HELIX WATER DISTRICT FREEZES RATES
Helix Water District’s Board of Directors voted at its April 1 meeting to freeze water rates through the end of the calendar year in an effort to support customers facing financial challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our customers’ lives and incomes have been impacted by the coronavirus,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “Although we don’t know how long the pandemic or its financial impacts will last, we do know that we can help our customers now by not adjusting water rates in 2020.”
The district was in the midst of its budget-setting process and a cost-of-service study when the outbreak hit. A public hearing scheduled for August 12, when the board was to consider possible rate changes, has been postponed.
Last month, the district’s board also voted to temporarily suspend late fees and water shutoffs to ensure all customers have access to safe, clean water during the public health emergency.
Customers who are experiencing difficulties paying their water bills are encouraged to contact the district’s customer service team at 619-466-0585 to make payment arrangements.
“As a not-for-profit agency, over the coming months we will be looking at all options to balance our budget while continuing to keep the water flowing,” said Gracyk. “The board is prepared to have those difficult conversations – we’re committed to supporting our customers and community during these tough times.”
Further details about the district’s response to the coronavirus outbreak are available at hwd.com.
BLOOD BANK CALLS FOR COVID-19 PLASMA DONATIONS
Thanks to community response to the plea for blood donation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the blood supply is currently stable both locally and across the nation. San Diego Blood Bank has issued a call for recovered COVID-19 patients, as they may be eligible to donate “convalescent plasma” to help treat patients fighting the virus.
While COVID-19 has no proven treatment, plasma taken from those who have recovered may help patients currently fighting the virus. This is because the plasma has developed antibodies against the virus.
“Hospitals are reaching out to us on a daily basis for convalescent plasma,” said David Wellis, CEO, San Diego Blood Bank. “If anyone has recovered from the virus, we are calling on them to join us in helping patients in critical condition fight COVID-19.”
Individuals can donate convalescent plasma if they have a confirmed positive laboratory test and no symptoms for the last 28 days. People with a subsequent confirmed negative test can donate after 14 days of symptom resolution. People are encouraged to fill out the form even if they have not yet been tested. To submit contact information to be qualified as a convalescent plasma donor, visit sandiegobloodbank.org/donateplasma. Donors will also need to meet routine donor screening criteria.
AVOID COVID-19 SCAMS
“The FBI has identified a new fraud scheme using text messaging and social platforms to reach potential victims,” said David Surwilo, San Diego Police Department community relations officer. “The message uses the promise of money, i.e., ‘stimulus check’ from retailer, Costco Wholesale, and provides a link, containing malware, ransomware or other fraudulent methods to steal identity, financial or other personal information.”
Added Surwilo: “The FBI is warning the public that Costco is not texting or using social media platforms to reach the public or its customers to provide a ‘stimulus check,’ ‘freebies,’ or a ‘stimulus package’ in fake messages. Do not click on this type of unsolicited link. Do not provide personal information for unsolicited links.”
LIZZO ‘SHOUT OUT’
On March 31, pop singer Lizzo gave a “shout out” to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa and bought lunch for its staff as part of an effort to thank hospital workers across the country.
“Thank you so much for everything you guys have been doing during this pandemic. It has been a very scary time, and you guys have been a peace of mind during this time and a hero” the Grammy award-winning artist said in a video message posted by Sharp. “I hope you feel the love and appreciation of pouring in from everybody from all around the world because we really do love and appreciate ya’ll.”
2020 LAKE MURRAY FIREWORKS EVENT CANCELLED
As local, state, and federal authorities make critical decisions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, community groups are likewise making hard choices to protect our neighbors. As such, the Lake Murray Fireworks & MusicFest won’t be held this July 4, 2020.
“We’re sad not to be able to bring this fun family day to our community, but it’s in the best interest of everyone,” said event chair Tracy Dahlkamp. “We look forward to returning the food, music, patriotic fireworks, and family fun to Lake Murray Community Park in 2021.”
The decision to postpone the fireworks and music festival was made in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order requiring 40 million California residents to stay at home, and the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency’s public health order restricting public gatherings.
The Lake Murray fireworks show is just one of many local summer events to be canceled or postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including San Diego Comic-Con International, the San Diego County Fair, and San Diego Pride. All city parks have been closed until further notice.
While some bill payments and permit applications for the 2020 event had already been completed, Dahlkamp said she’s hopeful they will roll over to the 2021 event.
The neighborhood donation drive has been postponed until 2021. Funds raised through business sponsors and individual donations cover the expense of fireworks, city permits, insurance, emergency personnel, portable toilets and sinks, entertainment, and lighting and stage components. Stormberg Orthodontics had signed on to be the title sponsor.
The 2019 music festival drew a rotating crowd of an estimated 3,000 people, while the evening fireworks show could be seen by an estimated 100,000 people throughout La Mesa and San Diego’s Navajo neighborhoods of Grantville, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, and San Carlos.
2020 CENSUS IS UNDERWAY
By now, every household in the San Diego region should have received an invitation by mail to participate in the 2020 Census.
The Census provides more than a snapshot of a community’s demographics. Its count determines where nearly $1 trillion of taxpayer money is allocated for healthcare, education, housing, community resources, transportation, and disaster relief.
It is fast and easy to complete your Census questionnaire at my2020census.gov, by phone (844-330-2020), or by mail. All your responses are confidential and private – responses are protected by federal law and are gathered for statistical purposes only.
With questions about the Census, email firstname.lastname@example.org.