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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 559-733-2070 and find out how we can help.

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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 559-733-2070 to find out how we can help.

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How to Be Safe Near Rails

How to Be Safe Near Rails

Trains are fairly prominent in most people’s lives, even if you rarely ever ride one. There are around 5,000 miles of rail road here in the state of California which makes it very likely that a person will come across some tracks. While the train tracks may not consistently have trains running on them, that does not mean that they are inactive.

Freight trains are very inconsistent, unlike passenger trains who run on tight schedules. This lulls people into a false sense of security sometimes when near train tracks, which is what causes accidents. Railroads can be very dangerous, and it is important for anyone walking near them to keep their ears open. The tracks will begin to hum as a train approaches, and when that happens, get away from the rails.

Unlike cars, trains cannot swerve to avoid a person or vehicle. They are stuck to the rails, and they will never be able to stop in time to avoid hitting someone. This is simple physics: an object in motion stays in motion. The momentum of the several pound train will not allow it to stop in less than a mile. By the time an engineer sees that there is something on the tracks, it is already too late to stop.

If you ever get stuck on train tracks, or see someone else stuck, dial 911. Alert them to the problem, and they will alert the railroad company in charge of that stretch of track. The company will attempt to shut down all train operations on the line until the problem has been dealt with.

Lastly, beware of the illusion that trains are further away than they think. Their size, the way the rails converge, and the right viewing angle can all combine to make the train look like it is moving slower than it actually is. This can cause people to think it is safe to cross tracks when it really isn’t.

When it comes to train tracks, always stay alert. A freight train can come along at any moment, and you do not want to be caught off guard.

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Smoking Marijuana While Driving

Smoking Marijuana While Driving

While the rest of the country may be debating what to do about cannabis, Californians have already decided. California recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. We followed several other states like Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. While we weren’t the first ones to legalize weed recreationally, we are still one of the eight states that allows it recreationally. However, like with alcohol and cigarettes, there are laws that have to be followed.

Arguably the most important place to follow the law is behind the wheel. When a person steps behind the wheel of a vehicle they greatly increase the chances of causing harm to someone. Vehicle related deaths are some of the highest in the nation.

Before California allowed the sale of recreational marijuana, they passed several laws in anticipation. In particular they passed a law in regards to driving while smoking. According to this law, written by Sen. Jerry Hill, if a person is caught smoking marijuana while operating a vehicle, or while riding in a vehicle, they can be subjected to a violation. The violation will include a fine of $70.

This really isn’t a new law for us. It’s already illegal to drive while intoxicated. Obtaining a DUI isn’t because you were drunk, it just means you were under the influence of some kind of substance. Along with not being intoxicated while driving, you cannot have an open container of cannabis in your vehicle. This is similar to you not being allowed to have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.

Since we are one of the few states that have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally, we have to be the role model for other states in the future. As time continues, more studies will be released in regards to the use of marijuana, which will broaden our understanding of the subject as a whole. Until then, exercise caution, and just follow the law.

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