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Santa Rosa California

2 years later: COVID’s impact on California North Coast economy

in Covid
In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, a temporarily closed sign is posted outside the entrance to the Georges De Latour Reserve Tasting Room at the Beaulieu Vineyard winery in Rutherford, Calif. Wineries in the Napa Valley are closed due to coronavirus restrictions expect for production, but some allow customers to pick up shipments of wine and for direct purchases. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As the coronavirus pandemic entered its third year, some metrics for the health of the North Bay economy such as overall employment are nearly back to where they were before mid-March 2020.

So the Business Journal compared local counties with similar populations but different public health responses and outcomes. And we checked in with key figures in local industry to see how their businesses have endured the unprecedented threats to life and livelihood.

Sonoma and Solano counties: Different COVID approaches but similar outcomes

Sonoma has been among the California counties with the most proactive public health measures in the past two years, while Solano County has resisted measures.

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

Affordable housing projects in Santa Rosa, Windsor awarded $24 million in state loans

in Housing
This rendering shows a planned 54-unit housing development for Kashia tribal members at 10221 Old Redwood Highway.

Two large housing developments in Santa Rosa and Windsor will together receive $24 million in low-interest loans from the state to create over 100 affordable units, the California Department of Housing and Community Development announced this week.

More than $8.5 million will go to the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria to help finance a 54-unit complex for low-income tribal members in Windsor. The site at 10221 Old Redwood Highway will also serve as the tribe’s headquarters.

In October, Burbank Housing, the local affordable developer in charge of the project, said it expected financing to take about a year and construction another 18 months. The total cost was unclear since the project was early in development.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Sonoma County’s Mercy Wellness free medical cannabis program a team effort with Mendocino County grower, Oakland distributor

in News

Mercy Wellness is teaming up with an East Bay cannabis producer and Mendocino County grower in doling out free medicinal marijuana.

Under the “Compassion Donation” program, the dispensary company started giving away free cannabis last June at its Cotati location and three months later at its Santa Rosa retail outlet, which opened last May. Since mid-2021, the dispensary has donated about $50,000 worth of cannabis product.

The concept behind the compassion program came about from California Senate Bill 34, named the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act. It allows licensed retailers to provide free cannabis to medicinal patients or their primary caregivers, upon meeting specified requirements.

The bill authorizes those licensees to contract with a sanctioned “individual or organization to coordinate the provision of free medicinal cannabis and medicinal cannabis products on the retailer’s premises,” the bill’s language reads. The bill, signed into law in October 2019, expires in five years.

“The whole effort was centered on compassion,” Mercy Wellness Director of Procurement Joe Sullivan told the Business Journal. “And the compassion program is a way to give back.”

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

Gas prices hitting new heights in Sonoma County and beyond. Here’s why

in Gasoline
At the Safeway gas station on Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa, a driver for KAG West gets ready to top of underground gas tanks, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. The declined to give his name. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2022

The thought of paying $5 for a gallon of gas once seemed far fetched, but these days Sonoma County drivers are now enduring the reality of spending closer to $6 per gallon.

The North Bay, like other parts of California and the country, can only watch gasoline prices skyrocket as the world oil market continues to be shaken by Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.

As of Tuesday, the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded fuel at stations across the region varied from $5.19 to as much as $6.39, according to gasbuddy.com.

Higher-priced gas stations, such as Chevron and Shell, saw very little business, while lines of consumers stretched from less-expensive spots run by Safeway and Costco.

Windsor resident Martin Woods, 58, was among the few drivers pumping fuel for $6.39 per gallon at the Santa Rosa Chevron at Mendocino Avenue and Steele Lane Tuesday evening. He said he was reluctantly showing loyalty to his regular fuel stop.

“Last week I paid about $40 for a tank, now it’s nearly $70,” he said as he topped off his Kia Forte. “I’m not sure how long I can do this. I hope everything gets better soon over there (in Europe).”

Continue Reading on Sonoma News

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