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California

BOE Chairman Horton Announces Increase in Property Values Statewide

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Following two consecutive years of declining assessed values, the total value of state-assessed and county-assessed property rose to $4.382 trillion for 2011-12, an increase of $11.6 billion (0.3 percent) from the previous year, Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton recently announced.

The value of county-assessed property increased by $5.3 billion (0.1 percent) to $4.297 trillion. The value of state-assessed property, mainly privately owned public utilities and railroads, totaled $85.3 billion, an increase of $6.3 billion (8.0 percent).

Year-to-year percentage changes ranged from a high of a 19.5 percent gain in Colusa County to a low of a 5.3 percent decline in Plumas County. The increase in Colusa County is largely related to utility assessments (which comprise more than one-third of the county’s assessment roll), and was driven by the construction of a new power plant in the county. In all, twenty counties posted year-to-year increases in assessed value, although most of the increases were modest. Excluding Colusa County, only three counties (Kern, Madera and Trinity) grew by more than two percent.

Thirty-eight counties experienced year-to-year declines in value, with Plumas the only county declining by more than five percent. For the third year in a row, declines in assessed values were especially concentrated in the State’s Central Valley. Assessed values dropped by 2.9 percent in the Greater Sacramento Area, and declined 2.7 percent in the North San Joaquin Valley.

However, assessed values actually grew by 1.4 percent in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, driven by the 2.4 percent growth experienced by Kern County.

Of the twelve counties with rolls exceeding $100 billion, seven counties posted an increase in assessed value, while values in five counties fell. Values increased in the counties of San Mateo and Orange (1.0 percent), Santa Clara (0.9 percent), San Francisco (0.5 percent), San Diego (0.4 percent), and Alameda (0.1 percent). Declines in value include the counties of Sacramento (-3.7 percent), Riverside (-1.2 percent), San Bernardino (-0.5 percent), Contra Costa (-0.4 percent), and Ventura County, which was only down slightly, virtually unchanged by percentage. Los Angeles County, with the largest assessment roll at $1.079 trillion, increased by 1.4 percent, up $15.0 billion over 2010-11.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov.

Community Briefs

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TEMECULA
Pechanga to Open New Bamboo Restaurant Sept. 1

The first new restaurant since November 2008 will be unveiled September 1st at the largest casino in the Western USA, as Pechanga opens its doors to its latest Asian dining experience, Bamboo.

“There will be an assortment of authentic Asian noodle dishes served in their national style,” said Bamboo head chef Vincent Chen. “Our Asian guests want authenticity in both the preparation and the service and my menu will reflect that.” Chen pointed to the Enoki Mushroom Lo Mein – Thin Egg Noodles sautéed in a rich Oyster Stir-Fry Sauce with fresh Enoki mushrooms, crisp Bean Sprouts, chopped Cabbage, shredded Carrots and Green Onions.

The new 134 seat, 5,500 sq. ft., full-service restaurant will be located on the far side of the Round Bar, near the Smoke Free gaming area.  Yates-Silverman, Inc., who also designed the casino floor, hotel lobby, as well as Pechanga’s award-winning golf Clubhouse, designed the restaurant.

Bamboo will be open 11am to 3am daily, beginning September 1, and the menu is reasonably priced with items between $7 and $15.

FONTANA
Mary Vagle Nature Center

The Mayor and City Council invite the public to join the Mary Vagle Nature Center for their adventurous and educational programs. The Mary Vagle Nature Center is located at 11501 Cypress Avenue in Fontana and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

On September 24 the Nature Center and the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District will host a National Public Lands Day event.  Bring your family, scout, or community group and join the Center for a celebration of our urban natural areas.  There will be a volunteer work project at the Nature Center from 9:00am – 12:00pm and a Family Environment Education Fair from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.

On October 1 join amateur astronomers from the Riverside Astronomical society on a fascinating tour through our autumn sky.  Solar scopes will be set up from 4:30pm – sunset to provide dramatic views of the sun like you have never seen before, followed by night-time views of Jupiter and the crescent moon.

Ongoing weekend programs include Discovery Hikes, Adventures into Nature, Nature Ranger, and EarthCraft Afternoons. Discovery Hikes are held every first Saturday of the month, and this month it will be on September 3 at 9:30 am. Adventures into Nature are every second Saturday of the month, and will be on September 10 at 12 pm. Nature Rangers are every third Saturday of month, and will be on September 17 at noon. EarthCraft afternoons are every last Sunday of the month, and will be September 24 at noon.

For more information about events at the Mary Vagle Nature Center, please call the Center at (909) 349-6994 or visit their website at nature.fontana.org.

SAVE THE DATE!

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod's Birthday Reception

Thursday, September 22nd from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Location TBA and more information to follow in coming weeks.

Community Briefs

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SAN BERNARDINO
Anointed Touch Ministries Hosting a Fundraiser

Anointed Touch Ministries located at 2310 N. Sierra Way in San Bernardino will be hosting a fund raiser. Photographers will be at the church doing Glamour Shots. The Glamour Shots will include light hair styling and makeup. The dates for the event are Saturday, August 20, 2011 and Saturday, August 27, 2011. The time for both days is from 10am to 5pm. Anointed Touch will also be doing character shots and baby photos. They are asking for a $5.00 donation. Please call (909) 527-0793 or (951) 427-5581 for more information and to register.

SAN BERNARDINO
San Bernardino and Pacific High Schools Classes of 1956 to Hold Joint 55th Reunion Weekend

San Bernardino and Pacific High School classes of 1956 are holding a joint 55th reunion beginning Friday, September 30, 6:00 p.m., with a no-host welcome back gathering at lounge bar at the San Bernardino Hilton, 285 E. Hospitality Lane. On Saturday, October 2, there will be a reunion Dinner-Dance at the Hilton, beginning at 6 p.m.  The reunion weekend will culminate with a breakfast buffet at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 2 at the National Orange Show. The cost for the Saturday dinner-dance is $55 per person ($110 per couple) -- dress is “dressy casual.” The Sunday breakfast is $25.  A block of rooms at the San Bernardino Hilton has been reserved at a special $89 room rate.  Use code “SBH” when reserving your room.  Call the Hilton at (909) 889-0133 to make your room reservation. To reserve your place at the Reunion dinner and or Breakfast, contact Mary Lou De La Torre at (951) 845-7306, or e-mail mannynlulu@aol.com.  This event is also open to alumni from other classes of Pacific and San Bernardino High Schools.

MORENO VALLEY
Save The Date

KARC and Foothill AIDS Projects will be hosting their fundraising fellowship banquet on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Moreno Valley Conference Center, 14075 Frederick Street, Moreno Valley. The theme is “30 years later...Where are we now?” More information in coming in later issues of The Black Voice News.

Community Briefs

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RIVERSIDE
Celebrating Dell Roberts 75th Birthday

Saturday, August 20, 2011, 6:30p - Join the community for Dell Roberts 75th Birthday Celebration & Honoring. At the Riverside Marriott Hotel, 3400 Market Street, Riverside. Individual tickets are $75.00 and must be purchased in advance.

Go online to dellroberts75.eventbrite.com to pay online or to download the RSVP form for payment by check. For more information, email dellroberts75@aol.com or call (323) 988.7290 for more information.

SAN BERNARDINO
A Photographic Journey

The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire presents A Photographic Journey by Louis Weiner. This collection of recent work from his travels to Belize has exhibited in several galleries around the Southern California region.

An opening reception will take place on August 18, beginning from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Visual Arts Gallery at The Art Institute of California, 674 East Brier Drive, San Bernardino. For more information call 800- 353-0812 or visit www.aicievisualartsgallery.com

DIAMOND BAR
Vision Screening Resource

A free vision screening, sponsored by the Lions Club, will be conducted Saturday, August 13th, from 8:00am to 3:00pm, at The Diamond Stadium, 500 Diamond Drive, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530. Recycled eyeglasses also will be provided at the event on a first come, first served basis, from 8:00am to 3:00pm.

For more information, call John at: (951) 677-8548.

Does The State of California Have Money For You?

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Check the California State Controller’s Website for Unclaimed Property

By Laura L. Klure, Special to the Black Voice News–

Are there any dollars sitting unclaimed in Sacramento for you? Or for your church, or any organization you care about? Searching the California State Controller’s website could be a good idea. Go to www.sco.ca.gov and check it out.

Within a very short time, searching for your friends and family members can often uncover many small amounts of money.

Occasionally one finds claims that could amount to multiple thousands of dollars.

Why would somebody’s money have gone to the state? According to the Controller’s website, California’s Unclaimed Property Law requires corporations, businesses, associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies to annually report and deliver property to the State Controller’s Office if there has been no activity on the account or contact with the owner for a period of time specified in the law—generally three years.

In recent years, State Controller John Chiang has been making a greater effort than was done in the past to try to return funds to their rightful owners. In particular, local governments have become more aware of the process, and they are being more regular in checking the website and retrieving their funds. Chiang has initiated reforms that increase the odds that account owners will be adequately informed.

However, there are ways to search that uncover more Unclaimed Property listings than you might expect. Sometimes the funds became “unclaimed” because there was an incomplete name, misspelled information, a wrong address, etc. , that made some payment undeliverable. Hint: try searching for just your last name and the city, then add more names if that brings up too much information.

Or, search by your whole name without adding the city, especially if you’ve moved in recent years.

Entering less information can bring up more possible claims – for example, a recent search entering just the letters NAACP, without designating a city, brought up a list of 55 claims, funds that could be reclaimed by NAACP groups throughout the state. Click on the case number to see details. Many are small amounts, but some NAACP groups could recover more than $1,000 each. The San Francisco NAACP has $5,000 in unclaimed property.

Try searching for the clubs or sports groups that are the favorites of your family members. There’s unclaimed money for “Little League,” for “AYSO” (soccer), and other groups. If you enter fewer words in your search, such as just typing “Black Women,” you will see listings for various organizations where the name starts with those words. A search for “Second Baptist” yields money for churches in various communities. Funds can be located for groups in California cities, or sometimes even organizations with offices in other states.

Arranging the names or words in a different order can produce different results: a search for “City of San Bernardino” listed 17 claims, whereas searching for “San Bernardino City” brought up 26 different unclaimed properties.

Claims can often be for so few dollars that it’s not worth doing the paperwork to try to reclaim the money. However, note that shares of stock may be listed for a “0” dollar amount, when the total value could be well worth chasing. It does take some effort to reclaim property, and documentation is needed. Some claims must be notarized.

It can be especially difficult if names have changed, information was listed in error, or you’ve moved multiple times, or someone connected with the account has died.

The website lists lots of helpful information, such as: How do you find out if you have unclaimed property? How does the state get unclaimed property? How can you keep property from going to the state? What about unclaimed property in other states? What happens to safety deposit box contents if you fail to pay the box fee? (Yes, the Controller has items from deposit boxes as well as money.)

Additional topics are discussed on the website, along with instructions for filing claims.

Be aware that there is no fee if you file your claim directly with the Controller’s office. There are investigators who try to help people regain funds, but this is not essential and their fees are limited to 10 percent. It’s also important to understand that it may take quite a while for a claim to be processed (sometimes 180 days), because the Controller’s office is busy with many duties.

If you’re not online at home, consider using the public library’s computers to visit the Controller’s website. You can print out claim forms to file by regular mail.

Caution: the search may yield claims for other people with the same name as yours, so don’t get too excited if that happens. For example, there are many other folks out there with the last name “Brown” who might benefit by checking the website.

In an economy where every little bit can help, we wish you “happy hunting” for your unclaimed property!

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