business

“How do you move from a place of simply trying to stop bad things and asking instead how would you make products and services in a sustainable manner?” asks managing partner of Ecosystem Investment Partners, Adam Davis. Now that the trouble with pollution has been internalized, we need the economy to follow. Is is possible to protect profits and the planet? Despite claims that a win for the environment is a loss for the economy, corporations are finding innovative ways to have it both ways.

Healdsburg’s Long History with Tourism

Jun 17, 2017
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.

Falcon Kites a New Tool to Protect Vineyards

Jun 12, 2017

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.

Many Steps Needed to Move Toward Zero Waste

May 11, 2017

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. 

The Role of Generic Strains in the Cannabis Market

May 9, 2017

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.

Unraveling the Genetics of Cannabis

May 8, 2017
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.

Cannabis Industry Trade Show Hits Santa Rosa

Apr 20, 2017
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Yet another indication that the cannabis industry is already large and diverse in and around Santa Rosa:  a business-oriented trade shows now underway at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

Pursuing a Sustainable Economy

Apr 5, 2017

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.

Expanding Agri-Tourism in the North Bay

Feb 16, 2017

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.

California’s major public institutions would be required to weigh greenhouse gas emissions into their budget analyses when purchasing materials for large infrastructure projects, under a proposed new bill unveiled this week.

Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Center for Climate Protection in Santa Rosa, Was cheered by the proposed legislation's approach, and its intent to include transportation costs in the assessments to be required.

Returning Commercial Composting to Sonoma County

Dec 12, 2016

The process of setting up a new composting operation in Sonoma is finally taking its first steps. But in the meantime, both residents and compost users are paying significantly more.

New Marijuana Strains Mimic Winegrape Flavors

Dec 7, 2016

Cultivators of cannabis breed their plants for specific characteristics—potency, medicinal efficacy, even appearance. Today we meet someone whose emphasis is primarily on flavors—which can be manipulated in some divergent directions.

Cannabis has long been combined with other things in foods—brownies being a classic example. But Jay Michaels says his cross-breeding efforts have been able to simulate the tastes of some other foods—and quite a range of them.

 

Cannabis and Cabernet: Collaborators or Competitors?

Dec 1, 2016

The 2016 Wine Industry Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds yesterday included workshops on marketing to Millennials, legislative issues, and harvest methodologies. But the panel discussion on “Marijuana and Wine” may have drawn the biggest crowd.

Public Banking Institute

A municipal public bank wouldn’t pay bonuses and dividends, and could have a more flexible relationship with federal regulators. All good reasons, says a local supporter of the alternative fiscal businesses, for creating one to serve the region’s cannabis industry.

Marc Armstrong co-founded the Public Banking Institute.

Reviewing A Multi-Faceted Life

Oct 19, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Eighty-five years in 400 pages—with plenty of pictures included. That’s what entrepreneur, philanthropist and music lover Don Green has packed into his newly published memoir. 

When Don Green elected to leave his position with the General post Office in London and venture into the business world, many of his then-associates were shocked, he recalls. But it was a pivotal and life-changing decision.

Patents or Trademarks for Cannabis

Aug 30, 2016

  As cannabis transitions into a full-fledged industry, some of the big challenges that producers and purveyors face lie in the legal realm of intellectual property, such as trademarks and patents.

   One way in which legal uncertainly lingers around cannabis, says Santa Rosa attorney Danny Zlatnik, depends on whether it is ultimately regulated only for medicinal uses, or if recreational use become sanctioned. The latter situation would create a more relaxed environment, he explains, while categorizing cannabis as a medical compound could greatly complicate matters.

Introducing Autism Kits for Restaurants

Aug 29, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Dining out with children who get overstimulated or impatient can present challenges for any parent; even more so for parents of children on the autism spectrum. A new program, being introduced in a few Santa Rosa area restaurants, is addressing that situation.

How to Address the Impacts of Cannabis

Aug 18, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  With new legislation at last providing uniform statewide guidelines for medical marijuana in California, and the possibility of legalizing recreational use on the November ballot, cannabis is attaining new visibility in the business community. But that is accompanied by a great deal of uncertainty, which was a big part of the discussion at a Cannabis Impact conference in Rohnert Park this week.

Concrete Tanks as an Alternative for For Aging Wine

Aug 8, 2016
Sonoma Cast Stone

  In their perpetual quest for new and better winemaking tools and methods, some Northern California vintners have been turning to something that is almost as old as wine itself.

Food and Water Watch

The subtitle of Wenonah Hauter’s new book is, “The Battle for the Future of Energy and the Environment.” Its subject is fracking.

Setting the stage for her indictment of fracking, Food and Water Watch founder and CEO Wehnonah Hauter devotes the opening chapters of Frackopoly to a concise, critical history of the industry that promotes it.

Vineyard Sustainability Campaign Showing Progress

Jul 5, 2016

Sustainability is on the rise in Sonoma County’s vineyards, and that movement is gathering attention much further afield.

    To assist local vineyards in moving toward sustainability, the Sonoma County Winegrowers organization has compiled a fat binder of best practices, many of them developed by a team at UC Davis. It’s not a series of steps that must be taken, says Executive Director Karissa Kruse; more like a menu of possible actions.

For the first time in 20 years, a new Economic Development District has been formed in California. It’s a partnership between two North Coast counties that has quietly gathering momentum over the past couple of years.

You can find the Economic Development District's  survey here, in both English and Spanish.The deadline for completing it is April 21.

Embracing Corporate Entrepreneurialism

Apr 7, 2016
United Nations

Dell Computers has a workforce of 100,000 people in 160 different countries. So they look for entrepreneurial ideas both externally and within.

The “triple bottom line” (people, planet and profit) is increasingly at the core of entrepreneurialism all over the world, observes Elizabeth Gore, leaving new businesses in the United States, to some degree, in the unfamiliar position of playing catch-up.

Turning Wine Waste into Healthy Snacks

Mar 1, 2016

  It has to be used sparingly, but flour made from dried grape skins and seeds is both healthy and nutritious. And it’s starting to catch on.

The first local commercial use of grape skin flour was in making gluten-free cookies,  recalls Tom Keener, co-founder of Wild California.

Aging in America is Changing

Feb 24, 2016

  Longevity and the changing nature of retirement was a central topic at the annual Economic Outlook Conference at Sonoma State Wednesday morning. But a short-term look at the local economy was part of the program, too.

 As the remainder of the demographic bulge known as Baby Boomers head into retirement, Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald says they are increasingly redefining that that means.

 

Cells May Hold a Key to Aging

Feb 21, 2016

 

Researchers in Novato and elsewhere may have found a way to slow aging in human tissues. The concept is so promising that a new biotech start-up has been launched to put it into practice.

Once the senescent cells are dead, explains Campisi, the body has natural mechanisms to dispose of them.

Protest and Politics at Annual Business Event

Jan 27, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The presentation of the annual State of Sonoma County Report was enlivened this year by boisterous protests from a crowd of county workers unhappy with ongoing contract negotiations. But that wasn’t the biggest news to come out of the event.

Electric Vehicle Adoption Accelerates

Jan 3, 2016

If you think you’ve been seeing more electric cars on local roads in the past year, you’re right. Today’s North Bay Report examines the factors behind this trend.

The leading reasons given for EV purchases are shown in the graphic below.

The Rio Theater’s New Life

Dec 16, 2015

From origins as a  WW II relic to a community fund-raising rescue, and now a new collective ownership, the story of the Rio Theater could be told on the big screen inside. But we get it instead from reporter Ryan Miller.

Campus Store Offers Student-made Goods

Dec 11, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Creative and entrepreneurial students at Sonoma State now have a new outlet for the goods they make, a student-run store that is now open on their campus. 

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