Negotiations in the works for year-round community care center |

Negotiations in the works for year-round community care center

Susan Wood

Some could argue much good may come out of the Angora fire.

A group of hardy volunteers and the city want to pool the resources of charitable organizations in a building at the “Y” that once housed the Mikasa home furnishings store.

Rus Wilson, the bar manager of the Moose Lodge, hopes to sign a $1-a-month lease this week with the property owner in order to turn the building into a community care center.

Wilson, who had helped organize a successful fundraiser a few weeks ago, said utilities and a deposit need to be worked out.

“They just want to give back,” Wilson said, speaking for the owners.

The owners of record on the property include Ted Goldstein of Piedmont as well as Eugene, Jack and Arlene Garfinkle. Lease negotiations were being worked out Monday, with Mayor Kathay Lovell joining in on the discussions.

The Community Care Coalition of Tahoe, which was formed that afternoon, plans to handle immediate needs at the outset such as clothing and food.

“With the Angora fire we didn’t have anywhere to put all the items, but we had a good support system,” Lovell said of the tremendous outpouring of goods being channeled to those in need.

Councilman Ted Long had already been working on trying to secure a satellite office for the El Dorado County Food Bank based in Placerville to improve on distribution.

When all is said and done, organizations from Soroptimist International, Christmas Cheer, and the Rotary Club may use the space in the same center for storage and for computers to provide a database of assistance.

“This has been going on in our hearts and minds for 20 years. But the Angora fire was the beginning point of this,” said Pam Bettencourt, Coldwell Banker real estate agent. Bettencourt ran a philanthropy group called the Victory Foundation years ago. A meeting has been slated for Wednesday with Volunteers of America in Disaster, an organization locals plan to use as a model program.

Volunteers of America formed to help the 1.5 million displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At one point during the containment of the Angora fire, more than 3,000 had evacuated their homes. The fire cost $12 million to fight and added up $151 million in losses thus far, according to El Dorado County.

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