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The Big One is going to happen, no matter how much you want to deny it, California scientists say
Fear of earthquakes is part of life in California. But people experience this anxiety in different ways. For some, the fear prompts them to take steps to protect themselves: strapping down heavy furniture, securing kitchen cabinets and retrofitting homes and apartments. For others, the fear prompts denial — a willful ignorance of the dangers for years until the ground starts shaking. Seismologist Lucy Jones has spent her career trying to understand public attitudes about earthquakes, with a focus on moving people past paralysis and denial. Jones said the way experts like her used to talk about earthquakes wasn’t very effective. They tended to focus on the probability of a major earthquake striking in the next 30 years — the length of a typical home mortgage. They also took pains to say what they didn’t know, which she now believes allowed the public to tune out and hope for the best. [Article]
by RONG-GONG LIN II, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
The epic, ugly battle over finishing the 710 Freeway might finally be coming to an end
Few Southern California transportation projects have a longer or more tortured legacy than the 710 Freeway. Since the 1960s, the debate over whether to close a 4.5-mile gap in Los Angeles County’s freeway network has raged between preservation advocates in South Pasadena and cities in the San Gabriel Valley, where the 710’s abrupt terminus sends freight traffic spilling onto local streets. Update: Metro board of directors withdraws its support for controversial 710 Freeway tunnel » The sparring began again last week, when a Metropolitan Transportation Authority staff report endorsed a 4.9-mile, $3.2-billion freeway tunnel as the most effective way to connect the 710 and the 210 Freeway. [Article]
by LAURA J. NELSON, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Deputies sue former high-ranking sheriff's official and former prosecutor, alleging vendetta
Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies say they were framed for lying about a drug bust and that prosecutors knowingly withheld evidence that would have spared them a trial, lost wages and public humiliation, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. The lawsuit names former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and former county prosecutor Kevin Stennis, who now serves as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. [Article]
by MAYA LAU, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
California sees a rebound in cap-and-trade auction, bolstering key climate change program
State regulators announced strong results from California's cap-and-trade program on Wednesday, spurring analysts and supporters to say the system remains solid despite questions about its political future. The program requires oil refineries, food processors, power plants and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly all of the permits offered by the state in its latest auction were purchased, generating an estimated $500 million in revenue. [Article]
by CHRIS MAGERIAN, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Married couple — both foster care executives — sentenced for embezzling public funds
couple has been sentenced for misappropriating public funds for a group of foster homes they ran, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. CSJ Kidogo, 76, was sentenced to 180 days in county jail on Wednesday and placed on five years of formal probation. His wife, Hitaji Kidogo, 65, was sentenced to three years of summary probation, the district attorney’s office said. The pair paid $109,093 in restitution and were ordered to stop running foster homes. CSJ Kidogo pleaded guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of public money in September 2015, authorities said. He is the former executive director of Little People’s World Inc. His wife, the company’s former assistant executive director, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of embezzlement. [Article]
by SARAH PARVINI, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
What the DNA of the Zika virus tells scientists about its rapid spread
family tree can reveal a lot, especially if it belongs to a microscopic troublemaker with a knack for genetic shape-shifting. DNA sleuthing can outline the route an emerging pathogen might take once it makes landfall in the Americas and encounters a wholly unprotected population. It’s a modern take on old-fashioned public health surveillance strategies that focused on the exhaustive collection and analysis of samples from the field. Now they’ve been bolstered by rapid genome sequencing — and the result can be a picture of an epidemic rendered in exquisite detail, and in near-real time. For those trying to anticipate the shape of the next pandemic of human disease, the resulting road map could be invaluable. Three independent research groups demonstrated the promise of such an approach by creating a family tree of the Zika virus, the latest scourge to hit the Americas. Their work was published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The family tree reveals that the virus may have made landfall in Brazil sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, probably arriving from a group of Pacific islands then in the grips of an outbreak. [Article]
by MELISSA HEALY, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Living with the coyote next door
No matter where you live in southern California, chances are that there is a coyote relatively nearby — skittish, generally unobtrusive, most likely wary of humans, but capable of being a vicious killer of rodents, rabbits and small pets. Maybe you have figured out how to deal with this neighbor, maybe you haven’t. Coyotes, on the other hand, have us completely figured out. They den under our house decks and in our bushes. They lap up figs from fruiting trees and all the other food garbage we carelessly leave out. They’ve been observed waiting cautiously to cross streets, listening for traffic to die down before taking a few steps then dashing to the other side. They are, say the scientists who study them, becoming increasingly comfortable with us, realizing that they have little to fear. We don’t kill them, after all, and we generally stay away from them when we can. [Article]
by EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Change in state law could help fishing industry reel in jobs: Guest commentary
Will the state’s failed fishing license program be reformed to protect jobs? This is the question on the minds of California’s 2.7 million anglers and an outdoor industry that is dependent on them for jobs and more than $4.6 billion in annual economic activity. Since 1980, California’s annual fishing license sales have declined by more than 55 percent, while California’s population increased by more than 60 percent. Given that California has one of the nation’s longest coastlines and thousands of rivers and lakes, its fishing participation rate should not be ranked (per capita) dead last among all 50 states — but it is. [Article]
by MARKO MLIKOTIN / OPINION, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2017-05-25
Creative Economy Keeps Growing
In Greater Los Angeles, creativity is a $190.3-billion business and growing, according to an economic analysis commissioned by the Otis College of Art and Design in Westchester. The 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy examines the direct and induced impact of industries that deal in innovation, art and ideas — including fields such as entertainment, digital media, design, fashion, architecture and visual or performance art. The report prepared by the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation with 2015 data concludes that creative industries directly supported 429,400 jobs in the Greater Los Angeles region (including Orange County) and indirectly supported or induced another 329,600 jobs through the procurement of goods and services. Those 759,000 jobs — about one in eight throughout the region — accounted for $56.9 billion in total labor income. [Article]
by GARY WALKER, Argonaut News - Los Angeles. 2017-05-25
How much is too much for a traffic ticket? And who should get the revenue?
If a mother earning minimum wage puts her kids in the family car, has her eyes on the road when her disobedient 14-year-old slips off his annoying shoulder belt and gets pulled over, what’s an appropriate punishment? The Golden State's answer: The minimum fine for not properly restraining a child under 16 is $465, or a bit more than our poor driver earns in a whole week. For her, the effective penalty is 40 hours labor; more if she cannot pay on time, or misses a court date, or gets written up for another infraction found during the traffic stop. And if she cannot pay at all, she might even lose her license and be unable to get to work. [Article]
by CONOR FRIEDERSDORF, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
A look at the decline in refugees entering the U.S. under Trump
Courts may have stymied President Trump’s efforts to restrict travel from six majority-Muslim countries and ban all refugee resettlement, but that has not stopped the number of refugees entering the United States from sharply declining. Monthly refugee arrivals have plummeted in all but four states in the current fiscal year, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center. The study, based on analysis of U.S. State Department data, shows a decline in refugee arrivals from 9,945 in October to 3,316 this April. [Article]
by MELISSA ETEHAD and ANN M. SIMMONS, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Americans waste $200 billion every year on medical tests they don't need, experts say
Sutter Health, a giant hospital chain in Northern California, thought that it had found a simple solution to doctors ordering unnecessary and wasteful tests: It deleted the button physicians used to order daily blood tests. “We took it out and couldn’t wait to see the data,” said Ann Marie Giusto, an executive at the Sacramento-based health system. Alas, the number of orders hardly changed. That’s because the hospital’s medical-records software “has this cool ability to let you save your favorites,” Giusto said at a recent presentation to other hospital executives and physicians. “It had become a habit.” There are plenty of opportunities to trim waste in America’s $3.4-trillion healthcare system — but, as the Sutter example illustrates, it’s often not as simple as it seems. [Article]
by CHAD TERHUNE, Los Angeles Times. 2017-05-25
Board of Supervisors approve request for early bond redemption for JWA
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to approve John Wayne Airport’s request to increase appropriations for early bond redemption of $27,210,000 in bifurcated term bonds. The early redemption of these bonds will result in future interest cost savings of $13,556,150 for the County and John Wayne Airport, and will reduce future annual debt service requirements. The County of Orange Airport Revenue Bonds eligible for call on July 1, 2017 total $41,105,000. [Article]
by PRESS RELEASE, OC Breeze. 2017-05-25
Roundabouts: are they your flavor?
The community of Valley Center is about to decide what it thinks about roundabouts on its major road (see front page story.) Roundabouts are the flavor of the month with the state’s transportation department (CalTrans), which is under orders from on high to implement them as the first choice in any intersection it can, such as where Valley Center Road & Hwy 76 meet. That $17 million project is set to begin any month now. The public’s opinions were solicited and listened to (maybe) and very likely totally disregarded. [Article]
by DAVID ROSS, Valley Center-Roadrunner. 2017-05-25
County Animal Services Waive Pet Adoption Fees for Military and Veterans
Military service members, their families and veterans can adopt a dog, cat or rabbit for free in late May, confirmed San Diego County officials. San Diego County Animal Services will waive adoption fees for the military starting Friday, May 26 through Sunday May 28. [Article]
by CASSIA POLLACK, KNSD NBC San Diego. 2017-05-25
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob steps up call for shooting ban after Gate Fire in East County
SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob today asked the U.S. Department of Interior to ban recreational shooting on federal land in East County where the Gate Fire started Saturday. Someone posted a video on Instagram of what appears to be a group of people starting the fire, according to Cal Fire Captain Isaac Sanchez.  [Article]
by ALLISON HORN, KFMB-TV - CBS8-San Diego. 2017-05-25
May 24, 2017 (Dulzura) – Back on in early April, Supervisor Dianne Jacob wrote to three officials at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management urging them to close down public shooting in and around Donohoe mountain in Dulzura.  Her requests were ignored, and last weekend, the Gate Fire that starting by a shooting range in the area charred over 2,000 acres, caused evacuations of residents and an exhaustive response by fire officials and first responders to keep the public safe.  [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, East County Magazine. 2017-05-25
Scripps Study: Mosquito Population Needs to be Controlled to Reduce Zika
Controlling the mosquito population is the best method to reduce the spread of the Zika virus in the future, according to a study released Wednesday by a scientific team led by The Scripps Research Institute, based in La Jolla. The virus came to light last year after babies born to infected mothers had smaller heads than normal, and the disease spread from tropical regions into the U.S., including San Diego County. [Article]
by HOA QUACH, Times of San Diego. 2017-05-25
Harbor dredging could continue past deadline
Oceanside’s harbor dredging project is likely to stretch past Memorial Day so the city can mine extra sand to beef up its beaches, officials said this week. The additional sand would mean more of of the city’s shoreline — which in some places has dwindled to narrow stretches of cobblestone — could return to a healthier, wider state. But it also means dredging equipment would remain on the shoreline while the busy summer tourist season gets underway. [Article]
by PHIL DIEHL, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-05-25
Census shows growth, especially in Coronado
Coronado is growing nearly twice as fast as any other city in San Diego County, based on new federal data being released today. According to 2016 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Coronado’s population grew to 26,000 last year from 24,500 in 2015, a 6 percent spike. Since 2010, the city has seen its population increase by more than 8 percent. San Marcos comes in second, growing 3 percent, to 95,300 last year from 92,700 in 2015. It’s followed by Vista, San Diego and Lemon Grove, which increased by about 1 percent each over the same one-year period. [Article]
by LAURYN SCHROEDER, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2017-05-25
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