Marin County is beating back breast cancer, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. Back in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, breast cancer rates were skyrocketing in the county, leading to numerous studies to determine why. A variety of factors were blamed, including a correlation between hormone-replacement therapy and breast cancer diagnosis. On Wednesday, CPC officials reported a 31 percent decline in new breast cancer cases, plus a staggering 65 percent decline in deaths related to breast cancer. Researchers also noted that hormone-replacement therapy has dipped significantly in recent years, and breast cancer cases have dropped, as well.
Marin County property taxes are going up again this year, as the county prepares to send out bills to 92,000 Marin County taxpayers seeking a total of $922 million. That figure is a record for the county, and is about 8 percent higher than last year’s total of $851 million. Taxpayers will have until December 10th to pay the first installment of their bills, or incur penalties, while the remainder will be due by April 10th. The primary reason for the higher tax bills is that prices have surged in the county, though some homeowners saw the end to temporary assessment discounts awarded about six years ago during the bubble. About 4,500 homeowners saw their tax assessments rise as these temporary valuations came to an end. While officials will mail out tax bills to all Marin County residents who owe, failure to receive a bill does not exempt those homeowners from taxes due or late fines assessed. To check on your tax bill, go to www.marincounty.org/paytax.
A 54 year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint Monday night at her home on Reed Ranch Road in Tiburon. According to a police spokesperson, a gunman entered the woman’s home, ordered her into a closet and left with several pieces of jewelry. The victim reported the robbery at about 9:15 with a 911 call. Police were unable to find the robber after an exhaustive search conducted by Marin County sheriff’s deputies with help from Belvedere, Novato and Mill Valley police. According to a police description, the burglar wore a blue and white bandana over his face, baggy blue or gray jeans and a gray beanie. The victim described the culprit as a 5 foot 7, 160 pound man with a Hispanic accent. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Tiburon police at 415-789-2801, or those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-222-TIPS.
Scores of firefighters from Marin County are battling blazes across California, according to Marin County fire battalion Chief Mike Giannini. Many of the deployed Marin firefighters are battling the massive Valley Fire in Lake County, which exploded over the weekend, destroying several hundred homes and forcing thousands to evacuate. The fire has engulfed more than 63,000 acres since igniting early Saturday, more than 400 homes have been destroyed and more than 13,000 residents have been evacuated. The fire has also been blamed for the death of a disabled woman who was unable to flee.
Marin County fire personnel joined more than 11,000 firefighters currently battling fires across the state. In addition to 66 members of the Marin County Fire Department, personnel have also been deployed from Corte Madera, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross and San Rafael.
Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze Sunday night at the Sausalito-Marin City School District complex at 33 Buchanan St. Members of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District were assisted by firefighters from Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Ross, San Rafael and Tiburon. The fire was reported about 7:30 Sunday night, and firefighters took about 45 minutes to gain control of the flames. A 4,000 square-foot building that houses the offices of Willow Creek Academy sustained heavy damage, and will likely have to be torn down and rebuilt, but no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze. A spokesman for the Southern Marin Fire Protection District said the fire is still under investigation and declined to offer a guess as to whether arson is suspected.
A Belvedere mansion was sold for $47.5 million last week, shattering the Marin County record for most expensive home sold. Located at 440 Golden Gate Ave, the 12,000 square-foot residence is known as Locksley Hall, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to the sale, the highest price fetched by a Marin County home this year was $13 million, and was one of just three homes sold for more than $10 million in the county, all three are in Belvedere. Local agents note that homes in Southern Marin typically fetch the highest prices, but say that the biggest sale most years is around $5 or $6 million. Built in 1895, Locksley Hall sits on more than an acre and offers magnificent, panoramic views of San Francisco, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. The buyer was also likely intrigued by the property’s tax status, as the previous owner spent more than $32 million restoring the mansion to historical standards, making the home’s owner eligible for reduced taxes under the California Mills Act.
Marin County is in the process of implementing a new light rail train service from Santa Rosa to terminate at the ferry terminal at Larkspur, CA. The proposed stops will be as follows:
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San Rafael bicycling enthusiasts on Monday celebrated the opening of a new bike path that civic leaders hope will allow cyclists and pedestrians to move through downtown more easily. Called the Puerto Suello Hill Path to Transit Center Connector, the path was built with $1.6 million in grant money including $1.1 million from the Federal Highway Administration’s Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program. “I think it’s going to be a great connector for the community and downtown and the SMART when it begins running next year,” San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips said during Monday’s ceremony. “It’s also going to be one more link in the north-south greenway from Novato to the Golden Gate Bridge; it’s one more piece to that eventuality,” Phillips added.
A Novato fireman is serving an important role in fighting the ongoing fires raging across Northern California. One of hundreds of firefighters from the Marin County area battling the fires, Novato Fire Captain Barrett Smith is serving as field observer for both the Rocky and Jerusalem fires. Smith is charged with directing firefighters, charting the fires’ paths and coordinating GPS data, among other duties. Smith has been fighting the Rocky fire since July 30th, but is expected to return home next Monday.
The Rocky and Jerusalem fires are two of 18 fires currently burning across California, most affecting the northern part of the state. The are currently more than 10,000 firefighters working to contain the blazes, including many from nearby states. The Rocky Fire has burned nearly 70,000 acres so far, but is also nearing 90 percent containment, according to the latest estimates.