– October 31, 2014

Truck emissions inspectors scour Fresno area

California Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationCalifornia Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationTeams of inspectors from the California Air Resources Board were in Fresno today checking big rig engines for compliance with the agency's Truck and Bus regulation.

The regulation requires all trucks in the state to have 2010 model year engines or the equivalent particulate matter (PM) retrofits by 2023.

Beginning January 1, heavy duty diesel trucks with engines dating from 2000 to 2004 are required to have soot filters, making them 2010 equivalent for emissions.

Working with the California Highway Patrol, teams of CARB inspectors set up five locations in the Fresno area to stop passing truck drivers for a check of their equipment. Inspectors checked for emissions control labels, exhaust smoke and other signs of excess emissions.

CARB's Public Information Officer Karen Caesar said the average person may not always notice, but 2010 or equivalent engines reduce emissions by 85 percent when compared to 2000 engines.

"Diesel engines last forever and when you have truck 30 to 40 years on the road, it's not good for the air," she said.

Trucks originating outside of California are also subject to the regulation, she added, so the agency is working hard to make sure truck operators everywhere are informed about the requirements and get into compliance.

"These regulations are important and compliance is not optional," she said. "We have to let these folks know and give them the information."

The latest checkpoints were one of dozens that go on throughout the year in California but the first this year for the Fresno area.

Last August, similar teams were set up at 40 different weigh stations, distribution centers and other locations throughout the state to inspect some 4,000 trucks as part of the "Gear Up For Clean Trucks" campaign.

From that effort, CARB noted a rate of 80 percent of trucks compliant with the regulation either through diesel soot filters or new and upgraded engines.

When truck operators aren't in compliance, penalties start at a minimum of $1,000 per violation per month and will increase significantly over time. Non-compliance can also result in a registration block by the Department of Motor Vehicles on the truck or having the vehicle impounded by the CHP until it in compliance.

Small fleets with three or fewer trucks can delay compliance until January 2014 by reporting their truck information to CARB.

More information on how to comply with the Truck and Bus regulation as well as incentive money is available at ARB's TruckStop website at or by calling 1-866-6-DIESEL (634-3735).

California is home to 200,000 trucking business and 450,000 registered heavy duty diesel trucks.

Trucks and buses account for about 32 percent of the statewide emissions of NOx and about 40 percent of diesel PM emissions.

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gordonwebstergordonwebster Gordon Webster - Publisher
gordonwebstergordonwebster Gabriel Dillard - Managing Editor

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Written on 10/31/2014, 9:44 am by Business Journal staff
Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center has retained its top grade  of "A" for patient safety in Leapfrog Group's bi-annual safety report. In May, Kaiser Permemante Fresno also earned an "A" grade from the group.  Scores are awarded based on the latest publicly reported data available on patient injuries, medical and medication errors and infections at hospitals throughout the country. This is the third year the nonprofit has issued Hospital Safety Scores.  "We are proud to be recognized as one of the top hospitals for patient safety once again," said Jeff Collins, Kaiser Permanente Fresno's senior vice president and area manager, in a prepared statement. "These scores truly reflect the world-class treatment being provided to our patients." In addition to Kaiser Permanente Fresno, 16 other Kaiser Permanente Northern California facilities were awarded "A" grades includingg those in Sacramento and Modesto.  Leapfrog Group uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to determine letter grades from A to F for hospital safety ratings. The group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee heath coverage and was founded in 2000.  To see more hospital scores and how they compare locally and nationally, visit 
Written on 10/31/2014, 8:42 am by TAMI ABDOLLAH, Associated Press
(AP) — A year after a man walked into Los Angeles International Airport with an assault rifle and vendetta against security screeners, efforts are still underway to prepare for such attacks. In reviewing the Nov. 1, 2013, shooting, which left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead and three other people injured, the nation's third-busiest airport found it was ill-prepared to communicate with passengers and the public; lacked security cameras in key locations; and had not provided ample training on emergency procedures to workers. In addition, airport police had upgraded to a $5.4 million high-tech radio system but often couldn't communicate with the 20 or more agencies on scene. A separate federal report found most TSA officers at 450 airports nationwide were concerned for their safety and wanted better security. Here are some of the major issues and what's been accomplished: LAW ENFORCEMENT PRESENCE On the day of the shooting, the two airport police officers assigned to the terminal targeted by the gunman had left for unauthorized breaks. They were outside the terminal when the gunman opened fire. New Jersey native Paul Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to 11 federal charges, including murder of a federal officer. The TSA's review recommended that armed officers be present at security checkpoints and ticket counters during peak travel times. Because TSA officers aren't armed, their security depends on local police. Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said he supports TSA's recommendation for officer deployment, and has worked to ensure a strong presence during peak hours. He said he has focused increasingly on using data to determine deployment. Finally, Gannon said officers have been reminded of protocols for leaving their posts or taking breaks, and provided additional training if necessary. TSA Officer Victor Payes doesn't see it. "Nothing really changed," said Payes, a TSA union leader. There were a couple months of extra police presence at checkpoints after the shooting, but recently it can take 10 minutes to get a response, he said. "Do we necessarily feel safer? Not really," said Payes. "In peak travel times you don't see (an airport police) officer around. You don't always feel like they're immediately available." TSA's national union pushed for a separate unit of law enforcement within the agency to provide security, but that failed. "There's a value of having law enforcement inside of TSA that TSA is in control of," said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees. PANIC BUTTONS, EMERGENCY PHONES AND CAMERAS The official reviews determined that panic buttons weren't working and emergency phones weren't routed to on-site police departments. At LAX, dispatchers couldn't tell where the shooting was happening because a TSA manager who picked up an emergency phone fled the advancing gunman and the phone system didn't identify the location. Now LAX tests panic buttons daily and emergency phones provide location details. TSA has hired a contractor to install panic alarms at more than 100 airports since August. After being unable to see the gunman arrive, LAX installed curbside cameras and is evaluating whether more are needed elsewhere. COMMUNICATION, COORDINATION AND TRAINING The day of the shooting, police and fire personnel took 45 minutes to set up one unified command post. The lack of coordination was amplified by incompatible radio systems, which hindered response among roughly 20 agencies. Airport police have since joined other police, fire and federal agencies to conduct 34 training sessions to practice and speed emergency response. Airport police have provided outside agencies with radios tuned to their wavelengths. During emergencies, LAX now can text emergency alerts — like those sent for child abductions — to the cellphones of people at the airport. TSA and LAX have worked on videos telling employees how to respond to a shooting. So far, 56 training sessions have occurred for airport employees, though that represents a fraction of employees there. "Is this airport safer than it was last year?" Gannon said. "I would say it's as safe as it was last year, and it was safe." LEGISLATION In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires several state offices to coordinate training standards for responding to shootings. The House of Representatives passed the Hernandez Airport Security Act — named for slain TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez — but the Senate has not acted, disappointing Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes LAX. "Last year's incident at LAX remains a deeply disturbing episode in the airport's history," Waters said, citing emergency response failures that "exposed systemic problems that (the airport authority) is still working to address."
Written on 10/31/2014, 8:39 am by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
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Written on 10/31/2014, 8:34 am by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer
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Written on 10/31/2014, 8:31 am by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer
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Written on 10/30/2014, 5:02 pm by Business Journal staff
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Written on 10/30/2014, 3:41 pm by Gordon M. Webster
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Written on 10/30/2014, 1:25 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — U.S. stock indexes are closing higher as big companies turn in encouraging quarterly results. The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 200 points Thursday, thanks in large part to a big gain in Visa, the Dow's highest-priced stock. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,994. The Nasdaq composite rose 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,566. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 221 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,195. Visa announced earnings late Wednesday that beat analysts' expectations. The company also announced a big share buyback program. Auto parts maker BorgWarner dropped 4 percent after reporting results that missed analysts' expectations. The price of the 10-year Treasury note edged up. Its yield fell to 2.31 percent.
Written on 10/30/2014, 1:18 pm by The Associated Press
(AP) — A police department in suburban Philadelphia has created a "safe zone" for people to complete transactions they arranged online. The Conshohocken Police Department said individuals making purchases from other people through Craigslist and other online sites are free to complete the deals in the police department's lobby or parking lot. The idea for the safe zone came after Conshohocken Officer Steve Vallone said his wife told him she was going to another person's house to complete an online purchase. He didn't like the idea. "I figured there's got to be a better place for people who don't know each other to complete these transactions," Vallone said. "Why not allow people to complete their online transactions from here? It seems like the perfect match." The lobby is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the parking lot is open for use 24 hours a day. Vallone said the lot is well-lit and has four surveillance cameras. Police said the decision was not undertaken in response to any crimes. A similar program was started in May by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida. That office said it was offering four of its parking lots for residents making purchases in a response to "safety threats for those engaging in cash transactions" involving items bought from others on the Internet or in classified advertisements. Vallone said the department hopes to see others implement similar programs.

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Written on 10/31/2014, 8:39 am by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
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