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News Highlights for the Week: Jan. 22 – 28

News Highlights for the Week: Jan. 22 – 28

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Bringing you the latest local news highlights to kick off the week of Monday, Jan. 22, 2023.


Health Department Investigates Norovirus Outbreak Linked to Raw Oysters
Stock photo via canva.com

The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is actively investigating a widespread outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses believed to be caused by norovirus and linked to the consumption of raw oysters from specific areas of Mexico. Dr. Anissa Davis, the City Health Officer, has issued a warning advising consumers against eating raw oysters from these identified regions.

Local restaurants in Long Beach and various retail outlets across Southern California have been identified as sources where these contaminated oysters were sold. The outbreak has resulted in more than 150 suspected illnesses throughout Southern California, with eight cases reported in Long Beach alone. Symptoms of norovirus, commonly referred to as the “stomach flu” or food poisoning, typically manifest 12 to 48 hours after exposure and include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. The duration of symptoms can last anywhere from one to three days.

While the investigation is ongoing, the Long Beach Health Department is collaborating with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other health departments in Southern California to ascertain the exact source of the outbreak. Residents who believe they have fallen ill after consuming raw oysters are strongly encouraged to file a report. Additionally, a dedicated hotline (562.570.7907) is available on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for reporting illnesses or obtaining more information. Learn more here.


Thousands of CSU Faculty Set to Strike the First Week of Spring Semester
Photo via msw-consultants.com.

The California State University (CSU) system is on the brink of a five-day strike, starting Monday, Jan. 22, as labor contract negotiations between the California Faculty Association (CFA) and the CSU remain deadlocked. The CFA, representing 29,000 professors and educators across 23 CSU campuses, rejected a 5% salary increase proposal, citing it as “not viable.” The strike comes after eight months of bargaining, with both parties facing several impasses.

The CFA’s primary concerns include securing a 12% pay raise for members, addressing inflation, and improving conditions for the lowest-paid members. Other contract provisions sought by the CFA include additional mental health counselors for students, expanded parental leave, and more manageable workloads for faculty. While the CSU’s offer of a 5% pay increase is consistent with other finalized contracts, the CFA rejected it, emphasizing the need for broader improvements.

The main point of contention remains the financial feasibility of the CFA’s proposed 12% salary increase, with the CSU emphasizing the strain it would place on its budget. The CSU’s most recent proposal includes 15% general salary increases over the next three years, contingent on state funding fulfillment.

Despite the strike, the CSU affirms that campuses will remain open and operational, with students notified of any class cancellations. The future of negotiations beyond the strike period remains uncertain, as the contract expiration date approaches this summer. Both parties express a desire to reach agreements and achieve labor peace. Learn more here.


Long Beach Sidewalk Vendor Ordinance Progresses with Funding Program and Regulations
Stock photo via canva.com

Long Beach’s long-awaited sidewalk vendor ordinance has moved a step closer to final approval, with the city council poised to waive the first year’s insurance, health, and business permits for applicants. The proposed ordinance awaits a second vote scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23, before going into effect 31 days after the mayor signs it into law.

The regulatory framework aims to legalize stationary and roaming sidewalk food vending and merchandise sales. While criminal penalties for sidewalk vendors are eliminated, administrative fines may apply for lacking business or health permits. To incentivize participation, the city plans to subsidize the first year’s business license and health permit fees for food vendors, totaling $250,000 from the Long Beach Recovery Act. Liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million and an indemnity agreement are required, with subsidies available for carts and equipment.

Under the ordinance, curbside vendors can operate in non-residential areas from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., while roaming vendors have specified hours in residential areas. Stationary sidewalk vendors must adhere to distance regulations, and exemptions are granted for certain types of vendors. Prohibited areas include parks, school zones, and designated habitats. The City Manager’s office will assess the ordinance’s effectiveness in six months. Learn more here.


Long Beach Civic Chambers Undergo Temporary Closure for Audio/Visual Enhancements
Photo via longbeach.gov

The city of Long Beach has announced the temporary closure of the Civic Chambers located at 411 W. Ocean Blvd. until Feb. 13. This closure is part of a scheduled project for audio/visual equipment upgrades and testing aimed at improving the meeting experience for both in-person and hybrid settings. The project includes the addition of extra speakers and broadcast lighting in the Civic Chambers to enhance audio clarity and visibility during meetings.

The total cost of the project is approximately $158,000, funded by Civic Center funds—an internal fund designated for maintaining, improving, and operating the Civic Center complex, encompassing City Hall, Civic Chambers, the Billie Jean King Main Library, Lincoln Park, Police headquarters, Fire Station 1, and related parking facilities.

City Council regular and closed sessions, along with standing committee meetings scheduled for Jan. 23, Feb. 6, and Feb. 13, will take place at Long Beach City College’s Board of Trustees Chamber on the Liberal Arts Campus (4901 E. Carson St.), Building T, Room 1100. Free parking for these meetings is available in Parking Structure 1, located off Clark Avenue and East Lew Davis Street. The meetings will be accessible via live stream on the City’s LBTV YouTube channel, with language interpretation services available in person. Learn more here.

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