Friday, 01 March 2024

Regional

GLENN COUNTY, Calif. — Caltrans is alerting motorists that the long-term closures of the northbound and southbound Interstate 5 Willows safety roadside rest areas, or SRRA, in Glenn County have been extended to Nov. 6.

The Willows rest areas have been closed since January 2021 for construction and were expected to reopen by the end of summer.

However, additional time is required for the contractor to complete final facility improvements.

During the closure, northbound I-5 motorists will be directed to use the Red Bluff SRRA in Tehama County (about 42 miles north of Willows). Southbound motorists will be directed to the Maxwell SRRA in Colusa County (about 34 miles south of the Willows SRRA).

Caltrans is investing more than $6.9 million to update the wastewater, water, and lighting systems at the Willows rest areas. TSI Engineering Inc. of North Highlands, Sacramento County, is the contractor for the project.

Weather or unexpected events may delay or prolong the work. Caltrans advises motorists to “Be Work Zone Alert.”

The department will issue construction updates on Twitter @CaltransDist3 and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict3.

For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans’ QuickMap or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play.


Charger locomotive leading a Siemens Mobility Venture trainset. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

Rail passengers in Northern California and the Central Valley will start enjoying a more comfortable and modern ride after Caltrans accepted into its fleet the first of seven Siemens Mobility single-level intercity trainsets at the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission facility in Stockton.

“With train ridership recovering from the pandemic drop, these new trainsets will provide Californians with enhanced comfort and convenience as they move around the state,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

The new trainsets will operate on the San Joaquin rail corridor between Sacramento/Oakland and Bakersfield, connecting riders to jobs, education and leisure along the way.

Passengers can expect spacious and modern interiors with amenities that include enhanced onboard Wi-Fi with power and USB ports at all seats as well as enlarged windows.

The passenger cars also feature wider aisles and more comfortable seats, additional leg room, larger tray tables and expanded luggage storage options, with oversized baggage and bike racks.

The newly-accepted Siemens Mobility Venture Trainset at the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission facility in Stockton, California. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

The trains are ADA-accessible, including weatherproof gangways between cars, wider aisles, retractable steps, and state-of-the-art touchless and much larger restrooms. Each coach car seats up to 70 passengers.

“These trainsets were designed with Californians in mind, both in terms of job creation here in Sacramento and next-generation passenger rail throughout the state,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America. “Together with Caltrans, we’ve created a trainset that is both safe and modern to keep passengers connected and on the move.”

With Caltrans officially taking ownership, the department anticipates the trainsets soon will enter service. These additional trains will help restore service to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in schedule improvements throughout the state’s rail service.

The Venture Trainsets for Caltrans were ordered from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and are being designed and manufactured by Siemens. They are Buy America-compliant and built at the Siemens Mobility rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento.

Powered by the California sun with two megawatts of solar energy and 2,400 employees, the facility has been in operation for more than 30 years.

Side view of the Siemens Mobility Venture Trainset passenger cars. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

OAKLAND – As the massive harmful algal bloom, or HAB, stretching throughout the San Francisco Bay appears to be in decline, the State Water Resources Control Board, San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are warning that depleted oxygen levels could lead to large-scale aquatic deaths in the days ahead.

Better known as a “red tide” since it has turned much of the Bay a reddish-brown color, the HAB was first detected in Alameda in late July and has grown to become the largest in the Bay’s recorded history.

Already, the HAB has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of fish, including large sturgeon, sharks, striped bass, bat rays and anchovy.

While this type of HAB is not considered a health threat to humans, it is recommended that people avoid swimming until further notice. The cause of the HAB is still not known.

“It’s very upsetting to see the scale of harm to aquatic life and we know how disturbing this has been for the public,” said Eileen White, executive officer of the San Francisco Regional Water Board. “We are doing everything possible to monitor the situation, work with other agencies and search for solutions.”

At Lake Merritt, which is connected to San Francisco Bay, reports suggest as many as 10,000 fish died in late August.

On Aug. 29, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board staff conducted a field investigation at Lake Merritt, where very low dissolved oxygen levels were measured in the water.

Water samples were collected for identification of algal species and toxins. Updates to this sampling event will be posted on the HAB web map.

CDFW will be conducting both boat and shore-based surveys next week at various locations around San Pablo and Suisun bays.

The goals of these surveys will be to determine the geographic extent of the fish kill, any expansion into new areas, the species affected and the numbers of dead fish on select target species such as white and green sturgeon.

CDFW is also tracking reports from partners and community scientists to determine where fish mortalities are occurring.

Due to the likelihood of increased fish mortalities through the weekend, CDFW is encouraging people who may be recreating on the nearby shorelines in affected areas to report sightings of dead fish through the iNaturalist smartphone app.

The water boards have worked with various agencies, including the City of Oakland, Alameda County, San Mateo County and East Bay Regional Park District to post caution advisory signs near affected waters (e.g., Lake Merritt, the Oakland Estuary, Coyote Point, and Crown Beach) to inform the public to avoid contact with the discolored water caused by the red tide.

For questions specifically related to fish mortalities from this HAB, please contact Jordan Traverso at CDFW at 916-212-7352.

For more information about HABs, please visit Cabs/slifornia Harmful Algal Blooms Portal.

The California Transportation Commission, or CTC, this week allocated nearly $3 billion for projects to repair and improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.

The allocation includes more than $452 million in funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and more than $123 million in funding from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.

“This allocation – which includes a significant federal investment – allows Caltrans and our local partners to continue building the equitable, sustainable, and safe transportation system on which future generations will depend,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

Projects approved this week include:

• Approximately $1.9 million toward roadway, guardrail and culvert repairs along Route 299 west of Three Creek Road near Willow Creek in Humboldt County.

• Approximately $1.1 million toward construction of a left turn lane at Timbers Boulevard, lighting and other roadway improvements along U.S. 101 near Smith River in Del Norte County.

• Approximately $2.6 million toward embankment, guardrail and drainage repairs along U.S. 101 from Water Plant Road to the East Hill Undercrossing near Willits in Mendocino County.

• Approximately $858,000 toward road and guardrail repairs along U.S. 101 from Shimmins Ridge Road to Old Sherwood Road near Willits in Mendocino County.

The CTC allocated more than $2.1 billion to Caltrans' Division of Local Assistance in its annual federal fiscal year investment.

These local assistance funds are used by more than 600 cities, counties and regional agencies throughout California to build and improve roads, bridges, tunnels and other transportation infrastructure, and for projects that enhance safety and help protect the environment.

Annually, more than 1,200 new projects are authorized through the Local Assistance Program.

SB 1 provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually that is shared equally between the state and local agencies.

Road projects progress through construction phases more quickly based on the availability of SB 1 funds, including projects that are partially funded by SB 1.

For more information about transportation projects funded by SB 1, visit http://www.rebuildingca.ca.gov/.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, with cooperation from partners at the Wildlands Conservancy, Monte Rio Fire Protection District, and the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District, will be conducting a prescribed burn starting Tuesday, Sept. 27, through Thursday, Sept. 29.

The burn will be located near an unnamed ridge west of Magic Mountain Road and south of Kidd Creek in Sonoma County.

This burn will take place along a ridge where Cal Fire has conducted prescribed burning since 2018 to maintain a strategic location to stop or slow an approaching wildfire and reestablish wildfire as a natural disturbance regime.

It is planned to burn approximately 15 acres per day of the State Responsibility Area, or SRA, as part of a vegetation management project that helps treat the forest understory.

Burning is expected to start at 9 a.m. each day and be completed by 4 p.m. each afternoon. Due to the elevation and location, expect smoke to be visible from many parts of Sonoma County including the Windsor area down to Santa Rosa.

The burn and smoke should be visible from the Siri camera on the ALERTCalifornia website.

If traveling in the area, please use caution.

Prescribed burns are carefully planned and must meet strict criteria for ecological benefit, weather parameters, smoke management and fire safety guidelines. The planned operation is subject to lastminute changes due to those considerations.

When all conditions are met, trained wildland firefighters conduct the burn while monitoring the set criteria, fire behavior and designated fire control lines.

The prescribed burn will comply with requirements of the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution
Control District.

To learn more about prescribed fire and its benefits visit https://www.readyforwildfire.org/more/prescribed-fires.

Gov. Gavin Newsom visits Homekey project in Los Angeles preparing to welcome tenants on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office.

Alongside state and local leaders at a new Homekey project in Los Angeles preparing to welcome tenants, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced the award of $694 million for 35 projects that will create more than 2,500 new units in 19 communities throughout the state.

In total, including Wednesday’s announcement, California’s nation-leading Homekey program has funded more than 200 projects statewide — creating more than 12,500 permanent and interim homes for people exiting homelessness.

“With 12,500 new homes funded in just two years, Homekey is changing lives across the state,” said Newsom. “Homekey’s groundbreaking success is a model for the nation, showing that we can make real progress on ending homelessness in months, not years. In partnership with cities and counties like Los Angeles, we’ll continue to safely house Californians in need faster and more cost-effectively than ever.”

The governor celebrated Homekey’s recent two-year anniversary at a volunteer workday for a Los Angeles Homekey project, where he assisted in assembling welcome kits as part of the site’s move-in preparations. Including today’s awards, the Los Angeles region has to date received $948 million for 62 Homekey projects that will create 4,034 units of housing.

The governor was joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BCSH) Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez and Department of Housing and Community Development Director Gustavo Velasquez.

“Homekey is more than just another tool in our toolbox in the work to end homelessness – it’s an opportunity for thousands to start anew, and an injection of pride and dignity that can keep Angelenos off the street for good,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Thanks to this latest infusion of funds, hundreds of people experiencing homelessness today will be offered the stability of a permanent home, the safety of a door with a lock, and the services they need to get back on their feet.”

Homekey has become a national model for how to quickly deploy emergency funds to meet the diverse needs of rural, suburban, urban and tribal communities working to expand homeless housing.

Building on the program’s success, the state budget signed by the governor this year invests an additional $150 million, bringing total Homekey funding to $3.75 billion.

“Homekey has been one of our most effective and catalytic affordable housing supply solutions,” said BCSH Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez. “Thanks to Gov. Newsom’s vision, in 24 months, we designed a hotels-to-housing national model, mobilized technical assistance and marshaled historic housing resources. The state brought together housing providers, social service organizations, residents and local leaders to create over 12,500 places that people exiting homelessness can call home. This is an incredible example of good government responding with compassion, speed and transformative solutions.”

Newsom on Wednesday also announced $47 million in housing grants to create more residential care options for seniors and adults with disabilities, including people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

These grants are the first to be awarded through the new Community Care Expansion — Capital Expansions Grants Program administered by the California Department of Social Services to help address historic gaps in the state’s behavioral health and long-term care continuum.

The governor’s multibillion-dollar homeless housing investments will provide more than 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots in the coming years.

Building on last year’s historic $12 billion investment to help get the most vulnerable people off the streets, the state budget this year invests an additional $3 billion in behavioral health housing, homeless emergency aid, and encampment rehousing strategies, creating a total $15 billion package.

“In just two years, Homekey has facilitated the creation of 12,500 interim and permanent homes for our most at-risk Californians. In this program, HCD continues implementing systemic changes to address both the urgent need to shelter people and to progress toward our Statewide Housing Plan goal for more affordable housing for lower-income and unhoused residents who are disproportionately people of color,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “State and local collaboration has been key throughout these two years, and we must continue to use Homekey as a model to accelerate production and affirmatively further fair housing.”

The latest Homekey awards include the following projects:

• City of Fontana: $3.1 million for 14 interim units.
• City of Fresno: Four awards totaling $57.9 million for 283 units.
• City of Los Angeles: Ten awards totaling $277.3 million for a total of 960 units.
• County of Los Angeles: Two awards totaling $24.6 million for a total of 78 units.
• City of Long Beach: Two awards totaling $30.6 million for 110 interim units.
• City of Newark: $38.1 million for 124 permanent units and one manager unit.
• City of Oakland: $5.6 million for 24 interim units and 10 interim youth units.
• City of Palo Alto: $26.6 million for 108 interim units.
• County of Riverside/Palm Springs: $19.1 million for 70 interim units and 10 interim youth units.
• County of San Diego: $11.8 million for 40 permanent units and one manager unit.
• San Francisco: Two awards totaling $73.4 million for a total of 221 units.
• City of San Jose: $51.6 million for 204 interim units.
• County of San Luis Obispo: $568,000 for 3 interim housing youth units.
• City of Santa Rosa: Two awards totaling $24.7 million for 91 units.
• Sonoma County: $6.3 million for 21 permanent units and one manager unit.
• City of Stockton: $4.1 million for 14 permanent units and one manager unit.
• City of Thousand Oaks: $26.7 million for 77 permanent units and one manager unit.
• County of Ventura: $5.9 million for 27 interim youth units.
• City of West Hollywood: $6 million for 20 interim units and one manager unit.

Upcoming Calendar

2Mar
03.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Special Olympics Polar Plunge
3Mar
03.03.2024 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Pianists Benefit Concert
10Mar
16Mar
17Mar
03.17.2024
St. Patrick's Day
31Mar
03.31.2024
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04.01.2024
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15Apr
04.15.2024
Tax Day

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