Redwood Credit Union gives $40,000 to nonprofits; San Rafael awards $8M fire houses contract; 1st Cannabis Awards takes submissions

Redwood Credit Union has donated $40,613 to local nonprofit partners 10,000 Degrees and North Bay Children's Center as part of celebrating International Credit Union Day on Oct. 21.

One of the ways RCU honored the day was by donating 25 cents to local nonprofit organizations that support child and youth development in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and San Francisco counties each time members used their RCU Visa debit or credit card on Oct. 21.

“This year’s ICU Day theme, ‘Building financial health for a brighter tomorrow,’ is at the heart of what we do,” said Brett Martinez, president and CEO of the Santa Rosa-based credit union. “For more than 70 years, we’ve been giving our members the tools they need to make informed decisions to achieve their financial goals and dreams—whatever they may be. We’re honored to be part of an industry that supports its communities.”

San Rafael City Council has awarded a $8.9 million contract to Wickman Development and Construction Inc. to modernize San Rafael Fire Department stations 54 and 55. Station 54 is in the Canal area, and Station 55 is in the Peacock Gap area.

The city also awarded a $280,300 contract to Loving Campos Associates and Architects Inc. for supervision and administration.

The first California State Fair Cannabis Awards is now open for submissions. This state-sanctioned competition is open to all licensed cannabis cultivators and will celebrate the 2021–2022 harvest of the California-grown, cannabis flower. Cannabis is joining the official California State Fair roster of coveted competitions including wine, craft beer, cheese and olive oil.

The competition will be scored objectively, through science-based analysis performed and certified by SC Labs, one of California’s premier cannabis and hemp testing labs. SC Labs will test each cultivar for chemometric data, using an innovative cannabinoid and terpene reporting platform – PhytoFacts.

The report will identify specific terpenes and cannabinoids, and their levels of concentrations in the sample provided to determine the winners. Terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis can represent upwards of 40% of the mass of a female flower, making the profile of these important compounds the best predictors of the aroma, flavor, and effects of a particular cultivar.

Award winners will be announced in May of 2022 and celebrated during the state fair, set to take place July 15-31, 2022, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California. The awards have been developed in partnership between the California Expo & State Fair and Cultivar Brands, a California-based cannabis marketing and events agency.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership with a 2021 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award as a professional certifying organization, for continuing to make their qualified water efficient landscaper (QWEL) trainings and certification accessible to a wide audience.

In response to the pandemic, the partnership expanded its online training capability, and virtual courses were offered by May 2020. The Partnership coordinated with WaterSense to develop online classes, virtual irrigation audits, and online test proctoring for professional certification. Additionally, the partnership worked with several colleges, including Mendocino College and Santa Rosa Junior College, to incorporate QWEL into their landscape irrigation courses.

In recognition of the Fulbright Program’s strong partnership with Hispanic-serving institutions, the U.S. State Department has named Sonoma State University a Fulbright HSI Leader. SSU is one of only 35 HSIs out of the nearly 600 in the U.S. to receive the award in its inaugural year of designation and one of nine California State Universities.

According to the program, SSU has demonstrated meaningful engagement with Fulbright exchange participants during the 2019-2021 academic years and has promoted the program’s opportunities on campus. The collaboration is evident in SSU currently hosting two Fulbright students from other countries. SSU faculty member Laura Watt also received a Fulbright grant to conduct research in Iceland last year.

Third-year exchange student and English major Gamze Can is studying at SSU this year. She’s from Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, a university in Breisgau, Germany, with hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. Can said she chose to come to SSU to take advantage of the campus’s smaller size to participate in class more and meet new people.

Open enrollment for the nation's largest state-run health insurance marketplace began Nov. 1 and runs through the end of January.

Covered California sells individual health insurance plans to people who can't get coverage through their job. Some people, depending on how much money they make, are eligible for deep discounts on their monthly premiums. Even families making more than $100,000 per year are eligible for discounts.

Covered California says if everyone chose the cheapest plan, more than 70% of consumers would pay less than $10 per month.

Twelve insurance companies will sell plans on Covered California for 2022.

A wide-ranging survey of breast cancer patients found that 42% had used some form of cannabis to reduce symptoms while only 39% of cannabis users told their doctors about it, according to a new study published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society. Almost half believed that medical cannabis could treat cancer itself, although there is no scientific evidence from human trials to support that idea.

The study concluded that both patients and their doctors need more information about marijuana, because the drug could interfere with some treatments or make patients vulnerable to new side effects. Patients who are immunocompromised because of their cancer treatments should be especially wary of marijuana purchased illegally, as street drugs often contain dangerous impurities.

The study was spearheaded by, which is based in Ardmore, and Main Line Health. It was led by Marisa Weiss, founder and chief medical officer of, and a radiation oncologist at Lankenau Medical Center.

The federal government’s effort to penalize hospitals for excessive patient readmissions is ending its first decade with Medicare cutting payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals.

In its 10th annual round of penalties, Medicare is reducing its payments to 2,499 hospitals, or 47% of all facilities. The average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment for each Medicare patient stay from the start of this month through September 2022. The fines can be heavy, averaging $217,000 for a hospital in 2018, according to Congress’ Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC. Medicare estimates the penalties over the next fiscal year will save the government $521 million. Thirty-nine hospitals received the maximum 3% reduction, and 547 hospitals had so few returning patients that they escaped any penalty.

An additional 2,216 hospitals are exempt from the program because they specialize in children, psychiatric patients or veterans. Rehabilitation and long-term care hospitals are also excluded from the program, as are critical access hospitals, which are treated differently because they are the only inpatient facility in an area. Of the 3,046 hospitals for which Medicare evaluated readmission rates, 82% received some penalty, nearly the same share as were punished last year

Financial, digital, business interruption and pandemic concerns top the list of macro risks for mid-sized business leaders, according to the second annual Mid-Sized Company Risk Report from QBE North America and the Association for Corporate Growth. When analyzing the specific risks, or micro risks, QBE found employee-related issues to be a common theme with six of the top 10 micro risks involving employees.

QBE North America's 2021 Mid-Sized Company Risk Report, produced in partnership with the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), is based on a survey fielded in August 2021 of executives in a variety of risk management roles at companies with $200 million to $3 billion in revenue from a cross section of industries. Now in its second year, the report discusses the macro and micro risks that most concern mid-sized company executives, whether companies have risk management plans in place to address each of these risks, and their top needs for reducing their risk exposure.

Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) was recognized on Oct. 27 by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for having produced some of the most Gilman scholarship recipients over the past 20 years.

The Department of State’s Gilman program makes studying abroad more accessible to American students by providing scholarships for outstanding undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s inception in 2021, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.

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