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News Briefs 

June 27-July 3, 2007

Buying the LCT

The cabaret-style musical and dinner theater performances at the Larkspur Cafe Theatre (LCT) will be under new management beginning July 1. For the past three years, the 100-seat venue has been operated by Erma Murphy and Daniel Patrick, who presented more than 400 shows ranging from theater and family-friendly fare to acoustic and world music. Patricia Sheen, who has leased the space for 18 years from American Legion Post 313, is selling the LTC to Becky and Thom Steere, owners of Mill Valley's Sweetwater Saloon, the site of near-legendary rock and blues performances for more than 30 years. The Steeres say they don't plan to change LCT's eclectic mix of theater and music, although they do intend to expand the food offerings and upgrade the sound system.

Power theft

A $7.4 million project installing thousands of photovoltaic solar panels at the Sonoma Valley sewage treatment plant hit a minor snag sometime during the night of June 20, when someone stole 27 of the panels, worth about $27,000. The panels will be replaced in time for the project's July 6 dedication ceremony, says Tim Anderson of the Sonoma County Water Agency, which operates the treatment plant. The solar panels are about 3-feet-by-2-feet, and the theft probably involved a sturdy vehicle and more than one person. "It might take two people to dismantle them and move them without breaking them," Anderson explains. He adds that the commercial-grade panels would not work with a residential solar energy system, and were most likely taken by "someone who had a use for power in a remote location." The water agency will be adding video surveillance cameras at the solar project site.

Krug's labor clash

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ARLB) recently filed formal charges against the Charles Krug Winery for allegedly violating labor laws last summer. Instead of negotiating a new contract with the United Farm Workers union, the company laid off 27 vineyard workers and turned its vineyard operations over to an outside management firm. Located in St. Helena, the winery has been owned and operated by three generations of the Peter Mondavi family. "The company denies that there were any violations committed," says Freddie Capuyan, ARLB regional director. Speaking by telephone from his Salinas office, Capuyan adds that the next step will be a hearing before an administrative judge, possibly sometime in August.

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