February 14-20, 2007

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News Briefs

By Patricia Lynn Henley

Dedicated campers

Hoping to galvanize others to protest the Iraq war, a group of about 20 Sonoma State University students have organized Camp Peace, a 72-hour sit-in on campus at the Mario Savio Free Speech area. "We think that war in itself is evil," says Jeff Huling, one of the organizers. "We think an increase in troops will only add fuel to the fire." The camp-in started Monday, Feb. 12, and culminates with larger rallies at noon and 5pm on Thursday, Feb. 15, in front of the SSU library clock tower. The students are hosting a wide range of activities, from hula-hooping for peace to meditations, yoga, prayer circles and teach-ins by faculty members. Letters on peace will be written and mailed to local, state and national officials, including President Bush. "There seems to be a good deal of apathy and indifference across our campus and on college campus in general," Huling explains. "We hope to change that."

Cows to ducks

Everything's falling into place to turn the former Giacomini dairy ranch in western Marin County back into a 600-acre wetlands. The Point Reyes National Seashore Association recently received a $1 million grant from the National Coastal Wetlands Program, bringing total fundraising for the project up to $5.2 million. "This is the final piece that we needed," says Sally Bolger, the association's acting executive director. "All of this money will go to removing the old levees and the old farm buildings that are there now. This will tie the wetlands into the whole Tomales Bay watershed." During the 1940s, levees and dykes were built to create farmland out of what was once extensive wetlands, Bolger said. Now that process will be reversed. The work should start in about six to eight months.

More PR for Napa

Facing potentially difficult times, the city of Napa recently OK'd a community outreach coordinator job for the next two years at an annual salary of $66,744 to $80,640. "When you're going through changes, it's important that the people understand the reasons for the changes and what those changes are," says city manager Mike Parness. With benefits, the total cost of the new job will be about $100,000. But this won't add to the city's bottom line because it's cutting a $48,000 a year position for an assistant to the city manager and a $60,000 budget for outside consultants to handle public relations tasks.

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