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Saturday, April 19 2014

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Free Environment-Based Curriculum Available for K-12 Students

As we celebrate National Environmental Education Week and look forward to Earth Day, CalRecycle is highlighting its efforts to increase environmental literacy in California K-12 classrooms through the state's landmark Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum.

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Drought Relief Provides Food to California's Hardest Hit Communities

As the hot, dry months approach and extreme drought grips much of the state, the California Department of Social Services' (CDSS) today announced that food banks in 24 drought-affected counties will be receiving shipments of food assistance. The first $5.1 million in food assistance will begin to hit food bank shelves in early May, delivered directly to drought-impacted communities.

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Six Californias plan running out of time for 2014 ballot (MAP)
Full story: SF Chronicle


HRC Statement on Prop 8 Lawyer Charles Cooper's Support for His Openly Gay Daughter

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today reacted to news that Charles J. Cooper, the chief legal defender of Proposition 8 for the duration of the Perry case, has an openly gay stepdaughter named Ashley and that Cooper and his wife, Debbie, are helping to plan Ashley's upcoming wedding to her partner of several years.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Reclamation Release Spring-run Chinook Salmon into the San Joaquin River for Study

The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on April 17 to 18 are releasing 54,000 hatchery produced juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon into the San Joaquin River as part of the implementation of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The Restoration Program is a comprehensive long-term effort to restore flows to the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River restoring a self-sustaining Chinook salmon fishery in the river while reducing or avoiding adverse water supply impacts from those flows.

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Judges Overturn Long-Term Central Valley Water Contracts Citing Endangered Species Protection

An eleven-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today unanimously ruled that the federal Bureau of Reclamation was required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding long-term California water contracts that would impact the endangered delta smelt. The court concluded that the Bureau's renewal of several dozen water supply contracts that divert large quantities of water from the Bay-Delta violated the Endangered Species Act.

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Field Poll | Examining California voter views about taxes, government spending and Proposition 13

A new survey by The Field Poll explores the views of California voters about taxes, government spending and the state's landmark property tax reduction amendment, Proposition 13.

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Op-Ed: Sacramento Bee: Dianne Feinstein's water bill is an overreach
Full story: Sacramento Bee


California Wavering on Protection for Gray Wolves Under State Law

Today the California Fish and Game Commission voted to delay a decision on establishing state protections for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. If the commission votes against a state listing after the 90-day deferral, the decision could undermine recovery of the imperiled wolves in California.

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Governor Brown Calls Special Session to Strengthen Rainy Day Fund

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today called a special session of the Legislature to replace the Rainy Day Fund on the November ballot with a dedicated reserve that would allow the state to pay down its debts and unfunded liabilities.

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California Ballot Initiative Will Enact Nation's First Law Requiring Random Drug Testing Of Physicians

A USA Today report finds that 103,000 medical professionals are abusing prescription drugs every year, yet most of these addicts are never caught and place their patients at risk. California will be the first state in the nation to require random drug testing of doctors if voters approve an initiative measure that is headed to the November ballot.

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'Condor Watch' Enlists Citizen Scientists to Help an Endangered Species

Biologists studying the endangered California condor have launched a new web site to enlist the help of citizen scientists in research aimed at reducing lead poisoning, the primary threat to condors in the wild.

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Fire safety & health groups defend improved furniture flammability standard against chemical company challenge

A coalition of fire safety and health groups has intervened to support the recently updated California furniture flammability regulations, which have been challenged by the major chemical manufacturer Chemtura. Effective January 2014, the revised regulations provide stronger protections against the leading causes of furniture fires, and allow furniture manufacturers to reduce their reliance on harmful flame retardant chemicals.

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Finding an Alternative to Rodenticide: Use a Better Mousetrap

Recent news that California will remove second-generation rodenticides from the consumer market was welcome at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Unfortunately, some consumers concluded that they would soon have no way to keep "disease-ridden vermin" away from their homes. That is not the case.

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Amanda McAdams Selected as Modoc Forest Supervisor

The Modoc National Forest announces the selection of Amanda McAdams as the new Forest Supervisor. McAdams will begin her position June 2, 2014.

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Former Chief Administrative Officer for City of Bell Sentenced to Federal Prison for Cheating IRS to Avoid Taxes on Corrupt Activities

Robert A. Rizzo, the former top administrator in the city of Bell who has admitted his role in a widespread municipal corruption scandal, was sentenced today to 33 months in federal prison in a tax fraud scheme designed to hide part of the massive income he was bilking from the small Los Angeles County city.

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Op-Ed: Dick Meister: "Cesar Chavez" -- A Film That Tells It Like It Really Was

Anyone hoping to understand the long, fierce struggle to win a decent life for the highly exploited men and women who harvest our fruits and vegetables should not miss the recently released film, "Cesar Chavez." Although technically a feature film, it's actually a documentary, in that it vividly recreates ­- and accurately -- key events in the struggle led by Chavez and the United Farm Workers union he headed.

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Marijuana's thirst depleting North Coast watersheds
Full story: Press Democrat


State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Issues Statement on Tragic Bus Accident near Orland

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today issued the following statement regarding Thursday evening's tragic bus accident:

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Arson Arrest in Siskiyou County

CAL FIRE law enforcement arrested a Grenada woman on arson charges for allegedly starting a vegetation fire off of Highway A-12, one mile east of Interstate 5. Nia Coles, 33, was booked into the Siskiyou County Jail late Wednesday evening for alleged arson to forest land. Fire crews were dispatched to the fire around 5:50 pm Wednesday night that burned 1.7 acres. Firefighters from CAL FIRE, as well as the Montague and Mayten Fire Departments responded to the fire.

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The Politics of Drought: California Water Interests Prime the Pump in Washington

Last year, as California endured one of its driest years on record, the Westlands Water District made it rain 3,000 miles away -- on Capitol Hill.

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Op-Ed: Courtney Vail: California State Assembly seeks more time to review Orca Welfare and Safety Act

For those of us watching the live feed of the California legislative hearing on Assembly member Bloom's orca bill (AB 2140) at the State Capitol in Sacramento, it was clear that an overwhelming number of Californians support passage of the bill. Mothers, teachers, business owners, labor interests, organizational representatives, and unaffiliated individuals of the public filed past the microphone and proclaimed their complete support for AB 2140, alongside individuals from other countries that flew in to physically present their support of the bill at the hearing.

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Northern California Cities Lead Nationally with Most Energy Star Buildings

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the sixth annual list of the top 25 U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings. The cities on this list demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits achieved by facility owners and managers when they apply a proven approach to energy efficiency to their buildings. San Francisco moved up from number six to number five with 289 Energy Star buildings. Sacramento comes in at 17th place with 109 buildings and San Jose in 20th place with 83 buildings.

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California Ranks 49th on Elections Performance Index

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts' latest Elections Performance Index (EPI), California ranks 49th in the first comprehensive assessment of election administration in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This annual study measures how well states conducted election compared not only with other states, but over time. California's overall score increased from 2008 to 2012 but at a rate below the national average. In 2012, only Oklahoma and Mississippi ranked lower than California.

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Protestors Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Fracking, Support Local Effort to Stop Fracking in Santa Barbara County

As the California Coastal Commission meets in Santa Barbara today, hazmat suit-wearing activists with the Center for Biological Diversity, Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, Californians Against Fracking, Food & Water Watch, and Environment California will protest against offshore fracking and the discharge of fracking chemicals into the Santa Barbara Channel.

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California's Poorest Households Pay the Largest Share of Income in State and Local Taxes

A new report released in advance of Tax Day -- April 15 -- by the California Budget Project (CBP) shows that the state's lowest-income households pay a disproportionate share of their incomes in state and local taxes -- especially compared to the wealthiest households.

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Op-Ed: Sierra Club California | Dirty Fuels: The Other Half of the Equation

Amid today's Arctic vortexes, drought and rising sea levels climate disruption has reentered the national conversation. For the most part that conversation has been centered on reducing carbon pollution from dirty fuels once they have been burned. President Obama has committed to reducing the carbon pollution that threatens our health, our families, and our economy. And he has made good strides--making our cars go further on a gallon of gas, increasing energy efficiency, doubling solar and wind power, and curbing carbon pollution from coal plants.

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Field Poll | California voter views of the state legislature turn negative after arrest of State Senator Leland Yee

In the aftermath of the corruption scandals now affecting three State Senators, California voters have changed their views about the performance of the legislature.

The Field Poll was in the midst of updating voter opinions of the state legislature when news broke on March 26 of the arrest of Democratic State Senator Leland Yee. On that date the F.B.I along with dozens of local and state police arrested Yee for trafficking in Philippine arms and taking bribes from undercover F.B.I. agents.

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Air Resources Board approves first cap-and-trade forestry compliance offset project in California

The Air Resources Board today announced approval of the first California forest carbon offset project under the state's cap-and-trade forestry offset protocol.

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Lead continues to be a serious threat to California condor populations

The California condor was one of the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1966 when the population was reduced to a handful of birds. Through a massive collaborative effort that included fieldwork and breeding in zoos, the condor population has grown to more than 400 birds, more than half of which are now free-flying in the wild. Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence that lead poisoning from accidental ingestion of spent ammunition is the leading cause of death in the wild population, and this may prevent the establishment of self-sustaining populations.

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