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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo - Our County 11-11

Energy Efficiency Rebates - The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP), and the Regional Climate Protection Authority, in partnership with Energy Upgrade California™ in Sonoma County, have increased local incentives now offering homeowners up to 100-percent rebate for Energy Analysis services. In addition, rebates up to $6,000 are now available for home energy efficiency upgrades completed through the Whole House Upgrade program.

A Home Energy Analysis includes a customized evaluation of the home’s energy use and identifies specific opportunities to minimize energy waste, and improve comfort, many of which are eligible for further rebates and financing. This is an expansion of the current Energy Analysis rebate offered by SCEIP. Any Sonoma County homeowner may choose to have an analysis performed on their home. Immediate plans for energy efficiency improvements are not required.

An additional $1,000 flat-rate rebate brings the total rebate for the Energy Upgrade Basic Package projects to $2,000. An additional $2,000 flat-rate rebate for Advanced Package projects means a homeowner can now get up to $6,000 in rebates.

Both incentive programs are limited-time offers, available on a first-come/first-served basis while funds last. Funding for this program is made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For more information on these rebates, how to contact a Participating Contractor or HERS II Rater, or Energy Upgrade California™ in Sonoma County, call (707) 565-6470 or visit

Ours to Protect - People who float or paddle the Russian River are often amazed at how quickly “civilization” seems to disappear. Whether they hop into a canoe at Burke’s in Forestville, a kayak in Alexander Valley rented from River’s Edge or an inner tube that they launch at Steelhead Beach, paddlers can go for long stretches without encountering other humans. Unfortunately, because they don’t see signs of habitation, some people assume that conveniences like restrooms or trash cans don’t exist along the river. While it’s unclear the impact that recreation use has on river water quality, even one person using the river as a toilet or trash can is one too many.

Late last spring, Don McEnhill, the Russian RiverKeeper and I convened a meeting of river outfitters and public agencies to develop a campaign targeted to recreational users. We identified existing restrooms along the river (surprisingly, there were more than we thought!) and determined that we needed two things: directional signs visible to people using the river indicating locations of restrooms and trash cans and an updated map of the river.

The RiverKeeper worked with Sonoma County Water Agency and Sonoma County Regional Parks over the summer on both tasks. In August signs were erected at several points along the river, from Mendocino County to Casini Ranch, at beaches where restrooms are available. Signs were posted at all public beaches and at many private locations, thanks to the generosity of landowners, including Alexander Valley Campground, River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe Trips, Burke’s Canoes, Johnson’s Beach, Vacation Beach and Casini Ranch. These landowners also agreed to allow river users access to restrooms and trash and recycling.

The sign design and template was provided by the City of Santa Rosa, who has posted similar signs at creek crossings throughout the city. The sign features an egret, butterfly, fish and a river/creek, with the words “Ours to Protect”. Smaller signs indicate the location and include symbols for restrooms and trash. The signs are being removed for the winter and will be  re-posted late in the spring of 2012.

A brochure featuring an updated river map with access points and restroom locations has been designed by the Water Agency and Regional Parks. It will be printed this winter, with funding from several agencies and private donations. The map will also be available for downloading on the Regional Parks website.

Tourists flock to Sonoma County to use the Russian River. Let’s make sure they understand their role as stewards of this precious resource.

I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving…all of us living in Sonoma County have much to be thankful for – and in these difficult times, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on the good things in our lives that are sometimes all too easy to forget…like the beautiful Russian River and our incredible coast.

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