Assemblymember Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, honored students from Sun Valley Elementary School for their successful effort to urge the makers of felt-tip markers to develop a recycling program for their products. The students, after learning about plastic pollution in a lunchtime club called “Kids Who Care” -- a project of Sun Valley’s “Green Team” -- started an online campaign on asking Crayola to establish a recycling program for the half a billion plastic markers the company produces each year. In August, after nearly 84,000 people across the country had signed the petition, global art supply company, Dixon Ticonderoga, announced a massive recycling project in response to the petition. In a press release, Timothy Gomez, chief executive officer of Dixon Ticonderoga, said, “This shows that even one classroom can change the way a global company does business."

The Chiligods, a chili sauce company based in Healdsburg, received one of the highest honors -- "double gold" -- at this year's Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Only a handful of the 124 participants in the professional food category received the designation.Technology

ET Water Systems, Inc., a Novato-based "smart" irrigation management systems developer, significantly upgraded its award-winning ETwater Manager web-based system. It now will incorporate rainfall forecast data into its scheduling software engine, allowing for automated suspension of irrigation before it rains and offering additional water and dollar savings. The new feature is a free software-based upgrade, available starting in November to all ETwater users.

NonProfitEasy, a technology startup and winner of the North Bay Business Plan Competition, announced a Series A equity funding commitment. The funding group includes significant participation from the North Bay Angels as well as several individual investors. Proceeds from the funding will be used to hire key staff, expand sales and marketing, provide support for its increasing customer base, and drive future product development. The company's software seeks to integrate the multiple data systems commonly used by nonprofit entities, a market that it estimates is over $1.7 billion.Wine

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Envolve Winery in Sonoma will be promoting their campaign “Real Men Drink Pink” to help raise awareness and funds. Proceeds from every bottle of 2011 Envolve Sonoma Mountain Rose purchased at the new tasting room or online ( with the $15-a-bottle discount code RMDP2012 will be donated to Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation, which is offering free mammograms in the month of October.