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Top weekend news stories from Sonoma County – The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Hello Press Democrat readers! Happy weekend and hope you are having a good one.
Whether you’ve been waiting in line all day to pick up some of this year’s Pliny the Younger beer or you’re planning a watch party for tonight’s Oscars show, we’ve got you covered.
This weekend’s top stories include an effort to change the name of a quaint town in Lake County whose namesake’s reputation is anything but quaint, and a local man has come up with his own way to counter the high cost of gas.
I’m Marie McCain, one of The Press Democrat’s local news editors. Thank you for supporting local journalism!
Lake County group working to change the name of Kelseyville to redress violence against tribes:
Buried in the history of this “friendly country town,” as Kelseyville has long referred to itself, is an ugly, bloody, inconvenient truth.
This picturesque Lake County community of some 3,500, renowned for its annual Pear Festival, is named for Andrew Kelsey, a pioneer who committed numerous atrocities against indigenous Pomo and Wappo people in the mid-1800s.
Now, a reckoning may be at hand.
Did pre-COVID budget cuts affect Sonoma County’s pandemic response?:
In 2019, a year before anyone had heard of COVID-19, Sonoma County officials were exploring a proposal to close down the county’s public health lab to save money.
The idea was quickly scrapped when the pandemic hit, but former county staff members say the mindset behind that plan was one of the factors that led to an exodus of numerous top health care employees in the two years before the pandemic hit, as well as instability at the top of the organization.
Pliny the Younger fans line up early for Russian River Brewing Co.’s annual beer release:
Russian River Brewing Co.’s annual Pliny the Younger beer-release event kicked off Friday. Over the next two weeks, it is expected to draw thousands to the company’s Fourth Street brewpub, as well as the brewery’s main facility in Windsor.
The springtime setting, along with more visitors coming to Sonoma County as COVID-19 caseloads have dropped, appears to have resulted in even longer lines this year.
Fans were excited after missing it last year and buoyed by mild spring weather and more daylight compared to the event’s traditional winter date.
As gas prices skyrocket, this Sonoma Valley High grad doubles down on biodiesel:
Walking to his biofuel-powered 1981 Mercedes 300SD Turbo Diesel equipped with dual 20-gallon gas tanks, Joseph Silvi says the one downside of using alternative fuel is the smell of fried food that stirs up his appetite.
“I rolled up to my friend’s house once with it, and they were like, ‘Was that someone cooking?’” Silvi, 19, said. “I’m like, ‘No, that’s my car.’ I guess it smells better than just regular diesel fumes.”
Now Sonoma Valley High School’s 2021 valedictorian is a freshman at UC Berkeley, where he enjoys the low cost of biofuel while others pay record-high prices at the pump. Though Silvi’s biofuel gets about the same amount of miles per gallon as diesel, he said, it releases almost 20% less emissions than diesel, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
National Weather Service predicts rain to return Sunday night to Northern California:
Parts of Sonoma County could get as much as an inch of rain beginning Sunday night and lasting through Monday as a weather system looks poised to deliver a shot of precipitation toward the tail end of a dry winter.
National Weather Service forecasters were predicting higher elevations along the North Bay coast could see an inch of rain from a high pressure system that is supposed to drop precipitation beginning Sunday night after 5 p.m. Valleys in Sonoma and Napa counties are likely to average half an inch, NWS meteorologists Ryan Walbrun told The Press Democrat Saturday.
“We’ll take what we can get,” Walbrun said.
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