Page 39 - Sonoma County Gazette June 2019
P. 39

   How do you belong?
It took me awhile to feel like I belonged in Forestville. Decades spent heading east to work in Santa Rosa meant Forestville was for weekend errands. It was actually going to the Town Halls that got me interested in getting more out of my community. There I got to see how I fit in.
All Clear at Forestville Elementary School
Last month’s Town Hall had 175 people show up to learn how together
we can make our community safer. The Fire Department did an amazing job creating maps of all our neighborhoods, making it easier to break up into our own response groups right there. Turns out that’s the best way to prepare, with people who share your issues, concerns and even your backyards. If you weren’t there, I hope someone from your area knocks on your door and invites you to be part of the solution. Groups will start meeting at the fire station, or in living rooms. Call the Fire Department at 887-2212 if you want to be added to the list or start a neighborhood group of your own. A big shout out to Fire Chief Dave Franchesci for getting this going. He reminds us his men can’t be everywhere at once so make your plan accordingly.
By Carol Benfell
The Forestville Elementary School community just got good news—
Attending the Youth Park BBQ is one of the best ways to see what Forestville is all about. June 1st and 2nd from 11 to 8 you’ll get treated to BBQ, bands, an old-fashioned carnival and, according to the signs around town, fabulous beans. Don’t miss the Pancake Breakfast early Saturday June 1st from 8-9:30 at the Methodist Church right before the Downtown Parade.
In March 2017, for the first time, fumes from the solvent TCE (trichloroethene) were detected in the air of Classroom 6. The levels were
far below any harmful level, but that wasn’t good enough. The Water Board notified the owners of the former Electro Vector site, directing them to clean up the groundwater which had carried the solvents to the school.
Next is Opening Day for the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, June 4 from 4 to 7 pm. Supporting our Farmer’s Market is a great way to feel you are part of our community. Think farm fresh vegetables, fruit, live music, beer and wine, arts and crafts and of course, specialty foods and yummy stuff. Stop by on your way home. Take a break from cooking dinner and buy there. Or pick out what you will make for dinner. Either way you can’t lose.
traces of solvent gases from a long-closed manufacturing plant are no longer detectible in the school’s Classroom 6.
The announcement came at the School Board’s regular meeting on May 2 from Paul Nelson, an engineering geologist with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The Water Board has been overseeing monitoring at the school grounds since 2007, when solvents were found in groundwater at the site of a now-closed manufacturing plant located uphill from the school.
“It didn’t matter to us if it was below the level of any risk. It was detectible,” Nelson said.
 Another way to belong? Go to the Citizen of the Year Dinners. That’s where a volunteer, a business and an individual “citizen,” who has stepped up to make a difference in a big way, is recognized by the Chamber for their selflessness. This year’s dinner on Saturday June 15th is significant with Volunteers of the Year, Amy Nultemeier and Nick Alberigi sharing the podium. Max Broome is our “Citizen” (he helped write the grant for the downtown park and serves on the school Board), and DW Enterprises as Business of the Year round out the awards. Get your tickets now from Wendy at Shear Pleasure Salon for $45 each. Call her at 481-3565. Doors open at 4 pm at the Druids Hall off Vine Hill Road. You get the true flavor of our town by attending.
The Caloyeras family, which owns the Electro Vector property, responded quickly. PES Environmental of Novato, under the direction of Gary Thomas, did the work, using a zero valent iron process that breaks down solvents.
Michael Cuoio, President of the Forestville Planning Association (95436. org,) let us know at the Town Hall that plans are actually moving forward with making the Downtown “Oaks” Park an official trailhead for West County Trail. Lynda Hopkins, also at the Town Hall, shared the vision that eventually the County would love to see a walking/biking trail all the way from Santa Rosa
to Jenner, and Forestville fits right in with those plans. Lynda also mentioned progress getting property along 116 and Packinghouse Road for a Skatepark. It’s an ideal location across from the Elementary School. What a great place it will be for kids who don’t necessarily play team sports. Lots of details to be worked out, but it’s nice to know how hard Lynda is working for us.
Nelson told those assembled at the school board meeting that the effort had been successful. There was now no detectible amount of TCE in classroom air, and no health risk to students or teachers. Regular monitoring of groundwater and air will continue.
And speaking of the Skatespot, $5 of every entry in last month’s
Fun Run went to West County Community Services for flood relief for our neighbors who were impacted. That ended up being a $315 check! Thank you Jackie, Ellery and your hard working Skatespot committee for thinking of them. You have held the skatepark vision for us for years and the kids of our future will have you to thank.
Finally, come to the Lower Russian River MAC meeting
at 5:30 pm on Thursday, June 20 at the Guerneville Vets Hall to get connected to what our extended community along the river is all about. I’ve learned so much about the issues that impact us all by being your representative, and I thank you for that.
At the request of audience member Robert Rawson, the Water Board and PES Environmental will in June also test for PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the groundwater. PCBs were used extensively in the 1920s to 1960s but were banned in 1979 because of their impact on human and environmental health.
Classroom 6 remained open during the clean-up, since the initial levels of TCE fumes were so low—less than one-tenth of one part per billion.
“We are confident and comfortable with what the Water Quality Control Board and PES are doing,” said Jackie Bertero, the school’s facilities manager. “Even though the initial levels didn’t indicate even the slightest risk, they said, ‘we have to get rid of it.’ We feel they used an abundance of caution to protect our staff and children.”
Rawson is the technical advisor for Northern California River Watch, a law firm that files lawsuits to compel cleanup of hazardous sites that could leach contaminates into rivers and streams. Prior to the meeting, Rawson advised Sonoma County Gazette that River Watch was considering filing suit over the Electro Vector site. He did not say who the law firm was considering suing.
 The Electro Vector plant at 6555 Covey Road opened in the 1960s and closed in the early 1990s. The 1.5-acre property is one of several owned by the Caloyeras family, whose companies manufacture custom electronics components for aerospace and defense industries. Solvents are used as a final step in the manufacturing process.
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