Sonoma County News

County Fire Service Funding

Fire services in Sonoma County are getting some big funding to unify and improve their work at keeping the County safe. The Board of Supervisors has committed $9 million toward local fire distrcits, which are independently funded and not part of county government, but the County will be investing money to create an integrated system of fire and emergency response services for the benefit of these communities. (photo courtesy SF Chronicle)


Hwy 37 Improvement Plan

The future of Hwy 37 is being discussed by Cal Trans. Several plans were presented yesterday, as part of a conprehensive study, including widening the existing 10.4 mile roadway, to relieve traffic congestion. The threat of rising sea levels and roadway flooding are also being studied for possible future solutions. (photo courtesy The Mercury News)


McGuire Coal Train

Senator Mike McGuire's bill to help stop toxic coal trains from rolling through Northern California has passed the full Senate. SB 307 will protect California by preventing what is being called a secret, clandestine operation that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through the area. (photo courtesy Grist)


Sick Leave Agreement

Governor Newsom and Lawmakers now have an agreement on COVID sick time. Employers will now have to give workers up to two weeks of supplimental paid sick leave to recover from COVID, or to care for a family member with the virus. Newsom says the deal would allow the sick leave to continue through September 30th of this year. (photo courtesy SHRM)


Healdsburg Homeless Help

Healdsburg is going to be buying a motel in order to house the homeless. $7 million will come from the states Project Homekey program to purchase the L&M Motel at 70 Healdsburg Avenue. The site will shelter chronically homeless people in north Sonoma County for up to a month — with the possibility of an extension — while providing on-site case management, mental health counseling and other services with the goal of finding residents lasting homes. (photo courtesy TripAdvisor)


Golden Gate Transit Strike

Golden Gate Transit drivers may soon hit the picket line, after voting to authorize a strike due to unresolved contract negotiations. Union leaders say they have been in discussions with the district for seven months and have not been able to agree on wages and pension. A district spokesperson says management is looking forward to an agreement on a new contract soon. No date has been announced on when a strike could occur. (photo courtesy SF Examiner)


Windsor Casino Plan Advancing

More work is being done on the proposed casino and event center near Windsor. The 90 member Koi Nation has teamed up with Chickasaw Nation owned Global Gaming Solutions, which would manage and operate the facility on East Shiloh Road. The plan is to have 2,500 gaming machines, a hotel, restaurants, a meeting center and spa. (photo courtesy Town of Windsor)


Local COVID Cases

The number of new local COVID cases is still the dangerously high, but there is a slight downward trend, indicating the peak may be behind us, though there were 1262 new cases reported yesterday. The first peak happened in early 2021 after the 2020 holidays, then Fall of 2021, but the highest numbers have been with the Omicron variant. We have listed Sonoma County testing sites on our website home page. (photo courtesy Patch)


Santa Rosa City Council

Six applicants have submitted their interest to fill the vacancy for Santa Rosa City Council District 3. With the application period closed, interviews are set to begin on Feb. 8 to fill the seat that was vacated by former Council Member Jack Tibbetts last month. Each applicant will be interviewed by current City Council members during a public meeting for at least 30 minutes each. (photo courtesy Change.org)


Hwy 37 Widening Project

There will be an online meeting to discuss widening Hwy 37. Tuesday at 5:30pm, Cal Trans will present proposed options for the Sears Point to Mare Island Improvement Project, covering 10.4 miles. One plan suggests adding another lane, with a movable center median during heavy traffic times. Details on tomorrow's meeting are on the Cal Trans website. (photo courtesy Marin IJ)


PG&E Emerging Probation

PG&E is poised to emerge from five years of criminal probation amid worries that it remains too dangerous to be trusted. More than 100 people have died and more than 23,000 homes and businesses have been incinerated in wildfires sparked by its equipment in that time. PG&E says it has made strides in fixing outdated equipment and pledges to do more. (photo courtesy Napa Valley Register)


IRS Super Monday

It's Super Monday, for taxes, anyway. It's the first day of income tax filing season. It starts earlier this year, but don't expect to get refunds faster. The IRS expects delays in getting returns processed and refunds sent. There's a shortage of workers and there's a backlog because the IRS also has been running pandemic-related programs. In fact, some 2020 tax returns are still being processed. (photo courtesy ABC7)


County Health Order Discussion

The latest Sonoma County health order was discussed in a public meeting online yesterday. The order banning large gatherings which took affect last week was designed to slow the spread of the Omicron Variant of the virus, which is causing a sharp rise in new case numbers. Health officials showed their support of the local order. School officials and parents asked for exemptions, including school events and sports games. (photo courtesy CIDRAP)


COVID Test Kit Webite Fixed

The White House says problems have been fixed now, on the government's new COVID test kit website, www.covidtests.gov. The main problem had to do with postal addresses. Some people living in group homes or who have had addresses with several families weren't allowed to receive test kits, being told their limit had already been reached. Officials say now that problem has been solved. (photo courtesy MARCA)


Senator McGuire's New Post

Senator Mike McGuire was named Majority Leader of the California State Senate by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins. This makes Senator McGuire the second highest ranking member of the State Senate and he will be working with the Senate President to lead the Senate in the months and years to come. For the last three years, Senator McGuire has served as Assistant Majority Leader. (photo courtesy Times-Standard)


SMART Freight Trains

Sonoma County may start seeing freight trains rolling through soon. SMART train officials say they are developing a plan to begin freight operations as its buys out Northwestern Pacific Railway Company. Interim freight trains could begin moving at the beginning of March, twice weekly at night. (photo courtesy Insurance Journal


Federal Funding For Local Projects

Representative Jared Huffman announced that three projects in California’s Second Congressional District will receive nearly $7 million in new funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Disaster Relief Law to help with long needed project, including jetty monitoring at Bodega Bay, emergency gates at Lake Mendocino, and replacement of facilities burned inthe Hopkins Fire last year. (photo courtesy Flickr)


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