Food & Travel Spotlight

Nov. 15: Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Hosts 1st Annual Varli Culinary Awards with Co-hosts Manu Narayan and Pooja Kumar in New York

Posted by Lia Chang - on Monday, 01 October 2012

Nov. 15: Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Hosts 1st Annual Varli Culinary Awards with Co-hosts Manu Narayan and Pooja Kumar in New York
Manu Narayan Photo by Lia Chang After much-acclaimed success with Varli Magazine, the Varli Food Festival, and the Varli Cook-Off, the Varli brand continues to expand its reach with the first annual Varli Culinary Awards on November 15, 2012, at The Altman Building, 135 W. 18th St. in New York. The evening will be hosted by internationally acclaimed Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, along with Bombay Dream star Manu Narayan (The Love Guru), fresh from his electrifying turn...

Major Disaster Declaration Allows More Assistance to California

Posted by AC Team on Wednesday, 24 October 2007.

Major Disaster Declaration Allows More Assistance to California

WASHINGTON With the announcement today of a major disaster declaration for California, additional federal assistance will be available for individuals and communities in the seven declared counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

Grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will aid individual recovery. Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures.

"FEMA will continue to coordinate with federal agencies as more resources and personnel are tapped to assist in response and recovery efforts," said FEMA Administrator David Paulison. "We are calling on all the federal resources available to respond to the state's needs as they are identified and we will continue to expedite these requests."

Along with today's major disaster declaration there were other significant developments in the federal response to the California wildfires.

FEMA deployed the Federal Incident Response Team (FIRST) out of Atlanta. FIRST will support the federal leadership as they coordinate emergency support for the thousands of evacuees at the Qualcomm shelter by ensuring essential communications channels remain accessible and operational.

*The Red Cross has 3352 disaster workers in California, most of which are engaged in feeding and sheltering operations. The next push of volunteers will involve caseworkers.
*Red Cross operations are focused on sheltering, with 24 shelters open at this time. However, feeding and bulk distribution efforts are expanding rapidly. More than 50 mobile feeding trucks are on scene with 25 additional ones enroute.
*40 trailers filled with cots, blankets and comfort kits arrived on scene today. Clean up supplies such as rakes, work gloves, shovels and trash bags are enroute.

Approximately 32 Active Duty, 83 civilian personnel, and just over 1,500 National Guard personnel are directly engaged in immediate response, supporting firefighting response, command and control, logistics support, security, communications and relief operations.
550 Marine Corps (Active Duty) and 17,301 National Guard (California) at Twenty Nine Palms are available.

Aviation Support:
A total of 14 helicopters from the National Guard, U.S. Navy, and Marine Corps are supporting aerial firefighting activities.
The National Guard is supporting with one CH-47 and five UH-60 helicopters.
The U.S. Navy is supporting with two SH-60 with FLIR and two MH-60 bucket-equipped aircraft.
The U.S. Marine Corps has one CH-46 and three CH-53 water bucket-capable helicopters on standby at MCAS Miramar, and one additional helicopter on standby at MCAS Camp Pendleton.
U.S. Northern Command confirms a total of five National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems have arrived at Point Magu, Calif. and the sixth aircraft is en route.
Ground Firefighting Support:
19 fire engines and support equipment along with 83 DoD firefighters from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, with supporting equipment and incident management team support.

Evacuee Support:
Manpower data center reports approximately 300,000 DoD personnel, dependents and beneficiaries are in the San Diego area.
1,442 DoD members and their families have been evacuated to 3 USN installations (Coronado, El Centro and San Diego), clearing civilian shelters for more evacuees. The U.S. Navy also has initiated a full muster for all USN personnel and their families.
Marines have evacuated aircraft from MCAS Miramar.
One Aegis cruiser, one guided missile destroyer and two fast frigates are remaining in port to support evacuation and movement of dependents.
Local DoD installations have provided approximately 10,000 cots to local evacuation sites.
March Air Reserve Base in Riverside is the primary forward staging area for federal supplies coming from FEMA's logistics centers.
North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego is the secondary forward staging area

USCG to provide aircraft to support cargo movement.
USCG providing transportation/ heavy lift assets
USCG Elizabeth City C-130 is transporting FEMA's Atlanta FIRST team to San Diego.

More than 1,500 California National Guardsmen are providing firefighting, security, support to law enforcement, interoperable communications, transportation, medical, and command and control in support of firefighting operations in Southern California.
More than 17,000 California Guardsmen are available if needed
The National Guard is propositioned in 3,200 communities across the nation.

Two Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (NDMS) are deploying to San Diego, and awaiting a precise employment location from the State to ship gear and supplies.
Working with NDMS partners to explore the possibility of an NDMS patient movement. No request has been received from the State.
A 15 member HHS Incident Response Coordination Team (IRCT) deployed to Pasadena. A forward element of approximately two people will be going to San Diego to support teams. If additional IRCT members are needed, Region X has volunteered.

Because of the widespread damage caused by the many fires in Southern California, and the threat to public safety, the USDA Forest Service has issued forest orders under 36 CFR, section 261.50 closing the San Bernardino, Angeles, Cleveland and Los Padres National Forests.
USDA's Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) Regional Office has been in contact with the State to discuss options for both a Disaster Food Stamp Program and to identify commodity inventories available for congregate feeding. As of Oct. 23, FNS had not received any requests from the State for disaster food assistance.

The Humane Society of the US and Animal Organizations (HSUS)
HSUS has two teams on the ground in California, working under the San Diego Animal Services.
The Command Veterinary Response Unit is on its way with a self-contained unit that is mobile. A standby group of 500 NDART Team members has been alerted and a standby group is ready to deploy if needed.
At Fiesta Island in Mission Bay San Diego a new pet livestock friendly shelter is set up. There is a large capacity for RV's and camping. There are 140 horses, 100+ dogs, 35 goats, and some cats/birds. All animals are in good condition and are being cared for by their owners. Hay and animal food is coming through animal services.
Noah's Wish Report: Shelter is set up at QUALCOMM. Volunteers are arriving regularly over the next 24 hours. Animal count was 200 this morning. Many people are staying their cars with their animals. Food and supplies are being provided. These animals include llamas, sheep, and dogs. There are many pocket pets and birds ( in and out of
the shelters)

PetSmart Charities
Dispatched two tractor trailers stocked with supplies for pets to help. Each Emergency Relief Waggin' trailer contains enough pet products, food and supplies to support up to 500 companion animals. These supplies will be received by the city of San Diego at QUALCOMM Stadium this evening and early tomorrow.

Citizens in the affected area are urged to continue to listen for messages from state and local emergency officials and be aware of evacuation and sheltering orders in their communities.

The State of California has a website for those interested in volunteering support, visit

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.