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Sonoma County News

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.

Op-Ed: San Francisco Street artists are now settled in Wine Country Special

Sonoma - Walking along the main thoroughfare in Sonoma - appropriately named Broadway, not far from the town square is a row of shops, to this reporter's surprise and delight, a bead shop is among them.

Review: General store in Sonoma is reminiscent of old roadside attraction Special

Sonoma - Driving into Sonoma as if coming in from San Francisco, on the outskirts of town is The Fat Pilgrim. Can't miss it; in fact it is a roadside attraction. That's the impression it makes, especially to this reporter.

Review: St. Francis Winery in Sonoma County has wine with stunning views Special

Kenwood - Driving along Northern California's Highway 12 from the town of Sonoma to Santa Rosa there are dozens of wineries among them that stands out on this reporter's list is St. Francis Winery in Kenwood.

Review: All are welcome at Farmers Market, yet please leave pets at home Special

Sonoma - As farmers markets are becoming more popular some places like Sonoma offers more than one farmer's market to meet the demand for local, high quality and fresh produce and dairy products.

Review: 'The Square' has come to the Square in Sonoma and soon everywhere Special

Sonoma - "The Square" has arrived at the Square. Well, to the scooter cafe that's not too far from the town square in Sonoma. For those not as tech savvy, the little square attachment to a cell phone or electronic device is the next step in

Op-Ed: Spring reveals little gem spots like Sonoma's Glen Ellen Special

Glen Ellen - Springtime in Northern California's Wine Country region of Napa-Sonoma is always delight, especially right after a rainfall. This past March 20 as winter officially ended and spring began
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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.
Like the roadside attractions of days gone by  Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store offers somethi...
Like the roadside attractions of days gone by, Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store offers something more than just a being a retail spot. It beckons people to stop and visit a while.
Styled after California s Missions  St. Francis Winery provides a picturesque view of the surroundin...
Styled after California's Missions, St. Francis Winery provides a picturesque view of the surrounding vineyards, hills and mountains.
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
The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California s wine country
The rolling hills and surrounding mountains of Northern California's wine country
Vineyards. Sonoma / Napa Valley  California
Vineyards. Sonoma / Napa Valley, California
The views of the hills amid the vineyards is sweeping and well worth the escape along back roads.
The views of the hills amid the vineyards is sweeping and well worth the escape along back roads.
 Technology is fascinating and can do lots of wonderful things  said Roileen Miller  owner and instr...
"Technology is fascinating and can do lots of wonderful things, said Roileen Miller, owner and instructor at Miller Driving School. But texting and driving or talking on the cell phone is dangerous," she said. "That is right next to speeding, drinking and driving and not looking both ways before crossing the intersection," she said.
Author and photographer Kent Sorensen provided a brief tour of the Olea Hotel at its grand opening o...
Author and photographer Kent Sorensen provided a brief tour of the Olea Hotel at its grand opening on Aug. 29, 2012. One of his favorite spots is the view from the second floor balcony of the "main house."
Sonoma s Best is on East Napa and Eight Streets. A busy corner that also has a sign that points the ...
Sonoma's Best is on East Napa and Eight Streets. A busy corner that also has a sign that points the way to the wineries. The cafe, store and wine shop is a pleasant stop for any traveler on the wine country tour.
This is just one of many interesting art pieces visitors can find at Sebastopol Gallery in Sebastopo...
This is just one of many interesting art pieces visitors can find at Sebastopol Gallery in Sebastopol.
An altar of remembrance was set up outside the Sonoma Community Center not far from  the square   on...
An altar of remembrance was set up outside the Sonoma Community Center not far from "the square," on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.
Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store has just about anything and everything a home would need  bot...
Fat Pilgrim Contemporary General Store has just about anything and everything a home would need, both inside and out.
The den where Jack London worked.  He liked to listen to Caruso while he was writing   said Van Wyk.
The den where Jack London worked. "He liked to listen to Caruso while he was writing," said Van Wyk.
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.
Jennifer Barnes and Kali Grant greet the flow of daily customers at Crisp Bakeshop on West Napa Stre...
Jennifer Barnes and Kali Grant greet the flow of daily customers at Crisp Bakeshop on West Napa Street in Sonoma. Crisp specializes in unique, artisan pastry creations that are one-of-a-kind. Yet as owner Andrea Koweek noted, "we do offer some of the staples, like croissants, that people come to expect from a fine bakery." With her husband and co-owner chef Moaya Scheiman, they celebrate their second anniversary in business at Crisp on April 1, 2014.
John Sawyer a native to the Sonoma County region is running for supervisor for the county s District...
John Sawyer a native to the Sonoma County region is running for supervisor for the county's District 1 office. He currently serves as Vice Mayor for the City of Santa Rosa and has also served as Mayor of Santa Rosa.
The items on the menu at Crisp Bake Shop in Sonoma change frequently. Executive chef Moaya Scheiman ...
The items on the menu at Crisp Bake Shop in Sonoma change frequently. Executive chef Moaya Scheiman likes to take people's taste-buds to higher levels; "giving the palate a three-dimentional experience," he said. This hazelnut-espresso chocolate chip, candied-orange cookie is just one delicious example of the many unique culinary creations a patron will find at the bake shop on West Napa Street, not far from Sonoma's town square.
A general store  in one spot  a hotel and restaurant in another  there is no real major main street....
A general store, in one spot, a hotel and restaurant in another, there is no real major main street. The gathering points for residents and tourists alike are scattered amid trees, and a winding creek.
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."