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July 21, 2019
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Showing off rope tricks Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Vehicle crashes into house Suicide leading cause of death in youths PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha Free school supplies Warnings weren’t enough! Rohnert Park City Council all about safety A young child making a big difference City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Technology High School construction on schedule Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening RP City Council, not business as usual 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 Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water 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 Happenings at Cotati City Council 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 Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors 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 The long summer grinds 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... School district set to begin new year 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 Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees 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 Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU 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 DMV offices will close for half day 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 Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest 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 Water Conservation Car washes and water waste 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 Stray sways the crowd 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 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 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 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! March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain 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 SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower 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 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 RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback

  • Jake Simmons, a recent graduate of Rancho Cotate High School and past quarterback for the varsity football team. Simmons is one of the quarterbacks at the Santa Rosa Junior College. Jane Peleti

By: David Rheinhart
August 17, 2018

When one first meets Jake Simmons, it’s hard not to think in terms of clichés: small town American quarterback with one heck of a jaw line. However, taking the Rancho Cotate alumni for granted would be a grave mistake, for beneath that first impression lies a man who, despite his young age, manages to take on the qualities of both teacher and student. 

Football is the name of the game, and despite Simmons recent recruitment to the SRJC Bear Cubs, the sport hasn’t always been kind. 

“When I was 11-years-old I was kind of a bigger kid, so they put me on the older team. I didn’t really know what to do,” Simmons said, reflecting on his first season of football with the Rohnert Park Warriors. “About a month passed of conditioning and me getting beat up by the older kids. That’s when I got diagnosed with type one diabetes.” 

The illness came as a shock to Simmons. He took two months off the season that year to get a handle on the disease, but the unpleasant experience of the older age group and the sudden diagnosis soured his opinion towards the game. 

“After that I didn’t want another minute of football—never, never again,” Simmons said. 

For the next couple years, Simmons kept active with baseball and it wasn’t until his freshman year at Rancho Cotate High School that he thought to give football another try, even then though, it wasn’t his idea. Rather it was a friend, Benfer Hunter, that finally lit the spark. 

“Everyday Hunter wanted to talk me into playing football, and I said, ‘No, I’m not playing.’ Then Hunter goes up to the varsity coach and tells him to come up to me because he knows the coach can get into my head,” Simmons said. 

That coach was Ed Conroy. With a simple challenge, he convinced Simmons to come out to his first practice. After that Simmons was hooked. He went on to set the Rancho Cotate record for yards passing and touchdowns in a single season and his legacy continues as an example for the newest batch of Cougars. 

“In my opinion, he’s probably the greatest quarterback in the history of this school. Maybe not statistically, but he’ll just do everything. I love that kid to death,” said Gehrig Hotaling, the current head coach for the Rancho Cotate Cougars. “Will, leadership, the desire to just run through somebody and get it done. I’ve never seen a quarterback with that strength of vision.” 

Vision and leadership are the two adjectives that seem to follow Simmons wherever he goes. After graduation, Humboldt State recruited him and Simmons traveled north to Arcata to don the green and gold of the Lumberjacks. It wasn’t meant to be, however. Less than a month into practice with the new team, Humboldt State announced that it had cancelled its football program. 

Simmons was furious. He left Arcata that night and on the way back he called SRJC. 

“To do something you love everyday? I think that’s the goal of any person in life,” said Dante DePaola, SRJC’s Defensive Coordinator. “My goal every year is to coach a bunch of great kids — help them grow and figure out some things about themselves and go onto the next level. We don’t want them to stay here forever.”

Simmons hopes to stay in state and transfer eventually to a division one institution like UCLA or Berkeley. For now, though, he’s content with SRJC and his new home with the Bear Cubs. 

“I feel like everything happens for a reason—I’m one of those kind of guys. It’s all in my hands to decide what happens with my future,” Simmons said.