November 11th, Veterans Day, is the national holiday when we honor and thank all of our nation’s veterans. There are over 20 million veterans among us. Many are serving now. They follow in a great tradition. No matter where or how they served or are serving, veterans and their families made and are making sacrifices for all of us. They deserve our deepest appreciation on this special holiday.
A great veteran and champion of veterans from our Valley, Dr. Charlie Waters, recently passed. In honor of his service to his country and to fellow veterans, I was asked to introduce legislation to rename the Veterans Home of California – Fresno, the “Dr. Charlie Waters Memorial Veterans’ Home.”
The Fresno Veterans Home was built, in large part, because of Charlie’s vision, passion and commitment; naming it after him is a befitting tribute to a great man.
To read more about this dedicated veterans’ champion and the legislation to honor Charlie, click here.
Looks like all our prayers for rain might be starting to help, which is why several of my Senate and Assembly colleagues and I recently sent a letter to President Obama and Governor Brown urging immediate action to prepare to capture and store El Niño precipitation and move it to areas devastated by drought.
While preparing for flooding and mudslides is also important, we should also be preparing to help Californians who desperately need water for basic human needs, including water for drinking, showering and washing dishes and clothing.
To read the letter, click here.
High-Speed Rail Update
Joel Fox, publisher of Fox & Hounds Daily recently wrote:
“Like a punch-drunk fighter, the High Speed Rail Authority must be reeling from the blows landed by Ralph Vartabedian’s Special Report in the Los Angeles Times asserting with expert testimony that the project is likely over cost and behind schedule. And, an even bigger blow could come from the courts removing the rail’s one steady income stream.”
The Authorities response to the LA Times report: “A recent report on the California high-speed rail gave readers a dramatic but false impression of where our program stands in terms of costs and technical hurdles.”
Nice try, but as the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board recently wrote:
“The report [critical of high-speed rail] was no surprise at all. For years, the $68 billion project has been propped up with deceit, spin and a refusal to acknowledge crucial facts.”
The Authority is entitled to an opinion, but is ignoring the facts. The governor’s pet project is nothing but a disastrous money pit that will never be completed.
Pray for rain. Stop the train!
National Park Service photo of the World War II Memorial Wall of Stars
The Central Valley Honor Flight Hub recently sent 64 World War II and Korean War veterans on a three-day tour to see their memorials in Washington D.C.
A recent article in the Porterville Recorder highlights Porterville’s WWII Army Corps Veteran Dearl Caulk, who was on this year’s Honor Flight:
“Standing at the memorial was just overwhelming,” Caulk said “When you realize each star on that monument stands for 100 deaths, each star, you see just how many people died.” …
“The Honor Flight is the Central Valley recognizing the enormous contribution World War II veterans made to America and the freedom of others during World War II, and it’s giving them the recognition they originally deserved in the form of seeing the monument that was built in our Capitol,” said Al Perry, president of the Central Valley Honor Flight Hub.
To read the Porterville Recorder article, click here.
This is the 8th Honor Flight since the all-volunteer organization’s inception in May 2013. The organization is funded by donations and has a goal of three flights a year. For more information about the Central Valley Honor Flight, click here. To see ABC30’ highlights of Central Valley Honor Flights, click here.
Drivers behind on paying traffic tickets or who have lost their driver’s license because of unpaid tickets, may be eligible to have both their fines reduced by as much as 80 percent and have their driver’s license reinstated.
California drivers with unpaid tickets whose fines were originally due to be paid on or before January 1, 2013, and who have not made a payment after September 30, 2015, may be eligible to have both their debt reduced by 50 or 80 percent and their driver’s license reinstated.
Drivers who made a payment after September 30, 2015 on a ticket are not eligible for a reduction for that ticket, but may be eligible to have their driver’s license reinstated if they are in good standing on a payment plan.
Anyone eligible to have a driver’s license in California is entitled to participate in the traffic amnesty program if they meet the eligibility requirements.
The program runs through March 31, 2017. For more information on how to participate, click here.
On October 13, 2015, the United States Navy celebrated 240 years of service to our great nation with the fitting theme: Ready Then, Ready Now, Ready Always. “Thank you to the brave men and women who keep us safe and protect our freedom. The Central Valley is proud to be home to NAS Lemoore,” said Andy.
Photos Courtesy of NAS Lemoore
Click on the photos to read more about what Team Vidak is doing in our communities.
Andy is co-hosting free Vision Care Clinics in November in Kings and Tulare Counties.
“Thanks to Vision Service Plan (VSP), Kings Community Action Organization and Tulare County Office of Education for making this important community service available to low-income families, who otherwise might not have access to vision care and eyeglasses,” said Andy.
Mobile Eyes features deluxe mobile eyecare clinics on wheels, outfitted with state-of-the-art exam rooms and dispensaries.
Patients that qualify for the program receive a comprehensive eye exam and, if needed, glasses.
Patients are able to select from a top quality assortment of frames. Patients usually receive their new glasses immediately after their eye exam.
Important – In order to receive a free eye exam and free eyeglasses, you must be pre-qualified and have an appointment!
November 17, 2015 • 9 am - 5 pm
KCAO (Coe Park) • 543 S. Douty, Hanford
To find out if you qualify and to make an appointment, contact Victoria Priggett at 559.584.5723 (between 8 am and 5 pm).
November 19, 2015 • 9 am - 5 pm
Lindsay Wellness Center • 860 Sequoia Ave., Lindsay
To find out if you qualify and to make an appointment, contact Anita Solis, RN, at 559.651.0130 x 3711.
Team Vidak staff will be on hand to provide information on other state services available to constituents. For more information, please contact Claudia Salinas in the District Office at 559.585.7161.
Last year, Andy’s commitment to eye care for the underserved was demonstrated through his passion to bring two free mobile vision eye clinics to the Kern and Fresno county areas through a partnership with VSP.
The Kern and Fresno “Mobile Eyes” clinics resulted in 57 people receiving a free comprehensive eye exam and, if needed, glasses. The fifty-two people who needed glasses were able to select from a top quality assortment of frames. Most patients received their new glasses immediately after their eye exam. Another 80 people who couldn’t be served on the days of the clinics (because of time limitations) received vouchers to get a free eye exam and a pair of glasses from local optometrists at a later date.
Influenza or flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
The California Department of Health recommends getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
The California Vaccines for Children program provides no-cost vaccines to eligible children 18 years old and younger. Clinics participating in the California Vaccines for Children program may be located at http://eziz.org/vfc/provider-locations.
Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties are offering low cost flu shots.
Fresno County offers flu shots for $6. For a list of dates, times and locations, click here.
For more information, call the county at 559-600-3550.
Kern County offers flu shots for $9.
WHEN: Mondays through Fridays – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Public Health Services Department, 1800 Mount Vernon Ave., Bakersfield
For more information click here or call the county at 661-321-3000.
Kings County offers flu shots for $5. For a list of dates, times and locations, click here.
For more information, call the county at 559-584-1401.
Tulare County offers flu shots for $22. For a list of dates, times and locations, click here.
For more information call the county, 559-685-5725.
The public is invited to a Legislative Community Coffee to learn more about what Andy is doing to help the Valley, and hear a public safety update from Tulare County Sheriff Me Boudreaux and Porterville Mayor Milt Stowe. Refreshments will be provided.
Saturday, December 5, 2015
10:30 a.m. to Noon
Sierra Hills Retirement Home 2500 W Henderson Ave, Porterville
“This is an opportunity for folks to share what’s important to them and their families. My staff and I will be there to listen to concerns and to help,” said Andy. “Please join us for coffee and conversation.”
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Brittney Watson in the district office at 559-264-3070 or email Brittney.Watson@sen.ca.gov.
You are cordially invited to Andy’s Holiday Open House in Bakersfield:
Thursday, December 10, 2015, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Andy’s Bakersfield District Office
1201 E. California Avenue, Suite A, Bakersfield 93307
“Please join Team Vidak at our Bakersfield Holiday Open House for a legislative update and an opportunity for you to share with us state issues that are important to you and your family,” said Andy.
For more information or to R.S.V.P., please call Gaby Castaneda at (661) 395-2620 or email Gaby.Castaneda@sen.ca.gov.
The Legislature is currently in Interim Study Recess, which means legislators are back in their districts meeting with constituents and developing legislative packages for 2016.
January 1, 2016
Statues (new laws) take effect
January 4, 2016