WatchSonoma Watch

Sonoma County parents fight students’ 22-day suspension

8th grader at Hillcrest Middle School, Reilly Austin, and her mother Stacia Austin are fighting back against Reilly's expulsion from school after she admitting to take a sip of alcohol from a Pepsi can while at school. Reilly says she thought it was a soda and was unaware of the alcohol, but the zero tolerance policy at the school demanded that she remain suspended for nearly a month, Monday, April 7, 2014. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Three Sonoma County eighth-grade students who admitted they took a sip from a Pepsi can containing alcohol were barred from campus for more than a month, prompting their parents to say the district’s zero tolerance policy has run amok.

Sonoma County looking to make carpooling easier

The CalTrans park and ride at Petaluma Blvd. South at Highway 101 is nearly always full, Monday April 14, 2014 in Petaluma. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Transportation officials have hopes of expanding the Petaluma Park-and-Ride and building a new lot north of Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa may expand Roseland annexation area

Roseland annexation map

Santa Rosa officials have agreed to consider expanding the Roseland annexation area but not enough to include the neighborhood where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was killed by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy.

Bodega Bay fire tax measure fails; Russian River fire board members recalled

Bodega Bay firefighters train with Sonoma County Sheriff's rescue helicopter Henry One on Bodega Head on Wednesday, March 6, 2014.  (John Burgess / PD)

A hotly disputed tax measure went down to thunderous defeat late Tuesday in the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, where fire officials have said a third of the nine-member staff would have to be laid off by next year if the tax failed.

Supervisors give Buddhist printer, retreat OK to expand

The building that houses the printing equipment for Dhrama Press is flanked by two of the four temporary "sacred text treasuries" at the Ratna Ling retreat on the ridge above Timber Cove, about 10 miles north of Fort Ross. (John Burgess / PD, 2012)

A Buddhist retreat on the Sonoma Coast will be allowed to expand its bitterly contested printing operation after the Board of Supervisors, following a 6 1/2-hour hearing in a packed chamber, denied an appeal challenging its use permit.

Community fears impact of Palm Drive Hospital closure

kp111298.Palm Drive_

A day after the Palm Drive Hospital board approved plans to eliminate inpatient and emergency services, the local community — from business leaders to health care professionals to the police chief — is grappling with the broader impact of losing the only Sonoma County hospital west of Highway 101.

Poll by Deb Fudge shows her with lead in 4th District supervisor’s race

Deb Fudge.

Fourth District Sonoma County Supervisor candidate Deb Fudge released a poll this week showing her with a commanding lead over her nearest rivals, though one-third of voters surveyed did not pick a candidate and Fudge declined to reveal some details of how the poll was conducted.

Health law’s ‘Cadillac tax’ worries Sonoma County officials

county logo. jpg

Sonoma County taxpayers could face $4.5 million a year in penalties under the so-called ‘Cadillac Tax’ set to go into effect in 2018 as part of the Affordable Care Act, say county officials.

Palm Drive Hospital board authorizes bankruptcy

Sebastopol resident Gloria Roberts shares her thoughts about closing Palm Drive Hospital during a meeting of the  Palm Drive Health Care District board held at Community Church of Sebastopol on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PD)

The Palm Drive Health Care District board voted unanimously Tuesday night to authorize a Chapter 9 bankruptcy, the first step in a plan urged by management to close the emergency room and cease acute inpatient services at the Sebastopol hospital.

Two out-of-town animal agencies partner with Healdsburg shelter

Kiska Icard, the executive director of the Sonoma Humane Society, gets a kiss from a Chihuahua available for adoption named, Kiko, held by Evelyn Mitchell, the president of Sonoma Humane Society's board of directors, during an outreach event at the nearby Healdsburg Dog House pet store in Healdsburg, on Sunday, March 30, 2014. (BETH SCHLANKER / PD)

The next chapter in Healdsburg’s effort to provide quality care for stray dogs and cats debuts today when two nonprofit organizations from outside the city officially grab the leash of animal control and sheltering services. The Sonoma Humane Society and Petaluma Animal Services Foundation are taking over following the demise of the city’s independently run Healdsburg Animal Shelter last summer.