Unhealthy: Okay, to be blunt, I’m not a fan of the way Las Vegas airport runs its air traffic control (ATC) system. I think they do it a lot better in Norcal and Socal.
As a corporate pilot, I get out to sin city fairly often but last time the faux pas defied belief: one controller got completely overwhelmed: Pilots were interrupting other pilots, late clearances, forgotten clearances,(me), had turned a normal arrival into chaos. One anonymous pilot had had it. He keyed his microphone and bellowed, “This is the worst ATC work I’ve ever seen!” That matters, because like health care, air traffic mistakes can be deadly. Bruce Curtis
Speaking of health care, SLO County’s behavioral health services have come under heat for failing to
admit mental health patients who ended up dying in custody at the county jail. The point that they should have been at the county’s mental health facility instead, largely drove the June political campaign for sheriff.
Despite having a director who makes more than almost anyone else in county government, inmate health care looks to improve, with a new jail’s medical clinic contract in place.
The county’s chief medical officer still has to sign off on the new $400,000 deal with Maxim Healthcare Services, but that part seems pretty perfunctory.
Questions remain however; does the deal address the county’s mental health services’ previous failures, and will the price of that contract – nearly as much as the salary paid to our chief of behavioral health – prevent future deaths?
Slide Away: Caltrans and contractors have been making rapid progress toward reopening Hwy1at the site of the Mud Creek slide ten miles north of Ragged Point.
The $54 million project launched after millions of tons of rocks and soil pushed the pacific coast outward by about fifty yards, following 2016’s torrential winter rains.
The reason for delaying the rebuild had nothing to do with Caltrans’ alleged slothfulness, despite shovel-leaning jokes and cynical sayings, ‘the road to hell is paved by Caltrans’, but in fact due to the fact the project had to wait until the mountain stopped moving. When the slide finally settled, crews hit the ground running, shaving the hillside, installing drainage and piling huge boulders along the surf line to stabilize the mountain. Here is an update:
• More than 5 million cubic yards of material, reportedly the largest landslide in California highway history.
• Reopening is estimated for mid-September, although, according to agency spokesperson Susana Cruz, “It’s expected that even after the highway is reopened, intermittent lane closures and roadwork may continue.”
• 50 trucks a day travel Highway 1 daily to and from the slide area,
with 25 haul trucks and grading equipment working on site
• A construction crew of 35 is
working the project, working 12-14 hour day
Massive Mortgage: California’s realtors weighed in on housing affordability here in SLO County in May, and the picture will split your walled down the seams.
Only one in four county residents pull down enough money to get a mortgage on the median-priced home, currently closing in on six tenths of a stick, (almost $600,000 in non-realtor-speak). And yes, I know; that’s no laughing matter, because only 26 percent of us make the nearly $124,000 annual salary it takes to buy a home. If big numbers like that make your eyes water, think of it as only $3,100 per month and cheer up; that number includes your taxes and insurance. Besides, you could be living in either counties north and south of us where house prices are even higher.
Gnawing Psyllids: My son, an engineering student who works tech support, has a wicked sense of humor. For his job he’s writing a phonetic alphabet, you know, like the military uses… alpha, bravo, charlie, etc, but his uses words with silent letters. When someone calls, he’ll say, check the power; that’s “p” as in pterodactyl, or, type in your password, “K”, as in, “knead”, “H” as in “honest”… He thinks the idea is hysterical.
One silent-lettered pest is gnawing its way into your food and local farmers’ ire; the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Agriculture officials are asking you to buy local fruit and produce and not bring citrus or other fruit from outside the county. They’ve already identified 100 individual insects found here since January.
The official count of nests is at 40, and given the way insects procreate, that’s…ahh, let’s see…well, it’s potentially an invasion army of bugs. So far the damage has been mostly limited to Nipomo, and psyllid numbers have tapered down from a spike early in March.
Why have the tree-damaging psyllids invaded? Possibly warm weather, nobody is quite sure, but 33 adults have been found this year in the 2,000 traps that have been set. The potential loss to farmers is incalculable.
Not Gonna Burn, No… Last year’s blazes were brought back to mind when Cal Fire got ahead of a 100 acre blaze in late May along Bitterwater road, about 11 miles east of Cholame.
The small fire was a timely reminder that we live where things like to burn, so being prepared should be a done deal. Clear 30 – 100’ of defensible space around your rural home; if you burn leaves and brush, follow safety procedures in your permit: burn in cooler morning conditions or wait for higher humidity. Use spark producing equipment like mowers early in the day because blazing trees produce the saddest kind of second-hand smoke.
Cal Fire even has a mobile app for iPhones and Android for more fire safe ideas, because knowledge – a word with two silent letters – can save lives.