A local protest against the Keystone XL pipeline brought out about a hundred people to downtown Santa Rosa on Monday. The action came in response to the release of a final environmental report that raised no major objections to the 1,000-mile pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental activists like Bill McKibben have said that the pipeline will mark the point of no return for climate change, and that energies should be going toward switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, instead of trying to squeeze more fossil fuels out of an overtaxed earth.
People without homes in Sonoma County will benefit from a new program aimed at allowing cars and vans to be parked at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on a temporary basis. With shelters at over-capacity, the "safe parking" program was funded by the board of supervisors, part of a series of emergency measures to deal with the growing issue of homelessness in the county. Since 2011, the homeless population has grown 25 percent, according to the most recent data. The safe parking program runs through March, and could be extended, depending on demand. A meal and hot showers, along with sleeping bags, blankets, socks and patio heaters are being provided at the site, which is at the intersection of Meda, Brookwood and Linwood avenues. Open from 8pm to 8am each night, clients must pre-register with Catholic Charities on Morgan Street. They will also have access to case-management and benefit-assessment services from employees stationed at the fairgrounds site in an overnight supervisorial capacity.