North Bay Voice

Red-Cross-Wildfire-AppThe American Red Cross has released its official Wildfire App, putting lifesaving information directly into the hands of people who live in or who visit wildfire prone areas. This free app—available in English or Spanish—is for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. Given numerous fires in the North Bay in recent months, the app could have significant impact in this area, especially in rural, isolated areas.

"The Wildfire App gives North Bay residents instant access to our 'Blaze Tracker' features so they can prepare their households and businesses and make critical decisions that can save lives." said Tim Miller, Regional CEO. Just since early August, there have been four significant fires responded to by local Red Cross volunteers.
• August 13, the Wye Fire in Lake County,
• August 26, the North Pass Fire in Mendocino County
• September 7, the Scotts Fire in Lake County
• October 18, the 29 Fire in Lake County.

Wildfire3The Wildfire App includes the "Blaze Tracker" trio of features-which can be customized for alerts specific to locations where they live, travel or have loved ones:
o "Blaze Warnings" which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires;
o "Blaze Alerts" inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored;
o "Blaze Path" from which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire's perimeter, how it has spread and the fire's current location when available.

The app also provides comprehensive reporting of all wildfire activity for every geographic area in the United States; and One touch "I'm safe" messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm's way.
The Wildfire App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

This year, the national Red Cross has launched 11 major wildfire relief operations spanning 10 states. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of October 4, wildfires have burned 8.8 million acres in the United States this year. The Wildfire App comes after the highly successful First Aid, Hurricane and Earthquake Apps, which have more than 1.2 million users.

The Wildfire App comes after the highly successful First Aid, Hurricane and Earthquake Apps, which have more than 1.2 million users.

ThresholdThe Share Exchange has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Threshold Foundation, in support of the Exchange's pioneering work in building resilient communities.

The grant will be allocated to the Local Economy Institute (LEI), a project of the Santa Rosa-based Share Exchange, to work on the development of local economies, to perform research and economic analysis, and to engage in training and skill development for community stakeholders.

"This funding from Threshold will enable us to pursue some new projects, including the expansion of our business incubator, and the development of a workshop on forming cooperatives," said Kelley Rajala, the founder of the Share Exchange and directing partner of the Local Economy Institute.

The Local Economy Institute offers consulting services and training in the areas of local economics, business innovation, environmental sustainability and quality of life.

share-exchange-webRajala and her colleagues at the LEI see a need to engage communities and raise awareness about the benefits of local economic development.
"As petroleum and natural resources become more precious, as the unemployment rate remains high, and as Wall Street looks more like a casino than a safe place to put our nest eggs, it doesn't appear that the business-as-usual way of thinking is meeting our needs," Rajala explains. "We are interested in the shifts we can make individually, and the shifts our towns and cities can make to become resilient and offer connectivity and a positive quality of life."

LEI has contracted with municipal agencies and other groups to determine best strategies for creating sustainable local economies. LEI Partner and urban economic analyst Joanne Brion adds, "We ask questions, like, how can we fund small businesses- and how do we invest in local creativity and innovation? What assistance do entrepreneurs need and how can the cooperative business model play a role in economic development?"

Rajala and Brion believe it is crucial for communities to discover existing resources – human and natural capital - in order to harness innovative problem-solving. Rajala states, "We use a variety of tools, like community mapping, to help a city or town uncover its own economic vitality. There are dynamic and powerful solutions that are unique for each community. Our Institute is happy to help uncover those solutions." -615x245Greg Sarris, leader of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancharia, today announced additional commitments for sharing the proceeds from the tribe's new casino, current under construction at the western edge of Rohnert Park.

Speaking to a warmly receptive crowd at the opening session of this year's annual Bioneers Conference at the Marin Civic Center, Sarris outlined new agreements to share $50 million or more each year with county parks and Open Space, the Indian Health Center in Santa Rosa, and the members of "non-gaming tribes" in the North Bay and elsewhere. He did not say when any of these payments would begin.

SarrisDwarfed by the video image of himself, Greg Sarris addresses the opening session of the 2012 Bioneers Conference at the Marin Civic Center Friday morning.Acknowledging that his tribe's decision to build and operate a casino was unpopular with many in Sonoma County, Sarris said an underlying ethic for it was the question, "Can we do something that would benefit Indian and non-Indian alike? Is this possible?"
In a partial answer, he listed a series of annual gifts the Graton Rancharia will make out of the casino's proceeds:

--$6.7 million to a new Community Benefit Fund in Sonoma County
--$25 million to Sonoma County Parks and Open Space.
--$5 million in support of an additional environmental issue, to be selected jointly each year by the tribe and county supervisors.
--$3 million each to two non-gaming tribes in the North Bay. He did not name them.
--$2 million to the Indian Health Center.
--$12 million to additional non-gaming tribes outside of the North Bay area.


Any additional proceeds, Sarris said, will go "back to the county for other environmental issues." 

The tribve had previously committed to giving the City of Rohnert Park $97 million annually for public safety and other municipal services.

"I'm hoping that other organizations will follow this model," he added.


The tribal leader also revealed new plans for lands owned by the Rancharia north of Highway 37. That 238 acres will be given to LandPaths, he said, to be used to establish a new organic farm. With labor provided by low-risk jail inmates and undocumented immigrants in the region the produce would then be "sold at cost in low income neighborhoods," where fresh fruits and vegetables are often hard to find.

This approach is a sharp departure from the practices of other California tribes that have casinos, something Sarris said he had discussed with their leadership, who expressed skepticism.

"They said',We don't owe the white man anything'," he told the crowd. "And I said yes, we do. They said what. And I said, a good example."







frack protestAn environmenta; group has sued to stop he controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, widely known as "fracking," in California. Lori Abbot has the story,

DFGA convicted abalone poacher who was sentenced recently to probation and a fine also lost his ability to get a California fishing license for the rest of his life.

Paul Chak Po Mak, 62, of Oakland, was arrested and cited by Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens after taking more than the bag limit of red abalone from the Mendocino County coastline. The Mendocino County Superior Court sentenced Mak to three years probation and fined him $15,000.

His early October sentencing was the latest is a series of heavy fines and penalties levied on abalone poachers in Mendocino County that included permanent fishing license revocations.

poached300x300Between April 23 and May 21, 2012, California game wardens observed Paul Chak Po Mak take 52 red abalone, and Samuel Xing Sin, 41, also from Oakland, take 32 red abalone from the Mendocino County coastline. The seasonal bag limit for red abalone is 24.  The men harvested the abalone for the purpose of unlawful sale on the black market. Both men have previous abalone poaching-related convictions in Mendocino County.

Additionally, Samuel Sin and four other men were recently sentenced in a separate abalone poaching case stemming from a November 2011 arrest. In that case, a warden contacted Sin at Agate Cove in Mendocino County where he and his associates took 24 abalone to sell on the black market. It is unlawful to sell abalone harvested under the authority of a recreational fishing license, or to harvest abalone for commercial purposes from the wild in California.

The Mendocino County Superior Court found the following:

  • §Samuel Sin - Guilty of conspiracy and possession of abalone for commercial sales. He was fined $35,000 put on formal probation for five years, and the court revoked his fishing license for the rest of his life.
  • §Paul Chak Po Mak – Guilty of possession of abalone for commercial sales. He was fined $15,000, put on formal probation for three years, and the court revoked his fishing license for the rest of his life. Mak also pled no contest to his probation violation in Sonoma County for a previous abalone poaching conviction.
  • §Xiao Chen - Guilty of possession of abalone for commercial sales. He was fined $15,000 and put on formal probation for three years, and the court revoked his fishing license for the rest of his life.
  • §Yaowei Chen - Guilty of possession of abalone for commercial sales. He was fined $15,000 put on formal probation for three years, and the court revoked his fishing license for the rest of his life.
  • §See Ping Bob Ng - Guilty of conspiracy and possession of abalone for commercial sales. He was fined $25,000 put on formal probation for five years, and the court revoked his fishing license for the rest of his life. 

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