santa rosa

Thursday, July 2, 2020

‘Peanuts’ Gang Goes Back on Display This Month in Sonoma County

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 2:11 PM


UPDATE (JULY 13): After a brief reopening last week, the Schulz Museum is temporarily closed again due to the latest state and county COVID-19 safety orders. The museum will be closed through August 2, and until further notice thereafter.
Fans of the  “Peanuts” comic strips have something to look forward to this summer, as the popular Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, July 8.

Following guidance from the State of California and the County of Sonoma as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Charles M Schulz Museum will reopen with several Covid-19 safety measures in place to provide a safe, low-risk environment for all visitors and staff. When the doors open, the public is invited to view several new features, including new exhibitions and a selection of rarely seen items from the Museum’s archives.

“In this time of daily unease, we are grateful to be reopening our doors and providing a place for people to have a joyful escape,” said Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz and museum board president, in a statement. “I think we could all use some good cheer right now.”

The museum closed its doors to the public on March 16 when Sonoma County issued the shelter in place order in accordance with the state’s efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19. That sheltering order is now eased for indoor museums in Sonoma County allowing them to reopen with safety guidelines in place.

As such, the Charles M Schulz Museum is implementing policies such as requiring visitors wear face coverings and maintain social distancing rules that will be denoted in the museum’s high-traffic areas by Snoopy paw prints on the floor.

Current exhibitions at the museum include “Lucy! Fussbudget to Feminist,” the first exhibition to focus exclusively on “Peanuts” character Lucy, and which opened just one day before the museum’s temporary closure. Also on view is “Greetings, Charlie Brown! The Peanuts-Hallmark Connection” and a new exhibition, “Girl Power in Peanuts,” that opens at the end of July.

The Charles M Schulz Museum also hints that a new addition is also on the way and will be revealed in mid-July in the museum’s Biographical Gallery. For now, the museum is only saying that four large cases with built-in drawers will be installed to allow more artwork, correspondence, and personal effects from Charles Schulz to be shared with the public.

“We’re taking this opportunity to curate the cases from scratch,” museum curator Benjamin L. Clark said in a statement. “In the nearly 20 years since the museum opened, new objects, stories, and information have come to light, giving us a better understanding and a more complete view of Charles Schulz. These updated cases will reflect our best and latest research in a way that we’re excited to share.”

The museum also reopens under new leadership, as outgoing museum director Karen Johnson recently announced her retirement after 15 years heading the institution. Gina Huntsinger, the current general manager of Snoopy’s Home Ice for the past three years and the Museum’s marketing director for 12 years prior, will be stepping into the role of director.

“While this is an unusual way to start my tenure as the museum’s director, I am so excited to return to my roots of celebrating the legacy of Charles Schulz and his art,” Huntsinger said in a statement. “During the temporary closure, the staff took the opportunity to deeply clean and revitalize the building. We are looking forward to welcoming the public back and sharing some laughs—even if under the cover of our masks!”

For those who are high-risk for Covid-19, or limiting travel and out-of-house activities, the museum has also increased its online offerings, including a ‘Schulz Museum at Home’ webpage full of free resources and activities to enjoy from home.

The museum has also introduced online art and cartooning classes for kids, teens and adults that allows students to join artist instructors virtually from many different locations and time zones. Those classes include a new “Peanuts” live drawing series led by staff artists that continues with a class on “How to Draw Woodstock” on July 13 and “How to Draw Snoopy” on August 10. In addition, the museum hosts an online panel discussion on July 27 on the topic of “Exploring Intersectional Identities Through Queer Comics.”

“This fall marks the 70th anniversary of Peanuts,” Huntsinger said in her statement. “Whether you join us in person or online, we invite you to connect with Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the 'Peanuts' gang and see why this comic strip has endured for so many generations.”

The Charles M Schulz Museum reopens, Wednesday, July 8. For more information on hours and safety protocols, visit
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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Batcave to the Rescue

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 10:41 AM


Located in the basement of 100 Fourth St. in downtown Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square, the Batcave Comics & Toys shop is a haven for comic book and toy collectors and for nostalgic fans of vintage entertainment.

Currently brimming with retro comic-book issues, the shop is doing what it can for the community with a pledge to give 10,000 free comics to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County organizations serving children who are in need of activities during the shelter-in-place order.

The Batcave encourages any charity, hospital, school, group home, foster home or special-needs program or facility to contact them on Facebook or Instagram to arrange curbside pickup or contactless delivery.

Furthermore, the Batcave encourages anyone with an old stash of comics who wants to help the cause—or anyone who wants to donate to the effort in any way—to also get in touch. Read the shop’s full statement on their Facebook page.
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Monday, March 30, 2020

Santa Rosa Symphony Reschedules Spring Season, Pays Musicians Now

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:55 AM

Santa Rosa Symphony conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the orchestra in a recent concert. - SUSAN AND NEIL SILVERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Susan and Neil Silverman Photography
  • Santa Rosa Symphony conductor Francesco Lecce-Chong leads the orchestra in a recent concert.

In a bittersweet bit of news, the Santa Rosa Symphony announced that they are rescheduling all of their planned Spring 2020 concert season both in response to county and state shelter-in-place orders, and “for the safety and health of its patrons, musicians and staff.”

With new summer dates already confirmed, the symphony also announced that its Board of Directors approved a plan to pay all hired musicians immediately in an effort to ease their financial burdens caused by cancelled gigs throughout the Bay Area.

The symphony’s new concert schedule currently includes “Showcasing Contemporary Women,” rescheduled from March 21–23 to June 6, 7 and 8; “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” rescheduled from April 19 to June 14; “Visions of Hope,” rescheduled from May 2–4 to July 11–13 and the popular Symphony Pops Concert, “Remember When Rock Was Young: the Elton John Tribute,” rescheduled from April 26 to August 9.

Patrons of the symphony are encouraged to follow the news on their Facebook page and website for further updates as the shelter-in-place situation evolves.

In another bright bit of news, Santa Rosa Symphony notes that their mail has lately been filled with season subscription renewals, demonstrating the value of the arts in a time of crisis.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sonoma County Pride Cancels 2020 Festival & Parade

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 10:12 AM

  • photo courtesy Sonoma County Pride Facebook page
  • Sonoma County Pride 2019

Sonoma County has been ordered to shelter-in-place until at least April 7, meaning all concerts, festival, events, conferences and other social gatherings have been canceled. Though, event organizers throughout the North Bay are looking ahead and canceling events through May, and now into June, as the coronavirus continues to spread in the Bay Area.

Sonoma County Pride is the latest group to change it's summer plans, officially announcing the cancellation of the 2020 Pride Festival & Parade that was scheduled for June 6.

The decision came after a meeting on March 20, in which the Sonoma County Pride Board of Directors stated they would "focus our efforts on helping those in need as a result of this terrible pandemic."

Other summer events, such as the Pride Youth Picnic in July, are still on the books, though details are subject to change. Read the full statement below:

We have all been watching the rapidly deteriorating situation caused by the recent global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. We have been monitoring local, state and federal announcements and guidelines encouraging hand washing and social distancing.

No one knows how long this emergency will last, but it is certain there will be significant disruption and pain inflicted on many in our community. We also know the public, our sponsors, our vendors, and our parade participants depend upon us to produce a safe and healthy Pride for the whole community, including those in people in vulnerable risk categories.

We are saddened by the fact that our community is forced to endure yet another emergency and realize that many of our Sonoma County friends and neighbors are facing unemployment and many of our local businesses are temporarily forced to close and may never reopen.

With so many headwinds and unknowable factors before us, we have determined that the best for Sonoma County Pride and for our community is to align with public health policy and official health agency guidelines and take a proactive, responsible stance in support of those efforts.

The Sonoma County Pride Board of Directors met on March 20, 2020, and made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Pride Festival & Parade scheduled for June 6, 2020, and focus our efforts on helping those in need as a result of this terrible pandemic.

Despite our disappointment, LGBTQI+ Pride is not just a weekend party, it’s a state of being that never ends. Even now we are planning a new community event with hope for the future. Assuming the situation allows for events by early summer, join us as we all celebrate and renew our spirits together:

· July 26: Pride Youth Picnic and Pet Parade at Rincon Valley Community Park - Great food and drink, games, entertainment, pet contests, and adoption

· October 10: SCP Wine Festival in Old Courthouse Square - Food, music, silent auction and 100+ wineries pouring some of the best wines produced in Sonoma County

· October 11: National Coming Out Day Party & LGBTQI+ History Celebration in Old Courthouse Square AIDS Quilt display, SC LGBTQI history exhibit, music, food, entertainment, community speakers and more. 
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Here is the Coddingtown Sign On the Back of a Truck

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

  • Brian Keegan

Here's something you don't see every day, courtesy quick-thinking Bohemian reader Brian Keegan: The world-famous Coddingtown sign on the back of a truck, rolling down College Avenue.

Sentimental Santa Rosans need not worry—the sign is only temporarily down for repairs, and will be up again in about a month, spinning away.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Santa Rosa Councilwoman Shares Passion for Happiness Initiative

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM


After Julie Combs successfully campaigned for Santa Rosa City Council last year, she discovered that several issues central to her campaign were important to more than just Santa Rosa residents. In fact, several tied in directly with the nine elements that make up the Happiness Index. “Elements of it meshed so well with things that I ran on,” she says, despite learning of the GHI after she took office. It’s so important to her now that she has made it one of her priority issues.

It’s not that she is pushing for citywide implementation of the Happiness Initiative, which is a real thing, by the way. But so many of parts of the initiative can and should be implemented in revolving Santa Rosa’s issues. Take, for instance, the annexation of Roseland. “Looking at happiness,” she says, “[the initiative] makes some sense here.” Particularly the idea of participation in government and inclusion in culture. Roseland residents do not vote in citywide elections and do not have the benefit of city services, even though they live in a non-annexed island of county land that’s far more central to Santa Rosa than, say, Oakmont or Wikiup.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

So... Can We Get Married Yet?

County Clerk prepares for same-sex marriages to resume in Sonoma County

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 5:25 PM


UPDATE: Marriage licenses will be issued from the county clerk's office and marriages will resume in Sonoma County on Monday, July 1.


Bill Rousseau hasn’t married a gay couple since 2008—but in his office at the County Clerk yesterday, sure enough, his phone started ringing again.

Following yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn DOMA and dismiss the opponents of Prop 8, the gates have been re-opened for Rousseau to issue licenses for and conduct legal gay marriages in California. It’s something the Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor is anxiously awaiting, and he's not alone, if the interest from couples is any indicator.

His advice for those wanting to get married? “Be patient,” Rousseau advises, because he still has to oblige with the court’s decisions and may have to wait 25 days until he can officially perform same-sex marriages.

Patience has been a key player in the gay rights movement since supporters first celebrated in 2004 when same-sex were performed in San Francisco, and again in 2008 when they were legal statewide. Rousseau remembers being an officiant then, and recalls it being a celebratory time. “There were a lot of people who had come over to get married. It was a really exciting time, and high-energy. As the officiant, I felt very honored to be able to perform some of those services. There were couples that had been together 20, 30 years, finally getting married,” he says.

Now, Rousseau says, is the time for preparation. This gives Rousseau time to get ready for what he predicts will be a large crowd of happy spouses-to-be. “We’ve got a couple wedding rooms, and we’re going to get some more as this thing develops,” he says. “We’ve got a couple nice arbors at the clerk’s office that we can do for outdoor ceremonies as well. And we’re going to look for more depending on the demand.”

Weekly hours at the clerk’s office, too, could be extended to accommodate the demand, Rousseau says.

Same-sex couples can get the marriage process started by filling out a marriage license application online through the county office’s website. The remaining steps are simply to follow the guidelines on the site, such as remembering that a marriage, for the most part, requires one witness, and that both parties must appear in person to receive a marriage license. Fees for licenses and ceremonies are also provided.

“Keep checking the news,” Rousseau adds. “We’ll issue a press release when we know that we can start doing them.”

UPDATE: Marriage licenses will be issued from the county clerk's office and marriages will resume in Sonoma County on Monday, July 1.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

What Happened to the Covered Wagon at Montgomery Village?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 5:46 PM

A covered wagon’s sudden disappearance might not be news in other cities. But in Santa Rosa, it nearly stops traffic.

That’s what Santa Rosa residents discovered today, upon seeing that the iconic covered wagon, which for over 50 years has stood watch at Montgomery Village on the corner of Farmers Lane and Montgomery Drive, has been taken down.

I drove by Montgomery Village this morning, wondering why cars were moving so slowly. But as I got closer and noticed the wagon gone, I wasn’t the only one craning my head out the window to stare at the empty space. The wagon had been there my whole life. What happened to it?

Says David Codding, owner of Montgomery Village, “I think it’s run its course.”

The wagon was taken down yesterday, and it'll be given to Cattlemen's to use at one of their restaurants. But that's not why the wagon was taken down. To hear Codding tell it, during the remodeling process of the northwest quadrant of the shopping center, Santa Rosa’s Design Review Board had told him to get rid of the wagon.

“They said, 'We like the building and what not, we’ll approve the building,'” Codding told me today, “'but we want that wagon gone. It just looks ridiculous.'”

I knew Codding had some disputes with the city over his initial remodeling plan (disputes with city planners run in his blood, after all) so I wondered if this was all just residual sour grapes. But I called the architect on the job, Warren Hedgpeth, and another planner at city hall. Both confirmed that the city encouraged the wagon’s removal.

To longtime locals, hearing that the City of Santa Rosa wanted a landmark like the Montgomery Village wagon taken down is downright crazy. But here’s something to consider: the wagon that was taken down yesterday isn’t the original, historic wagon. It’s a replica. The original one was moved to the corner of Patio Court and Farmers Lane years ago—where it still stands, and where Codding says it’ll stay.

It took moving the wagon to show Codding just how much people cared about it. After he took over Montgomery Village and moved the wagon three blocks south, he got so many complaints from residents that he hired some Amish workers—“back in Utah or someplace”—to build another one for the corner at Montgomery Drive and Farmers Lane.

As for the future of that now-empty corner, a landscaped plaza is planned. Several bronze statues will depict children holding an American flag and, also, children feeding deer, Codding says. A sign telling the story of Montgomery Village will be set in a rock wall, with bas relief plaques of both Hugh Codding and village namesake Billy Montgomery, who was the first person from Santa Rosa to be killed in WWII.

The original, larger wagon has a special significance: it was a gift to Hugh Codding in the mid-1950s from Hollywood actor Fred MacMurray. As Codding says, “He called up dad and said, ‘You know, what you need at Montgomery Village is a covered wagon. I have a covered wagon at my ranch that would just be perfect.’ And Dad said, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

Here's how the wagon looked in 1962, courtesy of the Sonoma County Library History Annex. Note the payphone and corner mailbox, things you don't see much anymore, as well as the lack of sidewalks. (Zoom in and you'll see signs for Hal's Toyville, Eisenhood's Deli and the Maple Shop... anyone remember these places?)

The original wagon has been through a lot over the years. Once, when maintenance workers were repainting it, they found arrows with charred tips inside. “I think kids, at night, they’d go and they’d pour gasoline on an arrow and shoot it at the wagon, trying to burn it down,” says Codding. “I heard another report that another kid, or group of kids, tried to put a detonation device in it, with wires—and it malfunctioned, obviously.”

Of course, what everyone really wants to know is: has anyone ever managed to climb up inside the wagon? “Yeah, I think some kids have climbed up into that wagon,” Codding laughs, “and God knows what they were doing up there.”

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpect(ly terrible) Journey

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Just say no to the one ring
  • Just say no to the one ring
The night began ominously. We were finally seeing the Hobbit in its last-chance big screen showing, at the cheap-o discount theater in Santa Rosa. Just $4.50, what a bargain! “Two for Lord of the Rings,” I say, promptly corrected by the young woman printing the tickets.
“You mean the Hobbit, right?”
“Yeah, that’s it. I was close.”
She replies with an eyebrow raise without making eye contact, “It doesn’t even compare.”
“Oh, like it’s better?”
“No, worse,” she says with a smile.
“Yeah.” She looks up. “It’s terrible. Enjoy your movie.” With that, she handed us the tickets and we momentarily considered seeing what else was playing before heading into our theater. We should have considered it more seriously.

I know this is now old news, but the movie really was terrible. I like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I like fantasy fiction. This movie took the shortest book of the series, chopped it into three movies, and added too many special effects to keep track of. It was too much for the editors, apparently, because there were unfinished portions in battle scenes. Repeated motions of computer-generated creatures were obvious and at times a sword would appear to go directly through an enemy with no reaction, like someone forgot to animate that part.

To boot, the movie was almost three hours long and there were several unnecessary musical numbers. Musical numbers! In a Tolkein film! Dwarves were cleaning up a hobbit’s house by tossing around the plates and singing. What is this, Sword in the Stone? And the physics of the battle scenes were too outrageous to ignore. A 50-pound log used as a shield repeatedly stops a giant, sharp sword swung by a giant beast? It was annoyingly impossible.

So the movie sucked, and so did one of the people in our row, we suspect. After discussing the possible sexual behavior that could be accomplished in the theater, a couple two seats over from us pulled the ol’ jacket-over-the-lap routine. I’m no prude, but this wasn’t in the back row or anything. It was loud and the film’s volume was too quiet, so everyone could hear the “coming attractions” playing smack dab in the middle of the theater. It was so quiet that when the daring duo was finished I could hear the guy next to me biting his nails—or, nubs of nails, rather—loudly and repeatedly starting and stopping, making it impossible to tune out. The guy in front of us dropped a large bottle—it sounded like a wine bottle—several times. Dude, put it in a padded bag or just leave it on the ground.

We finished the movie, astonished at our accomplishment. Both of us, it turns out, had wanted secretly for the other to lean in and whisper, “Let’s go get fro-yo.” But whether pride or just bad timing, neither caught on. By the time the marathon of unnecessary soliloquies was over, fro-yo was closed and we were annoyed. Moral of the story? Listen to your ticket booth attendant. She knows her stuff.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jack McAuliffe, Total Goddamn Hero of Craft Beer, Returns to Sonoma County

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 11:57 AM


Inevitably, anyone who's polished off a few pints at the Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa eventually looks up, sees a sign on the wall that reads "New Albion Brewery," and wonders, "What the hell's that sign mean?"

As any beer snob sitting at your table will quickly tell you, New Albion happens to be hailed as the first "microbrewery," at least as we know the term now. They may explain that New Albion, in Sonoma, pioneered the way small-batch beer was made. They may even report that New Albion founder Jack McAuliffe lived in mythic seclusion for almost 30 years, brewing out of the limelight in Texas, completely unaware of his status as a totally goddamn awesome pioneer of the craft beer movement until his rediscovery a few years ago.

That's why it's kind of a big deal that on Thursday, Jan. 10, the Russian River Brewing Co. welcomes the man himself, Jack McAuliffe, back to Sonoma County. And who's coming with him? Ahem: Jim Koch, from Samuel Adams.

The whole thing's a celebration of Samuel Adams' re-release of New Albion Ale—a nice gesture on Sam Adam's part using Jack's original recipe. I'll let Russian River's Natalie Cilurzo take over:

Brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe and the legendary Jim Koch, the face of Sam Adams, will be at the pub from 6-8pm discussing their recent "collaboration" on the resurrection of New Albion Ale! New Albion Brewery was located in Sonoma, California, from 1976 to 1983. This was the first newly licensed start-up craft brewery in the United States after the repeal of prohibition right here in Sonoma County. It's safe to say Jack was the first nanobrewer back when no such term existed. Vinnie and I were lucky enough to get our hands on the original New Albion Brewery sign which has hung proudly in our pub since the day we opened.

We will have New Albion Ale on draft at the pub that evening and hopefully for a few days after. Boston Beer is releasing bottles with an incredible reproduction of the original label for national distribution, but I'm not sure how much or where it will be available. I'm just excited to have it on draft at the pub while Jack McAuliffe and Jim Koch are both in the house! This is such a rare opportunity to have these two brewing legends in our brewpub at the same time.

Needless to say, I'd advise getting there early.

Jack McAuliffe and Jim Koch speak at Russian River Brewing Co. on Thursday, Jan. 10, from 6-8pm. 725 Fourth St., Santa Rosa. Free... and packed. 707.545.2337.

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