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Back to school: Should monkeypox concern students, staff? - Los Angeles Times
With many Los Angeles County students returning to school this week and thousands of young people headed back to California universities this month and next, there’s a rising concern about the potential for monkeypox outbreaks in academic and social environments. But public health experts continue to assure parents and families that the risk for the rare illness remains low for most people, especially in clothed, mostly distanced settings, such as schools. “I want to emphasize that the risk of monkeypox in the general population remains low,” said Dr. Rita Singhal, chief medical officer for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. “Brief interactions such as casual conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox pose low risk. “The risk of spread is minimal from attending an event with fully clothed people, traveling with others on a plane or public transit, swimming in a pool, hot tub or body of water or going to a public setting such as a grocery store, restaurant or to school,” she said. There have, however, been at least two monkeypox cases confirmed in L.A. County children, the first of which was reported earlier this month in Long Beach. Officials said that case was linked to another household member and the child has since recovered. Details about the other juvenile case, which Singhal announced Thursday, including the age of the child and the extent of the illness, were not immediately released. While cases in children remain rare, monkeypox infections among adults in L.A. County continue to rise, increasing by 250 in the last week to almost 800 confirmed or suspected cases, according to data from the public health department. The vast majority of cases have been in men ages 20 to 49 who identify as part of the LGBTQ community, according to county data. Those demographics are consistent with the global outbreak of monkeypox, which is primarily infecting men who have sex with men as well as transgender and nonbinary people who have sex with men. The illness, however, can spread to anyone regardless of gender or sexual identity, through close, skin-to-skin contact. The virus also can be spread through bedding or towels that touched an infectious skin lesion or pox. Unlike the coronavirus, monkeypox is not believed to be spread through the air, and it is rarely fatal. No one in the U.S. has died from the monkeypox virus, although some people have been hospitalized, including at least 15 people in L.A. County, health officials said. “Monkeypox is a concern for public health, but we have to be clear that monkeypox is not COVID-19; it’s not as easily transmissible as COVID-19,” said Dr. Smita Malhotra, medical director for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She said district schools are following recommendations from the county public health department on monkeypox, which includes taking precautions if someone might be sick or exposed and monitoring for possible symptoms. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Got a truck more than 7 tons? Duarte wants you to take an alternate route during upcoming 210 freeway closures – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Truckers driving trucks weighing more than 7 tons will need to be wary of driving in the City of Duarte during the upcoming I-210 Eastbound freeway closures. [Article]
by , San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 2022-08-15
 
In the ashes of a devastating Sierra fire, a flower farm blooms - Los Angeles Times
TAYLORSVILLE, Calif. — It was between the third and fourth evacuations from the Dixie fire that Kjessie Essue decided to be a farmer-florist. She was already experimenting with growing flowers in her mountain climate and couldn’t count how many reasons people had given her for why it couldn’t be done: The summers are too short. There’s too many gophers. The deer eat everything. The soil isn’t good. The frost comes too fast. Then came the fire. A neighbor, a cattle rancher, stayed behind during the fire to care for the herd. The rancher said she wouldn’t let Essue’s flowers die — and she didn’t. By the time Essue and her young family returned, Greenville — the town just across the valley, where she grew up and her parents still lived — was gone, the entire downtown smoldering, including her children’s school and the school where her husband, Andre Essue, worked as an administrator and teacher. She looked at her garden, watered by a neighbor even as fire threatened. The cosmos were almost chest-high, their foliage bright green against the smoke. The zinnias were pops of yellow, orange and cherry-red. She decided the flowers were a sign. A way forward for her family and perhaps to help rebuild the community’s economy. Essue knew about growing things. She’d harvested wheat in Montana, watching the entire sky flash with sheet lightning. On a college study program in New Zealand, she took a theology class that held that taking care of the Earth is foundational to being a Christian; it included studying sustainable agriculture. She worked on a permaculture farm growing bananas. She had a degree in soil science. While in the Peace Corps, she ran trials on growing teff — a high-protein grain — in Lesotho, a country in Africa where many suffered malnutrition. She and Andre farmed their own vegetables. But she grew up in a family where failure wasn’t an option. She’d followed the rules: straight-A student, class valedictorian. She was meant to return to this valley and have a stable job in education, like her grandparents and her parents, who had met in kindergarten. She was meant to raise her children — 6-year-old Hugo and 4-year-old twins Ruby and Leo — here in a cheery farmhouse with extended family nearby. Entrepreneur was something different. Risky. She might fail. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Another Effort to Recall LA County DA George Gascón Fails – Pasadena Now
An effort to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón was rejected Monday, with the county clerk’s office announcing that organizers submitted only 520,050 valid petition signatures, well short of the required 566,857. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
Voters could help fix L.A.'s deadly streets - Los Angeles Times
It’s been a little more than a week, but the wreckage and horror from a fiery fatal crash in Windsor Hills is still on my mind. Five people, including a woman 8½ months pregnant, were killed when a motorist in a Mercedes-Benz sedan speeding 90 mph blew through a red light and plowed into several cars. Vehicles burst into flames. Billowing smoke could be seen from miles away. The victims were just driving across town, running errands or heading to the doctor’s office, and their lives were snuffed out in an instant. We talk a lot about gun violence in this country — as well we should — but almost as many people were killed by motor vehicles as by firearms in 2020. Cars have become significantly safer for drivers and their passengers, with air bags, seat belts and all kinds of crash-impact protections, yet traffic deaths are on the rise. Nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, a 10.5% increase over the prior year. Speeding, reckless driving, inattention and driving while intoxicated are to blame. And so is our infrastructure, particularly in Los Angeles. The streets are dangerous by design, as letter writers observed. Just look at the intersection of Slauson and La Brea avenues in Windsor Hills, where the crash happened. The wide, seven-lane roads are designed to move cars as quickly as possible. And these kinds of streets — highways, really — are all over Los Angeles communities because for decades the goal of transportation planning was to build fast, free-flowing roads for the convenience and speed of drivers. Good luck to pedestrians and bicyclists. There is a movement to stop the carnage. Earlier this year Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced a new national strategy and funding to make the streets safer and save lives. It called for redesigning the entire transportation system, including road engineering and vehicle standards, to avoid crashes and to reduce the likelihood of serious injury and death when crashes occur. Humans make mistakes (sometimes, horrible ones) so road design should slow traffic speeds, force drivers to be more cautious and carve out safe spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists to share the road. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Climate change could make parts of drought-prone California a "vast inland sea" due to megafloods, study shows - CNN
(CNN)Many Californians fear the "Big One," but it might not be what you think. It's not an earthquake. And it isn't the mega drought. It's actually the exact opposite. A megaflood. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
Mojave set to achieve inland port designation | News | avpress.com
MOJAVE — Mojave’s historic role as a transportation crossroads will add another designation, that of inland port, with development of a cargo hub joining rail, trucks and, possibly in the future, air and space. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
Educators on urgent mission to get absent students in school - Los Angeles Times
Yordi Luna, 15 — who excels at math, likes science and loves playing football — missed about 40 to 50 days of classes during his first year of high school, mother Leydi Luna said. “I knew he was missing, and I knew it was my responsibility to do something,” she said. But it wasn’t clear what. As a single mother who had to drop her younger child at school before getting to work by 8 a.m., she often simply couldn’t get him to go as his motivation had slowly evaporated beginning in March 2020 when campuses closed. Soon to be a sophomore at Garfield High, Yordi is among hundreds of thousands of L.A. Unified students who missed large parts of the school year last year. Nearly half of the district’s students were chronically absent, meaning they missed 10% or more of the school year. In pre-pandemic years, about 19% were chronically absent — a number that was already considered high. As the district prepares to welcome students back from summer break on Monday, officials are under urgent pressure to get students attending regularly. On Friday counselors, staffers who volunteered to help and Supt. Alberto Carvalho knocked on doors of district families whose children had not been regularly showing up for school, urging them to return — while providing a glimpse of the sensitive pandemic difficulties still confronting students and parents. Although many absences were related to COVID-19 quarantines, even when those are accounted for, the chronic absence rate was nearly 30%, Carvalho said Friday. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Abcarian: L.A. wastes water. A solution? Look to the skies - Los Angeles Times
The drought is back. The headlines are grim. The governor has just unveiled a plan to cope with an estimated 10% decrease in water supply by 2040 due to the effects of global warming. In Los Angeles, residential water users are perplexed — they’ve cut back so drastically on their usage that some have a hard time imagining where else they can conserve. It’s not too often that the answer to such a vexatious question literally falls out of the sky, but if you ask environmentalist Andy Lipkis, you need only look up. The answer to our water shortage is rainwater. But we haven’t had any rain, you say? That may be true for the last little while. But since Oct. 1, according to the Department of Public Works’ rain gauge, my part of town near Ballona Creek has received 11.5 inches of rain. Downtown L.A. has received 13.5 inches. When it rains half an inch in Los Angeles, billions of gallons of water fall on the city, and most of it runs to the ocean. That is a huge waste of our most precious resource, and we need to find more and better ways to keep it. Lots of agencies and nonprofit groups are working on that, but there doesn’t seem to be enough coordination, and the world of water politics is riven by rivalries, profit motives and conflicting visions for the future. In the meantime, the rainwater keeps rushing to the sea. To get a handle on the problem, I called Lipkis, who founded the education and advocacy group TreePeople 50 years ago when he was a teenager. Talking to him about this topic is a little like standing in front of an open fire hose. You will be drenched by his passion and encyclopedic knowledge, and pretty inspired about what the future can hold if we get our water act together. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Mask mandate didn’t work against COVID-19 in LA, say doctors from USC and UCLA – Daily News
A letter from top-level doctors and researchers arguing against the effectiveness of indoor mask mandates, along with pushback from health departments, cities and business groups, possibly played a role in a surprise decision not to re-institute the mandate in Los Angeles County last month. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2022-08-15
 
L.A. removes homeless camp from a vacant Watts lot - Los Angeles Times
The man who lived in the manhole was gone. After weeks of visits by outreach workers and last-minute persuasion by police, the row of shanties was abandoned. By 8 a.m., a bulldozer and a grader were circling the 10-acre vacant lot in Watts, scraping 3-foot-tall weeds and the detritus they concealed into piles. A smaller tractor sifted out clothing, TV and computer parts, infant car seats and broken concrete. A fourth machine with a scoop lifted the concentrate, along with several loads of abandoned tires, into three giant trash containers. The cleanup Thursday of the city’s troubled Lanzit property was a huge boon to a downtrodden neighborhood, said community activist Germán Magaña, who acts as unofficial spokesman for nearby business owners, residents and even the people who lived on the lot. But it was just the beginning of a new phase that will require vigilance to keep the property from falling back into tatters. It will take drive and creativity to overcome 28 years of failure that marked the city’s plans to develop it. “As of today I’m very happy,” Magaña said. “I know it will take a while for an actual solution of what’s going to be done with the property. It’s a process, and we all understand that. But for the time being, the community, as well as the homeless community, they’ll be better off. A lot have gotten into housing.” The city purchased the land, just south of 108th Street and a few blocks east of Avalon Boulevard, in 1994 in hopes of revitalizing a community bled of its economic base and traumatized by the 1992 riots. The plan was to bring hundreds of high-tech jobs to Watts with the first industrial development in the area since the 1970s. As chronicled in a Times article featuring Juan Luis Gonzalez-Castillo, the man in the manhole, at least five development proposals died in a decades-long saga of City Hall intrigue, bureaucratic delays and even bad luck as one developer died soon after his development plan was accepted. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Risk of catastrophic 'megaflood' has doubled for California - Los Angeles Times
Even today, as California struggles with severe drought, global warming has doubled the likelihood that weather conditions will unleash a deluge as devastating as the Great Flood of 1862, according to a UCLA study released Friday. In that inundation 160 years ago, 30 consecutive days of rain triggered monster flooding that roared across much of the state and changed the course of the Los Angeles River, relocating its mouth from Venice to Long Beach. If a similar storm were to happen today, the study says, up to 10 million people would be displaced, major interstate freeways such as Interstates 5 and 80 would be shut down for months, and population centers including Stockton, Fresno and parts of Los Angeles would be submerged — a $1-trillion disaster larger than any in world history. It would also probably be “bigger in almost every respect” than what scientists have come to call the “ARKStorm scenario” of 1862, said climate scientist Daniel Swain, co-author of the study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. “There’s more rain overall, more intense rainfall on an hourly basis and stronger wind,” he said. The paper is the latest piece of research to describe the whiplash effects of a heating planet, where increasing temperatures allow the atmosphere to absorb and store more and more moisture. This atmospheric “thirstiness” can result in either extreme drought and aridity or the massive release of water in the form of an atmospheric river. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Polio threat virtually nonexistent to vaccinated people in Bay Area
UPDATE: Do I need a polio vaccine? How to know if you were vaccinated, and how long protection lasts. Despite concern over a case of polio being found in New York state in July, Bay Area infectious disease experts say the risk to the vaccinated public is virtually nonexistent — although the fact that any case at all popped up underscores the need to make sure people, particularly children, have had their shots. [Article]
by , San Francisco Chronicle. 2022-08-15
 
What to know about Long Beach’s proposed police oversight charter amendment – Press Telegram
Long Beach voters have a few City Charter amendment measures to consider this November — but perhaps the most significant change that could be on the way relates to the Police Department. [Article]
by , Long Beach Press Telegram. 2022-08-15
 
The Coming California Megaflood - The New York Times
The coming superstorm — really, a rapid procession of what scientists call atmospheric rivers — will be the ultimate test of the dams, levees and bypasses California has built to impound nature’s might. But in a state where scarcity of water has long been the central fact of existence, global warming is not only worsening droughts and wildfires. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, atmospheric rivers can carry bigger cargoes of precipitation. The infrastructure design standards, hazard maps and disaster response plans that protected California from flooding in the past might soon be out of date. As humans burn fossil fuels and heat up the planet, we have already increased the chances each year that California will experience a monthlong, statewide megastorm of this severity to roughly 1 in 50, according to a new study published Friday. (The hypothetical storm visualized here is based on computer modeling from this study.) In the coming decades, if global average temperatures climb by another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1 degree Celsius — and current trends suggest they might — then the likelihood of such storms will go up further, to nearly 1 in 30. At the same time, the risk of megastorms that are rarer but even stronger, with much fiercer downpours, will rise as well. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
Accusing a cop: Inside LAPD's secret discipline system - Los Angeles Times
Kelsie Mathews thought she’d finally won a little bit of justice. She had worked with Los Angeles police investigators for months to prove that her former boyfriend, an LAPD officer, had sexually assaulted her and acted inappropriately with other women and arrestees. Then, in September, she received a letter saying they had corroborated her claims. The letter also said an “appropriate penalty” would be imposed on her ex-boyfriend, Officer Oscar Rojas, but it would not be disclosed to Mathews or the public due to confidentiality laws around police personnel records. Mathews, a 35-year-old actress and television production assistant, said relief washed over her. Prosecutors had already decided not to charge Rojas criminally, citing a lack of evidence, but the LAPD’s letter made it seem as if he would at least be held accountable within the department. “Although I don’t know the exact punishment, knowing that my tears didn’t fall on deaf ears is a small victory and some kind of justice,” she said in an emotional TikTok post. That feeling wouldn’t last. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
Tears of a Dodger Clown: Meet ‘Hiccups,’ East L.A.’s Super Fan Feeding the Homeless For Almost a Decade - L.A. TACO
Frankie Mercado, from old-school Silver Lake, goes by the alter ego of “Hiccups The Clown.” He is a self-proclaimed Dodgers’ super fan who is a nurse by day and whose blue-and-white jersey, cap, shorts, and oversized shoes have evolved from amusing at kids’ parties and being a presence in the seats at Dodger Stadium to being a helpful hand in his community for a decade. He is a resident of East Los Angeles. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
California state budget to include $13M for UC labor centers - Daily Bruin
The 2022-2023 California state budget will allocate $13 million to the University of California labor centers, allowing scholars to increase the extent of their research on working conditions and inequitable labor policies. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
Climate change is increasing the risk of a California megaflood | Science Advances
Despite the recent prevalence of severe drought, California faces a broadly underappreciated risk of severe floods. Here, we investigate the physical characteristics of “plausible worst case scenario” extreme storm sequences capable of giving rise to “megaflood” conditions using a combination of climate model data and high-resolution weather modeling. Using the data from the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble, we find that climate change has already doubled the likelihood of an event capable of producing catastrophic flooding, but larger future increases are likely due to continued warming. We further find that runoff in the future extreme storm scenario is 200 to 400% greater than historical values in the Sierra Nevada because of increased precipitation rates and decreased snow fraction. These findings have direct implications for flood and emergency management, as well as broader implications for hazard mitigation and climate adaptation activities. [Article]
by , . 2022-08-15
 
U.S. polio case sparks alarms from New York to California - Los Angeles Times
Delays in getting children vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic and antivaccination sentiment in general may be fueling the most serious threat of polio in the U.S. in years, raising alarms from New York to California. In the last few weeks, health officials in New York identified the first person in nearly a decade in the U.S. to be diagnosed with polio. The person suffered paralysis. Since then, the polio virus has been found in wastewater not only in two counties in the area where the patient lives but also, as of Friday, in New York City. The virus may be rebounding worldwide. The Jerusalem area this year suffered an outbreak, and the virus showed up in London wastewater in June. Now, health experts and officials in California are voicing concern. Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there’s discussion about tracking polio in wastewater, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. This makes sense, experts said, given the high numbers of travelers between Los Angeles and New York and because people can be contagious with polio while having no symptoms. “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the New York State Health Commissioner, said in a statement. “For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected.” Health officials in New York are “treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: The danger of polio is present in New York today,” Bassett said. There is no cure for paralysis caused by polio, said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious-diseases expert. But polio can be prevented by immunization, which is more than 90% effective. Babies should be given three doses; a fourth is given to children between 4 and 6. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-08-15
 
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