Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price
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Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price

Monday, June 30, 2008

After auctioning off his entire life on eBay for A$399,300 (244 912.148) Ian Usher says he is “a little bit disappointed” at the final selling price.

The 44-year-old British immigrant living in Perth, Australia, put all of his worldly belongings up for sale on the popular auction website, including his three-bedroom house and all its contents, his car, motorcycle, jetski, skydiving gear, and his job at a rug store, for which he offered a two week trial period. He even offered introductions to his friends living in Perth.

Usher made the decision to sell his life after his five-year marriage suddenly ended. On his website, alife4sale.com, he explains that “despite my life being busy and fulfilled, I still miss my wife so much. Everything in my home is a reminder of the wonderful past we shared. So, after a year in this house I decided that it is time to sell it and move on.”

It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get.

During the 7 day auction, which ended on Sunday, there were several bogus bids which brought the sale price as high as A$2.2 million, but the final price ended up at A$399,300, which was around A$100,000 less than Usher had hoped for. “I’m a little bit disappointed, but I’m still excited. It’s still enough to move forward and do what I said I was going to do, which is move on to the next part of my life,” Usher said. “It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get.”

According to Reuters, the winning bidder, whose username is “mslmcc”, also lives in Australia, and has a 100 percent feedback rating. Usher says he hasn’t yet been able to figure out who the buyer is, because of the TV crews lined up in front of his home. “I’m trying to find some time to get on the computer and check it out … I haven’t looked (up) anything about them yet,” he said.

Usher now plans to go off in search of a new life. His initial plan, as he describes on his website, was to just walk out his front door with just his wallet and a passport and board a train, with no idea of where to go. He has since launched 100goals100weeks.com, which will document his attempt to complete 100 of his life goals in a span of 100 weeks. Some of these goals include getting a pilot’s license, climbing the Eiffel Tower, learning to play the didgeridoo, and shaking hands with billionaire Richard Branson.

“I was pretty aimless when I started this, and I had a vague notion of adventure, but I’ve come up with a much more solid plan, which is still very adventurous,” Usher says. He invites anyone who is interested to join him on his adventures.

Dozens killed after gunmen storm Turkish wedding reception
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Dozens killed after gunmen storm Turkish wedding reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

As many as 45 people have been killed and six others were injured after at least four gunmen with grenades stormed a wedding reception in the village of Bilge located in Turkey. Many of those killed were women and children. The attack is not believed to be related to terrorism.

“According to our investigations so far nothing indicates that this is a terror attack but a larger investigation is being run by the regional prosecutor,” said the interior minister of Turkey, Besir Atalay. The attack is believed to be part of an ongoing blood feud between two families. Al Jazeera says the attack may also be related to rival gangs of village guards.

According to one unnamed witness as quoted by Reuters, “a few people” wearing masks entered the house where the reception was being held, “spraying the place with bullets” and began to shoot people, with the attack lasting at nearly 15 minutes. At least 200 people were believed to have been attending the reception.

Time Warner/Comcast bid to snap up Adelphia cable service
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Time Warner/Comcast bid to snap up Adelphia cable service

April 9, 2005

A bid topping $17.7 billion was jointly proffered by Time Warner Inc. and Comcast Corporation on Thursday to buy beleaguered Adelphia Communications Corporation in an industry consolidation move. Adelphia is the fifth largest cable service provider in the United States with nearly 5 million subscribers.

The market-share grabbing bid trumps the previous Cablevision offer of $16.5 billion. The bid is under scrutiny by the presiding judge over the Adelphia’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, and must also be approved by the company’s creditors owed in the range of $20 million.

The acquisition race to gain dominance in the cable service provider market is driven by the high cost of installation and maintenance of cable lines. Fiber optic networks deliver traditional entertainment programming over a cable wire and is becoming increasingly popular for broadband internet content. The growing trust and recognition of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) suggests phone service subscribers will eventually migrate to cable voice communication as opposed to keeping with traditional copper land lines. Telephone company operators are scrambling to keep up.

The largest percentage of the bid would be put up by Time Warner (TW), who could gain by getting subscribers from the valuable Los Angeles market currently owned by Comcast and Adelphia. TW can also simultaneously divest itself of a stake owned by Comcast in TW by making a tax-free swap using some of the newly garnered Adelphia subscribers.

While the consolidation would likely get a look by the government with an eye towards a growing monopoly in the market, it would doubtfully be blocked considering the existence of competing technologies. Competition exists in the form of still numerous television by airwaves usage, satellite providers, radio content companies, and telecom providers.

Adelphia suffered a corporate scandal in 1992 with similarities to the WorldCom fall. Members of the Rigas family, founders of the company, were alleged to have siphoned off millions of dollars and hidden $2.3 billion leading to the bankruptcy filing. John Rigas and son Timothy were convicted July of 2004 and await sentencing.

Federal Regulation Of Overdraft Protection Charges 3 Main Points

By Marie-Claire Smith

Overdraft protection programs are so popular that most major banks now have them in place. The programs work by covering any outstanding checks, credit or debit charges made against a checking account that has an insufficient balance. In return, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee – usually from $20 to $35 – per instance.

This can all really add up fast. Since such a program will allow a customer to make multiple charges in a single day even if their balance is in the red, technically a person could run up $100, $150 or more in overdraft fees in a single day.

Pluses and Minuses of Overdraft Protection

Of course, the “protection” part of all of this could be seen as a plus for bank customers. After all, the system provides a built-in safeguard against customers getting that embarrassing “your card has been declined” message at a local restaurant or merchant. Yes, it is kind of nice that the bank just takes care of the charge. That is the plus side of overdraft protection.

But, on the minus side, there are all of those fees. You see, when your bank covers your overdrawn charge and charges you a fee in return, guess who comes out with the sweeter deal? Sure, maybe the bank carries your $20, $100, etc. charge for a couple of days, and that may cost them a few cents in interest. But, then they turn around and charge you $35 for the favor. That’s a pretty good profit margin for them!

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The Need for Regulation by the Fed

The Federal Reserve sets and oversees the rules and regulations over all banks in the U.S. Since around 2008, consumer groups and members of the U.S. Congress began questioning the validity of some of the overdraft protection policies that many banks had in place.

For example, critics argued that banks were signing up new checking account customers into their overdraft protection programs without adequately explaining the details of the program. This, critics claimed, led to widespread misunderstandings about how the programs worked, which ultimately cost customers money.

Each year, banks bring in about $30 billion in overdraft fees.

Federal Regulation of Overdraft Protection Charges – 3 Main Points

Starting July 1, 2010, the Fed began requiring banks to follow newly-established guidelines concerning the programs. Here are 3 noteworthy points about the guidelines:

1. The new Fed guidelines require banks to make overdraft protection an opt-in feature. Previously, most protection programs were opt-out-based, meaning that if a customer did not specifically say they did not want to participate in a given program, they were automatically enrolled. Now, customers must actively choose to be enrolled in the program.

2. The guidelines also prevent banks from discriminating against people who do not choose to opt in to overdraft protection programs. This means that customers who do not opt in must still be granted access to the same account terms, conditions and features as those who do opt in.

3. The guidelines do NOT prevent banks from charging excessive overdraft fees. This means that, if a customer does want to be protected from overdrafts by the bank in order to cover items such as paying the rent or utility bills, the customer could very well still end up paying very high fees.

If you want to avoid paying overdraft fees altogether but still want overdraft protection, the smartest thing to do is to switch to a no-overdraft-fee bank. These banks will cover your overdrafts but will never charge you a penny in fees.

About the Author: Find a list of no-overdraft-fee banks in your area at:

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California’s violent video game ban law ruled unconstitutional by US Court of Appeals
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California’s violent video game ban law ruled unconstitutional by US Court of Appeals

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday has declared unconstitutional California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793, the California “ultraviolent video games law” that sought to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.

Federal judge Consuelo M. Callahan has ruled that the 2005 statewide ban, which has yet to be enforced, violates minors’ rights under the US Constitution’s First and 14th amendment because even the most graphic on-screen mayhem, video game content represents free speech that cannot be censored without proper justification.

The Court has ruled that there’s no convincing evidence it causes psychological damage to young people. The 3-0 judgment has affirmed an earlier ruling by a U.S. District Court, which barred enforcement of the law on the basis that it was “unduly restrictive” and “used overly broad definitions,” and that the state failed to show that the limitations on violent video games would actually protect children.

In 2005, Leland Yee (???), a California State Senator (in District 8 which includes the western half of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County), Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly (D-San Francisco/Daly City), introduced California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793 which barred “ultra-violent” video games from minors under the age of eighteen in California and mandated the application of ESRB ratings for video games.

“California Assembly Bills 1792 & 1793” were commonly called the “ultraviolent video games bills” or simply “video game ban” bills. Bill 1792 banned the sales of such video games while Bill 1793 required signs explaining the regulations on said games to be placed where such were sold. Both bills were passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger into law (AB 1179) on October 7, 2005.

Explicitly, these two bills provided that:

  • AB 1792 will place ultra-violent video games into the “matter” portion of the penal code, which criminalizes the sale of said material to a minor.
  • AB 1793 will require retailers to place M-rated games separate from other games intended for children, and will also require retailers to display signage explaining the ESRB rating system.

Yee, a former child psychologist has publicly criticized such games as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Manhunt 2, and opposes the U.S. Army’s Global Gaming League.

On October 17, 2005, before the effectivity of the challenged Act, plaintiffs Video Software Dealers Association, the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $32 billion home entertainment industry and Entertainment Software Association, a 1994 US trade association of the video game industry have filed lawsuit (D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) against the defendants Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, CA Attorney General, Edmund G. Brown, Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy, City Attorney for the City of San Jose, Richard Doyle, and County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara, Ann Miller Ravel.

Plaintiffs’ counsel, Jenner & Block‘s Paul M. Smith has filed a declaratory relief to invalidate the newly-enacted California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5 (the “Act”), on the grounds that it allegedly violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Plaintiffs have submitted that “the Act unconstitutionally curtailed freedom of expression on its face based on content regulation and the labeling requirement, was unconstitutionally vague, and violated equal protection. California’s restrictions could open the door for states to limit minors’ access to other material under the guise of protecting children.”

By December 2005, both bills had been struck down as unconstitutional, by Ronald M. Whyte, District Judge, Presiding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, thereby preventing either from going into effect on January 1, 2006.

Judge Whyte has granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” 401 F. Supp. 2d 1034 (N.D. Cal. 2005), and cross-motions for summary judgment, in “Video Software Dealers Ass’n v. Schwarzenegger,” No. C-05-04188, slip op. (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2007).

Similar bills were subsequently filed in such states as Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Michigan and Louisiana have been ruled to be unconstitutional by federal courts on First Amendment grounds, according to Sean Bersell, a spokesman for the Entertainment Merchants Association.

The defendants, in the instant Case No. 07-16620, have timely appealed the judgment. On October 29, 2008, the appealed case was argued and submitted to the Sacramento, California‘s U.S. Court of Appeals, hence, the promulgation of the instant 30 pages decision (No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW) by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and Consuelo M. Callahan (who wrote the court’s opinion), United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judges.

In the ban’s defense, Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, Zackery Morazzini has contended that “if governments restrict the sale of pornography to minors, it should also create a separate category for ultra-violent video games.” Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., California Attorney General, has also argued that “the Court should analyze the Act’s restrictions under what has been called the ‘variable obscenity’ or ‘obscenity as to minors’ standard first mentioned in Ginsberg, 390 U.S. 629. The Court’s reasoning in Ginsberg that a state could prohibit the sale of sexually-explicit material to minors that it could not ban from distribution to adults should be extended to materials containing violence.”

The “Fallo” or dispositive portion of the judgment in question goes as follows:

We hold that the Act, as a presumptively invalid contentbased restriction on speech, is subject to strict scrutiny and not the “variable obscenity” standard from Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629 (1968). Applying strict scrutiny, we hold that the Act violates rights protected by the First Amendment because the State has not demonstrated a compelling interest, has not tailored the restriction to its alleged compelling interest, and there exist less-restrictive means that would further the State’s expressed interests. Additionally, we hold that the Act’s labeling requirement is unconstitutionally compelled speech under the First Amendment because it does not require the disclosure of purely factual information; but compels the carrying of the State’s controversial opinion. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to Plaintiffs and its denial of the State’s cross-motion. Because we affirm the district court on these grounds, we do not reach two of Plaintiffs’ challenges to the Act: first, that the language of the Act is unconstitutionally vague, and, second, that the Act violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.—”Video Software Dealers Association; Entertainment Software Association v. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Kennedy” – No. 07-16620; D.C. No. CV-05-04188-RMW – Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, Sidney R. Thomas and

Consuelo M. Callahan, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Circuit Judges.

“We need to help empower parents with the ultimate decision over whether or not their children play in a world of violence and murder,” said the law’s author, Sen. Leland Yee, announcing he wanted Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown, Jr., the current Attorney General and a former governor of the State of California, to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Letting the industry police itself is like letting kids sign their own report cards and that a self regulating system simply doesn’t work. I’ve always contended that the … law the governor signed was a good one for protecting children from the harm from playing these ultra-violent video games. I’ve always felt it would end up in the Supreme Court,” Sen. Yee explained. “In fact, the high court recently agreed, in Roper v. Simmons (2005), that we need to treat children differently in the eyes of the law due to brain development,” he added.

According to Michael D. Gallagher, president of the Entertainment Software Association, plaintiff, the Court’s ruling has stressed that parents, with assistance from the industry, are the ones who should control what games their children play. “This is a clear signal that in California and across the country, the reckless pursuit of anti-video game legislation like this is an exercise in wasting taxpayer money, government time and state resources,” Gallagher said in a statement.

California’s violent video game law properly seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games. While I am deeply disappointed in today’s ruling, we should not stop our efforts to assist parents in keeping these harmful video games out of the hands of children.

Entertainment Software Association members include Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Corp, THQ Inc, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and Take-Two Interactive Software, the maker of “Grand Theft Auto” games.

Judge Callahan has also reprimanded state lawyers for having failed to show any reasonable alternatives to an outright statewide ban against the ultra-violent video games. “Ratings education, retailer ratings enforcement, and control of game play by parents are the appropriate responses to concerns about video game content,” said Bo Andersen, president and chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

Andersen continues, “retailers are committed to assisting parents in assuring that children do not purchase games that are not appropriate for their age. Independent surveys show that retailers are doing a very good job in this area, with an 80 percent enforcement rate, and retailers will continue to work to increase enforcement rates even further; the court has correctly noted that the state cannot simply dismiss these efforts.”

California was already forced to pay $282,794 to the ESA for attorneys’ fees, money that would’ve helped with the state’s current budget difficulties. Andersen has urged California government officials not to appeal the case. “The estimated $283,000 in taxpayer money spent by the state on this case is so far an ‘ill-advised, and ultimately doomed, attempt at state-sponsored nannyism.’ A voluntary ratings system already exists to avoid the state-sponsored nannyism of a ban,” he explained.

“The governor believes strongly we have a responsibility to our children and our communities to protect against the effects of video games depicting ultra-violent actions,” said Governor Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Camille Anderson adding the governor was reviewing Friday’s decision.

Deputy Attorney General Zackery Morazzini, the state’s counsel in the appealed case, has stressed that “a law restricting sales of violent games is far more effective than industry self-policing, since the technological controls that the court cited as another alternative can be easily bypassed by any kid with an Internet connection.”

According to Jim Steyer, Founder of Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization of 750,000 regular users dedicated to improving children’s media lives, researches have shown that playing these violent video games are detrimental for kids mental and physical health. “The health threat involved with kids playing such games is equivalent to smoking cigarettes,” Steyer said. “These violent video games are learning tools for our children and clearly result in more aggressive behavior,” said Randall Hagar, California Psychiatric Association’s Director of Government Affairs.

The Federal Trade Commission‘s data reveals that “nearly 70 percent of thirteen to sixteen year olds are able to purchase M-rated (Mature) video games, which are designed for adults; ninety-two percent of children play video or computer games, of which about forty percent are rated M, which are the fastest growing segment of the 10 billion-dollar video game industry; the top selling games reward players for killing police officers, maiming elderly persons, running over pedestrians and committing despicable acts of murder and torture upon women and racial minorities.”

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A Cure For Age Spots

By Elisa Cruz

For many individuals, the elements around them can get the best of their skin over time. Most individuals will see some form of skin damage eventually in their life and when it comes to sun damage, the best treatment is prevention. By wearing sunscreen and preventing excessive exposure to the sun, it is possible to help prevent lasting skin damage.

Some of the most prevalent symptoms of the elements are age spots, caused by lifelong exposure to the sun. Overtime melanin in the skin can begin to cluster and form marks on the skin that do not fade. These marks are generally harmless though they can obviously be a sign that your skin has received a little too much attention from the sun. With this comes the risk of skin cancer. It is important to be aware of this link and to be proactive in getting your skin thoroughly examined for any suspicious marks, moles, or discolorations. Age spots may be harmless on their own but many people dont find them aesthetically pleasing. There are options for removal that can be discussed with a skin care professional.

When looking to shed top layers of skin to eliminate various types of skin discolorations, there are a few basic options. There are creams, peels, lasers, and more recently, light. Creams are meant to bleach age spots, eliminating them in time with hydroquinone and other acids which promote the shedding of dark spots. They are not always effective and their effectiveness often depends on the spots, their color, and the skin type. They also can cause swelling and redness as side effects on sensitive skin. They generally take longer to work as well, requiring a number of treatments.

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Chemical peels generally also use acids of various kinds to eliminate discolorations, spots, and fine lines on the skin. Peels are generally effective after a number of treatments depending on the severity of the discoloration. Chemical peels are usually pretty non-invasive and can be performed in little time. Laser treatments usually burn of the top layer of skin and scabbing can be expected as the skin heals. Some lasers are considered very effective in rejuvenating the skin to its most radiant state possible. Laser treatment for age spots can be quite expensive however, costing thousands of dollars at a time depending on the size of the areas treated. Laser treatment generally works within one treatment however, and may last up to five years with good sun protection.

Intense pulsed light therapy is another option for those looking to rid themselves of age spots. The light does not damage the outermost skin layer making recover time shorter. Yet a number of treatments are usually required to receive viable results. This light therapy has been shown to remove all types of skin discolorations and conditions from below and may last for about a year with proper skin protection. As always, it is important to ask questions and to be realistic with your expectations. Be aware of your skin and help to prevent damage in the first place by wearing sun screen and avoiding prolonged sun exposure.

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents
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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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Category:Sports
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Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars
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Honda Civic tops Canada’s list of most stolen cars

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 1999 and 2000 year model Honda Civic SiR tops the list of Canada’s most stolen cars.

Consumer popularity also assures the cars will be popular with thieves. Its the second year in a row the Honda SiR has topped the list.

Rick Dubin Vice President of Investigations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada said “The Civics are easy targets.”

Dubin said that once stolen, the cars are most often sold to “chop shops” where thieves completely dismantle the vehicles. The automobile’s individual parts are worth more than the entire car.

The sheer numbers of the cars and their lack of theft deterrent systems make them thieves’ preferred choices.

1999 and 2000 Honda Civics do not come with an electronic immobilizer, however all Hondas from 2001 and onward are equipped with an immobilizer. Immobilizers will be mandatory on all new cars sold beginning September 2007. The devices enable an engine computer to recognize an electronic code in the key. If the code in the key and the engine don’t match exactly, the vehicle can’t be started.

In third place was the 2004 Subaru Impreza, while the 1999 Acura Integra came in fourth, with the 1994 Honda Civic rounding out the top five.

In sixth place, the 1998 Acura Integra, and the 1993 Dodge Shadow completed seventh.

When asked why early model vehicles are selected, he said that, “auto thieves continue to find it easier to steal older vehicles lacking an IBC-approved immobilizer. We’ve seen this trend developing for several years, and these results confirm it.”

Another Honda automobile, the 1996 year model Civic filled eighth place, with the 2000 German Audi TT Quattro in ninth.

The American 1996 Chevrolet/GMC Blazer rounded out the top ten.

None of the above cars had an electronic immobilizer.

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An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer
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An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats.

Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them.

Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left.

The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents andin their cars.

Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns.

Some were prepared. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash.

The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates.

When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response.

The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters.

Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS Act”and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fireto prepare. “Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.”

MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters.

The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School.

Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization that works with animal welfare organizations and provide assistance in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies.

MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets.

It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest.

Firefighters and residents reported loss of wildlife and animals. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million.

MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals.

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