History, culture, and strong women are at the core of the two novels, The History Makers by Val Bodurtha and The Ballet Lover by Barbara Baer; these are two authors you’ll want to remember. 

Val Bodurtha’s first novel is The History Makers is chilling, funny, and a smart coming of age story which imagines a contemporary Aztec civilization, as if the Aztecs had prevailed over the Spanish. 

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. 

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.

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.

Draft SMART Train Schedule to be Tested

May 12, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

The SMART Train has not yet announced a start date for their commuter rail service between Santa Rosa and San Rafael, but they do know how often the trains will run each day when regular operations do get going.

The proposed SMART schedule grids, for weekdays and weekends, look like this.

SMART Roll-out Gathers Momentum

Feb 3, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  SMART Trains are now making frequent but irregular test runs, creating changes and possible risks along the railroad tracks as they ramp up to starting regular runs later in the year.

   Jennifer Welch is SMART’s new Chief of Police, and for now, represents the entire department. She explains why such a position is needed by the transit operation.

SMART’s Pathway Progress Questioned

Oct 30, 2015

The voter-approved SMART train project includes a paved pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along the rails. But the Bicycle Coalitions of Marin and Sonoma County charge the transit agency is not fulfilling that part of their mandate.

SMART's First Railcars Arrive

Apr 6, 2015


   The public unveiling Tuesday morning in Cotati of the first SMART railroad cars is a significant milestone in the lengthy process of getting the new commuter line up and running.

In addition to these first two railcars, another dozen SMART cars are being built, and will be delivered over the next few months. The total price for all 14:  $57 million dollars. That’s a big number, but Fudge says it was a bargain.

SMART to Relocate Cotati Redwood

Jul 22, 2014

The fate of the rare  chimera coast redwood growing alongside the train tracks in Cotati has been settled. Officials with the SMART train have announced a new plan to relocate the landmark tree to a spot near the city's new train station. 

 The 50 foot tree is believed to have been planted about 45 years ago.

Marin I-J

  The long-awaited SMART commuter trains and the currently running Northwest Pacific freight trains are not waiting until 2016 to co-exist on the tracks that traverse Sonoma County.  They’re already sharing the line while it is getting rebuilt.

John Williams, president of the Northwest Pacific Company which operates the freight trains, says they have been slowly increasing their loads, but growth has been sluggish.