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by Joyia Emard

SACRAMENTO – Security and investigative professionals seeking to carry a firearm while they work in the State of California can now go online to prove they have the required training. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) has added an online application feature to a suite of tools on its website designed to make things easier for licensees.

Licensees can find the option by logging into their BreEZe account here: breeze.ca.gov

“Our goal is to streamline the process, while weeding-out deficient applications before they’re ever filed,” said Bureau Chief Lynne Andres. “This upgrade to our technology is a significant step in that direction.”

The online application option means that professionals with one of those qualifying license types have another method, in addition to mailing their application or physically visiting a licensing office, to apply for a firearm permit. Applicants will still have to meet the same training and proficiency requirements for the firearm permit. Now they can prove that they have done so by attaching the required documents to their online application.

Read the full news release here.

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An electronic board tracks bets at a casino.

An electronic board tracks betting lines at a casino.

In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that prohibited states from sanctioning sports betting. That doesn’t mean the sportsbook is open now, but California voters may soon get the chance to place their bets.

In June of this year, Assembly Member Adam Gray introduced ACA 16, a proposed state constitutional amendment that, if passed by the legislature with a two-thirds vote, would put the question of whether to legalize sports gambling in front of voters on the 2020 ballot.

It’s no surprise that California is looking to cash in: Since the Supreme Court decision, 18 states have legalized sports betting, and 24 others are considering legislation to capitalized on the estimated $150 billion illegally wagered on sports every year, mostly via the internet.

Making sports betting legal in California would depend on coming to an agreement with the Native American tribal groups who have exclusive rights to allow gambling at casinos on tribal lands. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) said in a June press release, “We… insist that federally recognized tribes are included in all stakeholder meetings and hearings held on the issue and a thorough analysis of the social and economic effects of legalizing sports wagering be completed prior to final initiative language.”

Another factor to consider is the public health concern. Research by the National Council on Problem Gambling indicates that “2 million U.S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling in a given year. Another 4-6 million would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling, but meet one of more of the criteria and are experiencing problems due to their gambling behavior.”

The California Department of Public Health’s Office of Problem Gambling (OPG) offers resources, as well as around-the-clock, no-cost, confidential help to anyone impacted by a gambling disorder. OPG describes the gambling addict as one battling a compulsion to continue gambling, even when there is no chance to recoup the cost of bets.

If you decide to find help for a gambling addiction with a marriage and family therapist, clinical social worker, clinical counselor, or psychologist, you can check to see if they have a valid license with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences or the California Board of Psychology by using the license search page on the appropriate entity’s website.

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You are about to start seeing more solar panels on rooftops across California.

The state is the first in the nation to require solar panels on new homes, starting January 1, 2020. The mandate, which comes from the California Energy Commission (CEC), will help meet the state’s goal to produce 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030.

Single-family homes and multifamily dwellings up to three stories high must abide by the new standard, which CEC predicts will add about $9,500 to the cost of an average new home. CEC also estimates, however, a homeowner will save $19,000 over the course of a 30-year mortgage.

“With this adoption, the California Energy Commission has struck a fair balance between reducing greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously limiting increased construction costs,” said Dan Dunmoyer, California Building Industry Association CEO and president.

Homebuyers will have the option of purchasing solar panels outright, leasing them, or using a shared solar grid that serves multiple homes in a neighborhood. Exemptions to the rule include homes with limited roof space and those that receive an abundance of shade.

New homes that are built in 2020 and beyond are expected to use 53% less energy than those under the existing standards, CEC said.

“Under these new standards, buildings will perform better than ever at the same time they contribute to a reliable grid,” CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister said in a news release after the commission adopted the solar mandate. “The buildings that Californians buy and live in will operate very efficiently while generating their own clean energy.”

The mandate stems from the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Final terms of the solar panels rule were initially endorsed in May 2018 by the CEC. Final approval for the state’s building code came the following December.

For those considering solar power for their home or wanting more information about solar energy systems, the Contractors State License Board (www.cslb.ca.gov) has a Solar Smart page on its website for consumers.

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Teaching kids about money along with their ABC’s and 123’s makes a lot of cents. Opinions about how and when to begin teaching children financial basics may differ. The sooner kids learn that money can grow, but money doesn’t grow on trees, will pay off in compounded dividends. Teaching basic concepts about money doesn’t need to be a long drawn out lecture. Financial literacy can begin as early as two years old.

Here are some suggestions about how to tackle teaching young children about earning, spending, saving, and budgeting money.

EARNING

Most children earn money by doing weekly chores around their homes. Then there are children who receive a monthly allowance without having to work to earn the money. Experts suggest teaching kids to view allowance like a wage. Chores should be assigned as the child’s job, then at week’s end evaluate the child’s performance, and pay them their wage. If the work is not completed, they do not receive their wages. Just like in real life. Bonus pay is possible if the child does work over and above their typical chores.

SPENDING

Cash and even gift cards can teach kids that money is finite, unlike a credit or debit card. A well-known study out of MIT showed that people are more likely to spend twice as much on an item when they purchase the same item using credit cards instead of cash. Learning how to spend money is an important lesson. For example, if a child receives a set amount to shop with in the form of cash or a gift card, they will have to make financial decisions based on the available amount of money they have to spend and not a penny over. Another tactic to teach children the value of a dollar is to have them consider the value of the item by teaching them to calculate how many hours they will have to work to earn enough money to pay for an item. Teach them how to convert hours worked into dollars. This will help them think about what purchases are worth their hard-earned money.

SAVING

Teaching the importance of waiting to buy something can be a challenging concept for children and some adults to grasp. Learning to delay gratification will benefit them in the long run. This can be done with a simple piggy bank, or by setting up a no-fee savings account at a brick and mortar credit union or bank. Experts suggest helping your child set a goal for a future purchase. The goal is to set the child up for success, so the item should not be so pricey that it would take months to afford it. Every time your child adds money to their savings, help them count their cash or review their statement, and talk about how much money they need, and how long it will take to reach their goal. This exercise teaches them how to wait patiently while saving.

BUDGETING

This step is more sophisticated and may be introduced during the tween/teen years. Keeping track of expenses and learning to distinguish wants from needs can be a struggle, even for adults. Having a budget teaches the importance of planning for the future by evaluating how much money they have or don’t have. A simple budget, broken into the following categories: earnings(income), spending, saving, and goals (e.g., a car) can be created with database software such as Excel or Google sheets, in addition to plenty of free online apps. Once a budget has been created, review it with your child regularly to get them in the habit of staying on track. Evaluate if they need to work harder (do more chores) to make more money or spend less for them to reach their short-term (video game) or long-term (used car) savings goals.

These basics of financial literacy are just the beginning. For those interested in a do-it-yourself approach, the California Department of Education has a number of K-12 financial literacy resources that can be found here. For those looking to enlist the advice of a professional, the California Department of Consumer Affairs, through the California Board of Accountancy, licenses professionals who are trained to assist people with all of their financial matters.

 

 

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The desire for lighter, clearer skin causes some consumers to take drastic measures hoping for dramatic results. It also has predators putting toxic merchandise on the streets, luring the consumer into using a tampered product that’s too good to be true. The outcome is less than desirable and, in some cases, downright life-threatening.

In 2014, a 20-month-old baby suddenly stopped thriving, needing a feeding tube because of a face cream. In 2013, a 16-year-old boy’s legs started involuntarily twitching due to homemade cream. Most alarming of all, in September, a woman fell into a coma after showing up to the hospital with slurred speech and unable to walk, because of a face cream.

These California medical cases all have one thing in common: the creams involved were all tainted with mercury. A Health Alert issued by the California Department of Public Health states the baby’s mother used a skin-lightening cream from Mexico, and “the baby was most likely exposed to mercury through physical contact with the mother or from contact with contaminated household items.” The teenager used a homemade cream from Mexico to treat acne. The woman who fell into a coma used a product called Pond’s Rejuveness anti-wrinkle and spot removal cream. She obtained the mercury-laced product from an informal network that imported it from Mexico, according to an article posted by Sacramento County. The product was tampered with after it had been manufactured in Mexico.

Toxic effects from mercury poisoning can be debilitating or deadly. It can spread from the hands and get into the air for anyone to breath in. Mercury attacks the central nervous system and kidneys. Exposure can cause loss of peripheral vision, muscle weakness, tremors, headaches, insomnia, and mood swings. It can also cause impaired speech, hearing, and the ability to walk.

These face creams have been found in ethnic beauty stores, ethnic supermarkets, swap meets, online, and on the streets. Officials with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) issued a warning to consumers and licensees about purchasing tainted face creams.

“Consumers and BBC licensees should be aware of what they are purchasing and using,” said BBC Executive Officer Kristy Underwood. “It’s important for them to confirm that products have been approved by the FDA and come from an authorized distributor in the United States,” Underwood said.

Pond’s products purchased at chain stores such as Walmart, CVS, or the Dollar Store both in the United States and Mexico are safe to purchase, as long as the protective foil is sealed underneath the lid, according to Sacramento County Public Health officials.

Some products are tampered with, but others intentionally contain mercury as an active ingredient. So, is getting rid of a few pimples or age spots worth the risk? If it’s coming from an unreliable source, it could end up harming more than one person.

If you suspect a product you are using has been altered, California health officials suggest putting the cream in a sealed plastic bag, disposing of it at a hazardous waste facility, and making an appointment with your doctor to have your blood and urine tested for mercury.

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Southern California audiologist convicted of exposing himself at Universal Studios

SACRAMENTO – The Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and Hearing Aid Dispensers Board (Board) has revoked the license of Tarzana Audiologist Hershel Louis Korngut based on his November 7, 2018 conviction for PC288(A) Lewd or Lascivious Acts with a Child Under the Age of 14 years.

Korngut was arrested in January of 2018 for exposing and rubbing his genitals on two female customers at cash registers inside merchandise stores at the Universal Studios theme park in Los Angeles County.

In April of 2018, Korngut’s license was suspended because the Board had reason to believe he was a danger to the public. The Board filed an accusation in July of 2019 based on his conviction. The accusation stated Korngut was convicted of a crime that is substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a hearing aid dispenser and audiologist and for violating the California Business and Professions Code sections 490(a); 2533(a); 2533(e); and 2533(g) and the California Code of Regulations 1399.156(a); and 1399.1569(d).

Korngut did not contest the accusation and on October 23, 2019, the Board revoked his license. He was sentenced to three years in state prison and is currently incarcerated at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, California.

Read the news release here.

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Kimberly Kirchmeyer has been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).

Kimberly Kirchmeyer is sworn in

As her family looks on, Kimberly Kirchmeyer is sworn in as Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs by Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Alexis Podesta.

Since 2013, Ms. Kirchmeyer has served as executive director of the Medical Board of California (MBC), where she was deputy director from 2011 to 2013.

During her time at MBC, Ms. Kirchmeyer oversaw the successful deployment of the first-in-the-nation Medical Board iPhone app, which alerts consumers when a doctor’s name, address, practice status, license expiration, or survey data changes, and when administrative actions and enforcement documents are added to a doctor’s profile. The information includes notification when a doctor is suspended, revoked, or placed on probation.

This isn’t Ms. Kirchmeyer’s first post with DCA. She was deputy director of board and bureau services at DCA from 2009 to 2011.

Ms. Kirchmeyer is a member of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities, Federation of State Medical Boards Committees, Administrators in Medicine, and the United States Medical Licensing Examination State Board Advisory Panel.

On behalf of all DCA employees, congratulations to Ms. Kirchmeyer on her appointment!

Kimberly Kirchmeyer standing with the DCA leadership team.

Kimberly Kirchmeyer (center), Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, with the Department’s leadership team: (from left) David Chriss, Karen Nelson, Chris Shultz, Grace Arupo Rodriguez, Kirchmeyer, Veronica Harms, Jason Piccione, Dennis Cuevas-Romero, and Tracy Montez.

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When Martha and Enrrique Gallard packed up their belongings in Georgia and sent them off in a moving truck headed to their new home in California, they had no idea what problems were awaiting them.

But the Gallards were lucky: they found an ally in the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS).

The Gallards recently told their story to Ben Deci of The Peel By DCA.

Whether you’re considering a move into, out of, or within the state, check that the moving company is licensed by BHGS. You can also find resources to help you prepare for your move and tips for hiring a mover and red flags to be aware of. And if you’re in a jam with your moving company, contact BHGS to file a complaint as soon as possible.

 

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Do you have old, unused medications just sitting around your home waiting to fall into the wrong hands?

Drug Enforcement Agency National Prescription Drug Takeback logo

Anyone who enters your home could gain access to those medications and you wouldn’t even miss them. Most abusers say that’s where they got the first prescription medications that started them on the road to abuse and addiction – from unsuspecting friends and family members.

The most heavily abused medications are prescription opioid painkillers, which many people are prescribed for pain. Abuse of opioids can be devastating and can result in overdose and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record.

But you can do something positive to fight this killer epidemic by participating in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, October 26, 2019. The event allows Californians to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Taking your unused, unwanted or expired medications to a Drug Take Back location is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs.

To get ready for the event, remove pills from bottles and put them into a plastic bag and seal it. Liquids should be kept in the original bottle. Items accepted during Drug Take Back Day include prescription and non-prescription medications, controlled substances and veterinary medications. Items that will not be accepted include sharps or lancets, medical waste, illicit drugs, marijuana products, aerosols or hydrogen peroxide.

So, clean out your medicine cabinets and turn in – safely and anonymously – all of that medication clutter.

To find a collection site near you, visit the DEA online at takebackday.dea.gov/ or the California State Board of Pharmacy at www.pharmacy.ca.gov. You can enter your address to find California pharmacies that offer on-site collection bins or mail-back services for unwanted medications.

The Board recently launched its “Use, Don’t Abuse” campaign, encouraging consumers to use medications properly and to store them safely at home. Outfront Media recently donated five illuminated billboards to the Board or promote the message of “Safely Dispose of Unused Medications” and “Stop Prescription Drug Abuse.” For more information, visit https://pharmacy.ca.gov/consumers/drug_takeback.shtml.

 

A roadside billboard promotes the California State Board of Pharmacy's "Use, Don't Abuse" campaign.

A roadside billboard promotes the California State Board of Pharmacy’s “Use, Don’t Abuse” campaign.

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Consumers urged to verify products are from U.S. distributors

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) wants consumers to be aware that certain face cream products from Mexico could be tainted with the toxic liquid metal mercury and to take the proper precautions to avoid poisoning. The potentially hazardous products can be purchased on the streets, in ethnic beauty stores, ethnic supermarkets, swap meets, or online.

BBC issued the warning after a Sacramento woman fell into a coma from using Pond’s Rejuveness anti-wrinkle and spot removal cream that was laced with a skin-lightening compound that contained methylmercury. The product was tampered with after it had been manufactured and sold in Mexico.

“Consumers and BBC licensees should be aware of what they are purchasing and using,” said BBC Executive Officer Kristy Underwood. “It’s important for them to confirm that products have been approved by the FDA and come from an authorized distributor in the United States,” Underwood said.

Some face creams can be tampered with, but others intentionally contain mercury as an active ingredient.

Toxic effects from mercury poisoning target the central nervous system and kidneys. Mercury can spread from the hands of anyone using the cream to other things they touch. It can also get into the air and anyone can breathe it in. Exposure can cause loss of peripheral vision, muscle weakness, tremors, headaches, insomnia, mood swings, and impairment of speech, hearing and walking.

For more information about mercury poisoning and to find examples of tainted face creams visit the California Department of Public Health’s health alert page.

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