Ed: Wine Country Deli reopens, aims to please with BBQ 5-days a week Special

Sonoma - Nestled on a corner along a stretch of road in the Wine Country of Sonoma is Vineburg Deli and Grocery. Amid busy commuter traffic, over the years it has retained much of its rustic charm, even when it seemed to have its best days behind it.

Op-Ed: Wine Country Bakeshop not typical bakery, celebrates 2nd year Special

Sonoma - On any early morning in Sonoma you will see locals flocking to their favorite spots for coffee and pastry. Certainly there are the usual franchises (the one's we know like Starbucks, etc.) and the long-standing bakeries in town.

Op-Ed: An unassuming little shack opens the door to a world of wines Special

Sonoma - Just about every Wednesday night an unassuming cottage along West Napa Street called Valley Wine Shack has a tasting room gathering.

Op-Ed: 'The Wittiest Artist' in Sonoma, is looking for a new shop locale Special

Sonoma - Walking into The Frame Factory shop on Broadway, next to the Post Office in Sonoma, original art is one of the first things seen. The framing shop’s owner John Emil Brians is quick to show his work to any interested visitor.

Review: Francis Ford Coppola's wines are as good as his films Special

Great movies are made by great film makers and great wines by great vintners. Francis Ford Coppola is best known for his contributions to film with greats like “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather.”

The 'Plein Air' of Sonoma is filled with hues of Autumn Special

Sonoma - While some people may say New England is the best place to be in the fall, artist Kathryn A. Lewis would disagree. She is inspired by the very evident signs of autumn, especially as the abundant vineyards throughout Sonoma are changing color.

Op-Ed: Common mistakes retirees need to know about their IRAs Special

Sonoma - As speculations about the future of Social Security benefits stir in the minds of analysts and politicians, the number of Americans putting money into an individual Retirement Account is growing.

Op-Ed: Sonoma City Council not sold just yet on Clean Power Special

Sonoma - The issue of Clean Power is making its rounds not only in places like San Francisco, but in small towns like Sonoma. The idea has gained a following in wine country. And while it sounds good, more than a few are expressing reservations about it.

Op-Ed: Summer in Sonoma is alive with music at Bistro on the Square Special

Sonoma - Singer Amanda King brought some jazz standards to a warm summer evening at the Plaza Bistro on the square in Sonoma on June 14. She had the dinner crowd that Friday evening singing along to familiar songs and to some unexpected.

Review: Michoacana Ice Cream shop in Sonoma to celebrate anniversary Special

Sonoma - With the arrival of summer, ice cream is one of the first things people look for and all summer long ice cream shops like Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma are busy.
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 The new location is closer to the Square but I do not have as much wall-space as I had at the old l...
"The new location is closer to the Square but I do not have as much wall-space as I had at the old location," lamented Frame Factory owner, John Emil Brians. Yet, he did say, "I am in good company with all the artists that share this building with me. The Frame Factory is housed in the La Haye Art Center, which provides studio space for several artists in town.
Sam s offers at the counter seating as well as booths  tables and chairs. Catering is available for ...
Sam's offers at the counter seating as well as booths, tables and chairs. Catering is available for parties of eight or more. Sam's is open 7-days a week.
Jack London Village pays homage to Glen Ellen s most famous resident.
Jack London Village pays homage to Glen Ellen's most famous resident.
Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma on Highway 12 is a popular spot for ice cream. Unique one-of-...
Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma on Highway 12 is a popular spot for ice cream. Unique one-of-a-kind flavors that are inspired by the foods and flavors of Mexico has customers returning again and again, wanting more.
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
Hotel Olea is family friendly. Yet when this reporter asked a couple with two toddlers if they would...
Hotel Olea is family friendly. Yet when this reporter asked a couple with two toddlers if they would bring the family, at first they said yes. But then the wife said, "Actually, this would be a great place to get away, just for us, and get a sitter for the kids."
Some of the names and faces remembered are well-known to the area and the world like Sebastiani and ...
Some of the names and faces remembered are well-known to the area and the world like Sebastiani and author Jack London.
All the cast and crew who participate and help make the film are members of the Eastside Free Will B...
All the cast and crew who participate and help make the film are members of the Eastside Free Will Baptist Church. Here in this scene Kim Bowles and Richard Allen are the Bickersons. Director, Seamus Seanachoi used familiar locales like "Sam's For Play Cafe" in Santa Rosa.
Courtesy of Seamus Seanachoi
While maintaining a sense of rustic-rural charm  Fat Pilgrim general store is also part art gallery ...
While maintaining a sense of rustic-rural charm, Fat Pilgrim general store is also part art gallery and home design center.
Another specialty of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma is the fresh fruit frozen treats. Shop o...
Another specialty of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream in Sonoma is the fresh fruit frozen treats. Shop owner, Teresita Fernandez says they are all natural, made fresh, "Nothing artificial."
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
Tequila Plaza Restaurant  Bar and Grill in Sonoma  CA offers a traditional Mexican menu of tacos  ta...
Tequila Plaza Restaurant, Bar and Grill in Sonoma, CA offers a traditional Mexican menu of tacos, tamales and enchiladas, along with margaritas.
Built in that Spanish-Mission style  St. Francis Winery is like a restful retreat from the warm summ...
Built in that Spanish-Mission style, St. Francis Winery is like a restful retreat from the warm summer sun. Seen here is a statue of St. Francis. Legend says that the popular saint, tamed the wolf at the town of Gubbio. This is why he is considered a tamer of animals and a peace-maker.
Jonathan Bigelow portrays Alex  a man searching for answers as his life as been altered by an unexpe...
Jonathan Bigelow portrays Alex, a man searching for answers as his life as been altered by an unexpected diagnosis at the doctor's office.
Courtesy of Seamus Seanachoi
The hills and mountains in Sonoma County are breathtaking  especially when traveling the highway fro...
The hills and mountains in Sonoma County are breathtaking, especially when traveling the highway from the town of Sonoma to Santa Rosa.
Open in 2009  Michoacana Natural Ice Cream shop on Highway 12 in Sonoma has become so popular that o...
Open in 2009, Michoacana Natural Ice Cream shop on Highway 12 in Sonoma has become so popular that owner Teresita Fernandez wants to open another shop, in nearby Marin County.
Courtesy of Michoacana Natural Ice Cream, Sonoma, CA
PJ Savastano playfully greets Bill Schawber  a local resident  (transplanted from Maryland) who was ...
PJ Savastano playfully greets Bill Schawber, a local resident, (transplanted from Maryland) who was among the guests and those who just stopped by for the Olea Hotel Grand opening on Aug. 29, 2012
At the Sonoma Community Center on  All Souls Day  the evening was filled with a remembering of the m...
At the Sonoma Community Center on "All Souls Day" the evening was filled with a remembering of the many souls that have lived in Sonoma.
There is no real main street in Glen Ellen  so it is easy to pass it by when traveling along winding...
There is no real main street in Glen Ellen, so it is easy to pass it by when traveling along winding roads along Sonoma County.
Four of the five bubbly wines featured that evening were from different parts of Spain  the fifth on...
Four of the five bubbly wines featured that evening were from different parts of Spain, the fifth one was from South Africa.
Fat Pilgrim contemporary general store is located on Broadway  on the outskirts of Sonoma  south of ...
Fat Pilgrim contemporary general store is located on Broadway, on the outskirts of Sonoma, south of the town square.
The ancient acorn tree which was on the property long before Jack London bought the land  now has a ...
The ancient acorn tree which was on the property long before Jack London bought the land, now has a fence around it to protect it. Native tribes used to gather acorns here centuries ago.