Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Keller Canyon Landfill/Hunters Point Naval Shipyard radiation probe agitates East County residents

Monday, June 25th, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

Some 400 Bay Point and Pittsburg residents exited a community meeting at Ambrose Community Center with more questions than answers Thursday night about stories that radioactive materials had been mistakenly delivered to the Keller Canyon Landfill, located in southeast Pittsburg off of Baily Road. (See related article).

With representatives from county, regional, and state agencies and the Navy in attendance, but no one on hand from TetraTec, the contractor responsible for the removal of nuclear waste material from the former shipyard, residents learned that TetraTec has rejected a request to pick up the bill to pay for an independent investigation into how radioactive material waste entered the landfill on at least two instances.

Those two documented instances where radioactive materials from the shipyard were delivered to the landfill included the January 2014 case when 42 trucks dumped tainted soil with elevated lead.  The case was not considered to be an RCRA hazardous waste situation.  “All contaminated soil was removed from Keller Canyon Landfill,” said    Scott Anderson a Deputy Base Closure Manager of the U.S. Navy Base Realignment. “The Navy wants the community to know that the public is safe.”

In another instance, February 2015, Anderson said the Navy cleaned up at Keller Canyon Landfill after 218 tons of radioactive asphalt that had been delivered to the landfill.   “All the asphalt plus 102 tons of dirt were removed,” he said.

Residents were uncomfortable with the responses that the Navy, and especially Rick King, general manager of Keller Canyon Landfill, offered.  King defended how the landfill properly screens trucks loads with debris from multiple departure points, including Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Some speakers like Jeanette Burgess questioned if the landfill operator rigged the monitors at the entrance to allow truck laden with radioactive materials to enter.   “I question your testers,” she said.

“I don’t know where you get your information,” rebutted King, who defended how the Republic Services Co. personnel monitors the testers and that they meet regulations.

Contra Costa County Environmental Health Director Marilyn Underwood said while there is the possibility Republic Services, operator of the Keller Canyon Landfill, might have to redraft an environmental impact report, she said the county is in the midst of searching for an independent consultant to assess the two documented events as well as other potential radioactive deliveries.

Supervisor Federal Glover, whose District 5 includes Keller Canyon Landfill, urged attendees to ask questions.  “Don’t leave here without asking your questions,” he said.  “We’re trying to get an independent investigation. We’re trying to get the information.”

Since TetraTec has refused to pick up the tab to pay for the independent investigation, Dr. Underwood of the county environmental health department said Supervisor Glover is looking into other potential sources to pay for the investigation.

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Antioch man to host 9th Annual Music Medicine benefit concert for Children’s Hospital at Yoshi’s June 20

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

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Free Q&A on Alzheimer’s with Dr. Robert Herrick at TreVista-Antioch Thursday, March 29

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

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Supervisors move forward ban on second-hand smoke in apartments, hotels, motels

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

By Daniel Borsuk

With the health consequences of second-hand smoke to children and the elderly well-documented, Contra Costa County is on the verge of becoming the 42nd jurisdiction in the state to ban smoking in dwelling units of apartment buildings, hotels, and motels once supervisors approve the ordinance that’s slated for the board’s March 13th meeting.

In a lopsided meeting where supervisors did not hear any opposition against the proposed ordinance, District 1 Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond asked Contra Costa County Public Health Director Dan Peddycord whether the proposed ordinance will also apply to short-term rentals.  Short-term rents have become a hot button issue in most part of the county and have impacted the county’s housing crisis.

Peddycord answered that the proposed ordinance will not apply to short-term rental units.

The full impact of the proposed county ordinance will require apartment owners and hotel and motel operators to post no smoking signs in dwelling units and to apply measures designed to eliminate second smoke from drifting into dwelling units where children and the elderly reside and are most susceptible to the respiratory effects of tobacco smoke.

The cities of Danville, El Cerrito, Richmond and Walnut Creek and the counties of Sonoma, San Mateo and Santa Clara are some of the jurisdictions that have already adopted second hand smoke prohibition laws.

In the county Public Health Department’s research on the proposed ordinance, officials garnered the full support from the California Apartment Association.  Health department officials drew a 50 percent endorsement from four major homeowners’ associations in the county.

In the department’s research, officials learned four major hotels in the county are already in compliance with the proposed law by posting no smoking signs in guest rooms and common areas.  Those hotels are the Burlington Hotel in Port Costa, the Crowne Plaza in Concord, Embassy Suites, and the Renaissance Hotel in Walnut Creek.

In Contra Costa County there are approximately 10,000 individual dwelling units that would be affected by the new ordinance supervisors will very likely approve at the March 13 meeting.

According to the Public Health Department, a majority of the 120 second hand smoke complaints received by the department’s Tobacco Prevention Program over the last three years continue to emanate from multi-family housing residents.  During that period, 96 complaints were filed concerning unit-to-unit and outside-to-unit drifting smoke during that period.

“We are very happy to support this ordinance,” said Randy Uang of Breathe California, a San Francisco-based non-profit health organization.  “This ordinance will help in reducing chronic breathing and lung ailments, especially among children in Contra Costa County.”

Stephanie Robbins, an apartment dweller in unincorporated Walnut Creek, told supervisors the proposed ordinance will help people like her who lives in an upstairs apartment unit and has to constantly endure second-hand smoke from a downstairs neighbor.  “I’ve already spent $2,000 in hiring an attorney,” Robbins said.  “I endorse this ordinance because it will help me and my child fight against second hand smoke.”

The ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2019 after Public Health Department officials have educated and trained apartment owners.  The program will be funded by state Propositions 99 and 56.

Round Hill Police District Tax Hike Election Approved – A 150% Increase

The 1,296 registered voters in the unincorporated Round Hill area of Alamo, will have the opportunity to vote on whether the county should hike their property taxes from $330 per parcel to $812 per parcel in order to maintain two county sheriff’s deputies and a patrol car.

With no one speaking during the public speaking portion, supervisors approved on a 4-0 vote to have Round Hill residents vote in the June 5 election on whether to boost taxes on 739 parcels in order to raise $596,820 in tax revenue to cover increased patrol expenses on a yearly basis.

The measure will require two-thirds voter approval to pass during the June election.

Supervisors also approved, on a 4-0 vote, the acquisition of up to $2 million of solar panels to be installed over the 651 Pine Street parking lot for a 10-year period, Feb. 27, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2028.  The county will buy the solar panels from ENGIE Services U.S. Inc.  ENGIE Services will also install the solar panels.

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Regional Medical Center CEO named new Director of Contra Costa Health Services

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Anna Roth, RN, MS, MPH. Photo courtesy of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center

After a nationwide search, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors chose a healthcare leader with experience in the county by appointing Anna Roth as the new director of Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) January 30.

Roth has served as Chief Executive Officer of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers for nine years. She succeeds Dr. William B. Walker, who served more than two decades as Health Services Director and over three decades as County Health Officer.

“We are pleased to announce the selection of Anna Roth as our new Health Services Director,” said David Twa, Contra Costa County Administrator. “Anna is a seasoned Health Services executive working in CCHS for nearly 25 years and we look forward to her leadership in addressing the many issues facing the health department in the coming years.”

Roth holds a master’s degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University. She is a registered nurse with more than 30 years of healthcare experience and is an Institute for Healthcare Improvement Quality Improvement Fellow. Roth is a renowned leader in system redesign and innovation and a strong advocate for the inclusion of patients, families and the community as full partners in the delivery of health services.

“We congratulate Anna on her appointment and look forward to working with her on healthcare issues that impact our residents,” said Karen Mitchoff, Chair for the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors.

In addition to Roth’s healthcare experience, she’s also held executive leadership roles locally, statewide and nationally as board member and chair of both the Essential Hospitals Institute and the California Health Care Safety Net Institute. Roth is also a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

CCHS is the largest department of county government in Contra Costa, with more than 4,400 employees and an annual budget of $1.8 billion. CCHS includes primary, specialty and inpatient medical care, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, public health programs, environmental health protection, hazardous materials response and inspection and emergency medical services, as well as a county operated health maintenance organization, the Contra Costa Health Plan.

More information about Contra Costa Health Services is available at cchealth.org.

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Two public events at TreVista Senior Living & Memory Care in Antioch in January

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

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TreVista Senior Living & Memory Care offers five things needed to care for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

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Kiwanis Club’s annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health at Contra Loma, this Saturday, Dec. 9

Monday, December 4th, 2017

To download the entry form, click here: holiday_run_2017_registration_entry_form

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