RIP, Carol Channing

RIP, Carol Channing. Carol’s son Chan is a newspaper cartoonist, and I sat next to him at the South Florida Sun Sentinel in the ’80s after graduating from Northwestern and before “coming home” to work at San Francisco Chronicle. Chan and I got to know each other, and I learned a little more about his famous mom. A New York Times article about Carol’s “larger than life” life is here. Good times.

DiCaprio Foundation donates $1,000 to “Goat Fund Me” in Nevada City

On December 8. I wrote about the “Goat Fund Me” campaign in Nevada City for fire supression, thanks to Reinette Senum. The post is here.

We donated, and I also suggested that Reinette contact the regional and national press for coverage.

Since then, this story has aired on the local TV stations, and L.A. Times, among other publications.

Now I see the Leonardo DeCaprio Foundation has donated $1,000 to the effort. Good going Leonardo! Good going Reinette!

PG&E CEO resigns as company faces billions in liability

“The CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric resigned Sunday and employees could learn this week if the utility will declare insolvency while facing billions of dollars in liability over its role in recent California wildfires,” as the Sacramento Bee is reporting.

“PG&E released a statement Sunday thanking Geisha Williams for her service. The board of directors chose John Simon as interim CEO.

“’While we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face,’ the company said. ‘We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO.’

“PG&E is in discussions with lenders about a financing package worth up to $5 billion. It would allow the company to continue operating during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

“Under a new state law, PG&E must tell its employees at least 15 days before a change of control in the company — including a bankruptcy filing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. That notice may come as soon as Monday.

“State fire investigators blamed the utility’s power lines for causing a number of California wildfires in October 2017.”

The rest of the article is here.

Gunman who killed Davis Officer Natalie Corona was ordered to surrender AR-15 rifle

“The gunman who shot and killed Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona Thursday night has been identified as Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, a 48-year-old man who was ordered last fall to surrender a semiautomatic rifle after he was convicted in a battery case,” the Sacramento Bee is reporting.

“Yolo County Superior Court records show Limbaugh was charged in September with battery with serious bodily injury, a incident that a source said stemmed from him punching a co-worker at Cache Creek Casino in the face after a dispute.

“The case was resolved as a misdemeanor conviction, and California Department of Justice records show he agreed to surrender a black .223-caliber Bushmaster AR-15 rifle in November.

“Court records also show Limbaugh did not possess any other weapons, and authorities have yet to determine where he obtained the two semiautomatic handguns he is believed to have used in a Thursday night rampage that killed the 22-year-old officer and shot up a surrounding downtown neighborhood.

“One former roommate, who asked not to be identified, told The Bee that ‘Kevin had a troubled life and felt trapped and had deep anger issues that he never let any of his friends see.’

“Online public records also show Limbaugh owes a $9,746 state tax lien in Bernanillo, N.M., that was filed against him in 2016.

“Limbaugh lived in a small, blue-gray house along a busy road in Davis, one block away from where Corona was killed.”

The rest of the article is here.

Reinette Senum’s “Goat Fund Me” campaign featured in the L.A. Times

“In tiny Nevada City, a Gold Rush town in Northern California touting a population of 3,100, folks are big on a novel idea to fight the increasing threat of wildfires: calling in the goats,” the L.A. Times is reporting

“Vice Mayor Reinette Senum has launched a crowdsourcing campaign called ‘Goat Fund Me,’ hoping the online fundraising efforts will garner $30,000 to work with local ranchers on a prescriptive grazing project on city-owned land, including 450 acres of greenbelt.

“’Why not do something — and as soon as we can?’ Senum said Friday from her home tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where she has lived off and on since age 4. ‘If we’re not proactive, if we don’t help ourselves, no one else is going to step up.’

“The city is especially vulnerable to fires ‘because we’re an outdoorsy community. We spend a lot of time in nature and we’re packed with brush that turns into tinder that needs to be cleared,’ Senum said.

“The idea has been used elsewhere in California.

“For decades, Laguna Beach has launched a herd of goats to feast on the city’s canyon slopes in an effort to reduce the threat of brush fires.

“And last year, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy used the animals in its efforts to restore native grasses to the area.”

The rest of the article is here.

CPUC green lights Bright Fiber Network internet project

Editor’s note: I received this press rlease today:

Today, the California Public Utilities Commission  voted to approve the purchase of Bright Fiber Network, Inc.  by Race Telecommunications, Inc., giving the green light to a $26.8 million dollar fiber-to-the-home build, servicing 1,941 households in western Nevada County. The project was approved with a unanimous 4-0 vote.

The original Commission California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant for the project was awarded to Bright Fiber in December 2015 but was delayed by other federal grant developments and Bright Fiber’s search for financing for required matching funds.

In June 2018, Race announced its planned acquisition of Bright Fiber, which it will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Race to complete and manage the project.

“It’s been a ten-year journey to arrive at the point where construction can finally begin on this transformational gigabit fiber project in an area of rural Nevada County, where broadband Internet access is severely limited,” said John Paul, the president of Bright Fiber.

To contain costs that steeply rose since the project’s original application in 2013, Bright Fiber and Race proposed an amended project that is 25 percent underground with 75 percent aerial installation, meaning that the fiber will be attached to existing poles similar to telephone and electric facilities.

The Commission reviewed and approved these changes to the broadband project, including a $69,534 reduction in the CASF grant, now amended to $16,086,789. The revised total cost of the project will be $26,811,315.

The Commission found that the lack of reliable and affordable broadband in the project area remains the case today, and this transfer allows the project to be completed. Under Assembly Bill 1665, the Commission is working to provide broadband to 98% of the residents in the state by region.

The Commission granted an extension of the original deadline for construction to May 2020.  Race has already completed the engineering for the amended project and said it will immediately begin the permitting process with the local authorities and seek to complete the project within the required timeframe.

“Race is humbled and grateful that the Commission has moved quickly to approve this transfer of control of Bright Fiber and review the needed CASF project changes so that Race can construct this important project for the community,” said Raul Alcaraz, president of Race.

Race and Bright Fiber will hold a Town Hall meeting for the community in the evening on Wednesday, January 30 to describe the amended project to interested community members and to answer any questions. The location and time of the Town Hall will be announced shortly.

Founded in 1994, Race Telecommunications, Inc. has a successful track record of delivering high-speed fiber solutions to rural and disadvantaged communities that are both affordable and sustainable. Working in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission and non-profit community advocacy groups, Race has made it its mission to bridge the Digital Divide in California.

Bright Fiber Network, Inc. is an independent internet service provider in Nevada County.  The company began as Spiral Internet in May 2006. Since its inception, Bright Fiber has evolved its business and service offerings in the rural broadband market and has worked tirelessly to bring a state-of-the-art fiber network to western Nevada County.

After the sale of BFN to Race, BFN will work exclusively on the fiber-to-the-home CASF project. A separate company, Spiral Internet LLC, has been spun off from BFN and will offer web hosting, dial-up, email, and DSL resale services under the leadership of John Paul.