Land ho! New Mayflower play settling in Sonoma

Sonoma Index-Tribune August 1, 2019


In 1620 following a perilous 66-day journey across the Atlantic, the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. it’s one of our first American history lessons, and every year at Thanksgiving we celebrate the English passengers who settled the Plymouth Colony, know by school children across the country as the Pilgrims. Their feast of thanks celebrating the completion of their first harvest at Plymouth is, today, a national holiday, an occasion for family and friends to gather, give thanks and enjoy the traditional meal of turkey, cranberry and pumpkin pie.

As the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing approaches, plans for celebrations later this year and throughout 2020 are underway. One pf those events will happen in Sonoma this November, when the California Mayflower Society will present a one-act drama, ”Freedom’s Song,” at Hanna Boys Center.

“We’re thrilled to be staging this play in Sonoma. It’s the perfect place,” said Sally Jackson, membership secretary for the group. “There’s a correlation between the Pilgrims landing 400 years ago and the West Coast settlers who staged the Bear Flag revolt. Both groups sought freedom and a better life.” READ MORE

Altimira horticulture teacher 'Mr. Van' retires"

Sonoma Index-Tribune July 1, 2019


"It is the only place I've ever taught," said Adrian "Dutch" Van Herwynen, upon his retirement from Altimira Middle School earlier this month.

Over the past 27 years, “Mr. Van” as he is known, estimates he has taught 2,500 students. He began asa science teacher. Years later, perhaps prompted by Michelle Obama’s interest in nutrition and school gardening programs, Altimira received a grant to start a horticulture program.

With a Cal Ply degree in horticulture, Van Herwynen jumped at the chance. He expanded the campus garden to include raised beds for vegetables and flowers, planted fruit trees, and constructed a greenhouse for seedlings. A .33-acreparcel dubbed the Production Farm was added. During peak growing season, his garden parcel turns into a cornucopia of organic produce—corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, melons and eggplant. Using recycled materials, Van Herwynen and his students built a chicken coop for 20-plus chickens. And there’s a CSA program where the students sell fruit, vegetables, succulents, cut flowers and eggs. READ MORE

Pickeball fever reaches Sonoma's Larson Park

Sonoma Index-Tribune April 23, 2019


Most weekday mornings and again on Sunday, tranquil Larson Park comes to life. The calm is broken by the sound of exuberant players with paddles rallying to return a hollow ball across a net. 

Is it tennis? Pingpong?

No, the game they play is called pickleball. It arrived in Sonoma four years ago. 

“My husband Joe and I live in Palm Springs during the winter. Pickleball’s the rage there,” said Leslie Frank, Sonoma’s de facto pickleball organizer. “Seniors are flocking to the game. Moving around the court and leaning for the ball is good exercise. It helps with balance and is great fun.” READ MORE

‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ opens in Sonoma on Jan. 25

Sonoma Index Tribune January 24, 2019


In keeping with Sonoma Arts Live’s programming theme for the year – A Salute to the Classics – the theater company this month presents its production of the Joseph Kesselring play, “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

“This play is clever, well written and includes a bit of everything — murder and mayhem, romance, family dysfunction, food & wine and wit,” said director Michael Ross.

Kesselring’s farcical dark comedy was first performed on Broadway in 1941. An instant success, the show ran for three years and more than 1,400 performances. The 1944 screen adaptation was directed by Frank Capra and starred Cary Grant. READ MORE

Sonoma Fire Survivors Find Ongoing Support In Community

Sonoma Index Tribune November 8, 2018

Sonoma fire survivors find ongoing support in community

“Three generations of the Botello-Burgi family resided in two houses side-by-side on Warm Springs Road. The children grew up there and attended local schools. It was a place of fond memories; the place they called home. On the night of Oct. 8, all of that changed.

Umberto Botello, step-mom Jacki Burgi and their three daughters Isamar, Ariana and Genesis lived in a rental house. Jacki’s mother, Cheri Burgi, lived next door in the Glen Ellen home she purchased 32 years ago.” READ MORE

‘Ruby in Love’ and ‘Harm’s Way’ on stage in Sonoma

Sonoma Index Tribune July 27, 2018

‘Ruby in Love’ and ‘Harm’s Way’ on stage in Sonoma

“Love, aging, sex and family dynamics are themes interwoven in Sonoma Arts Live’a original productions of “Harm’s Way” and “Ruby and George in Love.” Both are being staged in a unique format called readers’ theater. Without costumes, elaborate sets or memorization, actors bring the plots to life through reading their lines. Reflection, intonation and emotion drive the story.

Following the performance, audiences engage in a “talkback,” a conversation and Q&A with the playwrights and directors and an important part of the creative process.” READ MORE

Sonoma’s Homegrown Bagels turns 40

Sonoma Index Tribune June 7, 2018

Sonoma’s Homegrown Bagels turns 40

“Stuart Teitelbaum grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Forty years ago he landed in Sonoma with a New York City subway token in his pocket and a recipe for the best bagels ever. Now he wears that metal token on a chain around his neck. And with the recipe, the affable Teitelbaum started Homegrown Bagels on West Napa Street.

‘Back then there was no place north of the Golden Gate to buy a bagel. The closest was Geary Street in San Francisco,’ he says. Teitelbaum invested everything he had in the business. ‘That first day I was a bit nervous,’ he says. ‘Until a customer walked in and handed me a dollar bill. Bagels were a quarter each then. I gave him four and we were both happy.’ ” READ MORE

Theater: The butler does it in Sonoma

Sonoma Index Tribune May 10, 2018

The butler does it in Sonoma

“Opening this weekend, Sonoma Arts Live brings to the stage an evening of good old fashioned theater.

The play ‘Jeeves Intervenes,’ written by Margaret Raether, is set in 1920s London high-society and was adapted from the stories of early 20th century English writer P.G. Wodehouse.

Director James Jandak Wood says he first saw ‘Jeeves Intervenes’ performed three years ago in British Columbia.

‘I laughed all the way through,’ says Wood. ‘I thought Sonoma audiences would enjoy it.’ ” READ MORE

“Hello, Dolly!”

Sonoma Index Tribune October 4, 2018


Sonoma Arts Live opens its 2018-2019 season with a powerhouse performance of an American musical comedy classic — “Hello, Dolly!” Set in New York in 1899, the play is based on Thornton Wilder’s farce “The Merchant of Yonkers” later revised and retitled as “The Matchmaker.”

David Merrick first produced the play, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, on Broadway in 1964. It won a record-tying 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, a record held for 37 years. READ MORE

Former Sonoma students star in ‘Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter’

Sonoma Index Tribune March 8, 2018


“A disabled U.S. Marine returns home from the war in Iraq. Instead of reuniting with her children, she takes a detour.

The gripping play ‘Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter’ was written by Julie Marie Myatt. Wendy Wisely, an adjunct faculty member at Santa Rosa Junior College, directs the local production, opening this week.

‘I first saw the play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival several years ago,’ said Wisely. ‘I loved it and was thrilled when the theater department selection committee picked “Welcome Home” for our current season. Though the story is serious in nature, there is much humor throughout, particularly in the dialogue.’

‘It is not anti-war or political,’ she stresses. ‘It’s about one woman’s journey, yet the broader theme is the struggle communities, friends and families have in finding ways to support and welcome vets returning home.’ ” READ MORE