North Bay News

News for and about Sonoma, Marin and Napa Counties


California finally dropped out of the top ten in March.

ALSO: The Boy Scouts of America could lose tax exempt status in CA.

The Covers Story

Apr 9, 2013

A 12-inch square offers artists a flexible frame for all kinds of artistry, so it’s little wonder that many record album covers have become such memorable images. A new documentary examines the stories behind some of those covers, and KRCB’s Bruce Robinson talked with the film-maker.

The Cover Story is being shown twice this week at the Sonoma International Film Festival, at 10:30 am on Thursday, April 11 (at Murphy's Pub) and at 9 pm on Saturday, April 13 (at the Vintage House). 

Gender Pay Gap Persists

Apr 9, 2013

Women breadwinners still aren't bringing home as much "bread" as men, even when they do the same jobs, according to a new annual tally by the National Partnership for Women and Families (NPWF). In California, the report says the average wage for a full-time female worker is $41,817 per year, compared with $49,281 for a man – and that nationally, virtually no progress has been made on pay equity by gender.  Lori Abbott has more.

Students should now the difference between federally and privately backed loans.

ALSO: Taxes are due next Monday. Don't get caught off guard.

Personal Security App

Apr 8, 2013
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Every second counts in an emergency, so a new cell phone app has been designed to expedite alerts to both emergency responders, and the people who most care about you. Bruce Robinson has details.

Initially created for personal use, variations on Guardian on the Go are now being developed for other applications, including retailers, explains Protego co-founder Ray Kryzek.

A new bill would require credit card issuers to verbally communicate with college students the risks of credit card debt.

ALSO: Voice-operated texting while driving could be made illegal.

Understanding Weeds

Apr 5, 2013
U.C. Davis

  Native plants that grow where we don’t want them are one sort of weed problem. Escaped exotics from other climates can be quite another. The University of California’s leading weed expert discusses both sorts with KRCB’s Bruce Robinson.

You can find links to a weed identification database here, and tips on home weed control techniques in the video below.

Enrollees may want to double check the family members they’ve signed up for coverage.

ALSO: CA DMV wins award for social media.

Wappo Indians, Then and Now

Apr 4, 2013

The biggest thing standing between the small Wappo tribe of North Bay Indians and their goal of regaining official recognition from the federal government could be a potential casino they’re not sure they would ever build.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says the numbers need perspective.

ALSO: A new bill would prevent a repeat of last year's California State Parks scandal.

Connecting Faith and Food

Apr 3, 2013

Food, faith, and sustainability go hand in hand with the support and encouragement of a new initiative that is taking root in Sonoma County.

Although he is coordinating the local effort, Steve Schwartz points out that it is modeled on some like-minded national initiatives.

Learning New Tricks Together

Apr 3, 2013

Almost 20 percent of American’s – about 54 million people -- live with disabilities, running the gamut from poor eyesight, difficulty hearing, trouble in getting around, emotional or physiological problems. For many, the companionship of a specially trained dog is key to living a fuller life.

Opponents say the bill could prevent parents from teaching their children how to shoot.

ALSO: Sale of live animals could soon be illegal at CA flea markets and swap meets.

  Respondents to an online survey regarding the condition of Sonoma County’s roads, and possible ways to fund improvements confirmed the scope of the problem, but offered mixed reactions to a series of suggestions for funding improvements.A total of 624 anonymous Sonoma county residents responded to the survey, posted by Save Our Sonoma Roads.Sonoma County supervisors have been evaluating several taxes and other measures to expand the number of roads to be maintained in good condition.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The ruling is a relief to Stockton leaders who get a fresh chance to negotiate with creditors.

ALSO: Lawmakers consider bill to create health care interpreters program.

Tall Ships Return to Bodega Bay

Apr 1, 2013

They’re back! Following a wildly successful debut visit last spring, a pair of tall-masted wooden sailing ships will return this afternoon to Bodega Bay, one year to the day after their local debut.

  Ticket information, reservations and a schedule of activities are all available from the Tall Ships website. The two vessels will visit Bodega Bay April 2-8, before sailing on to Eureka.

The new law affects women with “dense breast tissue,” which makes cancer harder to spot on a mammogram.

Also: The plastic bag ban debate is back...

Jobs Made Real

Mar 29, 2013

YouTube videos offer far more than casual entertainment. Corralled and curated on a new, locally developed website, they can also help teens explore career options they might never have otherwise considered.

Although the Jobs Made Real website was designed with teens in mind, Chops Teen Club Executive Director Diana Curtin says she got an unexpected demonstration of its wider demographic appeal…in her own home.

Rebooting the North Bay iHub

Mar 28, 2013

 Business incubation is about creating jobs, not just getting start-ups launched. So the North Bay iHub (Innovation Hub) is retooling itself with a redefined focus. Bruce Robinson gets the inside story from a couple of the key players.

Click the link to see the updated and redesigned website for the North Bay iHub.

Business is Booming for CA Baby Boomers

Mar 28, 2013

Proposed cuts to federal "entitlement" programs would likely ripple through California's business economy, in ways that most analyses have not examined. Lori Abbott outlines a recent study that focuses on those impacts.

Protecting Endangered Snow Leopards

Mar 27, 2013
Snow Leopard Conservancy

Snow Leopards are found only in the high, wild mountains of central Asia, where harsh climate just one of the dangers they face. But the rare cats also have an ally, in Sonoma zoologist Dr. Rodney Jackson. Bruce Robinson talks with him.

Dr. Rodney Jackson will talk about snow leopards in a presentation at the Sonoma Veterans Hall tonight at 7 pm. The program is hosted by Sonoma Birding.

Land Lines – Endangered Phone Species?

Mar 26, 2013

For generations, telephones have served as lifelines for  people in remote locations. But the rise of cell phone technology is eroding the overall availability of directly connected telephones, commonly called "land lines." So efforts are being made to protect that service for those who need it most. Mark Scheerer reports.

It's Not Just for Athletes -- Title IX Workshops at SSU

Mar 25, 2013
Image courtesy Sonoma State University

More than 40 years ago, in June 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments Act into law. On March 27, Sonoma State University is dedicating the day to Title IX with workshops and lectures about gender equality. KRCB’s Danielle Venton spoke with visiting lecturer Donna Lopiano for a preview.  

The Sonoma County Office of Education held its annual countywide spelling competitions earlier this month. Awards were given to the top four spellers in both the elementary and junior high events.

Elementary Spelling Competition: Fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade spellers competed in the annual Elementary Spelling Competition. The 19 participating students had previously won school and regional spelling bees, which made them eligible to compete for the title of county spelling champion.

  The devil is in the details when it comes to calculating benefits for veterans and other groups. So they are alarmed about a proposed change in the funding formulas they depend on. Lori Abbott takes a closer look.

You can see and use the AARP Chained CPI Calculator here.

The U.S. Navy’s ‘Green Fleet’

Mar 18, 2013

 Strong leadership in the development of renewable bio-fuels is coming from an unexpected branch of American government—the US Navy.

From sails to oil to steam to nuclear power, the US Navy has a history of adapting quickly to changes in energy systems. It’s something they are continuing today, in response to both climate change, and rising fuel oil costs. And not just at sea.

Plan to reduce vineyard pollution on hold

Mar 17, 2013
Courtesy of Flickr/jcookfisher

Grape growers are wondering what’s next after a controversial new set of water regulations have apparently been scrapped. The regional water board announced earlier this month its new laws are on hold. As KRCB reports, the proposed rules would have placed stiff demands on local winemakers.

The Making of 'Rebels With a Cause'

Mar 15, 2013
Kelly-Yamamoto films

The thousands of acres of open space and shoreline now protected and accessible to the public might not be there but for the efforts of a handful of visionary conservationists just few generations ago. A new documentary by a couple of North Bay film-makers  tells their story. Bruce Robinson has theirs.

See below for upcoming screening dates, and a map showing the footprint of the proposed Marincello development.

Sonoma's Biochar Initiative

Mar 14, 2013

It cleans water, sequesters carbon underground, and boosts agricultural production. Yet the material known as biochar is just beginning to be appreciated and used in the 21st century. Bruce Robinson chats with an advocate.

More information  about the Sonoma Biochar Initiatve, including how to join, can be found here.

Peter Hirst of New England Biochar explains how the stuff is made in this video.

Be nice to your local bicyclist. It’ll soon be law.

Mar 12, 2013
Flickr user Phil King

Sonoma County bicyclists are anticipating an extra layer of legal protection from enraged drivers. The Board of Supervisors has voted to move ahead with an ordinance that would make the county to first in the nation to allow harassed cyclists and pedestrians to sue for damages in civil court.