News Briefs

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Small fire put out

A small spot fire started three miles up Corral Canyon Road on Tuesday evening a little after 7 p.m. The fire was quickly put out.

Small Business Administration to replace Local Assistance Center

The Local Assistance Center at Bluffs Park will close at 7 p.m. on Friday. It will transition to a U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center, or DLOC, at a new location next to City Hall, 23805 Stuart Ranch Rd., No. 100 on Monday. The new center will remain open through Dec. 20, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SBA Customer Service Representatives at the DLOC will be available to issue and accept loan applications, answer questions about the SBA’s disaster loan programs, explain the application process and help each individual complete the application.

The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. The SBA helps homeowners and renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Businesses or individuals unable to visit the DLOC may obtain information by calling the SBA at 800.659.2955. The hearing- impaired can call 800.877.8339. The Web site is www. sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

If you have not registered with FEMA, you can do so by calling 800.621.FEMA (3362). The hearing- impaired can call 800.462.7585. The telephone lines are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Those affected by the fires can also register online at www.fema.gov.

Insurance Commissioner coming to Malibu

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and “a panel of disaster relief experts” will be at Pepperdine on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. for an Insurance Recovery Forum. Representatives from the California Department of Insurance and other agencies will be available to assist residents and provide answers to questions. The event will take place at Pepperdine’s George Elkins Auditorium, located at 24255 Pacific Coast Highway.

PCH closure

The California Department of Transportation has announced one eastbound lane of Pacific Coast Highway from Latigo Canyon Road to Corral Canyon Road will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow Southern California Edison to repair damaged electrical equipment caused by recent fires.

Phone tax to be on April ballot

At its meeting on Nov. 26, the City Council finalized a measure for the April City Council election ballot to tax cell phones and Internet voice communication as utility-user tax items. According to the staff report, the city generates approximately $961,000 of the $2.4 million tax through telephone usage. The report suggests that revenue is threatened because more people are using nontraditional telephone technology.

Charter applies for state permit

Charter Communications-Malibu’s largest service for cable television, Internet and telephone-last month applied for a state franchise license. The license is made possible after the recent passage of AB 2987, or the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006. The law allows telephone companies that can provide video services through phone lines to compete more easily against cable television companies by granting them a single statewide permit. Its stated intent is to open up cable competition to telephone and other companies, and thus offer consumers greater choice and lower cable bills. It will also shift regulation of pay TV services from cities and counties to the state.

AB 2987 has been controversial, and was opposed by many cities, including Malibu, with municipalities fearing the loss of revenue from city cable franchises.

Federal prosecutors seek Broad Beach home

An Illinois lawyer who will stand trial for allegedly taking a boy to Malibu in 2005 with the intent to have sex and other sex- and drug-related charges could lose his Broad Beach home. Prosecutors had originally sought forfeiture of L. Thomas Lakin’s East Alton, Ill. home because of its involvement in the alleged crime. Since that home was sold last year, prosecutors now want his Broad Beach property as a substitute home.

How to support the troops

Naval Base Ventura County, located in Point Mugu, has released a list of ways people can support the troops.

If you would like to invite sailors to your home for Christmas dinner, contact Chief Arnold Alonzo, Naval Construction Training Center, at 805.982.4355 or via email at Arnold.alonzo@navy.mil. You can also contact Chief John MacCallum, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, at 805.982.6428 or via email at John.maccallum@navy.mil.

Another way you can support is by donating to Operation Seabee Christmas, a private, nonprofit organization that collects items/monetary donations to deliver holiday packages to deployed family members overseas. The cost of a single Seabee stocking is estimated at $20. The goal each year is to first provide for the Ventura County-based Seabees who are deployed over the holiday season. If donations are collected beyond the needs of the deployed Seabees, it will be shared with other Port Hueneme/Point Mugu, California-based Seabees, as well as Reserve and Gulfport, Mississippi-based Seabees currently serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Any donations not used this holiday season will be kept and turned over to the rotating deployed unit. If you would like to make a contribution to this organization, make checks payable to Operation Seabee Christmas and send to: Operation Seabee Christmas, P.O. Box 2129, Port Hueneme, CA 93041 or go to www.seabeechristmas.org.

If you are considering donating to local military families for this holiday season, toys and gift certificates are being accepted by the Fleet and Family Support Centers at NBVC Point Mugu and Port Hueneme. Donations of toys and gift certificates will go toward benefiting NBVC military families this Christmas. If you would like to contribute, contact Lorraine Muñoz at 805.982.3159.

Go to www.americasupportsyou.mil if you would like to find other ways you can support our troops any time of the year.