Animals in April: Monthlong Events Highlight Animal Health and Well-Being

Spring is here, meaning a bumper crop of young animals. This influx of animals makes it the ideal time to help raise awareness about how to prevent animal cruelty, as well as how to use first aid to increase the odds of your pet’s survival after an injury.

Sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the campaign “Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month” seeks to inform Americans about the prevalence of animal cruelty and to urge reporting instances of animal neglect and abuse. Cruelty issues include dog fighting, puppy mills, animal hoarding, and horse slaughtering. As part of the campaign, on April 26, ASPCA will join California lawmakers and animal advocates at California Voices for Animals Day, an annual advocacy and adoption event at the state capitol. Stop by and show your support. For more information about Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and California Voices for Animals Day, go to the ASPCA’s website at www.aspca.org.

April is also Pet First Aid Awareness Month, started by Pet Tech Productions. The event highlights the importance of knowing first aid for your pet. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 25 percent of pets would survive if a first aid technique was used prior to emergency veterinary care. For more information, visit Pet Tech’s website at www.pettech.net. Contact your pet’s veterinarian to learn more about animal first aid. To check the license of a veterinarian, visit the California Veterinary Medical Board at www.vmb.ca.gov.

 

April: Paying Tribute to Lawns and Landscapes

Green is in again. This year’s tremendous rainstorms have brought back to life lawns, trees, flowers, and the like. With yards thriving again, what better time to celebrate lawn care and landscape architecture?

April is National Lawn Care Month, which emphasizes the importance of natural grass’ environmental and health benefits. According to the National Association of LandscapeProfessionals (NALP), healthy lawns and landscapes can help clean the air, minimize noise, protect water sources from unhealthy runoff, and act as natural coolants. However, despite America’s love of lawns—an NALP survey reported that 78 percent of U.S. adults maintain a lawn and/or landscaping—the majority of us don’t understand how to properly care for them. For example, one in three doesn’t understand how often a lawn should be watered and 64 percent mistakenly think that all grass needs to fertilized in the spring. To learn more about how to maintain a healthy lawn, visit NLAP’s website at www.landscapeprofessionals.org.

This month is also World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), which pays tribute to the profession of landscape architecture and designed public and private spaces. Sponsored by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the month-long celebration recognizes work from landscape architects all over the world—from the High Line in New York City and gardens in Estonia to your own yard or local park—and showcases how landscape architecture affects our daily lives. Follow ASLA’s Instagram, which shows a variety of perspectives on landscape architecture. Find out more about WLAM at .

If you’re looking to get some professional work done in your own yard, be sure to check the license of a landscape architect first by going to the Landscape Architects Technical Committee website at www.latc.ca.gov.

Don’t Miss the Latest Issue of Consumer Connection!

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalled 51.3 million autos in the United States. The recalls included everything from defective ignition switches and consumer-connection-winter-2016steering wheels to acceleration issues and airbag and seatbelt defects. If you receive a recall notice, don’t ignore it. The winter 2016 issue of Consumer Connection walks you through what to do if you receive one.

This edition of DCA’s magazine continues its regular feature highlighting Department leadership. This issue includes an interview with the Executive Officer of the Board of Registered Nursing (Board), Joseph Morris. Mr. Morris discusses his background, long-term goals for the Board, and the Board’s challenges ahead.

The issue also explores a variety of other interesting topics, including recognizing a flood-damaged car when shopping for a used vehicle, fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the recently launched California State Athletic Commission’s campaign to prevent and treat concussions.

Visit the DCA website to download or read the magazine. You can also pick up a printed copy in the DCA Headquarters lobby at 1625 North Market Boulevard in Sacramento. Or, to have it mailed to you at no charge, call (866) 320-8652 or send an e-mail request to consumerconnection@dca.ca.gov. Get connected!

 

Covered California Open Enrollment Ends January 31

covered-california-jpgOpen enrollment for Covered California, the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ends on Tuesday, January 31. For coverage to begin on March 1, 2017, you must enroll by this deadline.

Depending on different factors such as your family size and income, you can qualify for:

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to CoveredCA.com or call (800) 300-1506.

And remember, if you’ve experienced a life-changing event, you may be able to sign up for a health plan during Special Enrollment even after the open enrollment period ends. Visit http://bit.ly/1BMTca1 for more information.

California’s New Laws for 2017

scalesIn 2016, Governor Brown signed into law 898 pieces of legislation. Here’s a sampling of some of the new state laws:

Barbering and booze: Under Assembly Bill (AB) 1322, Board of Barbering and Cosmetology-licensed beauty salons and barbershops can serve up to 12 ounces of beer or 6 ounces of wine to customers without having an alcoholic beverage license or permit. The businesses cannot charge for the alcohol.

Building construction: Senate Bill (SB) 465 requires the California Department of Industrial Relations and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to tell the Contractors State License Board when the state punishes disobedient contractors.

Gun laws: SB 880 and AB 1135 ban the sale of semi-automatic, centerfire rifles or semi-automatic pistols that do not have a fixed magazine. AB 1511 outlaws most gun loans.

Sexual assault: AB 2888 mandates a prison term for sexually assaulting unconscious individuals. This legislation is the result of a reaction to the jail sentence of a Stanford student who assaulted an unconscious woman and received a jail sentence in June 2016, but was released in September.

Distracted driving: Under AB 1785, drivers cannot hold or operate their devices for any reason. Exceptions are functions that require only a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, as long as the phone is mounted in the car.

Car seats: AB 53 requires that children under 2 years old be put in rear-facing child safety seats, except for kids who are at least 40 pounds or 40 inches tall. Children under 8 years old must ride in the back seat of a car.

Voter registration and ballots: AB 1436, which passed in 2012 but takes effect January 1, allows people to register on the day of an election. SB 450 allows voters to return mail ballots at any county elections office in the state, not just the county that issued the ballot.

Dogs in cars: AB 797 allows good Samaritans to help free animals showing signs of distress in a hot car. They must first contact law enforcement and wait for them to show up.

Gender-neutral bathrooms: AB 1732 requires that all single-toilet restrooms in schools, businesses, and public places be designated as gender neutral.

Minimum wage increase: SB 3 raises the minimum wage for workers at businesses that have 26 or more employees from $10 to $10.50 per hour. Yearly increases under the law will bump the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

Uber/Lift background checks: Under AB 1289, drivers for ride-booking companies will have their entire driver’s record checked.

Terminally ill and the “Right to Try”: AB 1668 allows terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs that have not yet had full federal approval for clinical trials.

For more details on California’s new laws, visit the Governor’s website at www.gov.ca.gov. For a list of all the new laws, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/pdf/BillsEnactedReport2016.pdf.

 

 

 

Drop! Cover! Hold on! During the Great California Shakeout

shakeout_global_joinus_728x90California is known as “earthquake country” and for good reason.

There is an infamous 800 mile long crack otherwise known as the San Andreas Fault that travels along the state from the Salton Sea in the south, to Cape Mendocino in the north.

Although earthquakes occur daily in California, many go unnoticed.  While some areas of California are more likely to have earthquakes than others, all of California is at greater risk compared to the rest of the country.

Shake Out Scenario:  

You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school, or even on vacation.

It is not a matter of if the “big one” will occur, but when.

The Great California ShakeOut is happening this Thursday, October 20th at 10:20am.

Essentially a statewide earthquake drill, the ShakeOut serves as an annual reminder for all Californians to practice how to prepare and be safe during big earthquakes by remembering to “Drop, Cover and Hold On!

drop_cover_hold_on_eng_blue_orangeThe ShakeOut was organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to practice, review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies (see last month’s National Preparedness Month post), and to secure your space in order to reduce damage and injuries during an earthquake.

As residents of California, what we do now will determine our quality of life after our next big earthquake.

Are you prepared to survive and recover quickly?

For more earthquake preparedness information resources, please visit http://www.earthquakecountry.org/.

 

SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH

The time to prepare for the next natural or man-made disaster is now.

National Preparedness Month is an annual nationwide campaign that encourages Americans, including the young, old, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, to plan ahead because a disaster can strike at any time without warning.

freeway-collapse-earthquake

Spearheaded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, states participate and tailor preparedness messaging to the disastrous challenges distinctive to their region.

In California, the range of disasters can include a mixed bag of events that vary from natural happenings such as earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, mudslides, tornadoes and floods to acts of domestic terrorism.

Be Prepared California is a website sponsored by the California Department of Public Health.  This site includes information on how Californians can protect themselves, their family and community by preparing in advance for when – not if – the next emergency will occur.  Some suggestions are listed below:

This year’s theme “Don’t Wait, Communicate. MakeYour Emergency Plan Today” was carried over from 2015, since it was so successful and clearly communicated the The logo for National Preparedness Month 2016 with space to customize for regions/states logos.primary goal of encouraging citizens to prepare in advance for the inevitable.

Initially launched in 2004 as an effort by the federal government to increase the country’s preparedness capabilities, National Preparedness Month has grown into a pivotal reminder to mobilize Californians and all Americans to become proactive and prepare now and throughout the year, for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work and visit.

For more preparedness information resources, please visit http://www.caloes.ca.gov/.

Considering a Private College? Do Your Homework

higher-educationWhen choosing a postsecondary school, basic factors such as location, areas of study, and cost are all important to consider. However, in light of last week’s nationwide shutdown of ITT Technical Institute schools, as well as the high-profile collapse of Corinthian Colleges in 2014, other crucial factors should be considered before making a commitment.

If you’re considering a private college, know what category it falls under—nonprofit or for-profit. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), nonprofit institutions receive funding primarily from student tuition and endowments and, in general, follow the leadership of a board of trustees. Nonprofits may receive some governmental support but operate mostly on private support. For-profit colleges, however, are run by companies that operate based on the guidance of investors and stockholders, and are run, at least partially, to earn money for their owners. For-profit colleges can receive up to 90 percent of their revenue from federal student aid.

Prospective students of private institutions, especially for-profit entities, need to do thorough research before enrolling. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) provides tips to consider, such as:

  • Investigate a school by interviewing students already in the program.
  • Thoroughly review the enrollment agreement to understand all binding terms, conditions, costs, and student disclosures.
  • Contact the agency that the school claims to have accreditation from and verify the claims.
  • Check to make sure the school’s program qualifies you for the state licensing exam or degree you’re seeking.
  • Check BPPE’s website for a list of California-approved schools.
  • Request to see the school’s student completion and job placement rates.
  • Carefully review and verify advertising claims.
  • Know the amount and types of financial aid you’ll need.

In addition, NCAC encourages students to ask about the school’s loan default rate and whether credits can be transferred to a public institution. Also, be on high alert if a school recruiter is using high-pressure sales tactics, rushing you to commit and enroll.

Despite recent closure news, don’t be discouraged from achieving your higher education goals—instead, use them as cautionary tales. Not all private colleges are “diploma mills,” but before signing on the dotted line, take the time to know exactly what you’re getting into.

“Achieving your educational goals is an investment of your mind, time, energy, and money,” said BPPE Bureau Chief Joanne Wenzel. “Make it worth your while.”

Resources:

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education: www.bppe.ca.gov

U.S. Department of Education College Affordability and Transparency Center: https://collegecost.ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov

Cal Fire Cracks Down on Drones

When working to stop a wildfire, time is of the essence. Firefighters have minutes to hold back a blaze, and any disruptions can cost property and lives.

During the recent Trailhead Fire, firefighting operations were disrupted by a hobby drone flown above the fire to take personal videos and photos. The drone operator was arrested for allegedly interfering with the firefighting efforts in that area.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), there has been a surge in hobby drones interfering with firefighting efforts over the last two years. Cal Fire recently launched its “If You Fly, We Can’t!” campaign, asking the public to never fly drones near wildfires.

“When a hobby drone flies in the path of our aircraft, we have no choice but to pull back our airtankers and helicopters until the drone is removed,” said Cal Fire Chief Dave Teter, deputy director of fire protection.

Aerial firefighting aircraft, such as planes and helicopters, fly at very low altitudes to drop fire retardant and water onto the fire. If a drone flies in the same air space, fire officials have to pull back the aircraft to avoid midair collisions.

To report irresponsible drone operators flying their drones close to disasters and emergencies, call 1-844-DRONE11 (1-844-376-6311). For more information, visit the Cal Fire website at www.fire.ca.gov.

 

Board of Chiropractic Examiners: New Pubs Online

                      BCE About the Board          BCE cons guide

Looking for concise explanations of what chiropractic care is and what the Board of Chiropractic Examiners (Board) does? The Board has two new publications available that may have the answers to your questions

First, there’s the Board’s new About Us publication, available online in English and Spanish.

Here’s a quick sampling of some of the information you can find in About Us

  • Chiropractic is a health care profession that emphasizes the power of one’s own body to heal itself, without the use of drugs or surgery.
  • The Board licenses and regulates California chiropractors who provide chiropractic care in a variety of settings.

The second new publication from the Board is A Consumer’s Guide to Chiropractic Care, also available online in English and Spanish. Read through the pamphlet and find out important information such as what happens during a chiropractic adjustment, how to select a chiropractor, what to expect at your appointment, and how to file a complaint.

To download the publications, visit the Board’s website at www.chiro.ca.gov, or contact the Board at (916) 263-5355 or by e-mail at chiro.info@dca.ca.gov.