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A Ribwort Plantain Grows, 4 Stories High, in San Francisco

By Ali Budner, Bay Nature

Mona Caron leans over the edge of a creaky blue scissor lift 20 feet in the air and points to a spot on the sun-drenched wall in front of her. “This is the tip of the leaf,” she says. Then she checks her harness — a thin loop of straps clipped to the railing. She’s eye level with the tops of the sidewalk trees and ear level to the insistent bursts of jackhammers that ricochet from the scaffolded building-in-progress across the street.

Today, Caron is adding something green to the landscape. She squints at the outline of a giant leaf spreading across the wall in front of her. The scissor lift platform sways with her slightest movement — she says it’s like standing on a piece of pudding. But she’s used to it. She steadies herself and crouches down to open a box of paints — revealing a rich array of verdant hues. She spritzes water on them and dips her brush in.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature. 

Tougher Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits Move Forward in Legislature

By Katie Orr, KQED News Fix

The Assembly on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 32, which would require California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. That’s a step up from the current law that requires emissions meet 1990 levels by 2020.

To get there, the state would focus on things like increasing the use of renewable energy and encouraging the use of electric vehicles. 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Lee, Feinstein Want HUD to Help City With Anti-Gentrification Plan

By Ted Goldberg, KQED News Fix

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee plans to send a delegation to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal housing officials who rejected a city measure that would give low-income and minority residents priority in new affordable housing developments in their neighborhoods.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s rejection of the city’s neighborhood preference plan was met with anger from San Francisco’s African-American leaders.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

72% of Previously Uninsured Californians Now Have Health Insurance

By Viji SundaramNew America Media

Three years after California launched its online health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, nearly three-fourths of its 5.8 million previously uninsured residents now have insurance, according to a study released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Of them, one-third have coverage through Medi-Cal (California’s name for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people), 21 percent gained coverage through an employer, and 11 percent bought insurance through Covered California, the online health insurance marketplace that launched in early 2014. An additional 8 percent said they have nongroup coverage or insurance through some other source.

Read the complete story at New America Media.

 

A Long Wait for a New Bayview Market

By Nicole Grigg, KALW/Crosscurrents

For Bayview residents, stocking the kitchen with fresh produce, meats, staples and spices means having to go to several places to get what they need. There is no full-service grocery store here, so people have to plan, travel and get creative.

"You would think that a big corporation like Safeway or Foods Co. would come closer in to this population," says resident Ross Rhodes.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

California's Rich-Poor Gap: The Reality May Surprise You

By Matt Levin, CALmatters

Where in California has the gap between rich and poor grown most since the Great Recession?

The Bay Area, home of your Zuckerbergs and Steyers and some of the most expensive zip codes in the country, seems like a logical answer. Over the past decade, what other part of California has minted as many members of the “1 percent” as Silicon Valley?

But according to research from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, income inequality in the Bay Area has worsened only marginally, at least when compared to other parts of the state. In 2007, Bay Area households at the top 10 percent of incomes made about 10.6 times what Bay Area households at the bottom 10 percent of incomes brought home. By 2014, they made about 11.6 times as much.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

A Decade of Pain: S.F. Police Dept. Looking to Boost Cold-Case Homicide Probes

By Alex Emslie, KQED News Fix

San Francisco Police Commission meetings aren’t necessarily known for their civility and have several times in the past year erupted into shouting protests. But there’s a general exception: When Paulette Brown stands up to speak, the room goes silent.

She testified this past Wednesday, like she nearly always does. But this time was a little different. The 10-year anniversary of her son’s slaying loomed. Aubrey Abrakasa Jr. died on Aug. 14, 2006, after he was shot at least a dozen times in the back. 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

BART Considers Reopening Bathrooms at Underground Stations

By Ryan Levi, KQED News Fix

Some BART riders have been holding it for 15 years, but relief may be around the corner.

After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, BART closed the bathrooms at its 10 underground stations on the recommendation of the Department of Homeland Security. Now, BART is  considering reopening the bathrooms at the Powell Street station in San Francisco and the 19th Street station in Oakland as part of a pilot project.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Diagnosis Unprepared: Elderly Hospital Patients Arrive Sick, Often Leave Disabled

By Anna GormanKaiser Health News/New America Media

Janet Prochazka was active and outspoken, living by herself and working as a special education tutor. Then, in March, a bad fall landed her in the hospital.

Doctors cared for her wounds and treated her pneumonia. But Prochazka, 75, didn’t sleep or eat well at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. She became confused, agitated and ultimately contracted a serious stomach infection. After more than three weeks in the hospital and three more in a rehabilitation facility, she emerged far weaker than before, shaky and unable to think clearly.

Read the complete story at Kaiser Health News/New America Media.

 

Relaxed Conservation Measures Don’t Mean the Drought Is Over

By Angela Johnston, KALW/Crosscurrents

The California drought is now in its fifth year, and a recent study says it won’t be over for years to come.The study analyzed California’s mountain snowpack and found that we would need almost four-and-a-half more years of winter storms to escape drought conditions. But just few months ago, after a not-so-impressive El Niño winter season, California’s State Water Resources Control Board ended a year of mandatory water restrictions that had required urban residents to cut their consumption by 25 percent statewide. Although some think it’s too soon to ease up on the general public’s use of water, the state is taking a different route.

“A lot of the impacts of the drought aren't necessarily seen in our coastal cities in L.A., in San Francisco, San Diego but they are there,” said Max Gomberg, the climate and conservation manager for the State Water Resources board. Gomberg said that despite the drought’s persistence, things have improved: this past winter’s rains and successful conservation efforts by urban Californians meant it was time to ditch the top-down mandatory restrictions.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.