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May 24, 2019
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Two teachers receive the Lou Colby award Tech High athletic awards ceremony An invitation to the Peace garden dedication Community Events Calendar May 24, 2019 through June 6, 2019 Volunteer's Corner Cotati Chamber hosts music festival Tech elects new student body for year 2019-20 An invitation to attend “Avenue of Flags” Jones receives proclamation Woolery loves a clean environment RP seeking applicants for leadership program Today’s children, Tomorrow’s leaders Hub Cyclery celebrates another year Making Rohnert Park age friendly Community Events Calendar October 5, 2018 through October 18, 2018 Community Events Calendar January 11, 2019 through January 24, 2019 Librarian Kleban retires Let’s talk Turkey Recipes sought for B’nai Israel cookbook Duckett all set to install tile Community Events Calendar September 28, 2018 through October 11, 2018 Community Events Calendar December 28, 2018 through January 10, 2019 Welcome to a new year of reading and writing Sweetman explains expo Community Events Calendar August 31, 2018 through September 13, 2018 Community Events Calendar October 19, 2018 through November 1, 2018 Local author donates to Wildfire Relief Charities LIME Foundation partners with local organization Community Events Calendar May 17, 2019 through May 30, 2019 Gore in tune Community Events Calendar October 12 through October 25 Over 100 volunteers wrapping toys Community Events Calendar January 4, 2019 through January 17, 2019 Color is fun JavAmore, Caprara’s Pizzeria hold fundraiser Save Rancho Adobe FPD Sonoma Clean Power partners with Uber Homeless veterans receive greatest gift Volunteer's Corner A library luncheon becomes a birthday party RP Expressway improvements Remo is ready for dessert SSU’s Sakaki names Griffin-Desta as new Chief of Staff Haute Flash takes the stage Volunteer's Corner Community Events Calendar August 10, 2018 through August 23, 2018 Get your hula on for the Penngrove luau A day at Thomas Page Academy Elves clowning around Burton Recreation Center gets a new look Rotary clubs of Rancho Cotati and Rohnert Park are hosting the dedication of a Peace Park Community Events Calendar September 14, 2018 through September 27, 2018 Pastis visits the Ranch A Cotati home has the Christmas spirit 2nd Annual Sweethearts Fairytale Dance Cal Ripken celebrates opening day Bands and DJs playing great music in Cotati Photo exhibit by Penngrove artist sheds light on disability community Free Advance Care Planning workshop Jan. 15 SSU Outreach and events coordinator changes Cycle Without Limits in action again at SSU Happiest sprint on the planet Cotati’s early morning breakfast Cotatians turned out in droves Sat. to celebrate Oliver’s Market 30th anniversary party Bark After Dark: Dinner and auction to help save animals Enrollment event at SC airport Would you make a great foster parent? RCHS ‘sold out’ crab feed Tech. upgrade for Cotati sewers/water Community Events Calendar August 24, 2018 through September 6, 2018 Community Events Calendar October 26 through November 8 Community Events Calendar November 9 2018 through November 22 2018 Rohnert Park students to learn bike safety Genealogy library hosts open house in Santa Rosa NorCal Honor Band accepts Analy High School musicians Rancho’s Top Twenty Dinner: a fifty-one-year tradition CPI North Bay fire recovery Sonoma Raceway hosts food drive American Sign Language and police departments Volunteer's Corner Community Events Calendar January 18, 2019 through January 31, 2019 Community Events Calendar February 1, 2019 through February 14, 2019 Ranger retires after 36 years Photography Show Newest report finds new growth on rare Cotati albino Chimera Tree The work behind “The Art of Resistance” SRS has affordable family concert, Jan. 27, 3 p.m. RP Health Center ensures all children in school district receive dental care Volunteer's Corner Volunteer’s Corner Community Events Calendar May 10, 2019 through May 23, 2019 Community Events Calendar September 21, 2018 through October 4, 2018 A Veteran remembers Veterans SSU to buy 90-unit Petaluma complex for workforce housing Decker waves the baton at a concert Richard Crane fourth graders harness the wind Collaborating Together for Peace May the 4th be with you at La Plaza Park It takes a village to honor its past Veterans story Mark Weston Volunteer's Corner Young accepts ‘prez’ of the RP Historical Society Community Events Calendar December 21, 2018 through January 3, 2019 Local nonprofit to host Santa Rosa fundraiser for homeless veterans Hansel receives honorary doctorate A new strategy for the Cotati Chamber of Commerce The Native Daughters host CA Admission Day Veterans Day 2018, Rick Norman Community Events Calendar November 23, 2018 through December 13, 2018 A lighter, brighter Cotati Vandalism at Gold Ridge Community Center Community Events Calendar December 14, 2018 through December 27, 2018 Community Events Calendar January 25, 2019 through February 7, 2019 Community Events Calendar March 29, 2019 through April 11, 2019 Volunteer's Corner Discrimination and bullying in our schools Volunteer City of Cotati offers Thanksgiving week fun for kids Saving on energy and giving youth jobs DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoint Volunteer's Corner Community Events Calendar February 8, 2019 through February 21, 2019 Cotati chicken BBQ returns Race volunteers and DJ needed Annual senior art show RP Founders’ Day Oct. 6 30 years for Danny's vacuum shop Volunteer’s corner Home Instead partners with local businesses Large affordable housing project breaks ground in Rohnert Park Is your Carbon Monoxide detector chirping? Volunteer’s Corner RP celebrates “I Heart RP” Feb. 10 Volunteer's Corner I can do it! Exposición anual de arte para personas mayores Backpack drive event this Sunday Who you going to call? Adapting to the weather changes SC Public Library Foundation needs directors Athena sits in ‘artsy’ Cotati Community Events Calendar December 7, 2018 through December 20, 2018 Cotati hosts award dinner Volunteer's Corner Free care planning workshop Credo’s Dolcini power rowing to Portland Free, fun, family activities, Sat. SC nonprofit arts and culture generates $80.4 M Community Events Calendar November 2, 2018 through November 15, 2018 Multiple Commission, Committee and Board appointive terms expire Dec. 2018 – We have seats to fill! Community Events Calendar November 30 through December 20 Volunteer's Corner Coffee with Cotati cops ‘Just Between Friends’ mega kids’ event Creative Sonoma supports artists impacted by fires Everything bunny in Rohnert Park Cotati Rotary hosts first Humanitarian award Walk the labyrinth in D park Community Events Calendar September 7, 2018 through September 20, 2018 SAY launches One Cold Night Devil Pups set a new goal Celebrate the holiday season responsibly  Tips for a Grinchless holiday season Church of the Oaks crab feed Feb. 8-9 Miss SC Scholarship competition Local winner at art show Bailey So. Co. Woman of the Year Credo High School to speak at WE conference So. Co. Community Dev. Commission seeks equity in housing Kenneth Bradley, a local photographer showcasing Community Events Calendar August 17, 2018 through August 30, 2018 Staying safe on our local trails North Bay Construction Corps receives statewide recognition Don’t be a victim of a charity scam Be a resource for fire survivors Poetry Out Loud Sonoma County contest Community Events Calendar March 1, 2019 through March 14, 2019 Rancho Cotate Varsity Girls Basketball receives recognition The “Disney” concert in the TAG building Community Events Calendar April 19, 2019 through May 2, 2019 La Comisión de Desarrollo Comunitario del Condado de Sonoma Service dog dreams come true for heart attack survivor 20/30 club & Kohl’s outfit students Annual Sonoma County hunger index: 1/3 of residents went hungry in 2017 Volunteer's Corner Fun-filled Cotati stroll Celebrate Black History Month Heavy rain takes toll on drivers Transgender Day of Visibility Community Events Calendar April 5, 2019 through April 18, 2019 Volunteer's Corner SOMO Village vibrant with painted faces and bling Garbage rate increase may keep compostable materials in county Sonoma County reads ‘Kindred’ Be a resource for fire survivors STEM at SSU Community Events Calendar February 15, 2019 through February 28, 2019 Credo students demand strong environmental action Coffee with a Cop  Free family bicycling workshop Learn about water-wise gardening this weekend Community Events Calendar August 3, 2018 through August 16, 2018 A warm day with dancing and good food Community Events Calendar November 16, through December 6, Volunteers needed to ring a bell Volunteer's Corner Volunteer's Corner  Senior art show registration for artists age 60+ One Planet Youth Summit and Credo High School United Way ensuring community gets fair share in 2020 census RCRPC hosted Annual Community Award night Rancho Cotate HS students for the month of April- Perseverance Mobility is freedom…with a Purple Heart truck run Train as a coach to help older adults prevent falls Rotary District 5130 provides multiple fire relief grants A New Coalition: Forming alliances for barn owls Grand opening at Acme Burger Penngrove buries time capsule Volunteer's Corner Libraries = strong communities Community Events Calendar May 3, 2019 through May 16, 2019 Seniors are targets for telescammers CTE Foundation invests in local schools Our invisible but critical water source Future leaders of the community Rohnert Park Democratic Club Free job fair matches local employers and job seekers TAG building ribbon-cutting/dedication ceremony Creating a teacher recruitment and retention plan K/1 students to present a jobs and business expo SSU named one of the nation’s “Most promising places to work” Community Events Calendar February 22, 2019 through March 7, 2019 Mayor Belforte reads at Monte Vista A new student center in RP Nor Cal Aging, Disability and Advocacy Expo Transgender march and rally RP Easter egg hunt Volunteer's Corner New Entrepreneur in residence at Sonoma State University Sonoma County STEAM Showcase Transgender day in the square Apply to represent So County’s older adults Community Events Calendar March 22, 2019 through April 4, 2019 McLea’s receives AAA banner SonomaFi coming to local libraries Letter carriers stamp out hunger Cross and Crown celebrates 50th Anniversary Monthly CalFresh benefits to arrive March 1 Community Events Calendar March 15, 2019 through March 28, 2019 SSU to screen ‘Big Sonia’ to honor Holocaust and Genocide survivors Volunteer's Corner Showing off their talents Creative Grants for Summer Arts Youth Programs Explore foster parenting talk Feb. 25 Cross and Crown Church reaches the big 50 Looking through the glass at Arch’s for 55 years Senior center prom Community Events Calendar April 12, 2019 through April 25, 2019 Paparazzi day... Let the egg hunt begin… Crew does a fine job It’s “American” History Volunteer's Corner SSU to sign landmark commitment to sustainability Volunteer's Corner SSU takes top honors at United Nations conference Clover Sonoma supports free concerts for youth Residents give high marks to Cotati living Event volunteers needed Free LGBT awareness training for caregivers RCHS Guard and drumline competition Sgt. Thompson named So. Co. bike commuter of the year SSU Library presents ‘Alchemia’ exhibit Community Events Calendar March 8, 2019 through March 21, 2019 Art students big on art Space for reflection Community Events Calendar April 26, 2019 through May 9, 2019 Volunteer's Corner Rancho Cotati Rotary Club visited Thomas Page Academy Artists showing off their works Join us on Easter Sunday Caregivers offered free awareness training The Rohnert Park Sister City Committee is in full swing Parkour Speed competition Volunteer's Corner

Japanese Internment Remembrance Day

  • Sitting in the warm and inviting kitchen of Margarette Murakami

By: Bill Hanson
March 1, 2019

Japanese Internment Remembrance Day, the legacy of executive order 9066 1942 

Sitting in the warm and inviting kitchen of Margarette Murakami, (Japanese name: Makiko – happiness and joy) she recalled some of her thoughts during the war-time years and the devastating effects the war had on her family.

Young Margret Masuoka was eleven years old in the sixth grade in December 1941 “There had been talk among the tightly knit Japanese/American community that the governments of Japan and our country were not going well. The newspapers were full of stories; things began to get heated up. We knew something was going to happen, but not when or where. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a complete surprise. We were all in shock, walking around stunned that tiny Japan would do such a thing to us.”

On that fateful cold Dec. day, she had two older brothers that were already in the service, “My brother Hank had been drafted and assigned to Camp David Grant in Illinois before Pearl Harbor and brother Pete had been working for a newspaper in San Francisco when he received notice.

“The next day was Monday. Everyone was quiet at school; we were all walking around talking in whispers. No one said anything to me, but there were stories about harassment, name calling and like that. There were two Chinese kids in school, a brother and sister, they showed up with little signs pinned on their shirts, ‘I am Chinese’. 

“Mr. Akutagawa was a friend of our family, he tended a small orchard and he had a regular job, he also worked with some of the youth in our church, teaching them traditional Japanese culture, it had nothing to do with politics. A few days after the attack some FBI guys came and arrested him in the orchard while he was pruning his apple trees. They wouldn’t let him go up to the house and change into clean clothes, they took him to jail in Santa Rosa. A few days later my brother Pete took him some fresh clothes and toiletries.

“Things were really getting scary for us (Japanese) then. Right after Pearl Harbor there were some rules printed in the papers addressed to all Japanese: ‘No travel beyond five miles from home.  Everyone had to be home by five o’clock and no lights after dark. Cameras, movie projectors and of course all guns were seized.’ We had to turn in any radios and other things we might use to ‘aid the enemy’. My dad had a radio and an old shotgun that he took to the police station in Sebastopol.”

“My mother taught Japanese to students in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa and Petaluma. Dad worked in different jobs. I remember him working long hours during the apple harvest, everyone did. Dad was born in Japan, his father (he had been a Samurai) sent him over to learn about agriculture from a cousin in Ukiah. Dad loved America. He loved the freedom and the ability for anyone to work hard to improve life. After a cousin visited him he told my grandfather in Japan that they better bring him home, he was fast becoming an American. My grandfather got busy and found a wife for him to marry, Dad was called home. Dad talked to Mom and eventually convinced her to move to America. They immigrated as husband and wife. The rules then were like today, children of immigrants born here, called Nisei, were automatically citizens.”

At that time, early 1900’s, there were special rules barring Asians from owning land, voting and they could not be buried in a white cemetery. An Asian, native Indian or a black man could not sue a white man and could not bear witness in court. In 1938 an amendment changed some of the old discriminatory laws that dated back to the 1850’s; an immigrant still could not own land. 

General DeWitt, commander of the Presidio in San Francisco, and head of West Coast military operations, was at the head of a fierce move to address the ‘Japanese problem’. In January of 1942 a bill was passed that required all people of Japanese ancestry over the age of fourteen to register with the government. Then a congressional bill was passed on Valentine’s Day, “...immediate evacuation of all persons of Japanese lineage and all others, aliens and citizens alike, whose presence shall be deemed dangerous...”. Then, just days later on Feb. 19, 1942. President Roosevelt, under tremendous pressure from many citizens and lawmakers, reluctantly signed Executive Order no. 9066. Among other things the order authorized federal troops to ‘act to remove anyone deemed necessary for national security’. This was the final blow that gave legality to the evacuation DeWitt and others were demanding. 

Margarette remembered, “We were given two weeks to wrap up our affairs and to pack up only what we could carry in one suitcase and to report to the train station in Santa Rosa. A friend volunteered to look after our place while we were gone.” Reports of vandalism and plundering of Japanese property were common during the evacuation and continued during the years of internment. “My brothers’ friend drove us to the station that day. We traveled to a holding camp until longer term assignment came through. It was at the Merced County fairgrounds. The startling thing was the lack of privacy. We had outhouses and thin walls between family spaces. You could hear everything the family next door was doing. Armed guards stood guard at the fencing. Some of the boys reached through the fencing to steal some grapes that were ripe, it was summer time. One of the guards told the boys, ‘Next time you reach through the fence you will get shot.’ 

“Months later we were assigned to camp Amache in the high desert of southern Colorado. We were assigned Block 6 H Barrack 8 apartment B. There was still no privacy but things were getting organized inside the camp. My dad volunteered for the police unit inside the fence, they were under the supervision of a white guy. A school was put together. People were able to walk, talk and socialize. Life began to settle in. The worst thing for me was the dust storms. There was nothing to stop the wind on the desert, it was like being sandblasted when the dust storms were going.”

Margarette brought out some material she has saved. One is an extremely rare yearbook for Amache High School, done in the same manner as any American high school yearbook. Very few have survived through the years. It had been loaned out and copied several times. The signatures and pictures are still an important part of her memories. Another is a hardcover book: Amache the story of Japanese internment in Colorado during World War II by Robert Harvey. ISBN 1-58979-038-3 Taylor Trade Publishing. The book is revealing in its intimate look inside the camp and shocking in its stark descriptions and frank revelations of the whole Internment process. Margarette still has her husband’s graduation certificate from Amache H.S. In the end he had to go to SRJC after the war to get a ‘real’ diploma. 

The Masuoka family lost two sons during the war. Their oldest son, who stayed in Japan, became an important worker in the office of a seaside construction company for the government. One day he was taken out of the office because there was an urgent need for a worker outside. 

That day a crane collapsed and killed Takeji Masuoka. The second brother lost to the war, Pete, was assigned to the 442nd infantry regiment made up of second-generation Japanese Americans (Nisei) who fought gallantly. The 442nd was the most decorated regiment of World War II. In one famous battle late in 1944 was an attempt to rescue “The Lost Battalion” which refers to the 141st Infantry, originally from Texas. The Battalion was surrounded by German forces in the Vosges Mountains on 24 October 1944. After two failed attempts to rescue them by ground forces. Supplies were air-dropped to provision and munition the 275 men. The last-ditch effort was to assign the 442nd to rescue the men. They were successful and saved many lives. The battle cost the 442nd dearly. One of the men killed in action was Pete Masuoka. About that same time her brother Frank was injured during his service in the South Pacific. Both boys had volunteered while living with their family in Camp Amache. Both boys were awarded the purple heart for injuries and both were awarded a silver star, for exemplary service above and beyond the call of duty. 

After the war ended in August of 1945 things began to settle down. A new America emerged as a true world power. The internment camps were closed in ‘46 and people went back to their lives. Many bitterly moved to Japan, others made new lives far from California.

The Masuoka’s came home to Sebastopol to find their home occupied by renters. Their friend had remained steadfast in his promise to keep their property for them. For a time, they ran a hostel under the supervision of an FBI agent. Many people had nowhere to stay when they got back. Eventually they were reunited with their home and orchard. 

Jim Murakami a Sebastopol resident and graduate of U.C. Berkeley, became a successful electrical – mechanical engineer. Although he and Margret were both interned at Camp Amache, they did not know

each other. Jim was a blind-date arraigned by a friend. “It went OK. We met again and started dating. “They married and raised two adopted children Alan and Leslie. Jim Murakami served as national president of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). The JACL were instrumental in getting official recognition of the illegal actions against the Japanese and eventually getting an official apology and, as symbolic reparation, a check from the federal government. The first ‘redress’ checks were given to nine Japanese veterans on 9 October, 1990 by then president George Bush. The last checks were issued to former camp inmates by the end of 1993.

Margarette remembered sending letters to friends back home during her years in Amache, Barbara Bertoli was one of those friends. Years later her mother told Margarette that she had saved the letters from camp and did she know they had been censored? “I couldn’t believe it! What could a twelve-year-old girl write that could possibly be a threat to the government?” Much later the letters were accidentally burned.

There is a permanent exhibit of artifacts of Japanese Internment under Executive Order 9066 in the restored office of Army General DeWitt at the Presidio in San Francisco. The exhibition is open to the public. Their web site:https://www.presidio.gov/officers-club/exhibitions/exclusion.