Cocaine and accordions

The organizer of Cotati’s yearly accordion festival was arrested in his Petaluma home for possessing three pounds of cocaine, police said.

Scott Goree, 65, was arrested Dec. 19 on suspicion of possession of cocaine for sale. The Petaluma Police Department, working with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, had been investigating narcotic sales in town, which apparently led them to Goree.

Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Goree's home in the 20 block of Mission Drive in Petaluma, where they allegedly discovered approximately three pounds of cocaine and a small amount of cash. Goree has been the executive director and producer of the Cotati Accordion Festival since 2005.


Better transit options

Plans for a commuter rail station near Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport formally rolled forward recently, following key votes by North Bay and Bay Area transit agencies.

In simultaneous meetings on Dec. 18, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit board of directors approved plans to include that station in the rail system’s initial operating segment, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission green-lighted $16.7 million in funding. SMART’s approval of the new station was contingent on that money. It was the final piece of the $21.8 million needed to construct the station and upgrade existing track.

Meanwhile, Golden Gate Transit announced last week that it could be adding commuter bus service to Sonoma County for the first time in a decade. The agency, which buses nearly half a million passengers a year from Sonoma County to Marin County and San Francisco, is considering adding service to growing communities such as Windsor and east Santa Rosa, said Ron Downing, the agency’s director of planning.


County leads economic rebound

Annual job growth in Sonoma and Solano counties accelerated in November after easing in previous months, and unemployment rates mostly decreased throughout the North Bay last month, according to the latest state estimates.

Those counties propelled North Bay job growth, with industry employment moving upward although still about 20,000 positions below the August 2007 peak.

In Sonoma County, the North Bay’s largest county, unemployment was estimated to be 6 percent in November (6.2 percent, on a seasonally adjusted basis), tying with Napa and San Luis Obispo counties for the fifth-lowest rate in the state, according to data released Dec. 20 by the Employment Development Department.


Bank of Marin founder dies

William P.  Murray Jr., who founded the Bank of Marin in 1962, died five days before Christmas after a fall at his home, the Marin Independent-Journal reported. He was 95.

A Marin native, Murray was a longtime resident of San Rafael, where the first Bank of Marin was founded. His 50-year career began after World War II, when he served in the Philippines. He retired from banking in 1995.

There are numerous Bank of Marin locations around the North Bay, including one at 136 W Napa St. in Sonoma.