Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , volunteer , teens , students , speaker , public safety , musician , music , law enforcement , jail , gangs , education , children , California , author , arts
Only a few things can transcend the histories and circumstances of the hardened inmates at San Quentin prison. Music is one of them.
Sebastopol guitarist and youth advocate Buzzy Martin will read from his book and talk about his experiences at Copperfield's Books in Sebstopol, Thursday evening, September 16 at 7 pm.
Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , Sonoma County , research , Marin , law enforcement , history , farms , author , animals , agriculture
Branding cattle may evoke images of the old west a century ago, but it’s a still-active part of agriculture in the North Bay, with a lengthy history here, too.
Just as they were a century again, brands are used today to identify the legal owners of not just cattle, but horses, mules, burros, sheep and swine.
Ernie Ongaro (right) grew up on his family’s ranch along San Anselmo Creek, and began helping with the livestock branding at the age of 10. These days, he lives and raises beef cattle southwest of Sebastopol. Over the years he’s seen many familiar local brands go inactive (but his book includes both active and inactive brands from Marin and Sonoma counties). He’s also seen the shady practice of “overbranding” employed all the way into the present day.
You can see an array of sample brands below.
Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , law enforcement , journalism , investigation , international , government , author , animals
The burgeoning illegal trade in rare and endangered animals isn’t good for them, or their native eco-systems, and it’s often problematic for the people who want to own the creatures.
Who are the people who want to own illegal and sometimes dangerous exotic pets? West County-based journalist Peter Laufer reports that they generally are one of two types.
Another issue that Laufer explores in his book is private, often illegal, breeding farms for endangered animals such as tigers, which raise difficult questions about the future of such species.
Despite the odd characters and sometimes shocking vignettes that are part of Forbidden Creatures, Laufer says he sees it overall as a sort of cautionary tale.
The cover art and other tangible aspects of his book are featured in an essay Laufer contributed to the North Bay Bohemian.
The following is a promotional blurb from the author's website for Forbidden Creatures:
On the heels of his acclaimed The Dangerous World of Butterflies, Peter Laufer chronicled his worldwide quest to penetrate the underworld of international animal smuggling. In Forbidden Creatures, Laufer exposes the network of hunters, traders, breeders, and customers who constitute this nefarious business—which, estimated at $10 to $20 billion annually, competes with illegal drug and weapons trafficking in the money it earns criminals.
Laufer asks: What is being smuggled, from where and why? What is being done to stop the illegal trading and irresponsible breeding? Taking readers to exotic and often lawless locales, Laufer introduces brazen and dangerous traders and wealthy customers whose greed and mindless self-interest perpetuate what is now a crisis of survival for a growing number of wild species.
Woven throughout with riveting stories from law enforcement officials and federal prosecutors, Forbidden Creatures is a compelling, first-person narrative written in Laufer’s hallmark conversational, entertaining style.
Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , volunteer , students , Santa Rosa , public safety , law enforcement , events , education
There were no real “bad guys” loose on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus yesterday, but five dozen real police officers were there to train in tracking and capturing some simulated shooters.
The SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team training exercises took place behind yellow police taped barriers, well out of sight of any members of the public and even the few reporters allowed in. But Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Mike Tosti says the citiznery will benefit from what they could not see.
SRJC Police Cadet Corrine Linder, who volunteers to be part of the emergency response scenarios, said she felt her regular training and experience had equipped her well for the day’s exercises.
Click here to see photographs from the training exercise taken by the Press Democrat's Jeff Kan Lee.
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