Columns
November 13, 2018
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City of RP Updates

Don Schwartz
Being informed in an emergency
August 30, 2018

As we approach the one-year anniversary of last October’s fires, now is a good time to prepare for the next disaster that will occur, be it another fire, an earthquake, a chemical spill, or something else. 

The best way to receive early notification of a problem is to subscribe to Nixle, a texting and e-mailing service operated by our Department of Public Safety. By going to www.nixle.com or texting ‘rpdps’ to 888-777, you can register to receive emergency notifications. Another option is SoCo Alert, offered through the County via phone, text, or e-mail; you can register at www.socoalert.com. 

We know from the fires that staying informed is also important. As we did last year, we will provide timely information via Nixle as well as our Facebook and NextDoor accounts and the city’s website. We also suggest tuning into local radio stations (KSRO or KZST in particular). 

We will provide additional tips to prepare for emergencies in the coming weeks; one great place to go is www.ready.gov.  

Pollution prevention:  Landscape maintenance

Summer is the time of year when our front yards receive the highest level of maintenance. We are constantly fertilizing, mowing, trimming, planting and watering.  

As we care for our yards, we also need to care for our environment and consider the effects that landscape maintenance can have on our water systems. While we ensure the quality and aesthetics of our landscaping, we also need to minimize the discharge of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to the storm drain system, which ultimately flows to our creeks, rivers and the Pacific Ocean.

If not managed properly, pesticides and herbicides can be released into the environment where they have a detrimental effect on the health of our local aquatic wildlife. Watering lawns excessively creates run-off into the street and into the storm drains which discharge into our local creeks. If pesticides are applied too heavily, or if they are applied just before lawn watering, they can end up in our creeks.  

Fertilizers can be transported in the same manner if not managed properly. Excessive levels of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous can result in an increase of aquatic plants such as algae and decrease oxygen available for fish. This can also result in a loss of recreational use of water due to slime, weed infestation and noxious odor from decaying algae.  

To minimize the impact of pollutants on our creeks, here are a few tips:

Do not apply fertilizer or pest control immediately prior to lawn watering

Do not conduct weeding or pruning immediately prior to lawn watering

Consider planting low water-use flowers, trees, shrubs and groundcover

Irrigate slowly or pulse irrigate to prevent run-off and then only irrigate as much as is needed

Grants for food

Neighbors Organized Against Hunger (NOAH) is one of the City Foundation’s recent Small Grants Award winners. NOAH has operated the city’s largest hunger relief pantry since 2004. The $5,000 grant will purchase food from Redwood Empire Food Bank as part of NOAH’s 2018 campaign. 

David Goodman, the CEO of Redwood Empire Food Bank, recently praised NOAH as a partner organization. At a recent Free Summer Lunch program in Alicia Park, he spoke about how NOAH responds to a vital community need that is largely invisible. According to Redwood Empire Food Bank, last year NOAH was the 9th out of its 206 Sonoma County Network Partners, which is in the top five percent of all partners in terms of amount of food provided. NOAH distributed 75,200 pounds of food, equal to nearly 63,000 meals annually. 

“Helping those in need by providing healthy food is a vital part of our community especially to the children and elderly,” says Darlene Phillips of NOAH. NOAH operates with the love and support of its volunteers. They inventory, assemble and distribute the food items on a weekly basis at the food pantry. If you or someone you know struggles with hunger, visit NOAH Wednesdays from 4 -6 p.m. at 5443 Snyder Ln.

While the Foundation grant will support NOAH, recently the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria donated $280,000 to underwrite four food sites in Rohnert Park for a year – the Burton Avenue Recreation Center, the Rohnert Park Health Center on State Farm Drive, the Arbors on City Center Drive and Tower Apartments on E. Cotati Avenue. 

Funding for the donation is from the city’s agreement with the tribe, part of the agreement’s community Investment contributions.