Monkeypox facts; part 2 of SFV checks; Hertzberg Hero & MORE

August 19, 2022

 

Hello neighbors.

I am sure most of you have heard about the rise in monkeypox cases in LA County, with several of you naturally worried about the severity of the disease and its spread. Given the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic and its life-altering effects, these concerns are valid, and I would like to provide you with information that may give you some peace of mind.

As I write this, public health officials are emphasizing that there is a very low prevalence of monkeypox in the general population, less than 1,000 in LA County to date. Many concerned residents have reached out to me to ask whether vaccines are available or necessary. But because monkeypox is so rare, the federal government has adopted a risk-based strategy. This means vaccines are currently available solely to certain groups. This includes people with a known exposure to a public health-confirmed monkeypox case; those who attended an event where there was a high risk of exposure to a confirmed monkeypox case; and certain high-risk individuals. This is temporary, as eligibility will expand as doses become more available. More HERE or call 833 540-0473.

Your concerns are justified, and I am here to answer any questions you may have. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us a lot about disease and public health in general. Developments in vaccines, medicine and other infection-control strategies will ensure we avoid devastating consequences from monkeypox. 

For additional news you can use, scroll down to read the next installment of some of the sizeable checks I helped provide to the San Fernando Valley through the annual budget process, my latest Hertzberg Hero and MORE.

Now tell me what is on your mind. Reach out via FacebookTwitter, Instagram and my email, or call my office at (818) 901-5588.

Be well, stay safe and remember we are all in this together.

 


Bob Hertzberg

 


VALLEY NEWS


(PHOTO CREDIT: LA County Department of Public Health)

LA COUNTY MOVES TO ‘MEDIUM’ LEVEL FOR COVID TRANSMISSION

After LA County’s hospitalization rate dropped to 9.9 per 100,000 residents last week, the county returned to the federal government's medium transmission category. Since an indoor mask mandate was never reinstated, not much is anticipated to change for residents in terms of COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. Masks are, however, still required in some settings, including health care facilities, homeless shelters, public transportation vehicles, transit centers and correctional facilities. More HERE.

 

(PHOTO CREDIT: CalKIDS.org)

NEWBORNS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR COLLEGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

California is officially launching CalKIDS, a program that will open a small college savings account for every newborn in the state to increase access to higher education. Funds can be used toward tuition, books and other supplies, and certain housing costs. Eligible newborns must be born during or after July 2022, or must be low-income public school students in grades 1-12 in California. Eligible beneficiaries are identified by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education and automatically enrolled in the program, with no action or financial commitment required by parents. Families do, however, have to register to access the money. More HERE

(PHOTO CREDIT: Caltrans)

WESTBOUND INTERSTATE 210 RAMPS CLOSED IN SYLMAR 

On- and off-ramps on Interstate 210 at Polk and Yarnell streets in Sylmar will be closed for up to 45 days for paving work, Caltrans officials said. The Polk ramps closed last Monday, and the Yarnell ramps will be closed starting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22. Residents located near the freeway may experience noise, vibrations, and dust created by construction. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes and check traffic conditions before doing so via the Caltrans Quickmap. The work on I-210 is part of a $135.5 million project, funded by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, in which all lanes on the freeway will be replaced with new pavement from Wheatland Avenue to Interstate 5. Overhead signs, traffic loop detectors, the center median barrier and the guardrail system will also be upgraded. 

(PHOTO CREDIT: CCU.com)

GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR CALIFORNIA TEACHERS

Los Angeles County teachers have until Sept. 30 to apply for $500 grants that fulfill students’ academic needs, display creativity and benefit a variety of students. Part of a biannual Teacher Grant program sponsored by California Credit Union, the goal is to fund innovative class project ideas with 10 grants of $500 each. More HERE

(PHOTO CREDIT: LADPSS)

HEALTH CARE, NUTRITION AND MORE AVAILABLE THROUGH LA COUNTY

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services has launched its August “Essential Services Month” campaign to inform residents about its many assistance programs. These include healthcare, nutrition assistance, cash for individuals and families with minor children, and in-home care for residents who are blind, disabled, or 65+. During this month, the department will additionally offer time-limited benefits, including the 2022 Advance Child Tax Credit Program for families, through November 2022. More HERE or call 866-613-3177.

(PHOTO CREDIT: LA Daily News)

SAFER, MORE EFFICIENT RUNWAY REOPENS AT VAN NUYS AIRPORT

Van Nuys Airport celebrated the reopening of its newly reconstructed Runway 16L/34R that features safety improvements and an extended lifespan, Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Association, said during a recent reopening ceremony where he escorted two student pilots to the strip. One of the students, Hannah Wang, flew a plane specially authorized to use newly available unleaded fuel to convey the significance of the upgrade. The renovation of the landing strip is part of a $13.1 million project to improve the safety at the general aviation airport. The 4,000-foot runway was rebuilt to extend its lifespan by 20 years, and the taxiway was installed with LED-lighting, new signage and safety features. More HERE.

(PHOTO CREDIT: LADWP)

LA RESIDENTS CUT WATER USE RECORD 11 PERCENT IN JULY

Los Angeles-area residents set another water-conservation record in July, cutting use 11 percent, according to the LA Department of Water and Power. This beat a 9-percent reduction in June, which was also the lowest water use for any June on record. The reduction is largely attributed to new water restrictions implemented June 1 that now only allow outdoor watering just two days per week. There also was an increase in complaints about potential water waste, an indicator of increased water-use consciousness. 


VALLEY ACTIVITIES

(PHOTO CREDIT: San Fernando Library)

STUDENTS CAN DESIGN THEIR OWN SCHOOL SUPPLIES – FOR FREE

The San Fernando Library is hosting a program where children ages 5-12 can decorate a desk organizer to make completing tasks more fun. The one-hour event begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Attendance is limited, and advance registration is required. Masks are strongly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. Register HERE

(PHOTO CREDIT: Shermanoaksnc.org)

FREE SONC SUMMER MOVIE SERIES & BACKPACK DRIVE 

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council is holding its last summer movie event from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 20 at Van Nuys Sherman Oaks War Memorial Park. The featured movie is Sing 2, an animated musical comedy. At the same time, SONC will also be holding a back-to-school backpack drive. Organizers are asking guests to bring new or gently used backpacks filled with school supplies to help families that may not be able to afford supplies for the upcoming school year. Requested supplies include pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, colored pencils, index cards, wide-ruled loose-leaf paper, wide-ruled spiral notebooks and Elmer’s purple disappearing glue sticks. More HERE.

(PHOTO CREDIT: LA County Library)

A FREE WORKSHOP ON WRITING A COLLEGE ESSAY WILL BE SATURDAY 
A free, hour-long workshop on writing college-admission essays will begin at noon Saturday, Aug. 27 at Valley Plaza Branch Library, 12311 Vanowen Blvd., North Hollywood. The event will review different stages of writing an admission essay, from brainstorming and outlining to writing, rewriting, polishing and submission. This workshop is designed to help you understand the process, relax, access the great stories that are already within you and write truly personal statements. To reserve your spot, email tsmith@lapl.org. More HERE.

(PHOTO CREDIT: My Valley Village)

SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY: APPLY FOR NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL VALLEY VILLAGE VACANCY 

Applications are being accepted for a Business Seat vacancy on the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  Candidates must be 18 years of age or older and work at or own a business or business property within the boundaries of Valley Village to qualify. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22. Applicants must fill out a Candidate Filing Form and email it to ncvvelections@gmail.com. More HERE.


HERTZBERG’S HERO

(PHOTO CREDIT: Eveline Bravo-Ayala)

HERTZBERG’S HERO – JOHN HERNANDEZ

Some of you may remember seeing John Hernandez as the cheerful greeter for the annual Pacoima holiday parade float, complete with him hugging a stuffed bear. As a member of the Pacoima Neighborhood Council, he has spent the past 12 years helping coordinate the annual holiday parade with the Pacoima Chamber of Commerce – a community tradition that will soon celebrate its 55th anniversary. John opened an insurance office in Pacoima, where he also hosts an annual blood drive, with one goal in mind: To give back to the community and help neighbors protect their families. To John, the San Fernando Valley is not just a destination; it’s also his home. “It is filled with some of the most hardworking, deserving people you could ever meet,” he explained. Learn more about his community work and how you can help at (818) 686-2750.


BRINGING MONEY TO THE SFV

(PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Hertzberg website)

LOCAL BUDGET WINNERS REFLECT, SERVE SFV DIVERSITY

In part two of a list that began in last week’s edition of Heart of the Valley, below are several additional local programs and improvements that will soon have a positive impact on a neighborhood near you. All are a result of an annual budget process to fund worthy San Fernando Valley projects, and a combined $24 million will be shared. More Valley winners next week! (All photos by Steve Fukushima).

HOPE OF THE VALLEY RESCUE MISSION RECEIVES $1.3 MILLION FOR HOMELESS

Lion Rowan Vansleve, left, and Ken Craft, right, of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission receive a $1.3 million check from Sen. Bob Hertzberg to provide homeless services and pet assistance for pet owners experiencing homelessness. Services will be provided through its office in Pacoima, a help center in Van Nuys and a thrift store in Granada Hills.

SYLMAR’S DISCOVERY CUBE OF L.A. RECEIVES $5 MILLION FOR PARKS

From left, Joe Adams, Tim Gaspar, Dr. Pedram Salimpour and Wendy Gruel receive a $5 million check from Sen. Bob Hertzberg on behalf of Discovery Cube Los Angeles and its children’s museum, including its newer Sylmar campus, to fund a sustainability park project. Teaching youth about the impacts of climate change, especially wildfires, is expected to help engage them in advancing California’s environmental goals.

EL PROYECTO del BARRIO RECEIVES $250,000 TO IMPROVE TECHNOLOGY

From left, Magdalena Duran and Bob Wynn of El Proyecto del barrio of Arleta, a family health clinic that provides health and human services to communities with underserved populations, receive a check from Sen. Bob Hertzberg for a digital display system to share information related to COVID-19 and keep communities safe.

REMEMBER, WE ARE A TEAM

I appreciate hearing from you. If you have a specific question or concern, or a story about the Valley to share, please click here to send me an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You can also connect with me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.