July 15, 2019
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History-1992 The feminization of politics History 1992 History July 1992 Rohnert Park has had many mayors since 1962 What will Cotati be like in 20 years? Answers from around town-1983-Part I Cotati in 1983 Rohnert Park sign celebrates 51st birthday-2011 Commercial and industrial growth foreseen-1983 Brixx, A new and upscale pizza comes to Cotati-2011 An invitation to dinner-June 2010 Guys can cook too! History-2010 Waste drop-off at Stadium- History April 1992 Feb. 8 history 1992 ‘Reuse’ is a message of paint exchange Students at Tech High learn about History-2010 Tech High Interact Camp-2010 Weather bulletin from Minot, ND-March 2010 California enjoy your rain! “Not bloody likely”- History April 1992 Don’t worry, I will be okay! -History 2010 History March 1962 Mrs. Cincera to head Rohnert PTA officers History-1992 Host families share memories History July 1992 Shorey reflects on civic career History July 1992 Hispanic Chamber welcomes Arminana 1962 Rohnert Park becomes a city  From the Archives What will Cotati be like in 20 years? Answers from around town-1983-Part 2 RP chamber of Commerce-May 2010 RP sign restoration-2012 A grand night for ‘Sharing of the Green’ 2011 Dolls in the classroom at Monte Vista-2011 Cotati History-July 2018 Pianos, piano and no more Piano- History July 2010 The bandstand-1983 Rappers for Hospice and the Human Race-history Ranch News-May 2010 20/30 Club active in charity and worthy causes-2011 “I’ll drink to that”-History April 1992 For the want of toys- history 2010 Cotati’s Zone Music-History 2010 History- July 22, 1992 Hopkins won’t seek re-election History July 1992 Discount program revised History July 1992 Fourth discount giant opens  City of Cotati receives Grant-July 2010 From the archives VI-1996 Food Bank launches annual food and funds drive-2010 And the California State Elementary spelling champion is Miller! -2009 1962 Rohnert Park becomes a city City of Cotati appoints police chief-July 2010 Biggest food drive at SSU yields 1800 lbs. of food-Jan. 2010 Come catch Cotati’s vision-2010 From the Archives IV-2009

History: The end product…strawberries - 2009

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 31, 2018

A system linking clean water, bioenergy and strawberries is now in operation on the grounds of the City of Santa Rosa Laguna Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant. On May 10 Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey joined local dignitaries and officials from the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma State University in a ceremony to launch the Fuel from Aquatic Biomass, or FAB, demonstration project. Led by the City’s Project Development Manager, Dell Tredinnick and SSU Biology Professor, Michael Cohen, the collaborative FAB research project is developing a low-cost system for integrated bioremediation, bioenergy and food production. The project has gained national recognition with three awards, most recently the Theodore Roosevelt Environmental Award from the Association of California Water Agencies and has garnered support from a variety of sources, including the California Energy Commission and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The FAB process begins with treated wastewater passing through two channelized aquatic wetlands, constructed by local green builder R.S. Duckworth, that remove residual nitrate and other components, such as pharmaceuticals. SSU graduate student Caden Hare, recently awarded the prestigious Switzer Fellowship, is working with undergraduates Linden Schneider and Zane Knight to investigate the relative contributions of aquatic vegetation and microbes to the scrubbing efficiency of the constructed wetlands. The plants and algae in the wetlands create biomass that can be harvested for energy production.

“The most efficient way to harness the energy held in this vegetation,” who says “is to feed it to anaerobic digesters”. To this end, research of SSU graduate student John Kozlowski seeks to optimize anaerobic digestion of the vegetation mixed with agricultural by-products from nearby Hanna winery and local dairies. Methane gas from twin experimental digesters supplies a generator that charges electric vehicles used at the treatment plant. In the key moment of the ceremony, Rep. Woolsey flipped the generator power switch and was driven off by Hare in a bioenergy powered vehicle. “This is a simple system,” said Cohen. “Using conservative estimates Sonoma County could supply a quarter of its natural gas demand by anaerobic digestion of local organic wastes. Germany is now on track to supply 20 percent of their demand by 2020”.

The nutrient-rich solids that remain after the digestion process can be utilized as a soil amendment. SSU graduate student Aaron Agostini is investigating these solids for their capacity to suppress pathogens of strawberry and support plant growth. 

Funded by the California Strawberry Commission, this research is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Mark Mazzola of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. SSU graduate student Mia Maltz and undergraduate Jackie Sankisov are examining use of the solids for stimulating microbial degradation of petroleum.

Hare points out that the FAB project is a marvelous illustration of Buckminster Fuller’s observation: “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” 

Project manager Tredinnick commented that it was particularly fitting to have Rep. Woolsey in attendance considering that he met Cohen and Hare at a town hall meeting on global warming organized by her office in 2006. Rep. Woolsey displayed a clear enthusiasm for the FAB project in promising to do her best to find further funding for expansion and thereby lower our local dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.