Sonoma County property owners whose homes suffered more than $10,000 in damage from the October firestorm will begin receiving reassessment notices in the mail over the coming weeks, the county assessor’s office announced Thursday.

Residents will receive notices, which will result in new 2017-2018 tax bills, over a staggered period as the office sends them out in batches. Property owners can choose to pay the first installment of their original tax bill or wait until they get a new one, after which they’ll have at least 30 days to make the initial payment, according to the assessor’s office.

The county says it will also include information about how properties’ assessed values will be prorated to account for the period before the fires and the period afterward.

Anyone with questions should call the assessor’s office at 707-565-1888 or check online at

Photographing the eclipse

I was confident Monday would be extremely cloudy in the valley and that my best bet would be to head inland a little and above the marine layer. The Geysers area off Geysers Road is my go-to spot, because the road generally peaks out at about 2,700 feet. Very rarely will we have a summer marine layer above 2,500 feet.
I made my own filter out of solar film, purchased at TAP Plastics, so I wouldn’t damage my retina, and put together a holder to go over a 500 f-4 lens. I used a doubler to bring the focal length to 1000mm. I found a nice spot near Mercuryville and just waited. A few people, maybe more than a dozen, parked here and there on the side of the road to view the eclipse.
As the event unfolded, I noticed an abrupt cool down, and then the birds stopped their constant chatter. I didn’t hear any crickets. I made the first image at 9 a.m. and the last image at 11:02 a.m. In all, I shot a little over 1,000 frames, focusing and refocusing to get the sharpest images possible. It was overkill to be sure, but I was not taking any chances with messing it up.
Kent Porter