Appeals board upholds officer termination
After several months of complying with necessary legal protocols and procedures, including an external investigation by independent investigators, on Aug. 7, 2020, now retired Police Chief Walt Vasquez terminated the employment of Police Officer Matthew Dages.
The termination stemmed from his actions in connection with a May 27, 2020 police contact with Mr. Amaurie Johnson at the Grossmont Trolley Station. On Aug. 14, 2020, Dages appealed the termination to the Personnel Appeals Board of the City of La Mesa.
The appeal hearing, which was closed to the public on the request of Dages pursuant to Government Code Section 54957, concluded on Dec. 9. The Board upheld the decision of the Police Chief to terminate the employment of Dages. The Board’s decision is final and no further appeal is available through the city (including an appeal to the City Council). The disciplinary records will be released publicly following review of the records for any legally required redactions.
Sharp HealthCare collects 1,290 pints of blood
Sharp HealthCare has collected 1,290 pints of blood at its facilities across the county from employees, their families and friends, as a part of their Sharp Lends a Hand community outreach program. As San Diego’s leading health care provider, Sharp hospitals use approximately 24,000 units of blood products each year to care for their patients. The San Diego Blood Bank is the primary provider of blood products to Sharp hospitals across San Diego.
Last year, Sharp HealthCare announced its goal to collect 1,700 pints of blood in 2020. Sharp employees, their families and friends were encouraged to donate blood at mobile drives at Sharp locations or at any San Diego Blood Bank donor center or mobile drive. While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of 22 planned blood drives, Sharp was able to host 47 blood drives at various Sharp locations throughout San Diego. The result – though less than the pre-pandemic goal – was enough to name Sharp as San Diego’s largest single donor of blood products to the San Diego Blood Bank in 2020.
“It has been a tough year for blood centers across the country, so Sharp HealthCare’s contributions were absolutely essential in keeping the blood supply safe for our community,” said David Wellis, CEO, San Diego Blood Bank. “The need for blood continues as we head into the holiday season, so we hope others will donate and follow Sharp HealthCare’s lead.”
“We are so proud of the people of Sharp for being on the frontlines to care for San Diegans during this pandemic, while also supporting the community through providing life-saving blood donations,” said Chris Howard, President and CEO of Sharp HealthCare. “We are grateful for our continued partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank and honored to be their top supporter this year.”
Sharp HealthCare’s goal for 2021 will be 1,500 units of blood.
To be eligible to donate blood, you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. To make an appointment, please visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org/donate or call 619-400-8251.
Supes pass COVID relief package
The San Diego Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $20M COVID relief package for small businesses. This plan will provide grants to businesses reeling from purple tier restrictions.
The proposal was co-authored by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Greg Cox and will allocate $20 million from the county’s general fund to businesses like restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, museums, zoos/aquariums and businesses with fewer than 100 employees that have been handcuffed by bans on indoor services.
The $20 million will be split evenly among the county’s five districts, leaving each district $4 million to divide between businesses in their area. This Small Business Stimulus Grant will not need to be repaid.
The county will try to focus its attention to helping businesses that don’t have the resources to facilitate expanding outdoors. The goal is to have these funds provide a lifeline that will keep businesses from closing their doors for good.
Businesses can use the funds to pay rent and mortgage, purchase equipment needed to comply with COVID regulations and pay employees.
Businesses can apply at www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/stimulusgrant.html.
Demand for COVID-19 convalescent plasma rising
San Diego Blood Bank is seeing a sharp increase in hospital orders for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Orders have more than tripled in the last month. On top of local demand, San Diego Blood Bank is being called upon to help supply national surge centers in anticipation of a spike in usage across the country.
San Diego Blood Bank was one of the first blood banks in the country to begin collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma. In addition to supplying local hospitals, San Diego Blood Bank has supported surge centers and other blood banks across the country.
Plasma donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 are needed to help others who are currently fighting the virus. This is because their plasma has developed antibodies against a virus.
Anyone previously diagnosed with COVID-19 can sign up at www.sandiegobloodbank.org/donateplasma.
To support the efforts, all blood donations are being tested for antibodies as part of SDBB’s standard testing panel in order to qualify donations for COVID-19 convalescent plasma. If a donation tests positive, the plasma in the donated blood may be used to help hospital patients fighting COVID-19.
Historically, convalescent plasma (CCP) has been successfully used to treat SARS, MERS and the Spanish flu, so there is evidence that it may help people suffering from certain infectious diseases like COVID-19.
“We need anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to contact us to see if they are eligible to donate their plasma,” said David Wellis, CEO of San Diego Blood Bank. “The need has already increased over the last couple of weeks and we anticipate even more requests from hospitals as we head into the new year.”
Appointments are required to donate blood and convalescent plasma. To see if you qualify, please visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org or call 619-400-8251.
Mission Trails water project construction update
When looking from the right vantage point towards Mission Trails Regional Park, a large mound of dirt can been seen in the park. What is it? It’s a construction project by the San Diego County Water Authority to upgrade a section of the regional water delivery system. Rest assured, once construction is complete, the dirt hill will be restored and revegetated with native plants – many seeded from the park itself.
Work efforts on a new flow regulatory structure (FRS II) are beginning to take shape with many of the wall sections installed. The FRS II will be an underground concrete water tank that will store slightly less than five million gallons of water and be used to balance flows in the aqueduct system. FRS II will be the second underground water tank in the park – both work to efficiently move water through the region. Construction efforts also include a new flow control facility, north and south pipe connections and removal of existing blue vent stacks.
Some trails in the northwest area of the park are closed during construction hours (Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), with portions closed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Please continue avoiding trails marked as closed during working hours,” said Aaron Trimm, Water Authority construction manager and senior engineer. “Heavy construction equipment and vehicles are now regularly using the closed trails during construction, which make it necessary to close them to keep hikers and cyclists safe.”
The Water Authority has created an interactive map that shows the location of the closed trails. Visit www.sdcwa.org/mission-trails-FRS to view the map and learn more information about the project. Please call the toll-free project information line at 877-682-9283, ext. 7004, or email CIPinfo@sdcwa.org with your questions.
Better Business Bureau seeks nominations for Torch Awards
Businesses in San Diego, and throughout the nation, have been faced with countless challenges this year. Those who have risen above the odds to sustain operations with integrity truly stand out and deserve applause. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) is seeking nominations for their 2021 Torch Awards for Ethics program which celebrates businesses that positively impact the community, keeping ethics at the forefront.
The Torch Awards for Ethics Program is open to all businesses that operate in the BBB Pacific Southwest region, covering Southern California and Greater Arizona. BBB continues to recognize companies that have proven vital to the San Diego business community, and is excited to announce an annual celebration for the fall of 2021. BBB looks forward to honoring future award recipients in a San Diego location, dependent on public gathering restrictions.
“We value the voice of consumers. The public plays an essential role in identifying potential businesses for this award, as they experience first-hand the true impact of what an ethical company can offer,” shares Shelley Bradley, Director of Signature Events. “We are looking to honor companies who are true leaders, paving the way to promote ethical behavior in their industries and represent the best of the best in character and integrity.”
Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air, a 2020 San Diego award winner, shared that “This has been a difficult year for our country with COVID but it has made us appreciate each other more. The ethics, integrity and pure wholeness of how we work together as a team shows that we care and we are grateful and thankful to be a Torch Awards for Ethics Winner.”
Now is an especially important time to highlight businesses that take strides to strengthen the marketplace. A business may also self-nominate and the award is open to all for-profit businesses. Torch Awards for Ethics nominations are being accepted through Feb. 1, with additional details at www.torchawards.bbbcommmunity.org.