Columns

Recurring Columns

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: CARBON MONOXIDE POISINING

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, the leading cause of CO is heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel which can be sources of carbon monoxide says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home DiGiovanna recommends. “When one sounds, they all sound!”

RENO DISPATCH: CHILLING TESTIMONY: DESIGN FLAWS AT CALIFORNIA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT PUT MILLIONS IN DANGER

By Jamie Reno

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – The operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California made critical errors in the design of the plant's replacement steam generators and, as a result, the public was put in great danger last year, according to expert testimony Wednesday by an internationally renowned nuclear engineer at a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) hearing.

The chilling testimony, which was presented to the NRC Petitions Review Board, was accompanied by evidence showing that plant operator Southern California Edison should have been required to go through a license amendment process before installing the new steam generators in 2009 and 2010.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/design-flaws-at-california-n...

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: FIREPLACE SAFETY

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – It’s been unusually cold and more cold weather is in store this winter. During the cold winter months nothing beats a nice fire in the fireplace. Fires may keep us warm, however, there are hazards that need to be addressed says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning says DiGiovanna. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility ...Fire Stops With You!

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HIGH WIND SAFETY TIPS

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

January 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Wildfires are not the only hazard we have to concern ourselves with during High Winds and Red Flag Warnings.

Safety Tips:

The safest place to during high winds is indoors.

Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may become loose during strong wind gusts. Keep an eye toward nearby balconies for loose objects that may fall.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: JOURNEY TO MIDDLE AGE (56 UP)

By Brian Lafferty

January 25, 2013 (San Diego) – Michael Apted is not a director that quickly comes to mind.  He's done some great films, like Coal Miner's Daughter (1980).  Other notable films he's helmed include Gorky Park (1983), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), and Amazing Grace (2006).  He's even directed a James Bond movie. (The World Is Not Enough, 1999.)  

NETFLIX STREAMING PICK OF THE WEEK: DOCUMENTATION OF LIFE (THE UP DOCUMENTARIES)

56 Up, the newest Up Documentary, opens today at the Landmark Ken.

By Brian Lafferty

January 25, 2013 (San Diego) – In 1964, Michael Apted filmed 7 Up for British television.  He and his team sought fourteen children - all aged 7 - from all walks of life.  He found ten boys and four girls who he then interviewed about various political and social issues as well as their dreams and hopes for the future.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: ARNOLD IS BACK (THE LAST STAND)

By Brian Lafferty

January 18, 2013 (San Diego) -- It seems like it's been forever but Arnold Schwarzenegger, to borrow a familiar line, is back.  The Last Stand is his first starring role since Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines ten years ago.  It’s apparent the transition from governor back to actor isn’t easy for him.  His timing isn't as sharp as it was in True Lies and at 65 he’s not as physically overpowering as he was twenty years ago.  I liken it to someone relearning how to drive a car after having not driven for many years.

Of course I knew going in all of that was to be expected.  Sure enough, these are minor quibbles.

THE CAREGIVER'S JOURNEY: YOU NEED TO DRAW THE LINE

By Marsha Kay Seff

January 16, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Take a deep breath and buckle your seatbelt.  You’re a caregiver:  Sure you feel overwhelmed.  It goes with the job; there’s not a family caregiver around who doesn’t feel stressed to the max – a lot of the time.

Caregiving is a rollercoaster.  You go up and you go down, sometimes at virtually the same time.  So buckle up and try to enjoy the best parts of the ride.

An important way to prepare for this journey is to set boundaries. 

EARTHTALK®: WHAT IS THE LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE?

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

January 12, 2013 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: What is the Living Building Challenge and how does it differ from the LEED certification program?                                                 -- Jason Marshall, Richmond, VA

Both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the Living Building Challenge (LBC) were created with the same goal in mind: to encourage more sustainability and resource conservation in architecture, design, construction and building operations. LEED, a program of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is well known in architecture, building and design circles as the standard for certifying the green attributes of new and retrofitted structures (and even entire neighborhoods).

RENO DISPATCH: BREAKING NEWS: SUPREME COURT REJECTS HISTORIC LAWSUIT AGAINST GOVERNMENT

By Jamie Reno, The Reno Dispatch

January 10, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will not hear arguments in an historic lawsuit filed by two veterans groups in 2007 against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The lawsuit, Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki, demanded that the VA fix its broken mental health care system.

Last May, a federal appeals court in California voted 10–1 to dismiss the case, ruling that only Congress or the president has the authority to direct changes on how veterans are treated. The decision overturned a 2–1 ruling in 2011 by the same court, which said that the department’s “unchecked incompetence has gone on long enough,” and permitted the plaintiffs to ask a federal judge to order changes in the VA.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/breaking-news-supreme-court-...

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: RODENTS AND COLD WEATHER - A PESKY FIRE HAZARD!

January 10, 2013 (San Diego) – People aren't the only ones who value a dry, cozy home in cold weather according to Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. Rodents do, too. "As it gets colder, everything that was out tends to want to find some sort of harbor inside," says Chief DiGiovanna. They scurry in our walls and above our heads during the night, they raid our food and ruin it with their feces, and they reproduce wildly, creating more and more inhabitants for us to worry about. Rats, mice and squirrels also do a lot of damage to your home's structure, insulation, pipes and even electrical wiring.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS: REPUBLICANS WIN THE "FISCAL CLIFF" DEBATE

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

The views expressed in this column reflect the views of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

January 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The first part of the “fiscal cliff” debate is over — and the Republicans won. That’s not the impression you’ll get from the corporate media, either the “objective” mainstream or the Right-wing media party of talk radio and Fox News. The mainstream media are reporting the swift passage of a bill through both houses of Congress continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans making $400,000 per year ($450,000 per couple) as a triumph for President Obama and at least a partial fulfillment of his pledge in both Presidential campaigns for a (slight) tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. (Ironically, the $400,000 at which the restored tax rates kick in also happens to be the salary of the President.) But the bill is actually a slap-dash scheme thrown together at the last minute to keep taxes from returning to Clinton-era levels for all Americans — and it leaves the Republicans with yet another opportunity to hold the American economy hostage and demand draconian cuts to what’s left of the social safety net when Congress next has to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in two months.

RENO DISPATCH: BREAKING NEWS: IS NUCLEAR POWER DONE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

January 8, 2013 (San Diego) – Will there be no more nukes in Southern California? That now appears to be a very real possibility. It's been a year now since a radioactive steam leak lead to the closure of the two aging reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which is located between San Diego and Los Angeles. The power plant is not expected to reboot any time soon, if ever.

Last month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Request for Additional Information to Southern California Edison, the plant's majority owner, for its review of the company’s restart idea, asking the utility to provide evidence that reactor Unit 2, which Edison wants to reboot, can be operated safely.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/breaking-news-is-nuclear-pow...

EARTHTALK®: IS CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTING THE HEALTH OF RIVERS

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

January 7, 2013 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: How is it that climate change is negatively affecting the health of rivers and, by extension, the quality and availability of fresh water?                  -- Robert Elman, St. Louis, MO

Global warming is no doubt going to cause many kinds of problems (and, indeed, already is), and rivers may well be some of the hardest hit geographical features, given the likelihood of increased droughts, floods and the associated spread of waterborne diseases.

GOOD MONEY: HAPPY 2013—TRUE MEANING OF WEALTH, PLUS“FISCAL CLIFF” DEAL HIGHLIGHTS

A column written for the East County Magazine
“Your guide to financial planning & socially responsible investing”
By: Judith L. Seid, CFP ®
President, Blue Summit Wealth Management

TRUE MEANING OF WEALTH FOR 2013

Happy New Year from all of us at Blue Summit Wealth Management. Our wish for 2013 is that this will be your best year ever!! We hope that you will consider recognizing what true wealth means to you. The true meaning of wealth is not the abundance of possessions and property as Merriam-Webster or modern society might lead us to believe. Let us and our children not be misled towards an illusory desire for personal consumption.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE DRAMATIC SEARCH FOR OSAMA BIN LADEN (ZERO DARK THIRTY)

By Brian Lafferty

January 4, 2013 (San Diego) -- A day or so after the Zero Dark Thirty screening, a colleague wanted to know why I said it would rank very high in my Top Ten list.  I struggled to come up with an answer.  At the time, I just knew in my heart and somewhere in my head that it was not only one of the best films of the year, but the best Hollywood film of 2012.  I had this same feeling as I watched Samsara, Compliance, and In Darkness.  In each case, it wasn't until I wrote the reviews that I figured out why these films would earn spots in my upcoming Best of 2012 column. 

RENO DISPATCH: WILL CONGRESS THROW VETERANS UNDER THE BUS?

January 2, 2013 (San Diego) – What has sadly been lost this week amid all the chatter about the so-called fiscal cliff is the fact that members of Congress are already threatening to throw our veterans under the bus. And it is nothing short of despicable.

Back in September, I reported for Newsweek/The Daily Beast that an unidentified Senator tried to block disabled veterans and their survivors from getting a cost-of-living adjustment to their benefits. The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increase for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, which typically passes the House and Senate without opposition, was cleared by Senate Democrats but was unconscionably placed on a “secret hold” by an unidentified Republican senator.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/will-congress-throw-veterans...

RENO DISPATCH: WOULD PRESIDENT OBAMA LIKE THE NEW FILM "PROMISED LAND?"

January 2, 2013 (San Diego) – I just watched the poignant new film Promised Land, which will be released nationally on Friday, and as I watched I couldn't help but wonder: Would President Obama like this movie? Is it something he would embrace, or dismiss?

As you may have read, Promised Land, which is written by and stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, is a cautionary tale about hydraulic fracking, the relatively new and controversial process of injecting water, sand and a variety of chemicals, some of them toxic, deep into the ground to free natural gas trapped in rock.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2013/01/would-president-obama-like-n...

RENO DISPATCH: WEST SIDE STORY: THE GREATEST HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAME EVER PLAYED?

January 2, 2013 (San Diego) – Talk about your Friday Night Lights. It was 35 years ago that arguably the greatest high school football game in America was played, and the greatest high school rivalry was born. And the game wasn't played in Texas. Or California. It was played in Central Iowa.

The game in 1977 between the Valley Tigers and the Dowling Maroons, both of West Des Moines, Iowa, was epic. It created a high school rivalry that USA TODAY recently called one of the greatest in the nation. Well, I say it is the best in the nation.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/west-side-story-greatest-hig...

FROM THE CHIEFS CORNER: NEW YEAR’S SAFETY TIPS

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

December 28, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--New Year's Eve is a night to have fun and celebrate the coming year. However, safety is a must when participating in the festivities.

Whether you're staying in and celebrating with friends and family, or you're traveling to a party or city bash, following a few safety tips will ensure that you're safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight, ringing in the New Year!

 

 

EARTHTALK®: LINK BETWEEN CHILDHOOD ILLNESSES AND PESTICIDES

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

December 27, 2012 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that children are sicker today than they were a generation ago and that pesticides have played a major role?                                             -- Maria Jenkins, Clewiston, FL

RENO DISPATCH: REPORT - CANCER VACCINE SAVES LIVES, BUT FDA DOESN'T CARE

December 27, 2012 (San Diego) – Many lives have been saved by a personalized vaccine for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer called BioVax ID. But inexcusably, BioVax ID, which has been around since 1994, remains unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is unavailable to many patients.

The FDA says it denied a request for accelerated approval for this vaccine from the company, Biovest, because the vaccine does not fill an unmet need. But patients and patient advocates I've spoken to across the nation strongly disagree.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/cancer-vaccine-saves-lives-b...

EARTHTALK®: BENEFITS OF PUBLIC TRANSIT

E - The Environmental Magazine

Written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

December 24, 2012 (San Diego)--Dear EarthTalk: It might seem obvious, but what would be the primary benefits of public transit as an alternative to the private automobile if our country were to make a major commitment to it?                                                        -- James Millerton, Armstrong, PA

The benefits of making a major commitment to building up and efficiently managing a larger and more comprehensive public transit network are many.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: CHRISTMAS DAY SAFETY - IT'S HERE!

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Well Christmas is officially here! The last couple weeks we have focused on both outdoor and indoor holiday safety. Christmas day will arrive soon and there’s a few additional safety tips to be aware of!

We’re going to be cooking more over the next few days and on Christmas. Be careful wearing loose clothing around open flames on the stove. Use a timer and use “post it’s” to remind yourself of cooking times in the oven (were going to be distracted more this week than ever). Do not cool hot pans with water if grease is in the. Have a fire extinguisher near-by and know how to use it. A lid placed over a pan on fire will remove oxygen and put the fire out! Be careful using candles at the dinner table (especially if toddlers are present).

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: INDOOR HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

December 20, 2012 (San Diego) – Now that your outdoor decorations are placed, it’s time to focus on some indoor holiday safety tips.  Thousands of accidents and fires can be prevented each year if you take the time to practice safety measures says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

EDUCATION TOUR: DECEMBER CHECKLIST FOR SENIORS

 

Education News and Notes

By Anat Tour, math teacher and children’s author/illustrator

December 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--December is a busy time for the holidays, but if you are a high school senior this is the season to get your college checklist in order.

In addition, here are my picks for this month’s top stories of interest to local students, teachers, and parents:

MEDIA WATCHDOG: HOW MEDIA CONSOLIDATION AND CORPORATE CONTROL OF MEDIA—ESPECIALLY RADIO—HURTS DEMOCRACY

By guest columnist Jennifer Douglas, Save KLSD film writer/co-producer

December 17, 2012 (San Diego)--As we celebrate the holidays and ring out 2012, it’s also time to pay attention what is happening right now with ownership of the mass media. Sad to say, the mood is more Scrooge-like than reflecting the spirit of Santa or Jesus. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to deregulate the media--and San Diego’s very own media mogul, U-T owner/developer Doug Manchester, may buy-up even more media outlets.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: BLOTTO PILOT (FLIGHT)

Doing some catch-up on films I’ve missed.

By Brian Lafferty

December 15, 2012 (San Diego) – Every now and then someone writes to Dear Abby, saying his friend or relative is addicted to alcohol and drugs.  The friend thinks nothing is wrong with him, but doesn’t realize the damage his addiction is causing to his relationship with his friends, family, and significant other.  Invariably, all Abby can advise the writer is that – as much as he’d like to believe otherwise – he can't change or rescue his friend or loved one from their problem.  Only the friend can change and, unless he admits he has a problem, there’s nothing that anyone can do.

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