Fresno firefighter whose wife died giving birth to twins awarded ‘Extreme Makeover’ home
A Fresno firefighter whose  wife died upon giving birth to twins  has been awarded a new home.

Nick Reeder, a local fire captain and widowed father of three little girls, was announced as the home recipient as part of the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,”  which is filming in the Fresno area for the second time in 10 years .

The show typically has remodeled an existing home or torn one down and rebuilt it completely for its selected recipient.

But this time, Reeder will receive a completely new home, which will be located in the De Young Properties neighborhood “The Highlands” in Clovis (near Shaw and Highland avenues).

“It means a new start,” Reeder said while speaking to the local media. “It means a new future for my girls.”

Reeder found out he was the recipient Tuesday morning when the Extreme Makeover crew came over to his apartment.

Reeder has been living with his mom and three daughters in a 900-square foot home.

“It’s been difficult readjusting – you know, Mommy’s not here,” Reeder said. “Daddy’s doing the best that he can do.

Photos below via CAL FIRE/Fresno County Fire
Off-duty firefighters save man from drowning at Lake Tahoe
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada sheriff say a near-drowning victim at Lake Tahoe is alive thanks to the "extraordinary efforts" of two off-duty firefighters from California and a physician's assistant from Iowa who pitched in to help save his life.

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam (BAY'-luhm) singled out the three "Good Samaritans" and other deputies Friday, a week after the emergency was reported on Tahoe's east shore.

The trio included Erin Dohlman, a recent graduate from the Des Moines 
University Physician Assistant Program, and Freddy Matias, an off-duty firefighter from CalFire's Napa Valley station.

Balaam says the other unnamed firefighter was administering CPR to a San Francisco Bay Area man who was submerged and unconscious before Dohlman and Matias joined in.

He says they happened to be the right people, "with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time."


Story by SFGATE
Firehouse No. 7: The firefighters who make and protect Jack Daniel's whiskey
O n Nov. 7, 1996, 90,000 barrels of whiskey caught fire at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.

The fire, which was fueled by high winds,  destroyed Heaven Hill's main distillery  and six additional warehouses. And although several firefighters suffered smoke inhalation, there were no serious injuries reported.

The incident changed the way distillery companies produce and store spirits, spotlighting the need for on-site fire protection and sprinkler systems.

It's also why  Jack Daniel's Fire Brigade  protects every drop of Jack Daniel's charcoal-mellowed Tennessee whiskey.


The Jack Daniel's Distillery, which was established in 1866 in Lynchburg, Tennessee, is the only distillery in the world that has its own fire department.
The fire brigade was created after a blaze tore through the distillery in 1930. Seven years later, the distillery was rebuilt and resumed operations, complete with a fully functioning fire brigade.

Named after Jack Daniel's famous No. 7 brand,  Firehouse No. 7  is staffed by 34 distillery workers who double as volunteer firefighters. Jack Daniel's Fire Brigade Chief Fred Elliott, who serves as a fire and security specialist at the distillery, said members work in various roles throughout the distillery, even down to the distillery's tour guide-turned-firefighter.

ALERT - Change of Beneficiary
By: Gary M. Messing, Local 2881 Chief Counsel

I t has come to our attention that some members are unaware, or may not recall, that when they become employed with CAL FIRE they signed a form designating a beneficiary for the receipt of pay warrants in the event their death . ALERT! - If you do not change the beneficiary, in the event of a change in marital status and the like, the person you originally designated on the form (Designation of Person Authorized to Receive Warrants) will remain the individual who will receive these pay warrants.

The form that states that you designate the person to receive the warrants “who, notwithstanding any other provision of the law, shall be entitled upon my death to receive all state warrants that would have been payable to me had I survived”. 

Changing your designee for the purposes of life insurance or your retirement does not change your designation for pay warrants.  

We have had some unfortunate situations in lawsuits and grievances that have been settled by the Union on behalf its members for backpay, where new spouses have been unable to claim the compensation because these old forms have never been updated.   

Reach out to your Personnel Specialist to update your beneficiary today.
Moving Closer Towards Our Goals
"The governor also announced the state will hire nearly 400 additional seasonal firefighters this year."

COLFAX, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom defended California's wildfire prevention efforts Wednesday while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state as it enters the height of fire season after two deadly, disastrous years.

His jab at Republican President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized California's Democratic leaders for poor forest management, comes a day after Newsom signed a law requiring Trump and other presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the state's primary ballot.

Newsom said 33 of 35 high-priority forest-thinning projects are on pace to be completed on schedule by year's end after he eased environmental laws to speed permits. They are designed to slow the spread of devastating wildfires near more than 200 communities in fire-prone areas by removing brush and smaller trees.

C racking open a cold one with your co-workers after a long shift may seem like the perfect way to relax and unwind. But while drinking occasionally in moderation is usually a safe practice, regularly indulging in alcohol could lead anyone down the road to dependence and addiction — especially someone who spends their working hours confronting life-or-death situations.

As you know, firefighting isn’t your typical nine-to-five job. Throughout the course of a single shift, you may witness events that most people never see in a lifetime. At the end of the day, it can be difficult to hang up your gear and leave those traumatic memories behind. While some departments have procedures in place to help you work through these experiences, others may not have the same resources. Over time, the weight of these devastating events builds up. In some cases, it can even lead to  mental health conditions ,such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As it all becomes too much to bear, it’s easy to turn to the bottle to dull your pain, quiet your thoughts and just feel better — if only for a little while.

What may start as an innocent series of happy hours after work can turn into a station-wide culture of binge drinking and alcoholism. Consider these four stages of alcohol dependence:

  1. You enjoy drinking casually. There is no attempt to seek out the “buzz” felt while drinking.
  2. You actively seek out the pleasurable effects of drinking. Often, more alcohol will be needed to feel relaxed.
  3. Drinking begins to impact your daily life. Frequent hangovers, family conflicts and work-related problems start to pile up. At this point, you may not be able to recognize the ways these problems are connected to your drinking.
  4. You drink to feel normal, often consuming large amounts of alcohol to achieve this feeling. This consumption sets the stage for risky behavior that could lead to fallouts with loved ones, problems on the job or even death.

Halting alcohol dependence in its first few stages is easier than addressing the problem once it develops into full-blown alcoholism. One simple way to tell if you or your co-workers are becoming dependent on alcohol is to evaluate how often you or they binge drink.

Have you signed up for PORAC yet?

  • CalPERS PORAC Medical plans access availability through Insurance Trust and Retiree Medical Trust, which adds a new way to protect you and your families. This PORAC plan offers better reach to rural and out of state areas. This is a new option for members if they so choose.

  • By choosing the PERS PORAC Medical Plan, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of their free body scanning/screening every 36 months.

  • Other membership benefits and discounts.

Signing up gives you the opportunity to see what health care plans are available through PORAC enable you can make changes during open enrollment.

CalPERS Announces Health Care Premiums for 2020
Check out the new rates below!
On June 18, 2019, the CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee (PHBC) approved the health plan rates for 2020, at an overall average premium increase of 4.65 percent. The action also included two health plan changes. The full board will vote on final approval of the rates on Wednesday.

"We negotiate aggressively because we know that many of our members must pay the entire cost of any premium increase entirely out of their own pocket," said Rob Feckner, PHBC chair. "While these rates reflect the current state of the health care market, we expect the health plans that do business with us to also take strong actions to keep costs down. We'll continue to hold them accountable and to be more transparent as we work on behalf of our 1.5 million members in our program."

Health care costs are rising due to a number of factors, including increases in hospital admissions, outpatient surgical procedures, and pharmacy costs. CalPERS uses innovation to keep costs low while upholding quality health care.  

Members enrolled in CalPERS' Basic (non-Medicare) Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) health plans will see a 5.98 percent average premium increase. Members enrolled in Basic Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans will see an overall average increase of 3.28 percent. CalPERS Medicare plan enrollees will see their premiums increase by an average 1.52 percent.
In May the board voted to spend down the premium increase for the PERSCare Basic PPO plan, from a projected average increase of 23.9 percent to a final increase of 6.45 percent for 2020. The board allocated these funds using $44 million in excess reserves from the health care reserve fund. The reserve fund helps protect CalPERS and its members in years where medical and/or pharmacy claims are higher than expected among the system's self-funded PPO plans.

The new premiums will take effect January 1, 2020. Detailed information on 2020 rates for  HMO (PDF) PPO (PDF) , and  association (PDF)  plans are available on the CalPERS website.

Besides the premiums, the board approved these health plan changes for 2020:
  • Blue Shield will introduce a new, narrow-network health plan called Trio for the following six counties: El Dorado, Los Angeles, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo.
  • Anthem will introduce a new HMO Medicare Advantage plan for combination enrollment members in Monterey County.

There are no copay, benefit, or coinsurance changes for 2020, excepting association plans which do not fall under CalPERS purview.

CalPERS will continue to develop its other successful benefits and programs that contain costs without sacrificing quality. In 2019,  CalPERS introduced a value-based insurance design (PDF)  to its PERS Select Basic PPO plan. PERS Select plan membership increased from 55,675 members in December 2018 to 72,351 members in January 2019. CalPERS will also continue to optimize its reference-pricing program for value-based procedures to include pharmaceuticals. Since 2011, the program has saved more than $8 million per year.

CalPERS members can change health plans during the annual Open Enrollment period, September 9 to October 4, 2019. Open Enrollment materials, information on health plan options, and custom search tools will be available through members'  my|CalPERS  accounts beginning August 26, 2019. Access the mobile version at
Do you know anyone who is interested in being a sponsor?
Guinness World Records: Oldest Continually Manned Fire Station is in Michigan
MANISTEE, MI – A northern Michigan fire station has been dubbed the world’s oldest continuously manned fire station, and just in time for its 130th year anniversary.

The Manistee Fire Station was awarded the title of “Oldest Continuously Manned Operating Fire Station” by Guinness World Records on Monday, June 17, 2019.

This is the first time Guinness has ever given out this award, and the designation required more than two years of documentation-gathering by the Manistee Fire Station.

The station had to prove it has been staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year as a fully manned, paid professional fire department since it opened its doors in 1889.

“This day marks an important milestone not only of our fire department, but for this fire station and the community it serves,” said Fred LaPoint, Manistee engineer paramedic, in a released statement. “Historic places like the Manistee Fire Station matter because they give us a deeper appreciation and understanding of our past in a way that written documents can’t.”

Agencies Boost Efforts to Stop Wildland Firefighter Suicides
BOISE, Idaho — Shane Del Grosso spent some 30 summers crossing smoke-shrouded mountains and forests to fight increasingly devastating wildfires in the U.S. West.

Toward the end, his skills and experience propelled him to lead a federal multi-agency team that responded to large-scale national disasters. On some days he directed a thousand firefighters and helped coordinate aircraft attacks on massive blazes.

But then came the long offseason lacking the shared-risk camaraderie. Isolation closed in, his family said, along with marital problems that can be exacerbated by first-responder jobs that require missed family events and birthdays.

Del Grosso, 50, killed himself May 9, 2016, not long before the start of another wildfire season.

"I always thought that you'd see it coming, but I guess you don't," said his best friend, Noel Matson, who worked and fought wildfires out of the same U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Huron, South Dakota, as Del Grosso. "It was maybe that male bravado firefighter thing where you don't talk about what's bothering you."

Federal officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise have started making efforts to change that mindset after noticing an increase in wildland firefighter suicides in recent years.

"It's not a profession where people want to reach out for help because they are the help," said Jessica Gardetto, a fire center spokeswoman and former wildland firefighter. "The federal agencies have realized, whether it's suicidal tendencies or just overall mental health, it's a resource that needs to be available — even out on the fire lines."

2019 Annual Focus on Safety
Have you seen the Chief's message?
From Our Friends
CAL FIRE Local 2881 Executive Board CalPERS Board Member Endorsement

We at CAL FIRE Local 2881 recommend our Retiree Members vote for:
JJ Jelincic for CalPERS Board

As your State Retiree / Disability Director I have had the opportunity to work with advocates at CalPERS, people that have stood on our behalf to enhance and protect our pension investments, strengthen retirement income, and improve healthcare quality and access. JJ Jelincic is the person we want to have representing our Brothers and Sisters both retired and currently employed.

This is a call to action for all CAL FIRE Local 2881 retired members to vote for JJ Jelincic in the upcoming CalPERS Board Member Election. Ballots will be mailed out on August 30, 2019, and voting is open until September 30.

If you have any questions regarding this endorsement please feel free to contact me.

Sam Davis,
State Retiree / Disability Director
CAL FIRE Local 2881
(916) 747-0194
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AUGUST 19-22






Provides funds for immediate life sustaining assistance to firefighters and their families who have suffered debilitating injury or loss of life.

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CAL FIRE Local 2881 likes to stay connected with our membership. We want to make sure every member has an updated mailing address.

Below is a list of both Active and Retired members that have bad addresses as of July 31 . If your name is on the list or you have recently moved, please contact Danielle at (916) 277-9885 or  to update your address.