News From Our Partners

Years After East Bay Hills Fire, New Blazes Cut Fresh Wounds

KQED News Fix/The California Report

Last week was the 25th anniversary of the  East Bay Hills (or Tunnel) fire. The blistering conflagraton reached 2,000 degrees and was hot enough to boil asphalt, melt bronze and turn houses to ash almost instantly.

Read the story at KQED News Fix/The California Report.

In a Win for Ex-Inmates, New Law Requires California Employers to 'Ban the Box'


California had a “ban the box” law for city, county and state employers since 2014 that puts off questions about conviction history, with a few exceptions, until an applicant has been deemed qualified for the job. In what is good news for former inmates, however, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB1008, which expands “ban the box” provisions to the state’s private sector.

Read the story at CALmatters.

Public Press Weekly: North Bay Fire News Roundup

The Public Press would like to share additional news reports, information and resources that you may find useful whether you are seeking assistance or looking for ways to support communities that need help. (Previously highlighted news and resources are available here.)

How to help

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has compiled a list of organizations that can use your help: "How to Help: Volunteer, Donate Food, Supplies, Money to Support Sonoma County Fire Victims"

More from around the region

"At Napa Vineyards Untouched by Wildfires, the Grapes Must Still be Picked" (Los Angeles Times)

"Homeowners Impacted by Wine Country Fires Can Get Property Tax Relief" (KCBS)

"In 6 Aerial Images: How California Wine Country Was Primed for Disaster" (Reveal)

"Despite Clear Risks, Santa Rosa Neighborhood That Burned Down Was Exempt From State Fire Regulations" (Los Angeles Times)

"Firefighters Share the Emotional Toll of Battling Deadly Wildfires" (BuzzFeed News)

North Bay Fires — How to Help

Updated with additional links on Oct. 16, 2017.

Dear readers,

The North Bay fires are the most important story in our region this week. And the rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts that will emerge from this devastation will dominate headlines and draw our collective attention for months and years to come.

As you know, the San Francisco Public Press focuses on long-term, local in-depth investigations. Sometimes we report breaking news in San Francisco, but we are not equipped to cover expansive, rapidly changing events on the scale and scope of the North Bay fires.

We would like to acknowledge the critical reporting being done by our colleagues at local and regional newspapers, and television and radio outlets throughout Northern California. Their tireless efforts are helping us all wrap our heads around what is happening as wind-fueled wildfires wreck lives and vibrant communities.

We’d like to share some information and resources that you may find useful whether you are seeking assistance or looking for ways to support communities that need help.

How to give help

The California Report has assembled an extensive list of organizations that can use your help: “From Donations to Volunteering: How to Help Fire Victims

KALW's "Your Call" broadcast from Rohnert Park on Thursday with a program on fire relief efforts and ways to help people displaced by the fires.

How to get help

FEMA and the Small Business Administration are offering help: “Sonoma County Fire Victims Urged to Apply for Federal Aid” (Press Democrat) and "Where Fire Victims Can Apply for Tax Relief and FEMA Grants and Loans" (San Francisco Chronicle)

How to find loved ones. (San Francisco Chronicle) And reunite with lost pets. (SF Weekly) And find shelters and information about school closures. (KQED News)

Updates on the fires

All live updates from the San Francisco Chronicle (usually limited to subscribers) are available via SFGate.

In addition to extensive reporting, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat features a comprehensive containment index for all the North Bay fires.

Fire Containment Index from The Press Democrat

The Bay Area has been experiencing the regional effects all week. According to the East Bay Times, there’s more to come — “Smoke Getting Worse: Here’s Where It’s Headed

The Department of Homeland Security has formally suspended immigration enforcement in areas affected by the wildfires. (San Francisco Chronicle)

More from around the region

Sonoma County’s Latino Workforce Faces Job Losses From Fires” (KQED News)

North Bay Tragedy Prompts Memories, Insights From 1991 Firestorm Survivors” (Berkeleyside)

North Bay Open Space Managers Wait to Survey Losses” (Bay Nature)

Northern California Wildfires Drive Tribes From Their Homes (Grist/High Country News)

"The 13 Worst Wildfires in California History" (Sfist)

"No, 'Essential Oils' Will Not Clear the California Fire Smoke Out of Your Air" (Mother Jones)

The Chronicle has created a listing of events organized to support fire victims, followed on the same page by a list of events canceled or postponed and venues closed due to the fires.



From Donations to Volunteering: How to Help Fire Victims

By Michelle Cheng, KQED News Fix/The California Report

Whether it’s donating money or volunteering, there are various ways to help out those impacted by the wildfires in Northern California. During times of uncertainty, one of the best ways to help out those impacted by the fires is by giving money. In addition, donations of basic necessities and volunteers are also needed.

Here is a list of organizations accepting financial donations:

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/The California Report

Cal State Gets Federal Grant to Train More Latinos to Become Teachers


Studies show black and Latino students perform better in school when their teachers look like them, but in California, most teachers are white.

A new $8.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the California State University will finance efforts to train more Latinos to become teachers.

Read the story at EdSource.

Doctors Warn Against Health Hazards of Wildfire Smoke

KQED News Fix/State of Health

The Bay Area awoke this week to hints of the wildfire disaster up north: Gray ash and a smoky smell that lingered for hours, even in areas more than 50 miles from the fires. Along with flames, smoke exposure is one of the biggest health hazards from wildfires. It can cause mild irritation such as stinging eyes and sore throats to severe afflications that include asthma, heart attacks and even death.

“It’s a concerning time for me as a physician,” said Dr. Robert Blount, a pulmonologist at UCSF who researches the health effects of air pollution. “Typically, you’re going to see an increase in outpatient visits, also ER visits.”

Read the story at KQED News Fix/State of Health.

What Deferred Action Has Achieved and What May Be at Risk

El Tecolote

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is one of the Obama era's most successful programs.  A recent survey of more than 3,000 DACA recipients conducted by UC San Diego, United We Dream, the National Immigration Law Center and the Center for American Progress shows how much of an effect DACA has had.

Of those who responded, 94 percent have pursued higher education, an option denied to them before DACA, and more than 90 percent are now employed.

Read the story at El Tecolote. 

S.F. Health Officials Ramp Up Efforts to Vaccinate Homeless Residents Against Hepatitis A

Mission Local

As Hepatitis A outbreaks have appeared among homeless residents elsewhere in the state, San Francisco is ramping up efforts to prevent an outbreak here offering free vaccines to the homeless as well as stepped up efforts this month that will include pop-up clinics and more outreach in the camps.

Jesse Ballinger-Wydle, a homeless veteran living in the South of Market area, said he was unaware of the outbreak until health department workers stopped by his corner last week.

Read the story at Mission Local. 

Investigations of Officer-Involved Shootings Abound in S.F., but So Do Delays

Mission Local

San Francisco police officers got the call at 11:35 p.m. on a Saturday about a domestic disturbance. They arrived at the Russian Hill apartment to hear Damian Murray threatening his wife and two children with a gun. For three hours, crisis negotiators tried to calm Murray. And then, a gunshot fired in the apartment, officers broke down the door and one of four shots hit Murray. He died later that night.

The officer-involved shooting prompted five investigations, but if the past is an indicator, it will take at least 22 months to complete any of them — a time frame a San Francisco civil grand jury called “unacceptable.” The 2016 Department of Justice report agreed, noting that only one officer-involved shooting case had been closed from 2013 to 2015.

Read the story at Mission Local.