Sandra Petrini writes in from Agua Caliente Road with an emotional shout out to the heroic inmate firefighters who came to the aid of Valley homeowners during the October fires. Of particular note to Sandra was inmate Joe Maldonado, currently residing at the Deadwood Conservation Camp in Fort Jones. In a letter Sandra shared, Joe recalls arriving in Glen Ellen “upon initial attack,” describing the town, “so quaint and innocent, it was as if we were driving onto a scene at Universal Studios.” But, says Joe, the innocence turned to “carnage” as homes blazed and “fires took to ashes, little memories here and there” and the “long-earned lives pieced together inside them were stolen.” As Joe and crew No. 3 fought to contain the flames, he “felt the very accurate feeling of what ‘doing the right thing’ truly means.”
Joe says he is now down to his last 60 days in stir and didn’t yet know where he’d go after release. “But, I do think it would be kinda cool,” wrote Joe, “to not only have helped save homes but even become a part of the community rebuilding and repairing of lives.”
For what it’s worth, Joe and the inmates have already left an indelible mark on the community. “You can still see the fire wall they dug from my house,” says Sandra, “that I truly feel saved our neighborhood.”
Erma called in with an alert she worried was “too stupid to even report.” Seems there’s a new phone scam going around in which someone claiming to be from the federal government calls and tells the resident they’ve been randomly selected to receive thousands of dollars – and asking for a bank account number so they can deposit the serendipitous windfall. Erma received such a call three times in one day. While we would love it if the feds were calling us multiple times daily trying to shove cash in our pockets, unfortunately, it’s not what they tend to do. So, while it should go without saying, we’ll say it anyway – don’t give the stranger on the phone your bank account number!
“I’m just concerned that somebody might not figure out that that’s a total scam,” said Erma, who offered to speak in person with anyone still not convinced giving away your financial information over the phone is a bad idea. Thanks for the public service, Erma. And, no, it’s definitely not “too stupid to report.” – Jason Walsh