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Amazon Cargo Shipping Ramps Up At Stockton Metropolitan Airport

By Rich Ibarra Stockton Metropolitan Airport has become an important hub for Amazon. Amazon's cargo flights in Stockton began in February, but business has increased so much that a second jet was added Sunday and a third is scheduled to start next month. The increased traffic means more jobs and business for the airport. Airport Director Harry Mavrogenes says about 50 workers have been hired to load and unload the cargo planes. Amazon's presence "creates more jobs in the area," Mavrogenes says, "and of course, great distribution at the ground level when they get in here." Mavrogenes says Amazon is saving hundreds of millions of dollars on shipping costs by using their own cargo jets. And speaking about more business, he adds the airport has just received a grant this year which will bring passenger service to Los Angeles within the next year and a half. "The idea is to get our citizens to a hub airport with a major airline, they can then continue on to anywhere in the world." Stockton Metro is within 30 miles of Amazon fulfillment centers in Tracy and Patterson. It is one of 8 airports in the country serving Amazon's Boeing 767 cargo jets. Mavrogenes says the two fulfillment centers and the nearby port mean that "the air service is a natural addition."

Amazon Cargo Shipping Ramps Up At Stockton Metropolitan Airport

Californians Will Have To Register Made-At-Home Guns

By Ben Bradford People who build their own firearms will have to get a serial number for them from the state Department of Justice, under a new law. Governor Jerry Brown Friday signed the final of several firearms restrictions state lawmakers passed last month. The bill's proponents say it's too easy right now to order unfinished rifle frames and build guns at home, creating untraceable firearms. Also, as 3-D printing evolves, gun control advocates worry it will be easier to create unregistered guns at home. Opponents say the new law will infringe on an American tradition of manufacturing personal firearms. Last month Brown vetoed a more expansive bill that sought to regulate so-called "ghost guns"— it would have reclassified various firearms parts, as guns themselves. Brown called it vague.

Californians Will Have To Register Made-At-Home Guns

Business Journal: The Cannery, Yamanee, 'Pokemon Go'

The push to diversity Sacramento's economy with a focus on technology is getting a boost. Sacramento developer Mark Friedman says he wants to turn an old building at Alhambra and Stockton boulevards into a tech campus. Sonya Sorich with the Sacramento Business Journal says it would be at the former tomato canning plant, a structure now known as The Cannery. "Under this plan," explains Sorich, "we would see a wired-up office complex that would include shared networking space. Friedman's Fulcrum Property company plans to renovate the building over the next six to 12 months. This technology space wouldn't take up the entire 275,000 square foot building." The technology office area would be about 70,000 square feet. UC Davis also has a satellite office at The Cannery.

Business Journal: The Cannery, Yamanee, 'Pokemon Go'

'Pokemon Go' Draws Crowds And Profits Into Old Sacramento

By Melody Stone Tiffany Lee was one of hundreds of people searching for virtual creatures with the phone app at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Old Sacramento. She says since the game, "Pokemon Go," launched two weeks ago she's been to Old Sacramento five times, compared to just two or three times a year in the past. "I've always liked Old Sacramento," says Lee, "there's a bigger crowd now, so I feel a lot safer coming here." She's here for the Pokestops, or virtual in-game markers found in the real world. When a player is close enough to that physical location they can pick up virtual loot, like potions and pokeballs (the contraptions needed to capture pokemon). There are a lot of Pokestops within walking distance in Old Sacramento and that makes it very popular with players. It's also a good place to find water Pokemon, which aren't very common in the city. Old Sacramento business owners started seeing a sharp uptick in foot traffic and sales about two weeks ago. Brooksie Hughes with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership says it's usually a slow time for the district because of the State Fair. Since the release of "Pokemon Go" she says merchants are reporting 50 to 300 percent increases in revenues. "When you're working with something viral like this you can't really plan for it because you don't know how long it's going to last," says Hughes, who lives and works in Old Sacramento. "We literally, in our office, dropped everything for two days and focused on what can we do with our merchants right here right now — tomorrow what can you have in place to be a part of this?" Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory rolled out pokeball caramel apples. Some businesses have provided charging stations so players can recharge their phones. Willie's Burgers is offering a three-flavor, Poke-milk-shake, which they say is bringing all the players to the yard. Greg Taylor, who owns Willie's Burgers, says he welcomes the new crowds. "We've been open until about one or two in the morning trying to figure out how to keep supplies up," says Taylor. He's given his employees raises and bonuses to make up for the increased work and long hours. "Our job is to activate and promote spaces, so anything you can do to create public play and urban crawls is outstanding," says Hughes. "Our role is to recognize an activation when it's happening and embrace it immediately, to get in front of our merchants and say 'Hey, how do you engage, what can you do,' and to collect data immediately." Greg Taylor says his business is up 350 percent over last month and Brooksie Hughes says Old Sacramento visitorship is up 20 to 25 percent in the same time period. But, nothing lasts forever, so Hughes and Taylor hope this movement will help solidify Old Sacramento as a place to go for nightlife and food. "When you bring in more positive, you can help to weed out some of the negative," says Hughes. "If we can do our job right and hold on to this, then yes it can help change the perception long-term." Public perception of "Pokemon Go" is almost all positive. People staying on the Delta King have complained about the late night noise, but Hughes says other than that, she's heard no complaints. In other parts of the city there have been noise complaints, muggings and distracted players walking into windows. Hughes says inattentive pedestrians have always been a problem in Old Sacramento and they haven't seen any crime since the craze took off. Tiffany Lee says she's just happy to live out a childhood fantasy. "I grew up watching Pokemon and I always wanted to become a Pokemon Trainer," she laughs. "The game made my dream come true."

'Pokemon Go' Draws Crowds And Profits Into Old Sacramento

Delegates Mixed On How To Make GOP More Competitive In California

By Ben Adler First-time delegate Tony Leal is a long way from home - and not just geographically. "Well, if you don't mind getting spit at, talked down to, cursed at, thrown rocks at, thrown bottles at, then you're okay," says Leal. "And that's what it's like to be a Republican in my district." After a week of speeches and parties with fellow Donald Trump loyalists, California delegates to the Republican National Convention are returning home to one of the bluest states in the nation. Take Leal, who lives in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, near the airport. He's running for state Assembly in a strongly Democratic district. He's a big Donald Trump supporter, but criticizes the GOP platform for its tough stance against same-sex marriage. In fact, he says, the party should stop talking about regulating marriage at all. "If we did that, we wouldn't have so much divisiveness that we have - even in my neighborhood," says Leal. "We could actually start including other creeds, as they say, and we would start to grow as a party." On the other hand, many California Republicans suggested the way to win more races was to communicate the GOP message more effectively. Here's Santa Ana delegate KV Kumar. "We need to do a lot of work to communicate properly with people, so that the true Republican values are conveyed. If you are honest and sincere about what you say, people listen to you." California Republican strategist Mason Harrison agrees more with Leal than Kumar. He says Republicans need to appeal to Hispanics, women and young voters in order to broaden the GOP's appeal. "The conventional wisdom among people in the Trump world is that they just need to continue to fire up the Trump supporters in order to win," says Harrison. "But unfortunately, that works well in a primary when you've got 12 candidates, but California statewide, that's not gonna do much to be able to push you over the top." There's no question the GOP has work to do in California: Republicans don't have any statewide office holders, and the latest voter registration totals just before the June primary showed the party at just 27 percent.

Delegates Mixed On How To Make GOP More Competitive In California

Brown Administration Prepares To Limit Methane Leaks, After Porter Ranch Leak

By Ben Bradford When, after three months, the damaged well at the Aliso Canyon storage facility finally stopped spewing methane in February, California was home to arguably the worst such leak in U.S. history, but state air regulators couldn't fine the company responsible. "We did not have a regulation in place that covered the methane emissions," says Mary Nichols, chair of the state Air Resources Board. "We worked with the company to try to get them to voluntarily mitigate for the impacts." The Air Resources Board moved closer Thursday to putting first-ever limits on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates as 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, although it has a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere. The board voted to develop a final regulation that would limit the amount of methane oil and gas operations can emit, as well as require quarterly inspections and reporting. The board estimates it could cut leaks from the industry by about 40 percent. Nichols describes the rule as "good housekeeping." "Just making sure that the companies are inspecting things, reporting on the emissions, so people in communities can know what's going on, and then requiring the owners of these facilities to fix the leaks," says Nichols. Before the vote, environmental groups generally praised the rule, while representatives from the oil and gas industry argued they are too onerous in their current form and do not allow companies enough flexibility to meet the methane limits. The board plans to vote to enact the limits next spring.

Brown Administration Prepares To Limit Methane Leaks, After Porter Ranch Leak

Drought Persists And So Does Water Conservation In Sacramento

By Ed Joyce Summer isn't the easiest time to save water, but users in the Sacramento-area reduced their water use by 22 percent in June compared to the same month in 2013. The savings is the first following the end of mandatory statewide conservation rules. The June 2016 conservation analysis is from the Regional Water Authority, which represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties. The findings come from a review of June water use data submitted to the RWA and the California State Water Resources Control Board. "The June savings rate is absolutely remarkable," says RWA Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot. "State-mandated conservation has ended, and yet residents are continuing to use less water." Mandatory statewide water regulations ended in May 2016 and many water providers, including the Sacramento Regional Water Authority, have asked users to voluntarily conserve a certain level. "So we're hoping people are applying the lessons they learned during the last couple years in the drought on how to modify what they're doing with their landscape and inside (the home) and that some of those actions will stick around, and I think that's what we're seeing when we have this 22 percent savings in June," says Talbot. The State Water Resources Control Board on May 18 adopted new emergency water conservation regulations. Under the new rules, water providers are allowed to set their conservation standard based upon local water supply conditions and the ability to meet customer demand should the state experience three consecutive years of drought. The RWA says all 22 Sacramento-area water providers have certified that they have adequate supplies so that state-mandated conservation is no longer necessary. Even so, many providers are continuing to ask customers to voluntarily reduce water use, maintaining funding for water conservation programs at 2015 drought levels and continuing to enforce water waste regulations above pre-drought levels, according to a recent Regional Water Authority survey of its members. Many water providers in the Sacramento region offer rebates to help offset costs for removing grass or installing other "water-wise" products and fixtures. Information about rebate programs, as well as tips for reducing water use, are available at: http://bewatersmart.info/ The U.S. Drought Center reported July 21 that 59 percent of California is in severe drought, 42 percent remains in extreme and 21 percent in exceptional drought. The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center shows drought persisting in California through October 31, 2016.

Drought Persists And So Does Water Conservation In Sacramento

Calif. Supreme Court Ruling Eases Path For Delta Tunnel Plan

By Ben Bradford The California Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling that could have added time and cost to the Brown administration's plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The court ruled that state officials can conduct environmental and geological tests on private land without having to go through a lengthy eminent domain process or negotiating paid agreements with landowners. The state is looking to conduct those tests on about 150 properties around the Delta. It's a key step in the state's plan to build two 30 mile-long tunnels under the Delta to make it easier to transport its water to Southern California. Property owners who oppose the plan sued, arguing if the state wants to conduct tests on private land, it has to seize it and pay for it. The justices ruled court orders and deposits to cover any damage will suffice.

Calif. Supreme Court Ruling Eases Path For Delta Tunnel Plan

University Of California Looks To Tighten Moonlighting Rules For Top Officials

Ana Tintocalis | The California Report The University of California is attempting to rein in the amount of paid outside work its top education leaders can take on. But critics say UC needs to do more.

University Of California Looks To Tighten Moonlighting Rules For Top Officials

Pigeon 'Whisperers' Use Birds To Track Lead Pollution

By Ed Joyce A study of pigeons in New York City showed that levels of lead in the birds track with neighborhoods where children show high levels of lead exposure. The results were published July 18 in the journal Chemosphere. "Pigeons share our environment all over the globe, they're exposed to many of the same environmental contaminants as we are and often they suffer similar health consequences," says Rebecca Calisi, assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at the University of California, Davis, who conducted the study with undergraduate student (and study co-author) Fayme Cai while at Columbia University. Calisi says monitoring pigeon biology may provide more understanding of the location and prevalence of lead and other harmful toxins, which could lead to the creation of prevention measures. "So the data pigeons can provide us also have the potential to, if you will, speak for under-served and socioeconomically challenged communities who might be suffering from environmental pollutants but who lack the voice and means to assess and act," she says. Calisi says new studies show even tiny amounts of lead are detrimental to the health of children. UC Davis Assistant Professor Rebecca Calisi plans to use pigeons to track pollutant levels in California. David Slipher / Courtesy She now plans to expand the work in several California cities, including Sacramento, San Francisco and rural agricultural areas. "Currently we're devising a panel of different pollutants to look at to see what's most prevalent in these areas, what's most feasible to study and this includes other heavy metals and dangerous pollutants such as fire retardants and pesticides," she says. In New York City, Calisi and Cai used lead screening records of children taken by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, along with blood samples from 825 pigeons over a five-year period (2010-15), to correlate and analyze the levels between the birds and children. Each pigeon was identified by the zip code where it was found. The findings showed the pigeons' blood lead levels rose in summer, as they did in the blood samples from children. Calisi says zip codes with high lead levels in pigeons also had some of the highest rates of raised levels of lead in children. 'Pigeon Whisperers' While pigeons have been used to monitor various types of pollution in some European cities, Calisi says as far as she knows, no one has previously correlated lead exposure in birds with exposure rates in children. She says urban pigeons are ideal for tracking pollution in her work because they don't fly far and typically spend their lives within an area of a few blocks. But how do researchers wrangle the pigeons? "The scientists in my lab are pigeon whisperers," Calisi joked. She explained that food traps or nets are used along with "yummy goodies" to entice the pigeons. "When we catch the pigeons, we do a little health assessment, make sure they're in good condition and we take a blood sample, that's it," says Calisi. "And, if the pigeon is healthy enough to be released we let the pigeon go on its way and note where we collected the sample." The pigeons get a treat, the researchers get their blood, the birds fly away ... and the "rats with wings" play a role in environmental research.

Pigeon 'Whisperers' Use Birds To Track Lead Pollution

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