May 22, 2019
by Chuck Ramsey, Russian River Alliance
I was on time to the Park & Rec board meeting when I saw a guy planting the flowers at the Welcome to Vacation Wonderland sign. I stopped. The board meeting could start without me.
I thanked Ed Brochu, who lives in Cazadero, for beautifying our gateway and asked him why was he doing this? He said his mother, Nola Dianne Abbott, had passed away recently in November in Houston. He said since then, it feels like you are entering a large auditorium, but no one is in there, it’s just you, and then the door closes behind you. His mother used to grow zinnias. He wanted a way to honor and remember her. He harvested zinnia seeds from her plants and decided it would be nice to landscape our gateway with zinnias. It would also show tourists that we are back open for business after the floods. He said it helps him from feeling despondent. What a great way to honor your mother, and to have such a big impact on our little community. Thank you, Ed, I’m sure your mother is smiling, as we all are.
What else can we do? What makes you happy? Walking my dog in Northwood or the Terraces, playing tennis (or pickleball for you old folks!), meeting neighbors at the community garden, helps me decompress. Lightwave or Bia Café after tennis. Cuts on the Green to catch up on what you might have missed on Facebook or Nextdoor. Get out, socialize, get exercise, slow down, and enjoy the beautiful nature we have. We all need a release from the continual negativity evident in national politics and small-town issues. What does Monte Rio need? Getting the Rio Café, Rio Theater, and the Pink back in business. Hopefully this summer? I’ve never been one for patience. For those that have noticed, the Hate Free Community sign will be put back up on the new Monte Rio Rec & Park signage across from the theater.
Park & Rec is also still working on trying to get Monte Rio a public EV charging station. Technology is advancing so rapidly. When I bought my EV a few years ago, VW was not able to deliver the car I wanted with Driver Assist package. I guess last year, the local dealer got almost no EVs. This year, things are different. Apparently, car manufacturers get fined if their overall sales don’t meet mpg regulations. As more trucks and SUVs are sold, they are forced to produce more EVs to compensate. So, I was finally able to get the car I had wanted.
Driving hands free, accelerator and brake free is like something out of a science fiction movie. It’s scary as you tell yourself, don’t panic, trust the technology. It actually works very well in stop and go traffic. Someday soon, you’ll be able to get in a car, or have a car come to you via a phone app, speak your destination and relax. Trust me, it isn’t at the relax stage yet, more like the adventurous awe-inspiring, heart palpitating stage. But it is safer. Think of the freedom and mobility to continue to drive as you age. These cars, self-brake, self-park, and handle adaptive cruise control very well. Sacramento has become the national leader in EV cars, thanks to VW’s settlement. Fast chargers at Walmarts and Targets, EV Car Shares where you use a phone app and go, just like the bike and scooter shares. Let’s get the electric bike shares here. It would be fun for our residents and tourists. Summer is arriving, and so should we.
With fire season approaching, updates on installation of air quality sensors. As previously reported Cazadero Fire has approved Russian River Alliance’s request to install local sensors to protect residents and school children. Russian River Fire did not see it in their purview to do this and decided not to approve the request. It’s unfortunate when special districts do not understand issues that actually do fall within their purview and do not make an effort to do more to better serve their communities. This is especially true in this case as Rio Nido is probably the most impacted community in our area. A follow-up request has been sent to MRFPD for an update on their end.
Let’s have a safe summer at the beach and river. Sonoma County YMCA will be providing Water Safety & Swim lesson classes at the Monte Rio Beach this summer. These are co-sponsored by MRRPD and Friends of Monte Rio. Tentative dates are July 15 - August 9th. There will be 3 levels of classes for ages 5-12. Cost is $10 per week with assistance available to cover the costs if needed. More details will be forthcoming.
Happy June, get out, enjoy, and support our businesses as they reopen.
Vacation Wonderland, we just keep getting better.
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