SAN FRANCISCO – With the holiday season and the end of the tax year approaching, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued consumer tips on how Californians can make the most of their charitable giving and avoid scams.
In 2014, Americans gave more than $350 billion to charities and nonprofit organizations. This year, many Californians will look to help the less fortunate or support a favorite cause by donating to a charity. Unfortunately, with so much money in play, scammers will continue to look for ways to prey on people’s generosity. Attorney General Kamala D. Harris offers the following tips for Californians to make sure their charitable giving will benefit worthy causes and not scammers.
TIPS FOR DONATING WISELY
Research the Charity
The number one tip for consumers this holiday season is to research the charity you are considering donating to and make sure it is legitimate and trustworthy. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, blogs, or other social media are legitimate.
Private watchdog organizations have created spending standards for charities and issued reports based on those standards. These are great resources for consumers to use in researching your intended charities. Three such organizations are: Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org), Council of Better Business Bureaus’ Foundation (www.bbb.org), and American Institute of Philanthropy (www.charitywatch.org).
To check the status of a charity, visit http://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/. Other sites that can provide helpful information in checking the status of your charity are: www.charitynavigator.org, or www.give.org. For more detailed information and tips, check the Attorney General’s Guide to Charitable Giving for Donors at: http://oag.ca.gov/charities/publications.
If a solicitor contacts you on behalf of a charity, ask if he or she works for a commercial fundraiser, and verify whether that the commercial fundraiser is registered with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, as it is unlawful for unregistered commercial fundraisers to solicit donors in California. You can also check to see how much a commercial fundraiser raised for the charity in the past by reviewing the Attorney General’s Commercial Fundraising Reports, which summarize by year the results of the charitable solicitation campaigns conducted in California by for-profit fundraisers. Historical figures show that a solicitation campaign conducted by a commercial fundraiser returns to the charity, on average, about 50 percent or less of the contributions received. A commercial fundraiser retains the remainder in the form of fees and expense reimbursements. To check these publications visit: http://oag.ca.gov/cha rities/publications.
Other Helpful Tips for Donors
Question: Raccoons come up through the culverts in our neighborhood and are causing a lot of trouble. Last year, there was one that tore a vent off our house and got in the subfloor and tore up our ducts under there. This year one of them attacked my dog in our back yard. The vet bill was very expensive. Can I trap them in live traps and have animal control euthanize them for me? (Kathy C.)
Answer: You can trap them but Animal Control may not want to euthanize them for you. Your best course of action is to concentrate on making your house and yard inhospitable. Bolster up your exterior vents and doors to prevent raccoons and other unwanted wildlife from moving in to use for cover. This also means remove all attractants (dog food, fallen fruit, koi ponds, water fountains, etc.). Even water can be an attractant, especially this year. If you do all of this but continue to have a problem, the law allows that it is legal to kill raccoons at any time when they are causing damage.
Some excellent additional information is available online from the UC Integrated Pest Management Program at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/menu.house.html#VERT.
Measuring short lobsters without bringing them onboard
Question: When hoop netting for lobsters from a boat, how are we supposed to bring the nets to the surface and accurately measure the lobsters without pulling the hoop nets onboard? The law states that it is illegal to bring any undersized lobster onboard any vessel, but it is virtually impossible to measure them while hanging over the side of the boat, especially when it’s dark, there’s a swell in the ocean and the boat is bobbing up and down. I’m asking because recently a friend of mine was cited for bringing up his net and placing it on the deck of his boat so he could measure his catch. Can you please clarify this? (Miguel Z.)
Answer: Lobsters cannot be brought onboard boats or kayaks for measuring and must instead be measured at the waterline. Pull up the hoop net, step on the line and lean over and measure it … though I know, easier said than done in the dark and in rough seas.
California spiny lobsters must measure a minimum of three and one-fourth inches along a straight line on the mid-line of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. Lobsters may be brought to the surface for the purpose of measuring, but no undersize lobster may be brought aboard any boat and retained. All must be measured immediately upon being brought to the surface. Any undersize lobster must be released immediately into the water. In addition, spiny lobsters shall be kept in a whole, measurable condition, until being prepared for immediate consumption (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.90).
Transporting migratory game birds
Question: I know the rules state that while bird hunting you must leave a fully feathered wing intact until you get home. When I get back to my trailer at camp (which is considered my second home), can I remove the wings, vacuum seal the bird and freeze it, or do I have to wait until I actually get to my primary home? (Rob D.)
Answer: All birds, including migratory game birds, possessed or transported within California must have a fully feathered wing or head attached until placed into a personal abode or commercial preservation facility or until prepared for immediate consumption. Doves must have a fully feathered wing attached (CCR Title 14, section 251.7(b)).
Waterfowl and other migratory birds that are going to be transported anywhere must have a fully feathered wing or head attached (except for doves, which must have a wing attached). A trailer in camp is not your “abode.”
Selling mounted trophies
Question: I received a collection of museum-quality African game trophies in a divorce settlement and would like to sell them. I recently moved to California but the mounts are still in Alaska. They are not animals that exist in California. Can I sell them on eBay? I want to unload these animals legally. I have read the statutes. I need to know if I can work with someone in Fish and Game, show them the collection, and get their advice. Alaska Fish and Game already gave me an email saying they could be moved to California and sold. (Mary Jane S., Sacramento)
Answer: You should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about any mounts that you would like to import to California and sell. The sale of birds or mammals found in the wild in California is prohibited by Fish and Game Code, section 3039. In addition, California Penal Code, section 653o prohibits the importation for commercial purposes, sale and possession with intent to sell a number of African wildlife species that may be in your collection.
Plumas County Public Health Agency announced today that it received one of twelve grants from the California HealthCare Foundation to help accelerate work to address the misuse of prescription painkillers in Plumas, Lassen and Sierra counties.
Every day, 44 people in the US die from overdosing on prescription painkillers, and many more become dependent on these medications. While there has been no overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report, the amount of prescription painkillers dispensed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, as has the death rate from these medications. The misuse of painkillers – drugs like oxycodone, codeine, and morphine – is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem and has been classified as an epidemic by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Northern Sierra Opioid Coalition brings together local leaders from medical societies, public health departments, health plans, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, law enforcement, the corrections system, community groups, addiction treatment providers, and others, all committed to the same goal – lowering prescription painkiller overuse and overdose deaths in Plumas, Lassen and Sierra. Prominent local organizations who have joined the coalition include Sierra County’s Behavioral Health, Prevention, Drug Court, Probation, Public Health, Eastern Plumas Health Care and Western Sierra Medical Clinic.
The grant will allow the Northern Sierra Opioid Coalition to address the epidemic from multiple angles, including adopting safer prescribing practices, expanding access to effective addiction treatment, implementing community approaches to overdose prevention, and coordinating communication between historical silos, such as emergency departments and primary care providers.
“Our region has one of the highest death rates due to prescription opiate overdose in all of California,” said Dr. Mark Satterfield, Plumas County Health Officer. “Through this grant and the dedicated work of our many partners we can bring a stop to this tragic epidemic.”
This effort complements other state and national initiatives designed to address the prescription painkiller epidemic. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) received more than $3.7 million in federal funds to launch new statewide prevention efforts, and the California Department of Justice received $750,000 to enhance the statewide controlled substance database, CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System). The Obama administration just announced a major federal commitment to support safe prescribing training across the US.
This work also builds upon tools like the Prescription Drug Community Action Kit, which was recently released by the National Safety Council. This toolkit summarizes how communities can prevent drug overdoses and provides resources to help local leaders build partnerships that address overprescribing (see http://safety.nsc.org/rxtoolkit).
“There may not be a single person in our region who is untouched by this epidemic,” said project lead and PCPHA’s Program Division Chief Andrew Woodruff. “These are preventable deaths, and with a coalition of diverse and dedicated partners, we can do something about it.”
Sacramento – California State Board of Equalization (BOE) Chairman and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Member Jerome E. Horton announces taxpayers should take a few simple steps to keep from being preyed upon by data thieves and cyber criminals.
“I stand with the Internal Revenue Service and other state tax agencies throughout our great nation in encouraging California taxpayers to follow safeguards for protecting their information,’ said BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “Criminals have access to a good deal of personal data which they can use to file fraudulent returns. I urge you to become aware of security measures you can take online and at home to protect your data from cyber criminals.”
Tax authorities made the appeal to the public today in Washington, D.C. at a news conference that included more than a dozen state tax agency executives, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and representatives of the tax preparation and software developer industries.
“Identity thieves are evolving, and so must we,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS, the states, and the tax industry are putting in place even tougher safeguards. But, we need the public’s help. We need people to join with us and take an active role in protecting their personal and financial data from thieves.”
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourselves:
Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use automatic updates. Encrypt your tax returns and other sensitive data. Use strong passwords.
Beware of phishing emails. Are you expecting a message from your bank or tax software company to update your account? A link may take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your log-on information. The attachment you open may include a virus or malware that allows a thief to get into your sensitive files.
Beware of phone scams. If you get a call from an aggressive or belligerent person who says you will be sued or jailed if you don’t make an immediate payment, this is a scam. The BOE will have sent letters before you receive a phone call, which would only be to discuss payment options. Remember, if you want to make sure a call to collect a BOE or FTB debt is legitimate, you can call either of our customer service centers to make sure. The BOE’s number is 1-800-400-7335 and the FTB’s is 1-800-852-5711.
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Re-elected in 2014, Chairman Jerome E. Horton is the Third District Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), representing more than 9.5 million residents in Los Angeles County. He is also the BOE’s Property Tax Committee Chairman. He is the first to serve as a Board Member with more than 21 years of experience at the BOE. Horton previously served as a Member of the California State Assembly from 2000-2006.
The five-member BOE is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees, supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit the California Tax Service Center.
TERRY LeBLANC OF “TERRY’S TOYS FOR TOTS” hands out a donation can to Stacey Estrada of Calpine to place it at Sierra Valley Lodge.
“We would like to have a challenge between the Sierra Valley Lodge and the Golden West to see who can raise the most donations. Donation cans will also be placed in businesses throughout the valley,” Terry says.
He is also recruiting for a volunteer to take over his duties, which has been helping needy families for 20 years. The organization, he says, has raised $4-$5,000 to supply used toys including fixed up bikes.
ANGEL TREES ARE UP! All gifts must be unwrapped and returned to Sierra County Health & Human Services by 5:00pm on Friday 12/11/2015. Thank you for all the support we have received over the years, let's make this Christmas great for our local kids smile emotion.
- Reminds Drivers of Special Danger on Year's
Busiest Travel Day
ATHENS, Ga., Nov. 23, 2015 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- The 11th annual
observance of Drive Safer Sunday on November 29, 2015 reminds Americans
taking holiday road trips to focus on being rested and attentive to dangers
inside and outside their cars, says non-profit Road Safe America.
Drive Safer Sunday falls on what is traditionally the busiest highway
travel day of the year - the Sunday following Thanksgiving. It has been
recognized, again this year, prompted by an official Resolution from the
The observance is sponsored by Road Safe America, a non-profit dedicated to
reducing collisions between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles. Steve
Owings and his wife, Susan, founded Road Safe America in 2003 after their
son, Cullum, was killed when his car - stopped in an interstate traffic jam
- was crushed from behind by a speeding tractor trailer going eight miles
per hour above the posted speed limit on cruise control. That crash
occurred on the Sunday after Thanksgiving as Cullum returned to college
after spending the week at home in Atlanta with his family and friends.
"The Sunday after Thanksgiving will always be a painful one for our
family," Steve Owings said. "But we hope that by raising awareness of the
dangers of holiday travel, other lives will be spared and other families
will not have to deal with needless, tragic loss."
U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that, among the 40,000
average highway deaths each year during the past decade, over 500 are
truckers and about 4,000 are auto drivers and passengers involved in
collisions with big trucks.
RSA reminds everyone traveling during Thanksgiving - and the Christmas and
New Year's holidays to come - to:
- Get plenty of rest before setting out and take frequent breaks to remain
- Consider driving during off-peak travel hours to minimize congestion.
- Avoid unnecessary distractions behind the wheel - including loud sound
systems and the use of any hand-held devices. Remember that in many states,
a hand-held phone - and particularly texting behind the wheel - has become
- Give large trucks plenty of room since they can't see as well, maneuver
as quickly, or stop in the same distance as passenger vehicles can.
On November 18 Robert Cooper, 33 of Salem, Or was driving a 1992 Honda at approx. 0305 hours, later determined to have been stolen out of Reno, NV. The Honda was traveling westbound on SR-70 east of Gill Ranch Road, at an unknown speed. For unknown reasons, Cooper allowed the Honda to drift onto the north shoulder and it subsequently collided with a parked Ford pickup before coming to rest against an ascending embankment. Cooper and Tara Corey, 24 of Salem, OR fled the scene prior to CHP arrival.
Following the first collision, Cooper stole a second vehicle, a Ford Explorer located within the Cromberg area and he subsequently was involved in a second collision. Cooper and Corey fled the scene of the second collision.
After the second collision at approximately 0620 hours, Cooper stole a third vehicle, a GMC Yukon which had been parked in the area of the Golden Coach RV Park. Cooper and Corey fled the scene in the GMC and proceeded west on SR-70 toward Quincy. The theft of the third vehicle was witnessed and immediately reported to CHP.
CHP responded and located the stolen GMC proceeding westbound on SR-70 approaching Quincy at a high rate of speed. CHP attempted to make an enforcement stop on the stolen vehicle and a high speed pursuit ensued. The pursuit continued through Quincy and ultimately terminated on SR-70 west of Old Highway East Junction, after Cooper lost control of the GMC and collided with an embankment at approximately 0639 hours. Cooper and Corey were taken into custody without incident and were subsequently transported to Plumas District Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained as a result of the collision.
The incident remains under investigation.
On 11/18/2015 at approximately 1800 hours Deputies and Detectives from the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at 258 Laurel Ln apartment #8 in Chester which was occupied by Mandie O’Malley. During the search of the apartment a sellable quantity of methamphetamine and concentrated cannabis was located along with scales and other items to indicate that methamphetamine and concentrated cannabis were being sold from the apartment.
The occupant of the apartment, Mandie O’Malley, was arrested for possession for sales of a controlled substance specifically methamphetamine and concentrated cannabis.
Three additional subjects, Jeremiah Harvey 22 yoa of Susanville, Crystal Costello 31 yoa of Susanville and Christopher Miller 42 yoa from Greenville were found inside the apartment during the service of the warrant. Jeremiah Harvey was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance specifically methamphetamine, providing false information to a peace officer and an outstanding warrant from Lassen County for Arson. Crystal Costello was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance specifically methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Christopher Miller was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance and an outstanding warrant from Plumas County for violation of probation.
All four subjects were transported to the Plumas County Correctional Center for booking.
The case has been referred to the DA’s Office.
Steve W Peay
LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL met Tuesday night, November 17th. Under Financial Reports, Councilman Brooks Mitchell pointed out a $21,334.31 deficit in the Sewer Enterprise Accounts Receivable and stated, “People owe and aren’t paying,” explaining it’s from not having straightened out the local trailer park. Finance Director Kim Lombardi told of late fees under charged and with a new program to correct it. There are also three residential accounts, one owing $19,720, current now having signed an agreement.
Brooks, referring back to the trailer park, talked of having a lien on the park if sold. Councilman Mark Marin couldn’t understand how they can’t just shut the water off. Mayor Pat Whitley said if sold at auction, it will just pay County taxes and the City would lose money. Councilman John Cussins wanted to charge for back charges. Brooks stated they’re losing $1,800 a month even with those paying. Kim said the park is paid in a lump sum, not knowing who is or isn’t paying. John told of making multiple calls to HUD and needing jurisdiction. He felt it best “if City just turns it off.“ Mark agreed although John said the City doesn’t own the shut off valve but told of wasted water with swamp coolers and water leaks. Pat suggested a restrictive device but was told it would require a plumbing ordeal. Brooks made a motion to shut the water off to the trailer park. Mark thought that a good idea. Brooks moved to have Counsel compile a letter to the courts and to the property owners to give notice. Mark seconded, stating, “They’ll come to the table and something will get done,” and it was unanimous.
CITY OF LOYALTON has been offered a maximum of 100 free rain barrels by Good Ideas, a company focused on water conservation. Freight is included!
City Finance Director Kim Lombardi was concerned on where rain barrels would be stored. Councilman Brooks Mitchell and Mayor Pat Whitley knew nothing of rain barrels and were about to dismiss the idea until City Clerk Tracy Smith and from the audience, Jan Buck, urged in favor of the program. Brooks was to look into it. If interested, call City Hall, (530) 993-6750