Sonoma County students between ages 13 and 19 who have a passion for writing poetry are encouraged to apply to be recognized as the inaugural Sonoma County Youth Poet Laureate.
Following in the footsteps of national youth poet laureate programs, California Poets in the Schools is on the hunt for a Sonoma County student who has shown a commitment to the arts through writing and engagement in clubs or afterschool activities.
Interested students can apply online by March 13, and the youth poet laureate will win $500 and have a chapbook of their poetry published as well as participate in several public functions.
With the application, three of the student’s poems must be submitted, totaling no more than 10 pages. A committee of respected local poets will review applications and choose finalists, who will need an adult sponsor and who will be asked to attend a judging session.
The winner will be announced in late April, and the inauguration will take place on May 2, at the Santa Rosa Central Library, in conjunction with a countywide youth poetry reading event.
State Delivers Trailers to Shelter Homeless
On Thursday, Feb. 27, CalTrans towed 10 FEMA-owned travel trailers from Chico to Sonoma County’s administrative campus in Santa Rosa to help temporarily house some of the thousands of people estimated to lack access to formal housing in the county.
As of press time, details about how many people the trailers will shelter—and for how long —remained unclear.
According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chair Susan Gorin significantly reduced her estimate for how many people the trailers could each hold after seeing them in person. All told, they will shelter between 20 and 30 people, Gorin told a reporter.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss possible locations and uses for the trailers at their Tuesday, March 10 meeting.
Sheriff’s Deputy Blount Retires
A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy involved in the incident leading to the death of a Petaluma man last November, retired from the department last week.
David Ward died shortly after an interaction with officers from the Sheriff’s Office and Sebastopol Police Department.
The Marin Coroner’s Office has not yet released a cause of death, but a video of the interaction shows that Charles Blount, a longtime Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy, attempted a controversial neck hold through Ward’s car window and slammed Ward’s head against the car door during the interaction.
In a statement released in December, Sheriff Mark Essick called Blount’s conduct captured in the video “extremely troubling.” Essick announced in the same statement that he had begun the process of firing Blount.
Blount initially hired a lawyer and appealed the termination proceeding. However, on Feb. 7, he retired.
The Santa Rosa Police Department’s criminal investigation and the Sheriff’s Office’s administrative investigations into Ward’s death will continue.