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June 24, 2019
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Music alive in Cotati Elder abuse rising in So Co School board follows its policy Doggone hot days are here! Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Verity is hiring to work with survivors Would you make a great foster parent? Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. New fire station gets final direction Cotati fills Planning Commission Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Illegal robocalls and spoofing Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Cotati’s code of conduct RP moves to curb false alarms Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening SSU named one of the best universities Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks Students almost ready for kindergarten Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

How cat owners can help save the sea otter

By: Elspeth Wood
December 7, 2012


The California Sea Otter could possibly be one of the cutest sea creatures in the ocean.

The Sea Otter has always had a special relationship with humans. They are pint-size pranksters that exude charisma. They are extremely intelligent and very curious. The bright shiny eyes, expressive face and soft furry body make the California Sea Otter a local favorite. Sea Otter colonies range from Japan, along the coast of Siberia and the Aleutian chain and down to Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and of course, California.

As few as 2,800 of them call California’s waters their home. The California population descends from a single remaining colony of about 50 otters hidden within the crags of Big Sur. They have a very important niche in the beautiful California near-shore ecosystem by keeping kelp forests healthy by eating urchins that can overgraze.

What do cat owners have to do with sea otters, you ask? Recently, the population size of sea otters has been declining in response to changes in environmental conditions. One major reason for this, among others, are parasites called toxoplasma gondii known to breed in cats. Scientists hypothesize some sea otters may be dying because coastal area cat owners flush used, feces-laden cat litter down their toilets, use it as compost, and dump it in storm drains.

Any pollutants on our streets, business lots, farms, vineyards, driveways and yards pour into the ocean after it rains. Some of the major offenders are motor oil, gasoline, paint and painting equipment wash water residue, animal refuse, farm, vineyard, garden and yard pesticides, and soap suds from washing cars in the driveway. The fact is sea otters feed close to the shore, which makes them vulnerable to these pollutants in coastal waters.

According to Christina S. Johnson, a science writer for California Sea Grant, the scientists' best guess is parasite eggs in cat droppings are being washed by sprinklers and rains into coastal-bound storm drains and creeks. Although many different kinds of animals, such as birds and rodents, can serve as intermediate hosts for toxoplasma gondii, cats are the only animals known to shed the parasite's eggs in their droppings.

Not just otters but also people are potentially at risk from the parasite. People eat many of the same shellfish as otters. Also, this cat-parasite link is the reason pregnant women are advised against cleaning cat litter boxes because it can pose a major health risk for the baby and mother. Fortunately, humans, cats and other animals infected with this parasite rarely show any symptoms. Those that do usually already have a weakened or compromised immune system. Sea otters are not so lucky.

Fortunately, there’s a silver lining to this story because there is something we can do to help. I am assuming most cat owners are animal lovers and are not aware of the dangers of improper disposal of cat waste. Safely disposing of your fur baby’s droppings starts with picking the right litter. Do not use any flushable litter because the sewage treatment might not be able to kill the T. Gondii. Choose a litter that clumps up easily and put the pieces in a plastic bag and seal it for land waste disposal.
The feces are sealed so that it won’t go into any water sources. Unfortunately, there is no better way to dispose of cat litter yet. Each city has its own law on cat litter disposal; it is important to find out the local regulations. Here in Sonoma County, we can dispose of our kitty litter in the grey curbside garbage cart that goes to the landfill. Keep the kitty litter out of the green compost bin. If you are not sure about your area, the best place to ask is your local animal shelter.

If we know better, we can do better. As busy humans, there is only so much we can do to help with our environment. But we have to remember it’s the little things that add up. We can overcome some of these challenges our local species face. We need to realize, in fact, otters are a very important indicator species for the humans. Therefore, we should take note, because if our oceans are facing new challenges, sea otters likely will show the first indication of trouble.
 
Elspeth Wood is a student participating in the Hutchins Program at SSU. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Creek Stewardship Day
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m.-noon. (It was originally scheduled for Dec. 1 but canceled because of foul weather.

Where: Falletti Park, off Gravenstein Way (east of the intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Highway 116, just north of Peet’s Coffee and Walgreens).

Details: Help take care of native trees and shrubs along the Laguna de Santa Rosa channel in Cotati by weeding and mulching, and some planting. Tasks will depend on weather and conditions on the ground. Dress for work and weather with old clothes, in layers, with boots or sturdy shoes, and bring rain gear. Heavy rain cancels the event. Bring your own drinking water bottle. Gloves, tools, and some refreshments provided.

Full details: www.CotatiCreekCritters.info

Contact: jenny@creeks.cotati.info or 792-4422.