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Local News

Dec 02, 2022

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

by Marc Albert
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…
Dec 01, 2022

Rain heralds return of salmon to North Bay waterways

by Noah Abrams
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…
Nov 30, 2022

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

by Joe Dworetzky/Bay City News Foundation
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…
Nov 30, 2022

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

by Marc Albert
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…
Nov 30, 2022

Senior dining about more than just the early bird special

by Noah Abrams
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…

Music Playlist

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
Jan 27, 2022

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

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

Ire surging over competing visions for huge Sonoma Valley property

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

Sonoma County moves to new election model

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

Rainy season could still deliver

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

Sonoma Dems endorse Burke in Sheriff's race

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

Omicron pushing local hospitals to the brink

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

Navient Agrees To $11.5 Million In Restitution For CA Borrowers

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

Tsunami advisory issued for Sonoma Coast

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

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

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

A virtual MLK celebration in Sonoma County planned for Sunday

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

Blount trial opens with sparring opening statements

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

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

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

Vigils for democracy on anniversary of Jan. 6 attack

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

Locals hold vigil on anniversary of Jan 6 attack

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

Sonoma County receptive to cannabis growers demands for tax relief

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

New state police report shows racial disparities in policing

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

SoCo says staffing shortages, pandemic hindering more winter homeless services

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

County failing homeless in hour of deepest need, advocates say

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

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

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

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

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

Sonoma County rescinds mask exemption

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

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

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

Christmas tree disposal options

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

Legal challenges to new animal confinement law

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

Small restoration projects to give salmon/steelhead a better chance

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

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

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

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

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

More shelter beds open up for forecasted nights of freezing temperatures

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

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

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

Mask mandate returns across the state

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

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

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

Plan to rid Farallons of mice raising hackles among some enviros

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

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

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

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

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

Vaccine confrontation sends Healdsburg city council online

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

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

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

Blood donations are needed most during the holidays

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

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

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

Tempers rise as deadline for redistricting nears

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

Drought forcing ranchers to sell livestock

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

Palacios' vaccine reluctance rooted in history, family experience

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

Dungeness scarce as fishing mainly on hold for whale migration

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

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

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

'Kidnapping' wasn't real

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

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

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

Healdsburg to weigh loosening food truck restrictions

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

Foppoli's home searched as investigation moves forward

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

Representing Sonoma County at the UN climate change conference

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

Sportfishing industry decries proposed new emissions regulations

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

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

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

Storm bringing rain, slight slide risk, but drought persisting

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

Future of Sonoma Developmental Center taking shape

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

Officials weigh options for federal COVID cash

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

Protections for whales, turtles may delay crab season

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

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

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

Santa Rosa's SOFA arts district looking forward to Winterblast

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

Anti-mask vlogger confronts Sebastopol business

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

State biologists to euthanize Rohnert Park mountain lion

A mountain lion whose close proximity prompted school lockdowns in Rohnert Park on Monday morning has been euthanized, said a California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) spokesperson. The mountain lion was collared and known to a local researcher, said CDFW's Ken Paglia. "It's a mountain lion that's known to have…
Greta Mart
Oct 21, 2021

Happy for the rain, but what of the risks?

Sonoma County emergency officials are preparing for potentially record-breaking rainfall totals for an October storm. It seems crazy to ask, but what of the county's biggest flood risk, the Russian River in Guerneville? "There's no predicted flooding with the amount of rain we're getting this week," said Jim Bulgari…
Chris Lee
Oct 20, 2021

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

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

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

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

Incoming storms likely to snuff out fire season

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

Some locals join schools boycott over COVID vax

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

Can we conserve our way out of a drought crisis?

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

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

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

PG&E pleads not guilty to Kincade Fire charges.

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

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

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

KRCB Converse: boosters, COVID surges and mask mandates

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

Santa Rosa Council lays down law on short term rentals

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

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

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

Santa Rosa adopting new homelessness, mental health approach

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

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

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

Communication controversy after COVID outbreak at courthouse

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

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

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

No mystery to the missing water from the upper Russian River

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

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

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

Local nurses demand more staff and resources

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

School mask drama now playing out in court

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

Assistant Sheriff Engram sets sights on top job

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

Supes looking to revamp events, charge big cycling events

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

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

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

Sheriff Essick retiring at end of term

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

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

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

This Casa Grande parent seeks change after series of bomb threats

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

Will new state law change Sonoma County residential neighborhoods?

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

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

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

Police investigate bomb threat at Casa Grande High School

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

Long path ahead for cannabis ordinance

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

KRCB Converse: Afghanistan's Fawzia Koofi

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

DANGEROUS AIR: As California burns, America breathes toxic smoke

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

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

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

Local operating engineers at Kaiser strike for higher wages

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

Rohnert Park officers indicted in "highway robbery" case

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

KRCB Converse: Vaccine boosters

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

A new wildfire breaks out in Schellville near Napa Road

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

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

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

Petaluma moves ahead with micro shelters for homeless

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

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

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

Delinquent water customers could face new rules once COVID passes

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

Casino proposal may face long process

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

Coast Guard works to contain Bodega Bay diesel spill

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

While summer surge slows, health officials urge vigilance

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

Minimum wage to rise in Santa Rosa in January

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

Crews reduce wildfire risk while building better futures

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

Ravitch routs recall

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

Preliminary results point to landslide against DA recall

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

Sonoma County considers adopting home commercial kitchen program

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

Sonoma County DA write-in candidate Joe Castagnola

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

Local doctors say hospital patients continue to be younger and unvaccinated

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

Windsor town manager resigns

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

Sonoma County 75% vaccinated and COVID rate begins to stabilize

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

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

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

Arson suspected in slew of north Sonoma County brush fires

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

Investigations underway after 15 mysterious overnight fires ignite around Healdsburg

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

New voices confirm low income housing fraud charges

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

Filing hints at Northwest Pacific RR revival for coal trains

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

August had the highest COVID death rate since the winter surge

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

KRCB Converse: Epidemiologist on summer surge and fall forecast

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

Foppoli's quest baffling, stupefying Windsor

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

Neighbors concerned as county again puts Chanate campus up for sale

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

Santa Rosa considers amending anti-harassment policy

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

KRCB FireCast Resources

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

New tech aiding Pacific coast fish census

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

Calling for micro grids to ease pains of preemptive blackouts

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

Weather service predicting continuing drought, water agencies contemplating solutions

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

Weather stations helping PG&E forecast fire danger

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

Fire prep, recovery program launched at SRJC

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

Supes considering Styrofoam prohibition

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

Housing Fraud Allegations Raise Questions

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

Housing fraud allegations raise questions

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

Housing in high demand as county opens lottery for affordable units

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

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

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

Concerns raised as Sonoma County considers 'micro-restaurants'

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

Young Sonoma County 'promotores' help their communities through emergencies

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

This Santa Rosa Teacher centers social justice in her classroom

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

Sonoma County increases COVID-19 testing as cases remain high

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

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

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

Why Offshore Winds in August Raise Alarms

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

Sonoma County requires county employees to get vaccinated or tested

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

Medical Experts optimistic right precautions can protect local kids

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

Sonoma County covid cases continue rising, impacting local hospitals

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

Despite curtailment order, water still vanishing

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

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

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

Wastewater conundrum sparking west county controversy

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

Much local progress on carbon emissions, more left to do

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

More COVID recovery aid available for small businesses; nonprofits

Another round of emergency funding will start becoming available to small businesses next month after California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate announced additional funds became available. Non profits, cultural institutions, and sole proprietorships also qualify. Businesses can apply for between $5,000 and…
Marc Albert
Aug 05, 2021

Sonoma County tells emergency personnel get vaccinated or tested weekly

Sonoma County is now requiring vaccine proof or weekly tests for its four thousand firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical service workers and disaster shelter staff, starting September first. This health order expands on last week's announcement from that state that requires healthcare and state workers get…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 05, 2021

Railroad crossing impasse may be heading for resolution

According to some neighbors, the train that was supposed to weave the north bay together has instead chopped a community in two. Instead of a quick jaunt across the tracks, those on foot must walk nearly a mile via Guerneville Road to cross. As a few locals doggedly push the issue with regulators, light may be forming…
Marc Albert
Aug 03, 2021

Sonoma County Resiliency: the pandemic through the eyes of a local ICU nurse.

“I don't think a single medical team member will come through this and say that their life has not been forever changed,” said Andrea Nofi, a clinical staff nurse at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. Nofi has been an emergency medical technician, spent time working in UCSF’s neurological unit and served in the…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 03, 2021

In water emergency, Healdsburg residents ponder if everyone is doing their share

While California's housing crisis is prompting a lot of construction, where is the water for all those new homes and hotels going to come from? That was among the questions facing the Healdsburg council Monday night, one of Sonoma County's most drought-impacted communities. Healdsburg depends on dwindling flows from…
Marc Albert
Aug 03, 2021

Red Cross calling for blood donations to alleviate shortage

The American Red Cross says there is a blood shortage across the country, and that it needs thousands of donations a day just to meet current demand. “We're experiencing a severe blood shortage because the number of trauma cases, organ transplants, and elective surgeries are on the rise and that's depleting the nation…
Mark Prell
Aug 03, 2021

No more water to support water rights along the Russian River

Unprecedented drought conditions have forced state water regulators to take the drastic step of officially suspending water rights along the Russian River. Sam Boland-Brien with the state water board said conditions have continued to worsen in the Russian River watershed and the orders formally direct those who have…
Mark Prell
Aug 03, 2021

Will mask mandate drastically change local behavior?

Prior to the new announcement, crowds seemed ready to mingle as bands played and beer poured last Thursday evening at the Barlow, a commercial development in Sebastopol. On Friday a cook at a nearby Thai restaurant, who declined to provide their name, said about 80 percent of customers continue to wear their mask, but…
Marc Albert
Aug 02, 2021

Sonoma County reinstates indoor mask mandate

Sonoma County, along with six other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley, has re-instated a mask mandate for all indoor work settings and public spaces. The decision comes less than a week after state officials recommended all people, vaccinated or not, mask up indoors, in places with high transmission rates.…
Tessa Paoli
Aug 02, 2021

Additional aircraft join CalFire roster, with more on the way

A dozen extra firefighting planes and helicopters joined CalFire last week. Each has taken to the air since in what's shaping up as California's worst fire year ever. The air assets, a mix of planes and choppers, aren't exactly new, but state officials brought the privately-owned craft on early this year, based on…
Marc Albert
Jul 30, 2021

Local Ag group urges state financial aid as drought slams farming

About two dozen small farmers gathered on a withered field on Santa Rosa's edge Wednesday, hoping to pressure state officials for financial relief. "We don't know when our well is going to say 'no' can't take this drought anymore," said Yael Bernier, who dry farms grapes along with vegetables in the Dry Creek Valley.…
Marc Albert
Jul 27, 2021

"COVID isn't done with us," cases continue to rise in Sonoma County

Sonoma County's overall daily case rate has risen to three times where the county was a couple months ago. Case rates are more than four times higher among unvaccinated people. And new cases are disproportionately high among Latinx and Black residents, people living in congregate settings, as well as in younger people…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 27, 2021

Sonoma County grapples with new mask recommendation

Sonoma County, along with six other Bay Area counties, has gone back to recommending all people, vaccinated or not, wear masks indoors because of the highly transmissible delta variant. Sonoma County COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled since spring. But since restrictions eased with the statewide June 15…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 26, 2021

Despite pandemic, hundreds do their part for new Santa Rosa mural

The pandemic hasn't slowed down Santa Rosa-based youth art organization ArtStart. In late March lead artists and young students painted a quarantine-themed mural in downtown Petaluma. And now the group is finishing up a second mural in a collaborative series with recycling company Recology. ArtStart's creative…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 23, 2021

Local coalition calls for safety and respect for Sonoma County farmworkers

A local coalition called North Bay Jobs with Justice is leading the campaign for farmworker safety and respect during wildfires. And it started with intensive interviews with farmworkers about their needs. “As an organization, this work is worker driven, based on the experiences, lived realities and testimonies of…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 21, 2021

New PG&E CEO vows to bury thousands of miles of power lines

In a dramatic shift, Pacific Gas & Electric Company has announced a new effort to bury powerlines underground in coming years. The company said, since 2018, it has completed demonstration projects aimed at converting overhead power lines to underground in high fire-threat areas of Sonoma counties. PG&E also said it…
Marc Albert
Jul 21, 2021

Sonoma County eyes further constraints on vacation rentals

Sonoma County is a tourist destination for people from all over. But it's also a place with unpredictable, severe weather and a lack of affordable, permanent housing. "People are increasingly being priced out," Supervisor Lynda Hopkins said. "We are increasingly seeing the most affordable homes being snapped up for…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 21, 2021

Loan fund pitched to speed housing construction

A multi-million-dollar revolving loan fund for housing construction will likely move a bit closer to reality Tuesday evening, as Santa Rosa officials work on finalizing agreements. If all goes smoothly, over the next four or so years, the funds should speed delivery of 400-500 housing units to Santa Rosa and elsewhere…
Marc Albert
Jul 19, 2021

PG&E opts to remove downed trees left behind

Pacific Gas and Electric has abruptly changed course and will remove logs burnt and cut down in 2019 and 2020 in Sonoma county. The giant Northern California utility has had an on-again, off-again policy concerning wildfire-damaged trees cut down by itself or its contractors. After the 2017 and '18 fires it hauled the…
Marc Albert
Jul 19, 2021

Wetlands improvements coming to Sears Point

A new phase of a wetlands restoration project is set to get underway at Sears Point in August. The 1,000 acre project, fallowed grazing land once eyed for a casino, is instead creating habitat for shorebirds, a refuge for salmon smolts and other fish, along with protecting surrounding low-lying areas from flooding.…
Marc Albert
Jul 17, 2021

How do COVID-19 breakthrough infections occur? One expert explains

COVID numbers have doubled in Sonoma County this month and this week there has been a reported outbreak at Santa Rosa's Samuel Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, where over half the residents tested positive and almost half of those were fully vaccinated. KRCB's Tessa Paoli talks with UC Berkeley infectious disease and…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 17, 2021

How do COVID breakthrough infections occur? One expert explains

COVID numbers have doubled in Sonoma County this month and this week there has been a reported outbreak at Santa Rosa's Samuel Jones Hall Homeless Shelter, where over half the residents tested positive and almost half of those were fully vaccinated. KRCB's Tessa Paoli talks with UC Berkeley infectious disease and…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 15, 2021

Do your part." Coffey Park residents plead with city to complete fire recovery

More than 70 residents of Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood asked the council to spend the $27 million PG&E settlement money fixing streets damaged in the fire. Because FEMA denied the city's request to repair damaged sidewalks, these funds would take the burden off homeowners. "Can you please honor what we all…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 15, 2021

Ravitch recall floundering as no challengers emerge

The campaign fliers keep landing in local mailboxes, but unlike the gubernatorial recall, there aren't dozens of colorful characters angling to seize the office of county district attorney. "Interestingly enough the deadline for the district attorney candidate filing has already passed, and we had no candidates file,"…
Marc Albert
Jul 13, 2021

Despite improvements since Tubbs Fire emergency notifications remain imperfect

One of the most glaring lessons from the Tubbs Fire was the failure to warn those in its path. Concerned that blanket alerts would cause massive traffic jams, officials hesitated. The results were tragic. Much work has been done in the close to four years since, but issues remain. Living three and a half miles up a…
Marc Albert
Jul 09, 2021

Outrage, finger-pointing as redwoods fall to chainsaws

Even as firefighters fan out across California to battle new blazes, crews are still working in areas burnt in last year's fires. Along Mill Creek Road west of Healdsburg, where the Walbridge fire left devastation, there's also plenty of frustration, bordering on anger, among property owners. KRCB's Marc Albert has…
Marc Albert
Jul 09, 2021

Local environmentalists call for reassessment of forest management

As local fire prevention and mitigation efforts race against collective fear of a season of flame, members of the Sonoma County environmental community are calling for priorities to be reassessed. After a century of fire suppression, authorities have slowly shifted forest management practices. It's largely…
Marc Albert
Jul 08, 2021

Petitioning for farmworker rights in Sonoma County

North Bay Jobs With Justice is a growing coalition of 32 labor and community organizations working on economic, racial and climate justice. The group is circulating a public call to enhance protections for farmworkers ahead of late summer harvests and the looming threat of wildfire. "People are working in smoke, in…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 08, 2021

COVID cases and hospitalizations rise in Sonoma County

Sonoma County's current case rate is fluctuating between five and six cases per 100,0000 residents, increasing from four on June 15. And Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says unvaccinated, young people make up the majority of new cases. "Yes I'm concerned because we are seeing an increase in cases," Mase said. "Are we…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 06, 2021

Sonoma County launches river revitalization project

Sonoma County and the Russian River Confluence launched a revitalization project to improve the health of the river this summer. The idea is to collaborate with organizations, businesses, residents and visitors to all be good stewards of the beloved river. District 5 Field Representative Elise Weiland says the program…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 02, 2021

A rise in COVID hospitalizations across Sonoma County concerns local doctors

Countywide, there are currently 33 COVID-19 patients in the hospital. The average number of COVID hospitalization rates has almost doubled from last week. And so have the number of patients admitted to the ICU. “For a week or two it was really quiet,” said Dr. Gary Green, medical director of infection control at…
Tessa Paoli
Jul 01, 2021

FEMA fire safety grant welcomed by local officials

Locally, the announcement a bit of a surprise, but not entirely out of the blue. Officials say the money helps fund crucially needed work, and arrived just in time. Sonoma County officials weren't exactly astounded by Wednesday's announcement. They had, after all applied for the grant, but nevertheless it comes as…
Marc Albert
Jun 30, 2021

Restarting Sonoma County’s tourism engine

"Sonoma County is roaring back after the COVID-19 closures without question," said Sonoma County Tourism CEO Claudia Vecchio. Vecchio said last year travel to the county was down by 50 percent because of the pandemic. And the hospitality industry was down 70 percent at the peak of the shutdown. "It was a dismal,…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 30, 2021

Petaluma sets priorities for next 12-months

Petaluma officials met Monday to finalize an exhaustive list of more than 100 local priorities into goals achievable within the year. Most of the items--like fixing tennis courts--are among the typical and mundane operations of local government. Others, including banning Styrofoam and divesting pension funds from…
Marc Albert
Jun 29, 2021

PG&E burying lines in Rincon Valley

When noise disrupts the typical suburban quiet in Rincon Valley, there will probably be few complaints. The area, just east of Santa Rosa, is perhaps where the most visible utility strengthening work going on in the county, is underway. The burying of electrical lines there, underway since April, is one of several…
Marc Albert
Jun 28, 2021

A new, highly transmissible COVID-19 variant explained

Just when it seems the coronavirus pandemic is waning in California, we hear about new variants. But what does that mean? To learn about one variant that’s been identified in Sonoma County, we asked Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley, for some details:
Tessa Paoli
Jun 25, 2021

Ag insurers recalculation of wildfire risk leaving growers in the lurch

The chaos, stress and anger many fire survivors have endured trying to re-up their home insurance following mega-fires that have ripped through California the last five years are stories pretty well known. But, there's also parallel crisis locally and around California squeezing agriculture. Not long after the Kincade…
Marc Albert
Jun 25, 2021

Receding Sonoma Valley aquifers could prompt big changes in how wells are used

There's likely a vast, unseen reservoir beneath your feet, built by centuries of rain percolating through the earth. Problem is, it's not limitless. In the Sonoma Valley, one of the county's three basins, that invisible supply has sunk 10 feet in two years. In a webinar held Wednesday evening, officials with the…
Marc Albert
Jun 24, 2021

Many Bodega Bay restaurant workers are still keeping their masks on

It's been a week since Governor Gavin Newsom signed the executive order allowing fully vaccinated employees to ditch their masks. But some businesses are still treading cautiously. "I think it's ridiculous. We have been careful all this time, to suddenly drop the ball in the beginning of summer,"said Aline Unzelman,…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 23, 2021

The days of 'freeways' could be numbered

A long range plan could add tolls on many local highways. It's far from a done deal, and officials anticipate widespread displeasure, but sometime in the future, driving down 101 could cost you. A half million dollar Caltrans grant will allow the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission to study adding tolls…
Marc Albert
Jun 23, 2021

Using open space for fire resiliency

The Greenbelt Alliance is an organization that advocates greenbelts, or open spaces like parks, preserves and agriculture lands to create natural buffers between communities and wildlands. "We believe that there is huge potential for the Bay Area and other fire prone areas to accelerate using greenbelts to better…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 22, 2021

Delta coronavirus variant emerges in Sonoma County

Data shows there are currently nineteen reported cases of the delta variant in the County, which has been shown to be more transmissible by 50 percent. And it's becoming more widespread in the United States. "The virus does exactly what we expect it to do, which is become as transmissible as it's capable of being and…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 22, 2021

New app to speed notification, aid evacuees in an emergency

When conditions align, California wildfires are terrifying and catastrophic. But a San Francisco-based startup named Zonehaven is harnessing technology and smart phone apps to give evacuees and rescuers an edge in an emergency. Launched with the aid of an East Bay fire captain, the app aims to speed the multi-layered…
Marc Albert
Jun 21, 2021

City of Sonoma likely adding new development fee for fire services

The price of a new home in the city of Sonoma will likely to get more expensive soon. Sonoma city officials are considering a proposed fire protection development fee. It would bring Sonoma in line with ones approved for nearby unincorporated areas. But they aren't exactly trivial. The $1.72 per square foot amount…
Marc Albert
Jun 18, 2021

Readying for the worst

Distinct, European-style high-low sirens will penetrate the redwoods around Occidental and Camp Meeker Saturday morning, the latest in a series of evacuation drills ahead of fire season. The exercises are designed as much for first responders as they are for local residents. Two Saturdays ago, it took roughly 20…
Marc Albert
Jun 18, 2021

Sonoma County celebrates Juneteenth

"It really didn't start as a festival at all, it started as a kind of protest," said Nancy Rogers, chair of the Sonoma County Juneteenth Committee. The committee was started by Santa Rosa Junior College students over half a century ago. This is the second year in a row the group's event is virtual due to the pandemic,…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 17, 2021

Continued mask use varies in Cloverdale as economy reopens

Until clear guidance was handed down today by the state's workplace regulators, this week businesses all around Sonoma County have been making their own rules for mask wearing. "It felt freeing and it felt like we were breaking the rules," said Frances Kruger, owner of Dahlia and Sage Community Market in Cloverdale.…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 17, 2021

Continued mask use varies in Cloverdale as economy reopens

Until clear guidance was handed down today by the state's workplace regulators, this week businesses all around Sonoma County have been making their own rules for mask wearing. "It felt freeing and it felt like we were breaking the rules," said Frances Kruger, owner of Dahlia and Sage Community Market in Cloverdale.…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 17, 2021

Sonoma County Resiliency: Mental health workers on the frontlines of the pandemic

Brad LaBass started his job as a clinician on the mobile support team in Santa Rosa a few weeks before the pandemic hit. "There's so much unknown in general about COVID," LaBass said. "The anxiety for all of us was high too." The mobile support team shows up when police officers call because someone is experiencing…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 16, 2021

Frustration and comradery as alumni vow to save faltering west county schools

Part political organizing, part reunion, about 80 people gathered Wednesday evening in Sebastopol; vowing to block the planned consolidation of two local high schools. Greg Jacobs, a 1966 graduate of Analy High, says the controversy isn't a surprise. "This issue of whether or not El Molino could stand on its own…
Marc Albert
Jun 16, 2021

Is it really safe? Some locals continuing to mask-up, despite restriction roll-back

With temperatures perfect for ice-cold beer, there were still vacant tables at the height of Wednesday's lunch rush at Russian River Brewing in downtown Santa Rosa. Between a quarter and a third of those spotted along Third Street were masked. That's pretty much unchanged from the pandemic's height, says one parking…
Marc Albert
Jun 16, 2021

Sonoma County makes whistleblowing easier to report

Sonoma County employees, vendors and the public will soon have a way to anonymously report instances of fraud, waste or abuse in county government. The Board of Supervisors has approved a proposal from the county's auditor-controller-treasurer-tax collector that creates multiple ways to make anonymous reports.…
Bay City News
Jun 16, 2021

Sonoma County plans distribution of $96 million dollars in post pandemic relief

Sonoma County is moving forward with the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, that would provide ninety-six million dollars for post-pandemic relief. During the first budget hearing of the year, the same day the economy has fully opened up in over a year, Supervisor Chris Coursey stressed the importance of these funds.…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 15, 2021

Russian River to ebb as emergency measures approved

With the region's reservoirs dipping to historically lows, locals are being recruited into a water saving army--whether they like it or not. Within days, flows on the Russian River will drop nearly 60 percent, while 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties drawing drinking water from it are being told to cut…
Marc Albert
Jun 14, 2021

Theater operator sees moviegoers slowly, but gradually returning

After taking it on the chin for more than a year, the operator of a local movie theater sees a slow return to normality. Though he's in the business of make-believe, Rialto Cinemas owner Ky Boyd doesn't expect a dramatic turn starting Tuesday. Despite restrictions ending, Boyd, who runs a multiplex in Sebastopol along…
Marc Albert
Jun 11, 2021

Drought so severe, even water 'royalty' could run dry within a month. 

Holders of the most senior water rights in the upper Russian River drainage, typically spared during shortages, could soon face a new reality. State water officials meeting Tuesday will get knee deep in a process that could force even those with the most senior rights---mostly farmers and municipalities with claims…
Marc Albert
Jun 11, 2021

Sonoma County teens go the distance for climate change

Dozens of people, young and old, created an aisle to welcome the Sonoma County teens who have been walking hundreds of miles for the past two weeks to spread a message about the urgency of climate change. They are part of the Sonoma County hub of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led organization with a mission to stop…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 09, 2021

Despite recent setbacks, Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit is confident it can deliver

Just as its Larkspur station opened, making San Francisco commutes viable, half a world away, a mysterious ailment started sending people to hospitals. After an initial jump, ridership faltered, then plunged. "We just opened that segment in January of 2020, we had our two best ridership months in January and February,…
Marc Albert
Jun 09, 2021

Sonoma County Resiliency: One teacher gets through another abnormal school year

Samantha Kim is 25 and started teaching at Steele Lane Elementary School in Santa Rosa, right after she graduated from Sonoma State in 2017. She now teaches a combination class of fifth and sixth graders. “These kids are starting to form their own identities a little bit and finding out what they know, what they…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 09, 2021

Sonoma County to revisit ban on disposable food containers

The proposal for a county-wide ban on products containing polystyrene foam as well as non-recyclable and non-compostable items, like Styrofoam, isn't new. Six jurisdictions including Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor and Healdsburg have already adopted an earlier version of the ordinance starting in 2019, in addition to…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 08, 2021

Santa Rosa considers extending, weakening eviction protections

As Santa Rosa officials consider extending a COVID-related eviction moratorium, housing advocates worry changes will leave tenants with few real protections. The urgency proposal would extend protections beyond the end of June, but essentially roll back additional protections added by Sonoma County earlier in the…
Marc Albert
Jun 07, 2021

Compost facility could be years away

Compostable trash will continue making a long haul out of Sonoma County for at least another year and a half, after a proposed local facility fell through. 100,000 tons. That's about the weight of 581 empty 747 jetliners---equivalent to how much yard waste and compost will be trucked to adjacent counties this year.…
Marc Albert
Jun 07, 2021

Sonoma County Resiliency: One mom's journey through distance learning

“Everybody knew James and they accepted him,” Larkin O’Leary, a mom and co-founder of the nonprofit Common Ground Society, said in a zoom interview last January. O’Leary’s seven-year-old son James started at Madrone Elementary School in 2019. She said he loved being at school, he was known as the 'Mayor of Madrone,'…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 04, 2021

Newest Windsor council member on barriers to office

"People I was running against knew that the residents of Windsor are definitely interested in Rosa. But I thought they were doing anything and everything possible to keep me out of the council," Windsor City council member Rosa Reynoza said. Reynoza ran for mayor in 2020 and lost to Dominic Foppoli, who resigned after…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 04, 2021

Sonoma County Drought Townhall Raises Fears

Two county supervisors hosted an online drought meeting June 3. Supervisors Hopkins and Gore presented some dire predictions from water experts and warnings for well owners. More from Chris Lee
Chris Lee
Jun 03, 2021

Every drop counts in this year's historic drought

"Everyone’s water use matters, it all adds up. We are going to get through this drought drop by drop," Barry Dugan, Principal Program Specialist at Sonoma Water, said. "There's a lot of ways we can all reduce our water use." Two consecutive years of below-average rainfall and low reservoir levels may make this year…
Tessa Paoli
Jun 03, 2021

D.A. settles with MoviePass over bait & switch, fraud

Officers of a company offering deep discounts on movie theater seats, will pay $400,000 after the firm, MoviePass, descended into a legal drama of its own. Prosecutors, including Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, say numerous plot twists in the subscription-based service's terms defrauded customers, lured…
Marc Albert
Jun 02, 2021

Fire risk danger growing, spreading

A fire season like no other seems to be developing, with the latest predictions from long range forecasters showing a convergence of ominous news. A normal June would seem lush by comparison. Typically, by late spring, vegetation would be drying, despite wringing the last bits of moisture from the soil. This year,…
Marc Albert
Jun 02, 2021

Windsor attempting to turn page on Foppoli

Windsor's town council will plot a course forward tonight, following the resignation of Mayor Dominic Foppoli in the face of sexual assault allegations. Several options are before the council Wednesday evening: set a special election for a new mayor; elevate a sitting council member to mayor, or possibly find a third…
Marc Albert
Jun 01, 2021

Clock ticking on recall with candidates yet to emerge

Candidates hoping to unseat Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch have about a month left to file their candidacies. Sonoma County voters will face two questions on a September 14th special election ballot. Whether to recall Ravitch, who has been county district attorney for the past decade, and if so, who will…
Marc Albert
Jun 01, 2021

Hundreds of new apartments could rise in Santa Rosa

Part of California's big push to build more housing, plans for close to 400 new apartments go before Santa Rosa officials this evening If approved, the three separate proposals would build 371 apartments, 271 of them either meeting the definition of 'affordable' or classified as 'supportive.' Meaning geared toward the…
Marc Albert
Jun 01, 2021

Pride celebrations begin in Sonoma County

Organizers from Sonoma County Pride raised the rainbow flag today on top of the Rosenberg building in downtown Santa Rosa. This kick-off to Pride month was extra special, after in-person events, like the annual parade, were done virtually last year. "I think this year's pride is so much more important than a lot of…
Tessa Paoli
May 27, 2021

State Lawmakers to Attorney General: Probe PG&E Fire Victim Trust

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has asked for California Attorney General Rob Bonta to probe the spending and administration of the PG&E Fire Victim Trust. The request comes after a KQED investigation into overhead costs of the Trust, which was established as part of a December 2019 bankruptcy settlement between…
Lily Jamali
May 27, 2021

Sonoma County to waive health fees for local businesses

Sonoma County small businesses forced to close during the pandemic now have access to $2.8 million in grant money. Nick Rodin took over Petaluma Tattoo a few months before shelter-in-place. The shop has struggled through the pandemic as a brand new business. "As far as my finances, it’s just in shambles so we are…
Tessa Paoli
May 26, 2021

Sonoma Water to revive old well during historic drought

A $400,000 plan is in motion to revive an old well as a way to conserve water during one of the worst droughts in Sonoma County's history. One of the three dormant wells that Sonoma Water owns, which were built in the late 1970's in the Santa Rosa Plains, is on Todd Road and it's been inactive since 2010. Sonoma Water…
Tessa Paoli
May 26, 2021

PG&E settles Kincade suit with Sonoma County & cities

Sonoma County and four local cities will receive $31 million after settling with Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., over the 2019 Kincade Fire. The deal was announced this morning. KRCB's Marc Albert has the details... Announced a month after Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravich filed criminal charges, utility PG&E…
Marc Albert
May 26, 2021

Frustration and Tears as Paradise Turns out to Protest the PG&E Fire Victim Trust

PARADISE, Calif. -- Teri Lindsay said she had no intention of speaking at a fire survivors’ rally that drew about a hundred people to the Skyway in Paradise Saturday. But as her daughter, Erika, stood by her side — tears streaming down the young girl’s face — Lindsay voiced her frustration at her family’s living…
Lily Jamali
May 25, 2021

County unveils new evac zones, maps

Sonoma County hopes new evacuation zones and maps will speed egress in an emergency. The maps chop unincorporated Sonoma County into 210 different zones. Incorporated cities have their own, though Sonoma and Windsor rely on the county's map. Misti Wood, a Sonoma County Sheriff's spokeswoman, says the new zones will…
Marc Albert
May 24, 2021

Decades-old clergy abuse cases inching through courts

Sonoma County residents victimized decades ago by Catholic priests are still awaiting their day in court. Public outcry following a Boston Globe investigation--popularized by the movie Spotlight led California lawmakers... in 2019... to reopen the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sexual abuse by…
Marc Albert
May 21, 2021

Sonoma County shifts to pop-up vaccine clinics

So far, over half a million vaccine doses have been administered throughout the county, and local vaccine clinics have given out about a fifth of those doses. Because of that progress, most clinics will close down by the end of June and shift their focus on going out in the community to give people shots that need…
Tessa Paoli
May 20, 2021

Regulations coming for winery events

credit: 'goingslo'A long-awaited plan to regulate events at Sonoma County wineries will go before the public next month, one of the final steps before facing the board of supervisors. Six and a half years in the making, the proposed ordinance won’t change the status quo, though officials say it will shield locals from…
Marc Albert
May 20, 2021

Teens signing up for COVID vaccine in Sonoma County

Omé Gael Zúñiga, 14, getting vaccinated last Sunday at Elsie Allen High School in Santa Rosa. (Photo courtesy of Martín Zuniga) When eighth grader Omé Gael Zúñiga went to get his first shot last Sunday, he was prepared for the worst because he has a fear of needles and oftentimes he faints at the sight of blood. But…
Tessa Paoli
May 19, 2021

Supes scrap cannabis plan; vow thorough process

May 19, 2021 - Under pressure from all sides, Sonoma County officials today decided unanimously to head back to the drawing board for a local cannabis ordinance. Following hours of aggrieved public testimony, the board of supervisors voted five to nothing to re-open the process for crafting cannabis cultivation…
Marc Albert
May 19, 2021

COVID-19 restrictions to end next month

Barring a major outbreak of variants, Sonoma County, along with the rest of California, will end restrictions, including facial masks June 15. Although the county again missed benchmarks that would have bumped it into the least restrictive tier, health officials and political leaders Wednesday expressed confidence…
Marc Albert
May 19, 2021

Santa Rosa to move forward on safe overnight parking sites

(photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr)This week Santa Rosa's city council discussed spending money on safe parking for unhoused people living in their cars, something advocates have suggested for years. The plan is to create an overnight safe parking site in each of the city’s seven districts. The proposed budget…
Tessa Paoli
May 17, 2021

Officials awaiting word on emergency cutbacks to Russian River.

Governor Gavin Newsom and Karla Nemeth, Director of the California Department of Water Resources ponder dried mud that should be deep beneath Lake Mendocino in this April 21, 2021 file photo, courtesy California DW Sonoma County officials are awaiting state permission to cut the amount of water flowing down the…
Marc Albert
May 14, 2021

Help Us Investigate PG&E’s Power Lines

California’s public radio stations are investigating the safety of Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s power lines ahead of wildfire season. We want your help. Email pictures of the lines in your area to fires@kqed.org Pacific Gas and Electric Company has sparked some of the state’s deadliest wildfires. The company pled…
Aaron Glantz and George LeVines/NPR, Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED, Chris Hagan/CapRadio, and KRCB’s Marc Albert
May 13, 2021

State, insurers & homeowners cooperating to reduce fire risk

Image courtesy CalFireAs Sonoma County's fire season starts, state and local officials are pitching strategies and programs aimed at making homes more fire resistant. When fire rages out of control, few things survive. But smartly-built homes with fewer vulnerabilities have a fighting chance. On Thursday, in a pitch…
Marc Albert
May 13, 2021

Small uptick in cases keeps Sonoma County in orange tier

Although the county was eligible to move into the yellow tier last week, a small increase in cases keeps Sonoma stuck in the second least restrictive orange tier for at least a couple more weeks, along with the majority of other Bay Area counties. The county’s adjusted case rate is currently 2.4 and it needs to be…
Tessa Paoli
May 13, 2021

Each Sonoma County school district reopens differently

As state guidelines have shifted to allow schools to begin reopening, officials said nearly every district in Sonoma County is offering either hybrid or in-person learning. But each district is making their own decisions about how many days and hours children are at school for the few weeks before summer. Smaller…
Tessa Paoli
May 12, 2021

Fire season outlook suggests serious challenges ahead

Thirty wildfires have been contained or extinguished by CalFire since New Year’s Day. That’s six times the total on this date five years ago. There are signs that California could be in for a very trying summer. To learn what experts foresee, KRCB’s Marc Albert spoke with US Forest Service meteorologist Brent Wachter.…
Marc Albert
May 12, 2021

Ominous signs suggest epic fire season on its way

On dry land that should be beneath Lake Mendocino, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Mendocino and Sonoma counties in April. Photo courtesy Calif. Department of Water ResourcesComing off back-to-back miserly rainy seasons, indications are growing that California firefighters and residents are staring…
Marc Albert
May 07, 2021

Santa Rosa residents call for more police accountability

During this week’s special Santa Rosa city council meeting, spanning almost two full days, the public heard three reports interrogating Santa Rosa officers’ responses to the 2020 protests. They say Santa Rosa police used an unparalleled amount of tear gas and four unauthorized barricade rounds injuring several people.…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 30, 2021

Context is important when choosing J&J vaccine

Before the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was paused, Dr. Brian Prystowsky, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Sutter Health in Santa Rosa, was excited about the one-dose shot. "I think that two weeks ago, I was primarily recommending Johnson and Johnson vaccine to everybody, literally before this news, because I was…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 29, 2021

Gripped by drought, California could face epic fire season

Standing on the dried out bed of what should be Lake Mendocino, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Mendocino and Sonoma counties April 21More than half of California has slipped into extreme drought, according to the federal drought monitor. And with summer-like heat arriving sooner and lingering…
Marc Albert
Apr 27, 2021

Sonoma County resumes use of J&J vaccine

In accordance with recommendations by federal and state health officials, Sonoma County is once again distributing the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine after a two week pause. In a statement Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said the vaccine is safe and the risk of developing blood clots is extremely rare, less than…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 22, 2021

County holds its first COVID-19 briefing in Spanish

Instead of offering Spanish translations online during the meeting, like they’ve been doing for the past year, officials switched to Spanish as the primary language this week, with English translations available on Youtube. The change is an effort to reach the county’s Latinx communities, who have been hit hardest by…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 22, 2021

Residents react to the Chauvin verdict

Photo of a Black Lives Matter Protest in 2020. (Photo by Adia White)Santa Rosa Jr. College student and activist Caitie Ferro cried when she first heard the news that Derek Chauvin was guilty of murder, and thought the dozens of marches she went to over the past year might have led to change. "All of the nights that I…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 22, 2021

Healdsburg ponders 'granny-flat' red tape, incentives

Ordered by Sacramento to encourage more so-called granny flats, Healdsburg has gone a step further in hopes of encouraging a mini building boom. Officials predict new, less onerous rules will spur more homeowners into becoming small-scale landlords. The Healdsburg city council is revising rules around the construction…
Marc Albert
Apr 16, 2021

Santa Rosa parents ask district to fully reopen

At least 250 parents in Santa Rosa city schools this week signed a letter asking the district to open full time, in accordance with the state’s updated reopening plan. On April 1st, the district began in-person instruction two shortened days a week for elementary aged children. Next will be secondary students. "It’s…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 15, 2021

As vaccine eligibility opens, hesitation is the next hurdle

As of today, all adults in Sonoma County are eligible to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, but there’s still a lot of hesitancy about whether to get the shot. Sonoma County has successfully vaccinated 36 percent of the adult population, and is surpassing other counties of similar size. But vaccine hesitancy is the…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 14, 2021

J&J pause slows down vaccinations of vulnerable residents

Because the new J&J vaccine didn’t arrive in the county until March, so far it only makes up about three percent of those administered. But the single-dose vaccine has been important in getting shots to unsheltered and homebound folks. Now, a few hundreds of doses intended for those hard-to-reach individuals are on…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 13, 2021

Businesses have more options in orange tier

After spending six months stuck in the state's most restrictive purple tier, Sonoma joined the majority of the Bay Area in the second least restrictive orange tier last week because of low COVID numbers in the county. Being in the orange tier means COVID spread is moderate and businesses can operate indoors more…gyms…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 12, 2021

Windsor mayor under sex-crimes cloud

Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli is refusing to step down despite sex-crime allegations from half a dozen women, including a fellow city council member. An increasingly isolated Foppoli is rejecting calls to resign from just about every North Bay political leader after accusations emerged late last week detailing a…
Marc Albert
Apr 07, 2021

Sonoma County enters orange tier

Sonoma County's virtual community COVID-19 briefing.Less than a month after moving out of the state’s most restrictive purple tier, the County made it into the more relaxed orange tier Wednesday. The announcement comes a day after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state’s aim to fully open up the economy on June…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 06, 2021

Health Fair vaccinates hundreds of residents

Art about the COVID-19 vaccine by Santa Rosa art nonprofit Raizes Collective at the Cesar Chavez Health Fair. People waited in line starting at 9 a.m. to get one of the 200 Moderna vaccines given out at last weekend’s Cesar Chavez Health Fair in Santa Rosa’s Martin Luther King Jr, park. The event, including a DJ, art…
Tessa Paoli
Apr 01, 2021

Santa Rosa hands out weather radios to boost alert system

A NOAA Weather Radio. (photo courtesy of the City of Santa Rosa's website)Santa Rosa is boosting its ability to notify residents when a fire breaks out through weather radios. The battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio is common in the Midwest for tornado alerts. And it’s activated by the National Weather Service to…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 31, 2021

Sonoma County teens design quarantine mural

Santa Rosa-based art organization Artstart's Shelter in Place Mural. (photo courtesy of Jennifer Tatum). COVID has affected everyone, old and young. But for teenagers, being stuck at home has been especially challenging and often painful. That's why when COVID hit last March, Jennifer Tatum, the creative director for…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 29, 2021

COVID-19 easing, while vaccine distribution hits bottleneck

By Marc Albert Improving data suggests vaccines are gaining the upper hand and COVID-19 related restrictions across Sonoma County may be eased as soon as next week. Yet troubling signs elsewhere suggest the pandemic is far from over. Among those 75 years and older, not a single case has been detected in the county.…
Marc Albert
Mar 24, 2021

New Data Shows an Uptick in Fatal Drug Overdoses

COVID-19 numbers are on the decline after Sonoma County moved into the state’s red tier a week and a half ago, but communities are facing other types of loss since the start of the pandemic. Sonoma County’s made progress in keeping case numbers low in the red tier, even as businesses started opening up a bit more on…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 19, 2021

Abalone season cancelled, at least until 2026

By Marc Albert With wild abalone populations decimated by a string of environmental setbacks, besides over-fishing. State officials reiterated Friday that recreational abalone fishing will be entirely forbidden this year. And that the fishery will remain closed until...at least...2026. Already under pressure, red…
Marc Albert
Mar 19, 2021

Sonoma likely facing challenging drought

One of the driest winters on record locally, may cause serious water issues this summerBy Marc Albert The rainy season has hardly been generous. California’s two largest reservoirs are less full than they should be. While the statewide situation is concerning, Sonoma County is in worse shape. With the month winding…
Marc Albert
Mar 17, 2021

Sonoma County schools planning April return to campus

About 70,000 school students across Sonoma County are heading back to classrooms in April. So far, 47 schools across Sonoma County have the green light to reopen soon to a hybrid model, said county supervisor Susan Gorin. “A list of local schools and districts that have submitted COVID-19 safety plans, and the status…
Greta Mart
Mar 12, 2021

Covid Restrictions to Ease Sunday

As predicted, declining new COVID-19 infections and other metrics will allow Sonoma County to ease pandemic-related restrictions this weekend. KRCB's Marc Albert has our story: The County will move into the so-called ‘red tier’ from the more restrictive ‘purple tier Sunday. Perhaps the biggest change will allow…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 12, 2021

The Power of Art for Vaccine Outreach

Advocates, artists, healthcare professionals and residents gathered in Santa Rosa's Roseland Neighborhood on Valentines Day to showcase and pass out art about the Vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Lopez) West County Health Centers hired Isabel Lopez in December to help get people signed up for the vaccine. "The state…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 10, 2021

Some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted as soon as Sunday

By Marc Albert Sonoma County is on the brink of being able to lift some pandemic-related restrictions….as soon as this weekend. That could mean cinemas, gyms, museums, zoos, and restaurants could reopen, though none at full capacity. Orders limiting the number of shoppers in a grocery store at any one time would be…
Marc Albert
Mar 10, 2021

Sonoma schools readying classrooms for resumption of classes

Sonoma County schools are preparing for students’ return to campuses. Credit: “Courtesy of SCOE With vaccines more available, cases waning and the ink dry on a 6.6 billion dollar state plan, Sonoma County schools are preparing to resume in-person for the first time in a year. Under the deal signed by Governor Gavin…
Marc Albert
Mar 05, 2021

Santa Rosa Public Schools Plan Return To Classrooms April 1

Santa Rosa’s public school district and its teacher's union have agreed on a plan for getting kids back into classrooms on April 1. The tentative deal includes schedules, safety protocols and a timeline for teachers to access both​ doses of the vaccine before they return to in-person instruction. The agreement still…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 03, 2021

Inching closer to the red tier

Since August, Sonoma County’s been stuck in the state’s most restrictive tier in terms of COVID-19 recovery. But the possibility of opening up the economy a bit more is finally possible. Sonoma’s one of four Bay Area counties still in the purple tier, according to state guidelines. But because COVID cases are…
Tessa Paoli
Mar 02, 2021

Santa Rosa Clears a Large Homeless Encampment

Dozens of people living in Santa Rosa’s largest homeless encampment were forced to pack up and leave Tuesday morning. It marks Santa Rosas’s second encampment clearance in the past week. Activists showed up before sunrise to protest the clearing of Santa Rosa’s biggest homeless encampment on Industrial Drive on the…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 26, 2021

County Postpones Vaccine Appointments Due to Scarcity

Next week, Sonoma County is suspending all first dose vaccine appointments due to supply shortage. But the county will keep second dose appointments for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. Sonoma County has been allocated 7,680 doses for next week, five percent fewer than this week. This will affect the…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 24, 2021

The County is Nervous about Blue Shield's Vaccine Takeover

On March 7, Blue Shield of California will start administering Sonoma County’s vaccine rollout. The nonprofit insurer will take over the data collection and decide how many doses each provider receives. They’ll also streamline the sign-up process, making most appointments available through myturn.ca.gov. There’s hope…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 19, 2021

County Shifts Vaccine Priority to 65 and Up and Food Workers

On Monday, residents 65 and older, along with food manufacturing, grocery store and restaurant workers will be eligible for a vaccine at one of the county-supported clinics. Prioritization will be given to those with server illnesses, such as cancer or kidney disease. The decision to expand eligibility came after the…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 17, 2021

The County Still Faces a Vaccine Shortage

Two months into Sonoma County’s vaccine rollout, 19% of the adult population has received at least one dose. The county is keeping up with other Bay Area counties in vaccinating residents and has opened up dozens of clinics, but the biggest problem has been the same since day one: the county isn’t getting enough…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 10, 2021

The County Reaches for More Vaccine Data

Officials say Sonoma is administering vaccine doses at a faster rate than similarly sized counties. On February 10, officials announced the county has vaccinated nearly 50 percent of its residents who are 75 and older. But because of holes in statewide and local data collection, knowing exactly which vulnerable…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 09, 2021

The County Compromises on Eviction Limitations

On February 9, Sonoma’s Board of Supervisors voted to place more limitations on evictions during COVID-19. The amendment limits evictions to extreme circumstances, like when landlords can prove their tenants pose an imminent threat or danger, or when they’re taking the property off the rental market. The rules do not…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 06, 2021

Sonoma County Extends Stay-At-Home Order

State public health officials have extended a Stay-Home Order for the 11-county Bay Area region, including Sonoma County. The move comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and ICU capacity for the larger Bay Area region remains below 15%. The order will remain in effect until the state’s four-week projections of the…
Mark Prell
Feb 03, 2021

The County Promises an Equitable Vaccine Rollout

Earlier this week Sonoma County reaffirmed its commitment to vaccinate the oldest seniors first, those 75 and older. Younger seniors were told to be patient, along with essential workers whose communities have been gravely affected by COVID-19. The county says 65% of people who’ve tested positive for the virus…
Tessa Paoli
Feb 03, 2021

What We Need to Know: COVID in Sonoma County

What are the current county restrictions? Sonoma County is currently in the orange tier of the California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This is the second least restrictive tier and indicates that COVID-19 transmission is moderate. In the orange tier gym's can operate at 25% capacity, and restaurants can operate…
Tessa Paoli
Jan 31, 2021

Santa Rosa Nurses Demand Safe Staffing

UPDATE: Earlier this week California’s Department of Public Health halted the staffing waivers. The State says they will not accept any new applications and all approved waivers will expire February 8, unless a hospital can prove “unprecedented circumstances.” Because hospitals are crowded due to COVID-19,…
Tessa Paoli
Jan 27, 2021

Sonoma County Opens its First Clinic for Oldest Seniors

Sonoma County is following the state’s guidance to prioritize seniors ages 75 and up in its vaccine rollout. While there’s progress and hope in the air, there’s also a lot of confusion and frustration about when and where people can actually get a vaccine. But the county just opened its first clinic to vaccinate…
Tessa Paoli
Jan 21, 2021

County Strategizes Reopening Schools

Covid-19 is rampant in Sonoma County and spreading faster than ever, which means kids are still stuck at home. While vaccines are being rolled out, the question about when kids will be able to go back to school is still up in the air. KRCB’s Tessa Paoli has more. The county offered no new information on their plans to…
Tessa Paoli
Jan 13, 2021

PBS Employee Makes Controversial Statements on Hidden Camera

Julian Wyllie of CURRENT news reports in a story entitled "PBS Distances Itself from Former Staff Attorney Ensnared in Project Veritas Sting," that Project Veritas, a group founded by conservative activist James O’Keefe, has released a video of a former PBS attorney disparaging supporters of President Donald Trump and…
Darren LaShelle
Dec 06, 2020

Understanding the New Regional Stay-At-Home Orders

Regional Stay Home Orders will go into effect within 24 hours in regions with less than 15% ICU availability, and prohibits private gatherings of any size, closes most businesses and services except for critical infrastructure and retail, and requires 100% masking and physical distancing in all others. The order will…
Darren LaShelle
Nov 20, 2020

Radio Special: Democracy In Santa Rosa's First District

In 2020, for the first time, residents of Southwest Santa Rosa voted for a city council member to represent their community. The election gave more power to historically disenfranchised neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. How will decades of inequity be addressed after the election? This special, produced in collaboration…
Adia White
Nov 11, 2020

Rohnert Park Welcomes Three New Council Members

Rohnert Park has three new city council members. The wins also mean there will be more diversity on what was formerly an all-white council. One of the newcomers is Jackie Elward who won against long-time council member Jake Mackenzie. KRCB News Director Adia White recently spoke with Elward first asking why she…
Adia White
Nov 09, 2020

‘She’s From Oakland!’ Photos Capture Bay Area Celebrations of Biden-Harris Win

By Anne Wernikoff November 8, 2020 In the corner of California where Vice President-elect Kamala Harris grew up and launched her political career, residents cheered, danced, honked horns, donned American flags and popped champagne to celebrate the Democratic ticket’s victory over President Donald Trump. As the news…
Adia White
Nov 05, 2020

California Protects Homeowners From Having Fire Insurance Dropped — Again

By James Bikales November 5, 2020 As this year’s historic wildfire season winds down, Californians living in fire-prone territory got temporary relief from another threat: they can’t lose their homeowners’ insurance policies for another year. Premiums and nonrenewal rates have skyrocketed in California’s fire-prone…
Adia White
Nov 02, 2020

Slated For Deception? Beware of All Those Glossy Mailers Telling You How to Vote

By Ben Christopher, CalMatters Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 Amid the torrent of laminated campaign ads churning through the postal system this season, the slate mailer stands out as a perennial — and many say unseemly — California political tradition that dates back to at least the 1950s. Though new restrictions may be on…
Adia White
Oct 21, 2020

Election 2020: Results, Voter Guides and More

By NorCal News Staff Looking for election results? We've put together key resources to help you find the information you need past election night. Find local news updates, live updated results, and interviews with experts looking ahead. California Voter Guide Live: Presidential Results Live: California Election…
Adia White
Oct 16, 2020

Santa Rosa Metro Chamber Hosts City Council Candidate Forum

NorCal News Team Oct. 16, 2020 At the end of September, the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber hosted a forum with city council candidates from districts 1, 3, 5, and 7. Listen to the forum below. Participating candidates: Eddie Alvarez - District 1 Duane De Witt - District 1 Jorge Inocencio - District 1 Harrison "Jack"…
Adia White
Oct 13, 2020

Annual State of the Latino Community Covers Gaps in Home Ownership

Sonoma County leadership organization, Los Cien, hosts an annual forum on the state of the Latino community. The topic this year was "Re-imagining Sonoma County Post Pandemic". Panelists focused on equity gaps in homeownership and how to fix them. KRCB’s Adia White reports. Watch the entire conversation HERE.
Adia White
Oct 02, 2020

SCHOOL CLOSURES for Thursday, October 1 & Friday, October 2, 2020…

The following school districts are confirmed to be closed through Friday, October 2, due to fire threat and evacuation: Bennett Valley Union School District (no distance learning) Kenwood School District (no distance learning) Rincon Valley Union School District (no distance learning) All Santa Rosa City Schools will…
Mark Prell
Oct 01, 2020

Photojournalist Describes Monday Night's Firefight

Firefighters, law enforcement and others working to evacuate residents were all on the scene as the Glass fire made a fast run toward the city of Santa Rosa on Sunday night. Also out during those late hours was Erik Castro, a freelance photojournalist. Castro recently spoke to KRCB News Director Adia White about his…
Adia White
Sep 30, 2020

Evacuation Orders Lifted for Some Santa Rosa Neighborhoods

Cal Fire announced Tuesday at 3:15 pm, evacuation orders are lifted for the following areas in Santa Rosa: All of Summerfield All of Spring Lake Northeast 1 Northeast 3/Middle Rincon Certain parts of the Calistoga-South/Skyhawk communities: west and north of Mountain Hawk Drive between Highway 12 and San Ramon Way, as…
Mark Prell
Sep 29, 2020

Sonoma County Learns From Past Botched Care Home Evacuations

Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane has led the outreach effort to ensure that residents are getting the mental health support they need. She’s also been working to ensure that those housed at care facilities are evacuated safely and with ample time. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with her earlier this evening about these…
Adia White
Sep 29, 2020

Watch Cal Fire and Sonoma County's Glass Fire Updates

Sonoma County and Cal Fire host a joint press conference on the Glass Incident every evening at 5 p.m. Watch the press conferences here at 5 p.m. or on our facebook page @norcalpublic. . This article will update with the most recent press conference at 5 p.m. or as soon as it begins streaming. Glass Fire update for…
Adia White
Sep 29, 2020

Sonoma County Glass Fire Evacuation Map: Updated Live

Monitor evacuation warnings and orders for the Glass Fire burning in Sonoma County. Please note that the map below is typically updated 15- 20 minutes after a Nixle evacuation alert is sent out. Sign up for Nixle by texting your zip code to 888-777. This map shows evacuation warnings and orders for Sonoma County only.…
Adia White
Sep 11, 2020

Sonoma County Supervisors Vote on 2020-2021 Budget

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to finalize the county’s 2020-2021 budget today. Supervisors faced a 46-million-dollar deficit and spent Wednesday discussing where to make cuts. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with Board Chair Susan Gorin Thursday about which programs the county is planning on cutting and…
Adia White
Sep 02, 2020

Conversations on Race Series Addresses Policy Reform (Aired: September 3, 2020)

Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County has been hosting weekly conversations to discuss racism in our community. In Monday’s conversation, CAP's Communications Manager, Marcus Clarke, spoke with Sheba Person-Whitley, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. In this excerpt, Clarke…
Adia White
Sep 02, 2020

Could Strong DAs Be a Solution to Police Accountability?

Editor's Note: Solutions Journalism is a way of looking at problems and issues with an eye toward uncovering and explaining ways that communities have moved toward solving those problems. Find out more here. Driven by community input, our current work is focused on the November 3 election. A key local issue in the…
Steve Mencher
Aug 28, 2020

The West Is Burning, So California Struggles To Find Help Fighting Its Wildfires

BY JULIE CART , CALMATTERS AUGUST 28, 2020 California’s wildfire resources are the envy of the world: It owns the most extensive fleet of firefighting aircraft, and the largest and best-equipped crews. Yet, already this year, CalFire can’t keep up with the fire siege hitting the state, whipped by a barrage of lighting…
Adia White
Aug 27, 2020

Kaiser Begins Phase 3 COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in Northern California

Northern California residents can now join the efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Kaiser Permanente began recruiting participants for an advanced clinical vaccine trial at the beginning of August. Dr. Nicola Klein, Director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, spoke with KRCB's Adia White. Adia starts by…
Adia White
Aug 26, 2020

Crew Shortage Reveals California's Reliance on Incarcerated Firefighters

California’s efforts to fight destructive fires across the state were hampered this year by an unexpected circumstance. Coronavirus precautions made inmate crews a less reliable source of labor. This system has long been criticized, as their pay typically tops out at a few dollars per hour. Some describe it as "slave…
Adia White
Aug 24, 2020

Farmworkers Risk Hazardous Air to Continue the Harvest

The LNU Lightning Complex Fires broke out in Napa and Sonoma Counties during this year’s peak grape harvest season. Reports are now surfacing that vineyard workers are being asked to continue the harvest despite poor air quality. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with Omar Paz, Lead Organizer of North Bay Jobs with Justice…
Adia White
Aug 21, 2020

Timely Film Tells Story of Napa, Sonoma Essential Workers

In a film now available on the web and through KQED's series Truly, CA, Eva Rendle explores the aftermath of the 2017 Wine Country Fires, and their impact on agricultural workers and others at the bottom of the pay scale in our divided and unequal community. KRCB news director Steve Mencher spoke with the filmmaker…
Steve Mencher
Aug 20, 2020

Concern Workers Are Being Asked To Harvest Despite Smoke

By NorCal News Staff August 20, 2020 During the 2019 Kincade Fire and 2017 Wine Country Fires, workers were asked to continue to work outdoors despite hazardous conditions. Often, they were not given masks. This concern is again surfacing as the Lighting Complex Fires consume a collective 131,000 acres with no…
Adia White
Aug 19, 2020

Sonoma County Reassures Voters Ahead of Election

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to suspend changes to the USPS as 20 States announced plans to file a federal lawsuit. The states behind the lawsuit say these changes would disrupt mail service ahead of the November Election. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with Deva Marie Proto , from the Sonoma County Registrar of…
Adia White
Aug 19, 2020

In Sebastopol, Out in the Streets for the Post Office

Our roving photographer Diane Askew was in Sebastopol Monday, recording the demonstration there at the local post office. Those who showed up are watching carefully as the president says he may be delaying the mail to thwart voters. Hearings are scheduled for the weekend, and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is being…
Steve Mencher
Aug 18, 2020

Sonoma County Celebrates Centennial Of Women's Suffrage

Tuesday marked the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. But there is still much work to be done to increase voter enfranchisment. Events are planned throughout the week. KRCB’s Adia White spoke with Leslie Graves, co-chair of the Sonoma County 2020 Women’s Suffrage…
Adia White
Aug 18, 2020

Make Your Voice Count! Community Meeting Sept. 9, 7:00 pm

In cooperation with Community Action Partnership, Sonoma County; the League of Women Voters, Sonoma County; and Los Cien; Northern California Public Media is helping lead a virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, September 9 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm for voters to let candidates for Santa Rosa City Council District One know…
Steve Mencher
Aug 17, 2020

Officials Urge Residents to Prepare for High Fire Conditions

As the dog days of summer roll by, residents of Sonoma County can't help but worry about fire season. This year’s conditions are especially concerning, with recent temperatures soaring into the triple digits. KRCB’s Nate Charles has the story. We provide local news updates on The North Bay Report Tuesday-Friday at…
Adia White
Aug 17, 2020

Trump Withheld Calif. Wildfire Aid Says Former DHS Official

In a new video released on the eve of the Democratic convention, a top ranking former official in the Trump Department of Homeland Security says that the president told FEMA to withhold aid to California during the 2017 wildfires. "He was so rageful," the official, Miles Taylor said, "because people in California…
Steve Mencher
Aug 17, 2020

Vox Video on Changing Approaches to Election Coverage

In July, Northern California Public Media had the chance to attend a workshop on how journalists are abandoning "horse race" election coverage (Who's Up? Who's Down?) in favor of a more nuanced approach to elections that talks about what the community wants the candidates to be addressing and how the candidates will…
Steve Mencher
Aug 13, 2020

Board of Supervisors Rejects County Sheriff's Request to Fund Legal Services

Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick requested $50,000 from the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday for legal services. Essick intended to explore the legality of a ballot measure aimed at strengthening oversight of his office. KRCB’s Adia White reports. Read more about the Board of Supervisors' discussion in the North Bay…
Adia White
Aug 12, 2020

Community Action Partnership Hosts Discussion on Law Enforcement Accountability

We're in the midst of a national debate about law enforcement oversight and accountability. That was the subject of this week's edition of the virtual "Community Conversations on Race". These interactive panels have been presented by local nonprofit Community Action Partnership. In this excerpt, Moderator Mary Watts…
Adia White
Aug 11, 2020

Health Officials Warn Against Ending Protections For Renters

Housing and tenant advocates are concerned the State’s current eviction moratorium could end Friday, causing a wave of homelessness that would worsen the current public health crisis. On August 3rd, San Francisco Assemblymember David Chiu held a press conference about the health impacts of evictions and the need for…
Adia White
Aug 10, 2020

CEO Discusses Racism and Starting a Sonoma County Business

Every Monday, the Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County hosts a community conversation on race. On July 27, the conversation focused on the experience of local Black business owners and influences. In this excerpt, moderator Joy Dehnert asked Letitia Hanke about the barriers she's faced as CEO of her own…
Adia White
Aug 07, 2020

Changes to Police Oversight Set for November Ballot

In an epic meeting of more than nine hours, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors covered a number of controversial topics yesterday. Among them, an agreement to put significant reforms of IOLERO, the police oversight office, on the ballot in November. According to Supervisor Shirlee Zane, hundreds of people showed…
Steve Mencher