North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties

Server standing at snack bar on SMART train
KRCB/Steve Mencher

Regularly scheduled SMART Train service kicks off Friday. After a morning ceremony and Grand Opening celebration in downtown Santa Rosa, trains will leave the Santa Rosa airport station at 12:49 pm  headed to San Rafael.  

It’s been a long and winding road for the service, which will be free tomorrow– and half price until Labor Day. Reporter Steve Mencher talked with the CEO of the group providing concession service on the trains about its innovative partnership with SMART. 

Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters

ALSO: State lawmakers are considering a tax to help poor rural communities provide safe drinking water. Agricultural and environmental groups are backing the bill—but water companies, not so much...

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Daniel Potter.

Nancy Pelosi, Jared Huffman, and Lynn Woolsey
KRCB/Steve Mencher

This morning in Sausalito, Representative  Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) convened  a packed meeting that had the look and feel of a Congressional hearing. Several hundred people listened to politicians and ocean activists discuss President Trump’s threat to make local marine sanctuaries, vastly expanded by President Obama, shrink by about half. This would remove protections against drilling and mining that a bipartisan group of leaders has long agreed were important. Reporter Steve Mencher was there.

CalRecycle Report Shows Dip In Statewide Recycling Rate In 2016

Aug 23, 2017
calrecycle.ca.gov

ALSO: Caltrans is worried about the possibility of dead trees falling onto some California highways. The agency has already removed 107,000 trees. Now the agency is getting ready to remove another 54,000 trees, including some on private land.

Today's reporting by Julia Mitric and Steve Milne.

courtesy of College of Marin

This week students at College of Marin headed back to the classroom to start a new school year. One thing they might not have noticed is a change in what kind electricity the college is using. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

The College of Marin has been a long-time leader in sustainability efforts in Marin County. MCE has been providing alternative energy sources to the county since 2010.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

The county board of supervisors has appointed Rob Giordano to be the county's sheriff-coroner to fill the vacancy created when Sheriff Steve Freitas resigned effective August 1. In recent days, Giordano sent memos to the community, promising "less cooperation" with federal immigration agents, alleviating concerns that he wouldn't uphold county wishes in that regard.

His appointment will run until January 2019.

Julia Mitric / Capital Public Radio

ALSO: Pedestrians in California may be surprised to learn when using a crosswalk, once the timer begins ticking down, it’s illegal to start crossing the street. State lawmakers are considering changing that.

Today's reporting by Bob Moffitt and Daniel Potter.

Judy Sakaki, president of Sonoma State University
Sonoma State University

Last week, we talked about Sonoma State’s new approach to remedial learning in English and Math. Today we return to the Rohnert Park campus, to listen in on remarks by SSU President Judy Sakaki. Her address yesterday to the opening convocation for the academic year emphasized plans to broaden access to the school for underrepresented groups. Steve Mencher has more.

Cal EPA Moves Toward Tighter Pesticide Restrictions

Aug 21, 2017
Gosia Wozniacka / AP

ALSO: California's use-of-force data for 2016 includes serious injuries, deaths, and any occasion when an officer fired a gun, even if the bullet didn't hit anyone.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola and Bob Moffitt.

MrBillT

No city official wants to wake up to a big headline in the paper about rates for trash and recycling soaring sixty percent. But although Santa Rosa's trash and recycling rates are going up, people may be more willing to pay the higher fees if it brings better, more earth-friendly service, which is also more respectful and fair to workers.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The California campaign finance watchdog agency has lifted a long-held cap on how much money state lawmakers can give to colleagues facing recall elections.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford.

electric car
Wikimedia

A new report, entitled Beyond Combustion: Electric Vehicle Trends, Goals and Recommendations for Sonoma County (pdf download), from the Center for Climate Protection in Santa Rosa, makes a startling prediction: if the current rate of adoption of electric vehicles in Sonoma County continues, the sale of internal combustion vehicles here could essentially end by 2030 – just 13 years from now.

slate.com

ALSO: Three bills moving through the California Legislature seek to catalog and raise money to address a backlog of untested rape kits.

Today's reporting by Daniel Potter and Ben Bradford.

Erick Gonzalez

Harvest season is in full swing for vineyards in the North Bay but many winegrowers are seeing a shortage of laborers to work in their fields. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi spoke with Karissa Kruse of Sonoma County Winegrowers to find out what’s causing the labor crunch and what growers are doing to make sure no grape goes unpicked.

California Lawmakers Ask Feds To Stop Alt-Right Rally In SF

Aug 16, 2017
Scott Wiener / YouTube

ALSO: The Democratic and Republican leaders of the California Assembly are both facing revolts from party activists after their actions on high-profile issues infuriated grassroots liberals and conservatives.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Ben Adler.

Earlier this month, the California State University system announced some significant changes in its approach to teaching, to take full effect in the fall semester of 2018.

The focus is on improving outcomes for students who arrive at school with deficits in English or Math. Steve Mencher sat down with one of the administrators at Sonoma State charged with implementing the new direction.

Voyager
NASA

"The Farthest: Voyager in Space," a new documentary on some PBS stations next Wednesday August 23, recounts the unique history of the Voyager mission, twin spacecraft deployed to explore the outer planets and then leave our solar system entirely. Launched 40 years ago, Voyager's story is lovingly told in this film through the stories of the men and women who devoted themselves to making the mission a success.

Judge Temporarily Blocks State Recall Law

Aug 15, 2017
Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

ALSO: The State of California sues the Trump administration over new limits placed on federal crime-fighting grants.

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford.

Pigpen Peanuts Strip
Photo by DJ Ashton courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa celebrated its 15th anniversary over the weekend. Reporter Steve Mencher dropped in before the party to visit one of his favorite Peanuts characters, subject of a new exhibition…

Anti-racism march in Santa Rosa
KRCB

Demonstrations throughout our listening area—in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Cotati and Cloverdale—protested white nationalist activities in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend that resulted in three deaths. The outrage was stoked by President Trump's vague statements about the blame being spread "on many sides," and his refusal to immediately condemn the Nazis, KKK, and other alt-right members who led the marches there.

The slideshow above features signs and crowds in Santa Rosa, where a rally and march began at 4 pm in Courthouse Square. 

Firearms Research Center to Explore Gun Deaths with State Funds

Aug 14, 2017
M&R Glasgow / Flikr

Gun violence as a public health crisis will be the sole focus of a new, state-funded research center in Sacramento. It’s the first robust investigation of firearms in California since federal grant money was slashed in the late 90s.

Today's reporting by Sammy Caiola.

Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
DJ Ashton

The Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa celebrates its 15th anniversary August 12, with visits from a number of professional cartoonists, including  Jeff Smith, creator of the award-winning comic book series Bone. At 2 pm Smith will be on stage in dialogue with Paige Braddock of Jane’s World and Lex Fajardo of Kid Beowulf.

Solar Eclipse
NASA

The countdown is on. On August 21, the total solar eclipse will darken a swath of the country. Forward-looking enthusiasts have booked up most of the hotel rooms and campsites  in the eclipse’s path. Reporter Steve Mencher talked with a local expert about what you’ll see if you’re staying home.

More on the eclipse, from NASA.

Interim Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano promised a statement in the coming days that will outline the department's new policies. He promised 'less cooperation' with ICE.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office

Sonoma County Interim Sheriff Rob Giordano released a statement August 10 promising "less cooperation" with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), responding to concerns in the community that go back to the policies of his predecessor, Sheriff Steve Freitas, who resigned for health reasons effective August 1.

Associated Press file photo

Sen. Kamala Harris recently claimed it costs $75,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in California, more than twice the average cost nationally. PolitiFact California found data that backs up her claim. We rated it True.

Find more Politifact California fact checks HERE

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

Roseland Community Library
Sonoma County Library

Yesterday on the North Bay Report, we listened in on last week’s meeting of Sonoma LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission), the agency helping to make Santa Rosa’s annexation of Roseland a reality. There’s hope that this unincorporated part of town can grow and prosper under Santa Rosa’s governance, with improved education, health and economic outcomes for its residents. But not everyone in the area favors annexation, as Steve Mencher reports.

More California Farmers Markets To Support Low-Income Shoppers

Aug 10, 2017
Sonoma County Farm Bureau

ALSO: Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers are debating how to streamline the development process for multi-family housing projects.

Today's reporting by Randol White and Ben Adler.

Map of Roseland Annexation
City of Santa Rosa

If you live in Santa Rosa, you probably know that chunks of land there–dominated by the 620 acres of the Roseland neighborhood–are not, in fact, part of the city; they are islands.

These unincorporated areas are served by a patchwork of agencies providing municipal services. As Steve Mencher reports, that problem may soon be solved if Roseland and four other nearby islands come under the city’s wing through annexation.

The City of Santa Rosa's Frequently Asked Questions about Roseland Annexation.

courtesy of Straus Family Creamery

Straus Family Creamery in West Marin has for years been a leader in sustainable and organic farm practices in California. Now, what was a wild idea eight years ago has finally been realized: To power the machinery that feeds the dairy cows with their own poop. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

ALSO: As California cities and counties design their own rules to allow - or ban - cultivation, processing, and sale of commercial marijuana, they're shifting away from the term "marijuana" in favor of "cannabis."

Today's reporting by Ben Bradford and Julia Mitric.

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