December 18, 2012 - The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is closing the 2012 black bear hunting season today, Dec. 18, 2012.
Under regulations adopted by the Fish and Game Commission, the black bear season must be closed when DFG verifies 1,700 bears are taken by hunters or on the last Sunday in December, whichever occurs first. As of today, the DFG has determined the 1,700 limit has been met. Tags yet to be received by DFG will put the total harvest at slightly more than 1,700 bears.
DFG is mailing notices to all bear tag holders, informing them that the season is closed. DFG wardens, biologists and customer service staff will also inform hunters they encounter that the season is closed. Statewide media sources and the California Fish and Game Commission will also be notified.
All bear tags, including unsuccessful tags, must be returned to the DFG Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA94299-0002, by Feb.1, 2013. Tags can also be reported on-line by logging into the Automated Data Licensing System. More details can be found here (http://dfg.ca.gov/licensing/harvestreporting/ ).
Hunters must present their bears to a DFG employee for tag validation immediately after taking the bear. Furthermore, successful hunters must present the skull to a DFG employee within 10 days of taking the bear to collect biological samples. Teeth and hair samples are extracted from the bears to determine the age of the bear and provide DNA information that will give DFG biologists an indication about the overall health of the state’s bear population.
December 18, 2012 - SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced 2,000 firearms were seized from individuals legally barred from possessing them, including persons determined to be mentally unstable and those with active restraining orders.
“California has clear laws determining who can possess firearms based on their threat to public safety,” said Attorney General Harris. “Enforcing those laws is crucial because we have seen the terrible tragedies that occur when guns are in the wrong hands. This program is an important part of our law enforcement work and I thank all of the agents who work so hard every day to keep our communities safe.”
In 2012, 33 Department of Justice agents used the Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) database to identify individuals prohibited from owning guns, including convicted felons, individuals with active restraining orders, and those determined to be mentally unstable. In total, DOJ agents seized 2,033 firearms, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,072 illegal high capacity magazines. These numbers include seizures conducted from January 1 to November 30, 2012.
The majority of firearms were seized during two 6-week sweeps. The first statewide sweep targeted individuals prohibited because of mental health issues and the second focused on people with legally registered assault weapons who were later prohibited from owning them.
In 2011, Attorney General Harris sponsored legislation to increase funding for the Department of Justice’s APPS program through the use of existing regulatory fees collected by gun dealers. Senate Bill 819 passed in June 2011 and became law on January 1, 2012.
The APPS database cross-references five databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with people who are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. The database was completed in November 2006, and the first statewide sweep was conducted in 2007.
Since Attorney General Harris took office, there have been three statewide APPS sweeps. The Department of Justice leads these efforts with the support of local law enforcement agencies.
California is the first and only state in the nation to establish an automated system for tracking handgun and assault weapon owners who might fall into a prohibited status.
December 18, 2012 - SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymembers Brian Nestande, R- Palm Desert, and Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 2 (ACA) that will stop the practice of balancing the state budget on the backs of our schools.
“The practice of deferring education dollars to pay for other state programs has gotten out of control. Our schools are going bankrupt over this scheme and it is not fair to our students, teachers, or schools,” said Nestande. “It is time we have an honest budget that give our schools what they are constitutionally owed. Our children deserve nothing less than that.”
Nestande and Olsen argue that education should be the top priority in the state budget. Ten billion dollars is now deferred annually, with much of those funds not reaching schools until after the end of the school year. Our schools are forced to take out loans to cover the cost of the shortfalls, and they alone are responsible for paying the interest, which is often millions of dollars annually.
“Sending our schools an IOU every year demonstrates upside down priorities and poor fiscal management,” said Olsen. “For years legislators have touted the importance of education as a top budget priority, and it’s time that became a reality. We need to stop the practice of deferring education money once and for all.”
Beginning in the 2001-02 school year as a small and temporary budget solution, and increasing significantly in 2008-09, California has relied excessively on budgetary and cash deferrals to K-12 school districts and community colleges to balance the state budget.
Since cash deferrals are applied at the same percentage across the board, school districts with lower property tax revenue suffer disproportionately by forcing them to draw larger loans and incur more interest to close their disproportionate budget gap. Several local school districts have recently passed resolutions admonishing this practice.
Pict. (L-R) James F. Evans, CASA Executive Director, Soroptimist member Beverley Rutherford, CASA volunteer Gail Spilos and Soroptimist Service Chair Sandra Semtner
Soroptimist International of Mariposa recently made a donation to CASA of Mariposa County. CASA is a non-profit organization that recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who advocate in dependency court on behalf of children who are in foster care. Each CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is assigned by the local county's Superior Court Dependency Judge to work on behalf of a child in foster care. The CASA is responsible for investigating the case, interviewing anyone who is involved with the child's case (e.g. the parents, other family members, therapists, teachers, lawyers, etc.) The CASA provides a written report to the Judge, who then may rely on the suggestions of the CASA to make decisions which are in the best interest of the child. Statistics bear out the fact that when a CASA is involved in the case of a foster child, that child will spend less time in dependency, and will achieve a permanent home much quicker.
Although children in foster care are provided for by the State, there are the occasional situations where our advocates have discerned a need of a child that is not be satisfied by the dependency system in a timely fashion, or not at all. Because of the donation of Soroptimist, CASA of Mariposa now has funds that are set aside to meet these needs. CASA stated that it is comforting to know that people in our community are concerned about the welfare of children who, through no fault of their own, have been torn from their family, routines, and the only environment they've ever known into what can be the abyss of foster care. It does, truly, take a village to raise a child.
Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. For information about Soroptimist International of Mariposa please contact Nanci MacArthur at: (209) 742-5165, visit us on-line at: http://simariposa.org or find us on Facebook.
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