Battalions From Around Riverside Shave Their Heads in Support of FC Wendi Miller
Last week, members in Riverside joined Wendi at headquarters in Perris to show support during her battle with cancer. Engine and truck companies from across the unit lined up to receive a haircut. Wendi was grateful for the love and support from her fire family.

Photos by RRU Battalion 1
CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard Display
R ecently, members from the CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard designed a space in the union hall to display some of their accomplishments and historical items.

Beginning with the right wall is the Honor Guard uniform, which was worn by Sister Julie Freeman, who was a very strong component of the Local 2881 Honor Guard, and is missed dearly.

In the corner is the 2019 First Place Honor Guard Competition trophy received by the general members at FDIC. This trophy was awarded at national competition where the Honor Guard received the highest points in each category along with other individual awa rds. 

They also included a Rose Parade drum skin that was awarded to the Honor Guard in 2008 during their participation in the competition. It was one of the early awards that is most recognizable. Below this is Sister Julie Freeman's IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial flag.

The largest wall displays the American flag Local 2881 Challenge Coin holder. This display piece was custom made by Honor Guard member Jason McMillan. In the future, the Honor Guard will add challenge coins that they exchange with those who have done notable accomplishments. Jason did an amazing job crafting the coin holder. Thanks, brother!

To the left of the challenge coin holder hangs the official certificate from The Scottish Register of Tartans outlining the details of their tartan, along with history and explanation of the colors. Each part of the design was thoughtfully chosen by the Honor Guard members to ensure they best represent CAL FIRE Local 2881.

Above the certificate rests an Honor Guard axe. This is one of the first Honor Guard axes memorializing the progress of our Honor Guard from its humble beginning.

Above the double doors are picture frames that will hold photos of the Honor Guard Command Staff. This will be similar to the photos of the Executive Board displayed in the union hall entryway. 

On the other side of the double doors, a large photograph to memorialize FAE Cory Iverson’s service. The photo depicts the precision and effort displayed by the Honor Guard in support of his family and our membership. This photo was presented to the Honor Guard by District X. 

Commander Chris Bruno, Tiffany Tracy, and Lupe Ramirez worked extremely hard on the design, painting, and placement of each item on these walls. They are very proud of the way it turned out, and we are very proud of them for creating a beautiful space to celebrate and honor the 25 years of the CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard history.
Memorial Service for TCU Captain Stacy Hamilton
O n June 17, in Clovis, California, family, friends and coworkers gathered to pay their respects to Captain Stacy Hamilton. The Sierra High School Choir sang a beautiful rendition of "In My Life" and the CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard was in full force to respectfully honor our brother. In between tears of sadness and smiles of love for him, many wonderful stories and memories of Stacy were shared that day.

Between family ski trips and training the new recruits at Columbia Air Attack base, you could see the love he had for his family and his job. He spent the last part of his career working in TCU and is remembered by his peers as a great mentor and all-around amazing guy with the best sense of humor.

Rest easy Captain.
Waking Up to Wildfires
Episode 5: The Burden of Life and Death
"Like combat vets who experience repeated trauma, wildland firefighters suffer from significantly higher rates of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) than the general population. Firefighter Jason Novak discusses the emotional toll wildfires are taking on first responders, the culture of masculinity in the fire service and PTSD."
Thank you Firefighter Novak for sharing your experience.

CalPERS Announces Health Care Premiums for 2020
Check out the new rates below!
On June 18, 2019, the CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee (PHBC) approved the health plan rates for 2020, at an overall average premium increase of 4.65 percent. The action also included two health plan changes. The full board will vote on final approval of the rates on Wednesday.

"We negotiate aggressively because we know that many of our members must pay the entire cost of any premium increase entirely out of their own pocket," said Rob Feckner, PHBC chair. "While these rates reflect the current state of the health care market, we expect the health plans that do business with us to also take strong actions to keep costs down. We'll continue to hold them accountable and to be more transparent as we work on behalf of our 1.5 million members in our program."

Health care costs are rising due to a number of factors, including increases in hospital admissions, outpatient surgical procedures, and pharmacy costs. CalPERS uses innovation to keep costs low while upholding quality health care.  

Members enrolled in CalPERS' Basic (non-Medicare) Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) health plans will see a 5.98 percent average premium increase. Members enrolled in Basic Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans will see an overall average increase of 3.28 percent. CalPERS Medicare plan enrollees will see their premiums increase by an average 1.52 percent.
In May the board voted to spend down the premium increase for the PERSCare Basic PPO plan, from a projected average increase of 23.9 percent to a final increase of 6.45 percent for 2020. The board allocated these funds using $44 million in excess reserves from the health care reserve fund. The reserve fund helps protect CalPERS and its members in years where medical and/or pharmacy claims are higher than expected among the system's self-funded PPO plans.

The new premiums will take effect January 1, 2020. Detailed information on 2020 rates for  HMO (PDF) PPO (PDF) , and  association (PDF)  plans are available on the CalPERS website.

Besides the premiums, the board approved these health plan changes for 2020:
  • Blue Shield will introduce a new, narrow-network health plan called Trio for the following six counties: El Dorado, Los Angeles, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo.
  • Anthem will introduce a new HMO Medicare Advantage plan for combination enrollment members in Monterey County.

There are no copay, benefit, or coinsurance changes for 2020, excepting association plans which do not fall under CalPERS purview.

CalPERS will continue to develop its other successful benefits and programs that contain costs without sacrificing quality. In 2019,  CalPERS introduced a value-based insurance design (PDF)  to its PERS Select Basic PPO plan. PERS Select plan membership increased from 55,675 members in December 2018 to 72,351 members in January 2019. CalPERS will also continue to optimize its reference-pricing program for value-based procedures to include pharmaceuticals. Since 2011, the program has saved more than $8 million per year.

CalPERS members can change health plans during the annual Open Enrollment period, September 9 to October 4, 2019. Open Enrollment materials, information on health plan options, and custom search tools will be available through members'  my|CalPERS  accounts beginning August 26, 2019. Access the mobile version at mobile.my.calpers.ca.gov.
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Member Spotlight
CHICO, Calif. - At a ceremony at Chico State, 41 groups of first responders and medical workers received medals of valor from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, including one crew of CAL Fire firefighters who saved a Concow woman.
Director of EMS Dr. Howard Backer said those honored demonstrated, "compassion, dedication, and in some cases, bravery."

The team effort rescue of the woman happened after responders saw that she was with another person.

To reach her, they had the woman raise her arm; however, by the time they managed to get to the woman, her friend was already dead. 

The woman had suffered severe burns. 

Despite her injuries, the team was able to load her into a fire engine to be transported to an ambulance. 

The captain of the team, Abel Ascencio, said the rescue was a major team effort. 
"Today I think many other people should be and other firefighters should be recognized because I was not the only one at the fire," he said. 

The event at the university was sponsored by the hospital council of Northern and Central California, Life-Assist, the California Ambulance Association and the California Paramedic Foundation. 

Story by Callie Ross-Smith (Action News Now)
Coming up in July
Working Long Hours Increases Risk of Stroke by 45 Percent, New Study Says
What are YOU doing to de-stress and stay healthy?
The average American works about 47 to 50 hours per week. Everyone needs to make ends meet, but at what cost to your health?

A new  American Heart Association study  now looks at the link between working long hours and an increased risk of stroke.

Taking time out for himself is something 42-year-old Jeff Hiserodt never used to do.

"I was putting in close to 60 to 65 hours," he said.

Hiserodt's secondary market resale business kept him working seven days a week - until he had a massive stroke a year and half ago.

"I had a blood clot behind my right eye. I was paralyzed on my left side and blind," he said.

Working long days to make ends meet is a common story. In a new study in Journal Stroke, French researchers found people who worked long hours for 10 years or more had a 45% greater stroke risk. And the association seemed stronger for people under the age of 50.

In Case You Missed It
Click on the Blue Sheet to read the report
2019 Annual Focus on Safety
Click the image below to read the document
From Our Friends
CAL FIRE Local 2881 Executive Board CalPERS Board Member Endorsement

We at CAL FIRE Local 2881 recommend our Retiree Members vote for:
JJ Jelincic for CalPERS Board

As your State Retiree / Disability Director I have had the opportunity to work with advocates at CalPERS, people that have stood on our behalf to enhance and protect our pension investments, strengthen retirement income, and improve healthcare quality and access. JJ Jelincic is the person we want to have representing our Brothers and Sisters both retired and currently employed.

This is a call to action for all CAL FIRE Local 2881 retired members to vote for JJ Jelincic in the upcoming CalPERS Board Member Election. Ballots will be mailed out on August 30, 2019, and voting is open until September 30.

If you have any questions regarding this endorsement please feel free to contact me.

Sam Davis,
State Retiree / Disability Director
CAL FIRE Local 2881
(916) 747-0194
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CAL FIRE Local 2881 likes to stay connected with our membership. We want to make sure every member has an updated mailing address.

Below is a list of both Active and Retired members that have bad addresses as of July 1 . If your name is on the list or you have recently moved, please contact Danielle at (916) 277-9885 or  dkelsch@L2881.org  to update your address.