Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital will be running on backup generators for several hours late Sunday and early Monday as PG&E crews repair equipment following several power failures last year.

Patients with traumatic injuries likely will be sent to other hospitals during the hours when Memorial, Sonoma County's trauma center, is on the backup power.

The emergency room will remain open and many services will be uninterrupted. But Memorial will not perform surgery, cardiac catheterization or other invasive procedures unless the emergency needs of a patient make it too risky to send the patient elsewhere, hospital spokeswoman Katy Hillenmeyer said.

PG&E crews will cut power and the hospital will run on generators starting at about 7 p.m. Sunday until about 5 a.m. Monday, although the exact times could change.

PG&E will be upgrading and making essential repairs to circuits "that power the hospital and which are likely, if not reinforced or replaced, to cause unplanned outages in the future," according to a statement by the hospital.

It was unclear whether the repairs and upgrades will involve equipment that led to repeated power failures at Memorial and the surrounding neighborhood in November and December.

PG&E couldn't immediately be reached Sunday.

Hillenmeyer said the repairs are taking place on hospital grounds.

Four blackouts in a 24-hour-period Nov. 15 and 16 prevented at least three trauma patients from receiving treatment at Memorial. The patients, who included a stabbing victim and a pedestrian hit by a van, were flown to out-of-county hospitals while Memorial was on generator power.

The blackouts also hit neighborhood residents and businesses, including several medical offices left in the dark.

When the first power failure struck, PG&E crews tried to re-distribute customers to other circuitry routes, causing some circuits to overload and leading to successive blackouts, PG&E said at the time.

An underground equipment failure caused a blackout Dec. 21 for about 1,400 homes, businesses and the hospital. A swath of Santa Rosa from Highway 12 to Santa Rosa Creek and from Santa Rosa Avenue to Yulupa Avenue went dark.

Hillenmeyer said nearby hospitals and ambulance crews have been alerted that patients may be diverted from Memorial to the other hospitals until power is fully restored.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or On Twitter @jjpressdem.

California pot: Smoke it (or eat it) if you can get it

OAKLAND — It wasn’t exactly reefer madness Monday as California launched the first legal sales of recreational marijuana, but those who could find the drug celebrated the historic day, lining up early for ribbon cuttings, freebies and offerings ranging from cookies to gummy bears to weed with names like heaven mountain.

Jeff Deakin, 66, his wife Mary and their dog waited in the cold all night to be first in a line of 100 people when Harborside dispensary, a longtime medical pot shop in Oakland, opened at 6 a.m. and offered early customers joints for a penny and free T-shirts that read “Flower to the People — Cannabis for All.”

“It’s been so long since others and myself could walk into a place where you could feel safe and secure and be able to get something that was good without having to go to the back alley,” Deakin said. “This is kind of a big deal for everybody.”

Harborside founder Steve DeAngelo used a giant pair of scissors to cut a green ribbon, declaring, “With these scissors I dub thee free,” before ringing up the first customer at a cash register.

Sales were brisk in the shops lucky to score one of the roughly 100 state licenses issued so far, but customers in some of the state’s largest cities were out of luck. Los Angeles and San Francisco hadn’t authorized shops in time to get state licenses and other cities, such as Riverside and Fresno, blocked sales altogether.

Licensed shops are concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, around Palm Springs, San Jose and Santa Cruz, where the KindPeoples shop tacked up a banner Monday declaring, “Prohibition is Over!”

The state banned what it called “loco-weed” in 1913, though it has eased criminal penalties for use of the drug since the 1970s and was the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996.

California voters in 2016 made it legal for adults 21 and older to grow, possess and use limited quantities of marijuana, but it wasn’t legal to sell it for recreational purposes until Monday.

The nation’s most populous state now joins a growing list of states, and the nation’s capital, where so-called recreational marijuana is permitted even though the federal government continues to classify pot as a controlled substance, like heroin and LSD.

The signs that California was tripping toward legal pot sales were evident well before the stroke of midnight. California highways flashed signs before New Year’s Eve that said “Drive high, Get a DUI,” reflecting law enforcement concerns about stoned drivers. Weedmaps, the phone app that allows customers to rate shops, delivery services and shows their locations, ran a full-page ad Sunday in the Los Angeles Times that said, “Smile California. It’s Legal.”

Travis Lund, 34, said he’d been looking forward while working the graveyard shift to buy weed legally for the first time since he began smoking pot as a teen.

“I’m just stoked that it’s finally legal,” he said after purchasing an eighth of an ounce of “Mount Zion” and another type of loose leaf marijuana at Northstar Holistic Collective in Sacramento, where the fragrance of pot was strong. “I’m going to go home and get high — and enjoy it.”

—Associated Press


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