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November 14, 2019
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Fire management assistance granted The evacuation through her eyes Firefighters called to the front Giving students added support School district seeks new superintendent Coming together to have fun and help others So. Co. is here to connect with you RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections Immigration appointments rescheduled Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders Fire - Community - Businesses Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes SMART will run limited service Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks CANCELLATION Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates SoCo post offices forced to close Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... SOMO Village overrun by CHP party Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Latino Alliance promotes first festival Consumer alert on price gouging Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms Special education funding complicated Structure fire displaces family State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration Keeping California history alive Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Adolescent birth rate continues to decline Campaign targets vaping-related illness New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level Early voting center opens RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Sept. is suicide prevention month Three arrested; stolen items recovered Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month Paper Delivery Update The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha New start at school board meeting In memory of Greg Beedon City of Cotati urges governor to sign affordable housing bill First Annual Latino Festival draws a large crowd USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy Free school supplies RPDPS receives grant to fight alcohol-related crime Winners of “Discovered: Emerging artists of Sonoma County” Cotati Oktoberfest on the horizon Carrying another on a recovery path Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! Warnings weren’t enough! ‘Stuff the van’ with school supplies Wake up to social crisis Cannabis cultivation and more projects Downtown RP infrastructure project Ca. Dept. of Public Health issues Public Health advisory 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Technology High School construction on schedule Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Rohnert Park City Council all about safety Accordion Festival San Francisco Mime Troupe to perform in Cotati Rep. Thompson speaks at SSU on climate change RP to vote on protecting open space and preventing sprawl Pedestrian jumps into path of SMART Train RP Council talks about fast trains and lawsuits Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors RP City Council, not business as usual A young child making a big difference Cotati’s first homicide in 24 years Veterans’ housing to open in 2020 RPPS encourages public to drive sober Issues and recognition but no council meeting RCHS Mascot at Welcome Back Rally Raising awareness on the dangers of SIDS King and Queen SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity I’m ready, bring ‘em on! Tech High School celebrates 20 years PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program accepting applications for aid Learn to become a naturalist Police and housing topics discussed at Council Coursey on the campaign trail Reckless driver resists arrests, with help from K-9 Max Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. Happenings at Cotati City Council Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career RP City Council: from safety to striping Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Sozo Student Center opens Credo ladies in Trashion show Cougars win behind roaring defensive performance Another long evening at Cotati City council How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings L J principal promises open door policy DUI driver arrested after collision on RP Exp Contact information needed from about 150,000 PG&E customers A satisfied smile Cotati Council makes it short Cotati is open to new county wide voting system RP Improvements Update week of October 21st Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission The long summer grinds Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home All about the roads Third DUI driver arrested in RP in three days Santa Rosa doctor overprescribing New leadership delivers new start at school board meeting Man takes own life Bound for a peaceful resting place After sluggish start, Cougars explode Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life School district set to begin new year Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train City, county reach agreement with Homeless Advocates Our words are not enough: Educators call for action First day of school and new friends PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program distributes first checks to victims  Credo Kaplan-Kinsey semi-finalist Focusing on finances... Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Cattle drive comes to SR Man dies in custody Home-based learning on the rise Home invasion robbery, suspects still at large Travis Jenkins Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Years to launch SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Fatal bicycle vs. vehicle collision RPPS investigating sexual assault A slow and painful wait for a downtown RP improvement updates RP road improvements update Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases DMV offices will close for half day Social Security – Care and Beware Urban growth boundary benefits RP Council looks at serious close-to-home issues Fight the flu... get immunized SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest Do you know the relationship between low impact development and water quality? So. Co. Behavioral Health and Health Services in the county jail Cotati City Council of Aug. 13 USCIS clarifies special immigrant juvenile classification to victims of abuse Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New Column Things to know about PG&E’s Public Safety power shutoff Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Stray sways the crowd Showing off rope tricks Sonoma County Fair reviews safety protocols Gun violence in the U.S. and globally Beautifying Magnolia Park Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Watenpaugh returns to lead CRPUSD Join CASA of So. Co.’s commitment to helping victims of child abuse Safety and power outages RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash Help with citizenship It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Ayuda con ciudadanía Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP New safety power shutoff zip code alerts RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives

73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels

  • Miss Sonoma County 2019 went to Rohnert Park's 21-year-old Rhiannon Jones. Her talent was a speed painting. She completed a painting in 90 seconds. Her platform is sexual assault awareness, reporting and recovery. Rhiannon obtained her B.A. in Studio Arts from Sonoma State. Photo by Robert Grant

  • Miss Sonoma County Outstanding Teen 2019 went to Santa Rosa's 14-year-old Emma Chen. Her talent for the competition was a piano ballad in G minor by Chopin and her platform is introducing young women to STEAM. Emma currently attends Maria Carrillo High. Photo by Robert Grant

  • The Miss Sonoma County Princess in their dressing room preceding the competition last Saturday evening. Not in order are: Aisa Avina, Amber Trabucco, Brianna Crosbie, Brooklyn Sims, Ella Travaglini, Gillian Elizabeth Barrett, Kiara Cue, Zaveya Mitrea Milazo, Anniston Klemme, Cateleya Youngblood, Nikole Cuellar and Arlene Pearson. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
March 8, 2019

This past Sat., March 2, marked the 73rd anniversary of the Miss Sonoma County Competition, the longest continuously running program of the Miss America organization in the state of California. Among the seven candidates in the Miss Sonoma County program, three were residents of Rohnert Park. In addition, two of the nine contestants in the Miss Sonoma County Outstanding Teen competition, which was held the same evening, also call Rohnert Park their hometown. After an evening of competition in physical fitness, talent, and interview questions, local Rohnert Park resident Rhiannon Jones won the title of Miss Sonoma County and Santa Rosa resident Emma Chen won Miss Sonoma County’s Outstanding Teen for 2019.

“The Miss America Organization is the largest scholarship organization for young women in the world,” says Cathy Slack, Executive Director for the Miss Sonoma County Outstanding Teen program and board member of the Miss Sonoma County Scholarship Organization who has been involved in the program for 14 years. “We started the Sonoma County Outstanding Teen Program eight years ago but it has been part of the Miss America organization for approximately 20 years.”

While the competition is steeped in tradition, there nevertheless have been changes over the decades, most notably just this past year. Gwen Adkins, Miss California Field Director who oversees nine northern counties, and has been involved in the organization since 1958 and was recognized at the 2009 Miss America Pageant for her fifty years of service at that time, has seen many of the changes first hand.

“We don’t call them pageants anymore, we call them competitions,” says Adkins. “There have been a lot of changes in the Miss America rules this past year. They got rid of the swimsuit portion and they changed a lot of terminology. We don’t call them contestants anymore we call them candidates.”

“That just happened with the big change in leadership at the Miss America level,” says Slack. “Now it’s called Miss America 2.0!”

Originally when the competition first started in the county in 1947, it was run by the 20/30 Club of Santa Rosa. They were held in the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building. The competition then moved to the Luther Burbank Center in the mid-1980s. Since the mid-1990s however, it has been held at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park.

“The 20/30 Club ran the program until 1969, when they decided they didn’t want to do it anymore,” says Adkins. “By that time I had been involved with them for at least ten years or more. I had brought in some other people to help me and we all formed a pageant organization and association and we carried it on from then until now. There have been changes along the way of course but I was director for 20 more years and then I joined the Miss California state staff in 1985 and have been on the state staff ever since.”

The teen program is for young women ages 13 to 17 and the Miss Sonoma County program is for 18 to 25 year old women. In addition, the organization started a non-competitive Miss Sonoma County princess program, which is a mentoring program for girls ages five through twelve. The girls are mentored by the older candidates, participate in a “princess boot camp” and are allowed to be on stage on competition night. This year there were eleven princesses participating.

The young women are scored on a variety of factors. For the outstanding teen program, the candidates are scored 35 percent on talent, 15 percent on a fitness routine, 25 percent on a private interview held prior to the evening competition, and 25 percent on the evening wear and on-stage questions portion. 

“The young ladies have been rehearsing and getting coaching from us for two months now, every Sunday for five to seven hours,” says Slack. “It’s an all volunteer program. We work on interview practice, their talent, how to be on a stage and have stage presence and so on. We do a lot of drilling on interview 

‘Miss’ see page 14

Miss’ from page 1

andon stage question practice.  

While it’s one of the lowest percentages of what they’re scored on, the young ladies are always so frightened of that because you have to think on your feet and you don’t know what you’re going to be asked and you have to give an intelligent answer.”

For the Miss Sonoma County program, 25 percent of the score comes from the private interview, 40 percent from talent, 15 percent from the onstage interview – no longer just a questions but an extension of the interview asked by one of the judges, and 20 percent comes from the evening wear and social impact statement portion.

“The social impact statement is a ten second speech about their platform cause,” says Slack. “The social impact statement is new this year, but the candidates having a platform is not. For many years the contestants have had a platform cause that is something in the community or a cause that’s near or dear to them – something they’ve worked on, means something to them, or something that interests them. Some of the causes may be something they have volunteered for or what has affected their family, school or community. When the title holders are out in the community we allow them to use the platform of being a title holder to advance awareness and work in their cause.”

The platform of 2019 Miss Sonoma County Rhiannon Jones is sexual assault awareness, reporting and recovery. For 2019 Miss Sonoma County’s Outstanding Teen, Emma Chen, her platform involves introducing young women to STEAM (the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).

Every year the competition has a new panel of judges who generally are representative from local government, business, education and former candidates. This year the judges included Carlos Chavez, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma County; David McCuan, Professor and Department Chair of Sonoma State University’s Political Science Department; Linda Smith, former Miss Sonoma County from 1973; Neysa Hinton, Mayor of Sebastopol; Tawny Tesconi, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau; and Tom Schwedhelm, Mayor of Santa Rosa. Other notable guests at the pageant included Marilyn Hoppel, formerly Miller, who was crowned Miss Santa Rosa (which later changed to Miss Sonoma County) in 1948, Miss California 2018, MacKenzie Freed, and of course Miss Sonoma County’s Outstanding Teen 2018, Pinkeo Phongsa and Miss Sonoma County 2018 Tyler-Avery Marie-Moana Lewis, both from Rohnert Park.

Chen and Jones, the winners of both competitions, will go on to compete in the Miss California competition held in Fresno at the end of June and will make over 100 appearances over the course of the year. The young women will attend city council and county board supervisor meetings, participate in parades and fundraisers, be present at ribbon cuttings and other county events.

“It’s really inspiring,” says Slack. “All of us on the committee, we get involved because we see these young ladies do great things in their lives and in the community. It’s rewarding for us to have helped them with their school, because at the end of the day we’re a scholarship organization. This year we will award $8,950 in total scholarships and all of this comes from donations we get from the community.”