On the Front Lines of Wildfires, Counties Fear Waning Funding

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Yosemite National Park, and described it as “a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” Residents of Tuolumne County, Calif. like myself are blessed to have that solemn cathedral in our back yard. The wonders of the Yosemite Valley draw millions of tourists to our communities each year to hike, camp and explore this natural treasure.

Will growing scenes of hurricanes, wildfires and volcanoes make us a go-bag people?

Will repeated exposure to vivid scenes of natural disaster – Western wildfires, a global heat wave, Hawaiian volcano eruptions, the 2017 hurricanes’ anniversary and a suddenly active 2018 season – finally turn America into a go-bag nation, prepared for calamity and ready to flee it?

Experience counsels skepticism. So does human nature.

The Opioid Crisis Is Now a Fentanyl Crisis

America’s opioid crisis has shifted. As Congress and the White House have dawdled, the overdose death toll has continued its steady climb — reaching more than 49,000 in 2017, an increase of nearly 7,000 over the previous year, itself a record-breaker. But the primary agent of death is no longer ordinary prescription painkillers. It’s illicit fentanyl, often mixed with heroin or some other street drug.

California Comp Quarterly Report: Written Premium on Pace with Last year, but an Overall Declining Trend

Worker’s compensation rates in California have been going down a while, and that has had an impact on written premium, a report released on Wednesday shows.

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California’s report looks at on insurer loss and premium experience valued as of March 31, 2018.

Repair of California’s Oroville Dam Exceeds $1 Billion

(TNS) - The price tag for the 2017 crisis at Oroville Dam has surged past $1 billion.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Water Resources revealed a $1.1 billion cost estimate for the massive repair work at America’s tallest dam. The cost of the emergency response, and the subsequent repairs to the dam’s two flood-control spillways, has periodically risen since officials made their initial estimates following the crisis, which triggered the evacuation of 188,000 residents.

California Bridge Under Construction Gets Sensors to Gather Earthquake Data

A replacement bridge under construction at the second-busiest port in the U.S. isn’t just a crucial route for cargo trucks and Southern California commuters – it’s a concrete-and-steel science experiment for engineers and seismologists.

The new bridge, which will stretch 8,800 feet over the Port of Long Beach, is being built with about 75 seismic sensors that will measure the forces imparted on the span when one of several nearby faults set off an earthquake. It will replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, though it’s unclear if it will retain that name.

California Lawmakers OK Bill to Help PG&E Pay for Wildfire Costs

California lawmakers passed legislation to help utility giant PG&E Corp. pay for billions of dollars in potential liabilities from wildfires that ravaged Northern California wine country last year.

The state Assembly and Senate approved a wide-ranging plan Friday that includes directing regulators to limit how much PG&E shareholders would cover from the 2017 fires that killed dozens of people. The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, who has supported helping PG&E dodge fiscal distress.

FDA Says Coffee Doesn’t Deserve California’s Cancer Risk Warning

The top U.S. regulator of food and health products endorsed a plan by California officials to exempt coffee from a state law that would have made Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee shops add a cancer warning to cups of joe.

The latest research “does not support a cancer warning for coffee,” Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. Such a label “could mislead consumers to believe that drinking coffee could be dangerous to their health when it actually could provide health benefits,” Gottlieb said. Misleading labeling could also violate federal law, he said.

Statewide Emergency Alerts Bill Passes California Legislature

(TNS) - A bill that would create statewide standards for warning the public about wildfires, floods, earthquakes and other emergencies awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature after both houses of the Legislature voted unanimously to approve it this week.

Senate Bill 833 was put forward by several North Coast lawmakers, including Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, after widespread public criticism about ineffective emergency notifications during last year’s firestorm. The legislation passed Monday in the state Assembly and Tuesday in the state Senate.

California Legislature Passes Bill Aimed Collecting Data and Helping Wildfire Victims

The California Legislature has passed Senate Bill 824, a bill aimed at provided information to the California Department of Insurance related to fire risk information on the residential property policies issued by insurers.

The bill prohibits insurers from canceling or refusing to renew a policy based solely on the fact that the insured structure is located in the area of a declared state of emergency.

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