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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Purpose


"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."
~Robert Byrne

As 2009 comes to a close, a question: As you look back on your own actions this year, have you acted most often in alignment with your purpose? Your values and character? Ah, then what a fine year you have experienced! If this has been a difficult year, I invite you to reflect on those times when you acted in violation of your purpose. In either case, decide now to increase in 2010 those actions that best align with your purpose. A wondrous year lies ahead.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What might have been....


"It is never too late to be what you might have been."
~George Eliot
Just a few days left in the year and you're likely wondering where the months went, each one flying by faster than the last. Didn't accomplish everything you'd hoped? Not to worry. The great news is that each day gives us a new opportunity to move forward, to stretch, grow: to become the best you. Enjoy this holiday week and the pleasures of the season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Chance


If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance.
~Andrea Boydston

It is one of the finest miracles of our existence that we have a new chance to better ourselves each and every day. Revel in the challenges and the gifts each day brings and meditate on how tomorrow you will attack that challenge more effectively or focus more on the present moment when the next gift unfolds. Then the next day, wake up, breathe, and attack the day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Change is the future


"Change is the process by which the future invades our lives."
~Alvin Toffler
Change is coming...every minute, every hour, every day. How we prepare for and respond to change determines the impact on our lives and defines our future. The future is coming in the shape of the New Year. How are you preparing? How are you responding? The future will either invade your life as a blessing or a hardship... the choice, as always, is entirely yours.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't Interrupt


"The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
~Chinese Proverb

Today I invite you to embrace possibilities. We are rocketing toward the end of the year and the beginning of the next. While I do not subscribe to the concept of New Year's resolutions, many of you do. As you think about your year ahead, embrace the possibility that your wildest dreams will gain traction. At the very least, resolve to get out of the way of those who will be chasing their dreams with intention and action. And why not have one of those chasers be you?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Intentional Kindness

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
~Mother Teresa

It never ceases to amaze me that people continue to need to be reminded to be civil, kind and caring. But they do – which means you probably need this reminder too. Today, challenge yourself in every interaction to be intentionally kind. While interacting with your families – i.e. look in your son’s eyes and say “Have I told you lately how glad I am that you’re my son?” While ordering your coffee at Starbucks – i.e. let that woman ahead of you in line who seems to be in such a rush. While in a meeting with your subordinate, find something about their contribution to compliment them on. Try it – the effort takes almost no additional time or effort but the impact will be priceless.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oakhurst Tree Lighting Ceremony

The annual Oakhurst Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be this Saturday, December 5th at the world famous Talking Bear Corner. Hosted by CENTURY 21 Ditton Realty and sponsored by Sierra Telephone, participants may endulge in free hotdogs, hot apple cider and Christmas carols. The ceremony kicks off at 5pm.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

Brought to you by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Nov. 5, 2009Dear C.A.R. Members:More good news for consumers, our members, and the housing market recovery. Following the Senate’s favorable vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted 403 to 12 to extend the home buyer tax credit, expanding the parameters to include existing homeowners and not just first-time buyers. As you may know, C.A.R. and our partners at NAR have worked for months urging Congress and the Senate to extend and expand this crucial piece of legislation. We expect President Obama to sign the legislation in short order.As it now stands, the federal tax credit will be extended through April 30, 2010, with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to the deadline. First-time home buyers will continue to be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners will be eligible for a reduced credit of up to $6,500. To qualify for the $6,500 credit, existing homeowners must have lived in their current residences for at least five years. The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.Under additional provisions included in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The legislation maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.Nationwide, more than 1.4 million first-time home buyers were given the opportunity to become homeowners as a result of the Federal Tax Credit for First-time Home Buyers. We expect that number to increase dramatically in the months ahead with this new legislation in place. Thank you to our members who called, wrote, and e-mailed their congressional representatives and voiced their support for the home buyer tax credit. Your voices were heard – today’s vote is a direct result of your actions and involvement.

Sincerely,James Liptak2009 President
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thought For The Day


"You overlook what is already 'here' as you chase after 'there'; you miss the 'sacred now' as you ponder your 'next step'; you forget to be grateful for what 'is' as you prey after 'more'. You search, struggle, and strive, but you never arrive because you can't get past the thought that something is missing."
~Robert Holden
In all our ceaseless yearning for things we believe are missing in our lives, it is a tragedy that what we truly miss are the immense gifts surrounding us RIGHT NOW. I do believe in taking action daily towards the goals we have set for ourselves, our associations and our communities. AND, the power to do so is derived from the realization of all the amazing good in our lives already. A child's smile, a co-worker's praise, a lovely sunrise or sunset, a new bloom on a plant, a favorite song, the list is endless. May your appreciation for these things be endless as well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is It Just Me?

Just days after hearing about the latest celebrity sex scandal the tight knit communities of Eastern Madera County have been rocked with their own. One of the most well known and prominent business men in the area surrendered himself to Fresno authorities on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14. There is no question of whether or not he really did it, the evidence was caught on a hidden camera in the hotel room where the incident occurred. As I type this you can hear in the distance the sound of pitchforks being gathered and torches being lit. The lynch mob will have no mercy for this man.
So, is it just me, or is anyone questioning the mother's motives? Where is the lynch mob for her? If you read the discussion board on the Fresno Bee's website 99% of the comments posted are against this business man, but there are no concerns voiced against this 13 year old girls mother.
Now, I don't know about you, but when I was in my early teens my mother was as protective as a grizzly bear. I remember in particular (at the age of 14) not being allowed to attend my boyfriend's birthday party because I would be the only girl in attendance. I bucked and fought my mother throughout my teenage years and even into my early 20's. Looking back now I realize how difficult a job she had dealing with me. I, like many other teenagers, felt that I was grown up enough to handle myself. It's too bad that the 13 year old in question in this case didn't have my mother to deal with.
A mother's first and most primary job is to care for her young. What on earth was this mother thinking?
Uh huh, I think we all can figure that one out.....$$$$$$. She arranged an elaborate scheme to get this business man into a hotel room out of town, placed a hidden camera in his room and then sacrificed the physical and mental well being of her 13 year old daughter by placing her in the room with this man and allowing this inappropriate contact to occur. Then, she repeatedly blackmailed him and walked away with over $200,000.
This man will be punished accordingly by the courts and justice system. I can only hope that the mother will be dealt with in the same fashion.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's Your Line?

Some thoughts about memorizing and using planned and practiced verbiage [“scripts.”]

Do we frequently talk to people who “know” their verbiage [scripts]? You bet!

Earlier today I was lying in bed planning my day when I began thinking about “planned scripts” and, really how I might already be trained as a checker at Von’s or Raley’s or any supermarket fro that matter!

Now as I approach the check stand I read the checkers name badge and I say:

“Hi Ann,
How are you today?
I found everything that I was looking for,
Oh, you are out of Gillette Trac 2 razor blades but then I’m good for a couple of days anyway,
Today I would like plastic bags.
Yes, I would like to purchase one additional reusable cloth bag and use the one I brought with me.
I would like to donate $1.00 of my change to “Beat Breast Cancer” or for whatever the cause Du jour’.
I did donate out front to the Salvation Army,
No, I am not going to take one of those cute “Supermarket kitty’s” home today but they sure are cute!
I noticed the “$5.00 Friday” special at the deli counter and I took advantage of it!
The “15% off Special” at the laundry is very much appreciated, especially on my “medium starched” shirts.
By the way, how much of a discount do I get on gasoline today?
How long is my discount valid?
How many gallons am I allowed to purchase at that discounted price?
May I fill more than one car if I can’t get the 180 gallons in one car gas tank?
Yes, it has really cooled off I guess summer is over but then it is always hot for the BIG Fresno Fair!
I think I’ll attend the horse races this year.
I had a great summer,
I did not spend a lot of time at the lake but
I did go out of town.
I was able to work out of town because I took my computer with me.
Real estate is unbelievable right now!
Do you know anybody who would like to buy or sell now or in the near future?
We close about one transaction every day.
The prices are lower than a couple of years ago, although
I notice that you have “thousands of lower prices everyday” here also!
Oh, no need to bag the milk Ann,
However I would like the steaks and chicken in separate plastic bags
And please “double bag” the bottles of wine, in paper bags of course.
Oh, and only one wine bottle to a “double bag” please but then you know that don’t you, sorry!
I noticed that I saved $5.87 by using my Von’s card,
And I saved $76.34 by using coupons, Thank you!
Thank you for the kitty food coupons, yes I notice that are “good for 5 days,”
I’ll not forget to retrieve my coins of the coin dispenser,
I will not require any help to my car, thanks for asking though.
See you next time Ann!”

I am out the door and on my way!

Super market checkers go through this spiel literally hundreds of time a day! They know their “lines”, heck you even know their lines!

I frequently drive through Carl’s Jr. in search of a “large iced tea” on a hot summer day.
Without fail, every, every, every time when I drive up to the speaker to order they say:

“HI! Thanks for stopping at Carl’s Jr.! Would you like a Teriyaki chicken sandwich, fries and GO BIG on that drink today?” Not once in a while, every time! I hate Teriyaki!

When you dine out and ask the waitress for a “doggie box” because you could not finish the 13 pound hamburger; as the waitress removes your plate what does she always ask??? You know, go ahead…say it:

“Did we leave any room for desert today?”

Duh! Even when she watched you pig out and knows you ought to have your stomach pumped just so you can to get to your car! But the point is that she asks every time, not just once in a while! Why? Because they do sell cheesecake, carrot or chocolate cake “to go” and these items are “huge mark up” items! (Huge markup = bigger profits =more money available to reinvest into their business or put into their saving account)

“The answers are in the questions” so they ask questions.

The supermarket checker asks, the waitresses ask, the drive through attendant asks, the car dealer asks. They are all trained to ask and to continue to ask questions to keep the sale going. They use these successful techniques on you and me everyday. If we use this technique with our clients we will keep our sales going as well. Not knowing what to say is no good and uncomfortable. Let’s learn the verbiage [scripts.] Soon these lines will roll right our tongues, our question asking techniques will be smooth, purposeful and successful! Take the time to learn the scripts!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Big Meadow Fire Update

Current Situation: Yesterday firefighters completed fireline near the Tamarack Flat Campground Road. Smoke conditions in Yosemite Valley, foothill communities and other areas of the park are improving significantly. Today firefighters will continue restoring roads, trails and fireline to their natural condition, mopping up hot spots, and removing hazard trees in order to open the roads as soon as possible.
Although road closures will remain in place through the Labor Day weekend, Yosemite Valley is open and accessible from Highway 140 via El Portal and Highway 41 from Wawona. In addition, visitors on the east side of the park can still access Tuolumne Meadows, Olmsted Point, and White Wolf via Highway 395 from Lee Vining. Hodgdon Meadow Campground remains open to visitors.

Special Announcements: The evacuation order for the community of Foresta will be lifted at 10:00 AM Friday, September 4, 2009. Residents and property owners with proof of residency or ownership will be allowed unrestricted access to private property and unburned areas in the immediate vicinity of Foresta.

If you are attending the Strawberry Festival at Camp Mather this weekend, please use the Evergreen Road. The Cherry Oil Road is closed through Monday due to traffic accessing fire camp at Drew Meadow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Update on Big Meadow Fire

Courtesy of NPS and USFS:

Current Situation: Firefighters made significant progress yesterday on the northwest flank of the fire near Crane Flat. Burning operations were successful in stopping the forward progress of the fire along Tioga Road and towards Crane Flat Campground. Today, firefighters will continue to construct and hold the line near Tamarack Flat Campground Road. On the southern end of the fire, efforts are underway to return roads, trails and fire lines to their natural condition.

Special Announcements: The Big Oak Flat Road is closed to through traffic at the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station to the junction of the El Portal Road. In addition, the Tioga Road is closed to through traffic from White Wolf to the Crane Flat Gas Station. All road closures will remain in effect through Labor Day Weekend. Hodgdon Meadow Campground remains accessible to visitors. Visitors on the east side of the park can still access Tuolumne Meadows, Olmsted Point, and White Wolf.

If you are attending the Strawberry Festival at Camp Mather this weekend please use the Evergreen Road. The Cherry Oil Road is closed through Monday due to traffic accessing fire camp at Drew Meadow.

Fire Status
Fire Name: Big Meadow
Geographic Location: Foresta, CA
Acres Burned: 7,240 acres (11.3 square miles)
Start Date: 8/26/2009
Percent Contained: 70 percent
Expected Containment Date: September 10, 2009
Cause: Escaped Prescribed Fire
Injuries: 5, minor
Structures Threatened: 50 residences, 1 commercial,
25 outbuildings
Structures Destroyed: 0

Resources
Crews: 32
Engines: 94
Helicopters: 4
Air Tankers: 6
Dozers: 8
Water Tenders: 19

Total Personnel Assigned: 1,282
Estimated Cost: $10.8 million

Public Meeting: A fire update meeting is scheduled for 6:30pm tonight (September 3rd) at Tenaya Elementary School, 19177 Hwy 120 in Groveland.
Evacuations: The community of Foresta.
Road Closures: The Big Oak Flat Road from Crane Flat Gas Station to the intersection of El Portal Road and Big Oak Flat Road. The Tioga Road from Big Oak Flat Road to White Wolf. Road closure information is available by calling 209-372-0200.
Campground and Trail Closures: Tamarack and Crane Flat Campgrounds are closed. Trails closures include:
Old Big Oak Flat Trailhead to El Capitan, Rockslides to El Capitan, Tamarack Creek to El Capitan.

Fire Information: Fire information phone lines are staffed from 6am until 9pm. Phone numbers are:
209-372-0327 and 209-372-0669.

Cooperating Agencies: US Forest Service, Mariposa County Sheriff, Mariposa County Fire, CAL FIRE, CHP, American Red Cross, Delaware North Parks and Resort at Yosemite and PG&E.

Thoughts From A Dumped Dog

One week ago today my life was a mess. I don't remember all that happened but I must have done something really bad because my old masters abandoned me. I thought we were just going for a car ride. The next thing I knew I was alone in a strange neighborhood and my masters were nowhere in sight. I ran and ran for a long time trying to find them but they had disappeared. I got so hot and tired that I finally just lay down to take a nap. It never occurred to me that my napping spot was in the middle of the road. After all, I'm just a puppy, barely 3 months old (I think).
Anyway, I was laying there contemplating my next move when this nice lady pulled over in her car. When she got out and started talking to me I was really scared of her. I even barked and growled. But there was something so good about the way her voice sounded and the way she smelled that I finally crept up to her. I was so nervous that I lost control of my bladder. She didn't care. She picked me up off of the road and put me in her car. Her car was nice and cool and she kept using that soft voice and rubbing my ears. I settled right down.
We went to a lot of houses that morning but no one knew who I was. We visited the local veterinarian offices but they didn't know who I was either. She had to go to work so I got to meet a lot of really nice people. They even let me take a nap right there in the lobby.
Finally, the nice lady put me back in the car and said we were going to her house. On the way I got really sick to my tummy and vomited all over the nice lady's car. I thought she would really be mad but she just lifted me onto her lap and told me it was OK. When we got to her house I saw this big white dog in the yard. She was pretty scary at first but after a few minutes we made friends and started playing together. The nice lady told me her name was Bella. I got to play with Bella all day. I had so much fun!!
That evening I met the nice ladies husband. He patted my head and gave me dog cookies. I got my own bowl of food. When it was bedtime the nice lady and man brought me inside and let me sleep on a big, soft bed on the floor with Bella. I felt so safe and was so tired that I went right to sleep and never even felt like crying.
The next day the man and lady were very happy with me for not crying and not making any messes in the house. They let me play in the yard with Bella again while they went to work.
On Saturday they both stayed home with Bella and I and played in the yard with us. I was really getting attached to them.
On Sunday they were sitting by the pool together watching Bella and I run around the yard. They were having a really serious conversation, although I couldn't understand the words. I went over to the lady and looked into her eyes. She looked down at me, put her arm around my little body, pulled me close and said "Welcome home".
Now, the nice lady and man are my new mom and dad and Bella is my new big sister. I have a new collar (well, a hand-me-down from Bella, but it's new to me!!), have had my first shots and toe nail trim at Oakhurst Vet...even had my first real bath.
Mom says we have to work on the carsick thing. She also keeps telling me that I'm having my romeo parts removed. I don't know what that means but I guess I'll find out.
I really wish I could remember what bad thing I did so I could warn other animals not to do the same thing. It's really scary to be abandoned. I was lucky that my new mom found me. I know that other animals don't always end up with great people like I did.
To all of the Masters who read this, please don't dump your animals. If you can't take care of them anymore take them to a shelter or call the SPCA or Sierra Cares for help.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another Summer is Drawing to a Close

Another summer in the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills is drawing to an end. The kids are already back to school, the rivers have stopped flowing, the hills are all golden and there seems to be a fragile quality to the sunlight.

Boat trailers are heading south instead of north. The streets in town are quiet after 6pm.

Despite low water levels in Bass Lake the summer season was another success. Most visitors appreciated the fact that there was more beach to enjoy. Although income for all businesses was down a bit, the overall opinion is that our economy is slowly crawling back out of the mire.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just Spit it Out!!

Ok, back on my soap box.

The basis for all relationships, be it whether they are friend to friend, boss to employee, spouse to spouse, sibling to sibling, etc comes down to one thing.......communication. If you don't communicate, how do you expect the other person to know what you are thinking or feeling?

I have learned to talk to my husband and tell him what is going on. Not a huge stroke of genius here. I can't read his mind so I can't expect him to read mine. How on earth do buyers, sellers and agents expect each other to do the same? COMMUNICATE!! Put everything into words and then PUT IT IN WRITING. Do not assume anything in a real estate transaction. Remember what ASSUME means???

Ideal Scenario # 1
"Oh, by the way, I know the shelves are probably not going to stay. They are just rack shelves in the garage, not attached, but we really want them. Let's say in our purchase contract that we want the garage shelves to remain." Reply, "Hey, that saves us from moving them; but we would like some small compensation for them. Let's counter back that we want XX amount for the shelves, paid separate from escrow." "Agreed. Sign the counter offer and open escrow."

Real Scenario #1
Shelves are rack metal shelves, not attached to anything, considered by DRE definition as personal property. Listing states that all personal property will be removed prior to escrow closing. Purchase contract does not address shelves in garage. Listing agent makes deal with bankruptcy attorney to pay for weedeating and yard cleanup in exchange for shelves in garage. Listing agent contracts for yard cleanup, has work done and removes shelving from garage. Escrow closes, buyers take possession and immediately inquire as to the whereabouts of their garage shelves. Threaten to turn in listing agent to DRE, local board, etc. Listing agent patiently explains difference between real and personal property and points out that garage shelves were not addressed in purchase agreement. More threats follow. Listing agent, with no time to deal with DRE or Board complaints, agrees against his better judgement to return shelves. Now, listing agent is out $$ for yard cleanup with no compensation from bankruptcy attorney.

Bottom line, had the shelves been addressed in the purchase agreement or had the listing agent contacted the selling agent and explained the deal he made with the bankruptcy attorney, countless hours and needless stress would have been avoided by all parties.

Even if you feel you are being redundant in restating your intentions in a real estate deal, do it. Make sure EVERYTHING is spelled out in the listing agreement and the purchase contract. If you are unsure of something, get it RESOLVED PRIOR to the close of escrow.

And, as always, GET IT IN WRITING!!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Top 10 and Holding




Century 21 Ditton Realty has maintained their top 10 position for the top 100 Century 21 companies in the Sierra Nevada for June 2009.
REALTORS® Scott Runtzel, John Bortz and Julie Gerken have been named in the top 100 Century 21 agents for the month of June 2009 for their outstanding sales productivity.














Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Extreme Heat Expected This Weekend

A high pressure system has settled over most of California. This high pressure will cause temperatures throughout the state to skyrocket this weekend. The San Joaquin Valley is expecting temps to rise as high as 110. The Sierra Nevada's will not be much better with temperature in Yosemite Valley expected to reach as high as 104.

If you are planning any outdoor activities this weekend take extra precautions. Avoid strenuous activity, keep hydrated with plenty of water and use lots of sunscreen. Make sure outdoor pets have access to plenty of shade and water. Do not leave children unattended while playing outside.

Temperatures are likely to drop a bit the first part of next week but will remain unseasonably high throughout next weekend.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bass Lake is Fine for 4th of July

Message from the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau:

June 24, 2009
Dear Partners in Tourism:
It has been brought to our attention that false information has and will be delivered to the public via Channel 47 News. 47 News has aired a (more at 5) story that is causing a great deal of concern about the 4th of July fireworks at Bass Lake and the closing of Bass Lake. They have stated that the health department is doing testing of the water to check the level of bacteria present, and that if there is a high level, the fireworks will be canceled and the lake shut down to swimmers. What they are not stating is that this is NORMAL testing and the story was not told in full. This is apparently channel 47's attempt at getting viewers to tune in at 5pm.
Please alert your front line people that Bass Lake is fine, there are no problems and the fireworks will go on as planned. We appreciate your continued support and wish all of you a safe and successful 4th of July weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Avoid Email When It Matters

The age of non-communicating communication began many years ago with the introduction of the answering machine. We all placed calls we didn't want to and prayed for the machine to pick up so we wouldn't actually have to talk to the person. To this day we still "screen our calls". If you call my home in the evening chances are you'll get the machine.

The introduction of email was a blessing and a curse. You never have to actually speak with anyone anymore if you don't want to. Email, instant messaging, texting, Twittering, Blogging and online social pages (Facebook, Myspace, etc) have completely taken over. Who really ever uses their cell phones anymore to TALK???

Unfortunately, all of this instant and hassle free communication comes with a price. We lose touch with the personal side of friendships so easily. And the worst thing that happens; you send an email intended to be friendly, the recipient misunderstands your intention, and the #%$@ hits the fan.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE EMAIL. I love instant messaging. I love Facebook. I appreciate the fact that I can take my time, gathering my thoughts, typing in just the right words to get my point across, perhaps saving the draft to re-read before I actually send it or post it. However, when it is all "typed and done" the recipient cannot possibly hear the "tone behind the words".

Has this ever happened to you? You send an email to a friend, relative or acquaintance intended to be friendly. The email is received and completely misunderstood. Your friend interprets your email as a written attack instead of what it was intended to be: a simple statement of the facts. Maybe they are having a bad day, perhaps just had a fight with their significant other or boss. Whatever the reason, the damage is done. Had your communication taken place over the phone your friend would have heard the warm tone of your voice, the giggles and laughter underneath. Now that it is "typed and done" the damage is irreversible. The result, a scarred friendship that may never recover.

So, if you are communicating with someone who matters, do yourself a favor. Take a few of your valuable minutes and pick up the phone. Just hope that the person you are calling isn't "screening".

CENTURY 21 Ditton Realty Named in Top 10

CENTURY 21 Ditton Realty has been ranked in the top 10 real estate offices in the Sierra Nevada by CENTURY 21. Scott Runtzel and Julie Gerken have been named in the top 100 agents in the Sierra Nevada for their outstanding sales performance in May.

Other honorable mentions for their sales productivity in May include: Laurie Humphries, Alan Murray, Melissa Buller, Jessica Rubottom, Kandi Papike, Jacque Hohweiler, Janet Wheeler, Bob Watt and Theresa Williams.

Way to go!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Household Hazardous Waste Event

California Integrated Waste Management will be holding a free hazardous waste event June 20th at Yosemite High School in Oakhurst from 9am to 1pm. This event is FREE for residents of Madera County.

Allowable items include: motor oil and filters, antifreeze, brake flued, battery grease, flourescent lamps and tubing, insect spray, weed killer, pool chemicals, pesticides, ammonia based cleaners, drain cleaners, aerosol cans, oven cleaners, spot removers, household batteries, wood preservatives, solvents, art supplies, paint remover, photographic chemicals, televisions, VCR's, computers and monitors, sharps and needles.

Quantities are limited to 15 gallons of liquids of 125 lbs of solids.

For more information on this free event contact (559) 675-7817.

Be Wary of Reverse Mortgages

Article courtesy of CNNMoney.com

U.S. regulator: Be wary of reverse mortgages

OCC's John Dugan says the loans aimed at older homeowners could target a vulnerable segment.
June 8, 2009: 1:27 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Reverse mortgages could be the next subprime mortgage product to experience rapid growth while taking advantage of a vulnerable segment of the population, top U.S. bank regulator John Dugan said Monday.

Dugan, who heads the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and supervises some of the nation's largest banks, said regulators are crafting guidelines to ensure that robust consumer protections are in place for reverse mortgages.

"While reverse mortgages can provide real benefits, they also have some of the same characteristics as the riskiest types of subprime mortgages -- and that should set off alarm bells," Dugan said in prepared remarks to an American Bankers Association conference.
Reverse mortgages are complicated loans targeted at homeowners who are at least 62 years old, and allow older Americans to live off the equity in their homes as they age.

In a reverse mortgage, the homeowner receives money from the lender, which does not have to be repaid as long as the borrower lives in the home.

Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500), the largest provider of U.S. home mortgage funding, had about a 90% share of the reverse mortgage market at the end of 2008. Many large banks such as Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) are big providers of reverse mortgages.

The great majority of reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and pose limited credit risk. But Dugan said a different class of reverse mortgages -- "proprietary" products -- offer less consumer protections.

Dugan said that as the elderly American population grows, there could be a significant pickup in demand for proprietary reverse mortgages, which he said bear significant similarities to the type of subprime products that helped fuel the housing boom and bust, resulting in a widespread credit crisis and recession.

"I believe the critical lesson here is the need to act early, before problems escalate," Dugan said.
He said regulators need to set more standards for proprietary reverse mortgages. Regulators also need to be vigilant about misleading marketing and need to crack down on any lenders who try to bundle a reverse mortgage with other financial products, such as an annuity or life insurance product, Dugan said.

If those actions are not enough, Dugan said "more definitive regulatory standards may need to be adopted, and the OCC is prepared to do that."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stay the Course

Stay The Course by BJ Gallagher

Our journey of life is about progress, not perfection. It's not about doing one thing 100% better -it's a matter of doing 100 things, 1% better each day. Progress is evolutionary not revolutionary, and most days we measure our progress in inches, not miles. What matters most is showing up for your life whether you feel like it or not. Ask yourself, "What two or three little things can I do today that would move me forward?" You'll be amazed at how much distance you can cover by taking it in increments. The little things add up; the inches turn to miles; and we string together our efforts like so many pearls. Before long, look what you have -a whole strand!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cooler Weather For Remainder of Week

The National Weather Service is calling for high temperatures in the low to mid 70's and lows in the 40's for the rest of the week due to a low pressure system moving through California. This system will bring us more rain and thunder storms with snow levels dropping to approximately 8,000 feet by Saturday.

If you are planning on visiting the high country over the next week take plenty of warm clothing and be prepared for any and all types of weather.

Credit Card Users Beware of Gottschalks???

I am pasting a copy of an email received a few moments ago into this article. The email is regarding using a credit card at the local Gottschalks location in Oakhurst.

"I am sending this out as a general precaution. Monday I used a credit card at Gottschalks that was declined a few moments later at Raleys. Since then my card, although I still have it in my possession, has been used at a gas station in Coarsegold, Taco Bell in Oakhusrt, and a WalMart (not sure where) as well as a couple other places. I don't understand how this could happen, but it did--so maybe beware of using a card at Gottschalks? "

This could be the result of a disgruntled employee angry at the Liquidator's or just some dishonest person. In any event, it would probably be a wise idea to use cash if you are going to shop the Gottschalks liquidation sales.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stormy Spring Weather Brings Much Needed Rain

More thunder storms will bring heavy rain and winds to the area today as a trough of warm, moist air hangs over the Sierra Nevada's. The US Forest Service is on alert for wild fires started by down strikes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take Time to Smell the Roses


My husband and I lead a very busy life and I have found that I lose track of the days as they speed by at 200 MPH. We have been wanting to get out of town for a few days but our current work load isn't accommodating that little pipe dream. Soooo, this last holiday weekend we hunkered down at home. Our computer was on the fritz so there was no email to answer. We let our anwering machine screen our calls and we let our cell phones go to voice mail.
We enjoyed two days together putzing around the yard, sharing home-cooked meals instead of take out, watching the Indy 500 and sleeping in. We spent countless hours watching Bella play in the pool and chase her toys. All in all, we had a wonderful staycation.

I have come to the realization over the last couple of months that it becomes easy to take the good things in life for granted: a wonderful, loving husband, a great dog, a beautiful home, a happy family. As we have witnessed on the evening news over and over and over, these things can disappear in the blink of an eye. I have made a pact with myself to take a few moments everyday and "smell the roses".

We all have "roses" in our life. Your roses could be a loving spouse or partner, a supportive family, good health, a stable job, etc. Don't let yourself get so caught up in the thorns of your daily grind that you ignore the beauty and fragrance of the blooms that surround you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Link Exchange

CENTURY 21 Ditton Realty has instituted a link exchange on their website www.Century21DittonRealty.com. The link exchange is open to all local, national and international businesses who wish to drive more traffic to their websites. For more information on the link exchange email Belinda Ditton at bk.ditton@c21ditton.com or use the link below:

http://www.century21dittonrealty.com/p/31975/Yosemite-Real-Estate---Link-Exchange.aspx

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bass Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. BBQ Sunday

The Bass Lake Volunteer Fire Department annual Memorial Day BBQ is this Sunday, May 24th, at the Bass Lake Fire Department on Road 274 (next to the Government Center). Stop by from 11 am to 3pm for great food and drink. All proceeds from food sales benefit the volunteer fire department.

Annual Memorial Day Breakfast May 23rd

Joing the Amvets Post 1997 for their Annual Memorial Day Breakfast, Saturday morning at the Ole Kettle Restaurant beginning at 10am. Guest speakers and souvenirs. Space is limited so reserve your seats now!! Call Dave Wolin at 559-658-2281.

Coarsegold Peddler's Fair Begins Today



The Coarsegold Antique and Collectible Show begins today, going through the weekend and wrapping up Monday, May 25th. Take advantage of free admission and great on-site parking. Browse arts & crafts, collectibles and antiques. Lots of great food and refreshements. The Coarsegold Peddler's Fair is fun for the entire family!! Don't miss it!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remember Them This Weekend

As the weather gradually grows warmer and another Memorial Day swiftly approaches, thoughts of barbecues and picnics begin to surface in our minds.

Many of us look forward with anticipation to the three-day weekend, taking advantage of the extra day off to do some traveling, or simply to catch up on some much needed relaxation. But more often than not, we forget what Memorial Day really means, and very rarely do we ask ourselves why we celebrate Memorial Day. Of course, those of you who have served in the armed forces or have family members who have done so are well aware of the history and meaning of Memorial Day, some of you painfully so. The media often makes a small comment in regards to why we celebrate Memorial Day, and newspapers often publish a small article, but otherwise the general consensus is that Memorial Day is a time for warm-weather fun and happy celebrations.

This is simply to remind those of you who need reminding that Memorial Day was originally not so much a celebration as it was a day of solemnity, a day of respect and remembrance for those who have served their country and have died doing so. Regardless of whether you support the current war or not, or even the previous wars throughout history, the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of soldiers went to war for the United States of America. They fought hard and they fought well, and they fought for reasons that may or may not have been righteous. But they pledged themselves to the cause, because they believed in the United States, and they believed in themselves as a soldier.

And they died for it.

Memorial Day was first established in 1868 in order to honor the soldiers who had fallen during the Civil War. It was initially only recognized by first New York and then the remainder of the northern states, and wasn't followed by the south until after World War I. While many states at that time typically had their own specific days of remembrance, (and some still do), Memorial Day became has become the national standard.

Unfortunately, over the years, many Americans, especially those who have been untouched by war and the strife it causes, have forgotten what Memorial Day truly means, despite the fact that "memorial" being the very title of the holiday is a pretty significant clue.

Many of my relatives served in WWII but I really never could comprehend or understand the sacrifices that they made until my husband and I attended the WWII Memorial Dedication in Washington DC. Thousands of veterans and their families flew to DC to attend the ceremony. We were honored enough to meet a Medal of Honor recipient on our flight from Denver to DC. It was truly awe inspiring to witness the respect, admiration and generosity bestowed upon these people throughout the week-long festivities. I can remember watching the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and crying my eyes out along with the hundreds of other people in attendance. The day of the actual dedication ceremony we sat among thousands of veterans and their families and the feeling of unity and patriotism was overwelming. It made my heart swell with joy and pride that I was blessed enough to attend such a historic event.

So, this weekend, take a few moments to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day. If you have a veteran in your family give him or her a call and thank them for everything that they have done for our country.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What Type of Hummingbird Are You?

What Type of Hummingbird Are You? Seem like an odd question to ask? Bear with me.

Yesterday was a day of relaxation. My husand and I spent some time splashing around the pool and lounging in the sun, enjoying the peace and quiet of the day. There was a pleasant breeze and I could smell the roses. Bella (my lab) joined in the fun by taking a dip in the pool and then commandeering a lounge chair for herself to dry off.

While soaking in some sun I became fascinated by the frantic activity of the hummingbirds at their feeders and I began to make some mental notes on their behavior. We have two feeders hanging from a large oak tree, with about 20 to 30 hummingbirds all fighting over who gets them. (The fact that they fight at all is hilarious. One or two hummingbirds consuming an entire feeder of nectar would be like my husband and I drinking the swimming pool!!) There is plenty for all but yet they quarrel and chase one another around, exerting so much energy that they have to fly up to a branch to take a rest from time to time.

I came to the conclusion that the hummingbirds fit into three categories.

The first category is the Alphas. The Alphas sit on a branch above the feeders and chase away any other birds that come near, including other species of birds who are simply flying through and minding their own business. They spend so much time fighting and quarreling with other birds that they have no time to take advantage of the nectar that is available to them.

The second category is the Conspirators. The Conspirators get together in a group and send one volunteer to divert the Alpha's attention. While the Alphas are busy chasing the diverters the other Conspirators feed frantically until the Alpha returns to her post.

The third category are the Producer's. The Producer's don't bother getting involved with all of the fighting and quarreling going on around them and they show very little interest in the feeders. Instead, they fly calmly from flower to flower in the yard (roses, petunias, jasmine, gardenia, sunflowers, daisies, lavendar, etc), taking their time and getting much more out of their actions than all of the Alpha's and Conspirators combined. They don't become focused on one flower; they tap all resources provided to them in their environment to fill their needs.

Simple and effective and no drama involved.

I jokingly told my husband that their behavior reminded me of working in Real Estate. People working on commission based income can generally be placed into one of the above categories. Of course, this is not limited to Real Estate. This behavior is being played out in sales offices around the world even as I write this article.

Every office has someone who wants all the business for themselves and will not hesitate to step on a co-worker to get it. Every office has a group of Conspirator's or pot stirrers as I like to call them. They are so busy forming cliches, conspiring amongst themselves, worrying about what everyone else in the office is doing and trying to figure out how to get more of the nectar that they ignore all of the resources around them. And then there are the Producers, the people that don't involve themselves in the office drama and gossip. They use their time and resources to make productive phone calls, emails and contacts all day. The producers are generally the one's that show up early, leave late and are always working on another project or deal.

I tend to think of myself as a Producer but I must admit that at times I have been sucked into the Conspirator's web. Once you are there it is difficult to extricate yourself without ticking someone off or hurting someones feelings.

I have made a point to avoid Alpha's. There is simply no good that ever comes from a relationship with an Alpha . Everything always is in the Alpha's favor and if it isn't, YOU end up being the bad guy. When I find myself in an Alpha's territory I smile and remain friendly, but always remember to watch my back.

So, what type of hummingbird are you? Not such a silly question after all, is it?

Possible Thunderstorms This Afternoon

With moisture streaming across California this morning we may get some thunderstorm activity this afternoon. Believe it or not, heavy downpours are expected with the storm activity. Forestry and CDF will be on alert for any brush fires caused by lightning.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thoughts From A Frog......

People come and people go, but one thing remains the same. You can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand. In the Real Estate business it may be even fewer than that. The longer I am around Real Estate the less I find that people are able to surprise me.


Remember the story about the scorpion and the frog? No? In brief, a scorpion approaches a frog sitting by a stream one day and asks him to take him to the other side. The frog declines, expressing his concern about being stung. The scorpion promises the frog that he will not sting him and promises to protect the frog from the dangers awaiting him on the other side of the stream. Against his better judgement the frog agrees. Halfway across the stream the scorpion stings the frog. As his body becomes numb from the poison the frog asks the scorpion why he would do such a thing? The scorpion replies, "I'm a scorpion. It's what I do. I can't change what I am".

They both drown.

The moral of the story? Don't ignore your instincts. You have them for a reason-survival. Had the frog listened to his instincts he wouldn't have drowned in the middle of the stream.

Beware the scorpions who you will encounter throughout life. It is simply impossible to avoid them altogether. They come in many shapes and sizes and speak with a velvet tongue. They are not happy unless they are causing another pain and misfortune. Some people (scorpions) will sacrifice anything and everything to bring another (frog) down, even their own well-being. Scorpions may know the consequences, and not care, like the one mentioned above, or may, through vanity and denial, refuse to see the consequences.


In any event, the effect is the same: something--a life, a partnership, a friendship--ends as a result.

To all of the frogs reading this article, listen to your instincts. They will keep you from harm.

To all the scorpions, your day will come. You will eventually sting a frog that will take you down with him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Busy (and HOT!!) Weekend Ahead

There is so much going on in Eastern Madera County this weekend it's going to be tough to fit it all in!! Here's the lineup:

Saturday:
-27th Annual Flea Market and Rummage Sale at the Oakhurst Community Center 9am to 3pm
-Sierra Mountain Quilters Quilt Show at Yosemite High School

-Paso Robles Wine Festival Road Trip
-American Cancer Society Relay for Life at the Wasuma School in Ahwahnee
-Oakhurst Home and Garden Show in the Oakhurst Community Park
-Spring Wine Trail Adventure-Madera Wine Trail
-Rummage Sale-Sierra Star Parking Lot, Oakhurst. Benefits the Harry H. Baker Boys & Girls Club

Sunday:
-Sierra Mountain Quilters Quilt Show Continued
-Relay for Life continued at Wasuma School in Ahwahnee
-Oakhurst Home and Garden Show continued in the Oakhurst Community Park
-Blood Drive, Yosemite New Life Church of the Nazarene, Junction Drive, Oakhurst

Here's to a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Record High Temps Expected This Weekend

A strong high pressure system will build over California this weekend. Temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley and for us in the foothills will reach triple digits. Near record temps of 102 to 110 are expected both days.

If you have outdoor plans this weekend remember that mountain streams and rivers, although appearing cool and inviting, will be flowing swift and cold from snow melt. Outdoor enthusiasts are advised to use extreme caution near streams and rivers.

Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Whenever possible stay in the shade or in an airconditioned room. Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.

Keep an eye on your children and pets. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED IN YOUR VEHICLE. Make sure your pets have access to plenty of shade and water.

Notices of Default Drop

Foreclosure Radar reports in their April foreclosure report that Notices of Default dropped 18.2% in April from the record level in March. Notices of Trusee Sale also dropped by 8.5%. Properties taken to auction rose 35%, representing over $6 billion in loan value.


The number of foreclosures sold to third parties increased in April to 1,634, a 52.3% increase over March. This figure represents only 12% of the total, with 88% of foreclosed homes going back to the lenders.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Relay For Life This Weekend

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is happening this weekend, May 16th and 17th, at the Wasuma School in Ahwahnee. This is a 24 hour event as cancer never sleeps. Gates open Saturday morning at 6am. Click here for a complete schedule and event list.

For further information contact Becky Morris at Oakhurst Medical Group 559-658-6400 or Christine Dragoo at Community Medical 559-683-2992.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Century 21 Ditton Realty Announces Top Agents for April



CENTURY 21 Ditton Realty would like to recognize Scott Runtzel, Julie Gerken and John Bortz for their outstanding sales performance in April. They have been listed in the top 100 agents for the Sierra Nevada by Century 21.

Way to go!!





One Less Rattlesnake In The World


Mother's Day at our house was a peaceful event.....until we found the snake.

My inlaws showed up a bit early for the bar-b-cue so they could walk around and enjoy the flowers and roses that my husband and I have been laboring over. There is one particularly beautiful rose bush on the west side of the house that my husband wanted his parents to see. I walked with them and then went to sit by the pool with the dog. Within a few minutes my husband came back around to the pool area ushering his parents and urging them to return to the house. When I shot him a questionning glance he mouthed to me "Rattlesnake", not wanting to set off any panic. Once his parents were safely inside he donned heavy jeans and boots and went in search of a shovel.

My curiousity (and skepticism) over the snake got the better of me so I went to have a cautious look. I walked by the damned thing at least four times and never saw it. My husband showed up with the shovel and saw where I was standing. He exclaimed "Get out of there!! It's right in front of you!!". I looked again, but didn't see a thing. Nor did I hear the fabled "rattle". By now I was beginning to think that he was seeing things.

I went into the house and kept his parents company for a while. After about 10 minutes I went to check on my husband. I found him standing over the snake (now in two pieces) right outside our bedroom window...... right where I had been standing and looking.....right where I had been standing just the day before tending to my roses in my bare feet.

So, he hadn't lost his mind after all.

Now, let me just say that I have never been afraid of snakes. I grew up swimming in Lewis Creek among water snakes. There were always gopher snakes, kings and garden racers around the yard. I have heard over and over the stories of people finding rattlers on their porch, under their kids toys in the yard, in their garage, etc. I guess in some weird way I thought that my lack of fear made my yard somehow unattractive to the rattlers. Well, my yard has been breached by the enemy and it has freaked me out!!

Later that evening I went outside to entice the cats in for the night. Our youngest, Stuart, refused to cooperate and instead went running down the bank into the weeds and brush. Prior to our little snake incident earlier in the day I would have followed him and rounded him back toward the house. That night I decided that he was on his own....I could picture rattlesnakes lying in wait for me everywhere.

Yesterday, Monday, my husband got home before I did. He changed into his t-shirt and shorts and headed outside to water the garden. Two steps out the door he saw a snake lying on the patio. Fortunately, this snake was only a gopher snake, although a pretty big one!! He sprayed him with the water hose and sent him slithering into the flowerbed.

So, to the snake gods, I apologize for not taking you seriously. Your message has been received and understood and I appreciate the fact that it did not include a trip to the hospital. I will no longer traipse around in the flowerbeds of my yard barefoot, nor will I walk around the yard at night barefoot. I will always look before I reach (and carry a sharp instrument). I will get my dog her rattlesnake bite vaccine and make sure that her yard is kept clear of excessive growth.

And I will spread the word to those far and wide to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. They are ever present, even when we can't see them or hear them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Have You Thanked Your Mother?

This Sunday is Mother's Day so don't forget to take a few minutes and reflect on how much your Mom has done for you over the years.
Think of all the laundry, skinned knees, meals, help with homework, shoulder to cry on, helpful advise, fashion advisor, bed making, field trip supervising, slumber party hosting (to name a few) hours that the woman has put in over the years. All because you are the apple of her eye.
Don't forget to call Mom on Sunday and thank her for all of the wonderful things that she has done.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

CIE Wakeboard Championships

The CIE Spring Ride attracts wakeboarders from all over the country to celebrate the kickoff of each wakeboarding season. In its 5th consecutive year, the CIE Spring Ride continues to host the biggest double-up contest on the West Coast for professional wakeboarders, a raffle giveaway with thousands in prizes, a sanctioned boat audio contest, a meet-and-greet atmosphere for riders and, this year, a rail slide jam at dusk.
The 2009 event will be hosted at the Pines Resort on the majestic Bass Lake. This new venue offers improved accommodations for Spring Riders with more parking, more dock space, twice as many rooms, more dining options and a friendly, professional staff.
Spring Ride V will attract some of the biggest names in Wakeboarding to compete for thousands in cash, as in previous years.
Following the double up contest and rail jam, CIE will begin raffling off thousands of dollars worth of wakeboarding gear, clothing, boat audio equipment, wakeboarding instruction and a lot more. Two lucky Spring Riders will also have a chance to spend Sunday morning with a professional rider. Wakeboarding manufacturers like CWB and Hyperlite will be onsite with 2009 products for you to demo. Boat manufacturers will also be onsite to show their latest wake-creating machines.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Elegant Auction a Success

The Elegant Auction, held April 25th at the Pines Resort at Bass Lake, raised over $40,000 for the Oakhurst Community Park.

The annual auction is the sole source of funding for the park.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Welcome Back Roberta!!


Century 21 Ditton Realty is pleased to announce that Roberta Watt has rejoined the company. Roberta has many years of experience in Real Estate. She will be working out of the Oakhurst office location.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yosemite High School Top Grads to be Honored


The 23rd Annual paul and Martha Pitman Awards and Banquet will be held this Thursday, May 7th at the Paradise Springs Bella Pavilion, 52770 Road 632, Oakhurst. Festivities begin at 6:30pm. For more information contact Rima Runtzel by email at RimaR@stcg.net.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rain Won't Stop the Anglers or the Cowboys

The wet weather may put a damper on some plans this weekend but it sure won't slow down the Bass Lake Fishing Derby or the Coarsegold Rodeo. Both events are happening this weekend, May 2nd and 3rd. Put on your rain coat and have some fun!!

Another Possible Case of Swine Flu in Valley

The paranoia is spreading. Someone walked into my office this morning wearing a germ mask. Store's across the nation are being cleaned out of hand sanitizer and face masks.

A young woman employed by a Porterville convelescent hospital has been identified as a possible swine flu victim. Tests have been sent to the state for confirmation.

Again, here are some simple tips to protect yourself and others from this deadly virus?
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid contact with other sick people.
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel to Mexico.
  • Avoid the emergency room if you are not ill. ER's are being swarmed by healthy people looking for Tamiflu. Stay away from the ER's if you are not sick!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wet Weather Expected for Weekend

After a considerable lull in the rainy season it looks like it's not over yet!! A storm is forecast for this weekend, beginning with showers on Friday afternoon, with heavy moisture expected through Sunday. Rainfall totals are expected to reach upwards of one inch in portions of the Central Valley, foothills and mountains. This will be a warm air storm so snow levels will be above 8,000 feet, with significant snow expected above 9,000 feet.

If you're planning on attending the Bass Lake Fishing Derby or the Coarsegold Rodeo this weekend, take your raingear!!

Waterfalls in Yosemite Flowing...For Now


The warmer weather has increased snow melt and spring runoff in Yosemite Valley, making the waterfalls a majestic site. However, they won't be majestic for long so if you are planning on a waterfall viewing trip to the valley, do it soon. The lack of rain and snow in the higher elevations means we're in for a long, hot summer and very little water in local streams and lakes.

Swine Flu Creeping Closer to Madera County

There has been a recent report of a Visalia area child possibly infected with Swine Flu. Test results have been sent to the state for confirmation. It would seem that this deadly illness is creeping ever closer to Madera County.

The symptoms of Swine Flu include:
Runny Nose
Sore Throat
Coughing
Nausea and vomiting
Diarrhea
Fever
Lethargy
Loss of consciousness, ending in death

If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms get yourself to a doctor immediately. Please limit your exposure to the public by staying home from work or school. This illness is spread person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Swine Flu in Madera County....Yet

Although there are no reported cases of Swine Flu in Madera County at this time, local health care providers are preparing for patients. California has 11 confirmed cases of Swine Flu, 1 in Sacramento, 5 in San Diego County and 5 in Imperial County. There are a total of cases as of today in the United States.

Health officials are urging "that all non-essential travel to Mexico be avoided." Cuba has already banned all flights to Mexico.

There are some basic steps we can all take to minimize our risk of becoming ill.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you become ill, do everyone a favor and STAY HOME FROM WORK. If your child becomes ill, keep him or her home from school.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oakhurst Town Hall Meeting

There will be a town hall meeting tomorrow evening, April 28th, at the Oakhurst Community Center, from 6pm to 8pm. Topics will include an update on Oakhurst area projects, general discussion on District 5 issues, updates on local cleanup efforts and a presentation by Vulcan Materials on their proposed rock quarry project. This town hall meeting is hosted by Tom Wheeler, Supervisor District 5 and the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Talking Bear Gets a Face Lift


Work has finally begun on restoring the world famous Talking Bear. Local artist Linda Field has generously donated her time (in between her two jobs) to restore the mountain area's beloved historical landmark.

"I just want to give a little back to the community", stated Field.
The Talking Bear has been the most recognized landmark in Oakhurst since the 1960's. Over the years, the poor bear has been terrorized by taggers and vandals. Victorian Village owner Brad Ditton is planning on installing a webcam. "Maybe if we put the old guy on camera people will respect him a little more."
The webcam will have a live feed which will be accessible through the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce website.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Attention Rodeo Fans

Ok guys, if you just can't get enough Rodeo in your diet you are in luck. The Clovis Rodeo is going on now, this weekend, in Clovis. Goes through Sunday or Monday. Then, the Coarsegold Rodeo happens next weekend, beginning Friday night and going through Sunday. So, if you like the smell of oiled leather, cows, horses, sheep, bbq grilling, cold beer and hay, you should be in heaven.

See you there!!

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering

I very rarely go on a rant, but this subject is close to my heart and I've been chewing on it for a while. So, bear with me.

Many people today believe in the importance of spaying and neutering their animals. If you are one of the responsible, I thank you. There are, however, a number of people who believe that it isn't necessary, why bother? Excuses range from "can't afford it" to "one litter won't hurt", "my animal never comes into contact with other animals" and beyond.

Aside from the fact that the animal shelters are overflowing with pets needing good homes and that hundreds of animals are destroyed everyday due to overcrowding in those shelters, there is another factor to consider.

Indiscriminate breeding can also introduce a plethora of health problems into the animal community. Animals who are dumped off at shelters or the vets office are always checked out and given shots, but a lot of times, there are underlying conditions that may arise months later. I have been the lucky recipient of two such animals. Here are their stories:

Stuart the cat was dumped off in a box with his mother and sister at a local vets office. The technician at the office knew I was looking for another kitty so she gave me a call. I fell in love with the little guy and named him Stuart (after Stuart Little). He came home and after a couple of rough adjustment days, seemed like a perfectly normal and healthy little kitten.

About two weeks later he began regurgitating his food. We thought at first he had ingested some grass. It kept up. We changed his food. No good. We eliminated canned food from his diet. Nothing worked. We took him to the vet. After a very brief examination and xray they determined he had an extremely rare heart condition called mega esophagus. In essence, blood vessels from his heart had grown around his esophagus and were squeezing it shut, cutting off his food. The little guy was starving to death. The only option (other than euthanasia) was surgery at UC Davis. My husband and I discussed it and decided to give the little guy a chance. $3,000 later, Stuart is a healthy, happy little cat.

Next came Bella, the lab. Bella came to us from a friend who "accidentally" bred her registered white lab with an unregistered black lab. Early on, they were concerned that she might be blind in her right eye. I knew that if we didn't take her they would probably end up putting her down. We took her to a dog opthamologist, who confirmed that she was blind and that it was a congenital condition passed on to her from one of her parents. He strongly discouraged us from breeding her because she could pass the condition on to her puppies. (We had already decided to have her fixed.)

Things seemed fine, other than she was blind in the one eye, until two months later. We awoke at 3am to her moaning and whining under the bed. Her right eye was glassy and milky. We stayed up with her that night and made arrangements to take her to the specialist (in Stockton this time) the next afternoon. He examined her and diagnosed her with glaucoma. There was nothing to do but remove the bad eye. $1200 later, Bella is a one-eyed white lab in love with life.

I notified my friend of the situation via email and voicemail and begged her not to let her dog breed again. She never responded.

Seven new puppies were born on Easter Sunday. I can only hope that all of them will be lucky and not have the same condition that Bella inherited.

I admit that these two animals are probably extreme examples of what can happen. But let's think about what would have happened to them if the people who adopted them could not afford the unexpected vet bills? Stuart and Bella are wonderful, loving pets and I am glad that my husband and I made the decisions that we did, but not all animals will be so lucky.

Please, please, please do not let your animals breed indiscriminately.

Community Carnival

The Sierra Star is hosting the Great Moms Walk & Community Carnival tomorrow from 10am to 1pm in the Sierra Star parking lot on Road 426, across from Sierra Telephone. Enjoy games, food and a bounce house. Contact Julie D. for info 760-2117.

Elegant Auction Tomorrow Night

It is the "see and be seen" event of the season for the mountain area. The 24th Annual Elegant Auction will be held tomorrow evening from 5 pm to ??? in the Lakeview Room of the Pines Resort at Bass Lake. This year's theme is Celebrating the Spirit of the Community. Participants may enjoy complimentary champagne and hors d'hoeuvres, live and silent auctions, raffles and music.

All proceeds from the auction benefit the Oakhurst Community Park.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gardening Tips for Drought

This summer looks to be long and hot and, let's face it folks, we are low on water this year. The following are some simple tips for conserving water and maintaining your yard during the long, hot summer months.

Watering
If you have water restrictions in your area or town, find out just water they cover. If not too severe, they may just cover lawn sprinklers and not watering of gardens.
Water in the early morning, when there is less heat and wind, and so less water lost to evaporation. Timers on automatic watering systems make very early watering much easier.
Don’t use overhead sprinklers, which may lose over half the water on a hot day to evaporation. Instead use manual watering, soaker hoses or drip systems. Soaker hoses are merely permeable hoses, often of recycled materials, that allow water to soak through them slowly. Placed on beds near plants, they allow water to slowly soak into the root zone. Cover these with mulch, and they lose even less water to the air, and are invisible.
Water deeply and less often rather than for shorter periods more often. This allows water to penetrate deeper, and so encourages deeper roots which are more resistant to drought. Lawns and bedding plants should be watered to at least 6 inches deep. Perennials, shrubs and trees should be watered to at least 12 inches deep. Check your sprinkler or rainfall with a rain gauge, available from garden and hardware stores. One inch of water will wet a sandy soil to a depth of about 12 inches.
Water established plants only if "really" needed and once they begin to wilt. Many perennials and woody plants may wilt, and not perform best if dry, but will survive. This is especially true if they were healthy and well-watered prior to drought conditions. Only a few perennials such as false spirea (Astilbe) have leaves that turn brown and don’t recover if dry, but have to generate new leaves.


Collecting, Saving Water
Repair leaks in hoses and fittings. This may be as simple as replacing the washers in hose fittings. A slow leak of one drip per second can lose 9 gallons of water a day, 260 gallons a month. A faster leak, filling an 8 ounce cup in 8 seconds, wastes 675 gallons a day, or 20,000 gallons a month!
Collect wasted and "gray" water from the household. The latter is rinse water from washers, and from washing dishes. When adjusting the hot and cold in baths and showers, collect in a bucket the water that would normally go down the drain before the temperature is adjusted. Also collect and use water from dehumidifiers or window air conditioners.
Collect water from downspouts of gutters, or divert these into flower beds.

Cultural Practices
For flowers and vegetables, use wider spacing to reduce competition for soil moisture, mulching in between plants.
Use 3 to 4 inches (after settling) of organic mulch (pine bark, straw or similar) to prevent soil from drying and losing moisture to the air. Keep such mulch away from trunks, and off the top of desirable perennials. Plastic mulches in vegetable and annual flower gardens in which plants are spaced regularly, or around shrubs, can help as well. Or use thick layers of newspapers in rows, covered lightly with mulch.
Incorporate organic matter into the soil, which will aid in water retention. Compost also adds nutrients, but breaks down faster than peat moss—another common amendment. Peat moss lasts longer in the soil, at least a year or more, but adds few nutrients and acidifies the soil. Water absorbent materials (hydrogels) can help dry sandy soils.
Fertilize less, both less in amount and less often, and avoid too much high nitrogen fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in excessive growth, and need for water by plants. Organic fertilizers provide less, and over a longer period usually, and they help soil humus which helps hold water.
Choose and place plants properly. Don’t choose plants that prefer moist, and place them in a dry area. And choose plants more resistant to drought. As mentioned at the beginning, there are many other plants other than cacti and succulents such as those with deep tap roots (baptisia or false lupine), thick storage roots (daylilies), or those with waxy coated leaves (sedum). Perennial flowers need water when newly planted, but once established require much less water than annual flowers. Native plants may be a good choice as well. See OH Leaflet 73 on drought resistant plants.
Don’t apply pesticides that might cause injury to stressed plants, or in heat, or that need to be watered in.
Avoid pruning when plants are stressed and not growing, and so unable to heal wounds quickly. Pruning also may stimulate side shoots and more growth, and so more need for water.
For evergreens, use antitranspirant sprays on leaves that help prevent water loss. Or erect windbreaks around such plants, if they’re small or new, and a windy area. Burlap strung between posts is effective. For routinely windy sites, consider planting a more permanent windbreak of spruces, firs or other evergreens to screen other plantings.
Use hoeing and soil cultivation of weeds sparingly. Continually disturbing the soil surface will result in it drying out much faster. You may have to merely cut weeds off at the soil surface, or use contact or systemic herbicides, and save the cultivation until drought conditions ease. At least the bright side is that under drought, weeds wont grow as fast either! But keep weeds down, as they compete with more desirable plants for water.

Container plantings
Move container plants to more shaded areas.
Use pottery containers that are glazed on the outside, which prevents much water loss. Or use plastic containers, or set plastic containers if unattractive into more attractive outer pottery ones.
Don’t crowd too many plants into containers, or use large containers for large plants. This will help keep them from drying out so often, and requiring watering daily or more often.

Lawns
Leave grass clippings to act as mulch and recycle nutrients and some moisture.
If seeding lawn areas, or repairing areas, use drought resistant grass types such as fine fescues.
If water is not available, allow grass to go dormant. Unless extreme conditions for a long period, it will usually begin growing again once conditions improve.
Don’t mow grass when it is dormant and not growing. Even when growing, set the mower height at 2 to 3 inches high. High mown grass develops deeper root systems that are better able to withstand drought.

If water is restricted or in short supply, give highest priority to the following:
Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials
Newly seeded lawns or repaired lawn areas
Plants on sandy soils or windy and exposed sites
Vegetables when flowering

Mind Kids & Pets in Warmer Weather

The mountain area is experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures due to a high pressure system on the west coast. Temperatures in Fresno reached 100 degrees yesterday. Although we will experience a slight cool down over the weekend temperatures will still be way above average for April. Keep this in mind when leaving your pets outside or letting your kids play in the yard. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water and shade available for your pets. Remember, they can't tell you that they are too hot or uncomfortable so it is up to you as a responsible pet owner to take precautions. Make sure your children drink lots of water and don't let them get overheated.

Please, please, please....do not leave pets or children unattended in your car while you "run in to the store real quick". Even on a 70 degree day temperatures inside a parked car can skyrocket in a short period of time.

Keep an eye out for these symptoms of heat exhaustion: Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps and headache.

If you or your loved ones experience any of these symptoms get into the shade immediately, apply cool compresses to forehead and neck, use ice packs under arm pits and on the groin area, fan with clothing and rehydrate with plenty of fluids.

Here are the symptoms of heat stroke: high body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations,
confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, coma

Follow the steps above for heat exhaustion and call 911 immediately. Heat stroke can cause irreversible damage to vital organs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Honorary Mayor Candidate Interviewed by Clear Channel

Liz Ware, Oakhurst Honorary Mayor Candidate, along with her campaign manager, Janice Ware and Boy's and Girl's Board member Rima Runtzel just finished a 55 minute commercial free interview with Clear Channel Radio of Fresno. Topics included the Mayor's Race, Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, Golden Chain Theater, Coarsegold Rodeo, Home and Garden Show, Kings Vintage Museum and the 2010 Lincoln Exhibit in Oakhurst.

The interview will be aired:

Sunday, Apil 26th, 7am
KALZ 96.7, KBOS B95, KHGE Big Country 102.7, KCBL/KEZL Fox Sports Radio, KRZR Wild Hare 103.7

Suday April 16th, 11pm
KSOF Soft Rock 98.9 and KRDU Christian Talk Radio AM1130

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Home Expo today, Cajun Feed tonight

Good afternoon everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying this gorgeous weather. Don't forget about the Mountain Home Expo going on now at the old True Value Building on Highway 49. Lots of local vendors, information and chances to win free stuff!! Also, the Rotary All You Can Eat Cajun Feed is tonight at the Oakhurst Community Center from 5pm to 9pm. Stuff yourself with shrimp, bbq ribs, dirty rice and bread pudding!! Hope to see you there!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Warmer Weather Increases Snowmelt

Warmer weather over the next few days will increase snow melt in the high sierras, causing local streams and rivers to rise. Waters will be swift moving and COLD!! As inviting as these waters may appear they can be quite dangerous. Please exercise caution when near these waterways. Anyone caught in these frigid waters can quickly fall victim to hypothermia.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lots of Doins This Weeked!!

This weekend there'll be plenty to keep everyone busy! Here's the lineup:

Saturday:
  • Oakhurst Branch Library Book Sale, 10am to 2pm at the Oakhurst Library
  • Free Home Ownership Mountain Expo, 9am to 4pm in the old True Value Building on Highway 49 in Oakhurst
  • Hildreth Walking Tour. Enjoy a tour of the old gold rush town of Hildreth. Meet at Spring Valley School by 9:45 to caravan to Hildreth.
  • 14th Annual Cajun Creole Fest, sponsored by the Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club. All you can eat shrimp, ribs, dirty rice, maquecho and bread pudding. Oakhurst Community Center

Sunday:
  • Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. 7:30am to 11am. Oakhurst Community Center
  • Art Expo. 9am to 4:30pm, North Fork School, North Fork Rancheria Community Center. Artists are welcome to showcase their artwork, free of charge, at the North Fork School and the North Fork Rancheria Community Center on Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snow Today, Swimsuit This Weekend

Crazy weather, huh? I took a drive to North Fork this afternoon and decided on the way to stop at Bass Lake for my first Fork's burger of the season. I was sitting at the counter happily munching away on my cheeseburger and fries when I looked out the window and saw that it was snowing!! Accuweather is calling for temperatures in Oakhurst to be in the 80's this weekend. Shall we make a wager????

Spring Gardening Tips

While working on my garden this last weekend I came to the realization that I need to spend more time in the yard. I weeded, hoed, fertilized and revved up the roto-tiller. My dog even got into the spirit of things by helping me dig in the garden and by joining the cats in their crusade against gophers...Good Dog!! I happily planted tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, eggplant and greenbeans, never imagining that mother nature would throw another frost at me. She wouldn't dare!! Well, I awoke this morning to temperatures in the low 30's and frost glistening everywhere. My tomato plants are not happy, the jury is still out on the peppers or eggplant. In hindsight I should have covered them with some clear plastic "umbrella's" to protect them until the threat of frost is over.

In any event, I thought now would be an excellent time to post some spring gardening tips.

  • Start your lawn cleanup as soon as the ground is firming up and not spongy any longer. Rake up all leaves, twigs, dead growth and winter debris to let light and air to the soil. Reseed the bare of damaged patches by mixing a shovel-full of soil with a handfull of grass seed and spreading the mixture in the patch. Get your lawn mower checked and sharpen the blades.
  • Remove tree guards and all protective burlap. Transplant shrubs prior to them blooming or leafing out.
  • Leave winter mulch in place until temperatures are steadily warmer.
  • Cut back any dead or freeze damaged foliage, clean dead leaves and debris out from under trees and shrubs.
  • Treat rose bushes with a systemic fertilizer and insect repellant.
  • Get started on your weeding. Early spring weeds are easier to pull as their root systems are still fairly shallow.
  • Treat all flower beds and gardening beds with a soil amendment to replace vital nutrients for your plants.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oakhurst Honorary Mayor Race Kick-off Tonight

Don't forget about the Honorary Mayor Race kick-off tonight in the Yosemite Bank parking lot. Candidates will be cooking dinner and dessert to raise funds for their charities. Bundle up if you're planning on attending...it's gonna be cold!

High Winds Expected for Mountain Area

Brrrr...what happened to Spring? I woke up this morning to FOG!! Where did our 70 degree temperatures go?
Be prepared for high winds beginning this evening, continuing through tomorrow. Temps are expected to drop into the mid 20's tonight with wind gusts predicted at 45 mph. Tomorrow, Accuweather is calling for mid 50's with wind gusts up to 40 mph. Lows tomorrow night are expected to drop into the low 30's. We should see a warm up on Thursday (let's hope). The good news is that temps for this weekend are expected to reach mid 70's to low 80's. The warmer temperatures should continue on through next week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Keep Escrow and Title Local

Below is a Legislative Alert regarding Assembly Bill 957, the Buyer's Choice Act. In a nutshell, with the flood of foreclosure and bank owned properties on the market for sale, the lenders (aka beneficiaries) have required buyers to purchase title insurance and escrow services specifically chosen by the lenders. This has greatly effected local escrow companies over the last several months as the majority of homes being sold have been foreclosures. Escrow and title fees are being shipped to some companies out of the area or even (in some cases) out of state. Again, this effects our local escrow and title companies who are struggling right along with everyone else in this economy. AB 957 will prohibit these lenders from dictating title and escrow and will allow buyers to make their own choices. Read below:

SUBJECT: ASSEMBLY BILL 957 (Galgiani) - "BUYER'S CHOICE ACT"

AB 957 authored by Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani is a measure which would prohibit mortgagees, beneficiaries under a deed of trust or other persons (i.e. lenders, etc.) who acquired title to residential real property at a foreclosure sale from, as a condition of selling that real property to a buyer, require the buyer to purchase specific title insurance or use certain escrow services in connection with the sale from a company specifically chosen by the seller. In addition, the seller would not be allowed to disapprove of the use of a title or escrow company chosen by a buyer unless the seller has good cause.

AB 957 is strongly supported by a range of small independent escrow licensees, real estate agents, title companies, and other settlement service providers, and is co-sponsored by the Escrow Institute of California. AB 957 is an attempt to break the monopoly and strangle hold that Banks and Large Title Companies have on REO foreclosure resales, and provide smaller settlement service providers the opportunity to compete for business, as well as give consumers the ultimate decision and therefore "choice" to select their preferred settlement service provider. AB 957 does not affect current business relationships or arrangements between lenders and select settlement service providers, but ultimately will help grow the pie for all independent escrow licensees to effectively compete for business.

AB 957 is scheduled for its first committee hearing on MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2009 before the CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY BANKING & FINANCE COMMITTEE in Room 444 in the State Capitol.

In anticipation of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee hearing, we are requesting that Members consider the following actions that must be taken immediately in support of AB 957:
Send your letter of support on your company letterhead to the Members of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee and Assembly Member Galgiani (REFER TO THE COMMITTEE LIST BELOW)
Consider having your fellow escrow company owners/shareholders, managers, employees, family members and friends send their own individual support letters, and/or group letter/petition that is signed by everyone involved in your company.
Seek out and ask that your fellow settlement service providers -- title, real estate and mortgage brokers, etc. consider sending letters of support.
Many of our Members have sought and received support from local chambers of commerce and other business affiliations and associations, as well as their local elected officials, city councils and county boards of supervisors. We need our local civic and business leaders to send their letters of support.
Any support from the local media needs to be brought to the attention of the Legislature.
Finally and probably one of the most important elements, we need any consumer/client empirical evidence/documentation and specific examples where individuals have been harmed. This documentation is critical to show the extent of the problem and why the Legislature must act NOW to open up the marketplace for the benefit and protection of consumers.
Letters of Support Should be Addressed to the following:

The Honorable Pedro Nava
Chairman
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
California State Assembly
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

The Honorable Cathleen Galgiani
Assembly Member
California State Assembly
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

RE: AB 957 (Galgiani) - SUPPORT

Dear Chairman Nava and Assembly Member Galgiani:

(YOUR LETTER OF SUPPORT IN
YOUR OWN WORDS)

Sincerely yours,


Your Name Here

cc: Members of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
Kathleen O'Malley, Consultant, Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
Frank Prewoznik, Republic Consultant, Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
The carbon copy letters to the Members and Staff of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee should be addressed and mailed to:

*The Honorable Ted Gaines
Vice Chairman
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Joel Anderson
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Noreen Evans
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Paul J. Fong
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Felipe Fuentes
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Tony Mendoza
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Norma J. Torres
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Ira Ruskin
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Sandre Swanson
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

*The Honorable Van Tran
Member
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
State Capitol
10th & L Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Staff to the Committee address:

Ms. Kathleen O'Malley
Consultant
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
1020 N Street, Room 360B
Sacramento, California 95814

Mr. Frank Prewoznik
Republican Consultant
Assembly Banking & Finance Committee
1020 N Street, Room 400
Sacramento, California 95814

Letter writing Tips:
It is important to use your own words utilizing your own stationery
Keep your letter short and clear
Identify the bill -- as we have in the suggested letter heading above
State reasons for your support position. Share how AB 957 is important to your company, employees and community
Close by thanking the Committee for considering your comments and support for AB 957
To assist Institute Members in our Grass-Roots letter writing campaign, the Board has prepared the attached Bullet Points. Please do not copy verbatim, but pick and choose those you would like to use and put into your own letter using your own words and please share any documentation and evidence as part of your support letter.

Please contact the Institute Office if we can be of any assistance.

To read AB 957 click here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0951-1000/ab_957_bill_20090226_introduced.pdf

Bananananza


For the entire week of April 13th, Jamba Juice of Oakhurst will give the Harry H. Baker Boy's & Girl's Club of Oakhurst 20% of every sale if the buyer brings in the flyer above with them OR mentions it. (That's right, you don't even have to print it out!) Just say BANANANANZA!! Help support our local Boy's & Girl's Club of Oakhurst!!