Woodbridge firefighters head to Malibu fire
Three Woodbridge firefighters were dispatched to the 2,200-acre wildfire in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu.
Engineers Steve Butler and Randy Stephens and firefighter Mike Nino left Woodbridge at 2 a.m. Tuesday, Engineer Elbert Hash said.
Senate forms committee to handle Valley's air pollution
The state Senate has created a new committee to address the San Joaquin Valley's air pollution problems.
Senate President John Burton created the Senate Select Committee on Air Quality in the Central Valley and appointed Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, chairman on Monday.
Florez, who plans to introduce several air pollution bills this legislative session, asked Burton, D-San Francisco, last week to set up the special committee.
"We need to put pressure on ourselves to do something," Florez said. "This (committee) will be the venue to start challenging some of the long-held assumptions about what's causing our air problem and how we can start to fix it. We might make a lot of people mad, but we've got to do something."
The eight-county San Joaquin Valley air district is one of the dirtiest in the nation.
Regional air quality regulators face a 2005 federal deadline to reduce smog in the valley or face sanctions that include millions of dollars in fines, business penalties and the delay of $2 billion in road-building funds.
Florez said he will draft legislation that would impose limits on open-field burning, as well as bills dealing with fireplaces and tighter air pollution controls at dairies.
San Joaquin official authors bill to teach Hmong history
A San Joaquin Valley state legislator says the Hmong culture is important to America and has introduced a bill to include Hmong history in the state's secondary curriculum.
Under AB 78 introduced by Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes, California seventh- through 12th-grade teachers will be encouraged to include Hmong history when studying about the Vietnam War.
"What I'm most excited about this bill is that it will give Hmong children a chance to know how important their history is to this country," said Reyes, D-Fresno.
The Hmong began emigrating to the United States in 1975 after the end of the Vietnam War. The Laos highland people had assisted the United States during the war and were forced to flee their homes in fear of Communist retaliation.
About 70,000 Hmong live in California, according to the U.S. Census. The state's largest concentration of Hmong live in the San Joaquin Valley.
Reyes' bill also would encourage teachers to bring Hmong community members into classrooms.
The bill is scheduled to go to the Assembly Education Committee in March.
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