Thanks Val.


Val was one of the first recipients of “Gratitude Friday”. It was a way for me to thank community members who were unsung heros doing the work, helping make Sonoma the unique, amazing little town it is. Val was the force behind “The Communities Independent Voice” that bi-weekly rag which keeps us laughing, informed and entertained, a mirror full of great columnists and innovative ideas run, for many years, out of a messy little office across from the high school.


Val was always up for new ideas. Before writing this blog, I would approach him with story ideas about driving a wine bus, the church of the roundball (baseball), online shopping undermining our community, stories which were kinda news and kinda opinion, he helped flush out some of my thoughts and usually did very little editing. He was also the first to understand the SONOMAWOOD sign way back in 2009, putting it on the cover of the Sun every year, knowing that promoting the visual was a part of my curriculum, helping students connect with the community.


Val was devoted. The newspaper biz is tough and Val managed to produce a weekly community free paper through subscription and ad sales at a time when the medium was going through a slow death by internet. The Sun provides a service (entertainment and opinions) which is not the focus of the Index Tribune and even though there was competition, both papers managed to exist through the devotion of their organizers. Val would do whatever was necessary from editing to layout to delivery, plus he managed to include his own opinions and unique perspective on our little town.


I don’t know how Val died and it doesn’t really matter. I do know that the hole he leaves is one we will have a very difficult time filling. Our pool is pretty small in Sonoma and when we lose a force like Val it is impossible to find a replacement. We will do our best, hopefully the Sun will continue to shine but the community will never be the same.







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