Wednesday, December 5, 2007

California Home Owners Affected By The Wildfires To Receive Free Deeds Service From - A New York City Document Retrieval Company

SOURCE: VP of Fast Deeds 12/5/07

(PRLEAP.COM) New York, New York - Fast Deeds ( is offering free copies of deeds to California homeowners affected by the wildfires. Over 200,000 homes in Southern California have been affected by this tragedy in the following counties: Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, Orange, and San Bernadino.

“We know that these homeowners in these areas are going through a lot and we’d like to do our part to by help by offering our services on a pro-bono basis. It’s one less thing that people affected by this tragedy need to worry about,” said Luca J. Catania, President of Fast Deeds.

With well over $1 Billion dollars in damages to real estate, insurance companies will require homeowners affected by the tragic fires to show proof of ownership, and may require certified copies of deeds as well. Fast Deeds ( will help each and every homeowner affected by this disaster by contacting their local county clerk and obtaining copies of their property deeds.

For immediate service, homeowners affected by the wildfires can call 877-90-DEEDS. It will take 7-10 business days to obtain their deeds.

About Fast Deeds - Fast Deeds through its website, is a premier New York based document retrieval company. is one of the most widely used sites by legal professionals and new homeowners.

Press Contact: Abe Kasbo

About This Release
If you have any questions regarding information in these press releases please contact the organization listed in the press release. Issuers of press releases and not PR Leap are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

El Cajon Disaster Recovery Center Transitions To An SBA Center

FEMA Release Date: December 5, 2007
Release Number: 1731-065

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in El Cajon at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway will become a U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) this Saturday, Dec. 8.

The DRC will close on Fri., Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. and re-open as a DLOC on Sat., Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. with hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SBA Customer Service Representatives at the DLOC will be available to issue and accept loan applications, answer questions about SBA's disaster loan programs, explain the application process, and help each individual complete their application.

The SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners and renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Businesses or individuals unable to visit the DLOC may obtain information by calling SBA's toll-free number: 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-877-8339) or visit SBA at

If you have not registered, you can do so by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Lines are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. Those affected by the fires can also register online at

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Southern California Self Storage Facilities Join Forces to Provide Relief to Wildfire Victims by Offering 2 Months of Free Storage

In an effort to help aid workers and affected families of the Southern California wildfires, several local self storage facilities have formed the "SoCal Storage Relief Alliance" to give fire victims a safe place for their belongings while they rebuild their homes and businesses.

Ogden, UT based Storage Marketing Solutions has brought their Southern California based self storage clients together to form an alliance to help those in need. Participating self storage facilities are offering 2 full months of free storage to anybody in the area affected directly or indirectly by the fires.

This includes homeowners, renters, business owners and aid workers. "Anybody who is helping or that has been affected by these fires is welcome to 2 free months of storage with participating facilities on available unit sizes" said Derek Naylor, President of Storage Marketing Solutions.

Greg Houge, President of Storage, Etc. which operates multiple SoCal storage facilities said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the Southern California wildfiresStorage, Etc. was fortunate that our business was not destroyed and we're offering two months of free rent on storage space to those who have been displaced".

Mobile storage operator Alex Rosenberg commented: "Storage Valet stands ready to distribute it's mobile storage containers throughout it's coverage area (including Orange County, the Inland Empire, and parts of LA County) to help all of those afflicted by the fires. This includes victims of the fire, donation/collection sites, and assistance centers".

Victims are encouraged to contact one of the following participants:

* Crossroads Storage Santa Maria, CA 650 Southside Parkway Santa Maria, CA 93455. Phone: 805-918-4871.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Woodland Hills, CA 6030 Canoga Avenue Woodland Hills, CA 91367. Phone: 818-332-3980.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Chatsworth, CA 20550 Lassen Street Chatsworth, CA 91311. Phone: 818-332-3986.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Calabasas, CA 5045 Old Scandia Ln. Calabasas, CA 91302. Phone: 818-332-3984.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Torrance, CA 2545 West 190th Street Torrance, CA 90504. Phone: 310-256-3371.

* America's Best Self Storage Torrance, CA 380 Crenshaw Blvd. (at Del Amo Blvd.), Torrance, CA 90503 Phone: 310-212-7339.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Gardena, CA 740 West 190th Street Gardena, CA 90248. Phone: 310-933-5304.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Carson, CA 20501 S. Main St. Carson, CA 90745. Phone: 310-401-8299.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Long Beach, CA 2911 Redondo Ave Long Beach, CA 90806. Phone: 562-364-1922.

* Orangethorpe Mini Storage Anaheim, CA 900 East Orangethorpe Ave. Anaheim, CA 92801. Phone: 714-948-2555.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage Stanton, CA 10850 Beach Blvd Stanton, CA 90680. Phone: 714-782-3321.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage San Diego, CA 1040 Sherman St San Diego, CA 92110. Phone: 619-399-3067.

* Storage Etc. Self Storage San Diego, CA 2150 Hancock St. San Diego, CA 92110. Phone: 619-377-0199.

* Storage Valet Corona CA delivers mobile storage containers throughout Orange County, the Inland Empire and parts of LA County. Phone: 877-798-2538.

All alliance facilities offer secure and modern service. Those interested should mention "Wildfire" to get their 2 free months of rent.

For more information and media contacts, please contact:

Derek Naylor
Storage Marketing Solutions
PO Box 13569 Ogden, UT 84412-3569
The Jamul Fire Help Distribution Center is fully functional and open to “shoppers.”

It is located at:

Jamul Community Church Offices
14866 Lyons Valley Rd.

New hours are:

Monday and Wednesday from 11:00am-4:30 pm
Saturday from 9:00am-2:00 pm

Current needs are:

NEW bedding (pillows, sheets, comforters, mattress pads)
Kitchen items (dishes, pots & pans, bake ware, small appliances)
New bath towels
Laundry detergent, diapers, diaper wipes
Irons, ironing boards
Home entertainment electronics

Please NOTE! If you are donating furniture, you must call ahead first to coordinate as their storage space is limited. They do however except things like beds and dressers as there is a need for them. But again, just CALL FIRST!


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knitters Re-Covering San Diego


With the help of our yarn vendors, and anyone who is looking for a way to give to the fire victims, we hope to make enough blankets to give to all those who have lost their homes; approximately 1350 San Diego families.

So far we have contacted three of our yarn vendors, Plymouth, Berroco, and Skacel Yarn Company. They have all agreed to donate yarns to be used to make blankets for those who have lost their homes. The yarns are arriving and ready to be picked up and made into squares. We invite you to come to the store and pick up a ball of yarn or two and make a few squares. The yarn is complimentary, but we have had several knitters ask to pay for their yarns. If that is you, know that the proceeds will go toward incidental cost, such as mailing and other costs we can’t think of presently. Our hope is that the donated yarns will keep coming.

The squares need to be 9” by 9”. They can be knitted or crocheted, in any pattern you choose. If you can’t come to the store to pick up a ball but want to make a square, you can either use any washable yarn you already have or send us a self addressed stamped envelop and we will send you a ball. Send to : Common Threads 466 S. Coast Hwy. 101 Encinitas, Ca. 92024. We have made name tags to go with each square made. Our plan is that when the blankets are given to a family, we would like them to know who made it. The name tags will be at the store, and at some point in the near future they will be on our site to print out.

We have started a blog site for the project:

This is our first blog site, so we are learning how it works, but our hope is that participants in the project will use it to communicate with one another and post their stories and progress with their knitting. As the completed squares start to arrive we will be planning assembly parties, and invite you to join us for those parties as well.

It is our understanding that there are several other groups in the San Diego area who are also making blankets for fire victims. We hope to coordinate with these groups when it comes to distributing the blankets. So with our combined efforts we truly might reach our goal of Re-Covering all San Diego families with a blanket.

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 November 2007 )


Salmon Dinner and Silent Auction
DEC. 15th, 6pm at San Rafael Parish Hall

We need silent auction items. Please don’t hesitate to ask your favorite restaurant or leisure activity.

We will need bar-tenders, ticket takers, youth assistance coordinators, clean up crew, buffet captains, Silent Auction Coordinators, etc, etc – plenty to do for all.

We have 240 servings of Salmon, so please encourage early purchase of the tickets so we can plan for more if needed. Thanks for your help in advance.

Tickets are $20 each. Come and meet old and new friends and support those who have lost their homes.

Paul Thoreson
(858) 673-7392

Community Christmas Boutique

December 7, 8 and 9th
A Gift to the Families Of the 2007 San Diego Firestorms

The women of Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church would like to invite you to help us create a Community Christmas Boutique for over 500 families in the Rancho Bernardo and surrounding North County areas who lost their homes in the 2007 San Diego Fire Storms. Our goal is to provide these families with boutique and keepsake quality Christmas ornaments and decorations that will help start new family traditions.

In order to help families find the ornaments most meaningful to them, the ornaments will be displayed on 13 theme decorated Christmas trees. These lists are merely suggestions- please follow as your heart leads.

Ornaments (please package by theme if possible):

1. Religious: crèche, crosses, Joy, Peace, Stars
2. Snow: snowmen, skis, sleds, icicles, snowflakes
3. Angels: heavenly hosts of all types
4. Children: primary colors, children oriented themes
5. Musical: instruments, carols, musical notes
6. Sports: all sports, skates, balls, helmets, bats etc.
7. Glitz: anything silver or gold, glittery, gilded
8. Homespun: country themed, homey, handcrafted feel, gingerbread
9. Nature/Fruit: ornaments inspired by nature, birds, branches, berries
10. Santa: Santa, elves, North Pole
11. Traditional: balls, glass, flocked, sequined, smocked, candy canes
12. Creative: unique and artistically designed ornaments
13. For the men: outdoors, golf, hobbies, occupation, pets, motorcycles

Children’s Christmas Books: Please choose books that have special meaning to you or your family.

Donation Logistics: A local warehouse in Poway, CA will be used to store the ornaments and decorations. The week after Thanksgiving, the warehouse will be transformed into a beautiful and inviting Christmas boutique .

All donations may be shipped directly to the home of:

Theresa Suzuki
12917 Lomas Verdes Drive
Poway, CA 92064

Please include an inventory check list and contact information, including your email. We will send a confirmation of receipt.

Rental Listings for Fire Families

List of Rentals:

Fjellestad, Barrett & Short Property Management has a list of available rental properties.

For more information, please contact:

Pam Neillo, Rancho Bernardo Operations Manager
(858) 487-8519 and (858) 487-4004.

Coldwell Banker ~ Rancho Bernardo - Rental Assistance

List of Rentals:

Coldwell Banker - Rancho Bernardo Real Estate is offering space in their office to facilitate the search for temporary housing.

You can receive a list of area property managers/landlords with current rentals, and use their phone to contact landlords directly.

16363 Bernardo Center Drive, (858) 487-3333 - Need A Home? Have a Rental Home To Offer a Fire Family?

How It Works

For people in need of housing:

When you register as a person needing housing, your information is stored our database. This information is confidential and will only be shared when a match is found (the closest match to your needs).

When a person offering housing sees your profile, they will contact you directly to talk one-to-one about what they can offer. Please respect their hospitality and provide any details they may request to confirm your information.

Any supporting documents (for your identity or status) are strictly between you and the person offering housing. These are people just like you, so be respectful. Honest communication is key. Please provide truthful information for people offering housing and respect their home rules.

Once you find housing, please come back to the site and remove your name from the database so it will not be forwarded to anyone else.

For people offering housing:
When you register and indicate your housing availability our system will work to locate a match to your requirements and will send you information on people in need of housing who meet your criteria.

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A ONE-WAY EXCHANGE - as a volunteer your information is NOT provided to anyone else. It is up to YOU to contact someone who needs housing directly, person-to-person. It's also up to you to determine if you want to offer housing to anyone - you are under no obligation to house anyone! This is a citizen-to-citizen exchange, so use your own good judgment if you want to offer your home to share with someone else.

Thank you for your help and together we'll overcome this disaster!

Rancho Bernardo Fire Station in need of Extreme Home Makeover

They put their lives on the line and fought for our community during this recent devastating fire storm. San Diego Fire Station 33, in Rancho Bernardo, is in need of an EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER.

It was built almost 40 years ago for a 3 man crew and one engine. Now the station inadequately accommodates 6 men and women and a fire engine, a brush truck, AND an ambulance. 30 years of deferred maintenance have left the station in terrible disrepair. An RB Family made a video (which we would love to see!), that KNSD featured, asking EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER to makeover our fire station. We would like to start a letter writing campaign to ABC asking them to help our community rebuild by supporting our RB firefighters.

If you are interested in writing a letter, please address it to:

Lock & Key Productions
c/o Family Casting
P.O. BOX 38670
Los Angeles, CA. 90038

Or if anyone wants to make a donation:Make your check to:

San Diego Foundation and then in the memo section write: Account #69/Friends of Fire Station 33 and mail to:

Rancho Bernardo Community Council
PO Box 28729
San Diego, CA 92198

RB Community Presbyterian Church Free Store

Hours 10 am to 8 pm.

Many new items including clothes, food and household items.

Open to all fire impacted families in San Diego.

Check in at the front office with information verifying your fire-damaged address.

Contact Valerie Brown (959-485-1292) for more information.

Free Shoes: Footwear etc.

Footwear etc.
(858) 613-1221
16777 Bernardo Center Drive

Footwear etc. has a section of their store dedicated to new and used shoes that households who have lost their homes can take home. Some of the shoes are donated by other families, others are from Footwear etc and Naot (a shoe manufacturer that has just donated an additional 200 pairs of new shoes). Store

Hours: M-F 9:30am-7:00pm, Sat. 9:30am-6:00pm, Sun. 11:00am-6:00pm.

Free Used Office Furniture

It is in good condition and there is a lot of it.

We can deliver!

Contact: Phyllis Pizzuto, Controller, HMS Construction, Inc.

760-736-3093 or

Linders Furniture: FREE Mattress

Linders Furniture is donating free mattresses for fire families. Lines are busy, so please be patient.


FREE Consults: Rebuilding

I helped re-design homes in the Crest fire of 2003 … if there is any thing I can do to help IE; permits, building plans, or answer any general questions on rebuilding as it pertains to the city or county please call. Free consultations.

Kelly Salmans
Salmans + Assoc.
619 444 5590

Rancho Bernardo: Sandbag Assistance

Sandbag Assistance:

Coordinate with Janet DiPrinzio ( )
to have a group directly put sandbags at your property.

Poway: Free Internet Access For Fire Families

Computing 101 near Michael’s in Poway is offering FREE internet access.
12-12am 7 days/wk - 858-513-3774

Jewelry Refurbishment

Artistry in Gold, 13525 Poway Road, is offering to refurbish jewelry damaged in the fires for FREE. They are also offering those who lost Lladro, Swarovski or Lenox items, replacements at their cost.

Call Jim or Roxann at 486-4373.

VSP/RB Eyes: Eyesglasses/Contac Replacement

Kelvin Nguyen, O.D.
Gary R Saks, O.D.
Jacquelin Le, O.D.

17631 W Bernardo Dr.Suite ASan Diego, CA 92127

Great news from the largest vision provider in
the country, Vision Service Plan (VSP).

Please contact VSP and local Red Cross if you lost your glasses/contact lenses
from The fire or during evacuation.

The below information was passed on to network doctors.

VSP members who have lost or broken their eyewear can call us at 800.877.7195.

We’ll reinstate their benefits regardless of eligibility.

Individuals without VSP coverage can contact their local American Red Cross chapter and request a VSP eyecare voucher.

Sincerely, RB Eyes Staff

Concrete After a Fire

Fire can cause severe concrete damage because of shock heating. Concrete expands as it's heated. In the extreme heat of a fire, the outer layer will expand much more quickly than the inner portion, causing it to fracture and break away. This phenomenon is known as differential expansion. It can also occur in reverse when the fire is doused by fire hoses or a sprinkler system. In this case, hot concrete is cooled suddenly, causing the outer layer to shrink and break away.

TIP: Concrete is damaged by fire no matter what your claims representative or others may tell you. CARe will can provide documentation for homeowner use so damaged retaining walls and foundations are properly paid for and correctly replaced. Here is something to start with:

Concrete pathology
Routine monitoring and maintenance of concrete structures can extend service life and reduce long-term repair and maintenance costs.

By Michael J. Drerup, Project Engineer, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., New York, New York, June 25, 2001

SOURCE: CARe, Inc. site -

Replacing Musical Instruments

Like many others, I am involved in the fire relief efforts. My task is locating musical instruments for those students of Poway Unified School District (I am hoping to include Ramona Unified in this) who lost their instrument in the fires (Insurance will cover most instruments, but you will have losses that there is not insurance).

Right now, Poway USD is taking an inventory of the instruments lost in the fires. Hopefully, we will be able to fill the needs of the students. The plan is that the instruments would be donated directly to Poway USD, which would then provide a receipt for tax purposes. I won’t know exactly what is needed until the School District provides me their list.

If you are interested in donating an instrument, know of someone who might, or might have connections in the music industry, please contact me either by email or phone (858-679-1360).

I am working with Cindy Hicks of Poway USD and her contact information is:
858- 668-4040

Regards,Roger C. Covalt

Rancho Bernardo: Floor Plans

Mcmillin Realty has copies of many of the original builder floor plans in their Rancho Bernardo office. If you would like a copy of your floor plan, please contact McMillin Realty at 858-487-2002. Or call Lori Shannon at 619-204-3517

SBA: Reapply if you are Denied

If you are DENIED by SBA, you should apply/appeal AGAIN.

SBA will reconsider up to 3 denials, SO GIVE IT A SHOT.

And just to remind EVERYONE: If you lost your home/rental, APPLY FOR SBA.

It provides loans TO REGULAR RESIDENTS IN DISASTERS — not just businesses. The loans cover shortfalls in insurance — and at this point,
you don’t know if you’re underinsured or not so FILE. The loans are about 2.9% interest (RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP MONEY) and go up to $200,000.

You can have multiple attempts - SO REAPPLY IF DENIED. BE PERSISTENT!!!

Out of the Ashes ~ Organizing Totes From Cedar Fire Survivors

To assist families who lost their homes in the Witch Creek fire, a group of nearly 100 Scripps Ranch volunteers have designed, assembled and are now distributing 1,000 free file system totes, customized to the needs of recovering fire victims.

Each portable, plastic tote contains pre-labeled hanging files and manila folders to help organize the many important forms, receipts, and documents acquired during the recovery process.

Many of this project’s volunteers lost their Scripps Ranch homes in the 2003 Cedar Fire and are therefore eager to “pay it forward” by sharing their post-fire experience and knowledge with those who are beginning the recovery process in Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Ramona and other surrounding areas. They reveal that ”Getting organized helps you feel in control of your life again”.

The totes are currently available (free of charge) at the Rancho Bernardo Assistance Center (on West Bernardo Drive, San Diego, CA 92127). Plans are currently underway to distribute totes to additional Relief Centers.

Permitting To Move Forward

In the aftermath of the Cedar Fires, the City set up a special task force to push permits through quickly, often in as little as a week for a complete rebuild. They will be taking this approach again. The Permitting Departments’ lead is Kelly Broughton,

If you don’t have your plans and want to rebuild the same house: Check with the office of your builder if they are still in business - they may have a set on file. Contact Kelly Broughton–there are many arthitects, etc., whio are offering pro bono services if you want to rebuild the same plan. There may be another house in the neighborhood that may be used as a model to draw up blueprints.
If you want a new design: Check with Kelly Broughton regarding architects who are donating services.

IMPORTANT: You need the approval of your HOA before you build.
Westwood requires that ALL construction by approved by the Architectural Committe. Before you submit plans to the City for approval, Westwood’s HOA must approve the plans. The Architectural Committe is expanding and boosting resources to help expedite this process. Proceeding withouth

Architectural Committee approval is a violation of our CC&R’s and may lead to delay and/or requirements to undo your work, which would be a shame. The form and instructions are available for download at:

Incentives to build “green”. SDG&E and the state are offering all kinds of incentives for the energy-efficiency of your home. Contact Linda Pratt at SDG&E

(858) 492-5088 for more information.


USA Baby has generously made arrangements with a top crib manufacturer, Munire, to make available at least 100 FREE new Munire cribs to recent San Diego fire victims.

USA Baby will also make available other special packages and deals for San Diego fire victims.

To make arrangements for your free or discounted crib call USA Baby at (858) 578-3334

Disclaimer: Verification and proof of loss of home is required, USA Baby reserves the right to limit this offer to ONLY individuals that can show proof of their loss and hardship. See store for details.Valid only at this store location: 9262 Miramar Road San Diego, CA 92126 858.578.3334

Police Warn Poway Residents About Water Testers

POWAY ---- Police are warning residents against suspected scammers posing as water-quality testers and seeking entry to people's houses in Poway.

Residents told police that people have been going door to door saying they're ready to test the homes' water quality. They carry a badge and present blue door hangers written in Spanish.

Police said city crews are not conducting water-quality tests and do not ask for entry into houses. Anyone approached by a would-be tester should call the city at (858) 668-4401 or the sheriff's office at (858) 513-2800.

Volunteer Services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints San Diego County Fire Damages Clean-up

How We Can Help

Over 1200 home owners in San Diego County have completely lost their homes due to the fires. Thousands of others have damage and clean up issues for which we would like to offer volunteer labor to assist in the effort.

Services we can provide:

Clean up of yards – the winds have blown tree limbs, leaves, ashes, and other debris into most of the yards surrounding the fires. While we can't haul off the debris, we can clean it up and organize it at curb side for pickup.

Fence damage – many wood fences have portions which have blown down. Panels or boards may have to be re-attached. Supporting posts may have sheared off, in which case new posts will need to be installed. Depending on the extent of damage we may be able to assist in repairing.

Blown over objects – many patio covers and awnings are sitting in yards upside down and sideways. They may just need to be reset or re-attached to the home. They may be damaged or destroyed and may need to be dismantled to be hauled away. Patio furniture and BBQ's may need to be righted. We can help.

Cleaning of walls and windows – many homes near homes that burned have smoke and ash on their windows. We can wash the windows and broom clean the soot off the walls. City ordinances prohibit the use of water that may go into the street to clean roofs or walls.

Patios, walkways and driveways - we can broom clean these areas of ashes, leaves, branches, debris.

Trees down – many have trees or portions of trees which have fallen onto homes and into yards. We may be able to assist in cutting the fallen branchs and stacking them for removal.

Broken sliding glass doors and windows – we can assist in boarding them up until glass replacement can be arranged.

Other: If there things you need done that are not on this list, call and we may be able to help


We can't remove trees or large trunks.
We can provide labor but not the materials needed for the above services.
We do not have the resources to haul debris away.
We can't use water to clean soot and debris that may go into the public drains due to govt regulations
Work requests will be handled in order of urgency.

Hotlines for help: 24/7 760-535-1257 858-602-7773

Best Christmas Present for a Fire Family

I’m sure you’re wondering what the BEST Christmas/Hannukah present for the fire families you know would be . . . .Here it is:

Make copies of all the photos with any member of their family. PRINT them out!!! Also, burn a CD and give it to them.This would be HUGE, HUGE, HUGE in helping them.

If you’re an organizer, set up an online album and contact all their friends and have them all put their photos up onto the website.

And if you’re crafty - make albums!!

Were they at church with you? In school photos? In sports??

Help them recreate their past and build memories. This is worth ALL EFFORT you can give.

And this would be the most treasured gift you could ever give (and to the fire families - ASK ALL YOUR RELATIVES FOR THIS FOR CHRISTMAS/HANNUKAH!!!) .


Rancho Bernardo Community Fire Recovery Update

Valerie Brown (phone: (858) 485-1292, fax (619)699-6612), Project Coordinator - ReBuilding RB Coalition, is working to get assistance to families in need after the fire. She needs to get current contact information for the affected families so she can deliver donated items to them. She would love to hear from any RB households that have lost their homes, have been displaced, or have been otherwise impacted. Valerie has access to a lot of resources including volunteers, some rental properties, gift certificates and donated items! Please feel free to contact her with needs or additional resources.

Free Family Portraits - Dec 4 in Rancho Bernardo

For anyone who lost photos in the recent fires HP is doing free family portraits.

Family Portraits
Westwood ClubWest Bernardo Drive, Rancho Bernardo
December 4, 2007
Please call 858-722-9193 for a sitting time.

HP is also doing a photo restoration / community replacement program similar to what we did after the Cedar Fires. It launches Thursday Dec 13 at the Westwood Club teen center. And will run Thursday-Sunday starting at 12 noon through early evening. Sessions are scheduled for Dec – Jan. More details will be available shortly.

Sempra Energy Foundation’s 2007 Fire Assistance Fund

2007 Fire Assistance Fund available for your employees who were affected by the recent fires Hundreds of San Diego residents were impacted by the October firestorm. Many of these individuals may be employees at your business. To help both individuals and communities, Sempra Energy, the parent company of SDG&E, has set up a $5 milllion dollar relief fund through the Sempra Energy Foundation.

The Sempra Energy Foundation 2007 Fire Assistance fund is available to anyone affected by the fires. It’s not neccesary to be an SDG&E customer.

Anyone wishing to receive aid should apply to the Sempra Energy Foundation. The Foundation will review all applications and make the best effort to provide relief to those most in need until all funds have been exhausted. Applications for aid are available in both English and Spanish.

Fund information and applications can be obtained, the following two ways:

1. Online at Applying online is the quickest and most convenient way to apply for aid.

2. By calling the Sempra Energy Foundation toll-free at (866) 262-4842 to request an application be sent in the mail. This toll free number is available from 8am to 5pm, Monday - Friday.

Please feel free to forward the information provided to your employees. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or visit

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Garth Brooks tickets for wildfire charity show on sale at 9 a.m.

December 1, 2007 11:53 AM PST
PAM KRAGENStaff Writer
North County Times

LOS ANGELES ----- Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. today for a concert by country superstar Garth Brooks at the Staples Center next month that will raise money for fire victims and firefighters in San Diego, L.A. and Orange counties.

Brooks, who emerged last month from a nine-year retirement to perform a series of charity concerts, will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the Jan. 26 Staples Center show to the Southern California 2008 Fire Relief Campaign. Brooks is performing without pay and AEG Live is donating the use of Staples Center to maximize the proceeds to the wildfire relief campaign. Other sponsors ---- American Express, the Los Angeles Times and the McCormick Tribune Foundation (which is administering the Fire Relief Campaign) ---- are joining forces to raise an additional $2 million or more for the cause.

"Garth was extremely aware of what our region has had to endure and was on-board the very moment our city and state leaders requested that he perform," said Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, in a prepared statement.

In San Diego, where more than 1,000 homes were destroyed by wildfires in October, Mayor Jerry Sanders expressed his gratitude to Brooks.

"To have a star of Mr. Brooks' stature dedicate his talent and time to help raise funds for those who lost their homes and to better equip our brave firefighters is truly uplifting," Sanders said in a statement.

Brooks is the No. 1 solo artist in U.S. history, having sold more than 123 million albums, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. During his career in the 1990s, he racked up two Grammys, 17 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 18 Academy of Country Music Awards and 36 Billboard Music Awards, among others. Citing family concerns in the wake of a highly publicized divorce, Brooks retired from touring in 1998 to focus on raising his three daughters in rural Oklahoma. Since then, Brooks --- who married fellow country singer Trisha Yearwood in 2005 --- has re-emerged only to perform periodic concerts for charity. Last month, he performed nine concerts in Kansas City that sold out in a matter of minutes, so the L.A. concert tickets are expected to disappear even quicker.

Tickets to the L.A. concert are $38.60 each, plus $6.40 in taxes and handling fees. A maximum of six tickets will be available per person. Tickets will be sold through all Ticketmaster outlets. Locally, Ticketmaster can be reached by calling (619) 220-8497 or visit

Fire Closures Hit Working Poor in the Wallet

North County Times
By: TERI FIGUEROA - Staff Writer

When North County businesses locked their doors during last month's fires, the temporary closures left many rank-and-file, hourly employees with shrunken paychecks.

At the end of the month.

With rent coming due.

"We had to ask my husband's boss for money to pay rent," said Lorena Castellanos. "It's hard, but what can you do? You can't stop time and ask for another week to make up (for the money we lost)."Her husband works in construction. She works in a Fallbrook nursing home. And on top of raising the couple's 3-year-old son, Lorena Castellanos also attends school full-time to become a licensed vocational nurse.

Finding out how many businesses closed during the fires ---- and thus the number of people with smaller paychecks ---- is difficult, said Gary Knight, the head of the San Diego North Economic Development Council.

He noted anecdotally that while one shop may have stayed open, a neighboring business was often shuttered for a few days.

"There is no reporting system," Knight said.

"There is no central collection service to indicate this kind of data.

"One clue may be to look at the unemployment claims made, he said.

By Tuesday, about a month after the fires began, the state's Employment Development Department had received nearly 6,600 unemployment claims from people who cited the blazes as the reason they were out of work, said Kevin Callori, a spokesman for the department.

Of that number, about 12 percent ---- 789 applicants ---- qualified for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, which comes from federal coffers, Callori said.

Since the wildfires, about 512 of those disaster-assistance applications have come from San Diego County. San Bernardino County had 228 people apply for the aid, and Riverside County had 16 such applications, Callori said.

Like the Castellanos family in Fallbrook, many of those affected by the loss of work are people who "really can't afford any interruption in income," said Katherine S. Newman, a professor of sociology and public policy at Princeton University in New Jersey. "It immediately plunges them into trouble.

"Newman's new book, "The Missing Class," highlights the challenges facing a class of people often dubbed the "working poor," or people just above the poverty level ---- those who earn between $20,000 and $40,000 a year.

After the fires, people in such situations can become the "collateral damage of a geographic disaster," Newman said in a telephone interview earlier this month.

What of, say, substitute teachers in Oceanside or Carlsbad who were stuck at home when school districts shut for the week? What of day-care workers who missed out on a week's pay because the child care center that employs them shuttered for the week? And the mom who had to skip work because the schools and day-cares were closed? Or the construction worker who saw much-needed work dry up for the week?

Some, it turns out, may qualify for unemployment checks from the state. But for those who don't, there may be little recourse to recover lost wages.

Professor Arnold Rosenberg at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego said that, generally speaking, employees are not entitled to be paid for hours they did not work.

It may mean tough times for families like the Castellanoses, who will have to stretch their pay in this, the costly Christmas season, to cover the hole in their monthly income.

"We still have the same amount of bills, just less money coming in," Lorena Castellanos said. "That payback will hit now."

"There is tremendous vulnerability in natural disasters," said Newman of the economic crisis confronting the "missing class." "I think it inspires a feeling of frustration, like pushing a rock up a mountain, and every time you are at the top, it tumbles down on top of you.

"For instance, Newman said, people in the working class make too much to qualify for the usual help available to those in poverty. These are people, she said, who work hard and earn money. But savings? For people in this "missing class," people living paycheck to paycheck, who has money to set aside?"

Their struggles don't provide them a buffer or safety net that is very strong," Newman said. "Any type of disaster will dash them down.

"For the lucky few, there may be some relief from the state through the disaster assistance program. It boils down to an unemployment check to cover lost wages due to the fires.Among those who may be eligible for unemployment checks are those who were supposed to begin jobs that wound up disappearing when the fires raged. The unemployment program also covers people who were injured in the disaster and left physically unable to work.

Other people who might qualify are those who were "unable to reach work because of the disaster," which is the phrase the state's Employment Development Department used in a press release Oct. 26.

Because eligibility for help is determined on a case by case basis, it is difficult to say if assistance is there for workers whose place of employment in, say, Valley Center may have been open, but unreachable because authorities were keeping folks from entering the evacuation areas.

Also unclear is whether unemployment checks would be available for employees of businesses outside the evacuation area that closed up shop the week of the fires.

So Callori, the employment department spokesman, has a simple piece of advice: "We tell people to apply if they think they qualify."

The deadline to apply for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program is Monday.

To learn more about unemployment assistance through the state, go to The information is available in English and Spanish.Residents can also apply directly online at, or by calling toll-free (800) 300-5616 for English; (800) 326-8937 for Spanish; or (800) 815-9387 for TTY for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at (760) 631-6624 or