Tuesday, August 26, 2014



That's right.  That marquee on the south side of the building on McKinley St.?  They're taking it down.

The owner of the building is removing this marquee to put another one up on the east side of the building; the side facing the parking lot just above the entrance.

So now you will have to walk (or drive) all the way around and into the parking lot to see what is playing.  I can't tell you how many times I have provoked a horn blast because I stopped to read the marquee.  When in the square, just cross the street, get your info and carry on.

But now it won't be so easy.

Owner says he wants to parlay Barlow traffic with the new marquee, but I don't get it.  This new sign is tucked away in the parking lot away from Barlow traffic, does he think people coming to the Barlow want to see a movie, anyway?  The only people who will be able to read this thing are the people who already know what they are seeing.  At the same time, they are excluding the very community who have kept them in business!

Give 'em a call and tell them what you think.  It usually helps when an owner of a business is introduced to the community he serves.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Discover Our Front Yard: Sebastopol Living History Garden!

FREE Tour this Friday, August 22 from 6 – 7:30pm

Tour starts at the fountain in front of the Sebastopol Library
Light refreshments provided 

Register to let us know you’re coming!

Since the beginning of 2014, the landscape around the Sebastopol Library and City Hall has been transformed into Our Front Yard: Sebastopol’s Living History Garden by two community-powered workdays through a collaboration between the City of Sebastopol, Daily Acts and Permaculture Artisans.

On this tour join Erik Ohlsen, Owner of Permaculture Artisans and Ryan Johnston, Project Manager for Daily Acts to learn about the new garden’s historically relevant edible, medicinal and habitat plants, water-wise features, the exciting renovations still come and how you can help! 
Please forward this email to family, friends and neighbors and invite them to join the fun!  
Contact Ryan Johnston with questions, ryan@dailyacts.org or 707.789.9664



Plenty of action on this Thursday afternoon.  Unfortunately it was not the kind that folks at Screaming Mimi's were looking for...

Moments after the car smashed into the store.
 It started like this: apparently there was an accident and one of the car involved was sitting sideways, blocking the street in from of the ice cream shop.  The flatbed truck finally came to take it away but something happen in the process to get it loaded on the bed.  Seems it broke loose and smashed into the garbage can we all know so well.

How many times have you seen people occupy those tables?

That garbage can shattered the window closest to Petaluma Ave and glass rained down inside the store.  It boggles the mind what kind of injuries were avoided, but only a few cuts on a woman's toe seem to be the only injury from the incident.  She was quite shaken as well as you can imagine.

Fire Chief Bill Braga confers with officials at the scene.

We did get our ice cream and then were asked to leave by a member of our terrific Police force.  I got the Maker's Mark in a sugar cone, but if we were a minute earlier…


Stopped by the site today and spoke with contractor, Scott Miller.  He said Frizelle-Enos, I mean, The Feed Store should be up and running by Christmas (fingers crossed).  I took a few shots of the progress so far…

Doesn't seem that long ago my kids were sticking their fingers in the chicken cage.

Miller Contracting is starting from the back.

New walls.  Always a good thing to have.

Planks enjoying the sunshine.

Same signage on walls, but the name will be different - Feed Store, Inc.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Well, it looks like villain winemaker, Paul Hobbs is moving forward with his steamroller style of agriculture.  Take a look at the Apple Blossom campus below.  That lighter area is what Mr. Hobbs will be amending this coming winter for spring planting.

Photo by B!M

 I think we need a contest to rename that school?  Waddaya say Barbara Bickford?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Here's a few items that have something for everyone.  Put them on your calendar.  It'd be worth getting up on any of these dates

August 21 (Thursday):


Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 South High St. - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

This summer, the City of Sebastopol, together with the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce, and Sonoma West Times & News, sponsored a photo contest to capture "Life in Sebastopol."

Entrants were also asked to think about the City departments and to select nonprofit organizations that help to contribute to Sebastopol's unique quality of life. There are over $1,000 in prizes.

113 photos were submitted depicting everything from the Police Chief, Fire Department and Public Works on the job, the Laguna, sunsets, rainbows, and, of course apples and apple blossoms.

The public is invited to the Awards Reception where the 5-6 winners will be announced.

The finalist images will remain on display at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts through the month of August.

See all entries at www.lifeinsebastopol.com

August 22 (Friday):


Sebastopol City Hall and Library Complex, 7120 Bodega Ave. - 6:00pm to 7:30pm

The City of Sebastopol invites you to tour the landscape
transformation under way at Sebastopol City Hall and Library.  At this free, family-friendly event, you'll discover the ecological features of the garden, the historically relevant and regionally appropriate plants used, and the exciting things to come in Phase 2.

Learn how you can support this model in the making and apply water-wise, eco-friendly changes to your own garden from partner organizations Daily Acts and Permaculture Artisans.  Light refreshments will be served.  Limited space.  Pre-registration suggested. www.OurFrontYard.org.

September 16 (Tuesday);


L-R: Robert Jacob, Patrick Slayter, Sarah Gurney, John Eder & Una Glass
The Sebastopol City Council invites Sebastopol residents to a free meet-and-greet, including a light dinner at Ives Park from 4pm to 5:30pm on Tuesday September 16.

Get to know the people who represent you in a fun and informal setting.  The regularly scheduled City Council meeting will follow at the Youth Annex of the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, starting at 6pm.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Here's your chance to get involved in shaping the future of Sebastopol.  Don't wait until something happens that you don't like.  Be part of the force behind Sebastopol's development.

It's an incredible opportunity that so many other communities wish they had.

Photo by B!M

For those interested in planning for the future of Sebastopol, a couple of updates on Sebastopol's General Plan revision:

- The on-line opinion survey for the Update will close on AUGUST 15.  There has been an excellent response. If you haven't taken the survey, it can be accessed at:

Survey results will be reviewed in the upcoming Background Report.  

- The 'topic' schedule for the City's General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) has been set.  If you are interested in a particular topic, plan to attend that meeting, or send comments to my attention for consideration by the GPAC.  

- The GPAC schedule is as follows:

1:  July 9, 2014 GPAC Roles and Procedures
2:  September 10, 2014 Noise/Safety
3:  October 8, 2014 Housing/Community Health
4:  November 12, 2014 Circulation
5:  January 14, 2015 Policy Review
6:  February 11, 2015 Conservation/Open Space
7:  March 11, 2015 Economic Vitality/Urban Design
8:  May 13, 2015 Policy Review
9:  June 10, 2015 Land Use and Land Use Map
10:  August 12, 2015 Policy Review
Meetings will be held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, and will begin at 6:30pm. at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 South High Street, Sebastopol.  
The General Plan Update web site has additional information at:

Let us know if you have any questions.

-Kenyon Webster

Kenyon can be reached at:

Phone: (707) 823-6167
Fax: (707) 823-1135

Monday, August 11, 2014


If you are not familiar with this new, energizing community building effort, (well, even if you are)


Village Building Convergence Supported by Sebastopol City Council

By Shepherd Bliss

Village Building Convergence (VBC) activists and their supporters from Cittaslow Sebastopol, Transition, the Grange, Permaculture Skills Center, and other groups recently packed the Sebastopol City Council meeting. Testimony in support of VBC came from enthusiastic advocates from 3-years-old to 70-years-old.

After an hour-long discussion at its August 5 regular meeting, the Council voted unanimously to permit the VBC to occur on public property from Sept. 12 to Sept. 21. Some local merchants have welcomed VBC to beautify their places. In addition to art and natural building “place-making” projects, there will be a series of community events and festivities hosted at various sites, including the Sebastopol Grange Hall and the Permaculture Skills Center.

All five Councilmembers spoke in support of VBC. Mayor Robert Jacob pledged $300 of his own money and proposed that the City consider adding another $300.

Planning Director Kenyon Webster began with a staff report supporting the ten-day festival, which includes seven place-making projects. The VBC’s website (below) describes place-making as “the act of locals coming together to shape their common spaces in a way that promotes beauty and community.” Webster also noted various issues that needed to be dealt with, such as insurance and fees. The Council addressed those issues directly and resolved them.

A major art installation will be done by Cittaslow Sebastopol. It plans to paint murals on parts of McKinley Street, creating a stronger connection between the plaza/downtown and The Barlow. Other projects include contributing to the library landscaping, painting Community Market’s stage bordering on Highway 12, and a parade to conclude the festivities. The VBC intends to support local merchants and attract customers to their operations.

“VBC is a like a dream come true,” commented Councilmember Sarah Gurney. She added, “Let’s talk about next year to continue the momentum.” Councilmember Una Glass added, “This is a great project that brings the community together.” Councilmember John Eder appreciated “this large number of purpose-driven people.”

Around two-dozen VBC, Cittaslow, and Transition activists attended the meeting and about a dozen spoke about VBC’s importance. Cassandra Ferrera began the public discussion by a slide show revealing some of the art that the VBC plans. That art includes natural images of both animal and plant life.

"It is truly awesome to feel the support of the City Council and staff in bringing into fruition what the people of Sebastopol are so excited about,” wrote Ferrera the day after the meeting.  “The VBC is a powerful vehicle for civic engagement, as together we co-create our commons"

“I like painting,” three-year-old Tulsi Jennings commented while being lifted to the microphone by her father Sean, as her mother Mary cared for her infant brother Walker. All four had attended a VBC planning meeting the day before at Community Market, where the children brought delight to the meeting as they played on the nearby lawn. 

Councilmember Eder added how glad he was to see young children and family members at Council meetings. At a previous presentation to the Council, VBC initiators Sebastian and Jeanna Collett brought their infant Obie. Sebastian is an architect who graduated from Analy High and brought the VBC concept to Sebastopol from Portland, Oregon, where a group called City Repair has hosted VBCs for the last 14 years. They live on a four-generation family compound in Sebastopol.

City Repair founder Mark Lakeman will offer both a talk and a workshop on Sept. 21. The afternoon workshop is entitled Healing Village” and is described as learning how to “receive healing touch and support (and) talk about how to bring healing more mainstream into our culture.”

“I am really excited about the VBC,” wrote Councilmember Una Glass the day after the meeting. "I am thrilled to see a community activity that engages Sebastopol in improving our town and having fun at the same time!,” she added.  “I am especially glad to see young people learning the ropes of civic engagement, so we can transition our governance to new generations.  We need to welcome and encourage more youth, young families, and diverse cultures to participate in our community life. The VBC is a perfect vehicle for building a strong, happy, diverse and prosperous community."

The VBC proposal is a community-driven effort by Sebastopol residents and their Sonoma County allies. One man came from Ukiah in Mendocino County and testified in favor of the VBC, which expects to attract people from throughout the North Coast and beyond. This contrasts with building projects by developers from outside. This effort is by the community, of the community, and for the community.

Among the groups collaborating to create the VBC are the following: Daily Acts, based in Petaluma, the Permaculture Skills Center, Sebastopol Grange, Cittaslow Sebastopol, Ceres Community Project, Transition Sebastopol, and Transition US.

"The international Cittaslow (Slow City) movement holds to 6 priorities, which includes creating community-friendly infrastructure,” writes Co-Chair of Cittaslow Sebastopol Tasha Beauchamp. “We were immediately attracted to the VBC because of its grassroots artistry and the way that it mobilizes the community to create the solutions they need for their neighborhoods. The results of a community meeting in Sebastopol identified a need for a stronger connection between downtown and The Barlow. Painting street murals was an obvious and fun way to do this."

"Transition US seeks community-engagement models to replicate nationally,” said Transition US co-director Carolyne Stayton. The national office of the over 150 Transition towns is based in Sebastopol. “Village Building Convergence could just be one of these” efforts to go national, according to Stayton.

“The Grange actively supports projects such as the VBC, which is inspired by young people. We are doing that with the Farmers Guild, Global Student Embassy, 4H and now the VBC,” commented Sebastopol Grange treasurer Gary Abreim.

“Among the important issues discussed was the role of public education and permaculture design to make our water use more sustainable in light of the drought,” pointed out Marissa Mommaerts from Transition and the Post-Carbon Institute. She later wrote the following: “VBC organizers have been collaborating with the Sebastopol mayor and City Council to identify and work toward shared goals, including creating a more cohesive and walkable downtown; supporting existing City projects and local non-profits, including the development of a public food forest; and community engagement.”

Each Councilmember spoke in favor of the VBC. Councilmember Patrick Slater suggested “the need for a place for introverts who do not like loud things like parades. Creating a safe space for introverts would be important.” At a celebration after the meeting at Hopmonk Tavern, VBC activists spoke about having a tent for meditation.

Various Council members spoke about the importance of including groups such as the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sebastopol Art Center. They indicated the significance of including elders and Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Among the events VBC discussed were a Share Fair where items would be exchanged, as well as bike repair, hair cutting, massage, and clothing repair. A Family Day is also scheduled, as well as pot-luck meals. A tour of the La Tierra intentional community is scheduled. An Equinox Ritual will close the ten days, drawing attention to natural seasonal changes. Live music, poetry, and other art forms will be presented.

The next big VBC event will be an August 24, Sunday, 4-8 fundraiser at the Permaculture Skills Center, 2185 Highway 116 South, with music and apple pressing into juice. Many volunteers are still needed for this event and the ten-day festivities, as well as for construction of an artistic fence at the Sebastopol Grange.

More information: www.sebastopolvbc.org and www.cittaslowsebastopol.org.

(Shepherd Bliss {3sb@comcast.net} has taught at various villages, including Findhorn in Scotland, Hollyhock in Canada, Sonoma State University, and CIDOC in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He has operated the Kokopelli Farm in Sebastopol for the last two dozen years.)