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May 30-June 5, 2007

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News Briefs

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Shaping memories, hope

Sonoma State University sculpture professor Jann Nunn will be busy on campus this summer, crafting artwork designed to honor all who suffered and died in the Holocaust and other genocides. Two 40-foot-long railroad tracks will be embedded in the lawn on the east side of the campus, next to the Alumni Grove. The tracks will lead toward--but not quite reach--an eternally illuminated glass column representing hope for the future. The railroad "ties" along the tracks will be made of bricks inscribed with the names of holocaust victims; some of a slightly darker color will bear the names of the few who took action against the atrocities. The sculpture will be an important addition to the SSU landscape, says Dr. Elaine Leeder, dean of social sciences and a key member of the planning group. "It's both for the past and the future; the past to honor those who died and the future in the hope that we will stop it from happening again."

Here comes Wal-Mart

Employees are stocking shelves and getting ready to open the new 176,000-square-foot Wal-Mart supercenter east of Highway 29 in American Canyon, thanks to a judge's recent decision that the city met all state environmental regulations when re-approving the project last month. Construction was stopped by court order in May 2005, resumed that August and stopped again last December. Only one plaintiff remains, says American Canyon city manager Richard Ramirez, and unless an appeal is filed by the end of June the store will open. "We hope we will be able to complete this important economic development project for the city." Other projects--a shoe store, a gas station car wash, a fast food outlet and a hotel--were waiting on final approval of the Wal-Mart, which Ramirez says will "anchor" the new shopping center. "With the anchor comes the fleet."

A fair share?

An initial budget for voter-approved disaster preparedness and flood prevention funds ($4.1 billion from Proposition 1-E) included money earmarked for Central Valley projects, with the rest to be awarded competitively statewide. Now another $20 million may be set aside for the North Bay. State Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, pushed the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources to prioritize Marin and Sonoma counties. "The incidences of flash flooding and riverine flooding in rivers from the Russian River to the Marin Headlands and northern bay are significant, and routinely threaten both public safety and property," Migden argues. The revised funding plan goes before the full budget committee in early June.

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