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December 5, 2019
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Rancho eliminates Benicia Not in my backyard... Annual holiday gift and toy drive Orangeco settles case for price gouging Penngrove man receives life sentence PG&E meteorologists forecasting a major winter storm Cougars prevail in all time classic ‘Fog Bowl’ Healthy food given by NOAH 49er Pet store closes its doors December gets festive in Cotati Visit the Arts and Craft Faire in RP FEMA grants Santa Rosa $1M to ensure effective evacuation routes Another death in California and investigation into E-Cigarette use Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board Nomination period opens for March 3, 2020, primary election Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member Homelessness spikes in RP Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion Home delivery changes 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 Worn American flags laid to rest 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 Discussions on the care facility and apartments 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 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 Students housing and voting 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 Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth 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 November is Native American Heritage month... 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 Monitoring wells provide picture of underground water 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 Levine applauds investigation into power shut offs 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 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 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 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 100 birthdays and more to go 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 A day of celebration and tribute to our veterans 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. 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Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality

  • TAG building opens soon Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Lanny Lowery
March 29, 2019

The well-lighted Theater Arts Gymnasium Building at Rancho Cotate High School looked warm and inviting in the early morning darkness.  Band students trickled into the old band room, secured their instruments and lined up waiting for the word to march into the new building.  Band Director Tim Decker, clad in Rancho red, gave the signal and the students walked the hundred or so feet past the main entrance of the Theater lobby and through the hall that led to their new room.

Excitement filled the room as the band members found their seats laid out in a semicircle.  As warm up sounds filled the room, first bass Lauren Poteet exclaimed, “I love the new band room!  I am very excited to be here!”  Mr. Decker raised his arms, and framed by two tubas, pushed his baton into motion leading the students to run the scale set of notes.  And then the historical moment arrived as the band played the well-known fight song.

With the march music lingering after the band stopped playing, Mr. Decker pointed to some of the features in the new room.  He explained how the microphones would allow the room to become a recording studio.  He talked about the audio/video capacities of the room and how the big screen would allow the marching band to visually review their parades.  On the east wall, the storage room held places for all types of instruments.  Practice rooms invited individuals and small groups to work on songs and routines.

Then the band director announced that the first concert would take place Thu., Mar. 28 at 7 p.m.  The class then ran through the Disney show including the “Mickey Mouse March” and the medley of familiar songs such as “Zippity Do Dah!”  Thus the TAG Building became officially initiated as an academic facility.

Three decades ago, educators and community members handed out flyers to pass a school bond.  According to the leaflet, bond money would build a new gym and a theater arts hall at Rancho Cotate High School.  This plan never happened.  But nearly thirty years later, Mon., Mar. 25, teachers and students, returning from spring break, entered the Theater Arts Gymnasium to continue their pursuit of education in the 56-million-dollar structure that combines the gym and theater concept along with more educational opportunities.

Many impressive facts accompany the cost of the entire facility.  The gym’s seating capacity of 2,500 makes it suitable, not just for the Cougars’ rallies and sporting activities, but also as a site for regional events.  The theater seats 250 and can be combined for larger presentations when a video projector and a huge screen on the western wall are used.  The gym itself boasts of its 40,000 square feet.

First and foremost, this educational facility contains several classrooms that expand the academic possibilities at Rancho Cotate.  The very large band room will also house the orchestra and the choir.  Drama classes, working in a real theater, will benefit by actually practicing on the stage.  Near the stage, a shop will produce screens, props and scenic backdrops.  Students will not just study stagecraft but will actually participate in making sets.  Actors and others will learn and practice make up art as the dressing rooms have a common area with make up stations.

Other classrooms include a dance studio with an appropriate hardwood dance floor, glass walls and mirrors.  Rancho’s wonderful dance program that offers modern dance and aerobics will expand.  Also, a weight room contains top-of-the-line equipment and the potential to grow another great program.  Next door to the weight room, a multi-use classroom allows subjects such as sports management and business to be held on the first floor.

Stairwells at the northeast and southeast corners of the building permit students and teachers access to the second floor along with elevators.  Girls’ and boys’ locker rooms run along the east wing on the first floor.  Also, many coaches’ rooms, recovery rooms, and boys’ and girls’ team rooms, situated adjacent to the locker rooms and offices allow easy access to the gym and all of the fields.

The spectacular gym and theater run from east to west.  Separated by a moveable wall, the screen and stage can be viewed by spectators in the bleachers.  The gym, covered by a beautiful hardwood floor, shows Rancho’s colors proudly through the bleachers.  “Cougar Country” lettered nicely above the south bleachers identifies the home side.  The name of the gym, “Henry J. Sarlatte,” will soon appear above the north bleachers.  In the theater, comfortable seating ascends several rows to the west.

North of the theater, but south of the band room, the Green Room houses state-of-the-art makeup facilities.  Adjoining the makeup room, girls’ and boys’ dressing rooms give a strong feeling that this is a professional theater.

The second floor hallway allows viewing of the gym as it passes several multi-media classrooms.  Photography, filmmaking and media-related computer classes permit students to get some professional experience using up-to-date technology.  Final projects will be fine tuned in the production room.

System administrator Ricky Dunn and his crew spent the past week and a half tweaking the technology.  As students filed in, he went from classroom to classroom to make last minute adjustments.

Student School Board Representative Emilia Torres gasped in awe, “It’s beautiful!  Stunning architecture!”  Most students entering first period looked on in quiet wonder as they searched for their new classrooms.  Students quietly worked with computers in their new surroundings.

Assistant Principal Henri Sarlatte explained the rationale for opening the building at the beginning of the fourth quarter rather than waiting for the new school year to begin: This would be an opportunity for everyone to begin working in the new environment for ten weeks.  Teachers and students will have time to discover needs and problems and the school district will have the summer to make improvements.

Community members of Cotati and Rohnert Park, by passing two bonds, made this wonderful project succeed.  At the end of April, there will be a public celebration of this opening, including a ceremony to honor Henry J. Sarlatte, Rancho Cotate’s former teacher and great athletic director.  The Rancho Cotate High School Principal Louis Ganzler announced during the soft opening that the Grand Opening Celebration happens at the high school Apr. 27 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.  The community should come out to celebrate what all of the stakeholders have accomplished.