All posts by Joan

Marin Board of Supervisors’ Wildfire Meeting-March 6th

Join first responder and other officials for an evening session March 6th from 6-8pm at the Civic Center, in the Marin County Board of Supervisors chamber,  Suite 330.

With the destructive and fatal North Bay wildfires and Montecito mudslides in mind, Marin County is hosting a countywide conversation March 6th to take a hard look at lessons learned from those incidents, hear feedback and ideas from residents, and boost awareness of existing programs and emergency preparations. Stakeholders from an array of agencies and local government offices will convene in what’s being billed as a listening session to develop potential agenda items for the Board of Supervisors.

The conversation will be hosted by the Supervisors’ emergency preparedness subcommittee of Judy Arnold and Dennis Rodoni, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and the Marin County Fire Department. All community input from the meeting will be considered while recommendations to the Board are developed. Key topics for the March 6th meeting, dubbed the Wildland Fire Preparedness Community Conversation, will be vegetation management on public lands and open space, evacuation procedures, emergency notification systems, and resources to help residents prepare for any sort of disaster.

The North Bay fires killed 43 people and burned more than 100,000 acres in October 2017. The County of Marin contributed to the relief effort by opening a temporary shelter at the Marin County Fairgrounds, and hundreds of people found respite there for almost a week. Another 21 people were killed in the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito in January when rain pelted areas previous scorched in the Thomas Fire and caused fast-moving mud flows through neighborhoods. Dozens of trained personnel from Marin agencies provided aid statewide during the fires, and a regional urban search-and-rescue strike team from Marin participated in the rescue efforts.

Jason Weber, Chief of the Marin County Fire Department, said a year- around wildfire season is “the new normal” because of recent weather patterns, climate change, and the proximity of so many homes to Marin’s beautiful open spaces. Defensible space around homes and disaster readiness is a daily concern in his business. “The only thing that separated Marin from the fire disasters in October was ignition – a burning ember in the wind touching down and starting a fire near us,” Weber said. “Since we know it could happen here, emergency preparedness should not be seen as optional. The prevalent procrastination needs to be replaced by real action.” The Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the Board of Supervisors, and Marin County Parks will have personnel at the event along with County Fire to answer questions and collect feedback.

A committee comprised of various officials – from fire and law enforcement, insurance experts, towns, cities, the County, the state and the federal government – will collaborate on final recommendations for the Supervisors to consider. “This community conversation is an opportunity to bring the public in, let residents hear what we’ve done, what we’ve discovered, and where we’re going with it,” said Chris Reilly, County Emergency Services Manager.

The Civic Center is at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael. Plenty of free parking is available in the County lots. Visitors are urged to enter through the south archway, closest to North San Pedro Drive, and proceed to the Board chamber on the third floor. In the meantime, register your contact information with so you’ll be notified in case of any significant local emergency.

FireSafe Committee Reports


Help us keep our neighborhood safe and get involved in our efforts to create a Firewise Community.   FireSafe Marin’s  website  provides information on fire preparedness, such as creating a defensible space around your home, hardening your house as well as evacuation checklists.  There is also information on what a FireWise Community is and how we can become one.  There is much to learn from the devastating fires in Santa Rosa and even from our own neighborhood fires in the past.  To assist the Dominican FireWise Committee, or for more information about the Committee and our Firewise Community application, please contact Jay Hubert, Chair of the Fire Preparedness Committee at

Meeting from January 25, 2018:

The Dominican Neighborhood Association FireSafe Committee held its first meeting last week to begin work on our application to qualify Dominican as a Firewise Community.  Qualifying will make us eligible for state and federal grants for wildfire prevention projects, help protect homeowners from losing their fire insurance, support free chipper days, and help us plan as a community to prepare for catastrophic wildfire.  The first big step is for us to prepare a community wildfire hazard assessment report.  This includes preparing a history of wildfires in Dominican.  For this, we are looking for a community volunteer to do research at the Marin History Museum. If you would like to contribute by doing this research, please contact Committee Chair Jay Hubert at

Stay tuned for updates on our progress towards becoming a Firewise Community!

Meeting from February 10, 2018

This week a group of Dominican homeowners participated in a neighborhood wildfire preparedness tour organized by Paul Minault of the Dominican FireWise Committee and led by Todd Lando, Coordinator of Firewise Marin. The tour went through backyards with the most challenging conditions, including steep slopes, dense trees, and multiple tree species. Todd explained how to manage trees and shrubs to create defensible space, protect vegetation from wildfire and “harden” the exterior of older homes to prevent ember intrusion, spot fires and the failure of windows and siding due to flames and heat. Pat Bignardi, Vegetation Management Specialist with the San Rafael Fire Department, participated with his advice in this “walk through.”

Our FireWise Committee will be organizing additional tours to educate Dominican residents on the steps they can take to protect their homes from catastrophic wildfire. Stay tuned for the next tour date.

Annual Neighborhood Cocktail Party 2018


By all accounts, the Dominican/Black Canyon Neighborhood Association Annual Cocktail Party on February 9th was a resounding success and a major accomplishment, demonstrating once again what it means to be a part of our caring community. Over 160 residents enjoyed the party—a great turnout. New and renewing membership dues were voluntarily offered and accepted, and we thank these members for their support. We were also glad to see our invited guests, San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips and his wife Linda, and San Rafael City Manager Jim Schutz. We greatly appreciate their interest in our neighborhood’s well-being and the exchange of constructive ideas with us.

This year, with fire safety being a top priority for the DBCNA, we are starting a FireWise program with the help of FireSafe Marin. A FireWise Committee has been established to guide the Dominican Black Canyon community in preventing our homes from being overwhelmed by a wild fire. We are dedicated to educating and motivating our community to create a safe environment and, most important, to adopting practices to protect our homes and our neighbors’ homes from suffering the fate of homeowners to the North.

The DBCNA FireWise Committee has started the process and is actively seeking homeowners who understand the critical importance to them and their neighbors of participating in this endeavor to create FireWise defensible space around their homes. To assist the Dominican FireWise Committee, or for more information about the Committee and our Firewise Community application, please contact Jay Hubert, Chair of the Fire Preparedness Committee and Vice-President of the DBCNA at

The remarkable success of the Neighborhood Association party was due to an enthusiastic party team of your entire Board and member volunteers. A heartfelt “thank you” goes to Lindy Emerich who, for the fifteenth year, planned, organized, ordered, set up, and served the wonderful food—a huge part of the party’s success. Additionally, the folks who made this party the Association’s highlight event of the year included Board members Jay Hubert, Bonnie Marks, Marty Wickenheiser, Edie Dagley, Jeff and Joan Cardneau, Bob Levine and Monica McMillan, and Association members Norma Nixon, Jim Koger and Jackie Cormier with her marvelous team of “walkers” who distributed the flyers. Many did multiple jobs without being asked, so I just want to share how heartwarming it has been to have everyone so engaged. The same goes for anyone whom I have forgotten to name.

A big ‘thanks’ to the Marin Tennis Club, its Directors, and to Chris Horne, the club manager, who made it possible to have such a great venue for the party and to Chris’ staff whose untiring efforts during the party made it easy for the rest of us to do what we were supposed to do!

Lastly, a final word of gratefulness to both our new members and existing loyal neighbors who are renewing and who continue to support our Association and participate in our neighborhood events. We sustain our activities on annual dues of $20 per home and ask that everyone in Dominican Black Canyon join. The Board thanks you for readily adjusting to the Marin Tennis Club’s required ABC license policy this year. Just as MTC has supported the DBCNA for years by providing an amazing venue, we too can now help and support them in their business practices.

Thanks, and we’ll see you at the next event in May—which will focus on our community’s response to fire prevention.

Jack Nixon, President

The Dominican/Black Canyon Neighborhood Association

Board Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Public Meetings Schedule


DBCNA Agenda November 13, 2019

DBCNA Agenda October 9, 2019

DBCNA Agenda September 11, 2019

DBCNA Agenda August 14, 2019

DBCNA Agenda July 10, 2019

DBCNA Agenda June 12, 2019

DBCNA Agenda May 8, 2019

DBCNA Agenda April 10, 2019

DBCNA Agenda March 13, 2019

DBCNA Agenda January 9, 2019

DBCNA Agenda August 8 2018


DBCNA Minutes November 13, 2019

DBCNA Minutes October 9, 2019

DBCNA Minutes September 11, 2019

DBCNA Minutes August 14, 2019

DBCNA Minutes July 10, 2019

DBCNA Minutes June 12, 2019

DBCNA Minutes May 8, 2019

DBCNA Minutes April 10, 2019

DBCNA Minutes March 13, 2019

DBCNA Minutes January 9, 2019

DBCNA Minutes November 14, 2018

DBCNA Minutes August 8, 2018

DBCNA Minutes July 11, 2018

DBCNA Minutes June 13, 2018

DBCNA Meeting May, 9, 2018-canceled

DBCNA Minutes April 11, 2018

DBCNA Minutes March 14, 2018

DBCNA Minutes February 14, 2018

DBCNA Minutes January 10, 2018

DBCNA Minutes December 13, 2017

DBCNA Minutes November 8, 2017

DBCNA Minutes October 11, 2017

DBCNA Minutes September 13, 2017

DBCNA Minutes August 9, 2017

DBCNA Minutes July 12, 2017: missing quorum

DBCNA Minutes June 14, 2017

DBCNA Minutes May 10, 2017

DBCNA Minutes April 12, 2017

DBCNA Minutes March 8, 2017

DBCNA Minutes February 8, 2017


Summer Scoop 2017!

To all the folks who helped with the Neighborhood Association ice cream social,

Here’s a big thank you and a “Well Done” to each of you who volunteered to contribute to the success of our “social.”.  Special thanks go to the folks who worked the entire time: Noemie von Kaenel and Lauren Ferrell, 2nd year students at DU, who helped with the setup and then assisted Jeff Cardneau at the serving table until the closing time; and Sara Sonnet and daughter Isabel for once again being the tried and true mainstays at our face-painting table, creating marvelous art on the children’s faces. And Doug Lee for always looking for things that needed doing.

Our best count is approximately 125 attendees with some 40+ being students and staff of Dominican University plus parents of arriving students.  Thanks to San Rafael Police Chief Bishop and Fire Chief Gray, the police were in attendance until called away on patrol as was the fire engine and crew until called away.

So, to everyone who helped on our “social,” we want you to know how much we, the Board, appreciate your support.

Board members Jay Hubert, Marty Wickenheiser, Robert Levine, Jeff Cardneau, Bonnie Marks and Edie Dagley

And I would like to again express my great appreciation to the Ice Cream Social Committee—Board members Jay, Jeff, Joan, Bob, and Marty– who made all this happen so well and who always stepped up to do far more than what was required.  We have a wonderful team of folks on our Board.

Jack Nixon, Pres. DBCNA

Carabiner on gate

Emergency Evacuation Route for Dominican Heights

In the event of a fast moving wildfire, evacuating Black Canyon down one lane of Mountain View Avenue could be a life-threatening situation. There are approximately 274 homes in the canyon area, many of which are near the open space. The ability to move people out as quickly as possible is critical.

Dominican Heights residents have asked for a number of years to be able to evacuate the 105 homes (from Sienna up through Dominican Dr.) via the gate at the end of Sienna Way. This gate has been locked for years.

The gate is now unlocked, along with the chain link further down the path.

Carabiner on gate

While the trail gate (above) is on City property, the road beyond is private property until it reaches Linden Lane. We have agreement with San Rafael Fire Chief Christopher Gray and the property owner to unlock these barriers for emergency evacuation only.

The residents on Mountain View Ave and connecting streets will continue to evacuate down Mountain View Ave. to Grand.

How to Open Gate at End of Sienna Way

You might want to take a moment to stop by and look at the gate. The gate is closed with a 4” carabiner (see photo above). To open, simply push in the side segment (see below) and weave the carabiner out of the gate latch. The gate has been oiled and easily opens.

carabiner illustration

Further down the path is a chain strewn between two wood posts. The chain now sits on a hook on the right hand post. Just unhook it.

Chain link on hook

Emergency Only

It is important that everyone know this exit route is available, but also respect that this is private property and, in no instance, use this route for anything other than emergency evacuation.

When to Evacuate

In the event of a wildfire, is recommended that you evacuate as soon as possible. If you wait for a mandatory evacuation message from the first responders, it may be difficult for you to get out.


It is possible in an evacuation that taking this route will not be the safest exit. Follow the directions of first responders at all times.

You can learn more about how to prepare for an evacuation on Cal Fire’s website:

If you have questions or comments, send an email to

chasing balloons

Dominican Chills at the Summer Scoop 2016

The Dominican Neighborhood Summer Scoop was a resounding success with over 10 gallons and about 186 scoops of ice cream served. While mint chip was the most popular ice cream, the root beer floats proved to be a big hit. The event was chaired by Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association Board member Arline Van Gessel. Lots of details, well managed, led to a successful afternoon for all. A selection of photos below, but there are more on our Facebook page!

The ice cream, supplied by Silbermanns in Northgate arrived at Meadlowlands lawn at -10 degrees, which provided a challenge early on for our master scoopers, Gina and Paul Podwojksi and Zohraa Rehman. Kudos to the team for their two hours of scooping! And congratulations to the six raffle winners of $10 gift certificates to Silbermanns.


Face painting specialists Debbie Ward, Sara Sonnet and her two daughters, Penelope and Isabelle all contributed to one of the most popular events at the Scoop.







Dennis deMille, Vice President of the Board managed the amazing Hurricane bubble machines and the fantastic 50s music! Jack Nixon, Board President and fellow Board member John Matulich manned the membership table to welcome and encourage neighbors to join the neighborhood association.

We had the pleasure of a visit from San Rafael Police Department Corporal Ronda Reese and our newest SRPD Officer, Sandra Felix. Officer Christian Diaz, of the K9 unit brought Faro with him, who was a big hit with both neighbors and the kids.



Also attending were Vice Mayor Kate Colin, City Council members Andrew McCullough and Maribeth Bushey. Supervisor Damon Connolly rode his bike from Terra Linda to get something cold to drink! Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar (far left in photo below) from Dominican University joined us and we thank her and the University for their generous offering of this fantastic venue.



Neighbors just had a good time talking and eating!







Thank you all for coming!