Jeffery Huang and Pete Storell pulled out a dramatic super-tiebreaker victory in the decisive match as the Branson School boys tennis team pulled out a 4-3 win against Redwood on Monday.

Huang and Storell erased a match point at 8-9 in the super-tiebreaker at No. 1 doubles, winning the final three points to swing the match in Branson’s favor. The Bulls also got wins at the Nos. 2-4 singles matches from Tommy Higgins, Chase Hoeveler, and Ishwar Jayaraman, respectively.

Redwood’s Jackson Sichel won the top singles match, 6-0, 6-1, against Max Goldman.

  • Gavin Kennedy pulled out a 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 victory at No. 1 singles to lift San Domenico to a 3-2 win against Urban on Monday. The Panthers also got victories from Parker Sadzeck at No. 3 singles and Zuzu Bikahi/Harry Wan at No. 1 doubles.
  • Jack Millar and Qas Vidyarthi had wins at Nos. 1 and 3 singles, respectively, to help Marin Catholic to a 5-2 victory against Terra Linda. The Trojans won the other two singles matches, courtesy of Luca Ratra and En-Yun Liu at Nos. 2 and 4, respectively.

Boys golf

Branson’s Ryan Herbst shot a 4-over-par 76 in the Champ Invitational at Silverado Country Club, helping the Bulls secure a 414-419 win against Redwood. Brody Root paced the Giants with a 78. Branson (6-0) remains undefeated in league play this season.

  • Hayden Thill shot a 38 and Max Berg added a 39 for Tam at Meadow Club on Monday, helping the Red-tailed Hawks to a 206-239 win against Archie Williams. Colton Mansbridge shot a 40 to lead the Peregrine Falcons, who defeated Novato 239-286.

Prep softball

Maizy Crawford and Maddies Sofnas combined to collect seven hits and help Redwood secure a 5-3 win against Tam on Monday.

Crawford went 4 for 4 and scored a run while Sofnas went 3 for 4, drove in a run and scored twice. Josie Templeton and Gia Meyers had two hits apiece for Redwood (5-2-1, 3-0 MCAL).

The Giants scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings to extend to a 5-1 lead before Tam rallied for two in the seventh to make it close. Tam’s Lauren Cummings drew a walk then Carly Waldeck hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 5-3.

Relief pitcher Stella Belluomini got the final two outs to close out the game. Redwood starter Georgia Pineda worked 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and two earned runs while striking out 11 batters.

  • San Rafael (6-2, 3-0) scratched out just enough offense from the top of the order to secure a 1-0 win against Archie Williams (0-6, 0-3) on Monday. The Bulldogs’ 1-2-3 hitters had five of the team’s six hits. Megan Murphy singled home Sophia Everett for the only run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Everett and Thomara Drummer had two hits apiece. Drummer (four innings, three hits allowed, nine strikeouts) and Murphy (three innings, one hit allowed, seven strikeouts) combined on the shutout. The Peregrine Falcons were led by Paige Murphy, who had two hits from the leadoff spot, pitched six innings and struck out 10 batters.
  • Gabby Winnett delivered a two-run double to tie the game in the eighth inning against Terra Linda then came around to score the winning run on a passed ball as Novato picked up a 9-8 victory.

Prep baseball

Novato put together a five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn an 8-3 victory against Sonoma Valley Monday. The Hornets scored on a Nathan Dito single, an error, a Julian Oliver sacrifice fly, and an Andy Gates double to blow the game open.

Oliver, Dito and J.P. Harmon had two hits apiece for the Hornets (7-3). Gates, Dito and Harman all had two RBIs.

  • Amelia Thomas had three hits and scored twice but Marin Academy was unable to hold a three-run lead in a 5-4 loss to Ygnacio Valley. The Wildcats surrendered three runs in the fifth and single runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings.
  • Both teams scored early and often as San Rafael lost to Albany 7-5. The Bulldogs (1-8) scored three times in the top of the first inning but Albany bounced right back with a three-run second inning. All 12 runs came in the first four innings. Dexter Jackson and C.J. Harter had two hits apiece for San Rafael.
  • Carson Frame had two hits and drove in three runs to lift Tam to a 9-6 victory against Terra Linda. Tam scored three times in both the fourth and sixth innings to gain some separation. Kaiden Dossa had two hits and drove in a run for the Red-tailed Hawks (5-7, 5-2). Leon Cervantes had two hits for TL (1-10, 0-5) and Miles Finn had two RBIs.

Men’s lacrosse

James Walker put together a five-goal, two-assist stat line to lead Dominican University to a 17-12 victory against Washington on Monday. The Penguins (5-5) host Texas A&M at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Reporting scores

Coaches are encouraged to report scores, stats and game details via email to or to @marinij_sports on Twitter following games. Anything that comes in after the deadline for print – around 8 p.m. typically – will be included the following day.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Spring sports are in full swing now and there were a handful of big performances in the past week when the weather cooperated enough for games to be played.

The week in baseball saw a Novato freshman announce himself with a three-homer, 10-week RBI. Redwood had a strong week as well, posting a 3-0 record against perennial playoff contenders.

The San Rafael softball team got a rare win against Marin Catholic as part of a 3-0 week. Tam won a pair of MCAL games as well with a freshman pitcher piling up the strikeouts.

Tam’s top swimmer had another record-setting week in the pool and the San Marin girls lacrosse team remain undefeated on the season.

Cohen Garcia, Novato baseball

The freshman had himself a monster week to lead the Hornets to a pair of victories against Branson. Garcia crushed two home runs in the first game to drive in four runs and picked up the win on top of that, pitching three innings of one-run relief. Garcia homered again in the second game, — part of a three-hit, six-RBI effort that helped Novato roll to a 16-4 victory. All told, Garcia went 5 for 8 with 10 RBIs, a walk and four runs scored in the two-game series.

Megan Murphy, San Rafael softball

Murphy excelled at the plate and in the circle as the Bulldogs completed a 3-0 week. Murphy pitched against Novato and Santa Rosa, going 9.2 innings with 4 hits, one earned run and 17 strikeouts. As a hitter, Murphy put together a 7-for-10 week with 5 RBIs and four runs scored across the three games. Murphy singled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh in a 6-2 victory against Marin Catholic.

Abigail Brackett, San Marin girls lacrosse

The Mustangs ran their record to 8-0 on the season with three wins this past week. Brackett was the team’s leading scorer in all three contests, scoring 10 goals against Casa Grade, eight times against San Rafael and then five more times against Clayton Valley Charter. Brackett is averaging just over seven goals a game, having scored 57 of San Marin’s 134 goals so far this season.

Danil Wells, Redwood baseball

Redwood picked up three wins last week with a victory against San Marin followed by a two-game sweep against Tam. Wells was a key factor in two of those victories. Against San Marin, Wells hit an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning to start a four-run rally that saw the Giants come back from a 2-0 deficit. Wells came up clutch again the following day against Tam, hitting a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh that ultimately forced extra innings. Wells came back up to bat in the ninth, with Redwood trailing by a run, and knocked in the tying run with a single. The winning run came around to score on the same play following an error by the Red-tailed Hawks.

Marre Gattnar, Tam boys swimming

Tam’s top swimmer spent most of last season setting school school records then besting his own marks as the season progressed. Gattnar held Tam records in the 50-yard free, the 100 back and the 100 butterfly at the end of last season. Gattnar broke his own record for the 100 fly this past week in a meet against Terra Linda, turning in a time of 49.14 seconds. He also set a new record in the 200 free — a mark that had stood for nine years — with a time of 1:39.02.

Ava Lee, Tam softball

The Red-tailed Hawks’ freshman pitcher was strong in the circle and at the plate to help Tam pick up a pair of MCAL wins as part of a 2-1 week. Lee had her best game in a come-from-behind, 9-8 victory against San Marin. Lee had two hits and drove in a four runs, including a two-run double in the sixth inning to pull the Red-tailed Hawks within 8-7. Lee went the distance — as she did in every game this week — allowing four hits, seven walks and striking out 10. Only one of the eight runs was earned. Lee was better in the circle against Archie Williams, allowing six hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out 10 more hitters. Lee ran her strikeout total for the week to 26 with six more in a 3-1 loss against McKinleyville.

Reporting scores

Coaches are encouraged to report scores, stats and game details via email to or to @marinij_sports on Twitter following games. Anything that comes in after the deadline for print – around 8 p.m. typically – will be included the following day.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal


Town plans hearings
on slate of projects

The Advisory Design Review Group has set hearings on six residential projects and a commercial project.

The residential proposals call for remodeling work and a carport demolition at 28 Walnut Ave.; a new pool and outdoor kitchen at 101 Upper Road; a new patio and outdoor kitchen at 50 Wellington Ave.; an 8-foot stamped concrete wall at 1 El Camino Bueno; a 1,000-square-foot accessory dwelling unit and a pool at 74 Baywood Ave.; and new windows and siding at 2 Pomeroy Road. The other project involves a platform tennis court at the Lagunitas Country Club.

The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Town Hall. Teleconference access instructions and project documents are available online at


Contract awarded for
Shady Lane project

The city has awarded a $552,603.10 contract to Ghilotti Bros. Inc. for work on the Shady Lane pavement rehabilitation project.

The company was the only bidder, and its offer was below the engineer’s estimate of $564,435.81, according to a staff report by Alvin Tan, assistant engineer for the city, and Julian Skinner, the public works director.

“A storm drain was added to the project scope to alleviate chronic drainage issues on the street,” the report said.

The work is expected to begin in May unless spotted owls are nesting in the area, in which case the work will be delayed until August.

The City Council approved a resolution authorizing the contract award at its meeting on Wednesday.


Building proposals
clear planning board

The Planning Commission has approved five residential construction projects.

The proposals include a new home and garage at 67 Tamalpais Road; a 160 square-foot storage structure at 22 Wood Lane; a remodel at 129 Lansdale Ave.; a two-car garage at 139 Forrest Ave.; and an expansion at 64 Mountain View Road.

The commission held hearings on the projects at its meeting on Thursday.


Student makes top 10
at state poetry contest

A Novato High School student was among 10 finalists in a statewide poetry recital competition held Sunday, the California Arts Council announced.

Henry Greber competed against nearly 50 county-level champions in the Poetry Out Loud contest, initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The California Arts Council administers the state program.

The competition included two rounds of pre-recorded recitals. Judges winnowed the field to the 10 finalists, who then delivered live recitals via teleconference. Gerber read “Wide Receiver” by Mark Halliday, “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo and “The American Soldier” by Philip Freneau.

The top prize went to Sacramento County resident Alex Yue, a 17-year-old senior at John F. Kennedy High School. As champion, he receives $200 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals.


Motorcyclist injured
in Highway 101 crash

A Kentfield resident suffered major injuries after crashing his motorcycle in San Rafael, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Fernando Israel Gomez Perez drove into a wall at about 6:22 p.m. at the Lincoln Avenue exit from Highway 101, said California Highway Patrol Officer Darrel Horner. Gomez Perez, who was wearing a helmet, was taken to a hospital.

No other vehicles involved, Horner said. Police closed the Lincoln Avenue exit for a period after the crash.

Horner said he did not know the cause of the crash or whether intoxication was a factor.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

  • Jonathan Perdiguerra participates in the inter-tribal dancing segment during a...

    Jonathan Perdiguerra participates in the inter-tribal dancing segment during a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Drummers perform at a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023,...

    Drummers perform at a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Teresa Littlebird of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and Darren Henson...

    Teresa Littlebird of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and Darren Henson of the Keetoowah Cherokees preside over a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Rafael Baltazar uses a seashell as a horn as he...

    Rafael Baltazar uses a seashell as a horn as he prepares to dance at a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Audience members watch dancers perform at a powwow on Sunday,...

    Audience members watch dancers perform at a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Dancers fill the floor of a powwow on Sunday, March...

    Dancers fill the floor of a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)

  • Javier Gomez participates in the inter-tribal dancing segment of a...

    Javier Gomez participates in the inter-tribal dancing segment of a powwow on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael, Calif. The event was organized by the Marin American Indian Alliance. (Frankie Frost/Special to the Marin Independent Journal)



The Marin American Indian Alliance held a powwow on Sunday at Miller Creek Middle School in San Rafael.

The free event, sponsored by the Marin Community Foundation, aimed to bring together the Indigenous community on Coast Miwok land in ceremony through song, dance and prayer, organizers said.

Founded in 1968, the Marin American Indian Alliance holds tribal cultural and spiritual gatherings to instill a sense of heritage and maintain Indigenous cultural pride in Marin and the Bay Area.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Artificial intelligence news is everywhere. From the recent cover of Time proclaiming, “The AI Arms Race is Changing Everything,” to an AI-generated art on the cover of Vogue, the AI fever is palpable.

While today’s focus is on the mind-boggling features of new AI tools, future headlines will center on the inevitable battle to regulate and control the technology. When that time comes, you can bet California’s politicians will want to lead.

The hype is warranted. New generative AI tools represent a serious leap in capabilities by generating shockingly coherent text and images. The most well-known is ChatGPT, a chat interface that has become a cultural phenomenon and the fastest app in history to reach 100 million users.

However, ChatGPT is just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of other generative AI tools are being created to create digital art, and being trained to offer more specialized, industry-specific services.

Silicon Valley has gone into a frenzied overdrive as all the major tech giants work to surpass each other’s AI capabilities and new startups work to capitalize on the buzz. Wall Street executives have already declared generative AI the technology of the decade, and Microsoft’s CEO promised that “AI will fundamentally change every software category.”

While AI has the potential to be the most exciting technology of the decade, it would almost certainly also be the most politically controversial.

Politicians will care about AI because it promises to pour gasoline onto existing tech battles while also introducing a whole new set of problems. For example, the misinformation campaigns around the 2016 election will look like child’s play once bad actors implement AI tools and can generate an endless supply of hateful, human-like content.

AI technology will also make current debates around privacy and data rights look quaint. Generative AI allows users to create compelling variations of past art, speech and writing, blurring the lines of plagiarism and intellectual property. AI makes it easy to mimic someone’s tone or appearance to create imitation text, speech and even deepfake porn using people’s public information.

Regulators will certainly want to see new rules about which data AI models are allowed to be trained on and what they’re able to create. But who will draw the line on what is defined as acceptable use and how a person’s data can be used? More concerningly, how will any rules possibly be enforced when models are cheap, widely deployed and beyond the reach of our current enforcement tools?

In addition to making existing problems worse, policymakers will also be concerned about the impact on jobs. A recent survey of 1,000 business leaders found that roughly half of those who used ChatGPT have already replaced workers. Generative AI tools are already capable of performing entry-level tasks. While this doesn’t mean we’ll see mass white-collar unemployment, these tools could result in an economic restructuring where there’s less demand for lower-end audio engineers, copywriters, software engineers, business analysts and any other job done at a keyboard.

How will states like California react if a portion of knowledge worker jobs disappear? Those people will likely find new work in the long-term as AI creates new opportunities, but could lead to unprecedented labor market shocks that destabilizes communities and our tax base.

Whenever these battles arrive, state policymakers need to be among the first to act. Just as with other divisive national issues, California will want to assert its ability to shape the national policy agenda just like it has on carbon emissions, electric vehicles and data privacy protection laws.

California has never shied away from being a leader, and there’s no reason to believe this time will be different as Washington D.C. remains gridlocked. While we can’t predict how society will react to AI, the early battles will likely be fought in Sacramento.

Jarrett Catlin is a vice president at Tusk Strategies. Distributed by

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Marin could receive up to 2 inches rain and some isolated wind gusts during a storm set to arrive late Monday and extending into Tuesday and possibly Wednesday.

The storm could bring up to an inch of rain at lower elevations and between 1 and 2 inches at Mount Tamalpais, said Dalton Behringer, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Marin County is not under a wind advisory because of the storm. While the county could have winds of 35 to 40 mph in the coastal headlands or in the mountains, Behringer said that is just below the threshold for advisory conditions.

A wind advisory is issued when an area is expected to receive sustained winds of 35 to 45 miles per hour or wind gusts of 45 miles per hour to 57 miles per hour. If gusts go above 57 miles per hour, the National Weather Service will issue a high wind warning.

“Even under the advisory criteria, we will definitely see some impacts from trees or parts of trees down,” Behringer said. “That is definitely one thing to remain vigilant of.”

After a rainy weekend, precipitation in the 72-hour period ending around 2 p.m. Monday included 2 inches on Mount Tamalpais and 1.23 inches in Sausalito, Behringer said. Other totals for the period included 1.18 inches in Kentfield, 1.03 inches in Point Reyes Station, 0.92 inches in Mill Valley, 0.70 inches in San Rafael and 0.67 inches in Novato.

Flooding forced the closure the interchange at Highway 101 and Highway 1 in Mill Valley for part of the day on Sunday.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

San Anselmo plans to spend $2.92 million in American Rescue Plan Act pandemic relief funds on infrastructure projects.

The Town Council voted 4-0 last week to approve the expenditures. Under the plan, the town allocated $1.27 million toward the planning, design and renovation of Fire Station 20 on Butterfield Road.

Another $600,000 will fund the Town Hall and library roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrade. The roof and HVAC system are nearly 50 years old.

Sean Condry, director of public works, said the new system will include an all-electric heat pump device that is energy efficient.

Another $500,000 is allotted for the remodel of the second floor at Town Hall. Condry said the town has deferred maintenance on the building for years, and during recent storms the staff has placed buckets on the floor to catch leaks. He said staff morale is suffering because of it.

“We’re kind of letting our structures fall apart around us,” he said.

Other allocations include $180,000 for painting at the Robson-Harrington House and $375,000 toward project management costs.

“As you can imagine a lot has gone into the staff’s recommendations for the use of one time American Rescue Plan Act funds,” Town Manager Dave Donery said.

“Each of the recommended projects represents facility improvements that if not addressed will continue to deteriorate,” he said. That will lead to more costly repairs, he said.

“I think that the list that was put forth really speaks to our responsibility, towards the operational piece of the town,” Councilmember Alexis Fineman said. “I have to say I don’t think that the list is really kind of responsive to more community facing projects, and in that respect I don’t think it’s quite aligned with the spirit of the funding.”

Condry said officials considered other projects that were community focused, too. However, staff identified other possible funding opportunities for those projects.

Other projects that were considered include electric-vehicle charging stations. Condry said the council just approved one charging project and officials are seeking funds from the Transportation Authority of Marin, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for electric-vehicle charging at the Pine Street, Creek Park and Memorial Park parking lots.

Condry said officials considered using the federal relief funds to support grant programs for parklets, but given that they are private projects, they weren’t given high priority.

A solar panel project on town-owned buildings was another possibility. Condry said the project, estimated at $1.5 million, couldn’t be built in time for the federal funding. He said the project could get a 30% tax rebate and use Measure J tax revenue.

Measure J is a half-cent sales tax that increased the local rate to 9.25%. The tax, approved in November, is expected to net $2.4 million in annual revenue slated for street repair, drought resilience, maintaining firefighter and paramedic response times, sustaining infrastructure and confronting climate challenges.

Condry said other possible uses for Measure J funds include tennis court renovation and park and greenspace expansion.

Donery said officials anticipate proposing a Measure J spending plan at an April meeting.

Overall, the town has been allocated $2.984 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. In 2021, the town spent $55,299 in relief funds on a county homeless housing program and $43,000 on technology for Town Hall to conduct teleconference meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The remaining federal funds must be spent by the end of 2026.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Marin County officials have delayed plans to demolish a deteriorating bridge in San Anselmo until 2024.

The decision has raised hopes on the San Anselmo Town Council that the bridge could be reopened as a plaza in the meantime.

“I requested and received our council’s support for the town of San Anselmo’s staff to explore the costs and necessary steps for us to reopen the plaza,” Councilmember Brian Colbert said Wednesday.

The county closed the bridge in September, saying it is structurally unsound and poses a danger to the public. Members of the San Anselmo council believe the bridge could be repaired at a reasonable cost and used safely, at least temporarily.

During a presentation to the Ross Town Council on March 9, Marin County public works managers said it no longer appears feasible to tear down the structure commonly known as Building Bridge Two this year as previously planned.

The meeting took place at the request of the Ross council, which asked to be updated on flood control efforts in the Ross Valley. Public works officials were scheduled to meet with the San Anselmo council on Tuesday to provide a similar briefing, but canceled at the last minute.

Colbert said he and San Anselmo Councilmember Alexis Fineman have been meeting with representatives of the county to forge an agreement to reopen the bridge as a plaza. Colbert said the council wants to put the platform to use until it is demolished.

Colbert said the county “gave us a tentative no” on March 6.

“They’re not going to reopen the plaza,” he said.

The bridge, estimated to be 80 to 120 years old, has become the focus of two controversies. One involves San Anselmo residents who want to continue using the structure as a platform for a plaza. The other is based on concerns that the structure’s removal will increase the risk of flooding for at least 20 homeowners in Ross and San Anselmo.

“We have joined a concerned citizens’ group and are organizing to fight the demolition of Building Bridge Two,” Diana Davis of San Anselmo said during the public portion of the Ross council meeting.

Jeff Kroot, who served four terms on the San Anselmo council, said, “The people overwhelmingly support keeping this plaza.”

Building Bridge Two crosses San Anselmo Creek in San Anselmo on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
Building Bridge Two crosses San Anselmo Creek in San Anselmo on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Removing Building Bridge Two has become the linchpin of the San Anselmo Flood Risk Reduction Project. The Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District purchased the bridge in 2018 with the intention of tearing it down. The bridge’s removal would allow San Anselmo Creek to flow more freely, thus reducing the likelihood of flooding in the downtown and upstream areas.

Initially, the flood project called for the creation of five floodwater detention ponds, including one in San Anselmo’s Memorial Park. Because of opposition from neighbors and other factors, only one pond — at the former site of the Sunnyside Nursery growing ground in Fairfax — has been built.

An environmental impact report prepared for the flood project in 2018 determined it would increase flooding at 20 parcels during 25- and 100-year floods. The same report determined that the project would reduce flooding at 635 parcels during a 25-year event and 480 parcels during a 100-year event.

The findings have blocked the county from moving forward with the project because the Federal Emergency Management Agency prohibits any work that would increase flooding before mitigations have been completed.

At the March 9 meeting, several property owners expressed frustration that the county still has not told them what mitigation it plans for their properties.

“It’s been very hard and unfair to our residents to live with this project for so long without being told what the mitigation is,” said Ross Councilmember Elizabeth Brekhus.

Brekhus noted that if the owners of the 20 properties decide to sell, they would have to disclose that there is a “cloud” hanging over their parcels.

Berenice Davidson, a county public works official, said the county hopes to begin conversations with the 20 property owners within the next two months. But Davidson said first the county must meet with FEMA to supply it with updated flood modeling from the environmental impact report.

Davidson said the county’s model is more accurate than FEMA’s because it incorporates the effects of drainage systems outside San Anselmo Creek. FEMA’s model was used to determine its flood insurance rate maps that became effective in 2017.

Davidson said that when the county meets with the property owners, they will be shown an illustration of how the base flood elevation is expected to change relative to the first floor of their homes.

“Based on how that changes, it is going to dictate the type of mitigation that we would be proposing,” Davidson said.

At the meeting, several property owners objected to the suggestion that no mitigations would be forthcoming for increased flooding below the first floor.

“There are a lot of people who have their mechanical, electrical and their duct work all under that finished floor,” said Charles Goodman. “We have to come up with some way of mitigating that. It’s a problem.”

Samantha Hobart of Ross said, “I don’t want there to be water underneath my home. It lessens the structural integrity of the home and it increases risk.”

Completing mitigations isn’t the only task public works staffers must finish before demolishing the bridge. They must also create an addendum to the environmental impact report to reflect design changes for the creek bank adjacent to the bridge, and for the fact that several other bridges in the watershed that were expected to have been removed by now still remain.

Last year, the public works office considered tearing down Building Bridge Two and replacing it with a $200,000 concrete baffle that would duplicate the bridge’s effect on water flow to avoid increased flooding downstream.

Davidson said the baffle was contemplated because a grant that will help pay for the bridge’s removal was due to expire at the end of 2022. Since then, she said, the county has secured an extension of the grant until the end of 2024.

“Therefore,” Davidson said, “we believe we can take down the bridge after mitigations without having to spend funds on installing the baffle.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

The median price of a detached home in Marin fell to $1.525 million last month as the Bay Area led the state in declining values.

The median figure marked a 10.3% drop from February 2022 and a 28% decline from a peak of $2.12 million last April. It was also a slight decline from the $1.6 million median price in January.

The price data for February were released this week by the county assessor’s office. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more money and half for less.

Throughout the Bay Area, the median price for a detached home last month was $1.05 million, a year-over-year decline of 19.2%, according to the California Association of Realtors. By comparison, the statewide year-over-year price decline was 4.8%.

The association said the Bay Area’s price decline in February was the largest since June 2009.

“The uncertainty in the tech sector was partially responsible for the home price declines, but the sharp price drop also could be attributed to the price surge a year ago, when four of the six counties with double-digit price declines also registered price increases of more than 10 percent last February,” the association said.

Eighty-seven detached homes sold in Marin last month compared to 143 in February 2022, the county assessor’s office reported.

Selling right at the median price last month was a two-bedroom home on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Ross. The buyers, a couple expecting their first child, grew up in Marin and wanted access to Ross Valley schools, according to their agent, Lynnette Kling of Coldwell Banker Realty.

“They would’ve sent their kids to private schools had it not been in Ross,” she said.

Kling, who has been an agent since 2001, said the state of the market is unclear. While she said buyers are out there and she has been busy with listings, inventory remains tight and the upheaval in the banking sector has many people nervous.

“Everyone’s a little skittish, even some of my buyers who are in the tech business,” she said. “And they switched banks, lenders. I thought it was a good idea they have more than one option.”

“We got really spoiled with the unhealthy, low, low interest rates we had before,” she said. “I don’t think that’s good for our economy.”

Kathleen Hallinan, a home stager in Novato, said she feels the “Marin bubble” has been insulating the local market from the broader conditions. She said she is booked two months out and that her clients, many of them older residents sitting on a lot of equity, are investing in higher levels of service such as flooring, kitchen updates and landscaping.

“They’re letting me start out on the curb so that their house does not appear to be a fixer upper,” said Hallinan, a stager since 2008 and an interior designer before that. “Younger folks don’t own toolboxes. They’ve never painted, and they want move-in-condition homes.”

The county’s median price data for detached homes last month included $4.79 million on four sales in Belvedere, $3.06 million on two sales in Tiburon and $3.02 million on three sales in Larkspur. The Sausalito median was $3.7 million, but on just one sale.

Other median prices included $1.73 million on 28 sales in unincorporated areas of Marin; $1.61 million on four sales in Corte Madera; $1.53 million on five sales in Mill Valley; $1.52 million on two sales in Fairfax; $1.31 million on three sales in San Anselmo; $1.25 million on 10 sales in San Rafael; and $1.1 million on 24 sales in Novato. The $1.525 million sale in Ross was the only home purchase in the town last month.

In the Marin condominium and townhome market, the median price last month was $790,000 on 37 sales, according to the county. By comparison, the median in February 2022 was $732,000 on 64 sales.

Throughout the Bay Area, sales volume last month was 32% lower than February 2022, the California Association of Realtors reported. Statewide, the sales decline was about 33%.

“The recent failure of a handful of tech-focused banks caused an unexpected drop in interest rates, which could offer an opportunity in the near term for homebuyers who have been waiting on the sidelines to lock in a lower rate,” Jordan Levine, the association’s chief economist. “However, any decline in rates is not likely to be sustainable since inflation remains high, and the Federal Reserve is willing to take some calculated risks in order to keep inflation under control.”

The U.S. weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.6% as of Thursday, down from 6.73% the prior week, according to Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage company. A year ago, the average was 4.16%.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Monty Schmitt is a Marin Municipal Water District director representing San Rafael's District 2. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)
Monty Schmitt is a Marin Municipal Water District director representing San Rafael’s District 2. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

For over 110 years, the Marin Municipal Water District has delivered clean, reliable and affordable water to customers.

To maintain this record of service, we must not only increase our resilience to drought and climate change with new water supplies, but also fund the replacement and modernization of aging infrastructure and work to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire on our watershed lands.

The MMWD Board of Directors, bolstered by three new members elected last November, is united with dedicated district staff, in partnership with our customers, to forge a path forward to implement the following actions.

On Feb. 28, the district adopted a water supply roadmap based on our strategic water supply assessment pairing immediate and long-term actions to increase our water supplies. Our initial commitment will develop an estimated 3,500 acre-feet of new water by the end of 2025 through several measures:

• Supply permanent power to enable increased water supplies from Soulajule Reservoir.

• Increase yield from Phoenix Lake by building a direct connection to Bon Tempe Treatment Plant.

• Improve management of water supplies and flow releases through better forecasting of storms.

• Optimize water purchases from Sonoma Water.

• Expand conservation investments to increase efficient water use.

Simultaneously, Marin Water will pursue options to achieve longer-term supply goals – this includes exploring the feasibility of groundwater banking and increases to local surface storage, enhancing local water supplies.

Most of our water comes from 22,000 acres of protected lands around Mount Tamalpais and in the hills of West Marin. Rainfall from these watersheds flows into seven reservoirs before being treated and delivered to customers’ taps.

To safeguard this precious resource, Marin Water is expanding efforts to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, manage recreational use of our lands and protect the ecological health of our watersheds.

Our infrastructure enables us to provide clean drinking water to your taps. But years of focus on keeping costs down has led to a significant backlog of maintenance on this aging system, where some elements are nearing 100 years of use. When old cast iron pipes break, it disrupts service and repairs are more costly. To ensure the reliability of our system to deliver water now and for future generations, we are implementing a program of ongoing, steady long-term investment in our infrastructure.

Foundational to a future with continued reliable water is a sustainable financial plan to create new water supplies, keep our system in a state of good repair, and protect the watersheds that provide our water.

Achieving these critical initiatives requires targeted, forward-thinking investments. That is why as part of our current rate-setting process Marin Water is proposing a strategic rate increase.

In doing so, Marin Water will fund long-term water supply goals while also prioritizing financial sustainability amid reduced water sales driven by drought and impacts tied to record inflation and increasing costs that we are all experiencing at the grocery store.

We know any rate increase may feel impactful for some customers, but we also know continuing to kick the can down the road undermines our water system’s resilience and unfairly saddles future generations with escalating costs.

Marin Water will also continue to provide one of the best low-income bill assistance programs in the Bay Area to maintain affordability for ratepayers most in need. Through the rate-setting process, we are also proposing to restructure our tiered rates in a way that allows customers greater control over their water bills.

Marin Water is moving past planning and is ready to implement these actions and set the District on a path toward a resilient future.

This work must be collaborative, among Marin Water leaders and you, our community of customers. We all ask for your engagement and support.

Monty Schmitt is president of the Marin Municipal Water District Board of Directors. He represents San Rafael’s District 2. For more information about the programs and initiatives referenced, go to

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

There are many ways to protect your finances, but one of the simplest is reviewing your credit reports for errors which could affect your ability to get credit. It can also help you spot signs of identity theft if, for example, it shows unauthorized lines of credit opened in your name.

In short, a credit report is a history of your credit, loan and payment history as reported to the three credit-reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — by business owners. Federal law requires these companies to provide you a free credit report once a year.

Through December, you can get a free credit report each week from each of the three credit bureaus. You can request your reports at or by calling 1-877-322-8228. To verify your identity, you will be required to give personal identifying information. Credit reports will not contain your credit score but the information they contain can affect your credit score.

More information at or 415-473-6495

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Do you ever wake up some days and think, “When I was younger, I could survive on just four hours of sleep, but now it seems like I need 10”? Or have you ever walked out of the gym and “felt” your knees?

Almost everyone experiences these kinds of signs of aging. But there are some people who seem to defy their age. The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg stayed on the bench until her death at age 87. The “Great British Bake Off” judge Mary Berry, now in her 80s, continues to inspire people all over the world to bake and enjoy life. And actor Paul Rudd was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2021 at age 52 while still looking like he’s in his 30s. Is age just a number then?

Researchers have focused a lot of attention on understanding the causes and risk factors of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, osteoporosis and cancer. But many ignore the major risk factor for all of these diseases: aging itself. More than any individual risk factor such as smoking or lack of exercise, the number of years you’ve lived predicts onset of disease. Indeed, aging increases the risk of multiple chronic diseases by up to a thousandfold.

However, no two people age the same. Although age is the principal risk factor for several chronic diseases, it is an unreliable indicator of how quickly your body will decline or how susceptible you are to age-related disease. This is because there is a difference between your chronological age, or the number of years you’ve been alive, and your biological age – your physical and functional ability.

I am a scientist interested in redefining “age.” Instead of benchmarking chronological age, my lab is invested in measuring biological age. Biological age is a more accurate measure of healthspan, or years lived in good health, than chronological age, and doesn’t directly correlate with wrinkles and gray hairs. Rapid agers experience a faster rate of functional deterioration relative to their chronological age.

My grandmother, who lived to be 83 but was bedridden and could not remember who I was for the last few years of her life, was a rapid ager. My grandfather, on the other hand, also lived until he was 83, but he was active, functional and even did my homework with me until he passed away – he was a healthy ager.

With the unprecedented growth of the world’s aging population, I believe that figuring out ways to measure biological age and how to maintain or delay its advance is critical not only for individual health, but also for the social, political and economic health of our society. Detecting rapid agers early on presents an opportunity to delay, change or even reverse the trajectory of biological aging.

Beyond genes

Biological aging is multifaceted. It arises from a complex mix of genetic traits and is influenced by factors like microbiome composition, environment, lifestyle, stress, diet and exercise.

Genetics were once thought to have no influence on aging or longevity. However, in the early 1990s, researchers reported the first studies identifying genes that were able to extend the lifespan of a small roundworm. Since then, multiple observations support the influence of genetics on aging. For example, children of long-lived parents and even those with long-lived siblings tend to live longer. Researchers have also identified multiple genes that influence longevity and play a role in resilience and protection from stress. These include genes that repair DNA, protect cells from free radicals and regulate fat levels.

However, it is clear from studies in identical twins – who share the same genes but not the same exact lifespans – that genes are not the only factor that influences aging. In fact, genes probably account for only 20% to 30% of biological age. This suggests that other parameters can strongly influence biological aging.

(Rodnae Productions/ Pexels) Social connectedness and physical activity are linked to well-being throughout life.
Rodnae Productions/ Pexels

Social connectedness and physical activity are linked to well-being throughout life.

Researchers have found that environmental and lifestyle factors heavily influence biological age, including social connectedness, sleeping habits, water consumption, exercise and diet.

Social connectedness is essential for well-being throughout life. But social connections can be challenging to maintain over time due to loss of family and friends, depression, chronic illness or other factors. Several studies have reported a strong link between social isolation and increased stress, morbidity and mortality.

Similarly, diet and exercise are strong influencers of biological age. Blue zones, which are areas around the world where people live long lives, attribute their successful aging to diet, exercise and social connectedness. Mostly plant-based meals and spurts of activity throughout the day are well-known “secrets” of healthspan and longevity. Although newer studies on the effects of diet interventions such as intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding on longevity have not been rigorously tested, they do show multiple health benefits, including better glucose and insulin regulation

While genetics is difficult to control, diet and exercise can be modified to delay biological aging.

Health and resilience 

Currently, there is no effective test to predict an individual’s health trajectory early enough in life in order to intervene and improve quality of life with age. Scientists are interested in identifying a molecule that is sensitive and specific enough to serve as a unique fingerprint for biological age.

Considering the health and resilience of the individual instead of focusing solely on disease state is important in discussions on biological age. Resilience is the state of adapting and bouncing back from a health challenge and is often more predictive of functional health. A molecular aging fingerprint may provide a tool to help identify people who are less resilient and require more aggressive monitoring and early intervention to preserve their health and help reduce gender, racial and ethnic health disparities.

There are several promising molecular markers that may serve as biological age fingerprints. One of these markers are epigenetic clocks. Epigenetics are chemical modifications of DNA that control gene function. Several scientists have found that DNA can get “marked” by methyl groups in a pattern that changes with age and could potentially act as a readout for aging.

It is important to note, however, that while epigenetic clocks have been valuable in predicting chronological age, they do not equate to biological age. In addition, it is unclear how these epigenetic marks work or how they contribute to aging.

Another well-regarded marker of biological age is the build-up of dysfunctional cells called senescent or zombie cells. Cells become senescent when they experience multiple types of stress and become so damaged that they cannot divide anymore, releasing molecules that cause chronic low-grade inflammation and disease.

Animal studies have shown that getting rid of these cells can improve healthspan. However, what clearly defines senescent cells in humans is still unknown, making them challenging to track as a measure of biological age.

Lastly, the body releases unique metabolites, or chemical fingerprints, as byproducts of normal metabolism. These metabolites play a dynamic and direct role in physiological regulation and can inform functional health. My lab and others are figuring out the exact makeup of these chemicals in order to figure out which can best measure biological age. A lot of work still remains on not only identifying these metabolites, but also understanding how they affect biological age.

People have long sought a fountain of youth. Whether such an elixir exists is still unknown. But research is starting to show that delaying biological age may be one way to live healthier, fuller lives.

This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts, under a Creative Commons license.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Recently, a beautiful German shepherd we dubbed Meadow was found as a stray and brought to Marin Humane. She was scanned for a microchip and we were glad to see she had one. The only problem: It was registered to a microchip company in Germany!

Fortunately, we happen to have a German-born staff member who was able to translate the information and help us track down to whom the chip was registered. The answer was a breeder in Germany. Meadow (whose given name was Viona) had been shipped as a puppy all the way to the buyer in California. Earlier this year, the owner asked the breeder to take Meadow back but the breeder said they could not — not surprising since Germany is around 5,600 miles away.

Meadow is doing well and was adopted to a loving family but her story illustrates why buying puppies from breeders out of state — and indeed, out of the country — is so problematic. One of the tenants of breeders who consider themselves “reputable” is that they will always take the animal back — something that’s obviously incredibly difficult to do if they’re sold to people far away.

Another reason not to have an animal shipped to you is that you’re not seeing for yourself where that animal came from. Anyone can create websites that portray their facility/home as a beautiful, safe and loving environment. Images of puppies running on green grass and happy mom dogs suckling their puppies certainly look idyllic but often the reality is anything but. Large-scale puppy mills or inhumane home breeders often keep animals in deplorable and inhumane conditions. They’re given little, if any, prenatal or postnatal care, which can result in poor health and under-socialization. Female dogs used for breeding are overbred and typically have a life span of four or five years, after which they’re dealt with however the breeder sees fit.

Puppy mill dogs suffer from genetic problems affecting the kidneys, hips, eyes and even their personalities. In short, puppy mills put profit over the health and well-being of their animals.

If you still want to buy a puppy, remember to:

• Never buy online. In addition to what’s outlined above, shipping animals — especially long distances — can be tough on them and sometimes, even dangerous.

• Avoid pet stores. These puppies generally come from out of state and face the same issues puppies sold online go through.

• Always visit the breeder yourself. Reputable breeders will be happy to show you their facilities.

• Meet the parents of the puppy you want.

• Expect a contract with breed papers, vaccination information and a provision for you to return the dog if it doesn’t work out. A breeder who doesn’t care enough about the puppy they’re selling to guarantee they’ll take the dog back is not a reputable breeder.

If you have your heart set on a certain breed, there are many breed-specific rescues in the Bay Area and, of course, there’s always your friendly neighborhood animal shelter with plenty of pets waiting patiently for a forever home.

Lisa Bloch is the director of marketing and communications for Marin Humane, which contributes Tails of Marin articles and welcomes animal-related questions and stories about the people and animals in our community. Go to, find us on social media @marinhumane, or email

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

The wide, paved roadway in the photograph was the recently completed state highway in Marin as it passed through Novato on its way to Sonoma and points north. The California state highway system had its beginning in the year 1895-96 when the state took over maintenance of the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road that ran from Placerville to the Nevada state line. At that time, California also formed the Bureau of Highways to coordinate construction of better roads between the counties. After California voters approved the $18-million State Highways Act in November 1910, engineering and construction began statewide to connect all county seats with a “continuous and connected state highway system.” Within a year of the passage of the act, the County of Marin and cities and towns from Sausalito to Novato began issuing bonds to assist in funding the construction of the highway. By the end of the 1920s, motorists could traverse the county on a fully paved roadway that passed through many of Marin’s downtown districts.

Businesses in the photograph are DeBorba’s Stage Station and Ice Cream Parlor in the left foreground, the Midway Garage just beyond it and Nave’s Garage across the street on the corner. The rather dusty intersection is present-day Grant Avenue and Redwood Boulevard. The Midway Garage changed hands many times in its first few years and was out of business by the 1930s. On the other hand, Nave’s Garage prospered and expanded their business to include a Dodge and Plymouth showroom. Over the years, Nave’s Garage changed locations a couple of times and was a cornerstone business in the Novato area until Louis Nave sold the business to new owners in 1953. DeBorba’s Stage Station had been a saloon opened by the DeBorba family in 1906, but changed its spot during Prohibition to an ice cream parlor when this photograph was taken. Upon repeal of Prohibition, it reverted back to its saloon incarnation and added the first Chinese restaurant in Novato operated by Sid and Jimmy Lack. DeBorba’s remained a favorite watering hole and eatery in downtown Novato until closing in May 2018.

In the early decades of the 20th century, the California state highway made long-distance traveling both easier and safer. It also brought many more visitors and tourists to North Coast cities and towns from Marin County all the way to the Oregon border. Business and civic leaders from Crescent City to San Francisco lobbied successfully to change the name to the Redwood Highway to encourage the growing motorist population and trade. Eventually, much of the old state highway would become part of U.S. Route 101 of the federal Interstate Highway System, a far cry from the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road of 1895.

Thank you to Mike Read of the Novato Historical Guild for information on early Novato businesses.

History Watch is written by Scott Fletcher, a volunteer at the Marin History Museum, Images included in History Watch are available for purchase by calling 415-382-1182 or by email at

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

I remember one day when my husband and I were hauling our kayaks up the slight incline from the beach to our cabin. Dan said, “How long will we be able to do this?” We were slowly plodding up the hill and I said that it didn’t matter if we were walking slower, it mattered that we could still do it.

I have always said, aging doesn’t bother me, it’s pain that causes me to feel old, to feel debilitated and unable to do things. And, that is where I find myself now.

I threw my back out, which was nothing new. I’ve done that many times and have recovered. This time, it was different. My back started to spasm to the point where all my activities came to a halt. An X-ray revealed that I had a compression fracture in my vertebra. The healing process would take anywhere between six months to a year. Well, it could be worse I said to myself.

All my life, I’ve been in motion. When I was younger, it was hiking and backpacking. Fishing was high on the list of things I loved to do as well. I could jump over rocks and almost speed walk around the lake. Now, I must use walking sticks and be mindful of how I step over rocky surfaces so that I don’t fall.  But, I can still do it even though it takes longer.

After hiking the lake last summer, my husband said, “This is a difficult hike.” I’d not thought it ever to be difficult because I’ve hiked around the lake many times over the years, and more than once during a summer. But, now, I guess I’d have to say, it has become a difficult hike. I can still do it though.

There are earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, but they all end at some point. Such is the way the body works. I’ve had an earthquake and am suffering aftershocks that I hope will gradually dissipate back to normalcy again. In the meantime, I have to adjust my lifestyle to the changes the earthquake made after it erupted and ended.

There are setbacks and finalities to life. It is one thing to say you did something when you were younger and would have no desire to do it now. It is another thing to say you wish you could continue to do something and now you can’t. That’s when I have a young moment wish.

Idleness drives me crazy. How do I look at it as a different kind of motion? To knit, to sew, to play the guitar, to write are motions, but they are mental motions and not physical ones other than the movement of my hands, which I am fortunately still able to do. I type/text/email and rarely handwrite a note or sign my name. As a result, my handwriting has become more difficult and my signature does not have the flow of youth. Signing my name shows letters merging into each other with the evidence of age behind them.

Clocks tick away time and run down, but they can always be wound up again and tick with vigor for another week. I wish I had a key that would wind me up with vigor, everything running evenly like the pendulum of the clock, ticking away. I want to be my alpine clock, running in perfect timeless time.

Sue Curran is a San Rafael resident. IJ readers are invited to share their stories of love, dating, parenting, marriage, friendship and other experiences for our How It Is column, which runs Tuesdays in the Lifestyles section. All stories must not have been published in part or in its entirety previously. Send your stories of no more than 600 words to Please write How It Is in the subject line. The IJ reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please include your full name, address and a daytime phone number.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal