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Local News

May 20, 2022

Sonoma County set to add more supportive housing

by Noah Abrams
Despite a five percent increase in the number of homeless individuals in Sonoma County since the start of the pandemic, a state program is helping to move people into permanent housing in Sonoma County.…
May 20, 2022

Petaluma nurses look to community for support

by Noah Abrams
You may have noticed nurses picketing recently in front of Petaluma Valley Hospital. In March of 2021, Petaluma Valley Hospital nurses signed a new labor contract following nearly three years of protracted…
watt pic
May 19, 2022

MUSIC NEWS: Alan Watt stops by for Morning Music with Brian (Aired: May 19, 2022)

by Mark Prell
Alan Watt joined Brian Griffith during Morning Music.
May 19, 2022

Next stop, downtown Rohnert Park

by Marc Albert
Plans for a formal downtown to rise on the abandoned State Farm site received a strong but informal vote-of-confidence this week from Rohnert Park's city council. Agreeing conceptually with an approach…
JJ pic2
May 18, 2022

Johnny & June Forever stop by Morning Music with Brian (Aired: May 18, 2022)

by Mark Prell
Danny & Essence perform as Johnny & June Forever - A Tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter. They stopped by to promote their upcoming show on Friday May 20th in the Abbey at HopMonk Tavern Sebastopol. Doors…

NPR News

May 19, 2022

A recap of this week's primaries

Former President Trump is playing a big role on the Republican side — in states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina — endorsing Republican candidates who pledged loyalty to him.
May 18, 2022

How the U.S. got into this baby formula mess

Like a baby's temper tantrum, the meltdown in the infant formula market has been building for some time. The Food and Drug Administration announced emergency measures this week to
May 16, 2022

Buffalo's poet laureate calls for change

The residents of Buffalo are experiencing immense pain and grief, following the mass shooting at a supermarket in a historically Black neighborhood. Jillian Hanesworth's advice to her community is
May 15, 2022

For Ben Franklin, abortion was basic arithmetic

NPR's Emily Feng speaks with Molly Farrell from The Ohio State University on why Ben Franklin included instructions for at-home abortions in his reference book, The American Instructor.
May 15, 2022

Tops is more than a Buffalo supermarket

The Tops supermarket where Saturday's fatal shootings took place is a store Black Buffalo residents fought for years to get. Its temporary closure has left neighbors scrambling to find food.
May 15, 2022

Morning news brief

Buffalo is reeling from a racist attack that killed 10 people. Investigators are looking at a statement posted online in relation to the shooting. The U.S. nears another grim COVID-19
May 14, 2022

What we know so far about the Buffalo mass shooting

A white, 18-year-old gunman allegedly carried out a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others, according to authorities. Almost
May 14, 2022

Why NPR isn't using the word 'manifesto'

Any decision involving how to cover a mass shooting is by definition difficult and to some extent a balancing act. We have a duty to inform listeners and readers
May 10, 2022

U.S. gas prices hit another record high

With the summer driving season about to take off, gas prices just hit another record. People are frustrated, especially because they're already paying more for everything because of high inflation.
May 09, 2022

The Work-From-Home climate challenge

The pandemic working-from-home regime imposed on many white-collar workers might have seemed like a gift for the climate. Fewer commutes, fewer cars on the road, fewer lights on in
May 09, 2022

In Texas, abortion laws inhibit care for miscarriages

As the Supreme Court appears poised to return abortion regulation to the states, recent experience in Texas illustrates that medical care for miscarriages and dangerous ectopic pregnancies would also
May 08, 2022

Here are the 2022 Pulitzer Prize news winners

Two Florida newspapers have taken the top awards in the 2022 Pulitzer Prize news categories, announced on Monday afternoon. The Miami Herald took the prestigious award in breaking
May 07, 2022

When does life begin? Religions don't agree

In a bill introduced this past week, a Louisiana lawmaker describes human life as "created in the image of God" and seeks to make abortion a homicide from the
May 06, 2022

Your guide to a successful Mother's Day

Whether you remembered it or not, Mother's Day is here. While not everyone's holiday will look the same, we've rounded up our best Mother's Day coverage to help everyone
May 05, 2022

7 persistent claims about abortion, fact-checked

Since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ruled that women have a constitutional right to end their pregnancies, proponents and opponents of abortion rights have worked to
May 04, 2022

The status of Iran nuclear deal talks

For weeks, talks between world powers and Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have been stalled — partly because of the war in Ukraine. But they're still a priority
May 04, 2022

Review: Welcome back, 'Star Trek'

The Paramount+ series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds recaptures the sentiment of the original show — a return to a diverse, charismatic group of explorers who prove the value of
May 02, 2022

Republicans face off in the Ohio primary

Political primary season is beginning in earnest, as voters head to the polls in Ohio and Indiana. The marquee races are in Ohio, led by that state's open U.S. Senate
May 02, 2022

The original Roe v. Wade ruling was leaked, too

The news site Politico sent shockwaves across the country Monday night when it published what appears to be an initial draft majority opinion — written by Justice Samuel Alito
Apr 28, 2022

The L.A. Riots, 30 years later

Lora King was 7 years old when she saw the black and white video on television news, grainy footage of four police officers savagely beating a Black man.
Apr 28, 2022

The LA Riots, 30 years later

Lora King was 7 years old when she saw the black and white video on television news, grainy footage of four police officers savagely beating a Black man.
Apr 28, 2022

QuiltWeek is finally back on in Kentucky

In Paducah, Ky., AQS QuiltWeek is back after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Tens of thousands of people are flocking there and couldn't be happier to celebrate this
Apr 28, 2022

The 1944 law behind the CDC's authority

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Lawrence Gostin, professor of public health law at Georgetown, about the Public Health Service Act — which authorizes the CDC to set measures to combat
Apr 27, 2022

FDA proposes menthol cigarette ban

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes and all types of flavors in cigars. The agency says the ban would significantly reduce disease and death
Apr 27, 2022

The FDA is proposing a ban on menthol cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes and all cigar flavorings, except for tobacco flavor, the agency said Thursday. The agency says the proposal
Apr 26, 2022

The future of Title 42

The future of the pandemic order Title 42 that gave the government power to quickly expel migrants remains in limbo in the courts. DHS Secretary Mayorkas is testifying on Capitol
Apr 26, 2022

Youth poet Jessica Kim is in for a revolution

To celebrate National Poetry Month, we're introducing listeners to poets competing to be the next National Youth Poet Laureate. The fourth finalist is Jessica Kim representing Los Angeles.
Apr 25, 2022

'A Strange Loop,' finally, comes to Broadway

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Michael R. Jackson, a composer, playwright and lyricist who won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for his musical A Strange Loop. The musical is opening on
May 18, 2022

New strategy for those in crisis already paying dividends

An initiative sending crisis counselors to certain emergency calls, rather than police, is showing great promise in Santa Rosa. That's where officials reported progress to the public Monday evening on the now four-month-old program. John Cregan, Santa Rosa's interim police chief, gave the rollout of inRESPONSE, high…
Marc Albert
May 17, 2022

Sonoma County to examine fractional ownership

Sonoma County officials recently gave the go-ahead for staff to explore possible new regulations around fractional ownership. There are some similarities between what many know as time shares and fractional ownership. Companies like Pacaso sell partial ownership rights to homes, and serve as the property managers.…
Greta Mart
May 15, 2022

Santa Rosa to test e-scooter pilot program for one year

The city of Santa Rosa will be adding up to 200 shared electric scooters, or e-scooters, to its streets for a pilot program that will begin this summer. E-scooter programs have emerged in other American cities and have proven popular and green modes of transportation. But they have also led to injuries, obstruction of…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
May 12, 2022

Who judges aspiring judges? You have a rare chance right now

Near the bottom of June's ballot, beneath races for state treasurer and the board of equalization, locals will have the opportunity to choose two of the sixteen judges serving on the Sonoma County Superior Court. They may not make the news like governors or senators, but judicial rulings can have impacts, even if they…
Marc Albert
May 12, 2022

County launches effort to convert 100 existing dwellings into affordable housing

With a lack of affordable housing, and years long, often fruitless waiting lists, Sonoma County is trying a new tack. Officials Monday announced an effort to make one hundred existing dwellings affordable by recruiting some property owners into a federal housing program. "The main goal is to get additional affordable…
Marc Albert
May 12, 2022

COVID tide again on rise

Another spike in COVID cases continues growing in Sonoma County, officials said late Wednesday afternoon, but widespread vaccinations appear to be mainly taming the worst aspects of the pandemic. Dr. Sundari Mase is Sonoma County's health officer. "While our case rate is now twenty-six new cases per-day, per-100,000…
Marc Albert
May 11, 2022

Brad Coscarelli talks his vision for county superintendent

Sonoma County will elect a new superintendent of schools next month. Three candidates are hoping to replace the retiring Steve Harrington. They are: Brad Coscarelli, Amie Carter and Ron Meza Calloway. As part of our ongoing June 7th primary election coverage KRCB gets to know the candidates, next up: Brad Coscarelli.…
Noah Abrams
May 11, 2022

Santa Rosa adopts new pension strategy

Santa Rosa officials voted Tuesday on a new strategy to fund city pensions. According to Santa Rosa’s Chief Financial Officer, Alan Alton, pension costs account for 62% of the city’s benefits budget. Approved by a unanimous vote, the new strategy involves shifting to what's called section 115 trusts, named after the…
Noah Abrams
May 09, 2022

Endangered abalone win federal mating help

Once a coastal staple, abalone have become about as rare as a hen's tooth. That could eventually change. Federal scientists are recommending state officials accept close to a million dollars to turn the tide for two dwindling abalone species. Scientists want to narrow down what's caused the crash in black abalone and…
Marc Albert
May 09, 2022

Simple practices can partly blunt some climate change impacts

Though still frequently shrouded in fog, climatic conditions in Sonoma County, like the rest of the world, are changing. While large scale efforts remain hostage to political intrigue, there are practical, small scale ways to limit impacts locally. Along with oak, raspberry and mango notes, recent local grape harvests…
Marc Albert
May 06, 2022

Rival groups clash over narrative on vineyard workers

A group of vineyard workers attended the Sonoma County board of supervisors meeting this week to speak out. The workersrepresent a new industry group, the Sonoma Wine Industry for Safe Employees, or Sonoma WISE, and they contradicted claims from a well-known local labor advocacy group. Showing up en masse, the more…
Noah Abrams
May 05, 2022

Huffman: battle to save Roe decision not over

Demonstrators gathered Tuesday night in San Francisco, Santa Rosa and elsewhere across the nation, reacting to a leaked supreme court opinion suggesting the 49-year-old Roe V. Wade decision will be soon overturned. For insight into how the nation's majority Democrats might stem the tide, KRCB's Marc Albert spoke with…
Marc Albert
May 03, 2022

Healdsburg: Council member resigns

A Healdsburg City Council member abruptly resigned Monday, citing "housing instability" and "hostile treatment" in her resignation letter. Skylaer Palacios announced her resignation from the council at the end of the body's Monday night meeting, roughly 18 months after being elected to the seat. In addition to the…
Eli Walsh/Bay City News
May 03, 2022

Conjuring a downtown for Rohnert Park

After a number of 'false starts,' Rohnert Park may soon receive a long-awaited downtown. The site has potential. Plenty of it. Right now, there's not much other than a concrete slab for a building torn down long ago, a cracked, meandering road lined in spots with rosebushes gone wild. From the fence, it's a meadow of…
Marc Albert
Apr 29, 2022

Unease grips Sonoma State campus

"So disappointing, so disheartening, so demoralizing." Those are the words of Michaela Grobbel, professor of German at Sonoma State University and a senator at large, representing all faculty, in the University’s Academic Senate. On April 13th the Press Democrat published revelations that Sonoma State had paid…
Noah Abrams
Apr 28, 2022

Santa Rosa greenlights more affordable housing

A large, affordable housing complex in Santa Rosa is closer to breaking ground. If all goes according to plan, 135 local families struggling to keep a roof over their heads, will find safe harbor in December of next year. That's when the three-story Aviara apartments on West College Avenue should welcome its first…
Marc Albert
Apr 27, 2022

Kincade Fire payout goes towards local fire resiliency org

Local agencies and nonprofits are set to receive various windfall payouts following Sonoma County settlement with PG&E over the Kincaid Fire. One of the recipients is Fire Safe Sonoma. Fire Safe Sonoma has been working on coordination and securing grants for local fire prevention efforts for 25 years. The nonprofit's…
Noah Abrams
Apr 27, 2022

Amie Carter lays out positions for school superintendent campaign

This year after over a decade of Steve Harrington in the role, Sonoma County will have a new superintendent of schools. The position heads up the Sonoma County Office of Education, oversees county-wide education initiatives, and maintains fiscal oversight for Sonoma County’s 40 school districts. Three candidates are…
Noah Abrams
Apr 26, 2022

Local Sunrise Movement chapter calls for expanded public transit

On Earth Day Sunrise Sonoma County marched from Santa Rosa Junior College to the county supervisor chambers. Sunrise SoCo is the local chapter of the national youth-fueled Sunrise movement aiming to put pressure on elected officials to meaningfully act on the climate crisis. Organized in coordination with Sonoma…
Noah Abrams
Apr 26, 2022

Chopper noise, exhaust to go under review

Residents east of downtown Santa Rosa don't expect the silence of a remote mountain village. But their patience with the thumping whoosh of helicopter blades wore thin long ago. Next week, that may start changing. That's because a new contract between the county and what's now Providence-Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital,…
Marc Albert
Apr 25, 2022

Yet another setback for PG&E wildfire victims

All roads lead to Sacramento. That's one takeaway from the convoluted series of events that led to tens of thousands of PG&E wildfire victims losing one of their top advocates in the state Capitol this week -- just one day after veteran lobbyist Patrick McCallum pitched Gov. Gavin Newsom's staff on the idea of a $1.5…
Emily Hoeven/CalMatters
Apr 22, 2022

Artists across mediums welcome for Creative Sonoma's call for public art

A new initiative aiming to pepper Sonoma County with diverse and whimsical art pieces is welcoming applicants. While sculptors and muralists are welcome, Kristen Madson, director of Creative Sonoma, said the call out is actually more broad. "We're interested in seeing how any genre can engage and enliven our public…
Marc Albert
Apr 20, 2022

Sonoma Water bills set to rise

Most locals will be digging a little deeper into their pockets to pay their water bills in the months ahead. Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a roughly 6.5% rate increase on wholesale water prices. Officials from Sonoma Water though said ratepayers will be mostly shielded from the increase though…
Marc Albert
Apr 19, 2022

Minor league baseball coming to Santa Rosa

Professional baseball is coming to Santa Rosa. The city has approved the use of Doyle Park for use by a new team called the Santa Rosa Scuba Divers. One of the newest members of the Pecos League, an independent professional minor baseball league, the Santa Rosa Scuba Divers will play their inaugural home game on May…
Noah Abrams
Apr 19, 2022

Graton tribe plans Rohnert Park casino expansion

The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria in Sonoma County are seeking to expand the Graton Resort & Casino by as much as 50 percent, according to a notice of preparation filed by the tribe earlier this month. In addition, Sonoma County is seeking input from the community regarding the proposed project. The tribe…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Apr 19, 2022

Give pupping harbor seals a wide berth, say local wildlife experts

In a natural, annual spectacle tens of thousands of harbor seals are ashore, nursing newborns in small groups and giant colonies. Federal scientists charged with protecting the speckled marine mammals say beachgoers fairly frequently misinterpret what they're seeing. Sarah Codde is a marine ecologist with the National…
Marc Albert
Apr 15, 2022

COVID vaccine requirement postponed for school kids

State lawmakers and the Newsom administration are pausing plans to implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements for K-through-12 students. The California Department of Public Health announced it won’t move forward with requiring the COVID-19 vaccine in schools until at least the 2023 school year. That’s because the FDA…
Nicole Nixon/Capital Public Radio
Apr 13, 2022

Wall wins Windsor town council seat

Windsor voters have chosen Mike Wall to join the town's council, as results in a special election there continue to be tallied following Tuesday's mostly mail-in balloting. Preliminary results showed Wall with a commanding lead over Stephanie Ahmad. The choice for voters may have hinged on plans to build a civic…
Marc Albert
Apr 13, 2022

Fountain and community faith restored after holocaust memorial vandalized

A simple, four-sided pedestal with four faucets for ritual handwashing was recently re-installed at Santa Rosa Memorial Park after being damaged a second time in two years. Intended as a place of reflection to honor victims of the Nazis, repeated vandalism has left a feeling of unease among some in the local Jewish…
Marc Albert
Apr 12, 2022

Northern Sonoma County fire district expands

Sonoma County officials recently approved tax and revenue sharing agreements with the Northern Sonoma County Fire District (NSCFD), which will annex areas like the Geysers, Sotoyome, Fitch Mountain and Red Slide/Mill Creek Road. This increases the Northern District’s footprint from 273 square miles to just under 400…
Adam Bernard
Apr 12, 2022

Local actress debuts first feature film

Actress and writer C.M. Conway, who lives in Occidental, decided her book idea could be a fit for the big screen. So she recruited film industry friends and acquaintances from around the state to help her shoot the film at the end of 2019. For so many who make their way to Los Angeles in hopes of a star turn - those…
Noah Abrams
Apr 11, 2022

County drops criminal charges against PG&E over Kincade Fire

Sonoma County is nearing a civil settlement with utility Pacific Gas & Electric over responsibility for 2019's Kincade Fire. In a Monday morning hearing, lawyers representing Sonoma County District Jill Ravitch told Judge Mark Urioste that progress was made toward settling the civil case Friday before another judge.…
Marc Albert
Apr 07, 2022

Amy's Kitchen responds to alleged workplace controversies

Petaluma-based food company Amy’s Kitchen has come under increased scrutiny in recent months following a controversial NBC News report on working conditions in its Santa Rosa factory. Last week KRCB spoke with local union organizers, who alleged unsafe working conditions. To hear the company's viewpoint, on Wednesday,…
Noah Abrams
Apr 06, 2022

Changes coming to Cloverdale waste collection

When State Senate Bill 1383’s organic waste and food diversion regulations took effect at the beginning of this year, municipalities up and down the state found themselves needing to develop new capacity for composting. As well as new oversight for diverting unused edible food to recovery services for redistribution…
Noah Abrams
Apr 06, 2022

Former SoCo sheriff candidate found dead

Many in the law enforcement community and in the city of Healdsburg are in shock, coming to terms with news that Kevin Burke, until recently the well-liked chief of Healdsburg Police, has died. Burke's body was reportedly discovered Tuesday evening during a welfare check by Healdsburg police. Healdsburg Mayor Osvaldo…
Marc Albert
Apr 06, 2022

Petaluma to confront race, equity issues

City leaders Monday unanimously directed city manager Peggy Flynn to finalize a multi-pronged effort. That includes a city equity czar and an independent city commission along with further police oversight. The ideas were advanced by a special advisory committee, tasked with improving diversity, equity and inclusion,…
Marc Albert
Apr 04, 2022

The Sonoma County "First News" Podcast from KRCB 104.9

The Sonoma County FIRST NEWS podcast is available for download now. Subscribe now to the weekday news podcast that offers the top local stories and weather forecast you need to start your day. Get Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural…
Darren LaShelle
Apr 04, 2022

State Water Board may extend restrictions to Russian River water

A current regulation that curtails water rights in the Russian River watershed is set to expire in July. But that may be extended due to the continuing drought. State Water Resources Control Board officials have released a draft emergency regulation to extend the curtailments and clarify some of its requirements. The…
Bay City News
Apr 04, 2022

Santa Rosa youth organizations unveil new public mural

New public art is on display in Santa Rosa’s West End neighborhood. Nestled between Sixth Street and SMART train tracks, the Assistance League of Sonoma County’s Thrift Shop is home to a new mural. On the building's east wall, the project's title is Transforming Lives Strengthening Community and it was made in…
Noah Abrams
Apr 04, 2022

Opposition to proposed Windsor-area casino growing

A proposed Native American-owned casino just south of Windsor is running into official opposition. Sonoma County supervisors are being asked Tuesday to consider officially opposing a planned multibillion dollar gaming operation on what's now a vineyard off Shiloh Road south of Windsor. Leadership of the Koi Nation, a…
Marc Albert
Apr 01, 2022

Lively debate as supervisor candidates spar over Sonoma County's future

Five candidates contesting two county supervisor seats met for a wide-ranging and well-structured debate Thursday evening. It was organized by Los Cien, a council of local Latino leaders. Housing prices, law enforcement accountability, racist incidents driving away county leaders, evictions, and the possible…
Marc Albert
Apr 01, 2022

Community health clinics nearing financial brink as COVID reimbursement lags

In the pandemic emergency, Sonoma County clinics providing care to the neediest, say they're being left out in the cold. Another wrinkle in the Rube Goldberg-esque world of American medical care---clinics that have distributed six million vaccine doses to California's un- and under-insured are still awaiting…
Marc Albert
Apr 01, 2022

Petaluma: reduction in parking could cut vehicle trips, emissions

Setting a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 is easy enough. Making it happen though, as Petaluma officials are learning, involves a lot of moving parts. Meeting for more than three hours Monday, elected and appointed leaders spoke of moves to significantly reduce the amount of vehicle parking in Petaluma. The goal…
Marc Albert
Apr 01, 2022

Tensions mount at Amy's Kitchen Santa Rosa facility

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a series of interviews and reporting on workplace conditions and unionization efforts at the Amy's Kitchen production facility in Santa Rosa. Part two, a response from Amy's Kitchen company officials, will air early next week. Tensions remain high at the Amy’s Kitchen production…
Noah Abrams
Apr 01, 2022

Santa Rosa selects new city council district map

Santa Rosa is in the final stages of its redistricting process. The city council chose a new map Tuesday, and heads for final approval on April 12th. The new map, called version A2, preserves the current boundaries of districts 1, 6, and 7, which cover parts of Roseland and Coffey Park. And the neighborhoods west of…
Noah Abrams
Mar 31, 2022

Sonoma County candidate forum moves online

With a focus on equity, candidates for Sonoma County’s 2nd and 4th district supervisor seats will gather virtually for a debate Thursday evening. Click here for a link to Los Cien's website to register for the online Zoom session. As the Press Democrat reports, the forum was originally scheduled to be in-person at…
Greta Mart
Mar 30, 2022

Microbusiness grant program taking local applicants

There’s new grant money available for very small businesses in California. Officially called the Microbusiness Covid-19 relief grant program, it’s administered statewide by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, or CalOSBA. It gives out grants up to $2,500. In Sonoma County, the Economic Development…
Noah Abrams
Mar 29, 2022

Santa Rosa Zine Fest successfully returns

The Santa Rosa Zine Fest, a celebration of the DIY publication style, returns this week for its second annual event after a hiatus in 2021. The festival includes a series of webinars on topics like “liberation through art,” demonstrations on printing and binding methods, and a Spanish language workshop on lithography.…
Noah Abrams
Mar 29, 2022

Petaluma nears last steps in redistricting process

Petaluma is in the final stages of its redistricting process. The Petaluma City Council chose a new district map by a six-to-one vote, the map will be finalized on April 4th. The new map is an amended version of a map submitted by a member of the public and splits Petaluma into six electoral districts. It’s the first…
Noah Abrams
Mar 26, 2022

Another local city prohibits new gas stations

Earlier this week, a third city followed Petaluma and Sebastopol in prohibiting construction of new gasoline stations. While not the first, Monday's vote in Rohnert Park banning new gas stations is perhaps more consequential. The quote "friendly city" isn't usually thought of as at the forefront of climate politics.…
Marc Albert
Mar 26, 2022

Travelers returning to skies, airport poised for growth

After a COVID induced lull, fewer people are shying away from taking to the air locally. Figures from last month show a rebound in travelers alighting or arriving at Charles Schultz-Sonoma County Airport. Jon Stout is the airport's manager. "At the end of the year, we were doing better than 2019 numbers but then the…
Marc Albert
Mar 24, 2022

Graton Chairman details tribal relationship with controlled fire

Facing persistent catastrophic wildfire risk, landowners and government agencies are using controlled burns to mitigate that risk. Sonoma County property owners looking to use prescriptive fire can turn to the Good Fire Alliance. That’s the prescribed burn association which helps organize controlled burns in Sonoma…
Noah Abrams
Mar 24, 2022

Scale, wildlife, traffic and affordability key issues shaping SDC redevelopment

While bold and transformative still describes plans to redevelop a sprawling Sonoma Valley campus, community feedback received Tuesday generally favored a less ambitious future for the Sonoma Developmental Center. Roughly 80 people met online Tuesday evening, in the first of two hearings to brainstorm policies that…
Marc Albert
Mar 23, 2022

Cotati tables urban agriculture ordinance

More commercial farming won’t be coming anytime soon to Cotati. A decision on a new proposed local law addressing urban agriculture in the central Sonoma County city of 7500 has been pushed to a later date. Cotati city council members have tabled the hotly contested ordinance following over two hours of deliberation…
Noah Abrams
Mar 23, 2022

Meetings to narrow options for SDC redevelopment

There's more opportunity for public input this week on what's next for the Sonoma Development Center. While the future outlines of the nearly thousand acre Sonoma Valley campus remain mostly conceptual---housing, jobs, environmental and historical preservation---officials on Tuesday and Saturday are soliciting input…
Marc Albert
Mar 23, 2022

Fed $$$ to help recycle water in Petaluma

They say that every drop counts. Whether that holds true regardless of the source was put to the test in Petaluma Monday. The city council there was asked to consider requesting federal help to turn sewage into water for local and agricultural irrigation. Federal funds can cover up to a quarter of the full freight,…
Marc Albert
Mar 23, 2022

Santa Rosa moves forward on housing homeless veterans

Plans for a contentious supportive housing facility for veterans in southwest Santa Rosa are moving forward. The Santa Rosa City Council rejected an appeal to halt the project. The project, which aims to subdivide and redevelop a roughly two acre plot off Hearn Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa, was advanced by a 5-2…
Noah Abrams
Mar 18, 2022

Rock and rolling brothers drop debut album

Rock and Roll isn’t dead yet. At least not in Sonoma County. This first clip is a cut from the track Rock and Roll off the Gill Brothers Band debut self titled album. Jacob and Connor Gill, the namesake rockers and brothers behind the up and coming Gill Brothers Band hail from neighboring Lake County but currently…
Noah Abrams
Mar 17, 2022

Plans for SRJC pedestrian corridor nixed

The city of Santa Rosa has nixed a proposed pedestrian corridor on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus. Santa Rosa city officials dashed the hopes of Santa Rosa Junior College administrators, who were trying to see a section of Elliot Avenue, which splits the northern and southern sides of campus, restricted to…
Noah Abrams
Mar 17, 2022

Teacher's strike continues

Rohnert Park and Cotati educators continue to strike. That’s despite the union and district’s negotiation teams meeting with a mediator from the California Public Employment Relations Board, known as PERB. RPCEA, the teacher’s union, delivered a letter Tuesday detailing the budget viability of their wage demands to…
Noah Abrams
Mar 16, 2022

Cannabis growers win temporary tax reprieve

A partial tax holiday for struggling cannabis growers won approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The board's action, after lengthy debate, temporarily cuts cultivation taxes by nearly half through the middle of next year. And, the cut is retroactive to last July. Cultivation taxes vary widely,…
Marc Albert
Mar 16, 2022

Local BIPOC art group helps uplift community

When Isabel Lopez was a student at Santa Rosa High School’s ArtQuest program, she says she felt invisible as one of few Latina students enrolled in the program. Lopez went on to graduate from Sacramento State, before taking a corporate job.. When her position was moved out of state, Lopez says she sensed an…
Noah Abrams
Mar 16, 2022

Rise in anti-Semitic incidents causes concern

Communities across the Bay Area have seen a spate of anti-Semitic incidents in recent months, including some allegedly perpetrated by a Sonoma County-based hate group. As one of the world’s foremost anti-hate organizations, the Anti-Defamation League or ADL is, "Often the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur."…
Noah Abrams
Mar 16, 2022

Sheriff's chopper wins another reprieve

Facing a financial conundrum, Sonoma County supervisors Tuesday punted a decision on the future of the sheriff's department's helicopter. In the end, one-time money will keep the whirlybird in the air another year, but a day of reckoning lies ahead for a county helicopter mainly used for law enforcement. The chopper…
Marc Albert
Mar 14, 2022

Kincade Fire trial postponed again

A preliminary hearing in a trial assessing utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric's culpability in the 2019 Kincade Fire was rescheduled to next month. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Mark Urioste told attorneys for both the county and PG&E that this would be the final extension. The case, which is seeking…
Marc Albert
Mar 14, 2022

"Safe parking" sites for homeless roll out amid hope and trepidation

The first of fifty families living out of their cars and RVs rolled into a Santa Rosa parking lot this month. That's as an experimental 'safe parking' program, long pushed by advocates, finally launched in Santa Rosa. Meanwhile, public pressure forced city leaders to torpedo a similar program in the Central Coast city…
Marc Albert
Mar 14, 2022

Supes violated state 'open-meetings' law at least twice during redistricting process

Sonoma County supervisors violated the state's open meeting laws twice last year as they worked to redraw political boundaries. That's according to a determination by Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch. The findings are unlikely to force any changes to recently-approved district maps, as the violations of…
Marc Albert
Mar 11, 2022

Guerneville turns out to support Ukraine

Locals from Guerneville and elsewhere gathered Friday evening to show support and solidarity with Ukraine, as the Russian invasion of the east European nation enters its third week. About 100 people turned out around sunset, some wearing yellow and blue stickers, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. A handful of people…
Marc Albert
Mar 10, 2022

Civilian volunteer crews help mitigate wildfire risk

On a recent cold morning in the steep hills outside Healdsburg, a team of volunteers with Audubon Canyon Ranch’s Fire Forward program managed a controlled burn. The program is designed, in the words of its founders, to bring a unique blend of science-based program design and community organizing to fire prevention and…
Noah Abrams
Mar 10, 2022

Rohnert Park-Cotati teachers strike for increased wages

Teachers and employees of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District went on strike Thursday, primarily over wages. That’s after months of negotiations hit a standstill. Over 90 percent of Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association, or RPCEA, members voted Monday to authorize a strike if the union’s demands were…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News and Noah Abrams/KRCB
Mar 10, 2022

NorCal Public Media Honors Harry L. Rubins 1938-2022

NorCal Public Media commemorates the life and community leadership of longtime Board of Directors member Harry Rubins who passed away in his sleep at his home in Santa Rosa on the morning of March 4th, 2022, at the age of 84. The Board of Directors, Community Advisory Council, and NorCal staff are thankful for the 12…
Darren LaShelle
Mar 10, 2022

Just when you thought it was safe(r), new deadly variant multiplying

With new illnesses continuing to drop and masking requirements at schools set to end after Friday, the two year COVID nightmare is over, or perhaps not. Although national political figures have been signaling the epidemic is all but over, another variant, BA.2, sometimes called omicron II, is rising fast. Media…
Marc Albert
Mar 09, 2022

Sonoma Valley school district censures trustee for multiple ethical violations

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District voted to censure trustee John Kelly on Tuesday night after an independent investigation found that he "abused his position of authority" as board president by violating the board's policies, regulations, bylaws, and ethical duties. The investigation was prompted by former…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Mar 09, 2022

Cotati and Rohnert Park teachers set to strike

A teachers' union said members will strike Thursday if the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District fails to agree to a fact finder's recommendations issued last week to resolve the dispute. According to a Monday news release from Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association, the fact finder's recommendations more…
Greta Mart and Bay City News
Mar 08, 2022

Petaluma finalizes council districts, moves ahead with big development

Officials advanced a final option outlining new council districts in Petaluma Monday evening, and took a crucial step, approving parts of a major mixed-use development. Throughout the process, it was no-one on the council's first choice, but after lengthy debate, Petaluma officials chose what they called 'option 2,'…
Marc Albert
Mar 08, 2022

Santa Rosa High dedicates track to beloved coach

For nearly three decades, track and field athletes at Santa Rosa High were greeted by the familiar face of Coach Doug Courtemarche. He coached track and field for 27 years, from 1992 to 2019. Following his retirement, current head coach Carrie Joseph who served as an assistant and co-coach to Courtemarche for 23 years…
Noah Abrams
Mar 08, 2022

Former Ambassador speaks to Sonoma County-Ukraine connections

Steven Pifer’s journey to the US Embassy in Kyiv had numerous stops along the way. He spent time at US Embassies in London, Warsaw, and Moscow, as well as time at the White House. That was before being appointed as the third United States Ambassador to Ukraine by President Bill Clinton in 1998. His journey began…
Noah Abrams
Mar 07, 2022

Limited cooperation between ICE, sheriff

Fear of arrest and deportation remains an issue in Sonoma County according to activists, despite limits on cooperation between local and immigration authorities detailed in a special county meeting last week. During public comment Wednesday evening, speaker after speaker urged an end to any and all communication…
Marc Albert
Mar 03, 2022

Santa Rosa takes more action to combat homelessness

Santa Rosa city officials took more action this week towards tackling homelessness. The Santa Rosa city council has unanimously agreed to apply for up to thirteen million dollars in grants from the state’s Homekey program. It’s also approved hiring a consultancy company called Focus Strategies to help the city figure…
Noah Abrams
Mar 01, 2022

School masking rules set to become history

Masking up against COVID in public schools is about to move from current events to history. Once they head home from school on Friday, March 11, Sonoma County students can ditch their masks. That's because broad rules requiring students to 'mask-up' at public schools throughout California, Oregon and Washington, are…
Marc Albert
Mar 01, 2022

Plans for new Cloverdale medical center approved

Northern Sonoma County residents will have access to a new healthcare facility in the coming years. A three to one city council vote approved environmental and design documents for Alexander Valley Healthcare’s proposed Alexander Valley Wellness Center. City councilmember Cruz recused herself from the vote. The…
Noah Abrams
Feb 28, 2022

Dozens of Petaluma's homeless to receive housing

Five dozen people surviving at encampments in Petaluma, will be re-housed and receive support, thanks to an infusion of state cash announced by Governor Gavin Newsom. Tents and shanties will be removed and impromptu campsites cleared. Newsom, who spent part of Thursday heaving scrap metal and bicycle tires from an…
Marc Albert
Feb 25, 2022

Physical scars left by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa should be addressed soon

Long awaited repairs to a half dozen local parks and streets damaged four and a half years ag o when flames raced from Calistoga to U.S. 101 and beyond, will soon be getting underway. That's the short version of a detailed narrative laid out to the city council this week by Assistant City Manager Jason Nutt. Much of…
Marc Albert
Feb 25, 2022

Race for Sonoma County Sheriff 2022

The Race for Sonoma County Sheriff has four candidates vying for the office. If one of the candidates receives 50% of the vote plus one on the Primary Day June 7, 2022, that candidate will win the race and will not be required to participate in a runoff vote on Election Day November 8, 2022. NorCal Public Media offers…
Feb 24, 2022

Sonoma County sheriff candidate: Eddie Engram

In late January, three of the four candidates running for Sonoma County sheriff participated in a virtual forum organized by the South Park Coalition Neighborhood group. Dave Edmonds, Carl Tennenbaum and Kevin Burke each had thirty minutes to address the assembled community members. One candidate, however, was missing…
Mark Prell
Feb 24, 2022

Catholic Charities to continue as main aid provider for Santa Rosa homeless

After considering alternatives, Santa Rosa officials opted to stick with Catholic Charities as operator of the city's largest homeless shelter and primary provider of social services. The vote was unanimous, capping a process that sought other groups to potentially take over the Samuel L Jones homeless shelter and…
Marc Albert
Feb 23, 2022

"The biggest change to our trash" since 1980s recycling started

If you live in Sonoma County, chances are you already use a food waste bin. And if you don’t, a California law new in ‘2022 compels everyone in the state to sort their food waste from regular trash.It’s called the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. Passed in 2016 and effective as of January 1st, it’s a…
Greta Mart and Noah Abrams
Feb 21, 2022

Guerrero on track to be the first Latina on California Supreme Court

California's governor last week nominated to the state Supreme Court Patricia Guerrero, a San Diego appeals court justice who, if confirmed, would be the first Latina to serve on California's highest court. Colleagues have praised Guerrero for her on-the-job dedication -- so much so that she once finished a criminal…
Byrhonda Lyons/CalMatters
Feb 18, 2022

Potential changes coming to Santa Rosa ambulance services

Santa Rosa is moving forward with reforms to the city’s ambulance service. Santa Rosa Fire Chief Scott Westrope said American Medical Response known as AMR currently delivers ambulance services within the city limits. He said AMR’s quality of service has been in decline though, with an increase of instances of no…
Noah Abrams
Feb 17, 2022

With COVID aid programs ending, Supes ponder transition

With the pandemic's latest wave receding, county officials are fretting over the pending end of federal support. Though far from comprehensive, federal and state aid has supported emergency health care and housing measures against the virus. With many of the programs expiring, county supervisors are envisioning a new…
Marc Albert
Feb 16, 2022

Petaluma moves forward on creating city council districts

Major changes are on the way for local government in Petaluma. Following the threat of litigation, the city is switching to district-based city council election system. Petaluma is currently developing a new political map made up of six districts, each with their own council seat. The new district-based system is a…
Noah Abrams
Feb 15, 2022

Masks will stay in schools after statewide mandate drops

California students will still be required to wear masks for at least two more weeks. That’s according to an announcement from the state’s top health official. Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly Monday said COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are trending downward after the omicron surge. But it ‘s not *quite* at…
Nicole Nixon/Capital Public Radio
Feb 15, 2022

COVID-related housing aid nearly exhausted, 4,000 households still waiting

With thousands of applications still pending for COVID-related housing aid, Sonoma County officials Friday stopped accepting new requests for help. That doesn't mean those still awaiting a reply are out of luck. County spokesman Gilbert Martinez said, "We paused the program, in the sense that we will not be accepting…
Marc Albert
Feb 11, 2022

Natural gas likely to remain in new Healdsburg developments

Electrification. In many cities across California, transitioning away from natural gas and to electric utilities is front and center. For Healdsburg, that process will involve an update of city building codes this year. California is in the midst of major changes to its energy sources. As the state moves closer to a…
Noah Abrams
Feb 11, 2022

Santa Rosa project celebrates meaningful and impactful contributions of BIPOC locals

A member of a lowrider club at the United Nations. An indigenous Marine veteran. An Obama administration official leaving to become president of Santa Rosa Junior College. These are all stories told through a city-sponsored project in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa’s Multicultural Roots Project aims to highlight the singular…
Noah Abrams
Feb 11, 2022

Appeal of Cloverdale apartment complex nixed

Cloverdale leaders Wednesday rejected an appeal, bringing 75 affordable apartments there a little closer to reality. There's still plenty that could delay or scupper the plan entirely, but barring a lawsuit, financing remains the only major obstacle. While the project would bring desperately-needed living space within…
Marc Albert
Feb 10, 2022

Plenty of choices, even without a presidential election

There's no presidential election, yet some Sonoma County voters will cast as many as three ballots this year. The first voting is just around the corner in Windsor. That's where, on April 12th, locals will choose from among three hopefuls vying to replace Sam Salmon on the town council. Salmon became mayor when…
Marc Albert
Feb 09, 2022

State restores COVID paid leave, adds $6.1 billion in restaurant relief funds

California's full-time workers will have access to up to 80 hours of COVID-specific paid sick leave through the end of September under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Wednesday. The policy, which state lawmakers approved earlier this week, requires businesses with more than 25 employees to provide at least 40 hours of…
Eli Walsh/Bay City News
Feb 09, 2022

Petaluma area well users could face big bills for ground water

Petaluma officials braced for a flood of criticism Monday as city leaders inched closer to charging those drawing from wells for groundwater. Groundwater supplies, at least as far as anyone knows, are in good shape, officials were told. That's the good news. But the state law establishing… 'groundwater sustainability…
Marc Albert
Feb 04, 2022

Santa Rosa weighing redistricting options

The city of Santa Rosa is undergoing another redistricting effort; it’s required to adopt new political maps following results of the US census. City officials spoke this week with a mapping expert about potential new lines. For years Santa Rosa residents elected their city council representatives on a city-wide…
Noah Abrams
Feb 04, 2022

Santa Rosa looks at selling off surplus property downtown to spur new development

New mixed-use developments may be in downtown Santa Rosa’s future. The city is looking at selling off surplus property to jump start the process. The Santa Rosa City council moved forward this week on encouraging a new building effort. First up is to sell off the city parking garage on the corner of Third and D…
Noah Abrams
Feb 03, 2022

SoCo spends $10 million on strategic and climate priorities

County officials Tuesday approved a $10 million dollar funding plan, aimed at tackling both climate-related and strategic priorities. Barbara Lee is director of climate action and resiliency at the Sonoma County Administrator's office. She said this is a serious and real commitment. "Usually when a government agency,…
Marc Albert
Feb 02, 2022

Not guilty: former sheriff's deputy acquitted by Sonoma County jury

Not guilty. That is the verdict handed down late Wednesday afternoon by a Sonoma County jury in the homicide case against former sheriff deputy Charles Blount. The first law enforcement officer in Sonoma County to face homicide charges for actions while on duty, Blount was charged with involuntary manslaughter and…
Noah Abrams and Greta Mart
Feb 02, 2022

Newsom unveils new push for electrifying transportation

Building on a $4 billion dollar commitment made last year help accelerate California's shift to zero emission vehicles, last week Governor Gavin Newsom doubled down, unveiling a further six billion dollars for the initiative. The plan is aimed at helping the state realize a seemingly far-fetched goal---ending the sale…
Marc Albert
Feb 01, 2022

Sonoma County sheriff candidate: Kevin Burke

On January 25, a candidate forum drew 100 members of Santa Rosa's South Park community to the online event. It was a chance to get to know three of the men who are running for Sonoma County sheriff in June. Annette Arnold of the South Park Coalition neighborhood group, which hosted the forum, started off by clarifying…
Mark Prell
Feb 01, 2022

Sonoma County sheriff candidate: Carl Tennenbaum

A Sonoma County sheriff's candidate forum drew in a capacity crowd of 100 to the Zoom platform on January 25. For just over ninety minutes, South Park community members weighed the words of three candidates running for Sonoma County sheriff. Each candidate was asked a similar set of prepared questions, after their…
Mark Prell
Feb 01, 2022

Sonoma County sheriff candidate: Dave Edmonds

It was a capacity crowd on Zoom for a Sonoma County sheriff candidate forum held January 25. One hundred members of the South Park community appeared attentive to what each candidate for Sonoma County sheriff had to say, and each candidate was asked a similar set of prepared questions, after their initial remarks.…
Mark Prell
Feb 01, 2022

Regulators to help cannabis growers navigate path to permits

Long the scourge of illicit cannabis growers, officials from California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be in Healdsburg a week from Wednesday to help aspiring legal cultivators come in out of the cold. Officially a 'pop-up technical workshop,' the day-long event might be viewed as a lifeline adrift in a…
Marc Albert
Jan 31, 2022

SoCo cannabis growers get tax reprieve, though for some it may be too late

Sonoma County supervisors unanimously approved a cannabis cultivation tax reprieve recently after multiple growers reported financial hardships associated with the current taxation model. Growers, normally required to pay taxes quarterly, have been given an extension from the original due date of Jan. 31 to April 30,…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Jan 28, 2022

With hospitals straining locally, omicron wave starting to ebb

Though still deadly and spreading rapidly, recent county data on omicron suggests new infections are starting to wane. Though new daily infections are four times what they were during last winter's surge, Sonoma County Health Officer Sundari Mase shared evidence with an online audience Thursday that a corner on the…
Marc Albert
Jan 27, 2022

Watch Live: Justice Stephen Breyer announces his retirement - Thursday at 9:30am

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and President Biden are speaking at the White House as Breyer announces his retirement from the nation's highest court. Breyer served for more than two decades on the bench, and his retirement gives Biden his first opportunity to nominate a justice to the court.
Mark Prell
Jan 27, 2022

Reforms showing progress at Sheriff's office, yet many issues remain, says report

Progress and continued problems were both cited in the annual IOLERO report on the Sonoma County Sheriff's office, It was delivered to the county board of supervisors Tuesday. The Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach, created to build transparency and trust between the sheriff's office and…
Marc Albert
Jan 27, 2022

Ire surging over competing visions for huge Sonoma Valley property

Despite plans to narrow alternatives, sparring development concepts emerged Tuesday as county supervisors weigh the future of a near-thousand-acre Sonoma Valley property. Broadly, the Sonoma Developmental Center's campus will re-emerge as a sustainable home for housing, jobs and some kind of hotel or conference…
Marc Albert
Jan 24, 2022

Sonoma County moves to new election model

Going to your designated polling place every election is now officially a thing of the past. A state law called the Voters Choice Act has permanently changed elections in California. While the coronavirus pandemic prompted more vote by mail. All future elections will involve mail ballots or what are called vote…
Greta Mart
Jan 20, 2022

Rainy season could still deliver

After rocketing to a prodigious start, the rainy season seems to have fizzled out. Forecasters say there is still time for things to turn around. For all the doom and gloom prompted by clear skies, Matt Mehle a National Weather Service Forecaster, says a lull in the rains isn't unusual. "It's not uncommon for us to…
Marc Albert
Jan 20, 2022

Sonoma Dems endorse Burke in Sheriff's race

Sonoma County Democrats have made an endorsement in the upcoming county sheriff election. The organization has endorsed former Healdsburg police chief Kevin Burke in the now four way race set for June. Attorney John Kelly is with the Sonoma County Democrats. He said Burke greatly impressed the group's endorsement…
Marc Albert
Jan 19, 2022

Omicron pushing local hospitals to the brink

Beds are scarce at local hospitals and ambulance response times are rising as Sonoma County strains under a cresting Omicron tide. Those were among the main takeaways from an online county town hall meeting Tuesday. Gary Green is an infectious disease physician with Sutter in Santa Rosa, who spoke on the…
Marc Albert
Jan 18, 2022

Navient Agrees To $11.5 Million In Restitution For CA Borrowers

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced a settlement with Navient, one of the nation's largest student loan companies. Bonta says Navient steered borrowers into costly repayment plans and predatory loans. "As a former student loan borrower myself, I know what it feels like to write painful triple digit or…
Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
Jan 15, 2022

Tsunami advisory issued for Sonoma Coast

A tsunami advisory went into effect this morning for the entire California coast, including the San Francisco Bay and Sonoma Coast. An undersea volcano in the Tongan islands erupted shortly before 8:30 PM PST last night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Advisory was issued at 7:28 AM this morning by the…
Mark Prell
Jan 14, 2022

Students bail from class as H.S. name fray goes on

What's in a name? That which we call a school by another name...can turn sour. Hundreds of students poured from the doors of a Sebastopol high school Friday, ending school after third period. It wasn't about COVID or any national issue--but the school's on-again, off-again, on-again name change. Chanting, students…
Marc Albert
Jan 14, 2022

A virtual MLK celebration in Sonoma County planned for Sunday

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Committee is holding its forty-first celebration honoring the legacy of Dr. King with a virtual community-wide event. This year acknowledges the King family’s admonition to remember the deepest meaning of his lifelong work – to not just celebrate his birthday and…
Mark Prell
Jan 10, 2022

Blount trial opens with sparring opening statements

Despite a current hold on most court business for public health reasons, the criminal trial of a former Sonoma County sheriff's deputy proceeded Monday because it was already underway. Jurors and alternates sat motionless, but seemingly riveted, as the last minutes of David Ward's life, captured on jerky body camera…
Marc Albert
Jan 10, 2022

PG&E expected to be the first utility to tap state's $21B wildfire liability fund

PG&E will likely be the first utility to access California’s wildfire liability fund, after the company’s equipment started the massive Dixie Fire. In 2019, California had a utility crisis. The state’s biggest electricity providers were causing increasingly deadly and costly wildfires. PG&E had already declared…
Scott Rodd/Capital Public Radio
Jan 07, 2022

Vigils for democracy on anniversary of Jan. 6 attack

Vigils commemorating last year's attack on the US Capitol Building were held Thursday in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, two of hundreds of events across the nation. KRCB's Marc Albert spoke to several of the roughly 75 people gathered in Courthouse Square... here's a sampling of their comments....
Marc Albert
Jan 07, 2022

Locals hold vigil on anniversary of Jan 6 attack

Vigils commemorating last year's attack on the US Capitol Building were held Thursday in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, two of hundreds of events across the nation. KRCB's Marc Albert spoke to several of the roughly 75 people gathered in Courthouse Square... here's a sampling of their comments....
Marc Albert
Jan 05, 2022

Sonoma County receptive to cannabis growers demands for tax relief

After testimony from about two dozen cannabis growers, Sonoma County officials appeared close to offering some tax relief, ahead of an overhaul of cannabis regulations likely more than a year away. That relief, likely in the form of postponing taxes due for 90 days, is expected to return for consideration on January…
Marc Albert
Jan 04, 2022

New state police report shows racial disparities in policing

A new report analyzing millions of traffic stops across California found that Black people were disproportionately stopped and searched by police. The annual report on police stops highlighted five major California cities. Out of nearly 3 million reported vehicle and pedestrian stops, Black people were twice as likely…
Sarah Mizes-Tan/Capital Public Radio
Jan 02, 2022

SoCo says staffing shortages, pandemic hindering more winter homeless services

Nighttime temperatures are warming up after dipping as low as 30 in Sonoma County on Saturday night. Last week, we heard from the group Homeless Action Sonoma County, and their concerns about how the county government, in their view, wasn't doing enough to help homeless individuals, particularly during nights of…
Greta Mart
Dec 30, 2021

County failing homeless in hour of deepest need, advocates say

With overnight temperatures dipping near freezing amidst soggy weather stretching more than a week, advocates for the homeless are demanding immediate help. Kathleen Finigan is a volunteer spokeswoman for the group Homeless Action of Sonoma County. "This is a moral crisis as well as a health crisis. Every year, I and…
Marc Albert and Greta Mart
Dec 30, 2021

Big federal infrastructure law to fill potholes, partially fund larger initiatives

Aside from the topline figure, and that it was signed into law, few details have emerged about President Biden's infrastructure bill, approved in early November. Local transportation officials say some of the money, distributed via complex mathematical formulas, is already on the way. Other money, for thousands of…
Marc Albert
Dec 30, 2021

Reservoirs rising thanks to recent rains, levels still cause for concern

With recent rains, water levels at local reservoirs are on their way back from near oblivion. In two months, the amount of water in Lake Mendocino has tripled. While the lake is one of the region's major sources of drinking water, don't get too impressed, it was close to empty toward the end of October. The amount of…
Marc Albert
Dec 29, 2021

Sonoma County rescinds mask exemption

Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and Alameda county officials announced Wednesday they will no longer allow indoor mask mandate exceptions for small settings like college and fitness classes in which everyone is fully vaccinated. The four counties -- along with the city of Berkeley, which operates its own public health…
Eli Walsh/Bay City News
Dec 28, 2021

As new year approaches, California reaches 5 million COVID-19 cases

2021 has been a year of milestones for California, and the state just crossed another: 5 million COVID-19 cases. On June 15, Governor Gavin Newsom stood atop a stage at Universal Studios in Hollywood; the day marked California’s economic reopening after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. “We’re not just coming…
Kris Hooks/Capital Public Radio
Dec 28, 2021

Christmas tree disposal options

With Christmas behind us and the holiday season drawing to a close, you may wonder how to properly dispose of your fresh-cut tree. If you have weekly residential garbage service, you can place your tree curbside the night before your regularly scheduled pick-up day. Those in Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma or Santa…
KRCB staff
Dec 27, 2021

Legal challenges to new animal confinement law

Animal welfare and the supply of bacon are about to collide in California as we start the new year. The nation’s toughest animal confinement law requires livestock to have enough space to lie down and turn around. It also bans the sale of products that don’t meet the guidelines, no matter where the animals were…
Randol White/Capital Public Radio
Dec 24, 2021

Small restoration projects to give salmon/steelhead a better chance

A total of 15 different environmental restoration projects around California were announced this week, 11 of which are right here on the North Coast. They sound inconsequential and scattered about the state, but taken together, experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife say, they are having an impact.…
Marc Albert
Dec 23, 2021

Chanate buyer's big gamble: developer has little background in big projects

Important documents involved in the sale of Santa Rosa's Chanate campus are set to be signed today. On Wednesday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran the results of what they found in researching Eddie Haddad, a Las Vegas-based developer, who is about to close escrow, that may be fraying some nerves around Sonoma…
Marc Albert
Dec 20, 2021

Tahoe ski resort Squaw Valley formally switches its name to Palisades Tahoe

Women of Nevada's Washoe Tribe have long fought against the word ``squaw,'' a racist slur that for more than half a century was part of the name of a famous Sierra ski resort. The resort north of Tahoe City, California, was called Squaw Valley long before it became famous for hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics. It…
Associated Press
Dec 16, 2021

More shelter beds open up for forecasted nights of freezing temperatures

For the second time in less than a week, Sonoma County health officials issued a freeze warning in response to the National Weather Service's prediction for freezing overnight low temperatures expected now through Sunday morning. Saturday morning is expected to be the coldest morning. The county's network of care…
Associated Press
Dec 15, 2021

Data suggests omicron is extremely virulent, but appears less severe, less deadly

The first major study on the omicron variant was published by South African epidemiologists. While much remains unknown, the new form, while apparently able to spread with abandon, defeating many precautions, the new research appears to show that what's quickly becoming the dominant strain in southern Africa and…
Marc Albert
Dec 14, 2021

Mask mandate returns across the state

California is bringing back a statewide indoor mask mandate. Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration announced the new mandate will start Wednesday and last until Jan. 15. The order comes as the per capita rate of new coronavirus cases in California has jumped 47% in the past two weeks, according to state health officials.…
Associated Press
Dec 09, 2021

Enviros urge crab pot phase-out to eliminate whale and turtle entanglements

Citing whale entanglements, an environmental group petitioned federal regulators Thursday, seeking wholesale changes in how crab, shrimp and lobster are caught. But fishing industry reps claim the proposal may be financially untenable and make a dangerous job, more risky. Filed by the Center for Biological Diversity,…
Marc Albert
Dec 08, 2021

Plan to rid Farallons of mice raising hackles among some enviros

A plan to aid endangered seabirds roosting on the Farallon Islands by banishing mice has environmentalists crying foul. 20 miles southwest of Point Reyes, the Farallons are part of a National Wildlife Refuge. The new plan, which would scatter poisoned pellets on the island, is the latest bid to rid the small…
Marc Albert
Dec 08, 2021

Sonoma County supervisors pass new and final redistricting map to widespread opposition

If there was one thing members of the Sonoma County board of supervisors got right about their redistricting efforts, it was the repeated assertion the results wouldn't please everyone. That certainly played out Tuesday among members of the public addressing the board. "This process feels completely unethical. It…
Marc Albert and Greta Mart
Dec 08, 2021

Winegrape value dropped by 46% in 2020, says SoCo ag commissioner

About 8,500 people work in agriculture in Sonoma County, and the county's two most valuable crops are wine and milk. That's according to the most recent Sonoma County crop report. But unlike the steady increase in overall value the county's seen in years' past, the total value of Sonoma County's agricultural output in…
Greta Mart
Dec 08, 2021

Vaccine confrontation sends Healdsburg city council online

After banging on windows, chanting and plotting to swarm the city council chambers, a crowd of close to 100 anti-vaccine demonstrators declared victory around 6:15 Monday evening, when it was announced that the night's meeting would take place online only. The mood was more festive than contentious. Other than a few…
Marc Albert
Dec 07, 2021

"Connections 7" showcases northern California women musicians to support KRCB 104.9

As the Summer of 2021 was winding down, Doug Jayne, host of Midday Music on KRCB 104.9, came across a social media post from one of his musician friends, Alison Harris. Alison is a champion of equality for women in the Northern California music scene. While her post pointed out the disparity between women and men,…
Mark Prell
Dec 03, 2021

Blood donations are needed most during the holidays

Holiday blood drives are in full swing. And it's one of the most important gifts you can give. The process of collecting blood hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Justin Miller with the American Red Cross said gravity essentially still does most of the work, “...the needle goes in in the arm, [blood] comes out…
Mark Prell
Dec 01, 2021

First U.S. case of omicron variant detected in Bay Area

A person from the Bay Area has become the first in the United State to have an identified-case of the omicron variant of COVID-19. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the news during a press conference today. "This individual, who is a resident of San Francisco, was fully vaccinated, had recently been in South Africa,…
Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
Nov 30, 2021

Tempers rise as deadline for redistricting nears

New boundaries for Sonoma County's supervisorial districts inched closer to reality Monday but perhaps not quite as planned. Rather than small tweaks to a map developed by the county's Advisory Redistricting Committee or ARC, at Monday's special board workshop, the supervisors worked off an entirely new map. That's…
Marc Albert
Nov 29, 2021

Drought forcing ranchers to sell livestock

Sonoma County's rolling hills may be emerald green right now, but the region is still in "extreme drought," per the U.S. Drought Monitor. The ongoing drought is making it harder for California ranchers to provide water for livestock, forcing some to downsize their herds. Loren Poncia the co-owner of Stemple Creek…
Steve Milne/Capital Public Radio
Nov 29, 2021

Palacios' vaccine reluctance rooted in history, family experience

Skylaer Palacios says she had no wish or intention for the spotlight. But proceedings on November 1st, forced the hand of the Healdsburg councilwoman. That was when her colleagues opted to resume in-person meetings. Palacios says she felt little choice but to reveal that she's unvaccinated. Sensing a potential…
Marc Albert
Nov 23, 2021

Dungeness scarce as fishing mainly on hold for whale migration

If turkey's not your thing, you'd better find an alternative quick. Dungeness crab right now is rarer than a hen's tooth. Dungeness is synonymous with Thanksgiving in many Bay Area households. But rather than debates over cooking methods, portions or sides, in recent years, talk has been more basic--will there, or…
Marc Albert
Nov 22, 2021

County supervisors asked to examine sheriff's management of inmate welfare fund

Recently the Sonoma County Civil Grand Jury looked at telephone call and commissary charges at the county’s main jail, finding “a pattern of charges for inmate phone use that exceeds the market rate by more than tenfold.” At the Nov. 16 county supervisor meeting, several people, including a candidate who’s running for…
Greta Mart
Nov 18, 2021

'Kidnapping' wasn't real

An alleged broad-daylight kidnapping that left Santa Rosa on edge was a prank, say Santa Rosa police. This comes several hours after the California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert across parts of California based on reports that a 15-year-old Vallejo girl had been grabbed and forced into a vehicle at a Santa Rosa…
Marc Albert
Nov 17, 2021

Sonoma County supervisors back 19-member redistricting commission map, with tweaks

Besides big ticket items like cannabis or unwanted development, many items that go before the Sonoma County board of supervisors don’t attract a lot of public attention, so it was a surprise to some that the topic of redistricting garnered hundreds of emails and dozens of people using zoom to voice their opinions to…
Greta Mart
Nov 16, 2021

Healdsburg to weigh loosening food truck restrictions

Food trucks may become part of the Healdsburg vibe in the future, after elected leaders agreed to explore the possibility Monday. A final decision is likely months away. City officials vowed to conduct outreach, and consider locations, hours and a cap on vendors. In introducing the concept, vice mayor Osvaldo Jimenez…
Marc Albert
Nov 11, 2021

Foppoli's home searched as investigation moves forward

Sheriff's deputies served a warrant and searched the home of former Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli Wednesday, as an investigation into multiple charges of sexual assault entered a new phase. The Sonoma County Sheriff's office did not respond to an interview request from KRCB, but according to the Sheriff's log, a…
Marc Albert
Nov 11, 2021

Representing Sonoma County at the UN climate change conference

The United Nations Climate summit taking place for the past two weeks in Glasgow, Scotland wraps up Friday. Sonoma County has been represented by a local supervisor, Lynda Hopkins. She's there as part of two delegations—Global Council for Science and the Environment and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. So…
Greta Mart
Nov 09, 2021

Sportfishing industry decries proposed new emissions regulations

A state agency is mulling new regulations requiring passenger fishing boats to upgrade to cleaner engines, but the state’s sportfishing boat operators say the proposed new rules could put them out of business. On a sunny fall evening, the “New Sea Angler” pulls into Bodega Harbor. The 65-foot fishing boat belongs to…
James Reddick
Nov 09, 2021

Celebrate "Public Radio Music Day" on Wednesday, November 10th

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 15, 2021) – The noncomMUSIC Alliance today announced that the second annual Public Radio Music Day will take place on November 10, 2021, with a nationwide celebration uniting public radio music stations, fans, and performers. This year's Public Radio Music Day is centered around "Keeping…
Mark Prell
Nov 08, 2021

Storm bringing rain, slight slide risk, but drought persisting

The North Bay is in for a pretty good soaker this evening, with as much as four inches in certain places. Forecasters aren't expecting significant flooding, and add we're still a long way from exiting the ongoing drought. After a strong atmospheric river walloped parts of the North Bay two weeks ago with as much as 10…
Marc Albert
Nov 04, 2021

Future of Sonoma Developmental Center taking shape

Practically half the size of the city of Sonoma, county planning officials released three potential plans for redeveloping the 945-acre Sonoma Developmental Center just south of Glen Ellen. Established in the 1890s to serve the disabled, the rambling, wooded property with a core of brick buildings...was declared…
Marc Albert
Nov 03, 2021

Officials weigh options for federal COVID cash

County elected leaders Tuesday inched closer to developing a spending plan for a multi-million dollar infusion of federal COVID relief aid, weighing equitable distribution and how to target funds to maximize economic activity. Plans are still far from being cemented, but broad outlines for how to spend the $73 million…
Marc Albert
Oct 28, 2021

Protections for whales, turtles may delay crab season

Autumn. Colorful leaves, cooler temps and the first rains shift the minds and bellies of many locals to a certain gastronomic treat: Dungeness crab. But temporary new crabbing rules aimed at protecting endangered whales and sea turtles could delay the season. Officially, the recreational crab season opener is a week…
Marc Albert
Oct 27, 2021

Sonoma County's new public defender candidate a fan of restorative justice

If approved by Sonoma County's board of supervisors next week, the county will have a new public defender. Brian Morris is currently Marin County's assistant public defender, and has been tapped to lead the equivalent department here. Current public defender Kathleen Pozzi is retiring. Morris would lead a team of 35…
Marc Albert
Oct 27, 2021

Santa Rosa's SOFA arts district looking forward to Winterblast

The SOFA Santa Rosa Arts District is so named because of its location: South of First and A streets. It's been revitalized from what was once a forgotten corner of the city, nestled where Highway 12 and Highway 101 meet. Today, it is home to a collective of artist studios, galleries, and nosheries with the goal of…
Mark Prell
Oct 22, 2021

Anti-mask vlogger confronts Sebastopol business

By now, the genre's familiar. jerky camera, unsteady frame. An ask, a refusal then rising voices, and a crescendo with certain key words: masks, rights, freedom and arrest. Although mask confrontation videos are practically their own genre on social media, one shot this week in Sonoma County stands out.The :55 second…
Marc Albert
Oct 21, 2021

State biologists to euthanize Rohnert Park mountain lion

A mountain lion whose close proximity prompted school lockdowns in Rohnert Park on Monday morning has been euthanized, said a California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) spokesperson. The mountain lion was collared and known to a local researcher, said CDFW's Ken Paglia. "It's a mountain lion that's known to have…
Greta Mart
Oct 20, 2021

Future of hydro-power, diversions from Eel to Russian River uncertain

Far upstream of Lake Mendocino there's a century-old relic that's fueled farms and towns with water and power. Two dams, a tunnel and powerhouse are the main elements of The Potter Valley Project, infrastructure its owner, PGE&E wants to abandon. Spokesman Paul Moreno said the company reached that conclusion as solar…
Marc Albert
Oct 19, 2021

The Gualala River, and those who depend on it, await rain

As much as Sonoma County residents may be thinking of fire season when they hope for more rain, in the northwest corner of the county, they're hoping the rain will spare the river they depend on from an environmental catastrophe. Where is it? Here's a map. Friends of the Gualala River: https://gualalariver.org/
Chris Lee
Oct 18, 2021

Incoming storms likely to snuff out fire season

Sunday's showers dampened much of the North Bay and delivered up to half an inch to the region's parched hillsides. Additional rains this week should put fire season in the rear view, but could also generate mudslides. The chance of another major conflagration in Sonoma County appears to be fast receding. Matthew…
Marc Albert
Oct 18, 2021

Some locals join schools boycott over COVID vax

More than a thousand people crowded the front steps of the California Capitol to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to require all children to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend public and private schools. Some Sonoma County parents joined in a boycott today, keeping their kids home to protest vaccine mandates.…
Associated Press/Marc Albert/Greta Mart
Oct 17, 2021

Can we conserve our way out of a drought crisis?

California is facing one of its driest years on record. Weather forecasters are concerned another La Nina weather phenomenon is forming in the Pacific, which could further dry things out by sending much needed rain far north of us. Erik Eckdahl helps run the state water board, the government agency that regulates…
Mark Prell
Oct 15, 2021

Why it will take Sonoma County until next year to lift the mask mandate

Officials say Sonoma County won't meet the requirements, set by Bay Area Health officials earlier this month, to lift the indoor mask mandate until early next year. The reason it will take so long is because the process is complicated. First, the county must get COVID transmission down from its current substantial to…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 15, 2021

PG&E pleads not guilty to Kincade Fire charges.

In a not entirely unexpected move, the company entered a not guilty plea on all 33 counts. Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch's office is prosecuting the case. Her office declined comment. Charges were filed against the utility following a CalFire investigation that determined the blaze was sparked by PG&E…
Marc Albert
Oct 15, 2021

Sale of historic Johnson's Beach renews fears of big changes

Johnson's beach...for decades an iconic swimming and sunbathing spot along the Russian River in Guerneville, will likely be changing hands again. That's generating some unease and concern about what the future may hold. The beach, concession stand, campsites and cabins are something of a throwback to an era before…
Marc Albert
Oct 14, 2021

KRCB Converse: boosters, COVID surges and mask mandates

Today a panel of FDA advisors recommended the emergency use authorization of the Moderna booster shot. Similar to the Pfizer booster approved last month, the recommendations include seniors sixty-five and older and adults that are at high-risk of contracting the virus at work. Ahead of the advisory group's vote on the…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 13, 2021

Santa Rosa Council lays down law on short term rentals

The wild west days for vacation rentals in Santa Rosa should be winding down. Following a marathon session late Tuesday, the city council adopted an emergency ordinance to regulate short term rentals. The regulations cover the number of rooms that can be rented out on a nightly basis, the size of the home and…
Marc Albert
Oct 13, 2021

Santa Rosa approves crisis intervention teams; will replace police on some calls

As expected, officials in Santa Rosa Tuesday approved the first steps in a new policy for responding to homeless people and those in crisis. Two measures suspending competitive bidding and awarding a million and a half dollars in contracts to Catholic Charities and Buckelew Programs were approved on a 5-0 vote, with…
Marc Albert
Oct 13, 2021

Santa Rosa adopting new homelessness, mental health approach

Santa Rosa is considering substantial changes in how the city's police respond to mental health crises. Proponents call it a sea change. John Cregan is a captain with the Santa Rosa Police Department. "This is going to provide a better level of service for our community." This week, Santa Rosa's city council is being…
Marc Albert
Oct 12, 2021

Local artists build a 'hall of love' at Napa State Hospital

When you walk into Life on Earth Art’s temporary gallery in downtown Petaluma, you see hearts with wings everywhere. The first sight is a 15-foot winged heart rotating around a spherical cage. “Life on Earth Art really utilizes art to shine a spotlight on human suffering and social injustice,” said Life on Earth Art…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 11, 2021

Communication controversy after COVID outbreak at courthouse

There's a bit more disagreement over information sharing and responsibility in the local legal community, after the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Saturday that a COVID-19 outbreak among court bailiffs went largely unreported, exposing lawyers, their clients and visitors in five courtrooms to the potentially…
Marc Albert
Oct 08, 2021

In solemn ceremony, Santa Rosa commemorated those killed in the 2017 wildfires.

Under a cloudless sky with a slight chill still in the air, dignitaries stood to honor those lost four years ago when a wind-whipped inferno rained terror across the North Bay. Addressing those gathered, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Rogers said, "We're here this morning to remember. To remember the lives that were lost and…
Marc Albert
Oct 08, 2021

No mystery to the missing water from the upper Russian River

Because of severe drought conditions, water releases from Lake Mendocino are at an all-time low. That's the water that keeps the upper Russian River—from the Coyote Dam to Healdsburg—from going dry. According to data published by the Army Corps of Engineers, roughly 80,000 cubic feet per second is being released from…
Mark Prell
Oct 08, 2021

Officials set criteria for dropping mask mandate---likely early next year

While still required at the moment, health officials throughout the Bay Area have released a roadmap for dropping indoor mask requirements. The short answer: it's not now, but soon, sort of. Matt Brown is a spokesperson for the county of Sonoma. "Realistically, we are still a few months away from meeting all the…
Marc Albert
Oct 07, 2021

Local nurses demand more staff and resources

Nurses from Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital held a rally this week to demand the administration hire more staff and provide more resources. California is the only state with a minimum ratio for how many patients a nurse is caring for at a time. Tamara Hinckley, an ICU nurse at Sutter Santa Rosa and member of the…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 07, 2021

School mask drama now playing out in court

A microcosm of the vocal national movement opposing mask use by schoolchildren is playing out here in Sonoma County. A lawsuit was one thing Daniel Hoffman...superintendent and principal at Petaluma charter school Dunham Elementary...said he didn't see coming. "Yeah, it was surprising." The suit, filed by an attorney…
Marc Albert
Oct 06, 2021

Assistant Sheriff Engram sets sights on top job

Three career law enforcement officials have launched campaigns to replace Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick. Essick announced he won't be seeking re-election next year. All three men have long law enforcement backgrounds. Two, Dave Edmonds and Eddie Engram, with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. The third, Carl…
Marc Albert
Oct 06, 2021

Supes looking to revamp events, charge big cycling events

The free ride for major bicycling events may reach the end of the road next year as Sonoma County officials begin revamping rules for certain gatherings involving public roadways. Separate from a process regulating parties and events at wineries and other private spaces, the special event encroachment permit involves…
Marc Albert
Oct 06, 2021

KRCB Converse: Mohammad Jabbari on why spreading kindness is the answer to hate

This year hate crimes have reached the highest level in more than a decade, according to an NPR report. And Sonoma County's Mohammad Jabbari created a project to combat exactly that. Jabbari founded Sonoma County United in Kindness in 2019, with a mission to promote acts of kindness that "advance social justice,…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 04, 2021

Sheriff Essick retiring at end of term

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick counts emergency preparation and management, creation of a strategic plan and having jail staff wear body cameras as high points. Improving outreach and diversity in hiring remain on the docket. He announced Thursday he would not seek re-election. With three decades in law…
Marc Albert
Oct 04, 2021

'Enough is enough.' Hundreds rally for reproductive rights in Santa Rosa

This weekend people rallied in cities all across the county to defend reproductive rights, including Santa Rosa. By 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, women, men and non-binary folks formed a line on third street, at one entrance of Old Courthouse Square, to show passing cars their signs. Angelina Logan holds a sign reading…
Tessa Paoli
Oct 01, 2021

This Casa Grande parent seeks change after series of bomb threats

Dove Cook was in English class around 10AM when she heard an announcement on the loudspeaker. "It was confusing because they didn't really give us a lot of information, so I didn't really know how worried I should be," Cook said. Cook said the extent of the announcement was, there was a bomb threat and no one needs to…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 30, 2021

Will new state law change Sonoma County residential neighborhoods?

Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a suite of bills aimed at adding housing and reducing homelessness in the state. But none is bigger than Senate Bill 9, signed two weeks ago. It will enable many property owners in areas zoned for single-family homes to create two or even four separate units. The intent of the new law…
Chris Lee
Sep 30, 2021

Small quake rumbles through North Bay along fault overdue for big shake

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake centered in Santa Rosa shook the region awake at 5:45 this morning. Suzanne Hecker, a research geologist with the US Geological Survey, said Thursday's small seismic event and twelve smaller ones over the past three weeks in Sonoma County, are normal. "These earthquakes happen fairly…
Marc Albert
Sep 30, 2021

Police investigate bomb threat at Casa Grande High School

Petaluma police continue investigating a bomb threat made against Casa Grande High School. But it appears no one was ever in any danger. Officers arrived to the high school early this morning and secured the cafeteria during the lunch hour, the time and place specified in the threat. The anonymous threat was made on…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 28, 2021

Long path ahead for cannabis ordinance

A quarter century after California voters began legalizing cannabis, elected leaders in Sonoma County opened a new, multi-year process to regulate the county's most contentious crop. After hours of airing grievances, Sonoma County Supervisors stayed true to their word that everything was on the table as they initiated…
Marc Albert
Sep 28, 2021

KRCB Converse: Afghanistan's Fawzia Koofi

This month we mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which launched America's invasion of Afghanistan and what became the longest war in U.S. history. Renowned investigative journalist and Sonoma County resident Lowell Bergman is one of the executive producers on a hit new Netflix documentary series, Turning…
Greta Mart and Lowell Bergman
Sep 28, 2021

DANGEROUS AIR: As California burns, America breathes toxic smoke

Western wildfires pose a much broader threat to human health than to just those forced to evacuate the path of the blazes. Smoke from these fires, which have burned millions of acres in California alone, is choking vast swaths of the country, an analysis of federal satellite imagery by NPR’s California Newsroom and…
Alison Saldanha, Farida Jhabvala Romero, Caleigh Wells, and Aaron Glantz
Sep 27, 2021

KRCB Converse: Janet Napolitano, 9/11 and facing new risks

This month we mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which launched America's invasion of Afghanistan and what became the longest war in U.S. history. Renowned investigative journalist and Sonoma County resident Lowell Bergman is one of the executive producers on a hit new Netflix documentary series, Turning…
Greta Mart and Lowell Bergman
Sep 24, 2021

Local operating engineers at Kaiser strike for higher wages

They aren't doctors or nurses, but for a modern hospital, they're nearly as critical. Members of operating engineers Local 39 repair and maintain medical equipment. Along with the actual hospital buildings, including electrical work, plumbing and ventilation. Union spokesperson Shane Mortensen said that in the lead-up…
Marc Albert
Sep 23, 2021

Rohnert Park officers indicted in "highway robbery" case

Federal prosecutors allege two former Rohnert Park police officers seized money and drugs they kept for themselves in a 18 month spree ending in 2018. This week's 18-page indictment accuses former Rohnert Park Sergeant Brendan Jacy Tatum and officer Joseph Huffaker of using their law enforcement knowledge and training…
Marc Albert
Sep 23, 2021

KRCB Converse: Vaccine boosters

Today Center for Disease Control and Prevention decided Pfizer boosters should first go to people who received the first two Pfizer vaccines and are 65 and older, nursing home residents and people between the ages of 50 and 64 that have underlying health problems. A UC Berkeley Infectious disease specialist explains…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 22, 2021

A new wildfire breaks out in Schellville near Napa Road

A wildfire broke out Wednesday afternoon in Schellville, southeast of the city of Sonoma. Located on the east side of Freemont Drive, near the intersection of Napa Road, the Freemont fire grew from about a half-acre to 40-plus acres in under an hour. According to the Watch Duty fire alert app, an agressive air attack…
Greta Mart
Sep 22, 2021

With wildfires come lawyers, but past survivors have a message: buyers beware

Attorneys in the fast-growing wildfire litigation industry are racing to recruit victims of fires ravaging parts of Northern California, and they're promising to take on a familiar target: PG&E. In July, the company disclosed that its equipment may have sparked two fires this year, including the Dixie Fire, the…
Lily Jamali/NPR CA Newsroom
Sep 21, 2021

Petaluma moves ahead with micro shelters for homeless

Assurances that counseling, treatment and other programs will be integral, Petaluma's city council unanimously approved a 25-unit tiny house village to shelter to some of the city's chronically homeless Monday night. Addressing the council, Assistant City Manager Brian Cochran said the village is just one avenue.…
Marc Albert
Sep 20, 2021

Roseland’s Mitote food truck park designed to lift up local chefs

On a Monday afternoon in Santa Rosa’s Roseland neighborhood, chef Ezequiel Valentín prepares tacos, hot dogs and the signature mole in the Oaxacan style, the region of Mexico where he’s from. Valentín is a chef at Maria Machetes, one of four trucks that make up Mitote Food Park on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa. “Here,…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 20, 2021

Delinquent water customers could face new rules once COVID passes

Those who have fallen behind on water bills in Petaluma may soon face new protocols as the city council considers policy changes tonight. Petaluma assistant city attorney Dylan Brady said the bulk of the changes are to comply with a bill recently approved in Sacramento, requiring a more formal process. "It will be…
Marc Albert
Sep 17, 2021

Casino proposal may face long process

When the Koi Nation revealed plans for a 200-room casino resort between Santa Rosa and Windsor this week, tribal officials said the facility could be up and running, and providing eleven hundred permanent jobs, within four years. As a sovereign nation, the tribal government isn't required to abide by all county…
Marc Albert
Sep 17, 2021

Coast Guard works to contain Bodega Bay diesel spill

The Coast Guard continues monitoring conditions in Bodega Bay following a diesel fuel spill late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning at Spud Point Marina. As of Friday afternoon, officials said clean up efforts have concluded. No marine mammals are known to have been impacted. Coast Guard Petty Officer Second…
Marc Albert
Sep 17, 2021

While summer surge slows, health officials urge vigilance

Sonoma County's case rate has decreased by more than fifty percent from the peak of the delta surge in mid-August. And hospitalizations have also dropped to 51 patients from the peak of 84. While ICU numbers have also declined, there are still a significant number of patients needing intensive care after moving past…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 17, 2021

Minimum wage to rise in Santa Rosa in January

Minimum wage workers in Santa Rosa will see a small bump in pay come January, as the second of several hikes takes affect. The slightly bigger paychecks are courtesy of Santa Rosa's city council which is raising the local minimum wage to $15.85 per hour. Steve Levy is director of the Center for Continuing Study of the…
Marc Albert
Sep 16, 2021

Crews reduce wildfire risk while building better futures

Along the roads in and around Occidental, you'll hear the sound of chipper/shredders, chainsaws and weed trimmers. It's part of a state-funded project to create and maintain fire-safe pathways for residents who may need to evacuate from a wildfire. Sure, there's a lot of weed cutting, but it's also about clearing out…
Mark Prell
Sep 15, 2021

Ravitch routs recall

About 60 local politicos and supporters of Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch gathered at Teamsters Hall in Santa Rosa Tuesday night. But any fears of a nail-biter among attendees were swept away with the first results. Within minutes of the polls closing, the crowd, already buoyant with excitement, erupted…
Marc Albert
Sep 14, 2021

Preliminary results point to landslide against DA recall

Preliminary election results have Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch with a big win so far. Over 100,000 local voters said 'no' to the effort to recall Ravitch. That campaign was funded by developer Bill Gallaher, and just under 25,000 people voted 'yes.' Those are just the results from mail-in…
Greta Mart
Sep 14, 2021

Sonoma County considers adopting home commercial kitchen program

Today Sonoma County's board of supervisors looked at adopting a statewide program allowing aspiring chefs to cook and sell food from home. The Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations, or MEHKO for short, was signed into state law in 2018. It allows for legally operation of a home commercial kitchen. Riverside was the…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 10, 2021

Sonoma County DA write-in candidate Joe Castagnola

On the Sonoma County version of the Sept. 14 recall election ballot, voters are asked if they support the recall of District Attorney Jill Ravitch. If a voter opts for "yes," there are no names on the ballot of possible replacements. Instead there are two officially-registered candidates whose name voters must…
Greta Mart
Sep 10, 2021

Local doctors say hospital patients continue to be younger and unvaccinated

Dr. Chad Krilich, chief medical officer for Providence, which operates three hospitals throughout the county, said they saw a slight uptick in ICU patients earlier this week, and about half of the hospitals' ICUs were filled with COVID patients. "We still are continuing to see a larger volume of COVID patients than we…
Pixabay
Sep 10, 2021

Windsor town manager resigns

With Windsor still reacting to the potential return of former mayor Dominic Foppoli, more turnover is coming to town hall. City Manager Ken MacNab has announced his resignation, effective the end of the year. MacNab, 55, declined to return an email or phone call requesting an interview. However, in an email sent to…
Marc Albert
Sep 09, 2021

Sonoma County 75% vaccinated and COVID rate begins to stabilize

This week the county announced that 75 percent of all residents over 12 years old are fully vaccinated. And although COVID transmission is still widespread and driven by the delta variant, Supervisor David Rabbitt says cases are on a downward trend. "The COVID case rate has continued to stabilize or decline after a…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 09, 2021

Tanker trucks begin water deliveries to Mendo coast as wells dry up

Emergency water supplies are flowing, or more accurately rolling, out to thirsty residents along the Mendocino Coast, after officials approved a stop-gap measure. The first trucks hauling an estimated 5 million gallons of water a month left Ukiah Wednesday, delivering drinking water to the Mendocino coast, the area…
Marc Albert
Sep 07, 2021

Arson suspected in slew of north Sonoma County brush fires

Sonoma County police and fire investigators continue to work on finding a cause for a string of suspicious fires that started Monday night. Between 8 and 10 p.m.,15 spot fires started burning along roadsides in Healdsburg, Geyserville and one in Guerneville. The first fire was reported at about 8:10 p.m. Monday night…
Marc Albert, Greta Mart and Tessa Paoli
Sep 07, 2021

Investigations underway after 15 mysterious overnight fires ignite around Healdsburg

There was still caution tape and firehose at the site of one of the fires, just north of Healdsburg but few other signs of the drama that played out last night. Officials with Healdsburg Fire were still keeping an eye on the burn scar on Healdsburg Avenue early Tuesday afternoon. A half dozen live oaks, their leaves…
Marc Albert
Sep 07, 2021

New voices confirm low income housing fraud charges

Press Democrat reporter Andrew Graham discusses his and Evan Varian's latest investigation with KRCB's Chris Lee. It adds evidence to the claims that state and county officials may not have explored all the evidence in a housing fraud charge against developer Bill Gallaher's companies.
Chris Lee
Sep 03, 2021

Filing hints at Northwest Pacific RR revival for coal trains

A filing with an obscure federal body suggests moves are underway to revive the old Northwestern Pacific Rail Road to deliver coal to conceptual port facilities in Arcata. Though few details have emerged, state Senator Mike McGuire is vowing to crush the proposal, whatever it takes. He said a little known entity has…
Marc Albert
Sep 03, 2021

August had the highest COVID death rate since the winter surge

County officials reported nine additional deaths on Thursday, making August the deadliest month since last Winter's surge. There have been a total of 30 COVID-related deaths in August, just behind last February when 31 COVID deaths were reported. The peak of the surge was last January when 68 people died from COVID…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 03, 2021

KRCB Converse: Epidemiologist on summer surge and fall forecast

UC Berkeley infectious disease specialist Dr. John Swartzberg walks us through the summer surge driven by the highly transmissible delta variant. Swartzberg also gives insight to what fall and winter may look like through back to school and flu season and what we can do to protect ourselves. Listen to this two-part…
Tessa Paoli
Sep 03, 2021

Foppoli's quest baffling, stupefying Windsor

Resigned from office after alleged sex offenses, former Windsor mayor Dominic Foppoli filed initial papers for another run at the office, though there seems little enthusiasm among local residents. Despite the fact that none of the salacious allegations have been proven, it was hard to find positive words about the…
Marc Albert
Sep 02, 2021

Neighbors concerned as county again puts Chanate campus up for sale

A big chunk of Santa Rosa will be offered to the highest bidder Tuesday, as officials again try to off-load an abandoned 71-acre former hospital campus. Largely vacant since Sutter Health relocated seven years ago, the last sale attempt failed after neighbors prevented it being sold to developer Bill Gallaher over a…
Marc Albert
Sep 01, 2021

Santa Rosa considers amending anti-harassment policy

Elected leaders in Santa Rosa met Tuesday to review the city's anti-harrassment policy, last updated five years ago. Officials say the current policy conforms with an updated state law, but Amy Reeve, director of human resources for the city, says Santa Rosa could go further. With an eye toward avoiding a tawdry…
Marc Albert
Sep 01, 2021

KRCB FireCast Resources

FireCast is a collection of the internet's best fire monitoring tools - all tuned for Sonoma County. The FireCast resource page is available on our website at krcb.org/firecast and on our free NorCal Public Media app. The app is available at in the iTunes App Store and via GooglePlay. Explore where all fires are…
Darren LaShelle
Aug 31, 2021

New tech aiding Pacific coast fish census

Federal marine scientists are halfway through what they are calling their most ambitious and comprehensive fish census off the west coast. Conditions in the Pacific are looking pretty good. Since early June, the Reuben Lasker, a research ship operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been…
Marc Albert
Aug 31, 2021

Calling for micro grids to ease pains of preemptive blackouts

Pacific Gas and Electric is installing dozens of weather stations across Sonoma County to get real-time, localized data to anticipate and respond to wildfires, as well as working towards breaking up its electric grid into smaller pieces called microgrids, a company spokesperson told KRCB Friday. Microgrids can lessen…
Greta Mart
Aug 27, 2021

Weather service predicting continuing drought, water agencies contemplating solutions

Long range weather forecasts don't see drought-busting storms on the horizon, and local water agencies are starting to brace for the worst. If you've been following the drought intensify for two years, the words of Brad Puig, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Service may haunt you.…
Marc Albert
Aug 27, 2021

Weather stations helping PG&E forecast fire danger

Utility Pacific Gas & Electric says it has installed hundreds of weather stations, including dozens locally, to help anticipate fire danger and reduce preventative blackouts. Just off 101 at River Road, under a canopy of wires near hulking transformers, PG&E spokeswoman Deanna Contreras pointed at a silver box about…
Marc Albert
Aug 27, 2021

Fire prep, recovery program launched at SRJC

Instructors are hired and students enrolled as Santa Rosa Junior College launches a wildfire resiliency program. Launched with half a million dollars from the county's PG&E settlement, officials at SRJC say the program teaches strategies to prevent wildfire, limit destruction and how to restore both the built and…
Marc Albert
Aug 26, 2021

Supes considering Styrofoam prohibition

Following a largely symbolic county supervisors vote Tuesday, an ordinance taking shape here in Sonoma County could ban Styrofoam. A vote could come as soon as next month to take affect January 1st. Promoted as environmentally friendly, the proposal also aims to reduce the amount of trash heading for the landfill. The…
Marc Albert
Aug 25, 2021

Housing Fraud Allegations Raise Questions

Local developer Bill Gallaher and his companies have been accused of housing fraud. That's one takeaway from a series of stories by Press Democrat reporters Ethan Varian and Andrew Graham. The charges stem from a wrongful termination suit that is being settled with a whistle-blower, former employee Mariah Clark,…
Chris Lee
Aug 25, 2021

Housing fraud allegations raise questions

Local developer Bill Gallaher and his companies have been accused of housing fraud. That's one takeaway from a series of stories by Press Democrat reporters Ethan Varian and Andrew Graham. The charges stem from a wrongful termination suit that is being settled with a whistle-blower, former employee Mariah Clark,…
Chris Lee
Aug 25, 2021

Housing in high demand as county opens lottery for affordable units

The mailbags at Sonoma County's Housing Authority have been particularly full in recent days. Housing Director Martha Cheever said they've received more than 600 applications since opening a wait list for affordable three bedroom units last week. Those 603 applicants, received as of Tuesday, join another 131 families…
Marc Albert
Aug 23, 2021

Santa Rosa ped overpass clears hurdle, would pair with proposed SMART crossing

With a bit more than half the money assembled for a highway crossing talked about for two decades, Santa Rosa officials are confident they'll quickly find the rest. If built, cyclists and those on foot wouldn't feel like they're playing chicken with drivers racing towards freeway on-ramps. Instead of dodging cars,…
Marc Albert
Aug 23, 2021

Concerns raised as Sonoma County considers 'micro-restaurants'

With a statewide law letting people sell certain homemade foods considered a success, there's a push to allow budding home chefs to open their homes to diners. Already in place in a handful of California counties, some on a trial basis, the rules essentially allow micro-restaurants or supper clubs to operate out of…
Marc Albert
Aug 20, 2021

Young Sonoma County 'promotores' help their communities through emergencies

“Having the youth at the center of this work is really key,” said Latino Service Provider’s director of programs Stephanie Manieri. “To make sure that our community feels that the information that is being presented is coming from trusted people and not from a system that might be wanting to harm them, which is what a…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 20, 2021

This Santa Rosa Teacher centers social justice in her classroom

Samantha Kim teaches sixth grade at Santa Rosa's Steele Lane Elementary School. On the first day of school, Kim assigned self-portraits. “As I was watching the kids color I was like, oh my gosh some of these kids are only using orange, yellow or brown,” Kim said. “And one of the kids was like, ‘I don't know what color…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 19, 2021

Sonoma County increases COVID-19 testing as cases remain high

The demand for testing in Sonoma County has increased 60 percent in the past month as cases of the highly transmissible delta variant soar. And local physicians like Dr. Jenny Fish have witnessed how hard it's been for patients to get tests promptly during this summer surge. "I've had patients go to five test sights…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 18, 2021

What's new with the delta variant? One expert explains

KRCB's Tessa Paoli talks with UC Berkeley infectious disease and vaccine expert Dr. John Swartzberg to understand where we stand with the highly transmissible delta variant and how we can protect ourselves. Part I: Part II:
Tessa Paoli
Aug 17, 2021

Why Offshore Winds in August Raise Alarms

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brian Garcia talks with KRCB's Chris Lee about the dangerous weeks between seasonal offshore winds (that are coming sooner) and the season's first rains (which are coming later). Fires, he says, are essentially a certainty.
Chris Lee
Aug 17, 2021

Sonoma County requires county employees to get vaccinated or tested

Today’s decision adds more than 4,000 county workers to the list of public facing employees that must either show proof of vaccination or get tested weekly. Police, firefighters and school staff were already required. Today's move by the board of supervisors, adds every other county employee. Dozens of residents,…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 16, 2021

Medical Experts optimistic right precautions can protect local kids

Safety in the classroom has been a big topic this summer as schools across the county return to full-time, in person instruction. UC Berkeley Infectious disease specialist Dr. John Swartzberg said, with the highly transmissible delta variant, more people in general are getting infected, including the young. “We are…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 13, 2021

Sonoma County covid cases continue rising, impacting local hospitals

COVID cases and hospitalization rates remain high in Sonoma County due to the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant. And the surge is impacting local hospitals. Dr. Chad Krilich, the chief medical officer for Providence St. Joseph Health, has personally witnessed the uptick. “We're seeing an increased…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 11, 2021

Despite curtailment order, water still vanishing

Despite a week-old curtailment order, water levels in the upper Russian River remain stubbornly low. KRCB's Marc Albert reports. Since the end of July, operators of the Coyote Valley Dam at Lake Mendocino have sent 115 cubic feet per second down the Russian River. By the time the river reaches Healdsburg, barely 20…
Marc Albert
Aug 10, 2021

Sonoma County schools are back to a sense of normalcy this fall

This year's back-to-school throughout the county resembles a more normal year, with full-time, in-person instruction and full class sizes. “With the elimination of social distancing, we no longer have to have smaller classes,” said Sonoma County superintendent Steve Herrington. “So we can have full class sizes as…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 10, 2021

Wastewater conundrum sparking west county controversy

Neighbors are suing to block a sewage transfer station north of Sebastopol, arguing Sonoma Water and other agencies swept environmental concerns under the rug. Currently, sewage from the small west county town of Occidental is trucked 18 miles to a treatment plant near Santa Rosa Airport. That's since the state water…
Marc Albert
Aug 06, 2021

Much local progress on carbon emissions, more left to do

While the nation and world bickers about climate change, Sonoma County at least has been making headway. Statistically, the gains are fairly impressive. We're a bit late, but Sonoma County is meeting targets established by the 1997 Kyoto Protocols--reducing emissions five percent below 1990 levels. According to county…
Marc Albert
Aug 06, 2021

More COVID recovery aid available for small businesses; nonprofits

Another round of emergency funding will start becoming available to small businesses next month after California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate announced additional funds became available. Non profits, cultural institutions, and sole proprietorships also qualify. Businesses can apply for between $5,000 and…
Marc Albert