Weekend News Briefs from CVBT

February 10, 2017 9:01pm
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•  Changes as Lake Oroville nears capacity-- UPDATED @ 11:45 am Saturday

•  A Central Valley leader to retire

•  A reminder from the state

•  And more….

State’s revenues top January projections

California revenues of $15.04 billion for January beat projections in the proposed 2017‑18 budget introduced last month by $884.4 million, or 6.2 percent, says state Controller Betty Yee.

In December, the “big three” sources of California general fund dollars — personal income taxes, corporation taxes, and retail sales and use taxes — all fell short of monthly and fiscal year-to-date budget estimates. For January, all three outpaced 2016-17 Budget Act assumptions and projections in the governor’s proposed 2017-18 budget.

For the first seven months of the fiscal year that began in July, total revenues of $66.76 billion are now $392.5 million below last summer’s budget estimates, and just $115.5 million short of January’s revised fiscal year-to-date predictions, or 0.2 percent.


46 of 48 Gates Now Opened on Sacramento Weir

The California Department of Water Resources on Friday opened additional gates on the Sacramento River, bringing the total up to 46 of 48 gates opened.

This will accommodate flows coming down the Sacramento River into the Yolo Bypass, allowing additional flows from the American River as releases from Folsom Lake are increased.

Opening additional gates allows DWR to maintain a consistent level on the Sacramento River at the I Street gauge. Each gate allows 1,500 cubic feet per second of water to enter the Yolo Bypass from the Sacramento and American rivers. These flood releases relieve pressure on the Sacramento River and reduce the risk of urban flooding in Sacramento.

This is the first time the Sacramento Weir has been opened twice in one year since water year 1985-86.


Lake Oroville Dam's emergency spillway used

For the first time in 48 years, the emergency spillway atop the Lake Oroville dam was put into operation Saturday morning, the Department of Water Resources says.

Reservoir operators had been forced to make a slight reduction of releases from a damaged spillway in order to prevent erosion along the north side of the spillway from compromising nearby power line towers, the California Department of Water Resources said Friday evening.

Overnight the situation worsened as water flowing into the vast lake -- the state's second largest -- threatened to overtop the massive dam.

DWR says there is nothing to worry about regarding the dam.

"This flow to the Feather River is expected to be about half the downstream flood system capacity and consistent with releases made at this time of year in wet years such as this.

This will slow the releases down the gated spillway from 65,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 55,000 cfs, DWR says.

The slight shift in operations is intended to balance risks caused by erosion in the dam’s main spillway, "but the dam itself is sound and there is no imminent threat to the public or the dam," DWR claims.

Based on analysis of the waning inflows to the lake, weather forecasts, and other factors, DWR officials say that a sustained discharge of 55,000 cfs may keep the lake level below 901 feet elevation, the point at which water flows over the emergency spillway’s concrete weir, down an unpaved hillside, and into the Feather River. There are many variables involved, and the public should not be surprised if some water flows into the emergency spillway. Such a spill would be the first in the dam’s 48-year history, but it would be within DWR’s contingency plans and pose no flood threat downstream.

Regardless of whether water flows from the reservoir through the gated spillway, Hyatt Power Plant outlets, or the emergency spillway, DWR does not expect releases to the Feather River to exceed the carrying capacity of any channels downstream. The releases would be on the order of half the downstream flood system capacity and consistent with flood releases made this time of year in wet years such as this.


The governor needs another advisor

Alice Busching Reynolds, 50, of San Francisco, has been appointed senior advisor to Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown Jr.

She will deal with climate, environment and energy issues. For that she will be paid $172,008 per year.

She has served as deputy secretary for law enforcement and counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency since 2011 and earlier was a deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice from 2002 to 2011 and was an attorney at Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal LLP from 1998 to 2001 and at Furth Fahrner and Mason from 1995 to 1998.


Sacramento man pleads guilty to bank fraud

Raleigh Rana Figueras, 35, of Sacramento, has pleaded guilty to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen U.S. mail, and unlawful possession of five or more identification documents, says U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

According to court documents, between June 2015 and January 2016, Mr. Figueras along with his wife, Michelle Reyes Serrano, 35, of Sacramento, and others obtained victim identities and financial information from stolen mail and other stolen property. This included personal and financial information that was used it to pose as the identity theft victims and use their stolen bank accounts, access device numbers, and altered checks to get money, goods and services from banks and merchants.

Mr. Figueras created counterfeit driver’s licenses on his computer.

In December 2016, Ms. Serrano pleaded guilty to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of stolen U.S. mail. She is to be sentenced on March 9.

Both face up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud, five years in prison for possession of stolen U.S. Mail, and a mandatory two-year consecutive prison sentence for aggravated identity theft. Mr. Figueras additionally faces 15 years for possession of more than five identifications for use in the fraudulent scheme.


Stanislaus County CEO Risen is retiring

After nearly a 30-year career with Stanislaus County, Chief Executive Officer Stan Risen says he will retire in August.

Mr. Risen was appointed chief executive officer by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in November 2013. Prior to the head administrative position, he was an assistant executive officer for the county in 2005 and began his career in the Assessor’s Office in 1987, rising through the ranks until brought into the chief executive office as a senior management consultant in 1999.

“Stan is the epitome of an effective leader,” says Vito Chiesa, chairman of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. “He has been a leader of great influence with tremendous integrity who keeps the community first in his deliberations. It would be hard to find a better example of a leader and public servant.”

Mr. Risen is credited with a strong leadership role behind the implementation of the Focus on Prevention effort in Stanislaus County which focuses on improving quality of life through efforts such as decreasing homelessness. He was also instrumental in securing a 10-year agreement with local cities for solid waste services, the payoff of general fund debt for the county, spearheading efforts that led to the county receiving the Government Financial Officers Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, the development of the county’s long-range financial model and more.


State reminds employers to post annual summaries

Cal/OSHA is reminding employers in California with more than 10 employees to post their 2016 annual summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses from February 1 through April 30.

“This important posting requirement increases awareness of health and safety hazards in the workplace and helps employers and employees understand how to reduce risks,” says Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.

Instructions and form templates can be downloaded for free on Cal/OSHA’s Record Keeping Overview. The overview includes the summary template known as Form 300A, which is the required workplace posting that must be placed in a visible, easily accessible location at each worksite. Current and former employees, including employee representatives, have the right to review the summary in its entirety.

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