Roundup: Santa Facecake
Sweetness and light leading up to the winter solstice
A week ago Saturday, a gathering of Sonoma County’s new Ukrainian families and their local sponsors was held at the Graton Community Center. Alla Stetsenko made several cakes for the event, including the Santa cake above. Eighteen months ago, she came here with her daughter-in-law and two children. A skilled dessert maker, Alla now works at Patisserie Angelica in Sebastopol. One of the younger adult Ukrainians, Max, is in college and works at the Rialto Cinemas.
For more about the Ukrainian families, see my interview with John Namkung in September 2022 about the Lone Pine Ukrainian Family Aid.
Two items are needed for the Ukrainian families.
John is looking for used cars to buy or, even better, have them donated for two of the Ukrainian women, one who is learning to drive and the other whose own car is breaking down. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mother and father of one Ukrainian family are looking for new jobs. The mother had been working in food prep at Sonoma Burger, but she learned on Friday that the restaurant has closed. The father worked in wine production during harvest at a local winery and is now looking for work. Contact me: email@example.com.
This year will be the first time that Ukraine celebrates Christmas officially on December 25th, a full break with the Russian Orthodox tradition of celebrating Christmas on January 7th.
Good things happen here
On December 9th, Laura identified the Holiday Lights Parade as one of three lesser- known events in Sebastopol. Reader Hilary Moore wrote us to say:
It would be so GREAT if they could come through Fircrest Mobile home park!
We’ve got plenty of seniors here who could use the cheer.
Laura reached out to event organizer Lori Jay, and she responded right away. The mobile home park was added to their route on December 13th. “The lights parade was bigger than ever, and the amount of spectators was incredible. Can’t wait until next year,” Lori Jay told Laura. Sebastopol’s heart grew a bit bigger as well.
Another good thing happening here is the Sebastopol Holiday Dinner for 400 people, which Laura wrote about this week.
Our first author talk
We had 27 people at our first author talk last Sunday. Co-author Anne Belden and editor Lauren Spates talked about the writing of Inflamed: Abandonment, Heroism, and Outrage in Wine Country's Deadliest Firestorm. (Learn more about the book here. ) It’s the story of two Santa Rosa “luxury” elder care facilities during the Tubbs Fire. Sebastopol resident Mark Allen, one of the heroes in the book, joined us and talked about going to the facility in the middle of the night and finding that it had no generator, no evacuation plan and a large group of abandoned residents and staff who were terrified and in the dark. He was one of a handful of rescuers who ferried elderly residents, including his mother, down off the hill. Spoiler alert: one of the two facilities burned to the ground, and the company that ran them settled its lawsuits, rebuilt the one home and are still in business.
Thanks to Anne and Lauren and our readers who came out to the special event.
Chamber and Downtown Association merger moving forward
The results are in on the Chamber of Commerce and Sebastopol Downtown Association merger. It was a resounding yes. Now, the two organizations will have to get down to the nuts of bolts of how to make this merger work.
“With the Downtown Association voting in favor of the merger with the chamber, we are excited to be moving forward with the process,” Chamber director Myriah Volk said. “We hope to provide more support to our Sebastopol business community as a whole with this newfound unification.”
Last minute local
There ought to be a local shopping promotion for buying last-minute holiday gifts locally once you have no online options because the delivery deadlines for the 25th of December have come and gone. Here’s one unusual last-minute gift.
Laura says: “The tinned fish fad has made it to Sebastopol in a big way—The Punchdown, a natural wine bar in the Barlow, has an entire wall of them. Perfect size for stocking stuffers! Impress your Millennial and GenZ kids.”
If you have a favorite last-minute local buy, please leave it in the comments.
Like all good things
The Week of December 9th through 16th
We have had a few submissions for Seasonal Stories. The deadline for submissions is noon on December 21. We’d love to share a story from you!
There are 625 paid subscribers for Sebastopol Times. Will you help us reach 650 this month? A subscription makes a great last-minute holiday gift.
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