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Briefs – April 15

Posted: April 15th, 2016 | Briefs, Calendar, Opinion & News Briefs, News | No Comments

MADD honors ‘drugged driving’ prosecutor

The local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving named as its Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year for 2015 a prosecutor who did not prosecute a single drunk-driving case that year.

Rather, MADD gave the award to Deputy City Attorney Taylor S. Garrot, whose specialty is drug DUIs — cases in which motorists are impaired by drugs (prescription and illegal) or by drugs combined with alcohol. He was honored at the 2016 DUI Law Enforcement Recognition Awards Luncheon held on March 29.

Garrot’s commendation from MADD is recognition of the growing phenomenon of drug DUIs and the threat they pose to public safety.

Since November 2014, Garrot has worked exclusively on drug DUIs for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, handling more than 250 drug and drug/alcohol combination cases, including 14 jury trials. He has prosecuted drivers who misused prescription drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Percocet, Dilaudid, Klonopin and Ambien, as well as illegal drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine and heroin.

Working under a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, Garrot has become an expert for the San Diego law enforcement community, conducting trainings for local prosecutors and law enforcement personnel.

His trainings help debunk the myth that cases that involve driving under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs are too difficult to prove. In fact, Garrot has obtained guilty pleas or verdicts in the overwhelming majority of these cases.

“MADD could not have picked a better Prosecutor of the Year,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a press statement prior to the awards luncheon. “Taylor Garrot’s expertise is keeping dangerous drivers off of our streets and highways, and the techniques he deploys are being shared with his colleagues, who prosecute thousands of DUI cases every year.  Crimes once considered difficult to prove now result in guilty pleas and stiff sentences.”

In his three years at the City Attorney’s Office, Garrot has successfully prosecuted a number of difficult DUI jury trials, involving complicated legal issues such as driving defenses, unrelated health issues, involuntary intoxication and low blood alcohol concentration cases.

New weight loss procedure offered at Alvarado

A new FDA-approved procedure is now being offered in San Diego for weight loss. The gastric “belly” balloon is a non-surgical, outpatient procedure that has been shown to be up to three times more effective for weight loss than those who do diet and exercise alone.

orbera balloonDuring the procedure, the patient receives mild sedation and a deflated silicon balloon is inserted through the mouth into the stomach with an endoscope. Once inserted, it is inflated with sterile saline. Inflated, the balloon is about the size of a grapefruit. This creates a feeling of fullness and helps patients moderate food intake. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes.

After six months, the balloon is removed. Patients agree to participate in a one-year medically supervised diet and exercise program to improve long-term outcomes.

“One of the reasons why people hit a weight plateau is because dieting alone increases chemical hunger,” said Dr. Julie Ellner of Alvarado Hospital in a press release. Ellner is one of the first doctors to offer this procedure in San Diego. “This is a way to relieve the hunger and be successful without surgery or drugs.”

Typically, a person has to have a BMI between 30-40 to qualify and need to lose approximately 25-50 pounds. The procedure is not currently covered by insurance.

“The balloon has been available for almost two decades outside of the U.S. and has proven successful in many European and other countries,” Ellner said. “For millions of people who want to lose weight without surgery, it gives them the boost they need.”

Ellner performs the procedure at the Physicians Surgery Center at Alvarado, which is an outpatient surgery center located on the Alvarado Hospital campus.

Volunteers to clean ‘Creek to Bay’ 

I Love A Clean San Diego’s (ILACSD) signature event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, will be held Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at locations throughout San Diego County. The annual event encourages volunteers to sign up for a site in their neighborhood to contribute to the health and beauty of the entire region.

i_love_a_clean_san_diegoCleanup sites in the eastern region of the county include Allied Gardens Community Park, Forester Creek in El Cajon, Flinn Springs County Park, University Channel in La Mesa, Mission trails Regional Park, Santee Lakes and more. ILACSD focuses its attention on inland communities (82 sites) where 80 percent of marine debris originates. A complete list of cleanup sites and volunteer registration are available at creektobay.org

In 2015, more than 5,500 volunteers removed 187,000 pounds of debris during the three-hour event. This year, ILACSD will host a record number of 107 sites countywide. While trash removal is a large focus of the event, volunteers will also contribute their time to beautification projects, including native planting projects and graffiti removal.

In addition to the debris removal and beautification projects, ILACSD invites volunteers to take the “Bring Your Own Reusables” pledge when they register. Volunteers are asked to bring their own reusable water bottle, work gloves, and bucket to collect litter at the event, helping divert thousands of single-use bags and disposable gloves from San Diego landfills.

The registration forms, cleanup locations and reusables pledge can be found online at creektobay.org.

Recycle your tax files

In an effort to help San Diegans recycle old tax files, the city of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department and Allan Company are hosting the 14th annual Residential Tax Files Recycling Program through April 20.

The tax files drop-off location is at the Miramar Recycling Center located at 5165 Convoy St. The service is free to city of San Diego residents only.
All documents will be securely stored and shredded before being recycled.

Only one banker’s box of residential tax files per resident is accepted. A bankers box is approximately 10 inches high, 15 inches wide, and 25 inches deep.

For more information about recycling, call the city’s Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000 or visit recyclingworks.com.

City wants input on water management plan

The city of San Diego is inviting public review and comment on its Draft 2015 Urban Water Management Plan through May 5. The plan serves as a long-range forecast and water resources planning document for the city.

The city is required by the Urban Water Management Planning Act, California Water Code Sections 10610 through 10657, to prepare a plan every five years. The city is required to update and adopt a plan by July 1 for submittal to the California Department of Water Resources.

The 2015 plan addresses the city’s existing water system and includes a forecast of water demands over the next five years. The plan also includes an evaluation of supplies necessary to meet those demands during normal, single-dry and multiple-dry years to help ensure water supply reliability over the next 25 years.

The plan is available for public review and can be found on the city of San Diego’s website at sandiego.gov/water or a copy can be reviewed at the city of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department office located at 525 B St., Suite 700, San Diego, CA 92101.

Comments must be must be received no later than 5 p.m. Thursday, May 5 and can be sent to sbista@sandiego.gov or mailed to the Public Utilities Department office, marked: 2015 Urban Water Management Plan – Public Comments.

A public hearing to adopt the city of San Diego 2015 Urban Water Management Plan is tentatively scheduled for Monday, June 20 at the City Administration Building, Council Chambers, 12th floor, 202 C St., San Diego, CA 92101. All comments will be reviewed before the public hearing.
For questions regarding the proposed 2015 Urban Water Management Plan, including making an appointment to review the document at the city, contact Seevani Bista at 619-533-4222 or sbista@sandiego.gov.

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