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.

Calexit May Be Making a Comeback

Calexit May Be Making a Comeback

Some voters will likely remember the recent plan to separate the state of California from the rest of the nation. This plan was referred to as Calexit. The plan was to have California secede from the Union to form its own, brand new country. The plan itself was very big, and received a lot of support and criticism from all sides.

The people behind the plan have until October 17 to gather enough signatures for the proposal to be placed on the 2021 ballot. However, as that deadline fast approaches, the groups seems to be largely abandoning that effort in favor of a new one. This is largely due to the fact that they have yet to acquire even 25% of the needed voter signatures to get the measure approved. The belief is that plans like Calexit have failed in the past before due to their lack of consideration of Native Americans.

The US Census state that California is home to the largest population of Native Americans in the country. This is part of the reason why the new plan for California secession involves dividing the new California in half and calling one half the Autonomous Native Nation.

This new plan is still in the early stages of development. The Yes California group, the one backing the Calexit plan, has not yet contacted tribal leaders to get their opinions. Currently, the plan has California been split roughly down the middle with the western half being the new California and the Eastern half becoming the Autonomous Native Nation.

What do you think of this latest plan to change the shape and future of California? Would you rather have the state split into three with Cal-3, or would you rather secede altogether? Perhaps you’d prefer it if the state stayed exactly the same. Let us know in the comments.

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.

7 Tips for Preventing Wildfires

7 Tips for Preventing Wildfires

All Californians know that it is that time of year once again. Fire season is upon us. California has a tendency to have a hot, dry climate in summer. This can make it very easy for fires to break out and roar across the state. While winds may help cool us down, they only fan the flames, helping them spread farther, faster.

During this time of year it is very important that every Californian be more cautious with everything they do. One wrong move can start up a wildfire and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Nobody wants to be the one responsible for that.

The following are some tips we have gathered to help prevent wildfires in the first place.

• When setting up campfires, be sure to check local laws to make sure they are allowed in the area, and if they are, that they are kept 10 feet away from anything combustible.
• When it comes to dealing with campfires, always be sure to keep fires smaller than 3 feet wide, and only burn firewood. The fire pit should be completely surrounded by rocks and a shovel and supply of water should be kept close by incase the fire starts to get out of control.
• Fireworks are a sure fire way to start wildfires, which is why they are typically illegal to set off in most areas of California.
• Never discard a cigarette by tossing it on the ground or throwing it out of the car window. Doing so is an easy way for the smoldering cigarette butt to land in a dry patch of foliage and start a new blaze. Always discard cigarettes in ashtrays where they cannot blow away.
• Never park a vehicle on dry brush, since the heat from the exhaust can be enough to start a fire.
Be careful with lawnmowers in dry areas since they can start fires with sparks cause by their blades striking against rocks. Try to mow early in the morning when there is still moisture around.
• Never play around with fire, especially not in hot, dry, or windy conditions.

 

Fire safety is a very big deal in the state of California. Every year fire season rolls around and thousands of acres are burnt down. Sometimes people lose their homes, and in devastating instances, people lose their lives. It is important that everyone do their part to try and prevent wildfires from happening.

You Won’t Believe the Truth From Behind the Bars

You Won’t Believe the Truth From Behind the Bars

Prisons in general seem to have a reputation, but California prisons seem to have some of the worst. However, like most hot topics, people aren’t always completely informed about the problem. People question the integrity of the jail and prison systems. Understanding the prison system in California is the first step in figuring out how to go about possibly fixing any issues.

Most prisoners in California are U.S. citizens. According to the Public Policy of California (PPIC) 81% of prisoners are U.S. citizens, and only 19% are foreign nationalities. 5% of the 19% are from Mexico. This shows that criminals don’t all come from our neighboring countries. This statistic shows that as Americans, we tend to have problems with following the laws of the land.

California’s prison population is big but it’s not the worst. California’s prison population in 2006 was 163,000 inmates. Ten years later the total prison population in California as of 2016 has increased to 1,505,400 according the Bureau of Justice Department. However, this places California 18th in the nation with some of the lowest incarceration rates. It’s expected to see a decrease in prison population as laws continue to change in California.

The incarceration statistics continue to be startling. The age of prisoners is growing as well. Meaning there are more, older prisoners (50 or older) in prison. Not only are they getting older, they’re needing more help medically. In 2016, 30% of prisoners required mental health services. They’re older and are repeat offenders, meaning that they are leaving prison and then being recommitted for more crimes. No one is ever really leaving the system.

California prison statistics aren’t common knowledge. Most people don’t think to look at the stats in regards to prisons because it doesn’t typically affect their lives. Looking at the facts is important for a person to understand what is going on in the world. By having the facts, a person will be able to make informed and educated decisions that could go on to make the world a better place.

Did You Know This about Carpool Lanes?

Did You Know This about Carpool Lanes?

If you have ever driven on a California freeway, you’ve probably seen a carpool lane before. More recently, they have been renamed to HOV lanes, which stands for High Occupancy Vehicle Lane. These are lanes that are only accessible by vehicles that have more than one occupant in the vehicle. The idea is that by offering a clear lane for only certain vehicles, more people will be encouraged to rideshare and therefore reduce the amount of traffic on the road.

While carpool lanes may parallel and resemble other lanes on the road, they are viewed as different. They have different sets of rules to ensure that they are used properly and effectively. Breaking these rules can get a person pulled over and issued a traffic violation ticket.

One rule that some people do not realize, is that not all carpool lanes are active 24/7. Some lanes are only considered carpool lanes at set times for certain days of the week. These times usually coincide with peak traffic conditions and are often posted on the signs near the lane itself. This means that anyone can drive through the lane when it isn’t during the posted time, but during those times, only vehicles with more than one occupant can use the lane.

When a driver violates the rules of carpool line, they can face a minimum fine of $490 dollars. Repeat offenders will likely face higher fines. Depending on the location, there can also be additional fees if the local city has elected add additional fees in an effort to reduce carpool lane abuse.

Nobody likes dealing with traffic and California seems to have more than its fair share. This isn’t surprising considering that California is the most populated state in the country. However, this is not an excuse to misuse the carpool lane. If a driver wants to be able to use the carpool lane on their way to and from work, then they should find someone to rideshare with. Otherwise they could faces some hefty fines.

The Truth about Underage Drinking

The Truth about Underage Drinking

It’s almost time for school to begin, which means summer vacations are over and families across the state are heading back home for the new school year. The start of a new school year also marks the reunification of friends after a summer spent apart. If you’re the parent of a teenager, then chances are you know that when teenagers get around one another, rules can be broken.

As Friday night high school football games begin and the weather cools off, teenagers across the state will begin looking for ways to entertain themselves on the weekends. For some, this could mean bowling, going to the movies, or working out. For others, it could be house parties. Without jumping to conclusions or stereotyping, many times, teenagers use house parties as a means to illegally consume alcohol.

As a parent, it is your job to guide your children into making smart and responsible decisions. In California, consuming alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal. Such as many other states around the country, California has very strict and specific laws in place that prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from consuming or being in possession of alcohol.

Read below to learn more about these general underage drinking laws.

• It is illegal for a minor to be in possession of alcohol in a public space. If convicted, a person may face a fine of $250 and be required to complete community service.
• The state of California has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. If an underage driver is caught with a blood-alcohol level of .01 or higher, they will be charged with a violation of California’s zero-tolerance policy. As consequence, they could be fined and lose their driving privileges for a year or more.
• In addition to the law mentioned above, an underage driver will be charged with a DUI if they are driving or operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .05 or higher.

 

The items mentioned above are just a few examples of California’s underage drinking laws. However, there are also laws regarding contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As a parent or a person in general, you could be charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor if you are caught providing underage children alcohol. A minor can also be charged with this if they are caught providing alcohol to someone underage.

When it comes to underage drinking, just don’t. As a parent, it is never too early to begin having open conversations with your child about the consequences of consuming alcohol illegally. We want to ensure your children are equipped with the knowledge and power to make the right decisions.

Can Climate Change Increase Suicide Rates?

Can Climate Change Increase Suicide Rates?

If you are like most people, than you probably don’t like it when the temperatures rise too high. Here in Southern California it is not unheard of for the temperatures to rise into the triple digits, which is never fun. This kind of heat can be deadly in its own right, but a recent study by researchers at Stanford has found that higher than average temperatures can increase chances of another problem.

The study looked at how climate change can affect the mental health of a person and found that suicide rates increased when temperatures rose above their monthly average. For every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature, the monthly suicide rate increases by .68% in the United States. This was a noticeable trend that the researchers found after examining statistics from 1968 to 2004.

Here in the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that suicide claimed around 45,000 lives in the United States during 2016. This is compared to the roughly 800,000 people who die to suicide every year around the globe.

The belief is that when temperatures rise, they increase the likelihood of a person becoming more depressed, which can lead to a higher risk of suicide. Anyone who has ever had to deal with extreme temperatures knows that they don’t always put a person in a great mood.

For anyone who is depressed and struggling with suicide, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are people out there who are willing to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255. They also have a website that offers additional resources, and can be reached here.

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.

Sending Packages to Inmates

Sending Packages to Inmates

What’s your first reaction when you see a loved one in either physical or emotional distress? It’s human nature to want to help solve the problem, alleviate their discomfort, or comfort their sorrows. Unfortunately for our loved ones behind bars these, simple acts of kindness and comfort are nearly impossible to complete. However, there are a few things you can do to help.

In a recent blog post, we discussed five simple ways that you can show support to those you love while they are incarcerated. However, one of the items listed suggested sending letters which can get tricky. With that in mind, we are taking the opportunity in this blog post to delve a little deeper into what is and isn’t acceptable when sending letters and packages to loved ones while they’re in jail.

Let’s get started by discussing the items that cannot be sent to someone in jail. The actual list of prohibited items is pretty exhaustive and includes things such as cell phones, cigarettes, and clothing. Ultimately what is and isn’t allowed into the prison is at the discretion of the corrections officer in charge of mail. They are likely to throw away or return any of the following items that fall into one of the categories below.

• Items that can be used or made into a weapon
• Items that promote violence
• Items that are related to or promote drugs of any kind
• Items that promote sexual deviancy

 
Now that we have what you can’t send to inmate out of the way, let’s take a look at the items you can send. You can send:

Letters and greeting cards – When sending letters and cards, be sure to keep the envelope clear of doodles, fragrances, staples, paper clips or tape – this may alert the corrections officer that you are hiding something inside
Photographs – Something to keep in mind as you select photographs to send is to ensure the photograph does not contain explicit content or nudity.
Money – If you would like to send money to an inmate, please ensure that it is in the form of a money order. Cash is not allowed inside the prison.
Reading Material – Unless prohibited by the prison, inmates may receive books, magazines, and newspapers. However, the reading material may not contain anything that promotes sexuality, violence, or other bad behavior. Please note, the reading material may not directly come from you, it must come from the manufacturer or distributor. This means that you cannot order a book and then send it to the inmate, the book must be sent straight from the website to the inmate.

It’s no surprise that incarceration is difficult for everyone involved. We hope that these guidelines help you decipher what types of items you are able to send to a loved one.

If you or a loved one need help avoiding unnecessary time behind bars while you await your court date, give us a call at 559-784-8660 and find out how we can help.