After months of hard work and dedication, advocates successfully worked with the state to bring $5.6 million dollars to Rexland acres to build sidewalks, improve streets and add more lights.
A broad coalition of advocates, including Leadership Counsel, California Walks, Greenfield Walking Group, Fairview School, parents, and youth say these are necessary projects because they will help keep students safe.
Youth played a key role in lifting up this issue in their community. Jocelyn Cuevas, 17, a member of the Greenfield Walking Group first shed light on this issue through a commentary she wrote for South Kern Sol. Jose Pinto, 21, also a member of the Greenfield Walking Group, helped mobilize youth to walk door to door to collect signatures.
The money is part of the California Transportation Commission for the Statewide and Small Urban & Rural Components of the 2017 Active Transportation Program, a program that seeks to improve health outcomes and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in disadvantaged communities by encouraging walking and biking.
Improvements include, storm drain lines to fix Rexland Acres flooding problems, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, three all-way stops to reduce traffic speeds to 25 mph, new speed limit signs, street lights, and a solar-powered flashing stop sign in front of Fairview School. The application for Rexland Acres was well regarded by the state. It ranked No. 13 out of 456 applications received.
Final approval is expected in December, once the Commission adopts the program recommendations.

On Dec. 6 & 7, The National Compadres Network will be back in Kern, this time to hold a two day Healing Circle Keeper Training for individuals interested in holding circles of support, healing, and leadership development in their communities.

Attendees must be present on both days to receive certification and curriculum.

The trainings will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the location is to be determined. For registration information please email Angel Munoz at amunoz@lesd.us.

Click here for more information.

Bakersfield Californian, Christine Bedell, cbedell@bakersfield.com

To read this article in English please click here.

Si obtiene o puede obtener su seguro de salud a través de Covered California — y aproximadamente 19.000 de ustedes en el condado de Kern actualmente lo hacen — no se preocupe por la elección de la semana pasada.

Simplemente inscríbase.

Ese es el mensaje de Peter Lee, director ejecutivo del intercambio de seguros de salud estatal, que se encuentra en plena inscripción abierta.

Sí, el Presidente electo Donald Trump quiere revocar y reemplazar la Ley del Cuidado de Salud Asequible, que resultó en el intercambio Covered California. Pero el cambio nunca ocurre en Washington, D.C., de la noche a la mañana – incluyendo cualquier revisión de Obamacare, dijo Lee.

“Nosotros en Covered California y los asegurados debemos vivir en el presente”, le dijo a The Californian. “Nuestras puertas están abiertas, la ley está en vigor, y las personas que tiene subsidios los tendrán durante todo el 2017”.

¿Qué cambia en un instante? Recibir un diagnóstico de cáncer o un accidente automovilístico, dijo Lee. Y es por eso que necesitamos un seguro de salud, dijo.

La inscripción está abierta hasta el 15 de diciembre para la cobertura que comienza el 1 de enero. Si la gente está confundida acerca de sus opciones, y Lee dijo que muchas personas lo están, pueden obtener ayuda en el sitio web de Covered California, http://www.coveredca.com.

“Si la gente está confundida, respire profundamente, conéctese al internet y encuentre a alguien en la comunidad que le pueda contestar sus preguntas”, dijo Lee.

Y obtener ayuda es gratuito, dijo.

Lee también subrayó que inscribirse para la cobertura de salud a través de Covered California  no es  inscribirse en “cuidado del gobierno”. En el condado de Kern, dijo, es recibir cobertura de compañías como Anthem, Blue Shield, Health Net y Kaiser Permanente, “los mejores planes privados que se puedan encontrar en cualquier lugar”.

Lee dijo que no le preocupa que la gente evite la cobertura porque piensan que Obamacare va a desaparecer. Le preocupa, como le ha preocupado desde el primer día del intercambio, que la gente decidirá que es más barato pagar una multa que pagar por un seguro de salud.

Lee lo llama “matemáticas irracionales” porque pagar la sanción significa pagar para recibir nada.

Steve Schilling, director ejecutivo de la cadena de clínicas de salud Clínica Sierra Vista, dijo que está escuchando mucha preocupación entre los pacientes acerca de lo que sucederá con su cobertura, ya sea a través de Covered California o la expansión de Medi-Cal. Clínica Sierra Vista es una de las entidades de mayor inscripción del estado en los programas.

Schilling está casi seguro de que nada le pasará a la cobertura de la gente en 2017, diciendo que en su opinión cuando la gente se inscribe y paga por el seguro, ya sea con una empresa privada o el gobierno federal, están celebrando un contrato vinculante para el término del mismo.

Más allá de eso, quién sabe qué cambios al sistema de salud de la nación Trump y el Congreso controlado por los republicanos querrán hacer, dijo Schilling.

Con respecto a Medicaid, dijo, podrían bloquear el financiamiento de subvenciones a los estados, algo que él ha visto intentado cuatro veces. Si eso sucede, dijo Schilling, entonces tendremos que ver qué opciones de cobertura ofrecería California a través de la versión estatal de Medi-Cal y la medida en que podría y proporcionaría subsidios.

Schilling está aún menos seguro acerca de lo que Trump pretende hacer con respecto al sistema bajo el cual las personas obtienen seguros a través de intercambios como Covered California.

Dijo que a Trump le parece gustar algunas disposiciones, como exigir que las compañías de seguros cubran a las personas con condiciones preexistentes y permitir que los niños permanezcan en los planes de seguro de sus padres hasta mediados del decenio de los 20 años de edad. A Trump le parece no gustar el mandato del gobierno que la gente compre, y que los empleadores proporcionen, seguros.

El problema, dijo Schilling, es que los costos se dispararán sin los mandatos de seguro que traen dinero al sistema. Las primas están subiendo ahora, dijo, en parte porque los actuales mandatos de los individuos y los empleadores son demasiado “débiles”.

“Siempre y cuando mantengamos a la gente fuera del fondo común de alto riesgo, o les permitamos dejar el fondo común de alto riesgo, el fondo se vuelve más caro”, dijo Schilling.

Trump va a aprender que hay otras partes importantes del programa que deben mantenerse, dijo, como llenar las brechas en la cobertura de las personas de la tercera edad y requerir que las aseguradoras gasten el 85 por ciento de su dinero en el cuidado del paciente.

Pero no se puede cambiar una pieza del rompecabezas sin afectar a un montón de otras piezas, por lo que probablemente se llevará un año o más para resolver, predijo Schilling.

La forma en que se desarrolle este tema tendrá enormes consecuencias para el país, dijo, y para él todo está en el aire.

“Hay un montón de mensajes extremadamente confusos y contradictorios que salen de Manhattan y Washington”, dijo. “No tengo la menor idea de lo que va a suceder el 20 de enero”.

PERSONAS DE KERN INSCRITAS EN COVERED CALIFORNIA

  • 18.787 personas renovaron su cobertura o se inscribieron para cobertura durante el tercer período de inscripción abierta.

Por aseguradora:

– 37% están inscritos en el PPO de Anthem

– 46% están inscritos en el PPO de Blue Shield

– 2% están inscritos en el HMO de Health Net

– 16% están inscritos en el HMO de Kaiser Permanente

Por nivel metálico

– 66% están inscritos en un plan silver (plata)

– 18% están inscritos en un plan bronze (bronce)

– 8% están inscritos en un plan de salud de bronze (bronce)/ alto deducible

– 4% están inscritos en un plan gold (oro)

– 3% están inscritos en un plan platinum (platino)

  • Todos los consumidores en esta región tendrán una opción de dos compañías de seguros para elegir, y algunos tendrán hasta cuatro.
  • Blue Shield ahora ofrece un nuevo plan HMO en algunos códigos postales dentro de esta región, en tres niveles de cobertura: silver (plata), gold (oro) y platinum (platino).
  • Los consumidores en esta región se pueden beneficiar de comparar precios para encontrar opciones de compañía de seguros de bajo costo que ofrecen una prima más baja en el mismo nivel metálico.
  • 93 por ciento están recibiendo ayuda financiera para pagar sus primas.
  • En general, la cantidad de ayuda financiera disponible para los consumidores en esta región aumentará en 2017.

Fuente: Covered California

Este articulo es cortesía del Bakersfield Californian. To read the article in English please click here.

Early this month the Kern Education Justice Collaborative held a press conference minutes before the Kern High School District board of trustees monthly meeting to urge the trustees to stop pursuing dangerous policies like arming teachers.

“I want them to focus on us and our education,” Aldo Avilas-Rojas told KERO 23.
The school district recently passed a policy allowing non-employee concealed carry weapon permit holders to carry guns to school with permission from the district’s superintendent. The board is now considering enacting a proposal that would allow the Superintendent to approve teachers, and other staff who hold CCW permits, to carry firearms on high school campuses.
After the press conference, members of the group addressed the trustees during the public comment portion of the meeting. The item was not voted on because it was not on the agenda that day.
The Kern Education Justice Collaborative was founded in 2013 to address the disparity in suspension rates between minority and non-minority students in KHSD. KEJC is comprised of The Dolores Huerta Foundation, Faith in Action Kern County, California Rural Legal Assistance, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Children First, the National Brotherhood Alliance and Building Healthy Communities-South Kern.
Last week, the Kern County Planning Department launched the county’s General Plan Update effort, a process that is expected to take two years to complete. General plans help determine how a county will grow and how land will be used, but there will be a new wrinkle this time around.
A new law passed by the California Legislature will make general plans different from the past-and more environmentally friendly.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1000 on Sept. 24, establishing new requirements for counties to incorporate environmental justice in their general plan. The aim is to help ensure environmental equity for disadvantaged communities. Kern will be the first California county to implement an environmental justice element in the land-use portion of the county’s plan.
During the kick-off, county officials agreed to dedicate its second hearing solely to discuss the general plan. The series of hearings are scheduled over the first six months of 2017. They also said they will look into holding several workshops in remote areas so that rural communities will have an opportunity to weigh in.
The current general plan was adopted in June of 2004, and the plans usually are in place for 15-25 years.
The State of California requires counties to include seven mandatory elements in their general plan including land use, circulation, housing, conservation, open space, noise and a safety element.
Several members of Building Healthy Communities, South Kern’s Environment Action Team, asked the planning commissioners to consider providing reports early enough for residents to review the reports before they provide comments during public hearings.
Building Healthy Communities South Kern’s Environment Action Team is working with residents to help ensure that the plan includes investment in parks, affordable housing and addresses infrastructure needs.
To learn more about this effort please call the Center of Race Poverty and Environment at (661) 720-9140 or Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability at (661) 843-7677.

Please mark your calendars for a training led by the National Compadres Network (NCN) with support from Building Healthy Communities South Kern on the network’s transformative healing informed philosophy and framework.

The framework called La Cultura Cura recognizes the importance of cultural values, traditions, and indigenous practices on the path to healthy development, restoration, and lifelong well-being. This health and wellbeing framework focuses on building on the natural opportunity factors and on what is healthy within an individual, family, community or culture.

The training will be held Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the David Head Center, 10300 San Diego Street in Lamont. For more information or to RSVP please email Angel Munoz at amunoz@lesd.us by Oct. 28.

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South Kern youth and parents, mark your calendars for Building Healthy Communities Americorps 2nd Annual ‘Pathways to Success,’ a great opportunity for youth to explore college and career pathways to be held Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Golden Valley High School located at 801 Hosking Ave., in Bakersfield.

The event is being hosted by AmeriCorps, South Kern schools, community groups and in partnership with Building Healthy Communities-South Kern.

By Randy Villegas for The California Endowment

“Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?” These are words spoken byElie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winner, and Holocaust survivor. Although he just passed away, his words shall forever live on. Last week, activists and community members from all over Kern County gathered in the spirit of Mr. Wiesel’s words outside of an immigrant detention center in Bakersfield.

As one of the leading youth that helped organize the event, I must say that I’ve never seen something this beautiful happen here in Kern County. As we began planning this event months ago, we were inspired by musicians Juanes and John Legend performing outside of an immigration detention center in Arizona. The event brought awareness of a private prison industry that profits off of people’s suffering, and illustrated a broken system, while at the same time reminding detainees that people outside their walls care about them.

Juanes and John Legend used music to bring people together for the cause of justice. I wanted to do the same thing in Kern County and last Thursday we did.

Youth gathered outside the detention facility.
Youth gathered outside the detention facility.

A week earlier, I had visited the Mesa Verde Immigrant Detention Facility to meet with a 26-year-old woman from Guatemala who was fleeing murder in her home country and sought asylum here in the U.S. She shared with me the story of her family, her dreams, and her hope and strength to keep fighting for a better life. She only had one year left of school to graduate from her university. Just like me, I thought to myself, this woman had only one year left to finish school, and now she’s locked up because of her lack of documentation. I thought to myself, what makes the difference between her and me? Why does a piece of paper deem someone more or less human? It doesn’t.

She has been incarcerated for over six months still waiting for a court date. She has family here in the U.S. who wish for nothing more than her safety. She told me that if there’s one thing she could tell everyone, it’s that, “We don’t come here to steal jobs, or cause violence, or even depend on anyone. We come here because it’s the land of opportunity for a better life, a life with liberty. We leave our families, our entire life behind just for a chance at freedom and a better life.”

I was inspired by her words, her emotions, her genuine kindness and strength to keep persevering. This is a prime example of why we need reform in a broken system and why we should advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

When I told her that we would be outside the detention center next Thursday morning to play music for all the detainees and rally for the cause, her eyes watered with emotion as did mine. She thanked me from the bottom of her heart and hugged me before I left to work.

A week later we arrived early at the detention center, only to see that we had been blocked off by “caution tape” around the whole building, except the sidewalk. When I asked an employee if I could park in the “visitor parking” he told me that there were no visitors today, and nobody was to be allowed inside. I knew that there were visitor hours today but I simply parked on the street.  While it scared me a bit at first, I smiled and remembered the words of a fellow journalist “When you are pissing people off in the community, you know they are listening, you know your voice is being heard, you know you’re doing something right.”

Youth sharing their action over their social media channels.
Youth sharing their action over their social media channels.

Nonetheless we began our press conference on the sidewalk as youth leaders gave speeches on why we need to reform our prison and immigration systems, and invest in our youth instead. As the scorching heat blazed in the morning, Professor and activist Gonzalo Santos suggested we heed to the words of the “caution tape” and proceed with caution. So we crossed the tape into the shade of a tree right in front of the building. Without fear, we continued rallying for the cause of justice. Speakers spoke about their personal experiences, shocking statistics about Kern County’s investment in mass incarceration instead of education. After powerful words from youth leaders, the band began to play right in front of the building, and then we proceeded to march around the building nearest where the detainees would be let outside for a recreational break. We marched, we chanted, and most of all we stood together in unity for justice. As we reached the park, people gathered around taking photos, making signs, and enjoying music from the bands, and later on Latin Grammy Nominee Ceci Bastida. It brought me absolute joy to see youth from all across Kern making signs that read #LoveNotPrisons, #EducationNotPrisons, and even a young toddler with a drawing that she said meant “happiness” not prisons.

Some of the younger kids joining in on the action.
Some of the younger kids joining in on the action.

As I look back upon that day, I’m still left in awe. I’m filled with joy knowing that so many people came out to rally for a cause to bring humanity to an issue that is so important this political season. I’m inspired by the youth that I saw actively participating and I’m filled with hope for a better future, knowing that someday they will be our leaders. I hope someday the millions of people living in the shadows can one day see their families, live out their dreams without constant fear, and instead live in liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness. Until then, we will keep fighting, rallying, and advocating for a true democracy with liberty and justice for all.

Join us on Thursday July 7 to celebrate the rich culture and artistry of Kern County at the Kern Youth Arts Festival, held at Relaxed Acres Park from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The event, featuring installation art and performances, will be curated by Dulce UpFront. The festival will showcase how arts and culture can promote social change and contribute to the birth of a culture of prevention.

The Kern Youth Arts Festival is the second of a three-event series demanding #SchoolsNotPrisons for Kern County. The events are organized and led by youth leaders affiliated with Building Healthy Communities-South Kern and South Kern Sol, in partnership with the Arts Council of Kern.

Free food will be provided to the first 250 people. Transportation is available, please see the routes below.

Bus Schedule for the Kern Youth Art’s Festival – July 7

Stop 1 – 5:10pm: at Arvin Vallarta Super Market – 600 Bear Mountain Blvd, Arvin, CA 93203 (Corner of Bear Mountain Blvd. and S. Hill Street, Look for the school bus)

Stop 2 – 5:25pm: Weedpatch Market – 8101 Buena Vista Blvd,. Lamont, CA 93241 (look for the school bus in the parking lot)

Stop 3 – 5:35pm: County Fair Market – 10415 Main St,. Lamont, CA 93241 (Look for the school bus near Main Street)

English Flyer (1) Spanish Flyer (1)