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A new LGBTQ+ cultural district coming soon, no new TB cases | WATCHDOG TODAY

From LA County's plan to tackle medical debt to a new art space in Long Beach, here are the latest headlines.

A new LGBTQ+ cultural district coming soon, no new TB cases | WATCHDOG TODAY
An array of LGBTQ+ flags are carried along Ocean Boulevard during the 41st Long Beach Pride Parade Sunday, May 19, 2023. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Improvements for planned LGBTQ+ cultural district coming soon

The city will soon begin gathering input on what to commemorate with historic plaques and where to put new murals, trees and lighting in the LGBTQ+ cultural district to be created along Broadway between Alamitos and Temple avenues.

Following the City Council’s approval Tuesday night, detailed construction plans will be created for the new district and residents can expect to see decorative lights, streetlight banners, murals and other artistic features installed within a year or two, according to a report to the council.

Long Beach has been known since at least the 1960s as a haven for LGBTQ+ residents, and the Broadway corridor is home to several key businesses owned by or serving people in the LGBTQ+ community.

New street trees with lighting will also figure in the improvements, with trees eventually placed every 20 to 30 feet along a one-mile stretch of the corridor, but Development Services Director Christopher Koontz told the council that will take longer because it requires cutting up sidewalks and rearranging drainage and other utilities.

The city already has about $2.5 million to spend on the project over the next two years, and officials will be looking at other ways to fund future phases, such as gateway signs and pedestrian crossing lights. Koontz said they’ll look for community partners and will consider creating a business improvement district or other such organization that could generate funding for improvements.

Alicia Robinson has been on strike from the Long Beach Post since March 21, yet she’s still covering the city without pay.

No new cases so far in TB outbreak investigation

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services on Grand Avenue Friday, May 17, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Nearly three weeks into the public health emergency declared over an outbreak of tuberculosis, the number of active TB cases in the city has not risen and remains at 14, Long Beach Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis.

In an update to the City Council on Tuesday, Davis said the Health and Human Services Department has made good progress in its investigation, which involves tracing the contacts of people who may have been exposed, screening them, and offering testing and treatment as appropriate.

The state of emergency has been in place since May 2, when officials said nine people had been hospitalized with TB at some point and one had died. While concerning, the outbreak doesn’t pose a broad risk to the public because contracting TB requires long exposure to someone with an active case, Davis has said. (Some people may contract TB but not develop symptoms or be contagious to others; these are called latent cases.)

The current surge in cases is connected to a hotel that was serving as a long-term residence for people, officials have said; they have not named the hotel to protect the medical privacy of everyone involved.

Davis said Tuesday that about 250 people may have been exposed in the local outbreak; about a third of them have been tested so far and more have been screened to determine if testing is necessary.

The health emergency allowed the city to bring in short-term staff, including from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, to help trace contacts and screen people. Questions about the TB outbreak can be directed to the city resource line, 562-570-7907, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.


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Clocked Out: Westside (happy hour) story

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Disneyland characters, parade performers just won a 'landslide' union victory; Here's what they're fighting for

Kat Schuster • May 20, 2024

After years of campaigning, Disneyland’s performers — including those costumed as Mickey Mouse and friends and the dancers in the park’s daily parades — voted to form a union over the weekend. The election,…

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California pays meth users to get sober

May 20, 2024

By Angela Hart, California Healthline Here in the rugged foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada, the streets aren’t litte…

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