North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

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.

Three Democratic Governor Candidates Debate Education

Mar 24, 2017
Ben Bradford / Capital Public Radio

Three of the most prominent Democrats running for California governor in 2018 participated in the first debate for that political race.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford.

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.

California Farmers Won't Get Full Water Supply

Mar 23, 2017
Curtis Jerome Haynes

ALSO: California State University trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition 5 percent for undergraduates, despite strong opposition from students and some state leaders.

Today's reporting by Amy Quinton and Chris Nichols.

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.

Gun Safety Bills Pass First Committe

Mar 22, 2017
Zac Bowling/Flikr

ALSO: California Governor Jerry Brown says he remains optimistic that federal money will come through for a major rail project in the state.

Today's reporting by Ja'Nel Johnson and Ben Bradford.

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.

Democratic State Lawmakers Push Juvenile Justice Reform

Mar 21, 2017
motherjones.com

ALSO: The bill to place the bond on the June 2018 ballot needed two-thirds support to pass. It advanced with the bare minimum 54 votes – all from Democrats, who leveraged their supermajority.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Ben Adler.

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.

politifact.com

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently claimed U.S. House members won by an average margin of 37 percentage points in November. PolitiFact California found there's nothing inflated about this figure, and rated it True.

Find more fact checks HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

photo courtesy of Phyllis Gould

During World War Two women became vital wartime workers, filling in on jobs traditionally held by men. Collectively they became known as “Rosie the Riveter.” And now for the first time, there will be a national holiday recognizing the work of these women, but just for this year. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports a Marin County "Rosie" is behind the effort to get the holiday on the calendar every year.

The Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront National Park will be holding a special commemorative event with local Rosies tomorrow.

UC Regents Mull Cap on Nonresident Enrollment

Mar 17, 2017
sacbee.com

ALSO: President Trump has approved federal disaster assistance for California. The move will help communities recover from major storms that hit the state in January.

Today's reporting by Daniel Potter and Amy Quinton.

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.

Trump's Clean Car Review Could Lead To Fight With California

Mar 16, 2017
Automotive News

ALSO: California Senator Ed Hernandez is once again pushing a bill that would require drug price transparency.

Today's reporting by Amy Quinton and Ben Bradford.

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.

Bill Aimed At Fighting Opioid Addiction

Mar 15, 2017
sacramentobee.com

ALSO: California Senate Republicans have elected a new leader. Orange County Senator Pat Bates will replace current Minority Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield next month, while the Legislature is on Spring Break.

Today's reporting by Steve Milne and Ben Adler.

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. 

Assembly Democrats Back Debt-Free College Plan

Mar 14, 2017
ThinkstockPhotos

Bernie Sanders didn’t win the Democratic presidential primary last year, but his platform is getting traction in the California Legislature. 

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

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.

politifact.com

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered a cost comparison between an iPhone and health care this week after Rep. Jason Chaffetz made a controversial comparison between the two. PolitiFact California checked Newsom's claim and rated it Mostly True.

Find full versions of all fact checks HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

Tiffany Camhi

Sonoma County’s roads have taken a severe beating from this winter’s nonstop storms. Now the county’s Department of Transportation and Public Works is out with an initial estimate of over 16 million dollars worth of damages. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

Former DOJ Attorney Says Major Changes To H1-Bs Require Congress

Mar 10, 2017
California Department of Water Resources

ALSO: Scientists say the threat of catastrophic flooding at Oroville Dam could be a warning for California, and the effect climate change could have on infrastructure in the future.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Amy Quinton.

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.

"Day Without A Woman" Draws Attention From California Lawmakers

Mar 9, 2017
Anne Di Grazia

A couple hundred people spent their lunch breaks outside the state Capitol Wednesday as California lawmakers led a rally for International Women’s Day and Day Without A Woman.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

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.

Jim Cole / AP photo

ALSO: California health care policy experts who back the Affordable Care Act reacted today to a proposal from House Republicans to repeal and replace the law.

Today's reporting by Amy Quinton and Ja'Nel Johnson.

politifact.com

California State Senator Jeff Stone recently claimed statewide violent crime has been on the rise since 2011, and spiked 12 % in 2015. 

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

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.

NBC News

 

President Trump has signed a revised executive order, once again barring travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program. It’s similar to the president’s January order that was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

PG&E Decides Some Pot Growers Can Qualify For Ag Energy Rate

Mar 6, 2017
releaf.co

ALSO: Assembly To Vote On $3B Park Bond

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Ben Bradford.

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