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Around California

Gov. Newsom Says Deal To Reopen Schools Is Close

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP/CBS13) — As the vast majority of California students approach one year of distance learning, Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed Tuesday that classrooms will reopen “very, very shortly.” But his forecast was called into question by Los Angeles teachers who continue to insist that the state’s largest school district won’t open without more vaccinations.

“The pressure building to return to schools is political. It is not science,” the United Teachers Los Angeles said in a statement. The union said it will vote next week to refuse resuming in-person classes unless certain demands are met, including that all returning staff get access to vaccinations and COVID-19 case numbers in the county continue to decrease.

For weeks, Newsom has been negotiating with lawmakers on a deal to reopen schools and salvage what’s left of this academic year. Most of California’s 6 million public school students haven’t seen a classroom since the state’s first shutdown in mid-March of 2020. A state lawmaker submitted a $6.5 billion proposal last week aimed at reopening schools by this spring, but Newsom said the timetable was too slow and suggested he could veto it.

Continue Reading on CBS Local

BUSD takes step toward building affordable housing for teachers, staff

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The front entrance of the Berkeley Adult School where Curative runs a COVID 19 test facility using one of Gehl’s custom made kiosks to streamline the efficiency of testing. Nov. 23, 2020. Photo: Pete Rosos

Cornelius Smith pulls into the parking lot at Oxford Elementary at 8 a.m. He leans the driver’s seat back to get some shut-eye, two hours before his shift starts.

By day, Smith works as a school safety officer at the high school. By night, he is an armed officer at the Federal Reserve in San Francisco. He sleeps when he can, crashing for a few hours in the evening at his cousin’s place in Emeryville or at his parent’s in Hercules, and in his car in the mornings. The drive home to Antioch takes up to an hour and a half, depending on traffic, and he makes it back only on the weekends.

Smith would love to live in Berkeley, but with the sky-high cost of housing, “it’s way too expensive.” Many teachers live paycheck to paycheck, and classified staff like Smith earn even less. School safety officers at Berkeley Unified make as little as $29,000 each year, and the median salary for district employees is $45,833.

Continue Reading on Berkeleyside

With California left behind on indoor dining, here’s what Bay Area restaurants can hope for next

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To the surprise of some in the restaurant industry, San Francisco on Tuesday failed to secure state permission to reopen limited-capacity indoor dining, with the county falling short on one of three key metrics to move to a higher Covid tier.

With other states, including New York, recently relaxing restrictions and permitting the return of some indoor dining as infections fall, California appears to stand alone as the only state in the U.S. where indoor dining remains effectively off-limits. While a handful of rural counties are in the red and orange tiers and can allow indoor dining, as of Tuesday, 99.8% of the state’s population lives in purple-tier counties where only outdoor dining, takeout and delivery are permitted.

So how close are we?

To move from purple into the red tier — which allows indoor dining at 25% capacity — counties need an adjusted case rate of between 4 and 7, a test positivity rate between 5% and 8%, and a health equity metric between 5.3% and 8%. They must meet all three — and hold those numbers for two weeks straight before they can move up.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Business Times

Marin County to widen vaccine access to 65-plus bracket

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GREENBRAE CA - DECEMBER 17: Marin County Fire Department paramedic Kevin Stone prepares a syringe with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae, Calif. on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Continuing Care Retirement Community staff at The Tamalpais are among the first to get the coronavirus vaccines in Marin. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

Marin County will expand the pool of people eligible for coronavirus vaccines to residents 65 and older beginning next week, the county’s public health officer said Monday.

The change represents the first time that many of the the roughly 33,000 Marin residents between the ages of 65 and 74 will be able to book appointments to get vaccinated. The county has so far reserved its limited supply of vaccine doses for residents age 75 and older, in addition to people living in senior care centers, health care workers and other occupational groups.

Appointments for vaccinations through the county’s public health department will open Thursdays at 12 p.m. at coronavirus.marinhhs.org/vaccine. The number of appointments each week will be limited based on supply, according to Dr. Matt Willis, the public health officer.

Kaiser and Sutter Health patients must book appointments through their health care providers, Willis said. While Sutter expanded vaccine eligibility to patients 65 and older last week, Kaiser has not yet lowered the minimum age below 75 in Marin, a company spokesman said Monday.

Continue Reading on Mecury News

Electrify America’s Charging Grid Expands With 30 Free Of Charge Solar Powered Stations

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Electrify America is installing 30 solar-powered EV charging stations throughout central California. Each charging station features two charging ports.

The chargers are specifically being placed inland to provide greater access to charging infrastructure in rural parts of the state, while more than half are located in disadvantaged and low income communities, and they are all available to the public free of charge.

“Electrify America’s mission centers around increasing access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure to meet the differing needs of drivers across a diverse set of communities and lifestyles,” said Nina Huesgen, senior manager, home, and eCommerce at Electrify America. “We believe adding renewable energy to our offerings and expanding access to public charging in rural communities will help continue to spur EV adoption in the state.”

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Rebounding gas prices in Bay Area will soon surpass pre-pandemic levels, analysts say

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Gas prices have rebounded in the Bay Area and are on track to exceed pre-pandemic levels as California continues to reopen, vaccinations increase and the economy slowly begins to recover, according to analysts.

The average price of gas in San Francisco as of Thursday was $3.54 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com, a tech company that collects data on gas prices throughout North America. That’s about 7 cents less than a year ago before the coronavirus pandemic roiled the U.S.

But petroleum analysts say that’s soon to change.

Continue Reading on San Francisco Chronicle

California joins with FEMA to open 2 new COVID-19 vaccine centers, 1 at Cal State L.A.

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California joined with the federal government to open two new mass vaccination centers as test areas for new President Joseph Biden’s effort to create 100 such sites nationwide in 100 days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The sites at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University, Los Angeles, will be jointly run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The move comes as California’s deadliest pandemic surge eases but the state struggles with vaccine shortages and bureaucratic headaches in a race to vaccinate its most vulnerable people.

The new sites are expected to open Feb. 16 for eligible people who can sign up now to be notified and will eventually schedule vaccine appointments using the state’s online MyTurn system. Both sites will be able to administer up to 5,000 doses a day, said state emergency services spokesman Brian Ferguson.

Continue Reading on KTLA

Behind Davis restaurant’s uplifting community support, a family grieves

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DAVIS, Calif. — In the wake of a tragedy, the Davis community has shown an outpouring of support for a family — and local business — in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sam’s Mediterranean Cuisine, a staple in Downtown Davis, has been closed throughout the pandemic. Samir Abughannam, better known around town as Sam, had closed the restaurant indefinitely after his wife, Sue, had fallen ill and later passed away from leukemia on Dec. 20.

Sue and Sam have run the restaurant together since 1995. Compounding on the substantial loss of a loved one, Sam was left with back rent on the building where his restaurant sits.

So, not knowing where else to go, Sam turned to the Davis community with overwhelming results.

Continue Reading on ABC 10

Storm goes relatively easy on Vallejo area

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A cyclist rides through a large puddle on Mare Island left by Tuesday night's strong storm in Vallejo. Rain is expected to return Wednesday and Thursday, but clear up by the weekend. (Chris Riley—Times-Herald)

A fierce atmospheric river storm rolled into Northern California on Tuesday, carrying strong winds and a fire hose of water that could deliver more rain than any storm to strike the region in possibly three years.

It started when the system hit the North Bay and began to spread south, which is where it left its strongest imprint.

Yet, the Vallejo and Benicia area received a relatively mild impact compared to other areas.

Vallejo experienced power outages and at least one downed power line, according to Deanna Contreras at PG&E. She told the Times-Herald that an outage due to a downed line struck at 1:15 a.m. and affected 248 customers on Redwood Street west of Valle Vista Avenue until about 4:30 a.m.

Another big outage occurred at 7 a.m. and affected 2400 customers at Columbus Parkway north of Regis Park Drive, due to wind and rain damaged equipment. By noon on Wednesday, Contreras said only 37 addresses remained without power.

Continue Reading on Times Herald

Northern California communities clean up in aftermath of powerful winds

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Communities across Northern California were hammered by constant and powerful wind Tuesday night into Wednesday, which left behind scattered tree branches, smashed cars and damaged homes in its wake.

On Portola Way in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood, Shannon McNerny says she and her family had a crazy wake-up call.

“About 3:15 or something it shook the whole house,” McNerny said.

A tree fell in between her and her neighbor’s house. The branches crushed her neighbor’s car.

“And I think she parked her car in the driveway just so it wouldn’t be on the street because she never parks there,” McNerny said.

McNerny says she’s counting her blessing as no one was hurt.

Continue Reading on Fox 40

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