The Square
News and perspectives from Covia.

Most of this article as well as the accompanying image originally appeared in the Spring Lake Village resident newsletter for January 2021. Shared with permission.

Spring Lake Village residents responded to the challenge from the Outreach Committee in December to support The Living Room with generous contributions of $28,500.

The Spring Lake Village Outreach Committee started 20 years ago in 2001 with the mission to support charitable activities in the Sonoma County community through direct services and fundraising. The committee limits annual fundraisers to three per year. In 2020, residents focused on the specific needs of housing (raising money for Habitat for Humanity, Sonoma County), childhood education (the Head Start program in Sonoma County), and hunger and homelessness (The Living Room).

When the pandemic hit, The Living Room, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women and children who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless, transitioned to a crisis center. The SLV donations will be used to provide hot take-out meals at a pick-up window, taking meals into community shelters, and providing information services to women and children in need of help in Sonoma County.

All of these services are provided in a manner that strictly observes social distancing and minimizes exposure to the volunteers and those in need in these vulnerable times. “We are overcome with the generosity of Spring Lake Village residents,” writes Director Rebecca Rogoway. “Thank you all, each and every one of you.”

 

Spring Lake Village: If you have questions or would like to update us on your whereabouts, please call 707-538-8400 or contact us at info@covia.org.  

Wednesday, October 21 10:20 am

CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 100% contained as of 11:00 am Tuesday, October 20th. All of us send our deepest gratitude to our first responders for everything they have done to protect Spring Lake Village, Friends House, and the greater Sonoma and Napa County community during this fire. 

Monday, October 19 11:00 am

We are happy to report that our Skilled Nursing Facility was granted approval by the State to reopen and residents will be returning throughout this week. 

Other than our SNF residents and residents already on our list for an extended absence, all Spring Lake Village residents have returned.  

Thank you to everyone who helped our residents stay safe throughout the evacuation. 

Thursday, October 15 9:20 am

The recording of yesterday’s Zoom update is available here, and the Q & A document is here. Unless something changes significantly, this is the final SLV update Zoom call related to the evacuation. Michael will resume regular written updates starting today and weekly resident meetings next Wednesday, October 20.  We will provide updates to this webpage only when there are significant changes or items to report. 

Thank you to everyone who helped us get through this evacuation.

Wednesday, October 14 5:25 pm

Residents are continuing to return to Spring Lake Village and getting tested upon arrival. So far, all tests have come back negative.

Independent Living residents who have yet to return may come back between 8:00 – 4:30 tomorrow or Friday. Please pull into the main parking lot as directed and wait to get tested before returning to your residence. If you have any questions or concerns about arrival times, or need to make arrangements to return at another time, please call 707-538-8400.

There will be a survey of our Skilled Nursing Facility conducted by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) on Friday. If we pass the survey, Spring Lake Village will be able to start bringing back Skilled Nursing residents on Monday of next week. 

The recording and Q & A of today’s update will be posted in the morning. 

Tuesday, October 13 5:00 pm

Our next Spring Lake Village Community Update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 14 at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/92133574393

To join by telephone, call 669-900-6833 or 855-880-1246 (Toll Free), and enter the Webinar ID: 921 3357 4393 (International numbers are available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/aZjRUUGlV).

Tuesday, October 13 9:15 am

Residents continue to return today. Residents from East Side Cottages 10 – 44 and East Side Buildings A – F are asked to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm and report to the parking lot at the main entrance. From there, you will be directed where to park and will be given a COVID-19 test before returning to your home. There will be assistance if you need help with transporting your items. It is important that you arrive during these scheduled hours since these are the times when staff is available to do the testing. All residents must get tested before returning to your cottage or apartment. 

Residents from the Arbol Community will be returning this afternoon. Tomorrow, residents from West Side Cottages 50 – 101 and West Side Buildings G – P are invited to return between 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and follow the procedures outlined above. 

The full return schedule is posted here. Residents in Skilled Nursing will return once Spring Lake Village has received approval from the Department of Social Services and OSHPD, most likely beginning to return next week. 

If you cannot return at your scheduled time, you must contact Connie Nelson at Spring Lake Village and set up a scheduled time to return so that staff will be ready and available to test you upon arrival. Thank you for your cooperation!

The Q & A from yesterday’s Zoom update is here. The recording is here. There will be another Zoom update tomorrow at 3:00, which will likely be the final video update related to this incident. Starting tomorrow, Executive Director Michael Cataldo will resume his regular daily memos. Weekly resident meetings will resume next week. 

Monday, October 12 5:10 pm

The recording of today’s Zoom update is now available to watch here. Our next Zoom update will take place this Wednesday at 3:00. More information will be posted tomorrow.

Monday, October 12 11:15 am

We will be having a Spring Lake Village Community Update today at 3:00 by Zoom. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/92533464802

Or call in to 669-900-6833 or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free) and enter the Webinar ID: 925 3346 4802 (International numbers  are also available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/acTc7ThZhh).

Residents are beginning to return to Spring Lake Village, according to the Evacuation Return Schedule, available here. Today, residents who have been staying at the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown will be returning. Tomorrow, residents who live in East Side Cottages 10-44 and buildings A-F are welcome to return between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. We are so glad to welcome you back home!

Friday, October 9 4:00pm

The Spring Lake Village return schedule can be found here. For any questions about the return schedule, please call 707-538-8400 or contact us at info@covia.org

Friday, October 9 8:45 am

There will be a Zoom community update for Spring Lake Village today at 3:00. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/91988294649

To connect by telephone, dial 669 900 6833  or 877 369 0926 (Toll Free)

Webinar ID: 919 8829 4649

    International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/abVw1YyEaL

Thursday, October 8 9:10 am

The video recording of yesterday’s update is now available. You can watch it here. The next Zoom video update will take place tomorrow, October 9 at 3:00. The link will be posted by the end of the day today.

As of 7:30 this morning, CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 66% contained. “Crews experienced minimal fire behavior throughout the night. These conditions consisted of creeping and smoldering within the current fire perimeter.” The full update is available here.

The City of Santa Rosa has posted information to inform city residents that the water quality was not impacted by the Glass Fire. They report, “Ongoing testing and monitoring of Santa Rosa’s drinking water confirms that our community’s water system meets all safe drinking water standards.” Read the full statement here

Wednesday, October 7 5:10 pm

The Q & A from this afternoon’s Spring Lake Village Community Update is now available for download here. The video will be available tomorrow. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 9 at 3:00 pm. 

We do not yet have a reopening date when residents can return to Spring Lake Village, though we hope residents may start to be able to return sometime next week. Before residents can return, we need permission and guidance from state regulatory and public health agencies. We expect detailed guidance from the Department of Public Health this week. We will plan a staged reopening so everyone doesn’t arrive at once. Please stay safe where you are and we will let you know more as soon as we know more. 

If you do move to another location, or need essential items from your apartment, please let us know at info@covia.org or 707-538-8400. If you would like to move to the Residence Inn Sacramento Downtown, where SLV staff are able to provide support, please contact Chris Ichien at cichien@covia.org.  

In preparation for residents’ return, staff and vendor partners are cleaning the Spring Lake Village campus. Duct cleaning  began today and should be completed tomorrow. Environmental Services is continuing to clean and replace linens and remove spoiled food from refrigerators. 

The Santa Rosa Postmaster has informed us that mail will be delivered to the campus starting next Monday, October 12. UPS and FedEx parcels are currently being delivered and stored in a secure location. 

During the remainder of the evacuation, Stephen Eik, Spring Lake Village’s IT Tech, will be offering remote Tech Help for SLV residents from 9-1, Monday-Friday. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call Stephen at 707-318-4524, and leave a voicemail with your name, phone number, and tech issue for which you would like help.

Tuesday, October 6 4:10 pm

Our next Spring Lake Village Update will take place tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Residents, family members, friends and others are welcome to attend. Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://esc.zoom.us/j/93873619087

Or join by telephone at 669-900-6833  or 877-369-0926 (Toll Free), then enter Webinar ID: 938 7361 9087 (International numbers available: https://esc.zoom.us/u/ah9We5WMS).

Tuesday, October 6 1:10 pm

Although there is no new update on when the Spring Lake Village campus will be reopening for residents, staff are currently cleaning common areas as well as laundering linens and removing spoiled food from refrigerators in preparation for residents’ eventual return.

In addition, a team is working on a plan that will allow residents to return safely and prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. At this point, we do not have any active cases of COVID-19 among our dispersed residents. However, due to possible exposure during the evacuation, we will be putting precautions in place when residents return. 

The questions and answers from yesterday’s video update are now available for download here. Our next update will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. We will post the link by the end of the day today.

Well Connected, a Covia Community Services program that helps seniors throughout the United States stay connected by phone or Zoom, has set up a special group for Spring Lake Village residents to help you stay connected. Weekdays from 10:00 to 11:00 am, SLV residents are invited to check in with each other by phone. Please download this flyer to get the details on how to join. And thank you to the Well Connected team for setting this up. 

Monday, October 5 5:30 pm

The most recent Spring Lake Village update is now available to view online here. Our next video update will take place on Wednesday, October 7 at 3:00 pm. 

At this time, there is still no reopening date for the Spring Lake Village community, though we anticipate it will be at least another week. The neighborhood remains under an evacuation warning, and Melita Road is closed at Highway 12. SLV’s community leadership is in contact with state and local departments of health and Social Services to determine when residents might be able to return. In the meantime, residents may still contact the community at 707-538-8400 or info@covia.org if you need items from your apartment or wish to update us on your current whereabouts. 

Kevin Gerber, Covia’s President and CEO was able to visit the campus today and reports that the staff has done great work in cleaning the campus. Maintenance and Environmental Services staff are clearing out dairy and deli items in refrigerators, laundering sheets and linens throughout the community, and changing filters in the HVAC systems, among other clean-up tasks.

CalFire reports that the Glass Fire is 30% contained at of 3:30 this afternoon. 

Sunday, October 4 8:30 am

As of this morning, the Glass Fire is 17% contained. CalFire reports “The Glass Fire continues to actively burn across Napa and Sonoma Counties due to windy conditions, with slope and topographic driven runs. Critically low fuel moisture, very warm and dry weather conditions are contributing to very active fire behavior. Aggressive mop up and tactical patrol continues in areas where the fire’s forward progress has stopped. Crews are working aggressively to construct and reinforce existing control lines. As people start returning home, be vigilant that emergency crews are still working in the area.”

Spring Lake Village remains in an evacuation warning stage. If you would like to retrieve important items from your apartment, please email info@covia.org and let us know the item and where it is located. A team member will retrieve it for you and arrange to have it at the security check in for you to collect. 

The next Spring Lake Village video update will take place tomorrow, Monday, October 5 at 3:00 pm. Executive Director Michael Cataldo and others will be available to share information and answer your questions.  Here is the link to join the webinar. 

Congressman Mike Thompson announced to Sonoma County Residents, “If you were impacted by the Glass Fire, the county is opening a Local Assistance Center on Monday, Oct 5 at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. It will be open on Monday from 1-7pm and then Tuesday, Oct 6 through Saturday, Oct 10 from 10am to 7pm.” More information on the Local Assistance Center and the services available can be found here

Friday, October 2 5:45 pm

The recording of this afternoon’s Spring Lake Village update is available here. A downloadable copy of the questions and answers is here

We know that people’s primary question is likely to be, “When can we return to our homes?” Unfortunately, we cannot provide any sort of definitive answer to that question. It all depends upon what happens with the fire, how long it will take to clean the campus, what our regulatory agencies require of us, and more. When we last went through this evacuation process, it was a full two weeks before residents were able to return to Spring Lake Village, and there was less clean up for the campus. We advise you to find a place where you can be comfortable for at least that long. 

We will be available to respond to phone calls and emails this weekend. We hope you get some rest, wherever you may be. 

Friday, October 2 8:00 am

As a reminder, there will be a community update for Spring Lake Village by Zoom today at 3:00 pm. Click here to join the webinar.  You can also call in at 669-900-6833, then enter the Webinar ID: 910 8936 7411.

Due to the Red Flag Warning being extended through Sunday morning, Friends House has unfortunately had to postpone its plans for residents to return to the campus. Executive Director Clara Allen has shared a letter to the community explaining the decision.  She writes,

Although we’re not together physically, we’re in community spiritually.  As a community, we care about each other’s safety, health, happiness and wellbeing. The Quaker value of Gentle Bravery comes to mind. The world is calling upon us to be nimble and flexible.  This year has brought unfathomable changes and challenges to all of our lives. I’m struck by the compassionate ways in which our community meets those challenges.  Hopefully, it won’t be long before the evacuation order is downgraded, once again and you’ll be on your way back home.  I’m holding you in the light.     

You can read the full letter here

Thursday, October 1 6:30 pm

Our next Zoom update for Spring Lake Village will take place tomorrow, Friday, October 2, at 3:00 pm. Please click the link  to join the webinar: https://esc.zoom.us/j/91089367411

All Spring Lake Village residents have now left the Petaluma Community Center and all other emergency shelters and are in an appropriate, settled location. 

The team at Spring Lake Village report that the smoke smell makes it impossible for  most employees to return to campus. Air scrubbing began yesterday and the maintenance team is making arrangements with a contractor to provide cleaning services, but for the moment, no one can return to campus.

A memo for Spring Lake Village employees has been posted on ADP, our HR information system. Please log in at my.adp.com to read and acknowledge receipt of this letter, which contains resources for your support as well as information on reporting for work during this emergency. 

Residents who need essential items from their apartments, such as medical equipment, should contact your community. We will make arrangements to deliver essential health and safety items to you. 

Thursday, October 1 8:30 am

The recording of yesterday’s Spring Lake Village update is now available here

Friends House Executive Director Clara Allen has posted information about plans for residents to return to the campus, tentatively this Friday at 10:00 am. More information is available in her letter, posted on the Friends House site here

Wednesday, September 30 5:15 pm

Over 300 people attended the Zoom call today for an update on Spring Lake Village. Thank you to everyone who attended for your questions and comments. We will share the link to the video once it becomes available. A summary of the questions and answers is here. Our next update will take place on Friday, October 2 at 3:00 pm. 

Although at this time, our communities are not in danger from the Glass Fire, the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains starting from 1 PM Thursday (10/1) to 6 PM Friday (10/2) due for breezy northerly winds and critically dry conditions. Residents should not return to the community for any reason at this time. If you need items from your home, please contact your community to request that a staff member retrieve the item for you. 

If the fires remain at bay, Friends House has received permission to plan for residents’ return, possibly as early as this Friday, October 2. Executive Director Clara Allen will be sharing details on this plan on the Friends House website

As of yet, Spring Lake Village has received no indication from DSS about a potential return date. The Facilities team has returned to campus and air scrubbers will be employed tomorrow to clear some of the smoke and ash.

We are still working to find placements for some of our Assisted Living residents, due to restrictions on emergency transfers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Assisted Living residents who are still in an emergency shelter are being provided 24 hour care by Covia staff. We anticipate that all will be placed in a more settled environment no later than tomorrow,  possibly as soon as this evening. 

Wednesday, September 30 8:25 am

Due to the smoke damage and ash, Spring Lake Village is unable to reopen, even though the evacuation order for the Spring Lake neighborhood has been lifted. We invite SLV residents, family members, and others to join the Zoom call today at 1:30 for further information. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/96397542949.

Tuesday, September 29 5:20 pm

Spring Lake Village Executive Director will be holding a Community Update by Zoom tomorrow, Wednesday, September 30th at 1:30 pm. Residents, family members, staff, and others are welcome to attend. We are also working on streaming this live on Facebook, but will record and share if the livestream does not work. Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://esc.zoom.us/j/96397542949.

Spring Lake Village residents are also reminded that you can log into the SLV Resident Website to share news with your friends and neighbors about your whereabouts and how you are doing. Look under the News Discussion Forum for the evacuation discussion thread.

All Friends House residents have been transferred to other locations where they are receiving ongoing support. The Spring Lake Village staff has been working to find placements for the last 30 residents still in evacuation centers, most of them currently located  in Petaluma where staff are providing support and activities.

The SLV Wellness Team and the FH Director of Marketing Paula Wright are making phone calls to Independent Living residents  who self-evacuated to verify their location and to check in their needs. If you have an immediate concern, SLV residents are invited to call 707-538-8400. Friends House residents are welcome to call Paula at (707) 537-5927, or  email pwright@friendshouse.org

Additional staff are reporting to the Residence Inn in Sacrament to provide support for the residents living on site. Tomorrow, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be delivered. Residents are reminded to continue to follow COVID-19 safety precautions: wear your mask, maintain at least 6 feet of distance if at all possible. If you notice any symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever, please isolate yourself and inform your Director of Health Services immediately. 

The Friends House and Spring Lake Village campuses remain closed, and will likely remain closed for some time. Dennis McLean, Spring Lake Village Facilities Director, reports that there is significantly more smoke damage than 2017, due to the fires getting so close to the campus. Both campuses are covered in ash and will need significantly cleaning. However, neither community has sustained any fire damage. 

Tuesday, September 29 8:00 am

More than 75 residents are now staying at the Residence Inn Downtown Sacramento, with more expected to arrive today along with additional staff to support them.  

One of the Skilled Nursing Facilities that offered to accommodate some of our residents did not receive permission from our regulatory agencies to begin admission until late last night, delaying their transfer. We are in the process of making arrangements for transportation, and all Skilled Nursing residents should be in their planned emergency location by noon today. 

We have been and will continue to notify emergency contacts directly about the status of each resident. 

We are also working on setting up informational meetings by Zoom for residents and other interested persons, probably starting tomorrow. We will let you know the details when they become available. 

Monday, September 28 5:00 pm

We have set up the main phone number for Spring Lake Village to forward to someone off-campus. If you have questions or would like to update us on your whereabouts, please call 707-538-8400.

We encourage all residents to collect receipts for meals, housing, toiletries, and other necessary items purchased as a result of the evacuation, which may be included in an eventual insurance claim. Employees should track any expenses related to work, such as travel to other locations. 

Employees on site at Spring Lake Village drove around and surveyed the area. They report that there is no fire activity in the East Grove or near the campus. There is evidence of spot fires in Spring Lake Park, but they appear to have been long since extinguished. There are no emergency vehicles in the neighborhood. Fire activity is very visible in the surrounding hills, but seems to have moved away from the community.

That being said, DO NOT attempt to return to the campus for any reason at this time. Fire and other emergency crews need to be able to focus their attention on fighting the fires. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Along with all of our residents, some of our team members have been evacuated from their homes as well. Our Human Resources department will reach out via text to all SLV employees to check on their well-being and let them know how to access information and resources.

Stay safe, and we hope everyone gets some rest this evening. 

Monday, September 28 noon

Spring Lake Village staff are finalizing arrangements for residents in Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing to be transferred to locations where they can receive appropriate care during this emergency. We will notify emergency contacts directly as soon as these arrangements are finalized.

We are also making arrangements with a hotel in Sacramento to provide rooms for SLV and Friends House residents who do not need additional care. Currently, 36 residents have checked in; we anticipate 20-30 new rooms to be available today, and more to come. Please contact info@covia.org if you plan to use this housing option. 

At this time, the fire has spread to Spring Lake Park, but is not on the Spring Lake Campus itself.

The security team is still located at the Spring Lake Village campus. Employees who provide direct care to residents should ask their supervisors where to report to work. No employees, aside from the security team, should come to the Spring Lake Village campus. If you have further questions about your work duties, please contact your direct supervisor. 

Monday, September 28 7:00 am

All residents have been evacuated from Spring Lake Village and from Friends House, another community in Santa Rosa that has a management contract with Covia. SLV’s Executive Director Michael Cataldo and security staff are still on site. 

Our Skilled Nursing residents who need the most care were transferred to St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland while others are currently being cared for at an evacuation site in Santa Rosa. We will find placements for our other SNF residents today. 

Many of our residents are staying with family, having already made plans to do so in case of an emergency such as this. We also chartered a bus to transport residents to a hotel in Sacramento, where both Spring Lake Village and Friends House residents can stay during this emergency.

Sunday, September 27 11:50 pm

In response to the fires in Sonoma County, Spring Lake Village, Covia’s community in Santa Rosa, is in the process of evacuating. We will provide updates as soon as we have further information. Thank you for your patience.

 

 

 

As the situation in Sonoma County continues to develop, Covia is working with our communities  Jennings Court and Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa, with Friends House in Santa Rosa (with whom we have a management agreement), with our Community Services program participants throughout the county, and with our employees to ensure everyone’s safety.

Friday, November 1, 2019

10:00 am

We’re pleased that life is starting to return to normal in our communities. We continue to be grateful to the firefighters who are still working to contain the Kincade fire, which as of this writing is only 68% contained. And we offer comfort and condolences to all who have sustained losses or been traumatized during this past week.

All residents have returned to Jennings Court and were welcomed home with a communal meal of chili. Residents are continuing to return to Spring Lake Village and Friends House. Covia employees who evacuated are also returning to their homes. Welcome home, everyone!

Unless there are further developments, this will be the final update on this blog post.  

Thursday, October 31, 2019

11:30am

Containment of the Kincade fire is now at 60%. In Santa Rosa, all evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

4:40pm

Power has been restored to Spring Lake Village.

2:45pm

The Evacuation Order for Jennings Court has been downgraded to an Evacuation Warning. Residents are allowed to repopulate with advisement that a warning is still in place. 

1:30pm

Power has been restored at Friends House. 

10:00am

Winds overnight were not as strong as predicted, which allowed firefighters to hold the line. Containment of the fire is now up to 30%, according to Cal Fire. Winds are projected to be calmer through today though a Red Flag warning is still active.

Friends House and Spring Lake Village continue to shelter in place, remaining on alert, though a mandatory evacuation is unlikely today. Power remains out at both locations.

Power has been restored to Jennings Court though the mandatory evacuation is still in place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

9:30 am

Friends House and Spring Lake Village continue to shelter in place. Although a mandatory evacuation is unlikely today, we remain on alert. Our main concern at this time is the air quality, and we continue to encourage our Independent Living residents to consider voluntary evacuation.

Representatives from PG&E contacted Spring Lake Village to report that they will not have power restored today because the community is too close to the fire zone to be able to inspect the lines before they would be required to turn off the power again. The community is receiving deliveries of food and fuel.

At Friends House, Executive Director Clara Allen reports that the County Ombudsman visited the campus on Monday to check on residents and provide support.  

According to the report from Cal Fire updated at 7:30 this morning, “Favorable weather conditions will enhance firefighting efforts in the morning while narrow roads and steep terrain are still making access to the fire areas difficult. Weather predictions show Northeast wind gusts picking up this evening. Firefighters will continue to mitigate structure threats and find opportunities to construct more control lines.” We are hopeful that firefighters will be able to make further progress in containing the fire throughout the day.

Monday, October 28, 2019

7:30 am

There have been no new developments overnight. Spring Lake Village and Friends House remain in a state of watchful readiness. With almost no winds forecast for today, we are hopeful that firefighters will be able to make some progress in containing the Kincade fire today. We do not expect to see mandatory evacuations put in place today, but will be ready in case we receive the order.

Employees: please report to work at your usual time if you are able. If you have evacuated out of the area or are unable to report to work, please inform your supervisor and HR manager. Thank you!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

6:00 pm

There is little new information to report.

The Executive Directors of Friends House and Spring Lake Village report that there has been no change. Covia has spent much of the day working to support the staff on-site, ensuring that Friends House and Spring Lake Village are fully prepared to evacuate, should a mandatory evacuation order be put in place. Winds in the region are blowing southwest and the fires does not appear to be getting any closer to the communities.

Friends House and Spring Lake Village have suggested voluntary evacuation to those residents who have a safe place to go. This allows residents time to relocate to a place of their choice with more time to prepare. It also allows the reduced number of staff to focus on helping residents at a higher level of care both in providing for their daily needs and in the case of a mandatory evacuation.

Jennings Court has been evacuated, although a few residents have refused to vacate the premises. The Santa Rosa Police Department has been informed of the residents who have chosen to remain on site.

Social Call Santa Rosa has ensured that its most vulnerable participants have been able to evacuate.

Employees should keep their supervisors and HR department informed about their availability.

Please stay safe!

8:00 am
As of now, Jennings Court is under an evacuation order. Sadie Bracy, Jennings Court’s Housing Administrator, is facilitating the evacuation and Karim Sultan, VP of Affordable Housing is providing support. All but a few Jennings residents have relocations sites they have individually chosen. Those who do not have another evacuation site are being provided with a place to stay in Oakland.

As of this writing, Friends House and Spring Lake Village are outside the mandatory evacuation order zone, but we are encouraging voluntary evacuations. Residents are asked to please inform their communities if they are evacuating, along with their new location and contact information. If you are a resident who has evacuated or are otherwise off-site and not informed your community of your location, please contact your community as soon as possible.

Social Call Sonoma County has reached out to participants to check on their safety.

Employees should report to Spring Lake Village or Friends House for their normal shift as they are able. If you are unable to report to work, please inform your HR department and supervisor as soon as possible. We are working to communicate with all staff today. Please follow any evacuation orders you receive.

We will provide further updates as the situation develops.

Originally published in the Spring Lake Village resident newsletter – special October edition

As part of what was labeled a “Public Safety Power Shutoff event” by PG&E and dubbed a “Massive Blackout” by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Spring Lake Village residents and staff were without electrical power midweek during the second week in October 2019.

Residents and staff relied on generators—big and small— battery-operated lanterns, ingenuity, problem solving and community spirit to weather the corporate-made outage.

Planning for a big storm or an earthquake started in the 2013 re-model of the Village Center when a new generator system was installed. This generator powered the kitchen and emergency lighting throughout the week. “Don’t worry, we’ll have lots to eat,” promised Dining Director Larry Brooks.

Melissa Anderson, Activities Director for Assisted Living residents, reports, “The kitchen was amazing, making sure our residents had hot food for all our meals, even though our own kitchen was down. With no elevators, Assisted Living staff went up and down stairs to be sure that the 16 residents on the 2nd floor had all they needed. The staff joked that we lost 10 pounds each in the stair climbing.”

Programs and activities for residents throughout campus continued – with changes necessitated by the lack of electrical power. A 2000 piece Cinque Terre puzzle donated by a resident was moved next to the Great Hall windows for better light. Dogs helped their resident owners stick to a walking schedule, regardless of a power outage.

The swimming pool closing was expected due to the need for filter, circulation and pool heating systems. What was unexpected was the prompt steaming up of the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the heated pool area. With the power outage, there was a fear of mold developing from lack of air circulation. Staff rigged up generators and fans to keep the air moving.

A power strip and generator with the sign Charging Station turned out to be a big hit. “What started as a single table, doubled in size to accommodate the demand as dozens of devices were recharged at the station on the Creekside Patio,” reported Facilities Director Dennis McLean.

Seventy motion-detector, solar-powered walkway lights installed in September lit up the covered sidewalks. The lights worked well during the power outage. For many residents, the first and last word was “the lantern” which lit up kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and halls. “You need to have at least three,” was the agreed-to number. “I bought four for Christmas gifts and used them all,” exclaimed another resident.

Small generators were threaded into the business offices around the Village Center and Resident Health Services. Keeping computers going was essential to maintain “business as usual.”

No power meant no school, but if you were lucky, you became part of the impromptu Spring Lake Village Take Your Kids to Work Day. Bistro Sous Chef Adrian Alberto brought his three daughters to work to provide a no-school day option. Housekeeper Carmen provided on-the-spot assistance with activities. “We wanted to make sure our staff had an option for taking care of their kids,” reports Assistant Executive Director Kris Hermanson on the “bring your kids” impromptu program.

Anderson adds, “As we delivered the trays, the residents were so concerned about us, asking about our kids, our homes, our families and our power situation, wanting to make sure we were safe. The residents adapted to the routine, without a negative word. We are family.”

The Village People, Spring Lake Village’s entrant in the Sonoma County Wine Country Games (commonly known as the Senior Games), won their first medal on May 31, 2019, taking third place in the bocce tournament. The team included Capt. Sue Guerra, Don Allison, Brenda and Butch Dippel, Pete Guerra, and Barbara Ware, all residents of Spring Lake Village, a Covia Life Plan Community in Santa Rosa.

The Sonoma County Wine Country Games, a program benefiting the Council on Aging, encourages healthy activity and social engagement for anyone 50+ through education, connections, and the spirited competition of sport, inspiring all to take an active role in determining the quality of their aging experience. Along with bocce, events include basketball, cycling, pickleball, tennis, volleyball and more.

In the bocce tournament, teams competed with each team playing three 50-minute games.  If teams did not finish in 50 minutes, the existing score at the time was used. At the end of the three games, four teams were eliminated from competition based on number of games won and point count.  The two remaining teams with the highest point count played each other for first and second place.  The two other remaining teams played for third place.

In the first round, The Village People beat a team from Oakmont called Varenna #2, lost to Fountaingrove (another Oakmont Team), and beat the Collectiballs, a Santa Rosa league team, giving them enough points and wins to progress to the second round. After defeating Varenna #2 a second time, the Village People squared off against the Go Getters for their chance to win the bronze medal. 

Congratulations to the Village People for their third place win!

October 9 is the anniversary of the devastating fires that swept through Santa Rosa in 2017. Residents from both Spring Lake Village and Jennings Court were evacuated and twelve of Covia’s staff lost their home in the fires.

Here are a few of the stories from our residents and staff. If you have a memory you wish to share, please email it to Laura Darling at ltdarling@covia.org.

Fred Jennings Court resident
I was almost caught in the fire itself. I was housesitting up on the very top of Fountain Grove and taking care of a little dog who was recovering from a broken back surgery. And banging on the door, I ran to the front door, it was 1:00 in the morning, a man was yelling, “We have to leave! We have to leave! Everything is on fire!” I could see the blazes coming up across the street. So the dog and I and everything left there within 12 minutes. Toby is the dog’s name, was so cool, he let me glide him in and glide him out and out we went. And then it was very slow because of all of the traffic coming all the way down. I got home here, and the very next day all our electricity went out. So I carried Toby up and down the stairs for that time when it was out. And here the dog was healing from back injury. Well, his owner has been so kind to me! And I think he would have if we got to know each other, but this was the first time I house sat for him. He always introduces me, “This is Fred who saved Toby.”

Patricia Burke Skilled Nursing Housekeeping, Spring Lake Village

The morning of the fires was chaotic. Our neighbor came and knocked on doors and said we had to get out because the fire was coming. We grabbed the dog and put him in the neighbor’s car and drove off. We didn’t grab anything else because we didn’t ever think we’d lose everything.

We drove away and tried to notify other neighbors by banging on their doors and trying to help with evacuations. Everything was burned the next day when we went back home. I called my supervisor and let her know my house was gone and I wouldn’t be reporting to work. She assured me my job was secure and told me to take my time coming back into work. I was paid for the time I was off, that helped immensely.

After only a few days off, I returned to work, mostly because I needed something to keep my mind off the loss. The entire staff and residents were very compassionate and gave continued hugs (they still do when they see me). There were donations from all areas – LeadingAge California, LeadingAge National, Covia, credit unions, residents, architects, local communities and even co-workers all donated to us. The compassion from executive staff was strong and the ongoing continued support has been paramount to my emotional healing. You don’t ever really get over such devastation, and having co-workers and residents still ask how I’m doing feels really good.

Covia has done a great job of supporting continued communications with co-workers, who were also greatly affected by the fires and we’ve created an internal support group to help each other through the rough times.

We were offered outside counseling and it was important to know, even though I relied on friends and family for support, that the option was available to me.

Renee Hayward Spring Lake Village, Director of Social Services

I remember waking up in the night and running from the fire. The first thing I grabbed was my work clothes because I knew I had to go to work on Monday.

We left and later learned our home and entire neighborhood burned to the ground. When I went back to work on Tuesday, I didn’t know the extent of the fire and didn’t realize until I showed up to Spring Lake Village that we were going to have to evacuate due to smoke damage. As a social worker, I had experience working in these sensitive situations and knew I had to find permanent places, call families, and mostly ensure the sound emotional and medical states of our residents. I was operating in survival mode at that point and just keeping my mind off my own devastation and loss the day prior.

Two days after the fires, we all went to Casa Grande gym to support our memory and skilled nursing residents. Our residents did really well and one said to me, “I used to work at Red Cross and set up for war…this is nothing compared to that.” I called families and helped residents get placed and transferred to other communities as soon as possible. There were 11 of us who lost our homes here and just talking with other staff was very valuable.

Once I knew all the residents were evacuated and settled, I finally took some time off to provide the emotional support to my family. Just driving was tough after the fires as my husband and I were in a fog. During the whole event, I really learned that everyone rallies the few months of the emergency and it was very valuable to have that ongoing support. The hardest part of the whole ordeal is that people who haven’t gone through that kind of total loss don’t understand the timeline. First you battle with insurance and then you are just in basic survival mode. Anything out of the normal, even a simple flat tire, is devastating. You look for things you ”had” and people don’t understand that feeling. Your body is in transition and you feel like you’re on vacation. In addition, you forget your things are gone. The entire situation was tough but it helped me better understand what residents are going through. I now have a greater level of personal empathy for their situations.

I would offer communities that should your staff go through a crisis, don’t be afraid to ask, “how’s it going?” It’s okay to say “I’m sorry” and it’s important to have a staff and a resident meeting that provides updates on all individuals involved. Covia was great at respecting our right to privacy and letting us “tell our story” as we were comfortable.

[Originally printed in LeadingAge California’s Engage Magazine]

Madeleine Jennings Court resident

During the fire, it was terrifying. I don’t know any other way to describe it. We were without power, I think maybe it was only 24 hours, it might have been a little longer. Someone came over to check on me and took me and another friend to her house to recharge our phones because we were without power to recharge phones.

Just knowing that so many people were impacted – and still are. It’s a beautiful community, though, for the fact that those of us who live here are low income and we gave. It wasn’t, “Well, we don’t have enough to give.” When it’s in a situation when you know others need something, everyone pulled together. I would say, “This person’s daughter lost everything and her husband’s a musician.” I had friends give me a banjo, I had guitar music given to me. Just those kind of things mean so much, and I was amazed myself at the things I was willing to part with in order to assist others. So that’s the beauty of it, and it’s something that will live with us for a long, long time.

Spring Lake Village in Santa Rosa is hosting its 4th annual Wellness Games the week of September 24-28.

Held during International Active Aging Week, the Wellness Games celebrate all dimensions of wellness, including social, emotional, intellectual, physical, occupational, environmental, spiritual, and financial wellness.

According to Spring Lake Village Director of Wellness Diane Waltz, “Wellness is an expanded idea of health and means more than the absence of disease. It is much more than being in good physical health, exercising regularly, and eating right. True wellness is determined by the decisions one makes about how to live life with vitality and meaning.”

Each year’s Wellness Games include a wide array of activities such as a walk-a-thon, treasure hunt, table tennis tournament, sing-a-long, bird walk, brain fitness challenges, poetry readings, and the ever-popular SLV’s Got Talent Show. Participants can win points for an activity in any of the eight dimensions of wellness. For example, they can get physical wellness points for going for a walk; earn emotional wellness points by smiling five times a day; collect intellectual wellness points by reading the newspaper or doing a crossword puzzle; gain social wellness points by playing bridge with a friend; or add environmental points by recycling.

The games are open to residents and staff across the community. Residents and staff are randomly assigned to one of six color teams. Participants are notified of their color team assignment the week before the games begin and given a team color button or bracelet to wear throughout the week. The team getting the most points receives a team photo and color team recognition on the Wellness Games Plaque displayed in the Montgomery Center for a year.

But everyone benefits from Wellness Week as it builds relationships and community throughout Spring Lake Village. And it’s fun. Waltz says, “I love that it brings residents across all levels of care and employees across all departments together for a week of fun activities that promote all dimensions of wellness.”

For the 5th year in a row, Spring Lake Village has been named Best of Sonoma County by the readers of the Press Democrat. Along with this honor, this year Spring Lake Village also received the 2018 NuStep Gold Pinnacle Award® for excellence in wellness programming.

A Covia Life Plan Community in Santa Rosa, California, Spring Lake Village provides homes and services for over 450 seniors. It is the only senior living community in Sonoma County that offers the full continuum of care: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and a 5-star Medicare rated 70-bed skilled nursing and rehab center.

Built on 31 acres, the community is located on Santa Rosa Creek and next to Trione-Annadel State Park and Spring Lake Regional Park. Its amenities include fine and casual dining options, a pool and fitness center, on-site resident health services, spiritual care, a full activity calendar, as well as resident-led programs.

“These sparkling residents are committed to the community with the Committees they organize and run to make this campus their own. Every voice is welcomed here and heard,” says Judy Haley, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Find out more about Spring Lake Village on their website.

As Jennings Court, a Covia Affordable Community in Santa Rosa, celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer, its first residents are reflecting on their initial impressions.

“I was one of the first 8 people to move in,” says Fred Campbell. “And the day I walked into the facility, I fell in love with the structure, the ambiance.” Campbell, who had lost his business as a hairdresser in San Francisco during the AIDS crisis, had been cleaning houses in Southern California when he learned that Jennings Court was being built. “I always thought [low income housing] was bad stuff because that’s how the movies always show it,” he said. Instead, “On a scale of 1-10, I’d say my first impression was an 11.”

“It was a rural setting then,” when Jennings Court opened in 2008,  says Penni Colley. “Across the street were horses grazing around a barn. Of course, that’s not there any more, but it was so beautiful.”

Colley had been surprised there was still room in the new building when she received a letter saying there was an apartment available for her. “At my age and being low income, I didn’t think I would ever have a new apartment. You just kind of have to forget that because the chances of me having a brand new apartment were slim. When I saw how beautiful these were, I just couldn’t get over it.”

Colley explains that the apartments hadn’t filled due to the strict qualification requirements. Residents must be 62 or older and “very, very, very – three veries – low income,” she says.

“They were offering me such a sweet deal on the rent that I figured it would be a dump. And I was very pleasantly surprised to find how nice it is,” says Roger Hanelt, who had been homeless before moving into Jennings Court. “It’s been a very healing environment for me. Because I’ve gone through highs and lows and this place was definitely a rescue.”

Campbell remembers, “The day we got in, I stayed most of the time looking at the courtyard, so beautiful. Now I watch the seasons change with all of these trees outside my front door.”

Jennings Court has 54 apartments that look out on a central courtyard that contains a garden tended by the residents and a fountain donated by Spring Lake Village, another Covia community in Santa Rosa. It was built through a partnership between Covia and Burbank Housing with funding from HUD and the city of Santa Rosa. Along with housing, Jennings Court provides service coordination and programs such as a weekly Market Day and monthly visit from the Bookmobile.

Colley remembers “When we had our very first welcome party out in the patio out there, I just ran around to anyone who looked like they were a suit and said, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’

Before she moved in, “I remember thinking, ‘oh, well, I’ll have to let that thought go. I’m never going to have my own new place. And then God blessed me with this. And I just have a wonderful new apartment. Everything in it was new. It smelled new. There were no residual crumbs in the drawers that anybody had missed. So. Gratitude.”

“I kept telling myself how fortunate I was. I’m still poor as a church mouse but I’m not unhappy,” says Campbell. “Every time I think about Jennings Court when I’m away from it, it’s home.”