This week, Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul, Minnesota, proposed a nearly $3 million public-safety plan that includes a focus on public health approaches to preventing violence. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports that “The overall plan focuses on young people, including adding community ambassadors to connect with them and expanding a youth employment program. The supplemental budget proposal for next year does not add police officers. Nearly $1.7 million in the proposal comes from city funds, and the remainder from prospective grants and other funds. If approved by the St. Paul City Council on Dec. 11, the property tax levy would increase 5.85 percent, up 1 percentage point from Carter’s initial budget proposal. The proposal comes in the midst of a rash of gun violence in St. Paul. There have been 29 people killed this year, the most in more than 20 years in the city. While Carter said none of the proposals represent a panacea, he added that he’s confident they’re the most comprehensive approach to public safety the city has taken. “We need a fundamentally new approach,” Carter told the city council. “Even with a strong police department that leads locally and nationally on so many fronts, we cannot expect our police officers alone to solve all of our problems. … It starts in the home and with the parents and with our families. We have to do a better job raising and investing in our youth to grow to be hopeful, productive members of our community.”
NPR reports on the challenges Native-American communities in particular face when it comes to accessing safe, clean water. “For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States," shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group… Unregulated drinking water sources are the greatest public health risk on the Navajo Nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Fifty-eight out of every 1,000 Native American households lack plumbing, compared with 3 out of every 1,000 white households, according to the report. This disparity has implications for public health. Native Americans experience more deaths, poverty and higher unemployment rates. "We knew the problem was much bigger, but when we went out to look at the data, it didn't exist," said George McGraw, the founder of DigDeep, a nonprofit that has helped build water systems on the Navajo Nation. "No one could tell us, from federal to state agencies to other nonprofits, just how many Americans still don't have running water or a working toilet where they live." So McGraw commissioned experts from around the U.S. to piece together the data they did have and come up with the water gap report. What he found was that race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access.”
Newsweek reports on new research published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, showing that “advantageous childhood experiences” can counteract some of the effects of adverse childhood experiences. “Counter-ACEs… refer to experiences that would lead to what one might refer to as a "healthy childhood." The study defined these as having good relationships with neighbors and friends; enjoying time in school; regular recreation; attention from a caregiver a child is comfortable with; and having "a predictable home routine like regular meals and bedtimes." … The sample population for the BYU counter-ACE study consisted of 246 adults between the ages of 19 and 57. Most members of the group had lived through several ACEs: 64 percent had lived through at least one, and 19 percent had survived four or more. The research into these subjects found that even if they survived four or more ACEs, their health was on par as those who had experienced none—so long as they had also experienced counter-ACEs. A number of factors were measured to determine the participants' health, including their body mass index (BMI), smoking and drinking habits, and "executive functioning abilities." The findings suggested that a lack of counter-ACEs negatively impacted a person's health down the line, the number of ACEs a participant lived through notwithstanding. While much of the attention around ACEs has led to questions of how they can be prevented, this study highlights the fact that there may be a need to promote counter-ACEs, the researchers said. "As bad as ACEs may be, the absence of these positive childhood experiences and relationships may actually be more detrimental to lifelong health so we need more focus on increasing the positive," the study's lead author, Ali Crandall, said.”
KQED reports on how PG&E’s policy of shutting down power during high-risk fire conditions has sparked a disability-rights campaign in the Bay Area: “Among the nearly 1 million Northern California households and businesses that went dark during the outage that began Oct. 26 — just one of several PG&E shutoffs in October — more than 35,000 were registered medical baseline customers with health conditions requiring special energy needs… For [Stacey Milbern], the multiple power shutoffs in October served as a stark reminder that as these events become more common, people with disabilities can't simply depend on emergency assistance from PG&E or local government agencies — they need to band together and pool resources. To that end, Milbern helped form #PowerToLive, a grassroots campaign launched on the fly in the days leading up to the Oct. 26 blackout. Adapted from a mutual aid spreadsheet that had been circulated during the first outage earlier in October, the recent effort includes an online form where people can request or offer assistance. The group also developed an extensive, crowd-sourced survival guide "for folks who need #PowerToLive during a power shutoff," detailing everything from tips for keeping insulin and other temperature-sensitive medications cool, to a rundown of different kinds of in-home generators and batteries to choose from and the hourly wattage required to power different types of devices… "We believe this is a life-or-death issue. We don’t want our people to die or wind up institutionalized," she said. "People with the least resources are banding together to help one another."
On Thursday, Congress passed and President Trump signed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 20.
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee passed approved a package of tobacco control legislation, sponsored by representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala (D-FL) that would ban most flavored tobacco products (including e-cigarette cartridges), raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, and ban online sales of nicotine products.