Month: February 2010

Fit bodies, fit minds

In Delano, a poor, heavily agricultural, mostly Latino community, the local school district began focusing more on physical fitness about 10 years ago. Since then, they’ve seen fitness improve, but also student behavior and academic performance. Ken Dyar, a physical education teacher who inspired the change, tells the story here.

Health insurers are the latest punching bag

For health insurers doing business in California, this is the worst of times, politically speaking. The national movement toward health reform is coinciding with an election year in which several key California players are running for higher office, and they are all eager to put the industry in the spotlight. Combine that with rising costs (and profits), and you have a recipe for a political free-for-all. It is almost starting to feel as if health insurance is becoming the next tobacco industry — a political pariah for whom polite people simply wouldn’t work.

Budget would cut support for seniors

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget for the coming year has serious implications for California’s low-income seniors.
According to a recent analysis by the UCLA Center for Health Policy, the proposal would dismantle California’s home- and community-based long-term care system. Full implementation of the proposed cuts would likely leave frail, low-income seniors – among the state’s most vulnerable residents – without needed support.

Governor proposes anti-obesity agenda

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed eight new measures to fight childhood obesity. Among other things, the governor wants to increase access to free water for school children, eliminate sports drinks from the public schools and increase physical activity in after-school programs.

A troubled life turns around

Derrick Bedford spent his youth shuttling into and out of juvenile hall on drug charges. Now he runs a program that helps change the lives of troubled youth who are genuinely interested in change. He works in the same jail where he was once locked up.

Photo voice Fresno

Fresno youth are documenting the conditions in their neighborhoods with photos and essays as part of the PhotoVoices project sponsored by New America Media.

Sacramento group proposes parcel tax for youth programs

A coalition of community groups in Sacramento has proposed a ballot measure that would levy a $29 parcel tax on each piece of property in the city and use the money collected to pay for jobs programs and education for Sacramento’s youth. The Youth Jobs and Opportunity Act was born after a failed attempt to place a sales tax increase on the ballot in 2008. But unlike that measure, this one is not a sales tax hike and has no money earmarked for law enforcement.

richmond wellness

Putting “health and wellness” into city plan

The city of Richmond is close to adopting a new way of planning for the city’s future, adding a “health and wellness” element to its general plan that will force developers to address new concerns when they design neighborhoods or other projects. The city believes it would be the first in the nation with such a comprehensive requirement.

Santa Ana foreclosure fix moving slowly

One year after receiving $6 million in federal funds to help stem the foreclosure crisis, the city of Santa Ana has spent half of that money and provided housing for only five families while helping two borrowers. Five other homes are in escrow. Adam Elmahrek of Voice of OC has the story.

Transit cuts hit hard in San Diego

Cuts in public transit across the state have made it tougher for transit-dependent Californians to get to work. In San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood, many residents now find themselves commuting several hours a day to get back and forth from their jobs.

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