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Law has streamlined hundreds of affordable housing units in Sonoma County

in Housing

Five hundred and twelve.

That’s how many affordable housing units have been approved in Sonoma County under state Senate Bill 35, a 2017 law that made it easier for developers to get entitlements to build below-market rate, multi-unit housing.

Many say the law — which allows developers to bypass certain steps in the process of getting their approvals — is a powerful means to create sorely needed affordable housing for residents being priced out of the county.

In Santa Rosa, for example, four approved SB 35 projects with a combined 336 units of affordable housing represent about a quarter of the affordable units completed within the past two years, currently under construction or approved and pending construction in the city.

“Overall, SB 35 has been an incredibly effective tool when it comes to streamlining affordable housing development in Sonoma County,” said Calum Weeks, policy director of Generation Housing, a North Bay affordable housing research and advocacy group.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Sonoma County Hosting Health Resource Fair

in Community/Health

SONOMA COUNTY, CA — Sonoma County announced is hosting a Health Resource Fair in partnership with local health care providers and community organizations Saturday, April 8, at Mitote Food Park, 635 Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa.

The Health Resource Fair, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will provide support, information and resources concerning a variety of health and safety issues, including COVID-19, women’s health, nutrition, diabetes, poison control, tobacco use and disaster preparedness.

The fair is free to the public and visitors can receive services such as blood pressure and random glucose screening, acupuncture, as well as assistance signing up for Medi-Cal, MediCare and CalFresh. COVID-19 at-home tests will be distributed by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, however, no vaccine shots will be available.

Continue Reading on Patch

Sonoma County volunteer opportunities

in Community

Alzheimer’s Association

Join the Walk To End Alzheimer’s volunteer committee

The Alzheimer’s Association is looking for volunteers to help promote the annual Sonoma-Marin Walk To End Alzheimer’s set for Oct. 7 at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park. Duties include recruiting new teams to participate and building public awareness of the event. The volunteer committee meets virtually on the first Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. but attendance is not required to help out.

For more information, contact walk manager Rebecca Halloran at rmhalloran@alz.org or 707-273-1620.

Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership

Volunteer at Climate Impact Wildfire Prevention events

In partnership with California Climate Action Corps, the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership has launched wildfire prevention projects in Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Through May, volunteers can attend various Days of Service events where they will remove fire-prone vegetation and help make the community better protected against fire.

To join the volunteer list and get notified about upcoming events, go to bit.ly/3WB9QJc.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Benefield: Weird (required) booze boundary dropped at popular Santa Rosa food park

in Community/Drinks

To some, it might be a small change; a sign removed.

But the sign had four exclamation points and it was taken seriously: “No alcoholic beverages beyond this point!!!!”

So when the sign came down, there was a certain amount of celebration in some circles.

No longer is there a line of demarcation in the middle of the wildly popular Mitote Food Park delineating where customers can drink a beer and where they cannot.

The folks at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the agency that required Mitote have the odd booze boundary, dropped that requirement last week.

“We are excited,” Mitote operations manager Al Lerma said.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Sonoma County Opens New Community Support Centers to Serve Residents Impacted by Storms

in Community

Sonoma County opened two new community support centers in Bodega Bay and Guerneville today, and will open one Monday in Occidental to serve residents who have been impacted by the winter storms. The centers, which are staffed by county officials, are in addition to one location that opened Saturday at Fort Ross State Historic Park in Jenner.

Continue Reading on the Sonoma County Website

Fountaingrove’s Altruria community was a utopian dream in 1890s

in Community

Altruria was once a fictional place that briefly became real in the 1890s, northeast of Santa Rosa. The name came from a popular book, “A Traveler from Altruria,” by William Dean Howell.

The imaginary Altruria was founded on altruistic ideals supported by a political system called “ethical socialism.” The idea had grown from the work of French philosopher Auguste Comte, who coined the term from the Latin “alter,: meaning “other.” The central concept of Comte’s “altruism” is “living for the sake of others.”

Many found Dean’s Altruria a compelling place. The story’s appearance, initially in Cosmopolitan magazine, inspired the establishment of Altrurian Clubs in California and elsewhere.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Looking for a place to send the kids over Winter Break? Sonoma Ecology Center camp

in Community

Winter break can leave kids stir crazy until Christmas, but this outdoor winter camp might solve that dilemma.

The Sonoma Ecology Center is hosting its annual Winterbreak Camp from Dec.19 to Dec. 20. The center’s staff will lead the kids in two days of fun, learning and outdoor activities at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

All attendees will have the opportunity to participate in nature hikes and activities that excite their imagination and teach them about the different creatures within the park.

Continue Reading on Sonoma News

What you need to know about half-replaced utility poles in your neighborhood and how to get them removed

in Community

Recently, I wrote about incomplete utility pole upgrades after a Santa Rosa resident wrote in about pieces of old poles and equipment left hanging—literally—long after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. came through and installed new replacements in her neighborhood.

It turns out it’s a subject that’s been on a lot of your minds and an issue that extends far beyond a Bennett Valley street corner.

“I had been wondering about the exact same thing. It concerned me as well,” one woman wrote me. “We had fire come into our Skyhawk neighborhood this last go around so we’re all on high alert. We need things done right with safety in mind.”

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Sonoma County volunteer opportunities

in Community

By the Bay Health
Sonoma County patient care volunteer needed.

By the Bay Health in Sonoma is in search of volunteers to help care for the elderly by providing companionship and support. In-depth training is provided. Volunteers are required to work two to four hour per week for at least one year and complete 30 hours of online and classroom training.

For more information, go to bit.ly/3Gjy7i9.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa nonprofit celebrates decade of sharing stories, dreams of immigrants

in Community

“I’m just a young guy, trying to make a living and growing up in a country that is my home, the only home I’ve known.”

Those are the words of Diego, a Mexican immigrant and DACA recipient profiled in one of the films made by the Santa Rosa-based nonprofit My American Dreams Foundation. The local group makes films for PBS and other media that tell compelling stories of immigrants – young people with DACA, persons deported from the U.S., and refugees from violence and terror in their home countries.

This month, My American Dreams celebrates ten years of nonprofit advocacy on behalf of immigrants. Its films have been primarily about North Bay immigrants and have are promoted by local PBS affiliate KRCB / Northern California Public Media. The producer of their films is Rhian Miller, a professional filmmaker with 25 years of experience working with PBS, who lives in Monte Rio.

Continue Reading on Sonoma County Gazette

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