Sometimes you have to throw away your best-laid
plans and follow where the story leads.
Our December issue
was already done but we
decided to include a last-minute
feature on the fires.
question, “What could we here at the maga-
zine do?” Our December issue was already
done but we decided to include a last-minute
feature on the fires. Back on Facebook, I saw
that frequent contributor Kirsten Neff was
actively posting updates on how to help.
“Hey there,” I texted her, “any chance you
can do a 1,500-word fire story in a week, but
that will still have relevance in a month?”
Since we send our issue to the printers a few
weeks before it reaches readers, covering a
moving target like this can be challenging.
Neff was up for the task.
We decided to get a few personal stories,
and one in particular led the two of us to
head up to Santa Rosa’s Safari West, to meet
owner and now somewhat famous animal
rescue hero Peter Lang. By the time we got to
Old Redwood Highway, a stone’s throw from
Cardinal Newman High School, the smell of
smoke permeated the air.
We took a right off Mark West Road and were
confronted with the images of charred homes
and cars we had seen on television. In awe of the
destructive power of nature, we made our way
another 20 miles or so to Safari West to hear
Lang’s account of that night. You can read his
story and others in Kirsten’s feature story.
And thanks to our new owner, Susan Noyes
and the Make It Better Media Group, along
with our friends at Diablo Magazine and Napa
Sonoma Magazine, we have created a Red Cross
page on our website that will match donations
up to $10,000. Your $200 turns into $400 until
it hits $10,000, translating to much-needed help.
And one of the best things you can do is head up
and support the businesses. Considering it’s the
world-famous wine country, there shouldn’t be
too much arm-t wisting involved.
Mimi Towle, Executive Editor
IDON’ T KNOW ABOUT you, but I’m ready for 2018. For me, this year has felt like a paintball game where I’m not padded or protected. Personal losses aside, the natural disasters presented through
our various screens have been relentless.
From images of Hurricane Harvey floods to
that surreal morning in October when we all
awoke to pungent smoke — fires, high winds,
earthquakes — Mother Nature has indeed
been shaking her tail feathers.
And we weren’t imagining it. According
to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, our country has seen 15
separate calamities this year that have each
caused at least a billion dollars in damage.
However, when the wine country fires took
over the airwaves, even those with the most
severe disaster fatigue rallied, with stalwart
citizens leading the way. On Facebook, I saw
that Mo DeLong (our event photographer)
started a page to give relief to firefighters. Jen
Reidy, who has been featured in this magazine
advocating sensible gun legislation, gathered
supplies to take north, while many with family and businesses in the wine country kept us
updated via the hashtags #SonomaStrong and
#NapaStrong on ways to help.
As I drove down an eerily dark Tiburon
Boulevard in the middle of the day listening
to KCBS news, the magnitude of the situation
really hit me. “Together we can make a difference” came through my speakers, a message
from Stevens Creek Subaru. Next a familiar
voice, Jim Petersen from PetersenDean
Roofing, was not asking us to buy solar panels,
but “with a heavy heart” he asked for support
for the people of Napa and Sonoma. The next
ad spot was from State Farm, saying they were
taking calls around the clock. Tears flowed. I
was overwhelmed by the messages from the
good people in our community. Raising the