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Friends of the Library Book Sale
Aug 29, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
On Saturday, September 13 from 10am-3pm, head to the Pleasant Hill Library's book sale. Find great deals on books of all kinds and support your library at this quarterly book sale. Sales are held i...

Bay Area Blues Festival
The 4th Annual Bay Area Blues Festival is Saturday & Sunday, September 27 & 28, 2014 from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM in Historic Downtown Martinez. The event will feature amazing Blues music on two stages,...
Aug 26, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend
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Pops in the Plaza
California Symphony performs in Todos Santos Plaza on Thursday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m. Come enjoy family friendly music from movies, Broadway tunes, swing and jazz. Now in its 15th year, this free ...
Aug 21, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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PHMS Family Night Out at Off the Grid
On Wednesday, August 27 , from 5-9pm on Trelany Road behind City Hall  (across from PH Park), come out for a night of fun! There will be a variety of food trucks arranged through OFF THE GRID, alon...
Aug 20, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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After a week of recovery in Napa, some downtown business owners still feel foiled and frustrated, as they try to reopen. 

"I have a movie background, so I knew L.A. was where I could find a trailer equipped to do hair," salon owner Sandina Bailo told KTVU, as she showed a movie trailer towed from Hollywood where she hoped to resume styling clients, at least temporarily.

The idea didn't cut it with the city, however, and inspectors slapped a red tag on the trailer Saturday afternoon, keeping it from opening.

It has only three stations and a shampoo bowl, plus a restroom and small reception area, but it would have provided some relief while her Sala Salon, steps away, is repaired.

Her business is structurally safe, but its interior was damaged when sprinkler pipes broke and water sprayed for hours.

"We've been served some lemons and we're making lemonade," said Bailo's stylists, giving passersby cups of lemonade.

The staff was disappointed as they readied the trailer for business but were shut down.

"Someone from the city came over and said, move it. I said, where, he said move it, you can't be here," explained Bailo.

She was told the trailer can't be parked in a construction zone, even though the traffic lane on 1st Street is already closed, and much of downtown is torn up and fenced off.

"I'm saying help me keep my business afloat, help me keep my team employed and able to pay their bills," Bailo added, "I'm saying work with me, and I'm being told be patient."

Patience is also thin at Velo Pizzeria on Main Street, where they were losing money Saturday night. "Thousands of dollars, thousands," owner Daniel Sarao told KTVU, as he sent his kitchen and wait staff home. They had hoped to be reopen for dinner after baking on the sidewalk in a mobile oven Friday night.

Their building wasn't damaged at all. Their only hazard is an unreinforced building that backs up to them.  

Velo's owners hauled in $19,000 in lumber Saturday to build a second protective roof over their existing roof. They almost had it finished, inspected, and approved, before daylight faded.  

Their next shot at firing up the ovens is for lunch Sunday. "All this work that we're doing, we're trying so hard," co-owner Lewis Chilton told KTVU, "and the most frustrating thing is our neighbor whose building is unsafe, isn't doing anything."

That neighbor, attorney and property owner Brian Silver, admitted to KTVU, he saw no reason to perform requested retrofitting. "Never in Napa history has anyone ever died in an earthquake," he declared in an interview at his home.

But it's the death of small business, many merchants worry about now.

KTVU approached inspectors on the street, who responded with "no comment" when asked about the status of the trailer salon.   

But people walking by expressed admiration for Bailo's resourcefulness. "I really think the city needs to rethink that red-tag," declared Napa native Kathi Cook. "These are people who are open for business to keep Napa in business."

2014-08-30 22:53:04 -0700

A masked man armed with a handgun robbed a market in unincorporated Sonoma County on Friday night, sheriff's deputies said.

At about 10:55 p.m., sheriff's deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Stony Point Market in the 3200 block of Stony Point Road near Butler Avenue, just outside of Santa Rosa.

A man entered the market and confronted a clerk with a semi-automatic handgun, deputies said.

The armed suspect ordered the clerk to give him all the cash out of the register. The clerk removed an undisclosed amount of money from the cash register and gave it to the suspect, according to deputies.

Witnesses told sheriff's deputies that the armed suspect fled from the market on foot in an unknown direction.

Deputies searched the neighborhood around the market with the assistance of a K-9 unit, but the suspect was not located, deputies said.

The suspect was described as a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants. He had a cloth mask covering his face at the time of the robbery, sheriff's deputies said.

The robbery remains under investigation and anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office at (707) 565-2650.

2014-08-30 21:22:03 -0700

Aircraft from the United States, Australia, France and Britain dropped food and water to the beleaguered Iraqi town of Amirli, which has been under siege by Islamic State militants for nearly two months, the Pentagon said Saturday night. U.S. airstrikes supported the humanitarian mission.

Thousands of Shiite Turkmen have been stranded in the farming community about 105 miles north of Baghdad. The aid came at the request of the Iraqi government, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

Military operations will be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town, Kirby said.

Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State drive across northern Iraq, the Shiite Turkmens have stayed and fortified their town of 15,000 with trenches and armed positions.

While Amirli fought off the initial attack in June, it has been surrounded by the militants since mid-July. Some residents have said that the Iraqi military's efforts to fly in food, water and other aid have not been enough amid oppressive heat, lack of electrical power — the town's power station was destroyed weeks ago — and shelling from the militants.

The U.S. had been watching the area closely in case a slaughter of the Turkmen appeared imminent and air support was needed, said Michael Knights, who studies Iraq and the Persian Gulf as a fellow of The Washington Institute. U.S. airstrikes will hasten the success of the relief effort on the ground, he said.

About half of the town's population is age 15 and under while many others are elderly, sick or wounded, Knights said.

"They are remarkably vulnerable, and ISIS is determined to kill as many of these people as possible," Knights said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State group. "As the Nazis felt about the Jews, so ISIS feels about the Shia Muslims."

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, which began earlier this month, have targeted Islamic State militants attacking Yazidi Iraqis on Mount Sinjar and the militant forces operating in the vicinity of Ibril and Mosul Dam. The beleaguered Yazidis received several humanitarian drops of tons of food and water as well as military support aimed at protecting them.

Earlier Saturday, U.S. Central Command said five more airstrikes had taken place against Islamic State militants near Mosul Dam. Those attacks, carried out by fighter aircraft and unmanned drones, brought to 115 the total number of airstrikes across Iraq since Aug. 8.

2014-08-30 21:06:40 -0700

California's legislature has passed a ban on single-use plastic bags. It could soon be the first ban of its kind implemented at a state level.

State lawmakers passed the bill along with a host of other measures during a late-night session Friday, after initially failing to clear the legislature in an earlier vote. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for approval. 

If signed, the proposal would ban grocery and convenience stores from providing plastic bags for their customers. Shoppers would have to either bring their own bags or pay 10 cents at the checkout for a paper or reusable plastic bag. (Video via KXTV)

Similar plastic bag bans have cropped up in cities and counties across the U.S. — including about 124 places in California — but this would be the first state-wide ban.

The issue has attracted heated debate. Proponents of the ban say plastic bags are often not recycled and pollute the environment with hard-to-eliminate waste. A lot of that waste makes its way to the ocean, where activists say it poses a hazard to marine wildlife. (Video via YouTube / Healthebay)

​​But some conservatives disagree.

Per Lisa Kennedy Montgomery on the  FOX Business channel: "Recyclable plastic bags are not the enemy, why does the government have to get up in our business? Have you ever tried picking up dog crap with a paper bag? It's ridiculous!" 

Californian Republicans argue the bill will take away jobs from bag manufacturers, and the 10-cent bag surcharge might hurt lower-income families. ​ Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine  told The Sacremento Bee, "It makes absolutely no sense as tax policy, it makes no sense as a jobs policy."

The bill managed to overcome some of those objections with additional protections for manufacturers, including a $2 million fund for bag makers to retool their assembly lines to produce more sustainable bags.

But  Bloomberg writer Adam Minter worries this measure will be more of a symbolic gesture than a meaningful change:

"These are feel-good measures, an easy way for civic leaders to demonstrate their concern for the environment without requiring too much of their constituents or local businesses. ... They risk fueling a self-congratulatory complacency that distracts from more serious challenges," Minter writes. 

The plastic bag ban was just one of the measures sent to Brown's desk this weekend. Other bills include regulations for groundwater pumping and requirements for most employers to provide at least three paid sick days each year.

2014-08-30 20:33:04 -0700

Ty Montgomery answered any questions about his health on his first touch, and Stanford's reconstructed defense looked just as rejuvenated in the season opener.

Next week will really give a glimpse of how far the Cardinal can go this year.

Montgomery returned his first career punt for a touchdown and caught five passes for 77 yards and another score, and No. 11 Stanford tuned up for a date with No. 15 Southern California by routing UC Davis 45-0 on Saturday.

"Our opponents are nameless and faceless. It doesn't matter who we play. We have to play to our standard," Montgomery said, reciting the team motto.

The All-American kick returner, who was cleared by doctors to play earlier this week after offseason surgery on his right shoulder, set the tone. The Cardinal's do-it-all playmaker ran the first punt back 60 yards for a TD and lined up all over the field, including once as a wildcat quarterback.

Stanford led 38-0 at the half against the overmatched Aggies and rested most of its starters the final two quarters.

"I'm proud the way the guys started the game," Cardinal coach David Shaw said. "I thought we were physical. I thought we paid attention to detail. It was not perfect early on."

Kevin Hogan threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns to guide the two-time defending Pac-12 champions through a mostly smooth opener. He completed 12 of 16 passes and had one interception.

Stanford put together quick-strike TD drives of 6 seconds, 9 seconds, 53 seconds, 2:58 and 6:55.

The retooled defense held the Aggies to 115 total yards, forced three turnovers and sacked London Lacy four times to overwhelm the lower-tier Football Championship Subdivision team. UC Davis didn't crossed midfield until the final play of the game.

"I think it's good for our program, I think it's good for our kids," UC Davis coach Ron Gould said. "It sets the tone for where we want to go and what we want to build."

The Cardinal's first shutout since beating Colorado 48-0 on Nov. 3, 2012, showed just how far they've come since losing 20-17 to UC Davis in 2005. And with South Carolina's loss to Texas A&M on Thursday, Stanford now owns the nation's longest active home winning streak at 17 games.

But Stanford still has plenty to clean up before the Trojans visit The Farm.

The Cardinal's overhauled offensive line — which features four new starters — had its share of struggles, including a false start, holding and clipping penalties in the first half. Hogan also was sacked once.

Barry Sanders ran for 43 yards on seven carries, and starter Kelsey Young had 37 yards on seven carries as Stanford tries to replace 1,700-yard rusher Tyler Gaffney this season. The Cardinal finished with 149 yards rushing.

"I feel great with where we're at," Hogan said. "Coach Shaw talked to us about the game we have coming up. It's not the Super Bowl, as some people might think. It's the next game on our schedule."

With road games at Oregon, UCLA and Arizona State, though, next week's matchup could have a major impact on Stanford's season.

Stanford's starters kept mistakes to a minimum in the opener, but UC Davis simply lacked the talent to contain the Cardinal or sustain drives. Lacy completed 12 of 22 passes for 54 yards and two interceptions, and the Aggies' top two running backs sat out with injuries.

Even still, Montgomery gave them the most trouble.

After Stanford stopped the Aggies on the game's opening possession, Montgomery fielded a punt near the middle of the field. He sliced right, cut back up field and shook off a tackle from punter Colby Wadman to complete the 60-yard score.

Montgomery also caught an inside screen from Hogan and raced 44 yards for another touchdown late in the first half. He added one rush for 8 yards out of the wildcat formation.

"Ty Montgomery showed everybody what kind of shape he's in," Shaw said.

Hogan had TD passes of 40 yards to Michael Rector and 52 yards to freshman Christian McCaffrey — the son of former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey — and scrambled for a 1-yard score. McCaffrey also returned three punts for 60 yards and had three tackles on special teams in his debut.

Jordan Williamson, who made 1 of 2 field goals, became Stanford's career scoring leader. He broke Eric Abrams' record of 289 points from 1992 to 1995.

Devon Cajuste, the Cardinal's No. 2 wide receiver, was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules. He is expected to play against USC.

2014-08-30 20:09:51 -0700
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