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MARIN CO.: RETROFITTED BLACK HAWK HELICOPTER TO BE USED FOR NORTH BAY WILDFIRES IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PG&E

A Black Hawk helicopter modified to haul 900 gallons of water will be boosting the Marin County Fire Department’s aerial resources this fire season in a pilot program with PG&E. The Marin County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Tuesday authorized the fire department’s chief to enter into an agreement with PG&E for the trial program.

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This modified, PG&E-owned Black Hawk Sikorsky UH-60A will be stationed in the North Bay as part of a trial partnership with the Marin County Fire Department from July-October 2023. (PG&E via Bay City News)
This modified, PG&E-owned Black Hawk Sikorsky UH-60A will be stationed in the North Bay as part of a trial partnership with the Marin County Fire Department from July-October 2023. (PG&E via Bay City News)

By Thomas Hughes

Bay City News

A Black Hawk helicopter modified to haul 900 gallons of water will be boosting the Marin County Fire Department’s aerial resources this fire season in a pilot program with PG&E.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Tuesday authorized the fire department’s chief to enter into an agreement with PG&E for the trial program.

PG&E owns the helicopter, which is a Sikorsky UH-60A model. PG&E will pay for the cost of operating the helicopter in county areas for the first two hours of flight time per mission, up to a total of 40 hours of flight time during fire season. It will also cover the cost of staging the helicopter and having pilots on standby. Operators will be from Red Bluff-based PJ Helicopters.

Fires that are burning in state or federal land can be fully reimbursed by relevant partner agencies, according to Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber, who made the request to the board.

The Black Hawk will be exclusively available to the Marin County Fire Department and partner agencies, which will have the ability to utilize the helicopter in other North Bay Area counties as needed.

Weber said the partnership will provide a resource that the fire department otherwise couldn’t afford.

“The cost of aircraft is prohibitively expensive, I would say, for small organizations like us or even our local government partners, cities, towns that are out there,” Weber said during his presentation.

The addition of the dedicated helicopter is meant to provide additional capacity when other air resources provided by Cal Fire are tied up elsewhere.

A PG&E spokesman who spoke at the board meeting said it was the first such pilot program the utility had undertaken.

“This partnership represents a pivotal moment in our collective efforts to address the wildfire risk that threatens our communities,” said Mark Quinlan, senior vice president of wildfire & emergency operations at PG&E.

Operational command during fires will go through the fire department’s command center. Requests by partner agencies to use the helicopter will also go through the fire department.

The program will run from July through October.

The location where the helicopter will be staged is still undetermined, but it will be somewhere in the North Bay, according to Weber.

Cal Fire has two aircraft designated to cover Marin County. One is staged at Moffett Federal Airfield in Santa Clara County and the other is stationed at the Boggs Mountain Helitack Base in Lake County.

“This gives us a resource that’s a little bit closer, with the goal that we’re keeping small fires small,” Weber said.

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Art

Mayor Breed, Actor Morris Chestnut Attend S.F.’s Indie Night Film Festival

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry. The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

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(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell
(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell

By Y’Anad Burrell

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry.  The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

A weekly celebration of cinematic artistry designed to elevate emerging talent while providing a platform for networking and collaboration, entrepreneur Dave Brown created Indie Night to bridge gaps within the filmmaking community by fostering connections between like-minded individuals worldwide. The Indie Film Festival currently has over 450 film submissions worldwide, and its cinematic vault only continues to grow.

The festival showcased over 10 short films and trailers, and featured Faces of the “City: Fighting for the Soul of America,” produced by veteran actor Tisha Campbell.  This film is about the vibrancy and legacy of San Francisco. The festival also previewed “When It Reigns,” a trailer by Oakland’s burgeoning filmmaker Jamaica René.

Indie films have not just challenged traditional cinematic norms; they’ve shattered them. These films offer unique storytelling perspectives and push creative boundaries in truly inspiring ways. With their smaller budgets and independent spirit, they often tackle unconventional subjects and portray diverse characters, providing a refreshing alternative to mainstream cinema. As a result, indie films have resonated with audiences seeking an escape from formulaic blockbusters and are increasingly celebrated for their authenticity and originality.

Organizers say the mission of Indie Night is to elevate the craft of independent artists and creators. It also provides a venue for them to showcase their work, network, and exchange information with new and established creatives. It creates a community that values and supports independent art.

For more about the Indie Night Film Festival, visit www.indienightfilmfestival.com.

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Bay Area

Sen. Wiener, Mayor Breed Announce Bill to Shut Down Fencing of Stolen Goods

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods. Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

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By Oakland Post Staff

On June 3, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed joined State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) to announce a bill aiming to combat fencing, the sale of stolen goods.

Authored by Wiener and sponsored by Breed, Senate Bill (SB) 925 would allow San Francisco to create permitting requirements to regulate the sale of items commonly obtained through retail theft and impose criminal penalties for those who engage in this practice.

“The sale of stolen items in San Francisco has created unsafe street conditions and health and safety hazards that have negatively impacted residents, businesses, City workers, and legitimate street vendors,” states a statement released by the mayor’s office.

San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief Bill Scott praised the effort.

“I want to thank Mayor Breed and Senator Wiener for identifying new ways to combat the illegal fencing of stolen goods. This will help our hard-working officers continue to make progress in cracking down on retail theft,” said Scott.

Under the legislation, San Francisco can require vendors to obtain a permit to be able to sell items deemed as frequently stolen by asking for documentation that the merchandise was obtained legitimately, such as showing proof of purchase.

The legislation also establishes that those in violation would receive an infraction for the first two offenses and an infraction or a misdemeanor and up to six months in county jail for the third offense.

Under this bill, people can still:

  • Sell goods with a permit
  • Sell prepared food with a permit
  • Sell goods on the list of frequently stolen items with a permit and proof of purchase.

“In San Francisco we are working hard to make our streets safer and more welcoming for all. SB 925 would greatly help us get a handle on the sale of stolen goods, all while taking a narrow approach that specifically targets bad actors,” said Breed.

Wiener says the cultural richness of San Francisco and the livelihoods of legitimate street vendors are threatened when bad actors are allowed to openly sell stolen goods on the city’s streets.

“With this bill we’re taking a balanced approach that respects the critical role street vending plays in our community while holding fencing operations accountable for the disruption they cause. It’s critical that everyone feel safe on our streets, including street vendors and neighborhood residents,” said Wiener.

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