Napa Valley’s Mayacamas Winery rebuilds after 2017 fires; Sonoma County launches online solar permitting; Vallejo’s Touro gets more accreditations

Mayacamas Winery on the slopes of Mount Veeder overlooking the Napa Valley, announced it has completed the estate hospitality center after the destruction of the old house by the 2017 fires.

“As the first on property rebuild in 75 years, the new Estate Hospitality Center increases our visitor experience and capacity,” explains Mayacamas Estate Director, Kris Kraner. “We are looking forward to reopening our doors to invite guests to our table to share wine, our story, and lasting memories

Backen & Gillam Architects designed the exterior and Bradfield & Tobin envisioned the interior elements of the space.

Sonoma County has announced it has become the first county in California to launch SolarAPP+, an automated application for permitting new residential rooftop solar and storage systems, the county’s Permit Sonoma announced.

“The launch of SolarAPP+ is not just a win for the thousands of Sonoma County residents who have thought about getting rooftop solar but have been concerned about the soft costs involved,” said Lynda Hopkins, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “It is also a win for our ability to

meet the North Bay's climate adaptation and resiliency needs and generate thousands of good local jobs.”

The county touted the services as a a web-based portal that streamlines and automates permit reviews. That in turn, they suggest, will lower the cost of installation which is higher in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world.

“The difference is caused in part due to installation costs like interest on home equity loans and other costs incurred while waiting for applications to be processed. For a solar customer, these added expenses can amount to as much as $5,000 for a typical residential solar system,” the county stated.

Touro University California’s School of Nursing has earned accreditation for both the Master of Science of Nursing (MSN) and post master’s family nurse practitioner (FNP) degree offerings.

“Our nursing team including faculty, students and alumni have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and Touro vaccination efforts, living our mission and keeping our community safe,” stated College of Education and Health Sciences Dean Lisa Norton.

Two North Bay nonprofits are among those to receive funding to support pilot projects between health departments and community-based organizations to rapidly scale up COVID-19 prevention and vaccination, especially in refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities.

Canal Alliance, based in San Rafael, is slated to receive $250,000 while Nuestra Comunidad in Santa Rosa has been awarded $175,000 from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments.

Twenty-three organizations received grants nationally from NACCHO in partnership with University of Minnesota’s National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants.

According to its website, Canal Alliance works with immigrants and their families “to best meet all their unique needs—from putting food on the table, to becoming U.S. citizens, to learning English, to graduating from college. Because when we support immigrants, Marin becomes a place where everyone can live, work, and succeed.”

The Sonoma County organization Nuestra Communidad describes its work as “a 501(C)(3), non-profit organization that helps the community to be prepared for any emergency situations. Whether it is calling 9-1-1 for a medical emergency or major natural disaster, we can help you get through it,” its website states.

The awards, made possible with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are being made available to local health departments and community-based organizations.

Lake County Library is providing access to multiple online resources that provide job training, skill building, test preparation, and professional development.

These services are provided through the California State Library Career Pathways program and are accessible either at the public library or from home. Access to these platforms normally comes with subscription and other fees. Thanks to funding from the State Library all are available for free through the Lake County Library.

These resources include Coursera, an online learning platform; GetSetUp, a social learning platform for individuals older than 50:LinkedIn Learning with more han 5,000 on-demand courses taught by instructors with real world experience; Northstar Digital Literacy, helping people learn computer basics through free online learning and assessments; LearningExpress, to help people prepare for the ASVAB, SAT, AP exams; and Skillshare with online classes on topics including illustration, design, photography, freelancing, and more.

The digital resources can be accessed on the Lake County Library website at under services for job seekers.

Sonoma State University (SSU) will be participating in a pilot of the second phase of CSUCCESS (California State University Connectivity Contributing to Equity and Student Success).

Incoming new first-year and transfer students who are joining SSU for the spring 2022 term will be eligible to receive a technology bundle that includes a new iPad Air, Apple Pencil, and Apple Smart Keyboard. Students will be provided with this iPad bundle for the entirety of their undergraduate experience at Sonoma State.

CSUCCESS is the largest device distribution program of its kind in the nation coming from the largest and most diverse system of four-year higher education in the U.S. Nearly half of all CSU undergraduates receive Pell Grants — demonstrating financial need — and nearly one-third are the first in their family to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

A Sonoma County whiskey company was recognized among the best in Esquire's Spirit Awards for 2021.

The list, which included whiskeys, tequilas, gin, and other spirits, featured Grizzly Beast straight bourbon whiskey by Redwood Empire Whiskey that has a distillery in Graton,, an unincorporated town in Sonoma County.

Esquire added that Redwood Empire distills its whiskey in a single distilling season, and that its Grizzly Beast straight bourbon whiskey ages for about four years before its bottled. The bourbon whiskey is described of having orange zest, salted caramel, and buttermilk tasting notes with a spicy aroma.

Redwood Empire Whiskey named its Grizzly Beast bourbon whiskey after two trees found within two national state parks, according to its business website. "Grizzly" is a nod to the grizzly giant sequoia tree in Yosemite National Park, while the word "beast" comes from the mattole beast tree located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

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