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RPU Begins 2010 With Free Cost-Cutting Business Programs

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Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) is beginning the new year with two free cost-saving, energy-efficient programs for qualified Riverside business customers: the Programmable Thermostat Direct Installation Program and the VendingMiser® Direct Installation Program.

The programmable thermostats provide businesses a way to cut facility heating and cooling costs by programming different settings for weekdays and weekends; setting multiple daily settings; and customizing heating and cooling only for the hours needed. RPU will arrange for the installation of more than 2,000 thermostats, which saves about 4.7 million kilowatt-hours or approximately $610,000 annually.

Vending machines and glass door coolers have long been a source of energy waste.

VendingMiser® and CoolerMiser® system sensors monitor the ambient temperature and foot traffic in the immediate area and adjusts power inside to keep the product cool without wasting energy. Even the advertising lights on vending machines will be lowered when customers are not nearby.

Businesses will see an immediate 46 percent drop in energy used by vending machines or coolers. The annual estimated savings to customers and RPU is about 3.2 million kwh or a savings of $450,000.

RPU will install both the thermostats and the vending machine units without cost to the customer.

“We realize many of our business customers could use some cost-saving measures for 2010,” said RPU General Manager David Wright. “By directly installing these units, not only do our customers save money, but the city becomes more energy-efficient and greener.”

RPU business customers can call 951.826.5485 for more information about this and other RPU energy-saving programs.

Horton: Gasoline Demand Up 1% in 3rd Quarter, Diesel Down 10.6%

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Jerome E. Horton, Vice Chairman of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), today released gasoline and diesel consumption figures for September and total figures for the third quarter of 2009.

Gas consumption increased for the second consecutive quarter since early 2006.

In September 2009, gasoline demand rose 0.05 percent when Californians used 1.219 billion gallons of gasoline compared to just under 1.219 billion gallons the same month last year. The average California gasoline price at the pump in September was $3.17 per gallon compared to $3.84 in September 2008, a 17.4 percent decrease.

In the third quarter of 2009, gasoline consumption increased one percent when Californians used 3.772 billion gallons of gasoline compared to 3.736 billion gallons the third quarter last year.

Gasoline sold in September generated approximately $322 million in sales tax during that month, an estimated $23 million less than generated last year. September sales and use tax revenues from gasoline would have been about $59 million less had the state portion of the sales and use tax not increased by one percent on April 1, 2009.

Diesel fuel sold in California during September totaled 244 million gallons compared to September’s last year total of 254 million gallons, which is a decline of 3.9 percent. California diesel prices were $2.84 per gallon in September 2009 down 30.6 percent compared to September 2008 when the average diesel price was $4.09 per gallon.

Diesel consumption in California declined 10.6 percent in the third quarter of 2009 when Californians used a total of just over 654 million gallons of diesel compared to the third quarter of 2008 total of 732 million gallons. This decline is similar to those seen since early 2008. Diesel consumption generally follows economic activity and is especially closely related to construction and transportation of goods. These sectors were particularly hard hit during the recession, and have yet to start to increase.

Core’s Annual Dinner Will Be Star-Studded Gala

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On Monday, January 18th 2010, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), America’s third oldest and largest civil rights organization, will host its 25th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 52nd Street at Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. Reception is at 6:30 p.m., dinner and awards begin at 7:30 p.m. Black Tie or National Dress.

The dinner, which is the largest annual celebration in honor of the King Holiday, attracts many local and national politicians as well as celebrities from Hollywood, the music industry and the sports world. Many embassies will send their ambassadors and consuls general to attend as official representatives.

Each year, special guests serve as Masters of Ceremony and as keynote speakers. Past MC’s have included talk radio host Sean Hannity, NY Post gossip queen Cindy Adams, comedian Alan King and actor Tony LoBianco. Keynote speakers have included First Lady Laura Bush and Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Past CORE honorees have included Nobel Prize winner Elie Weisel, international women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Actors Morgan Freeman and Charlton Heston, sports legends Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron, music superstars Brandy, Janet Jackson and Usher, civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks and, posthumously, former CORE workers and civil rights heroes James Cheney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

The 2010 dinner promises to have one of the most dynamic lineups of attendees and honorees. Confirmed guests will be announced shortly. There will be a press conference during the dinner that will include all the hosts, special guests and honorees.

CHP to Begins Traffic Safety Program for Teens

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The California Highway Patrol will offer a free Start Smart traffic safety program for teenage drivers and their parents at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, January 9th at the Riverside Area CHP office.

The program aims to help future and newly-licensed teenage drivers learn the responsibilities that accompany the privilege of being a licensed driver.

The program is an education tool for parents and teens to reduce the number of teen injuries and deaths resulting from traffic collisions.

The program provides information on defensive driving, state traffic laws, dynamics of traffic collisions, tips on avoiding collisions and DUI awareness.

Classes are limited to the first 30 people. For more information or reservations, call the Riverside Area Office at (951) 637-8000.

Future Class Dates:

January 14, 2010

(Thursday) – 6:30 pm-8:30pm

January 19, 2010

(Thursday) – 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

February 11, 2010

(Thursday) - 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

February 13, 2010

(Saturday) – 8 am-10 am

March 13, 2010

(Saturday) – 8 am-10 am

March 18, 2010

(Thursday) –6:30 pm-8:30 pm

April 10, 2010

(Saturday) – 8 am-10 am

April 22, 2010

(Thursday) – 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

May 8, 2010

(Saturday) – 8 am-10 am

May 13, 2010

(Thursday) – 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

The Gift of Health: Update on H1N1 Virus

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By Ngoc Nguyen –

H1N1 virus has no cure, but there is a way to prevent it … get vaccinated! That’s the message health experts around the state are telling the public, even though H1N1 flu cases have peaked.

“It’s much too early to let our guard down,” says Ken August, spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health. “H1N1 flu cases may be decreasing, but [the virus] is not going away.”

The first two confirmed H1N1 cases in the country were found in California, and now a majority of counties in the state have reported at least one case of H1N1. The virus has hospitalized more than 7,546 Californians and caused nearly 397 deaths, according to the latest state data (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/H1N1Home.aspx).

The state estimates that more than 3 million Californians have become ill from the H1N1 flu.

“The vast majority of flu illnesses are of the H1N1 strain. We’re seeing almost none of the seasonal flu strain right now,” said August, who emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated against the strain that is out there the most.

As of early December, California has ordered 7 million doses of H1N1 vaccine. The number of doses ordered so far is enough to vaccinate about 18 percent of the state’s population against H1N1. Early supply problems hampered mass vaccination efforts, said Jonathan Fielding, M.D., public health officer for Los Angeles County.

“That’s really caused a lot of problems, because expectations were heightened, and we didn’t have enough vaccine to fulfill them and that caused anxiety,” he said. Los Angeles County has received 1.4 million doses, whereas the high-risk group is 5.5 million people, Fielding said.

Pregnant women, children, young adults under age 24 and people of all ages with chronic conditions are at increased risk of infection and complications from the flu. Health officials emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated against H1N1 flu, especially those in high-risk groups, and they said it is not too late to do so. As it takes up to two weeks after a vaccination for the body to develop immunity, those who want to protect themselves during the holiday season should get immunized in the next two weeks.

The experts say the epidemic has crested for now, but we’re likely to see additional waves. “We’ve already had a second, we could see a third wave,” said Fielding. The first wave of H1N1 infections occurred in the spring (April-June), with cases dropping off, but never disappearing, during the summer. Infections spiked again in October, after students went back to school.

Takashi Wada, M.D., public health officer for the City of Pasadena, said H1N1 cases could rebound again after the New Year, as people tend to congregate indoors more during the winter and travel over the holidays.

In Santa Clara County, H1N1 hospitalizations and school absenteeism have leveled off, according to Joy Alexiou, spokesperson for the county public health department. But, getting vaccinated is still a good idea, she says, because flu activity is still high. “Flus are notorious for changing and getting unpredictable,” Alexiou said. “Will there be another wave after the first of this year? We don’t know.” The message: Better to be safe than sorry. Get vaccinated.

Gift of Health is supported by grants from The California Endowment and California Community Foundation.

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