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by Joyia Emard

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) announces the appointment of Loretta S. Melby RN, BSN, MSN as its new Executive Officer effective June 4, 2020.

Ms. Melby has 25 years of healthcare experience including 19 years as a registered nurse with 13 of those years being in a variety of nurse management and leadership roles. Most recently, Ms. Melby has served as the acting executive officer for BRN where she has had to navigate the board during the COVID-19 pandemic and think strategically and creatively and work well under pressure. During this time Ms. Melby has led BRN, finding alternative solutions within relevant statutes and regulations to help nursing students while maintaining the integrity of the nursing practice. She has showcased her relationship building skills by having to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to develop resources for students and the board.

Throughout her career, Ms. Melby has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of the nursing practice from all levels. From being a nurse, clinical instructor, director of nursing program, a nurse education specialist, sexual assault nurse examiner, nursing administration and practice manager, and a nurse education consultant she has enveloped a wide range of skills that will be valuable to BRN.

Ms. Melby has earned several professional degrees and certificates which include a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Master of Science in nursing, and is planning on resuming her pursuit of her terminal degree after taking some time off.

 

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this news release.

 

 

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An over-abundance of toilet paper. Stacks of water bottles in your garage. Canned goods piled high in your pantry. Have we become hoarders during the COVID-19 pandemic? Your own personal supply might tell you yes.

Amid the global health crisis, Americans have been panic-buying these items and many more:

  • Toilet paper
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flour and yeast
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Canned food
  • Pasta
  • Spray bottles
  • Diapers and formula

So why is it that you can find other items on the shelves with no problem but the shelves for the above items are empty? There is a part of the brain that is responsible for involuntary behaviors. It gives us an adrenaline rush when we fear danger.

“The fight, flight, or freeze mentality takes over, and rational thinking goes offline. Their brain may say, ‘do whatever it takes,” said Sacramento therapist Darlene Davis, MA, LMFT, LPCC. Davis said when people are fearful that their basic needs will not be met, they go into crisis mode and behave in ways they might not normally behave.

Despite authorities assuring the public that stockpiling is not necessary, fear can be contagious. When people start emptying shelves, others start to engage in the same behavior in fear they might run out of basic needs too. “Humans can become a part of the “mob mentality. The belief may be that everyone else is going to buy up all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc., ‘so I better get it first,” said Davis.

But toilet paper? It’s certainly not something you can eat or drink. While toilet paper manufacturers continue to work overtime, it’s much more noticeable when the big, bulky items disappear from the shelves adding to the fear contagion. “It’s based more on what our emotional brain is telling us,” said Davis. When shoppers see other shoppers desperately filling up their carts with TP, the natural reaction is to join the crowd. “This can make us feel part of something and not so isolated,” said Davis.

You could ask yourself the same question about flour and yeast. Why? This one has nothing to do with panic, but mind-soothing instead. People are just downright bored and are constantly looking at the internet flooded with baking ideas and ways to make your own bread. As a result, only flour dust—not flour packages—is left on the shelves. According to Davis, this human reaction can be a double-edged sword. “It can bring comfort to people as they find the time to bake. The downside is comfort food usually contributes to weight gain or empty calorie intake,” Davis said.

There’s also a difference between stockpiling and a hoarding disorder. Hoarding is a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If items in a person’s house are getting in the way of normal daily function, it might be time to contact a therapist. “Therapists utilize cognitive therapy and other modalities to change people’s way of thinking and therefore improve functioning, increase supports, and build healthy relationships,” said Davis. “I think the majority of the stockpiling we are seeing does not meet the criteria of a hoarding disorder.”

If you wish to seek therapy from a mental health provider, find out more from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences at https://www.bbs.ca.gov/ or the California Board of Psychology at https://www.psychology.ca.gov/; to check a provider’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov/.

 

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As seemingly every aspect of life has been altered by the coronavirus pandemic, loved ones and friends of the deceased have had to cope with unprecedented new ways to mourn.

As little as three months ago, what would typically be a gathering of dozens to grieve the death of a family matriarch, for example, is now likely limited to a handful of immediate family members practicing social distancing in a funeral home or cemetery—if that. Many, if not most funeral homes have limited mourners to online viewings only with no gatherings allowed at all.

Funeral directors and clergy—complying with California and county COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings and social distancing—have reinvented the norms of farewells, embracing technology to provide grieving families with alternatives.

Mourners are now taking part virtually in visitations, funeral services, and burials with video and audio streaming as well as video chats. In many cases, memorial services in chapels and/or graveside services have been cancelled or are only allowing a small number of immediate family—with other family members standing by in cars waiting for their chance to pay respects in very small numbers.

“It’s a difficult time emotionally. And we’re trying to help these families as best we can navigate through unknown times,” Bob Achermann, director of the California Funeral Directors Association, told LAist.

Cultural rituals and traditions that may have included hours—or even days-long gatherings to honor the dead have been postponed or abandoned altogether in the wake of shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions. The pandemic has largely turned in-person consolation and hugs into online posts and faces on screens.

Funeral directors statewide who are licensed by the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau are prepared to assist grieving families any way they can in this difficult climate.

“The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau understands that the death of a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences you will ever face, and making final arrangements while grieving can be emotionally difficult,” said Bureau Executive Officer Gina Sanchez. “The Bureau recommends planning ahead; compare prices and services and share your wishes with your loved ones to help them prepare a well-planned, affordable, and meaningful service. Visit our website for more information, www.cfb.ca.gov.”

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Spring Cleaning Is a Good Time to Prevent Potential Health Hazards

Article authored by Lana K. Wilson-Combs, Consumer Connection staff

After a cold, dreary, dark, and damp winter, most people are eager for the arrival of spring. Many insects are, too.

As the weather gets warmer, pests begin to come out of winter hiding and multiply. However, the last place you want to see ants, cockroaches, spiders, earwigs, bedbugs, termites, or other insects is in your home.

Now is a great time for homeowners, perhaps in the midst of spring cleaning, to add some simple, preventative pest-proofing measures to that “to-do” list. Or if the job seems too daunting, seek out licensed and skilled professionals in the pest control industry.

Pests carry a wide range of diseases, from Lyme disease to Zika. They can also carry bacteria that can contaminate food, equipment, and other stored products. Rodents can harbor and spread more than 200 human pathogens. Each year in the U.S., termites cause $5 billion in property damage (to homes and businesses). Mosquitos have become one of the deadliest pests worldwide as they cause roughly 1 million deaths per year.

Let’s face it: Insects are a part of nature, but those pesky pests don’t have to be part of your home and ruin your spring and summer fun—or health.

Here are some steps you can take to help ward off those creepy-crawlies:

  • Remove dead leaves, twigs, and debris that may have built up in your yard over the winter. These are perfect homes for bugs and insects!
  • Trim trees or bushes near your home; make sure to cut back any branches that touch your house, as they can serve as a walkway for bugs to enter.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Fill in any cracks or gaps in windows, doorways, and the foundation (if it’s accessible).
  • Clean your kitchen thoroughly to remove any tempting food crumbs.
  • Clean out cluttered storage areas where pests can hide.
  • Repair any leaky pipes or fixtures; many bugs are looking for a water source.

Remember, it’s much easier to prevent a pest control problem than to stop one. However, if you discover your home has an infestation, call a licensed pest control professional.

To verify the status and license of a pest control business with the Structural Pest Control Board, log on to search.dca.ca.gov.

Like this article? Check out more consumer news in the latest issue of DCA’s Consumer Connection magazine!
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Take a look at this vital licensed profession

They’re a common sight: Hard-hatted, safety-vested people looking through scopes by the side of the road, at construction sites, or in the landscape. But who are they, what are they looking at, and what are they doing? Let’s “see” if we can find out more about surveyors, their profession’s long history, and today’s day-to-day duties and licensure.

AN ANCIENT CAREER

Throughout the ages, surveyors have shaped our world—literally—and they continue to do so today.

For instance, have you heard of Stonehenge? How about the Pyramids of Giza, or the Maya “megalopolis”? Surveying—the process of recording observations, making measurements, and marking the boundaries of tracts of lands—was there all those millennia ago to help make these wonders happen.

Surveying continued through the centuries, with Roman surveyors playing a major role in the empire’s expansion via structures, roads, and aqueducts—many of which still stand today—and Chinese surveyors planning the ultimate tract-boundary marker, the Great Wall of China.

The road to the Arc of Trajan, located in Algeria, was built by Roman surveyors at the end of the 2nd century!

In much more recent times in the United States, several presidents have been surveyors, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Even in California’s early history, the importance of surveying and shaping the young state was emphasized with the establishment of an elected “surveyor general” position: a constitutional office that continued for several decades before being absorbed into the California State Lands Commission.

And the Golden State has licensed and regulated surveyors since those same early days, with the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists (BPELSG) having been tasked with the profession’s oversight for nearly a century.

SHAPING OUR WORLD

While surveying technology has changed since Honest Abe’s day, many of today’s common surveyor duties would sound familiar to past professionals:

  • Measuring distances and angles between points on, above, and below the Earth’s surface.
  • Traveling to locations and using known reference points to determine the exact location of important features.
  • Researching land records, survey records, and land titles.
  • Looking for evidence of previous boundaries to determine where boundary lines are located.
  • Recording survey results and verifying data accuracy.
  • Preparing plots, maps, and reports.
  • Presenting findings to clients and government agencies.
  • Establishing official land and water boundaries for deeds, leases, and other legal documents and testifying in court regarding survey work.

However, “surveyor” now encompasses many cutting-edge specialties, including:

  • Boundary or land surveyors, who determine the legal property lines and help determine the exact locations of real estate and construction projects.Female surveyor uses scope at oil-drilling site
  • Engineering or construction surveyors, who determine the precise location of roads or buildings and proper depths for building foundations. They show changes to the property line and indicate potential restrictions on the property, such as what can be built on it and how large the structure can be. They also may survey the grade and topography of roads.
  • Geodetic surveyors, who use high-accuracy technology, including aerial and satellite observations, to measure large areas of the Earth’s surface.
  • Marine or hydrographic surveyors, who survey harbors, rivers, and other bodies of water to determine shorelines, the topography of the floor, water depth, and other features.

AN IN-DEMAND PROFESSION

According to BPELSG, there are four basic paths with specific requirements to become one of California’s more than 4,000 “Professional Land Surveyors,” namely:

  • A four-year college surveying degree, two years of qualifying land surveying experience, and passage of the required examinations.
  • Six years of qualifying land surveying experience and passage of the required examinations.
  • California civil engineering licensure with two years of qualifying land surveying experience and passage of the required examinations.
  • Out-of-state surveyor licensure with passage of California-required exams.

And as always, surveyors are in demand: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects steady growth for the profession.

For more information on California surveyors or other related professions, visit www.bpelsg.ca.gov; to check a surveyor’s license, visit search.dca.ca.gov.

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It’s our own darn fault. Humans are the reason why dogs can melt our hearts with their sad puppy eyes. That look, you know the one, where your pooch stares at you, and then you give in to whatever they are begging for—a hug or belly rub. An extra treat, or perhaps, little Suede is begging to lick your spoon with the last bit of fro-yo.

Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) revealed that there is a scientific name for that look. It is known as the AU101 movement. Your canine companion and their ancestors have been perfecting this look for thousands of years.

Scientists hypothesize that over time, domesticated dogs developed a muscle to raise the inner eyebrow, which produces the AU101 movement. That same muscle, which is responsible for the internal eyebrow movement, does not exist consistently in the closest living relative of the dog, the gray wolf.

The published study used cadavers of deceased animals, who died naturally. Researchers dissected and analyzed the facial muscles of six domestic dogs and four wild gray wolves. The breed of dogs used was; a mongrel, Labrador retriever, a bloodhound, Siberian husky, Chihuahua, and German shepherd.

The researchers discovered that all six of the dogs examined had a large prominent muscle around the eye called the levator anguli oculi medialis (LAOM). This muscle was absent in the wolves. Anatomically, dogs and wolves are similar except for this eye muscle.

Eyebrow movement plays a considerable role in human interpersonal communication. Perhaps because this movement makes a dog’s eyes appear larger, showing more of the white of the eye and giving them a childlike appearance. The inference is that dogs with expressive eyebrows evolved because of human’s unconscious preference, the expressive eyebrow made them look more like an infant. Researchers believe that this preference influenced selection during domestication. The “look” stirred a desire in humans to want to look at the dog because it created the illusion of human-like communication.

Scientists have plans to conduct more research on the interaction of humans and a greater variety of dog breeds in the future.

For now, we have a better understanding of how dogs make those adorable sad eyes. Although we don’t know what dogs are communicating when they display the look–in the meantime–Suede can continue to have the last bit of fro-yo on my spoon.

Regular visits to a veterinarian licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board will help to keep your canine companion happy and healthy. To check their license status visit: search.dca.ca.gov

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You Have Questions? We've Got Answers!Article authored by Matt Woodcheke, Consumer Connection staff
Question: My car needs expensive repairs to pass Smog Check and I don’t know if I should put money into it or cut my losses. What do you recommend?

Answer: The Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) offers a pair of options to help you repair or retire your vehicle. Participation is based on meeting eligibility requirements and the availability of funds each fiscal year.

Under the first option, you may be eligible to receive up to $500 in emission-related repairs. To participate, you must meet specific income and program requirements, and the repairs must be performed at one of over 2,000 participating Smog Check stations statewide.

Your other choice is to retire the vehicle from operation rather than repair it. Income-eligible consumers who meet program requirements may receive $1,500—all other eligible consumers may receive $1,000. The vehicle must be retired at a BAR-contracted auto dismantler.

To review eligibility requirements for both CAP options and to apply online, visit BAR’s website, www.bar.ca.gov.

Got a question about your contractor, dentist, doctor, cosmetologist, or one of the many other professionals licensed and regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)? Maybe you’d like to know more about how DCA helps consumers make wise purchasing decisions by informing them about the laws that protect them? Now is your chance to ask!
Submit your question via email to publicaffairs@dca.ca.gov and it may be answered in a future issue of Consumer Connection. Please note: We are not able to answer questions regarding the status of a license application, complaint, or investigation. Some questions have been edited for clarity or brevity.

Like this article? Check out more consumer news in the latest issue of DCA’s Consumer Connection magazine!
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After running out of food, a quick trip to the grocery store is in order. Being a good citizen, you put on your mask to protect your fellow Americans. “Quick” is the operative word if you want to cut down on possible exposure time to COVID-19. For those of you who wear glasses, things can get pretty foggy, adding more time to your shopping trip, right?

While wearing a mask, one’s glasses tend to fog up pretty quickly. Sometimes it comes and goes as you breathe in and out. Other times the mist sticks and won’t come off unless you wipe it down. Ever try to clean your glasses in the middle of the pasta aisle while several people standing six feet away are waiting for you to leave? Yeah, it’s not fun and you can’t see! All these impairments can add several extra unwanted minutes to your shopping trip.

There’s science behind foggy glasses while wearing a mask. Condensation of water vapor from your breath collects onto the glass. Since glass surfaces are colder and drier than we are, our breath condenses on the glass.

Now that science class is over, let’s get to a solution.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy fix for glasses fogging. I’ve personally found that using a pleated mask produces a little less fog than a non-pleated mask if I wear it high on the bridge of my nose,” said Dr. Alex Baker, OD, who is a doctor of optometry in Northern California. Baker says the pleats provide extra space around your mouth and nose and direct the air downward.

“I also move my glasses slightly forward down the bridge of my nose to create more space behind the lenses. It’s not foolproof, but it seems to perform a little better,” said Baker.

Since finding a pleated mask was nearly impossible, I tried a few hacks of my own:

Breathe Like Playing the Flute

This does work, but it takes a lot of effort, concentration, and skill. You have to hold your lips down just perfectly like you’re blowing into a flute. The lips must be in the exact position, or it won’t work, and it must happen with every breath, or the fog comes back. I tried doing it while picking out produce, and I just couldn’t keep it up.

The Dishwashing Liquid Technique

I found several articles online suggesting that dishwashing liquid creates a barrier on the glass. One drop on each side of both lenses, rub it in and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to polish off the residue. This did not work for me at all.

A Tissue is Not Just for a Cold

I crumbled up a tissue, put it under my nose then put my mask on. This worked but breathing became a chore, and sometimes my glasses fogged up just a little.

Seal the Mask with Your Glasses

Place the upper part of the mask all the way to the top of the bridge of your nose, then put your glasses on top of the mask. This worked the best. It didn’t completely stop the fog, but it did cut down on the amount making it easier for me to see.

I concur with Dr. Baker: There’s really no easy fix for foggy glasses while wearing a mask, but maybe try what’s on the list to see what works for you. If all else fails, you can try glasses that have an anti-fog coating or a solution that stops fog. Just make sure the solution won’t affect any other coatings you may have on your glasses. Happy breathing!

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Old Boxing GlovesOversight and safety for popular sports

From ancient Egypt to today, boxing and other combat sports have proven popular throughout the ages. In California, that popularity continues under the oversight of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

AN ANCIENT SPORT

According to the International Olympic Committee, boxing as a formal sport can be traced back to ancient Egypt around 3000 B.C. Boxing was introduced to the ancient Olympic Games by the Greeks in the late 7th century B.C., when soft leather thongs were used to bind boxers’ hands and forearms for protection.

The sport continued in Rome, with metal-studded gloves instead of leather thongs, and matches usually ending in death. After the fall of Rome, it took nearly a millennium for boxing’s popularity to reemerge, this time in 17th century England, which organized amateur sport boxing in the late 1800s with the establishment of uniform rules and specific weight classes still in use today—bantam, feather, light, middle, and heavy—and the required use of gloves.

When boxing made its modern-day Olympic debut in 1904 at the St. Louis Games, the United States—the only country to enter a boxing team—took home all the medals. Men’s boxing has been included in all modern Olympic Games except one—Stockholm in 1912—as the sport was outlawed in Sweden at the time. Women’s boxing made its debut at the 2012 London Games.

Proposition 7

Boxing was on the California statewide ballot in 1924.

BOXING ON THE BALLOT

As noted with Sweden’s Olympic example, despite thousands of years of history, many felt boxing, in addition to being a combat sport, encouraged gambling and rowdy behavior among its spectators, resulting in controversy and occasional outright outlawing.

And California wasn’t immune to boxing opposition: As chronicled by the University of California’s California Digital Library archives, despite the sport’s renewed Gold Rush popularity, the original 1850 California State Constitution expressly prohibited “all fighting for reward without deadly weapons,” and California’s early legislators passed further laws making professional boxing and wrestling illegal. In 1899, boxing and wrestling were made legal under controlled conditions; however, by 1914, legislation made professional combative sports illegal once again.

So sports proponents took the issue straight to California voters with 1924’s Proposition 7, which sought to authorize boxing and wrestling contests for prizes, as well as to create a state athletic commission to oversee and license contests and participants. While opponents touted the “brutalities and other evils” of prize fighting, proponents emphasized sport popularity, its patriotic embrace by World War I soldiers (“[b]oxing and wrestling, it will be recalled, were favorite diversions of the boys in France before and after the Armistice”), lower injury rates compared to other sports, spectator respectability—with audiences regularly featuring “lawyers, doctors, merchants, bankers, minsters, public officials, and ladies”—and a proposed new system of state-level supervision.

In the end, Proposition 7 and its supporters held forth with a 51% majority vote, establishing CSAC and beginning a new era for boxing and related sports in our state.

STATE COMMITMENT TO SPORTS OVERSIGHT

Since that pro-Proposition 7 vote nearly a century ago, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ CSAC has provided oversight of boxing managers, promoters, and event officiating, and has worked to protect the health and safety of the participants.

Today, CSAC’s duties include licensing, prohibited substance testing, and event regulation throughout the state. It licenses fighters, promoters, managers, seconds, matchmakers, referees, judges, timekeepers, and professional trainers, and approves ringside physicians. It also regulates professional events within its jurisdiction, staffing each event with several specialized and well-trained athletic inspectors to enforce the regulations related to combat sporting events.

CSAC’s oversight also includes amateur and professional kickboxing and professional mixed martial arts, with the commission licensing all participants and supervising these increasingly popular events.

For more information on CSAC and its mission and duties, visit www.dca.ca.gov/csac/index.shtml; to check sports professionals’ licenses, visit search.dca.ca.gov/.

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You Have Questions? We've Got Answers!Article authored by Matt Woodcheke, Consumer Connection staff
Question: I’m having my kitchen redone at home, but I’m not sure what kind of contractor I should hire.

Answer: If your job is valued at $500 or more in both materials and labor, you’ll want to make sure the person you hire is a licensed contractor. Contractors with a Class B general building license usually oversee projects and coordinate the specific licensed subcontractors for a job. Specialty or subcontractors usually are hired to perform a single job. For example, if you need only roofing or plumbing work, you would want to hire a contractor licensed in that specialty—the roofing classification is C-39; plumbing is C-36.

A general building contractor also may contract for some or all of the specialty work, but must hold a specialty license for that work or actually have a specialty contractor do the work. The only exception is if the job requires more than two types of work on a building. Then it is appropriate for a licensed general building contractor to contract for and oversee the entire project. For example, if your kitchen remodeling will involve plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work under one contract, you should hire a licensed “B” general building contractor. Under these circumstances, a “B” contractor may perform all of the work on a building, or subcontract parts of the job to contractors with specialty licenses.

You can build a personalized list of licensed contractors in your area with the “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website. That’s where you can also check out the license status of contractors before you hire them.

Got a question about your contractor, dentist, doctor, cosmetologist, or one of the many other professionals licensed and regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)? Maybe you’d like to know more about how DCA helps consumers make wise purchasing decisions by informing them about the laws that protect them? Now is your chance to ask! Submit your question via email to publicaffairs@dca.ca.gov and it may be answered in a future issue of Consumer Connection. Please note: We are not able to answer questions regarding the status of a license application, complaint, or investigation. Some questions have been edited for clarity or brevity.

Like this article? Check out more consumer news in the latest issue of DCA’s Consumer Connection magazine!
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