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LA County Parks & Recreation awarded $15.5 million in grants

“Many thanks to Governor Newsom for his announcement of funding the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Parks & Recreation will receive”

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L.A. Arboretum Botanical Garden (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

ALHAMBRA, Ca. – On December 8, 2021, the LA County Department of Parks and Recreation’s Grants Division was awarded 15.5 million dollars in funding as part of Governor Newsom’s “Outdoors for All” Initiative, a project that aims to allocate $548.3 million in grant funding to deliver new parks and revitalize older parks all across California.

Of the 15.5 million, 6.9 million will be assigned to the modernization of Ruben Salazar Park, which will help address public health disparities by providing enhanced spaces for physical activity and ways to foster community connections. The other 8.5 million will be assigned to the creation of the San Gabriel Valley Aquatic Center Park.

“Many thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom for his recent announcement of Statewide Proposition 68 funding that the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Parks and Recreation will receive to provide a new park (Aquatic Center) to an area of very high park need, and also transforming Salazar Park, a well-loved and well-used park, serving a densely populated high need community within the First Supervisorial District,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “The new San Gabriel Valley Aquatics Center will provide families across the region with access to lifesaving aquatics programs. In addition, the improvements planned for Salazar Park in East Los Angeles will help provide critical cultural activities and spaces for recreation that will build community social cohesion and introduce new programming opportunities around physical and mental-well-being to ensure our communities thrive.”

In a press release issued by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, “People from all over the world come to visit our state’s natural wonders, but too many Californians today lack access to parks and open space in their own neighborhoods,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “This historic investment will revitalize and create new parks in more than 100 local communities, dramatically expanding access to the outdoors across the state and ensuring more Californians from all walks of life can reap the benefits for our hearts, minds and bodies for generations to come.”

Salazar Park is over 80 years old — the land was purchased in 1938 and developed into a park by 1940 — yet has undergone only minor updates over the past few years. The community of unincorporated East Los Angeles has very high park need, with only 1.0 park acre per 1,000 residents, so this investment to improve an aging and well-loved facility to meet the demands of the community is essential. The aquatic center will provide learn to swim lessons, drop-in swim, water fitness classes, lap swim and more. The new aquatic facility will feature a playground and picnic shelters.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded over $15 million from Proposition 68 as part of Governor Newsom’s Outdoors For All Initiative that will provide significant funding to two critical projects located in our highest need communities as identified by the Los Angeles Countywide Parks & Recreation Needs Assessment,” stated County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Director, Norma E. García-González. “Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with Community-Based organization and community members to design these projects that will bring significant recreational programs serving our most vulnerable communities.”

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About Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation manages 183 parks and operates a network of 70,079 acres of parkland, 475 sports amenities such as futsal, basketball, tennis, lawn bowling and multipurpose fields, 42 swimming pools, 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 10 nature centers that serve as a refuge for over 200 animals, 14 lakes – 3 of which are boating and swimming lakes, 5 equestrians centers, more than 210 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and the largest municipal golf system in the nation, consisting of 20 golf courses.

The department also maintains four botanical centers: The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, the South Coast Botanic Garden, Descanso Gardens, and Virginia Robinson Gardens. The department also owns and operates the iconic Hollywood Bowl and John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, which are jointly managed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, providing County residents with valuable entertainment and cultural resources. 

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Los Angeles County

Critics attack LA DA over complicated case involving Trans woman

The crime would sit unsolved until 2019 when her DNA was entered into a database after she was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of battery

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Screenshot: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón being interviewed by KABC7 LA in April of 2021

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón is facing sharp criticism over his policy to never prosecute children as adults after a 26-year-old Trans woman pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl when she was 17. But, according to Gascón, the nature of the case is complicated.

Hannah Tubbs was weeks shy of her 18th birthday when she walked into a Denny’s bathroom in Palmdale, grabbed a 10-year-old girl by the throat and sexually assaulted her, according to prosecutors. 

The crime would sit unsolved until 2019 when her DNA was entered into a database after she was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of battery, reported the Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors filed charges in 2020, shortly after Gascón took office. 

According to the paper, Tubbs, who pleaded guilty, might be sentenced to a short stay in juvenile hall or probation later this month. 

“I would ask the public to reach out to Mr. Gascon and express their concerns and their outrage on a matter such as this involving a sexual predator.”

Lt. Richard Ruiz of the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau

Critics of Gascón are expressing their frustration with the district attorney, saying Tubbs’ case highlights the problems with a blanket ban on not trying juveniles as adults. 

“It’s useless to catch criminals like [Tubbs] if we don’t follow through and seek justice for victims such as the 10-year-old girl [she] sexually assaulted. She bears the burden of a lifetime of trauma,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes Palmdale, told the Times. “[She] will be offered therapeutic interventions under the auspices of ‘restorative justice’… and possibly granted only probation or parole. Where is the justice for [her] young victim and her family?”

Some critics are using the case as ammunition to fuel another recall effort of Gascón. The earlier attempt to recall the district attorney didn’t make it to a vote as proponents couldn’t collect enough signatures. 

However, Gascón has said that the case is complicated due to the years between the crime and Tubbs’ capture, as well as her criminal record and the impact on the victim. 

Tubbs has also been arrested for battery, drug possession and probation violations in Idaho and Washington, according to the paper. 

The victim, who did not want to testify on trial, has since moved from California and is still in therapy, said an impact statement read in court last month.

Gascón has also raised concerns about Tubbs’ becoming a victim herself if she was held in an adult facility because of her trans identity. A probation report recommended she be sentenced to home confinement, according to Gascón.

An email reviewed by the Times said Tubbs is diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses and might also qualify as “developmentally disabled.” These factors lead to legal questions about whether she can even be found responsible for the crime. 

In addition, at 26, Tubbs is too old to be legally held in a county juvenile detention facility, leading to more questions over Tubbs’ sentencing.

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Los Angeles County

Los Angeles County sets another daily record of 45,000 new COVID cases

The department also reported 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 27,785 since the start of the pandemic

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – According to figures released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Sunday, Public Health officials recorded 45,584 new cases amid the ongoing surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The department also reported 13 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 27,785 since the start of the pandemic. In all, nearly 2 million people in the county have been infected with the virus. There are 3,364 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and more than 10,317,000 individuals tested; 18% of people tested positive to date.

The updated numbers from the county underscored anew how the spread of the virus has exploded with the arrival of the Omicron variant. With an average of nearly 115,000 people being tested each day over the last seven days, more than 20% of people are testing positive for the virus, the county said. On Saturday, officials said the county had tallied more than 200,000 new cases over the previous seven days — the highest one-week total of the pandemic.

Los Angeles Unified School District is returning to in-person instruction Tuesday and all students must receive a negative test before they come back to campus.

Los Angeles Unified School District is returning to in-person instruction Tuesday and all students must receive a negative test before they come back to campus. Regardless of vaccination status, children and school district employees will have to prove they’re not infected with COVID-19.

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Los Angeles County

Surge becomes a Tsunami; 200,000 confirmed COVID cases in 7 Days

 “We ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread & keep people safe”

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Graphic courtesy of UCLA Research Administration

LOS ANGELES – LA County continues seeing high rates of transmission with more than 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 7 days, the highest numbers of cases in one week since the beginning of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have also doubled in one week to 3,200 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and over 20% of those getting tested are positive for COVID-19. Health officials are pointing out that it’s important to note that although the case counts are higher than last winter’s peak, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day, many people are becoming less severely ill due to the milder effects of the Omicron variant.

The exceptions are most notably those people who hare unvaccinated, and especially children and those with severe health issues. As the highly-contagious omicron variant sweeps across the world, threatening once again to overwhelm hospitals and already-exhausted health care staff, medical staff are prepping for yet another damaging battle, Stars and Stripes noted.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging residents to upgrade their masks to medical grade masks that do a better job at blocking COVID-19 virus particles and to reconsider attending higher-risk activities, including indoor activities where individuals are unmasked for long periods of time, as well as crowded outdoor events.

 “As the surge continues, we ask residents and businesses to continue following the public health safety measures that we know reduce spread and keep people safe,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. “This includes wearing a medical grade mask that is more protective against the Omicron variant and not spending time around others who are unmasked. These upgraded masks can be a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator mask.”

On Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package – including a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request – to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and battle misinformation.

The Governor’s budget also calls for new legislation to implement supplemental paid sick leave policies given the current situation being driven by the Omicron variant to better protect our frontline workers. 

“From day one, California has taken swift and direct action to battle COVID-19 with policies that have saved tens of thousands of lives, but there’s more work to be done,” said Newsom. “Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation, with a focus on the hardest-hit communities.”

Governor Newsom’s overall package includes: 

$1.2 BILLION: BOLSTER TESTING

  • Expand hours and capacity at testing sites throughout the state to help slow the spread.
  • Distribute millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments, community clinics and county offices of education and schools. This is critical to the state’s operational readiness and continued efforts to combat COVID-19, and it includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to the Legislature for California’s immediate needs.
  • Supporting the state’s testing facilities, including specimen collection and expanding capacity in order to meet demand.
  • Supporting state departments in testing their staff and congregate populations

$583 MILLION: GET MORE CALIFORNIANS VACCINATED & BOOSTED, COMBAT MISINFORMATION

  • Continue the “Vaccinate all 58” public education campaign to provide reliable information and build vaccine confidence while combating misinformation, all of which is in partnership with 250 ethnic media outlets.
  • Continue a robust community outreach and direct appointment assistance campaign by conducting door-to-door canvassing, phone banking and texting with over 700 CBOs and community partners in partnership with philanthropy.
  • In-home vaccination and testing programs to meet Californians where they’re at.
  • Provide free transportation to vaccination appointments throughout the state to help get more Californians vaccinated and boosted.

$614 MILLION: SUPPORT OUR FRONTLINE WORKERS AND HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS

  • Support and distribution of critical personnel resources for health care systems to help protect frontline workers, patient care and hospital surge capacity as well as additional staffing for vaccination sites.

$200 MILLION: SUPPORT STATE RESPONSE OPERATIONS

  • Resources to enhance the state’s emergency response and public health capacities, including staffing and information technology at California Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services Authority.

$110 MILLION: SUPPORT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS AND BOLSTER CONTACT TRACING EFFORTS

  • Increased public health and humanitarian efforts at the California-Mexico border to keep migrants safe, including vaccinations, testing and isolation and quarantine services.
  • Expanded statewide contact tracing activities to help keep Californians safe and slow the spread.

On Friday Newsom activated the California National Guard to support local communities with additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. 

This new action is on top of the existing 6,000 testing sites that have been set up across the state, the recent demand-based expansion of hours at state-operated sites and the 9.6 million tests that the state has distributed to schools since early December. 

California National Guard personnel arrive at Antioch Community Center testing site Friday
(Photo Credit: California National Guard)

The announcement comes as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80% of COVID-19 cases in California. The National Guard plan will deploy over 200 Cal Guard members across 50 Optum Serve sites around the state, providing interim clinical staff while permanent staff are hired, adding capacity for walk-ins, assisting with crowd control and back-filling for staff absences – all in an effort to conduct more tests for more Californians. Additional members of the Guard will be deployed next week in similar capacities. 

These measures will bolster California’s already robust testing program – the most extensive in the nation. Currently, 90% of Californians live within a 30-minute drive of a site. Amidst the surge, the state has been able to maintain a 48-hour turn around for PCR tests.

To date, California has administered almost 67 million vaccination doses and over 122.7 million tests.

The Los Angeles Times reported that L.A. County recorded 43,712 new coronavirus cases on Friday – the highest single-day total of the pandemic. The previous record, 37,215, came Thursday. Those numbers are well above the average daily peak last winter, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

Across California, emergency rooms are coming under strain as they contend with both the rising case numbers and people seeking coronavirus tests – all as their workers are increasingly being stricken by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

On Saturday morning The New York Times reported that the pace of daily new infections of the coronavirus has nearly doubled in the past week, surpassing two million known cases a day, underscoring just how quickly the Omicron variant has spread around the world.

On April 25 last year, the global average hit a high of more than 827,000 cases, a level that has been surpassed on each of the last 12 days as the world’s case curve charts a nearly vertical rise.

Health authorities around the world reported 2.1 million cases on average in the past seven days, nearly three times the amount two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. The latest wave of cases has been driven by outbreaks in the United States and Europe, where the Omicron variant has become dominant.

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Hospitals Pushed To The Brink With Covid Cases On The Rise:

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