• 9-1-1 What is Your Emergency

    Until there’s an emergency, you don’t give much thought to the trained professionals who work in our local dispatch centers. Dial 9-1-1 in the North Bay and you can count on reaching a highly-skilled dispatcher who will calmly and thoroughly take your information and arrange for help. More often than not, that dispatcher is a woman.

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  • Rebuilding Better

    Building a new house can be challenging—especially if it’s something you didn’t plan for or expect. It’s a scenario facing thousands of families in Northern California who lost their homes in the wildfires of 2017. And as they begin the process of rebuilding their homes and reclaiming their lives, they have a multitude of decisions to make, from walls and windows to innovative methods and materials that take construction in new directions.

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  • Seeking Shelter in the Rental Market

    Kimberly Romero woke up at a friend’s house in Windsor at 5:30 the morning of October 9, 2017, to prepare for her job as a computer teacher at Herbert Slater Middle School in Santa Rosa, unaware that a few miles to the south her home on View Court, around the corner from Coffey Park, was already burned to the ground.

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  • Todays Working Moms

    For working mothers today, much of the stigma previous generations dealt with such as being viewed as unstable, unreliable, or not loyal in the workplace, are gone—having been replaced with employers attempting to retain this significant part of their workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, working mothers are the norm today. In fact, 71 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 participate in the labor force, with more than 75 percent employed fulltime. This is up from 45 percent in 1975. Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under age 18 today, compared to 11 percent in 1960.

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  • Starting Over

    Last October, Sonoma County experienced a natural disaster of epic proportions. Many people perished when tens of thousands of acres were ravaged by a firestorm. At least 4,655 homes were destroyed by the Tubbs fire alone. In Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood, 1,420 homes were lost; in Coffey Park, 1,240 were reduced to ash. In addition, 109 mobile homes were destroyed, together with 209 multi-family homes.

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  • Getting Back to Business

    The October fires blew in on gale-force winds devouring with little discrimination thousands of homes both humble and grand and numbers of businesses large and small. Burning to the ground with equal ferocity, the firestorm hit a range of structures from a big Hilton Hotel to a small animal hospital. Stories of personal loss, including shocking loss of life were nearly overwhelming. Businesses suffered too, and the challenges facing business owners when deciding whether to rebuild, repair, or retreat will continue for months, or perhaps even years.

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  • DNA Testing

    Who are you? Where are your ancestors from? We’ve all been confronted with these types of questions. And you may even have found yourself pondering, where you really come from.

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  • Women Creating Wine

    Only 12 percent of winemakers in California are women, but these winemakers are unfazed working in a male-dominated field.

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  • Women Who Lead

    Trying times have a way of bringing out the best in people, and the North Bay’s women more than showed their mettle when wildfires tore through parts of Napa and Sonoma counties in October 2017, creating a firestorm that fouled the air, destroyed more than 5,000 homes and took 46 lives. Female first responders and workers behind the scenes provided critical support, as they responded to a sudden, rapidly growing disaster of a magnitude no one could have predicted. And although their humility prevents them from admitting it, their stories are extraordinary.

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  • Corporate Retreats

    Move over corporate retreats of yesterday. Gone are the days of being stuck with awkward icebreakers and brain-numbing flip charts, during which the only escape from the four walls of the boardroom was a steakhouse dinner. Today, it’s all about intimate, unique experiences that emphasize team building with the ultimate goal of long-term company success. It’s time for spa treatments to melt away employee stress; farm-to-table cooking classes for team building; and a bocce game, complete with vineyard views and winetasting, to perfect strategizing skills.

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North Bay News and Stories


Santa Rosa singer, songwriter, performer and contestant on NBC’s The Voice, Dallas Caroline, known locally as Dallas Caroline Dueñas, knew she wanted to be a singer since she was a little girl. “Once I started singing, I knew I would always be a singer,” says the 17-year-old songstress. “Songwriting is my passion—it’s really special to me. And in country music, the songs tell the story.” The Santa Rosa singer-songwriter and contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” has big dreams of making it in the music industry.

Bibis Burger Bar

If you’re in downtown Santa Rosa and looking for a casual place to get a bite, Bibi’s Burger Bar is the perfect spot to share a meal with family and friends. Locally-owned by the Chandi Hospitality Group, Bibi’s offers indoor-outdoor seating and a variety of burgers, including the all-American classic bacon-cheeseburger, but there are other options that offer a unique take on the classic such as the Thai burger, served with chili-lemongrass coleslaw, and the Smokey, topped with bacon and smoked gouda. There’s also a vegetarian option—the potato tiki burger. I’ve tried it once before, and it’s one of those rare veggie burgers that’s bursting with flavor and has a satisfying mouth-feel.

Hear Me Roar!

I was raised in a household that bent to the right, so the idea of seeing women in positions of power on the political front, was unthinkable. Now, as mid-century status beckons, it’s less about what side of the fence I lean on, and more about being open and ready for action.

John Farrow

North Bay native, John Farrow, acquired a love for building during childhood, creating entire cities with Legos. Today, he is president and chief executive officer of Farrow Construction—a nationwide company specializing in green building, sustainability, permit and planning and various residential and commercial building projects. In his 27th year of business, Farrow’s grown from a small company that started from scratch, with no loans or financing, to a business generating more than $20 million annually. Farrow’s current focus is on helping rebuild the residential homes of those affected by the October wildfires.


Thousands of North Bay residents learned first-hand how important it is to have a go-bag packed and ready in the event of a fire in October. Pack an emergency supply kit ahead of time, and keep it accessible so you’re prepared if you have to evacuate. Backpacks work well for storing items (except food and water), and are quick to grab. Storing food and water in a tub or an ice chest on wheels will make it easier to transport, but keep it light enough so you can easily lift it into your car.

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery

Perched on the top of a hill in the Russian River Valley, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery offers an intimate wine tasting experience. The winery opened its new tasting room last summer after seven months of renovation and construction. The salon offers indoor-outdoor seated tastings in a modern, relaxed atmosphere where you can sink into the experience, learn about the fine art of winemaking and enjoy panoramic views of the forested valley below.

Helping Women Cross the Million Dollar Threshold

A study of women-owned businesses conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board last year, revealed that 90 percent of these businesses listed the firm’s proprietor as the sole employee. While many of these business owners are content to maintain their business at this level, others are looking to grow.

Reviewing Your Homeowners Policy

The firestorm that began burning through Sonoma County on the night of October 8 last autumn has affected everyone in our community in some way. By now, most people with homeowners and renters insurance should have received significant advances on their insurance policies.

Roots Run Deep

At the end of a long, tree-lined driveway on Kirkland Ranch Road in Napa Valley, Roots Run Deep Winery is an oasis. Set amongst more than 300 acres of the property’s own Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, as well as the original owners cattle that graze in the distance, the tasting room and lush grounds share a rural and refined ambiance.

Of Marijuana, Painting the Town & the Rat Squad

Marin is taking a cautious approach when it comes to the cannabis business. San Anselmo is a great example of how a slow the pace is and what the issues are.

Advice and Consent

When you stop to look closely, there are lots of technologies in use at your business. There’s a computer, your Internet connection, maybe a computer network and various types of servers. There are also printers and copiers as well as your phone system. For retail operations, there are point-of-sales systems. There’s credit card processing, word processing and spreadsheets. There’s accounting software, scanners, document storage and retrieval, computer security. The list goes on and on. (In all the excitement, I forgot to mention email, text messaging and social media.) Frankly, it’s overwhelming.

Beer to Busts

Recently, craft beer has been one of the hottest new trends to hit what is being now referred to as the “relaxant market,” which includes alcoholic beverages and cannabis products. In the last 10 years, there’s been a mad rush of new entrants, as everyone and his brother seems now to be making beer. But like all booms, this one is coming quickly to a bust, where only the strong, lucky or steady will survive.

Do You Need a Multivitamin

If you take a multivitamin every day, then you’re part of multi-billion dollar industry that has been marketing various health claims. As consumers, we spend an average of $14 billion a year on tablets that contain vitamins and minerals. Many people take a multivitamin because they believe it gives them more energy, or makes them feel better. Others take multivitamins to supplement what they believe is a poor diet. Still others believe taking a daily multivitamin is a preventive measure against the common cold or flu or to prevent chronic diseases.

The X, Y and Z of Wine

By 2021 Generation X (born approximately between 1965 and 1979) will consume more wine than any other generational group in America. Five years later, the Millennials (born approximately between 1980 and 1994) will take over that spot, according to Silicon Valley Bank. Years later, sometime in the future, Generation Z (born approximately between 1995 and 2014) will take over the most prominent wine-drinking position.

Il Davide

Located in the heart of downtown San Rafael, Il Davide is one of the leading Italian restaurants in Marin County. Founded in 1995, David Hayden was determined to bring a different culinary experience to the county, rather than the classic Toscano-style restaurants he was surrounded by. His mission was to create a unique, flavor-filled menu with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.  “I wanted to reconstruct the classic Italian dishes to the Il Davide-style,” says Hayden.

Finding Creative Solutions to Legal Conflicts

Last April, President Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice to the Supreme Court. During his confirmation hearing, Gorsuch said, “Because of inflated legal fees, there’s now a rash of litigation pro-se in this country.” As soon as I heard that, I thought of coming out of retirement and coaching people on how to think strategically, while managing their own legal issues.

The Facebook Scandal & Your Business Presence

The news has been buzzing about Facebook and the ways in which it accumulates and reveals information about its users. There have been calls for people to #DeleteFacebook, and chances are that by the time you read this, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer, will have testified before Congress. The proverbial feces hit the fan this month when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm mined data on about 50 million Facebook users and provided that to the Trump campaign during the 2016 U.S. election. It’s also important to note that this was not a “hack” of Facebook’s computers. The data—at the time the exploit occurred—was accessible to anyone writing a Facebook App.

Goodbye Geoffrey

“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.” That, of course, is the jingle for the most well-known toy store in the country.

The ubiquitous toy retailer has finally called it quits, and will close its stores including the San Rafael outlet on West Francisco Boulevard alongside Highway 101.

The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September and in January announced plans to close 200 stores.

On Women and Being a Feminist

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: I am a feminist. Now I am not referring to the overused, much maligned (and incorrect) descriptions of this term—no bra burners or male chauvinist pigs commentary intended whatsoever. Being a feminist has nothing to do with male bashing and everything to do with gender equality. My definition of feminism is one that sees women as equally capable to succeed in their chosen paths as anyone else. As a husband and the father of two teenage daughters, I know a thing or two or three about women. My wife, Susan Chinn Amaturo, is a full-time working mother, and my two daughters are stepping into their young adult lives with their own hopes, goals and dreams. They are strong, determined and resilient.


Today’s job market consists of occupations that are dominated by women. Nine out of 10 registered nurses are female, and careers in social work, counseling and human resource management are also highly concentrated by women.

To Juice or Not to Juice?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Juice your vegetables; eat your fruit.” But do we know why, and is it true?
The rationale for juicing vegetables comes out of a few schools of thought. First, vegetables just aren’t as fun to eat as hamburgers, so most of us don’t eat enough vegetables. We’re supposed to eat at least three servings of vegetables a day. One way to sneak veggies into our diet is to juice them.

Calamity or Commerce?

I recently came across James Conaway’s new book, Napa at Last Light: Americas Eden in an Age of Calamity. Calamity is not a word to toss around lightly, especially to someone like me, who has, on more than one occasion, been called a Calamity Jane. Not many could get away with speaking about Napa Valley as an agrarian ideal in one breath and a viticultural Disneyland in the next. In the forward alone, his tale goes from adoration to what feels like a eulogy to the Napa Valley that once was. A time before our humble valley became a mecca of wine, commerce—and if you’re talking to Conaway—a calamity in the making.

Wine Country Events & Preserving Agriculture

In October 2016, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution tasking the permit department to develop and implement protective guidelines, policies, and standards to address promotional events and overconcentration of tasting rooms in certain rural areas. Since that resolution, the board has delayed taking action to implement an effective and enforceable Winery Event Ordinance. However, Sonoma County officials continue to approve new winery and event center use permits, exacerbating the negative cumulative impacts they had committed to address.

Local Hero: Misti Harris

Community Engagement Liaison for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Misti Harris, entered law enforcement after leaving her career as a land use planner, to pursue public and community safety. She now fulfills her dream of helping others, helping them understand how the Sheriffs Office provides services for the entire community and sharing the communitys thoughts on improvements with decision-makers in the Office. She was one of many first responders immediately following the October fires, and helped lead a team as a communication team-member sending out vital information to the public through Nixle alerts, social media and various communication platforms every day for three weeks. Harris lives in Forestville, where she can enjoy some of her favorite activities year-round—riding her motorcycle, practicing yoga and enjoying the outdoors with her dogs.


Welcome to the third annual May Women Business Leaders issue—a celebration of successful, influential North Bay women. The following section features business leaders who are making an impact on the North Bay. We asked these women to speak out and answer two of the following three questions:

•What advice do you have for young women following your professional footsteps today?
•Do you believe women are still trying to make it in a man’s world?
•What changes would you like to see made for women in the workforce in the years ahead?

Congratulations to the Best of the Best

Welcome to the BEST Of the North Bay issue of NorthBay biz magazine. All of us get a thrill presenting this annual celebration of our very best businesses in Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties across dozens of industries. Inside, we reveal the 2018 winners of our annual readers’ poll, and you’ll get a glimpse of why these companies were voted the BEST Of in the North Bay.


In this Issue

Women Who Lead

Trying times have a way of bringing out the best in people, and the North Bay’s women more than showed their mettle when wildfires tore through parts of Napa and Sonoma counties in October 201...

9-1-1 What is Your Emergency

Until there’s an emergency, you don’t give much thought to the trained professionals who work in our local dispatch centers. Dial 9-1-1 in the North Bay and you can count on reaching a h...

Todays Working Moms

For working mothers today, much of the stigma previous generations dealt with such as being viewed as unstable, unreliable, or not loyal in the workplace, are gone—having been replaced with em...

See all...