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Halliday resigns as planning commissioner for new venture

Jimmy Halliday, president and jumpmaster at NorCal Skydiving, has resigned his seat on the Cloverdale Planning Commission. In his resignation letter he explained that, in addition to his skydiving business, he had taken a second job that will require a lot of traveling.

Halliday, his operations manager, Dan Hennage, and another tech-savvy business partner, Ed Kock, were recently awarded a $1 million grant by Genius NY, an in-residence business accelerator program based in Syracuse, New York.

The Genius NY program is geared to business startups in Central New York with a focus on unmanned systems; hardware, software and analytics. The core goal is to support the growth of each winning team, while advancing the area’s position as a global leader in the unmanned aerial systems industry.

Competing with six other teams and vying for awards ranging from $250k to $1 million, Halliday’s team took home the top prize.

Calling their new venture AutoModality, the three are creating autonomous mobile systems that sense, explore and analyze the world around us. They are currently creating drones that will focus on inspection of agriculture and infrastructure assets.

Tickets now on sale for ‘An Evening at the Old Crocker Inn’

Tickets are now available for “An Evening at the Old Crocker Inn,” the final in a series of three dinners hosted by the Cloverdale Chamber and held at historic Cloverdale locations.

The property was formerly known as the hunting retreat for Charles Crocker, one of four principle investors who formed the Central Pacific Railroad, which constructed the western portion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Crocker, along with Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington and Leland Stanford, were known as “the Big Four.”

Crocker built the hunting retreat in the 1880s and regularly invited notable political, banking, business guests and family members to accompany him.

For the past 20 years, the property has been a bed and breakfast inn surrounded by lush greenery, flowers and breathtaking views.

Tickets for the June 11 event are $100 each, and seating is limited to 120 people. To reserve your seat, call 707-894-4470 or stop by the Chamber office at 126 N. Cloverdale Blvd.


Cherry tree donated to honor retiring teacher Richard Swett

Celebrating Earth Day April 22, the Geyserville Elementary School Parents Club donated a cherry tree to honor retiring teacher Richard Swett.

Kids and parents gathered to plant the tree and dedicate it to Swett, retiring after 20 years of dedication to Geyserville Elementary School.


Jewish Cultural Festival to feature live music, food

The Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County will present the 30th Jewish Cultural Festival from noon to 4 p.m. on May 21, Simcha Sunday, at Sonoma Mountain Village, 1400 Valley House Drive.

This free event will feature live musical performances, artwork, crafts, face painting, balloon twisting, giant bubbles by Susie the Bubble Lady, a bouncy house, a Camp Chai sing-along and more.

Food offerings will include homemade kugels, knishes, corned beef sandwiches, kosher hot dogs right off the grill, Israeli-style falafel by Falafel Fix, organic ice cream from the Straus Family and a full bar.

Everyone is welcome because, as Executive Director Ellen Blustein says, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Simcha Sunday.”

For more information, visit jccsoco.org or call 707-528-2549.


Retirement party planned for Analy High theater teacher

Costumes are encouraged for the retirement party honoring Starr Hergenrather, the longtime Analy High School teacher known for producing and directing top-notch theatrical productions at the Sebastopol campus.

Well-wishers can come as favorite characters for the festive send-off of music and performances from 2 to 8 p.m. May 28 at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, 390 Morris St.

Hergenrather — “Hergie” to her students — has worked in education for more than 45 years. She’s been at the helm of Analy’s acclaimed theater arts program since 2001, and previously taught in Sonoma County at Brook Haven School and Rincon Valley Middle School.

The suggested donation is $5 at the door.

To donate baked goods or fresh-cut flowers, or for more information, call 707-322-3671 or email mcree9770@gmail.com.


Funky Fridays summer concert series starting at Hood Mansion

Music returns to Hood Mansion as the Funky Fridays summer concert series gets underway May 26.

Five-piece soul and rhythm and blues band The Bruthas opens the fifth annual series, with music from 7 to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 1. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Hood Mansion is located in Sonoma Valley, off Highway 12 and Pythian Road.

The 15-week series is presented by Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation and series co-founders and event coordinators Bill Myers and Linda Pavlak.

Last year, Funky Fridays raised $50,000 for parks in Sonoma Valley, including Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve.

Concerts are held on the lawn of the mansion, a California historical landmark.

This year’s lineup includes several returning artists as well as Funky Fridays newcomers Frobeck, Stax City, The Poyntlyss Sistars and Dylan Black Project.

Also new this year is a 600-square-foot dance floor.

Tickets are $10 for adults, free for 18 and under; parking is $10.

Food, beer and wine are sold on the premises. Picnicking is welcome but outside alcohol is prohibited.

For the Funky Fridays schedule, or for more information, call 707-833-6288 or visit funkyfridays.info.

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