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Youth's choking by juvenile hall staffer prompted call to police, commissioner says
upervisor at Central Juvenile Hall choked a youth aggressively enough to prompt another worker at the facility to call the police, a Los Angeles County probation commissioner said Thursday. Speaking at a public meeting, Commissioner Azael "Sal" Martinez-Sonoqui raised the May incident after several commissioners complained that the Probation Department had been slow to provide information about use-of-force cases in the county-run juvenile camps and halls. “On May 31, a kid was choked by a supervisor at Central Juvenile Hall so bad that somebody within the [county] department of education called LAPD, and LAPD had to come to the juvenile hall and do an interview with the minor, but nobody here was notified about that,” Martinez-Sonoqui said. Probation bureau chief Dennis Carroll, who oversees the juvenile halls, confirmed in a phone interview that the department’s special investigations unit is investigating the allegation. He said the staffer involved had been moved to an assignment away from youths. Carroll said the youth had not been injured in the incident as far as he knew. [Article]
by ABBY SEWELL, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Proposal is yet another chapter in Laguna Beach's medical marijuana saga
An attorney representing authors of an initiative that would repeal Laguna Beach's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries has come up with a compromise. Instead of having competing measures on the November ballot — the city has reacted to the initiative with talk of coming up with its own proposal — Charnel James told the City Council on Tuesday of another option: work together. "If you are willing to work with us on making the changes, we would back down," James said, the implication being that her clients would still get something they want in a blending of the measures into one. Initiative sponsors would like, at most, two dispensaries in Laguna. In May, shortly after the city became aware of the initiative, Laguna Beach police suggested a competing ballot measure that would allow one dispensary, while council members suggested a third option of maintaining the existing prohibition. [Article]
by BRYCE ALDERTON, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Agents go door to door in campaign to squash West Nile virus in LA County
In a Sun Valley neighborhood where riders guide their horses down dusty roads and roosters crow from gated front yards, mosquito expert Ronnie Helo armed himself with a pile of pamphlets and a familiar warning. West Nile virus was increasing in the area, he told each resident who opened their doors to him early Thursday morning. Helo, a senior specialist with the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, wanted people to be aware. After more than a decade of being present in California, West Nile virus was well-known to most residents he approached. But the virus acts differently each season, and this year a troubling trend has emerged, vector control officials said. The mosquito population has appeared to decrease, but more of them caught in local traps are infected with West Nile virus. [Article]
by SUSAN ABRAM, Los Angeles Daily News. 2016-07-29
 
What you need to know about state’s new student vaccination rules
California’s tough new immunization law, aimed at quelling the spread of disease, will be put to the test for the fall school year, with a medical exemption now required for students to skip immunizations. The law, which took effect July 1, was passed in response to a measles outbreak that started in December 2014 at Disneyland and sickened 81 people. Here’s a guide to how the law works: [Article]
by COURTNEY PERKES, Long Beach Press Telegram. 2016-07-29
 
Audio: LA bike-share expanding Monday to walk-up renters
If you’ve been wanting to try out downtown Los Angeles’ new bike-share system, but you didn’t want to buy a pass, you’ll get the chance starting Monday when the program opens to walk-up users. But while bike-share access is expanding, some communities are better served than others.  A new report from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network shows that most bike-share systems around the country aren’t accessible to some of the people who need them most – low-income communities of color who rely more heavily on public transit.  Phil Washington, Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO, said he wants things to be different in Los Angeles County. [Article]
by MEGHAN McCARTY, KPCC Southern CA Public Radio. 2016-07-29
 
Popular recreation spots along the L.A. River have poor water quality, report says
opular recreation spots along the Los Angeles River suffer from poor water quality and could pose a health risk to people who swim or kayak in the area, according to a new report issued by environmental group Heal the Bay. The study, released Wednesday, tested water samples weekly for bacteria at three sites within two recreation zones in the Sepulveda Basin and Elysian Valley areas of the river over a three-month period last summer. Heal the Bay began monitoring freshwater recreational areas along the L.A. River last year. Bacteria levels varied among the river sites, but were high overall, the study said. Samples for Enterococcus, a type of fecal indicator bacteria, exceeded federal standards 100% of the time at Rattlesnake Park and Steelhead Park in Elysian Valley. The Rattlesnake Park site also suffered from a 67% exceedance rate for E. coli, the report said. [Article]
by SARAH PARVINI, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Deadly Soberanes fire on Central Coast forces 350 residents to flee, destroys 44 structures
Southern California’s deadly Sand fire was largely under control Thursday, but a massive wildfire burning north of Big Sur has grown to more than 27,000 acres and destroyed 44 structures, fire officials said. The Soberanes fire, which has burned out of control for days and claimed one life, has occupied more than 3,500 firefighters and is now just 10% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. To date, the fire has scorched 27,326 acres. A damage inspection team sent to survey the area has discovered that 34 homes and 10 outbuildings were destroyed by the unpredictable blaze. The fire, which started Friday in Soberanes Creek, is still threatening 2,000 homes and has forced at least 350 residents to flee. The fire has prompted the closure of six state parks along the Central Coast through Aug. 6, and all trails and roads in the Monterey District of Los Padres National Forest, Cal Fire said. [Article]
by VERONICA ROCHA, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Martins Beach: is it his or is it yours?
It was early morning and the fog hadn't lifted, but Mark Massara grabbed his surf board and we headed down the trail to California's forbidden shores -- Martins Beach. Massara is one of the attorneys representing the Surfrider Foundation in a lawsuit aimed at getting the owner of Martins Beach, Silicon Valley venture capitalist billionaire Vinod Khosla, to allow public access. This is his beach, Khosla has insisted. Private property. Keep out. When I met with him earlier this year, he told me our entire conversation would be off the record. No thanks, I said. If you've got something to say, say it and stand behind it. What's there to hide? The California Coastal Commission argues that Khosla didn't apply for a permit to lock the gate when he bought the property, and that public access was allowed for decades before he arrived on the scene. But Khosla continues to fight that and other claims in court, and this could drag on for months or even years. Meanwhile, some folks just climb over the gate and enjoy the beach, with its iconic Shark's Tooth Rock rising out of the surf on the north end of Martins. Massara stood on the shore eyeballing the best waves. There are some days in summer, he said, when the sun shines bright, the waves line up along the entire cove, "and it looks like Hawaii." Not this day. [Article]
by STEVE LOPEZ / COLUMNIST, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Elephant sedative emerges as new threat in opioid overdose battle
A drug used to sedate elephants and other large animals, 100 times as potent as the fentanyl already escalating the country's heroin troubles, is suspected in spates of overdoses in several states, where authorities say they've found it mixed with or passed off as heroin. The appearance of carfentanil, one of the most potent opioids known to investigators, adds another twist to the fight against painkillers in a country already awash in heroin and fentanyl cases. Each time authorities start to get a handle on one type of drug, another seems to pop up, said Joseph Pinjuh, chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and narcotics unit for the U.S. attorney in Cleveland. "You feel like a kid with his finger in the dike, you know?" he said. "We're running out of fingers." [Article]
by ASSOCIATED PRESS, Los Angeles Times. 2016-07-29
 
Airbnb sues Anaheim over short-term rental penalties
ANAHEIM – Airbnb retaliated with a lawsuit against Anaheim Thursday less than a month after the City Council banned short-term rentals and said home-sharing web sites would be fined for illegal listings. Airbnb’s suit says the city is violating the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment. The lawsuit is the latest for the popular online platform, which filed legal actions this summer against San Francisco and New York for similar reasons. [Article]
by JOSEPH PIMENTEL, Orange County Register. 2016-07-29
 
Sheriff's department to train judges how to get to work safely after head of courts voices concern about homeless - The Orange County Register
SANTA ANA – The sheriff’s department on Friday will train judges and courthouse staff how to walk safely between their cars and the workplace, after the head of Orange County superior courts complained that employees felt unsafe around the Civic Center’s growing homeless population. The training will teach courthouse workers how to remain safe in parking lots and how to take action if they are assaulted, according to a letter Orange County Superior Court CEO Alan Carlson sent Tuesday to all county judges and court staff. Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Mark Stichter framed the training as everyday, common sense safety tips, and said the class had been planned for a while, “not directly related to the current homeless issue.” [Article]
by JORDAN GRAHAM and THERESA WALKER, Orange County Register. 2016-07-29
 
Health Officials Urge At-Risk People Get Meningococcal Disease Vaccine
An increase in cases of meningococcal disease in the Southland prompted local health officials on Thursday to urge at-risk residents — including gay and bisexual men — to get vaccinated against the often fatal infection, which attacks the brain. The California Department of Public Health reported an increase in cases of meningococcal disease in Southern California, particularly in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The cluster of cases in the last several months has disproportionately affected men who have sex with men, officials said. "No cases of meningococcal disease have been reported in San Diego this year," Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer said. "However, as a precaution, we are recommending meningococcal vaccination for all gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, as well as for all persons with HIV infection." [Article]
by STAFF REPORT, KPBS - San Diego. 2016-07-29
 
Conservancy receives grant to expand nature education
The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy (SDRVC) has received a $25,000 grant from The San Diego Foundation to expand the Conservancy’s nature education program, the Watershed Explorers Program. Launched in February, the outdoor-education program focuses on different aspects of the watershed and enables students to visit different areas in the San Dieguito River Park, see wildlife, learn about diverse habitat types from forests to wetlands and learn about the importance of the cultural and natural resources of the watershed. [Article]
by PRESS RELEASE, San Diego News Network. 2016-07-29
 
The Learning Curve: Finding Common Ground on Common Core
Earlier this week, Scott Lewis wrote an alarming piece about the shock one East County parent experienced when she sent her kid to kindergarten, only to discover that he was already behind. The story freaked out a lot of parents, myself included. Every parent wants to make sure they’re doing everything they can to prepare their kids for school. And I’m sure, at one point or another, most are racked with fear they’re not doing it right. Adding to the anxiety are the new standards aligned with Common Core. We understand what kindergarten looked like for us. But this new Common Core stuff sounds confusing and hard. Like the bar for kindergarten has risen to improbable heights and parents now have to fashion their own ladders to help children reach it. [Article]
by MAYA SRIKRISHNAN, Voice of San Diego. 2016-07-29
 
What to Look for in the County’s New Lilac Hills Report
San Diego County staffers are set to release a report Friday detailing the ways in which the Lilac Hills Ranch initiative that will go before voters in November differs from the controversial sprawl housing project near Valley Center that was nearly approved by the county last year. Last week, the County Board of Supervisors directed staff to do a 10-day report on the initiative before it decides on Aug. 2 whether to OK the project outright or put it on November’s ballot. Normally, for a development like Lilac Hills, to get approved, it would go before the County Board of Supervisors, who would vote on whether to let the project be exempted from many elements of the county’s general plan. But Accretive Investments, developer of the 1,700-home project, opted instead to collect signatures and let voters – not the Board of Supervisors – decide the project’s fate after two obstacles arose last year. The first was a state watchdog’s determination that County Supervisor Bill Horn shouldn’t vote on the project due to a conflict of interest from a large swath of developable property he owns nearby. Horn was expected to support the project. [Article]
by MAYA SRIKRISHNAN, Voice of San Diego. 2016-07-29
 
Walt Ekard might return to county government
SAN DIEGO — Former county Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard might be returning to his old workplace. On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors will consider contracting Ekard to help Supervisor Greg Cox with “strategic support and consulting services” in his new role as the second-vice president of the National Association of Counties. “Supervisor Cox’s national leadership positions will require additional staff support to assist him as he advocates on behalf of the nation’s counties,” current Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer said in a memo. “Mr. Ekard’s unique knowledge of the County and his ongoing work with local government entities make him uniquely qualified to provide these services,” she wrote. [Article]
by JOSHUA STEWART, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-07-29
 
San Diego calls for increased meningococcal disease vaccination due to outbreaks in LA, OC
Although San Diego County hasn’t had a case of meningococcal disease this year, public-health officials are urging gay and bisexual men and anyone with an HIV infection to get vaccinated because of ongoing outbreaks in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Public-health departments in both of those northward regions issued similar recommendations this week. So far this year, there have been four confirmed infections, including one that led to death, in Orange County and 13 cases in Los Angeles County, officials said. Meningococcal disease is caused by neisseria meningitides, a bacteria that is easily passed from person to person by close contact — kissing, living in close quarters or sharing items such as drinking glasses, eating utensils, cigarettes or water bottles. [Article]
by PAUL SISSON, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-07-29
 
Lack of building in North County means more people commuting from San Diego, report says
In the very near future, many us could commute each day from downtown San Diego to Poway. That’s according to a new report paid for by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce that highlights the disproportionate construction of new homes and apartments in the city of San Diego compared to the rest of the county. From 1996 to 2015, San Diego built 41 percent of new housing units whereas cities that were adding a lot of new jobs, like Poway, contributed less than 1 percent to the housing stock. “You’re going to have to be traveling pretty far for housing,” said London Group Realty Partners principal Nathan Moeder, whose firm authored the report. The study predicts an economic crisis with a lack of housing that will lead to even higher housing costs and employers having difficulty recruiting workers. Additional issues could be baby boomers who own homes having difficulty finding homes to downsize to, and millennials moving out of the area to find single-family homes. [Article]
by PHILLIP MOLNAR, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-07-29
 
North County bus service disruption averted for now
NORTH COUNTY — A potential strike by bus drivers for the North County Transit District’s Lift paratransit service appears to have been staved off for now, after the drivers and the private company that employs them reached a tentative deal. A day after warning of the possible service disruption, a spokesman for the company, First Transit, said in a email to the Union-Tribune early Thursday morning that “there will be no work stoppage at this time.” The spokesman, Jay Brock, also said the drivers’ union was scheduled to vote on the contract agreement next week. Representatives from Teamsters Local 542, which represents 71 drivers with NCTD’s Lift service, have not responded to requests for comment. Word of an apparent agreement came hours after NCTD warned that Breeze, Lift and Flex bus service could have been disrupted if no deal could be reached. [Article]
by TERI FIGUEROA, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-07-29
 
Zoom, zoom: Truck and SUV sales grow
Passenger cars are still the most popular vehicles sold in San Diego County but SUVs and light trucks are catching up as customers adopt some of the preferences of car buyers across the country. But analysts say the move to bigger vehicles figures to frustrate regulators who want to see the fuel efficiency standards for the nation's vehicles raised to more than 50 miles per gallon. "It doesn't bode well for meeting the CAFE standards," said Dave Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates, a transportation energy consulting company in Irvine, referring to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards set by the federal government. [Article]
by ROB NIKOLEWSKI, San Diego Union-Tribune. 2016-07-29
 
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