North Bay Report

ghost-towns-cover-artCalifornia has an abundance of historic ghost towns, including a handful around the edge of San Francisco Bay, some familiar places you may not have thought of on those terms before.

VarneyDespite the holiday on the horizon, Phillip Varney, author of Ghost Towns of California and other books about these largely forgotten communities, says that in his experience, any ghosts lingering in them are mostly metaphorical. Mostly.

Below, the remains of the warden's home on Alcatraz Island.


cadspBeer and winemakers can have onsite tastings and sales, but small makers of specialty distilled spirits can't. So they're trying to get changes made to the law they see as discriminatory.

HartunianThe regulations that restrict tasting and sales of distilled spirits in California have been on the books for decades, says Arthur Hartunian, president of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild. So long, in fact, that the rationale behind them has long since been lost.

TasteCAAnother reason changes are needed, Hartunian adds, is because the current rules are not internally consistent.

In an effort to build support for their cause, says California Street Distributors principal Adam Spiegel, an online petition drive has been launched, under the banner "Taste California."








deferred actionA new federal program allows undocumented young people between the ages of 15 and 30 protection from deportation and a chance to obtain work permits, social security numbers, even drivers licenses. But accomplishing that isn't easy.

GuzmanJesus GuzmanAssembling the full application packet for consideration under the Deferred Action program is a complex and time-consuming process. Part of that, explains Jesus Guzman of the Dream Alliance of Sonoma County, involves waiting for key documents from both the consulate of the applicant's home country, and transcripts from American schools.

Sandy V        Sandy ValencianoIn addition to preparing her own Deferred Action application, Sandy Valenciano has been helping numerous other families through the process, often helping translate both basic English and bureaucratic jargon.

Through her involvement and encouragement of other applicants, Valenciano says she as recognized many similarities in their personal stories.







Explaining the workIn Northern California organic food comes with a sheen of luxury, but that’s not the case everywhere in the world. Farmers in southern Zimbabwe have abandoned monocultures and fertilizers to embrace more “organic” methods, finding them less expensive and more practical. Abraham Ndhlovu is a Zimbabwean farmer currently visiting the Bay Area to share his decades of experience with farmers, researchers, students and KRCB’s Danielle Venton.

Ndhlovu has been involved in local research for 30 years, along with Ken Wilson, of the Christensen Fund. Wilson says that agricultural solutions are different from place to place, but they tend to "rhyme with each other."

image002Abraham and Ken say that Brock Dolman, director of the Water Institute at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, reminds them of a Zimbabwean friend: Mr. Phiri (pictured above, right). They're both creatively managing water on their land. In the photo at the left, Abraham Ndhlovu (right) interviews two fishermen, Mr. Peto (center) and Mr. Chikombeka (left,) about the changing hydrology of the local Runde river and its impact on the fishery. (Images courtesy of Ken Wilson.)

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