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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Artesa Vineyard and Winery Of Sonoma, Ca, Fights The Good Fight

Artesa Winery
Artesa Winery, which has perhaps the most breath-taking winery in California, has come out fighting in a Sonoma Coast California property battle against Friends of the Gualala River.

Artesa Winery is fighting to improve and protect a neglected Sonoma, California property in the face of strident opposition from a controversial local group, Friends of the Gualala River. Sonoma County is a place known both for its excellent wine and its natural beauty.

But, the conversation has turned ugly over the effort by one well-regarded winery to renovate part of an abandoned Sonoma property into a vineyard and preserve and protect remainder of it. Artesa Vineyard and Winery has owned the 324 acre property since 1999 when it purchased the lot with the intention to use it to grow Pinot Noir.

The property has fallen into disrepair since it was used as an apple orchard in the early 1960’s. In 2009 Artesa submitted a proposal to convert 173 acres of this former orchard into vineyard and preserve the remaining 151 acres of Artesa’s proposal was approved by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) in 2012 after what official Dennis Hall called, “an extreme and exhaustive analysis of potential impacts” on the surrounding environment.

However, Artesa’s vineyard conversion was halted shortly after approval due to a local activists filing a lawsuit, even though the winery met The Friends of the Gualala River, a local activist groups, claims that Artesa’s vineyard conversion is “deforestation” and that if it is allowed to proceed it will “open the door to clear-cut coastal California forests.”

In a world concerned with global warming and in a state particularly focused on environmental concerns, the coalition has found their message resonating with some. However, others point out that the Friends of the Gualala River are misrepresenting the facts and are completely divorced from reality.

For example, the trees on the Sonoma coast property were removed by a previous owner some 40 to 60 years ago, long before the property was owned by Artesa. Only two old growth Redwood trees remain on the Artesa property, and Artesa’s plans preserve them as part of the new vineyard. Additionally, some Artesa supporters have made the point that the lot is already zoned for agricultural use.

Should Artesa withdrawal its proposal, the entire lot could be developed for other purposes, including the 151 acres the winery has committed to setting aside Concerns over a seasonal creek and other small, unnamed tributaries on the property are cited as a problem by the Friends of the Gualala, who contend that use of pesticides and groundwater for grape-production will adversely affect the area’s watershed.

However, Artesa’s Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) specifies that the vineyard will utilize a rainwater irrigation system and that the only well dug will be for use by workers and equipment cleanup. Artesa President Keith LaVine has also pointed out in recent interviews that pesticides were not used at all during the 2013 growing season in Artesa’s other vineyards, and would only be used in “rare, isolated cases.”

In case they must be used, the Artesa EIR lays out 30- to 100- foot buffer zones to protect water resources from any “vineyard disturbance.” The Artesa EIR plan goes beyond preventative concerns to specify improvements to the habitat on the property, including an expanded 3 acres of wetlands and three designated botanical preserves to protect the unique Annapolis Manzanita population which is found in the area.

Any Native American archeological sites uncovered in the conversion process are to be preserved as Surrounded by lots that have already successfully converted to vineyards, zoned for agricultural use, lacking old growth forest, and otherwise in disrepair for the last 50 years, it is hard to understand why this particular patch of Sonoma has been chosen as a battleground.

As the Sonoma County Superior Court deliberates for the next 30 days, the people at Artesa have no choice but to continue to prepare to start improving, and protecting, their slice of the beautiful Sonoma Coast.

Let’s hope reason prevails and that the objections to Artesa preserving his property are successful. The winery and their parent company have done more to enhance and preserve the property than the Friends of the Gualala River ever have.

To find out more about the facts, see: http://www.artesasonoma.com/

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Richmond Mayor's Comparison Of Chevron Ecuador To Refinery Accident Is Crazy

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin has Petroecuador Oil on her hands
Richmond Mayor says Chevron Ecuador compares to Chevron Oil Refinery Accident?

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin can’t resist acting like an irresponsible and unknowing political activist, even in her role as the Mayor of Richmond. (Bet she doesn’t know that oil on her gloves in that Contra Costa Times photo came from the state-run Petroecuador’s many oil spills! The Mayor of Richmond thinks it’s Chevron, and doesn’t know she’s being made a fool of, but more about that later.)

Even though Chevron launched an unprecedented $15 million community program for Richmond, California just two weeks ago, that didn’t stop her from holding a mini-protest at Richmond City Hall including 25 people on Tuesday morning, the first day of the Chevron vs. Steven Donziger RICO trial in New York City.

Chevron vs. Steven Donziger is a big-deal case that, if Chevron wins, will mean that Steven Donziger and Ecuador can’t collect on the $19 billion, fraudulently arrived at judgment thrown down in an Ecuador court in 2012. Because Chevron has no assets in Ecuador, both Steven Donziger, and President Rafael Correa (who’s involvement proves that Amazon Watch either lied about or did not know Ecuador’s government was a party to the lawsuit) have been on a global hunt to get a hold of Chevron assets anywhere in the World.

So far, they’ve failed. Read why at Zennie62.com, here: Chevron Ecuador: Richmond Mayor's Comparison To Refinery Accident Is Crazy

Friday, October 4, 2013

West Contra Costa County Council of Industries See Richmond Shoreline, Terminal One, As Gold

The West Contra Costa County Council of Industries recently held a tour of Richmond, California's shoreline as part of an effort to promote the area as a great place for real estate development.

The Richmond Harbor Yacht tour, held Wednesday of this week, was created to open eyes about what can happpen in Richmond. “It’s a way for the businesses to give back to the people; to show them what a beautiful shoreline we have, but also to educate them on what we do in Richmond,” said Katrinka Ruk, the executive director of the Council of Industries told Richmond Confidential.

Richmond Confidential reports that Terminal One, a commercial and residential real estate development, is taking shape, as its lead developer, Zienwu Wu, and architecture and planning firm Kwan Henmi, is working with the Port of Richmond.

Terminal One will be 400 condominiums on 13.8 acres, and with restaurant and commercial office space.

“Ideally, we would like to see it happen within five years,” said Jason Tran, a representative of Kwan Henmi. “We understand that the process with the city can sometimes be challenging. But we are hopeful.” Terminal One will collaborate with various community groups to get their support and input on the project, Tran said to Richmond Confidential.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tyler Hester At Leadership Public School, Richmond, CA

Watch this video about how Freshman English teacher Tyler Hester motivates his students every day at Leadership Public School in Richmond, California.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brazilian Coffee House Restaurant Tempero Goiano, Richmond, CA

The Brazilian Coffee House Restaurant Tempero Goiano in Richmond, CA, is located at 12221 San Pablo Ave Richmond, CA 94805, (510) 237-9000. If you want to try Brazilian cuisine, this is the place to visit in Richmond!

Richmond News: Chevron's New $15 Million Community Revitalization Initiative Announced

On Tuesday, Chevron Richmond announced the start of a great $15.5 million Community Revitalization Initiative, a five-year plan to stimulate the city’s economy by creating jobs, encouraging small business development and expanding job training opportunities.

According to Zennie62.com, Chevron officials said that $10 million will be spent on economic development and did so at a press conference held Tuesday morning at Richmond’s Community Greenspace Garden. More at Zennie62.com, here: Chevron Richmond Announces $15 Million Community Revitalization Initiative - http://www.zennie62blog.com/2013/10/01/chevron-richmond-announces-15-million-community-revitalization-initiative-14227/

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