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COLUMN: No winners in this MTA train wreck
It's hard to find winners in the meltdown that occurred last week at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A Japanese rail car manufacturing company trying to build a plant in Palmdale announced it was tired of fighting a union-supported environmental challenge and instead would build its plant in another state. The union that took on the company lost the chance to organize hundreds of new workers. Palmdale, which is still struggling to shake off the recession, lost out on an influx of good jobs. And California doubled down on its reputation as a place too messy to do business. At Los Angeles County's Hall of Administration, news of the collapsing deal sent supervisors and others into a spasm of frustration. Supervisor Mike Antonovich called it “disastrous” and said it was “a tremendous disservice, not only to the workers in the Antelope Valley but to the entire region.” MTA officials lamented the breakdown as a “shame.” Palmdale's mayor called it “devastating.” Labor activists accused the company of bad faith and of distorting the debate. [Article]
by JIM NEWTON / COLUMN, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-20
 
Geothermal power industry lost steam but may be poised for comeback
Geothermal power was once king of California's renewable energy. So many companies were clamoring to transform steam into electricity that they sucked the world's largest geyser field dry. But the industry's shortsightedness — and its slowness to innovate — left geothermal floundering for three decades in the shadows of the solar and wind energy juggernauts. Now, industry leaders say the energy harnessed from the Earth is poised for a renaissance, powered by new technology that will boost production, pare costs and expand its reach. "We had been in a gradual decline, but we've turned the corner," said Doug Hollett, director of the federal Energy Department's Geothermal Technologies Office. "The growth curve for geothermal is extremely exciting." Some impetus for the change has come from within. The geothermal industry's not-so-politically-savvy leaders, mostly geologists and mechanical engineers, had since the 1980s been eclipsed by hard-charging solar and wind energy developers who play the lobbying game, and play it well. [Article]
by JULIE CART, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-20
 
Editor of Southland-based magazine wants to share immigrants' stories
At a recent cocktail mixer for minority business owners at a hotel in Santa Ana, all action seemed to swirl around Pamela Anchang. Striking in a gray floral dress and a chunky beaded necklace from Cameroon, the Central African nation she came from 20 years ago, Anchang exchanged warm greetings with Radi Miranda, an Orange County insurance salesman who was born in the Philippines, and Sanja Dalal, a tech chief executive born in India. She embraced Mohammed Islam, an accountant from Bangladesh, and kissed the cheek of Kim Yen Huynh, a retired banker from Vietnam. As editor of The Immigrant Magazine, a Southern California-based news and features website that bills itself as "the voice of immigrants in America," Anchang has made friends across the diverse spectrum of immigrant communities in the Los Angeles area. [Article]
by KATE LINTHICUM, Los Angeles Times. 2014-10-20
 
Medical clinic model emerges in Los Angeles
Teresa Recinos, 60, recently limped into the San Fernando Health Center, her right leg aching from sciatica. Dr. Rabin Kheradpour decided she needed an MRI and a bone density test. He also ordered a colonoscopy. “She has never had a colonoscopy and she is 60 years old,” said Kheradpour. But now Recinos and over three million other Californians who got insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this year are lining up for long-delayed services. That pent-up demand, which is predicted to grow again after Covered California opens its second enrollment period next month, is most obvious at the state’s community clinics and health centers. “We’re hearing that they’re bursting at the seams with people coming to see them,” said Dan Hawkins, policy director for the National Association of Community Health Centers. [Article]
by LAUREN M. WHALEY, CHCF Center for Health Reporting, Center for Health Reporting (USC). 2014-10-20
 
New Los Angeles Program Working To Divert Mentally Ill, Homeless From Jail
LOS ANGELES -- Court. Jail. Homelessness. Repeat. That cycle so familiar to many Californians with mental illnesses may soon be interrupted thanks to the new Third District Diversion and Alternative Sentencing Program in Los Angeles County. Designed for adults who are chronically homeless, seriously mentally ill, and who commit specific misdemeanor and low-level felony crimes, the demonstration project could help reduce recidivism by as much as two-thirds, Third District Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said. Similar diversion programs have produced promising results in other metropolitan areas -- Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas and Miami-Dade County in Florida, for example -- fueling hopes for change here, according to L.A. program supporters. [Article]
by STEPHANIE STEPHENS, California Healthline Regional Correspondent, California Healthline. 2014-10-20
 
What Would Prop. 1 — The State Water Bond — Do For San Diego?
Inside a cavernous cement trough at the North City Water Reclamation Plant, pulleys and chains create the complicated machinery that filters impurities from sewage water to create about 12 million gallons of recycled water every day. The resulting "purple" water is clean enough to use on lawns, but not clean enough to drink. City officials hoped this recycled water would replace potable water as a landscaping tool. It does, but not on the scale hoped. The plant only sells about half of the water it is capable of producing because potential customers have found the cost of installing a separate purple pipe system to transport the water too expensive. [Article]
by ERIK ANDERSON, KPBS Radio News / San Diego. 2014-10-20
 
Professor uses Twitter to alert San Diegans
A geography professor at San Diego State has begun a project that will help send out emergency alerts throughout San Diego County. Professor Ming-Hsiang Tsou’s new program will influence the emergency alert system, using the concept of viral messages spread through Twitter. The new project began with the Multi-Level Model of Meme Diffusion created by SDSU communications professor Brian Spitzberg. The model demonstrates how “some memes are easier to spread than others,” Spitzberg said. The speed of how fast a meme spreads depends on its relevance, counter memes, people influencing it, the sender and the diversity of their network. These factors contribute to how many people see the meme and the impact it has on society. [Article]
by EMELY NAVARRO, Contributor, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2014-10-20
 
Proposition 1 could lessen future water shortages, but at what cost?
Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately, the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers. Los Angeles city leaders want to take that one step further — ‘toilet to tap’ as it’s known — and replenish the Valley’s drinking water aquifer. The advanced filtration system’s 400 mln price tag could hike rates, so officials are hoping the state’s voters will help pay for some of the cost. If Proposition 1 passes on Nov. 4, local water agencies across the state could apply for some of the 7.5 bln bond funds pegged for water and environmental projects. [Article]
by MIKE REICHER, Redlands Daily Facts. 2014-10-20
 
RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Authorities battle booming marijuana grows
A boom in illegal backyard marijuana grows – rumored to be driven by Mexican drug cartels – has sown fear among residents in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County. In Mead Valley, near Perris, a marijuana garden was growing in plain sight less than 50 yards from a playground. High-powered weapons, such as AK-47s, have been found at some of the grows. And there was a marijuana grow at the scene of a fatal shooting in August. Sheriff’s officials say they are well aware of the increase in illegal marijuana grows and are aggressively investigating them, but they have disclosed little about their progress or what is driving the trend. [Article]
by SARAH BURGE, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2014-10-20
 
Colton says San Bernardino animal shelter has gone astray
A 4-pound chihuahua named Inky Binky and hundreds of emails from around the world complaining about his treatment were enough to change Colton Councilman David Toro’s opinion about who provides animal care for his city. Toro recently led the charge to abandon a contract with the San Bernardino Animal Shelter, which for more than a decade has housed Colton’s strays and surrendered pets. That care was turned over to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services on Saturday. [Article]
by JANET ZIMMERMAN, Riverside Press-Enterprise. 2014-10-20
 
Mental Health: 'Before it's too late'
Daniel William Marsh was just 15 when, in the predawn hours of April 14, 2013, he stealthily sliced through a screen and broke into Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin’s condominium in Davis. He followed the sounds of their snoring, then savagely tortured and murdered the elderly pair. In the weeks and months before the slayings, during which at one point he was placed on involuntary psychiatric hold, Marsh repeatedly shared his disturbing thoughts with therapists. Marsh’s ghoulish imaginings were so alarming, one therapist broke confidentiality and notified authorities that January. Davis police spoke only briefly with the high schooler — who had spent five months as a cadet and in 2009 was hailed a hero for saving the life of his heart-attack stricken father — then took no further action. Three months later, Northup and Maupin were dead. [Article]
by ELIZABETH ROBERTS, Stockton Record. 2014-10-20
 
County Supervisors: Road-show meeting at Kimball High
STOCKTON — County government officials will take the show on the road on Tuesday, holding the regular meeting of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors at a high school theater in Tracy. It’s a chance to bring the five-member decision making body overseeing county government’s 1.35 bln budget into territory far from the county seat in Stockton. But it’s also a move, officials said, to give high school students a glimpse of local government, both as a learning experience and, hopefully, an inspiration to get involved in the community. “I wanted to have (a board meeting) in south county and I wanted to do it in a school so we could cover both bases,” said board Chairman Bob Elliott, who also represents District 5, which includes Tracy, Mountain House and part of Manteca. [Article]
by ZACHARY K. JOHNSON, Stockton Record. 2014-10-20
 
John Ostlund: We’ll never regret renewing Measure Z to support a great zoo
While I fully expect Measure Z to pass by the same vast majority it did 10 years ago, there are over 75,000 new residents in our area that weren’t living here in 2004. Hopefully the following information will be helpful to those considering their position on this critical ballot measure. For many years, Fresno had a complex. We weren’t worthy. We allowed our downtown to decay, we elected lame leadership, and we argued about community features that every great city in America took for granted. Then along came little 9-year-old, Angel Arellano, asking Bee readers to save the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, which after decades of deferred maintenance was in risk of loosing its accreditation. Then, something magical happened. Like a chapter out of the famed children’s storybook, we became the little community that could. [Article]
by JOHN OSTLAND / COLUMNIST, Fresno Bee. 2014-10-20
 
Could desalination solve California’s water problem?
Along this patch of the Pacific Ocean, welders and pipefitters nearly outnumber the surfers and sunbathers. Within sight of the crashing waves, the laborers are assembling what some hope will make water scarcity a thing of the past. They are building the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will convert as much as 56 mln gallons of seawater each day into drinking water for San Diego County residents. The project, with a price tag of 1 bln, is emerging from the sand like an industrial miracle. In California’s highly regulated coastal zone, it took nearly 15 years to move from concept to construction, surviving 14 legal challenges along the way. The desalination plant is being built by Poseidon Water, a private company, and will be paid for in large part by rate increases on San Diego County water customers. On the surface, the plant resembles any other major construction project: Construction cranes scrape the sky as concrete foundations are poured; the giant new blocky building could be any warehouse or parts factory. [Article]
by MATT WEISER, Sacramento Bee. 2014-10-20
 
Merced supervisors to consider first draft of groundwater ordinance
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will get its first glimpse of a draft groundwater ordinance that regulates out-of-county sales, in addition to the possible creation of a financial assistance program to help county residents repair dried-up domestic wells. Merced County’s water committee, which includes Supervisors John Pedrozo and Hub Walsh, met with various groups throughout the county, including the Farm Bureau, water districts and other stakeholders, to get feedback on the proposed ordinance. County officials took a critical look at establishing an ordinance after two private landowners in May proposed a $46 million groundwater sale to two water districts in Stanislaus County. The supervisors voted to send a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the agency proposing the water transfer, outlining concerns of detrimental impacts. The water sale eventually went through. [Article]
by RAMONA GIWARGIS, Merced Sun-Star. 2014-10-20
 
Fundraiser brings first vineyard trail rides to Lodi
Three Lodi wineries have a new feature to promote to visitors. As of this weekend, Klinker Brick, Vicarmont and Stonum Vineyards are equine friendly, welcoming wine tasters who arrive on horseback. The change happened as a result of Herd It Through The Grapevine, a fundraiser that brought 40 riders on a wine tasting tour through the vineyards. The event was the brainchild of Deborah Larson, the founder of Horses Healing Heroes. Her organization, founded in 2006, uses equine assisted psychotherapy to help veterans work through post-traumatic stress and other problems, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating horses after abuse. Larson said she had organized annual concerts and auctions as fundraisers in the past, but this year wanted to do something different. It was a natural fit to bring her equine connections into the mix. [Article]
by SARA JANE POHLMAN, Lodi News-Sentinel. 2014-10-20
 
Ag Monday: Growing strawberries requires human touch
When many people think of farming, they think of dirt, sprinklers, tractors and rows of green crops. But farmers think beyond just the plants and the soil and the equipment: growing strawberries in California takes plenty of people, too. While many crops have found ways to mechanize various planting, cultivating and harvesting operations, strawberry plants are still planted by hand, and strawberry fruit are hand-picked and hand-packed in the field. This creates a large number of jobs for people and it creates a large need for training and education. [Article]
by CAROLYN O'DONNELL / OPINION, Salinas Californian. 2014-10-20
 
Measure P discussed in Santa Maria this weekend
People were out trying to sign up new voters in Santa Maria over the weekend. Specifically, for Measure P, which many know as the anti-fracking initiative. It's one of the most talked about issues on the ballot for Santa Barbara County. The initiative will ban companies from drilling any new wells intended for hydraulic fracturing, cyclic steaming and acidizing. Supporters of the measure were going door-to-door in Santa Maria Saturday, an area where they say the oil industry has more support. Environmentalists say the expansion of the oil industry threatens other industries like tourism. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Santa Maria Times. 2014-10-20
 
Making A Difference: Horse Therapy
La Selva Beach, Santa Cruz County - It's been an uphill battle for Jennifer Kurz and her three year old son Caeden. "To see him struggle and fight so much adversity is incredibly frustrating for me. He loves to learn and tries so hard. He has to work a lot harder than many kids his age" says Kurz. Caeden was born with a genetic development disability and has trouble expressing himself. However recently, he's been coming to the Monterey Bay Horsemanship and Therapeutic Center in La Selva Beach. "It's definitely helped. Caeden is communicating more in regards to gestures and expressive language since he's been coming" says Kurz. [Article]
by MEGAN MUNRO, KSBW News 8 -Santa Cruz. 2014-10-20
 
Riverside County’s Prevention and Early Intervention Mobile Services
Clinical therapists are taking their jobs a few steps above and beyond the typical call of duty in Riverside County. In fact, they are taking them 39 feet beyond. That’s the length of each of the three mobile clinics that the therapists themselves drive out to different regions of Riverside County. It’s all part of the County’s highly successful Prevention and Early Intervention Mobile Services program. These mobile clinics, which are specially designed recreational vehicles, bring mental health services to families with children up to 7 years old. The program meets a need to develop services outside the standard clinic model, according to Emma Girard, Senior Clinical Psychologist for Riverside County, who helps lead the project. [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, Public CEO. 2014-10-20
 
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