Category Archives: News & Events

Fire In Marin

We had a successful seminar with the help of many of our DCBNA volunteers.  Thank you to Fire Chief Chris Gray, speaker Katherine Randolph and all who helped out with the event.  About 300 neighbors came to learn how to prepare for the event of fire danger.


Summer Scoop 2018

Summer Scoop

Thank you all who volunteered and attended the ice cream social at Dominican University on Meadowlands lawn.  We had a blast, variety of ice cream flavors and neighbors got to greet and meet each other.  The weather was perfect on the lawn, and children enjoyed face-painting and arts and crafts.  We not only greeted and met each other but socialized as well.

FIRE IN MARIN! Free Seminar

This “Fire in Marin” seminar at Angelico Hall (Edited), DUC, presented by Katherine Randolph, is the most comprehensive and detailed seminar given to teach the defense of home and life in the face of a wildfire. Your SR Fire Department, the Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association, and the Dominican University emphatically encourage you to attend to learn how to save your home and your life.

DBCNA Annual Neighborhood Meeting Summary

On May 5th, prior to the Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association’s Wildfire Defense Forum, the Association held a brief annual business meeting at the Creekside Room at which time two items were brought to the members’ attention following the call to order at 10:04am.

First, in the interest of time, a printed copy of the Treasurer’s Report was provided to all attendees, and anyone wishing to pursue a more detailed accounting or having questions was asked to follow up with Bonnie Marks, Treasurer, at the end of the meeting.  Bonne reported that there were no questions.

Second, for those positions on the Board whose two-year terms were expiring, the President introduced a slate of nominees for two-year terms beginning effective June 1, 2018 as follows:

For Vice-President: Jay Hubert*

For Treasurer: Bonnie Marks*

For Directors:  Robert Levine*, John Contini, Liza Moran

Motion was made, seconded and passed without discussion to place the above names in nomination.

A call was made for further nominations from the floor: none were made.

Motion was made, seconded and passed without discussion to elect the above slate by acclamation.

The business meeting was concluded at 10:17am and the Wildfire Defense Forum was begun with the first speaker.

Here is a list of the Wildfire Defense Forum speakers and a link to their presentations:

Richard Shortall, President of the Fire Safe Marin Council and President of the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District presentation: Fire Preparedness

Fire Inspector Marshall Nau of the SR Fire Dept., Vegetation Management Coordinator presentation: Hazardous Assessments

Katherine Randolph, Marin Master Gardener presentation:  Vegetation

Diana Bishop, SR Chief of Police presentation: Evacuation Plans

Respectfully submitted,

Jack Nixon, President

FireWise Expenditure Form for 2017


Yesterday, May 5th, the DBCNA held a Wildfire Defense Forum on the Dominican campus. Those who attended remarked that it was an exceptionally worthwhile event, providing highly useful information.

Now your Neighborhood Association will proceed with applying for a FireWise Certification for Dominican Black Canyon. This certification will benefit our community in, at a minimum, several ways, e.g., the advantages of discounted property insurance rates, the protection from blanket termination of insurance, and continuation of chipper days, to name a few.

The next important step toward FireWise certification is documenting that the neighborhood has already made efforts towards reducing fire risk.  These efforts can be either monetary or time-related.  Any time or money spent toward fire risk reduction counts.

In order to qualify for FireWise certification, DBCNA needs to document outlay of approximately $23,000 total for the entire neighborhood in 2017 (about $24 per household).  Time logged in fire reducing efforts are logged at $24 per hour (the federal volunteer hourly rate). We need your help in documenting that we have reached the FireWise required cumulative total.  You can do this by sending the DBCNA your expenditures from 2017 that will easily allow us to reach that number!


Please submit this form of estimated expenses or time spent towards reducing fire risk for your property in calendar year 2017.

Name: ______________________________


Total expense paid: _________________

Total hours of unpaid labor: _________

You can send this information by:

1. Go online and complete the brief FireWise Expenditure Form 

2. Email Jay Hubert (Fire Committee Chair) at:

3. Print this page, complete the information above and mail to:
P.O. Box 151702
San Rafael, CA 94915-1702

Here is an example on how to complete this form:

John Smith
360 Locust Ave

Total expense paid (to gardeners, contractors, etc): $4200

Total hours of unpaid labor (your hours working on the property): 20

Thank you for helping support this important effort.  If you would kindly submit your form by Friday, May 25th that would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE Wildfire Defense Forum – May 5th

The Action is Saturday, May 5th, 10am, Creekside Room

“Just the Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts!”

Remember this line by Detective Friday on the TV series “Dragnet?”  Well, getting you the facts on Wildfire Defense of your home and your life is the goal of your Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Assn. at our Wildfire Defense Forum at 10am on Saturday, May 5, Creekside Room at the cafeteria building on the Dominican U. campus: four authorities in their respective fields will present “the facts” that each of us must know to be prepared.  We must learn now: when wildfire threatens, there will be no time for learning.  Preparing for a wildfire is not someone else’s problem: it is our problem.

Our Speakers:

Richard Shortall is President of the Fire Safe Marin Council and President of the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District. A retired SFFD Assistant Deputy Fire Chief, Rich Shortall will address 1) personal preparedness and evacuation pre-planning; 2) what is entailed in creating your defensible space around your home; 3) actions you can take to reduce your home’s structural ignitability (roof, vents and openings, decks, etc.; and 4) possible gaps in your homeowner policy’s replacement coverage and/or building code upgrade coverage.

Fire Inspector Marshall Nau of the SR Fire Dept. is a Vegetation Management Coordinator tasked with protecting the City’s residents and open space from wildfire threats by regularly conducting hazard assessments and inspections for and with residents. His remarks will cover what he looks for in assessing property hazards plus he will explain the city ordinance requiring his assessment efforts.

Katherine Randolph served on the Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission for four years, during which time she researched the risk of catastrophic fire in Marin, noting that few residents were taking action on fire departments’ advice, so she began teaching wildfire defense:  over ten years, over 1,200 Marin residents have taken her free class. A Marin Master Gardener, Katherine will explain the why and the how of creating an attractive defensible space—what readily burns, what doesn’t, and where to plant it, and what residents must know about evacuation preparedness.

Diana Bishop, our SR Chief of Police and a 33-year veteran of law enforcement who holds multiple degrees in public administration, isresponsible for the evacuation of our area when a wildfire occurs. She will explain how her police force will direct a Dominican Black Canyon wildfire evacuation plus the routes andprocedures for evacuation which each resident should know.  Chief Bishop will project the maps of Dominican Black Canyon for her explanation of the evacuation process.

Each speaker will use visuals and have a tight time schedule to follow.

Please schedule 10am, May 5, at the Creekside Room for the facts on wildfire defense in our Dominican neighborhood. Talks will end NLT 11:31am with a Q&A scheduled until noon.

Thank you.

Your Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Assn. Directors and FireSafe Committee.

Coffee, tea and pastries will be provided by the DBCNA.



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.

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

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

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!