Should somebody wonder aloud if the Rose Parade is on for this year, you might respond this way:

"Verily, just as the tides still ebb and flow at Bodega Bay and the vines cling yet to hillsides from Carneros to Annapolis and winter rains once again send the Russian rushin', the Rose Parade will return to the heart of Santa Rosa in May."

You might mention, too, that a girl of 10 will be Grand Marshal.

The honor goes to fifth-grader Zoe Valrey because she made lemonade of last year's bitter news that declining sponsorships jeopardize Santa Rosa's 115-year-old Luther Burbank Rose Parade.

"I've always loved the parade," said Zoe, who's lived all her life on the parade route. "I really didn't want it to end."

So on the day of the &‘09 parade she set up a lemonade stand in front of her house. She donated the profits — $10 — to the organizers who for a while last year couldn't say for sure if there'd be a parade this year.

"We think Zoe embodies the spirit of the community," said longtime parade manager Judy Walker.

Zoe wasn't the only one to help keep the parade alive. The largest donors were community benefactor Henry Trione and Jim Ratto of the refuse firm, North Bay Corp.

Though gifts big and small assured that the parade will return this year, everyone who values it needs to get involved to make certain it will remain vital into the future. See for ways to pitch in.

This is a big year for the Rose Parade, and not just because Zoe is Grand Marshal. It happens on Saturday, May 15, two days before the first springtime Amgen bicycle race streams into town.

The parade will celebrate the race and Santa Rosa's emergence as a cycling hub. Have you heard this year's theme? Rose Pedals.

Organizers want to see more of the rose petals that adorned past parades, lots of bikes, more volunteers, more floats (there's a float-building workshop Feb. 25) and more participation from schools, groups, businesses and folks from across the county.

No one hopes more that it'll be one of the town's greatest Rose Parades ever than a certain 10-year-old girl.

Crisis Care: The new mental institutions

Sonoma County has a chronic shortage of psychiatric hospital beds. As as a result, a growing number of mentally ill residents are ending up in local emergency rooms and in the jail system. A four-part series, run on four consecutive Sundays, examines the causes and ramifications of the current state of the county’s mental health system, and the people who are impacted the most.

Aug. 6 — Hospitals: The closure of two psychiatric hospitals in Sonoma County has left a gaping hole.

Aug. 13 — Jail: The Sonoma County Jail has become the largest psychiatric treatment facility in the county.

Today — Solutions: Sonoma County explores ways to improve services to people suffering from severe mental illness.

Aug. 27 — Your response: Readers share their stories about Sonoma County's mental health system.

Ongoing coverage:

Share your story

We want to hear about your experience with local psychiatric emergency services. What do you do when you or a loved one faces a mental health crisis? Have you or a loved one sat in a hospital bed waiting to be transferred to an out-of-county psychiatric hospital or other mental health facility? Have you or a loved one received psychiatric services in the Sonoma County Jail’s mental health unit? Please send a brief account of your experience to Martin Espinoza at