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December 21-27, 2005

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News Briefs

By Patricia Lynn Henley


Four of Napa County's approximately 40 commissions bit the dust this year for reasons varying from redundancy to lack of interest to the desire of commission members. The Board of Supervisors quietly bid adieu to the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Self-Esteem, the Delinquency Prevention Commission and the poorly named Family Nonviolence Prevention Council. Often these groups are created because of citizen interest, and if no one is interested, there is no reason to continue, says Napa County spokeswoman Mary Jean McLaughlin. "Board policy is to review commissions to see if their work is done. Basically if we're having trouble attracting members, that's a big clue." The Commission on the Status of Women was disbanded at the request of its members, who will continue their efforts through the Napa Women's Club. "They felt they could do more things not being handicapped as a board-appointed commission," such as fundraising, McLaughlin said. The commission's remaining $1,453.98 will be given to a local nonprofit to host the annual self-esteem workshop for ninth-graders.

Solar Sewage

With pumps, blowers and other equipment operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, processing wastewater requires a lot of power. For fiscal year 2004-2005, the Sonoma Valley Sanitation District's PG&E bill was $699,923. The Sonoma County Water Agency, which runs the sanitation district, hopes to slash that to zero by spending $7 million to install thousands of solar panels on approximately four acres at the valley's wastewater treatment plant. The district wants a 45 percent rebate from PG&E, but won't know until January if it will get the money, says water agency spokesman Tim Anderson. An initial environmental study is being created; public comments are due by Friday, Dec. 23, at 5pm. Call 707.547.1998 or visit compliance.html#CurrentProjects.

Funding Marin

The Transportation Authority of Marin is handing out $857,906 to cover projects ranging from a road-widening and pedestrian bridge in Fairfax to a traffic light, crosswalk and curbs for a 50-unit affordable housing project in Mill Valley. Fairfax will get $500,000 to redesign a main thoroughfare, Center Boulevard between Pastori and Pacheco avenues. That money comes from the Measure A half-cent sales tax approved by 71.2 percent of Marin voters in November 2004. From its clean air fund, the transportation authority gave Fairfax $159,000 to cover a budget shortfall for a pedestrian-bicyclist crossing next to Manor Circle Bridge, and Mill Valley got $198,906 to help cross a busy road near the proposed affordable Fireside Inn project.

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