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Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa City Council advances veterans housing project in Roseland area over neighbors’ opposition

in Housing
The Santa Rosa City Council rejected an appeal of a veterans hosing project on West Hearn Ave. filed by surrounding neighbors, overriding local residents’ concerns about development. The home is a veterans treatment facility, Friday, March 18, 2022. (The Press Democrat) 2022

The Santa Rosa City Council rejected an appeal by neighbors of a veterans housing project in the Roseland area in a 5-2 vote this week, the latest move by the council to override some residents’ concerns about development in the southwestern part of the city in favor of new housing.

The project at 2149 West Hearn Ave. would provide rooms for 32 homeless veterans.

The neighborhood group that filed the appeal contends the project will harm the environment while degrading the rural character of the surrounding community.

The two council members voting in favor of the appeal were Vice Mayor Eddie Alvarez and Councilwoman Natalie Rogers, who represent southwest Santa Rosa. During Tuesday’s council meeting, they voiced support for local veterans but called for new development plans that take into account neighbors’ concerns.

“Our veterans have been to war. They’ve been deployed. They’ve been where people don’t want them,” Rogers said. “I don’t want them to move into a neighborhood where that is the case. I want them to move into a neighborhood where people are welcoming them with open arms.”

Continue Reading on the The Press Democrat

Burlington plans to open Santa Rosa discount clothing store this spring

in Business
Burlington Stores discount clothing store is set to fill the shuttered Office Depot location in Santa Rosa Marketplace, seen here before it closed a few years ago, in spring 2022. The Santa Rosa store will be one of the new smaller-format locations the New Jersey company plans to focus growth on for “higher sales productivity” in coming years. (Keegan & Coppin Co. Inc. photo)

Burlington Stores (NYSE: BURL) plans to open a 31,000-square-foot Santa Rosa store this spring, part of a nationwide expansion of smaller locations.

The New Jersey-based discount clothing retailer sees this as supportable especially because of inflationary pressure on household budgets. Burlington focuses on in-season, fashion-focused merchandise, intended to be significantly below other retailers’ prices. Products include women’s ready-to-wear apparel, menswear, youth apparel, baby, beauty, footwear, accessories, home, toys, gifts and coats.

The coming Santa Rosa location will be in a shuttered Office Depot site at 1960 Santa Rosa Ave. in the Santa Rosa Marketplace power center. It would be Burlington’s third in the North Bay and 94th in California, a company spokesperson confirmed. Burlington also has stores in Rohnert Park and Vacaville.

CEO Michael O’Sullivan said on a March 3 financial-results conference call that the higher-inflation environment could be a risk to the company as lower-income consumers are stressed to pay for more-expensive food, gas and other essentials. But it also could be a “big opportunity” for Burlington, as off-price retail historically has done well in such an economic environment as consumers trade down.

“Usually in times of economic stress when consumers are under pressure, their natural and rational reaction is to focus even more heavily on finding great value,” O’Sullivan said, according to a transcript by Seeking Alpha.

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

NOAA: California drought continues for 3rd year as ‘driest on record’

in Weather

It’s official. California faces a “prolonged, persistent drought” that will “elevate the risk of wildfire across the West,” the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday in its spring outlook that runs through June.

Following three-year precipitation levels that were the “driest on record” for Central California since measurements started in 1922, the “low snowpack going into the dry time of year in May and June” isn’t helping, as NOAA’s meteorologist Brad Pugh pointed out on a virtual press conference call. “This sets the stage for wildfire activity.”

Pugh singled out the Bay Area as an area where “the concern is quite high as we go into spring and early summer” in respect to wildfire danger and water resources drying up.

“We’re running out of time to make up for any precipitation deficit,” he said.

Despite atmospheric river downpours in October and December, January and February were well below normal in producing any type of ground drenching.

Continue Reading on North Bay Business Journal

Sonoma County court interpreters join regional walkout for better pay, conditions

in News
Sonoma and Napa county courthouse employees (from left) Maria Galvez, Monica Aparicio, Elva Murillo-Nunez, and Christina Guerrero Harmon pose in front of the Sonoma County Civil and Family Law Courthouse on March 11, 2022.

Spanish language interpreters at the Sonoma County courthouse joined a regionwide walkout Friday over wages and working conditions, leaving courtrooms without trained professionals to translate for defendants, victims and witnesses who do not speak English.

While the local steward for the California Federation of Interpreters told The Press Democrat that the action was “not a full strike,” she did not share when interpreters would return to the courthouse to provide their services.

“Basically, we’re just really unhappy that the courts are unwilling to sit down and present a meaningful counteroffer” to the union’s contract proposals, steward Christina Guerrero Harmon said.

Interpreters are asking, she said, for wages that reflect “the cost of living, inflation rates and, also, all the work we did during the pandemic as front-line workers.“

In an email, a spokesman for the state court system’s Bay Area division said a meeting was set for next Wednesday after the union requested to return to the bargaining table.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

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

Climbing, swinging, sliding returns to hidden gem of playground in Santa Rosa

in Entertainment/Outdoor & Recreation
With community input on the design, a new $300,000 playground boasting the latest in play equipment, opened in late February at Colgan Creek Neighborhood Park in Southeast Santa Rosa.

The playground was damaged during a 2016 car accident and was replaced this winter.

The playground includes the impressive “Crab Trap” climber, one of only three in Northern California.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa makes list of America’s happiest cities

in Community

Santa Rosa is the 14th happiest city in the United States, according to a report published March 1, 2022.

The report by WalletHub examined more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities to determine which were home to the happiest people.

Each city was given a ranking based on 30 key indicators of happiness, ranging from the depression rate to the income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day.

These indicators were sorted into three categories: emotional and physical wellbeing, income and employment, and community and environment.

The emotional and physical wellbeing category included factors such as adequate sleep, food security and suicide rates.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Gas prices reach record level for California as Sonoma County drivers see $5.22 per gallon average

in Gasoline/Transportation
A motorist pauses at a gas station displaying higher gasoline prices at a Chevron station downtown Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. Gas prices are up nearly 40% from a year ago and more than 6% over the past month, according to AAA. Suspending the federal tax of 18.4 cents a gallon would not offset the price increases that occurred recently as Russia threated Ukraine. And there is no guarantee that energy companies would pass all of the savings on to consumers. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

A gallon of regular unleaded fuel cost $5.59 Friday night at the Chevron station at Mendocino Avenue and Steele Lane in Santa Rosa.

Its pumps were bare as motorists flocked across the street to Safeway where they could find a relatively better deal of $5.09 per gallon.

“It’s pathetic that that’s considered cheap,” Healdsburg resident Luke Marshall, 52, said as he filled his Toyota Corolla. “I’m filling up before prices get worse. Then I’m going nowhere all weekend just because.”

Sonoma County residents are paying an average $5.22 per gallon of gas as the price for fuel in California has reached a record level amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, AAA reported on Friday.

“We are paying an arm and a leg for gas,” noted Aldo Vazquez, a spokesman for AAA Northern California. The state average was $5.07 per gallon, which set a record, Vazquez added.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa accepting applications for emergency rental aid

in Community

The city of Santa Rosa is accepting applications this month for emergency rental aid meant to help tenants struggling to cover housing costs.

Applications, due by March 31, place qualifying renters on a waiting list for the federally supported HOME Rental Assistance program, which typically covers 60-70% of monthly housing costs for up to two years.

To be eligible, applicants must meet income requirements capped at $48,900 for an individual up to $92,160 for a family of eight.

Continue Reading on The Press Democrat

Day care camp operated by city of Santa Rosa offers a leg up on distance learning

in News/Schools
Kent Porter / The Press Democrat
Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

Finley Community Center remains closed to the general public, but passersby might spy children playing around the Santa Rosa complex on weekday afternoons.

One recent day, a group of children were out on the grass, gleefully throwing freshly sanitized dodgeballs, supervised by a pair of adults. A few yards away on the other side of a metal fence, about two dozen others were splashing in the Finley Aquatic Center pool, with a floating rope dividing the waters to keep each group of 12 separated.

Only hours earlier, all 96 students were seated, socially distanced, in makeshift classrooms at the Finley Community Center, working on whatever their teacher on the other side of a Zoom call might have assigned them.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat


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