Edgemoor Leads Cookie Drive for Veterans


Edgemoor Skilled Nursing Facility baked up a sweet way to spread holiday cheer this week. Employees and residents held a cookie drive for Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit veteran services organization.

A total of 65 dozen cookies were delivered to Wounded Warrior’s office Wednesday just in time for a holiday party for veterans and their families.

PDS Gingerbread Contest Goes Around the World

Skip the long lines and hassle of holiday travel and take a trip around the world with these gingerbread displays. Planning and Development Services built iconic landmarks out of gingerbread and other sweets like candy canes and gumdrops.

Diversity and Inclusion Champions Aleena Benedito and AJ Morales organized the competition where each PDS division represented a different country.

Look through the photos. Can you guess the country of each display?

Air Pollution Control District also had a gingerbread build-off. Scroll through the entries.

DA Prosecutors, Investigator Honored for Keeping San Diego Safe

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By the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors honored five District Attorney prosecutors and an investigator with proclamations recognizing their outstanding contributions to public safety over the past year. The awards were presented at this morning’s board meeting. The prosecutors were selected for the awards by the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association after being nominated by their peers for their extraordinary work.

“I’m honored to work with and lead such outstanding Deputy District Attorneys and investigators who deliver justice every day on behalf of crime victims in San Diego County,” DA Summer Stephan said. “They truly represent the dedication and quality of our entire prosecutorial team.”

The Board of Supervisors honored the following DA employees:

Deputy District Attorney Stewart David Bost

David Bost, who has worked as a gang prosecutor for almost his entire career, prosecuted two gang members over the course of four murder trials in front of five juries. For more than 23 years, he pursued justice for the 1995 unsolved gang-related murder of 18-year-old Crystal Odom. The gang members’ target was Odom’s gang-affiliated boyfriend, Curtis Harvey. After three trials and almost 23 years after Skyline gang members shot and killed Odom, the jury convicted the killer of murder. In another murder case, gang member Christina Daniels attacked and stabbed Jasmine Ruiz to death inside of a car. After stabbing her, Daniels ran Ruiz over and left her pinned under the car where she bled to death. A jury convicted Daniels of murder.

Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey

Makenzie Harvey has tried nearly 50 felony jury trials during her tenure in the Superior Court Division of the District Attorney’s Office, including eight homicides. As a team leader, she has mentored many young prosecutors. In addition to her team leader assignment, Harvey is the crime lab liaison to law enforcement agencies. Most recently, she tried a homicide case in which a recently-retired school teacher was murdered by her son. The defendant stabbed his mother multiple times and used a Taser gun during the attack. He was convicted of first-degree murder.

Deputy District Attorney Marnie Layon

Marnie Layon, a prosecutor in the Family Protection Division, handles some of the most difficult cases in the DA’s Office. In the last year, she successfully prosecuted several tragic cases that highlight her extraordinary skills. The cases involved murder, rape, domestic violence and child sexual abuse. She is the epitome of the professional, career prosecutor.

District Attorney Jalyn Wang

Jalyn Wang’s work in the last year has been extraordinary. One of her cases included a murder in which the defendant beat his cellmate to death. The case had significant legal issues, including a mental health-related defense. Wang’s cases also involve a series of home invasion robberies and residential burglaries. A true testament to her dedication to the victims in her cases is demonstrated by the cards, flowers, and expressions of gratitude she receives.

North Coastal Giving Tree Sprouts Holiday Cheer for Less Fortunate

Some of the gifts collected at the North Coastal Family Resource Center from wish lists on their Giving Tree.

Some of the gifts collected at the North Coastal Family Resource Center from wish lists on their Giving Tree.

Employees at the HHSA North Coastal Family Resource Center are putting HEART to work for the holiday season.  For the third year in a row, employees are partnering with the Community Resource Center and adopting families or people in need to grant their holiday wishes.

This year the resource center selected five families (totaling 19 people) for  employees to put on their Giving Tree.  The families selected are either homeless or recently obtained housing though the Rapid Rehousing Program.  The Community Resource Center helps them obtain employment, receive supportive services and assists with their overall well-being, but they’re only able to meet their immediate needs and can’t provide holiday presents.

That’s where County employees come in. Either one employee or a whole unit at the North Coastal Family Resource Center selects an ornament from the Giving Tree and adopts that family or person for the holiday season.

The wish lists on the ornaments are filled with things like gift cards or something more specific to the person requesting them like toys or clothing.

Supervising Human Specialist Ivonne Galvan is participating for her second year in a row and adopted a family of seven all by herself.  Her favorite part is knowing a family that is struggling will have a nice Christmas by getting their wishes granted.

Human Services Specialist Simona Bentley is also participating for a second year.  She chooses to participate because she loves to give to others and understands what it is like to be on that side. She is a firm believer in paying it forward.

The Giving Tree is a project that sprouted from a volunteer-based group at North Coastal FRC called Community HEARTS.  This group primarily focuses on the homeless community in the north coastal communities to support those that need their services.

Community HEARTS is completely funded by employees and provides additional resources year-round.  Part of that ongoing support is providing jackets and blankets during the winter months; food, diapers and formula for families in need; and basic toiletries for men and women.  The idea for the program came from Sherry Brideau, a supervising human services specialist, in November 2016.

Ivonne Galvan, Simona Bentley and Sherry Brideau were three of the North Coastal Family Resource Center employees that participated in the Giving Tree project this holiday season.

Ivonne Galvan, Simona Bentley and Sherry Brideau were three of the North Coastal Family Resource Center employees that participated in the Giving Tree project this holiday season.

TED Talks with Sarah Aghassi


The Land Use and Environment Group’s DCAO Sarah Aghassi hosted a TED Talk lunch & learn to discuss building cohesive teams through the review of author Patrick Lencioni’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Aghassi examined the five characteristics of a high performing team – Trust, Healthy Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results – and explored how they apply to our County teams.

Part 1 - Trust

Part 2 – Healthy Conflict

Part 3 – Commitment and Accountability

Part 4 – Results

From the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.

From the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.

Visit Robo Santa and Help Spread Goodwill to All

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During the season of giving, the Public Defender’s Multiple Conflicts Office has a holly jolly fundraiser that aims to give a hand up to those who need it most.

Employees are having their picture taken with a life-size singing and dancing robotic Santa Claus for a $5 donation. All the money raised will go directly towards the purchase and distribution of emergency blankets, ponchos, gloves, socks and scarves for homeless people.

Help the Public Defender’s office reach their $2,000 goal. Jingle all the way over to their office at 450 B St., Suite 1210, San Diego to get your picture taken with the most famous resident of the North Pole. Santa is accepting both naughty and nice visitors between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday through Dec. 20.

Plus, everyone who participates will have their photo displayed on the “Giving Wall” located in Public Defender’s Administration Reception lobby throughout the holidays. 

County Employees Needed to Count the Homeless


Can you imagine living in the streets? Here in the San Diego region, thousands of people are experiencing homelessness. They need help, and you can assist by taking part in the annual Point-in-Time Count of the homeless population.

This is the fifth year the County has supported the annual count. During the span of several hours, volunteers count and survey the homeless they see in a certain area.

The count takes place Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 from 3:45 a.m. to 8 a.m. – one extra hour than in previous years.

The Board of Supervisors believes this is such a worthy cause that County employees who participate will be paid on County time.  

This year’s count, as directed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will entail an “engaged” survey-based approach, where the homeless will be surveyed as they are encountered rather than just an observational count as done in previous years. To learn more about the 2019 changes, please watch this brief, three-minute video.

Last year, the region’s combined total came to 8,576 people, the fourth highest number in the nation. Importantly, the count helps the region identify the scope of the problem and find solutions on how to best serve this vulnerable population.

The Regional Task Force on the Homeless is leading the local point-in-time effort with the WeALLCount campaign. Hundreds of County workers from departments across the organization have taken part in past years, and employees are again encouraged to sign up for this important effort.

If you are interested in participating, review the FAQs and then obtain approval from your supervisor via the supervisor approval form.

If you have not yet signed up and would like to participate, sign up here.


Score Discounted Tickets to the Holiday Bowl


Don’t be caught on the sidelines. Get in on this deal for discounted tickets to the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl game. Employees can buy tickets valued at $70 for $25 (plus a $3.60 service fee per ticket).

The Holiday Bowl announced this week that the No. 22 Northwestern University Wildcats will play the No. 17 University of Utah Utes. The game kicks off at 4 p.m., Dec. 31 at SDCCU Stadium. That’s after the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade floats past the County Administration Center at 10 a.m.

Invite your family and friends; the more the merrier at this New Year’s Eve game.

This deal ends Dec. 21. Get your tickets today. (If the link does not open in Internet Explorer, try Chrome.) 

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, Getting her Flu Shot.

Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, Getting her Flu Shot.

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s time to roll up your sleeve. It’s not too late to get one.

“Vaccination is the best protection against influenza,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

You have many options to get the vaccine. You can visit your doctor’s office; many pharmacies offer them; and if you are a Kaiser Permanente member, you can get vaccinated at KP CareNow at the County Operations Center on the 2nd Floor of 5530 Overland Ave. The on-campus clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended. You can schedule an appointment by emailing KP-carenow@kp.org or calling 858-278-2802.

If you are a United Healthcare (UHC) member, you can schedule your flu shot through any of the UHC providers by contacting them directly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. The vaccine is safe and effective. It takes two weeks for immunity to develop.

Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications from influenza. They include:

·         People with chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and lung disease, even if symptoms are under control

·         Pregnant women

·         People 65 years and older

·         People who live with or care for others who are at higher risk

In addition to getting vaccinated, people should also do the following to avoid getting sick:

·         Wash hands thoroughly and often

·         Use hand sanitizers

·         Stay away from sick people

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

·         Clean commonly touched surfaces

·         If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

So do your part and get a flu shot!