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News This Week: Election Results

Posted on November 09, 2018 by Mark Stevens

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES. 

 

1) Sonoma County Voters Approve Funds for Parks

Voters approved Measure M by an overwhelming margin on Tuesday. The Measure increases sales tax in Sonoma County by one eighth of a percent. Revenues will be used to maintain county and municipal parks. READ MORE

2) Butte County Fire Darkens Sonoma County Skies

Smoke from the Camp Fire, burning over a hundred miles to the north east of Sonoma County, is reminding many residents of the devastation that we experienced 13 months ago during the Tubbs Fire. READ MORE

3) Mixed Success for Affordable Housing Ballot Measures

There were seven measures on the Napa County and Santa Rosa ballots that aimed to address affordable housing issues. Of the seven measures, three failed to get the necessary votes. READ MORE

4) Prop. 6 Defeat Allows Infrastructure Improvements in Sonoma County to Continue

The defeat of Proposition 6 means that local projects such as SMART train expansion and Highway 101 widening will continue to receive funding. READ MORE

featured image courtesy of pressdemocrat.com

My Simple Guide to Creating Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Posted on October 17, 2018 by Mark Stevens

This past weekend I made a nesting box for the Western Bluebird. This species is a one of my favorites—their color is stunning and they are a pleasure to watch as they swoop and dive to catch insects. Over time, I have found that creating and/or preserving space for wildlife in my own backyard isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Putting out bird feeders and making nesting boxes are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some simple steps that my family and I have taken to make sure that the birds, bees, and all the other critters that live alongside us have safe, welcoming homes of their own.

My Western Bluebird nesting box.
Create Shelter

Most birds want a nest that feels just right. For those birds that are comfortable nesting in a box that someone else made, the dimensions and opening size are important. An opening that is too big may allow predators or competitors to use the box. A great resource for region specific nesting box plans and placement is NestWatch. To support the natives bees in your area you can make nest blocks or other types of tunnel nests.

Plant Natives and Provide Food

Using plants that are native to your area will provide habitat and food resources for a variety of animals. Plant a varied selection of plants, which will give birds many options to build their own nests and find food. Choosing plants that flower at different times will ensure that there is a steady supply of food for native bees. For information on California’s native plants, visit the California Native Plant Society. Placing bird feeders throughout your yard will also attract and sustain wildlife. For help choosing the right bird feeders check out Wild Birds Unlimited.

Manage Wisely

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your yard is wildlife friendly is to leave some of it untouched. Whether you plant natives or have more exotic landscaping, try letting them grow wild for most of the year. It may end up looking less tidy than you are used to, but the insects and animals like it that way.

Want to go further? You can get your yard certified as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation. Check out the checklist here.

*featured image courtesy of effectivewildlifesolutions.com

News This Week: Wildfire Recovery One Year Later

Posted on October 05, 2018 by Admin

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES

 

The Fear That Keeps Napa Winemakers up at Night

One year after devastating wildfires, Napa winemakers confess that they are worried about much more than the threat of fire in the future. READ MORE

New Homes for Wildfire Survivors

Homes for Sonoma—an organization that makes tiny modular homes that are approximately 500 sq. ft.—is creating new housing in Sonoma County for displaced fire survivors. The first 5 homes will be in Windsor, CA with plans to create an additional 40 in the upcoming months. READ MORE

Graton Gets its First Park

Last Saturday was the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new park that will open in Graton. The park has been a longtime dream for the town, which currently has no public space. READ MORE

The Future of Homes

Leaders and visionaries in the home-design community describe what home design will look like in the year 2039. READ MORE

Sebastopol Highlight: The Barlow

Posted on October 02, 2018 by Admin

With the holidays around the corner, you may be looking for inspiration and specialty gifts for your loved ones. Look no further than The Barlow in Sebastopol. First opened in 2013, The Barlow is almost a town unto itself, filled with premier shops, tasting rooms, breweries, and restaurants. Set aside a few hours to drink, eat, picnic, walk and shop in this beautiful outdoor shopping center featuring some of the best products Sonoma County has to offer.

Shops

Scout West County has been called “The Barlow’s new modern general store.” They have a wide selection of clothes, homegoods, and gifts focused on sustainability and craftsmanship.
Sonoma Flower Mart brings wholesale flowers to the public. They work with 15+ local farms to source high quality flowers year-round.
Community Market is a full-service grocery store featuring organic and health foods. Stop in to fill your kitchen larder or enjoy prepared food from the deli.

Also check out: Adele Stoll, Tamarind Clothing, Gallery 300, Elsie Green, California Sister Floral, The Passdoor, and Soap Cauldron.

Dining and Drinking

Kosho is a new addition to The Barlow. They offer modern Japanese cuisine utilizing fresh, high quality ingredients.
Golden State Cider (coming Spring 2019) uses the finest west coast apples to make a selection of high quality hard ciders.
Barrio: Fresca Cocina Mexicana serves gourmet Mexican street food in a contemporary style.
Pax Wines is focused on making wines from Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Carignan grapes with as little intervention as possible.

Also check out: Seismic Brewing Company (coming soon), The Farmer’s Wife (coming soon), Crooked Goat Brewing, Friedman Wines, Guayaki, Kosta Browne Winery, MacPhail Tasting Lounge, The Nectary, Spirit Works Distillery, Two Dog Night Creamery, Taylor Lane Coffee, Village Bakery, WM Cofield Cheesemakers, Woodfour Brewing, Zazu Kitchen + Farm.

The Barlow also has an event center that is available to host weddings, corporate events or private events celebrating any special occasion.

*images courtesy of thebarlow.net and www.fdc-comp.com

News This Week: August Home Sales and Auction Success

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Admin

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES

August Market Report

Reports are showing that August sales are still increasing over previous months. And that’s not all—comparative sales and home prices are higher than last year. READ MORE

Kosta Browne Hosting New Dinner Series

Beginning in November, Kosta Browne Winery will host exclusive dinners with custom menus created by renowned chefs. READ MORE

Newest American Viticulture Area in California

Winemakers in the new Petaluma Gap AVA are getting notice for the distinctive wines that are being made in the region. According to the Press Democrat, the cool climate produces “elegant, crisp and focused wines.” READ MORE

Record Set at Sonoma County Wine Auction

The love in the air is thicker than the smoke. This year’s Sonoma County Wine Auction raised $5.7 million for charity. Enthusiasm was fueled by the focus on rebuilding efforts after last years devastating wildfires. READ MORE

 

 

 

News This Week: 2018 Harvest and Coastal Cleanup

Posted on September 21, 2018 by Admin

EACH WEEK WE COLLECT TOP LOCAL NEWS AND RECENT REAL ESTATE STORIES

Wine News: 2018 Harvest Underway
With yields higher than 2017 and cooperative weather making harvest an abundant success, this year’s harvest has winemakers rejoicing. READ MORE

Local News: Coastal Cleanup
More than 350 amazing volunteers showed up in Sonoma County this past weekend to remove trash from local beaches during the 34th annual Coastal Cleanup Day. READ MORE

World News: Moving Back to Caves
With so little land available, essential services and new developments in Hong Kong may end up going underground. READ MORE

Design Inspiration: Bedroom Color Trends
Ready to update your bedroom color palette to get the sleep you need? Check out what’s trending and practical this season. READ MORE