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January 19, 2020
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RP has public hearing for “by-district” School Board goals for the future Volunteers needed for Superbowl Sunday tamale benefit School District elections “by-trustee” Public Hearing Digital Bookmobile to visit RP-Cotati library New Cotati mayor introduced Bella Creek, a new housing project CRPUSD announces next steps in new election process Helping homeowners with energy efficiency PG&E offers hundreds of college scholarships Cougars prevail in all time classic ‘Fog Bowl’ SMART launches an expanded service schedule Healthy food given by NOAH Interception seals the deal Some strange new laws 49er Pet store closes its doors Emotions were running high Heading to Hawaii Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board December gets festive in Cotati Johnson picks up Las Lomas fumble Sonoma Raceway is hosting John’s march Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Visit the Arts and Craft Faire in RP Rancho eliminates Benicia New year, new laws Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member Homelessness spikes in RP FEMA grants Santa Rosa $1M to ensure effective evacuation routes Not in my backyard... 36 New Graduates from El Camino High School Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion Home delivery changes Another death in California and investigation into E-Cigarette use Annual holiday gift and toy drive Callinan receives RP mayor gavel 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 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels 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 Nomination period opens for March 3, 2020, primary election Orangeco settles case for price gouging Rohnert Park storm drains getting a whole new look 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 Straus Family Creamery moving to RP 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 Worn American flags laid to rest Penngrove man receives life sentence School Board initiates election process change 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 TAG building grand opening Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Latino Alliance promotes first festival Discussions on the care facility and apartments PG&E meteorologists forecasting a major winter storm AG Becerra reaches settlement alleging anticompetitive practices by Sutter Health 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 RP Downtown project underway 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 Students housing and voting Flu activity widespread 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 Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money 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 Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth  So. Co. DA Ravitch announces consumer protection settlement 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 DUI driver crashes into 7-1 RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Adolescent birth rate continues to decline November is Native American Heritage month... Thank you for an exciting season 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: Teen arrested for shooting at RP Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Monitoring wells provide picture of underground water New laws written by Dodd take effect 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 RP votes to restrict fireworks Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level Fire management assistance granted Levine applauds investigation into power shut offs New year, new laws, legislation authored by Assembly member Marc Berman to take effect on January 1, 2020 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 evacuation through her eyes So Co DA office awarded grant 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 2018 local stories which made history 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 Firefighters called to the front 100 birthdays and more to go Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center 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 Giving students added support A day of celebration and tribute to our veterans R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant Holocaust piano now in Cotati 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 School district seeks new superintendent 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 CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent 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 Coming together to have fun and help others Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete Superintendent search begins 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 So. Co. is here to connect with you SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cotati Council moves ahead 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 RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections Cardinals rout Cougars Planning Commission approves hotel 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 Immigration appointments rescheduled 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 Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early 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 RP Improvements Update week of October 21st State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Rohnert Park Station Ave. update 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... Fire - Community - Businesses Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Cuts suggested for school district 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 will run limited service SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County 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 Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases Cotati memorializes victims 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 CANCELLATION SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions 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 The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area 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 SoCo post offices forced to close 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 Cotati honors and appreciates 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 When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs 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 Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Help save lives by donating blood Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash Help with citizenship Consumer alert on price gouging It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Ayuda con ciudadanía Structure fire displaces family Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby Fencing in Sonoma County PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions Campaign targets vaping-related illness USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs School district seeking new superintendent Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP Cotati protests CASA compact New safety power shutoff zip code alerts 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart King and Queen Early voting center opens RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program School district balances budget The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives RP Council talks about fast trains and lawsuits Reckless driver resists arrests, with help from K-9 Max The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed

Dark gloomy skies, rain, mud and Timberwolves could not stop CIF 3A NorCal Champions, Cougars

  • Kicker #14 Alex Sandoval made a field goal to put the first points of the CIF Nor Cal Championship game on the board in the matchup between the Cougars and the Timberwolves. The Cougars went on to win the game 10-0 and brought home the CIF Nor Cal Championship. Photo by Robert Grant

  • Rancho Cotate High School senior Jared Stocker maneuvers past members of the Sierra High School team to gain some yards during their game in Manteca Sat., Dec. 7. The teams played against each other in the Division 3A 2019 CIF State Football Championship Bowl game to determine who would be the Northern Regional Champions and move on to playing for the title of state champions. After playing in very rainy and muddy conditions, the Cougars got the win they were hoping for by defeating the Timberwolves 10-0. Rancho will take on Bakersfield Christian at Cougar Stadium Sat., Dec. 14 for the State Championship title. Photo by Jane Peleti

  • Rancho offense put "The Hammer" #25 Rasheed Rankin all the way down field to the 1-yard line on a well-executed run play. Rankin broke a tackle attempt by #9 Jessie Davies Jr. and blew past #53 Holden Fishburn and #7 Nyco Mendoza but was tripped up by the Timberwolves' defense just before crossing the goal line. The referee in the end zone called it a touchdown, but the sideline ref on the visitor's side rescinded the score citing Rankin's knee touched the ground at the 1-yard-line. Photo by Robert Grant

  • #18 Jared Stocker blasted past Sierra's #2 Matt Dunham as he attempted a diving tackle to make a Rancho first down. The Cougars bested the Timberwolves 10-0 for the CIF Nor Cal Championship. Photo by Robert Grant

By: Paul Matli
December 13, 2019

Overcoming injuries, check. Overcoming wind and fog, check. The Cougars added a rainstorm to their list of achievements. While the Sierra High School Timberwolves struggled with the rainy conditions, the Rancho Cotate Cougars roared behind their defense and running game en route to a 10-0 victory in the CIF 3A NorCal Championships. With the win, the Cougars will go on to the state finals next week and will play Bakersfield Christian.

The game was played during an epic downpour, which made it hard for both offenses to move the ball.  Knowing the Cougars and what they have gone through this season, the rain was nothing for them. 

They put together a drive at the end of the half, aided by a 15-yard late hit on quarterback Jared Stocker, which ended with a 38-yard Alex Sandoval field goal. This field goal was described by the NFHS broadcasting team as one of the best kicks they’ve ever seen. 

After that the Cougars’ defense took over, forcing five Timberwolves turnovers, then Rasheed Rankin closed the deal with a 40-yard run to the 2-yard line which led to Stocker scoring the next play.    

The Cougars, like other victorious teams Friday night, engaged in slip ‘n’ slide activities after the game was over and basked in the glory of being one game away from history.

Every team who reaches the championship has a story of how they got there. It could be elite offense, defense or both. In the case of the Cougars it was the gut check they went through during halftime of the Windsor Jaguars game.

Coming into the Windsor game the Cougars had lost two games in a row and were going downhill fast. The Cougars were down 14-7 at halftime and were not a team. The players were blaming one another instead of taking blame themselves, the offense couldn’t score, and the defense showed visible frustration. Head Coach Gehrig Hotaling and Rankin credit halftime of that game as the turning point of the season.

“We were dead in the water,” Hotaling said. “We were playing like individuals, instead of a team. Everybody was pointing fingers at each other.”

Though the Cougars were struggling, they pulled themselves together at halftime and have gone on an 8-game winning streak.

Rankin agreed with Coach Hotaling and said if someone would have told him during that game against Windsor that the Cougars would be Northern California champions he would have called them crazy.

“I wouldn’t have believed them. We started off pretty rough,” Rankin said. “Coaches gave us a good yelling against Windsor and it kind of woke us up.”

Whatever the message or words at halftime, the Cougars have been a different team the last eight games and enter next Saturday with an opportunity to win the state championship.

Another story for the Cougars has been the unsung heroes, the players who are new or in the case of kicker and safety, Alex Sandoval, someone who had never played the sport until this season.

Sandoval has already been profiled, but it’s easy to come back to him considering the impact he had on Saturday night’s game.

For community members who didn’t have the opportunity to watch the game, all you need to know is that it was nasty outside. Playing football in a rainstorm is not particularly enjoyable. The first half was an example of why playing in the rain stinks. Players for both teams were unable to find their footing, quarterbacks couldn’t grab the ball and passing was almost impossible.

“It was just the luck of the ball,” Rankin said. “It’s wet, we both had turnovers and they fortunately had more than we did. We practiced on grass all week long just to get used to this, but it still didn’t help that much.”

Putting things into perspective, here are some of the numbers from Saturday night.

Stocker had just one completion on the night for 8 yards. There were a combined 10 fumbles between the two teams and running backs and receivers slipping with no one around them. The fact the Cougars left the game injury free is a gift in itself.

Football players are used to playing in the rain and so are soccer players. Sandoval is a soccer player, so he was right at home with the nasty conditions. 

“Unbelievable,” Hotaling said. “Alex is a stud soccer player; he’s got the leg. We were just hoping his plant leg wouldn’t slip, and it didn’t, and he’s clutch.”

Hotaling said that play sent the Cougars into halftime with plenty of momentum. He was right, that was all the Cougars needed. The defense pitched their second consecutive shutout and held Sierra High School without a first down in the first half.

Comparing Sandoval’s 37-yard field goal to the kicker for Sierra was night and day. Sandoval made his with five yards to spare, while the Timberwolves kicker was five yards short from 31 yards away. This was how nasty the weather was and how impressive Sandoval’s kick was.

The story of the game was the play in the trenches. Most of the time whichever team wins the battle of the trenches will win the football game. The Cougars, like most games this season, won the battle of the trenches. The defensive line was dominate against the Timberwolves triple option offense and the Cougars offensive line found enough push to put together a game clinching drive in the fourth quarter. This 10 play 39-yard drive, after a Timberwolves fumble was an example of how the Cougars wear teams down. This drive was just Rankin and Jayden Herrera playing power football behind the big boys up front.

“We lost some fumbles, but they did as well, so they just offset each other,” Hotaling said. “It came down to the trenches, and I think we won the trenches.”

Besides Rankin, the other star for the Cougars was Dimitri Johnson. Johnson caught the only pass completion of the game and had the game clinching interception. Johnson is another underrated performer for the Cougars. He plays linebacker right beside Mihalis Santorineos and has on occasion been used as a receiver for the Cougars on screen passes.

Johnson seemed to be the only player who was able to catch the ball Sat. night. The Cougars normal wide receivers and Stocker weren’t able to get on the same page, mostly because of the weather being so nasty. In big games, someone needs to step up and Johnson was the player who stepped up for the Cougars on a night when they needed him.

The Cougars have one more game left on their schedule, against Bakersfield Christian High School for the State Championship. This is a big moment for not only the Cougars, but for the city of Rohnert Park. The Cougars will be hosting the game, which is Sat. and starts at 6 p.m. For those community members who have followed the team all year, or those who haven’t had the opportunity to support the boys, this is the game to do it.

It’s been an incredible season for the Cougars and capping it off with a state championship will be worth it for the seniors who have felt so much heartbreak throughout the last couple of years. Regardless of how this game goes, the Cougars and the community have lots to be proud of.