Two degrees of separation; power play; and ‘Where’s Mike’?

The Fourth of July parade once again demonstrated that in Sonoma, the rule is two degrees of separation. Just like at grocery store and the bank, if you don’t know somebody, you know somebody who does. As event planner Mary Catherine Cutcliffe put it, “half of the town is in the parade and the other half is watching.”… Yet another sign you’re getting old: while out and about, your kids know more people than you do.

Tip your server. Certainly you enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks show, so how about a little something for the effort? The annual production is presented by the Sonoma Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association, which not only provides the volunteer staff but also the fireworks themselves. To help pay this year’s tab, and gets started on 2015, send a check to SVFA, P.O. Box 2083, Sonoma 95476.

Sonoma Clean Power, and public power suppliers like it, faced down a challenge in the state assembly to change the current opt-out provision. That leaves SCP in the coveted role of default provider, which means you’ll be switched automatically unless you state an allegiance to PG&E. (See page 8 for the rationale behind the attempted change). The default position is where the money is, all agree, because, well, people are too stupid or lazy to make a proactive change. Not flattering. Each side figured that sending a return postcard or going online to state a preference is just too much to ask. It’s a wonder we can manage getting out of our recliners to turn on the lights in the first place. Maybe that’s where the energy savings start?

Missed in these pages are the musings on music of Mike Hyland, whose history in the industry, from New York to Nashville, rock to country, is unrivaled. Now, he joins is wife Phyllis in a new venture – FCP Travel, specializing in insider tours of cities like Nashville and New Orleans. Phyllis was born in Louisiana and lived in New Orleans for many years, and Mike was ensconced in the music biz in Nashville for 30 years. The idea sprang from a successful trip to New Orleans this past January that Phyllis planned for Meadowcroft Wines. Up next, in October, Nashville, and stops at the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, RCA Studio B (where Elvis recorded more than 200 songs) and the nearby Jack Daniels Distillery, plus many not-so-well-known venues, along with private concerts and visits with the locals. “This trip and this travel company were born out of the New Orleans trip where I took 18 people not only to New Orleans but to my home town in Cajun country, to experience some of the culture that is uniquely Cajun,” says Phyllis Hyland. “It was fun, cultural and very personal, which is how the name of the company came to be, FCP Travel.” The first of three trips planned for New Orleans in 2015 leaves February 14. For tour pricing and itineraries contact or 343.1661.

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