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Nature Notebook, August 27, 2020

08/26/2020
As I write, the sounds of red-shouldered hawks and acorn woodpeckers are quiet; in the background, human birds—helicopters and planes—are at work. The deer have not been chowing on the cherry plums in the yard, perhaps sniffing the scent of fire in the air. I had hoped to share such...

Marin adds protection against future oil drilling

08/19/2020
This week, supervisors moved to create a new safeguard to further minimize the potential threat of offshore oil and gas exploration off the Marin coast. Developing onshore facilities that support offshore operations is already prohibited by the county, yet under the terms of an ordinance considered on Tuesday that will...

New sponge discovered in Cordell Bank sanctuary

08/19/2020
Before he died in May, a sponge expert who worked with the Royal British Columbia Museum discovered a new species of sponge among samples collected from the depths of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary: Farrea cordelli. The delicate, ruffled white sponge was discovered at nearly 7,000 feet below the...

Personal services face bumpy road during Covid

08/19/2020
Starting last Monday, a range of personal services were allowed to resume outdoors in Marin, including nail salons, massage therapy, esthetic services, cosmetology and skin care services. On the coast, providers are struggling to bounce back. It’s been a bumpy ride: Marin moved to reopen these industries in late June,...

Task force divided on Bo-Stin reopening

08/19/2020
The messy, uncertain planning process for reopening schools was on full display at the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District this week. As teachers prepare for a soft open to distance learning next Tuesday, the board continues to hash out a number of key questions for when students return to campus: How...

Lightning sparks major fire in seashore

08/19/2020
Sparked by lightning, a fire burned more than 1,100 acres of dense forest in the Point Reyes National Seashore this week, threatening the towns of Bolinas and Olema and sending clouds of grey smoke across the region. Firefighters struggled to access the blaze because of its remote location, and air...

Pandemic changes Election Day landscape; board races uncontested

08/19/2020
Marin’s elections will look dramatically different this year thanks to new laws meant to allow for safe voting amid a pandemic. Every registered voter in California will be mailed a ballot, and polling places will be open for the three days prior to Election Day, to make up for fewer...

Drive-in movie theater to donate proceeds to school

08/19/2020
A drive-in movie theater is popping up in Tomales. For 10 weeks this fall, the William Tell House is bringing a big screen to the old high school baseball field, along with beer, wine and a menu inspired by vintage drive-in fare. “The overarching idea is to bring our community...

Rodoni, Doyle discuss shift cuts on the coast

08/12/2020
At a lukewarm town hall last week, Supervisor Dennis Rodoni and Sheriff Robert Doyle offered two different perspectives on the sheriff’s decision to no longer patrol the Marin coast at night. Taking turns to answer questions, the supervisor and the sheriff subtly criticized each other, but agreed that the staffing...

Fire tax brings chipping, inspections

08/12/2020
Fire prevention initiatives are ramping up across the county thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority. In most towns on the coast, residents can expect to be visited by a team of defensible space inspectors over the next couple of months, following a series of...

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