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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California • Page 9

Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California • Page 9

Ukiah, California
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL REGION WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 27, 2006 9 Department merger to go forward Mosquito spraying set in Chico But more slowly By KATIE MINTZ The Daily Journal Editor's note: The following story is being re-run from Tuesday's edition because the second half was inadvertently omitted. It's been six months since Mendocino County's Mental Health, Public Health and Social Services Departments were merged to create the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), and on Monday, agency staff and members of the Board of Supervisors weighed in on the integration process. At a half-day board workshop held at the Willits Integrated Services Center which was "not a coincidence," according to Assistant Chief Executive Officer Alison Glassey, for the center represents where many departments have already successfully come together to offer a number of services -Interim HHSA Director Ana Mahoney led an audience of about 50 through an overview of the agency's various functions and a discussion on pros and cons of its formation. According to Mahoney, the HHSA has 700 staff members, which represents 53 percent of the entire work force for Mendocino County. In one year, the agency provides services to 27 percent of the county's citizens. And while the purpose of the merger of the three departments was to improve client services, the reaction from staff has been mixed. At a meeting of 40 senior managers- from the three departments held earlier this month, Mahoney said everyone agreed that integration should be pursued, but to what degree was argued. "Twenty-eight percent fully supported- the agency approach. Another 38 percent supported it, but had some questions. Twelve percent were neutral, and 22 percent do not support the (merged) agency unless relevant questions can be answered." Of concerns mentioned were lack of communication and direction from leadership, to which Supervisor Michael Delbar and Chairman of the Board David Colfax admitted they felt at fault. "Part of the problem is, Mahoney there'hasn't been clear direction from the top," Delbar said. "There was in the CEO's office. There was not good direction from us (the board)." "We have a lesson to be learned here, and that is how this project got to this point," Colfax said. "What is the problem here is the leadership from those at the top and I include myself in that where in fact, 1 feel in some ways, some bad things have happened here with our Health and Human Services departments over the last six months." Dan Taylor, branch director for Public Health operations within the agency, presented a plan for an internal, county employee Web site, which he called InterestNET, to help in creating dialogue and improving county-wide communication. "Lack of direct, reliable and timely information creates discontent, anxiety, rumor mills and stress, all resulting in low morale, decreased productivity and the potential loss of our customers' confidence," Taylor said. "Based on our experiences with change in our county, we feel that we need to recognize the critical role that effective communication plays in the change process." Mahoney said that InterestNET is crucial to the county, whether the board decides to continue with the HHSA integration process or not. And should the board decide to keep moving forward with the HHSA, certain demands also need to be taken. "Without Ml and enthusiastic commitment by the leadership team, organizational changes, service integration and possible streamlining and consolidations are destined to fail. The energy just isn't there," Mahoney said. "For my recommendation, we either have to immediately dismantle the agency and reinstate the departments or, we can keep the agency going and slow down and concentrate on stabilizing this new baby organization, even though it's a big baby." Though the agency has received scrutiny since the integration process began in March, many voiced their approval of the merger at the meeting. "I feel like I've been.wait- ing 10 years for this moment. I'm thrilled about the integration that's happening, the super agency that's happening," Karen Wandrei, director of the Mendocino County Youth Project said. "You do need to go forward with this model," Cyndee Logan of the Willits Action Group said. "Rather than pulling back, you need to stabilize and make people who are working for the county not bail." Supervisor Jim Wattenburger said the advantages in moving forward outweigh the disadvantages "I think this is a good concept, it's going to have a few bumps on the road, it's going to push some peoples' personal perspectives, their comfort zones that's what change does but change is not bad and until you move through the evaluation process, you're never going to know." Interim Chief Executive Officer Albert Beltrami said unless the board should indicate otherwise, he would direct Mahoney to continue to work to bring the three departments together. "The county has committed six months of effort and think we should proceed at a slower pace but towards the same goal in mind, which is the best integrated service we can provide to our clientele," Beltrami said. The board requested that discussion on the issue be put on the agenda for a regular meeting so that a. vote could be taken to give clear direction to the agency's future. The discussion will likely, be put off until November or later due to already full October agendas, according to Clerk' of the Board Kristi Furman. Katie Mintz can be reached at RV SHOW Brown's RV Annual Fall Show at The Mervyn's Parking Lot in Ukiah Off MSRP On our entire Inventory of New Travel Trailers 5th Wheels and Toy Haulers Friday September 29 thru Monday October 9th Aljo Wailrider All hitch work and wiring included in price. Financing Available, Low Payments No Money Down on approved credit (O.A.C.) To preview inventory visit: Brown's RV in Lower Lake 1-800-794-9418 Journal Delivers! 468-Q1 23 The Chico Enterprise-Record CHICO Six to 10 trucks were expected to spray for mosquitoes throughout Chico starting Tuesday. Concerned about the rising number of human cases of West Nile virus, county health officials decided to take further action against the insects that carry the disease. Jim Camy, manager of the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District, said Chico residents may see the district's red pickups moving slowly through neighborhoods north of Chico cemetery between about p.m. He said the trucks will spray an insecticide into the air that is very safe for people. However, if residents are concerned, they can go inside and shut then" windows if they see one of the trucks. The spray dissipates quickly, he said. Camy said that, weather permitting, he plans to spray two evenings a week while the West Nile threat remains. If it's windy, spraying can't be done. He'd like to spray the entire city of Chico, he Of the 33 human cases West Nile virus reported this year, 21 have been in Chico. Nearly 90,000 marijuana plants seized in Humboldt County The Eureka Times-Standard EUREKA The Humboldt County Sheriffs Department has eradicated nearly 90,000 'marijuana plants so far this year. The most recent round of raids was with the help of Campaign Against Marijuana Planting personnel, where 14,100 plants were seized between Sept. 18 and 22. The plants were found on U.S. Forest Service land near the Waterman Ridge and Friday Ridge areas of Willow Creek. Deputies have eradicated about 50,000 plants with CAMP this year, and the multi-agency law enforcement task force has eradicated about 37,000 plants on its own. Last year deputies seized a total of 23,000 plants with CAMP. Statewide, CAMP has destroyed more than 1.2 million plants this year, breaking last year's record of 1,314,692. More than 750 gardens have been raided, about 20 people have been arrested and more than 15 weapons have been confiscated statewide. Humboldt County ranked 13th with CAMP last yeaf, with Sonoma County having the most plants confiscated at 204,571 plants. The CAMP season is continuing. SACRAMENTO (AP) The city council and county board of supervisors are considering a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness in the county. The so-called "housing first" plan is targeted at a group of about 1,600 people. It will focus on providing stable housing, followed by support services. The blueprint is modeled after programs in other cities nationwide, including Portland, Ore. A recent study there followed 35 formerly homeless people for 15 months and noted that providing them with housing saved taxpayers $12 million in a year. The savings came after the' 35 'time in in emergency rooms, jails and courts. For about 15 years, Sacramento County has been operating under a "continuum of care" system, phasing people through shelters then transitional housing and finally to permanent homes, said county supervisor Roger Dickinson. He said the "housing first" plan will add a new dimension. The city and county officials this week also are expected to make a pledge to increase housing by 500 units within five years. OLIVEHURST (AP) More than $45,000 has been raised for the funerals of an Olivehurst family of six killed by a suspected drunken driver. The money poured in over the past week from individual 'donors and' fundraising car wash. The funeral services for Thomas and Maribel Negrete, their two young sons, Eric and Cesar, and Maribel's parents, Jose Raya Quintana and Maria Raya, took place last week before a large gathering of mourners in Marysville. The family was killed Sept. 17 when their sport utility vehicle was hit from behind by 28-year-old Bradley Bledsoe of Linda, sending it slamming into a tree. Bledsoe faces six counts of second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and a single count of driving with a suspended license. The family's relatives this week said the services cost about $28,000. They said they deposited the remaining donation money into a fund to be used for others who have suffered similar tragedies. i ji i). The IlKiah SKerte Park Committee PRESENTS Back In BlaeK A Film by Black Label Skateboards Wednesday, September 27th p.m. Wright Stuff Pizza 72O North Stcrte Si ALL AGES RAFFLE FOLLOWING FILM RAFFLE TICKETS $3 ATTENTION LOCAL SKATEBOARDERS! If you have footage and the ability to edit a 3-to-5 minute package, the Ukiah Skate Park Committee would like to showcase your videos during our benefit. EVENT SPONSORS Wright Stuff Pizza Freedom Skate Shop Access Design Build The Ukiah Daily Journal Cold Stone Creamery LScott Spears Expressions Candy Gift Shop Homegrowninmendo Ed 21 Les Ryan Realty

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