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Photos show what life was like in Sonoma County in 1999

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For those 40 and older, 1999 seems like yesterday.

It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since The Sopranos aired for the first time and Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France.

Closer to home, Petaluma’s Telecom Valley was growing. A half-dozen startups, representing a combined investment of more than $30 million, opened in Petaluma that year, joining industry heavyweights Advanced Fibre Communications, Alcatel, Cisco and Nokia.

Those investments extended into the community when Cisco engineers Paul Elliott, Keith Neuendorff and two unnamed colleagues, paid an undisclosed amount to save the historic Phoenix Theater from a Sebastopol developer who planned to convert the former opera house, built in 1905, into a three-story office building.

In Santa Rosa, a team of elite runners were gathering speed at Montgomery High School. Sara Bei (Hall) and Kim Conley went on to future success in college and beyond, both qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Conley competed in the 2012 and 2016 in 10,000-meter and 5000-meter events.

In the northern reaches of the Redwood Empire, Julia “Butterfly” Hill came down from her two-year tree sit in “Luna,” the roughly 1,500-year-old Humboldt County redwood she saved from logging by the now-defunct Pacific Lumber Co.

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