I would like to take this opportunity to thank and praise the Costa Mesa Fire Department. Last Friday, our beloved home of 47 years caught on fire. Luckily, a passing motorist noticed fire coming from the roof. He alerted me to leave the house and related that he had already called the Fire Department.

They arrived within minutes. There were at least 15 firefighters who knew exactly what to do and how to do it. They contained and extinguished the fire to the point that only one bedroom and just a section of the roof were damaged. They were polite, kind and very careful.

We had no water damage, no mess to clean up and they even put a runner down on the living room carpet so nothing was tracked in. They sealed off the hole they had to cut in the ceiling and boarded up the damaged roof. They made an inspection and concluded where the fire had started.

As nerve racking and scary as the situation was, without their quick and professional action, we easily could have lost our home. In this day and age, and in this city of late, police officers and firefighters have had some bad press and some unfair blame for city financial problems. Believe me, when those fire trucks arrived and all those no-nonsense men went right to work, I realized how blessed we are in this city to have the Fire Department we have. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Gail Perkins

Costa Mesa

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Newport bike safety

Saturday, bicycle advocate Frank Peters and I spent four hours at the Newport Beach 2013 planning and goal setting meeting. We had two fantastic outcomes:

1.) The city of Newport Beach agreed to fund and prepare a bicycle master plan. This is a huge step forward. Instead of piecemeal improvements, which will still happen until the plan is ready, we will have a comprehensive master plan that will get acted upon. Future capital improvements will be required to consider bicycle transportation in the design and implementation. Frank and I were delighted with the support we received from the City Council.

2.) The city has agreed to extend until March 31 its $3 to $1 match for contributions to the Bicycle Safety Improvement Fund. Donations can be made by check, but this allows me to reach out to all of those charitable foundations who had "allocated" all of their money by the time the fourth quarter arrived.

If any of your readers know of charitable foundations who might contribute to improving bicycle safety by donating, I am more than happy to contact them. We can raise an additional $72,000 before we hit our maximum of $150,000. It was a great out come for all cyclists that use the streets of Newport Beach along their coastal routes!

Be safe.

April Morris

Newport Beach

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