Large memory care facility opens

SANTA ROSA -- Vintage Senior Living at Vintage Brush Creek recently opened a memory care facility. The 50,000 square-foot, two-story building features 32 studio apartments as well as activity and dining areas specifically designed and furnished for residents with memory impairment, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Designers took into account the special needs of a growing population of seniors who are afflicted with dementia, according to the company. One in eight Americans over age 65 will eventually develop Alzheimer's disease.

The new facility details include soft lighting and neutral walls, wood floors and muted carpets, an indoor "serenity area" with waterfall and soothing music, and a garden area for strolls and planting flowers, encouraging physical and mental activity.

Each resident is provided a "memory box" to help them connect present and past via personal photos and mementos.

Novato latest city to host Algebra Academy

PETALUMA -- North Bay Leadership Council's first Algebra Academy will begin Aug. 1 in Novato.  The council's Algebra Academy will be a public-private partnership with the Novato Unified School District.

The academy will offer selected English learners in middle school the opportunity to learn algebra and explore how it is applied in the world of work.

The council's Algebra Academy is modeled on the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy, run by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.  It falls on the heels of the recently completed Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce's academy.

"Mike's dream was always not just to expand the academy locally but to have other programs elsewhere," said Kelly Bass, director of workforce development for the Santa Rosa chamber.

The goal of the academy is help jumpstart students' interest in and knowledge of algebra, as well as other math- and science-related topics.  This knowledge will do more than improve their academic achievement. It will connect the dots for them on why learning algebra is a linchpin for college and career readiness.

The students in the North Bay Leadership Council's academy will be taught algebra for two hours every day and then spend time with scientists, engineers, financial experts, designers and other professionals.  The professionals will share how they use math and science in their work and showcase careers that require these skills.  Students will also be able to tour the worksites and participate in real work experiences.

The five organizations hosting the students in the academy are the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Infineon Raceway, Novato Sanitary District, North Marin Water District and Redwood Credit Union. Contributing to defray the cost of the academy are Pacific Gas & Electric, Kaiser Permanente and BioMarin Pharmaceutical.

The leadership council plans to open new academies next summer in other North Bay cities in addition to the Novato academy.  As an employer-led public policy advocacy organization, council members have made education one of their top priorities. The group seeks to create more public-private partnerships to improve education, so that there will be a highly skilled workforce in the North Bay ready to fill the jobs generated by the region's employers.

Sonoma Valley Unified School District is looking into starting an algebra program in the fall, according to Ms. Bass.

Napa picks AMR for ambulance service

NAPA -- Napa County Health and Human Service Director Randy Snowden last week issued a notice of intent to recommend that Colorado-based  American Medical Response be awarded an exclusive county contract for ambulance services. The Board of Supervisors must approve the recommendation.

American Medical Response was selected over numerous other ambulance companies, among them Piner's Napa Ambulance, which previously held the county contract, and Solano County's provider, Medic Ambulance.

AMR's proposal was ranked highest by a five-person panel of industry professionals. State law requires that Napa County periodically re-issue its exclusive emergency services to a competitive bidding process.

Along with the notice of intent, Mr. Snowden also sent the board a memo outlining the process and the major service improvement commitments that  made AMR's proposal the best for Napa County.

Under the review process scoring system, 60 percent of a proposer's score came from the service and system improvements proposed, and 40 percent came from the proposed base rate. The base rate proposed by AMR equates to $1,477 in Napa, where a majority of ambulance calls occur, and $1,577 in other areas. A majority of calls cost less than $1,500.  Just $392 separated the highest and lowest base rates proposed by the four bidders.

The notice of intent begins a 14-day period where any of the unsuccessful proposers may file a protest. If the protest cannot be informally resolved, it will be forwarded to an impartial hearing officer. If a protest is sustained, that officer is responsible for determining the next steps under the RFP.  If no protests are sustained, Mr. Snowden's recommendation is then forwarded to the board for action.

General Dynamics installs solar system

[caption id="attachment_36226" align="alignright" width="302" caption="Building owner Jim Brush, Michael Scrobonia of General Dynamics and Rody Jonas of Pure Power Solutions"][/caption]

HEALDSBURG -- General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a high-technology company in Healdsburg, recently had a electric system installed.

"We have been interested in solar power for several years, so we were pleased that our building owner pursued installation of a solar-generated power source that we could use," said Michael Scrobonia of General Dynamics.

Typical rooftop solar installations require drilled and bolted mounts that can jeopardize the integrity of the existing roofs. New technology enables an installation that does not require drilling through the roof. The 17-kilowatt system at General Dynamics, installed by Pure Power Solutions, utilizes a "ballasted" mounting system designed to be installed without drilled attachments and is tested to withstand winds up to 120 miles per hour.

The system will provide an average annual output of 25,285 kilowatt-hours, according to Pure Power Solutions. It is comprised of 63 Suntech panels and three SMA America Inverters.