Food System Innovations Showcased

Sep 17, 2014

  This is North Bay Innovation Week in Sonoma County, which suggests a lot of new technologies. But innovation is also about new ways of doing long-established things, too, and that includes how we produce and prepare the foods we eat. Go Local is hosting a pair of presentations which look at innovations in that sector. Here’s  a preview.

Switch Vehicles Hosts Open House

Sep 15, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Switch Vehicles, the maker of three-wheeled electric cars sold as kits, is holding an open house today, part of the North Bay iHub’s Innovation Week. KRCB profiled the unusual automotive start-up on the North Bay Report last December, and on today’s Exchange, we reprise that story.

The Switch Vehicles Open House is from 10-3 today, in their new home at 380 Morris Street in Sebastopol, with cars on display and some limited opportunities for test drives.

“Bug” Deakin’s Reclaimed Stories

Sep 5, 2014

  Michael “Bug” Deakin has made the recovery and reuse of old wood and other building materials into his life’s work.  That is now the source material for a lavishly illustrated book of his Reclaimed Stories.

  Heritage Salvage deals in more than just reclaimed lumber, but owner Bug Deakin freely admits that his first and greatest fondness is for old wood.

Sonoma County's Plastic Ban Ban Begins

Aug 28, 2014

Single use plastic shopping bags will complete their disappearance from Sonoma County retailers on Monday. It’s been a gradual transition so many shoppers may not even notice a difference. But for those who do, here’s what to expect.

Henry Mikus, the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency’s Executive Director, says that the biggest benefits from the plastic bag ban are expected to be less trash, in the landfills and the environment, and somewhat decreased use of fossil fuels and release of greenhouse gases. But it is also being embraced by the retail business world.

Inside a Cannabis Dispensary

Aug 12, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  As medical marijuana use his migrated from the shadows to the sunlight, the patient experience has also become increasingly normalized. On today’s report, we walk through that process.

  In addition to running his business, Peace in Medicine owner Robert Jacob is also a member of the Sebastopol City Council. When his turn as mayor came around earlier this year, his dual role earned him worldwide media attention, at least briefly. He sees it all as a reflection of the way his trade is gradually shedding the “stoner stigma” and gaining mainstream acceptability. 

Equestrians as an Economic Engine

Aug 12, 2014

  A new study, to be presented to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today, computes the economic impact of horses and related businesses and activities at more than $600 million per year. We get details in this conversation with the author of that report.

The full report can be read online here.

Inside The Medical Cannabis Business

Aug 11, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Medicinal cannabis has become big business in California over the past 17 years. Today, the North Bay Report takes you inside one local dispensary operation to see how it runs like other retailers—and how it is quite different.

  While growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is more widespread than ever, Corey Rider, who manages product intake for Peace in Medicine, says the quality and efficacy can vary widely, depnding on the knowledge and intention of each individual cultivator.

'North Bay Made' Tries to Make an Impact

Jul 25, 2014

A new program to promote products made in six Northern California counties is struggling to gain traction, while the more established Go Local campaign says North Bay Made is an unnecessary duplication of their efforts.

The Koch Brothers and Bohemian Grove

Jul 18, 2014

  Past presidents and cabinet members, titans of business and popular entertainers are all among the elite visitors to Bohemian Grove each summer.  Lately their ranks have also included two other prominent and polarizing figures—the Koch Brothers.

Read the Bohemian Grove Action Network's full report on the Koch Brothers here.

Start-up Turns Commuters into Couriers

Jul 18, 2014

  From Craigslist, eBay and Amazon to Lyft, Uber and Air BnB, innovative applications of online communications have been streamlining customer services and upending long-established business models. A new start-up, launched by Cotati-based entrepreneur is now out to do the same for package delivery and courier services. Let’s hear from him.

This video, from the Shipbird website, explains their business model in greater visual detail.

New Arts Agency Created for Sonoma County

Jun 26, 2014

  A new county-wide arts support organization, authorized by county supervisors this week, is intended to help expand the contribution of the arts to the local economy—both businesses and non-profits.

The entire report  and action plan adopted by county supervisors this week can be read here. Financial details for local arts non-profits can be found beginning on page 24.

A Compromise on Cloverdale’s Growth

Jun 16, 2014

With an eye to the future, Cloverdale proposed expanding to the west and south, some of which alarmed anti-sprawl activists. But the most provocative part of that proposal has now been reined in.

The new, scaled back Cloverdale Urban Growth Boundary is expected to get final approval at the next LAFCO meeting on July second.  The map below shows the originally proposed Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

The Effects of Labor-Friendly Laws

Jun 11, 2014

  If Congress won’t act to increase the minimum wage, should cities take action instead? A new book analyzing the consequences of doing that in San Francisco sees mostly positive outcomes.

Ken Jacobs will talk about his book, and what San Francisco’s experience might mean for Sonoma County, Thursday night in Rohnert Park. You can find event details here.

Charging Electric Cars on the Califonria Coast

Jun 9, 2014

  There are 58,000 electric vehicles on the road in California now, and their number has been doubling every year. That’s still a small share of the total, but it does represent a growing market that looks like an opportunity to a North Bay entrepreneur.

Dale Miller, President of the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association, notes that having more charging stations in more locations is another factor helping to boost EV sales.

Priceless Advice for Women in Business

May 29, 2014

  As the number of female top executives grows, they are sharing what they’ve learned along the way with other women. A new book created by two Healdsburg women is a recent example.

  In hard copy, Pass It On is just a little bigger than a CD jewel case, a not-quite-square format that gave designer Deb Viola ample room to get creative.

PBS Enjoys the Present, Eyes the Future

May 15, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

For 45 years, public television has been an educational alterative in a changing media landscape. And the proliferation of competitors has only served to heighten the unique service that PBS provides.

Throughout the network’s history, PBS has maintained high standards for comprehensive and trustworthy journalism. That remains one of their greatest assets, says President Paula Kerger.

To check the current schedule of programs on KRCB-TV, click here.

Plastic Bag Fairs Help Businesses Adjust to Ban

May 14, 2014

As the new restrictions on the use of plastic bags by retailers are phasing in, the Sonoma County Waste Agency is hosting a series of three “Plastic Bag Fairs” for business owners this week. Here’s a look at what they’re about, and why.

The first of the Sonoma County Waste Agency's  three Bag Fairs was held yesterday in Cotati; there’s one today in Santa Rosa, and the third one will be in Windsor tomorrow.

Go Local Updates Directory of Participants

May 12, 2014

  The latest Go Local directory of participating Sonoma County businesses and organizations is hot off the press and out in stores this week. So today we get an update on their update.

Bake Fair to Boost World Fair Trade Day

May 9, 2014

Global Fair Trade items include many foodstuffs, with coffee and chocolate leading the way. They all are getting some extra attention tomorrow, as Santa Rosa’s Fair Trade campaign hosts a special sort of Bake-off.

Click here to find out more.

Analyzing 'The Good Company'

Apr 29, 2014

When a Sonoma State economics professor set out to identify and profile examples of honorable and successful businesses, he first had to assess the qualities necessary to be a “good company.”

  While size  and growth do not disqualify a company from being "good,"  SSU business professor Robert Girling notes that some laudable businesses do choose, quite consciously, not to grow beyond a certain point.

Wine Brand Takes on Student Load Debt

Apr 28, 2014

  Can profit sharing with a worthy cause be an effective way to establish a new brand?  The man behind Terra Fossil wines is betting it is.

  Terra Fossil Wines founder Greg Leib readily admits he is a marketer, not a wine maker. But he’s looking to partner with California vintners to expand his impact—and his profit-sharing.

Net Neutrality At Risk

Apr 26, 2014

  The FCC is preparing new rules to govern Internet access, amidst worries that those changes will give industry giants an unfair competitive advantage.

Cultural and Creative Arts Forum

Apr 16, 2014

  Sonoma County is rich in arts and culture, but those enterprises aren’t always tuned in to each other, or supported by local business and government. As part of an effort to create a more unified vision for everyone, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board is hosting a community conversation on the subject this evening at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Bruce Robinson talks about it with the man who will be leading the session.

Marin I-J

  The long-awaited SMART commuter trains and the currently running Northwest Pacific freight trains are not waiting until 2016 to co-exist on the tracks that traverse Sonoma County.  They’re already sharing the line while it is getting rebuilt.

John Williams, president of the Northwest Pacific Company which operates the freight trains, says they have been slowly increasing their loads, but growth has been sluggish.

Watching the 'Heartbleed' Bug

Apr 14, 2014

  While most computer users have not experienced problems associated with the Heartbleed bug that was revealed last week, online security professionals remain watchful and wary.

The most reliable source for information about the Heartbleed bug can be found here. Wired Magazine has also published informed speculation that the NSA may have been involved in creating or exploiting the bug.

Coming Out Party for New C-Media Center

Apr 10, 2014

  Santa Rosa’s Community Media Center has undergone a transformation, and it is now the C-Media Center, which is holding a sort of coming out celebration tomorrow night. Today’s Exchange brings us details about both.

For additional details about their event, click here.

Finding a Future for Palm Drive Hospital

Apr 9, 2014

  With the clock ticking toward the April 28th closure date for Sebastopol’s Palm Drive Hospital, board members are scrambling to solicit and assess new operating models, while staff members worry what their futures will hold.

The closure of Palm Drive Hospital may have come as a shock to the community at large, but physician Greg Rosa, who has worked there for years, says it was apparent on the inside that the current business model was failing.

Entreprenoma's Market Day Debuts

Apr 8, 2014

  A first-time event debuts on the Sonoma State campus today. It’s  a showcase for student-developed products, services and businesses, called Market Day. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson talks with the man behind the event.

Market Day is being held in the Student Recreation Center on the Sonoma State campus, 10 am to 2 pm today.

Postal Workers Protest Staples Deal

Apr 2, 2014

  A deal between the US Postal Service and the Staples office supply store chain is coming under fire from the American Postal Workers Union, which is coordinating a series of protests at stores where that new partnership is being tested. The actions reached the North Bay this week, so KRCB’s Bruce Robinson talked with one of the workers involved to find out more about the issue.

Recruiting Bioscience Businesses

Apr 1, 2014

  With Marin leading the way, four North Bay Counties are teaming up to attract bioscience businesses to relocate. It’s a campaign intended to create jobs, provide interlocking support systems for the companies, and expand economic diversity in the region.