La Mesa News Briefs – Jan. 22, 2016

UCSD seeks Alzheimer’s caregivers for paid study

Family caregivers spend considerable time caring for their loved ones. As a result, they may feel fatigued, stressed, and emotionally and physically “run-down.”

Since 1990, the UCSD Alzheimer’s Caregiver Study has looked at the health effects of caregiving and found they may be at increased risk for a number of health consequences. Investigators for the study found caregivers have stress levels that are four times higher than their non-caregiving peers, and caregivers are more than 12 times as likely to experience significant symptoms of depression. Physically, caregivers appear to have higher rates of hypertension and appear to be at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

There is evidence that developing the right coping skills may benefit caregivers both emotionally and physically. The UCSD Department of Psychiatry is now conducting a research study to evaluate the effectiveness of two educational programs for reducing stress, improving emotional well-being, and reducing risk for cardiovascular disease among caregivers. This study is funded by a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

To qualify, individuals must be 55 years of age or older and provide in-home care for a spouse or partner who has been diagnosed with dementia. Caregivers will receive five in-home health evaluations over the course of two years, which include an assessment of blood pressure, markers of cardiovascular risk, and an ultrasound evaluation of arterial health. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two educational programs designed to improve coping skills. Both programs involve six in-home meetings with the study therapist. All procedures will be provided at the home and are at no cost. Those who are eligible and choose to participate will be paid up to $500. For more information about the study, please contact the study’s staff at 858-534-9479.

Former La Mesa city councilman named 2016 chair of taxpayers group

Barry Jantz

Barry Jantz

Former La Mesa city councilman Barry Jantz, CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), has been elected to serve as 2016-17 chair of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) board of directors.

Jantz, who joined the SDCTA board of directors in 2007, will lead the region’s leading taxpayer watchdog organization in its role of promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and fees, discriminatory regulations and ill-advised public expenditures. Jantz succeeds Greg Stein of Millennium Health, who served as SDCTA chair the past four years.

“I am excited about this opportunity to serve,” said Jantz in a press release. “The Taxpayers Association plays an important role in the region, as our analysis of ballot measures helps voters understand their implications and make informed decisions. The Association also is instrumental in recommending important best practices to local government agencies in San Diego County.”

Jantz also is currently co-chairing the SDCTA search committee for a CEO to replace Mark Leslie, who retired in June 2015. Longtime civic leader Bill Geppert is serving as the other co-chair of the SDCTA search committee. Geppert, who is not on the SDCTA board, served for 16 years as general manager of Cox San Diego and served as chair of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Bowl Game Association and as a member of numerous nonprofit boards.

Jantz, who joined GHD as CEO in 2004, served as a member of the La Mesa City Council for four terms from 1990 to 2006 and now resides in Jamul. Prior to joining GHD on a full-time basis, he served as district chief of staff to former Assemblyman Jay La Suer (R-La Mesa) and as a public affairs consultant. He previously worked for 18 years in the Facilities Development Department for Kaiser Permanente, including three years as financial manager.

BBB offers cash scholarships to high school students

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties is offering high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn money for college through their participation in the peer-to-peer advising program BBB Student Ambassador.

BBB’s Student Ambassador Program aims to bring smart buying information to high school-age students, who are often the target of scam artists and credit card companies. In order to make the material more palatable for teenagers, BBB trains student volunteers who then deliver speeches to their peers and classmates.

“High school-age students are often hit hard by scammers because they tend to be naïve and can have large disposable incomes,” said BBB President and CEO Sheryl Reichert in a press release. “This program gives teenagers the tools to fight back against scammers and become adult consumers.”

Established in 2005, the Student Ambassador program has grown tremendously over the years, with participants from private, public and charter high schools that range from Imperial to San Ysidro, and Carlsbad to Fallbrook.

Not only does the Student Ambassador Program serve as a valuable scholarship opportunity for its participants, but students are also encouraged to include their involvement on resumes, job applications, and college admission essays. In addition, student volunteers will be able to practice their public speaking skills.

“Having the ability to speak clearly and confidently to your peers is instrumental at any age,” said Reichert. “Mastering that skill while you are still in high school is invaluable.”

Their participation demonstrates their commitment to strengthening the marketplace and protecting their peers from potentially harmful marketplace practices. All participants will receive a certificate of recognition for their contribution of volunteer hours; it also names them as a BBB Student Ambassador. The students who present to the largest number of their peers are eligible to receive a scholarship (first place winning $2,500, second place winning $1,500, and third place winning $1,000).

A reception will be held in May to recognize the winners of the various scholarships. The deadline to apply for the advantageous program is Feb. 19.

For more information, interested parties should visit or email BBB’s Student Ambassador Coordinator, Alexandra Hamilton, at

La Mesa Chamber of Commerce hires new employee

Mary England, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, has announced the hiring of Amanda Dominguez as a Chamber administrative assistant. Dominguez graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature. She previously worked in retail sales.

Dominguez, a Spring Valley resident, will be involved in special event planning, social media and promotion, sponsorship and fundraising activities, administrative duties and assisting Chamber members, England said. “We are thrilled to have Amanda as a wonderful addition to our team,” said England in a press release.

The 300-member La Mesa Chamber serves as the voice of business in community affairs by advocating and representing businesses’ interests and issues affecting the La Mesa community. It promotes a business environment in a cooperative effort to stimulate a vibrant local economy and enhance the overall quality of life in La Mesa to its highest potential.

San Diego region posts 18 percent December water savings

The San Diego region posted an 18 percent decrease in urban potable water use in December and remains on track to meet the state’s aggregate regional goal through February, according to preliminary data released this month by the San Diego County Water Authority.

Counting December’s savings, total regional potable water use has declined by 24 percent since state-mandated emergency water-use targets took effect in June 2015 compared to the state’s 2013 baseline period. That tops the state’s aggregate target of 20 percent for the region.

“Much less water is used outdoors in the wet winter months, and that makes it much harder to achieve significant water savings,” said Dana Friehauf, water resources manager for the Water Authority in a press release. “An 18 percent decline for a month when water demands are already much lower is a major achievement.

“The easiest way to save these days is to make sure irrigation systems are turned off to take advantage of winter storms in San Diego County.”

Landscape irrigation during periods of measurable rainfall and for 48 hours afterward is prohibited by state law. As a practical matter, irrigation systems can be left off for much longer following major rainstorms – weeks, and if conditions are right, one or more months. The benefits of rainfall can be extended by using rain barrels and cisterns to store water for later. The SoCal WaterSmart rebate program offers $75 per rain barrel (limit four) and $300 for a cistern of 200 or more gallons.

Applications for the rain barrel rebates in San Diego County more than tripled from 2014 to 2015, when more than 11,850 barrels were rebated through SoCal WaterSmart. For information about rain barrel rebates and other conservation programs, as well as water-use rules by community and drought conditions, go to The site also includes tips for indoor conservation, including how water use can be trimmed by shortening showers to no more than five minutes, fixing leaks as soon as they’re discovered, and running only full loads of laundry and dishes.

The State Water Resources Control Board has set mandatory conservation targets for Water Authority member agencies between 12 and 36 percent below 2013 levels. Those targets are scheduled to remain in place through February. The governor has ordered statewide water-use mandates be extended through October 2016 if drought conditions persist through January. He also has directed the State Board to consider modifications to its emergency regulations.

The staff of the State Board released its Proposed Regulatory Framework for Extended Emergency Regulation for Urban Water Conservation on Dec. 21. On Jan. 6, the Water Authority filed formal comments on the proposed framework, seeking to make the regulations more equitable for agencies that have invested in water supply reliability by developing drought-resilient supplies. In addition, the Water Authority called for the addition of language that would require the state’s emergency water-use regulations to be reviewed by April to ensure that they are appropriate for the amount of rain and snow that falls this winter.

More information about the Water Authority’s proposal, including the Jan. 6 letter, is at

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