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Daily news roundup for Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dan Brekke / KQED
San Luis Reservoir, near the San Joaquin Valley city of Los Banos, is at about 70 percent of average for early February

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Locally and Nationally, renters pay dearly to cut commutes // SF GATE

"Today, commuting is a serious consideration for Americans. Depressing statistics from the PRB show that 'The average full-time worker in the United States spends almost 26 minutes commuting to work,' according to 2013 survey data, an uptick caused by both increased traffic congestion and the distance the average American must commute. The above maps show the national average commute creeping up alarmingly in the last decade plus, with California among the worst offenders."


CA Drought Update // KQED

"As expected, the big rains that have fallen in the northern half of California have boosted storage at the state’s principal reservoirs. So now we’re confronted with a glass half-full/half-empty proposition when we appraise how they’re looking."


Walgreens Seeks Exemption from Oakland Living Wage Law // EBX

"At tomorrow’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, members of the Oakland city council will consider a proposal to excuse Walgreens, and potentially other employers, from having to pay the city’s living wage to employees at a planned retail complex on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Seminary Avenue. Oakland’s current living wage is $14.10 an hour, or $12.27 if the employer provides medical benefits. If approved, Walgreens would be able to cut the wages of some of its employees at the planned store by $1.85 an hour."


Tues at Fairyland with Alameda Adult Transition Program // Oak Local

"Tuesdays are relatively quiet at Children’s Fairyland during the winter, with just a skeleton crew on the job. But since last October, Tuesdays have become decidedly more delightful thanks to Reggie, Brian, Kala, Thomas, Bryce, Maddy, Tanas, Savio, Omar, Billy and Ben. They parade by my office, single file, at 10 a.m., with broad smiles and 'good mornings' as they prepare to offer their considerable volunteer talents to our park.

"They are members of the Alameda Adult Transition program: students between the ages of 18 and 21 with mild to severe developmental disabilities who are developing their working and living skills. Accompanying them is teacher Kaitlin Rupido, who told me the Fairyland work day is so special that the group members have to 'earn' the outing. None of them has ever blown the opportunity."


China's Elite Buy Bay Area Properties at Record Rate // ABC

"It's one of the most lucrative matchmaking events on the planet where realtors from 26 countries meet some of the wealthiest people in China. An invitation-only real estate trade show, highlighting elite properties from around the world, was held last December in Shanghai.

"But American realtors have the upper hand. Overseas Chinese spent $22 billion buying homes in the U.S. from March 2013 to the same period in 2014. That was up a whopping 72 percent from the year before and California is their most popular market."