News Briefs 6-3-2021

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

June 4, 2021

LOCAC Election Results

The recent Los Osos Community Advisory Council elections resulted in some familiar faces as well as some new ones serving on the council.
Voters decided the outcome of four council seats one from each district. Incumbents Yael Korin and Larry Bender will continue to represent Districts 1 and 3 respectively for another four years. New to the council are James Bishop representing District 2 and Deborah Howe representing District 4.

The agency is also looking for someone who would like to help with outreach social media.
“We would love an intern who could help build up our presence on social media and support us in reaching our many Los Osos residents,” their website states. “This could be a great class project and great experience for a student who is interested in local affairs, advocacy, and community work.”
Anyone interested should contact Sandra at ssarrouf.locac@gmail.com. For more information on LOCAC business, go to http://locac.info.

District Attorneys File Lawsuit Against Early Release

What was a petition last issue is a lawsuit now. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow and 43 elected California District Attorneys have filed a civil lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The suit seeks to prohibit awarding additional conduct credits to more than 76,000 violent and serious offenders.

The additional credits were the product of “emergency” regulations, which were passed and first made public on April 30, 2021. In adopting these regulations, and claiming an emergency, the CDCR Secretary stated these regulations were necessary to comply with “the direction outlined in the Governor’s Budget Summary” presented a year ago on May 14, 2020. By invoking an emergency, the traditional regulatory scheme and transparent public comment period was bypassed.

This lawsuit requests that the Superior Court declare the regulations unlawful and prohibit CDCR from awarding these additional credits until they lawfully comply with the regulatory scheme, which would include a transparent and rigorous public comment period.

Cuesta Drama Faculty Honored

Cuesta College Drama Artistic Director bree valle was honored by the Kennedy Center with the Gold Medallion, considered one of the great honors in theatre education. Each year, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s (KCACTF) eight regions honor individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to theatre production and education. The Gold Medallion is the most prestigious regional award given by the KCACTF.

Cuesta College is part of Region 8, which includes central and southern California, Arizona, Utah, southern Nevada, and Guam. Cuesta College’s original production of Ghost Ship in 2019 received ten national awards from KCACTF, including Outstanding Theatrical Creation and Outstanding Director for valle.

Valle has been a faculty member and artistic director of the drama program at Cuesta College since 2000 and teaches Rehearsal and Performance, Acting for the Camera, Script Analysis, and Introduction to Theatre. She grew up in Northern Canada and has studied at the University of Alberta, Simon Fraser University, and Lakehead University, and earned an MFA in contemporary performance from Arizona State University. She is the co-artistic director and co-founder of Blu Canyon Studios and has acted and directed both locally, nationally, and abroad.

Valle’s passion for theatre has led her on a lifelong journey of learning, growing, and inspiring others.
“Making theatre that empowers disadvantaged youth to find their voice, to cultivate their listening skills, to be kinder playmates, and to bring joy to others has been the most fulfilling journey I could have ever asked for,” said valle. “I am grateful and overjoyed to accept this honor.”

COVID-19 Assistance Phone Number Changes

San Luis Obispo County’s COVID-19 Phone Assistance Center (PAC) number is changing to 805-781-5500. This is the regular phone number for the Public Health Department.
The Phone Assistance Center support will be available for residents who have questions related to COVID-19, including questions about vaccination. For a short period of time, the old number will still direct callers to the PAC.

“I want to acknowledge the many residents who have called to get accurate, up-to-date information throughout the pandemic, and the County employees who stepped out of their regular jobs to serve at the PAC when our community needed them most,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer in a news release. “We will continue to provide this support as our community reopens further.”

The PAC continues to be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to answer questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and other COVID-19 based guidelines. Residents seeking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through one of the County’s clinics can check myturn.ca.gov or call the CA COVID-19 hotline at 1-833-422-4255, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Still Time to Participate in Survey

There is still an opportunity to participate in the County of San Luis Obispo’s Behavioral Health Department survey for clients to give feedback on services received during the Covid-19 pandemic at www.slocounty.ca.gov/clientsurvey.

The survey is open to all clients who received behavioral health services during the pandemic and is available in both English and Spanish. Questions cover clients’ experiences, how they prefer to receive their services (in person or online) and asks about public safety concerns.

“It is important to us to make sure we are meeting the needs of our clients,” said Amanda Getten, the quality support division manager for Behavioral Health. “This last year has been extremely challenging and we want to make sure we are still meeting our clients’ needs and improving ways to bring recovery and resilience to our county.”

Behavioral Health maintained its essential services throughout the pandemic and the shelter at home orders. Services have remained ongoing to provide care to community members with serious mental illness and addiction treatment needs through both in-person appointments and telehealth. The department urges the community to continue to take care of their health and wellness, and to reach out for help when needed.

The survey is anonymous and will be open for entries as long as the pandemic continues in SLO County. Clients may always give feedback about services by emailing beahvioralhealth@co.slo.ca.us.

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