Tag Archives: Oakland

ChooseDirect Donates a Portion of Sales from ChooseHotTubsDirect.com to Help Runaway Teens through Project Christmas CAROL at the Covenant House California in Oakland

San Francisco, CA (Vocus) December 25, 2009

ChooseDirect loves giving, especially around the holidays. So when CEO Steve Barbarich heard about the Covenant House California’s Project Christmas CAROL (Care About Remembering Overlooked Lives), he decided to donate a portion of sales from his company’s e-commerce site, ChooseHotTubsDirect.com, to bring aid to runaway teens and young adults who would otherwise obtain nothing this Christmas.

“I see homeless people on the streets of San Francisco every day, but it’s impossible to help them all” says Barbarich. “Giving to the Covenant House in Oakland is one way to get teens and young adults out of cardboard shelters, into warm beds and perhaps even receive a little joy this Christmas.”

One of Barbarich’s e-commerce sites, Choose Hot Tubs Direct.com, is no stranger to donating to worthy causes. For example, ChooseHotTubsDirect.com raised money for Hurricane Ike victims last October. In October of this year, he chose breast cancer as his charity, realizing California has some of the highest breast cancer rates in the nation. For the holiday season, he wanted to make life a little happier for homeless teens.

For the month of December, until today, Barbarich has allocated funds from Island Escape Spas sales to donate to the Covenant House California. In partnering with the center, Barbarich hopes to raise awareness about homelessness and the rise in runaway rates in the San Francisco metropolitan area, where his company, ChooseDirect, is based.

Though the Covenant House’s services are mostly for people 18-24, its policy is to accept every child who shows up at its doors. Since 1988, it has helped more than 145,000 homeless youth get off the streets and escape the physical and psychological abuse that either brought them there or plagues them as homeless people. The society’s mission is to “protect and safeguard all children of the street” with “absolute respect and unconditional love.” It offers street outreach and residential and supportive services. In addition, the organization has a hot line for teens in trouble, 1-800-999-9999 and a website, Nineline.org. The Covenant House California helps runaways and homeless young adults deal with suicidal ideations, drug and alcohol abuse, basic needs and anything else imaginable that these people face and from which they escape.

Giving to the Covenant House California is simple. Not only does it love in kind gifts such as food, personal hygiene products, business attire for job interviews and employment and footwear, among other items, but it also tremendously appreciates monetary donations. You can contribute securely on the Web, by phone at 1-866-268-3686 (1-866-COV-DOVE), or by mail by downloading a donation form and sending it to Covenant House California, Attn.: Development Department, 1325 N. Western Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90027.

San Francisco is often considered the homelessness capital of the world because of its mild climate and social programs providing cash benefits to the homeless. An estimated 7,000-10,000 people remain homeless in San Francisco, and the city spends approximately $ 200 million a year on programs aimed at helping the situation(1). According to the National Runaway Switchboard, California alone has 16,909 runaway children, teens and young adults. Truly a problem plaguing the Bay area, ChooseDirect has decided to take steps this year to combat the crisis by donating to the Covenant House California’s Project Christmas CAROL.

About ChooseHotTubsDirect.com:

The ChooseDirect factory direct model allows this new & unique company to bring the world high quality products at factory direct pricing. Since this e-commerce online retailer is involved with the product all the way down to the factory level, it cuts out many middlemen from the process and is able to offer better prices than the competitors. ChooseHotTubsDirect.com prides itself in having a large selection of hot tubs, portable spa & swim spas products, and with advanced factory coordination, they provide customers with a highly customized premium quality product. For more information about ChooseDirect, ChooseHotTubsDirect.com & for charity effort updates, please visit the ChooseHotTubsDirect.com Charity page.

1. “Homelessness in the United States.” Wikipedia. 20 December 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness_in_the_United_States#San_Francisco. 23 December 2009.


Diana Slampyak, Director of Community Outreach



767 Bryant St., Suite 201

San Francisco, CA 94107



Oakland Tax Preparation Specialists, Liberty Tax Service, Reviews Tax Changes for 2011 Filings

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) February 24, 2012

Liberty Tax Service, Oakland’s tax preparation specialist reviews 2011 expiring and filing tax measures. Liberty Tax offers this review for some of the more significant tax measures to keep in mind now and for future tax planning.

Some of the tax measures in effect through the Tax Relief Act of 2010 continued through 2011. Be aware of tax deductions that are expiring, such as the Making Work Pay Credit, Malkeet Singh of Liberty Tax Service said.

For tax measures expiring in 2011, taxpayers paying the AMT, who are eligible for tax credits, can still claim the credits to offset their AMT bill. These include credits for child and dependent care expenses, elderly or disabled, education and mortgage interest. For 2011, the AMT exemption amounts are $ 48,450 for unmarried individuals and $ 74,450 for a married couple filing jointly.

Through 2011, taxpayers who itemize their deductions and live in a state without a state income tax may deduct their state sales tax or their state income tax, whichever is more advantageous.

Qualifying higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees paid for an individual, a spouse, or a dependent are again deductible as an adjustment on Form 1040. The allowable amount is up to $ 4,000. Also, through 2011, eligible educators who have spent their own money for qualified classroom supplies can deduct up to $ 250 as an adjustment on Form 1040, regardless of whether they are able to itemize deductions. Any amount exceeding $ 250 may be claimed as an itemized deduction.

Mortgage insurance premiums are deductible as interest through Dec. 31, 2011. Some home improvements made this year through Dec. 31, 2011, to a primary existing home qualify for a deduction of up to $ 500. These include insulation, metal and asphalt roofs, non-solar water heaters, and windows and doors. The credit is reduced by any residential energy credit taken after 2005.

For small business tax breaks in 2011, small businesses can expense up to $ 500,000 of the first $ 2 million of business expenditures considered section 179 expenses. New businesses can deduct up to $ 10,000 in startup expenses on their first tax return in 2011.

The Patient Protection Act increases the additional tax on non-qualified distributions from health savings accounts (HSAs) from 10 percent to 20 percent and from Archer MSAs from 15 percent to 20 percent, effective after tax year Dec. 31, 2010.

For tax measures expiring in 2012, taxpayers who itemize their deductions can deduct the full amount of their itemized deductions, regardless of their adjusted gross income through 2012. Taxpayers can also deduct the full amount for exemptions, with no income restrictions or phase-outs through 2012.

The American Opportunity Credit is available again in 2011 and 2012 for taxpayers claiming higher education costs, including required course materials. The credit will allow the taxpayer to claim up to $ 2,500 of the cost of college tuition and related expenses.

For 2012, small businesses can expense up to $ 125,000 of the first $ 500,000 of business expenditures considered section 179 expenses.

Homeowners experiencing short sales and foreclosures will get a break for debt-forgiveness tax consequences. Instead of treating cancellation of debt as taxable income on the foreclosure of a principle home, no taxes will be levied on discharges of indebtedness of up to $ 2 million dollars for married taxpayers filing jointly and up to $ 1 million dollars for a married taxpayer filing a separate return through tax year 2012.

The maximum individual capital gain tax rate of 15 percent remains in effect for 2011 and 2012.

For more information about tax preparation or Liberty Tax Service, call 510-239-5284 or visit the tax school on the web at http://www.libertytax.com. Liberty Tax Service is located at 3207 Grand Ave. in Oakland.

About Liberty Tax Service

Liberty Tax Service is the fastest-growing retail tax preparation company in the industrys history. Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, a pioneer in the tax industry, Liberty Tax Service has prepared over 9,000,000 individual income tax returns. With 42 years of tax industry experience, Hewitt stands as the most experienced CEO in the tax preparation business, having also founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.


Oakland Zoo Set to Help Rehabilitate Endangered California Condors

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) October 30, 2012

Beginning in fall 2012, Oakland Zoo is linking up with the California Condor Recovery Program to help rehabilitate sick or injured condors. Within recent months, a holding facility was constructed on Zoo grounds and Veterinary staff members were trained in proper procedures for treating lead poisoned birds.

This new partnership is significant because ill birds found in Big Sur or Pinnacles National Park can now be transported to a wildlife hospital that is much closer in proximity. Prior to the new partnership, the nearest Veterinary hospital for condor care was the Los Angeles Zoo, which is also a participant of the Condor Recovery Program.

Our vision is for condors to one day no longer need veterinary care but until then we know that the Oakland Zoo will be a great addition to the condor program, said Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director of Ventana Wildlife Society.

The 900 square foot size building at Oakland Zoo was constructed to provide an isolated area for sick birds, where they can rest and recover, while being quarantined from the Zoos resident animal population. This facility along with the Zoos new Veterinary Hospital will help veterinarians, like Dr. Andrea Goodnight, take part in hands on conservation efforts to save Californias condor from extinction.

Since the 1980’s, the California condor has been extensively managed in order to return from the brink of certain extinction, said Dr. Andrea Goodnight, Associate Veterinarian at Oakland Zoo. As a child growing up on the East Coast in the 80’s, I learned about the plight of the condor; the story remained with me and most certainly influenced my choice to become a zoo veterinarian. It is a dream come true that now I am able to contribute to the continued recovery of this magnificent species.

Along with teaming up with the California Condor Recovery Program, Oakland Zoo has installed a Condor webcam in its new holding facility. With funding generously donated by FedEx and a camera supplied by Camzone, Oakland Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Program will be able to monitor and evaluate birds being rehabilitated, without disrupting them. An added bonus to the webcam is that the general public will also have access to watch the webcam via Oakland Zoos website, http://www.oaklandzoo.org.

We at FedEx are proud to help protect these magnificent endangered birds and safely increase their visibility to the public, said Robin Van Galder, managing director of the FedEx Express Oakland Hub. We salute the Oakland Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Program for helping them spread their wings.

Camzone, a leader in high definition webcam streaming, was founded in 2002 and owes its success to the popularity of live streaming animal cams, said Steve Walker, Vice President of Business Development at Camzone. With 24/7 high definition webcam access to view California condors, everyone has the opportunity to see these majestic creatures. By engaging people with these endangered birds an opportunity exists to educate the public about the changes that are needed for the condors to thrive. What an honor to be part of such a noble project, leveraging live streaming technology to ensure these birds will be around for generations to come.

In 1987, the last wild California condor was taken into captivity to join the 26 remaining condors, in an attempt to bolster the population through a captive breeding program. Through the effort of California zoos and the Ventana Wildlife Society, 50 condors have returned to the wild in Central California. Currently, there are only about 231 California condors in the wild, but that number is more promising. For more than twenty years, Ventana Wildlife Society has made it a mission to save the bird from extinction by regularly trapping and treating condors suffering from high blood levels of lead. Prompt treatment has saved the lives of several birds in the flock. They monitor nests to ensure the greatest protection possible from potential threats to productivity.

Creating a conservation partnership with Ventana Wildlife Society has become very important to the Oakland Zoo. In an effort to demonstrate the Oakland Zoos involvement with the California Condor Recovery Program and commitment to saving the Condor from extinction, Managing Director, Nancy Filippi, filmed and produced a video that explains the plight of this majestic bird and the efforts being put forth right now by organizations throughout California to research, recover, and expand the population of North Americas largest flight bird, which has a wingspan of 9.5 feet.

The alliances have been formed, the conversation and collaboration has begun, said Nancy Filippi, Managing Director at Oakland Zoo. Oakland Zoo, Ventana Wildlife Society, FedEx and Camzone will present the California Condor Recovery Program information updates via live streaming cameras and web based content. These alliances will shed light on the California condor recovery efforts, medical rehabilitation and therapy for these endangered birds.

To learn more about this partnership and watch a video, go to http://www.oaklandzoo.org and click on the webcam tab or go to this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bhm3k_OINA&feature=share&list=UUCDsJ9prIx28MVLRUaL2b1w


The Bay Areas award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kids activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service California Condor Recovery Program (Recovery Program) is a multi-entity effort to recover the endangered California condor. Cooperators include the U.S. Forest Service, San Diego Wild Animal Park, Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Oakland Zoo, California Department of Fish and Game, the Peregrine Fund, Ventana Wildlife Society, the Center for Scientific Investigation and Graduate Studies in Ensenada, La Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAP), National Park Service at Pinnacles National Monument, Santa Barbara Zoo, the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City and many others. The Recovery Program is currently focusing its efforts on the captive-breeding and reintroduction of California condors to the wild in the hopes of establishing a self-sustaining population.