Monday, February 27, 2006

Sandbag Supply

The pre-filled sandbags created by Drake High students went fast Sunday night as merchants and residents prepared their properties for the possibility of flooding. We did get a fresh supply of sand delivered this morning and about 200 more sandbags. You will need to fill your own bags. I was told that we lost several Town-owned shovels in the sandbag area this year, so we advise that you bring your own shovel to use if you need sandbags. A reminder that the sand and sandbags are located in the parking lot between the Pavilion and the ballfield.

No flooding reported in Fairfax

So far, there have been no reports of flooding in Fairfax as a result of this storm. Reports are that we had one inch of rain overnight. More is predicted today and tonight. I did not see an urban flood watch on the latest post on the National Weather Service website.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

TENS Emergency Notice Issued

Today, the County Office of Emergency Services issued a warning using the Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) for residents living in the flood plain. I received the notice on our town hall voice mail at 2:40 this afternoon. The message stated that the National Weather Service is forecasting high winds and heavy rains with gusts of up to 50 mph, and the potential for local urban flooding for the North Bay to develop late Sunday and continuing into Monday. There is currently no flooding but local urban flooding could take place as early as Monday morning. Residents in the flood plain are advised to take precautions to protect themselves and their property. The notice also gave out the National Weather Service phone number, (831) 656-1725, and asked residents to check that their neighbors also received the message, and to stay tuned to local radio and TV stations for weather alerts.

Five inches of rain are predicted for this storm, but hopefully it will be during a longer period of time than the last big storm. The Mayor and Council, Town emergency personnel, the volunteers, the Chamber of Commerce, and the creek monitoring group have all been notified this afternoon and evening, to keep everyone up to date and find out who is available to help if indeed the storm develops into localized flooding.

I also heard that PG&E emergency crews are on standby. Now would be a good time to have all your flashlights and candles/lighter gathered in a handy location.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Park Re-opened today!

The party today at the park drew over 100 adults and children! The weather was great, the food went quickly and the kids had fun. It was good to come together and celebrate the repair and recovery of one of our cherished community assets, Peri Park.

Disaster Recovery Center moves and continues its operations

We just received the following information from the County today that the Local Assistance Center (now called the Disaster Recovery Center) will remain open and move its operations.

Effective Monday, February 27, the FEMA/SBA Disaster Recovery Center will be moving from its current location at 241 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. to a new location at the following:

Wells Fargo Bank – San Anselmo Office

3 Tunstead Avenue

San Anselmo, CA 94960

The hours of operation will be:

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (M-F)

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM (Sat)

Closed Sunday

The DRC will have staff from the SBA and FEMA on site to answer questions and provide assistance to those individuals seeking federal assistance for storm recovery efforts. The DRC will remain at Wells Fargo Bank anywhere from 2 weeks up to a month depending on the need. Parking spaces will still be available for DRC visitors at 241 Sir Francis Drake Blvd (Kaufman Building) and it is a very short walk to Wells Fargo Bank. Directions prompting visitors to the new location will be posted on the Kaufman Building.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Grand Re-opening of Peri Park!

Join us for pizza and fun at a Grand Re-opening of Peri Park this Friday the 24th at Noon! The park was hit hard by mud and debris, and has now been cleaned and inspected. New sand and wood chips have been spread on the grounds, thanks to a group of hardworking volunteers and our wonderful Public Works crew. Join us in welcoming kids back to our beloved park!

Town Hall phones back working

I'm happy to report that the main line at town hall is working again and the calls are ringing through to us. If you had trouble getting through to us these last few days, thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Town Hall move

The move of town hall into the portable modular building went fairly smoothly, with one notable exception...our phone system is not working properly. Specifically, currently all calls to direct lines go straight to voice mail, and unfortunately, calls to the main line get caught in a loop where the caller cannot transfer out or leave a message. We can make outbound calls but the phones do not ring so we cannot pick up incoming calls. We are working with the phone company to get this frustrating glitch fixed, and I appreciate everyone's patience. If you need to get through to town hall, you can feel free to call my direct line, 458-2345, and I will retrieve the message, call you back or refer your call to another staff member who can help you. The wonders and frustrations of technology.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Look for a newsletter next week

Today, we wrapped up the production of a Disaster Recovery Newsletter, designed specifically for the residents and businesses of Fairfax. Look for it in your mail next week. It contains some of the information I have been posting here on my blog and also some new information. The design of the newsletter was donated and Avatar is printing it for us at a reduced cost. Furthermore, the production of the newsletter is supposed to be reimbursable by FEMA, so yes we constantly try to make the most of your local tax dollars. I felt that it was important to bring everyone up to date on the disaster recovery, and also inform you of some upcoming events that will help you and your family become better prepared for any future potential disasters. I appreciate any feedback on the newsletter.

One event advertised in the newsletter is an "Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Fair." The Fair is taking place on Saturday, March 25th from 11-3 out on the lawn near town hall. If the weather is wet, we will move into the Pavilion which is reserved just in case. The Fair will be an opportunity to learn about how to be more prepared and to ask questions about safety. I thought it important to bring resources to our residents and build on the momentum of awareness for disaster preparedness as well as personal and community safety. Besides, we are also planning on making it a real fun event!

FEMA Declares Deadline to Apply

FEMA has declared that April 4, 2006 is the deadline to apply for disaster recovery assistance in relation to the December 31st storm. Call FEMA at 1-800-621-3362 to apply over the phone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Local Assistance Center hours extended

The Local Assistance Center is still open this week for those seeking FEMA and SBA assistance. The towns are no longer staffing the center as the greatest need at this time appears to be for individuals who wish to speak with FEMA and SBA representatives in person. We had about 20 residents visit the Fairfax table for assistance during the four-day period while we were staffing the Center. The Center is located at 241 Sir Francis Drake in San Anselmo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Want to help re-open the Park?

The sand and woodchips are arriving this week to restore the grounds of Peri Park. If you’d like to participate in spreading the materials at the park this weekend, contact the Fairfax Volunteers at Let’s hope this nice weather holds up!

Moving out of Town Hall

Due to the need for the restoration company to complete its work at Town Hall, staff will be moving out this Saturday into a portable modular building that now resides in the Fire Station parking lot. Our phone numbers will remain the same. If all goes well, we will have phones and computers working on Tuesday morning when we return to work in the modular (Monday we are closed for Presidents' Day). We anticipate being in the modular from 6 to 8 weeks.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Neighbors Organize for Preparedness

The neighbors of Willow Avenue have started organizing to become more prepared in the event of a disaster, reports Council Member Mary Ann Maggiore, who lives on Willow. Neighbors met on January 9th with Fire Battalion Chief Michael Denning to review what they could do to help themselves and their neighbors in a time of crisis. A summary of the meeting and follow-up actions was sent to all the neighborhood. The main points of the issues covered include the following preparedness advice (a good reminder to all): get to know your neighbors immediately; establish gathering points; form Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) [this training will be offered soon; I will give details in a future post]; create parking clearance (for emergency vehicles and people evacuating); form your own emergency response capabilities with a family evacuation and reunification plan; practice evacuation drills; get your property in order (i.e. clear brush outside, check smoke detectors, etc.); and have at least three days of emergency supplies packed and ready to go. To follow-up, the neighborhood is distributing forms for compiling a neighborhood inventory to ascertain the skills of those in the Willow Avenue area (e.g. medical training), as well as any special needs that exist in the neighborhood.

This neighborhood is really setting an example of one way a subset of our community has taken on the task of self-preparedness and helping one another to be ready in the event of a disaster. I am certain that the Ross Valley Fire Service would be pleased to assist other neighborhoods become informed, organized and prepared for an emergency.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Upcoming Town Meetings

The next meeting of the Town Council will be on Wednesday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m. in the Womens' Club. It is an adjourned meeting to complete the agenda of the February 1st regular meeting. Click here for the agenda

The next Town Council Strategic Planning Workshop will be held on Saturday, February 18th at 9:00 a.m. and will run approximately 2 hours, in the Fairfax Women's Club. The Council will continue on with the task of long-term goal-setting. The meeting is open to the public. Please note the date change from the original date of Feb. 25th.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Assistance Center Opens

To give you an idea of what you will encounter if you visit the Local Assistance Center at 241 SFD, here is a photo of the building. Also, the Small Business Administration (SBA) table in the interior with SBA staff ready to serve you. The last photo is the Town of Fairfax staff at the briefing held this morning, starting on the left, next to me are Ann Welsh, Director of Planning and Building, Linda Neal, Senior Planner, Tauny Kasuya, Administrative Assistant, and Mark Lockaby, Building Inspector. We will take turns staffing the Fairfax table throughout the duration of the Local Assistance Center schedule, today through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The hours may be extended to Monday as well depending on the number of people visiting the center.

Job Opening

Do you know someone interested in public service? Our fine Fairfax Police Department is recruiting for a Public Safety Dispatcher. Here is the job description:
$3447 - $4191/mo. Receive calls for police, fire and medical; dispatch police units; prepare/maintain records and reports. Requires computer skills/knowledge; 1 yr. clerical experience; experience with radio broadcasting equipment desired; recent responsible experience in dealing with the public. Minimum age: 21 years at time of appointment. HS grad or equivalent; fully-paid medical and other benefits. Contact the Fairfax Police Department at 144 Bolinas Road, Fairfax, 94930, 453-5330. Open until filled. Equal opportunity employer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Assistance Center to Open Tomorrow!

Got FEMA? Many governmental agencies are working together to bring the Local Assistance Center resources to San Anselmo. It opens tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. I went there today, and here are some directions. Take SFD to the hub and continue on SFD. Your first light after the hub will be Bank. Make a right on Bank. Turn left and find a parking space in the "public" parking spaces. If you do not find one there, you can go to the right. Some spaces will be marked for staff. The address is 241 Sir Francis Drake. It is a former antique store and has the sign "e-Antiq" painted on the front of it. There is supposed to be a banner marking it as the Local Assistance Center.

Thank you Drake High School!

This photo may not look like much, but it is the product of a group of Drake High students fulfilling community service requirements. About 30 students filled some sandbags for us today, which was an idea that came out of a volunteer meeting. Now, we will have pre-filled sandbags in case we need them. I missed the actual event so I am sorry the photo does not show the great students who did this for us, but you get the picture!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Federal Disaster Declared (re-post)

For some reason, this post from 2/3/06 vanished so I am re-posting it here.

Good news to report on disaster recovery! On February 3rd, the President declared a major disaster for Marin County, which now paves the way for federal assistance for the residents of the Town and for the Town government. The declaration includes assistance to individuals, households, businesses and local governments. Marin County is one of 10 counties in California where individuals and households are eligible for this federal assistance.


The County of Marin's Storm Recovery Information Hotline (473-5614) will be open starting Monday, February 6th to answer questions about recovery efforts.

Local Assistance Center to Open on Thursday

Need in-person assistance with FEMA and other recovery resources? The County is opening a Local Assistance Center (LAC) for disaster recovery starting this Thursday, through Sunday (weekend included), Feb. 9-12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at 241 Sir Francis Drake in San Anselmo in the Kaufman Building. Hours may be extended through Monday if needed. The LAC will serve as a "one-stop shop" for distribution of resources and information to those residents and businesses affected by the flood disaster. The following agencies will have representatives present:
  • FEMA
  • Small Business Administration
  • IRS
  • Ca Employment Development Dept.
  • Ca Dept. of Insurance
  • Ca Social Services
  • Ca Office of Emergency Services
  • County Health and Human Services
  • County Environmental Health
  • Community Development Agency
  • Local Towns including the Town of Fairfax

For those affected by the flood, this is an opportunity to start applying for assistance and get your questions answered. This five-day window for the Center to be open is meant to get those who need help quickly into the pipeline for assistance. You do not need to be at the Center to apply for FEMA assistance (you can apply on-line or via telephone - see previous post), but this is a unique opportunity to meet with many agencies in one location so I encourage you to take advantage of the resources that will be available at the Local Assistance Center.