Bruce Robinson

Radio News Director & On Air Host

Bruce Robinson is KRCB-FM News Director and host of Flashback, heard Fridays at 7pm. Bruce can be reached at (707) 584-2012, or email bruce_robinson@krcb.org

Ways to Connect

While much attention has been focused recently on federal health care policy, California lawmakers have advanced a bill to create a new “single payer” system here, one that would take insurance companies out of the picture altogether. Advocates for the bill made the case for it at a Town Hall  meeting in Healdsburg last night.

For over 100 years, amateur or “Ham” radio has been a hobby for people from pre-teens to seniors. This weekend, the American Radio Relay League will sponsor a field day to celebrate and promote ham radio. Sonoma County Radio Amateurs – representing the area's nearly 25-hundred licensed operators – will host the event in Santa Rosa.

Larry Stratton

Rattlesnakes are part of our landscape, and while they are indeed poisonous, they need not be feared and killed, but can be relocated to less populous areas. We hear more about them today from a man who does just that, and is known as  Sonoma County's  “snake whisperer.”

Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are often confused, but Al Wolfe, Founder and Director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, explains that the poisonous rattler can be readily distinguished if you know what to look for.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

As the impacts of high-end tourism stir increasing debate in Healdsburg, a new exhibit at the local museum traces the history of that industry in the north county area.

The large display that greets visitors to the “Destination Healdsburg" exhibit is a detailed recreation of a block of the storefronts that faced the downtown plaza roughly 80 years ago. Curator Holly Hoods says it’s the work of a uniquely skilled volunteer.

Almost 60 years after it first sailed into the South Pacific to protest nuclear weapons testing, the sailboat Golden Rule is spending the weekend in Bodega Bay with an updated message on the same issue.

Following their arrival in Bodega Bay this morning, the crew of the Golden Rule will host a public forum on nuclear policy Saturday evening will be in Santa Rosa. See this link for details

Illustration by José Cruz / Heyday Books

California‘s agricultural bounty feeds millions, but much of that is made possible by legions of little-seen farmworkers. A new collection of oral histories lets them tell their own stories.

Through his conversations with the agricultural workers featured in Chasing the Harvest, journalist Gabriel Thompson reveals that despite the undeniable challenges they face, these are people who find much to appreciate about their lives.

Falcons are a proven deterrent to the birds than can raid and damage ripening grapes.  Now a North Bay innovator with a background in bird management  is promoting a look-alike kite to do the same job.

Roger Snow of Falcon Crop Management, the new company he has formed to promote the Falcon Fright Kites, believes they are a far more effective --and economical--deterrent than any of the commonly used alternatives that are currently available.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Sheep can chew down grasses that might later burn, snack on unwanted poison oak, and fertilize the soil as they go. And they can co-exist with human users of parklands while doing all that.

Sheep are an alternative to using tractors dragging discs to plow grass under and create firebreaks. But unlike the machines, says Aaron Gilliam, the sheep will graze around ground-level bird nests, and positively coexist with the native fauna in other ways, too.

The Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of dreamers, seekers, entrepreneurs and charlatans into California, each, it seems with a story to tell. A new non-fiction book samples dozens of these first-person accounts to create a multi-faceted portrait of a tumultuous time.

The Gold Rush was covered in great detail and enthusiasm by the newspapers of the day, and those accounts can still be found today. Bu for accuracy and detail, historian Gary Noy cautions that they should be read with a certain amount of skepticism.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Record spending by outside business interests dominated yesterday’s special election in Sonoma County, but Santa Rosa’s Measure C was not the day’s only story. 

Voter turnout was low yesterday with just 40 thousand ballots cast, nearly three-quarters of them in Santa Rosa. See the final totals here.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission

For the first time in more than 35 years, the head of the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission is an elected official from Sonoma County:  longtime Rohnert Park city councilman and current mayor Jake MacKenzie.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Smooth surface areas on some large rocks on the Sonoma Coast might be a remnant of prehistoric animals rubbing against them, but definitive evidence to justify the popular name given to these Mammoth Rocks” has been elusive.

Since he began looking into this issue, the now-retired archeologist has found several other similarly polished rock surfaces not too far from his first discovery. And after a paper Parkman wrote about his explorations was published, he heard about still more such locations in other states.

Santa Rosa voters will decide a controversial rent control measure next Tuesday, one that has drawn big spending from the opposition and dominated political dialog for weeks. But there’s a second item on the ballot as well:  Measure D, which would set new tax rates for cannabis businesses within the city.

Here's how Santa Rosa breaks down their anticipated costs for governing legalized cannabis within the city.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

That plume of smoke rising from the Bouverie Preserve near Glen Ellen late Tuesday morning was a carefully watched experiment in applying a land management technique that goes back thousands of years.

The fire took about three hours to burn across the designated 17 acre area. That was ample time for any affected wildlife to leave the area or take cover underground, says ACR Fire Ecologist Sasha Berleman, while deer, when they return, will find a more hospitable landscape.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  One good way to learn about sustainability is by practicing it. That’s what students at a Sebastopol campus are doing, through a hands-on composting project that is ten years old and going strong.

The composting project is also supported by grants from the Sebastopol Rotary Club, and gift certificates from Mary’s Pizza shack. It will continue, on a scaled-back basis, during summer school. 

A new film biography of 1960s songwriter and record producer Bert Berns is out to raise awareness of his behind-the-scenes contributions to popular music. It’s named for the record label Berns launched and ran:  Bang.

Bert Berns drew a lot of attention within the record industry in New York during his short, intense career.  He was already dead—in 1967, of a chronic heart condition, at age 38—when San Francisco music writer Joel Selvin  began noticing Berns' body of  work.

Drakes Nagivation Guild

Sir Francis Drake, a critical figure in British naval history, left his mark on this region’s history as well. He visited the Pacific coast of North America during his circumnavigation of the globe in the late 1570s, several decades before the Mayflower sailed.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Just about everyone involved agrees that arts education is important and valuable. But new survey data reveals that it is far from uniformly available to students in Sonoma County.

The results of the survey were made public at a “data reveal” event Tuesday evening at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. 

KRCB previously reported on the survey when it was launched last February. See below.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Banks and other traditional lenders are wary of entrepreneurs and small start-up companies. But a county-sponsored program with local lending partners is helping to meet that need instead.

Find out more about the Sonoma County Impact Loan Fund here.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

The opportunities for Sonoma County’s older residents to get out and enjoy our local environment were promoted and demonstrated yesterday in an event called “Age Out Loud, Age Outside,” a convergence of demographics, recreation, and thinking ahead.

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas’s six-plus years in office have been tumultuous on multiple fronts. Now a group of local activists is pushing to recall him, even before his announced retirement at the end of his current term next year.

The most alarming complaints raised against the Sheriff's office in the past year involve the prolonged, brutal treatment of inmates at the Sonoma County Jail. Community Action Coalition member Kathleen Finnegan calls it torture.

For vineyards, dry farming means no irrigation, relying only on what Nature provides—with an assist from composting and other supportive measures. An experienced practitioner shared his insights at an on-site workshop Tuesday morning.

Using cover crops to add organic material to the soil is another important step in Bernier's dry-farming process.

The dry farming workshop was co-hosted by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and the Sonoma Resource Conservation District.

In recent years, lower summertime flows in the Russian River have been necessary for water conservation as well as the benefit of young salmon preparing to head out to sea. But this year, with ample water available, the calculus may be different.

The county water agency will hold its annual community meeting on the condition and management of Russian River estuary Monday night in Monte Rio.  You can find details about that here.

Recycling is up in California. So is composting. But we are still sending millions of tons of garbage to landfills. Various ways to cut that back were on the agenda at a Zero Waste Symposium at SoMo Village Thursday. 

Mother Jones

Nearly half of the 2 million Wells Fargo bank accounts that were opened without the customers’ knowledge or consent are here in California.  A new, narrowly tailored bill in the state legislature would give those fraud victims some additional leverage to fight back.

State Senator Bill Dodd says his SB 33 was written, in part, to open the way for class action suits by the defrauded customers of Well Fargo Band.

Genetic analysis of varying cannabis strains may aid in the development of narrowly targeted pharmaceutical products. But using the same tool to protect generic strains could help hold prices down.

Phylos Bioscience

Cannabis has been cultivated and used by humankind for centuries. Now the industry’s challenge is understanding and applying that history.

Cannabis arrived in North America from at least two different directions, but how that evolved into the plants that grow here today is not yet clear, says Phylos Biosciences’ Mowgli Holmes.

As his team has collected and analyzed samples from hundreds of cannabis plants and products, Holmes says one unexpected finding has emerged.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

For years, the aging Village Park campground and trailer park at the eastern edge of Sebastopol was a problem site, subject to flooding, poverty and other issues. Now it is poised to help answer to the city’s homelessness concerns.

As a nod to the changes at the property—which will continue to be owned by city of Sebastopol-- it will be formally renamed Park Village. West County Community Services will become a key presence there, adds Executive director, Tim Miller.

It’s been 17 years since the shallow channel into Bodega Bay was last dredged. So it’s time to do it again, and plans for a project this fall are moving ahead.

The depth of the channel is already compromised at several places along the corridor. Noah Wagner, harbormaster at Spud Point Marin, details those locations.

In California, efforts to boost funding for road repairs are at odds with the concurrent goal of expanding electric vehicle usage. So how can these two needs co-exist?

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