Monday, October 30, 2006

CERT Training schedule for 2007

Central Marin Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) has set its training class schedule for 2007, found here

I took the first segment of the class on Saturday and I will complete the remainder this Saturday, November 4th. I recommend the course if you wish to be prepared to handle disasters and emergencies. You will learn about home safety, assessing potential hazards, disaster triage techniques and what to do when disaster strikes. The information is useful if you wish to set up a neighborhood emergency response team, or if you simply wish to become more prepared to help yourself and your family.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bring your kids to the Trick or Treat Parade!

The Downtown Fairfax Halloween Trick or Treat Parade will take place on Tuesday, October 31st at 5 p.m., beginning at the Fairfax Movie Theater. Merchants will be open late to give out candy. Free glow necklaces to all participants! Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Strategic Planning & Economic Development

At its October 21st strategic planning session, the Town Council decided that the new Economic Development Advisory Committee would be folded into the strategic planning effort by holding the Economic Committee meetings during the next three strategic planning meetings. The purpose of this approach is to take advantage of the fresh ideas and input of the Economic Committee and integrate that into the draft strategic financial plan. The Council brainstormed the following issues for the Economic Development Advisory Committee to consider:

  • Come up with an implementable plan to increase Town revenue
  • How can we increase sales tax and property tax revenue
  • How to make the most of underperforming assets in the community
  • How to increase business in the downtown area
  • Audit of business license revenue to ensure all businesses are paying
  • How can we attract businesses that are commensurate with our style of town and those which have the capacity for success
  • Future economic development in Fairfax

The next Town Council Strategic Planning/Economic Development Advisory Committee meeting will be held on Saturday, November 18th at 9 a.m. in the Women’s Club.

Reminder from Ross Valley Fire

The Ross Valley Fire Department would like to remind everyone that as you change your clocks back this weekend, change the batteries in your smoke detectors!

When changing the batteries, it is recommended to use lithium batteries as they have a longer life then regular alkaline batteries.

A few tips about smoke detectors:

  • Install a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Ceiling mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm near the ceiling's highest point.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
  • Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.

If you need assistance changing the battery or would like an inspection of your home for fire safety, please contact Ross Valley Fire Department at 258-4686.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thank you Creek clean up crew

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers who showed up yesterday to take all of the debris that you see here out of our beloved creeks:
  • Lola Pettit
  • Phillip Hoffman
  • John Berret
  • Yvonne Roberts
  • Trudy Totty
  • Michael Silbert
  • Gary York
  • Brijette Overby
  • Claire Hadley
  • Zoe Levine
  • Melanie Peratis
  • David Glick
  • Larry Bragman
  • Craig Zellers
  • Payton Zellers
  • Foster Zellers
  • Jasper Scozzafava
  • Sarah Shockley
  • Penny Clark
  • Dianne Zellers
  • Jon Carter
  • Holly Dines
  • John Reed
  • Michael Branton
  • Sammy Branton
Our community and our creeks thank you!

Ross Valley Watershed and Flood Protection Project Update

A very informative meeting was held on Saturday regarding the progress made so far on the Ross Valley Watershed and Flood Protection Project. A few hundred people attended.

The following document was provided at the meeting, which gives an overview of the progress made to date. The four page pdf document is posted on the Town's website here

An Evening of Solidarity with the Colombia Peace Community

The Town is co-sponsoring an "Evening of Solidarity with the Colombia Peace Community" on Saturday, November 4th at 7 p.m. in the Women's Club. Vice Mayor Larry Bragman recently traveled to Colombia to visit the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community and he will be reporting on his trip along with Renato Antonio Areiza who will speak on the pledge of non-violence that the community has taken. Music will be provided by Otis Scarecrow and the Film "Hasta La Ultima Piedra" will be shown. For more information, see the flyer.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Strategic Planning Meeting, Sat. Oct. 21st

Tomorrow, Sat. Oct. 21st at 2 p.m. in the Women's Club, the Town Council will hold its next Strategic Planning meeting. Everyone is welcome to attend. The agenda is posted here.

The meeting is being held at that time since the Ross Valley Watershed Flood Protection Community meeting is being held that same morning at 9:30 a.m. (at the Drake High small gym). You are welcome and encouraged to attend that meeting as well. It is a report to the community on the progress made so far on flood protection and creek preservation. There will be a PowerPoint presentation with photos of projects and information on the hydraulic model of the creeks.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Haunted House Volunteers needed

Would you like to be a part of the all-volunteer haunted house this year? Sign up to help the Fairfax Volunteers put on this fun and community oriented event! A volunteer meeting will take place this Saturday, Oct. 21st from 10-Noon at the Pavilion. Click on the flyer to view details.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Community Meeting on Flood Zone 9

A special Council meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women’s Club for the purpose of considering the option for Fairfax to join Flood Zone 9. A resolution of consent is required for Fairfax to become a part of Flood Zone 9, which is a separate governmental agency that could serve as a conduit for raising revenue on a regional basis to assist the towns in the Ross Valley with flood protection and creek/watershed restoration. The County Flood Control Engineer and the consultant MIG will be present at the meeting to answer questions. Public participation is encouraged. Questions regarding the meeting may be addressed to me at 458-2345 or

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fairfax Creek Restoration / Flood mitigation at 300 Olema

We are excited to report that this project began yesterday, according to our Public Works Director, Debra Sue Johnson. Work has started on the natural creek section of the project. We are still working on the design modifications to decrease costs in the concrete channel section since this area will need additional structural analysis for the bridge work. This project will widen the culvert and allow a greater flow capacity, restore the natural creek bank, and alleviate the flooding risk in this area. The bids came in quite high on this project, but thanks to Debra Sue, she has been able to negotiate and modify the project to complete the major work within our budget.

The future of Albertson's

I am sorry that I do not have something certain to report on Albertson's. A local paper recently reported that a local grocer is moving there. This information is premature as I have been told by the parties involved that there is more than one tenant vying for the site and negotiations are ongoing. No deal has been made yet. Making premature announcements does not help and may actually hinder negotiations, I was told. I know it is frustrating as we wait to see what will happen there, and the Town is as anxious as anyone to find out what new development will take place. All I can say is stay tuned.

Youth & Alcohol Task Force - Oct. 23rd

The next meeting of the Fairfax Youth & Alcohol Task Force has been scheduled for Monday, October 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the Fairfax Library. All are welcome to attend.

Questions regarding the Task Force may be directed to Council Member Mary Ann Maggiore at or Council Member Lew Tremaine at

Flu Pandemic informational presentation on Monday

A reminder that on Monday, Oct. 16th, the Fairfax Citizens’ Disaster Council is sponsoring a presentation by County Public Health Officer, Dr. Fred Schwartz, who will explain the pandemic influenza threat, the risks, and how you and your family can best prepare and respond to this potential disaster. The presentation will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfax Women’s Club and is open to everyone. Click here to view more information.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Congratulations Ross Valley Seniors!

Today, the Ross Valley Seniors Club celebrated its first anniversary with a pizza luncheon and a movie showing at the Fairfax Women's Club. Some background: a year ago, the Towns of Fairfax and San Anselmo developed a special program for Ross Valley Seniors. Each month a special event is held specifically designed for people age 55 and over. Activities include organized walks, board games, special presentations, guest speakers, bocce ball, luncheons and much more. In less than one year the Ross Valley Seniors have 75 participants, 39 of whom are from Fairfax! All seniors are welcome to become members and enjoy meeting new people and participating in many exciting events. Here are some Ross Valley Seniors upcoming events:

  • Thursday, Nov. 9th, Robson House, San Anselmo – Historical slide show of San Anselmo
  • Thursday. Dec. 14th, Fairfax Women’s Club –Holiday party and create a food basket/gift for local family
  • Thursday, Jan. 11th, Fairfax Women’s Club – Introduction to Yoga; play Mah Jong and other games

For more information, contact Dana of San Anselmo Recreation at 258-4669. Membership in the Ross Valley Seniors Club is $20 for one year.

Special thanks to Karen Arnold of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Commission for her unending enthusiasm for organizing and supporting this wonderful group. Also thanks to Ghiringhelli's Pizza for donating today's lunch.

Sustainable Fairfax Announces Two Special Workshops in Natural Building and Permaculture planting

Sustainable Fairfax requested that I post this message regarding their upcoming workshops:

Sustainable Fairfax’s Backyard Class series is offering two weekends in October and November open to additional participants. The first weekend will be October 21-22 and will focus on natural building with cob. The second weekend, November 11-12, will teach participants about plants and irrigation. The cost is $100 per weekend or a discounted rate of $150 for both weekends. Cob is a very old method of building with earth and straw or other fibers. It is quite similar to adobe in that the basic mix of clay (which comes from soil dug from our pond) and sand is the same, but instead of creating uniform blocks to build with, cob is normally applied by hand in large gobs (or cobs) which can be tossed from one person to another during the building process. The traditional way of mixing the clay/sand/straw is with the bare feet, so we need lots of feet. Because of all the straw, cob can be slightly more insulating than adobe and would make a very comfortable house California climate. In this two-day class we will be making a bench that will become a permanent piece of art in our Sustainable Backyard. The wonderful thing about cob construction is that it can be a wildly freeform, sculptural affair, participants are encouraged to bring bits of tile, glass, ceramic and marbles to contribute to the bench. Cob was a common building material in England in the nineteenth century, and many of those buildings are still standing. The Permaculture planting class will discuss the best plants to use in our climate for native, habitat, medicinal, and a multilayered food forest, there will be hands on planting and installation of a drip irrigation system in the backyard.

Sustainable Fairfax began its Sustainable Backyard Class in early September at the future site of its Sustainability Center on Bolinas Road in Fairfax. Taught by Sentient Landscape designers Kamala Bennett and Geoff Hall, participants are learning different techniques that they can use in their own backyards. Classes include harvesting water, growing live soil, composting, mulching, creating habitat, wildlife diversity, integrated pest management, using recycled materials, and solar features in the garden.

Sustainable Fairfax began out of an inspiration to take local action on the global warming crisis in February 1999. Sustainable Fairfax is working on developing a plan for opening the Sustainability Center in the summer of 2007. The Sustainable Backyard space will be a demonstration site for sustainable practices for outside the home. It will also be used for Sustainable Fairfax events and meetings and be available for other local organizations to utilize.

For more information and to signup for the classes please contact, Pam Hartwell-Herrero at (415) 269-0621, .

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Youth wanted for new Commission

Are you age 14 to 19 and interested in participating in your town and making a difference? A new Fairfax Youth Commission was created by our Town Council last week, and we are looking for five to seven teenagers from Fairfax who want to be a part of establishing events and programs for the teens in our community. Click on the image to view the Resolution creating the new Youth Commission. For more information, please contact Youth Commission Liaisons, Council Member Mary Ann Maggiore, at or Council Member Lew Tremaine at

Creek Clean-up October 22nd

Here is a press release regarding the Volunteers' annual creek clean-up:

The photo is displaying the items cleared out of the creeks at last year's 2005 clean-up event. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Is it a civic art project? A neighborhood yard sale? No, the massive pile of debris you’ll see in Fairfax’s Bolinas Park on Sunday, October 22, will be the results of a satisfying day of clean-up in the town’s creeks. This mountain of refuse – old furniture, discarded toilets, pots and pans, car parts, lost toys – doesn’t stay in the park for long. It’s put there to remind neighbors that we all need to work together to keep our creeks clean.

Fairfax Volunteers invite everyone who loves our open spaces to get involved in this critical annual volunteer activity: the care and maintenance of the creeks and streams that run through Marin. “Fairfax Volunteers has been holding a creek cleaning event every fall for several years, collecting garbage and debris that has no purpose being there,” said John Reed, President of the Fairfax Volunteer Board. “Over the years, we've hauled out literally tons of garbage, from trash to water heaters to old couches. It's astonishing what gets thrown in the creek by thoughtless people. Their garbage doesn't just disappear! It's ugly and it pollutes as it rots, clogging our streams.”

Creek clean-up volunteers are encouraged to wear old clothes, sturdy shoes that can get wet (no sandals please), and gloves. A sense of adventure is a plus, and families with kids over seven are encouraged. Volunteers will meet at 9:30 am on Sunday, October 22, at the Fairfax Community Center/Youth Center, 16 Park Road (next to the Fire Station), and leave for the creek clean-up at 10 am. For more information, call Maria Baird, Community Resources Coordinator, at 456-5652.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Town website?

Is there anything you'd like to see added to our Town's website at Please email me at with your ideas and suggestions and I'll let you know if we can accommodate the changes.

Flood insurance settlement received

Today we received checks totalling $188,163 from the Town's flood insurer. So far, between flood insurance settlements and FEMA reimbursements we have received $772,564, which is approximately half of what is owed to the Town from the Dec. 31, 2005 and the April 11-12, 2006 disasters.

Column preview

Here is what I have submitted for next week's Ross Valley Reporter:

Flood Zone 9 and Fairfax: Years ago, the Towns of Fairfax and San Anselmo opted out of joining Flood Zone 9, which is a separate governmental entity with authority to collect funds and implement flood control measures in the Ross Valley. With the new effort of Supervisor Hal Brown’s Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program taking a cooperative regional approach to flood control, we need to consider whether to join Flood Zone 9. Current methodologies to control flooding do not involved concrete channels, which was one of the objections the Town had to joining Flood Zone 9 years ago. Modern watershed conservation efforts include restoring creek capacity and habitat by using environmentally-friendly methods which do not involve channelization or environmental alteration. In order for the Town of Fairfax to fully take advantage of the regional efforts heralded by the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program, Fairfax will need to be included in Flood Zone 9 in order to gain the financial benefits of this governmental entity. Flood Zone 9 is able to raise funds not only through taxation - which is subject to a vote of the people - but also by leveraging the Ross Valley’s collective need when applying for federal and state flood mitigation grant funding. At our October 4th Council meeting, we heard a presentation from the County Flood Zone 9 Engineer regarding the progress made to date on understanding the causes of flooding and the need to make changes to our watershed and water conveyance system to reduce our future flooding risk. Your Town Council has scheduled a special meeting for November 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the Women’s Club to consider joining Flood Zone 9 through the adoption of a resolution of consent. Your participation in this meeting is encouraged and welcomed.

Siren Warning System approved: At our October 4th Council meeting, the Council agreed to enter into a contract for the purchase and installation of a siren warning system. After the December 31, 2005 flood disaster, many residents expressed their concern that the former Town siren at the fire station needed to be replaced to provide an audible warning system that can warn residents of flood, fire or other disaster. Our initial approach to this project will be to have a siren installed first at the Pavilion, and after testing, install two additional sirens - one in the Cascades and another at the west end of Sir Francis Drake, near Olema. We will have the first siren operational in three to four months.

It is very important for residents to understand that a siren system is only one component of an emergency warning system. When a disaster strikes, residents need to be ready to tune into their radios and televisions for announcements, listen for a phone call from the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS), and, depending on the nature of the disaster, assemble with their neighbors to check on neighbors’ well-being. In future columns, I will be providing more information on the siren and its testing and implementation.

Grant for Fire Sprinklers in Fire Stations: The Ross Valley Fire Department was fortunate to receive an $186,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. This grant was received to fund the installations of automatic fire sprinklers and fire alarm systems at the Department’s three fire stations. The grant, which only requires a 10% match, has allowed us to replace the Department’s outdated, nonfunctional fire alarm systems. In the case of the Butterfield Road station, there was no alarm system. The new alarm systems include the required smoke, heat, and rate of rise detectors; horn/strobe indicators; and manual pull stations. Additionally, the alarm systems will be monitored by an UL Approved Central Station. The installation of the alarm systems are now complete at all three stations. The installation of the fire sprinklers at all three station is well on its way, with anticipated completion by mid-November.

While firefighters may be more vigilant than the average citizen when it comes to fire safety, on average 150 fire stations burn each year in the United States. The installation of the fire alarm and fire sprinklers systems at Ross Valley Fire Department’s fire stations will significantly reduce the risk of a devastating fire.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Paramedic Authority Meeting on Strategic Plan

A special board meeting of the Ross Valley Paramedic Authority will be held on October 23rd at 6 p.m. in the conference room of the Hospice of Marin, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake, Larkspur, for the purpose of considering their strategic plan document. The Authority is a partnership that the Town of Fairfax participates in along with Corte Madera, Larkspur, Ross, Kentfield, San Anselmo and Sleepy Hollow. Click here for the press release

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ross Valley Flood Protection Workshop

The second community workshop of the Ross Valley Flood Protection and Watershed Program will be held on Saturday, October 21st from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Drake High, in the small gym.

Topics covered include:
- Flood protection work completed
- Flood forecasting and flood awareness
- Creek projects
- Cost sharing proposals

A flyer is posted here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Chance to meet our new staff members

Before tomorrow night's Council meeting (Wed., Oct. 4th) which starts at 7:30 p.m., we will have a little reception at 7:00 p.m. for our two newest Town employees, Ian Roth, Finance Director, and Susan Waters, Administrative Assistant. Please stop by the Women's Club and welcome Ian and Susan to the Town, and enjoy a piece of cake with us.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Recreation Programming in Fairfax!

In February 2006 the Town of Fairfax signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of San Anselmo Recreation Department for their assistance/expertise and resources to help develop and expand recreation programming for our community in Fairfax facilities (Pavilion, Youth Center, and Women’s Club) and parks. Working in collaboration with the Fairfax Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC), the two towns are partnering to build and enhance recreation programming in Fairfax. For current programs available, check out the current Recreation Guide mailed to all Fairfax residents three times a year or go to the following web site: Extra copies of the Recreation Guide are also available in the Town Hall lobby at 142 Bolinas Drive, the temporary Town Hall modular building at 14 Park Road, the Youth Center and Volunteer Office at 16 Park Road, and the Fairfax Library at 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Additionally, the Fairfax PARC is looking for input from the Fairfax community on the types of recreation programs you and your family would like to see offered in Fairfax. Please contact Maria Baird, Fairfax Community Resources Coordinator at 456-5652 or email her at with your ideas/suggestions. The towns are currently working on both Winter and Summer programming so we would like your feedback by October 20th. We are also interested in hearing from any potential instructors on their ideas for programs they would like to teach in Fairfax.