<b>Thumbs up</b>: A big win for North Coast

Offshore oil drilling will be banned permanently off Sonoma and southern Mendocino counties with the expansion of two national marine sanctuaries, an approach we supported in a Nov. 17 editorial ("A marine sanctuary for North Coast").

The decision, announced Thursday in Washington, is a victory for fishermen, tourism and anyone who loves the rugged North Coast. It's also a tribute to Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who pushed for an ocean sanctuary throughout her 20 years in the House of Representatives.

"This is a matter of economic common sense," said Woolsey, who steps down next month. "Jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance. No one is going to vacation on the Sonoma coast if they are looking at oil derricks."


<b>Thumbs up</b>: Protecting children's privacy

Just in time for Christmas, the Federal Trade Commission issued new regulations requiring websites and mobile apps created for children to obtain parental permission before collecting certain information, including first and last names, requesting photos and videos or using tracking tools to develop profiles and target advertising to kids less than 13 years old ("Peeking after gifts are unwrapped," Editorial, Wednesday).

Acting over the objections of Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants, the commission is creating safeguards for youngsters who may not understand why they're being asked for personal information. The revised rules also some restore parental oversight of their children's online activities.


<b>Thumbs down</b>: Fraud continues even while on bail

According to a grand jury report made public last week, a Santa Rosa man arrested on federal wire fraud charges last year and accused of taking people's investment money and using it for personal expenses and other purposes didn't get the message. He allegedly continued to bilk would-be investors even as he was out of custody awaiting criminal prosecution. Douglas Dean Hollingsworth, 64, allegedly victimized 12 people in all and now faces 27 felony counts.

This is just the latest in a string of cases involving alleged fraud and embezzlement on the North Coast. Earlier this month a Petaluma bookkeeper accused of embezzling $1.6 million from a San Rafael real estate firm admitted to the theft. What is going on?


<b>Thumbs up</b>: Special gifts for Windsor kids

Ellen Heitz of Windsor wrote a letter ("Giving hope," Tuesday) encouraging people to donate Christmas gifts for needy children as a response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. And as our colleague Chris Smith reported, Wendy Quinn of Windsor read the letter and, a little while later, delivered $4,000 worth of new toys and gift certificates for children at Windsor Creek Elementary School and Cali Calmecac Language Academy. She also contributed $2,500 toward a project to improve security at Windsor Creek. "It's just giving back," she said.