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November 21, 2019
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Cougars prevail in all time classic ‘Fog Bowl’ Healthy food given by NOAH 49er Pet store closes its doors December gets festive in Cotati Visit the Arts and Craft Faire in RP FEMA grants Santa Rosa $1M to ensure effective evacuation routes Another death in California and investigation into E-Cigarette use Nomination period opens for March 3, 2020, primary election So Co DA office awarded grant 100 birthdays and more to go A day of celebration and tribute to our veterans Worn American flags laid to rest Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Discussions on the care facility and apartments Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening Students housing and voting 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 Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth 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 November is Native American Heritage month... 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 Monitoring wells provide picture of underground water 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 Levine applauds investigation into power shut offs 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 Fire management assistance granted 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 The evacuation through her eyes 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 Firefighters called to the front 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 Giving students added support 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 Adolescent birth rate continues to decline School district seeks new superintendent 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 A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Coming together to have fun and help others 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 Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level So. Co. is here to connect with you 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 Paper Delivery Update RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections 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 First Annual Latino Festival draws a large crowd Immigration appointments rescheduled 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 Carrying another on a recovery path Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards 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 Ca. Dept. of Public Health issues Public Health advisory State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders 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 Pedestrian jumps into path of SMART Train Fire - Community - Businesses 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 Raising awareness on the dangers of SIDS SMART will run limited service 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 Coursey on the campaign trail Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati 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 RP City Council: from safety to striping Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Sozo Student Center opens Credo ladies in Trashion show Cougars win behind roaring defensive performance Another long evening at Cotati City council 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 Cotati is open to new county wide voting system CANCELLATION 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 Bound for a peaceful resting place After sluggish start, Cougars explode RP Improvements Update week of October 21st 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  Credo Kaplan-Kinsey semi-finalist Focusing on finances... The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire 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 Travis Jenkins Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Years to launch SoCo post offices forced to close 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 RP improvement updates RP road improvements update When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs 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 Fight the flu... get immunized Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation 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 USCIS clarifies special immigrant juvenile classification to victims of abuse Consumer alert on price gouging Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New Column Things to know about PG&E’s Public Safety power shutoff Structure fire displaces family 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 Beautifying Magnolia Park Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early 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 Safety and power outages Campaign targets vaping-related illness 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 Help with citizenship Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening 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 Ayuda con ciudadanía Early voting center opens 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 SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP New safety power shutoff zip code alerts 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart King and Queen RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives RP Council talks about fast trains and lawsuits Reckless driver resists arrests, with help from K-9 Max

RP waits to make update to emergency alert system

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
August 17, 2018

The effectiveness of emergency alert systems has been a hot topic since last years’ raging wildfires hit Sonoma County and came frighteningly close to Rohnert Park. After almost a year since the fires, the Rohnert Park City Council decided Tuesday to wait to update the city’s alert system until a county review of the SoCo and Everbridge alert system is tested.

Sonoma County is currently working with the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative to test the effectiveness of two and to determine which system will be recommended for all county cities to use. While the test and reports are estimated to take around nine months, county officials and the departing Chief for the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, Brian Masterson say that having the same alert system for all cities would be more streamlined and would create less confusion among residents in the event of an emergency.

The two systems to be tested both have the same capabilities that would allow public safety and first responders to send “amber alert” type messages to all residents whether or not they are signed up for the service or not. This special FEMA feature called IPAWS, Integrated Public Alert Warning System, is able to use all avenues of technology in the event of an emergency by sending out reverse 9-1-1 calls to landlines as well as sending out widespread amber type alerts to all cell phone users in a specific geographic area.

Nixle, the city’s current alert system, requires users to sign up in order to get alerts and while some 15,000 residents were signed up to receive alerts when evacuation orders were given to residents in G and H sections, an Everbridge or SoCo system would ensure all 42,000 or so locals would be notified in the event of an emergency.

Petaluma and Santa Rosa have also been using Nixle, but months following the fire the City of Santa Rosa and its alert system were under tough scrutiny with critics saying residents weren’t given enough warning according to an October 2017 KTVU article.

The article states the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Office did activate the Nixle system, which also sent out reverse 9-1-1 warning calls; however, as similar with Rohnert Park’s case, only a small portion of the community were signed up to receive the alert.

What’s more, the emergency management office for Sonoma County could have initiated their wireless emergency alert mechanism which sends a vibrating/siren push alert to cell phones in a certain geographic area. This feature is the IPAWS capability; however, according to Masterson, the SoCo alert system is challenging and clunky to use, which can be detrimental in an emergency situation.

“The SoCo Alert system is more challenging to operate and to activate. It is not easy or user-friendly,” Masterson said.

According to the agenda item report, the county said they would offer to train public safety on the SoCo Alert system, something that would be free of charge instead of the alternative option of going with the Everbridge system at $47,156 per year. If Rohnert Park decided to go with Everbridge, the parent company of Nixle, and all other county cities stuck with SoCo after the county’s evaluation, then it could be confusing for residents. 

For instance, if you are a Rohnert Park resident visiting Penngrove and an earthquake were to occur then you would receive multiple different alerts from Everbridge and Penngrove’s system. But if all cities used the same widespread alert system then residents would get the same alert no matter where they were in the county and visitors as well would receive an alert if there was an evacuation or shelter in place order.

So, in order to be more prepared, the council decided to wait until the review was completed to receive direction from the county on what emergency alert program to use.

So far only the county has the ability to access these additional emergency alert system features.

While all council members present agreed to wait on the county decision many had other thoughts on how else Rohnert Park could alert its residents in the face of a disaster.

Council member Jake Mackenzie said there should be time spent for the public to learn the importance of being a helpful neighbor or even having a group of volunteers to help out during an emergency situation. 

“There is a lot to be considered,” Mackenzie said, who also mentioned that during the evacuation of H and G sections last year he had to go and knock on neighbors’ doors, “Who would have otherwise slept through the police car sirens and PA system warnings.

Councilmember Gina Belforte brought up the idea of community sirens being installed as well, which would still provide warning in the event of cell phone towers collapsing. Sirens would cost around $25,000 per siren installation. 

“We don’t have enough public safety officers to run around knocking on everyone’s door and using sirens. We know no matter what, someone is going to get missed in some way shape or form and what I am leaning towards is two things; greater community involvement, neighbors helping neighbors and (for the sirens) when I hear $25,000 is too much, in my head I’m thinking, 24 people died and would they pay $25,000 to get them back? I think the answer is yes,” Belforte said. “A life in Rohnert Park is worth more than $25,000, so to rely on a technology and not have an alternative in case that technology fails, doesn’t feel right to me.”

As councilmembers unanimously decided to wait on upgrading the alert system, Nixle will still be in place and residents who are not yet signed up are encouraged to sign up at Nixle.com.