Redwood Credit Union Named Best Financial Institution

Redwood Credit Union (RCU) has received the Sonoma Valley People’s Choice Award for Best Financial Institution.

An award that recognizes individuals and businesses that “rise above all others,” the People’s Choice award is voted upon by the people of Sonoma Valley and was given at a celebration at Buena Vista Winery on September 12.

“Redwood Credit Union is honored to receive this recognition,” said Brett Martinez, RCU’s President and CEO. “Every day, we offer affordable financial services to help people achieve their financial goals and dreams. This award provides validation that we’re succeeding in that effort.”

#          #          #

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union (RCU) is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services, including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management, financial planning services, and more. The Credit Union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through their wholly-owned subsidiary. RCU has over $4.3 billion in assets and serves over 320,000 Members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide, and convenient, free online and mobile banking. RCU can be followed on Facebook at and on Twitter at @Redwoodcu. For more information, please call 1 (800) 479-7928 or visit

Sonoma State University ranked No. 19 among top public colleges in the West

Sonoma State University ranked No. 19 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of top public schools in the West.

The magazine’s 2019 best college lists, released this week, ranked Sonoma State No. 64 overall for colleges and universities in the West.

Traditionally, U.S. News and World Report analyzes schools based on student outcomes, looking at graduation rates and social mobility. This year it also analyzed how well schools support low-income students through graduation by comparing graduation rates of Pell Grant students versus non-Pell Grant recipients.

“Being included in this ranking is a reflection of our focus on the academic success of our students, especially those who come from economically challenged backgrounds and are the first in their families to attend college,” said Sonoma State President Judy Sakaki. “I couldn’t be more proud of the direction we are headed.”

Other factors used in the ranking system: faculty resources, peer assessment, alumni contributions and overall financial resources of the university.

Sonoma State University Survey Shows Majority of Locals Have Positive Perceptions of Wine Industry

Residents of the North Bay’s five wine-producing counties hold mostly positive views of how wine businesses are impacting their quality of life, according to the findings of a new study by Sonoma State University researchers.

The survey, which took place in February and March of this year, focused on public perceptions of the industry’s impacts on the economy and overall quality of life in Northern California’s wine-producing region including Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino and Solano counties. For example, 75 percent of respondents said they have either “very positive” (39 percent) or “positive” (35 percent) views compared with 4 percent of respondents who have either “negative” (2.6 percent) or “very negative” (1.4 percent) views. Twenty-two percent said they have neutral views or no  opinion about them.

Large majorities also said they felt wine businesses contributed to their county in a variety of ways:

  • 66.5 percent said they contributed a great deal to bringing more people to visit their county;
  • 58.8 percent said they contributed a great deal to boosting the local economy;
  • 57.8 percent said they contributed a great deal to the beauty and culture of the region

Meanwhile, a majority of respondents said they also felt vineyards and wineries played a positive role in helping to deal with the North Bay fires nearly a year ago. Sixty-four percent said they contributed either “some” (38.5 percent) or “a great deal” (25.5 percent) in serving as firebreaks, which prevented the fires from spreading further or more rapidly.

As was the case in a similar survey in 2015, respondents repeatedly cited such community benefits provided by the wine industry as jobs, beauty, culture and an overall positive image for the region. Meanwhile, an equal number of respondents (36 percent) said they also contributed “some” or “a great deal” to increasing the cost of living in their county. A majority of respondents also said that wine businesses added to traffic and congestion in their areas.

The survey was sponsored by SSU’s School of Business and Economics and its Wine Business Institute and was conducted as part of ongoing research to inform the community and local decision-makers about the quality of life and businesses operating in the state and region. The study was conducted by Dr. David McCuan, Chair and Professor of Political Science at Sonoma State University, and Richard Hertz, adjunct faculty member in Political Science and principal of Hertz Research.

“This research indicates large majorities of residents favorably view the wine industry with positive contributions to economic vitality and improving their quality of life while also expressing specific concerns about maintaining that quality of life in order to maintain the beauty and culture of their region,” McCuan said.

The online survey consisted of closed- and open-ended questions posed to 503 individuals across five Northern California counties. In summary, the data and verbatim comments suggest, as they did in the 2015 survey, that most North Bay residents see wine businesses as a significant community asset, in economic terms, as a source of local pride, and as enjoyable for visitors and residents alike.

A summary of the results, including a detailed description of the methodology and demographic analysis, are available here.

Kaiser Permanente Finalizes Agreement to Enable Carbon Neutrality in 2020

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest nonprofit integrated health care system, has finalized an agreement for a major renewable energy purchase that will enable it to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral in 2020. With this announcement Kaiser Permanente, the leading health care sponsor of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, is realizing its commitment to improving the health of individuals and communities by addressing climate change.

Kaiser Permanente’s power purchase agreement for 180 MW of clean energy — enough to power 27 of its 39 hospitals — will enable the construction of utility-scale solar and wind farms, and one of the country’s largest battery-energy storage systems. The agreement is part of a comprehensive portfolio of renewable energy solutions and greenhouse gas reduction strategies that together are supporting Kaiser Permanente’s clean energy future.

“Climate change is here. We are seeing the effects of it in devastating wildfires, hurricanes and droughts already impacting people’s lives,” said Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. “At Kaiser Permanente, we understand that one of the most effective ways to protect the health of the more than 68 million people in the communities we serve is by ensuring healthy environmental conditions. By investing in renewable energy and becoming carbon neutral, Kaiser Permanente is helping to prevent climate-related illness for people worldwide.”

Tyson will deliver remarks during the opening plenary of the Global Climate Action Summit on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Kaiser Permanente is an internationally recognized leader in sustainability that is addressing the intersection of climate and health. Increased rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments, the spread of infectious diseases, heat-related illnesses and injuries from severe weather events and wildfires are some of the recognized health impacts of climate change.

Environmental stewardship has been an important part of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to community health for the past two decades. In 2016 the organization announced an ambitious goal to become carbon neutral in 2020, along with several other bold goals to reduce its climate impact. Among the milestones met to date:

  • Achieved a 29 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions since 2008, while increasing our membership by 36 percent
  • Reduced water usage by 12 percent per square foot of building space since 2013
  • Opened California’s first LEED Platinum hospital, the Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, in April 2017
  • Hosted California’s first hospital-based renewable microgrid at the Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center
  • Issued $1 billion in Green Bonds to fund LEED Platinum and Gold building projects
  • Joined RE100, California Healthcare Climate Alliance, Ceres Connect the Drops and other climate leadership initiatives

Fact Sheet

  • Kaiser Permanente has finalized a 180-MW power purchase agreement that will enable construction of utility-scale renewable wind and solar farms, and a large battery storage system
    • Wind farm generation: 50 MW
    • Solar farm generation: 131 MW
    • Battery storage capacity: 110 MW
  • 180 MW is equivalent to the amount of electricity it takes to power 27 of our 39 hospitals year-round
  • This agreement will make Kaiser Permanente the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the U.S. health care sector, using more than 1 million MWh of green power annually
  • The project is being built and will be operated by NextEra Energy Resources
  • Location: The solar farm and battery storage will be located in eastern Riverside County; the wind farm will be located across the border in Arizona, though the power transmission will be delivered directly to the California grid.
  • Estimated completion date: Kaiser Permanente will begin receiving
    associated renewable energy credits in 2019; the projects will come online in 2020 and 2021.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

Dominican University of California Ranked as One of the Top Regional Universities in the West

Dominican was ranked 25th out of 127 regional universities in the west in the 2019 edition of the guidebook. This is a five point increase from last year. The western region includes California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Regional universities provide a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs.

In addition, U.S. News ranked Dominican as a “Best Value School” in the West and as one of a select number of institutions designated as an “A+ School for B Students.” Dominican also received high marks in the “Campus Ethnic Diversity” category.

U.S. News incorporates criteria such as peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

The U.S. News ranking is among a growing list of accolades earned by Dominican in the past year.

In September, Dominican was ranked in the top third of U.S. colleges and universities nationally in the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college survey, focused on a university’s ability to deliver valuable outcomes and quality education for its students. Dominican was ranked 271 out of 968 institutions across the United States.

In August, Dominican ranked in the top third of Money magazine’s “Best Colleges for your Money 2018.” The magazine noted that more than 90% of undergraduates attending Dominican receive financial aid.

This summer, college guidebook Colleges of Distinction recognized Dominican for the University’s engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community, and successful outcomes.

The guidebook selects schools that excel at undergraduate teaching, offer a wide variety of learning experiences, provide numerous opportunities for personal development, and are highly valued by graduate schools and employers for outstanding preparation.

Redwood Credit Union Recognized for Outstanding Performance in Investment Services

Six wealth management advisors at Redwood Credit Union (RCU) received Pacesetter awards, and RCU’s investment marketing efforts were also recognized at the CUSO Financial Services (CFS) “Fulfilling the Vision” 2018 Annual Conference, recently held in San Diego, California. Mike DeFazio earned the 2018 Gold Pacesetter Award (his 9th consecutive gold win), while Julie Nix and Christine Foster earned the Silver Pacesetter Award, and Steve Kerston, Clark Matthiessen, and Joseph Turfa earned the Bronze Pacesetter Award. In addition, RCU received its 3rd consecutive Gold Impact award for its wealth management services marketing campaign.

Affiliated with broker dealer and Registered Investment Advisor, CUSO Financial Services, LP, DeFazio, Nix, Foster, Kerston, Matthiessen, and Turfa were recognized for being the top-producing registered representatives among hundreds of credit union and bank programs across the country.

DeFazio joined RCU’s wealth management team in 2007, bringing more than 10 years of business and management experience. Nix has been with RCU since 2014, assisting clients with portfolio analysis, retirement planning, risk assessment and more. Foster has more than 26 years of experience in financial services and has worked for RCU since 2001. Kerston started at RCU in 2010 and specializes in retirement planning and risk management. Matthiessen has been a financial advisor at the credit union since 2001, helping members develop investment strategies that meet their individual goals. And Turfa joined RCU’s wealth management team in 2009, bringing more than 15 years of retirement planning and investment expertise.

“We’re proud to see these advisors recognized for their accomplishments,” said Tom Hubert, senior vice president of wealth management, auto services and insurance services at RCU. “In a crowded industry, these individuals have established themselves as professionals of the highest caliber. They are an inspiration to all of us who strive for excellence in our profession.”

#          #          #

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union (RCU) is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services, including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management, financial planning services, and more. The Credit Union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through their wholly-owned subsidiary. RCU has over $4.3 billion in assets and serves over 320,000 Members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide, and convenient, free online and mobile banking. RCU can be followed on Facebook at and on Twitter at @Redwoodcu. For more information, please call 1 (800) 479-7928 or visit

About CUSO Financial Services, LP and Sorrento Pacific Financial LLC

CUSO Financial Services, L.P. and Sorrento Pacific Financial, LLC (Members FINRA/SIPC) are subsidiaries of Atria Wealth Solutions. Established in 1997, they specialize in placing investment programs inside credit unions and banks, providing customized investment and insurance solutions to over 200 financial institutions throughout the country, with $30+ billion in AUA. Headquartered in San Diego, with branch offices nationwide, both broker-dealers are SEC Registered Investment Advisers, with expertise in key areas including retirement services, wealth management, advisory solutions and insurance products for individuals and business customers.  For more information, see or visit their LinkedIn pages: CFS and SPF.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Redwood Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union Members.

SolarCraft Completes Solar Power System at New Life Christian Center

Novato and Sonoma based SolarCraft, a leading North Bay solar installer for over 35 years,  recently completed the installation of a 111 kW DC solar system at New Life Christian Center in Novato, CA.  The system is designed to offset close to 93% of their annual utility bills for the church and school facilities.  New Life is reducing their operating costs by thousands every month and stabilizing energy expenses for decades to come.

The solar power system is roof mounted for maximum southern sun exposure and consists of 309 high-efficiency solar panels, producing 155,996 kWh annually.  Excess power generated during the day is banked by PG&E for credit towards future use.

The church is displaying community leadership by promoting environmental responsibility through the implementation of the solar photovoltaic system, but also recognizes the importance of managing operation costs wherever possible.  SolarCraft presented to the Church new financing options which are very favorable for non-profits and deliver sound financial returns.

SolarCraft presented very favorable financing options, which allow non-profits to benefit from federal incentives.  With a lease or PPA, the provider is able to monetize federal incentives and passes the benefits through to non-profits via lower lease payments, or as in a PPA, lower contracted utility rates. Additionally, leases and PPAs are designed to minimize or eliminate initial up-front costs, making solar immediately affordable for non-profits that want to be green.

During the life of the system, over 6 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated by New Life Christian Center’s operations will be eliminated.  This impact is equivalent to removing air pollution produced by nearly 10 million miles of driving over 25 years or the pollutants removed by 53 acres of trees in one year.

About New Life Christian Center
New Life Christian Center facility is shared by New Life Church and Marin Christian Academy, located in Novato, CA. The church is associated with the Assemblies of God (AG). New Life is a community of believers committed to the Great Commission (making disciples of nations) in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Marin Christian Academy is an accredited, independent, faith-centered school for students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. Throughout the school’s history, MCA has remained dedicated to educational excellence in a nurturing and uplifting environment.

SolarCraft is 100% Employee-Owned and one of the largest green-tech employers based in the North Bay for over
35 years.  SolarCraft delivers Clean Energy Solutions for homes and businesses including Solar Electric, Solar Pool Heating and Battery / Energy Storage.  With over 7,000 customers, our team of dedicated employee-partners is proud to have installed more solar energy systems than any other company in the North Bay.

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging Sites AGEs as Drivers of Age-Related Disease

An inevitable by-product of metabolism, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are toxic molecules formed when proteins, DNA and fats become bound after exposure to sugar.  They are also in some of the foods we eat.

 Pankaj Kapahi thinks the research community has neglected the importance of AGEs because they are challenging to study. Now he is on a mission to get scientists to focus on them as a driver of many age-related diseases. The Buck professor makes his case in a review article recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism; the work also gives us good reason to avoid foods that contain AGEs. (More on food later, but for now, try to hold off on the barbequed ribs.)

AGEs affect nearly every cell type and our bodies have inherent defense mechanisms that can clear them. But the production of AGEs really ramps up when blood sugar is high, and eating a typical high-carbohydrate, highly processed Western diet can overwhelm those natural defenses. Further, some of us are likely to be genetically prone to develop more of them, no matter what we eat.

AGEs and disease

AGEs make our cells old before their time, and over time the molecules accumulate in our tissues. The AGEs cause chronic inflammation, make proteins lose their shape, and send our metabolism into a sugar burning state, making it hard to lose weight. To make matters worse, the molecular damage from AGEs is irreversible.

AGEs contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. They’ve long been implicated in insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes (which affects more than 29 million people in the U.S.) and are linked to its complications – diabetic nerve pain, retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, and kidney disease. In addition, AGEs are now seen as potential players in neurodegeneration.  Recent findings associate AGEs with familial, early-onset and sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease, and with proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  In one study, plaques extracted (post-mortem) from brains of patients with Alzheimer’s show a 3-fold increase in AGEs content compared to age-matched individuals who died from other causes.  AGEs are even found in cataracts.

Knowing what we know now, it seems almost quaint that science once viewed AGEs as a phenomena similar to wrinkles – they just happened and were considered mysterious and mostly inconsequential.

Kapahi is determined to give AGEs their rightful place in research on aging.  “When you’re looking at a biological process that impacts so many diseases you know you’re onto something interesting,” he said.  “That’s why I’m excited. That’s why we took the effort to write the review.”

The challenges and opportunities for researchers

The chemistry behind the formation of AGES was discovered in 1912and an AGEs-based theory of aging was proposed more than three decades ago. Kapahi says interest in the then red-hot field flagged when a drug designed to clear AGEs in diabetic kidney disease failed in clinical trials in 1998. “Previous research focused on addressing AGEs outside of the cell, in the blood and in serum. The problem is much bigger when AGEs go into the cells, that’s where we need to focus the attention.”

But it’s nearly impossible to study the biological development of AGEs and their implications in humans because they take decades to accumulate and there are obvious ethical concerns in encouraging the development of the toxic molecules in test subjects.  So how to get researchers excited about understanding and exploiting the biology of AGEs? Kapahi says the way to get at the pathways involved in AGEs lies in simple animals including yeast, nematode worms, and flies.  “We can model the diseases in these animals. Rather than waiting 30 years to see what happens in a human, we can see AGEs in nematode worms in two weeks,” he said.

C. elegans are used to study the effects of AGEs

Alejandro Gugliucci, a professor of Biochemistry and Associate Dean of Research at Touro University California co-authored the review.  He is an expert on the bad effects of sugar, particularly fructose which is used to sweeten many processed foods and beverages. Even though he works on efforts to study and stem sugar consumption in humans, he echoes Kapahi’s enthusiasm for basic research in simple animals.  “It’s the best way to get at the genetics and the biology behind AGEs. It’s the best way to screen compounds that could quash them,” he said. “If it doesn’t work in simple animals, it’s not going to work in humans. That’s where we need to start.”

Promising results from the Kapahi lab

Scientists in the Kapahi lab have found a sensor related to AGEs and the complications of diabetes in the nematode C. elegans. Publishing in Current Biology they identified two natural compounds which prevented nerve damage in worms experiencing a similar hypersensitivity to touch as do humans who suffer from diabetic neuropathy. AGEs have also been implicated in neuropathy in mice and humans.  “The worm findings gave us a pathway to study many of the ravages of type 2 diabetes, I’m sure there are others,” said Kapahi.

The lab is also working on a project exploring a link between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers identified a gene that produces an enzyme that detoxifies the highly reactive compounds that cause AGEs. Mutations in the gene are linked to a familial form of Parkinson’s.  “The hope is to develop a new treatment for Parkinson’s,” said Kapahi. “The research also holds the tantalizing possibility that compounds that target this gene could be valuable in treating a number of age-related diseases.”

Okay, but what about AGEs in food? What do we eat?

If you want to see the effect of sugar binding with proteins and fats, look into your frying pan. The brown crust on grilled or pan-seared red meat is pure AGEs.  Kapahi urges people to avoid cooking with dry heat, opting instead for steaming, stewing, poaching and braising.  Frying with oil isn’t great either. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), fried chicken has more than six times the amount of AGEs when compared to a same-size serving of boiled chicken.

Boiled grains and sandwich breads are low in AGE’s but ADA experts say AGEs content can soar when those grains are processed into crispy brown crackers or sugar-sweetened cookies. Milk and yogurt are low in AGEs, but when moisture is removed and fat is concentrated (butter and cheese) the AGEs content rises dramatically.  For those with an insatiable hankering for grilled foods, the ADA recommends throwing fruits and vegetables on the grill. You’ll still get some AGEs, but in a small amount compared with grilled meats.

“Unfortunately AGEs taste great, even the worms and flies prefer them when they have an option,” says Kapahi, who often gets good-naturedly labeled as a killjoy at neighborhood parties. “Overall I think it’s good to follow a Mediterranean-type diet with lots of vegetables and whole grains with small portions of meat or other proteins.”

Thanks to the Buck Impact Circle

The Buck Impact Circle, a donor group that pools its resources to support collaborative early-stage research at the Institute, has chosen to fund many projects involving the Kapahi lab. In addition to supporting research on the complications of diabetes and the link between AGEs and Parkinson’s disease, the group has also funded projects aimed at determining if a ketogenic diet can protect against the complications of diabetes. This year they put their money toward research that tests compounds that show promise in lowering AGES associated with Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

“I am extremely grateful to the Impact Circle for their support and encouragement,” says Kapahi. “Being able to interact directly with these donors is so personally rewarding, it helps remind everyone in the lab that our work is really focused on human health.”

“It has been such a joy and privilege to follow Pankaj’s research and to support his progress,” said Buck Institute trustee Bob Griswold.  He and his wife Alex are founding members of the Impact Circle.  “Belonging to this group is exciting and educational. Nothing compares to having a personal investment in work aimed at helping us all live better longer.”

Next steps in the research

AGEs are a group of compounds that include more than 20 different targets. Kapahi says there is a lot of work for researchers to tackle and he’s happy to talk to anyone interested in the field.

Touro’s Gugliucci is particularly excited about collaborating with Kapahi to work on compounds that enhance our natural defenses against the formation of AGEs. “This is the way to go, to prevent the formation of AGEs in the first place” he said. “I think there’s a good chance that we’ll be able to get NIH funding to move the work forward into mammals and ultimately humans.”

Kapahi says there are many questions that need answers. Why do some people get AGEs-associated diabetic complications even before they develop full-blown diabetes? Does aging affect the body’s efforts to detoxify AGEs and can we address the problem from that angle?  What are the different mechanisms to detoxify AGEs? How do our genetics influence AGEs accumulation and detoxification? Can we make compounds that slow the progression of AGEs accumulation? What diseases can they help treat?

Finally, Kapahi wants you to remember that he’s happy to talk about the research and be on the stump for AGEs. Just be sure there’s a friendly, open-minded crowd when you invite him to dinner.

Canine Companions for Independence Names Paige Mazzoni New CEO

Canine Companions for Independence, a Santa Rosa-based nonprofit that matches people with disabilities with trained assistance dogs, named Paige Mazzoni its new CEO.

She succeeds Paul Mundell, who resigned in November after three years as CEO and 28 years with the organization. Kay Marquet, former CEO of Community Foundation Sonoma County, was interim CEO.

Mazzoni’s more than 25 years of professional experience is concentrated in corporate strategy and management, strategic initiative development and marketing implementation, according to the organization’s announcement Tuesday. That includes directing product and company positioning at several high-tech companies. Most recently, she was chief marketing officer at Windsor-based VIP Petcare.

She is said to have served on the executive committee of several nonprofit fundraising boards, including the Buck Cardinal Board at Stanford University, her alma mater.

“I am eager to further the exceptional work of serving people with disabilities and work together to bring the organization to even greater heights,” Mazzoni said in the announcement.

Canine Companions said it has matched assistance dogs with nearly 6,000 veterans, children and adults with disabilities and claims to be the first nonprofit assistance-dog organization to help people with physical disabilities.

Dogs the organization trains understand over 40 commands related to helping clients live independently. Each dog, along with a lifetime of ongoing follow-up support, is provided free of charge to recipients.

“The Canine Companions national board of directors was impressed with Paige’s extensive experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, including the animal care field,” says John Miller, national board chairman for Canine Companions. “We are confident that Paige will continue to position Canine Companions as the leader in the assistance dog industry.”

Canine Companions employs over 225 and has more than 3,000 volunteers and partners at six regional training centers across the country, in Northern California, Southern California, New York, Ohio, Florida and Texas.

Bonnie Bergin created the organization in Santa Rosa in 1975. She left the group in 1991 and is now founder-president of Bergin University of Canine Studies and The Assistance Dog Institute in Rohnert Park.

Midstate Construction Complete Walnut Place

Midstate Construction Corporation recently completed rehabilitation of Walnut Place (West Marin Senior Housing), a senior residential community in Pt. Reyes, CA for owner EAH Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing development and management organization.

Designed by TWM Architects, this project included rehabilitation of a 25 unit existing senior residential facility completed in 1986.

The scope of work included interior and exterior renovations; seismic upgrades, new windows, roofing, siding, flooring, appliances, cabinets, sinks, covered porch, new common area, and an extensive community garden renovation.