Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW News:
San Francisco to Expand Health Insurance Support // New America Media
"The cost of living in San Francisco is so distorted that several thousand city residents who became eligible for health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act almost two years ago still go without insurance, forgo care they need, or use free services intended for the poor.
"They make too much to qualify for Medi-Cal or the city’s Healthy San Francisco program but not enough to afford the premiums, deductibles and co-pays for plans under Covered California, the state’s new program adopted under the Affordable Care Act."
"To help offset that imbalance, San Francisco is offering a new, subsidized plan and expanding Healthy San Francisco to bridge the gap for city residents caught between the need for health insurance and their ability to afford it."
For-Profit 911 Cellphone Service Coming to Oakland in February // East Bay Express
"A company called BlueLight plans to roll out a smartphone app that works as a subscription-based 911 service in Oakland next month. The service cost $20 a year and promises users that when they dial 911 from anywhere in Oakland, the Oakland Police Department will have access to their exact geographic location, making for a faster response. But the app appears to be widening the tech-fueled inequality gap. Will those able to afford smartphones and a BlueLight subscription receive superior emergency services over those who cannot?"
Oakland's central kitchen to provide a bounty of fresh, locally sourced school meals // Contra Costa Times
"An ambitious plan by the Oakland Unified School District to build a $40 million central kitchen, instructional farm and education center at the corner of 29th and West streets in West Oakland will transform how school meals are made throughout Oakland."
"One of the first of its kind in the nation, the 48,000 square-foot center will provide learning opportunities in the culinary arts and agricultural instruction, and help urban school kids learn where their fruits and vegetables come from and how food is prepared. Construction starts this winter, and the center should be up and running by the 2017-2018 school year."
"San Francisco officials are stepping up efforts to help some of the city’s homeless stay warm and dry during the El Niño fueled rain storms.
"On Thursday, the city’s Human Services Agency set up more than 250 beds in six shelters across the city, including one pop-up shelter, in preparation for the current storm.
“'The weather that results from an El Niño is extreme and individuals who have been living on the street, they get sick, and they get sicker when they’re constantly wet and cold,' says Human Services Agency Director Trent Rhorer. 'It’s really a concern for their health.'"
"The first day of what will be a nearly three-week traffic closure in downtown San Francisco began Saturday as crews prepared the area for Super Bowl celebrations, leaving cars to navigate various detours.
"The Super Bowl festivities — Super Bowl City and the NFL Experience — mean specific streets downtown will be closed to vehicle traffic until Feb. 12, including Market Street from Beale Street to Steuart Street, the southbound lanes of the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building and one block of Howard Street near Moscone Center.
“'This is a hallmark day. A milestone day,' said Keith Bruce, CEO of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. 'We want this to be an inclusive Super Bowl experience for everyone in the Bay Area.'"
"Though researchers are not aware what purpose zebra’s stripes offer, a new research paper has cancelled out one of the possibilities that the stripes offer some kind of camouflaging protection against predators.
"For past so many years, researchers have been baffled as what is the use of zebra stripes. Now, the new study by researchers at the University of Calgary and UC Davis has cleared that zebra stripes are most certainly not for camouflaging."