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Monday, 07 May 2007 00:12

California Gouged by Oil Companies

A consumer watchdog group says that big oil companies are gouging Americans, and particularly California drivers, based upon a study that the group commissioned. That study says that gas prices and company profits are spiking while oil market prices remained stable. According to the North County Times, Judy Dugan of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said the group hopes public outcry over rising gas prices will now force Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature to convene a special session to discuss the problem. The foundation says that California drivers are paying a "California penalty" of $7 to $15 more per fill up than what drivers across the United States, or about 40 cents to 55 cents more per gallon.
slide9Investigators of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have cited two clerks for selling alcohol to minors on April 29, 2007. The clerks are employed at the One Stop Market on Hwy 88 in Pine Grove and the Flying V on Jackson Rd in Sacramento County. The actions were the result of a minor decoy operation in which minors under the direct supervision of department investigators, attempted to purchase alcohol from 12 retail licensees in the counties of Sacramento and Amador. Those who sold to the minor face a minimum fine of $250, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation.  In addition, ABC will take administrative action against the alcoholic beverage license of the business.  That may include a fine, a suspension of the license, or the permanent revocation of the license.
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 00:48

Grants Available for Rural Development

slide20The USDA Rural Development office in Stockton, serving Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Mono and San Joaquin counties, announced the availability of Section 504 grants and low-interest loans for low-income individuals to make needed repairs on their homes. Funding may be used for a variety of projects including installing or renovating water or sewer hook-ups, roofing, flooring, lighting, insulation and weatherization.
slide34The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released a draft report on proposed early actions to mitigate greenhouse gases in California, consistent with the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on September 27, 2006. "The impact of greenhouse gases on the world's climate is an urgent problem that calls for prompt action," said ARB Chairman Dr. Robert F. Sawyer. "Discrete early action measures will get that process started while we work on more comprehensive solutions." The Act mandates that California's greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, an ambitious 25% percent cut in emissions compared to business as usual.
Tuesday, 17 April 2007 00:54

Caltrans observes Workers Memorial Day

slide31The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will observe Workers Memorial Day today, April 17, at 11 a.m. with a ceremony to remember the 166 highway maintenance workers and other Caltrans employees who lost their lives on the job since 1924.  There were zero employee deaths in Caltrans work zones in the past 12 months. This bucks a national trend of three road worker fatalities every five days nationally- in all cone zones. The ceremony will feature a memorial of 166 orange safety cones shaped into a 48-foot-wide caution sign to signify each fallen Caltrans worker.  A deceased worker’s name, imprinted on a black band, will be attached to each cone. The ceremony will be celebrated on the west steps of the State Capital
slide39The Schwarzenegger administration's latest contract offer to the state prison guards union would boost pay more than 14 percent over three years, but the union would have to give up some of its management power in return. Union officials said they are unwilling to make such concessions. They also contend the proposed pay scale would put prison guards further behind other state and local law enforcement agencies.
slide17Supreme Court's ruling this week that the government can regulate emissions from cars. The action by the Environmental Protection Agency continues California's effort to become the first state to cut tailpipe emissions from cars, light trucks and sport utility vehicles. It also could influence the outcome of an auto industry lawsuit in California to block the state regulations, contained in a 2002 state law. "We've reviewed the issues within the waiver request," EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Wood said Tuesday to the Associated Press. "We're moving forward to the next steps of the process."
slide31Adults who smoke in a vehicle carrying children could be fined $100 under a bill that cleared its first committee Wednesday. A 2006 report by the Harvard School of Public Health said particulate matter in a smoker's car can be as much as 10 times higher than in a smoker's home. That can sharply increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other ailments, Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, told the Senate Health Committee. Oropeza’s bill would make it illegal to smoke a cigar, pipe or cigarette in vehicles carrying a minor, regardless of whether the car is parked or moving. It also creates a public health education program focused on the dangers of second-hand smoke. According to Fox news the committee sent her bill to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 6-3 vote. Smoking in a car with the windows down isn't enough because the U.S. surgeon general has said there is no safe level for second-hand smoke, American Cancer Society lobbyist Alecia Sanchez testified. "Children are completely captive. There's no refuge for them" in a vehicle, she said.
slide22The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced recently that its popular Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) telephone number – 1-800-427-ROAD - is now available coast-to-coast. For the first time, truckers, tourists and others calling outside of California can call ahead and obtain the latest information about traffic delays or highway closures due to major accidents, winter weather, or work in construction zones.  “Customer service is important to Caltrans, and this upgrade in service will enable everyone to more efficiently plan their travel in California to minimize delays and maximize their quality time,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton.  “We’re here to get you there.”
Friday, 16 February 2007 00:47

State News That Impacts Your Pocket Book

A Sacramento judge has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged new automobile insurance regulations championed by former insurance commissioner John Garamendi. The new rules require auto insurers to base their rates primarily on motorists' driving records instead of where they live. Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster granted a summary judgment yesterday, ruling that regulations that were adopted last year by the state insurance commissioner were consistent with Proposition 103. Prop 1031 is the rate-regulation initiative adopted by voters back in 1998.