County News

Jul 28, 2014 11:24am
State officials say California’s reservoirs are now at a “seriously low” level. Many of the state’s major reservoirs are now less than half full. The report by the California Department of Water Resources shows that some of the major reservoirs are approaching numbers as low as 20%. Though a spokesperson clarified, the reservoirs are not yet at historically low levels. There may be some solace to be taken from the fact that 1977’s historic drought brought California’s reservoirs to far lower levels. Also, the state average for all 12 reservoirs comes out to about 60% percent, still well above...
Jul 28, 2014 11:22am
The Northern California county of Lake is countersuing residents that were affected by a landslide last year that damaged several homes in the region. County officials contend that the residents and local homeowners’ associations are to blame for the damage caused by the slide because of their failure to maintain systems for landscaping, irrigation, and vegetation. The county suit is being handled by Adam Abel, who told reporters that the residents’ irrigation lines had significant leaks, leading to landslide conditions. The lawsuit was officially served on the homeowners last month. The...
Jul 28, 2014 11:20am
Though Marin County was once considered a high-risk county for breast cancer, it may soon become a county where residents have to be wary of all types of the disease, as new studies show the county’s melanoma diagnoses dwarf the state averages.  Marin County’s rate of melanoma diagnoses is 43% higher than other Bay Area counties, and a whopping 60% higher than the state as a whole. Scientists are already on the case, trying to figure out why the state has a higher-than-average breast cancer diagnosis rate, and now they may soon have to start investigating melanoma as well. A research...
Jul 28, 2014 11:16am
A rare lightning storm in Southern California injured 13 people Sunday and left one 20-year-old man dead. Most of the injuries, as well as the one fatality, occurred at Venice Beach. But, earlier in the day, a 57-year-old golfer on Santa Catalina Island was also struck and injured. In Redondo Beach, lightning struck a house and vehicle, causing minor property damage.  The first of the injuries came when a rare thunderstorm struck Catalina Island at about 12:45 in the afternoon.  “We had a monsoonal type storm come through fast and furious, landing for about an hour-and-a-half,” said...
Jul 28, 2014 11:10am
Merced County Supervisors John Pedrozo and Hub Walsh say they will reject a 1.4 percent increase in their pay which took effect July 1. The move comes as the entire Madera County Board of Supervisors also decided to forgo an automatic 1.83 percent raise for the second year in a row.  Supervisor pay in both Merced and Madera counties is tied to those of Superior Court Judges, who recently received a raise. But, with the counties still struggling financially, many say a pay hike felt premature.  “Although things are improving, it’s still a tough budget year and as a result, none of...
Jul 23, 2014 11:41am
The City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Community College District were lauded just months ago when they approved a new, innovative voting method as part of a lawsuit settlement. But this week, Los Angeles County officials said an outdated county system will make it impossible to implement those changes for at least another four years. Two plaintiffs sued the City of Santa Clarita, as well as the Santa Clarita Community College District and the Sulphur Springs School District last June, claiming that their at-large voting systems diluted minority votes and therefore constituted a...
Jul 23, 2014 11:38am
Citing a range of public safety concerns, Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said he will soon introduce a proposal which aims to crack down on large-scale, open-air marijuana operations. Outdoor marijuana cultivation is already prohibited by county law. But, according to Jeffries’ Chief of Staff, Jeff Greene, marijuana grows are currently a code enforcement issue rather than a police matter. Under the new ordinance, which could be proposed as soon as next Tuesday, the county would clarify the illegality of outdoor marijuana growing and could impose a new set of escalating fines based...
Jul 23, 2014 11:37am
In order to help fund Governor Jerry Brown’s $25 billion Delta tunnel plan, California water districts are quietly considering the possibility of using property taxes. The possibility of districts raising property taxes without a vote to help fund the two massive tunnels is also a possibility. Under California Proposition 13, any raises in property tax need to be approved by a two-thirds public vote. However, water agencies argue they are exempt from such a requirement. They contend that in 1959, a law that was passed that gives them the authority to raise property taxes. Since this law...
Jul 23, 2014 11:36am
After the news has spread of hundreds of AT&T employees who will be laid off next month, county and state officials have sprung into action, offering workshops and other services to help the transitioning employees. AT&T is planning on letting go 397 employees on August 26, proving to be one of the largest private sector layoffs in Merced County’s history. The layoffs will be primarily from the closing of two AT&T call centers. Though the company estimated 397 employees would be losing their jobs, Merced County officials recently announced the layoffs would actually be 441. The...
Jul 23, 2014 11:35am
First, the good news: According to Cal-Fire, the Bully Fire that near the city of Redding in Shasta County is 86 percent contained. The bad? It has burned more than 12,000 acres. The fire began in July 11, which has given it plenty of time to spread across the region, causing fire personnel to struggle against the dry, hot conditions. There still are approximately 1,500 firefighters tackling the Bully Fire, attempting to get it completely contained in the coming weeks. Sadly, the fire has resulted in 21 injuries, including one fatality. The fire has destroyed eight homes and 12 other...
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