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Voices of Vets

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Billions of dollars, countless lost lives and nine years of occupation later, U.S. troops are returning from Iraq. But with an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and an ongoing recession, will the return home for veterans be jubilant, or the beginning of a struggle to reintegrate into regular society? This month, the Petaluma Historical Museum contributes to the conversation with an exhibit and speaker series. Sentinels, a collection of 18 charcoal drawings of soldiers illustrated by Vietnam vet Mike Dowdall, runs through Jan. 29. Proceeds from the sale of Sentinel posters benefit Vet Connect, a nonprofit that helps former military members and their families gain access to available services and benefits.

The exhibit's concurrent speaker series, "Coming Home," brings to life the issues facing modern-day soldiers. Josh Fowler, a veteran's representative who served his Iraq USMC tour of duty in 2003, discusses his own experience on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 4pm. The series continues Jan. 28–29 at the Petaluma Historical Museum. 20 Fourth St., Petaluma. Free. 707.778.4398.

If those behind the Right to Know ballot initiative have their way, California will be the first state with mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. Currently, their goal is to get the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the November ballot. Those passionate about food transparency and undermining Monsanto's stranglehold on the food supply may be interested to find out more at a volunteer training session on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Sunrise Center. 645 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera. 2pm. 415.924.9559.—Leilani Clark

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