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Sonoma County News

Stevie Knicks

[CLIP] Stand back indeed... if you have tickets to tonight's Stevie Nick's concert at the Chace Center in San Francisco or the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Sunday.... your concerts have been postponed. One of her band members has COVID-19, so those two shows are off. No date yet has been announced for the rescheduled shows. {photo courtesy of Fox40}

Sonoma Film Festival

Downtown Sonoma and the Sebastiani Theater was Hollywood North for the world premier of the film "Jules" at the opening of the Sonoma International Film Festival last night. Film stars Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Zoe Winters, Jade Quon, and director Marc Turtletaub, were all in attendance. {photo courtesy of Tripsavvy}

Biden Popularity

The approval rating of President Joe Biden has dipped to 38% according to a new poll. That's nearly the lowest point of his presidency, and comes as his administration tries to project a sense of stability while confronting a pair of bank failures and stubbornly high inflation. Among Democrats, 75% approve of his job, but only 3% of Republicans approve of the job he is doing. In February, his overall approval rating was at 45%.

Manhattan Jury

The Manhattan grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s role in hush money payments to Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election is expected to reconvene today – meaning the former president could be criminally indicted by the end of the day. It is believed at least one witness they may need to return to provide more testimony in the probe.

Healdsburg Cannabis

The town of Healdsburg has taken the first step to approving commercial cannabis cultivation and sales. The town council approved a first vote last night. There will be a second vote on April 17th. If approved, there could initially be two dispensaries within the city.

Living Wage

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously to raise the county’s Living Wage an additional 2.26% to $17.65 an hour, effective July 1. The Living Wage ordinance creates a baseline for individuals employed directly by the county and workers in private companies and nonprofit's that contract with Sonoma County.

Homeless Encampment

Sonoma County's new homeless camp is now up and running on the county campus on Ventura Ave. The camp has 87 tents with cots, fencing, restrooms and shower facilities. The county expects to begin clearing the 90 campers currently living on the Joe Rodota Trail on Thursday.

Board of Supervisors OKs requirements for parking, event hours and more

New wine businesses planning to host in-person events in Sonoma County will be subject to the county’s new set of regulations approved last week by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. The rules, approved 3-2 by the five-member board, establish new criteria for wine events, with requirements for parking, event hours and noise, among other things. The standards apply to release parties, promotional gatherings, winemaker dinners and wine-club events. About 464 wineries and tasting rooms are permitted in Sonoma County; 307 of those are permitted to hold events—neighbors and other community members have long called for tighter restrictions on such events, citing parking, noise and other inconveniences for nearby residential areas. Already permitted wine businesses will not be subject to the new regulations unless they apply for permit changes. Find the new regulations at sonomacounty.ca.gov.

Residents and businesses now eligible for loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently added Marin County to its list of disaster-stricken counties eligible to apply for personal and business loans. Some Marin County residents and businesses may now qualify for aid if the storms from December 27, 2022, through January 31, 2023, resulted in financial losses. Homeowners can get up to $200,000, and renters can get up to $40,000 if they were affected by flooding, landslides, mudslides, or other aspects of the storms. The aid can be used for individuals and households to repair or replace damaged primary residences. The deadline to file for property damage is May 8. Businesses can get up to $2 million if they were affected by the winter storms. The loans are meant for small businesses, small agricultural and aquaculture cooperatives and nonprofits of any size. Businesses have until December 7 to apply for an economic injury loan. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any property damage. The purpose is to help business owners meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not happened. The SBA is working with the federal government to offer low-interest loans. SBA staff will assist residents, businesses and qualified nonprofits to answer questions about the loan program and help with the application process. The center’s location will be announced within a few days. Applicants can receive additional disaster assistance information, download an application or apply online. Applicants may also email or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955. Property owners in Marin County may also be entitled to property tax relief as a result of the winter storms. The most recent County-proclaimed local disasters were for COVID-19 and the drought; both those have expired.


One California Assemblymen is going after the popular candy Skittles with a new bill attempting to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of food products contained in the candy. There are 5 chemicals in question, including titanium dioxide. The maker of Skittles, Mars, says all the ingredients have been reviewed and tested by federal and state systems that continue to deem them safe.

County Fees Going Up

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will review increasing over 800 different department fees, designed to raise over $3 million dollars. Permit Sonoma has requested over 560 fee increases in it's department alone. Other increases would be airport parking, cannabis inspections and the department of weights and measures.

Paltrow Ski Suit

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is going to court in Utah to defend herself against hit and run charges... on the ski slope. She is being sued by a man who claims she ran into him in 2016 at Deer Valley Resort, knocking him down causing a concussion and for broken ribs. He is suing for over $3 million dollars. Paltrow maintains that the man caused the accident when he plowed into her from behind. She states after they collided he said he was fine and apologized for the crash. {photo courtesy of People}


Will he or won't he? Former President Donald Trump has predicted he will be indicted today as an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's office comes to a close. Though there is no confirmation the indictment will come, Trump may face charges for his alleged role in making a $130,000 hush-money payment to an adult film actress just before the 2016 presidential election to silence her about a past affair. Police have set up barricades and have extra patrols in NYC in case he is arrested and protesters decide to stir up trouble.

Monty Principal

In a letter to students and parents, Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent Anna Trunnell confirmed that former Principal Adam Paulson will not return to Montgomery High school next year. However, assistant Principal Tyler Ahlborn will resume his duties after spring break. Laurie Fong will remain in place as the interim principal until the School Board finds a replacement.


People who rely on insulin got a big boost from the governor over the weekend when he announced the state as partnered with drug manufacturer Civica to produce low-cost insulin. The $50 million dollar contract means that through the CalRX program a, a vial of insulin that used to cost $300 will now cost only $30.


Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin from today through Wednesday in what appears to be a show of support for Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, a move that could have severe geopolitical implications amid rising tensions between the West and the East. {photo courtesy of Al Jazeera}

Miyoko Schinner

The ousted CEO of Miyoko's Creamery has fired back at the board of directors that dismissed her. Miyoko Schinner counter-sued denying claims she stole trade secrets and company information and also alleges the company continued to use her name and likeness. She also made claims against company vice president of operations Rene Weber.

Best of Voting

Voting is live in our 2023 readers poll to name the BEST businesses in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties Let the voting begin! It’s NorthBay biz magazine’s 34th annual Best of the North Bay contest—the only readers choice awards covering all of Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties. This year, readers have a chance to recognize the best businesses in nearly 40 unique categories. Got a favorite restaurant for a business lunch? Know where to taste the boldest zinfandel? Does your town’s chamber of commerce go above and beyond? Let the North Bay in on the secret! The ballot is live at northbaybiz.com. (Or if you’re already at northbaybiz.com find it in the Bonus Issues drop down menu.) You need to vote in at least 12 categories for your ballot to count—and no voting twice! (Our system weeds out multiple ballots from the same address.) Mail in or drop-off ballots are also available in the current issue of NorthBay biz magazine. Deadline for ballot submission is Friday, March 31 at 5 p.m. Good luck to the contenders—and we can’t wait to see who readers choose as the very best of the North Bay in 2023!

Tiny Homes

Governor Newsom announced that California will spend about $30 million to build 1,200 small homes across the state this year. It's part of a plan to help house the nation’s largest homeless population and to address an issue that has persistently plagued the state during the governor’s time in office. The homes, some as small as 120 square feet and can be assembled in 90 minutes. They cost a fraction of what it takes to build permanent housing.

Scott Dam

While most lakes are filling up, PG & E is keeping the gates open on the Scott Dam on Lake Pillsbury, preventing it from ever filling up again. The dam is seismically unsafe, and lowering the water level reduces the risk during a seismic event. The downside is the decision will impact water levels on the Eel river and impact fish and power production from a hydro electric plant. {photo courtesy of California Trout}

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