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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

L.A. County Expands Consumer Protections Against Fraud, Price Gouging

L.A. County Expands Consumer Protections Against Fraud, Price Gouging

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Citing more than 1,000 complaints about phony cures or inflated prices for essential goods during the coronavirus crisis, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday expanded consumer protections.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recommended giving the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs subpoena power to investigate cases.

“It is imperative that the county take all reasonable and necessary steps to protect consumers from price gouging during this emergency,” Ridley- Thomas said. “It is unconscionable for anyone to force people to pay more than they should for supplies that they need, particularly during a pandemic.”

The existing county ordinance makes it illegal to raise prices of consumer goods by more than 10 percent for 30 days following an emergency declaration — which the county made on March 4.

The board’s action provides for repeated extensions of the prohibitions on price gouging for as long as the emergency lasts.

The director of the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs said there are more than 200 cases under investigation,

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Noon: L.A. County Reports 5 More Coronavirus Deaths; Cases Near 1,500

Friday Noon: L.A. County Reports 5 More Coronavirus Deaths; Cases Near 1,500

CITY NEWS SERVICE

Five more deaths due to coronavirus were reported Friday in Los Angeles County, raising the total to 26, and the county’s mortality rate from the illness rose above the levels seen across the country and in New York City, which has been particularly hard-hit by the virus.

Barbara Ferrer, head of the county Department of Public Health, said 257 more cases have been confirmed in the county, raising the total to 1,465. That figure, however, does not include 16 new cases reported Friday morning by the city of Long Beach, which maintains its own health department.

Long Beach had a total of 70 cases as of Friday morning. The city’s 16 new cases raised the overall Los Angeles County figure to 1,481.

Of the five deaths reported by Los Angeles County on Friday, all were over the age of 60 — four men and one woman, Ferrer said. On Thursday, the county reported nine deaths,

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Los Angeles County Launches New Interactive Digital Dashboards, Connecting Residents to Latest Updates on COVID-19 Impacts

Los Angeles County Launches New Interactive Digital Dashboards, Connecting Residents to Latest Updates on COVID-19 Impacts

Los Angeles County launched several new digital tools today to help residents access up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic. A suite of new interactive maps and dashboards are now live on the County website, providing—in one place—a digital hub for updates about virus case counts, emergency proclamations, and information regarding openings and closures for parks, recreation sites, and schools throughout Los Angeles County.

The new dashboards track, analyze, and display multiple data sources. They are the result of collaboration between the County’s Department of Public Health, Health Services, Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the Office of Emergency Management. Though the focus is local, the new interactive sites also incorporate global data from Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 tracking map.

“These maps and dashboards are the latest step we have taken to keep the people of Los Angeles County informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and connected to County services,” stated Kevin McGowan, Director of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Lighting the Way

Lighting the Way

By AARON HARRIS

In 1928, F.B. Nightingale the manager of the Lighting Department of the General Electric Supply Corporation of Los Angeles, erected a 35-foot wooden star at his home on Marengo Avenue in Altadena.

The Palawoo Star — named after Nightingale’s estate, was lit every Christmas with 50 watt light bulbs and stationed so it could be seen at the top of Christmas Tree Lane on Santa Rosa Avenue.

Now the star will shine again this time as a symbol of hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“We have a timer set for it to come on 7:30 PM to 11 every night and we’ll stay on for the duration of the challenges we’re facing,” said Phil Elkins, who purchased the Palawoo Estate in 1989.

Originally the star was made of wood and was lit by 50 light bulbs. The original star was destroyed by winds and a second one was destroyed in a fire in 1935.

The star was rebuilt,

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

County Coronavirus Cases Surge Over 1,200; Nine More Deaths

County Coronavirus Cases Surge Over 1,200; Nine More Deaths

The coronavirus death toll in Los Angeles County nearly doubled Thursday, reaching a total of 21, while another 421 cases were confirmed, a sharp rise the county’s health director attributed to a significant increase in testing while warning the illness is spreading across the area.

Barbara Ferrer, head of the county Department of Public Health, reported nine new deaths over the past 24 hours. No details were immediately available on the ages or locations of those who died.

Ferrer said the 421 new cases bring the county’s overall total to 1,216. Early Thursday afternoon, however, Long Beach — which operates its own health department — reported an additional 13 cases, pushing the county total to 1,229.

Ferrer said the steep one-day spike was the result of additional testing and “catching up on backlogs” of delayed test results, but she said the virus is making an aggressive march across the county, highlighting the need to adhere to social distancing, isolation and quarantine requirements.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

County Schools Superintendent Calls for Campuses To Remain Closed Until May 5

County Schools Superintendent Calls for Campuses To Remain Closed Until May 5

CITY NEWS SERVICE

As expected, school closures in Los Angeles County will likely last much longer than originally anticipated, with County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo recommending Friday that campuses remain off limits until May 5.

“In the interest of public safety and the health of our children and most vulnerable community members, we are asking our 80 school districts to remain closed with students returning on May 5,” Duardo said in a statement. “School closures will help prevent transmission of their staff, students and families for all that they are doing to ensure that learning continues and that vital nutrition and meal services are provided.”

Duardo had originally called for schools to be closed until the end of March. But since that pronouncement, strict stay-at-home mandates have been issued by state and local officials, heightening the concern about community transmission of the illness.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has hinted that schools across the state may not reopen for the balance of this school year,

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Supervisor Barger Signs Eviction Moratorium and Other Support for Residents and Small Businesses

Supervisor Barger Signs Eviction Moratorium and Other Support for Residents and Small Businesses

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, in her role as Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, signed an Executive Order directing County Departments to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 emergency, including a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions. The order, signed March 19, outlines several actions the County of Los Angeles will take for the protection of life and property, and to preserve public order and safety.

The executive order places a moratorium on residential and commercial tenant evictions. This moratorium is retroactive to March 4, 2020, the date of the County’s declaration of an emergency, and will continue through May 31, 2020. The moratorium is in line with Governor Gavin Newsom’s proclamation regarding local authority to impose such restrictions. This moratorium ensures County residents are not unduly impacted in their adherence to Public Health orders issued by the Department of Public Health.

“The Board of Supervisors is committed to protecting our constituents as this emergency continues,” Supervisor Barger said. “I am committed to ensure residents do not fall into homelessness from an inability to work and pay rent as a result of public health guidelines that limit business and retail activity.”

The moratorium only applies to unincorporated L.A.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Disaster Assistance Loans Now Available to Los Angeles County Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Disaster Assistance Loans Now Available to Los Angeles County Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Offering support and disaster relief is a critical government function,” stated Kevin McGowan, Director of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. “The devastating economic impact of COVID-19 is palpable. There is a great need for economic support during the coronavirus disaster, and SBA federal disaster loans are an excellent resource for small business owners.”

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is December 16,

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Supervisor Barger Announces Further Closures, Updates, and Precautions

Supervisor Barger Announces Further Closures, Updates, and Precautions

To prevent further spread of COVID-19, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, announced additional precautions on Monday.

All bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment centers, and fitness centers are ordered to be closed until further notice. Restaurants will be permitted to serve take out or delivery food only and grocery stores may remain open.

Gatherings of more than 50 people are strongly discouraged, in accordance with directions from the Centers for Disease Control.

“This is a constantly-evolving issue and we appreciate everyone doing their part to help stem the further spread of the virus,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “We’re moving into the next phase of preventative measures and do not make these decisions lightly.”

Closures will have an impact on thousands of employees, employers, and businesses. Supervisor Barger plans to work on eviction relief for any individuals who may be impacted by closures and restrictions of public gatherings. This may include a moratorium on evictions for residential tenants and small businesses in unincorporated areas of the County until further direction from the state and federal governments on available funding.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Altadena Library District Announces Precautionary District Closure in Response to Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Altadena Library District Announces Precautionary District Closure in Response to Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

To combat the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19 and protect library staff and the community, the Altadena Library District is closing both its Main Library and Bob Lucas Memorial Branch buildings to the public, effective Friday, March 13, 2020 at 6:00pm. As decided at an emergency Library Board of Trustees meeting this evening, the closure will remain in effect until at least Tuesday, March 31, 2020. All in-person library programs and outreach are also suspended through the end of April.

These precautionary measures go into effect following recent guidelines from public health officials to cancel non-essential gatherings of more than 250 people, limit gatherings of high risk populations to no more than 10 people, and practice social distancing, which is shown to be the most effective way to curb the exponential growth of a virus such as COVID-19.

“This decision was made after careful consideration with both our Board of Trustees and library staff, and we recognize the impact that could be felt in our community as a result of temporarily closing our doors,” said District Director Nikki Winslow.

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