• Vineyards as Firebreaks

    When the phone rang at 11 p.m. on October 8 last year, Lyall and Karen Fahden did not yet smell smoke. A friend from nearby Calistoga had called to warn them that a fast-moving fire was heading toward their home and winery. They dressed quickly and drove through their vineyards toward the nearby ridge. As they neared the top, they noticed the silhouette of the mountain was edged with an eerie red glow that pulsed and grew in intensity as they approached. By the time they reached the top and gazed down, it appeared that the entire valley was in flames.

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  • Focus On Inflammation

    The word inflammation comes from the Latin word inflammationem, which means “a setting on fire.” Certainly anyone who has experienced the feelings of heat, redness, swelling, pain and burning that makes the origin of this word an accurate description. But what exactly is inflammation and how can it hurt—as well as help—your body?

    » read more

  • Integrative Medicine

    A 40-year old Santa Rosa mom with common, everyday life stress was suffering from migraine headaches so disabling that she would lose work several times a month. “Ordinary medications hadn’t worked,” says Catherine Gutfreund, M.D., “Alternative medicine is the old term for anything that was not Western medicine. Integrative medicine is now the term to use because alternative medicine gives the impression that it’s something other than traditional or Western medicine,” she adds.

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  • An Everyday Effort

    While communities rely on food drives to feed the hungry during the winter, hunger does not end after the holidays. Unfortunately, local food banks must secure enough donations during the outpouring of holiday generosity to last year-round.

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  • Labor of Love

    Growing olives to make premium extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) seems to be more of a calling in the North Bay than a lucrative venture. For those who pursue it, however, producing quality olive oil is its own reward.

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  • Growing Pains

    On a windy Saturday afternoon, the once-bustling Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana is barren, the chairs against the wall sit empty. Two wipe boards show the dispensary’s limited offerings, a pair of glass cases display buds that seem lonely. 

    In its heyday, the dispensary boasted 45 strains of marijuana, now it’s down to eight. Tinctures? The shop has two varieties, off from the previous dozen on its shelves. By law the dispensary can only stock products from licensed companies, and the state/local licensing process makes time spent at the DMV seem to whiz by.


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  • The Search for Seasonal Workers

    The long days of midsummer are quiet in the vineyards and orchards. The winter pruning and spring suckering are long past, and now it’s nature’s turn to do its part. The next big round of activity is the harvest, but North Bay growers are facing a challenge. It’s increasingly difficult to find enough agricultural workers. The attrition that comes with an aging labor force is one reason, and the high cost of housing in a tight market is another. In addition, immigration issues are having a significant impact, and competition from other industries has the potential to be a factor. The result is a complex problem with no easy answers.

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  • GameChangers 2018

    GameChanger—I just love the sound of the word, don’t you? It applies to sports, science and tech, and it certainly applies to business here in the North Bay. We’ve been highlighting business GameChangers at Northbay biz magazine for six years now, and it’s become one of our most anticipated issues for very good reasons.

    Being a GameChanger doesn’t necessarily assure success, but rather indicates a transformational way of doing something a bit differently than your peers and competitors. The prospect of success, that illusory and fleeting moment, is not fixed whatsoever, making the outcome all the more interesting to the rest of us. And it sure makes for fascinating reading!

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  • Crisis Management & Lessons Learned

    Deborah Yount received the first call at 4 a.m. on October 9. A massive wildfire was raging through north Santa Rosa and the Fountaingrove area, where Medtronic operates a facility that employs 600. Two hours later, Yount, the vice president of human resources for the cardiac and vascular group, together with other leaders mobilized a team to account for and ensure the safety of its large workforce. A lifelong Sonoma County resident who lives in Petaluma, Yount was fortunate to be in a position to help instead of needing to be evacuated.

    » read more

  • The Science of Hope

    Rare diseases are one of medicine’s big challenges. The number of people that any one disease affects is small—fewer than 200,000 nationally—and patients are scattered across the country, so it’s unusual for most physicians to ever encounter a case. And when the few doctors who do see them are able to make a diagnosis, it can be difficult to find an effective treatment, since so few exist. The dearth of treatments is the result of a market that is too small to generate big profits, thus providing little incentive for large pharmaceutical companies to produce what are known as “orphan drugs.”

    » read more

  • Now Trending

    Americans spend plenty of time on the job. From tech engineer to CEO, accountant to graphic designer, those working the usual nine to five spend plenty of time on the job. All of us deserve a workplace that fits. A typical scenario, say 40 hours a week (with no overtime and two weeks vacation) results in 2,000 hours a year, or 22.8 percent of someone’s life, transpiring at work. If some of that time is spent in pain resulting from the office environment such as computer-related eye strain, back pain or carpel tunnel syndrome—overwork can transform into outright disability. Even minor complaints can result in fatigue, dangerous loss of alertness and decreased productivity.

    » read more

North Bay News and Stories

Work/Life/In Focus: Tony Geraldi

Chances are you or someone you know has hopped on a Sonoma County Airport Express. It’s one of the longest running airport transportation services in the North Bay, serving more than 300,000 travelers annually. Life-long Sonoma County resident, Tony Geraldi, has proudly worked only three jobs in his 55 years—Press Democrat newspaper carrier, a local Straw Hat Pizza delivery boy and for the past 31 years, working for Sonoma County Airport Expres.

Perch + Plow

Perch + Plow
90 Old Courthouse Square
Santa Rosa, Calif.
(707) 541-6896

Spirited Cuisine
Entrees $16-$26

The Risky Biz of Cannabis

God must have created the North Bay with “agribusiness” in mind. From the moment you drive North over the Golden Gate Bridge, the diverse microclimates, varied topsoil compositions and glorious sunshine join to create the perfect environment for growing just about anything.


What better way to honor beloved pets than by capturing their personality, spirit and charisma on canvas? Santa Rosa pet portraiture artist, Patti Miller, has been conveying the spirit of animals and their human counterparts for 30 years.

Rosé Roundup

Nothing says summer like concerts in the park, Fourth of July parades, barbeques, and rosé swishing in the glass. As a woman who opts to wear pink on six out of the seven days of the week, rosé could easily be an accessory as much as a picnic accompaniment, but like the gradations of pink in my wardrobe, rosés come in many shades and styles. Just as one might ponder if an outfit is too bright, muted or tasteless, there is much to consider when it comes to picking the perfect rosé for one’s palate and preferences.


The cannabis cultivation tax and excise tax went into effect on January 1, 2018. Here’s a brief overview of the new tax rates and how they apply to cannabis business activities, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Madrona Manor

Nestled at the top of a hillside on Westside Road, Madrona Manor was once the home of John Paxton, a successful businessman, who was involved in numerous enterprises and his wife, Hannah. During the 1880s and 1890s, it was known as Madrona Knoll Rancho and was considered the grandest of homes in Healdsburg. Bill and Trudi Konrad purchased the manor in 1999 and made extensive renovations to maintain its elegant charm.

VML Winery

The drive along Dry Creek Road, with its picturesque vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley, is an experience in itself. An added treat to the region is VML—a whimsical winery nestled in the valley that is both playful and amusing and feels like a different land altogether.

Protecting Your Personal Information

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed a dramatic increase in privacy-related emails from the companies you deal with online. The reason? The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, a European Union (EU) regulation with which any company doing business with an EU citizen must comply. As a result, most global companies are changing their policies for all users to be compliant with the GDPR, and hence the avalanche of emails you’re receiving.

Journalism on the Brink & the Farmers Market Shuffle

People say change is hard. They also say change is good.

I say you go first.

Journalism in our country is transforming, and some of those adjustments can be seen at our local daily, the Marin Independent Journal.

The IJ has been around since 1948, the love child of a coupling between the Marin Journal and the San Rafael Daily Independent, though the Journal had been around since 1861.

Work/Life/In Focus: Jean Hegland

The story behind local author Jean Hegland’s novel, Into the Forest, began with a sleepless winter night in her home in the forest west of Healdsburg, where she lives with her husband, Douglas Fisher. “I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to tell myself a story. The story let me think deeply and imaginatively about the natural world, the future and sisters,” says Hegland, who doesn’t have a sister, but was then a mother of two young daughters, ages one and three. At the time, living in the forest was still a new experience for them, and Hegland admits she was concerned about their situation. “We didn’t know anything about the forest, and with two young daughters I worried about the future.”

John Bucher

John Bucher is the owner and operator of Bucher Farms, an organic family-run farm with 700 dairy cows in Healdsburg. He also owns Bucher Vineyard, which grows and provides Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes to several notable Sonoma County wineries. Bucher is a North Bay native who’s had three different addresses in his life—all on Westside Road in Healdsburg, where he currently lives on the Bucher family farm with his wife, Diane, and three of their five children.

Making the Most of Your Doctors Visit

Before your first visit with a primary care physician, there’s a lot of information you’ll want to gather. Be sure to take your previous medical records with you. (Some physicians ask that you drop this information off before your visit. If you have a digital copy, it’s best you drop it off in advance, so it can be downloaded and included in your chart.) Your medical record should include any previous diagnoses, treatments, imaging done of your body, laboratory results and immunization history.

An Overabundance of Wine Professionals

In the last couple of decades, the number of formally trained wine professionals has exploded. Each year more than 2,000 winemaking students have earned degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D.—and graduate from top-tier programs in the United States alone. Thousands more, through dozens of accredited colleges and hundreds of internships and apprenticeship training programs, are provided some sort of certificate of winemaking. Beyond the burgeoning numbers of winemakers (enology), vineyard (viticulture) programs also continue to expand, as does the popularity of programs for becoming a certified sommelier.

Why Choose a Local Alarm Company?

You’ve seen the ads and you’ve gotten the calls. The flashy fliers arrive as soon as the “For Sale” sign is taken off the front lawn and the calls always ring at the wrong time. I’m about talking about, of course, home and business security systems sold by huge corporations that want you to believe they’re the only game in town.


Most beverages in America come with a plastic straw—even if it’s only a glass of water. Though it may not seem such a big deal, when added up, plastic straws create a major problem for the environment. In the U.S., Americans uses 500 million straws every day—that’s enough straws to circle around the Earth 2.5 times.

There’s finally a solution for the 500 million plastic straws Americans use and discard every day. It’s Lolistraw, the world’s first hyper compostable, marine-degradable straw.

The Worlds of Health and Business

Welcome to the August “Health & Medicine” issue, which merges the worlds of health and business. Maintaining good health doesn’t happen by accident—it requires an intentional effort to make good lifestyle choices. Whether you’re a large employer or a small business owner, chances are you know how important it is to support the health of your employees. In this issue, there’s something for everyone.

Gamble Family Vineyards

Farming first isn’t just a platitude for Tom Gamble, the man behind Gamble Family Vineyards, located off St. Helena Highway in Napa Valley. It’s a philosophy and a way of life. A third-generation farmer, Gamble has been influenced by his ancestors since childhood. “My most lasting memory of childhood is dirt,” says Gamble.


It’s easy to think of a reason to get a new puppy or kitty—the sweet puppy breath, fluffy coats and a playful spirit. But, there are a number of reasons to rescue from a shelter, rather than buying from a breeder. We look at five practical reasons to adopt.

How is a Santa Rosa-based business, Compassion without Borders, and a three-legged dog all connected? Not just by prosthetics, but by a little luck and a lot of love.

Living in the JS World

It’s August, and there’s nothing new in tech. Lots of concern over privacy and security: not new. Facebook and Google know too much about us: not new. Smartphones are the dominant lifeform in the universe: not new. Small businesses (for good reasons) are reluctant to embrace new technology: not new. Life may seem boring for a tech columnist.

Chad Krilich

Chad Krilich, M.D., is the chief medical officer for St. Joseph Health in Sonoma County. Krilich joined the hospital in 2017 after eight years at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash. Krilich is passionate about his faith, family and fitness. He’s committed to leading a healthy lifestyle—an avid runner who has completed five marathons and still runs half marathons. “It’s fun to take on new challenges that people say are hard, and it’s a hobby that keeps me healthy,” he says. Krilich lives in Santa Rosa with his wife, Julie, and their two children, Alli and Drew.

Stand Up Straight!

Chances are when you were growing up, your mother reminded you to stand up straight. Turns out, she was right. The importance of posture as it relates to health and well-being can’t be overstated. In the short term, good posture contributes to a better appearance. Long term, good posture is beneficial to your health in ways you might not expect—from improving oxygen consumption to maintaining good strong bones.

Drug-Free Stress Relief at Your Fingertips

Life today is demanding—work, family, relationships, commitments and responsibilities take up most of your time. Chances are your to-do list is so long, sometimes even going on a date with your partner can feel like an obligation. Have you ever felt like you can’t add one more task to your plate? Whether you’re self-employed or work for someone else, stress is a reality that affects everyone.

Meal Kits and Wine

For any major holiday or special event when I was growing up, our family would clamor into my father’s van and drive unencumbered by seatbelts to one of our extended family’s homes. There, the women congregated in the kitchen preparing the meal, while the men gathered around libations (beer, jug wine and spirits) and the children slipped out of sight to accomplish some forbidden act, such as competing for the title of Highest Tree Climber.


Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? Or, that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?

How much is a tooth worth these days? Looks like the Tooth Fairy tightened her moneybag last year.

Almond butter, is gaining in popularity as a potentially healthier option. The question remains: Which is healthiest—peanut butter or almond butter?

Trouble in Paradise?

It’s summertime, and the living is uneasy, at least for 46 percent of Bay Area residents.

The annual poll from the Bay Area Council, a public-policy shop backed by business interests, shows that almost half of the folks who call the nine-county Bay Area home, are thinking of moving in the next few years; backing up the truck with all of their worldly possessions, except for that creepy painting by Uncle Earl of the horse with the eyes that follow you, and getting the hell out of here.

Cholesterol Checkups, Not Just for Adults

When it comes to watching cholesterol levels, we think of it as an adult concern, not a childhood issue. However, one in five teenagers have abnormal cholesterol levels. A normal level should be under 170 mg/dL. About 40 percent of obese teenagers have abnormal cholesterol. When studies say “abnormal cholesterol levels,” this means total cholesterol level could be normal, but low-density lipoprotein—also known as LDL could be too high. The LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL. This situation still counts as abnormal and it should. LDL is what damages the lining of blood vessels and allows for fatty build up inside a vessel.

The Ascent of Dissent

As Andy Warhol once said, “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.” I shot into this world a city girl, from the outskirts of Washington D.C. As an adult I wanted bigger, better, more, so I graduated to larger cities, Tampa Bay, New York City and Los Angeles, before surprising family and friends when I made Napa Valley my forever home 10 years ago. There are countless differences when it comes to city versus country living, but as unrest around the primary election in June still swings, I’m most interested in what it means to “have a voice” in small-town USA, in contrast to big cities.


In this Issue

Focus On Inflammation

The word inflammation comes from the Latin word inflammationem, which means “a setting on fire.” Certainly anyone who has experienced the feelings of heat, redness, swelling, pain and bu...

Crisis Management & Lessons Learned

Deborah Yount received the first call at 4 a.m. on October 9. A massive wildfire was raging through north Santa Rosa and the Fountaingrove area, where Medtronic operates a facility that employs 600....

Integrative Medicine

A 40-year old Santa Rosa mom with common, everyday life stress was suffering from migraine headaches so disabling that she would lose work several times a month. “Ordinary medications hadn&rsq...

See all...



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