North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

Parks Boost State's Economy

Feb 19, 2013
Cherly Frei

It was a busy holiday weekend for California’s State Parks  And, as Lori Abbot reports, that’s good news for the state budget.

• UC Berkeley labor economist says too many Californians are underpaid.

• Lawmakers introduce bills aimed at bosltering youth vote.

Aquarium Escapees

Feb 17, 2013
Photo provided by Susan Willaims
Bruce Nyden

Exotic aquarium fish and plants are beautiful and soothing in their containers. But if they get out into our natural waters, they can cause enormous problems. Bruce Robinson talks with a researcher who has been studying this issue.

 Importing exotic tropical fish to meet the demand from aquarium owners does inevitably increase the risk that some of those species may get out into the wild. But Susan Williams, Professor of Evolution and Ecology at the Bodega Bay Marine Lab points out that this trade also helps preserve other threatened ecosystems.

• California Department of Finance warned about unreported surpluses as far back as 1999.

• Leveraging federal tax code could raise more than half a billion dollars a year for college financial aid.

The Parallels of Pearl Harbor and 9/11

Feb 14, 2013

When the 9/11 attacks rocked America, Muslim communities here had no idea what to expect. But survivors of the Japanese internment camps during World War II did, and many were quick to act on that experience.

The Day of Remembrance workshop in Sebastopol will be held at the Enmanji Temple from 1-3 pm on Saturday, Feb. 16. It’s free, but advance reservations are requested. Further details in the flyer below.

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• A new California “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights” partly behind the 62 percent drop.

• Covered California previews health benefit plan options under new State health-exchange.

Danielle Venton for KRCB.

 From oven mitts, to satellites to self-driving cars... Sometimes it seems like everything that could be invented already has been. But as local kids are learning, as long as there are problems, possible solutions await them. Three students from Calistoga Elementary School recently won 1st place in an international competition for a creative solution to a problem they see everyday. KRCB's Danielle Venton has more.

Associated Press

• Two sectors will lead job growth: technology and construction.

• Democratic lawmakers propose a new tax on oil removed from the ground in California.

Mark Shumerling /

• Recently released Federal fracking regulations have lawmakers concerned.

• Could CA hold an election following an emergency or natural disaster?

Decoding Birdsong

Feb 12, 2013
Danielle Venton for KRCB

Birds speak in a language all their own. Through chirps, warbles, trills and calls, they advertise for mates, warn of approaching predators and defend territories. Naturalist and author David Lukas trains listeners to pick up on these cues and hear a new world, as KRCB's Danielle Venton reports.

Expanding Coastal Protections

Feb 11, 2013
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

 Two more public hearings on plans to expand existing marine sanctuaries north from Bodega Head to Point Area are being held  Feb. 12 ands 13. They are a key step toward a permanent ban on oil exploration and drilling along the North Coast.

In addition to the two public hearings this week (details below),  NOAA is also taking comments online here through the end of February.

The remaining meeting schedule is as follows:

• About 200 Californians protest tighter gun laws in Sacramento.

• Bill to provide driver licenses for undocumented immigrants gains steam.

Battling Bottled Water

Feb 10, 2013

Civic and national freshwater advocates are reminding us not to take tap water for granted. Instead, they say, we should take it as our drink of choice.

In the Tracker's Footsteps

Feb 8, 2013
Danielle Venton for KRCB.

Tracking, the ancient art of detecting subtle signals left by animals, is alive and well today -- especially in the North Bay. Through local tracking clubs, classes and the Point Reyes Tracking School, launched this week, the opportunities are ripe for learning the ways of the outdoors. 

Jim Sullivan (right) organizes monthly classes and meet ups

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

• Democrats in the State Senate call for 10 bills to help reduce gun violence.

• LA Mayor Villaraigosa says Dorner has no legitimate beef with LAPD.

• Cash buyers paid a median price of $205,000.

• Bill would prohibit garnishing wages over student loan debt.

Shaping Immigration Reform

Feb 6, 2013

As the national debate over immigration reform moves from gridlock toward negotiation, members of the Dream Alliance in Sonoma County are both hopeful and concerned. Hopeful that action will finally be forthcoming this year, but worried that the final result may be too restrictive or otherwise flawed.

Report: Childhood Obesity Rates Declining

Feb 6, 2013

  There's a glimmer of good news in the latest studies of child obesity rates, at least in two large US cities. Lori Abbot has details.

Social Justice Posters

Feb 6, 2013

A history of social activism in the bay area can be found in a Berkeley man's collection of thousands of political posters, newly documented in the book, All of Us or None by Oakland archivist Lionel Cushing. Today's North Bay Report takes a peek inside.

• Like auto insurance, gun owners would be required to have liability insurance.

• Texas Governor Rick Perry attempts to lure CA businesses to the Lone Star state.

• California’s growth more than two percent to just under one percent for the Nation.

• ARCO and British Petroleum sued by CA for thousands of safety violations.

Restoring Cullinan Ranch

Feb 4, 2013
California Department of Fish & Wildlife

  A network of dikes and dams has kept seawater away from an old hay farm near the mouth of Napa River for nearly a century. Now it's close to being returned to its natural condition.

• Few CA businesses plan to hire in 2013.

• New bill would protect gun permit holders' private information.

• A new PPIC poll puts Brown’s approval rating at 51 percent.

• CA Lawmakers Propose Arming School Teachers.

Capitol Public Radio

• Standard and Poor’s has upgraded the state from an A-minus to an A.

• A bipartisan group of California lawmakers support push for a federal immigration bill in Congress.

Violence and Video Games

Jan 31, 2013

Predictably, a San Francisco video game developer opposes any moves to restrict violence in those games' content. But not for the reasons you might expect.

Jason Shanke addressed a computer science colloquium at Sonoma State University Thursday afternoon on the topic, "Interactive Entertainment and Social Responsibility." You can read the paper on which he based that talk here.

EPA Limits Rat Poisons But Leaves Wildlife at Risk

Jan 31, 2013
Photo courtesy of WildCare, by Melanie Piazza.

The Environmental Protection Agency is moving to ban a number of highly toxic rat poison products. But critics say the agency is not moving fast enough. Lori Abbott has this report.

Non-point pollution plagues Russian River

Jan 30, 2013
Courtesy of Flickr/Steve Shupe

On yesterday's North Bay Report we heard about some of the projects underway this year for the Russian River. The watershed is home to many state and local efforts to bring back threatened and endangered fish. In the final part of our series, KRCB's Danielle Venton reports on the river's water quality and finds that while things have improved, there is still a long way to go.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

• Medi-Cal changes may mean a simpler process for consumers.

• LA Senator Wants Statewide Early Earthquake Warning System.

Steve Yeater / Associated Press

• Gun rights advocates, law enforcement, and gun violence prevention experts appeared before California lawmakers at a joint legislative hearing.