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Los Angeles County health care officials warn of the dangers of high blood pressure
The Community Health Council (CHC) has launched a month-long campaign to urge Los Angeles County’s African Americans and Latinos to get tested for high blood pressure. According to several recent health surveys, 67 mln American adults have high blood pressure. In other words, about one-third of adults have been diagnosed with prehypertension or high blood pressure. Less than 50 percent have their condition under control. The “Know Your Digits! Be In Control” campaign is designed to encourage everyone, particularly African Americans and Latinos, to know their blood pressure level and talk to a health care provider to find a way to manage it. Ideally this campaign will create a groundswell to educate people about high blood pressure. Dr. Roberto Vargas, an assistant professor in UCLA’s Department of Medicine Family Medicine, was diagnosed with high blood pressure about two years ago. [Article]
by XAVIER HIGG, Pasadena Star News. 2014-08-19
 
Two reports warn Los Angeles County residents of how climate change can affect health
Respiratory illnesses, water quality, and mosquito- and rodent-related diseases will worsen across Los Angeles County in the next few decades because of climate change, according to two reports released Monday by public health officials. “Climate change is arguably the biggest health threat of this century,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “We are already experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, and it is expected that conditions will worsen over time,” he said. “We have to take action now in order to lessen the effects of climate change that we will experience here in Los Angeles County.” The two reports, part of the county’s Climate and Health Series, outlines various changes as a result of temperatures rising up to 5 degrees across the region by 2050, according to researchers at UCLA. [Article]
by SUSAN ABRAM, Los Angeles Daily News. 2014-08-19
 
Has watchdog effort to oversee O.C. campaign laws lost its bite?
Attention Orange County voters: In November, you’ll be asked if the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission should be our Big Dog with Sharp Teeth, with a new mission to sniff out local campaign violations and enforce local campaign laws. Unfortunately, what you say won’t much matter. While critics called for a local, independent ethics watchdog, Orange County supervisors devised a plan to have the distant FPPC do the dirty work. This plan was a two-headed dragon: The local ballot measure will ask voters to hand power to the FPPC, while a bill in the state Legislature would enable the FPPC to accept that power. [Article]
by TERI SFORZA, Orange County Register. 2014-08-19
 
As fewer child migrants arrive, Ventura County emergency shelter closes — for now
Just two months after it opened, an emergency shelter for unaccompanied child migrants on a naval base in Port Hueneme has closed, at least for the time being. The 600-bed shelter for minors over age 12 closed Aug. 7, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many of its occupants have already been reunited with relatives. Those left were placed at existing HHS shelters, said Kenneth Wolfe, a department spokesman. "We were able to take this step because we have proactively expanded capacity to care for children in standard shelters, which are significantly less costly facilities," Wolfe wrote in an email. "At the same time, we have seen a decrease in the number of children crossing the southwest border." [Article]
by LESLIE BERESTEIN ROJAS, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2014-08-19
 
Mental Health Cops Help Reweave Social Safety Net In San Antonio
It's almost 4 p.m., and police officers Ernest Stevens and Ned Bandoske have been driving around town in their unmarked, black SUV since early this morning. The officers are part of San Antonio's mental health squad – a six-person unit that answers the frequent emergency calls where mental illness may be an issue. The officers spot a call for help on their laptop from a group home across town. "A male individual put a blanket on fire this morning," Stevens reads from the blotter. "He's arguing ... and is a danger to himself and others. He's off his medications." A few minutes later, the SUV pulls up in front of the group home. A thin 24-year-old sits on a wooden bench out back, wearing a black hoodie. "You're Mason?" asks Bandoske. "What happened to your blanket?" Eight years ago, the next stop for someone like Mason would have been a hospital emergency room or jail. (Because of his condition, NPR is not using Mason's last name.) But the Bexar County jail, in San Antonio, was so overcrowded — largely with people with serious mental illnesses — that the state was getting ready to levy fines. [Article]
by JENNY GOLD / NPR, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-08-19
 
Imperial County Board of Supervisors to conduct public hearing regarding CDBG
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors will be conducting a public hearing today to consider the Imperial County Income Reuse Plan for Community Development Block Grant related activities. Esperanza Colio Warren, community and economic development manager, said the CDBG program is very complicated and is constantly changing. The program basically provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. [Article]
by KRISTA DALY, Imperial Valley Press. 2014-08-19
 
Agency corrects number of eagle deaths at wind farms
More than a month after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it had reports of 15 golden eagles killed at wind farms in the area, the agency has retracted that number and said most of the eagle deaths actually occurred elsewhere in California. Eric Davis, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sacramento-based assistant regional director for migratory birds and state programs, originally provided the number during a July interview with The Desert Sun, saying the golden eagle deaths had been documented at wind farms in the Palm Springs/San Gorgonio Pass area. The Desert Wind Energy Association, a consortium of wind energy companies, challenged that number. And the Fish and Wildlife Service — responding to Freedom of Information Act requests from The Desert Sun and a lawyer for the association — reviewed its records. [Article]
by IAN JAMES, Desert Sun. 2014-08-19
 
Feinstein bill would aid homeless children: James Ramos
Every day, hundreds of thousands of children across the nation leave for school in the morning without knowing where they will be sleeping that night. This is a humanitarian crisis that exists right here in San Bernardino County. There is a significant disparity between the number of homeless as documented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the number documented by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2012, HUD documented 26,576 households with at least one child as homeless in California. During that same year, the California Department of Education counted 248,904 children. This large discrepancy is also apparent in the results found at our county level. [Article]
by JAMES RAMOS / EDITORIAL, San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-08-19
 
City to weigh supporting county oil ordinance
A Bakersfield City Council committee directed city staff on Monday to explore joining with Kern Citizens for Energy and considering a resolution supporting changes to the way Kern County does oil business. The City Council's Legislative and Litigation Committee, which is comprised of three council members, agreed with representatives of the Western States Petroleum Association and Kern Citizens for Energy that Bakersfield should weigh joining the oil industry groups in support of county petroleum production. Ward 7 Councilman Russell Johnson, a committee member, abstained from considering the item to avoid a potential conflict of interest. At issue is Kern County's plan to amend its zoning ordinance dealing with oil and gas production, now in the midst of an environmental impact review. If successful, the amended zoning ordinance would make Kern the primary permitting authority in local oil production. Currently, the state Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has that authority. [Article]
by THEO DOUGLAS, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-08-19
 
TID, Public Discuss Proposed Domestic Water Project
The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors held three public workshops on Tuesday and Wednesday to inform and receive any concerns members of the public may have about the proposed Domestic Water Project. The proposed Domestic Water Project would allow TID to sell domestic drinking water to the cities of Turlock, Ceres, and south Modesto, which make up the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, by running water from the Tuolumne River through a water treatment plant. [Article]
by BRANDON McMILLAN, Turlock Journal. 2014-08-19
 
NEW KINGS COUNTY JAIL MAY REDUCE INMATE CAPACITY
HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Construction has already begun on a brand new jail facility in Kings County. Officials had to reopen an old jail, in order to stop releasing so many inmantes. Now, they are preparing for a new facility to help keep inmates in custody longer. For years Kings County grappled with an aging facility, and in 2006, built a brand new jail to better serve the community. Now that facility is overcrowded because they have to accommodate AB109 inmates among other changes. Monday, Kings County leaders broke ground on phase two of the jail expansion, a project that will add 252 more inmate beds. "Just trying to make an impact on our citizens and the citizens of Kings County and try to make it a safer place for everyone to live," said Rebecca Campbell, Kings County Administrative Officer. [Article]
by JESSICA PERES, KFSN ABC30 (Fresno County). 2014-08-19
 
California high-speed rail opponents want a rehearing
On Aug. 14, the three litigants in the case to halt California’s high-speed rail project, Kings County and two local residents, filed a Petition for Rehearing. They challenged the July 31 ruling against them by Sacramento’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. The ruling, which reversed a lower-court decision, greenlighted the project. The rehearing also would be with the 3rd District Court of Appeal. Depending on the results of the rehearing, Stuart Flashman, the counsel for Kings County and the two residents, said the litigants could file an action with the California Supreme Court by Sept. 2 because of the precedent-setting nature of the arguments the justices made about bond measures in general. [Article]
by KATHY HAMILTON, California Watch. 2014-08-19
 
Merced County supervisors vote to allow dogs at Lake Yosemite
The Board of Supervisors approved an amended ordinance to allow dogs at Lake Yosemite Park on a temporary basis, but the proposal drew criticism from some supervisors who worried owners won’t take responsibility for their pets. “I have a real concern going forward with this ordinance because I think it’s going to do damage to our park,” District 5 Supervisor Jerry O’Banion said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “Probably more people use that park than any other park in the whole county.” The supervisors voted 4 to 1 to approve the ordinance, with District 3 Supervisor Linn Davis voting against it. [Article]
by RAMONA GIWARGIS, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-08-19
 
Junction fire destroys eight Oakhurst structures; evacuations ordered
OAKHURST — A fast-moving brush fire in Oakhurst Monday sparked a massive evacuation of residents and tourists from the foothill community as fire crews from throughout the region tried to keep the flames from spreading. Named the Junction fire, the blaze quickly blackened about 1,200 acres in the north end of town and beyond. The fire briefly threatened a pair of massive propane tanks at Suburban Propane along Highway 41 when the company's building was ignited by a spot fire. Fire crews ordered most people to move back a quarter-mile from the business, and firefighters were ready to abandon the fight if flames got too close to the tanks themselves. [Article]
by JIM GUY AND MARC BENJAMIN, Fresno Bee. 2014-08-19
 
Earth Log: Air authorities alert Merced County to wildfire smoke
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has announced an alert in Merced County for smoke coming from the Junction fire near Oakhurst, south of Yosemite National Park. Check the particles, known as PM-2.5, in your area on the air district's real-time monitoring page. As weather conditions change, smoke impacts may be felt in other counties, air authorities said. The counties include Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare and Kings. If you see or smell smoke, you are likely breathing it. Smoke contains gases and particles that trigger health problems, such as allergies and asthma. The tiny particles have been linked to chronic heart disease and early mortality. [Article]
by MARK GROSSI, Fresno Bee. 2014-08-19
 
California brush fire spurs 1,500-plus evacuations
MARIPOSA, CALIF. — One of several wildfires burning across California prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people in a central California foothill community near Yosemite National Park, authorities said. More than 1,500 people from homes and four hotels near the community of Oakhurst have been told to evacuate, said Erica Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Office. Oakhurst is about 16 miles away from an entrance to Yosemite National Park. Nearly 3K residents were notified by phone of the fire, but not all of those people were told to leave their homes, Stuart said. The fire has burned about 500 acres, state fire officials said. [Article]
by ASSOCIATED PRESS, Modesto Bee. 2014-08-19
 
Stanislaus County could end four-year wait on adjusting development fees
For four years, Stanislaus County leaders were reluctant to adjust public facility fees because of the building slump and high unemployment. Tuesday evening, the Board of Supervisors could raise the development fees 6 percent to 8 percent to adjust for building costs and inflation. The county has not made annual inflation adjustments to the fees since 2010. “We had really high unemployment that has fallen significantly, and we have seen a rise in building permitting of over 22 percent,” said Keith Boggs, county assistant executive officer. “This is a true-up to make sure the fees we are collecting are in 2014 dollars.” The proposed update would raise public facilities fees about 7 percent for residential projects, with the increase averaging 8 percent for office, commercial and industrial developments. The changes would take effect in 60 days. [Article]
by KEN CARLSON, Modesto Bee. 2014-08-19
 
Q&A: How 1 US factory owner fought cheap imports
WASHINGTON — Much of U.S. manufacturing has been decimated in the past decade by less expensive imports from China, but it didn't necessarily have to be that way, according to a compelling new book by journalist Beth Macy. Macy's book, "Factory Man," tells the story of one manufacturer who fought back. John Bassett III, a wealthy scion of a furniture dynasty in southwestern Virginia, responded to a flood of overseas goods by modernizing his factory and restructuring its products. More controversially, he successfully petitioned the U.S. government for protective tariffs on imported Chinese furniture, alienating many of his retailer customers. Those efforts kept his company, Vaughan-Bassett, in business. Still, small factory towns in southwestern Virginia and North Carolina were decimated, as Macy illustrates. Forty percent of residents in Galax, Virginia qualify for food stamps. Old factory conveyor belts are now used to distribute groceries in food pantries. [Article]
by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-08-19
 
Moke’s Wild and Scenic dies in committee
Senate Bill 1199 – better known as the Wild and Scenic River designation for the Mokelumne River – was placed in the “suspense file” by the state Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on Aug. 14, effectively dooming its passage in this year’s session. A suspense file is a “bill or set of bills with a fiscal impact set aside in the Appropriations Committee by a majority of members present and voting. These bills may be heard at a later hearing,” according to the Legislature’s glossary of terms. With the session coming to a close Aug. 31, it’s unlikely the legislation will be revisited this year. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Calaveras Enterprise. 2014-08-19
 
The SPARROW Program of Tuolumne County is Becoming Available in Calaveras
The SPARROW Program has been in Tuolumne County for about a year. It is just now being made available to Calaveras County seniors. Catholic Charities and UCSF have partnered up and received a 1.8 million dollar grant from the NIH to study different interventions for treating depression in older adults living in rural areas... Are you an older adult in Tuolumne & Calaveras feeling lonely & sad or having trouble solving problems? Those aged 60+ who qualify will receive either 12 weeks of case management and therapy OR 12 weeks of self-guided support with a Senior Peer Counselor. Participants will receive a gift card as a financial incentive to participate. Interventions are conducted in participant’s home. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Pine Tree. 2014-08-19
 
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