North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)  


The Sonoma County Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) are permanently closed. Those affected by the October wildfires can still reach FEMA by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), online at and through the FEMA app.  

California Update for Friday, December 29, 2017

Dec 29, 2017
AP photo

• The deaths of an 18-year-old and his 25-year-old, uncertified tandem jump instructor have resulted in and update to California law.

• Another new California laws taking effect on January 1st is intended to prevent “school lunch shaming.” That’s when schools deny students food because their parents haven’t paid lunch fees.

Find more California laws taking effect January 1, 2018 HERE.

Today's reporting by Steve Milne and Bob Moffitt.

California Update for Thursday, December 28, 2017

Dec 28, 2017

• Low-income Californians will have access to dental services they’ve lacked since 2009, under a law taking effect on New Year’s Day.

Find more new laws taking effect in the new year HERE.

• The state's DUI messaging emphasis shifts to pot, as recreational marijuana becomes legal on January 1st. Law enforcement says "no matter your age or reasons for consuming cannabis, you should never drive while high."

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Randol White.

Pre-Paying Property Taxes

What Sonoma County Property Owners Should Know

The Sonoma County Tax Collector is receiving a number of inquiries from property owners who wish to “pre-pay” property taxes prior to January 1, 2018, resulting from the federal tax bill with a new $10,000 limit on state and local taxes that may be deducted for federal income tax purposes. 

Stacey Dennick

Recently, we shared some news and impressions from this year’s Emerald Cup – the yearly meeting of cannabis business professionals and enthusiasts. As you may know, the era of cannabis prohibition is ending in California on January 1. No, you probably won’t be able to walk into your local pot store on New Year's Day – the rules and regulations are still emerging. But it may be time to make sure that the history of the underground marijuana industry isn’t lost to the ages.

Reporter Sarah Reith hung out with some budding historians at the Emerald Cup, and has this report. 

Spending Christmas in a FEMA Trailer

Dec 27, 2017
Woman with dog
Stacey Dennick

The holiday season can be a difficult time. That's been especially true for the dozens of people living in FEMA trailers at the Sonoma Fairgrounds RV Park.  

Brenda Cappel lived on Willowview Court in Santa Rosa for 10 years until last October’s firestorms. She’s been in a FEMA trailer since the day after Thanksgiving.

“I loved my home; it was my Xanadu,” Cappel said.  “I had a really hard time getting myself out of my house, because you know in the back of your mind, if you have to leave like that, you’re not coming back.”

California Update for Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dec 27, 2017
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

• New laws give sexual assault victims clear direction as to their rights, which includes not cooperating with police.Law enforcement must enter rape kits into a data base and keep them for at least 20 years.

• Help is on the way for fathers of young kids who often struggle to find diaper changing stations in men’s bathrooms.

Find a list of more new California laws taking effect in the new year HERE

Today's reporting by Bob Moffitt and Ben Adler.

In the midst of the holiday season, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is asking insurers to help California wildfire survivors who are overwhelmed with the task of navigating the claims process by providing relief from detailed home inventories and following the lead of other insurers providing up to 100 percent of contents (personal property) coverage limits without a detailed inventory. 

Multiple agencies working collaboratively to warn residents of risk of flooding and mudflows in identified medium and high risk burn areas  

Assemblyman Marc Levine and family
Marc Levine

Last week we talked with Assemblymember Marc Levine about the challenging year we’ve had. News Director Steve Mencher asked Levine about his number one concern for 2018 – that turns out to be the ever-widening gulf between rich and poor in our community.

California Update for Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dec 26, 2017
Editor B / Flikr

• A new bill changes the eligibility requirements for subsidized child care. Parents taking English language and high school equivalency classes will now have access to the program.

Find a summary of all new laws taking effect on January 1st HERE.

Outbeat Radio News for Monday, December 25, 2017

Dec 25, 2017

• In an apparent response to the Trump administration’s ban of the U.S. CDC’s use of 7 words, the Trudeau government in Canada insists that entitlement, transgender, diversity, evidence-based, science-based, fetus, and vulnerable be used in government documents. 

• Catholic Priest Gregory Greitan of Minnesota told his parishioners that he is gay. He got a standing ovation. 

• Here in California, the state is suing a Bakerfield baker for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex couple in an apparent violation of the state’s non-discrimination law.

California Update for Monday, December 25, 2017

Dec 25, 2017
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

• Starting January 1st, a new California law makes it illegal to smoke or ingest marijuana while actively driving or riding as a passenger in a car. The law applies to marijuana edibles such as brownies and breakfast bars.

• California school employees with concealed weapons permits will no longer be able to bring guns on campus in the New Year.

Find a summary of all new laws taking effect on January 1st HERE.

Today' reporting by Chris Nichols and Steve Milne.

Two Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) in Sonoma County will be closed Dec. 23-25 in observance of the holiday weekend. 

The centers will reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 26, and remain open through Thursday, Dec. 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Both centers will close permanently at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28. 

• Sonoma County DRC, Hanna Boys Center, 17000 Arnold Drive, Sonoma 95476
• Sonoma County DRC, Press Democrat Bldg., 427 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401   

Survivors of the October wildfires may still be able to qualify for disaster assistance even if they receive a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) saying they are not eligible. 

Often it’s a matter of needing to submit more information so FEMA or SBA can continue processing the application. Examples of missing documentation might include an insurance settlement letter, proof of residency or ownership of a damaged property, or simply that the applicant did not sign the required documents. 

California Update for Friday, December 22, 2017

Dec 22, 2017
File photo / Capital Public Radio

• A law going into effect in January requires California ranchers to get a prescription from a veterinarian to administer antibiotics to cattle, sheep and other livestock.

Find a summary of all new California laws taking effect in 2018 HERE.

• California flu numbers are higher-than-usual for this time of year, and officials are pushing people to get their shots.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Sammy Caiola.

Trucks unloading at Mecham Road landfill
Sarah Tan

About two months ago the North Bay wildfires were contained. Most of the toxic debris has been carted away -- like asbestos, burned plastic, and car batteries. Material like ash and everything else left behind is still being cleared. Independent producer Sarah Tan reports on progress at the main county landfill.

California Update for Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dec 21, 2017
Charles Rex Arbogast AP file photo, 2014 / AP file photo, 2014

• California sues the Trump administration over methane rules around gas drilling.

• Workers at nursing homes in Calif. can be fined for LGBT discrimination. All seniors in long-term care facilities have protections written into state law. But, nursing home interactions can be more complicated for LGBT patients.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Randol White.


KRCB News Director Steve Mencher began a conversation earlier this week with Assemblyman Marc Levine, who represents Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties. Today they touch on lessons learned from the North Bay fires, and the Assemblyman’s view of what the California legislature accomplished this year, including extension of the Cap and Trade Program. 

California Update for Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dec 20, 2017
Andy Blackledge / Flikr

• A new California law allows pedestrians to cross the street, even when the “Walk” signal isn’t displayed.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford.

Find a list of all new California laws taking effect on the first of the year HERE.

Christmas tree, Coffey Park, Santa Rosa
Diane Askew

Ready or not Christmas is coming. After October’s fires in the North Bay, this will be a holiday like no other. April Dembosky of The California Report visited Coffey Park to find out how some fire survivors are marking Christmas this year.

Find April Dembosky's original report here.

More information on free grief counseling at the International Institute for Humanistic Studies.

California Update for Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Dec 19, 2017
J. Richard /

• During the holidays Americans produce a lot of waste. CalRecycle is working on policy recommendations to reduce the amount of holiday trash destined for landfills.

• Lawmakers in Washington are gathering support for Tuesday's big vote on tax reform as some California non-profits warn of its potential impact.

Today's reporting by Ezra David Romero and Chris Remington.

California Penal Code Section 396 generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations and rental housing.

Marc Levine
Office of Marc Levine

With the year coming to an end, we check in with one of our state officeholders about what was accomplished in 2017 – and what’s on the horizon in Sacramento for 2018.

Outbeat Radio News for Monday, December 18, 2017

Dec 18, 2017

• Ghana’s new president believes his country might consider changing laws criminalizing homosexuality if a coalition comes together to seek change. 

• A third federal court in Washington State said this week the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving the military is unconstitutional. 

• In Palm Springs, the two newest members elected to the council now make the entire council the first all LGBT council in the nation.

Outbeat Radio News is a service of KRCB FM Radio 91 and is part of Outbeat Radio heard Sunday nights at 8 pm.

California Update for Monday, December 18, 2017

Dec 18, 2017
Tim Williams / NASA

• The fires burning in Southern California have charred more than 250,00 acres. NASA is testing science instruments intended for space by measuring environmental impacts in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

• California’s minimum wage goes up another 50 cents in January, as part of a law gradually raising it to 15 dollars an hour over the next few years.

You can find a summary of new laws taking effect in 2018 HERE

Today's reporting by Ezra David Romero and Daniel Potter.

The National Weather Service as issued a RED FLAG warning for potential Wildfire Danger throughout high elevations in the San Francisco North Bay, the East Bay Hills, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Winds will gust from 15 to 30 miles per hour, up to a possible 50 to 60 mph in some areas. 

Due to high winds and low humidity, outdoor burning is NOT recommended. 

This warning is in effect from Friday night until Sunday evening.

California Update for Friday, December 15, 2017

Dec 15, 2017
Ozzy Delaney / Flikr

• A new study out of UCLA found that 27 percent of adolescents speak and behave in a way that does not align with stereotypes about their given gender.

• The CPUC adopted rules requiring more frequent inspections of utility lines in areas of increased wildfire risk.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola and Sally Schilling.

KRCB-FM Radio 91's 2017 Holiday / End-of-year fundraiser continues through Saturday December 16th. Radio 91 is raising funds for public radio in Sonoma County. Support this trusted, independent and essential radio service. CLICK HERE to donate online or call 707-584-2020. There are many awesome "thank you" gifts - treat yourself or give them as holiday presents! A membership to KRCB-FM Radio 91 / North Bay Public Media makes a great gift too! Your tax-deductible donation helps keep public radio on the air in the North Bay.

sign for net neutrality
Stacie Isabella Turk/Ribbonhead via Flickr

Net neutrality is dead. The FCC has voted to remove rules that require internet giants like Comcast and AT&T to treat all traffic the same.

They’ll now be able create a fast lane for companies like Netflix and a slow lane for that new app being created in a Silicon Valley garage. News director Steve Mencher talked with Tara Sharp, head of marketing at local ISP Sonic about what it all means.

Read more at the New York Times.