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Local News

Aug 15, 2022

Sheriff's Office releases body cam footage, audio in Chavez killing

by Noah Abrams
Newly-released video and audio is shedding further light on the shooting of 36-year-old David Pelaez-Chavez by a Sonoma County sheriff deputy August 5th. Released Sunday afternoon via the Sonoma County…
Aug 12, 2022

Santa Rosa temporarily caps vacation rentals

by Noah Abrams
VRBO, AirBnB, Homeaway - the name of the app may be different, but short term rentals have drawn the ire of neighbors all the same. Santa Rosa is the latest local city to put limits on them. "We live in hell,…
Aug 12, 2022

"Strong recommendations" but no COVID requirements as schools reopen

by Marc Albert
COVID is again spreading virulently in Sonoma County, but sending fewer people to hospitals. As schools open, precautions against the disease will be largely voluntary. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County's health…
Aug 12, 2022

Santa Rosa looks to its housing future in updated plan

by Quinn Nelson
Santa Rosa will have to build more than four thousand homes, apartments and other dwellings before 2031 to satisfy its state-mandated housing element. But what exactly is a housing element? Every eight years,…
BrianChuck AUG11
Aug 11, 2022

MUSIC NEWS: Chuck Prophet joins Brian for Morning Music (Aired: August 11, 2022)

by Mark Prell
Longtime San Francisco resident Chuck Prophet came up to Studio A to chat with Brian and sing some songs. You can see him and his band each Sunday this August at the Twin Oaks Roadhouse in Penngrove.

NPR News

Jun 30, 2022

What's open and closed on July 4th

The Fourth of July, the federal holiday marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, falls on Monday this year. It became a federal holiday
Jun 28, 2022

What we've learned so far about Jan. 6

House investigators have been building their case, presenting dozens of hours of testimony, showing how President Trump and his allies tried to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Jun 27, 2022

HHS Secretary Becerra on federal abortion rights

NPR's Juana Summers talks with President Biden's health and human services secretary, Xavier Becerra, about steps the administration is prepared to take to protect women's reproductive health care.
Jun 27, 2022

Also hit by inflation? Your local taco truck

In 1974, Raul Martinez was credited with opening the country's first taco truck. Selling food out of a converted ice-cream truck that he had parked outside of a bar
Jun 26, 2022

Coeur d'Alene's history with the far-right

The arrest of members of a white nationalist group in north Idaho gained national attention. But it had deeper significance for residents of that region who recall past history of
Jun 26, 2022

The future of the anti-abortion-rights movement

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life America, about the anti-abortion rights movement's goals now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
Jun 26, 2022

Military women reacts to Dobbs decision

Military women say the end of legal abortion in many of the states where they are ordered to serve will lead to devastating choices for active duty service members and
Jun 26, 2022

Military women react to Dobbs decision

Military women say the end of legal abortion in many of the states where they are ordered to serve will lead to devastating choices for active duty service members and
Jun 24, 2022

Kentucky's abortion trigger ban takes effect

Kentucky's abortion ban went into effect immediately when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday morning. Opponents and supporters of the ban are now grappling with new
Jun 24, 2022

Measuring the effectiveness of gun laws

Following the passage of the first gun control measures in decades, NPR's Michel Martin asks Columbia Law professor Jeffrey Fagan about how the impact of firearms laws can be measured.
Jun 24, 2022

A doctor's perspective on gun violence

Following the most recent mass shootings, NPR's Michel Martin asks Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, how public health officials view this moment.
Jun 24, 2022

Biden signs gun safety bill into law

President Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years. The signing comes just over a month after the
Jun 21, 2022

The Jan. 6 hearings will now extend into July

Members of the Jan. 6 committee are pursuing additional witnesses and say they are receiving a lot of new evidence. Their public hearings are now going to extend into July.
Jun 21, 2022

The dangers of 'forever chemicals'

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talks with Arlene Blum, executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, about the EPA's warning about PFAS and how to navigate a world rife with
Jun 21, 2022

Yellowstone park reopens after floods

WAPITI, Wyo. — Hundreds of cars, trucks and recreational vehicles were backed up in long lines at entrances to Yellowstone National Park as it partially reopened Wednesday morning following
Jun 19, 2022

SCOTUS and Roe questions, asked and answered

NPR's Sarah McCammon and Berkeley law professor Khiara Bridges talk with Mary Louise Kelly about what overturning Roe could mean for trigger bans — and more widely, marginalized people across
Jun 19, 2022

NEWSBRIEF DEMOCRACY, COLUMBIA, BABY VACCINES

Colombia elects a new president. Parents can now vaccinate kids under 5 against COVID. And, Elise Stefanik's defense of former President Trump around Jan. 6 clouds her pro-democracy work abroad.
Jun 18, 2022

Matthew Fitzpatrick wins the U.S. Open

Matthew Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Open, his first major golf championship title. The 27-year-old English golfer won by a single stroke, holding off top players Will Zalatoris and Scottie
Jun 18, 2022

One family's experience with illegal abortion

As states restrict abortion access, experts predict a return of underground and illegal procedures. One family tells of an illegal abortion a century ago, and its impact through generations.
Jun 18, 2022

The evolving grief of Uvalde residents

Almost four weeks after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary, the town of Uvalde, Texas has begun to quiet down, and its residents have been left with their grief and
Jun 16, 2022

What's open and closed on Juneteenth

Juneteenth, the country's second day of independence, honors the end of slavery in the United States and came almost three years after the Emancipation Proclamation. President Joe Biden
Jun 16, 2022

7 books to help you understand Jan. 6

The House select committee hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection began earlier this month and have already revealed new facts and information about the assault on the U.S. Capitol
Jun 13, 2022

An audio producer is this poet's unsung hero

My Unsung Hero tells the stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else. Poet Joy Ladin's found her unsung hero in an audio producer.
Jun 13, 2022

Why The Racial Wealth Gap Is So Hard To Close

It's been almost 160 years since Union General William T. Sherman led 60,000 soldiers on his "March to the Sea," a scorched-earth campaign through Georgia aimed at bringing the
Jun 11, 2022

How Buffalo is coping, one month later

Ayesha Rascoe speaks with Phylicia Brown of Buffalo, N.Y., about how the community is doing after a mass shooting at a local grocery store on May 14.
Jun 10, 2022

Mo Donegal wins the Belmont Stakes

Mo Donegal is the winner of the 154th Belmont Stakes, the third and final race of the Triple Crown series, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. Mo Donegal and
Jun 09, 2022

Prices rose more than expected in May

The rising price of gasoline, groceries and rent has pushed inflation to its highest level in more than four decades. Prices rose even more than expected in May.
Jun 09, 2022

How media should cover gun violence

NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer talks with Dr. Dannagal Young, professor of communications and political science at the University of Delaware, about how media coverage of gun violence affects news consumers.
Jun 09, 2022

Breaking down yesterday's Jan. 6 hearing

The co-hosts of the NPR Politics Podcast discuss compelling moments and takeaways from the first public hearing by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S.
Jun 09, 2022

Morning news brief

January 6 committee hearings begin. The US sets limits on what weapons it provides Ukraine. And Russia's invasion has disrupted Ukrainian grain exports.
Jun 08, 2022

Biden has changed his tune on Saudi Arabia

President Biden took a tough tack on Saudi Arabia when he came into office, calling it a "pariah" for its human rights abuses. But he's recently done an about-face. Oil
Jun 08, 2022

Maine volunteers welcome Ukrainian refugees

Across the U.S., volunteers are stepping up to resettle Ukrainians fleeing Russia's invasion. In Maine, one Ukrainian man has taken in 11 people and plans to welcome more.
Jun 07, 2022

Los Angeles should lose its lawns, some say

Los Angeles is facing some of the most severe water restrictions the city has ever seen. Will lawns survive? Some suggest the city should eliminate this elitist status symbol all
Jun 07, 2022

Sheryl Sandberg's legacy at Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg's departure from Facebook is the end of an era for one of the tech world's most prominent women — and for the company, which is attempting a transformation
Jun 04, 2022

Jan. 6 hearings hit primetime TV this week

NPR's Elissa Nadworny speaks with Harry Litman, a law professor and former DOJ official, about the upcoming hearings from the committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Aug 10, 2022

More Sonoma County nurses grapple with pay issues

America’s healthcare system is stretched thin and that was before the myriad stresses of Covid. Now for some Providence Health nurses, payroll errors are adding to the pile of issues. Missing paid time off, base pay reductions, and unpaid hours are among the payroll issues at six Providence Health facilities,…
Noah Abrams
Aug 10, 2022

Neighbors voice concerns over safety of proposed housing development

Hurting for water and hurting for housing - Santa Rosa is caught in a delicate dance as the city tries to balance its need for new homes. At a virtual neighborhood meeting Monday residents in a small West Santa Rosa neighborhood aired their grievances and concerns over a proposed new housing development. Crime,…
Noah Abrams
Aug 10, 2022

After Athena House closes, what next for Sonoma County treatment?

Where can people struggling with substance abuse in Sonoma County go to get help? And who will provide it? Just some of the questions being raised after Athena House, the thirty-three year-old treatment center in Santa Rosa, closed its doors in July. For Jasmine Palmer, a former patient at Athena House, its closure…
Quinn Nelson
Aug 10, 2022

Facing legal challenge on well permits, county supervisors delay decision

After more than three hours of deliberations, officials punted on a proposal significantly changing how the county issues permits for water wells, pushing any decision to September or October at the earliest. While added scrutiny is coming, the board ultimately felt there were too many variables and too little public…
Marc Albert
Aug 09, 2022

Enviros suing county; say mismanagement is draining Russian River basin

A revised county plan, adding additional reviews, water meters and other restrictions on new water wells in unincorporated Sonoma County...isn't enough to stave off a looming lawsuit. The suit accuses local officials of hurting protected species by pulling too much water from local watersheds. After the environmental…
Marc Albert
Aug 09, 2022

Palaez Chavez, killed by sheriff deputy, remembered at solemn vigil

Led by clergy, and adding a solemn, contrast to an otherwise festive Friday evening in Courthouse Square...about 100 people gathered for an hour-long vigil memorializing David Palaez Chavez, a week after he was killed by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy. Family members, many having driven from as far as Fresno, stood…
Marc Albert
Aug 05, 2022

Deputy who shot and killed Chavez exonerated in similar 2016 incident

Marin authorities say it will be weeks before a cause of death or other information regarding a fatal shooting involving Sonoma County sheriff's deputies can be released. Chief Deputy Coroner Roger Fielding told KRCB News it will be up to six weeks before a cause of death or other information can be shared, pending…
Marc Albert
Aug 05, 2022

Officials urgent appeal: conserve water now

Water supplies are running low across Sonoma County, while long range forecasts and a recent federal decision are likely to intensify local shortages. "We're in a significant drought. Conserve water. Every drop counts," County Supervisor James Gore told a drought town hall Thursday. Long range forecasts suggest La…
Marc Albert
Aug 04, 2022

Petaluma adds temporary tenant protections

This week Petaluma’s city council meeting stretched late into the night over a contentious tenant protection ordinance. Aiming to have tenant protections in place before county-wide eviction bans expire, Petaluma took up discussion of a new ordinance on short notice, prompting a flood of public comments. The proposed…
Noah Abrams
Aug 03, 2022

New housing in Sebastopol moves forward

Environmental reviews and zoning regulations are so often the sworn enemies of housing development. “Workforce housing” - is new the term used by local governments and advocates looking to fill a housing gap for the many struggling to find affordable accommodations close to their jobs. Despite the normal hurdles, one…
Noah Abrams
Aug 03, 2022

Investigation underway into fatal shooting by county deputy

Santa Rosa Police and the Marin County Coroner's office are investigating the shooting death of 36 year old David Chavez of Lower Lake by a Sonoma County deputy Friday. An autopsy was underway Tuesday. Santa Rosa Police spokesman Sergeant Christopher Mahurin said results of a toxicology report would likely take…
Marc Albert and Noah Abrams
Aug 01, 2022

SoCo Sheriff's Office releases name, narrative about man killed by deputies

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office has released the identity of the man killed in an officer involved shooting on Friday as well as more information about the killing. 36-year-old David Pelaez Chavez of Lower Lake was shot and killed by a deputy after officers said they repeatedly asked him to drop a claw hammer and a…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Aug 01, 2022

New airport hotel clears county approval

New developments within Sonoma County can be a challenging proposition for even the most determined builders. On paper, the Hyatt Place Wine Country Hotel has slick aerodynamic features, roof-top views, and a shady tree-lined lot. Despite some push back, the plans have been cleared for take-off. Over three years on…
Noah Abrams
Jul 28, 2022

Cannabis operation holds off neighbor's opposition

Sonoma County officials recently weighed in again on the operation of a controversial cannabis farm in Petaluma on Purvine Road. Along this bucolic stretch of farmhouses and green fields within Petaluma’s so called “Dairy Belt” a fight over cannabis has been waged with searing intensity for the past four years. On one…
Noah Abrams
Jul 27, 2022

Restraining order stands, county prevented from clearing Joe Rotoda Trail encampments

A temporary restraining order against Sonoma County and the city of Santa Rosa remains in place for the time being. That’s what a federal judge ruled Wednesday in an unusual case; one in which local unsheltered individuals are representing themselves in court. The case is Mcloud v. County of Sonoma et. al. and in a…
Greta Mart
Jul 27, 2022

SRPD shines light on military equipment arsenal

Police departments across California are being compelled to transparency in unprecedented ways. Projectile launchers, chemical agents, and armored vehicles are just some of the gear designated “military equipment” by AB 481. AB 481 is a 2021 state bill aimed at promoting police transparency and protecting civil…
Noah Abrams
Jul 27, 2022

Nearly extinct white abalone possibly on road to recovery

Fished to near extinction, abalone, the hard-shell giant mollusks are about as rare as a marine hen's tooth. Two decades of strict protection under the federal Endangered Species Act have yet to reverse more than a century of overfishing. But an extreme federal effort underway in Sonoma County is showing promise to…
Marc Albert
Jul 26, 2022

Programs to help small farms get added state funding

Drought and wildfires have hit small farms in Sonoma County hard. For many farmers and grape growers along the Russian River, 2021 was a harsh wake up call. Stringent water rights curtailments left many unable to water crops during a critical point in the harvest season. One such farmer was Rebecca Bozzeli, who runs…
Noah Abrams
Jul 26, 2022

Fates of fish and flow of the Eel River still uncertain

The Potter Valley Project is a century-plus-old hydroelectric plant north of Ukiah. Owned by Pacific Gas and Electric, it transfers water from the Eel River to the Russian River, providing drinking water to many in Sonoma County. But big changes are on the way. "Everyone who is a PG&E customer is currently paying PG&E…
Noah Abrams
Jul 22, 2022

Researchers looking for local wildfire victims to tell their stories

In recent years, wildfires have kept devastating Sonoma County, a trend that may only increase as climate change progresses. So why do so many people opt to return after fires like Tubbs, Kincaid or Glass? A team of researchers at the State University of New York at Albany have designed a study focusing on how…
Quinn Nelson
Jul 22, 2022

Water savings from audits, better tech, adding up

Small savings add up. With droughts seemingly longer and more frequent, utilities across California are begging customers to cut usage by a fifth. In Sonoma County, Santa Rosa's WaterSmart initiative, is helping that city go above and beyond. In a story last week, we took you along as utility technicians scoured homes…
Marc Albert
Jul 20, 2022

Sebastopol adopts climate action framework

There's a lot to navigating our changing climate. To do so Sebastopol recently adopted a Climate Action Framework by a unanimous vote. It's a sort of a roadmap designed to guide the city towards climate resilience. Kenna Lee spoke on behalf of Sebastopol’s Climate Action Committee. "Climate resilience is the…
Noah Abrams
Jul 20, 2022

Sonoma County keeps clean energy loan program going, for now

For the foreseeable future, Sonoma County residents can continue to access low-interest loans to cover costs like retrofitting a house for earthquakes, installing a greywater or solar system on a ranch or buying a pool cover. There are now about 125 distinct projects eligible for county financing; the whole point is…
Greta Mart
Jul 19, 2022

Windsor begins recycled water program

photo credit: Courtesy of the Town of Windsor Water savings - it’s a necessity during this time of drought. Starting Wednesday, July 20th, Windsor residents will have a new opportunity to use recycled water. Permit purgatory had long put the kibosh on recycled water use for many Windsor residents. Thanks to a recent…
Noah Abrams
Jul 18, 2022

Santa Rosa encouraging water conservation through free audits, rebates and expertise

There's a lot of big ideas for solving California's perpetual water shortages. Desalinate ocean water. Tow giant bags of water or use a pipeline to pull water out of the mouth of the Columbia River. But there are also less ambitious and perhaps more practical ways too. The city of Santa Rosa is looking to help, one…
Marc Albert
Jul 18, 2022

Santa Rosa considers saying "no more" to new gas station construction

Santa Rosa may join Cotati, Petaluma, Sebastopol and Rohnert Park in becoming the latest city in Sonoma County to ban the building of new gas stations. With the state on track to end sales of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035, more and more cities are considering not allowing new station construction. “The idea is to…
Quinn Nelson
Jul 14, 2022

SoCo supes approve project to improve county response to floods and drought

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a project this week that the county hopes will improve its response to the threat of extreme weather and fires in the wake of climate change. The move will bring in more staffing and integrate agencies such as Sonoma Water and the county's Department of Emergency…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Jul 14, 2022

Hundreds turn out for pro-choice rally in Santa Rosa

The Women's March Santa Rosa Reproductive Rights Rally saw people from around the North Bay gathering in Santa Rosa Wednesday evening to show support of reproductive rights and protest the recent US Supreme Court decision to overturn federal abortion protections. Many were holding colorful and clever handmade signs…
Greta Mart
Jul 14, 2022

Sebastopol grants controversial alcohol permit

A local alcohol use permit has been given the go-ahead in Sebastopol. While that's not typically controversial, this heavily-scrutinized saga played out in an unlikely arena - the city's planning commission. First denied an alcohol use permit by Sebastopol's planning director, well-known Sebastopol restaurateur Lowell…
Noah Abrams
Jul 13, 2022

Petaluma unveils homeless action plan

Petaluma’s un-housed population has been at the center of multiple high profile events including fires, federal injunctions, and controversial encampment clearings. In an effort to reduce homelessness over the next three years, Petaluma has adopted a new strategic action plan. In recent years Petaluma has played host…
Noah Abrams
Jul 13, 2022

Enviros call proposal inadequate; vow to press suit

New rules that would add additional studies and raise the price of new ground water wells in Sonoma County aren't enough to end a legal challenge by environmentalists. The proposed rules are aimed at settling a lawsuit accusing the county of worsening the plight of endangered fish. Daniel Cooper, an attorney for the…
Marc Albert
Jul 12, 2022

West Sonoma County high school district eyes consolidation

Public school districts in western Sonoma County might look different in a few years according to options laid out in a new report. The West Sonoma County Union High School District has asked experts to look at more consolidation. Outgoing county school superintendent Steve Herrington said financial strain moved the…
Quinn Nelson
Jul 12, 2022

Well permit fees to soar as board pressured to reduce stream impacts

Digging a new well in some parts of Sonoma County may soon become a more expensive and lengthy process. All new wells would be metered and additional scrutiny will fall on applications for digging a new well near the Russian River and several other streams. The price of a well permit is also expected to more than…
Marc Albert
Jul 10, 2022

Petaluma receives $13 million for new rail station, bus improvements

The city of Petaluma and the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District plan to deliver a second rail station and electrify busses after receiving a $13 million grant on Friday. The funds, which are provided by the California State Transportation Agency's State Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, will go mostly…
Olivia Wynkoop/Bay City News
Jul 10, 2022

Santa Rosa city council to mull putting large pay raises for themselves on ballot

A committee created to review Santa Rosa's city charter is recommending that the city council agree to adding a ballot measure in November that would greatly increase the compensation for council members as well as the mayor. The committee's findings and recommendations will be presented to the council at Tuesday's…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Jul 08, 2022

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is assassinated

People across Japan are coming to terms with the shocking death of one of the nation's most influential modern leaders. More information and coverage from our partners at NHK here: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220708_62/
Norcal Administrator
Jul 07, 2022

Cotati bans new gas station development

High fuel prices remain a persistent concern across the state. But with an eye to a post-fossil fuel future, some cities in Sonoma County are preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure. Petaluma, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, and now Cotati. The fourth and latest Sonoma County city to ban construction of new gas stations…
Noah Abrams
Jul 06, 2022

Sebastopol provides update on homelessness

Many in the RV’s and camper vans that once lined Morris Street in Sebastopol now reside in a sanctioned village. Sebastopol city staff recently provided an update on the months-old project. Elderberry Commons, Park Village, Horizon Shine. The three supportive housing sites within Sebastopol have met opposition, even…
Noah Abrams
Jul 05, 2022

Local reaction to nation's new offshore drilling leases plan

Releasing controversial news right before a long holiday weekend: the classic tactic was used again July 1. This time it was by the Department of the Interior, which released a draft proposal to allow new offshore oil drilling. Quietly published on Friday afternoon, it's the newest proposed five-year program for the…
Noah Abrams
Jul 05, 2022

California's new budget includes historic funding for education

California school districts, enjoy it, make it last and spend it wisely, because you may never see an education budget like the one that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Thursday. Total state funding for schools and community colleges will be $128 billion. That's a dramatic increase from 2011-12 when, in the depths following…
John Fensterwald and Yuxuan Xie/EdSource
Jul 01, 2022

Local Independence Day celebrations 2022

After two years of pandemic cancellations, Fourth of July in Sonoma County is back in full swing. Scroll down to get links for more information. Events in Cloverdale include time-honored classics like the fireworks at Cloverdale High School, as well as the first annual Cloverdale Fourth of July Faire and Parade, which…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 30, 2022

Easing access during evacuations, but at what cost

You may know first hand how people evacuate during natural disasters; have you ever wondered what happens to livestock? A recent state law changed some rules, letting ranchers feed and water their animals, even during an evacuation. That’s opened up a series of questions concerning farmworkers’ health and safety. When…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 29, 2022

New agreement on IOLERO reached

After a challenging year of negotiations, Sonoma County and two police labor groups have reached a final agreement, fulfilling the oversight promises in 2020's Measure P. The public release of police body cam footage. Independent review. And discipline recommendations. Rules for each of those provisions are outlined…
Noah Abrams
Jun 28, 2022

Sheriff's race decided but accountability battle continues

The race for Sonoma County sheriff is finally decided. Eddie Engram, the frontrunner and current assistant sheriff has secured victory with over 50% of the vote. As ballots from the June 7th election trickled in, Engram's hold on the margin above 50% needed to avoid a runoff was confirmed. He said his goals for the…
Noah Abrams
Jun 24, 2022

Services provider paints more complex picture at supportive housing site

KRCB previously reported on allegations of violence, neglect, and squalor at a supportive housing facility south of Santa Rosa. The property's owner and service providers say the situation is more complex. With residents more empowered, operators said they have less leeway or control. “The most vulnerable.” A phrase…
Noah Abrams
Jun 24, 2022

Healdsburg advances universal income pilot program

Some Healdsburg families could see extra cash in their pockets later this year. Healdsburg will be the first city in Sonoma County to experiment with a universal basic income, or UBI, pilot program. The plan, approved Tuesday, June 21st, will provide 50 households within the city with up to 600 dollars in direct cash…
Noah Abrams
Jun 24, 2022

County to consider agricultural exceptions from future wildfire evacuations

You may know first hand how people evacuate during natural disasters; have you ever wondered what happens to livestock? A recent state law changed some rules, letting ranchers feed and water their animals, even during an evacuation. That’s opened up a series of questions concerning farm workers, health and safety.…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 24, 2022

Rep. Thompson praises gun bill passage

A long anticipated bipartisan firearms-related bill passed the senate Thursday. Long a supporter of stronger action to regulate firearms, Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents much of the North Bay, praised the measure ahead of the final vote, even though the bill fell far short of actions sought by gun control…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 24, 2022

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades

The U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists. Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe "must…
Nina Totenberg/NPR and Sarah McCammon/NPR
Jun 23, 2022

Sonoma County Radio Amateurs hold annual Field Day this Saturday

When all else fails, there's still ham radio. Amateur radio, often called "ham radio," has taken on new significance with all the recent wildfires and other emergencies in Sonoma County. It's also a time-honored hobby whose enthusiast are holding its biggest event of the year this weekend What you're hearing is MORSE…
Mark Prell
Jun 22, 2022

COVID vaccines now available for kids under 5

The long wait for COVID vaccinations for children under five is finally over. At the County's vaccinations clinic in Santa Rosa there was a sense of relief for long anticipated day. Unable to secure an appointment in Contra Costa County, Jennifer Medici, said after two years of taking extra precaution with COVID…
Noah Abrams
Jun 22, 2022

Urchin Festival seeks to raise awareness

Uni. The rich and briny roe of sea urchins. Considered a delicacy by many, an aphrodisiac by some, and now a dangerous pest by ocean experts. These sea urchins took center stage at the Mendocino Coast Purple Urchin Festival, aimed at spreading the word on the detrimental impacts California’s kelp gobbling purple sea…
Noah Abrams
Jun 22, 2022

Issues remain at supportive housing site

Pests, mold, prostitution, drugs, violence and break-in’s. Accusations that a once promising permanent supportive housing south of Santa Rosa has descended into squalor. "What you have at the palms now is you have a, an indoor encampment because the people there are still living like they're homeless." The words of…
Noah Abrams
Jun 22, 2022

Petaluma raises living wage rate

Inflation might be Webster’s Dictionary's word of the year, and it’s certainly on the lips of many Americans. In the Bay Area, inflation has been felt across the board; with grocery prices up by more than 10 percent from this time last year. Petaluma has taken action to help mitigate those cost increases. Dylan Brady,…
Noah Abrams
Jun 22, 2022

Santa Rosa looks to provide college funds

Despite the disruptions caused by COVID to college campuses, the high cost of higher education hasn't changed. According to the University of California, the average annual cost of attending a UC school, including tuition, housing, and personal expenses is more than $35,000. Trying to make college more accessible and…
Noah Abrams
Jun 22, 2022

PG&E says new tech will reduce equipment fires, but there's a catch

Newly installed technology that can detect short circuits and instantaneously cuts electricity, should dramatically reduce utility triggered wildfires this summer. PG&E, has upgraded lines serving three million Californians. The new ‘Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings,’ can sever power in as quickly as one tenth of a…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 22, 2022

Quest to relieve Santa Rosa housing pressure could generate pushback

The county’s biggest city is facing a housing conundrum. Santa Rosa must lay the groundwork for more than ten thousand housing units to rise over the next nine years if it wants to maintain control of local housing decisions, according to Mayor Chris Rogers. “We lose local control…if we don’t follow RHNA, if we don’t…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 21, 2022

Amidst soaring pump prices, Santa Rosa cutting bus service

You’ve heard about shortages of baby formula and computer chips, and restaurant jobs being hard to fill. There’s something else in short supply, at least locally. Bus drivers. Santa Rosa’s CityBus announced Wednesday it would cancel some weekday routes until at least July 8. They simply don’t have enough drivers. Even…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 17, 2022

Federal grant program aims to revitalize Native languages

Before European contact, more than 300 Native American languages were spoken in North America. Fewer than half remain. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs Wednesday announced scores of grants to slow or reverse that trend. In some cases, all that remains of a language are old recordings and archival texts. Marnie…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 17, 2022

Neighbors north of Sonoma say unincorporated area already overwhelmed

Concerned neighbors sounded off to Sonoma County's planning commission Thursday afternoon, expressing concerns about a proposal that would streamline and encourage new development north of Sonoma, near Boyes Hot Springs. The voices there of Mary Shay, Ricci Wheatley, Gina Cuclis, and Tom Conlon. Written comments on…
Marc Albert
Jun 17, 2022

Sonoma teaming with Marin, Mendo to cut coastal trash

Disposable masks, takeout containers, Amazon boxes; the pandemic has caused a dramatic uptick in trash. Local officials are upping the game on cleaning it up. Last year, more than thirty-eight thousand pounds of trash were collected in Sonoma County on Coastal Cleanup Day alone, with eighty-five thousand pounds picked…
Quinn Nelson
Jun 16, 2022

Neighbors expected to sound off today on effort to streamline development near Sonoma

Neighbors are expected to offer their verdicts Thursday on a proposal to encourage more development just north of Sonoma. Officials say they've already hosted 20 community workshops on the Springs Specific Plan. The lengthy document, if approved, would prescribe in detail the type, design and general location of new…
Marc Albert
Jun 14, 2022

Santa Rosa approves new parklet rules

Of the many changes to how people navigate urban landscapes because of COVID, one in particular has proven quite popular: parklets. The small parking space - roadway enclaves, sometimes built for public use, but often used by restaurants as outdoor dining spaces, were quickly permitted by many cities early in the…
Noah Abrams
Jun 13, 2022

Ag workers protest for greater protections

Farmworkers, activists and supporters showed up at Sonoma County government offices last week, calling for worker protections.The protestors rallied outside Sonoma County’s Office of Emergency Management Thursday afternoon, June 9th, demanding to be included in negotiations over the direction of the county's Ag Pass…
Noah Abrams
Jun 13, 2022

Feds nix North Coast 'coal train;' improving odds for 'Great Redwood Trail'

Plans to resurrect the long derelict Northwestern Pacific railroad appear dead. Federal regulators Friday rejected two proposals, including one by investors apparently intending to export Rocky Mountain coal to Asia via the rail line and the Port of Eureka. The federal Surface Transportation Board rejected the group's…
Marc Albert
Jun 08, 2022

Engram closes in on top Sheriff job

Sonoma County will elect a new sheriff-coroner this year. It's unclear at this point if there will be a run-off in November between two of the primary election candidates. Tuesday's race was between current assistant sheriff Eddie Engram, former Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Dave Edmonds, and retired San Francisco…
Noah Abrams
Jun 07, 2022

Healdsburg set to join water sharing agreement

Drought vulnerable Healdsburg is willing to consider signing on to a new state initiative that's looking to have parties equitably share water, rather than settling disputes in court. As far fetched as that sounds, the State Water Resources Control Board is fine tuning their Russian River 'voluntary water sharing…
Noah Abrams
Jun 07, 2022

Engram, Rabbitt leading in primary election

Preliminary results are in for the June 7 primary election. So far, Eddie Engram is leading in the race for Sonoma County sheriff-coroner. He's received just under 50% of the vote. In second is Carl Tennenbaum with 27% In the two judgeships on the primary ballot, Laura Passaglia McCarthy is far in the lead against…
Greta Mart
Jun 07, 2022

Gun lobby can be defeated with enough public pressure

Reforms capable of turning the tide on mass shootings are within reach. That's according to some elected leaders, including North Bay Representative Mike Thompson and gun control advocates who met for an online town hall Monday. Returning from a two week vacation, Democrats remain hopeful the increase in public…
Marc Albert
Jun 06, 2022

Sakaki resigns from Sonoma State presidency

Sonoma State University president Judy Sakaki has announced she's stepping down. Her resignation takes effect on July 31st. Last month, controversy erupted regarding her alleged role in the handling of a sexual harassment case involving her now-estranged husband. Her resignation comes following a successful vote of no…
Noah Abrams
Jun 06, 2022

Cloverdale puts firework ban before voters

Due to drought and wildfire threats, another Sonoma County city is exploring a total ban on the use of fireworks. Around much of Sonoma County and its cities, fireworks are prohibited, even those deemed “safe and sane." The one exception: the city of Cloverdale. But now the Cloverdale city council has moved to put the…
Noah Abrams
Jun 03, 2022

Legislators and firefighters call for increased staffing

A group of legislators and firefighters gathered in Sacramento Wednesday to discuss the slate of issues facing Cal Fire during this time of critical wildfire danger. North Bay representative Mike McGuire is the state Senate’s majority leader. He detailed plans laid out in SB1062, also known as the "Fixing the…
Noah Abrams
Jun 03, 2022

Plans for coal train appear dashed

*Editor's note - Since the airing of this story, the North Coast Railroad Company submitted to the Surface Transportation Board a late application of intent to purchase 175 miles of rail line on the dormant rail line under the authority of the North Coast Rail Authority/Great Redwood Trail Agency. KRCB will continue…
Noah Abrams
Jun 01, 2022

Sonoma County women take a stand for abortion rights

It has been a month since Politico first reported a leaked draft decision from the US Supreme Court regarding the legality of abortion. Now questions and anger abound even for those in states like California, which has taken steps to protect a woman’s right to choose in face of the draft decision. KRCB News spoke with…
Noah Abrams
Jun 01, 2022

Experts urge maintenace and quality checks for private wells

As extreme drought gripping California continues to strain the state’s water system, property owners with groundwater wells are being urged to adapt. With areas of California experiencing land subsidence, or in layman’s terms, sinking, by up to two feet per year in recent times, experts are urging all private well…
Noah Abrams
May 31, 2022

'Old Fire' prompts mandatory evacuations in Napa County

June 1, 2022 8 a.m. update: This morning CalFire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit says crews made good progress overnight, and have held the fire at the nearly 600 acres burned Tuesday between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. The 'Old Fire' is now considered 15% contained. Around 11 p.m. Tuesday night, authorities allowed access to…
Greta Mart
May 31, 2022

Ron Meza Calloway makes case for superintendent role

"So since 2017, not one student has had a normal school year in Sonoma County." For current Mark West Union School District Superintendent Ron Meza Calloway the 2017 Tubbs Fire, which he calls the “most impactful time” of his career, was only the start of five straight years of extraordinary circumstances. A new era…
Noah Abrams
May 28, 2022

Primary Election '22: Passalacqua vies Pardo for superior court judgeship

This week, as Sonoma County voters are mulling over their June 7 primary election choices, we've been talking to candidates for two rare judgeships on the ballot. We heard from the two candidate for office #6 and from Oscar Pardo, who is running for Office #9 on the county superior court. Now we speak to the fourth…
Greta Mart
May 27, 2022

Primary Election '22: Pardo running for superior court bench seat

This week, as Sonoma County voters are mulling over their June 7 primary election choices, we've been talking to candidates for two rare judgeships on the ballot. We heard from the two candidate for office #6; now KRCB's Greta Mart speaks to the two men who are vying for office #9. PARDO: My name is Oscar Pardo. I am a…
Greta Mart
May 27, 2022

Millions in federal COVID aid going to local non-profits

Two and half years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma County officials Tuesday conceptually agreed to distribute millions of dollars in federal COVID relief funds. The money, some thirty nine and a quarter million dollars worth, was tentatively earmarked to dozens of non-profit groups. Officials will still need to…
Marc Albert
May 26, 2022

Sonoma County earmarks nearly $15 million to reduce homelessness, develop housing

Sonoma County supervisors approved the use of nearly $15 million this week to support local homelessness services and develop new housing for the county's homeless residents. The board voted to utilize $11.8 million in federal and state grants for services that benefit homeless residents like street outreach and…
Eli Walsh/Bay City News
May 26, 2022

Rodriguez to replace Linares on Rohnert Park council after resignation

Samantha Rodriguez is the newest Rohnert Park city council member. She was appointed Tuesday. The council selected her from among three finalists who applied to fill the seat of departing Vice Mayor, Willy Linares. The term will expire once results from November's election are certified. Linares made a strong case for…
Marc Albert
May 26, 2022

Local leaders speak for abortion rights

Local elected officials, civil leaders, and student representatives gathered for a press conference on reproductive freedoms in Santa Rosa this morning. As the fallout from the leaked draft Supreme Court decision on Roe v Wade continues, local leaders are affirming their support for abortion rights and reproductive…
Noah Abrams
May 25, 2022

Primary Election '22: Passaglia McCarthy campaigns for superior court judgeship

Now that Sonoma County voters have their June 7th primary ballot…they’re deciding a number of races. Among them are two different seats on the county superior court bench. As part of KRCB’s ongoing election coverage, KRCB's Greta Mart talked to the candidates for the county's next Superior Court Judge for Office #6.…
Greta Mart
May 25, 2022

Primary Election '22: LemMon vyies for one of two judgeships on the ballot

Next, as part of our ongoing June 7 primary election coverage, we look at two unusual races Sonoma County voters will see on the ballot. They are for two judgeships; much of the time judges are appointed to the bench. But now, two people are vying to be the county's next Superior Court Judge for Office #6. Another…
Greta Mart
May 25, 2022

Thompson heavy favorite in upcoming primary

Despite a large number of challengers and major geographical changes to his district, professional prognosticators insist North Bay congressman Mike Thompson will easily sail to re-election. He's turned back every challenger since seeking a congressional seat in 1998. Thompson and his mainstream Democratic positions…
Marc Albert
May 20, 2022

Sonoma County set to add more supportive housing

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. Growing out of statewide efforts to house vulnerable homeless individuals in the early days of the pandemic, Project…
Noah Abrams
May 20, 2022

Petaluma nurses look to community for support

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 negotiations. Jim Goerlich is president of Petaluma Nurse Staff Partnership, the independent union representing…
Noah Abrams
May 19, 2022

Next stop, downtown Rohnert Park

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 advanced by city manager Darrin Jenkins, the council agreed to fast-track the project, aim for about four hundred…
Marc Albert
May 18, 2022

Despite major efforts, homelessness again rising in Sonoma County

Despite hotel conversions, safe parking experiments and millions of dollars in emergency rental assistance, homelessness is still on the rise in Sonoma County. The annual, one-night "point-in-time" homeless census found nearly 3000 people currently living on the streets of Sonoma County or experiencing some form of…
Marc Albert
May 18, 2022

Suit seeks higher authority intervene in alleged mismanagement of Russian River

A year-old lawsuit about how Sonoma County manages the Russian River could make some waves Tuesday. County supervisors met behind closed doors to discuss the case, which seeks judicial intervention in the county's management of the Russian River watershed. Brought by environmental group California Coastkeeper…
Marc Albert
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