Press Releases from the County of Sonoma

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  • District Attorney
    July 21, 2014
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    District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that on July 16th, 2014, the California Board of Prison Terms (“Board”) has denied parole, for the second time, to 38-year-old Ray Allen Mays, who in April of 2003 was convicted of attempted murder and mayhem, among other charges, after burglarizing a home and violently attacking one of the sleeping occupants with a machete.
  • District Attorney
    July 17, 2014
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    Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch today announced that Sysco Corporation, the country’s largest food distribution company, and its California Operating Companies (OpCos) will pay almost $20 million dollars in restitution, costs and penalties as a result of the OpCos’ illegal practice of holding perishable foods – such as seafood, milk and raw meat – in unregistered and/or improperly refrigerated storage sheds.
  • District Attorney
    July 14, 2014
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    District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that the Honorable Shelly Averill sentenced Vincent Andrew Rones (51) to prison for 14 years, 8 months.  Rones’ sentence on the current charges was doubled due to his prior strike conviction for kidnapping in 1999.  Rones will not be eligible for release on parole until he has served 80 percent of this sentence.
  • Water Agency
    July 8, 2014
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    The County of Sonoma (County) and the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) today added a total of 27 new all-electric vehicles (EVs) to its vehicle fleets as a part of the Local Government Electric Vehicle Fleet Project.  Five of the EVs will be located within the Water Agency’s fleet and 22 within the County’s fleet.  That brings the total number of County and Water Agency alternative fuel fleet vehicles to 309, which encompasses over 31 percent of the cars, vans, and light duty trucks.
  • Board of Supervisors
    July 7, 2014
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    The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office has completed an independent investigation into the tragic death of Andy Lopez, and has concluded that her office will not file criminal charges against Sheriff’s Deputy Erik Gelhaus.
  • District Attorney
    July 7, 2014
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    No se archivarán cargos penales contra el diputado Erik Gelhaus en relación con la muerte de Andy Lopez que ocurrió el 22 de Octubre del 2013. Una sinopsis de 52 páginas del informe del fiscal ante el gran jurado, exponiendo las razones para la determinación y la investigación fue publicada hoy. El informe concluye que el diputado Gelhaus disparó su arma en respuesta a lo que honestamente y razonablemente creía era una amenaza inminente de muerte o lesiones corporales graves a sí mismo o a otros. Como tal, estaba actuando legalmente en defensa de sí mismo o a otros, y no existe ninguna base para la búsqueda de cargos criminales.
  • District Attorney
    July 7, 2014
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    No criminal charges will be filed against Deputy Erik Gelhaus related to the fatal shooting of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa on October 22, 2013.  A 52-page synopsis of the District Attorney Report to the Grand Jury outlining the investigation and reasons for the determination was released today. The report concludes that Deputy Gelhaus fired his weapon in response to what he honestly and reasonably believed was an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to himself or others. As such, he was lawfully acting in defense of himself or others, and no basis for seeking criminal charges exists.
  • Board of Supervisors
    July 7, 2014
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    Sonoma County has received a $471,000 grant for the proposed development of a Moorland Avenue park. The California Department of Housing and Community Development announced the award last week through its Housing Related Parks program, which designates grants to counties and cities each year. The County’s Regional Parks and Permit and Resource Management departments jointly applied for the grant in January as the county began studying the potential for a southwest Santa Rosa park where 13-year-old Andy Lopez was fatally shot in 2013. The park project emerged from a community healing discussion led by the Board of Supervisors following the tragedy.
  • District Attorney
    July 3, 2014
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    Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that Dyke Clyde Dewitt, 65, a former teacher’s aide in a special education classroom at Cloverdale High School, was sentenced today to state prison for sexually molesting three teenage boys. Dewitt entered no contest pleas in May to eight counts of lewd acts with minors and one count of possession of child pornography. Under an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, and approved by the families, he was sentenced to 11 years, four months in state prison.
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 24, 2014
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    On the heels of investing $250,000 in the creative arts, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted the County’s first ever strategic Arts Action Plan, developed by the County’s Economic Development Board, intended to boost the county’s creative economy. The Arts sector has emerged as an important area for economic growth potential in Sonoma County, and until now there has been no coordinated strategy for supporting the creative economy countywide.
  • District Attorney
    June 20, 2014
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    Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch and Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that defendant Aldo Joseph Baccala, who ran a Ponzi scheme that defrauded victims of more than $15 million, was sentenced to 20 years in state prison at a hearing today in Sonoma County.
  • District Attorney
    June 20, 2014
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    District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that defendant Domingo Guzman Tamayo, Jr., 34, of Santa Rosa, was found guilty on June 18, 2014, by the Honorable Rene Chouteau after pleading no contest to felony charges including possession of marijuana for sale while armed with a firearm, cultivation of marijuana, and child endangerment, and admitting he had a previous prison conviction. As part of his plea agreement, Tamayo will be sentenced on July 18, 2014, to five years, four months imprisonment.
  • District Attorney
    June 20, 2014
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    District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that defendants Devante Raushad Love, 21, and Ricardo Davalos, 22, both of Santa Rosa, were sentenced today by the Honorable Jamie Thistlethwaite.   Davalos, who pled guilty to felony assault, was granted a sentence of three years formal probation and ordered to serve eight months in jail, which was the result of plea negotiations with the District Attorney’s Office.  Love, who pled guilty to robbery with an enhancement because the victim was elderly, was also granted probation over the objection of the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 10, 2014
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    The Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of a new Health Officer at its meeting this morning. With the appointment, Karen Milman, MD, MPH, the current Prevention Division Director of Public Health--Seattle & King County...
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 10, 2014
    Sonoma County Seal 75x75
    The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors strengthened public health protections today by adopting an amendment to its existing “smoking ordinance” to ban e-cigarettes in certain public places in unincorporated Sonoma County.  The amendments will help protect the public from secondhand vapors that are emitted from electronic smoking devices. The ordinance covers places of employment as well as public spaces including dining areas, recreational areas, public events, and service areas.
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 10, 2014
    Sonoma County Seal 75x75
    SANTA ROSA, Calif. – For Immediate Release – The Board of Supervisors approved the contract for Mark Bramfitt to serve as the Sonoma Local Agency Formation Commission’s (LAFCO) Executive Officer at this morning’s Board meeting. Mr. Bramfitt brings many years of public and private experience to the position, and will begin his service on June 11, 2014.
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 10, 2014
    Sonoma County Seal 75x75
    The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner presented the 2013 Sonoma County Crop Report to the Board of Supervisors at this morning’s Board meeting.  With the theme of “Sonoma County Working Landscapes” the report highlights the multiple ecological benefits provided by good stewardship of agricultural lands. The reported also highlight good news, including an increase of 4% in the gross value for agricultural production to $848,323,200 in 2013
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 9, 2014
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    Sonoma County received good news from Fitch Ratings service. The financial rating firm has affirmed the County’s general obligation bonds at ’AA+’; the Measure F sales tax revenue bonds for the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District at ‘AA+’; and the County’s pension obligations bonds at ’AA’. The ratings, some of the best available for local government, are an indication of the County’s strong financial stewardship and fiscal discipline.
  • Board of Supervisors
    June 6, 2014
    Sonoma County Seal 75x75
    The public is invited to attend the dedication of the Arnold Drive Roundabout in the Sonoma Valley in honor of Five Star General Hap Arnold. The ceremony on Wednesday, June 25th at 1:30 p.m., will be hosted by Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin and Bay Area veteran radio traffic reporter ‘Officer Vic’, Tom Benner.
  • Water Agency
    June 2, 2014
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    Today Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman joined regional water resource managers to announce that the recently approved Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) will authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to help complete environmental enhancement work in Dry Creek and assist with local efforts to prevent invasive quagga/zebra mussels from infesting local waterways.
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