Briefs: Windsor parks get upgrades; Sonoma printmaking program expands; Cloverdale 5th graders win contest

Washington Elementary School was represented in the STEM Race Car Challenge by fifth-grade students Trevor Perkins, left, and Patrick “PJ” King, Jr. (Photo by Patrick King)



Two parks get new furnishings

Two of Windsor’s seven neighborhood parks, Pleasant Oak and Robbins, are being upgraded with new steel furnishings.

Both parks were constructed before Windsor was incorporated in 1992, and their wood and plastic benches, picnic tables and trash/recycle containers have been vandalized by carving and gouging, Parks and Facilities project manager Jim O’Brien said in a report to the Town Council.

The wood and plastic materials do not age well and eventually become a safety and aesthetic issue, he said. The steel picnic tables, benches and containers are more expensive than wood or plastic, but are more maintenance and trouble-free.

The park benches include a commemorative plaque option that allows Windsor to offer a bench donor program to offset the cost of the benches and any future maintenance expenses over the life of the benches. The donor program has been popular at the Town Green and has been expanded to Hiram Lewis Park, O’Brien said.

Both Pleasant Oak Park at 302 Sugar Maple Lane and Robbins Park at Billington Lane and Cornell Street will have an ADA accessible picnic table.

Fieldstone Construction Inc. of Windsor’s $210,870 bid was the lower of two bids for the parks’ makeover. The money is in the Town’s 2015-2016 capital replacement budget. The project should be completed in about eight weeks, O’Brien said.

James Lanaras


Printmaker program expands

The Sonoma Community Center recently expanded its printmaking open studio program that provides experienced studio monitors to help with techniques and equipment.

Aspiring printmakers 18 and older can visit the 700-square-foot studio from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at the community center, 276 E. Napa St.

The first and third Tuesdays are devoted to monoprinting, with the second and fourth Tuesdays dedicated to etching.

The studio features two etching presses and allows for various print techniques and processes, primarily monoprinting and etching.

Monoprints are made by painting on a plate, placing a sheet of paper over the wet ink and running the paper and plate through a press. Monoprints allow for spontaneity and can only be printed once. Standard printmaking allows for multiples.

With etching, artists start by covering a metal plate with a waxy ground and scratch off the material wherever a line should appear in the finished work. The plate is then soaked in a bath of etchant, which bites into the metal where it is exposed, making grooves in the plate. When the plate is inked, these grooves hold the ink.

Placing the plate and paper into a press forces the paper into the grooves, making a print. Starter kits with basic materials, including ink, paper, soft ground, tarlatan and a copper plate, are available for purchase in the studio.

For more information, visit or call 938-4626.

Dianne Reber Hart


Fifth-graders win raceway contest

An entry put together in Hank Shaw’s fifth-grade class at Washington Elementary School by students Patrick “PJ” King, Jr. and Trevor Perkins won last month’s STEM Race Car Challenge at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

The competition was part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event weekend and the culmination of a three-month program that challenged local students to develop and construct a gravity-powered car, test the effects of different factors and race them down a sloped track.

In an effort to help develop the next generation of engineers and scientists, Sonoma Raceway partnered with Kid Scoop News and Friedman’s Home Improvement to provide a platform for elementary school students at 10 Bay Area schools to experience how science and technology go hand in hand in the real world.

Washington Elementary’s “Stealth” entry took home the championship title by narrowly edging out the “British Motor Cannon” from Novato’s Loma Verde Elementary School.

PJ and Trevor received a trophy and tickets to Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 race. In addition, they were named the “Honorary Starters” for the NASCAR Pro Series West Carneros 200 race on Saturday.

“Winning was pretty cool,” said PJ. “I got to shake all the drivers’ hands and told them to start their engines.”

Mary Jo Winter