The Oak Leaf

The prefrontal cortex and amygdala may be the two most important decision makers in the brain.

The California stop, explained

October 7, 2020

What happens when you drive up to a stop sign? You just want to drive right through it. You're human. You’re not unique. Everyone wants to disregard stop signs, because everyone has an amygdala.  The amygdala is the part of the brain that processes emotions, a...

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire roared though five counties in 39 days and destroyed 363,220 acres.

Cloth masks on top of N95s: Fire season in Sonoma County

October 4, 2020

As if the global pandemic isn’t enough, Sonoma County residents wake up every day to the prospect of rolling blackouts, anxiety-inducing Nixle alerts and apocalyptic smoky orange skies, their well-being threatened not only by the invisible scourge o...

SRJC student Amy Aguilar Lopez (pictured left) and former SRJC student Julia Dearing (pictured right) ensure customers wear adequate personal protective equipment inside Oliver's Market.

Maskholes: Working in grocery stores during coronavirus

September 21, 2020

It was a normal day at work for Maiya Newsome until she was approached by two customers who were arguing about masks. The man was irritated with the woman for not wearing a mask in the store. “Hey, I don’t feel comfortable, you need to put your mask on, i...

At 2 p.m. nearly every day,  cardiac nurse Maddison Jones* leaves home for the unknown to a Sonoma County hospital. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones focuses on self-care, so she can continue to take the best care of her patients at work.

The new normal: Three front-line workers describe their lives during the coronavirus emergency

June 2, 2020

A restaurant worker, class valedictorian and a nurse all come from different worlds, but are brought together by one thing: how the reality of their lives and jobs changed during the COVID-19 health and economic emergency. “Something like this is scary,” said fur...

Grocery workers scared, exhausted

June 1, 2020

As a Whole Foods Market employee for three years, Jade, 22, has seen the store through many disasters, including the wildfires in 2017 and 2019. Nothing has compared to the pandemic. “I get anxious coming to work because I don’t know what I’...

North Bay nonprofit continues to battle domestic violence during quarantine

North Bay nonprofit continues to battle domestic violence during quarantine

May 23, 2020

Every day, Daisy fears her son might kill her. But she stays because she struggles with a lack of support from her family as well as love for him. “He abuses me every day of my life, and it’s torture,” she said. “He’s not getting the help ...

What coffee shop workers want you to know

What coffee shop workers want you to know

May 23, 2020

Jacky, 19, an SRJC freshman, has been serving coffee for a year now as a barista in a Santa Rosa coffee shop. Working there during a pandemic has completely shifted her experience as a barista, as she recalls a recent incident that made her feel horrible and...

Kylie Johnson is an SRJC graduate who suffers from severe asthma and is trying to balance the pandemic with plans to study fashion in Milan, Italy.

Taking extra precautions: Immunocompromised during COVID-19

May 21, 2020

On a normal afternoon, you would typically find Carson Pforsich at his adapted PE class at Santa Rosa Junior College or coaching high school football. You would see Kylie Johnson on her way to her sewing class preparing to transfer to a fashion school...

SRJC student Isabella Natalini opts for a new blue hairstyle during shelter-in-place, as a replacement for her blonde locks.

Taking matters — and scissors — into their own hands

May 21, 2020

Santa Rosa Junior College student Isabella Natalini, 17, felt the pandemic shelter-in-place time was the perfect opportunity to do something drastic. She decided to dye her blonde hair blue.  “Being in the house for a long period of time got pr...

Because of the initial panic buying, certain items are sold with a cap on the quantity a buyer can purchase, other items have been slow to return to grocery store shelves at all.

Out of stock: Panic buying in a pandemic

May 21, 2020

Santa Rosa resident Barbara White was scammed into purchasing a pack of toilet paper online for $70. “As the days wore on, I checked at various stores. The toilet paper shelves were constantly empty. This created a feeling of resentment towards...

Alexis Trinei, who loves being at home during the pandemic, and her cat Lucy.

Gratitude within the pandemic

May 20, 2020

A self-proclaimed introvert, SRJC student Alexis Trinei loves being at home. “I have the privilege to bake sweet potato brownies at any given hour of the day,” she said. “I get to be with my 15-year-old grump of a cat, Lucy, who continues to be...

Emma Ruderman mentally prepares herself for Zoom.

Silent Stress: Living with mental illness amidst pandemic

May 14, 2020

Emma Ruderman sits motionless in front of her computer. Her eyes dart from the screen to the clock like a game of pingpong as she counts down the last few minutes to class. She steadies her hand, grabs the mouse and hovers the cursor over the Zoom icon....

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