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

As the annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference marked its 12th year this week, a recurring thread was the many ways these ideas have taken hold in the wider economy.

Don’t look now, but you’re already aging. So how are you going about it?  A science-based, musical show that is heading for Santa Rosa wants to change how we think about getting older.  Bruce Robinson has a preview.

Dr. Bill Thomas's  Changing Aging Tour will be at the Friedman Center in Santa Rosa on Thursday, April 6. It's a three-part event, and visitors can attend any or all of the segments. Thomas explains how they fit together.

The flaws that were disastrously exposed at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant were enabled by that county’s compliant culture, says an internationally recognized physicist. And he believes that holds a lesson for Americans.

The cultural compliancy of the Japanese people may have contributed to the attitudes that enabled the Fuukushima disaster to happen, but Dr. Ohska  says they are now being further tested by the official statements that have come after the nuclear accident.

How prepared are today's young people to deal with the growing amount of misinformation on the Internet?  In today's North Bay Report we look at legislation to update public school curriculums to teach youngsters survival skills for the digital age. 

While some may be concerned that teaching students about fake news could bring politics into the classroom, the sponsor of SB 135, Senator Bill Dodd, doesn't think the legislature will agree.

Sonoma State Star

For 24 years, Thomas Sargent was an environmental health and safety specialist at Sonoma State. Earlier this month, a Sonoma County civil jury agreed that he'd been harassed and forced to resign under duress in 2015, after complaining about the school's handling of asbestos in Stevenson Hall. But the verdict has not put an end to the concerns, as Steve Mencher reports.

For decades, composting toilets have been an off-the-grid novelty. But in a time of limited fresh water and burgeoning interest in sustainable living, they are ripe for re-examination.

Sonoma County is hardly the only place that composting toilets have been put into use for remote rural residences. But Miriam Volat believes this area may be more receptive than most to the wider use of such fixtures.

Waterless composting of human waste is not a new idea. But in the modern world, it’s never been a popular one either. A new study of the latest models of composting toilets, getting underway here in Sonoma County, hopes to set the stage for changing attitudes toward them.

While the actual study of the efficacy of new composting toilets is just getting started, it required quite some time just to get permission to do it, reports the county’s James Johnson.

fter being announced last year, a project to build a dozen tiny houses for homeless vets is hoping to break ground this summer and test the viability of a novel form of affordable housing. 

Project Manager John “Yohan” Morgan says the initial residents will each be encouraged to put their personal stamp on their small new homes.

Congressional Republicans have long clamored for change in federal health care laws. Now that their actual proposals are moving toward a vote, Health and Finance officials in Sacramento have been able to detail how the replacement plan would affect California. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Hops were once a major agricultural product in Sonoma County. Now they’re starting to come back, but mostly as a specialty crop for the craft beer market.

 It's not hard to get started growing hops,  says Mike Stevenson of the NorCal Hop Growers Alliance. And its even easier to keep them going once the field has been established.

Making beer is by far the primary use for hops. But not, says Stevenson, the only one.

Santa Rosa Gold Diggers

An ounce of gold is worth a little more than $1300 these days, enough to keep even casual prospectors interested and active, especially here in northern California. Today we hear from a Santa Rosa group dedicated to keeping the search alive.

In the great gold rush of the mid-1800s, hydraulic hoses and extended wooden sluice boxes were used by some big operators, but simple metal pans were the most common tools. Today, says Randy Ricci of the Santa Rosa Gold Diggers, that’s just about all that is allowed.

The man behind the arch-gothic Lemony Snicket books for young readers says the Peanuts comic strip was an important influence on his writing.

The deeper he delves into the world of Peanuts, says author Daniel Handler, the darker it seems to him.

 Handler’s most recent novel, We Are Pirates, also features a teenaged girl as its central character. But he says the story itself was inspired by his life in San Francisco.

California Department of Education

The California Department of Education today  made public its new system for evaluating how local school districts are performing. Local educators say it is more complex but also more helpful.

Cliff DeGraw, the Petaluma City Schools Assistant Superintendent, likes the five-colored grids that are used to track districts’ progress in each of the areas being analyzed.

State Education Department spokesman Robert Ochs, notes that some additional focus areas will be added to the Dashboard in the months ahead.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Ag Days returned to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds this week. The annual event, hosted by the local Farm Bureau, gives thousands of elementary school students some first-hand exposure to this region’s agricultural heritage and its products. 

A fired up crowd eager to defend the Affordable Care Act filled the Marin Civic Center, to hear a panel led by Congressman Jared Huffman detail the problems they foresee in the new, Republican-sponsored alternative.

While much of the testimony focused on the anticipated harms that would befall the North Bay should the Affordable Care Act be replaced with “TrumpCare,” Marin County Director of Health and Human Services Grant Colfax also noted that the Republican alternative would also slash funding for health care at the national level.

Homeless With Pets

Pet owners are deeply attached to their dogs, cats, birds and other animals, and that doesn’t change if they become homeless. But their ability to care for their pets may. That’s where an unusual and specially focused non-profit steps in to help.

More than two thirds of the pets kept by homeless people locally are dogs, says Gillian Squirrell, founder of Homeless With Pets. But that other third encompasses considerable variety.

With new tax rates approved by Sonoma County voters on Tuesday, the local cannabis industry is gearing up to enter—and pay for—their new era of legitimacy.

After a year getting acquainted with the inner workings of Sonoma County's Department of Health Services, Barbie Robinson is starting her new job as the department's head with plans for some ambitious collaboration at the top of her agenda.

As Barbie Robinson takes the helm of the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, she is keenly aware that the biggest challenge she will face in the near future is the possible repeal of the nation al Affordable Care Act.

Training new teachers for local schools isn’t enough. The Sonoma County office of Education is also partnering in efforts to help secure housing for them.

Learn more about the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County here.

To meet the persistent shortage of teachers locally, a new program is recruiting and training would-be educators who are already here, but doing something else right now.

One of the re-entry members in the current cohort is Amanda Park, who already has teaching experience, but decided to change course after moving to California last year.

Derek DiBenedetti has long enjoyed being a high school baseball coach. Now he’s joined the teacher internship program in order to be on campus even more of the time.

Donald Trump, both personally and politically, is deeply unpopular with a wide swath of Americans. That’s not a basis for impeachment, but there does appear to be one in the US Constitution.

With a strong Republican majority controlling both houses of Congress, it may not be surprising that no individual representative has yet come forward to argue for impeachment. But Norman Solomon, co-chair of the Mill Valley-based Grass Roots Coalition for Grass Roots Progress, says there has been one preliminary step taken.

Sonoma County is grappling with the many complexities of legalizing cannabis, bringing a fast-growing, largely free-wheeling industry under governmental control. Opponents of Measure A, which would tax cannabis businesses here, fear it will cripple the small-scale operations it is out to regulate.

Sonoma County Republicans have officially opposed measure A. The Sonoma County Taxpayers Association took no position, but their Executive Director, Dan Drummond, says he personally is inclined to favor it, despite some misgivings.

Living With Autism

Feb 23, 2017

While Temple Grandin has become a well-known exemplar of a person with autism, attaining that status required overcoming a daunting series of challenges. It was a journey begun and largely shared with her mother, Eustacia Cutler, who has become an ardent advocate for families that include children on the autism spectrum. She has her own story to tell.

Activists and citizens in Sonoma County seeking to oppose the Trump administration are finding support and gleaning tactics from the Indivisible Guide, and the local chapters that are promulgating it.

A key to the growth of participation in local Indivisible groups—now estimated at more than 1500 people county-wide—is how it is structured to allow a gradual entry, observes  Rebecca Hachmeyer from the Petaluma group.

Raymond Baltar, Sonoma Biochar Initiative

In centuries past, bio-char helped grow food for the indigenous people of the Amazon basin for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years before the first Spaniards arrived. Now it could help the 21st century world to slow global climate change.

The Sonoma Biochar Initiative is hosting a workshop on the process this Friday at Circle Bar Ranch south of Sonoma. Find details here.

An informational meeting about the expanding business of agri-tourism drew an intensely interested cross section of farmers, promoters and others to the Petaluma Community Center yesterday. 

Tim Zahner, Chief Marketing Officer for the Sonoma County Tourism office, says that the agricultural and culinary diversity of Sonoma County is one of the area’s greatest attractions.

Nancy Fiddler sees expanding operations to bring more visitors to her Rollin’ F Ranch near Sebastopol as a critical step to maintain her business viability.

The records made by the Beatles have sold millions of copies, and their songs have been heard exponentially more often. Yet there are details and surprises within that familiar music that can be revealed through careful deconstruction.

Producer George Martin not only supported the Beatles' studio experimentation, says Scott Freiman, he sometimes had a hand in the innovations himself.

As school budgets shrink and curriculum requirements tighten, are Sonoma County students still getting taught about the arts? Creative Sonoma is trying to assess the situation, with an eye toward boosting those efforts going forward.

Creative Sonoma Director Kristen Madsen says the plan to address shortcomings in local arts education will be as comprehensive as possible—and give priority to areas where the needs are greatest—but implementation will have to proceed in stages.

KRCB-Television has come out a winner in an auction of broadcast spectrum rights conducted by the FCC. While most viewers will not notice the resulting technical changes, the station’s long-term economic health has gotten a significant boost.

At the conclusion of the FCC spectrum auction process—which took more than three years to play out, North Bay Public media CEO Nancy Dobbs says the organization was able to accomplish the goals it established at the outset.

Bruce Robinson, KRCB

It’s hard to miss The Big Chair, a large, whimsical piece of public art alongside Highway 116 south of Sebastopol. But it has some serious intentions behind it.

Because the original chair was exposed to the elements for ears, it required some repairs before being seet up at its new home, explains Kenny Forrest.

The installation of a formal memorial to Lars Speyer next to the chair is planned for later this spring.

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