Marin's Water Shortage Eases

Mar 13, 2014
Marin Municipal Water Distric

The drought has eased a bit for much of Marin County, even as traffic congestion is getting worse. And overall optimism in the business community is increasing. All this and more from the annual Impact Marin conference in San Rafael Thursday morning.

Campaign Seeks More Healthy Choices in Smaller Stores

Mar 5, 2014

  A county-by county survey has listed the stores where tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks are sold, which ones are close to schools, and which ones offer healthy alternatives. The next step is encouraging them to make changes, for the good of their customers.

An Upbeat Economic Forecast for 2014

Feb 20, 2014

On today’s North Bay Report, we heard from California State University Chancellor Timothy White, who was the keynote speaker at Sonoma State’s annual Economic Outlook Conference yesterday. Another regular feature at the event is the regional economic analysis and forecast delivered by Economics professor Rob Eyler. He predicted solid growth for California in 2014, with North Bay counties doing a bit better than the state as a whole.

Another Bid for Professional Baseball

Feb 18, 2014

  There hasn’t been a professional baseball team—at any level—since the Sonoma Crushers played their last game in Rohnert Park, back in 1886. Over the past decade there have been a series of false starts toward launching a team somewhere in Santa Rosa, then Petaluma, then Windsor. The newest bid to do that is looking to the town of Sonoma, where the new Sonoma Stompers are making plans to up shop for the coming summer.

Sonoma County Tourism Revenues Up in 2013

Feb 12, 2014

 In some good news for the local economy, tourism in Sonoma County took a sizable jump upwards ion 2013. Bruce Robinson gets the particulars on the annual tourism report released earlier this week. 

Go Local Cards Gain Traction

Jan 17, 2014

The number of people actively using Go Local rewards cards, and the number of businesses honoring them, both grew substantially in 2013. And the local economic multiplier program anticipates even greater expansion this year.

Many Go Local card-holders use them infrequently, often just once. But Co-manager Terry Garrett says increased repeat usage began to trend upward during 2013.

Sonoma County Plastic Bag Ban Advances

Jan 16, 2014

After years of discussion and a late procedural diversion, Sonoma County is finally poised to impose limitations on the use of free plastic bags by grocers and other retailers. But getting to this point wasn’t easy.

Find details about the new bag restrictions here. You can also review KRCB's coverage of the Febrary 2011 Public Forum on Single-Use Bags here.

Sonoma Clean Power Looks Ahead

Jan 2, 2014

Electricity from sources that are a mixture of renewable, local, and carbon-free is due to start flowing through Sonoma Clean Power in the year ahead. Bruce Robinson reports how the pieces are falling into place for the new local alternative to PG&E.

  Getting a significant share of its power from the Geysers benefits Sonoma Clean Power—and the customers they serve—in multiple ways that extend beyond just utility costs, explains CEO Geof Syphers.


Social Finance Lending

Dec 9, 2013

Social impact investing balances a borrower’s contribution to the local and global community, against the lender’s return on investment. And both parties talk to each other to make it work. 

Their face-to-face pricing meetings are often revelatory for the participants, says RSF Social Finance CEO Don Shaffer. But their reactions also tend to follow a consistent pattern.


Community Supported Art

Dec 6, 2013

  A small group of artists in Healdsburg is trying out a new way to support their work. Taking a page from local farmers, the members of the 428 Collective are launching their own CSA program, signing up subscribers for Community Supported Art. To find out more about it, Bruce Robinson talks with one of the collective members on the Exchange today.

"A Man and His Mountain"

Nov 25, 2013

Kendall-Jackson wines are far better known than the man behind them. A new biography of Jess Jackson tells the story of the vintner and his accomplishments.

A Man and His Mountain marks the first time that author Edward Humes turned his attention to a biography.  He reflects that it was a project quite different from his long-form journalistic books.


Fountaingrove Lodge Opens

Nov 21, 2013

  Fountaingrove Lodge, the nation’s first retirement and resort complex specifically for LGBT couples and individuals is opening its doors in Santa Rosa this week, and held a public open house last night. Bruce Robinson talks with their senior marketing director, Gena Jacob, about the project.

Sonoma Rejects Hotel Limits

Nov 20, 2013

  There was an election in the town of Sonoma yesterday—just a single ballot initiative on the ballot. To bring us up to date on the outcome, News Director Bruce Robinson spoke with David Bolling, the Editor and Publisher of the Sonoma Index Tribune.

Sonoma's Measure B

Nov 15, 2013

Just when you thought the election season was over for the year, voters in Sonoma are deciding a special referendum tomorrow on the fate of future hotels in their town.

Bio-mimicry Gains Traction

Nov 14, 2013
Pax Scientific

  In the past decade and a half, some 200 new products have come onto the market, derived from the careful study of the plant and animal worlds through “bio-mimicry.” And a prominent businessman in the field predicts that’s a mere trickle, compared to the flood he expects to follow.

Jay Harman grew up along the Australian coast, where his fascination with the natural world developed early on.

Local Economy Looking Up

Oct 16, 2013
Graton Resort and Casino

A new casino, expansion of the Sonoma County airport, and a close-to-home workforce all contribute to renewed confidence in the local economy, as revealed in a recent survey of area business leaders.

   The runway expansion has drawn most of the attention at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, but concurrent construction will create a SMART train station very close to it, a prospect that Tom Duryea, CEO of Summit State Bank, sees as an enormous benefit.


Building Economic Resilience Close to Home

Sep 26, 2013

A concerned and thoughtful gathering of consumers, entrepreneurs activists and financial thinkers convened at Santa Rosa’s Flamingo Hotel yesterday to share ideas on strengthening the local economy. 

Slow Money activist Marco Vangelisti anticipates that global corporate hegemony is in a decline that is not yet widely apparent, but could come with unexpected quickness.

Cause Marketing

Sep 4, 2013

  When non-profits and for-profit businesses team up in a joint public marketing effort, to be truly successful, it must also serve a greater good. So says the man who wrote the book on “cause marketing.”

CEQA Faces Calls for Change

Aug 28, 2013

  Since Ronald Regan was governor, the California Environmental Quality Act has been giving citizens a voice in how development unfolds around them. But as the state legislature considers changes to the law, its supporters are watching carefully, and with some concern.

  Sierra Club of California Director Gary Patton will be in Santa Rosa Thursday evening  to talk about CEQA and the politics surrounding it.  He appears at 7 pm at the Environmental Center of Sonoma County, at 55 Ridgeway Avenue.

Interior Makeover Races Deadline at Arts Center

Aug 7, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  From floor to ceiling, backstage to the back rows, Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is undergoing a major interior remodeling. The race is on to get all the work done before the next scheduled show there next Friday.

Shareholder Activism

Jul 15, 2013

 The most effective way to redirect corporate behavior into more socially responsible actions may be from within—though shareholder activism.

  Even the biggest corporations can be influenced by a single shareholder, or a small group of them, says Dale Wannen of Sustainvest. And an increasing number of them are making that effort.

Car Sharing Gains Traction

Jun 21, 2013

The typical American car is driven two hours a day or less, a big investment for relatively little use. Now, social media is helping to facilitate short-term “personal vehicle sharing,” to benefit the owners of those under-used cars—and drivers who don’t own cars.

Splitting the 415 Area Code

Jun 6, 2013


From 1947 to 1959, Sonoma County and points north were part of the 415 Area Code. Now that area—comprised of just Marin County and San Francisco— is again dealing with numerical growing pains, but now there are no more easy splits available.

  Even though any given area code can mathematically contain more than 6.8 million numbers, CPUC staffer Katherine Morehouse says the demand for new 415 area numbers is overtaking the remaining supply at an accelerating rate.


Assets at Risk?

May 31, 2013

  Wall Street’s biggest banks remain “too big to fail,” thanks in part to their recently legalized ability to seize depositors’ assets if another crisis should hit. Bruce Robinson talks with banking industry critic Ellen Brown.

  Local credit unions are a popular alternative to big commercial banks for many households and small businesses, Brown agrees, but they also have limitations.

Rescuing the Rio

May 2, 2013

  As only movie house for miles around, the Rio Theater has a devoted customer base. But they were only the starting point for the on-line fund-raising effort that succeeded this week in keeping the pictures moving at the Monte Rio meeting place.

What Sonoma Clean Power Can do for Your Business

Apr 25, 2013
Image courtesy BoDean

Starting in January 2014 Sonoma County residents and business will have a choice in where they buy electricity. The county is forming a local public power agency to purchase energy from renewable sources, at prices competitive to PG&E. Danielle Venton reports that could be a big boon to local business. Business opportunities within Sonoma Clean Power will be featured at the 2013 Sustainable Enterprise Conference in Rohnert Park this Friday. 

Wappo Indians, Then and Now

Apr 4, 2013

The biggest thing standing between the small Wappo tribe of North Bay Indians and their goal of regaining official recognition from the federal government could be a potential casino they’re not sure they would ever build.

Rebooting the North Bay iHub

Mar 28, 2013

 Business incubation is about creating jobs, not just getting start-ups launched. So the North Bay iHub (Innovation Hub) is retooling itself with a redefined focus. Bruce Robinson gets the inside story from a couple of the key players.

Click the link to see the updated and redesigned website for the North Bay iHub.

Business is Booming for CA Baby Boomers

Mar 28, 2013

Proposed cuts to federal "entitlement" programs would likely ripple through California's business economy, in ways that most analyses have not examined. Lori Abbott outlines a recent study that focuses on those impacts.

Borrowed Wheels

Mar 26, 2013

Thursday, March 28 at 7 pm

Borrowed Wheels
   Innovative companies such as Zipcar are moving in on an expanding market. Can regulations move fast enough to work with these carsharing entrepreneurs? Does car sharing really reduce emissions? Are automakers threatened? Join the new mobility society conversation.