Local baseball, #don’ttextanddrive, and a how not to win at the casino

The Sonoma Stompers, your very own professional baseball team, opens its home season on Tuesday, July 1, the first of 33 games at Arnold Field. It sounds like a fun, nostalgic summer; bleacher tickets start at just $3, and grandstand ducats at $10. Luxury box? The Sonoma version is the Cline Club: $20 for reserved seating around wine barrel tabletops along the left field line. Tuesdays are 2-for-1 nights, and yes, there will be beer (even cheaper on Thirsty Thursdays in the Lagunitas Brewing Co. Lounge). Find out about season tickets at Stompersbaseball.com.

#putthephonedownanddrive! April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, with local law in “zero tolerance” mode to curb drivers who text or work hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. Forget digital mult-tasking — drivers who use hand-held devices (or, to be fair, read the newspaper) are four times as likely to get into a crash. Texting – even Tweeting! — while driving can delay a driver’s reaction time just as severely as being legally drunk. And there’s this: it’s a $161 ticket. Numerically, that’s a lot of characters.

Celebrate, if you can afford it. It’s Equal Pay Day – the day when, more than three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. Fifty-plus years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, a woman still earns 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. “That’s bad for families and our economy,” says Rep. Mike Thompson. “Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Most people who gamble at the casino confine their risk to the tables and slots. Not this gang of five scammers, who were hitting up ATM machines at the Graton Casino with fake credit cards they were making in a Rohnert Park hotel room. The operation was uncovered April 5 as detectives found in the room several stolen credit cards in several different names, U.S. currency, a credit card reader, lap top computers and several blank credit cards and, to fuel production, perhaps, a stash of meth. Also, parked outside, two Mercedes stolen from rental car companies. All five were thrown in jail, proving once again that the house, particularly the Big House, always wins.

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