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Debbie Abrams
Debbie Abrams
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KZST Blog

10 Things to do After Quarantine

Top 10 Things People Can’t Wait to do After Quarantine

 

  1. Get a haircut

Our hairstylists are going to be working overtime after quarantine trying to fix all of the mullets and box-dyed hair.

 

  1. Send their kids to school

As much as we love our kids, I think we have all found a new appreciation for teachers.

 

  1. Travel

If you have never had the desire to visit another country or take a road trip across the states, I am sure you are wanting to get out of the house now!

 

  1. Water the office plants

That is, if they are still alive! Come to think of it, I can’t even remember if we have office plants.

 

  1. Go to our favorite retail store

I didn’t realize how much I would miss aimlessly walking around TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, buying things I didn’t need.

 

  1. Re-celebrate quarantined birthdays

Some of us missed out on a birthday party because we were all stuck inside. We need to make up for all the get togethers we missed.

 

  1. A REAL happy hour

Let’s be honest, the zoom happy hours with the girls just haven’t been the same. We miss sipping from the same bottle of wine.

 

  1. Go to the gym

I never thought we would be saying this one, but some of us really miss going to an actual gym instead of trying to work out and throw the dog toy at the same time.

 

  1. Walk down the isle

And by this we mean at the movie theater! I don’t know if it’s the sticky floors or overpriced popcorn but something about me misses going to the movies with my friends.

 

  1. Buy Toilet paper

I know we all can’t wait for the day when we don’t have to worry about toilet paper and cleaning supply shortages.

 

Popsicle Recipes

Summer is right around the corner and you know what that means...it's getting HOT outside. 

We have the BEST alcohol popsicle recipes to keep you cool!

 

Strawberry Moscato Ice Pops

  • 1 ¼ pound washed and hulled Strawberries
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 ½ + ¼ cups Granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups Pink Moscato wine
  • 12 - 14 Ice pop pouches I used Zipzicle pouches
  • Add the strawberries and water to a blender. Puree on high until smooth. In a medium saucepan, add the strawberry puree and 1 ½ cups of sugar. Stir to combine and taste. If you dig a sweeter ice pop, add the additional ¼ cup of sugar.
  • Turn heat to medium/high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has taken a slight syrupy texture, about 7-9 minutes. Be sure not to cook the mixture too long, as the sugar will caramelize and eclipse the strawberry flavor.
  • Remove mixture from heat. Skim and discard the foam that’s accumulated on the surface. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and strain to remove strawberry seeds. Discard the seeds.
  • To the cooled mixture, add the moscato wine and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup with a lip (this will make the pouches easier to fill). Open the ice pop pouches and carefully fill each pouch to the fill line. Do not fill beyond the fill line, as the mixture will expand some as it freezes. Seal and place in the freezer for 5-6 hours. Please note, due to the alcohol content these pops will not freeze hard.

 

Moscow Mule Popsicles:

  • Makes 8 popsicles
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 1/4  cups ginger beer
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • Mix lime juice, ginger beer and vodka in a large measuring cup. Give mixture a good stir and fill each ice pop mold with the mixture. Place molds in the freezer for about an hour and then put the ice pop sticks in the mold. Freeze for 12 hours before serving.

 

Mudslide Popsicles

  • 18 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana, medium size (2oz)
  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. Kahlua
  • 3 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 3 tablespoons grated chocolate
  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, about 1-2minutes.

  • Freeze for about 1 hour or until mixture starts to solidify enough to hold a popsicle stick upright. Insert popsicle sticks and finish freezing popsicles overnight. To release popsicles run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 5-7 seconds.

 

 

What Happens as We Start to Transition

We asked the experts at Leap Solutions to provide us with some information about what happens as we start to transition work situations and what challenges are arising. Here are some things to consider.

 

Going back to work:

Each industry is faced with its own set of challenges for going back to work and we all know that many of the current methods to safe guard everyone will continue to be in place for some time:

  • Face masks
  • Temperature checking
  • Staying home if feeling sick
  • Handwashing
  • Social distancing
  • Changes in office space
  • Staggered shifts
  • Work from home
  • Additional office cleaning
  • Cleaning supplies available
  • Transportation to and from work (mass transit mainly)

 

Working from home:

This also brings its own set of challenges whereas the Tech Industry is probably the best positioned to succeed in a sustained way because they have been doing it for years.

  • Some industries just can’t do it
  • In-home office set up
  • Ergonomic issues
  • Additional costs to set up employees
  • The need to be face to face
  • Socialization
  • Productivity metrics have not always been solidified unless you are on a billable hour format or a piece rate format

 

Leading virtual teams:

  • Requires trust
  • Change in management thinking
  • Clear expectations
  • Requires individual approaches
  • Changing communication strategies
  • Loss of rituals
  • Need to create new rituals, fun and creativity
  • Understanding that constant communication interferes with actual productivity because worker will work in burst of time which may revolve around their home environment

 

Information overload and impact:

  • Newsletters
  • Lawyer feeds
  • Insurance feeds
  • Newspaper
  • News
  • Daily conferences
  • Town hall virtual meetings
  • Impacting people’s overall spirit in all industry

 

Top Questions from Employers

  1. I have employees who do not want to return to work.  Do we still need to pay for their benefits?
  2. With getting approved for the PPP I have some employees who want to stay on unemployment.  Do I need to bring everyone back even if I don’t’ have anything for them to do?
  3. An employee will be leaving the organization.  Can I hire her as a 1099 employee to do some work that was not part of her original job? 
  4. Do I have to pay out vacation balances for employees that I have furloughed?
  5. For my employees that have a reduced work schedule, are they eligible for unemployment?  How does the Work Sharing Program work?
  6. Can we use the PPP to pay an employee severance?
  7. We would like to bring two of our furloughed employees back part-time, maybe 10 hours a week. We are still paying their benefits. However, they are concerned that this might limit their unemployment benefits.  Could you give me some guidance as to how to answer this question?
  8. Do you have information on ergonomic requirements for working at home in a declared emergency?
  9. We would like to terminate an employee.  What should we use as the reason for termination and should we offer severance pay?
  10. We have a policy that allows employees to go into a negative balance.  Can employees pay back some of the time out of his weekly check so he can get back to zero faster?  Can I take it out of his final check if he quits? 
  11. Can you explain how the FFCRA applies to my employees?
  12. With employees on furlough or leave of absence, we are keeping them on benefits.  If we don’t have payroll for a few weeks can we ask them to pay back the missed amount once they return to work?
  13. What documentation do I need to furlough our employees?  What documentation do I need when recalling our employees?  What documentation do I need when employees refuse to return to work?

 

For more information about handling human resource and work conditions during Covid-19, contact Leap Solutions. LeapSolutions.com

Enjoy Restaurant Week in Sonoma County

Now that the weekend of love has come and gone, it’s time to think about what to do THIS weekend. Look no further than our own backyard of Sonoma County. Sonoma County Tourism invites locals to indulge in the wonderful culinary creations and experiences North Bay has to offer. Chefs around Sonoma County are preparing a one-of-a-kind menu only available during this week.

 

The event begins today and ends Sunday, March 1st. The steal of a deal allows you to enrich your local cultural experience with lunches between $10-$15 and dinners between $20-$40. 

 

These deals are scattered all over the county including Rohnert Park’s favorite, Bear Republic; Petaluma’s Wild Goat Bistro; Guerneville’s BROT Modern German; Forestville’s Canneti; Occidental’s Hazel; Sebastopol’s Fern Bar; Cloverdale’s Piacere Italiano; Graton’s Underwood; Healdsburg’s Valette; Windsor’s Ume Japanese Bistro; and into the Sonoma Valley for the girl & the fig and Della Santina’s. See what I mean? They are EVERY WHERE!

 

Each restaurant and bistro has a 4-5 star rating and want locals to come in and enjoy what they have to offer. All of the participating 23 establishments are completely unique and individual to Sonoma County. Their lunch and dinner offerings will tantalize your taste buds and please your wallet. 

 

As a college student at Sonoma State University, going out for a meal usually means a quick run to Oliver’s Market with the occasional splurge for a sit-down restaurant. I got excited when I saw the options for these restaurants and I can’t wait to try them and still stick to my budget!

 

If you are interested in dining during Restaurant Week, be sure to book your reservation soon via OpenTable before spaces fill up. You can see an entire list of participating restaurants at SonomaCounty.com/restaurant-week

 

Bon appetit!

Think Outside of the Chocolate Box

1. A Hand-Written Love Letter

What could be more personal than handwriting a letter to someone you love, expressing your feelings? Your sweetheart will love this meaningful gesture. Write down what you love about them and how much you appreciate them. Nothing says “I love you” like gushing to your sweetie via pen to paper. *Bonus Points* Send the letter to Loveland, Colorado where it will be stamped with a special message and mailed directly to your mate. This will add that extra touch of love.  Look up “Loveland Remailing Program” or just send your letter to: Postmaster, Valentine Re-Mailing, 446 E. 29th St., Loveland, CO 80538.

 

2. A Lesson on Love

It doesn’t matter if you just started dating, or have been married for years, it is always a good time to find new ways to show your love. In fact, there is even a book that teaches you ways to communicate love. While some people prefer to receive love in the form of gifts, others prefer love in the form of affection. Finding out how your partner prefers to feel loved is key. We recommend picking up this book to learn a few lessons: The Five Love Languages [$9.95]

 

3. “What I love About You” Book

You know those little boxes filled with pieces of paper that have all the reasons you love someone? The project that seems like it takes forever to think of ways you love your special someone? Well let’s think outside of the box. This year, there is a book that helps you do the same thing! All you have to do is fill in the blanks (i.e., “I love how you BLANK every day;” “I love to watch you BLANK,” etc.) And the best part is that you can personalize the book with funny, serious or romantic entries that really relate to the relationship you have. What I love About You [$9.90]

 

4. NO PHONES…. for 24 Hours
There is always one (sometimes both) in a relationship who just can’t seem to put their phone down. Whether it’s when you are talking to them, you ask them to stop, you are trying to do something important or personal with them, they just can’t seem to put the phone down.  I know we are all guilty of this, but it can be extra frustrating to your lover. Here’s an idea… both of you put your phones down for 24 hours. This may be hard, but your loved one is well deserving of 1 day of your undivided attention this Valentine’s Day.

 

5. Secret Notes or Candy
Give your special someone a few sweet surprises. Hide candies or love notes in places you know they will find them throughout their day. Tape one to the mirror, in their shoe, on the door handle of their car, etc. Waking up and finding a little love note stuck to their toothbrush is sure to brighten their day.

 

6. Scavenger Hunt
Want to make them work for their Valentine’s Day gift? Leave clues and riddles around for them to follow, leading up to their gift. This is a fun, personal way to show someone you love them. Plus, it’s kind of fun to watch them confused while running around looking for it.

 

7. Make Dinner Together

Although taking your date out to a fancy restaurant and getting dressed up is nice, sometimes it just makes more sense to stay in, get in your comfy PJ’s, grab a glass of wine, and make a homemade dinner while making memories at the same time. You can even keep it simple by making pizzas or casserole! So instead of making reservations this Valentine’s day, head to the grocery store and pick up a few ingredients and get to cookin’!

 

8. Go on a Picnic

If the weather is in your favor, take your lovely date on a picnic. It just takes a few simple supplies; food, wine, and a soft blanket. But don’t think you have to go to the local park. Try heading out to the coast or go on a hike where there is a nice view.

 

9. Become a “Local Tourist”
There are tons of places to discover close to home. Whether you head to the city, find a local museum you haven’t been to, or even go wine tasting. Sonoma County is a great place to be a local tourist for the day. This Valentine’s Day ideas can be inexpensive and fun to discover new places close to you.

 

10. Take a Dance Class!
This Valentine’s Day, sweep your lady off her feet. Take your man to the dance floor and see who has the better moves. Surprise your date with a dance lesson in Salsa, Tango, Swing or Line-Dancing. This is a great way to potentially pick up a new activity with your partner or realize you BOTH have two left feet and leave the night with some good memories. Either way, it is a great way to learn something new with someone you love.  

WHAT VALENTINE'S DAY IS ALL ABOUT...through the eyes of Deb.

The February 14th holiday we all know as Valentine’s Day, is almost here. Traditionally, it's a way for lovers to show their emotions, appreciation, desire for each other; mostly through flowers, jewelry, chocolates, and costly dinners. (oh yeah, and cheesy Hallmark greeting cards) UGH!

 

So, if you've been listening to KZST for a while, you know I dislike most holidays. But, not this one. This one is MINE! I own it!  And, no I'm not a sappy romantic; far from it. I just really like receiving the typical gifts on the "day of romance." I like the Valentine's Day "staples": jewelry, candy, etc. and now, after 13 years of marriage, I've learned "TO GO BIGGER!" And you can too. For Valentine's Day, ask for a weekend getaway to the coast or the city; tell him you like a spa day with girlfriends, or a shopping spree at the mall. My motto: ask and you shall receive. And, by the way...ladies, always make sure your Valentine spends more on you, than you do on him! 

 

With that said, if you are looking for a romantic holiday this year...here are a few unique suggestions: go back to the place where you first met! Do the same activities, and recreate how you fell in love. What about finding a NEW place to make memories?...somewhere neither one of you has ever been, like a trendy wine bar or restaurant? Do dress up, get glammed up for the big date, especially if you don't get a chance to do it that often. Put some time and effort into the night, and hope he does too!  And, finally, a homemade card is a nice touch. It's a more personal way to show how you feel, and it's in your own words. Just spending time with your special Valentine is key, and with the plans and ideas we've created, it should be a romantic holiday for you. One last thing to pass along: YOU MUST HAVE SEX on Valentine's Day/night. Obviously, it's a way to express love, but it also has many health benefits, like cardiovascular health. Duh!...(it will help you burn off all those calories from the damn box of chocolates he gave you earlier that day!)  HAPPY almost VALENTINES DAY, Sonoma County!

I Never Lose at The Lottery

I never check my lottery numbers but I play every week. A couple of weeks ago a Sonoma County man won 5 Million dollars in the Lotto. 5 Million!

 

The story goes, that he bought a Scratcher from Gilberto and Raquel Campos, the owners of the Super Latino market on Sebastopol Road. He knew the minute it happened, but they found out when they saw the announcement on TV that someone had just won 5 million..... at their store!!

 

In July, someone won 45 grand at the Safeway on West College and just missed the big prize by 1 number. Ohhhh soo close!

 

Evidently both winners had the same retirement plan that I do. Win the Lottery, pay off all my bills and then spend the rest on a few minutes of health care. With that kind of winning, this close to home, you would think the first thing I would want to do is to check my numbers. Not me, not any more.

 

I found that when I buy a Lotto ticket I can dream of all the things I could do with the money – a new 2020 Corvette, bright yellow, with all the options, and convertible. This is California, they kick you out of the state if you are driving in the wine country and your top isn't down. I think of which one of my friends and family I could help by buying up all their home loans so they would never have to make a payment again. My biggest dream? If I win the Lottery, I would only carry 100 dollar bills and whenever I buy something, I would always say “Keep the change!”

 

The moment I buy a lottery ticket all of this is possible. I am imbued with hope and joy right up to the moment I slide that little ticket into the scanner and it says “Sorry Not a Winner.” Then, in a blink, I go from someone who could change the world to just another one of the millions and millions of ticket buyers whose 2 dollar dreams are tossed into the wastebasket.

 

So, I don't check my numbers. Because if I don't check my numbers, I can never lose. If I don't check my numbers, I am a potential millionaire for as long as I want to be. If I don't check my numbers I smile a little more, treat others a little nicer, even tip bigger because that ticket could be a gold mine in my pocket.

 

I know what you’re saying, “What if I actually do have the winning ticket?”

My answer is, “Hey, they'll find me.” You will hear it on the radio, you'll see it on the TV News – “someone who won the lottery hasn't come forward yet.” “Someone who bought a ticket doesn't know that he just won more money than he could spend in a lifetime and all he needs to do is to check his ticket.”

 

It happens all the time, and that too, makes me feel good. Knowing there are others, like me, who don't check their Lottery numbers because they don't want losing, to ruin their day.

 

A 20/20 Vision of 2020

Did you know you are responsible for knowing new laws when they become official? Kind of a scary thought when you realize how many measures, bills, and amendments get pushed through the legal system throughout the year. Every state has a few laws that are curiously strange, and makes you wonder how they ever made it through the system and onto the books. Wisconsin has a law regarding the standard of cheese that it be “fine, highly pleasing, and free from undesirable flavors and odors.” It’s illegal to kill Bigfoot in Washington, especially since the state designated the beast as an endangered species. They’ll hang you out to dry if you prohibit clotheslines in Virginia. California is no exception to interesting new laws. In the Golden State, a person is allowed to possess any number of live frogs for frog-jumping contests.  But, if one of them dies, you are not allowed to eat it. Here in Sonoma County, some of the new laws are directly written after serious incidences. From the 2017 wild fires, caregivers can face enhanced civil penalties if they abandon the elderly in disasters. It is now illegal to smoke or dispose of cigar and cigarette waste in California State Parks.  And, most former inmates with felony convictions can serve on juries.  Each new law was initiated by a person with a passion. Perhaps during 2020, you’ll have a 20/20 vision of something you would like to see changed, protected, or abolished. And, there may be a majority of voters who would agree with you.

I Was In The Beatles!

I was in the Beatles!

 

Really, I was actually IN the band. I didn't play guitar, that was George's thing. Ringo played drums, Paul played bass, John was on rhythm with that cool Rickenbacker guitar, but without me there would be no Beatles at all. You see, I was their listener.

 

This weekend I found some old Beatles albums – not the CD's or the digital downloads, but the actual records. I pulled out a stack of albums that I haven't seen since I was a kid and I remembered that at one time in my life, I was indeed a Beatle.

 

Would I play “Meet the Beatles,” or “Rubber Soul?”  Maybe “Sgt. Peppers” or “Magical Mystery Tour?” Then I saw the “Revolver” album and I was back in the band. I was the final judge of just their work – their months of writing, rehearsal and recording was not complete until I heard it. I had to look over the cover, searching out any hidden messages they had for me. On the back cover, were their sun glasses totally cool or not? I was the judge. Was the all black and white album too artsy or the hot new trend from across the ocean? Is John’s shirt Paisley? Ringo is wearing a tie. Why is George Smiling? Nothing escaped my watchful eye. They needed me and I was up for the task.

 

My part was to save up enough lawn mowing money to buy the album, the moment it arrived in the stores. I had to carefully cut the plastic shrink wrap that sealed in the musical magic which was about to be unveiled to the world. Like a supplicant reverently holding a religious object, I would slide the record out of its paper sleeve and touching only the edges, place it on the green felt of the waiting turntable.  

 

Never sure why 33 wasn't enough I set the turntable speed to 33 and 1/3, lifted the tone arm and as gently as I could, placed the needle on the album. “Shhkt, Shhkt,” it clicked as the tip of the diamond needle found its groove. "One, two, three, four…"'  it said. The record kept spinning and I thought, "There is someone coughing in the back ground." Suddenly, Paul hit the first notes of “Tax Man” and my musical journey had begun.

 

This weekend, for eleven Lennon/McCartneys cuts and three Harrison cuts, I was in the band and I loved every moment of it. As “Tomorrow Never Knows” faded into the night, I couldn't help but think of the people who listen to music today. While they can instantly get any track they want, there is no suspense, no anticipation. No one gets to look at the album cover and ponder its significance as the songs play. The order that the songs played was not chosen as specific acts in a musical performance, but as coldly random cuts that appear in a coldly random order.

 

There is no reverent opening of a treasure you sacrificed time and energy to "own." For that matter, you don’t even get to own the songs, you get to rent them. That feeling that this was “My Album,” and these were “My Songs” has been supplanted by a faceless sever somewhere in cyberspace. It doesn't care about the artist. It only cares that you have paid 99 cents to rent the song for four months at Amazon Music.

 

So, while this weekend I was saddened that the Beatles will probably be the last band I will ever be a part of, I was glad to have had the chance. I guess George was right.. Life goes on within and without you.

 

Deb's Unconventional Chanukkah Celebration

So, I always refer to myself as Jew-"ish", and here's one example of just why that fits: my non-traditional Chanukkah celebration. Growing up, my parents did the bare minimum during the Jewish holidays; pretty much all of them, including Chanukkah; and therefore, I followed suit, but...possibly took it a step farther. 

 

When my two daughters were young, we did celebrate Chanukkah, but the meaning likely didn't come across as it should have, because of how it was presented to them. My fault! If you don't know, the Jewish holiday of Chanukkah is an eight day celebration commemorating the re-dedication of the second temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. And, the eight candles in the menorah symbolize the number of days the temple lantern was lit. Uh huh...WHATEVER... in my house, it meant eight presents; that's it. Well, okay, we also did some singing and prayers, ones that I could barely remember from my childhood; I mumbled my way through them; and, of course, we lit the candles on the menorah; plus I read them books about Chanukkah (ones with lots of pictures)! I guess you can say I decorated/filled the house with holiday stuff, including dreydels and gelt, (chocolate coins), but I ate most of it before they got to the kids.

 

Anyway, here's the most unconventional part of my celebration... Every December, I would take the kids to Toys R Us, or another toy store; let them pick out eight things, wrap them, or have someone else do it...and then the topper: the kids had to guess which toy was in which box. Come on, that way they got exactly what they wanted. Genius, right? And, as they got older, I swapped out toys for cash, in envelopes. They had to guess the amount each night.  How fun is that? Yes, it was not your typical eight day Chanukkah celebration, but it worked in my house. And, I'm stickin' with it.  Oh, by the way, Chanukkah starts on December 22nd, and this year, my girls aren't home.  So, my plan is to leave out eight envelopes for Banker Bay, and when he asks me what I want for Chanukkah this year, my response will be...FILL THOSE DAMN ENVELOPES WITH CASH!   Mazel Tov! You'll likely only get that if you’re Jewish!

 

Oh Damn! The ROLLS!

What is your favorite food on your Thanksgiving table? Was it that big golden brown turkey? Its crispy skin just waiting to be sliced revealing the tender white meat perfumed with sage, black pepper and thyme? Maybe it is that steaming hot bowl of mashed potatoes? Whipped by hand with plenty of cream and butter swirled into its potatoey goodness. None of that froo froo chopped parsley on top. There had to be a spoon-made, empty swimming pool of a dent, waiting to be ladled full of thick brown gravy.
 
For me Thanksgiving wasn't the pumpkin or apple pies. It wasn't the ubiquitous green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on top or the olives you put on your fingers to wiggle at the kids. It wasn't the green Jell-O salad quivering on a single lettuce leaf or the can shaped dish of cranberry, we'll call it.... sauce.
 
My favorite part of the Thanksgiving table were the dinner rolls. Nothing special, really just more of an after-thought. The dinner rolls were something that was always purchased in a package and thrown into the oven after the turkey was taken out to "rest." The rolls would go in right out of the bag, each one stuck to the roll next to it. They were pre-baked, pre-browned little biscuit shaped pillows that, according to the instructions on the package, all you needed to do was to Heat N Eat.
 
Every year after our feast was over, my grandmother would go into the kitchen to get the pies and say loudly "Oh Damn! The ROLLS!" Then she would bring out an aluminum cooking tray of 24 over browned and slightly dried out dinner rolls that she forgot were warming in the oven. She would then insist that we all had to have one because "At this house we don’t waste food."
 
Each of us would chip a little of the still frozen butter onto a roll and eat it with the biggest smile on our faces. To me those rolls were the lesson my grandmother Dorothy taught us. Thanksgiving isn't about food at all, but something much larger. Thanksgiving is about family. Thanksgiving is about tradition. Thanksgiving is about remembering people who are here and people who have touched our lives and now, live only in our memories.
 
 
 

"Just the facts, Ma'am"

Sergeant Joe Friday on “Dragnet” knew what to look for. One of the challenges of writing news stories, is wading through the pool of opinion based sources. Early in the morning, when I crawl into the News Room to begin the process of finding the latest information on the topics of the day, I sort through various versions of the same story, but from very different angles. I’ve come to trust some, and question others, simply because of trial and error. But, it’s all about getting the correct facts.  The more facts you get, the more correct the story becomes, and the more clearly the story is conveyed to the listener. 

Here’s an example of what I teach young journalists.  Let say there’s a report of a violent situation between two people in a grocery store parking lot, where one hits the other so hard that it knocks the other down to the ground. And, that is all you hear about it.  What is your immediate perception of that scene? That the person who hit the other is a criminal and should be arrested? Now, what if more information becomes available on that scene and you find out the person who was hit was actually attempting to rob the “hitter”? Does that make a difference in the way you view the person who did the hitting? Maybe not, because perhaps you’re thinking there could have been a better way to resolve the situation than violence. But, what if the robber was pointing a gun at the other person’s child? Suddenly the idea of a violent confrontation takes on an entirely different weight. 

It is extremely important that both the reporter, and the listener, do everything they can to seek out all of the facts before jumping to conclusions. Knee jerk reactions, from inadequate information, are the cause of many problems within society, from politics to law enforcement, to equality to prejudice, and on and on. Get the facts, and then some more, before forming your conclusion. In the end, truth wins!

Deb's Top 5 Local Happy Hours

Two of my favorite words in the English language are "happy" and "hour." And, I've definitely been to a few of them in my 25 years of living in the beautiful California Wine Country. There are many I've tried, from the least expensive, and moderate, to a few that will drain your wallet...But, overall, here's what I've found. I prefer the ambiance and choice selections, when I'm picking a "happy hour" with friends. Let's start with...

 

1. John Ash, the Front Room Bar and Lounge in Santa Rosa.  It offers small plates, new wines and seasonal cocktails and one of the best vineyard views in the county. My recommendations: the truffle parmesan fries and sweet and sour rosemary nuts. Best cocktail: Rosemary Drop. 
4-6 pm Monday-Thursday

4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa

 

2. Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar in Healdsburg. Fabulous raw bar and small plates, with a huge wine list and excellent bar service. My recommendations: Lobster Rolls, Chilled Oysters and Crab Tacos; and all of their desserts! They have one of the best martini’s in the county. I like mine extra dirty! Nice cozy patio as well. 
403 Healdsburg Avenue.

 

3. The Rooftop Terrace in Healdsburg. Offers firepits at sunset...with awesome views of Fitch Mountain, the Sonoma hills and downtown Healdsburg. Fresh, small plates and full bar. My recommendations: Prawn Cocktail and Shrimp Ceviche Tostada. Favorite cocktail: "The Rooftop," with vodka, raspberry, lemon and club soda.
3-6 pm Tuesday-Thursday

227 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg

 

4. 246 North Restaurant in Petaluma. Visit Jan Rosen's establishment with a cool vibe and kick ass bar. Happy, friendly staff, and fresh plates. My recommendations: Crab Cakes, Calamari, Prawn Risotto and her famous Chicken Pot Pie. Can't forget her famous cheesecake; I like it fried. My favorite cocktail: the "Cotton Candy" drink. Just ask for it. You won't be sorry! 
3-6 pm Tuesday-Friday

256 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma

 

5. Kin in Windsor.  Real comfort food, tasty and fresh.  Plus, local wines and craft beers. Fun bar vibe and kid friendly. My recommendations: Flatbread and Hummus, Frickles, MacDaddy Pizza with Homemade Mac and Cheese as a topping! 
3-6 pm Monday through Friday

740 McClelland Drive, Windsor

 

We are lucky to live in Wine and Food Country, and can experience the best of the best! You might as well go out and try them all!  Cheers! ~ Deb

 

504,217 Reporters

We are pleased to report that as the Kincade fire burns itself out, KZST is back to our regular programming.

 

Two years ago in the Tubbs fires, flames licked at the back door at the KZST Studios. We were forced to evacuate our building at the base of Fountaingrove, but thanks to the efforts of firefighters and one listener who drove a winery water truck to defend us, we survived.

 

This year our generators kept our transmitters and studios on line, our microwave connections never dropped and most importantly the phone lines into and out of the studios never missed a beat. This meant that our most important connection, the one to you, was never interrupted. 

 

Our entire staff, plus the staff of the four other radio stations owned by our company, Redwood Empire Stereocasters, kept the information flowing. However, those were not the only people covering the fires. We had 504,217 additional reporters live and on the scene. 

 

Yes it was YOU who called in to tell us what you saw. From every corner of the Redwood Empire you came. There were power outages in the West County, Bodega Bay to Santa Rosa; live reports from Geyserville as it was being evacuated; fires raging in Windsor; and choking smoke in Healdsburg; evacuation centers in Santa Rosa and Petaluma and traffic reports from every part of our county, as 180 thousand people were being evacuated, all looking for a safe way out.

 

It was you and your constant unwavering stream of live information, on our airwaves, that gave the county the most up to date, accurate, and real information. Your thousands of phone calls relayed the hard facts as you saw them first hand. You did it in a way that was sensitive to the suffering of others. You put into the news the humanity that is so often missing. You showed true caring and concern for every member of our community.

 

So before the air clears, we wanted to extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to you –  the 504,217 citizen reporters of the Kincade fires… Thank you for a job well done.

 

You make us proud to be Sonoma County’s radio station

 

100.1 KZST.

How to Prepare for Power Outages

Now that regular power outages are our "New Normal," I was thinking about what we need to do when the power goes out. The following are some little tips that you may not have thought about.

 

*If you have no power, your gas station doesn't either. I don’t know why I do it, maybe it’s the adrenaline rush of trying to make it to the gas station on fumes, but I have been known to drive on empty. Hey, that little red light means I still haven't hit bottom yet... right? But if the power goes out at your house, and you head to the gas station chances are that they won’t have any power either. No power equals no gas, so keep your tank full!

 

*If you have no power it will be dark at night. Yeah I know, "bright observation," but follow me. Every year you hear about people whose house burned down because of candles. My advice is to buy some solar yard lights, charge them outside and bring them in when the power goes out. Boom – all night lights and you can recharge them in the morning.

 

* Open your garage door, or at least figure out how to open it if you have no power. Go ahead and try it now. Close your eyes (remember it will be pitch dark) and feel your way to the garage door and try to get it open. Now you know why you need to open it before the power goes out. That thing is heavy.

 

Camping is an option. Head to the backyard, bring the tent and sleeping bag that you used three summers ago. With no air conditioning, your house will be hot at night, so head out at night for a cool night under the stars. By the way, don’t worry about your sprinklers, there's no power so they won’t be going on.

 

* Pumps work on electricity. If you are on well water and the power goes out, you won’t have any water. Only well people will appreciate this one.

 

Go to Friedman’s and get a couple of those Green buckets. Put all that emergency stuff you think you will need in the bucket and put it in the garage by the back door. It holds all your stuff and is both water and air tight.

 

Get an extension cord, because if your neighbor has a generator and their lights are on…with one connection to their outside plug, so are yours. They will never know.

 

* Go to the PG&E map of the places that will have power. Now look to see which of your friends or relatives lives in an area that has power. Drop by and tell them that it has been way too long and you just haven't spent enough time with them lately. “By the way, what’s for dinner?”

 

* Lastly GET SOME CONDOMS... Seriously. When the power goes out, we know what you are going to do to pass the time. Every time, there is a huge baby spike nine months later. So, if you don’t want another little bundle of joy in your life in about nine months, GET SOME CONDOMS!

 

It's About Compassion!

I was thinking for my first blog I'd talk about our recent day of remembrance (Oct. 9th). I call it a day of remembrance because to call it an anniversary wouldn't tell the story. You celebrate an anniversary therefore I consider it a day of remembrance. It was by no means an easy time with all the wildfires and the tragedy that ensued. I remember it well - close friends losing their homes, people losing their business they worked and built from the ground up to losing a listener in the Journey’s End Mobile Home Park a block from the radio station. 

 

Well, it brought back some good memories too, mainly positive. The resilience concert at Montgomery Village, where we came together as a community and witnessed people helping people and a lot of the time they didn't even have the means to do so. I guess the word I'm looking for is compassion, we had compassion. I got to see this all over again when we were all getting ready for the PG&E shut downs the first time.

 

The scene was crazy! People were calling me to tell me about how bad the gas lines were, the grocery stores were running low on a lot of items and to say we weren't scared would be an understatement! I experienced this first hand as I had six miles to go on a tank of gas and all I could think was, “Will I make it to a gas station (that had gas) and would I run out before getting up to the pump??” Well, I did and this is where the compassion I was telling you about comes in. I got my gas and while in line, I was watching people trying their best to be patient. Then I I saw how ugly it could get without a plan.

 

I parked my car and decided to pitch in and help the folks at The Shell Station on Old Redwood Highway. They had one person out there and it was becoming overwhelming for him. Once we got it turned around and got it moving in one direction, the amount of thank you's and smiles were enough to make anyone’s day! No fights, no arguments, just an understanding that we are all in this together. In other words, compassion.

 

 

Best Spas in Sonoma County...As Chosen by Debbie!

It is so damn important to take care of yourself. Your mind, body and soul! Yes...your significant other, your kids, parents and pets are all important, but they'd be out of luck without a happy, healthy you!  And, we live in a place that caters to all that, in a beautiful setting, with amazing amenities and comforts that other spots on the map, just don't have.  We are so lucky to live here!  My point is...take advantage of all the fabulous SPAS all over Sonoma County!  Stay a day, a weekend, or just a few hours. It is so worth it! Here are a few of my favorite ones:

 

The Spa Hotel, Healdsburg  I mean, it's right on the Plaza, and who doesn't like to hang out there.  This one has an amazing facility, with a mean "Couples Massage".  ooh la la!

 

Kenwood Inn and Spa, Kenwood This is the place for relaxation and renewal.  Their best kept secret: a "baby-moon" massage for moms and moms-to-be.  Come on...only in Wine Country!

 

Vi La Vita Spa, Santa Rosa This facility is incredible!  I didn't want to leave this place; with its pools/saunas and upscale massage rooms. “Life of Luxury” comes to mind. I did a "pampered spa package."  They also offer private parties for you and your girlfriends. Love it!

 

Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Freestone  This is where you zone out!  Or zen out! I did the mud bath/ceder bath. You can also veg out in a number of gardens, including the zen, meditation and Japanese tea gardens. No veggies though.

 

Sonoma County Reflexology, Windsor They specialize in overall body massage.  I call this the "You Can't Beat This Deal" massage. Just a cute, clean, professional spa that does a top notch foot massage! I love my tootsies to be treated!

 

Visitors come here all the time to vacation and to experience the California Wine Country. People….we already live here! Take advantage of that! I say utilize, sample,  and check out all the luxurious spas/resorts that you can! Remember, it's for your mind, body and soul!

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