By Ann Leonard

I attended the annual Martin Luther King Celebration at the Sonora High Auditorium earlier this month. As has been the case for the past two years, the auditorium was filled to capacity by people who no longer want to see our country divided whether that be by race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation or sexual identity or preference.

Many people in that audience I know to be volunteers. They volunteer in their churches. They volunteer at ATCAA. They volunteer at the Lambert Center so the homeless can come in to get warm in the winter. They volunteer for Vets Helping Vets and at various thrift shops in the community and at the Senior Center where they prepare food or deliver food to homebound seniors.

All of these people are working to make this a better community and a better world.

When my sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Austin, Texas, he was amazed that the people in Sonora stop for you when you are trying to cross the street or wave you into a main street when you are entering from a side street.

Because I tell everyone what a caring community I live in, I was dismayed to read the front page of the Democrat recently and to see that Stage 3 was considering suing Doug Kennedy and that he will counter-sue Stage 3 if they do.

I have attended and enjoyed many plays at Stage 3 and fervently want them to have a theater so they can produce more of their excellent performances. And I know Doug Kennedy and know how passionately he cares about making Sonora a more vibrant town with music in a wine and beer garden.

I know how hard he worked with neighbors to mitigate the impact the music might have on their lives. So with caring people on both sides of the issue, I implore both parties to sit down with a mediator to work out differences in a way which is win-win not only for Stage 3 and Doug Kennedy but for the whole community.

The Arts Council would like to buy the Dome for a nominal fee so it could house and feature all the wonderful artistic talents in our community. It would be a wonderful place for Stage 3 to present its works.

It has a beautiful large room big enough for symphonies and dance performances. It would be a beacon on the hill bringing tourists to our area from the valley and beyond improving the local economy for all of us. And if Stage 3 were to withdraw its demand, it’s very possible that Doug Kennedy with all his expertise would be willing to help make this happen.

Ann Leonard lives in Sonora.