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Jun 08, 2023

Enough is enough, vacation rental regulations approved in Windsor

by Marc Albert
Windsor drops hammer on vacation rentals in neighborhoods
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Jun 08, 2023

Brush clearing goats gain health and safety protections

by Marc Albert
Fire preventing goats gain health and safety standards
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Jun 08, 2023

Electricity rate increase approved in Healdsburg

by Marc Albert
Electric rates to rise in Healdsburg
Screenshot 2023 06 06 at 09 09 35 Airbnb Santa Rosa Vacation Rentals Places to Stay California
Jun 07, 2023

Stricter vacation-rental rules taking shape, but issue lingers

by Marc Albert
Vacation rental showdown proves inconclusive
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Jun 06, 2023

Initial steps underway, Santa Rosa might provide cash aid under state initiative to prevent underprivileged from being locked out of cannabis trade

by Marc Albert
Equity program under pot legalization could lead to cash aid for some cannabis startups

Music Playlist

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Jun 05, 2023

Farm Aid introduces Spanish language crisis line

Farmworkers and their advocates have been fighting in Sonoma County for greater protections and hazard pay. That's as disasters and climate changes have hit pocketbooks and well being hard.
Noah Abrams
May 26, 2023

Sonoma State and CSUs looking at tuition hikes

The California State University system has some of the lowest tuition rates in the country. But a huge budget gap could force new tuition hikes.
Mikhail Zinshteyn/CalMatters
May 17, 2023

Sonoma County cannabis cultivators facing new tax rates

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval Tuesday to new business tax rates for cannabis cultivators in unincorporated areas of the county that would nearly double the top rate for indoor growers.
Thomas Hughes/Bay City News
May 09, 2023

Newton Minow, former FCC chief and public TV advocate, has died at 97

Newton N. Minow, who as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1960s famously decried the state of American television as a "vast wasteland," died Saturday at age 97. Minow, appointed to head the FCC by President John F. Kennedy, stayed in the post for just two years. Even so, his stinging…
Darren LaShelle
May 05, 2023

Housing costs a crisis for the region, advocates say

A growing exodus of young adults from the region, which the report links to housing costs, is having knock-on affects. Sharp declines in the number of school-age children causing school closures.
Marc Albert
Apr 28, 2023

County to blaze new trails

Prospects have improved for two planned off-road walking and cycling paths, one leading south from Sonoma and another through Bodega Bay.
Marc Albert
Apr 26, 2023

Sonoma County makes stricter rules for vacation rentals

Just two weeks before a ban on new vacation rentals expires, Sonoma County supervisors have voted for stricter rules, limiting where and how many more homes can legally be rented to vacationers.
Marc Albert and Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Apr 21, 2023

Closure draws nearer for Petaluma's Family Birth Center

Providence Healthcare plans to shutter Petaluma Valley Hospital’s Family Birth Center on May 1st. The move comes in spite of protests from staff, the healthcare district board, and the operating contract.
Noah Abrams
Apr 19, 2023

Deadline Thursday for affordable apartment lottery

Looking for housing in Santa Rosa? A lottery held this week is for a chance to rent at a brand new affordable housing complex currently under construction in downtown Santa Rosa.
Marc Albert
Apr 17, 2023

CSU student workers move to unionize

Student workers at Sonoma State and across California State University campuses filed Monday with the state to form a union, saying it would help them advocate for better pay and working conditions.
Sophie Austin/Associated Press & Report for America
Apr 14, 2023

NorCal Public Media backs NPR and PBS by Leaving Twitter

April 13, 2023 A STATEMENT FROM DARREN LASHELLE, PRESIDENT & CEO of NORTHERN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC MEDIA Dear Friends and Supporters of Northern California Public Media (KRCB TV, KPJK TV, KRCB FM), Last week the social media platform Twitter labeled PBS and NPR’s official Twitter accounts as “state-affiliated media,” a…
Darren LaShelle
Apr 06, 2023

Despite deluge, recycled wastewater bolsters water security

Standing under a shady tree drooping with pomegranates late last year, Brad Simmons, a retired metal fabricator who has lived in Healdsburg for 57 years, showed off his backyard orchard. Along with the apple, cherry, and peach trees, he's packed one pear tree, two lemon trees, and a century-old olive tree into his…
Naoki Nitta/Grist-Public News Service Collaboration
Mar 31, 2023

PG&E settlement funds aiding housing construction

Administrators of a multi-million dollar local loan fund established to speed post-wildfire reconstruction say it's starting to pay dividends--327 dwellings under construction, and another 295 in the pipeline.
Marc Albert
Mar 25, 2023

Vineyard managers eyeing coming freeze

Just as new buds have begun to sprout on the grape vines in Sonoma County, the National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory through early Sunday morning.
Greta Mart
Mar 24, 2023

Deadline nears to join committee that will select firestorm remembrance monument

Locals can help shape a planned Sonoma County memorial commemorating the loss and recovery from the 2017 wildfires, but time is running out. Officials are forming a citizen task force to help select an artwork and shepherd the project through to completion. The budget is a quarter million dollars, but may rise.…
Marc Albert
Mar 23, 2023

Research & studies at Bodega Bay to continue as county and UC ink deal

Fifty-acres of tidelands in Bodega Harbor will stay a nexus for environmental research for at least another quarter century. The land will remain, as it has since 1965, under the aegis of the Bodega Marine Reserve, one of 41 sites managed by the University of California. That's thanks to a deal announced last week…
Marc Albert
Mar 21, 2023

Search continues for Santa Rosa senior, missing three weeks

Officially missing three weeks as of Monday, the family of Santa Rosa resident Larry Atchison is redoubling efforts. Over the weekend, family members passed out three hundred care packages to area homeless, each with Atchison's photo. On Monday, Atchison's daughter made the rounds of San Francisco shelters, soup…
Marc Albert
Mar 15, 2023

County joins local cities in prohibiting new fueling stations

Echoing a number of local municipalities, Sonoma County officials Tuesday narrowly prohibited new gas and diesel infrastructure in parts of the county. The move won't force any of the 46 stations located in unincorporated areas to close, though they won't be allowed to add more pumps. Cashless stations dispensing gas…
Marc Albert
Mar 09, 2023

What is an atmospheric river?

The meteorological phenomenon known as 'atmospheric rivers' has a significant impact on the frequency and severity of floods and droughts in the Bay Area of Northern California. Advanced forecasting techniques currently being developed to monitor these storms could mitigate the impact of floods while preserving the…
Darren LaShelle
Mar 09, 2023

Plaintiffs: parking ban a fig leaf for anti-homeless policy

Litigation against the city of Sebastopol over a parking ordinance said to discriminate against homeless people prompted elected leaders to meet behind closed doors this week. The city is under pressure to repeal rules barring people from sleeping in vehicles.
Marc Albert
Mar 07, 2023

Marin coroner releases Chavez autopsy report

More than six months after KRCB News requested to see the coroner's report in a fatal officer-involved-shooting near Healdsburg last summer, a copy has been sent to the newsroom.
Greta Mart and Marc Albert
Mar 02, 2023

Cannabis glut upending growers; tax revenue falling short

County elected leaders again shifted gears on the contentious issue of cannabis Tuesday, opting to keep in place a taxation system some growers say is squeezing them out, while adjusting tax rates. Broader changes are likely in the future as work on an environmental assessment proceeds.
Marc Albert
Mar 01, 2023

New documentary focuses on Sonoma County's pottery luminary

In the forested hills above Guerneville sits the historic Pond Farm - a world renowned pottery studio and longtime home to one of the 20th century’s great potters. Marguerite Wildenhain was a German Jewish potter, and the first female master potter in Germany. From the 1950's to the 1980's Wildenhain taught hundreds…
Noah Abrams, Doug Jayne
Feb 28, 2023

County workers rally hours before current contract expires

With their union contract expiring at midnight February 28th, a large crowd of county employees rallied outside the board of supervisors chamber Tuesday afternoon, pushing for an improved contract. "We are the union," County workers chanted. "The mighty mighty union."
Noah Abrams
Feb 28, 2023

Fairly simple, mostly inexpensive ways to fortify your home against wildfire

With rains enlarging standing pools on a soggy landscape, an out of control wildfire tearing into neighborhoods seems impossible. In just a few months, that won't be the case. With time still available to prepare, state fire prevention officials Monday detailed ways to reduce the chance a home will be lost to fire.…
Marc Albert
Feb 27, 2023

African American experience in Healdsburg put in focus

Community members and city officials gathered once again this month for the latest Healdsburg encuentro. They're series of meetings that seeks to understand the experience of residents from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.
Noah Abrams
Feb 27, 2023

Sonoma County families receive their first $500 monthly check

The first five-hundred-dollar monthly checks have gone out to just over three hundred Sonoma County families. It's part of a two-year pilot to gauge the success of unrestricted cash aid to those who need it most. Amid the local bounty, there's plenty of need. More than six thousand applied.
Greta Mart and Marc Albert
Feb 24, 2023

Parks Service readies removal of small dam in Marin

Hike through Marin’s Tennessee Valley and you’ll pass by a small duck pond set just back from the beach. Holding in the pond: a small earthen dam - whose days are numbered. The dam was originally built by a private landowner around 1960 according to Julian Espinoza with the National Parks Service - the same time that…
Noah Abrams
Feb 24, 2023

County transportation agency approves millions in funding

Many more millions will be pouring into local transportation projects after the Sonoma County Transportation Authority secured $67 million in project funds earlier this month. The funding comes from both grants and a variety of tax streams like Measure M and Measure BB also known as Go Sonoma.
Noah Abrams
Feb 23, 2023

Sonoma County launches guaranteed income pilot program for families in poverty

Hundreds of low-income families in Sonoma County will begin to receive $500 a month in a two-year trial of a new guaranteed income program, the county announced Wednesday. The Pathway to Income Equity pilot program mirrors similar programs throughout the state that provide guaranteed, relatively unconditional payments…
Katy St. Clair Bay City News
Feb 23, 2023

Thunder, rain, snow…all happening this week in North Bay

The North Bay is experiencing a rare mixture of weather phenomena on Thursday as cold temperatures bring rain that turns to snow in some areas while thunderstorms are forecast for the evening. A mixture of hail and graupel -- slushy snow pellets -- pelted Vallejo around noon and more hail was reported in Santa Rosa…
Katy St. Clair Bay City News
Feb 23, 2023

Sebastopol proceeding with road repair, 'unsafe' bike lanes

Reconstruction of part of Sebastopol's pothole-choked Bodega Avenue should be completed this fall. But the mood among city leaders agreeing to move forward was more regret and misgiving, than celebration.Few deny the deeply rutted obstacle course filling the role of major arterial is well past its expiration date.…
Marc Albert
Feb 23, 2023

$50 million sought to boost Geysers energy production

Local officials are hoping to snag a fifty million dollar federal grant to bring emerging technology to the Geysers geothermal field, potentially boosting power generation by a third. The technology aims to provide more carbon free electricity when solar and wind sources drop off, such as on cloudy, still days and…
Marc Albert
Feb 22, 2023

Public drinking moves closer to a reality in Healdsburg

Healdsburg could soon join the city of Sonoma in allowing public drinking within the city's plaza. The city's Community Services Director Mark Themig said Healdsburg's new ordinance would continue relaxed pandemic era regulations.
Noah Abrams
Feb 21, 2023

Cotati weighs new city seal

A city’s official seal...some are intricate, some simple...many go unnoticed. If you’ve driven on Old Redwood Highway through Downtown Cotati there’s a good chance you’ve seen the city’s seal adorning the billboard out front of the Rancho Adobe Fire station.
Noah Abrams
Feb 17, 2023

Rising demand for counseling, senior services in West County

'Doing-more-with-less' is a saying that's practically cliché. At the same time, for many, it's reality. And the agencies and other entities tasked lending a hand, they're often in a similar boat. Not enough funding, or not the right kind. With its $6 million dollar budget and 70 full and part time employees, that's…
Marc Albert and Greta Mart
Feb 17, 2023

Chavez family waits while Sonoma County DA decides if charges filed in police killing

Relatives and supporters of David Palaez-Chavez gathered in Courthouse Square on Friday Aug 5 2022, protesting what they described as an unjust, extrajudicial killing of a man by Sonoma County Sheriff DeputiesPhoto Credit: Marc Albert More than six months after a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy killed 36-year-old David…
Natasha Kimmell
Feb 17, 2023

Sonoma County to lift COVID-19 public health emergency

The Sonoma County Department of Health Services will be lifting the COVID-19 local public health emergency status after three years of having it in place. County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase on Thursday announced that the public health emergency will expire on Feb. 28, the same day that Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Feb 16, 2023

Healthcare board tussles with Providence over birth center

Tensions continues to rise over plans to close the maternity center at Petaluma Valley Hospital, as Providence and the Petaluma Healthcare District Board continue to fight over the future of the Family Birth Center. Board Vice President Elece Hempel said the board feels as though the decision has been dictated to them.
Noah Abrams
Feb 16, 2023

Bees to swarm Healdsburg as county inks deal to store commercial hives

Healdsburg will welcome thousands of new seasonal residents in the months ahead. There's no negative buzz, however. That's because they'll be winged, and randomly gathering pollen. Sonoma County announced this week a deal with Tauzer Apiaries to store bee boxes near the county's transfer station. Claire Tauzer is…
Marc Albert
Feb 15, 2023

New bill aims to make direct physician employment permanent

For the past 20 years California hospitals have experimented with directly employing physicians - bypassing the traditional method of a private practice doctor with admission privileges. Now North Bay state assembly member Jim Wood is hoping to make that experiment permanent for California’s rural hospitals, Cathy…
Noah Abrams
Feb 14, 2023

Staff speak out against planned closure of birth center

Providence Healthcare is planning on closing the birth center at the Petaluma Valley Hospital this year. It's a move that has come as a shock to many - but not necessarily a surprise. Despite a contractual obligation to keep the hospital’s Family Birth Center open for five years following its 2021 purchase, in January…
Noah Abrams
Feb 14, 2023

Newts find helping hands in journey across a corner of Sonoma County

Newts. They’re small, orange, wet and slimy, and they’ve got to dodge a big obstacle. But as KRCB found out, they’ve got some helping hands. When the rain comes down most of us cozy up inside. But in the Chileno Valley, west of Petaluma - the rain brings one amphibian out in droves: newts.
Noah Abrams
Feb 14, 2023

Newly rehabbed, school developmentally challenged students unveiled

Years in the making, educators in Rohnert Park have unveiled a $10 million school remodel to encourage learning and community among pre-school children with developmental disabilities. Mandy Corbin is associate county superintendent...and before a ribbon cutting in front of a pint-sized-climbing wall, an element of a…
Marc Albert
Feb 10, 2023

Hotel workers and supporters gather to support union drive

A large crowd of close to 200 people stood in front of the Fairmont Sonoma Hotel Thursday night, there in solidarity with hotels workers trying to unionize. Labor leaders, community figures, a representative for newly-elected State Assembly Member Damon Connolly, and hotel workers themselves addressed the…
Noah Abrams
Feb 10, 2023

Local State of the Union guest details experience

North Bay congressional representative Mike Thompson was notably absent from this year's State of the Union address. That's because he was a designated survivor, meaning the congressman took in the speech from a secure location in case of a catastrophe at the U.S. capitol. KRCB spoke with Thompson’s guest attendee…
Noah Abrams
Feb 10, 2023

Bringing astronomical utility bills back down to earth

Receive a shockingly high bill from Pacific Gas and Electric this month? You’re not alone. While PG&E says it's not to blame and the governor demands an investigation, the company says it can help those struggling to pay. Unless you're completely off grid, you've probably heard that incoming utility bills are bringing…
Marc Albert
Feb 09, 2023

Ruth Asawa Fountain return edges closer

The Asawa Fountain was once a defining feature of Santa Rosa's Old Courthouse Square, before a 2016 reconfiguration. The artwork was sculpted in the late 1980’s by the famed late San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa, with help from then-students at Santa Rosa’s Burbank Elementary school.
Noah Abrams
Feb 09, 2023

Learning and adaptability crucial to groundwater plans

Regional groundwater sustainability plans were recently approved by state water regulators, earlier than expected. Sonoma County is home to around 40,000 registered wells. Groundwater is central to the everyday life of Sonoma County, its people, its plants, and its produce.
Noah Abrams
Feb 09, 2023

Video looking into Sonoma County's future climate debuts

When it comes to reversing climate change, one group in Sebastopol is looking into Sonoma County’s future as a place to start. A buzzy crowd around 60 strong, many friends, neighbors, or at the very least acquainted, gathered recently at the Sebastopol Grange for a first look at “Sonoma County Climate 2050.”
Noah Abrams
Feb 09, 2023

Even with new money, a fix for SR 37 still a long way off

If you read recent headlines concerning the regional measure three lawsuit, you might think the heavy equipment is ready to roll into place to fix Highway 37. That's not exactly the case. The suit, by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association put money raised by a bridge toll increase in limbo. Now, officials are…
Marc Albert
Feb 09, 2023

Supes ponder bond measure to repair, upgrade Vets buildings

Part club house, community center and shelter of last resort, Sonoma County's veterans halls are in sorry shape. The vast majority of halls were built immediately after the second world war and are showing their age. An issue that has caught the attention of the County. Supervisor David Rabbitt said they have long…
Marc Albert
Feb 09, 2023

County's three Groundwater Sustainability Plans good to go

Sonoma County’s three groundwater sustainability agencies formed back in 2017. The state has now approved long-awaited plans to keep Sonoma County and Napa Valley's underground aquifers full far into the future. Petaluma Valley GSP Cover photo credit: Petaluma Valley GSA The groundwater sustainability plans were…
Noah Abrams
Feb 03, 2023

Commission advances county-wide ban on new gas stations

Fuel derived from fossils inched a bit closer to extinction Thursday, at least locally. Sonoma County officials are advancing a ban on new retail gasoline and diesel fueling stations in unincorporated areas. Several municipalities, including Petaluma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa, have already taken the step. But the…
Marc Albert
Feb 02, 2023

Rural areas could finally see fast internet service

People left in the slow lane of what was once billed as the information superhighway, may finally be able to dump the DSL and dial-up... and merge into graphics-heavy parts of the internet. On Tuesday, officials from the Golden State Connect Authority told Sonoma County officials that an ambitious program to extend…
Marc Albert
Feb 02, 2023

Strategic pruning, watering can buttress trees againt soupy soil, high winds

Late Sunday night, a towering tree gave way in a residential part of Santa Rosa, striking and severely damaging a home as it plummeted to earth, as reported in the Press Democrat. While unusual, Jamie Hodge of Santa Rosa's Atlas Tree Surgery, said recent weather likely played a role. "We had a bunch of rain, and then…
Marc Albert
Feb 02, 2023

County to ponder costs, details as further study of new county office complex approved

Another major public construction project will move forward, at least in concept, after county supervisors Tuesday unanimously agreed to further explore replacing the Sonoma County's mid-century office complex. The two proposed options, costing an estimated $721 and $682 million respectively, would cover only part of…
Marc Albert
Jan 30, 2023

Planned closure of Petaluma Birthing Center prompts unified pushback

Petaluma Valley Hospital's Family Birthing Center has received international recognition and has one of the highest in-hospital breastfeeding rates in the state. But Providence Healthcare, who owns Petaluma Valley Hospital through its secular subsidiary, NorCal Health Connect, has announced a plan to close the center…
Noah Abrams
Jan 30, 2023

City of Sonoma still has ground to make up in efforts to mitigate homelessness

Sonoma County’s 2023 point in time homeless count took place Friday, January 27th. In advance of the survey, the Sonoma City Council received an update on where the city’s efforts to mitigate homelessness stand. Hoping to get a clear picture on the state of homelessness in the Sonoma Valley, the City of Sonoma brought…
Noah Abrams
Jan 30, 2023

Legal battle brewing over Sonoma Developmental Center re-use plans

Two local environmental groups are awaiting a case number and initial hearing date, after filing a lawsuit against the county over re-use plans for the sprawling, Sonoma Developmental Center. The twelve page petition accuses the county of failing to adequately study the impacts of turning the abandoned 945-acre campus…
If braced against failure in a major earthquake, SDC's Sonoma House might become a boutique hotel
Jan 29, 2023

State approves sustainability plans for major North Bay groundwater basins

Plans for ensuring the long-term viability of four major groundwater basins in the North Bay were approved Thursday by state water regulators. The State Department of Water Resources announced that it gave the okay to plans developed for the Napa Valley Subbasin in Napa County and the Santa Rosa Plain Subbasin, the…
Kiley Russell/Bay City News Foundation
Jan 27, 2023

Legal decision frees up funding for SMART rail extension to Windsor and Healdsburg

According to Santa Rosa's mayor, SMART rail should reach Windsor by 2025 and Healdsburg by 2026. Friday morning, Mayor Chris Rogers said in a Twitter thread that a ruling this week by California's supreme court means $40 million dollars in funding specifically for the extension of the SMART train will soon be…
Marc Albert and Greta Mart
Jan 27, 2023

New research finds prescribed burns may emit more carbon as trees die faster in CA forests

More trees are dying and drying out in California's forests due to a hotter temperatures and prolonged droughts, which is causing more severe wildfires and a mass altercation in how forests store carbon. That's according to Cal Fire-backed researcher Marissa Goodwin at a research webinar Wednesday. Goodwin, a graduate…
Olivia Wynkoop/Bay City News
Jan 25, 2023

County workers rally ahead of bargaining session

More than three hundred county workers briefly picketed and rallied in front of Sonoma County's administration building this morning, as contract talks continue. The rally occurred as county supervisors met inside, and a day ahead of the next bargaining session. Amos Eaton, a county employee who provides help to the…
Marc Albert
Jan 24, 2023

Vineyard community makes case for new water district

Facing an uncertain and highly variable water future, a group of landowners in Alexander Valley are talking about forming a new water district. That's according to wine industry figure and former Santa Rosa mayor, Mike Martini, who addressed the Healdsburg City Council about the proposal at recent meeting. "The…
Noah Abrams
Jan 24, 2023

Local public library governing board raises policy questions over displays and signage

For some, public libraries are meant to be neutral ground when it comes to civic disputes over culture, values, and identity in America. That's not always the case, including in Sonoma County. Walk into any one of the 14 different public libraries around Sonoma County and you’ll likely see Pride and Black Lives Matter…
Noah Abrams
Jan 24, 2023

Community, recovery, future, all on the mind at Healdsburg's Raven Theater

How are local performing arts venues faring after the dark days of the pandemic? In Healdsburg, the return of live performances have breathed new life into the Raven Theater. Their latest production: Cesar Died Today from playwright Gabriel Fraire. "As a writer, people always come up to you and say, I got this great…
Noah Abrams
Jan 24, 2023

When disaster strikes, locals often first to help

While state and federal disaster recovery groups like the Red Cross and FEMA are still mobilizing, the nonprofit Russian River Alliance is already handing out aid. Through fire, flood, personal setbacks and tragedy, gift cards handed out from a minivan is often the first bit of help offered. "Larger organizations will…
Marc Albert
Jan 20, 2023

Many still in need as storm relief funds run out

Special county relief funding had already run out Wednesday as a few people were still turning up at Guerneville's community health center, hoping to get help. Waitress Anna Haynes was among them. She said riding out the storm itself had her on edge. "The trees falling all around us. That was scary, hearing the trees…
Marc Albert
Jan 18, 2023

Train crushes pickup left on tracks, authorities searching for owner

Napa police are trying to find whoever owned a pick up truck that was destroyed Saturday night when the Napa Valley Wine train slammed into it. No one was injured either in the pick-up or aboard the train, according to Lieutenant Chris Pacheco of the Napa Police Department. Pacheco said the train was rounding a slight…
Marc Albert
Jan 17, 2023

Rain and research opportunities abound with parade of atmospheric rivers

The series of atmospheric rivers hitting the west coast have caused serious damage to infrastructure. The storms are also being studied extensively, including by Ryan Torn. "My work relates to understanding what is the predictability of landfall atmospheric rivers on the west coast of the United States," Torn said.…
Noah Abrams
Jan 13, 2023

Woman lost in flood leaves huge void, authorities ID two who perished in Sea Ranch

Authorities have identified the woman killed when her vehicle was apparently swept off of Trenton-Healdsburg Road Tuesday as 43-year-old Daphne Fontino of Ukiah. Fontino's body was found Wednesday morning in her vehicle under eight to ten feet of water in a vineyard, about 100 yards off the road, according to the…
Marc Albert
Jan 11, 2023

Woman found dead in flooded vehicle near Forestville

A Ukiah woman was found dead on Wednesday after her vehicle apparently became submerged in flood water in Forestville, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's dispatch received a call at about 10 a.m. Tuesday from the California Highway Patrol reporting that a car was stuck in flood waters in the…
Bay City News
Jan 11, 2023

Remote failure risks lurk as Lake Hennessey fills to capacity

There's something of a rare sight to see right now in the hills north of Napa. Thanks to a string of atmospheric river storms, Lake Hennessey has risen high enough to reach the dam's spillway, something celebrated by more than a few locals. Joy Eldredge is deputy utilities director for the City of Napa, which owns the…
Marc Albert
Jan 10, 2023

Help on standby as deluge pounds region

If you're feeling a little weather whiplash, you're not hallucinating. The switch from a desiccated landscape to an inundated one has been swift. Officials with the state department of water resources say more storms are on the way. That's after five have slammed into California since late December. "California is…
Marc Albert
Jan 09, 2023

Break in the clouds offers respite before next round of rain and flood projections

The muddy water keeps flowing and county work trucks keep moving along River Road, but earlier flood predictions failed to materialize on a sunny Monday afternoon in Guerneville. Pre-staged service trucks remain in place though, while cars and RV’s have been moved to higher ground in spots along River Road. Sandbags…
Noah Abrams
Jan 06, 2023

County infrastructure team regroups as more storms approach

This week’s powerful storms battered the landscape and wreaked havoc on power and communications infrastructure. While this storm wasn’t unprecedented, its impact on trees across Sonoma County was, Johannes Hoevertsz, Sonoma County's Director of Public Infrastructure said. "Yeah, it was an unprecedented number of…
Noah Abrams
Jan 06, 2023

Winds might back off but trees can still come down in coming storm

Sonoma County experienced a tragedy this week when a 2-year-old boy died during Wednesday's storm after a tree toppled and crashed down on his family's home in Occidental. While fierce storms aren't new to the North Bay, the number of downed trees so far is unusual. One local arborist has insight. "Advice is your best…
Noah Abrams
Jan 05, 2023

Concerned about a potential tree fall? Local arborist has advice

With so many trees coming down from high winds and rain, many people in Sonoma County might be thinking twice about that birch, oak, or redwood in the yard. Fred Frey is a licensed, certified arborist and owner of Vintage Tree Care in Santa Rosa. He said even in the midst of stormy weather, it’s not too late to take…
Noah Abrams
Jan 05, 2023

Storm coverage from Monte Rio

All photos by Lauren Spates Guerneville resident Tommy and his dog, Waylon, enjoy the Russian River during a break in the rain. The iconic Highland Dell hotel sits high and dry over the Russian River in Monte Rio. Under new management since 2022, The Monte Rio Theater and Extravaganza staff prepared sandbags to…
Lauren Spates
Jan 05, 2023

Heavy storm fells trees, powerlines, and claims a life in West Sonoma County

A night of serious rain and wind felled trees and power lines across the North Bay - fatally so in west county. The current atmospheric river lashed Sonoma County with serious force last night - claiming the life of a two year old in Occidental, according to Sonoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia.…
Noah Abrams
Jan 04, 2023

Early estimates projected a dry winter - one expert explains the wet conditions

Wet weather continues and the forecast calls for serious rain tonight - KRCB News spoke with Rick Canepa, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office in Monterey about it. Canepa said a storm of this strength is not unheard of. "I mean, we quickly reference a benchmark storm back in December,…
Noah Abrams
Jan 04, 2023

Officials closely monitoring mudslide risk where Glass Fire burned

orm One of the areas of highest concern during the current storm system is the roughly 70,000-acre footprint of the 2020 Glass Fire primed for mudslides. Officials are monitoring the area closely. Paul Lowenthal is a division chief and fire Marshal with Santa Rosa Fire. "It is susceptible to slippage and that could…
Marc Albert
Jan 03, 2023

Heavy rain and winds on the way - Here's what you need to know

Johannes Hoevertsz is director of Sonoma County Public Infrastructure - formerly Transportation and Public Works. He told KRCB News people should prepare now for Wednesday’s deluge. "So if you need sandbags, I would recommend that you go get them now you're probably a little behind, but I think there's still time,"…
Noah Abrams
Jan 03, 2023

'Bomb cyclone' on the way; dire storm forecast for the Bay Area

The entire Bay Area will be under a flood watch beginning Wednesday due to a heavy storm system expected to be as bad or worse than Saturday's deluge and which will likely result in the loss of human life, according to a dire forecast update from the National Weather Service. The update issued Monday afternoon…
Bay City News
Dec 30, 2022

Celebrations continue at Sonoma County's third annual Kwanzaa event

Christmas is over, Hanukkah is passed, but the candles of Kwanzaa still burn. Derived from the Swahili word for “first” - Kwanzaa is celebrated widely, from Canada to the Caribbean. A decade ago polling showed that 4% of Americans planned to celebrate the week-long holiday - while 3% planned for Hanukkah. N’gamè Gray…
Noah Abrams
Dec 30, 2022

West County Health Centers grapple with creative care models and industry pressures

As with so many overlooked aspects of daily life, Covid-19 brought into focus the importance of robust and accessible healthcare. Dr. Jason Cunningham, CEO of West County Health Centers, said providing that care poses a worthy challenge. "Healthcare, it should be different," Cunningham said. "So we're not just…
Noah Abrams
Dec 28, 2022

A victory for salmon as superfluous dam comes down

From the Elwha River in Washington to the Klamath in California dams are coming down and fish are moving back up the freed waterways. Not all dam removals are large scale though. Just south of the little hamlet of Leggett where Highway’s 1 and 101 meet in Mendocino County sits Cedar Creek. A tributary of the South…
Noah Abrams
Dec 23, 2022

Petaluma adopts increased gun safety laws

Having a handgun inside your home puts occupants at increased risk - more than double - for a deadly homicide than those without handguns in the home. Hoping to mitigate the risk for those who do own firearms, Petaluma recently introduced new gun rules. Petaluma Deputy Police Chief Brian Miller explained them. "What…
Noah Abrams
Dec 20, 2022

Floating solar panel array latest project in Petaluma's green transition

Petaluma continues to move its infrastructure away from fossil fuels. Like Healdsburg, Petaluma is putting a floating solar array at the city’s water treatment plant - called the Ellis Creek Water Recycling facility. The solar array will be operated by the same company behind Healdsburg’s - White Pine Renewables. At…
Noah Abrams
Dec 19, 2022

Two die in hunting club accident

UPDATE 12/20/22 1 PM Here's the latest update from the Santa Rosa CHP office: Last night at approximately 5:42pm, Santa Rosa CHP and Monte Rio Fire personnel responded to a crash on private property at the Happy Hills Hunting Club. Response and rescue efforts by emergency personnel were hampered by difficult access…
Greta Mart
Dec 19, 2022

Supervisors approve SDC plan with 620 homes, real number could be much higher

The future of the shuttered Sonoma Developmental Center has been decided, at least in concept. But the most contentious aspect---the eventual number of homes on the site---remains something of a mystery. Slightly scaled back, but still ambitious redevelopment plans for nearly 1,000-acres of Sonoma Valley were approved…
Marc Albert
Dec 16, 2022

Finding funding for carbon neutrality work the next challenge for RCPA

Sonoma County has ambitious goals to reach carbon neutrality even sooner than the state. Right now the process is focused on raising funding and public awareness - so said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. "We are actually serious about securing funding for what is really, truly the greatest crisis of our…
Noah Abrams
Dec 15, 2022

Signs of movement, but no solutions yet for struggling organic dairies

Organic dairies, souring under a crippling jump in feed prices that's threatening businesses in Sonoma County and throughout western states, aren't suffering in silence. Local, state and federal officials have a growing awareness of the problems plaguing diaries, and are discussing solutions. Navdeep Dhillon is farm…
Marc Albert
Dec 14, 2022

Advocates ratchet up efforts to boot cattle from Point Reyes

Environmental and animal rights group, In Defense of Animals, has enlisted actor and narrator Peter Coyote in a campaign opposing cattle ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore. The on-going struggle pits the natural local fauna---free running Tule Elk, against longstanding ranching operations. "Hundreds of these…
Marc Albert
Dec 13, 2022

Clarification offered over concerns about coastal agriculture

An updated version of Sonoma County’s Local Coastal Plan is on the horizon. Some in the farming community concerned over what it might mean for agriculture along the Sonoma Coast. One major priority of the California Coastal Act is the protection of productive agricultural lands within the “coastal zone”. Wendy…
Noah Abrams
Dec 13, 2022

Substance abuse rehab center met with opposition at Planning Commission

A proposed substance rehab center in Santa Rosa drew a large virtual crowd to a recent Santa Rosa Planning Commission meeting with many concerns. Tensions have been growing in the Skyhawk neighborhood in Northwest Santa Rosa over a proposed private residential treatment facility just off Highway 12. City planner…
Noah Abrams
Dec 13, 2022

Feds appropriate funds to upgrade outmoded Lake Hennessey spillway

Considered a looming threat for decades, Congress has approved millions to address hazards at the seventy-six-year-old dam holding back the North Bay’s Lake Hennessey. Money to greatly improve the earthen dam's antiquated spillway and funding to study dredging the Napa River was added to the recent, must-pass National…
Marc Albert
Dec 13, 2022

Operators, opponents seeking revisions to Santa Rosa vacation rental rules

Santa Rosa officials heard hours of public input Monday evening on the thorny issue of short term rentals, as the city looks toward revising its recently enacted rules this spring. Barely more than a year old, in general, officials believe the regulations are working. Monday's meeting was an opportunity for the public…
Marc Albert
Dec 12, 2022

Water main break in Santa Rosa causes minor flooding, repairs under way

A major water main broke this morning in Santa Rosa causing road closures and lack of water for some area residents, according to a statement from the Santa Rosa Police Department. The break occurred on Carissa Avenue near Summerfield Road just before 4 a.m. and caused minor flooding of the roadway. Carissa Avenue was…
Mark Prell
Dec 08, 2022

Secret Santa program carries on in third decade running

The holidays are just around the corner and gifts are beginning to gather, including for a good cause. You might’ve seen paper hearts placed around businesses, banks, or buildings in Sonoma County recently and wondered what exactly they are. "It started with people needing help at Christmas and the Volunteer Center…
Noah Abrams
Dec 08, 2022

Newly unveiled mural transforms school walls and students in the process

Art transforms the world around us - just as it does the artist in action. One mural has helped the transformation of people and place in Santa Rosa. Amarosa Academy is hidden in plain sight among industrial spaces in Southwest Santa Rosa. Georgia Ioakimedes is the school’s administrator. "So our program exists…
Noah Abrams
Dec 08, 2022

Afghan refugee recounts travails on long journey to Petaluma

When the United States withdrew from Afghanistan last year, the world witnessed the plight of fleeing Afghans on their small screens. The cameras have gone and those who left their homes have begun to rebuild their lives, many in the US, some right here in Sonoma County. At recent meet and greet for the Afghan…
Noah Abrams
Dec 08, 2022

Doors open on renovated Sonoma State lecture hall

Recently Sonoma State University officials cut the ribbon on a remodel of one of the campus’ major lecture halls. Gone are the multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging asbestos-lined walls and dingy corridors of Stevenson Hall. Excitement for the renovated three story building is palpable; so said the dean of the School…
Noah Abrams
Dec 08, 2022

Restoration and conservation efforts help Marin's salmon overcome sizable hurdles

With the recent rains, KRCB’s checked in with local fisheries experts Eric Ettlinger and Josh Fuller. Here’s more from the conversation with Ettlinger, Marin Water’s Aquatic Ecologist. Last winter residents around the North Bay were wowed by video of salmon swimming through neighborhood creeks and small tributaries in…
Noah Abrams
Dec 07, 2022

First-ever California offshore wind auction nets more than $400 million so far

The first auction for leases to build massive wind farms off California's coast netted bids reaching $402.1 million Tuesday, signaling the beginning of a competitive market for a new industry producing carbon-free electricity. The auction -- the first on the West Coast -- includes five sites about 20 miles off Morro…
Nadia Lopez/CalMatters
Dec 05, 2022

Diversion of millions won't delay bike/ped bridge, officials say

Though millions set aside for it will now be spent elsewhere, Santa Rosa officials finalizing designs for a bike and pedestrian bridge over 101 say it will still open in 2026. The meeting Thursday mainly focused on accoutrements---lighting, fencing, paint colors and artwork rather than the core design, which has…
Marc Albert
Dec 02, 2022

Santa Rosa reduces rent Jan. rent hikes at most mobile home parks

Residents of most mobile home parks in Santa Rosa will likely see smaller rent increases than expected after the city council opted to forestall a pending inflation-linked jump set for January. Set to rise nearly 6 percent, the rent increase at regulated mobile home parks was trimmed to 4 percent. At the suggestion of…
Marc Albert
Dec 01, 2022

Rain heralds return of salmon to North Bay waterways

Winter rains signal salmon runs. We may not have gotten a lot of it so far, but fisheries experts weighed in about what the rain does mean for local salmon populations. Including Eric Ettlinger. "We've been anxiously awaiting this rain because it's been a pretty dry November and we've seen very few Coho salmon so…
Noah Abrams
Nov 30, 2022

Top ADA plaintiff pleads guilty to evading taxes on monies collected from settlements

A 60-year-old California man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento to filing a false tax return and admitted that he failed to report more than a million dollars he received from settling litigation he initiated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Scott Norris Johnson, a quadriplegic who uses a…
Joe Dworetzky/Bay City News Foundation
Nov 30, 2022

PG&E mobilizing ahead of storm, says crews will race to repair outages

Clouds are gathering and winds picking up as the first significant winter storm approaches. Megan McFarland, a spokesperson for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said utility teams are getting ready. "Our meteorologists see this storm coming in, hitting our service area late tonight and really all day Thursday and we're…
Marc Albert
Nov 30, 2022

Senior dining about more than just the early bird special

The thought of dinner at the local senior center isn't likely to inspire most people - but most people aren’t Anna Grant. "We call it the Bistro on Matheson," Grant said. "I am biased, but hey, it's the best meal in town." Grant is Healdsburg’s senior services director. What began as a simple inquiry into why the city…
Noah Abrams
Nov 29, 2022

Reinventing the wheel or creating community? A look at house-sharing in Sonoma County

Interviews and audio for this story comes courtesy of Nor Cal Public Media's Isabel Fischer as part of the series Bay Area Bountiful SHARE Sonoma County is an organization that matches someone seeking housing with someone who can provide housing – often a person with an empty bedroom that could be occupied by a tenant…
Noah Abrams
Nov 28, 2022

Paxlovid available to uninsured

Considered a life-saver for many COVID patients, the drug Paxlovid---administered after one has been infected---has been difficult to obtain without speedy attention and good medical insurance. That's changing in Sonoma County where a free clinic is connecting the uninsured with the new treatment. A dozen years after…
Marc Albert
Nov 27, 2022

Upcoming holiday celebrations around the North Bay

Though snow is never part of the equation, the Bay Area still loves to celebrate the holidays. Many cities and towns have free events for the whole family. Joyful and triumphant revelers can roam from county to county to take part in the season's fealty, buy one-of-a-kind Christmas crafts, enjoy the Hanukkah Festival…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Nov 23, 2022

Petaluma rolls back development fees for affordable housing

In a push to encourage more affordable housing, Petaluma leaders have erased millions of dollars of impact fees it normally bills for new construction. The council unanimously approved the fee exemption for certain planned or under construction affordable housing projects. City Attorney Eric Danly said results won't…
Marc Albert
Nov 23, 2022

New moves from Cotati help to streamline multi-family housing permitting

More changes have been made in Cotati to help meet the city's housing construction goals. Convoluted and restrictive zoning laws have kept many cities in Sonoma County and across the state filled with low density, single family homes. New state laws have pushed cities to change their zoning rules - including Cotati.…
Noah Abrams
Nov 22, 2022

Gap in homeless services for North Sonoma County filled by new center in Healdsburg

Sonoma County’s most recent point in time homeless count showed an increase in the number of unhoused individuals in Healdsburg and North County. Healdsburg continues to make moves to address the issue. Healdsburg Housing Director Stephen Sotomayor said the city has completed a major objective towards trying to end…
Noah Abrams
Nov 21, 2022

Questions of belonging, inclusion, community on the table at Sebastopol town hall

Some in West Sonoma County have faced high profile scrutiny following a number of discriminatory interactions at Analy High School. Community members reflected on how to confront systemic issues and push for a more welcoming school culture following a recent town hall on inclusion and belonging held at the school.…
Noah Abrams
Nov 21, 2022

Petaluma considering dumping impact fees to speed affordable housing

Hoping to speed construction of more affordable housing, Petaluma officials this evening will consider waiving a host of development fees usually tacked on to new construction. The proposal would waive impact fees for traffic, open space and park acquisition, park development and city facilities development for…
Marc Albert
Nov 18, 2022

Local organic dairies withering under huge jumps in production costs

After decades of growing demand, drought and a far-away war are laying low local organic dairy farmers and processors. Without cash soon, it's feared several local dairy operators may soon close up shop. "We have a drought crisis that is extreme," said Albert Straus, founder and CEO of Straus Family Creamery and…
Marc Albert
Nov 17, 2022

Respiratory illnesses at 'extraordinary' levels in Sonoma County, especially for children

Health experts in Sonoma County gave an update this week about the surge of respiratory illnesses plaguing the county and filling hospital beds. Influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases are clogging hospitals across the state, especially children's hospitals, according to the California Department of…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Nov 17, 2022

Santa Rosa commits to 'functionally ending' homelessness

Vowing to make homelessness rare, brief and non-reoccurring, Santa Rosa elected leaders this week unanimously approved a strategy to functionally end homelessness in the county seat by 2027. More a framework than a step-by-step roadmap, the 'strategic plan' commits the city and nonprofit agencies it contracts with to…
Marc Albert
Nov 16, 2022

Residents' appeal against Sebastopol RV village shot down

The fight over a sanctioned area for people living in RVs continues in Sebastopol. The city currently faces a challenge in federal court to its RV parking ban ordinance that applies to elsewhere besides the Horizon Shine RV Village. Planning Director Kari Svanstrom noted, the city does not exist in a vacuum. "There is…
Noah Abrams
Nov 16, 2022

Sonoma County celebrates newly-remodeled and expanded airport terminal

The long-awaited refurbished terminal at Sonoma County Charles M. Schulz Airport (STS) saw some fanfare Tuesday. Various county dignitaries and the public gathered to mark the completion of a big remodeling and expansion job and celebrate added capacity. Craig Schulz, one of the sons of the famed cartoonist, shared…
KRCB Newsroom
Nov 15, 2022

California commission overhauls rooftop solar proposal

The California Public Utilities Commission last week released a long-awaited overhaul of its proposal to regulate rooftop solar installations, removing an unpopular new fee but reducing how much utilities would pay homeowners for supplying power to the grid. The revised proposal comes after the CPUC earlier this year…
Julie Cart/CalMatters
Nov 14, 2022

Cotati gives the green light to urban agriculture

Residents say it’s been a long time coming, but Cotati’s rules for urban farming have come together. Open hours between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; parking access; two market days a week - those are just after some of the rules put in place after lots of back and forth. Now Cotati residents have the green light to open their…
Noah Abrams
Nov 10, 2022

What to make of the midterms? KRCB News asks a local expert

As part of our 2022 midterm election coverage, KRCB News spoke with Sonoma State University's David McCuan, chair of the political science department and a local politics expert. Below are excerpts from the conversation between McCuan and KRCB's Noah Abrams on November 9, 2022. Abrams: "So I know we're, we're still…
Noah Abrams
Nov 09, 2022

Votes pour in and smiles abound as candidates wait on final results

As is customary, local candidates held election night watch parties, KRCB spoke with some on the ballot in Sonoma, and one in Marin County at their gatherings of friends, family, and supporters as results rolled in. The days of decisive Election Day results may be behind us as the switch to mostly vote-by-mail ballots…
Noah Abrams
Nov 09, 2022

County's winery event rules get further re-tool

Adding rules to Sonoma County’s wine industry is never easy, and the latest attempt to regulate winery events is causing a stir. "Unfortunately, the commission got lost in the weeds and the recommendation is an attempt to micromanage a business that the commission does not understand and it challenges that they cannot…
Noah Abrams
Nov 07, 2022

Santa Rosa looks to shore up strategy to keep Eel River water available for use

PG&E has begun relinquishing its control of the Potter Valley Project. Concerned that this will reduce water supplies, Santa Rosa is exploring options. Mendocino County's century old Potter Valley Project consists of two Eel River dams, a tunnel diverting some of the Eel into the East Fork of the Russian River, and an…
Noah Abrams
Nov 04, 2022

Oak Grove Superintendent says teachers and district remain at odds

Negotiations between teachers and Oak Grove Union School District have reached an impasse. Following up on yesterday’s report featuring union members, Superintendent Amber Stringfellow laid out the opinions of the small district outside of Sebastopol. Stringfellow has led the little two-school Oak Grove Union district…
Noah Abrams
Nov 04, 2022

Another set of Sonoma County teachers poised to strike

Another Sonoma County school is staring down a teachers strike. This time - Oak Grove Union just north of Sebastopol. Educators in the two-school district say they have reached the end of their rope - 93% of Oak Grove Union Elementary Educators Association members have authorized a strike. 84% expressed no confidence…
Noah Abrams
Nov 02, 2022

IOLERO chief talks hopes and expectations in first sit down interview

Social unrest during the summer of 2020 invigorated the movement for justice and accountability in American policing. Over two years have passed from those days of demonstrations in Sonoma County and across the nation. KRCB sat down with the new leader of the county's sheriff oversight group for a conversation about…
Noah Abrams
Nov 01, 2022

Sebastopol braces for lawsuit over RV camping ban

Morris Street in Sebastopol may be clear of RV’s, but the reverberations from the city’s effort to relocate RV dwellers and clean up the once sprawling encampment continue. Lawyers from the ACLU of Northern California and Sonoma County Legal Aid, among others, filed suit in federal court last week against Sebastopol…
Noah Abrams
Nov 01, 2022

Pressure and pushback against solar incentives reform push grows

California regulators have postponed a decision yet again on the future cost of rooftop solar systems...while advocates accuse them of undermining solar at the behest of utilities. The decision, which would overhaul incentives and payments for residential solar systems has been postponed until next August at the…
Marc Albert
Oct 31, 2022

Gravenstein Union support staff prepared to strike for higher wages

Sonoma County’s cost of living is near the highest in the state, and many educators struggle to make ends meet. In a bid for higher wages, another strike is looming - but this time it isn’t teachers at this West County School district. In the tiny two school Gravenstein Union School District outside Sebastopol,…
Noah Abrams
Oct 28, 2022

McGuire faces newcomer Gene Yoon in re-election bid

In the November 8th election, longtime incumbent and highly favored Democrat Mike McGuire faces Republican newcomer Gene Yoon to represent the sprawling 2nd state Senate district, stretching along the coast from the Golden Gate to the Oregon line. Atypical of Republican office-seekers, Yoon was once on the other side,…
Marc Albert
Oct 28, 2022

Winery events may soon get a closer look from County

Planning a vineyard party? Barrel tasting bash or wedding? Events at wineries in Sonoma County are slated for some changes. On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors will hear a new winery event ordinance - one that has already gone through a lengthy revision process with the county's planning commission. Meant to…
Noah Abrams
Oct 27, 2022

Prescribed fire - medicine for nature

With September’s record heat behind us, and fire risks fading, firefighters and conservation groups are wasting little time, conducting controlled burns ahead of winter. Thursday, October 27th, firefighters intentionally set alight part of Pepperwood Preserve northeast of Santa Rosa---fighting fire, with fire. Aiming,…
Noah Abrams
Oct 27, 2022

Thompson, Brock spar on vision for 4th Congressional District and the nation

Next up in our ongoing election 2022 coverage, the race for the fourth congressional district seat in the US House of Representatives. Redistricting after the 2020 US Census changed a number of local districts. Mike Thompson is running for re-election in what is now California’s 4th Congressional District, the new…
Noah Abrams
Oct 27, 2022

Declining enrollment pressuring school districts; some exploring consolidation

A confluence of demographic trends, COVID impacts and rising costs are pinching many local school districts, likely forcing some tough choices. "The new normal is declining enrollment, learning to live with less students in the public schools, which means the revenue is going to be down. The new normal is, we have a…
Marc Albert
Oct 26, 2022

Petaluma moves to regain direct control of city's fairgrounds

Democracy was on the docket last night in Petaluma with a special meeting of the city council focused on the future of the city’s fairgrounds that stretched nearly 6 hours. Deliberation and debate is the name of the small ‘d’ democratic game - and when it comes to deciding the future of Petaluma’s fairgrounds, there’s…
Noah Abrams
Oct 26, 2022

Rallyers gather to remember those lost and push for greater change

Since 1996, activists around the United States have rallied on October 22nd for a national day of protest against police brutality. This year’s day of protest saw around 60 people gather outside the Sonoma County administrative offices in Santa Rosa. "No Justice! No Peace! No Racist Police!" Attendees chanted. Many in…
Noah Abrams
Oct 26, 2022

Sonoma County housing advocates call for expanded tenant protections

Roughly 3000 people are living on the streets of Sonoma County, according to the latest point in time count. And now that a county-wide eviction moratorium expired on October 1st, housing advocates are expecting that number to rise. "One of the primary predictors of homelessness is housing and affordability and…
Greta Mart
Oct 26, 2022

Wide open race as five newcomers seek three slots on Sebastopol Council

In Sebastopol, where three city council incumbents are choosing not to seek re-election, November's contest is wide open. In all, five candidates are seeking a spot on the dais of the proudly alternative town. Three of the candidates in the race, Dennis Colthurst, Jill McLewis and Oliver Dick did not respond to…
Marc Albert
Oct 25, 2022

Amid ominous signs, California releases first student test scores since the pandemic

Californians had their first statewide look at test scores measuring the toll the pandemic took on students -- and the way state education officials have handled the rollout provides plenty of clues that the news is not good. Earlier this fall the state Education Department refused a media request to immediately…
Joe Hong/CalMatters
Oct 25, 2022

Four vying for Petaluma mayor's office

A project manager, a conservationist and two council members are running the be the next mayor of Petaluma, here's a look at the race and its contenders. It's a four-way race to succeed Teresa Barrett as the elected leader of the county's second-largest city, something of a microcosm of the county as a whole, and…
Marc Albert
Oct 24, 2022

Online wine delivery company settles consumer complaint, customers can get refund

The online wine seller Naked Wines has agreed to settle a consumer protection lawsuit brought by multiple district attorneys, according to Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley. Haley said in a statement that Nakedwines.com, Inc. had settled a complaint alleging the company had not followed California's…
Thomas Hughes/Bay City News
Oct 24, 2022

Stapp, Rossiter compete for Santa Rosa's 2nd Council District

Next up in our ongoing election 2022 coverage, the race for the second district seat on the Santa Rosa City Council. Mark Stapp is a member of Santa Rosa’s Design Review Board, an administrator at Sonoma State, and has served on the city’s Measure O oversight committee. Mason Rossiter is a political science student at…
Noah Abrams
Oct 20, 2022

Healdsburg takes stock of carbon footprint and begins climate mobilization

Lowering greenhouse gas emissions has become a top priority for many of Sonoma County’s cities. The timeline for action continues to accelerate. Healdsburg officials this week reviewed the city's inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and took steps to create a climate mobilization strategy. "Healdsburg is a leader in…
Noah Abrams
Oct 20, 2022

ELECTION 2022: Huffman and Brower on ballot for congressional district 2

For our ongoing election coverage, we’re speaking to candidates in key local races. One of those is for the representative for California's second congressional district. Spanning from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, Jared Huffman has represented the roughly 700,000 residents of the second district in US…
Greta Mart
Oct 20, 2022

Sonoma County requires flu vaccine for health care, congregate care facility workers

Sonoma County health care workers will be required to get a flu shot by the end of November under an order issued Wednesday by the county's top health official. The order, which takes effect Nov. 1, will require workers to get the annual flu vaccine or, if granted a medical or religious exemption, wear a surgical mask…
Eli Walsh/Bay City News
Oct 20, 2022

Napa County officials pursue regulatory, legal action over new vineyard project

Napa County officials fired back this week at a well-known winemaker in an escalating dispute over whether the county has regulatory authority over a new vineyard project on his land. On Oct. 13, Jayson Woodbridge of Hundred Acre Wine Group sued the county over claims that local officials have overstepped in their…
Kiley Russell/Bay City News Foundation
Oct 20, 2022

Three challenging Fleming for Santa Rosa's 4th district council seat

The Sonoma County Elections Divisions started sending out 2022 general election ballots in the mail on October 10th. Over the coming days, besides stories on statewide propositions, we’ll be airing interviews with local candidates. In Santa Rosa's fourth district, three challengers are attempting to unseat city…
Marc Albert
Oct 19, 2022

Aminzadeh, Connolly contest new Assembly District 12 seat

The Sonoma County Elections Divisions started sending out 2022 general election ballots in the mail on October 10th. Over the coming days, besides stories on statewide propositions, we’ll be airing interviews with local candidates. KRCB News spoke with the two candidates running for the State Assembly's 12th District…
Noah Abrams
Oct 19, 2022

'Final' SDC plan calls for 1,000 homes, 900 jobs at Eldridge campus

Sonoma County officials appear to be ploughing ahead with bold re-use plans for the sprawling Sonoma Developmental Center. A total of 15 pages of revisions to the site's specific plan and a 2,500+ page environmental impact report were released to the public Tuesday. The county's planning commission is scheduled to…
Marc Albert
Oct 18, 2022

Jacobi, Okrepkie face off in Santa Rosa's District 6

The Sonoma County Elections Divisions started sending out 2022 general election ballots in the mail on October 10th. Over the coming days, besides stories on statewide propositions, we’ll be airing interviews with local candidates. KRCB News spoke with the two candidates running for the 6th District seat on the Santa…
Noah Abrams
Oct 17, 2022

One year on - Roseland Library full of life in latest home

An improved-but-still-temporary Roseland Regional Library has been open for about a year on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa. On a foggy mid-October morning students from Victor Guadarrama’s sixth grade class from nearby Sheppard Elementary darted around the main room. He said he thinks the library is a great resource…
Noah Abrams
Oct 17, 2022

Sonoma will weigh annexations at county's request

The City of Sonoma is being pushed to expand, but less forcefully. A final report prepared by Sonoma County's Local Area Formation Commission...also known as LAFCO [laugh-coe]…..is scheduled for public release today. It recommends Sonoma swallow several unincorporated 'islands,' a few peripheral areas that have…
Marc Albert
Oct 14, 2022

Mental healthcare workers and Kaiser still deadlocked after two months

Mental healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente are marking two months on strike across Northern California today. "We're here for the patients, not for ourselves," said Christine Naber, a neuropsychologist at Kaiser in Santa Rosa and member of the National Union of Healthcare Workers. She said the ongoing strike is…
Noah Abrams
Oct 14, 2022

CalMatters: This is how much you'll get from the California gas rebate

California is sending money directly to millions of residents to help with rising costs and high gas prices. The payments, which started going out Oct. 7, range from $200 to $1,050, depending on income and other factors. About 18 million payments will be distributed over the next few months, benefiting up to 23…
Grace Gedye/CalMatters
Oct 13, 2022

Cotati brings Dutch designs to California

For now the cannabis shops are the main thing Cotati and Amsterdam have in common, but soon enough Cotati’s neighborhoods may look a lot more Dutch. "The sum result of all of this is the creation of a series of outdoor living rooms," Cotati planner Autumn Buss said. The living rooms Buss is talking about: Woonerfs. A…
Noah Abrams
Oct 12, 2022

Sonoma County's civil grand jury foreman on the state of housing in the county

Sonoma County needs lots of new homes - almost 15,000 to be precise, and failing to meet that goal within the next decade could prompt the state to take over control of local housing development. One group that has done a deep investigation of local housing needs is Sonoma County’s civil grand jury. "Civil grand…
Noah Abrams
Oct 11, 2022

New engagement chief sets out her vision for IOLERO in the community

Sonoma County’s sheriff oversight body IOLERO, has seen a number of changes recently. Including a new community engagement manager. With a degree in criminal justice from Sonoma State in hand, Lizett Camacho said she saw the writing on the wall when IOLERO needed a new community engagement lead. "I've been in the…
Noah Abrams
Oct 11, 2022

Heartbreak, loss, strength and resilience honored five years after Tubbs Fire

As the fog cleared Saturday morning, elected leaders, firefighters, and local residents gathered to mark the 5-year anniversary of the Tubbs Fire. Other than a few scars on the pavement, Santa Rosa's Coffey Park looks like a recently completed subdivision, trees not yet casting much shade. After igniting north of…
Marc Albert
Oct 11, 2022

New simulation predicts devastating floodwaters far inland in major tsunami

A wall of water walloping Doran Spit. Estero Americano changing course, channeling the pacific upstream, nearly to Valley Ford, water lapping at the edges of the Rocky Memorial Dog Park in Petaluma. The disaster scenario comes courtesy of the California Geological Survey, which Friday released updated tsunami…
Marc Albert
Oct 10, 2022

Kaiser mental healthcare strike continues

Mental healthcare staff at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa remain on strike, holding out for better working and patient-care conditions. After nearly two months some Kaiser employees have returned to work, unable to continue on without pay. Alexis Petrakis, a mental healthcare worker at Kaiser's Santa Rosa facility,…
Noah Abrams
Oct 07, 2022

Groundbreaking agreement made official for tribal authority at holy lake

Since 2019 Sonoma County Parks and the Graton Rancheria have co-managed Tolay Lake Regional Park outside Petaluma. That interim agreement has been cemented for the next 20 years. Tucked away at the end of a quiet lane off Lakeville Highway sits Tolay Lake. Though reduced from its original size after settlers in the…
Noah Abrams
Oct 07, 2022

Loss still reverberating five years after the Tubbs Fire

Five years ago, hot dry winds roared into Calistoga, fanning what would become an apocalyptic, deadly wildfire reaching into urban Santa Rosa. As part of KRCB News's coverage of the anniversary, reporter Marc Albert reached out to Jonathan Coke, currently a resident of Chico, whose Aunt, then 83 year old Carmen…
Marc Albert
Oct 07, 2022

Crop Report: Apples, dairy, poultry slammed by drought, grapes and cannabis up

In spite of crushing drought, Sonoma County's farms, ranches, orchards and vineyards delivered crops and products worth nearly a fifth more than last year. But the county's latest annual crop report is far from universally sunny. Ag is in flux, with some traditionally strong sectors floundering under drought and lower…
Marc Albert
Oct 06, 2022

Elections are right around the corner. Here's the basics

On Monday, Sonoma County starts sending out ballots for the November 8th midterm election and a number of seats are up for election across Sonoma County. Registrar of Voters Deva Marie Proto said there's plenty opportunities for voters to cast their ballots by November eighth. "In person voting, we have seven…
Noah Abrams
Oct 06, 2022

Tensions and concern remains around RV village and Sebastopol homeless

This week the city of Sebastopol provided an update on a safe parking site for homeless residents. While public opinion is unsurprisingly divided, the situation remains complex. "The simple solution seems to be to try to squeeze the balloon as they say, you squeeze one in and you push them out somewhere else,"…
Noah Abrams
Oct 05, 2022

Protected bike lanes, add'l parklets eyed for short stretch of Mendocino Avenue

Officials meeting in Santa Rosa Tuesday batted around concepts aimed at making part of Mendocino Avenue more of an extension of downtown, and less of an escape route. While no decisions were made, it seems nearly inevitable that one of the two northbound lanes between Fourth Street and College Avenue will be…
Marc Albert
Oct 04, 2022

Petaluma housing plans near completion

The city of Petaluma is working on a blueprint for where to build hundreds of new houses, condos and apartments. 1,910 - the number of housing units the state says Petaluma needs to build in the next eight years. City planner Christina Paul said the community has outlined a number of housing priorities. "We have a…
Noah Abrams
Sep 30, 2022

Scale, density and preservation remain concerns as SDC reuse proposal gels

Roughly one hundred people showed up at the Sonoma Developmental Center Thursday, where the county's planning commissioners held an on-site meeting and walking tour of the shuttered 19th century campus in the Sonoma Valley. Officials continue refining re-use plans for the nearly one thousand acre site. Brian Oh, with…
Marc Albert
Sep 30, 2022

Former PG&E execs settle wildfire victims' suit for $117 million

Former PG&E executives and directors have settled a lawsuit for $117 million in damages caused by the utility in connection with North Bay fires and the Camp Fire in Butte County, which was the deadliest fire in California history, the PG&E Fire Victim Trust announced Thursday. After more than a year of negotiations…
Katy St. Clair/Bay City News
Sep 29, 2022

Frustration mounts in the struggle for sheriff oversight

Disappointment and confusion continue to surround the struggle for oversight of the Sonoma County sheriff’s department. Local resident Kimi Barbosa recently made her thoughts on the matter known to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. "You proved us right," Barbosa said. "In 2020 we said we did not want you to…
Noah Abrams
Sep 29, 2022

Sutter healthcare scientists join ranks of striking workers in Santa Rosa

Fall has officially begun with perhaps another “Strike-tober” ahead as healthcare workers at Sutter Heath in Santa Rosa started early in their fight for a new contract. Chants of "We’re on strike!" came from the lab scientists, pharmacists, social workers, and other ESC’s, engineers and scientists, at Sutter Health in…
Noah Abrams
Sep 28, 2022

Sonoma County Airport on course to serve a record number of passengers in 2022

With the pandemic waning, more of us are taking to the skies from Sonoma County. The passenger count at the Sonoma County Charles M. Schulz Airport is nearing 400,000 so far this year. That's more than double 2020's record low. Airport Manager Jon Stout said, "We're projecting we'll finish the year around six hundred…
Mark Prell
Sep 28, 2022

After a decade of resistance, Sebastopol relenting on SmartMeters

For nearly a decade, propelled by activists concerned about long-term exposure to certain frequencies of radio waves, the City of Sebastopol has delayed the roll-out of new, high-tech utility meters. This week, years after state regulators ruled municipalities had no jurisdiction and couldn't block them, Pacific Gas…
Marc Albert
Sep 28, 2022

County to study developing 'climate adaptation center' at SDC site

There's a new subplot in the on-going drama over re-use of the Sonoma Developmental Center, the shuttered state facility for the developmentally challenged in the Sonoma Valley. County officials say it won't impact the timeline. A final Environmental Impact Report and Specific Plan are still due by December thirty…
Marc Albert
Sep 26, 2022

Anti-Semitic flyers left at Santa Rosa homes ahead of Jewish new year

Dozens of residents in eastern Santa Rosa awoke Friday morning to leaflets left at their homes overnight blaming followers of Judaism for the COVID pandemic. It's the latest flyer drop possibly linked to a Petaluma man, who operates an anti-Semitic conspiracy website. The flyers, placed on porches driveways or in…
Marc Albert
Sep 26, 2022

Sebastopol relents in battle over high tech water meters

Concerns about grave health impacts from exposure to radio waves has prompted one Sonoma County city to back off, up to a point. The Sebastopol city council unanimously approved a measure last week allowing residential customers to keep their old water meters, if they insist. Like other cities and towns around…
Marc Albert
Sep 26, 2022

Windsor extends vacation rental moratorium, developing permanent rules

With a moratorium on vacation rentals in Windsor set to expire, town leaders there Wednesday moved to extend it for nearly a year. Set to elapse a week from Saturday, officials had hoped to present permanent rules regulating short term rentals, but a draft ordinance wasn't ready. While Airbnb and VRBO are the most…
Marc Albert
Sep 22, 2022

Sonoma, Marin counties receive $10 million for carbon farming partnership

Sonoma and Marin counties will soon launch a partnership program that supports farmers initiating climate-friendly practices designed to create an exchange of climate-smart agricultural products between the two counties. Announced last Wednesday, the counties are set to receive up to $10 million from the U.S.…
Olivia Wynkoop/Bay City News
Sep 21, 2022

Wildfires capture attention - but smoke remains the inescapable threat

This is part one in a three part series by KRCB, in collaboration with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism 2022 California Fellowship on wildfire smoke, its effect on our health, and how workers in the farms and fields of Sonoma County are responding to the threat. Wildfires are changing. With their new…
Noah Abrams
Sep 21, 2022

Hotel, housing complex near Sonoma closer to reality

An affordable housing project and hotel planned for an area near Sonoma cleared a critical hurdle this afternoon. The county board of supervisors approved surrendering part of Old Maple Avenue just north of Sonoma. A portion of the road, which parallels Verano Avenue, will make way for a 120 room hotel and 72 unit…
Marc Albert
Sep 21, 2022

Early storm kneecaps, but doesn't eliminate fire danger

The risk of major wildfire across Sonoma County and the north coast is just about nil for the next week or so. That's according to a federal inter-agency weather and fire forecasting agency. Recent early season rains drenched some areas, and quenched others. But, fire season isn't quite over. Brent Wachter is a Fire…
Marc Albert
Sep 19, 2022

Petaluma moves to shore up groundwater supply

Like just about everyone else in Sonoma County, Petaluma is looking for more water. They recently made it happen. Aiming to stave off any shortage, last week Petaluma moved forward with a new municipal well - this time on the city’s west side. Called the Oak Hill Municipal Well, Dan Herrera, a civil engineer for the…
Noah Abrams
Sep 19, 2022

Locals bash SDC plans as too big

After the recent release of proposals related to re-using the Sonoma Developmental Center, the public had it's first opportunity Thursday to sound off on plans for a thousand homes, nearly as many jobs and a road connecting Arnold Drive with State Route 12. Sound off they did. Officials tried framing the proposal as…
Marc Albert
Sep 16, 2022

Kaiser mental healthcare strike stretches into second month

Kaiser Mental Health Care workers rallied at the Santa Rosa Kaiser facility on Bicentennial Drive in Santa Rosa Friday afternoon as their strike entered its 33rd day. With a breakdown at the bargaining table, Kaiser workers were picketing in Santa Rosa, saying overcrowding and under-staffing by Kaiser is hurting…
Noah Abrams
Sep 15, 2022

Sebastopol looks at potential futures for downtown creek

Covered up and reworked throughout much of the last hundred plus years - urban creeks are getting a second look from local governments for their vital role in local ecosystems. Hidden under paved parking lots or fenced away below steep walls, Sebastopol’s Calder Creek is often inaccessible and out of sight - at least…
Noah Abrams
Sep 15, 2022

Controversial alcohol permit survives another challenge

The Sebastopol city council has denied an appeal in a pressurized dispute connected to a new restaurant within the city - one with a controversial owner. A routine alcohol use permit for Sebastopol restaurateur Lowell Sheldon’s newest venture called Piala has been much scrutinized. The permit application, in the name…
Noah Abrams
Sep 15, 2022

Contentious Ag Pass program finally approved

A key vote took place in late August in a five-year-plus-long controversy over agricultural work in evacuation zones in Sonoma County. After months of official and staff deliberation, repeated worker demonstrations, and organized pushback from vineyard owners, the Sonoma County board of supervisors voted unanimously…
Noah Abrams
Sep 15, 2022

Local coastal plan nears completion

A new blueprint for future development and stewardship along the Sonoma Coast is nearly complete. Why does the coastal area have its own planning document? "In some ways we could say that this whole process started in Sonoma County, February, 1960, when the board of supervisors approved atomic park and said, that it'd…
Noah Abrams
Sep 15, 2022

New restrictions aimed at homeless approved in Rohnert Park

With little debate and no amendments, Rohnert Park's city council Tuesday approved barring people from sleeping in wide swaths of the city. The measure was approved 3-0 with both Vice Mayor Samantha Rodriguez and councilwoman Pam Stafford absent. It bans, among other things, camping within fifteen hundred feet of any…
Marc Albert
Sep 13, 2022

4.4 Earthquake hits Santa Rosa

The 4.4 temblor struck at 6:39 pm Tuesday and was centered two miles northeast of downtown Santa Rosa, just North of Cobblestone Drive. It was at a depth of 3.5 miles and felt as far away as Clear Lake, Napa, Oakland, and San Mateo, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. A 4.3 aftershock hit less than a…
Mark Prell
Sep 13, 2022

The future today? Guaranteed Income comes to Sonoma County

Two and a half years into the COVID pandemic, early protections and emergency money have for the most part - dried up. Their benefits have been well documented, as has the divisive discourse around increased social spending. As prices rise and individuals are left to pick up the pieces, some cities are trying a much…
Noah Abrams
Sep 12, 2022

Do permit fees worsen housing woes? Santa Rosa embarks on review, may re-jigger fees

Adding a deck in Santa Rosa? A permit and inspection will set you back $199.93 before the first board or nail. A retaining wall? $185. Are those fees exorbitant and hampering the city's progress? Santa Rosa is considering revamping how and how much it charges for development fees, permits and inspections. The effort…
Marc Albert
Sep 06, 2022

Drought conditions worsening

With extreme heat expected and water supplies dwindling, experts at a monthly county drought briefing praised conservation while warning drought is now looking like it will linger into the coming winter. Summing things up, Supervisor Chris Coursey said, the weather hasn't been kind. "Well, the first seven months of…
Marc Albert
Sep 06, 2022

Bohemian Highway bridge replacement inching forward

Well-loved and long-travelled, the nearly ninety-year-old Pratt Pony truss bridge spanning the Russian River at Monte Rio is nearing a date with oblivion. More of an utilitarian work horse from the 1930's Works Progress Administration-era than a marvel of engineering sporting soaring elements, the bridge, despite a…
Marc Albert
Sep 06, 2022

Advocates warn reproductive rights remain under threat, even in California

With some states adding restrictions or prohibiting abortion, California is moving in a different direction. Nevertheless, local medical experts say they remain concerned about access, misconceptions and the future, even in solid blue California. A statewide constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to abortion…
Marc Albert
Aug 31, 2022

Northern California tribe works to reclaim their language

Before European contact, linguists say there were over 300 Native American languages spoken in North America. Fewer than half remain. This summer, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs announced it was awarding $7 million to American Indian and Alaska native tribes under the Living Languages Grant Program. The program…
Quinn Nelson
Aug 29, 2022

Local healthcare providers say class divide forming over reproductive rights

With some states adding restrictions or prohibiting abortion, California is moving in a different direction. Nevertheless, local medical experts say they remain concerned about access, misconceptions and the future. A statewide constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to abortion and contraception is set to go…
Marc Albert
Aug 29, 2022

California phases out new gas cars, so what's next for electric vehicles?

New gasoline-powered cars will be banned in California beginning with 2035 models under a new groundbreaking regulation unanimously approved this month to force car owners to switch to zero-emission vehicles. In its biggest move yet to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and fight climate change, the new rule approved by…
Nadia Lopez/CalMatters
Aug 26, 2022

Mobile clinic ready to bring healthcare to the road

Dental visits in a Winnebago? Petaluma Health Center’s newest clinic is made to be mobile. It might look like an RV on the outside - an RV that’s stamped with the portrait of a smiling nurse that is. At noon Friday, the Petaluma Health Center cut the ribbon on its newest mobile clinic. Congressman Mike Thompson was on…
Noah Abrams
Aug 25, 2022

Cotati appoints new council members

Several seats on city councils around the county are up for election in November. But one city is cancelling its next council election. Cotati mayor Mark Landman and council member John Moore both announced their retirements earlier this year. Those two retirements opened the seats for full, four-year terms on the…
Noah Abrams
Aug 23, 2022

Family of man slain by sheriff's deputy speaks out

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office remains in the spotlight over the killing of a North Bay man in late July. Bearing the heat Monday afternoon a supportive crowd gathered in front of the sheriff offices in Santa Rosa to hear testimony from the family, and supporters, of David Pelaez-Chavez, the Lake County man shot…
Noah Abrams
Aug 23, 2022

Regional Climate Protection Authority puts carbon neutrality center stage

The intricate web of connections that is the carbon footprint of a person, a community, and a society touches all things. Unraveling that web and making changes is a challenge. Aiming to do so though: RCPA, the Regional Climate Protection Authority. Sonoma County’s starting goal to lessen the impacts of climate change…
Noah Abrams
Aug 23, 2022

Healdsburg looks in the mirror on diversity, equity.

The police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked a reassessment of efforts inclusion and justice in many municipalities. Earlier this year, looking to reflect on social, racial, and economic inequality, Healdsburg turned to Acosta Educational Partnership - which had done similar work at the city's…
Noah Abrams
Aug 23, 2022

Council hopefuls push qualifications, contrasts at candidate forum

There are four Santa Rosa city council seats up for election in November. On Monday, the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual get-to-know-the-candidates session. City councilwoman Dianna MacDonald and former councilwoman Veronica Jacobi did not participate, although they are in the race and on the…
Marc Albert
Aug 19, 2022

Neighbors push back against local park development

Some neighbors took issue Wednesday with official plans to convert a vacant lot in Santa Rosa's Roseland neighborhood into a local park. The meeting was held to assure every possible impact is included in an Environmental Impact Report. The city opted to shift course after threats of legal challenges to a previous…
Marc Albert
Aug 18, 2022

Windsor imposes moratorium on new short term rentals

Another local community is looking to more strongly regulate short term rentals. This time Windsor. The divisive issue of short term rentals has become a concern across the region. Windsor is no different. Some in the community see them as essential economic drivers, others as cash grabs and a nuisance for neighbors.…
Noah Abrams
Aug 18, 2022

Healdsburg approves new surveillance tech

Lights, camera, Orwell? Following the trend of more than 100 cities across California, Healdsburg moved closer to erecting Automatic License Plate Readers, ALPR’s, at the city’s major entry and exit points. Considered by law enforcement a tool for investigating crimes, they're also a cause of alarm for civil liberties…
Noah Abrams
Aug 16, 2022

Lake Pillsbury could be drained - advocates see it as indispensable

Another lawsuit was filed this week in the continuing saga of the Potter Valley Project, a hydroelectric plant affecting the Russian and Eel Rivers. PG&E is in the early stages of surrendering control of the Project - a pair of dams, a diversion tunnel, and a hydro-electric station along the Eel River - and some…
Noah Abrams
Aug 15, 2022

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

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 Sheriff's Office Facebook page, the 11-minute video includes body camera footage from both officers involved and a…
Noah Abrams
Aug 12, 2022

Santa Rosa temporarily caps vacation rentals

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, we live with beer pong. They're drinking, they're partying. I've been yelled at and screamed at for doing yard…
Noah Abrams
Aug 12, 2022

"Strong recommendations" but no COVID requirements as schools reopen

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 officer laid out the reasoning at a meeting Wednesday. "Even though we're seeing a lot of transmission of COVID…
Marc Albert
Aug 12, 2022

Santa Rosa looks to its housing future in updated plan

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, the state assigns local jurisdictions a certain number of housing units that need to be met. Sonoma County's…
Quinn Nelson
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 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

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

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