North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

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.

California Update for Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dec 14, 2017
Hector Amezuca /

• Another California lawmaker faces allegations of inappropriate behavior. This time, it’s Democratic state Senator Bob Hertzberg of Los Angeles.

• From “horrible” to “slightly less horrible” – that’s how the California Assembly’s budget committee chairman describes the federal tax overhaul deal reached Wednesday by congressional Republicans.

Today's reporting by Ben Adler.

Woman in red amid Fountaingrove fire damage
Diane Askew

Friday evening at 6:30 join KRCB for our second post-fire TV news special. We’re calling this one “The New Normal” – partly because we’ve heard the phrase so many times as it applies to wildfire danger here in California.

(We'll be simulcasting the program on Radio 91)

SRJC to Host Community Forum on Immigration Reform

Dec 13, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

Santa Rosa Junior College will be hosting a community forum on immigration reform on Dec. 14.


The forum will provide information regarding the future of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status programs and what people should expect in 2018.


The forum will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Carpenter’s Union, 1706 Corby Ave., Santa Rosa.

California Update for Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dec 13, 2017
Don Goofy / Flikr

• Now that California's released applications for cannabis dispensaries, retailers are scrambling to get their ducks in a row so they can open their doors come January.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola.

Tim Blake and Taylor Blake at Emerald Cup
Stacey Dennick

The 17th annual Emerald Cup, a celebration of all things cannabis, was held December 9 and 10, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. Reporter Stacey Dennick joined the crowd of approximately 25,000 attendees. 

California Update for Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dec 12, 2017
Mark Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP

• Six large blazes are burning in Southern California, and Governor Jerry Brown announced this week that a year-round fire season is the new normal. CAL FIRE says residents will need to adapt.

• The head of California’s judicial system has endorsed a review of sexual harassment policies for judges and court staff, after widespread claims of misconduct across the nation.

Today's reporting by Ezra David Romero and Ben Bradford.

Burned patio furniture
KRCB/Steve Mencher

We have two stories today from our partners at The California Report. In a moment we’ll hear about whether there’s a direct link between climate change and the fires raging in Southern California and our own North Bay fires.

First, though we have a story about insurance.