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L.A. County fire officials block bull run, citing safety concerns
Bad news for adrenaline junkies: A bull run similar to the historic event in Pamplona, Spain, has been canceled after Los Angeles County fire officials raised safety concerns. The Great Bull Run, a quarter-mile sprint in front of two-dozen snorting bulls, was scheduled for Nov. 8 at the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona. It would have been the 10th event sponsored in the United States by the Great Bull Run, whose chief operating officer started with obstacle races but increased the risk factor by unleashing rampaging bulls behind runners. Los Angeles County fire officials rejected the permit request, saying the bull run "appears to violate reasonable public safety" standards, according to a copy of the rejection letter. [Article]
by HUGO MARTIN, Los Angeles Times. 2014-07-31
 
LA County lifeguards to develop beach-clearing protocol for lightning storms following death
Los Angeles County lifeguard officials are meeting with other emergency responders and weather experts to develop a plan for when to clear the beach during severe thunderstorms like the deadly lightning at Venice Beach that killed one swimmer and injured more than a dozen others. [Article]
by ERIKA AGUILAR, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2014-07-31
 
For Orange County: Ancient water pipes, costly problems
Water pipes laid beneath Orange County nearly a century ago could give way at any moment, unleashing floods big enough to close streets and force evacuations, city water officials acknowledged Wednesday. In the last year, there were 85 water main breaks in Fullerton alone along the city’s 400-miles of water pipeline, said city officials one day after a water main break in Los Angeles flooded streets, parking structures and buildings. [Article]
by MORGAN COOK, Orange County Register. 2014-07-31
 
Fracking forum was 1-sided
At the July 23 City Council meeting, Mayor Brett Murdock kept his word about having a hydraulic fracturing presentation on the agenda, but it was hardly what he had previously described to me weeks earlier. Said Murdock then via email: “We have requested that the item be in the main council chambers so there will be plenty of room for all participants and the information will be recorded so that community members that cannot make the meeting can learn about the issue as well.” [Article]
by TERRI DAXON, Orange County Register. 2014-07-31
 
Stephen Parente: Affordable Care Act's future is bleak
California, buckle up. Over the next few months, you’ll learn how much your health insurance premiums will go up for next year. The early evidence isn’t good – the percentage increase could be in the double digits. But that’s nothing compared to what you’ll face in 2017. In May, I released a comprehensive study showing how the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare – will likely play out over the next few years. The diagnosis isn’t good. [Article]
by s, Orange County Register. 2014-07-31
 
County Supervisors OK Killing Wild Pigs In San Diego’s Backcountry
A program designed to control the population of wild pigs that officials say are causing environmental damage by scrounging for food in San Diego's backcountry was unanimously approved Wednesday by the county Board of Supervisors. The pigs — numbering about 1,000 — have caused significant damage in and around Lake Morena County Park by rooting for food and wallowing in bodies of water, according to a county staff report. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-07-31
 
Industry sees growth, unveiling of landmark projects
The 49.4mln County Waterfront Park opened to the public on May 10. Photo courtesy county of San Diego San Diego’s construction industry seems to be making a shift from residential to nonresidential as statistics suggest improvement in commercial and public projects. There is also future growth in the South Bay: Developers for project centerpieces are needed for the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-07-31
 
These Benefits Can’t be Sustained
If you could take a 12-percent pay cut in exchange for a 100-percent reduction in work, would you take it? That’s the intriguing question writer Robert Fellner of the California Policy Center posed in a piece his organization published on July 20. It wasn’t an off-the-wall question; it was based on the Orange County Employees’ Retirement System (OCERS), where Fellner’s research found workers with 30 years of service retiring on an average of 88 percent of their final pay. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Lake Arrowhead Mountain News. 2014-07-31
 
WINE COUNTRY: Supervisors delay decision on sales-tax plan
Riverside County officials have put off deciding whether 25 percent of sales taxes collected in Temecula Valley Wine Country will be set aside for road, sign and sewer projects associated with an expected massive winery expansion there. Supervisors Jeff Stone of Temecula and Marion Ashley of Perris brought forth the proposal. But they ran into opposition from Supervisors John Benoit and Kevin Jeffries, who hesitated to earmark a portion of tax money for one area of the county and worried about a perceived lack of spending controls. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2014-07-31
 
Colonies court hearing to go into sixth day
SAN BERNARDINO >> A motions hearing in the Colonies corruption case, in which defense attorneys are pushing for dismissal on several grounds, will go into its sixth day today. After hearing attorneys go back and forth all day with their arguments on Wednesday, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith said he would need time to process everything before he could make a ruling. He also said he was inclined to hear the remaining three motions before ruling on one seeking dismissal on the grounds of insufficient evidence. [Article]
by JOE NELSON, San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-07-31
 
County spray park hours cut to comply with state
Kern's three spray parks will stay open for the remainder of their season, but hours will be reduced at two to meet emergency state water regulations, the county agency's director said Wednesday. Starting Friday, spray parks at Casa Loma Park in Bakersfield and Lost Hills Park in Lost Hills will be open 2-7 p.m. daily, according to Bob Lerude, county parks and recreation director. Previously, both parks were open 12-7 p.m. daily. New State Water Resources Control Board emergency regulations prohibit using potable, or drinkable, water in fountains or decorative water features that do not recirculate -- and most spray parks fall into this category. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-07-31
 
Well driller surveys demand in county
It's a matter a time before the well at Janine Murch's Lindsay home runs dry, but she said there's no one locally who can help for at least a year or two, if that. Nearly a dozen San Joaquin Valley drillers were called since April, but to no avail. So Murch began calling out of the Valley. It took a while, but Independent Well Drilling out of Apple Valley finally returned her calls. [Article]
by JUAN VILA, Visalia Times-Delta. 2014-07-31
 
Big Blow to Bullet Train: Fresno County Supervisors Now Oppose Project
Fresno has long been a hotbed of bipartisan support for the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans to build a bullet-train network linking Northern and Southern California. The county Board of Supervisors endorsed the project five years ago, the Fresno Bee’s liberal editorial page has long been an ardent cheerleader and a fast-rising Republican who’s now mayor of Fresno — Ashley Swearengin — has for years rejected the harsh criticism of GOPers in the Legislature and Congress and touted the bullet train. [Article]
by CHRIS REED, Public CEO. 2014-07-31
 
Madera County Supervisors forego salary increase for second year
In light of the sacrifices that continue to be made by Madera County employees during these difficult fiscal times, the Board of Supervisors will again forego an automatic 1.83 percent salary increase. This is the second year in a row that the Supervisors have passed on a salary increase. The Supervisors have not received a salary increase since November 2007. The automatic increase stems from County policy that ties the Supervisors’ salaries to those of state Superior Court Judges. Earlier this month, the Judicial Council of California announced that judges would receive the 1.83 percent salary increase, effective July 1, 2014. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-07-31
 
Mental health services in Merced expanding to match need
Three out of four children in California with mental health needs don’t get treatment, according to a new report. The report, released last week by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, states that more than 300K children in the state need mental health care, but only 1 in 4 is receiving treatment. According to the study, about 8.5 percent of all California children in the 4-to-11 age group are identified as having mental health issues. These include conduct problems, emotional symptoms, hyperactivity and problems with peers. Parents reported that 70.8 percent of these children went without emotional or psychological counseling. The study is based on data collected from 2007 and 2009. Officials at the Merced County Department of Mental Health said services and outreach have come a long way since then. [Article]
by ANA B. IBARRA, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-07-31
 
Tom Wheeler: Gunner project passes the water test
In Madera County, we typically receive fair and informed coverage of our stories by The Bee. A number of reporters have been following development projects within Southeast Madera County and have been providing fair and unbiased reporting. However, we feel compelled to address the editorial, "Madera County Supervisors Premature in Approving Gunner Ranch." The editorial makes no mention of the requirements placed upon the Gunner Ranch West project before commencement of development occurs, most notably the most stringent requirements for the project attaining a groundwater balance Madera County has ever required. This condition goes far beyond any federal, state or local laws pertaining to providing proof of a water supply prior to development projects moving forward. State law requires projects of Gunner Ranch West's size to prepare a water-supply assessment which must show the availability of water to provide for the buildout of the proposed project. [Article]
by TOM WHEELER / OPINION, Fresno Bee. 2014-07-31
 
Fresno County man with suspected tuberculosis is sexually violent predator
The man suspected of having highly contagious tuberculosis in Fresno County is a sexually violent predator who had been housed in Coalinga State Hospital, court records say. Steven Reyes, 59, is accused of violating California's Health and Safety code by refusing a public health officer's order that he take a chest X-ray to check for tuberculosis. Reyes has been held in isolation since being booked into the Fresno County Jail on July 18. [Article]
by PABLO LOPEZ, Fresno Bee. 2014-07-31
 
A pioneering county test the limits of 'Laura's Law'
NEVADA CITY — More than a decade later, Carol Stanchfield still recalls the shocking death of Laura Wilcox, a 19-year-old mental health department volunteer who was shot by a patient with a history of evading treatment. As part of Nevada County's settlement with the Wilcox family over the 2001 murder, it became the first to adopt Laura's Law, which grants judges the power to hold mental health patients for evaluation if they are a danger to themselves or others. After spending years commuting to work in San Francisco, longtime mental health manager Stanchfield shouldered the task of making Laura's Law work in her home county of Nevada, northeast of Sacramento, when the program formally began in 2008. "The community was in mourning," said Stanchfield, program director at Turning Points Providence Center, a nonprofit contractor that is the exclusive provider of Laura's Law care for the county. She said the settlement forced a county with "basically no mental health system" to design a modern outpatient approach "from scratch." Now Stanchfield's pioneering effort has made Nevada County an unlikely proving ground for a revolution in mental health treatment -- the standard bearer of a statewide push to overcome decades of California's reluctance to force treatment upon the mentally ill. [Article]
by JOHN M. GONZALES, Fresno Bee. 2014-07-31
 
EDITORIAL: High-speed rail vote shows 3 supervisors stuck in past
A majority of Fresno County supervisors sent a chilling message to residents, particularly the young, at Tuesday's meeting. With their votes to oppose California's high-speed rail project, Supervisors Andreas Borgeas, Phil Larson and Debbie Poochigian basically said that Fresno shouldn't become the nation's hub for high-speed rail technology and testing — thus casting aside the opportunity to create thousands of high-paying jobs in our county. Though California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales has said otherwise, we can't imagine that, after this vote, the authority will award its maintenance and testing facility to Fresno. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Fresno Bee. 2014-07-31
 
Turlock and county reach tentative agreement over garbage
TURLOCK — The city of Turlock and Stanislaus County have verbally agreed to settle a flap over garbage. Turlock upset the apple cart last year when it started sending its waste to a Merced County dump. The city hoped to save up to $750,000 a year through the July 2013 agreement with the Merced County Regional Waste Management Authority, but the move created problems for the regional solid waste partnership between Stanislaus County and its cities. Stanislaus officials said that partnership would unravel if other cities sent the majority of their trash outside the county. [Article]
by KEN CARLSON, Modesto Bee. 2014-07-31
 
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