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Julia Vassey

Preventing accidental overdoses by taking back old medications

Last weekend was the 12th National Drug Take Back Day, held at locations across the country, including Oakland. The Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement groups collect unused prescription drugs on this day as part of an effort to fight the opioid overdose crisis. The agency encourages those who buy prescription medications to return old and unused drugs to the DEA, which safely disposes of them, instead of storing them at home. This prevents accidental overdoses and poisoning, as well as environmental contamination that…

Future of asbestos regulations remains uncertain

Paula Mitchell had to face an unplanned home remodel after the rainy season this year. Her Oakland house flooded and the linoleum floor in the kitchen, damaged by water, started to peel, so she decided to put in new tiles. But what was supposed to be an easy fix turned into a major project when the linoleum was tested for asbestos. “And voila! It was loaded with asbestos,” Mitchell said. Asbestos is cheap, water and fire-resistant and good for insulation….

EPA begins on-site cleanup of AMCO Chemical Superfund Site

Oakland resident Queen Thurston was one of the first to show up at this weekend’s community event to celebrate the installation and start-up of a new groundwater and soil treatment system at the AMCO Chemical Superfund Site, located one block south of the West Oakland BART station. In the 1990s, Thurston was among a group of protesters who staged rallies calling for an investigation into the environmental condition of the area. For about 20 years—until the late 1980s when AMCO Chemical…

State legislators push bill to limit emergency room closures

California has one the nation’s lowest number of hospital emergency rooms per capita, and Bay Area legislators are calling this shortage a crisis, as the number of people who need urgent care services keeps growing. They are pushing for a bill that would require non-profit hospitals to obtain approval from the state Attorney General.

Alameda County residents talk Affordable Care Act with Rep. Barbara Lee

Over a thousand people gathered Saturday at the International Community School in Oakland for a town hall meeting to discuss Alameda County’s efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act. The event was organized by the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California’s 13th district, which includes Oakland. The school gym holding the town hall was completely jammed and reached the fire safety capacity, according to the school’s security staff, so not everyone who came was able to get in….

Oaklanders march through downtown to protest Trump inauguration

Around noontime, as the newly-sworn in President Donald Trump prepared to join the parade that would take him to the White House, a crowd gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza outside of Oakland City Hall to protest his inauguration. The protest was the second one held downtown on Friday, following a small gathering outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building early in the morning. Afterward, demonstrators had migrated over to the plaza, where groups set up tents, handed out literature and offered…

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