Weekly News Roundup for Friday, June 21st, 2024

Exposed concrete wall of Shasta Dam in Northern California

A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week…

Governor Newsom Plans to Restrict Smartphones in Schools

Governor Newsom issued a statement on Tuesday in support of restricting smartphone use in California schools. The statement references U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s call earlier this week for labels on social media apps to warn about their potential negative effects on youth mental health.  

“As the Surgeon General affirmed, social media is harming the mental health of our youth. Building on legislation I signed in 2019, I look forward to working with the Legislature to restrict the use of smartphones during the school day. When children and teens are in school, they should be focused on their studies – not their screens.” – Governor Newsom

Board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District recently passed a measure to develop rules to ban smartphone use during school hours. They are the largest school district in the nation to pursue a ban on smartphone use in school, according to CBS News.

California and the Shasta Indian Nation Announce the Largest Land Back Return in California History

Governor Newsom this week announced that the State of California is pursuing the return of over 2,800 acres of ancestral homeland to the Shasta Indian Nation. The announcement came on the 5th anniversary of the state’s apology to California Native American peoples and is part of ongoing reconciliation efforts.

Earlier this month, Governor Newsom visited the Klamath River dam removal project, the largest river restoration project in American history that will rehabilitate over 300 miles of salmon habitats, and discussed the ancestral land return with leaders of the Shasta Indian Nation. With the support of the state, the Shasta Indian Nation is pursuing the transfer of 2,820.860 acres of “Parcel B” lands associated with the dams.

“The Shasta Indian Nation is pleased with the Governor’s decision to support the return our ancestral lands and sacred sites. Having access to our ceremonial sites, including the site of our First Salmon Ceremony, is critical to the spiritual and emotional health of our people. The ceremony has not taken place since the lands were taken by eminent domain for the construction of Copco dam over 100 years ago. This is transformative and the beginning of restorative justice for our people,” said Shasta Indian Nation Chairperson Janice Crowe. “We welcome the opportunity to steward our ancestral lands in a manner consistent with tribal values and incorporating tribal ecological knowledge. Land return also allows us to educate the public by completing the Shasta Heritage Trail that incorporates Native art in the design along with informational placards that share the history of Shasta people from Kikacéki.”  

Firefighters Gain Ground on the Post Fire Outside Los Angeles

Cal Fire reports that the Post Fire, which has burned close to 16,000 acres in the I-5 corridor, is now 61% contained. The fire ignited last Saturday outside of Gorman, north of Los Angeles, and has been fueled by dry winds. It has destroyed two structures and damaged one, as well as causing one injury. Around 1,500 firefighters have been involved in fire suppression missions using 108 engines, eight helicopters and nine bulldozers. 

Firefighters continue to make progress with suppression and containment efforts, and report improved conditions. Some evacuation orders in the area have been lifted, although Pyramid Lake remains closed to the public. Hotter temperatures are expected this weekend.

CDPH Urges Consumers Not to Eat Diamond Shruumz Branded Products

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is warning consumers not to eat, sell or serve any flavor of Diamond Shruumz brand chocolate bars, cones, and gummies, which contain a proprietary mushroom blend. These products, known as microdose products, have led to multiple illnesses and hospitalizations in 16 states, including at least one poisoning in California.

“These products have been linked to hospitalization and other serious side effects, putting the public at risk,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón. “California will not allow the distribution and sale of these unsafe products and we will continue to work diligently with our local, state and federal partners to remove these products and to generate awareness and educate the public.”

Lineup of product packaging for Diamond Shuumz brand products subject to a public health warning
(Image source: fda.gov)

Side effects linked to Diamond Shruumz branded microdose products include seizures, central nervous system depression (loss of consciousness, confusion, sleepiness), agitation, abnormal heart rate, hyper/hypotension, nausea and vomiting.

Any consumers experiencing ill effects after consuming these products should consult their health care provider and/or call the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222. In an emergency, they should call 911. Anyone finding these products for sale should call the CDPH Complaint Hotline at (800) 495-3232 or submit an electronic report here.

Extreme Heat Warnings Issued in Parts of California

Many regions of California are predicted to experience triple-digit temperatures this weekend. The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings for the Apple and Lucerne Valleys, Antelope Valley, the I-5 Corridor, some interior mountain regions of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, the western San Gabriel Mountains and Antelope Valley foothills. 

Los Angeles County has issued excessive heat warnings and heat advisories for areas mostly in the San Gabriel Mountains and Antelope Valley from Saturday, June 22 through Thursday, June 27, 2024. Additionally, parts of the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Santa Clarita Valley are subject to a high heat advisory. 

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and its local partners encourage Californians to seek out cooling centers during this period of extreme heat. For Extreme Heat safety tips and resources, including a list of cooling centers by county, visit the Listos California website.

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