L.A.’s Long-Awaited Earthquake Warning App Is Ready for Download

(TNS) — Los Angeles has unveiled its long-anticipated earthquake early warning app for Android and Apple smartphones, which is now available for download.

ShakeAlertLA, an app created under the oversight of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city, is designed to work with the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake early warning system, which has been under development for years. It’s designed to give users seconds — perhaps even tens of seconds — before shaking from a distant earthquake arrives at a user’s location.

Technology Trends for the New Year That Are NOT About Security

As we inch closer to 2020, inquiring minds want to know … what’s next?

What new tech devices and features can we expect to cause "disruption" as we move into 2019?

Do you remember that positive feeling when you powered up your first smartphone? Or how about the excitement felt when you started using a virtual home assistant, like Alexa, that controlled things with voice commands?

Perhaps you felt those same positive emotions this holiday season, with cool new tech toys under your Christmas tree. Or, maybe you have been disappointed with tech advances in 2018 and are waiting for something different to surface.

Utah Will Soon Have the Strictest DUI Law in the U.S.

If you’re ringing in the new year in Utah, you may want to be extra careful about how much you drink. The state will soon be enforcing the most-stringent anti-drunk driving law in the U.S.

On Dec. 30, a new state law will limit drivers’ blood alcohol content (BAC) to .05 grams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood. That means that a 160-pound man who consumes two drinks in an hour, or a 100-pound woman who just has one, would reach that limit. The consequences for getting caught while driving under the influence (DUI) won’t change—drivers can have their licenses suspended, be slapped with fines of more than $1,000, or go to jail.

Enactment of this law, the most conservative in the country, is not the first time Utah has been a trailblazer. In 1983, it became the first state to lower the BAC limit from 1.0 to 0.08. Over the next 20 years, every other state would follow suit. There’s little dispute that this was a good move—in that time, traffic deaths related to alcohol dropped by 10 percent, as NPR reports. There’s a chance, then, that Utah could be setting the US standard yet again.

Power Restored to Last of 10K Paradise Residents Hit by California Wildfire

A Northern California utility says it has restored power interrupted by a wildfire six weeks ago to all customers able to receive it.

Pacific Gas & Electric said this week the last of about 10,000 residents of Paradise and the surrounding area that lost electricity on Nov. 8 had their power restored by Sunday night. The San Francisco-based utility said it still working to restore natural gas service to many customers.

Santa Barbara County, Calif., Knew Mudslides Were a Risk. It Did Little to Stop Them

(TNS) — During severe winter storms, Cold Springs Creek above Montecito turns into a torrent of mud, uprooted trees and shed-size boulders as it drains three square miles of sheer mountain front.

The only thing protecting the people, homes and businesses below is a low dam that the Army Corps of Engineers built in 1964 at the mouth of the creek's canyon, forming a basin between the steep banks to catch the crashing debris.

Over the decades, the basin filled up with sediment and grew thick with brush and trees.

Northern California's Chico Opens Its Arms to Camp Fire Survivors. But There Are Limits

(TNS) — More than any other Northern California community, Chico has opened its arms to Camp Fire survivors from nearby Paradise.

An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 evacuees have crowded into Chico following the deadliest wildfire in California history, swelling the population by at least 10 percent in a city that was already laboring under a housing shortage. Survivors are taking relatives' spare bedrooms and sleeping in campers in friends' backyards, while their children now attend school in Chico's churches and community centers — and even in a vacant spot in the city's main shopping mall.

California Hits 2 Companies with $4.3M Fine for Improperly Selling Workers’ Comp

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Wednesday imposed a $4.3 million penalty on American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA for selling workers’ compensation and liability policies to employers of farmworkers without being properly licensed with the California Department of Insurance.

The penalty follows a cease and desist order issued by CDI 2016 against the Agricultural Contracting Services Association Inc. and its affiliates, the American Labor Alliance and CompOne USA, and Board Chair Marcus Asay, and an order issued by Jones in 2017 them to refrain from selling insurance policies in California.

California’s 376 Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2017 Equals Previous Year, Report Shows

The California Department of Industrial Relations issued a report on Tuesday showing that 376 Californians died on the job in 2017, the same as in 2016.

California’s workplace fatality rate remains stable with slight fluctuations over the past eight years, while on a national level the rate of fatalities fell from 3.6 to 3.5 per 100,000 workers, according to the DIR.

New Public Safety Center Coming Together in San Rafael, California

(TNS) - Behind a chain-linked fence along Fifth Avenue between C and D streets in San Rafael, workers using a crane hoisted a bundle of steel beams that would be integrated into the framework of what will soon be a new $36 million public safety building.

“Right now we are erecting steel beams and columns for the first and second floor,” said Jorge Meza, the project manager with Kitchel CEM of Sacramento who is overseeing work.