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State's plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center blasted

Derek Moore & Angela Hart, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The draft closure plan did earn wide praise, however, for its recommendation that Sonoma Developmental property not be sold off as surplus, as has happened in similar situations.

The state’s draft plan for closing the Sonoma Developmental Center by 2018 is drawing sharp condemnation from family members and advocates for the disabled over the plan’s perceived failure to adequately address the long-term needs of 400 center residents, who would be moved into community-based settings.
During a highly charged hearing in Sonoma on Monday, dozens of people railed against the closure plan, saying it will result in developmental center residents receiving a substandard level of care that poses risks to their health and possibly their survival.
“This is a cookie-cutter plan that does nothing but fast-track the closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center,” said Brien Farrell of Santa Rosa, whose sister has lived at the facility since 1958.
The state for months has signaled its intent to shutter the Sonoma Developmental Center for budgetary reasons and because institutionalized care for the severely disabled continues to fall out of public favor. But many advocates for the facility have pushed for the state to maintain some level of services at the Eldridge site, including a crisis center and specialized offerings such as dental care.
Read more at: State’s plan to close Sonoma Developmental Center blasted | The Press Democrat

Posted on Categories Land Use, WildlifeTags , , , , , Leave a comment on 167-home Santa Rosa townhome project in tiger salmander habitat to start construction

167-home Santa Rosa townhome project in tiger salmander habitat to start construction

Cynthia Sweeney, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL
After a decade and a half of delays procedural and economic, a 167-townhome development in west Santa Rosa is set to come out of the ground in coming months, in quite a different market than when initially conceived and with cutting-edge rooms-as-modules construction.
Groundbreaking for three model dwellings in the Paseo Vista Homes project, located off Hearn and Dutton avenues, is set for May 15. Santa Rosa-based HybridCore Homes expects to complete them by Aug. 1.
The remainder of the units would start to come out of the ground in early July. The entire project is expected to be completed in about two years.The 12-acre project includes 122 single-family homes and 45 low-income rental units, built as 15 triplexes. Prices for the homes are anticipated to be in the low-$300,000 range.
Started by a homebuilder and an architect in 2009, HybridCore Homes has designed room units, called “cores,” outfitted with appliances, cabinetry, electrical wiring and plumbing that can be trucked from the factory to the job site. One or more cores are moved into place on the foundation, and the rest of the structure is completed around them.
“This new construction technology helps to keep costs low and cuts construction time in half,” said Otis Orsburn, partner and vice president of construction.
The company has a “ton” of projects on the horizon, he said.
Read more at: 167-home Santa Rosa townhome project to start construction | North Bay Business Journal

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , , Leave a comment on Lox and stocks: The future is not bright for California salmon

Lox and stocks: The future is not bright for California salmon

Tom Gogola, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN
The California salmon fishing season that ended last week was OK this year, says John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, “but not as good as last year.”
In February, the National Marine Fisheries Service said an estimated 650,000 Chinook salmon would leave the Sacramento River for the Pacific Ocean this season—an estimate offered as a portent of good things to come, despite the drought.
But salmon fishing in California, McManus fears, is going to get worse before it gets better—and that’s if it ever does improve. This year, he says, salmon anglers working the colder waters to the north tended to fare better. “Southern Oregon was quite good,” he says, “the Eureka area, the sport fishery was quite good. Sonoma was OK.”
The Marin County coast, he says, “got OK in late September and remained surprisingly strong in October.”
The problem for the salmon, however, is the ceaseless drought with its various fallouts. Looking ahead, says McManus, the prospects for a healthy and sustainable salmon fishery are decidedly grim.
McManus describes a “desperate situation for spawning fall run king salmon in the Sacramento Valley this year,” because of high water temperature in the Sacramento River and surrounding tributaries.
via Lox and Stocks | News | North Bay Bohemian.

Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Land Use, WildlifeTags , Leave a comment on World on the brink of sixth great extinction: species disappearing faster than ever before

World on the brink of sixth great extinction: species disappearing faster than ever before

Seth Borenstein, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, a new study says.

The study looks at past and present rates of extinction and finds a lower rate in the past than scientists had thought. Species are now disappearing from Earth about 10 times faster than biologists had believed, said study lead author noted biologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University.

"We are on the verge of the sixth extinction," Pimm said from research at the Dry Tortugas. "Whether we avoid it or not will depend on our actions."

The work, published Thursday by the journal Science, was hailed as a landmark study by outside experts.

Pimm’s study focused on the rate, not the number, of species disappearing from Earth. It calculated a "death rate" of how many species become extinct each year out of 1 million species.

via Study: Species disappearing far faster than before – SFGate.