Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fuller’s Request for Valley Fever Funding Signed into Law

(Press Release) Senator Jean Fuller’s (R-Bakersfield) request for $3 million for Valley Fever research at the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical was signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

“This has been a long, dramatic fight to get this funding to where it is needed most and where it will be most effective,” said Senator Fuller. “The Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center is well-positioned to make the most of this investment, and provide the most direct care to patients who are fighting this devastating disease.”

According to a Kern County Public Health report, in 2017, Valley Fever infected 2,929 people and killed 9 in Kern County. This represents the 4th consecutive yearly increase in reported cases.

Senator Fuller’s request will expand research and treatment facilities at the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center. This expansion will increase the number of patients who can receive the best treatments available, and will aid in the race to find a cure for Valley Fever.

The $3 million request for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center is part of a one-time $8 million General Fund expenditure, which includes $2 million for outreach and awareness at the Department Public Health and $3 million for research for the University of California.

The initial request was made on February 8, 2018 with Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) and Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) signing on as coauthors.

Valley Fever, or Coccidioidomycosis, is a fungus found in the soil of dry, low rainfall areas. Valley Fever is caused by air or soil disturbance of tiny fungi, which live and breed within the soil. When the dust containing the spores is breathed in, the fungus attacks the respiratory system, causing infection that can lead to symptoms that resemble a cold, influenza, or pneumonia.

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Houchin Community Blood Bank Recognized as Senate District 16’s Nonprofit of the Year

(Press Release) Senator Jean Fuller named Houchin Community Blood Bank as Senate District 16’s Nonprofit of the Year, and recognized their contributions to the communities they serve at a ceremony hosted by the California Association of Nonprofits in Sacramento.

Since 1953, Houchin Community Blood Bank has collected and provided a precious supply of blood for the residents of Kern County. The blood collected from volunteer donors is manufactured into multiple products, including red blood cells, platelets and plasma for human transfusion.

Houchin Community Blood Bank serves eleven hospitals, cancer, burn and transfusion centers in Kern County.

“Houchin is an integral part of Kern County’s emergency response team and an indispensable component of our healthcare system,” said Senator Fuller. “Their job is immensely important, and they do it exceptionally well. I commend them, and the thousands of blood donors, for helping to save lives one drop of blood at a time.”

Each year, more than 18,000 blood donors provide Houchin Community Blood Bank with enough blood to supply more than 8,000 platelets and 30,000 units of red cells for patient in need.

“The contributions of the community and our volunteer blood donors are what truly allow Houchin to be a critical link between health professionals and the people who rely on their care,” noted Houchin CEO Greg Gallion. “We are thankful to Senator Fuller for this recognition and will work tirelessly to ensure we continue to have a safe and adequate local blood supply.”

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Around the District

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias

I joined students and community members for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias with Frontier Communications. Together, we celebrated the installation of a no-cost public Wi-Fi hotspot and dedicated a brand-new computer lab for students in Exeter.

The kids were amazing and they helped me present Senate Certificates to Frontier and the Boys and Girls Club for their part in providing this important service to the Exeter community.

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3rd Annual Citrus Stride event

I joined other legislators, staff and concerned citizens for the 3rd Annual Citrus Stride event at the State Capitol to raise awareness about hunger and highlight the positive impacts that citrus has on an individual’s health and on the state’s economy.

The citrus industry requires labor nearly ten months a year, directly employing 10,000 people and providing an additional 12,000 jobs in related industries like packing houses, equipment dealers and crop chemical suppliers. The reliability of citrus helps workers stay in one place, in a variety of jobs, generating over $500 million in taxes and fees that go right back into California communities. (Information provided by the Citrus Strong website)

For every participant in today’s Citrus Stride event, 1,000 pounds of citrus will be donated to local food banks.

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Women Rule Summit

It was an honor to join powerhouse women at the Politico’s Women Rule Summit. We discussed the importance of women participating in politics and shared our professional experiences in policy and elections. I was joined on the stage by Glynda Carr with Higher Heights, moderator Carla Maranucci with Politico, Debbie Walsh from the Center for Women and Politics, and Senator Hannah Beth Jackson.

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Community Close-Up

Houchin Community Blood Bank

A safe and adequate blood supply is essential to patient treatment and recovery when it comes to a serious illness or accident. For more than 65 years, Houchin Community Blood Bank has relied on blood donations from generous volunteer donors to maintain that supply. Collected blood is manufactured into multiple life-saving products, including red blood cells, platelets and plasma for human transfusion.

 In the early 1940s, a group of local physicians and residents met to discuss the need for a non-profit community blood bank. Because of the lack of blood supply in Kern County, blood was shipped from Los Angeles or San Francisco. These deliveries could not meet the critical need for blood.

In 1951, members of the Kern County Medical Society met with C. Elmer Houchin to discuss a permanent location for a future community blood bank. Houchin donated property in downtown Bakersfield in memory of his mother, Sarah Alice Houchin. Additional donations and endowment funds allowed the blood bank to open in April, 1952.

Mobile collection buses didn’t exist during the first few decades. Blood drives were set up on tables at businesses, churches and other locations. Most blood was collected in glass bottles that did not provide a long shelf life.

As time passed, a new donor center was constructed at 5901 Truxtun Avenue in 1988. The William Bolthouse family donated land where a new headquarters was opened at 11515 Bolthouse Drive in 2013.

Today, Houchin Community Blood Bank serves eleven hospitals, cancer, burn and transfusion centers in Kern County. It employs more than 100 people with Greg Gallion serving as President and CEO.

More than 18,000 volunteer donors are greeted each year at the donor centers and mobile drives held throughout Kern County.

Because of these generous blood donors, Houchin Community Blood Bank supplies more than 8,000 platelets and 30,000 units of red cells for patient needs annually. We thank our donors for helping us actively live our motto: ’People Live when People Give.'

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Mobile Office Hours Schedule for July

Mobile Office hours are held to facilitate communication between my office and the communities we serve. The following is a list of Mobile Office locations for the month of July. Hope you can find the time to stop by!

July 4th: - Rescheduled to July 11th due to holiday
Taft Chamber of Commerce

July 4th: - Cancelled due to holiday
Mojave Air & Spaceport

July 4th: - Cancelled due to the holiday
California City Chamber of Commerce

July 9th:
Tulare Chamber of Commerce

July 10th:
Ridgecrest City Hall

July 11th:
Barstow Visitor’s Center at the Harvey House

July 12th:
Frazier Mountain Communities Family Resource Center

July 17th:
Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce

July 19th:
Kern River Valley County Admin. Building

Monthly mobile office locations will also be posted on the Senate web site. Please take the opportunity to stop by and visit. To schedule an appointment with a member of the staff, please call the District Office at (661) 323-0443.

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