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December 14-20, 2005

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News Briefs

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Napa in Pieces

From KKK rallies to ladies of the night, a monumental mosaic now depicts all aspects of Napa Valley history on a tall fountain surrounding an early 20th-century grain silo at Napa Mill (500 Main St., Napa). Using tiles imported from three traditional glass art foundries in Italy, artist Alan Shepp incorporated a wide range of images, such as baskets of the Native American Wappo tribe, the steam engine Calistoga, farmworkers harvesting crops and more. Titled Ars Long Vits Brevis ("life is brief, but art endures"), the mural also includes the burning of the valley's "Chinatown" in the late 1880s, as well as fish representing the region's once-abundant flora and fauna. A collaboration between Shepp and Harry Price, the redeveloper of the historic Napa Mill, the remodeling project took two years and more than $120,000 to complete, with Shepp donating most of his labor.

No-Suit Settlement

The city of Santa Rosa will pay $425,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the ever-litigious River Watch of Occidental, with the proviso that for the next nine years the group will not sue the city over any violations of the 1974 Clean Water Act. Three years ago, River Watch won a lawsuit against Santa Rosa and collected $195,000. In an out-of-court settlement for the current claim, the city will put $250,000 into projects to restore the Laguna de Santa Rosa; the remaining $175,000 goes to River Watch and its lawyer, Jack Silver, for attorney fees. River Watch has filed lawsuits and accepted settlements, including attorney fees, from a number of North Bay cities and other governmental agencies, such as Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Willitts, Fortuna, Lake County, Sanitation District and Sonoma County Water Agency.

Insuring Kids

A total of 350 North Bay youngsters who otherwise would not have health insurance will be covered under Children's Health Initiatives in Napa and Sonoma counties, as part of $7.5 million in grants recently awarded statewide by the California Endowment. Marin County is in the process of designing and developing a CHI program, but does not yet have any children enrolled. Napa County will receive $200,000, with $150,000 going to Sonoma County. "It's approximately $100 per kid each month," for the insurance premiums, says Jeff Okey, spokesman for the California Endowment. Based on their income, families in the program pay anywhere from $4 to $12 a month for health insurance for one child, with the grant picking up the rest of the cost.

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