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PG&E insurance claims + Blowing dust and health problems + Fresno's air quality

Sacramento Bee - 12/31/2019

Dec. 31--Good morning California and welcome to the last day of 2019! Thank you for spending your morning with Capitol Alert.

PG&E ISSUES A REMINDER

PG&E is reminding customers that the deadline to file insurance claims against the utility related to 2017 and 2018 Northern California fires, including the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"Claims related to the Northern California fires that arose prior to January 29, 2019, must be filed in PG&E's Chapter 11 cases and received no later than the deadline of December 31, 2019, at 5:00 p.m," Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said in a news release. "If any person or entity believes money is owed to them by PG&E for loss or injury resulting from the Northern California fires that arose before PG&E filed for Chapter 11 on January 29, 2019, then they must file a Proof of Claim before the Bar Date."

Claims can be filed online at www.officialfireclaims.com, by mail to PG&E's claims processing center, or in person at one of six PG&E claim service centers.

Read more from Michael McGough here.

STRUGGLING TO BREATHE

When Angel Kaye's mom gets an alert on her cell phone that the air quality is bad, he uses his inhaler and doesn't go outside. The family closes the doors and windows of their mobile home and turn on an expensive air filter because if they don't, Angel's airways constrict and he struggles to breathe.

Angel, 16, started having asthma symptoms after his family moved to the Nipomo Mesa, a rural community in south San Luis Obispo County downwind from an off-road vehicle park run by the state Department of Parks and Recreation on the Oceano Dunes.

If they don't bunker inside on windy days, residents regularly breathe toxic levels of dust, according to 20 years of air-quality monitor data published by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.

No one knows what caused the condition that leads to Angel's midnight coughing fits and gasps for oxygen, but he and his family know it's worse when the air is bad. Angel's younger sister is showing symptoms too -- runny noses, itchy eyes and constant coughing -- and the air won't get better soon.

Read more from Monica Vaughan here.

FRESNO AREA AIR QUALITY

Esteban Joe Andrade says it's hard to breathe in Calwa.

"It gets me sneezing and gets me a runny nose. I don't think it's the allergies around here, because I don't have allergies. But with all the smells here, I do get something," Andrade said, pointing around.

Andrade isn't the only one who believes it's more difficult to breathe in Calwa.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's CalEnviroScreen readings list the Calwa and Malaga region south of Fresno as one of the most polluted in the state.

But while residents have their suspicions about the pollution sources, they're really only guessing.

Regional air monitors struggle to gauge the pollution sources from small communities like Calwa and Malaga, according to Kevin Hamilton, CEO of the Central California Asthma Collaborative.

Read more from Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"People have long predicted California's demise. Each time, California comes out stronger. We're seeing it again: Unending national press stories on California's problems. Yes, we have big challenges on housing, homelessness & wildfires. And we'll face them and come out strong. Just like we always have." -- Sen. Scott Wiener, via Twitter. Wiener's tweet follows the recent publication of a New York Times article titled, "California Is Booming. Why Are So Many Californians Unhappy?"

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A new California law that aims to ease barriers to medication that can reduce the risk of HIV has pharmacists around the state preparing to offer a pair of drugs that today are only available if a doctor prescribes them, by Leslie Hicks and Adeola Ogunsanya.

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(c)2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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