North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

Pension Paydown Plan Approaches Passage In California

Jun 23, 2017

ALSO: California State Democrats who were hoping for a drastically different health proposal say the Senate's draft bill released today would impose dramatic cuts on California's health care system.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Sally Schilling.

While much attention has been focused recently on federal health care policy, California lawmakers have advanced a bill to create a new “single payer” system here, one that would take insurance companies out of the picture altogether. Advocates for the bill made the case for it at a Town Hall  meeting in Healdsburg last night.

Wireless Carriers Want Legislature to Streamline 5G Deployment

Jun 22, 2017

ALSO: So you thought California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown wrapped up their work on the state budget last week? Think again. Another dozen or so pieces of the budget package are up for votes Thursday in the Senate and Assembly.

Today's reporting by Daniel Potter and Ben Adler.

Sonoma Hams Plan Radio Field Day

Jun 21, 2017

For over 100 years, amateur or “Ham” radio has been a hobby for people from pre-teens to seniors. This weekend, the American Radio Relay League will sponsor a field day to celebrate and promote ham radio. Sonoma County Radio Amateurs – representing the area's nearly 25-hundred licensed operators – will host the event in Santa Rosa.

Plan To Regionalize Western Power Grid Stalls Post-Trump

Jun 21, 2017
Max Whittaker / New York Times

ALSO: California requires outdoor employers from agriculture to construction to take extra precautions to protect their workers on hot days like today. But there are currently no rules for indoor workplaces like restaurants.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Sally Schilling.

Tiffany Camhi

Lavender is known for its sweet scent and its vibrant purple flowers. The plant is native to Mediterranean areas like Spain and France, but as KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports, more and more farmers in Sonoma County are beginning to grow the popular plant.

ALSO: Supporters of a bill to make California a "sanctuary state" say the measure has gained the support of some law enforcement leaders, though many remain opposed.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Sally Schilling.

Living With Rattlesnakes in Sonoma County

Jun 19, 2017
Larry Stratton

Rattlesnakes are part of our landscape, and while they are indeed poisonous, they need not be feared and killed, but can be relocated to less populous areas. We hear more about them today from a man who does just that, and is known as  Sonoma County's  “snake whisperer.”

Rattlesnakes and gopher snakes are often confused, but Al Wolfe, Founder and Director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, explains that the poisonous rattler can be readily distinguished if you know what to look for.

Undocumented Young Adults Won't Get Medi-Cal Under New Budget

Jun 19, 2017
Pauline Bartolone / CALMatters

ALSO: California’s unemployment rate is now a record-low 4.7 percent – tying the state’s previous low point at the end of the year 2000. But that's not as good news as it might appear at first blush.

Today's reporting by Sally Schilling and Ben Adler.

Healdsburg’s Long History with Tourism

Jun 17, 2017
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

As the impacts of high-end tourism stir increasing debate in Healdsburg, a new exhibit at the local museum traces the history of that industry in the north county area.

The large display that greets visitors to the “Destination Healdsburg" exhibit is a detailed recreation of a block of the storefronts that faced the downtown plaza roughly 80 years ago. Curator Holly Hoods says it’s the work of a uniquely skilled volunteer.

California Moves To Bar Local Government From Immigrant Detention Contracts

Jun 16, 2017
John Moore / Getty Images

ALSO: As part of a budget package California lawmakers voted Thursday for a bill that folds together state rules for medical and recreational marijuana.

Today's reporting by Leslie Berestein Rojas (KPCC) and Julia Mitric.

No Nukes Peace Boat Sails into Bodega Bay

Jun 15, 2017

Almost 60 years after it first sailed into the South Pacific to protest nuclear weapons testing, the sailboat Golden Rule is spending the weekend in Bodega Bay with an updated message on the same issue.

Following their arrival in Bodega Bay this morning, the crew of the Golden Rule will host a public forum on nuclear policy Saturday evening will be in Santa Rosa. See this link for details

Cannabis Typo Draws Laughs In Senate Budget Committee Hearing

Jun 15, 2017

ALSO: It didn’t garner much attention amid the news of a state budget deal, but a bill to make California a “sanctuary state” has passed its first committee in the Assembly.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Ben Adler.

Lives of California Farmworkers, In Their Own Words

Jun 14, 2017
Illustration by José Cruz / Heyday Books

California‘s agricultural bounty feeds millions, but much of that is made possible by legions of little-seen farmworkers. A new collection of oral histories lets them tell their own stories.

Through his conversations with the agricultural workers featured in Chasing the Harvest, journalist Gabriel Thompson reveals that despite the undeniable challenges they face, these are people who find much to appreciate about their lives.

Brown, Democratic Legislative Leaders Announce Budget Deal

Jun 14, 2017
File photo / Getty Images

ALSO: There is now officially a California budget deal at the state Capitol. Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced an agreement Tuesday morning, although most of the bills that comprise the deal were made public Monday.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

California Budget Deal Emerges Despite Lack Of Formal Announcement

Jun 13, 2017

ALSO: California lawmakers are heading towards a Thursday vote on a budget package. One piece of it is the so-called “cannabis trailer bill” which aims to align the state’s rules for medical and recreational marijuana.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler and Julia Mitric.

Falcon Kites a New Tool to Protect Vineyards

Jun 12, 2017

Falcons are a proven deterrent to the birds than can raid and damage ripening grapes.  Now a North Bay innovator with a background in bird management  is promoting a look-alike kite to do the same job.

Roger Snow of Falcon Crop Management, the new company he has formed to promote the Falcon Fright Kites, believes they are a far more effective --and economical--deterrent than any of the commonly used alternatives that are currently available.

Recycling Overhaul Stalls in State Capitol

Jun 12, 2017

ALSO: The California State University says graduation rates are the highest they've ever been, but they want to almost double them by 2025.

Today's reporting by Daniel Potter and Sally Schilling.

Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Sheep can chew down grasses that might later burn, snack on unwanted poison oak, and fertilize the soil as they go. And they can co-exist with human users of parklands while doing all that.

Sheep are an alternative to using tractors dragging discs to plow grass under and create firebreaks. But unlike the machines, says Aaron Gilliam, the sheep will graze around ground-level bird nests, and positively coexist with the native fauna in other ways, too.

CHINA: Brown's Whirlwind Tour Comes To An End

Jun 9, 2017
imgur /

California Governor Jerry Brown is back in California, after five whirlwind days in China. It ended much as it began.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

First-Person Accounts Illuminate Gold Rush History

Jun 8, 2017

The Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of dreamers, seekers, entrepreneurs and charlatans into California, each, it seems with a story to tell. A new non-fiction book samples dozens of these first-person accounts to create a multi-faceted portrait of a tumultuous time.

The Gold Rush was covered in great detail and enthusiasm by the newspapers of the day, and those accounts can still be found today. Bu for accuracy and detail, historian Gary Noy cautions that they should be read with a certain amount of skepticism.

CHINA: Gov. Brown Cautious On 100 Percent Renewable Bill

Jun 8, 2017
Thomas Peter / Reuters

ALSO: Republican state lawmakers from rural counties are pushing a proposed constitutional amendment to give their constituents a louder voice in the California State Senate.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler and Chris Nichols.

Luke Burns/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Napa County’s 55-mile long Napa River runs from Mount Saint Helena to the San Pablo Bay. Along the way the river runs through several cities and towns, where it’s been known to flood every winter. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports how a flood control project, more than half a century in the making, has dramatically changed one of those cities.


Critics Say Doctors Are Taking Advantage Of 'Aid In Dying' Law

Jun 7, 2017

ALSO: The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday over whether a voter-approved initiative that seeks to streamline the death penalty process is unconstitutional.

Today's reporting by Sally Schilling and Ben Adler.

Measure C Fails, Leah Gold Wins in Special Elections

Jun 6, 2017
Bruce Robinson / KRCB-FM

Record spending by outside business interests dominated yesterday’s special election in Sonoma County, but Santa Rosa’s Measure C was not the day’s only story. 

Voter turnout was low yesterday with just 40 thousand ballots cast, nearly three-quarters of them in Santa Rosa. See the final totals here.

State Senate Leader Kevin de León claimed last week that California has 10 times as many clean energy jobs as the nation has coal mining jobs. PolitiFact California found this needs some clarifications, and rated it Mostly True.

Find more fact checks from Politifact California HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

MacKenzie Chairs Regional Transportation Body

Jun 5, 2017
Metropolitan Transportation Commission

For the first time in more than 35 years, the head of the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission is an elected official from Sonoma County:  longtime Rohnert Park city councilman and current mayor Jake MacKenzie.

Questions Loom Over Single Payer Bill After Senate Passage

Jun 5, 2017

ALSO: The California Assembly has passed an effort to create a “sanctuary state” policy for recreational marijuana.

Today's reporting by Sally Shilling and Ben Adler.

Discovering a Coastal Rock’s Prehistoric Legacy

Jun 3, 2017
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Smooth surface areas on some large rocks on the Sonoma Coast might be a remnant of prehistoric animals rubbing against them, but definitive evidence to justify the popular name given to these Mammoth Rocks” has been elusive.

Since he began looking into this issue, the now-retired archeologist has found several other similarly polished rock surfaces not too far from his first discovery. And after a paper Parkman wrote about his explorations was published, he heard about still more such locations in other states.

Divided California Senate Passes Single-Payer Health Care Bill

Jun 2, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The California Senate has advanced a bill that would create a statewide single-payer health care system after more than two-and-a-half hours of debate.

Today's reporting by Ben Alder.