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  • NorthBay biz

    More than 40 years ago, three local journalists shared the belief that the North Bay, specifically Sonoma County, was poised for growth and change. In 1975, they joined forces and founded Sonoma Business, and for the next 25 years they reported on the business of doing business in the North Bay.


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  • 24 Hours

    On October 8, Loren Davis, fire chief at Mountain Volunteer Fire Department in Sonoma County, was sitting at a poker table at Graton Casino in Rohnert Park at around 9:30 p.m. when his pager went off. He had gotten off duty from his shift as a firefighter at Eldridge Fire Department in Sonoma County at 7 a.m. that morning, and was looking forward to a relaxing evening.
    He glanced at his pager. The message read: “Structure fire at Mountain Ranch Road.” He immediately left the card game, jumped into his work truck and started up the freeway toward the station on Sharp Road between the Sonoma and Napa County line.


    » read more

  • Going to the Dogs

    Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company is so Marin it almost hurts.

    It was started in a Mill Valley house, where a small group began designing the first Samuel Hubbard shoes and the company’s launch website. Its founder Bruce Katz is a serial entrepreneur. And for a recent catalog photo shoot, the company sent the models packing. Instead, they opted for real people and real dogs with a shout out to the Marin Humane Society.


    » read more

  • Shop Local

    The holiday season is upon us in the North Bay, which means festive fun with family and friends, holiday decorations and delicious food, and of course, gifts. Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties are shopping meccas, and during the holiday season there is no shortage of shopping options. 


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  • Going Solo

     The simple definition of an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risk to do so, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary. Dig deeper and you find a passionate person with a high emotional quotient, or EQ, who follows his or her own path to problem-solving to ensure success.

     

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  • Growing Together

    When companies support community service activities, everyone benefits


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  • Napa Rebounding

     Ask Napa County officials and community stakeholders what keeps them awake at night and they might cite the county’s lack of affordable housing, together with traffic congestion and desperately needed road repairs and upgrades. In October, out-of-control wildfires also added to their unease. 


    » read more

  • River City Living

    As you drive northbound through the beautiful rolling hills of Marin County and southern Sonoma, Highway 101 takes you around one more turn and the grand view of the City of Petaluma opens up in front of you. Petaluma is a transliteration of the Coast Miwok phrase péta lúuma, which means hill backside. No matter which direction you view Petaluma from, the name is as obvious as the city is attractive.


    » read more

  • After the Fire

    Recovery is only the beginning as Sonoma County and the North Bay looks towards a long period of hazard removal and rebuilding.


    » read more

  • Cycling Nirvana

     The North Bay is a mecca in the cycling world. And while locations such as Dry Creek Valley, Los Carneros, and Alexander Valley evoke certain images in the minds of wine connoisseurs the world over, places like King Ridge, Coleman Valley Road and “The Geysers” stir up images in the minds of cyclists around the globe.


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  • The Power of Love

    Diversity is one of a community’s strengths and makes it richer, and yet it can be difficult to be inclusive and give everyone the opportunity to participate fully. In Marin County, nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in identifying unmet needs of underserved residents, while finding ways to reach out to them. And with more than 1,500 nonprofits working to give residents opportunities to better their lives better while making their own contributions, they’re at the core of a countywide spirit of altruism. The resources philanthropy provides are essential and support the good work, but it takes more than money. It requires a feeling of satisfaction on both sides if a mission is to succeed, and so creating meaningful liaisons that benefit everyone is a worthwhile endeavor.


    » read more

  • Marin Rebalancing

    Marin County is in an enviable location, boasting mountains, coastal waters and rolling hills, close proximity to one of the world’s great cities and easy access to California’s north coast and Wine Country. At first glance, it seems ideal, but nothing is perfect. Sometimes the characteristics that are most appealing have a downside that an area has to address, if it is to grow sustainably and thrive.


    » read more

  • Sonoma Revisioning

    Sonoma County is well ingrained in its sense of place, even in the wake of the devastating wildfires that hit the county in mid-October. While there will undoubtedly be a temporary dip in tourism post fires, the Sonoma lifestyle will continue to contribute to our growing tourism industry, as well as our growing population. From rugged coastline on the west, to rolling hills and sprawling vineyards to the east, Sonoma County has a plethora of attributes that make people want to visit and live here.


    » read more

  • Helping People, Changing Lives

    How Substance Abuse Counselor Angie Coleman offers hope to those struggling with addiction in Sonoma County


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  • Blissful Beginnings

    Welcoming a healthy baby into the world is one of life’s most precious moments. It’s a joyful time that comes with a feeling of accomplishment and wonder, and when the process of giving birth meets the parents’ expectations, it’s even more rewarding. Delivering that kind of satisfaction is the ultimate goal for the North Bay’s hospitals, and to achieve it, they are embracing knowledge and practices that focus on the physical and emotional health of mothers and their newborns, while also meeting their medical needs and keeping them safe.


    » read more

  • The Unseen Damage

    The fires that raged through Sonoma and Napa counties last October have the potential to create lasting psychological effects on individuals and communities, straining an already stressed mental health delivery system in the North Bay. Though not everyone experiences long-term effects, there are populations vulnerable to life-altering fallout such as anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


    » read more

  • Being Heart Safe

    Imagine this: You’re in your office working at your desk and a coworker approaches in distress, collapsing in front of you. What would you do? Your mind would probably race: Is this a heart attack? Does anyone know CPR? Isn’t there a defibrillator somewhere? Where is it? Does it still work? Does anybody know how to use it? By now you’re shouting, “Call 9-1-1!” 
     

    » read more

  • Facetime

    Americans are seeking out cosmetic and plastic surgery services in greater numbers than ever before. Statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveal that between 2000 and 2016, surgically and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures increased by 132 percent in the United States. Approximately 17.2 million procedures were performed in 2016 alone, an increase of 4 percent over 2015.


    » read more

  • Living on Edge

    During the October fires, North Bay residents—with every smoky, noxious breath—were reminded that, our friends and neighbors were losing their homes. For the 5,152 people already homeless in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties—as counted in the 2017 nationwide Point-In-Time Count performed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—such fear is nothing new. They face it all the time. For them, and for the local agencies who struggle to help them find shelter, jobs and housing, the fires meant a horrifying catastrophe with an overwhelming aftershock: a new wave of residents suddenly competing for the already scarce housing available. Women are particularly vulnerable, and agencies in all three counties are struggling to help in the face of near overwhelming need.


    » read more

  • Vitality at Any Age

    In 2005, National Geographic magazine published a story entitled “The Secrets of a Long Life,” in which author Dan Buettner identified five geographic areas that are populated with the world’s longest-lived people. Coined “Blue Zones,” these areas not only have a high percentage of centenarians, but also ones that live healthy, fulfilled lives. They give new meaning to the term “Cent’ Anni,” a traditional Italian toast meaning “May you live 100 years.”


    » read more

North Bay News and Stories

Local Hero: Rob Giordano

Sonoma County Sheriff, Rob Giordano, began his career in law enforcement in 1989 after working as an auto mechanic—something he was involved in since the age of 14. He started as a police officer for the Pittsburg Police Department where he worked for seven years. In 2017, he was appointed as Sheriff.

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NorthBay biz

More than 40 years ago, three local journalists shared the belief that the North Bay, specifically Sonoma County, was poised for growth and change. In 1975, they joined forces and founded Sonoma Business, and for the next 25 years they reported on the business of doing business in the North Bay.

Is your Online Reputation Costing You Business?

Your best prospects are looking for businesses like yours online. We now live in a digital age where every business must have a strong online presence if it expects to retain and attract new customers.

(Part 1 and Part 2)

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Colleen FitzGerald

The pursuit and mastery of enology doesn’t start or end in the vineyard. For Colleen FitzGerald, enologist at Pine Ridge Vineyards in the Stags Leap District American Vineyard Appellation in Napa, enologists need sharp taste buds, long conversations with their winemakers and a heftily stamped passport to prove they have what it takes to become a master in their field.

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Going to the Dogs

Samuel Hubbard Shoe Company is so Marin it almost hurts.

It was started in a Mill Valley house, where a small group began designing the first Samuel Hubbard shoes and the company’s launch website. Its founder Bruce Katz is a serial entrepreneur. And for a recent catalog photo shoot, the company sent the models packing. Instead, they opted for real people and real dogs with a shout out to the Marin Humane Society.

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Shop Local

The holiday season is upon us in the North Bay, which means festive fun with family and friends, holiday decorations and delicious food, and of course, gifts. Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties are shopping meccas, and during the holiday season there is no shortage of shopping options. 

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Trading Post

 Originally a stagecoach stop known as Markleville, Cloverdale was incorporated when the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad arrived in 1872. Today, it’s part of Wine Country, within the Alexander Valley AVA, and over the years has maintained its charming small-town feel. On the corner of S. Cloverdale Boulevard and First Street in downtown Cloverdale, you’ll find the Trading Post—also known around town as “The Post”—a restaurant and bakery.

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Napa Rebounding

 Ask Napa County officials and community stakeholders what keeps them awake at night and they might cite the county’s lack of affordable housing, together with traffic congestion and desperately needed road repairs and upgrades. In October, out-of-control wildfires also added to their unease. 

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River City Living

As you drive northbound through the beautiful rolling hills of Marin County and southern Sonoma, Highway 101 takes you around one more turn and the grand view of the City of Petaluma opens up in front of you. Petaluma is a transliteration of the Coast Miwok phrase péta lúuma, which means hill backside. No matter which direction you view Petaluma from, the name is as obvious as the city is attractive.

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After the Fire

Recovery is only the beginning as Sonoma County and the North Bay looks towards a long period of hazard removal and rebuilding.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Noah Block

 Noah Block knows what it’s like to feel helpless and disconnected. A victim of bullying that began when he was in fourth grade, Block, 18, developed emotional problems that left him angry and depressed. That changed when he was 14 and had to do community service for school. He discovered YMCA Marin County Youth Court and began to feel that he could make a difference in the world. Since then, he’s helped scores of young people get back their power and reclaim their lives. 

December 2017 Eat

 A handmade pie is a love letter in the restaurant world. Hours spent making and proofing dough, slow-simmering sweet and savory ingredients and constant experimentation for the next big flavor combination makes for tiring work. It’s a niche business that requires passion and stamina, and the ladies at The Whole Pie exemplify that attitude in spades.

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In Focus

 When Troy and Connie Newton moved into their new home on Viewpointe Circle a year-and-a-half ago with their young son, Ryder, they knew right away they were settling into a special place. The neighbors dropped by with gifts and cards, and they were invited to monthly gatherings. “This is a neighborhood that looks out for each other,” says Troy, a detective and member of the SWAT team with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

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Local Hero

 Fire chief at Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and local hero, Loren Davis, has worked in the fire service more than 20 years. He entered the business after a bet on a basketball game to a friend and volunteer firefighter, which led him to join the Kenwood Volunteer Fire Department. Davis fell in love with his new career, and was eventually hired at Eldridge Fire Department in Glen Ellen. Davis was one of the first responders in October’s Tubbs Fire, where he and his crew from the Mountain Volunteer Fire Department were among the first on scene. 

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The Power of Love

Diversity is one of a community’s strengths and makes it richer, and yet it can be difficult to be inclusive and give everyone the opportunity to participate fully. In Marin County, nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in identifying unmet needs of underserved residents, while finding ways to reach out to them. And with more than 1,500 nonprofits working to give residents opportunities to better their lives better while making their own contributions, they’re at the core of a countywide spirit of altruism. The resources philanthropy provides are essential and support the good work, but it takes more than money. It requires a feeling of satisfaction on both sides if a mission is to succeed, and so creating meaningful liaisons that benefit everyone is a worthwhile endeavor.

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Marin Rebalancing

Marin County is in an enviable location, boasting mountains, coastal waters and rolling hills, close proximity to one of the world’s great cities and easy access to California’s north coast and Wine Country. At first glance, it seems ideal, but nothing is perfect. Sometimes the characteristics that are most appealing have a downside that an area has to address, if it is to grow sustainably and thrive.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Jacqueline Balletto

At 25 years old, Jacqueline Balletto is the tasting room and direct-to- consumer manager at her family winery, Balletto Vineyards. Was it her lifelong dream to join the family business? “No, not at all,” says Balletto. “I wanted to prove myself and go in my own direction, but everything kept leading me back to Balletto Vineyards.” 

Growing up in a farming family is a way of life, not just a part of life, says Balletto. She attended Fresno State university with a focus on agriculture business.

Out From Under the Ashes

Today is the first day in a week that I’ve sat down to write on my computer. This says something for someone who is incessantly tied to her devices and has been called a laptop whore on more than one occasion. I started this column a week ago on the heels of my twins’ fourth birthday bash in October that was held at Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, a fixture of an establishment on Tubbs Lane, which happens to grant locals a 50 percent discount on admission. 

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Sonoma Revisioning

Sonoma County is well ingrained in its sense of place, even in the wake of the devastating wildfires that hit the county in mid-October. While there will undoubtedly be a temporary dip in tourism post fires, the Sonoma lifestyle will continue to contribute to our growing tourism industry, as well as our growing population. From rugged coastline on the west, to rolling hills and sprawling vineyards to the east, Sonoma County has a plethora of attributes that make people want to visit and live here.

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Comstock Wines
Located on Dry Creek Road, Comstock Wines is a family-owned boutique winery that opened its doors for business in 2015 and is gaining a reputation for its elegant wines. Comstock is passionate about producing mostly single varietal wines, sourced from the finest Sonoma County grapes to showcase the true essence of the growing region.
 
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Leaders of Tomorrow: Jose Gomez

When Jose Gomez resurrected Novato High School’s chapter of Friday Night Live (FNL), he took on a challenge—convincing local liquor storeowners to make alcohol less attractive to teenagers. Gomez, 19, was a freshman, when he discovered FNL at a school club fair. FNL’s focus on developing leaders and encouraging healthy lifestyles, impressed him, so he joined and spent time raising awareness of issues related to teenage alcohol consumption and conducting a survey to find out if stores were aware of the laws. FNL disbanded after difficulties with a transition in leadership and the coordinator’s reassignment and was dormant for a year. However, Gomez and his friend, Jack Anderson, revived it when they were juniors, recognizing that alcohol and drugs are a majort part of teenage social life, and FNL could convince young people that booze and drugs aren’t the only way to have a good time.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Christopher Jackson

“I came back because I love the industry I’m in. Wine is biblical. It’s agricultural, scientific, business, legal and multicultural.”

These are the words of Christopher Jackson, proprietor of Stonestreet Vineyards in Alexander Valley. Son of legendary wine pioneers Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, Jackson grew up in a family inundated by the wine industry. With so much exposure to the winemaking process, it perhaps came as a surprise when Jackson announced he would be going into law school and become a lawyer.

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So What Causes Cancer Anyway

I met Maura Johnston two months ago. (Her name and patient details have been altered to protect anonymity.) She was an intriguing person, but what was most interesting was it seemed she\\\\\\\'d done everything “right” in her life, which I find unusual. She\\\\\\\'d grown up in the Bay Area with a supportive family, attended college and holds a challenging and rewarding job in marketing for a winery. Now 42, she has a loving husband and two daughters, ages 6 and 8.  Maura gets up early every morning to run four to five miles before heading to work. She had smoked “two cigarettes” in college, none since.  She enjoyed a glass of wine a few times a week, never more. No one in her family was ever diagnosed with cancer.

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Clint St. Martin

At 33, Clint St. Martin has been a hero most his life. He served in the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant and motor transport chief and deployed to Iraq in 2008. The North Bay native returned to Sonoma County and graduated with a degree in sociology from Sonoma State University. Longing for a sense of community andcamaraderie that the military provided, he joined the Mountain Volunteer Fire Department as afirefighter, engineer and certified emergency medical technician. 

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Courtny Conkle

Courtny Conkle, acting chief executive officer of the Sonoma-Marin Fair and exhibits manager of the Lake County Fair started in the state institutions early in life. In fact, it was about as early as early can be.

“I was born at a fair,” she says. “My mother went into labor, and the fair manager did everything in their power to get her comfortable and safely deliver me. I’m a fair child!”

This wasn’t the point where Conkle was recognized the youngest CEO of a state operated fair; that accolade would come when she accepted the post at just 21 years old.

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Adrien Halpin

Winery growth is symbiotic between the vines and the ones planting them. Enologists, winemakers and their field staff monitor soil conditions, weather, moisture and a myriad of other variables all year long, giving the vines their best chance to produce fruit worth the effort poured into them. As the staff tucks more harvests under their belts, the knowledge goes a long way to making vineyard improvements. That’s the track for Adrien Halpin, assistant winemaker at Odette Estate in Napa’s Stag’s Leap district. In 2012, when Halpin was hired, the winery itself was getting used to some new management.

The Blockchain Gang

There’s a lot of hype around blockchains these days. It all started with Bitcoin—a form of digital currency, which doesn’t require a central bank to operate. Bitcoin is like cash: it’s anonymous, and using it carries no transaction fees (unlike credit cards). Bitcoin (and to a lesser extent other digital currencies) has grown in popularity since that time, and increased in value. If you had bought a single Bitcoin in June of 2013, you would’ve paid $128.10. On October 1 of this year, that same, single bitcoin was worth $4,280.11, a 3,300 percent increase. (Bitcoin has been around since early 2009. In late 2009, the first exchange of real dollars for Bitcoins valued a Bitcoin at about 10 cents.) 

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Leaders of Tomorrow: Marco Montanez

Sixteen-year-old Marco Montanez of Healdsburg has a passion for heifers and hogs and all things livestock. As a cattle shower, Montanez has come a long way in the two years he’s been in the livestock industry. In 2015, Montanez dedicated his summer to helping a friend feed and care for his cattle in preparation for showing at the Sonoma County Fair.

“He taught me how to care for a heifer named Lucky and how to show her,” says Montanez. When it came time to show Lucky, Montanez took the bull by the horns and showed her in the ring for his friend.

 

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Craig Reid

Chief executive officer and president of Auberge Resorts Collection, Craig Reid, has been in the hospitality business for almost 40 years. A graduate from Westminster College in London with a degree in hotel management, Reid thinks of running hotels as a team sport. “I’m deeply proud of how many ‘championship teams’ I have been a part of,” he says. This year, Travel and Leisure voted Auberge Resorts Collection the third best brand in the world and the leading brand in the Americas. “For me, that’s the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl, and all the credit goes to our fabulous team.” 

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Blissful Beginnings

Welcoming a healthy baby into the world is one of life’s most precious moments. It’s a joyful time that comes with a feeling of accomplishment and wonder, and when the process of giving birth meets the parents’ expectations, it’s even more rewarding. Delivering that kind of satisfaction is the ultimate goal for the North Bay’s hospitals, and to achieve it, they are embracing knowledge and practices that focus on the physical and emotional health of mothers and their newborns, while also meeting their medical needs and keeping them safe.

Of Malls Mergers and Going to the Dogs

Merlone Geir Partners, which owns the Northgate Mall in San Rafael, would like to know how you feel about the place?

More to the point, they would like it if you felt the shopping center was a place you could call your own, a place for everyone to hang out.

The investment firm that bought the mall in January did a survey to help them “elevate” the mall and since the mall is a neighbor and I am a neighborly type of person, I took the survey. It covered some standard areas, how often you visit, why and what do you buy.

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The Unseen Damage

The fires that raged through Sonoma and Napa counties last October have the potential to create lasting psychological effects on individuals and communities, straining an already stressed mental health delivery system in the North Bay. Though not everyone experiences long-term effects, there are populations vulnerable to life-altering fallout such as anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Being Heart Safe
Imagine this: You’re in your office working at your desk and a coworker approaches in distress, collapsing in front of you. What would you do? Your mind would probably race: Is this a heart attack? Does anyone know CPR? Isn’t there a defibrillator somewhere? Where is it? Does it still work? Does anybody know how to use it? By now you’re shouting, “Call 9-1-1!” 
 
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Facetime

Americans are seeking out cosmetic and plastic surgery services in greater numbers than ever before. Statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveal that between 2000 and 2016, surgically and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures increased by 132 percent in the United States. Approximately 17.2 million procedures were performed in 2016 alone, an increase of 4 percent over 2015.

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Benovia Winery

Driving through the entrance of Benovia Winery on a warm autumn afternoon after the wildfires, you’d never guess this part of the country was making news around the globe 15 days earlier. The sky is wide and blue, the grapevines lush and golden, and the sweet smell of harvest lingers in the air. 

The last of the 2017 vintage was harvested a week before wildfires, and the three proprietors of Benovia are grateful for that, but this harvest season was bittersweet.
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Living on Edge

During the October fires, North Bay residents—with every smoky, noxious breath—were reminded that, our friends and neighbors were losing their homes. For the 5,152 people already homeless in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties—as counted in the 2017 nationwide Point-In-Time Count performed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—such fear is nothing new. They face it all the time. For them, and for the local agencies who struggle to help them find shelter, jobs and housing, the fires meant a horrifying catastrophe with an overwhelming aftershock: a new wave of residents suddenly competing for the already scarce housing available. Women are particularly vulnerable, and agencies in all three counties are struggling to help in the face of near overwhelming need.

So Long Norm and Joni

It was 2000 and I ran across the news that someone had purchased what was then known as Sonoma magazine. Since all things printed had already been declared DOA, I sent along a note of congratulations on the deal and wished them well. 

Wine Country Will Survive

The fires in Northern California Wine Country are tragic beyond comprehension and resulted in an obscenely too-high number of people losing their lives. Beyond the loss of life, thousands of families’ homes and hundreds of businesses were damaged or destroyed, and countless animals and forests have been decimated.

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Vitality at Any Age

In 2005, National Geographic magazine published a story entitled “The Secrets of a Long Life,” in which author Dan Buettner identified five geographic areas that are populated with the world’s longest-lived people. Coined “Blue Zones,” these areas not only have a high percentage of centenarians, but also ones that live healthy, fulfilled lives. They give new meaning to the term “Cent’ Anni,” a traditional Italian toast meaning “May you live 100 years.”

In this Issue

The Unseen Damage

The fires that raged through Sonoma and Napa counties last October have the potential to create lasting psychological effects on individuals and communities, straining an already stressed mental healt...

Being Heart Safe

Imagine this: You’re in your office working at your desk and a coworker approaches in distress, collapsing in front of you. What would you do? Your mind would probably race: Is this a heart atta...

How to Stay Fit and Healthy

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? That’s the question once posed by Satchel Paige, who became a legend in his lifetime, known as perhaps the best pitcher in baseball...

See all...