(courtesy of Delta Stewardship Council)

Changing Tide

Turf and money battles continue over California water reform

It’s been about 20 months since lawmakers and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger breathlessly announced a historic agreement called the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009, an ambitious plan to overhaul the state’s antiquated water system. Much has changed since then, but much more is still on the way.

Jun 30, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Water Wise Man

Engineer David Ford gives unpopular answers to flood of questions

Being the bearer of unwelcome news rarely makes you the most popular person in town, particularly when it comes to flood control. But it doesn’t worry David Ford, one of the most trusted figures on California’s sometimes-contentious flood control scene and a man with a knack for speaking what Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Frank Hagar once called “the truth that men prefer not to hear.”

Jun 30, 2011 Rich Ehisen

Working lunch with Mark Jansen

According to Mark Jansen, Blue Diamond Growers is a 100-year-old brand that is just now reaching its potential. It’s this goal of establishing the Blue Diamond brand as the world’s No. 1 producer of almonds and almond-related products that lured the lifelong Midwesterner to California with his family late last summer.

Apr 30, 2011 Douglas Curley

Clean Bill of Health

Certifying green standards for medical facilities

In November, after seven years of work, the U.S. Green Building Council passed construction guidelines for health care facilities. Some local building experts say it’s too early to tell what this means for Capital Region architects and builders; others say it’s too much too late for the region.

Apr 30, 2011 Matt Perry

A River Runs Through It

Levee projects under way in West Sacramento

In the 35 years Ken Ruzich has managed local levees, no water event has been more memorable than the 1986 flood that nearly toppled levees along the Yolo bypass. If it wasn’t a 100-year flood, he says, it was close enough: “It was our benchmark.”

Feb 1, 2011 Christine Calvin
Photo by Aero Union Corp.

Fire Stomper

Aero Union Corp. moves headquarters to McClellan

Last year the nation watched as images of weary firefighters battling a massive inferno in the Angeles National Forest blazed across their TV screens. After starting on Aug. 26, 2009, the Station Fire went on to burn 160,577 acres, injure 22 people and kill two firefighters before it was fully contained nearly two months later.

Jan 1, 2011 Linda DuBois

Green Teach

Preparing workers for tomorrow's jobs

When Californians went to the polls on Nov. 2, they did more than just select a slate of new Capitol denizens. With the eyes of the world upon them, voters emphatically rejected Proposition 23, the oil industry-backed initiative to block Assembly Bill 32, the state’s groundbreaking effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dec 1, 2010 Rich Ehisen

Ranching’s Bright Idea

Finding cash in solar power

Raising cattle on the Van Vleck farm near Rancho Murieta is a legacy that has passed from father to son for more than 150 years. Now struggling to keep the family ranch, Stan Van Vleck came up with an electrifying idea: Install solar panels to boost income.

Dec 1, 2010 Carol Crenshaw
(Photo by Dennis Schwartz)

Wind Currency

An energy project awaits the green light in Solano

The proposed Shiloh III project, a 120-megawatt expansion that still requires approval by the Solano County Planning Commission this month, would place 59 new wind turbines next to the company’s existing Shiloh II project. Shiloh II, a 150-megawatt operation completed in 2008 in Montezuma Hills, provides electricity to 74,000 households.

Oct 31, 2010 Matt Perry

Growing up Urban

The political climate of land-use planning

For decades, devising a clear solution for California’s suburban sprawl and ensuing car culture has been the Holy Grail for smart-growth advocates. One trip on any of the Golden State’s perpetually clogged roadways during peak hours shows how ineffective most of those efforts have been.

Oct 31, 2010 Rich Ehisen