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County requests hearing on flat-tailed threat

January 16, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors requested a public hearing Tuesday from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its proposal to list the flat-tailed horned lizard as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

According to the service, a significant portion of the lizard's habitat is in Imperial County, including the Ocotillo Wells vehicle recreation area.

The service was sued by Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group, and is under court order to make a decision on the lizard by December.

"We do need something to protect them, but I don't think it needs to go to Fish and Wildlife. They have a horrible history," said Marie Barrett, a certified flat-tailed horned lizard monitor for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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The recent decline in numbers is the result of drought conditions in the last four to five years, Barrett said.

Requests for a public hearing need to be made to the service's Carlsbad office before the close of business Feb. 11.

Also at the meeting, the board heard input on proposed legislation by Assemblyman David Kelley, R-Idyllwild, making it easier for non-profit, charitable, temporary food facilities to participate in community events.

Kelley proposed the legislation, AB 610, at the request of the county supervisors after a debate between county Public Health Services and local chamber of commerce leaders who said the strict requirements kept many groups from chamber-sponsored and other community events.

The existing California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law imposes health standards for festival events similar to those for restaurants. Kelley's bill amends the law to include established clubs, student organizations or campaign committees as temporary food facilities.

Kelley's local representative, Bob Ham, said as of Tuesday the language of the bill states temporary food facilities could operate up to 72 hours four times a year. The law's original language states temporary food facilities can only operate once a year.

The board also:

· approved $469,098 with Hartford Insurance Co. for "stop-loss" insurance that protects the county from catastrophic expenses;

· approved a 150-foot cellular communication tower east of Barbara Worth Road and north of Carr Road for Nextel Communications;

· approved $114,530 for a county information technology evaluation;

· rejected bids for the Brawley administration center and the agricultural commissioner's wing addition. County Property Services will redo the bidding in phases;

· rejected bids for the County Administration Center phases five and six to relocate the office of County Counsel Ralph Cordova and agreed to redo the bids;

· approved a one-year contract with Dr. Bruce E. Haynes as the county Emergency Medical Services medical director, retroactive to June 1;

· delayed action on maintenance of a sewer line at the Barbara Worth Golf Resort.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or lauramitchell9@yahoo.com

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