An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

British Government warns against tax breaks for Scientology

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The new British coalition government has warned local authorities in the United Kingdom not to provide tax breaks to branches of the Church of Scientology. After an investigation by The Guardian newspaper revealed that several local authorities have granted Scientology tax breaks worth over a million pounds, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles intervened to urge councils to end the practice.

Pickles noted in a statement that Scientology was not officially recognised in the UK as a religion or a registered charity and was not eligible for tax relief. Pickles commented, “I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.”

I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.

The minister’s intervention followed the disclosure by The Guardian that at least four local authorities have given Scientology lucrative tax discounts on branches in their areas. These included:

  • The City of London Corporation, which gave an 80% tax exemption worth £1.3 million to the flagship Scientology centre in the City of London. The corporation justified the exemption on the basis that Scientology could be considered to be a charity either for the advancement of religion “or other purposes beneficial to the community”. It said that it feared being sued by the organisation if it discontinued the exemption.
  • Westminster City Council granted 80% rates relief to the Scientology Celebrity Centre in the Bayswater district of London. This saved Scientology £165,303 over the past ten years, though as of July 2010 the centre is no longer in use. The council determined that Scientology was a “non-registered charity” that is “beneficial to the community”.
  • Birmingham City Council awarded the Church of Scientology Religious Education College an 80% tax discount on the grounds that the property was an educational institution.
  • The City of Sunderland gave the Church of Scientology’s branch in the city tax relief worth £30,000 over five years.

Camden London Borough Council refused to disclose whether and how much tax relief had been granted to the Scientology branch in the London Borough of Camden. Other local authorities, including Manchester City Council and Mid Sussex District Council, said that they charged Scientology the full commercial rate.

In response to The Guardian report, Eric Pickles issued a statement saying that Scientology should not receive privileged tax status and did not deserve to do so, “Tolerance and freedom of expression are important British values, but this does not mean that the likes of Church of Scientology deserve favoured tax treatment over and above other business premises. The Church of Scientology is not a registered charity, since the Charity Commission has ruled that it does not provide a public benefit. Nor are its premises a recognised place of worship. Councils may award charitable relief. They should take into consideration the Charity Commission’s rulings when weighing up whether to do so. I do not believe the majority of the public would want their own council to be giving special tax breaks to such a controversial organisation.”

Scientology is very popular with those who have visited our churches…

The controversy was the latest in a series of disputes involving Scientology’s tax status in the UK. Scientology is not officially recognised as a religion. The Charity Commission for England and Wales rejected an application in 1999 by Scientology for charitable status, ruling that its activities did not meet the “public benefit” test. However, in 2000 Scientology obtained exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) on the grounds that its services were educational and non-profitable. It successfully sued HM Revenue and Customs for the return of £8 million in overpaid VAT.

A spokesman for the Church of Scientology told The Guardian, “Scientology is very popular with those who have visited our churches, met with Scientologists and observed or utilised our numerous community activities that effectively address drug abuse, illiteracy, declining moral values, human rights violations, criminality and more. Local council authorities, government bodies in this country and many others, and the European court of human rights have all recognised the religious nature of Scientology or the fact that Scientologists are actively helping those in their communities as a direct reflection of their religious beliefs.”

Birmingham City Council told the local Sunday Mercury newspaper, “We have noted Mr Pickles’ comments and will take them on board.”

How To Weld Aluminum Without Much Hassle}

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How to Weld Aluminum without Much Hassle


Michelle Macdroff

Welding can be an enjoyable and unique experience in its own. With the latest advancements in technology one would not have to put much effort in order to perform such functions. However, most of the people do not realize that welding is not that much difficult as it used to be in the past days. Technological advancements have made it a much easier and simpler task. If one wants to do some welding oneself then one would not have any problem in this regard. Still, he or she should have a clear idea about the process of welding in order to avoid any damages. The following points should guide a person in the process of welding aluminum and answer their questions regarding how to weld aluminum:

Have all the necessary equipment:

A person should have all the required equipments and materials before starting such a process. Before anything else, one should have a good TIG welding machine. There is new technology products present in the market and TIG is one of them. Other than that, one should have a clear idea about the handling of the aluminum TIG welder because it is the main part of the whole process. A person should also have gloves and other protective gears. Welding is a process related to fire and accidents could take place whenever carelessness is carried out. An aluminum filler rod is another necessary tool without which, one cannot perform the task of welding. Argon gas is also a necessity and a person should buy it from a verified seller in order to get authentic product.

Do the preparation first:

A person should do all the preparation before starting the typical process of welding. One should work in a cool environment along with a fire extinguisher. Other than that, the person should clean the aluminum rod thoroughly to clear away aluminum oxide that forms on the upper layer of any piece that is made of aluminum. The filler rod also requires a good amount of cleaning. Clamping of the two pieces should be done as tight as possible because any gaps present in the weld could ruin the entire process and diminish its strength.

Before starting the welding process, one should practice the motion with the protective gear and torch. This way, one would not do any kind of mistakes during the process. The distance of the torch should be near to 0.25 inches. Distance smaller or lower than that would ruin the entire process.

Perform the welding process:

After doing all the preparations and gathering the necessary equipment, one can start the process of welding. The amperage should be around 1 amp per 0.001 inch in most of the cases. It is the most adequate amperage for a person to work with. One would start the process with positioning every material. Then one would start the torch and create a puddle. After creating the puddle one would have to push to complete the process of welding. It is similar to solder aluminum yet there is some difference.

Michelle Macdroff is an author of aluminumrepair site, one of the best aluminium repair company in Houston Texas. She has been writing articles on

new technology products


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United States: Berkeley, California declares itself a sanctuary city for recreational cannabis

Friday, February 16, 2018

On Tuesday, the city council of Berkeley, California adopted by unanimous vote a resolution declaring their city a “sanctuary” for adult recreational cannabis use and sale. The resolution by the Berkeley council “declared [the City of Berkeley] to be a sanctuary for recreational cannabis customers, providers, and landlords.”

The resolution bars city employees including police from assisting federal law enforcement officials, namely the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in enforcing federal laws relating to cannabis. The city’s measure includes protection for cannabis, but not other substances controlled and regulated by the federal government. California voters approved a referendum in 2016 that legalized cannabis production and sale in the state. That law took effect on January 1 this year.

The resolution was drafted by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmembers Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila.

While cannabis became legal for adults at least 21 years old under California state law, it remains a prohibited substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Under the U.S. Constitution, federal law is given supremacy to contradictory state and local law.

In 2008, the city previously declared itself a sanctuary city for medical cannabis, opposing federal officials seeking to shutter legal-in-California cannabis dispensaries.

In a tweet following the vote, the Berkeley mayor wrote, “In light of threats by Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions regarding a misguided crackdown on our democratic decision to legalize recreational cannabis, we have become what may be the first city in the country to declare ourselves a sanctuary city for cannabis.” The attorney general is the top federal law enforcement official in the U.S.

Last month, Sessions repealed a policy from the previous presidential administration providing legal shelter to states that legalized recreational cannabis. A January 4 memo from Sessions called for Justice Department prosecutors to enforce the federal ban on cannabis use and sale.

By another vote during the same meeting the city council reduced the sales tax on cannabis from 10 percent to 5 percent in a bid to draw more business.

Obama cabinet nominees withdraw over tax issues

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On Tuesday, United States President Barack Obama saw two of his cabinet nominations withdraw from consideration after issues with their taxes became public knowledge.

I think I screwed up.

Former Senator Tom Daschle from South Dakota withdrew after it was revealed he failed to pay US$128,203 in taxes. He has since made the payment including a $11,964 interest payment. Obama had nominated him as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Nancy Killefer, whom Obama had appointed to the newly created position of Chief Performance Officer, withdrew her nomination because she had failed to pay payroll taxes on a household employee.

“I think I screwed up,” Obama said in an interview with CNN. “And, I take responsibility for it and we’re going to make sure we fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Last week, Timothy F. Geithner survived his nomination and was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury, even though it was revealed that he had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes on income earned while working for the International Monetary Fund.

Accident Lawyers Assist In Accident Cases

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Submitted by: Oliver Jordan

Retaining a personal injury lawyer can be really beneficial whilst an individual is recouping from an accident, still selecting the right personal injury lawyer may be quite problematic. Recruiting the right lawyer would be the difference between being victorious in an accident claim and getting out bare handed. So, what are many key points to search for? This is not obviously given that you are submitting a lawsuit ahead of the day is over. That really means you need a qualified person to show if there are basis for a litigation, and if so, whether or not a lawsuit is the most suitable choice available for you. There is no need to concentrate on settlement at the moment, because a number of initial meetings with them are completely free.

Seeking an injury lawyer hinging just on a commercial in a magazine isn’t beneficial. Whereas an advertisement might provide several handy information like a lawyer’s accreditations or degree, it provides virtually nothing meaningful details on how trouble-free the lawyer is, how good the lawyer uses your time, or how excellent the attorney is doing work in his realm of know how. These injuries may be life-threatening since they can actually lead to death. So, most of the injury court cases have the settlement of enormous amount of money, and just a professional injury lawyer’s skills to adequately resolve these types of crucial court cases might earn you that sum.

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You have to learn this grouping given that it has an effect on in assuring the judgment for any matter. Attorneys need to be selected depending on the unique court case in question. All legal proceedings are distinctive and therefore, wants the skills and talents which is gained just by means of working on area of specialty. Once your entitlement is affirmed the lawyer shall lodge a personal injury litigation and might take steps meant for you to receive compensation and can lodge matter for injury compensation too. To illustrate, employment connected trauma or disorder would permit you to get workers’ compensation.

You won’t find any negative aspects in employing an attorney when you’re thinking of submitting compensation lawsuits. Recruiting an accident attorney will result in a faster and higher deal. Primarily, if you happen to stand for yourself, you would be subjected to huge court expenses and huge decline in cash. Hunting for details of other lawyers which are not affiliated to the one being retained is as well a brilliant idea to recognize the capability of that lawyer when considering fighting your litigation.

Mishaps can manifest anyplace and at any time, the mishap could show up resulting from your personal mistake, or on occasion it can be as a result of the carelessness of other people. It is often seen that the majority of trauma incidents like slip and fall injuries, dog attacks, non injury car crashes are unnoticed. The personal injury attorney re-investigates your matter with care to build a strong and valid case to help you get justice and payment for all your pains and damages. Please note, I am not a lawyer, this isn’t a lawful guidance, it is my personal belief, however for honest lawful advice, check out gluckstein website now.

About the Author: Oliver is an expert in the field. For more information on

Personal Injury Lawyer

, and

Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto

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Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.


This is the category for Cornwall, a county in England.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 15 May 2014: Cornwall police arrest coach driver after two killed in crash
  • 15 February 2014: Two dead in storms with no sign of floods letting up in Britain
  • 25 February 2013: Three die in Cornwall, UK caravan park of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning
  • 12 March 2011: English policeman Nicholas Stone cleared of rape, facing jail for misconduct
  • 7 May 2010: 2010 UK general election results
  • 24 December 2009: Two killed, 47 injured in coach crash in Cornwall, England
  • 21 December 2009: Man killed in harbour car crash in Cornwall, England
  • 16 November 2009: Edward Woodward, English actor, dies aged 79
  • 7 June 2008: Wikinews interviews manager of site ‘Lose The Game’
  • 10 March 2008: Strong winds and heavy rain across southern UK

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write.

Biomes of the Eden Project, 2006 (Image: Jürgen Matern)

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Smb Telephony: Unified Communications, Ip Telephony &Amp; Vo Ip Have Arrived

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Submitted by: Paul Liebeknecht

According to research by Springboard Research, adoption of unified communications in Australia is in the early stages of development. However the same survey, conducted with 469 CIO’s and business owners, also states 33% of SMB’s are planning on adopting some form of unified communications in 2009. Pundits agree the market is about to boom, but what is all the hype about?

If done right, unified communications is a collaborative technology that gives users the ability to make the connections they want no matter what device they happen to be closest to. That’s because moving all communications to the IP network transforms traditional multimedia end-points, such as PC’s, smartphones and IP telephones into fully functional communication devices, allowing you to get what you need wherever you are. A good definition offered by UniComm Consulting is “communications integrated to optimize business processes”.

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UC has its roots, and its largest adoption rates, among the enterprise elite. But no longer is it a privilege reserved for the enterprise. Small to mid-sized businesses (SMB) are adopting UC in droves. One factor fostering SMB UC adoption is user’s increasing comfort with tools such as instant messaging, social networking and mobility applications, said Simon Edwards, UC project director, British Telecom (BT).

One of the key factors not yet mentioned is perhaps the most important. Shifting from a traditional PABX system to a UC platform enables businesses to benefit from cost savings by using VoIP. VoIP enables SMBs to make phone calls over the IP network (if used with an IP phone) and is a cheaper alternative to the PSTN. The collaboration and mobility capabilities your business will receive from UC will help to reduce costs while raising productivity and agility. In fact, a recent survey has suggested these key reasons are the most important factors cited by SMBs like yours are adopting UC.

However, the fundamental reasons behind why UC adoption rates among SMBs are lower remain in place, namely the lack of IT expertise as well as tighter budgets. Industry heavyweights such as Cisco are doing a fantastic job of overcoming these barriers. Determined to make the communications revolution common practice among Australian SMB s, Cisco has first acted by reducing the costs of their UC500 systems, and secondly is bringing selected channel partners up to speed with the technical and sales knowledge required to successfully implement UC solutions in the SMB space.

If you are interested in a new telephony solution but aren’t sure what the best approach is, your best bet is to contact an expert to assess the potential ROI of a new system. It’s likely you’ll be happily surprised at the result. But who should you approach? The problem here is UC and IP telephony in particular has an identity crisis. Not quite a telephony solution that is best left for telephony providers, and not a traditional IT system that can be handled by a standard IT services company, IP telephony solutions require a mix of both to produce results you ll be boasting to your friends about.

About the Author: This article was written by Paul Liebeknecht, Business Development Manager and specialist in

Cisco Unified Communications

at North Sydney IT. To contact North Sydney IT about your network support and IP telephony requirements, visit or call 1300 783 899.


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