North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

Paul Mitchell / Strava

ALSO: Unpaid traffic fines are no longer a reason to lose your California driver's license, under a provision Governor Jerry Brown signed into law as part of the state budget package.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler and Julia Mitric.

No More Surprise Medical Bills in California

Jul 5, 2017
imagestock /

ALSO: Hate crimes in California increased by more than 10 percent for the second year in a row.

Today's reporting by Sally Schilling and Ben Bradford.

Sonoma Vineyard Doubles as Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jul 3, 2017
Steve Mencher, KRCB

Micro-grids are scaled-down versions of the giant network that delivers electricity across huge distances to thousands of customers. They hold great promise for both utilizing renewable power and serving remote or isolated populations. And an important testing ground for this emerging technology is a local vineyard.

Stone Edge Farm is part of a group of related businesses that are each exploring ways to adapt renewable energy technologies to their operations. Ryan Stoltenberg runs through the various applications.

California Creates New Tax And Fee Collection Agency From Scratch

Jul 3, 2017

ALSO: It was a tough week for backers of California’s new, tighter gun restrictions approved by lawmakers and voters last year.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler and Ben Bradford.

Cannabis growing in field
Pavel Ševela / Wikimedia Commons

For wine consumers, appellations provide useful information about conditions where the grapes in a given bottle  were grown.  In Mendocino County  and elsewhere, cannabis growers  are now getting ready to apply the same philosophy to their products, as reporter Steve Mencher explains. 

Find out more about the Mendocino Appellations Project at their Facebook page.

While It's unclear what if any enforcement will come from the federal government, a bill in the state Legislature would limit state and local law enforcement teaming up with the Feds.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric.

First-day Riders Delight in SMART Preview

Jun 29, 2017
Steve Mencher, KRCB

It’s been a long wait for the SMART Train to start rolling through Sonoma and Marin Counties, and while the official launch of the commuter service is still pending, there was a large and enthusiastic turnout for the first day of free preview rides yesterday.

There was a wide span of ages aboard the SMART Train preview ride that KRCB joined, from seniors who remembered regular rail service many years ago to an infant, who made the trip easier for her parents, Kalila Nosker and Sean Hogue, by sleeping through a good bit of it.

Supreme Court Won't Decide California Cap-And-Trade

Jun 29, 2017

ALSO: A tax break intended to help low-income, working Californians is set for an expansion when the new state budget takes effect next month.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Ben Adler.

David Keaton

  The town of Sonoma will welcome the largest exhibition of public art in its history this summer. Metal sculptor Albert Paley will be represented by nine monumental yet fanciful artworks, installed in locations near the center of town. The exhibition is organized by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Steve Mencher reports.

Central Valley Congressman Devin Nunes claimed last week President Trump had signed more bills than any other president at this early point in office. 

Find more Politifact California fact checks HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

North Bay Bike Sharing Seeks Grant Funding

Jun 27, 2017

Bicycle sharing hubs could be installed at central points, from Santa Rosa to Larkspur, under a bi-county proposal being submitted to the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Bruce Robinson takes a look ahead.

Details about how the program will work will depend on which one of several vendors is selected to operate it for the counties. But Bjorn Greipenberg of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition says there are two primary models currently in use.

Rendon Sparks Uproar By Shelving Single-Payer Bill

Jun 27, 2017
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

When California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced late Friday he would hold the single-payer health care bill for the year, he set off a firestorm of reactions that showcase the split in the Democratic Party.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

It’s a more and more common sight. You’re at the airport or in a store, and you see a dog with a colorful vest walking beside its owner. How do you know the dog is trained and necessary to assist that person? And what’s the problem if a vest or patch was simply ordered off the Web and put on a pet?  Steve Mencher reports about efforts to blow the whistle on service dog fraud.

ALSO: California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon says he is pausing the advance of a single-payer health care measure until lawmakers work out further details about how to pay for it.

Find more fact checks by Politifact California HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols and Ben Bradford.

Charles Kennard/Wikimedia Commons

For many homeowners in Marin County having a creek or stream run through their property can provide a beautiful atmosphere. But keeping these waterways clean and healthy can also require a great deal of time and energy.  KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports on a program that aims to simplify creek restoration for Marin residents.   

Find out about more upcoming events with the Marin County Resource Conservation District Urban Streams Program here.

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.