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Sonoma County News

Washington Federal

It is the end of an era. The new signs are up on former Luther Burbank Savings buildings as the acquisition by Washington Federal bank is now complete. The merger in a $654-million dollar all-stock deal was announced back in November of 2022 and finally closed last month. So for WaFed says they will keep all former Luther Burbank branches open.

Jake Mackenzie

Former Rohnert Park city council member Jake Mackenzie has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He spent 30-years as a pesticide regulator with the EPA. His four year term on the board will start in April.

Sift Closing

Fans of Sift Dessert Bar have a limited time left to enjoy their delicious cupcakes and goodies, as the owners, Andrea and Jeff Ballus have announced the business will be closing at the end of the month. They cited the pandemic, fires, storms and the current economic climate as reasons for the closure. Their last day of operation will be March 23rd.

Sonoma Raceway

After 61 days of work the raceway repaving project at Sonoma Raceway is complete. This was the first complete repave in 23 years. Over the course of two months, the track was ground down, cracks were repaired and brand-new, long-lasting asphalt was put down. The first big test of the new race surface will be on March 11th for a drive for charity, NASCAR returns to Sonoma in June.

SAY Chapter 7

The last youth residents of the SAY Dream Center have moved out and the building and it will be locked and boarded up today according to Michael Kasolas, the court-appointed trustee who will oversee SAY’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some are headed to Mickey Zane Place, some will be housed at temporary residences and some will be housed by COTS in Petaluma.

Mercy vs Healdburg

One of the companies that applied for but was denied a permit to open a cannabis dispensary in Healdsburg is crying foul and suing the city. Mercy Wellness claims Healdsburg's process was flawed and wants the city to have a do-over in reviewing and granting permits. Eight companies in total applied for one of two permits the city was allowing. Jane Dispensary and Solful were awarded the two permits after a months-long review process.


A familiar Sonoma County face will take over as interim director of the Napa County Farm Bureau following the death of it's previous director in January. Tawny Tesconi previously spent 29-years in fair management, including the Sonoma County Fair, along with running the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the 4th District Agricultural Association. The interim move brings her out of retirement...once again, she says she will be there to help and mentor the new director once they are hired.

Amy's Wicked

If it was not bad enough that Amy's Wicked Slush in Healdsburg closed last year, now, the building that housed the superstar of slushes.. burned down on Tuesday night. The location across from Memorial Beach was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, but they were able to contain the blaze. No one was injured, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The business, along with now the charred ruins of the building, are still for sale.

School Layoffs

Layoffs are coming to Santa Rosa City Schools employees. It was announced by superintendent Anna Trunnell Monday night in a Parent Square message. She did not indicate exactly how many employees, which departments or which schools would be impacted, only that cuts need to be made to cover their budget shortfall. The short-fall numbers translate into about 85 positions, but it is unclear if that many staff members will be let go.


The BoDean Company is fighting a proposed record $8.6 million dollar fine levied by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for alleged discharges from their Mark West Quarry. The company has invested over $ million dollars in stormwater capture and treatment systems to mitigate runoff into Mark West Creek, Porter Creek and eventually the Russian River. The Water Control Board says their equipment failed, and allowed for excessive runoff during storms. A public hearing is scheduled for October 2nd through 4th at the regional boards offices on Skylane Blvd in Santa Rosa.

Janet Nicholas

Authorities have identified the woman who died Friday in a single-vehicle accident just outside of Sonoma as 78-year old Janet Nicholas, a Sonoma resident and former Sonoma County Supervisor. She served seven years on the Board of Supervisors along with being appointed to the state board of Prison Terms and the state Board of Education. She was driving on Norrbom Road around 10:30 in the morning when her vehicle flipped down an embankment while making a turn.

Windsor Test

Today Sonoma County will be conducting a test of the SoCoAlert emergency notification system starting at 11 a.m. in Windsor and selected Sonoma County evacuation zones adjacent to the town. From 11am to 3pm notifications will be sent to those signed up through SoCoAlert,... exercise activity is limited to participating agencies and communities, but even some residents not signed up with SoCoAlert may get a notification.

SAY Bankruptcy

Following yesterday's news about Social Advocates for Youth transferring dozens of young people to other facilities, today comes the news that the 53-year old organization that serves youth in crisis has laid off it's staff and will file for bankruptcy. According to the Press Democrat, employees were given the news at a meeting yesterday. One major donor reversed it's pledge of $500,000 after reviewing the organizations finances, SAY then declined to accept the remaining $600,000 pledged by 6 others. It is unclear right now what will happen to the 63-bed Dream Center on Summerfield Road.

River Rescue

We are getting more information this morning about the rescue of three people on the Russian River Sunday. The woman in the water has been identified at 38-year old Lacey Lee Mosher, who apparently became combative and attacked the two Sheriff's deputies who entered the water to try and save her, leading to them needing to be rescued. Once out of the water, she was arrested on suspicion of threatening police, battery being under the influence of drugs and is also accused of burglary on an unrelated matter. While both deputies struggled to stay above water, they were treated and released at the scene.

Lakeville Barriers

As we first reported earlier this month, barriers preventing drivers from turning onto Lakeville Highway in Petaluma are now in place. Drivers wishing to turn west onto Lakeville from Pine View way near Kaiser Permanente or from the South McDowell Extension are now detoured to Cader Lane or South McDowell Boulevard, both intersections have traffic signals. After several deadly crashed, pressure was put on Caltrans to come up with a solution to improve driver safety.

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