Thursday June 28, 2007
Chamber Community Update – 2:ooPM
From: B. Gorman
Please feel free to distribute
Sorry you did not get an update directly in your email from me on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had some technical difficulties and were only able to put the updates onto the website. We are back up and running and here you go!
As a community we extend our gratitude to the 2200 firefighters and the 200 law enforcement officers who are working hard to protect lives and property. The fire is at 55% containment with fire officials striving for full containment by Tuesday July 3rd. We are exceptionally grateful to all of those men and women who are fighting for our town and we also thank the motels, casinos and restaurants that have been welcoming the fire fighters by providing hot meals, sandwiches and rooms all week.
Being a small town we have all been touched either directly or indirectly and we all want to help our neighbors. Towards that end we have begun to move into the healing and recovery phase and thus the Chamber will do our best to update you on where resources are available and efforts being made to help our community in moving forward together.
Those who have sustained any amount of damage should go to the college to the Local Agency Center (LAC) being coordinated by the Red Cross. There they will be asked to complete an estimate of damage (in some cases this will be without knowing the extent yet) by an Office of Emergency Services (OES) representative. These estimates will be compiled and submitted to President Bush in an effort to qualify the area for Federal Assistance. This initial submission will be done within 48 hours with the final version being submitted in two weeks, thus it is imperative that families go to the LAC soon.
The LAC is being staffed from 10AM to 7PM for the next three weeks. The center is staffed with Mental Health counselors from El Dorado County and the Red Cross to assist people in dealing with the emotional strain. Families will also be able to speak with representatives from insurance companies as well as county and state agencies to begin the process of claiming their loss and moving forward.
The Locals for Locals Angora Fire Fund was set up immediately to assist those impacted by the fire. Donors can go to US Bank or mail their donation to Locals for Locals Angora Fire Fund at PO Box 17640, South Lake Tahoe , CA 96151 . This fund is unrelated to Chamber finances and a separate board of local community leaders will coordinate distribution of these funds with a focus on helping people fill in needs not met by immediate disaster relief agency funds with all monies staying local.
The Red Cross has indicated that there are already more than sufficient donations of food, toiletries, and clothing at the various locations which were set up as drop spots. If you know of someone in need of these sorts of items please direct them to one of the locations listed on the website with the Sierra Recovery Center at 1137 Emerald Bay Road being the central location.
Businesses wanting to do a percentage of their sales donation can contact Jana Ney Walker at 530.544.6119 to participate in the Tahoe Businesses Who Care Program.
Evacuees requiring temporary housing should go to the Rec. Center on Rufus Allen where they will be directed to a short term housing location. Many motels and hotels are donating their rooms to house families.
The South Tahoe Realtors Association is compiling a comprehensive list of homes, condos and apartments that will be made available for long term usage as families need to start moving out of motels, hotels and family or friend’s homes. This will enable people to establish a temporary home in order to return to work and begin to create some sort of new routine for themselves. If you have such a property that you are interested in providing for this purpose please contact Cheryl Murakami (President of Realtors Association) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 530.577.4048. This list will be available via Cheryl, the Chamber and provided to the insurance companies.
Additionally, the Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club has contacted members who have homes that they are willing to open to those in need. For additional information on opening your home or finding one to stay in you should call 775.588.6616
First and foremost we are encouraging survivors of the fire to take their time and seek help from trusted local community experts before they sign off on any contracts for services and settlements.
I have been in contact with experts from other communities that have experienced natural disasters and we will shortly release some information on plans for helping to heal our community that have worked well in other areas.
Questions have begun to arise as to how our community will move forward with the 4th of July activities. At this time the fireworks display is scheduled to take place. Fire Official Rich Hodkins stated at yesterday’s press conference that he feels that the community will be ready to move forward with a safe Fourth of July fireworks display and this opinion was also expressed by Governor Schwarzenegger during his press conference.
Thanks to a very giving and tight knit community we have many organizations planning events to assist the survivors seeking help from the Chamber. In an effort to be fair, community minded and not inundate our members with multiple daily email blasts we are going to send out one blast on Fridays where your organization will be listed in a single blast along with other organizations seeking support, donations and attendance.
Thank you all for pulling together as a community to help our neighbors!