October 22, 2019
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After sluggish start, Cougars explode Focusing on finances... Years to launch RP road improvements update Fight the flu... get immunized USCIS clarifies special immigrant juvenile classification to victims of abuse Things to know about PG&E’s Public Safety power shutoff Beautifying Magnolia Park Safety and power outages Help with citizenship Ayuda con ciudadanía SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections New safety power shutoff zip code alerts The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives Adolescent birth rate continues to decline A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Paper Delivery Update Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening First Annual Latino Festival draws a large crowd 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 Carrying another on a recovery path 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 Ca. Dept. of Public Health issues Public Health advisory 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 Pedestrian jumps into path of SMART Train 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 Raising awareness on the dangers of SIDS 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... SOMO Village overrun by CHP party Coursey on the campaign trail 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 Latino Alliance promotes first festival Cougars win behind roaring defensive performance 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 Special education funding complicated Cotati is open to new county wide voting system 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 Keeping California history alive Bound for a peaceful resting place 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 RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Credo Kaplan-Kinsey semi-finalist 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: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted Travis Jenkins Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist 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 Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program RP improvement updates 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 Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Sept. is suicide prevention month Three arrested; stolen items recovered Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month 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 Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha New start at school board meeting In memory of Greg Beedon City of Cotati urges governor to sign affordable housing bill Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy Free school supplies RPDPS receives grant to fight alcohol-related crime Winners of “Discovered: Emerging artists of Sonoma County” Cotati Oktoberfest on the horizon R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! Warnings weren’t enough! ‘Stuff the van’ with school supplies Wake up to social crisis Cannabis cultivation and more projects Downtown RP infrastructure project 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 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Technology High School construction on schedule Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Rohnert Park City Council all about safety Accordion Festival San Francisco Mime Troupe to perform in Cotati Rep. Thompson speaks at SSU on climate change RP to vote on protecting open space and preventing sprawl Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors RP City Council, not business as usual A young child making a big difference Cotati’s first homicide in 24 years Veterans’ housing to open in 2020 RPPS encourages public to drive sober Issues and recognition but no council meeting RCHS Mascot at Welcome Back Rally SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity I’m ready, bring ‘em on! Tech High School celebrates 20 years PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program accepting applications for aid Learn to become a naturalist Police and housing topics discussed at Council Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. Happenings at Cotati City Council Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Sozo Student Center opens Credo ladies in Trashion show How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings L J principal promises open door policy DUI driver arrested after collision on RP Exp Contact information needed from about 150,000 PG&E customers A satisfied smile Cotati Council makes it short Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission The long summer grinds Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home All about the roads Third DUI driver arrested in RP in three days Santa Rosa doctor overprescribing New leadership delivers new start at school board meeting Man takes own life Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life School district set to begin new year Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train City, county reach agreement with Homeless Advocates Our words are not enough: Educators call for action First day of school and new friends PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program distributes first checks to victims  Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Cattle drive comes to SR Man dies in custody Home-based learning on the rise Home invasion robbery, suspects still at large SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Fatal bicycle vs. vehicle collision RPPS investigating sexual assault A slow and painful wait for a downtown Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases DMV offices will close for half day Social Security – Care and Beware Urban growth boundary benefits RP Council looks at serious close-to-home issues SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest Do you know the relationship between low impact development and water quality? So. Co. Behavioral Health and Health Services in the county jail Cotati City Council of Aug. 13 Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New Column 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 Stray sways the crowd Showing off rope tricks Sonoma County Fair reviews safety protocols Gun violence in the U.S. and globally 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 Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Watenpaugh returns to lead CRPUSD Join CASA of So. Co.’s commitment to helping victims of child abuse RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows 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

RP City Council: from safety to striping

By: Lanny Lowery
July 26, 2019

Just when I began to equate city council meetings to school board meetings and considered writing a comparative piece, the Rohnert Park City Council meeting on Tue., July 23, reminded me of four years of commander’s call in the military and forty years of faculty meetings at the high school.  Top down reporting, brief council compliments and impassioned public commentary.

And then there was more than two hours of closed session followed by less than five minutes’ of committee reports.  Sitting in the chilly council chamber allowed me time to progress fifty pages into Tara Westover’s compelling memoir, “Educated.”

The city manager kicked off the evening complimenting Rohnert Park Public Safety for the way that it recently handled accidents and a fire at Safeway.  Its quick response kept the fire contained.  The mayor thanked public safety for its work.

Nice segue to the Public Safety Update.  Lieutenant Jeff Nicks used a PowerPoint to effectively discuss public safety emergency management.  He divided his presentation into three parts:  Where we were, where we are and where we are going.

“Where we were.”  Nicks said that planning in the past involved a limited staff and consisted of occasional emergency operations center training.  “Training,” he said, “was painted with a broad brush.”  Another concern that had been slighted in the past was earthquake preparedness.  

“Where we are now” is one result of the 2017 fires.  Public Safety recognized its strengths and deficiencies.  Now all RP employees are considered to be Disaster Service Workers as the city is now 100 percent compliant as all employees receive proper training.  An emergency management grid can be found on Sharepoint, available to all employees, and the EOC organizational chart is three deep in staffing.  The IT infrastructure is in better condition, and there is improved social media capacity.

“Where we are going.”  There will be more training for EOC assignments in house and with consultants and various agencies.  There will be a greater understanding of roles and responsibilities and frequent updates on the EOC organizational chart, especially involving human resources and emergency management.  Each section will receive training and exercise and reevaluation and there will be ongoing investigations regarding alert systems.

Lt. Nicks concluded by saying, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the efforts we are making.”

From safety the meeting shifted to concern about homeless issues in Rohnert Park as a variety of speakers spirited by a resolution on the agenda to establish “No Overnight Parking Areas” at the Roberts Lake Road Park & Ride, Rohnert Park Community Center, Rohnert Park Senior Center, Goldridge Recreation Center and Spreckels Performing Arts Center.

Reverend Michael Bosler, semi-retired pastor, recommended that the city exercise compassion and care.  He proposed that the city provide a place for campers, work with COTS and offer basic supplies and access to local resources.  He suggested that we be “compassionate in our care and humble and steadfast in our gratitude for our community.”

Robin Cook expressed her concern:  “Homeless parking on my street and homeless people in the bushes and stealing shopping carts.  People are going to the bathroom outside.  I ask for you to make a no overnight parking.”

Carol Sherman asked the council “for consideration for a proclamation for the Redwood Food Bank.  Be more inclusive in involving chairs of groups and have a more relaxed environment.”

Adrian Lauby, a co-founder of a homeless organization in the community, told of concerns of PG & E power shut offs and pointed to the need for back up generators.  She said, “The homeless issue in parking lots is complicated.  Now throwing people out won’t make neighborhoods safe.  There is a need for port-a-pottys and trash pickups.  RVs are homes; to take this away seems knee jerky.”

Another speaker pointed out the mess at Walmart and the Robert Rd. Park and Ride.  She mentioned paraphernalia and drugs and hazardous waste.

One man declared himself homeless and stated that he lives in the Park and Ride.

When the council moved to the Consent Agenda, Mayor Gina Belforte pulled item 6D, the resolution establishing no overnight parking.  The city manager discussed SMART Train accidents, perhaps loosely connected with the proximity of the Park and Ride.  The concern is to minimize pedestrian traffic.

Business as usual as the other six items were approved 4-0 with Jake Mackenzie being absent.  6D also passed.

After having some discussion about naming a street in the University District “Ohana Circle,” the council agreed to call it “Oak Circle.”  Then it spent some time talking about striping the lacrosse field at the Sunrise Park All Weather Field.  Staff recommended deferring this for one year.  Councilman Joe Callinan favored completing the project while Council person Pam Stafford favored starting with painted stripes.  The council approved completing the project with the boy’s lacrosse stripes as it had been originally planned, 3-1-1.

Next a public hearing calling and giving notice of the “Holding of a Special Election” on November 5, 2019, to extend the Duration of the City of Rohnert Park Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) to Dec. 31, 2040.  Teri Shore, Regional Director of the Greenbelt Alliance, and supporter Chris Meyer, a Rohnert Park resident, talked briefly about what the Urban Growth Boundary is about and how to support it.  In this particular case, it is about preserving open space between Rohnert Park and Penngrove.  In 2000 Measure N passed with 70.7 percent of the vote to preserve this open space.  Voters will be asked to extend the ordinance for twenty more years because this law sunsets June 30, 2020. Look for more specific information in Sept. and Oct.

And you know what happens when a person on a committee is absent.  He (in this case, Jake Mackenzie) gets selected to fill a vacant position.  Council voted 4-0-1 for Jake Mackenzie to the Sonoma County Mayors’ and Councilmembers’ Association.

Waiting for the council to reappear for more than two hours left me plenty of time to follow Tara Westover’s story in “Educated.”  The council returned to report about “a good meeting” with the Education Committee, “changes and upgrades at the Senior Center” and that Sonoma Clean Power Authority “discussed rates.”  

Home to a late dinner after feeding the dogs and then listen to Pablo Sandoval hit a walk off home run in the thirteenth inning.  A memorable evening!