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Thank you.

I’m supposed to be using up some vacation time this week and next, but first I want to express my gratitude to everyone who reads this newspaper and contributes to life on this extraordinary patch in the planetary quilt.

Also, there are a few stories that can’t wait until the end of the month to be shared.

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FORMERLY TRAVERSO’S: Remember? It was this time of year in 2011 that one of Santa Rosa’s first families of fabulous food and drink, the Traversos, accepted that their retail experiment on the hill didn’t work.

The 2-year-old Traverso’s gourmet market at Stagegulch Road and Fountaingrove Parkway, heir to a family grocery/deli/wine tradition born in 1932, went dark. Sad day.

Five years later, something’s sprouting on the vacant space. Signs herald the coming of Nature’s Grove Market.

About all I could divine is that the proprietor is the B&G Group, Inc., owned by Healdsburg’s Lukhbir and Christina Gill. The real estate investors became partners in La Rose Hotel in 2004 and four years later co-developed the Hilton Garden Inn near the county airport.

In 2011, not long before Traverso’s market closed, the Gills filed for bankruptcy and began to restructure their debts.

We’ll see what they have in mind with Nature’s Grove.

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TREE & COOKIES: With Old Courthouse Square deep in construction, this Friday’s Winter Lights tree-lighting and holiday festival will take place nearby on B Street, by the main entrance to Santa Rosa Plaza.

B Street will be closed from Third to Fifth, allowing plenty of room for Santa Claus to arrive on a fire truck and for Jenny Webley of Portobello Hats to set up a spot for kids to decorate 600 gingerbread cookies.

Winter Lights will shine from 4:30 to 8 p.m. There will be Sutter Care at Home’s Remembrance Candle Lighting, ornament decorating, an Ugly Sweater Contest, food trucks, details about the Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest and live music by The Zins.

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BURBANK, THE BOOK: Bountiful are the attractions to the Holiday Open House that happens Dec. 3 and 4 at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens.

Beyond the Burbank-related gifts and holiday finery is this: A complete set of the 12-volume, 1914 leather-bound “Luther Burbank: His Methods and Discoveries.” The books grew from field notes from the famed horticulturist’s experiments.

The set will be sold to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to the preservation of the historic home and gardens near Santa Rosa City Hall.

If you’d care to post a bid before the Open House, contact Burbank Home volunteers at burbankhome@lutherburbank.org or 707-524-5445.

Follow your nose to the cinnamon tea and cookies.

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STANDING ROCK CALLS to Sonoma County solar-energy broker Barry Cogbill.

He left Monday for the oil pipeline protest in North Dakota with a van full of small solar power systems and several fellow travelers. Cogbill said it’s clear to him that protesters are suffering and need help.

“The more I learned, the more I couldn’t sit still,” said the Pathways Energy founder. He’s taking donated solar technology that will allow people in the camps to charge phones and batteries and to power lamps and tools and such.

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