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Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday the launch of a statewide higher education listening tour and an online campaign that will engage Californian's in a public dialogue, seeking their feedback and suggestions on issues relating to the state's higher education system.

In the coming months, Newsom is expected to travel to the University of California (UC), Califoria State University (CSU) and community college campuses, to meet with a broad range of stakeholders, including students, administration officials and community and business leaders.

"I look forward to having an honest conversation and hearing directly from students, educators and administration officials on everyday issues and challenges within our higher education system," said Newsom.

Study finds toxic chemicals in pregnant womens' bodies

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Pregnant women take elaborate steps to protect their babies' health, following doctors' orders to avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco - even soft cheeses and deli meats.

In spite of these efforts, a new study shows the typical pregnant woman has dozens of potentially toxic or even cancer-causing chemicals in her body - including ingredients found in flame retardants and rocket fuel.

Almost all 268 women studied had detectable levels of eight types of chemicals in their blood or urine, finds the study, published in today's Environmental Health Perspectives. It analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chemicals include certain pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, phthalates (in many fragrances and plastics), pollution from car exhaust, perchlorate (in rocket fuel) and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that persist in the environment.

Excessive videogaming linked to depression in kids

When it comes to video gaming, it seems moderation is important to a child's mental health. 

In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers in the  U.S. and overseas studied more than 3,000 third, fourth, seventh and eighth graders in  Singapore and found that around 8 percent of the students were considered  pathological gamers. 

A young person was considered a pathological gamer when the practice damaged the actual functioning of his or her life by negatively impacting their  schoolwork, social life, family relationships, and psychological and emotional welfare.   

Sacramento interracial couple survives years of racial ignorance

SACRAMENTO, CA - Eugene and Barbara Piert endured unpleasant experiences during their 42 years of marriage at the hands of others. The couple is interracial and they married during a time when mixed-raced couples were not accepted.

Eugene is from Texas and Barbara is from the United Kingdom.

Early in their marriage, the couple said people would stop and stare and sometimes they were the brunt of physical attacks.

"We were pelted with ice. Eggs were thrown at us," Barbara said.

The two married in 1969, two years after interracial marriages were legalized in the U.S.

Throughout the years, the Pierts said Californians have become more accepting of bi-racial couples, but Eugene wasn't sure about other states.

"I'm not sure about Arizona. There are some terrible attitudes there," he said.

Fashion blog: Think warm, be warm

Fashion blog: Think warm, be warm

Happy Monday, folks!  In case you're wondering, it's still winter here in Sacramento. Why, then, did I wear a short sleeve shirt and open-toed shoes to work today? Beats me. I blame it on my second cold of the season (thanks, K) and overall Monday delirium.  Funny thing was, with my space heater on by my toes and hot tea always at hand, I withstood the cold just fine.  Just like people always say to "think cool" in the summer, maybe I should try thinking warm more often. Sure, it's probably all in my mind, but what isn't?

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Sacramento police dogs raising money through calendar

SACRAMENTO, CA - Four-legged members of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department have a new job -- they're furry calendar models.

Dogs from the department's K9 unit are featured in a 2011 calendar designed to raise funds for the nonprofit Sacramento Sheriff K9 Association.

A 3-year-old German shepherd named Ronin is Mr. June. He's shown posing dramatically with his handler on the bank of the American River as a sheriff's helicopter hovers overhead.

The money raised will help pay training  costs for working dogs and medical costs for retired animals.

The calendars are $20 and can be ordered on the Sacramento County Sheriff's K9 Association Website through their online store.

New Year's Eve: Hitting the town or hosting a party?

Do you host the party or go to one? We have a party every year now and are always looking for new recipes that are tasty and easy to make. What's your favorite party-pleaser food?

Cool week ahead; Rain, snow forecast Tuesday-Wednesday

SACRAMENTO, CA - The last week of 2010 will be an unsettled and chilly one, with the exception of the brief dry break from rain Monday.

Monday will be a mostly dry day throughout the area. Highs will warm to the mid to upper 50s.

Hazy sunshine may peak through by midday with increasing clouds late ahead of another round of wet weather starting Tuesday. The heaviest amount of precipitation looks to be Tuesday night into Wednesday. Ski resorts could get another one to two feet of snow!

Snow levels will start high with this passing system around 6,000feet in the Sierra, but then drop down to 3,000 feet Wednesday morning, delivering snow down to foothill levels.

Moonwatchers treated to total lunar eclipse

SLIDESHOW: Your lunar eclipse photos

UNDATED (AP) -- It's a rare event -- a total eclipse of the moon.

And even rarer is an eclipse that take place during the winter solstice. It meant that the moon was glowing high in the sky during the eclipse overnight.

The 3 1/2 hour spectacle was visible from North and Central America where skies were clear.

The totality phase -- when the moon was completely immersed in Earth's shadow -- lasted 72 minutes.

Impersonating someone online will soon be a crime

SACRAMENTO - With the start of the new year, maliciously impersonating someone online - with a phony Facebook page or e-mails apparently sent from their account - isn't just a cruel prank anymore. It's a crime.

Senate Bill 1411, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), becomes law January 1, updating California's 19th century impersonation law to the Internet age.

"A 19th century law is no deterrent for 21st century impersonators," Simitian said.

Online impersonators who assume someone else's identity to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud may be charged with a misdemeanor.

"E-personation," said Simitian, "is the dark side of the social networking revolution. Facebook or MySpace pages, e-mails, texting and comments on Web forums have been used to humiliate or torment people and even put them in danger. Victims have needed a law they can turn to."