August 31st, 2012

Average number of days that a veteran who goes to the Los Angeles, California waits for the government to respond to his or her disability claim as of 07/2012. Increased by +39.0% in the prior 1.3 years.

See how long veterans in your area are waiting to hear on their disability claims in this interactive map from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

August 24th, 2012

Get an inside look at California’s forgotten prison population.

Under federal court order to reduce overcrowding in state prisons, California is now releasing thousands of prisoners or transferring them to county jails. But the rapidly aging and dying prisoners confined to state prison hospices are often left behind. As many as 3,300 inmates in the U.S. die in prison every year.

July 12th, 2012

East Bay doctor under fire for prolific painkiller prescriptions

Meet Dr. Edward Manougian, an East Bay physician who has ordered so many OxyContin pills for low-income patients that he ranked as one of the state’s most prolific prescribers. Until the California medical board stopped his prescribing last year, Manougian ordered patients to take doses of opiate pain pills that are three to 12 times higher than what doctors consider high. His prescriptions have been linked to three patient deaths. 

Now, Manougian’s practice has drawn the attention of federal investigators. The case raises the question: Given the widespread problems of overdose and addiction related to opioid painkillers, when does prescribing actually exacerbate the suffering it’s meant to ease? 

Read our full investigation here. To learn more about the issues surrounding opioid abuse, check out our resources on React & Act.

July 12th, 2012

Study: Nearly 4 million Californians cannot afford enough food

An analysis [PDF], based on data from the California Health Interview Survey, found that more than 40 percent of low-income California adults in 2009 – 3.8 million in all – could not afford enough food at least once in the previous year. Read more.

May 9th, 2012
Sitting for long periods of time — when you don’t stand up, don’t move at all — tends to cause changes physiologically within your muscles. You stop breaking up fat in your blood stream, you start getting accumulations of fat … in your liver, your heart and your brain. You get sleepy. You gain weight. You basically are much less healthy than if you’re moving.
If you’re reading this Tumblr post while sitting down, stand up! Here’s more reasons why. (via nprfreshair)
Reblogged from NPR Fresh Air
April 6th, 2012

Roughly 1.8 million people live in low-income unincorporated communities in California. These communities are outside of recognized city boundaries and therefore lack many public services, including sewer systems and clean water. California Watch reporter Bernice Yeung visited several of these communities across the state and spoke to residents about the challenges they face.

March 19th, 2012
A photograph from the new book “Valley of Shadows and Dreams” by Ken and Melanie Light. The two spent five-years documenting farm workers’ daily experiences in California’s Central Valley. See more images and learn more about their project here
March 16th, 2012

Ken and Melanie Light embarked on a five-year photographic journey of a region known for its agricultural plenty – and the marginalization of its people. In their book, “Valley of Shadows and Dreams,” the Lights dig deep into the harsh truths of farm workers’ daily experiences in California’s Central Valley and take a hard look at the legacies of politics, bureaucracy and control in the region. In our new video, we interviewed the Lights about their experiences reporting in the Valley.

March 13th, 2012

Nearly 10 percent of the 2.6 million people living in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley might be drinking nitrate-contaminated water, according to a new study out today from researchers at UC Davis. If nothing is done to stem the problem, the report warns, those at risk for health and financial problems may number nearly 80 percent by 2050. Read the full story.

Photo by Paolo Vescia/FERNnews

February 23rd, 2012

Photo: Donna Lazzini embraces her son, Timothy Lazzini, a resident of the Sonoma Developmental Center who died in 2005, in a family photo collage celebrating his life.

California has assembled a unique police force to protect about 1,800 of its most vulnerable patients – men and women with cerebral palsy, severe autism and other mental disabilities who live in state institutions and require round-the-clock monitoring and protection from abuse.

But our new investigation has found that detectives and patrol officers at the state’s five board-and-care institutions routinely fail to conduct basic police work even when patients die under mysterious circumstances.

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California Watch, the largest investigative journalism team operating in the state, was launched in 2009 by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Investigative Reporting. Areas of coverage include education, health and welfare, public safety, the environment and the influence of money on the political and regulatory process.