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Turning Off the Power Due to High Winds

Turning Off the Power Due to High Winds

Fall has finally arrived, and for Californian, that means it is time to brace yourselves against the strong winds that come with the season. These strong winds can topple trees and powerlines, which when combined with dry brush, can spark out of control wildfires. This means that not only do residents have to brace themselves against the breeze, they have to be on the lookout for wildfires.

This is exactly what happened last year in Yuba County with the Cascade Fire that burned roughly 10,000 acres and killed 4 people. After the fire, it was determined that sagging powerlines from Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) sparked the blaze. With the company now facing billions of dollars in damages owed, it is taken preemptive measures to make sure what happened in 2017, doesn’t happen again.

As the winds began to increase, and high wind warnings and advisories were issued, the company began alerting its customers that it would be shutting off power to high risk areas. This amounted to roughly 60,000 customers being left without power.

As one would expect, this caused a great deal of problems for everyone. Food spoiled in warming refrigerators, traffic became a nightmare without working signals, jobs were unable to be done, and schools were closed across six Northern California counties. Many disgruntled customers took to Twitter to complain about the incident and the problems it caused.

While PG&E’s move did prevent any new wildfires from sparking up, it left thousands of people in very unpleasant situations. PG&E was not the only California utility company to do this, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric also cut off power to customers, though on a smaller scale.

What do you think about the practice of shutting off power to prevent wildfires? Should California utility companies do it more often? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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What’s in Your Kid’s Halloween Candy?

What’s in Your Kid’s Halloween Candy?

Every year, as Halloween rolls around, people begin seeing articles about how they can keep their kids safe during the holiday. One of the big topics is being sure to check kids’ Halloween candy for any tampering before allowing the kid to eat it. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think it’s fun or funny to harm people by messing with their food.

The first step to checking a child’s candy is to make sure that they don’t eat any of it while they are out trick or treating. Do not let them have any of the candy until you have been able to examine it under good lighting. Check for damaged wrappers, candy that smells funny, homemade sweets from strangers, or any candy or sweets not in their original packaging.

If a piece of candy doesn’t seem right to you, throw it out. In this instance, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your child’s safety. If you do find any candy that has been clearly tampered with, such as having needles, razors, or glass shards in it, report it right away to the local authorities.

As uncommon as tampering with candy may be, this kind of thing does happen. Recently Australia has been dealing with people putting sewing needles into strawberries. So, check your kids Halloween candy this year just to be safe.

Who Hasn’t Bounced Through a Castle?

Who Hasn’t Bounced Through a Castle?

As a kid, we all knew that the best parties had bouncy castles. These colorful, inflatable castles were the center point of many fun parties. They allow kids to run and jump around without much fear of colliding with something hard or sharp. They are a great way for parents to wear their kids out as well.

While many of us have great memories of these air filled palaces, there are some out there who view these contraptions as dangerous. Of course, bounce castles aren’t completely safe. If the kids inside get too wild, it is only a matter of time before some collide and hurt themselves. However, that is not the worst case scenario.

There have been instances where bouncy castles were picked up by strong gusts of wind. The castle then fly away with children still inside. Nobody wants to see this, and it is a nightmare situation for any parent. All a parent can do is the castle and their child come down safely, which doesn’t always happen.

If bouncy castles are not properly maintained or setup in the correct manner, problems can occur. Recently, a bouncy castle in Gorleston, England recently exploded with kids inside. Sadly, one child did die from the incident. What’s worse, is this is not the first time something like this has happened in England or here in the US. This has since caused some of England’s political leaders to begin to call for a ban on bouncy castles in the country until their safety can be better guaranteed.

With summer here, and kids out of school for the season, it is likely that there will be more people inflating bouncy castles to celebrate. Do you think they are safe, or should the US or California think about enacting stricter safety regulations for these inflatable palaces like our friends over in England? Let us know in the comments down below.

Life After Jail

Life After Jail

After months and months of patiently waiting, the day has finally come – your loved one is coming home! It’s been a long time in the making and you and your family couldn’t be more excited to see their face, give them a big hug, and for life to finally return to normal. Well, we hope that seeing their face and giving them a big hug will hold you over for some time because “getting back to normal” is going to take some a while.

The harsh reality of a loved one obtaining their freedom is that life isn’t going to return to normal as soon as they return home. They will go through several different emotional stages such as culture shock and depression, as well as adjusting to the stigma that is associated with having a criminal record. As a family member, we want you to be prepared for things they will face as they adjust to everyday life.

Culture Shock – As you can imagine, the world continues to evolve while your loved one is in jail. This includes all aspects of life such as technology, politics, and entertainment. Once they are released, they will need to learn new technology – things like the latest smartphone, social media, or navigating websites. As your loved one navigates the new technological, political, or entertainment industry landscape, it is important that you remain patient and answer any questions they may have.
Depression – After one is released from jail, depression is common. As liberating as it may be, it will be tough on your loved one to readjust to daily life outside of strict schedules and constant supervised routine. Furthermore, they will begin facing the stigmas and the harsh reality of trying to obtain employment with a criminal record. Your loved one may feel lost as they try to find a new purpose and value in society. It is important that you help guide them, listen to their frustrations, and remain positive.
Anger Management – One way to show authority in jail is to show aggression toward other. It is important to remind your loved ones that this kind of behavior is not acceptable outside of jail. As someone who cares about them, it’s important that you help them find other means of expressing their frustrations and controlling their anger.
Fight Addiction – If your loved one had an addiction prior to going to jail, or developed one while in jail, it may have impacted their personality. It is important to show support for them and offer outside resources such as a therapist, social work, or a doctor to help them combat their addiction and stay clean.

We know you are excited to see a loved one obtain their freedom. However, we also know that as exciting as it may be to be released from jail, you and your loved ones will face difficulties as they resume their life as a free person. It’s important to remind them of your support and be a constant source of positive influence as they adjust to life outside of jail.

Rules of the Beach

Rules of the Beach

Nobody wants to think about rules once summer rolls around, the season is about freedom after all. However, the rules still need to be followed. If someone decides to ignore them, they can end up facing some serious fines or even jail time. California law doesn’t care what season it is. If a law is broken, a person will get into trouble.

Beaches are the go to place to hang out in the summer when you live in California. Unfortunately, beaches are also the go to spot for tourist as well. Locals often find their favorite surf spots littered with tourist and trash. This can make for a bad relationship between locals and tourists. If you’re a local, try to be patient with the tourist this summer. They may not know that they’re on a private beach, or that it’s a popular surf spot. If you’re a tourist on the beach this summer, please remember to pick up after yourself. California already has enough problems with water population, we don’t need an extra hand.

Aside from littering, beaches have several other rules as well. You can’t just do whatever you’d like on a beach. Most beaches have set aside areas that are designated for certain activities that are banned elsewhere on the beach. It’s always a good idea to see what rules that a beach might have since they change from place to place. For example according to the LA County website, all beaches in LA County have the following rules:

• No animals allowed on the beach (no cats, dogs, horses, etc.)
• No alcoholic beverages
• No smoking
• No tents, or overnight camping
• No fires or barbeques allowed, except in the fire pits at Dockweiler Beach
• No fireworks
• No glass containers
• No loitering between midnight and 6am
• No amplified music
• No nudity
• No diving in shallow water
• No soliciting or selling merchandise
• No littering
• No driving or parking on sand or bike path
• No disturbances
• No swimming, wading, surfing, skin dive, scuba dive, or recreation in the ocean after sundown

 
Like most rules, these rules are designed with your safety in mind. They don’t want glass bottle on the beach because people tend to litter, and broken glass could easily slice someone’s foot open. Loud music may be okay with you and your group of friends when it’s your playlist, but your neighbors on the beach may be offended by your choice of songs.

Rules exist for a reason. Although you may not always agree with that reason, the rule needs to be followed in order for you have the best beach experience. Don’t let the rules get you down. You can always look for beaches that have designated areas for you to have a fire, or a place that allows pets. There are several beaches in California, you just have to find the right one for you.

Inmate Need Support Too

Inmate Need Support Too

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been incarcerated once or three times, jail can be a scary and nerve-wracking place. Just to give you a glimpse into the life of those incarcerated, they lose 99% of their contact with the outside world, they’re told what to do and when to do it, and they are forced to share a small cell with a complete stranger.

This is not a pleasant thought, but it is the reality that more than 2 million inmates face every day. That’s why it’s up to you, the loved ones of those incarcerated, to show support and help make their days a little brighter. We understand this can be hard to do, so we’ve come up with a few ideas to help you get started.

Send Money – We know that budgets can be tight and money may not be readily available to send, but a little monetary contribution to their fund every now and then can a have a big impact on a loved one’s experience in jail. Without funds, they cannot make simple purchases such as a phone card, paper, or stamps. By having funds in their account they will also be able to purchase snacks, which is a great alternative to the food served in prison. It’s a simple process and can be completed over the phone simply by knowing their full name and booking number.
Visit Often – There are a million ways to spend your Saturday and visiting a loved one in jail probably isn’t at the top of your list, but it should be. It’s understandable that scheduling a visit can’t be done every weekend, but you should try to make it a priority to visit loved ones as often as you can. If you can’t go, find a family friend that is free that day and see if they can stop by. You would never believe what a simple visit from a familiar face can do for an inmate’s mental health.
Write Letters – This is probably the easiest suggestion on the list because it’s one that you can do in your own time and is super cheap to do. If you can, write them a letter once a week and tell them about what is going on in your life, about different things that are happening within the family, and catch them up on local news. In fact, you can include small pictures of loved ones.
Don’t Ignore Their Calls – The ability to make a phone call is a big deal to an inmate because in order to make a call they may have to wait in a long time for an open phone line and use valuable or limited funds. We understand that sometimes you’re busy and unable to answer their call, but just by answering, saying hello, and scheduling a time to have a later conversation you can make their day a little brighter.
Show An Interest In Their Life – If time and money are a problem, this suggestion is for you. When you do get the chance to talk to a loved one, whether it be on the phone or in a letter, ask them how they are doing. They might not have a lot happening, but chances are they will be eager to tell you about recreation, the latest gossip, or provide you with an update on their court case.

These may only be five simple suggestions to help provide support for a loved one in jail, but they are five suggestions that anyone can do. While these are great things to keep in mind for yourself, pass the ideas along to extended family members, friends, or your local congregation so they can reach out and show their support too.

If you or a family member need financial support to post a bail bond as a means to avoid unnecessary jail time, call us at 559-784-8660 to find out how we can help.

3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

3 Tips to Increase Your Credit Score

It’s a situation no one ever wants to be in, but it’s one that you may face in your lifetime.

Picture this: You’ve just been arrested, you’ve been booked and given a bail amount, and you’ve called someone for assistance. Now, you sit and wait in a holding cell while a loved one contacts a bail agent to help obtain your freedom. However, there’s a problem. The bail agency cannot issue a bond because, after running a credit report, their credit score isn’t high enough.

This is a serious problem because now you’re forced to sit in jail and wait until your court appearance. However, this is an avoidable problem. The answer is simple – keep your credit score up so that you never have to worry about it being too low to be approved. But what exactly is a good credit score? There is no right answer, however, according to ExperianExperian a credit score can range between 300 and 850. See below for an in-depth look at the credit score breakdown, courtesy of Experian.

In order to help ensure you and your loved ones have a good enough credit score to be approved for a bail bond, a home, or anything in between, we’ve compiled a list of three steps you can take starting today.

• Pay your bills on time – According to Credit Karma, one of the most important things lenders care about is the likelihood you are going to pay them back. This is determined through your history of paying your bills on time. By paying all of your bills on time you show lenders that you’re reliable and will uphold your end of the bargain.
• Pay off your debt – In order to grant you a loan, lenders want to ensure that you have enough room in your monthly expenses to be able to afford another bill. Be sure to pay down your current debt as quickly as possible so you have room for unexpected necessities.
• Don’t open too many credit cards at the same time – When you open a new line of credit, it creates a “hard line” on your credit report which stays there for two years. This could create a negative effect on your credit report.

 

If you’re looking to increase your credit score, it’s important to know what your score is. There are a lot of free websites that will allow you to check it for free, utilize them. Keep in mind that improving your credit score takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll want to ensure that you follow these three tips every month and develop good financial habits.

What Is the Fourth Amendment?

What Is the Fourth Amendment?

Here in the United States, we are granted a lot of rights and freedoms thanks to the US Constitution. Many of the most basic rights we have come from the Bill of Rights, which is the first ten amendments of the Constitution. One of the many important amendments there is the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment prevents unreasonable search and seizures of a person’s property. The official wording is as follows:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What this means, is that law enforcement officials cannot search or take a citizen’s belongings unless they have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has or will take place, or have a warrant. This also states that the officers can only search and seize things that are listed on the warrant they presented.

This simple law protects a person from having their house searched, and belongings taken without reasonable cause. Reasonable cause means that officers cannot simply search a person because they feel like it. Instead they need to find proof and provide enough evidence that warrants their need to search the house.

The Fourth Amendment is one of many laws within the US Constitution that helps protect everyday citizens from government officials abusing their powers. This is why the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights is so important. They give us our rights and freedoms, and help keep the government from abusing its power.

Park Here, Not There

Park Here, Not There

The summer season is upon us, which can only mean one thing – an influx of traffic stemming from tourists, family vacations, and gorgeous weather. As you and your family embark on summertime adventures, we want to help ensure your trips are memorable for all the right reasons, and not because of parking violations that result in unwanted fines or tickets.

As you drive around town looking for the perfect, shady, parking spot keep these laws in mind regarding parking at colored curbs.

• White– Stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail.
• Green– Park for a limited time. Look for a posted sign next to the green zone for time limits, or locate the time limit painted on the curb.
• Yellow– Stop no longer than the time posted to load or unload passengers or freight.
• Red– No stopping, standing, or parking. (Buses may stop at a red zone marked for buses.)
• Blue– Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or special license plate for disabled persons or disabled veterans.
• Note: Placard abuse results in the loss of special parking privileges. It is also a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to 6 months, or both.

 
Just when you think you’ve found the perfect spot; make sure it doesn’t fall into one the items below. Here are a few helpful reminders as to where it is illegal to park at any time.*

• Where a “No Parking” sign is posted.
• On a marked or unmarked crosswalk, sidewalk, partially blocking a sidewalk, or in front of a driveway.
• Within 3 feet of a sidewalk ramp for disabled persons or in front of or
on a curb that provides wheelchair access to a sidewalk.
• Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or a fire station driveway.
• On or within 7½ feet of a railroad track.
• At a red curb.

 
If it has been a while since you took a driving course, check out the California Driver Handbook. The handbook covers everything you and your family need to know year-round to help ensure you are following proper driving laws, practices and policies.

Make this summer one to remember, stay safe and follow all posted and not posted traffics laws.

*This is not a comprehensive list. Please visit www.dmv.ca.gov for a comprehensive list of places that it is illegal to park in California.

Do You Think California Will Split Apart?

Do You Think California Will Split Apart?

Near the beginning of this year, Californians began hearing rumors that they may be able to vote on splitting the state into multiple states. The measure would break up California into three new states. The idea behind this is that California is too large and diverse to govern. By splitting it up, each region would be able to better govern itself the way it wants to.

While this was simply a rumor and idea at the beginning of this year, it has now come to fruition. Election officials have announced that the Cal-3 measure has more than enough signatures to get it placed on the November ballot this year. This means that Californians will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to split the state up into three new ones.

This isn’t the first time that people have tried to alter California is some way. There have been numerous attempts since the states admittance to the Union to alter it in some way. People have sought to change its boundaries, split it into multiple pieces, and even have it secede from the Union to become its own state. However, none of these attempts have made it.

If voters approved the measure in November, it would still need to receive approval from both the California Senate and House of Representatives. If, the measure managed to get approved there, it would then be sent to Washington DC, where Congress would need to approve it as well. Both instances seem very unlikely due to many different political reasons.

Many of those political reasons are why a new state hasn’t been added to the Union in over 50 years, or why a state hasn’t been split apart in over 150. The last state to be created from a split was West Virginia back in 1863. While it is a long shot for California to split apart, there is still that possibility that it could occur. Only time will tell what will happen, and you can bet that many people will be paying close attention to California this November.