Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Community

Caltrans on Monday launched an equity tool designed to help all Californians benefit from transportation projects and identify communities most negatively impacted by the transportation system, which results in high rates of traffic, crashes and air pollution, as well as limited transit options.

The Caltrans Transportation Equity Index, or EQI, tool will help inform project selection, program evaluation, and policy decisions, better align the transportation system to state environmental and equity goals and help address transportation-related inequities.

Data will be used to identify transportation-based priority populations to help end harms created or made worse by the state’s transportation system.

Caltrans aims to advance equitable outcomes during project planning, development, and design phases, for both the department and partner public agencies.

“Establishing the EQI tool shows our serious commitment to embedding equity in our decision-making to improve the quality of life for all Californians,” said Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “By more easily identifying and prioritizing communities with the greatest transportation needs, there is tremendous potential in this tool to help achieve an equitable transportation future for all.”

“Caltrans will use this tool to help ensure all California communities benefit from our transportation projects,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “We need to identify the ways our transportation infrastructure has negatively impacted our communities and neighborhoods. Better data lets us build equity into our transportation system from the ground up.”

Caltrans began developing the EQI in 2021 as a commitment to the department’s equity statement and to deliver on the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), which acknowledges the communities in California that experience fewer benefits and shoulder a greater burden from the state’s transportation system.

These disparities often reflect a history of decision-making that “… quite literally put up barriers, divided communities, and amplified racial inequities.”

The tool includes three key data indicators: the first focuses on household income and federally recognized tribal lands; the second measures traffic proximity, volume, and crash exposure; and the final considers access to destinations, measuring gaps in the transit, bicycle, and pedestrian networks.

The EQI relies on both publicly available and internally developed datasets from public and private sources.

Some examples of the adverse effects of transportation decisions include higher exposure levels to dangerous crashes, lower access to jobs and education, and reduced environmental and health outcomes.

The EQI can be used to help ensure new transportation projects lead to long-term improvements in the quality of life for every neighborhood and community. Research regarding communities that have been hurt by unfair transportation decisions includes Pasadena and Stockton, as well as other cities around the state.

With the EQI, Caltrans can more easily identify transportation projects that improve access in these areas to prioritize for state and federal funding programs.

The EQI’s first application will be to deepen the analytical capabilities within the Caltrans System Investment Strategy, or CSIS.

The CSIS will be a data and performance-driven system that guides transportation investments. Additional applications of EQI are still under development.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — The E Center Women, Infants and Children Program has released its March appointment scheduling notice.

The nationwide, federally sponsored WIC nutrition program provides nutrition education, support and help with breastfeeding, community and healthcare referrals, and supplemental food benefits to eligible pregnant women, new moms, postpartum women, infants, and children under the age of five.

WIC encourages enrollment of migrants and eligible women in the early months of pregnancy. Single fathers, foster parents and guardians of children under age five are also eligible to enroll their children.

The food packages include fruits, vegetables, eggs, cheese, milk, cereal, juice, whole grains, and beans or peanut butter, infant cereal, infant fruits and vegetables, and formula supplementation is available for infants.

WIC has generous income guidelines. For example, a family of four can have a yearly gross income of $55,500 or monthly income of up to $4,625 and still be eligible for the health benefits of the WIC program.

To enroll in the WIC program, schedule appointments, or for more information, call 707-263-5253 or 707-994-1151. WIC’s fax numbers are 707-263-4183 or 707-994-1152.

WIC families have the option to complete appointments in person or virtually, and can also complete nutrition classes online at www.wichealth.org. Bilingual staff and lunch-hour appointments are also available.

The March 2024 WIC Program Clinic Schedule:

Lakeport WIC office, 831 Bevins St.: Monday, March 18; Tuesdays, March 5, 12th, 19 and 26; Wednesday, March 6 (PM only); Friday, March 22. The schedule is 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Clearlake WIC office, 14085 - 4 Lakeshore Drive: Mondays, March 11 and 25; Wednesday, March 20; Thursdays, March 7, 14, 21 and 28; Friday, March 15. The schedule is 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Middletown, at the First Baptist Church, 21244 State Highway 175, on Friday, March 1, from 9:15 to 11: 30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m.

Lucerne, at the First Lutheran Church, 3863 Country Club Drive, on Friday, March 8, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 3 p.m.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that households impacted by widespread power outages that started on Feb. 4 as the result of a strong winter storm in California could be eligible for replacement of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/CalFresh benefits.

This is one of many recent steps USDA has taken to ensure California residents in need have food to eat.

Rather than require SNAP households to report food losses individually, USDA allowed the State of California to approve automatic mass replacements for residents of certain zip codes who lost food as a result of the power outages and winter storm.

The waiver applies to specified zip codes from 27 counties. More details will be made available through the  California Department of Social Services, or CDSS. 

SNAP participants in areas hardest hit by the power outages may have a portion of their February benefits replaced.

SNAP recipients residing in other affected areas may request replacement benefits by filing an affidavit with the local office attesting to disaster-related loss.

Additionally, USDA has approved CDSS’ request to waive the 10-day reporting requirement for replacement of food purchased with SNAP benefits that were lost as a result of power outages due to the winter storms that began in February.

The waiver is in effect through March 4.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is ready to consider additional waivers that may be needed to help program participants who have lost food due to widespread power outages and to simplify the application process for affected households, upon request from the CDSS. Individuals seeking more information about this and other available aid should dial 2-1-1.

For more information about California SNAP, visit https://www.cdss.ca.gov/food-nutrition/calfresh.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP.

Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being.

FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022.

To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

The Major League Fishing Toyota Series three-day tournament will take place in Lake County, California, this week. Photo courtesy of Major League Fishing.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The Major League Fishing, or MLF, Toyota Series presented by Phoenix Boats is set to visit Lakeport March 6 to 8 for the 2024 Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse season opener – the Toyota Series at Clear Lake.

The three-day tournament, hosted by the Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, will feature a roster of the region’s best bass-fishing pros and Strike King co-anglers competing for a top prize of up to $75,000 in the pro division and a new Phoenix 518 Pro boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor in the co-angler division.

“I am super excited for this event — after seeing how well the local team tournaments have been doing the last month, I expect that we are going to see some giant weights,” said Rancho Santa Margarita, California, pro Kyle Grover, who has four career top-10 finishes and a 2019 win on Clear Lake in Toyota Series competition. “I think it’s going to take 85 to 100 pounds over the three days to win this one. I can’t wait to get there.”

Grover said the water levels on Clear Lake are extremely high, and with more rain and even a little bit of snow being forecast for this upcoming weekend, he expects anglers are going to have to slow down and work hard to locate the biggest schools.

“Clear Lake is a pretty simple fishery, and they usually always bite the same stuff,” Grover said. “The key is finding them — we call it the biomass. The fish there like to group up, and when you find those big schools you can usually get on that one spot and smash them. Most of the time it’s a one-boat, one-cast type deal.

“You’ll be able to tell who found the schools pretty quickly,” Grover continued. “There will be a handful of guys at the top of the leaderboard that weigh in some massive limits, and then you’ll see the weights taper off pretty quickly.”

With schools of fish being the key Grover said that he expects forward-facing sonar to play a big role in this tournament, although not with the minnow-type soft plastics that are winning events across the south.

“The fish here like the bigger baits, so I think we’ll see a lot of swimbaits, umbrella rigs, (Lucky Craft) LV 500s — I think the tournament will likely be won on one of those three baits,” Grover went on to say. “But there will be guys catching them on the south end of the lake, too, throwing crankbaits and big jigs.”

Anglers will launch at 6:30 a.m. PT each day from the Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport. Weigh-ins will also be held at the marina and will begin at 2:30 p.m. Fans are welcome to attend and encouraged to follow the event online through the “MLF Live” weigh-in broadcasts and daily coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

In Toyota Series regular-season competition, payouts are based on the number of participants competing in the event, scaling up for every 20 boats over 160 and scaling down for every boat below 160. With a 160-boat field, pros fish for a top prize of up to $75,000, if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard (valued at $33,500). With a 260-boat field, pros fish for a top award of up to $100,000, if Phoenix MLF Bonus qualified. Strike King co-anglers cast for the top prize of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury or Suzuki outboard plus $5,000 cash.

The 2024 Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats consists of six divisions – Central, Northern, Plains, Southern, Southwestern and the Western Division Presented by Tackle Warehouse — each holding three regular-season events, along with the International and Wild Card divisions.

Anglers who fish in any of the six divisions or the Wild Card division and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning up to $235,000 and a qualification to REDCREST 2025.

The winning Strike King co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard. The 2024 Toyota Series Championship will be held Nov. 7 to 9 on Wheeler Lake in Huntsville, Alabama, and is hosted by the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Madison County Commission, and the Huntsville Sports Commission.

Proud sponsors of the 2024 MLF Toyota Series include: 7Brew, Abu Garcia, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, BUBBA, E3, Epic Baits, FX Custom Rods, General Tire, Lew’s, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Suzuki, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota and YETI.

For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular Toyota Series updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

NICE, Calif. — The St. Patrick's Day Dinner and North Shore Business Association Evening Mixer will be a Vision of Hope Village fundraiser.

It will be held at the Nice Event Center at 2817 East Highway 20 in Nice on Saturday, March 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 each.

The attendees will receive five raffle tickets, a glass of wine or soda, a full catered dinner of corned beef and cabbage with trimmings plus dessert.

Water will also be provided at the table with additional beverages for sale. Mail a check to NSBA, P.O. Box 225, Lucerne, CA 95458.

Please be mindful that the cutoff date is Friday, March 8, or until sold out.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. are encouraging all Californians to understand their rights as a voter, learn more about the state’s voting protections, and make a plan to vote before the Presidential Primary Election on March 5, 2024.

As Election Day fast approaches, all Californians should be aware of their rights and legal protections as they fulfill their civic duty.

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Knowledge is power; I implore all Californians to know their rights as voters and plan to make their voices heard at the polls. It is important for everyone to do their part to help ensure our democracy prospers. The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting the rights of all voters in our state.”

“This year, we observe the 60th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, an effort to empower those whose voting rights had been denied for decades,” said California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. “In today’s political environment, it’s important to affirm that you have explicit enumerated rights as a voter in California, and that the Attorney General and I are committed to protecting those rights.”

Prior to the Presidential Primary Election, it is important to make sure you have a plan to cast your ballot by March 5, 2024.

You can visit https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections for more helpful information on the election, including where to find your polling place.

As soon as you receive your ballot, you may cast your vote by mail or through other options made available in your area by county elections officials.

You can also track your vote-by-mail ballot by signing up with the Secretary of State’s Office here for text, email, or voice status alerts.

On Election Day, it is important for California’s voters to know their rights. The California Voter Bill of Rights is available on the Secretary of State’s website in nearly 30 different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Burmese, Gujarati, Hmong, Ilocano, Indonesian, Laotian, Mien, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Punjabi, Syriac, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. This is an important tool for understanding your rights as a Californian voter.

In California, you have the following rights:

• The right to vote if you are a registered voter, without having to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls;
• The right to vote if you are a registered voter even if your name is not on the list through use of a provisional ballot;
• The right to vote if you are still in line when the polls close;
• The right to cast a secret ballot;
• The right to get a new ballot if you have made a mistake;
• The right to get help casting your ballot;
• The right to drop off your completed vote-by-mail ballot at any polling place;
• The right to get election materials in a language other than English;
• The right to ask elections officials questions about election procedures; and
• The right to report any illegal or fraudulent election activity.

If you believe you have been denied any of these rights or are aware of any election fraud or misconduct, please call the Secretary of State’s confidential toll-free Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Under California law, voters are protected from, among other things, election interference, voter intimidation, and electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. California law enforcement agencies are empowered to enforce California’s election laws, including during voting that occurs between now through Election Day.

More information on California laws protecting the rights of voters can be found in a law enforcement bulletin available here.

Every vote matters, and the California Department of Justice and Secretary of State’s Office remain committed to ensuring that all elections in the state are safe, fair, and accessible to every voter.

On Election Day, the California Department of Justice is on call to provide additional assistance to the Secretary of State’s Office in enforcing California’s election laws where needed through a team of attorneys and administrative staff located across the state.

Upcoming Calendar

25Apr
04.25.2024 1:30 pm - 7:30 pm
FireScape Mendocino workshop
27Apr
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Northshore Ready Fest
27Apr
04.27.2024 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
27Apr
04.27.2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Inaugural Team Trivia Challenge
4May
05.04.2024 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Park Study Club afternoon tea
5May
05.05.2024
Cinco de Mayo
6May
05.06.2024 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Senior Summit
12May
05.12.2024
Mother's Day
27May
05.27.2024
Memorial Day

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