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May 19
2010

"Waking Sleeping Beauty"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in music , media , jobs , history , design , children , business , arts

Bruce Robinson

While the Disney animation studios were churning out hit films like Who Shot Roger Rabbit and Beauty and the Beast, there were backstage battles between artist and management, backbiting executives, and other industry intrigues playing out. Those stories are told in the new documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty.

Although their relevant experience had been in animation, Schneider (sen at left in his Disney days) says it was not a big stretch to create a documentary.

Disney has gone on to further animated success since 1994, but Schneider says that segment of the film industry looks a lot different—and a lot more populous—now.

Producer Peter Schneider will answer questions about Waking Sleeping Beauty  following the 7 pm screening on May 20 at the Rialto Cinema’s Lakeside.  See the trailer for the film below.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyeoyRjEiUU 360x240]

 

May 18
2010

Parenting Autism

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , students , Sonoma County , research , recreation , nonprofit orgs , medicine , lifestyle , jobs , healthcare , Health , families , education , children

Bruce Robinson

The incidence of autism is growing, now around 1 in every 110 births, a burgeoning epidemic that also carries huge consequences for the parents of those children.

Like many children diagnosed with autism, four-year old Peyton Price, shows few outward signs of the condition, which is most often expressed through unusual or unpredictable behaviors and difficulty with verbal communications. (Thanks to his mom, Jill, for sharing this photo.)

The CATS program at SSU offers several direct benefits to parents—trained child care, informational seminars, a directory of resources—but another asset is their opportunities to simply talk with one another, and learn from each other’s experiences. This father, who asked not to be identified, credits another mom with guiding his family into the complex world of specialized services for kids with autism.

With or  without huge medical bills, the demands of caring for a child with autism often require one parent to give up a job or career. And as these children grow older, their aging parents must also reconsider their own plans for retirement, a situation that now confronts Beth Farrar.

The following links offer additional information about autism:

The Autism Society of America

Autism Speaks

The Centers for Disease Control

The National Institute of Neurological  Disorders and Stroke

Autism.Answers.com 

 

 

 

Apr 21
2010

Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Rohnert Park , research , protest , policy , jobs , employment , California , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Critics of Wal-Mart who oppose the retail giant’s plans to expand in Rohnert Park are fighting an uphill battle, especially on labor issues, warns a University of California historian who has studied the company.

Knowing they will face local opposition in many communities, Nelson Lichtenstein (left)  observes that Wal-Mart has recently turned to a new tactic to minimize the regulatory review they must undergo—moving into existing but empty big box buildings.

That didn’t work so smoothly for the company in Santa Rosa, but the vacated space next to the already-established Wal-Mart in Rohnert Park apparently prompted their bid to expand into it.

In his recent book, The Retail Revolution, Lichtenstein  charts the history of Wal-Mart from its  origins in Arkansas and Alabama, detailing how the attitudes of founder Sam Walton became enmeshed into the core culture of the company. And, he says, they didn’t change as the retailer expanded and grew, and now lie at the heart of many of Wal-mart’s battles with local communities.

Opposition to the  proposed Wal-Mart Supcercenter in Rohnert Park (seen here in an artist's drawing of the project as it might look)  is being led by the Living Wage Coalition. The city's planning staff has recommended approval of the Environmental Impact Report for the expansion.  Read the full staff report here. The city's original approval for the store in 1991 allowed the store to occupy up to 225,500 square feet; is it currently using just 131,500 square feet, and the proposed Supercenter would increase that to just under 178,000 square feet.

 

Apr 06
2010

Stimulus jobs

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , jobs , government , finances , employment , economy , current events , Congress , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

Federal stimulus money is quietly funding subsidized job placements in Sonoma County.

One the funding was released to the local program, it took only a few weeks to begin working. Conner clearly recalls the first person they were able to get hired.

In some cases, explains Fran Conner, the federally subsidized employment program covers the employer’s full cost of hiring the new worker. But even in those other cases, the substantial major of the workers’ wages are reimbursed.

Employers who are interested in participating in this program are invited to contact Karen McCarty, the Subsidized Employment Coordinator, at (707) 523-0550, extension 214. Job seekers should contact either Kirsten Gardner (707) 565-8543 or Isabel Garciabedoya-Melara (707) 565-8559.

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