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A Tall Order

Tree maintenance is a must for property owners

The sickening, wooden crack of a falling tree can strike fear into the hearts of property owners. Maybe that’s true for anyone within a certain radius of the falling tree, but property owners have a more specific concern: They could be liable for thousands of dollars in damage to cars, or even lives. 

Aug 19, 2015 Robin Epley

To Tip or Not To Tip?

Will an increased hourly wage decrease tips?

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Sick Leave Switches

How does the new law impact household employees?

I am a working single mom, and about six months ago I hired a nanny to help around the house on days I work late or the occasional weekend. Until now I’ve paid an hourly wage for hours worked, and I’m wondering how California’s new sick leave act will impact how I pay my nanny?

Aug 14, 2015 Coral Henning

Startup of the Month: Brown Lawn Green

In dry times, the grass can be greener with paint

Short on water for your grass? Just add paint, says Bill Schaffer, owner of Brown Lawn Green in Dixon. The idea for his business started as a joke. With California in the midst of a historic drought, Schaffer commented to his girlfriend that people would have to start painting their lawns if they wanted them to be green again. When the state introduced strict new rules concerning water use, he realized he might be onto something.

Aug 13, 2015 Russell Nichols
(Photo: Eiko James Photography)

Survival of the Fishes

California depends on hatcheries to maintain the state’s salmon population, but the cost is genetically inferior fish

Every spring and summer, Chinook salmon gather in vast schools along the central coast of California, fattening up on krill and small fish before their autumn spawning migration into the Central Valley. Fishermen in commercial boats, private skiffs and kayaks take to the water, and most summers, the fleet catches several hundred thousand Chinook weighing somewhere between five and 30 pounds. California’s bounty of salmon, however, does not reflect a thriving fish population.

Aug 11, 2015 Alastair Bland
(Photo: Alastair Bland)

The Flip-Side of Fish Hatcheries

Originally intended to preserve salmon, are hatcheries harming the species?

In 2009, fewer fall-run Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the Central Valley than have ever been recorded before. Just 50,000 adult fish spawned that autumn in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin river system — a tenth of how many Chinook migrate inland in a good year. The event was an ecological and economic disaster that prompted officials to shut down California’s ocean fishing season for two years.

Aug 6, 2015 Alastair Bland
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How Tiny is Too Tiny?

Could you live in a tiny house?

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Can Legal Pot Work for California?

Senate pro Tem Kevin de Leon ‘not there yet’ on recreational marijuana

At least one if not two ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana use are almost assured to be on the November 2016 ballot for California voters. But while many folks see the legal sale and taxation of pot as a way to pump big money into the state’s coffers, the experiences of legal-weed states like Washington and Colorado show the road from green bud to greenbacks has more than its share of potholes.

Aug 5, 2015 Rich Ehisen

Go With the Grain

Elk Grove Milling pursues international markets, but the success rates are stacked against them

After a slow start piecing his way through El Salvador’s business regulations in 2008, Robert Lent began distributing Stable Mix throughout that country in 2012. Now the milling company — which employs 50 workers, makes $12 million in gross sales a year and, as Lent likes to say, feeds 17,000 horses a day — is poised to expand its distribution network in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.

Aug 4, 2015 Anita Creamer