Midstate Construction Corporation Recently Completed Rehabilitation of Village East Apartments

Midstate Construction Corporation recently completed rehabilitation of Village East Apartments, a HUD housing community in Stockton, CA for owner The John Stewart Company.

Designed by The John Stewart Company, this project included rehabilitation of 190 HUD housing units and new construction of a community building. Work included community room, exercise room, computer room, kitchen, offices, new playground, siding, windows, doors, roofing, painting, landscape and hardscape.

Arrow Benefits Group Rosario Avila Awarded 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising

In a largely male-dominated profession, EBA’s 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising stand out for both personal and professional reasons. Some of these winners were credited with finding substantial savings for employer clients and strengthening their organization’s bottom line, while others advocated for a holistic approach to technology, behavioral finance, level-funding techniques, mind-body healing and metrics to track corporate objectives.

Rosario Avila

Benefits consultant
Arrow Benefits Group

What was your biggest work accomplishment this past year?
The launch of our Spanish Language Division called Alianza.
What makes you stand out as an adviser?
Understanding my client’s demographics and needs.

Keysight Technologies Helping Staff Who Lost Their Homes

Ron Nersesian, CEO of Keysight Technologies, can measure the impact of the Tubbs Fire in what his company had to haul away: 1,400 tons of ash and debris, 126 tons of electronic waste, 1,200 smoky cubicles, and 370,000 square feet of flooring.

Keysight, a company that was originally part of Hewlett-Packard, is headquartered in Santa Rosa. The Tubbs Fire inflicted a total estimated loss of around $130 million on the company. An elementary school on Keysight headquarters property burned down, as did two smaller buildings there, and smoke damage rendered some of the rest of the site unusable.

Keysight employs about 1,500 people on the site, manufacturing electronic measurements products used by a wide range of businesses in industries from commercial communications to aerospace defense. Helping those employees cope with their lives’ disruption became one of the company’s biggest challenges. Keysight donated $10,000 to everyone who lost a home. (Among employees, 119 homes were lost, Nersesian says; in all, about 3,000 housing units were lost in Santa Rosa’s city limits.) It also set up temporary housing and allowed colleagues to donate money or vacation time to those who needed it. Crisis counselors were added to the mix, along with legal counseling. Many employees didn’t know “where to start,” Nersesian says.

Still, the fire did not result in any lost business. Keysight brought in $3.2 billion in revenue during fiscal year 2017, up from $2.9 billion the previous year. During this year’s third quarter, it reported a record revenue of $1 billion. The fire broke out Oct. 8, and Santa Rosa was evacuated on Oct. 9. But by Nov. 1, manufacturing was “up and fully functioning,” Nersesian says, and everyone had returned to work at headquarters by about Aug. 1.

Nersesian says the company’s insurance was able to cover a high percentage of Keysight’s costs. However, not every business can afford such extensive coverage. “Small business is usually the more vulnerable,” and may not want or be able to afford “to spend money on extra coverages,” says the Insurance Information Institute’s Ruiz.

Ruiz says the industry tries to encourage companies to plan for catastrophe by evaluating their risks, assessing every area from employee safety to its supply chain, as different businesses may require different types of insurance—for instance, vineyards may need crop insurance.

And increasingly insurers, along with city planners and lawmakers, are looking more closely at how to manage in areas vulnerable to wildfires. Organizations like the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety are heavily involved in researching how to fortify communities against fires, including enabling property owners to reduce the vulnerability of features like decks and skylightsby using flame-resistant materials, and in the case of decks, routinely removing debris.

Preparing for what comes next

At Keysight, the removal of 1,750 fire-damaged trees around the perimeter of headquarters has created a bit of a spatial break between any future fire and the company’s buildings. The main buildings are built with a type of concrete on the outside, which is why they survived, Nersesian says, and the large parking lots around the buildings should also serve as a firebreak.

At Paradise Ridge, in addition to changing building materials, the ownership intends to take precautions like installing fire hydrants. “We’re hoping if this ever does happen again, that we will be in a better place,” Byck-Barwick says. “There’ll be something left at least.”

The Santa Rosa fires have had a lasting emotional impact on the community. Wright, Byck-Barwick’s builder, lost his own home, which he plans to rebuild, even as he works on reconstruction of area schools and businesses. “It’s been a learning process—it gives you a different perspective and outlook on things,” Wright says. “Others are probably in worse situations, [and] I know there are people who have had to move out of the area…. But everyone’s trying to help everyone. That’s the best thing about it.”

College of Marin (COM) Library is honored to host Giuseppe Dezza: Beyond the Image

The College of Marin (COM) Library is honored to host Giuseppe Dezza: Beyond the Image, a photography exhibit by Fairfax artist Giuseppe Dezza on display from October 16 through December 21. An opening reception will be held on Tuesday, October 16, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Learning Resources Center, second floor.

Although the Civil War in El Salvador (1979-1992) happened decades ago, the repercussions are still being felt today. Cosponsored by the Canal Welcome Center, this exhibit captures moments from El Salvador’s history between 1990 and 1996.

Dezza volunteered to go to El Salvador in 1990 as part of the non-governmental Human Rights Commission (CDHES) and a shield program initiated with Marin Interfaith Task Force to document human rights abuses and diminish the possibility of the military repressing commission members.

Prior to his arrival in El Salvador, photography was a hobby he enjoyed but according to Dezza, his experience there is what made him a photographer.

“I always liked photography, but I became ‘a photographer’ there,” said Dezza. “It was literally my way of translating my passion, my belief, my intention, into an action.”

Dezza and other volunteers were going to places most people wouldn’t go during that time in El Salvador. Dealing with the impact the war had on families—their pain and suffering—left a lasting emotional mark on his life. This is visible in his photographs, as they stimulate thoughts about poverty and war and the intertwining of compassion, art, and resistance.

Admitting that what he witnessed was harsh and crude, he believes in the socio-political, cultural, and historical value of the images. His original intent was showing what he saw without pretending to present the truth about El Salvador. The images simply tell his story as he experienced it.

As far as specific techniques, Dezza favors using a 50mm lens because it forces the photographer to get close to their subject.

“You’ve got to get close, you’ve got to be there, you’ve got to smell it, you had to see it, you had to feel it,” says Dezza. “And that definitely was, and is, part of my relationship with photography. Generally speaking, that was part of the beauty of this work, if you want to call it beauty, was to be in the midst of it.”

He hopes people who see the exhibit can get a sense of solidarity and be stimulated to think beyond the image itself—to get into the depth of the images and maybe have a second of reflection about war, poverty, the human condition, and the contradictions in life.

“I hope people go away with a sense of humanity; maybe their hearts and their minds a little more open.”

The exhibit is part of a semester-long inquiry, Eyes of Compassion: War, Immigration, and Transformation, which seeks to foster greater understanding of the connections between violence and immigration while celebrating the transforming effect of education. The exhibit’s opening coincides with the California Community Colleges Undocumented Student Week of Action, October 15-19.

Following the mid-term elections, the College welcomes back an esteemed alumnus for the poetry reading and talk “Javier Zamora: Poetry As Resistance.” All are welcome to attend this event held Wednesday, November 7, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Fusselman Hall, room 120. Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador during the Civil War and both his parents immigrated to the United States from El Salvador due to the war. More information is available online at library.marin.edu.

Sonoma Raceway President Steve Page Named Finalist for Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award

Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, an annual award created to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.

Other 2018 finalists are Joey Logano, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ driver and founder of the Joey Logano Foundation, and Ryan Newman, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series™ driver and co-founder of Rescue Ranch.

“One of Comcast’s most important pillars is re-investing in our local communities, and it has been incredible to see this come to life through our NASCAR partnership with the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award,” said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Partnership Marketing at Comcast. “This annual award, now in its fourth year, has given us a platform to highlight members of the NASCAR family who truly embody a generous and benevolent spirit.”

Page has shown long-standing commitment to the residents of Northern California through his work with the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, along with his efforts to support and rebuild areas affected by last October’s devastating wildfires. To offer relief to those impacted by widespread fires, Page opened the gates of Sonoma Raceway to provide a refuge for those who were evacuated from their homes, hosting more than 100 campers and serving as a temporary evacuation center.

Page, whose family was also evacuated, and his staff served meals and sorted donations to provide clothing and necessities to evacuees. He also helped mobilize the local community in thanking public safety personnel, spearheading a “Laps of Appreciation” fundraiser that generated more than $72,000 for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Redwood Valley and Santa Rosa Community Recovery Fund.

Throughout the raceway’s NASCAR race weekend in June, Page oversaw “Sonoma Rising,” an initiative designed to honor fire survivors, salute first responders, and lend support to the North Bay’s ongoing rebuilding efforts. As part of that effort, the raceway distributed more than 1,100 tickets to allow fire survivors to attend the 2018 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at no cost.

Since 2001, Page and SCC have distributed more than $6 million to Sonoma County organizations that serve local youth. This year the Sonoma chapter of SCC established a ‘Fire Resilience Fund’ to distribute grants to youth-serving groups that have increased or created programs to support the amplified needs after the fires.

The 2018 Comcast Community Champion will be selected by a panel comprised of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as the Chip Ganassi Racing Pit Crew Department, who won the award in 2017. Comcast will award $60,000 to the winner’s affiliated charity, and $30,000 on behalf of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2018 award winner will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 15 at W South Beach Hotel in Miami as part of NASCAR Championship Weekend.

The two other Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalist include Logano, who founded the Joey Logano Foundation in 2013 to support organizations across the United States that provide aid to children and young adults. Since its inception, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2 million to hundreds of organizations through a multitude of programs.

Newman and his wife Krissie founded Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre facility that works to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment through a wide variety of educational programs in the community, in 2012. The Ranch is home to more than 85 animals that receive around-the clock care, and serves as host to various school curriculum-based field trips, Scout badge programs, summer camps and more.

In the first three years of the award, Comcast has donated more than $350,000 to nine different NASCAR-affiliated charities, furthering the impact of efforts from NASCAR industry members. Comcast has a long track record of community service, aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. To learn more about the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, please visit ComcastCommunityChampion.com.

Dutra Materials Acquires Decker Island

We are pleased to announce that Dutra Materials has acquired Decker Island, its associated reserves and equipment. In keeping with Dutra’s long tradition of, and commitment to, maintaining the State’s water-transport system and the greater Bay Area’s construction materials needs, Dutra’s Decker Island is now open for business.

Dutra Decker Island consists of 473 acres, located adjacent to the Sacramento River and Sherman Island, between Rio Vista and Antioch. The acquired operation contains over 40 million cubic yards of fully permitted, clean construction material reserves, along with associated material processing equipment and barge loading facilities. Dutra will conduct the mining operation to produce a variety of sands, clays, and blended fill mixtures, all delivered by environmentally friendly and economical water transportation via barges throughout the Delta and Bay Areas.

For further information and inquiries for construction material needs, please contact:

Ross Campbell
Quarry Engineer

Sonoma Raceway Marks 50th Anniversary With Return to Original NASCAR Circuit

Sonoma Raceway will return to the circuit’s historic 12-turn, 2.52-mile road-course layout for the 2019 Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend as part of its upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, raceway officials announced today.

The full track layout, which was originally unveiled when the raceway opened in 1968, incorporates the raceway’s signature sweeping downhill corner known as “The Carousel.” The Carousel plunges from Turn 4, down through Turns 5 and 6 and navigates a more than 200-degree radius turn before dropping onto the raceway’s longest straightaway into the Turn 7 hairpin.

“The Carousel is a corner where history has been made, and as we celebrate the half century of track history in 2019, we are excited to re-introduce this signature turn on the Sonoma Raceway circuit,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president & general manager.  “We look forward to seeing a new generation of racers battle through this challenging corner and create moments fans will remember 50 years from now.”

The Carousel has been the site of many memorable moments in the raceway’s history, including Dale Earnhardt’s critical pass of Mark Martin in 1995 resulting in the Intimidator’s first-ever NASCAR road-course victory.

“Innovation and exceeding expectations is in the DNA of SMI. This is something fans and drivers have been talking about for years, and we are excited to bring it to them, particularly as part of the track’s 50th anniversary,” said Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

NASCAR utilized the full 12-turn course beginning with its first Pacific Coast Late Model Division race at then-Sears Point Raceway in 1969 through numerous Cup Series, West Series, Southwest Series and Truck Series events until 1997. Since 1998, NASCAR has competed on a shorter, 1.99-mile configuration, which utilized a bypass connecting Turns 4 and 7 known as “The Chute.” The 2019 Toyota/Save Mart 350 is expected to run 85 laps and the race distance will remain 350 kilometers.

“The carousel adds a technical aspect to the track that will be a challenge for the drivers. I’m looking forward to the FOX broadcasts of the race weekend next year and analyzing how the teams deal with this new challenge,” said Gordon, a five-time Sonoma winner.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to Sonoma Raceway for the 2019 Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 21-23. Sonoma Raceway will celebrate its 50th anniversary season throughout the year and will announce additional plans in the coming months. For more information on upcoming raceway events or to secure tickets for 2019, visit www.sonomaraceway.com or call 800-870-7223.

15th CSRG Charity Challenge Races to Raise $1 Million for Sonoma County Youth Groups

The Classic Sports Racing Group’s 15th annual Charity Challenge Vintage Car Races at Sonoma Raceway promises to showcase some of the finest vintage race cars all in the name of charity, Oct. 6-7.

Nearly 300 vintage race cars will hit the track for a full weekend of racing on the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course. The event will feature vintage Formula 1 cars, Formula Fords, pre-war race cars, sports cars spanning from the 1930’s through the 1980’s, up to the more modern Formula Atlantics from the 1970s and production sports cars from the 1950s and ‘60s, as well as a collection of NASCAR stock cars.

Nine different race groups will hit the track for practice and qualifying races on Saturday and main events on Sunday. All proceeds from the weekend benefit Sonoma County youth groups through Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway. CSRG has generously contributed more than $920,000 to SCC since 2004, and will race to raise that mark to $1 million over the course of the Charity Challenge.

In addition to the on-track action, race attendees are invited to take a close look at the race cars throughout the paddock and spectators are also allowed to walk amongst the cars as they are staged on-track before a select number of racing groups. The weekend will also include a classic car show featuring Lotus, a motorcycle display of race bikes, classic bikes and custom bikes as well as vintage aircraft flyovers including biplanes, fighters and bombers taking to the sky.

To join in the race to raise $1 million for Sonoma County charities, spectators can enjoy an unforgettable ride around the road course on Saturday and Sunday. For a minimum tax-deductible $75 donation, depending upon the car, fans 16 years and older can take a thrilling, three-lap ride around the road course. Fans can choose from a variety of race cars including Ferrari or Jaguar, Can-Am cars, Corvettes and Mustangs or European sports cars including Alfa Romeo, Mini and Austin Healey, among others.  The Charity Track Rides will take place during the lunch break on Saturday and Sunday and always sell out quickly. Sign-ups begin at 9 a.m. each day in the first floor of the John Cardinale Media Center.

Advance-priced tickets for the CSRG Charity Challenge can be purchased online  by end of day Sept. 28 for $12 each day or $20 for a two-day pass. Tickets prices rise on September 29 to $25 each day or $40 for a weekend pass. Race weekend is a family-friendly event. Kids 12 years and under, students of all ages as well as military and veterans are admitted free with appropriate identification and parking is free. Fans can also join the spectator grid walk, at no extra cost.  Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

For more information on the CSRG Charity Challenge, visit www.CharityRacing.org or visit CSRG’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/csrgracing. For tickets, check the Sonoma Raceway ticket site at www.SonomaRaceway.com/events.

Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard J. Tyson Speaks at 2018 Global Climate Action Summit

Kaiser Permanente is the leading health care sponsor of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, and CEO Bernard J. Tyson addressed the conference Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, during a session called, “Healthy Planet, Healthy People.”  Tyson discussed Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2020 — and how we are already on our way at 30 percent of that goal.

Addressing the link between climate change and health requires collaboration across health and hospital systems and key partner organizations. At Tyson’s GCAS session, he  shared this video, which illustrates the health risks attributed to climate change, and how organizations are coming together to address this as a matter of population health.

Follow the news of the Global Climate Action Summit on Twitter with hashtags #GCAS2018 and #ClimateChangesHealth. And spread the word by sharing this video via your own social media channels.

Kaiser Permanente Announces $734,000 in Grants to Local Groups

Kaiser Permanente in the Marin-Sonoma Area has awarded more than $734,000 to local nonprofit organizations that provide community programs for improved health care access, healthy eating and active living (HEAL), early childhood development, education, and mental health and wellness.

Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grants are awarded every year to local organizations working on specific programs and projects that align with Kaiser Permanente’s mission and goals resulting from priorities developed from the tri-annual Community Health Needs Assessment.

The Marin-Sonoma grant-making program supports local nonprofit, public health, and human service organizations that improve the health of underserved communities in Marin and Sonoma counties.

“At our core, we’re a caring, giving organization,” said Alena Wall, regional Community Benefit manager. “It’s important to support our local nonprofits and collaborate to transform community health where people live, work, and play.”

This year, Kaiser Permanente has five objectives in its Community Benefit grants program: improve access to health care, healthy eating active living (HEAL), early childhood development, education, and mental health and wellness services.

“We all benefit when the communities where we live and work are healthy,” says Judy Coffey, RN, senior vice president and area manager for the Marin-Sonoma Area. “That is why Kaiser Permanente continues to partner with community organizations to leverage a range of resources that expand access, enhance education, and improve the total health of our communities – mind, body and spirit.”