California News

Help Save Our California State Parks—Again!

May 14, 2011

Jack London State Historic ParkBack in 2009 we wrote about the proposal to help alleviate California's budget problems by closing 200 of our priceless state parks. Fast forward to 2011 and legislators again propose to shut down 70 of our state parks—25% of California's state parks system—to help trim the state budget gap. This time the closures are permanent, marking the first time in the century-long history of the California State Park system that park closures would be implemented.

You can see a list and map of the proposed closures here.

This is an incredibly short-sighted, harmful, and embarrassing plan that ultimately will only serve to hurt the state of California, its citizens, visitors, and businesses. Closing parks will have a severe financial impact on nearby businesses that serve park visitors, and the tax revenue they provide. Closure of state parks will also leave them open to potential environmental damage and vandalism.

How Did Your School Score in the 2010 API Report?

September 21, 2010

Last week the California Department of Education released its 2010 Growth Academic Performance Index (API) report. The report provides public school rankings that enable parents to match the performance of their child's school with other California public schools. Rankings are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, and rankings are also weighed agains public schools of similar type.

You can search the state's database of schools and see how your child's school did in 2010 here: API school level reports.

Pertussis: When a Cough is NOT Just a Cough

July 5, 2010

Sick childWith the recent surge in whooping cough cases, we asked local pediatrician and frequent Marin Mommies contributor Dr. Steven Martel to answer some questions our readers had about this potentially serious illness.

The re-emergence of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, has garnered much media attention due to the recent epidemic.

Pertussis is a highly contagious, vaccine preventable disease caused by a particular bacterium. The disease spreads via respiratory droplets which result from sneezing or coughing onto surfaces. The disease usually begins with symptoms that are similar to the common cold, particularly runny nose and fever. Over the course of 7–10 days the affected person develops a spasmodic, difficult to control cough which can make it hard to breathe. The infection’s characteristic “whoop” cough is responsible for its common name. However, the “whooping” sound is uncommon in infants. The cough usually lasts for about 6 weeks.

King Tut Opens at the de Young Museum on Saturday

June 24, 2009

Statues of King TutUnless you've been living under a rock or in a remote cabin in the Sierras for the last year or so, you know that the big King Tut exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, opens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this Saturday, June 27. The exhibition will be there through March 28 of next year.

Entrance to Tut in '79The last King Tut exhibition that rolled through the Bay Area back in 1979, back when many of us were small children, and certainly there are many of us who are looking forward to taking our children to see these treasures this time. This exhibition is bigger, and concentrates a little more on the history of ancient Egypt around the time of Tut, with artifacts from the tombs of his ancestors and members of his royal court, as well as 50 objects from Tutankhamun's tomb itself. What isn't in the show is the famous solid gold mummy mask that was the hit of 1979's Treasures of Tutankhamun; you're going to have to fly the family out to Cairo to see that, as the Egyptian government won't let it travel anymore for safety reasons.

King Tut Tickets On Sale Now!

April 6, 2009

King TutAdvance tickets for this summer's King Tut exhibition at San Francisco's de Young Museum go on sale to the general public today! Tut last made an appearance at the de Young in 1979, and many of you out there probably saw the exhibition as children. The new exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, will be at the de Young from June 27, 2009 through March 28, 2010, and includes over 130 works from the tomb of King Tut and other auspicious ancient Egyptians.

Visit for more information on ordering tickets and about the exhibition. You can also preview the artifacts on display and send a King Tut e-card.

Help Save Novato Gymnastics

March 15, 2009

Novato Gymnastics CenterAs you all probably know, the city of Novato has been hit hard by the recent economic downturn, and substantial cuts are expected for all city services. Perhaps the city department most affected is Parks and Recreation, which is expected to eliminate up to 20% of their recreational programs. One of the services being considered for reduction and possible closure is the Novato Gymnastics Center.

Those of you who live in and around Novato are probably familiar with the Novato Gymnastics Center. It’s an amazing public facility that’s one of the best of its kind in the Bay Area, and it’s almost certain that you and your children have enjoyed and benefited from one of their many public tumbling and gymnastics programs. Both my children have taken numerous classes there. It’s the ideal physical activity program for the rainy months, too, since it’s an indoor facility.

Right now the city is strongly considering the entire elimination of the competitive gymnastics team program, as well as a severe reduction in recreational classes. The eventual closure of the Novato Gymnastics Center itself is also a possibility!

Does Daycare Strengthen Children's Immune Systems?

January 29, 2009

That's the idea tossed out in a recent post on the Mommy Files blog on Recent studies suggest that children in daycare build stronger immune systems by virtue of being around lots of other children, many of course with illnesses. Of course, medical research being what it is, some physicians disagree with that theory. Read the full post here, as well as the associated discussion (it's always lively on SFGate).

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