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California fails to adequately educate youth inmates, report says
California and other states are largely failing to adequately educate most of the 70K youth locked up at any given time in juvenile detention facilities, according to a national report released Thursday. Most youth fail to earn any course credits or complete their high school diploma or equivalency degree while in custody, the report by the Southern Education Foundation found. Yet these young inmates are highly troubled – usually struggling with drug abuse, anger and lagging academic achievement – and urgently need effective education to help them get back on track, the report said. "It’s the classic sad story of the children with the greatest needs getting the least assistance to turn around their lives," said Steve Suitts, the foundation’s vice president and study’s author. The report cited studies showing that juveniles who made above-average academic gains while incarcerated were far more likely to return to school and avoid rearrest after release. In turn, taxpayers would save millions of dollars. In L.A. County, for instance, the average monthly cost to house a youth in a probation camp is about 10K. [Article]
by TERESA WATANABE, Los Angeles Times - Orange County Edition. 2014-04-18
Probe of GPS monitoring of suspected serial killers sought
SACRAMENTO — The leader of the state Senate is seeking an investigation into how two offenders being monitored by parole agents and tracked by GPS devices were allegedly able to rape and kill four women without being detected. The two offenders were wearing electronic monitoring devices and regularly reporting to authorities during a months-long string of slayings in Orange County. They were arrested soon after a woman's naked body was found on a conveyor belt at a trash-sorting facility. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said through his spokesman that although there's evidence the devices are effective in solving crimes, the question of whether they prevent crime is something "we need to revisit." [Article]
by PALOMA ESQUIVEL and PAIGE ST. JOHN, Los Angeles Times - Orange County Edition. 2014-04-18
UPDATE: County committee delays vote on SCV billboard deal
A Metro committee opted Thursday to hold off on a controversial plan for digital billboards on Santa Clarita Valley freeways, awaiting the results of a signature-gathering drive to put the measure to a public vote. The proposal initiated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and approved by the Santa Clarita City Council would take down 62 billboard structures along the Metro right-of-way inside city limits in exchange for giving Metro the right to construct three, double-sided digital billboards off Highway 14 and Interstate 5 on city-owned property. [Article]
by LUKE MONEY, The Signal. 2014-04-18
Should solar panels replace open land in Owens Valley?
Owens Valley residents are putting up a fight over the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s plan to build two square miles of solar panels in the desert. The project, the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, would generate enough power to serve 75K homes annually, and would fulfill the city’s obligation to boost renewable energy supply by 2020. Residents of Owens Valley have been ferociously critical of the field of solar panels, which would cost 680 mln dollars, create fewer than 10 permanent jobs, and bring in no property tax revenue. Critics have expressed distress at the destruction of the untouched landscape in the valley and the lack of long term economic plans. Inyo County has accepted DWP’s 4 mln offer of compensation for potential damage to roads, and a 2 mln loan to create short term housing for workers. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2014-04-18
Supervisors didn't violate speech rights with interruptions, court says
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that an Anaheim man’s First Amendment rights were not violated when his speech drew strong reactions at Orange County Board of Supervisors meetings. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a board rule barring “personal, impertinent, slanderous or profane remarks” at public meetings. But the court made its ruling “unpublished,” meaning it does not set precedent for future cases. [Article]
by ERIC HARTLEY, Orange County Register. 2014-04-18
San Diego’s Homelessness Population Is Shrinking – Slowly
The number of homeless people in San Diego County is down 4 percent, according to this year’s point-in-time homeless count, and long-term data shows the city’s efforts to provide shelter and aid might be paying off. Here’s how the Regional Task Force on the Homeless’ WeALLCount process has worked in the past: [Article]
by ANA CEBALLOS, Voice of San Diego. 2014-04-18
California jobless rate unchanged at 8.1 percent
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's unemployment rate held steady at 8.1 percent in March while nearly 12,000 jobs were created. The state Employment Development Department also reported Friday that it had revised its February jobless rate to 8.1 percent, up slightly from the previously reported 8 percent. California's jobless rate in March was down from 9.2 percent a year ago but remains above the national rate of 6.7 percent. [Article]
by ASSOCIATED PRESS, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-04-18
Why county's crime continues to drop
SAN DIEGO — The number of serious crimes committed in San Diego County resumed its 30-year downward trend last year, after a bump up in 2012, according to an annual report released Thursday. Last year’s rate of violent crime was the second-lowest in three decades, and the number of homicides dropped by 33 percent from 2012. [Article]
by PAULINE REPARD, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-04-18
Insurer settles with Upland for $4.75 million in Colonies indemnity case
UPLAND >> The city will receive 4.75mln from one of its insurers to end a lawsuit alleging the insurance company failed to defend the city in another case relating to the Colonies flood-control dispute. In the settlement reached April 14, The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania (ISOP) agreed to settle the lawsuit alleging bad faith brought against it by Upland, which has also sued another of its insurers, Independent Cities Risk Management Authority (ICRMA), seeking roughly 2 mln. [Article]
by JOE NELSON, San Bernardino County Sun. 2014-04-18
ECONOMY: More solid job growth anticipated
John Husing, Inland Southern California’s leading homegrown economist, jokes that he and his wife had been persona non grata at parties for about five years. They didn’t make guest lists, he said, because a person who talked about the Inland region’s economy was not likely to be much fun. “I am not going to be depressing today,” Husing said as he delivered his annual economic forecast on Thursday, April 17. “The arrow is moving from optimistic towards excitement.” Husing’s forecast was featured at the Inland Empire Economic Partnership’s 2014 State of the Region presentation in Ontario. It was the first time in more than a half-decade that he was able to predict that a solid if not fully comprehensive selection of job opportunities would be available to Riverside and San Bernardino county residents. [Article]
by JACK KATZANEK, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2014-04-18
Inland Empire poised for economic growth
After languishing for several years, the Inland Empire economy is starting to look a lot brighter. That was the optimistic message from Redlands-based economist John Husing, who presented his annual state of the region economic report on Thursday to a crowded banquet hall at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Ontario. Economic forecasts for Inland Empire job creation for 2013 were far short of the actual 46,833 jobs created in the past year, said Husing, who had predicted 28,300 jobs would be created in the region. The California Employment Development Department had initially predicted only 14,200 jobs would be created in the region in 2013. [Article]
by NEIL NISPEROS, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. 2014-04-18
BCC promotes tech education to create jobs
BARSTOW • Barstow Community College has a plan, according to Vice President of Administrative Services George Walters, to get the institution in compliance with the California 50 percent law. At the same time, the process of evaluating its budget priorities appears to have reinforced its mission. “I believe our new hires need to take place at CTE (Career Technical Education),” said Trustee Dr. Ted Baca during Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. “And I will tell you why. It’s a growth area. It’s a job-producing area.” Baca pointed to all the success stories in that program, which were reported during the meeting. [Article]
by MIKE LAMB, Desert Dispatch. 2014-04-18
Kern shelter needs foster families for pups, kittens
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — An overloaded Kern County shelter is seeking foster families for puppies and kittens. Kern County Animal Services said it's entering "kitten and puppy" season, and the influx of animals too young to be adopted is approaching critical territory. The shelter is currently seeking foster homes for about 86 puppies and kittens under 2 moths old. Once in the foster home, the animals will need love and care, socialization, and possibly medical treatment. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Bakersfield Now. 2014-04-18
Water delivery allocation bumped to 5 percent by state
Storms in February and March allowed the Department of Water Resources to increase water delivery allocations Friday from zero to 5 percent. State Water Project water users in Kern County will now receive 49,137 acre-feet of SWP water during 2014. "Every acre-foot of water is critical to Kern County residents, farms and businesses," said Kern County Water Agency Board of Directors President Ted Page. One acre-foot is the equivalent of 325,850 gallons of water, or enough water to cover a football field 1-foot deep. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Bakersfield Californian. 2014-04-18
Valley in desperate need of help
Today: McNerney swings for the fences. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, has asked President Barack Obama to create a federal task force by executive order to better focus Uncle Sam on the Valley's needs. "This region has significant social, economic, and environmental challenges that warrant attention from your administration," McNerney wrote the president this week. The congressman is being reserved. The San Joaquin Valley - Stockton to Bakersfield, 4 mln people - has crying needs that have long gone unmet by state and federal governments. From America's most endangered river, the San Joaquin, to its dirtiest air, in Arvin, to the bankruptcy and crime crisis of Stockton, the Valley bristles with needs Uncle Sam could better address. [Article]
by Michael Fitzgerald / COLUMNIST, Stockton Record. 2014-04-18
Watering restrictions up for debate at Merced meeting
MERCED — Proposed restrictions that would tighten water use in Merced could also place strict limits upon traditional car wash fundraisers in parking lots, among other changes. The new car wash rule, as well as a couple that deal with outdoor watering, will be up for discussion during a public hearing at the regular meeting of Merced City Council at 7 p.m. Monday at the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. Under the proposed ordinance, car wash fundraisers could only take place at a facility with the ability to capture the water used to wash vehicles. Essentially, groups looking to raise funds would need to partner with a car wash company or gas station with a car wash. Michael Wegley, the director of water resources in Merced, said car washes held in parking lots don’t regulate the amount of water used, and all of the liquids run into storm drains. That used water, which is mixed with soap, dirt, oil and whatever else comes off of the car, makes its way into ponds and creeks without being treated. [Article]
by THADDEUS MILLER, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-04-18
Lawmakers ask Obama to create Valley task force
STOCKTON - The San Joaquin Valley receives fewer federal dollars than the rest of the state, and the economically struggling area deserves a boost from the White House, according to two Valley lawmakers asking President Barack Obama to resurrect an economic-development task force focusing on the region. The proposed task force would pull together federal agencies to bring expertise, assistance and private resources to the eight-county region that includes San Joaquin County, according to a letter sent to Obama on Tuesday by Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, and Jim Costa, D-Fresno. "This region has significant social, economic and environmental challenges that warrant attention from your administration," the letter reads. [Article]
by ZACHARY K. JOHNSON, Stockton Record. 2014-04-18
Ag at large: Solar powers desalinization plant in Firebaugh
Adherents clamoring for more irrigation water for California farms have gained a powerful ally: the sun. It’s helping desalinate brackish water in one important Central California farm community. An Israeli company has set up its desalination plant on property owned by the 44,000-acre Panoche Water and Drainage District in Firebaugh in western Fresno County. In the pilot phase the unit has cleaned and returned to the distribution system as much as 80 gallons per minute irrigation water of a purer quality than farmers can obtain from their own wells or from district canals. Instead of using conventional power sources the unit relies on solar power. [Article]
by DON CURLEE, Kings County Sentinel. 2014-04-18
StanCOG opens comment period for long term draft transportation plan
Recently releasing the draft 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy and associated Environmental Impact Report, the Stanislaus Council of Governments Policy Board is currently accepting public reviews and comments during a 60 day period. Setting guidelines for long term coordinated transportation plans and sustainable land use strategies, the 2014 RPT/SCS developed by StanCOG, the regional transportation planning agency, aims to meet for the future needs of Stanislaus County and projected population growth trends until 2040. The 60 day comment period is set to conclude on May 23, with comments currently being accepted in writing or by email. [Article]
by CARA HALLAM, Turlock Journal. 2014-04-18
March unemployment rate in Fresno County lowest in six years
Fresno County's unemployment rate trickled upward in March, fueled by a seasonal slump in agricultural jobs. But in a signal of longer-term improvement, March was also the 30th consecutive month in which the jobless rate was lower than it had been a year earlier. The county's unemployment rate was estimated at 13.8% last month, up from 13.5% in February but lower than the 14.5% reported in March 2013, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. Three years ago, in March 2011, an estimated 18% of Fresno County's workforce was unemployed. "This was the lowest unemployment level for March in five years," said Steven Gutierrez, an EDD labor market analyst in Fresno. "The last time it was this low was in 2008, when it was 11.2%." [Article]
by TIM SHEEHAN, Fresno Bee. 2014-04-18
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