By Patricia Lynn Henley
De Facto Draft?
A proposed $14.3 billion reduction in federal student aid is actually a "new recruiting tool for the military," blasts Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma. Making college financially unavailable to low-income young adults leaves enlistment as their only choice for jobs and job training, Woolsey charges. In 2004, nearly two-thirds of the Army's recruits came from counties where the median household income is below the national average. "This 'raid on student aid' is a draft through lack of opportunity," Woolsey says. She adds that while military service is an "honorable profession," it should be by choice and not as the only option. Over the next five years, the budget approved in a 217-215 vote by the House of Representatives takes $53 billion from services for college students, senior citizens, single mothers, children and the working poor. Woolsey dubbed this a "money grab by the GOP" to offset the cost of an estimated $106 billion in tax cuts.
RVs vs. Housing
At Sonoma Grove in Rohnert Park, the emphasis has apparently switched from housing to RVs. The residential park on Cristobal Road was founded in the 1970s and is self-described as "student trailer housing" for Sonoma State University and SRJC. The 152 sites hold many creatively remodeled trailers; most have not been moved for a long, long time. Sonoma County records show the property was sold to Houser Holdings LLC on Nov. 2. The park's residents were sent a "notice of change of terms of tenancy" dated Nov. 11. The multipage document refers only to RVs, lists new rents and says "residency is limited to eight months and 29 days." According to a tenant, the cost for a site 20 feet to 30 feet long rose from around $230 to $450 a month. Sonoma Grove is not covered under Rohnert Park's mobile home ordinance, which controls rent hikes. The situation will be discussed by the town's Rent Appeals Board at 7pm on Thursday, Dec. 1.
Horse Poop 101
Researchers at Dominican University of California in San Rafael are examining plants nurtured from horse manure gathered statewide. The investigation is part of a two-year, $100,000 grant aimed at slowing the advance of invasive non-native plants in national parks. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that horses spread non-native species. We wanted to see what we can grow from these road apples," says Siddes Ghosh, chairman of Dominican's natural sciences and math department. Last summer, samples were collected from pastures, corrals, paddocks, stalls and trails in the greater Bay Area. "We found 10 plant species. Only one was non-native, but it is not considered noxious," Ghosh says. Results will determine if horse owners should be required to use more expensive feed certified as weed-free before their animals travel on public land.
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