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News and Stories from around Sonoma County

Library Revs Up for Yearlong Celebration of Women’s Suffrage

Library Revs Up for Yearlong Celebration of Women’s Suffrage

Join Sonoma County Library in a yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, with events at various library branches beginning in late 2019 and lasting well into 2020. The kick-off event, a presentation by Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, editor of “The Women's Suffrage Movement,” will take place at Central Santa Rosa Library on Monday, December 16, at 7 p.m.  Sonoma County Library joins its partners—Sonoma County 2020 Women’s Suffrage Project and the League of Women Voters Sonoma County — in hosting a yearlong centennial celebration

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PG&E Reaches Agreement to Resolve Claims Relating to the 2017 and 2018 Wildfires

PG&E Reaches Agreement to Resolve Claims Relating to the 2017 and 2018 Wildfires

In Final Major Settlement, PG&E Reaches Agreement to Resolve Individual Claims Relating to the 2017 and 2018 Wildfires and the 2015 Butte Fire PG&E Has Now Reached Settlements with All Major Groups of Wildfire Claimants PG&E Achieves Fully-Funded Equity Backstop Commitments Company on Path to Making Major Changes Necessary to Exit Bankruptcy Ahead of June 30, 2020, Deadline

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HOW TO Avoid Loving a Place to Death - Sonoma County Coastline

HOW TO Avoid Loving a Place to Death - Sonoma County Coastline

As the process of updating the Local Coastal Plan unfolds (and soon also the county General Plan update) the foundation of analysis should be an understanding of the carrying capacity of the natural environment and man-made infrastructure.  Focusing for the moment on the latter, what is the carrying capacity of the roads, water systems/wells, the septic systems and sewerage treatment plants which constitute the core elements of infrastructure supporting human habitation of the area.  

 

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SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Businesses and Residents Affected by the Kincade Fire

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to California Businesses and Residents Affected by the Kincade Fire

Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to California businesses and residents affected by the Kincade Fire that occurred Oct. 23 - Nov. 7, 2019, announced acting Administrator Christopher M. Pilkerton of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster in response to a request SBA received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Mark S. Ghilarducci, director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on Nov. 14, 2019.

 

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Groundwater Monitoring Wells - A Picture of Underground Water Connections

Groundwater Monitoring Wells - A Picture of Underground Water Connections

During the months of October and November, up to  21 groundwater monitoring wells will be drilled near Sonoma County creeks   to provide new information to managers and the public on the link between groundwater and stream flows. Coordination and construction of the wells are a technical service provided by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to Sonoma County’s three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs).

 

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Responding to Current Threats to the Sonoma Coast - PART 1

Responding to Current Threats to the Sonoma Coast - PART 1

There is much to be thankful for on the Sonoma Coast, and there’s a lot you can do to protect it right now.  Your current opportunities to act on behalf of our coast range from Permit Sonoma’s present process of updating our Local Coastal Plan to President Trump’s unwarranted Sonoma Coast “review” that still threatens our Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.  In addition, there remains a looming federal offshore drilling scheme planned for our coast, and we are confronting Caltrans’ proposal to build a giant “Bridge to Nowhere” at Scotty Creek near Sereno del Mar, not to mention the attempted revival of a long-discredited proposal by the US Fish species anticoagulant rat poison pellets onto the Southeast Farallon Island.

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PART 2 - The Iminent Threat to our COAST and the Importance of Updating The Local Coastal Plan

PART 2 - The Iminent Threat to our COAST and the Importance of Updating The Local Coastal Plan

The Public and the LCP: The Sonoma Coast is an irreplaceable public asset and deserves the kind of respect and due process that it was accorded during the thorough public participation by which the first LCP was initially formulated and adopted.  After a County-requested pause in the LCP update process following the 2017 Tubbs fire, Permit Sonoma is now pushing through an artificially-rushed  public review of hundreds of pages of binding planning guidance and formal regulatory language in the aftermath of this year’s new fire season. 

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Evacuations During the Kincade Fire: Why?

Evacuations During the Kincade Fire: Why?

Why were you evacuated?  What was behind Sheriff Essick’s evacuation order?  Clearly he was nervous, but nervousness in itself hardly qualifies as sufficient justification for evacuating 180,000 people.  There must be a deeper explanation.  Cal Fire is said to have a fire risk model, but what is it?  I find no descriptions online.  Evacuations impact local businesses.  The health of the old and infirm is at risk. A public interest group,  Evacuation Why,  to give us a start in dealing with issues of fire risk assessment in West Sonoma County. Contact  rdh@evacuationwhy.org  to get involved.

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Cannabis Appellations - The Small Cannabis Farmers - Elyon Cannabis

Cannabis Appellations - The Small Cannabis Farmers - Elyon Cannabis

The small cannabis farmers have taken the hardest hits with our newly regulated industry, and many are still in the process of getting their permits to cultivate. Appellations are a legally defined and protected geographical area that identifies where something is made. In the case of cannabis, the same strain grown in a foggy coastal area versus a dryer inland area will produce different results. Articulating these differences to the sophisticated consumer will help promote Sonoma County cannabis and keep our county economically ahead of the curve. There is an Urgency to act quickly with the passage of SB 185 by Senator Mike McGuire allowing appellations to be formed by January 1, 2021

 

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Vital Lands Initiative: Comments on the Draft are due December 16

Vital Lands Initiative: Comments on the Draft are due December 16

The Vital Lands Initiative is a comprehensive plan that will guide our work for the next 10 years. Building on our nearly 30 years of successful land conservation work, the initiative will outline strategies for protecting our vital open space lands to preserve agriculture, natural resources, recreation, scenic vistas, greenbelt areas, and urban open space. The updated draft of the Vital Lands Initiative is now available for review. Comments on the draft are due by Monday, December 16, 2019, and can be submitted using our online form or by emailing  lauren.alpert@sonoma-county.org.

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Zero Waste for the Holiday Season

Zero Waste for the Holiday Season

The holidays are a season of excess, but by making some key changes, you don’t have to give up any joy to have a great time and feel good about your habits. Sustainable Gift Guide. Experiences rather than things are a great option – especially for those who already seem to have it all. If you opt for consumable items, consider homemade vs. store-bought. Also, look for durable, energy-efficient, goods, gifts that give back, and items that can be recycled or composted at their end of life. Choose email receipts, items with minimal packaging, and opt out of free gifts with purchase.

 

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LandPaths Purchases Ocean Song in Western Sonoma County

LandPaths Purchases Ocean Song in Western Sonoma County

On October 30, 2019, LandPaths announced the acquisition of Ocean Song, a 421-acre property, of which 240 acres is protected by a “forever wild” conservation easement. Situated in the coastal hills of western Sonoma County, Ocean Song teems with coastal grasslands, pristine creeks and ponds, canyons, oak woodlands, redwoods, and acres of garden and farmland. Set atop a ridge, the land inspires awe with sweeping views up and down the Pacific Coast. Abundant plant and animal life call this place home

 

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Tree Lighting and Light Shows - 2019

Tree Lighting and Light Shows - 2019

Sonoma County Tree Lighting and Light Shows includes many 'illuminating' tree lighting and light shows including parades where you can see glammed up tractor trailers, farm vehicles, and decorated farm tractors covered in lights.

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Sebastopol's Polystyrene and Food Waste Ordinance

Sebastopol's Polystyrene and Food Waste Ordinance

The City of Sebastopol is enacting a new Ordinance, effective November 25, 2019 written to: prohibit use and sale of disposable food service ware and other products containing polystyrene foam, require food providers to use compostable or recyclable disposable food service ware when such products are commercially available. A copy of the full ordinance is posted on the City website.

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Changes to our Coast? The Local Coastal Plan - LCP

Changes to our Coast? The Local Coastal Plan - LCP

If you are wondering why you should participate in the process now underway to update the Local Coastal Plan let me offer my take on the core reason.  The continuation of sound public policy protecting the coast from excessive development while ensuring access to the beach and care of the environment requires commitment.  That commitment comes doing the work of learning the issues and the process and then showing up.  The draft document is available on-line at the PRMD website.  There will be public hearings as the process unfolds.  

 

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Sonoma County Smoke Hazards Legal Protections

Sonoma County Smoke Hazards Legal Protections

CAL/OSHA has issued emergency regulations that require employers to take protective measure to safeguard their employees who work outdoors.

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Health - December 2019 - Medical Preparations for Power Outages

Health - December 2019 - Medical Preparations for Power Outages

We had a really challenging experience in late October with the fires and the PG&E power shut-off.  With the climate situation continuing to worsen, all scientific predictions are that these circumstances will increase in frequency. Preparation is very important, especially if you have some medical issues. 

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Rohnert Park Voters Renew Open Space Protections

Rohnert Park Voters Renew Open Space Protections

An unprecedented 90 percent of voters in the City of Rohnert Park passed Measure B to protect open space and focus growth inside the city’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) for the next 20 years — until the end of 2040. The UGB can only be changed by a vote of the people, with few exceptions. Greenbelt Alliance led the campaign to pass Measure B.

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