The Great Rebate
A statewide rebate program to improve energy efficiency is heading to Marin, so take note: With Energy Upgrade California, you’ll have until December 2012 to qualify — by taking steps like sealing ducts, repairing furnaces or getting solar–power systems analysis completed.
Already successful in Sacramento and Los Angeles, the program has many experts excited, including Marin County sustainability planner Dana Armanino, who is encouraging homeowners to act sooner rather than later. “It’s always good to jump on these opportunities when they happen,” she says.

“This is an exciting and timely project, because we can now leverage building science in our homes,” adds Alex Burnham, a certified building performance specialist who works with Harney Home Performance in San Rafael. “In the end, these improvements result in healthier and safer homes that are also better for the planet.” For more information on the program, visit

Calling All Cute Pups
Marin Country Mart at Larkspur Landing has officially gone canine crazy with the opening of George pet shop. Known for offering everything from leashes to treats to doggie sweaters, George has been a popular dog supply destination for 20 years in San Francisco and Berkeley. To celebrate the June 4 opening, owner Bobby Wise will host a Pup Parade beginning at 11 a.m., with a few four-pawed participants winning their human companions a $50 coupon for use at the store. Categories include most huggable, most handsome and most likely to win the coveted Westminster. Also on opening day in the store, Andrew Grant will hold the first of two casting calls for the second edition of his glossy coffee-table book Rover. And Poppy Store, a children’s boutique nearby, will offer portrait sittings for pets and children.

Snack Wagon
Forget ice cream trucks — there’s now a hot dog cart in town. Serving up organic snacks and hot dogs, Joan Miller’s Hot Diggity hot dog cart is back just in time for warmer weather. This summer, stop by the Strawberry Recreation Center on Fridays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or head over to the Ross Valley Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. for a snack to go. For up-to-date info about Miller’s whereabouts, follow @digitdogs on Twitter.

New Nightspot
Looking for a place to catch comedy or live rock music, bluegrass or R&B? The Southern Pacific Smokehouse is opening in Novato; follow @SPSmokehouse on Twitter.