North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

California Update for Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Nov 8, 2017
Melissa Bosworth / Capital Public Radio News

• California’s pot industry could top seven billion dollars a few years from now. But a lot of that business might have to be handled in cash, because most banks are reluctant to go against federal drug rules. 

• California Governor Jerry Brown says the state should link its signature climate-change program, cap-and-trade, to its European counterpart.

Today's reporting by Daniel Potter and Ben Bradford.

California Update for Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nov 7, 2017
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio News

• For four straight years, the California Senate has quietly shelved an Assembly bill that would have provided whistleblower protection to legislative employees. Now, the sexual harassment turmoil at the Capitol could give the bill new life.

• Two separate campaigns are seeking to repeal California's controversial gas tax increase. How are the repeal efforts different and will they help or hurt each other as they try to make it on the November 2018 ballot?

Today's reporting by Ben Adler and Chris Nichols.

When Apples, not Grapes, Ruled Local Fields

Nov 6, 2017
Rhian Miller

The family behind Walker Apples of Graton was recently named Farm Family of the Year by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Six generations of family members have helped preserve heritage apple varieties, hopefully for generations to come. Rhian Miller visited the farm and has this report.

• Egypt and Russia and fighting to eliminate a UN resolution prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people during the upcoming Olympic games.  LGBT rights groups said these countries are encouraging violence.  

• A Mitsubishi car dealership in Austin Texas is being sued for discrimination by a transgender male employee, but lawyers for the dealership are claiming a first amendment right of the dealership as a defense. 

California Update for Monday, November 6, 2017

Nov 6, 2017

• Republican candidate for governor John Cox recently claimed it costs ‘nearly five times as much’ in California to build a mile of road as it does in the rest of the nation. 

Find more PolitiFact California fact checks HERE.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

Sonoma County Fire Poster
KRCB/Steve Mencher

The recent fire crisis has prompted an outpouring of support from Sonoma County and beyond. But with fire cost estimates in the billions, more is needed. An infusion of cash is the highest priority for most fire victims, and for the organizations that serve them.

With overwhelming need comes an almost equally overwhelming number of worthy groups seeking donations, from small businesses with GoFundMe pages to large organizations. There are alliances for every sector of the population from undocumented immigrants, to firefighters to animals. Here are a few noteworthy organizations.

California Update for Friday, November 3, 2017

Nov 3, 2017

• While federal advertising for public health exchanges was slashed, Covered California is spending $111 million on outreach this year.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola.

We wanted to end the week of fire-related news with a look back at last Saturday’s Day of Remembrance at Santa Rosa Junior College. Earlier in the week we heard from Sheriff Rob Giordano – but now let’s listen to the music and poetry that brought the audience of several hundred to tears… and to their feet repeatedly on a crystal clear and warm fall day. You’ll hear MC Pat Kerrigan of KSRO and young poet Vicente Reyes of Mark West Charter School.

Bill Gittins

Painter Bill Gittins, a KRCB board member, is featured online today at the KQED website, talking about his experience during the Tubbs fire that burned so many homes in his Fountaingrove neighborhood.

“I had completed about 35 new paintings for ArtTrails over the last several months, and that was while I was doing some commission pieces at the same time,” he told KQED reporter Joshua Bote.

California Update for Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nov 2, 2017
PolitiFact California / AP file photo

• Do millennials have ‘only A 50-50 chance’ of doing better than their parents? Candidate for governor Delaine Eastin says so. PolitiFact California fact-checked her claim and rated it True.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

Find more PolitiFact California fact checks HERE.

Sonoma County

The record-breaking destruction of the North Bay fires has many experts questioning the way California determines fire risk.  It seems clear that stricter building codes will be required in high risk areas, but some say the current risk designations are outdated and need re-mapping. Penny Nelson, a host of KQED’s The California Report recently discussed the issue with KQED science reporter Lauren Sommer.

Wikimedia Commons

Those affected by the North Bay fires will have the opportunity to enroll in Disaster CalFresh until Nov. 1.

Disaster CalFresh will provide  cash grants which can be used at participating food stores.

For in-person assistance, find your closest Sonoma County Economic Assistance office here.

California Update for Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nov 1, 2017
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio News

• Total insured losses from California's October fires tripled over the past two weeks to $3.3 billion. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says insurance companies may rethink the coverage they offer in some areas.

• California gas and diesel taxes are higher Wednesday, under a law approved this past spring by the state Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown. The tax hikes will raise several billion dollars a year for road repairs, public transit and other projects.

Today' reporting by Randol White and Ben Adler.

Wikimedia Commons

The California Immigrant Guide, prepared by state agencies, has gathered helpful resources for residents affected by the North Bay fires. 

The guide links to resources such as Disaster CalFresh, for help with groceries, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, California Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Insurance.

Find these helpful resources, both in English and in Spanish here.

California Update for Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

• California law enforcement officials and crime victims groups filed a ballot initiative today Monday aimed at reversing what they see as ineffective criminal justice measures. Proponents of those measures point to a decrease in property crime rates in CA.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric.

Ashley Oldham

They’ve been called the “wine country” fires – but cannabis farmers suffered losses in the recent firestorm as well.  Unlike vintners, whose grapes were nearly all picked, the cannabis harvest was just getting started when the fires struck. Reporter Sarah Reith visited growers in Mendocino County who are now reckoning with their losses.

See Sarah Reith's original report on KZYX

Outbeat Radio News for Monday, October 30, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

• Georgia State representative, Betty Price, a republican, suggested during a hearing that HIV positive people might be quarantined to prevent spread of the virus. 

• A man in Berkeley was arrested for various crimes including a hate crime for setting a rainbow flag on fire and punching a volunteer in the face at the LGBT center. 

• The annual OutWatch film festival, now in its fifth year, opens this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Sonoma.

Outbeat Radio News is a service of KRCB FM Radio 91 and can be heard as part of Outbeat Radio Sunday nights at 7 pm.

California Update for Monday, October 30, 2017

Oct 30, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP photo

• A California Assemblyman is the first lawmaker to be named in the sexual harassment scandal sweeping through the state Capitol. A legislative staffer says Democrat Raul Bocanegra groped her at a public event eight years ago.

• Governors Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York are crying foul over the Republican push to end a federal tax break that largely benefits their states.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

California Update for Friday, October 27, 2017

Oct 27, 2017
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio News

• All 14 California House Republicans voted for the budget bill Thursday. Its passage paves the way for a tax code overhaul that would eliminate a major tax break for Californians.

Fred Ptucha
KRCB/Steve Mencher

On November 9, KRCB hosts a free screening of highlights from the PBS documentary series “The Vietnam War.” As we approach that event we’ve been talking with local veterans about their lives during and after the war. Fred Ptucha served four tours in Vietnam.  In 2002, he returned there with a group of veterans to help build homes for their former enemies. He told KRCB news director Steve Mencher about that visit.

California Update for Thursday, October 26, 2017

Oct 26, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP photo

• Women in California politics protesting sexual harassment and abuse at the Capitol distrust the response from legislative leaders.

• The prospects for Governor Jerry Brown’s push to build two massive tunnels to pipe water from the Delta to Southern California lurched from murky to bleak—then back to murky today.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Daniel Potter.

Maker Space sign
KRCB/Steve Mencher

Sonoma State University has just opened a newly enlarged and renovated “maker space.” If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a place where people can use a variety of tools – from sewing machines to laser cutters to 3-D printers – to collaborate creatively. The National Science Foundation provided a large grant to set up the space in the SSU library, and physics professor Jeremy Qualls provided leadership to get the project off the ground. He spoke with KRCB news director Steve Mencher at the ribbon cutting in early October.


Seeking to establish a secure environment for Sonoma County residents, the North Bay Rapid Response Network is creating a hotline for residents to witness immigration enforcement activities that threaten members of our community.

The 24-hour hotline will activate a phone tree that calls volunteers to respond to raids on undocumented immigrants by ICE and other agencies. 

California Update for Wednesday, October 26, 2017

Oct 25, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP photo

• It's Flood Preparedness Week, and state officials are worried about water runoff and quality issues at the sites of recent fires. State workers are evaluating risk factors, such as mud flows in urban areas, at these locations.

• A panel of California lawmakers is promising state action, after a major cyber security breach at the credit agency Equifax.

Today's reporting by Randol White and Ben Bradford.

Our Friend, the Bat

Oct 24, 2017
Elaine Miller Bond

All the flying mammals in the world are bats: the pollinators, the blood-sippers, and the insect-eaters. In Northern California, most bats spend their nights hunting down the kinds of insects people regard as pests. These include moths, which, in larva form, can devastate an entire field of corn or soybeans. Reporter Sarah Reith caught up with a farm adviser and an animal rescue worker to learn more about these voracious nighttime creatures.

California Update for Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Oct 24, 2017

• After Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shot down single-payer health care, he tasked a committee with taking a hard look at universal coverage. They hold their first hearings this week.

• California’s new gas tax will add twelve cents to the cost of a gallon of fuel starting November 1st. That will help pay for tens of billions of dollars worth of deferred maintenance and roadwork. Officials say catching up on it all will take years.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola and Daniel Potter.

Outbeat Radio News for Monday, October 23, 2017

Oct 23, 2017

• An alleged joke made by Vice President Mike Pence about “hanging gay people” might have been the inspiration for a vicious poster found hanging on the walls at Cleveland University this week and university officials are being criticized for defending it.   

• California will have a new legal gender designation called “non-binary” that can replace traditional male or female designations on birth certificates and drivers licenses. 

• The HRC released the 2017 Municipal Equality Index this week.  Santa Rosa and Guerneville scored well above average.

California Update for Monday, October 23, 2017

Oct 23, 2017
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio News

• When the four Democratic candidates in next year’s California governor’s race debated for the first time over the weekend, they really only disagreed over one thing: single-payer health care.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

Bob Young Vietnam vet
KRCB/Steve Mencher

Bob Young talks to us about saving lives as a medical corpsman in Vietnam, and taking them too when threatened by enemy soldiers. Years after his combat duty, he found himself diving out of his bed -- as if he was once again under fire. With the help of his family, he's been able to move forward with his life, understanding his PTSD and getting it somewhat under control. Listen to his story below:

Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman present Company town
Allison Levenson

"Company Town," a new documentary, airs on KRCB Monday October 23 at 9 p.m. Filmmakers Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman chronicle a Board of Supervisors race in San Francisco -– a race that became something of a last stand for those fighting gentrification in the city.

Kaufman and Snitow spoke with KRCB news director Steve Mencher about their film. 

Watch the trailer below: