Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 08:00 External News

(TNS) — PG&E's "unsafe conduct" caused a gas explosion in San Bruno and several fatal Northern California wildfires, but a federal judge will allow PG&E to primarily focus on tree-trimming rather than be forced to launch a complete inspection of its power grid.

"The judge's actions don't really ensure the safety of the system," said Mike Danko, a Redwood City-based attorney who represents some Northern California wildfire victims. "I guess this is a first step towards safety."

Nevertheless, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup, who is supervising PG&E's probation in the wake of its criminal conviction for felonies it committed before and after a deadly gas explosion in San Bruno, blamed PG&E's deficient safety efforts for causing both the San Bruno disasters and a string of lethal wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 06:30 External News

(TNS) — Intense mega-fires have become the “new abnormal” in California. The wildfires are out, for now. Thank you, firefighters! But the fight over who should bear the costs of future damage compensation and risk mitigation is heating up.

Citing wildfire liabilities upwards of $30 billion, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the state’s largest electric utility, recently filed for bankruptcy. Headlines hail this the first of many “climate change bankruptcies.” But climate change is only one factor. These fires would not be so big if we did not send power through thousands of miles of tinderbox forest at high-risk times. Liabilities would not be so large if fewer people lived in high fire-risk areas.

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 07:15 External News

A Northern California river flooded 2,000 homes, businesses and other buildings and left two communities virtual islands after days of stormy weather, officials said Wednesday.

The towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio were hardest hit by water pouring from the Russian River, which topped 46 feet on Wednesday, said Briana Khan, a Sonoma County spokeswoman.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 11:45 External News

(TNS) - This would be a first for California: state government buying insurance to protect itself against overspending its budget.

But before you start pelting the politicians and screaming fiscal irresponsibility, know that the budget-busting would be for fighting wildfires.

That puts it in an entirely different category from, say, controversial spending to help immigrants who are here illegally, or trying to register voters at the notoriously jammed DMV.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 11:30 External News

(TNS) - One of the winter’s strongest storms brought flooding across Northern California’s wine country Wednesday, with no region hit harder than the town of Guerneville and the Russian River Valley, which has been inundated repeatedly over the decades.

Some 3,600 people in about two dozen communities near the river were evacuated Wednesday by the flooding, which prompted the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to declare a local emergency. Authorities warned that those who chose to stay in their homes could be stuck there for days.

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 06:30 External News

It was still dark on a Friday morning in November when a California Highway Patrol officer started following a Tesla Model S on Route 101 between the San Francisco International Airport and Palo Alto. The gray sedan was going 70 miles per hour with a turn signal blinking, cruising past multiple exits. The officer pulled up alongside and saw the driver in a head-slumped posture. Lights and sirens failed to rouse him. The car, the officer guessed, was driving itself under the control of what Tesla calls Autopilot.

Every Tesla is equipped with hardware that the automaker says will enable its vehicles to be capable of driving themselves on entire trips, from parking space to parking space, with no input from the driver. At the moment, the company limits its cars to a system that can guide them from on-ramp to off-ramp on highways. The system is smart enough, it seems, to keep the Tesla driving safely even with a seemingly incapacitated driver, but not yet smart enough to obey police sirens and pull over.

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 09:30 External News

The strongest data privacy law in the country may be about to get sharper teeth, and lobbyists representing the tech industry think it’s a disastrous idea.

Companies that amass user data could be the target of mass class-action litigation from California consumers if they’re accused of violating the California Consumer Privacy Act, under a proposed amendment to the law filed Feb. 22.

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 08:30 External News

Motorists swam for their lives and residents were rescued from homes sliding downhill as the wettest winter storm of the year triggered floods and mudslides across California on Thursday.

In Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, a mudslide carried away two homes and engulfed five cars, sending one woman to the hospital, Southern Marin Fire Department tweeted. Dozens of homes were evacuated in the area.

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 11:30 External News

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, or NSAIDs, have supplanted opioids as the most common therapeutic drug group prescribed to injured workers in California, according to a new California Workers’ Compensation Institute study.

The study also finds that payment data show that both dermatological medications and anticonvulsants now rank ahead of opioids in terms of total reimbursements.

Friday, February 15, 2019 - 11:15 External News

Situational awareness is critical for a police officer, and when it comes to confronting a subject suffering from a mental illness or other behavioral issues, knowledge of the subject’s state of mind could help the officer de-escalate a possibly explosive situation.

That’s what Kern County has provided for its law enforcement officers and first responders with the deployment of Smart911’s enhanced profiles that provide critical information on a subject’s mental health, addiction, and other issues that might aid the responder’s situational awareness.

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