Watch Your Step


by Jim Breen

staff writer


An emotional email “Official Letters from Santa” offer was mass-mailed across the country last week by an online retailer.

The parent or grandparent who gets the message is invited to compose personalized letters based on what the youngster wants for Christmas, then submit their name, child’s name, shipping address and email address.

Once that part of the offer is completed, the consumer is directed to the third and final leg of this journey: Fill out credit card numbers needed to pay the required $17.94 fee.

For that amount, gulliables get a Santa Map of the North Pole, a “Good Boys and Girls” list, topped by their child’s name, and a “Nice List” certificate embossed in the child’s name with a Santa Seal.


Stevin Cohen of Mutual 14 recently received a call from a man with a heavy accent plying a familiar scam. Claiming to be from Microsoft, he told Stevin that his Windows program was corrupted and that he should go to his computer and the caller would “help” him fix it.

Stevin said he does not have Windows, and hung up.

His suspicions of a scam were verified when he found the following related information on the New York Times website:

“Microsoft does not make unsolicited calls for computer technical support and warns its customers not to trust unknown callers or provide them with any personal information. No matter how urgent or convincing the caller sounds, decline all offers of help, especially for “remote assistance” or software installations.

The scammers are out to install malicious software on PCs, steal financial information or steal identities.

If that occurs, file a complaint in the Consumer Protection area on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at or simply hang up.


Have you been the victim of a scam attempt? Send the details to or call 431-6586, ext. 387, Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Precious Life Shelter

Precious Life Shelter in Los Alamitos is a non-profit organization that offers a safe and healthy environment for homeless, adult, pregnant women to have their babies.

Support services designed to help residents become more independent and self-reliant include emergency and transitional housing, food, counseling, education and life skills training. 

The success of PLS is due in part to more than 300 volunteers, and more are needed.

The organization has a thrift and gift shop that provides 35 percent of its operating funds. Many bargains are available.

Blow-out sales are held at mid-month and a dollar day sale the last Thursday of the month.

All proceeds from sales at the shop go to the shelter to provide for women and children.

Volunteers are needed to sort, price and stock shelves. Volunteers with more specialized skills are also needed. 

The next training session for volunteers is Jan. 8.

To help, call Deanne Dillenbeck at 431-5025.

GAF Tax Program

The Golden Age Foundation provides a free tax service for Leisure World residents, and volunteers are needed.

People who are computer literate are needed to prepare the actual returns, serve as receptionists and pick up phone messages regarding appointments and input the information. That can be done from home.

To help, call Phyllis Mackey at 596-2099 or Sam Jones at 598-0880 by Jan. 6.

There will be training for tax preparer volunteers on Jan. 15 and 16 in Clubhouse 4 beginning at 9 a.m. each day.

Online computer training will be held from Jan. 22-24 in Clubhouse 6.

Six two-hour training sessions are planned in the mornings and afternoons. Attendance at only one of the two hour sessions is required.

Training for appointment takers and receptionists will held Jan. 17.

Return preparation is scheduled to begin Feb. 10 and continues for nine weeks through April 10, Monday through Friday, mornings only.

Volunteers can choose their own days. Those interested can respond to either number listed above.

Safe Driver Program


The first AARP Safe Driver program of the year will be held from 3-5 p.m., Jan. 20-21, in Clubhouse 3, Room 9. Attendance both days is mandatory to earn a certificate.

The fee will be $15 for AARP members and $20 for non-members. Payment must be made by personal check or money order.

The other eight-hour class dates for 2014 are May 19-20, July 21-22, and Nov. 17-18. Reservations for all classes are now being taken.

The classes are for people that have never taken them before or want more details.

Four-hour, single-day class dates are Feb. 17 March 18, June 17, Sept. 16 and Oct. 20. The same fees apply.

To qualify for the four-hour classes, residents must have completed an eight-hour class within the past three years, and their insurance company must agree to their eligibility.

For reservation information, call Betty Adams at 936-1333.

AARP classes are available on line at Valid credit cards are needed to register. The cost is $17.99 for AARP members and $21.95 for non-members.

Residents who lost their AARP membership numbers can call 1-800-Our-AARP.

People who have received traffic tickets, should read all the papers carefully. All the information needed is available.

Information on California Traffic School is available at Valid credit cards are needed.


Open Forum

The Open Forum will meet at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 7, in Clubhouse 3, Room 2. The club will begin its survey of the history of China starting from its early pre-history to modern times.

In the first meeting, the club will introduce an overview of the civilization and cultural heritage of China.

On Jan. 21, Mark Barnett, club president, will do an impersonation of the life of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius. Mark will appear in full costume.

The Open Forum meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. All are welcome. There are no membership fees or dues.

For more information, call Mark Barnett, 430-2435.


Clutter Busters

Clutter Busters, formerly Clutterers Anonymous, takes a broader approach to the baffling problem of reducing clutter when the group meets at 10:30 a.m.,Thursdays in Clubhouse 3, Room 6.

Source material from books on the topic will be available at meetings, speakers will be featured and there will be a free exchange of ideas.

The group will continue to provide a warm, caring atmosphere where people are free to discuss their clutter problems.

For more information, call Anne Shattuck at 799-7756.

GAF Statistics

The following is a partial list of the incident reports from last month as provided by the LW Gates and Patrol Dept.


November 2013

Paramedic responses, 102; CARE responses, 57; Seal Beach Police Dept. responses, 88; miscellaneous resident services, 1,378; decals issued, 368; Social Service incidents/lost residents 16; lockouts, 61; traffic accidents 12; pet citations, 6; traffic citations issued, 314; incoming vehicles screened at LW gates, 220,536.



11-1 Mutual 7 7:05 a.m.

A member extinguished a cigarette in a planter, which began smoking due to the peat moss in the container.

11-8 Mutual 6 5:12 p.m.

Smoke was observed coming from the base of a walkway electrical pole due to an electrical malfunction. OC Fire Department responded.


11-9 Mutual 7 1:05 p.m.

A member reported a variety of items taken from a freezer on the porch. A neighbor is suspected of taking the food.

11-12 Mutual 3 3:19 p.m.

A Schwinn bicycle seat and front tire were taken from a bicycle stored in a carport.

11-16 Mutual 7 4:20 p.m.

A member reported that a half-tank of gasoline was taken from her vehicle, in addition to two bedspreads and a blanket from her porch.



11-5 Mutual 11 7:35 p.m.

Two long scratches were keyed on a vehicle while it was parked in the carport. A neighbor is suspected.

11-7 Mutual 2 3:25 p.m.

A vehicle was keyed while it was parked in the carport. A member’s relative is suspected.

11-21 Mutual 15 12:50 p.m.

A vehicle was damaged while parked on the street. The trim appeared to be bent and ripped at the front door hinge.


11-1 Mutual 11 4:55 p.m.

While pulling into a carport space, a vehicle struck the vehicle parked in the adjoining space.

11-5 Main Gate 8:55 p.m.

A vehicle making a left turn struck the stop sign and traffic cone in the intersection.

11-6 Mutual 7 1:06 p.m.

While making a U-turn in front of a mail box, a vehicle struck a parked car.

11-8 Mutual 12 10 p.m.

A vehicle traveling around a corner on Northwood Road hit a parked car.

11-9 Mutual 12 2 a.m.

A vehicle on Northwood Road struck a parked vehicle. The driver had been involved in a similar accident in November.

11-13 Mutual 2 10:30 p.m.

While turning, a Leisure World bus clipped a parked vehicle.

11-17 Mutual 2 6:30 p.m.

A vehicle backing out of a carport space struck the vehicle behind it.

11-18 Mutual 1 4:50 p.m.

A patrol vehicle was backing up and struck a planter wall. The wall was not damaged.

11-26 Mutual 2 12:30 p.m.

While turning into a carport, a vehicle struck the vehicle parked in the adjacent carport space.

11-28 Mutual 12 2:20 p.m.

A vehicle backed into a parked vehicle on Del Monte Drive.

11-30 North Gate 9:40 a.m.

A vehicle exiting at the North Gate struck a traffic pole on the island.


11-2 Mutual 11 1 p.m.

While on a welfare check, an officer found the apartment unsecured, and the windows open. The officer secured the apartment. The member was in a care facility.

11-3 Mutual 12 3:45 p.m.

A member requested a neighbor give her money for the lottery, an ongoing situation.

11-3 Mutual 8 4:42 p.m.

A member reported that a census taker was rude, and she pushed her way into an apartment for an interview.

11-5 Mutual 7 10:05 a.m.

A contractor used a mutual’s cart to haul materials.

11-5 Mutual 12 11:15 a.m.

A caregiver was reported doing personal laundry in the laundry room, an ongoing situation.

11-6 Main Gate 11:45 a.m.

A visitor had difficulty driving, and did not respond to directions from a Seal Beach police officer or the traffic guard. She was stopped from driving.

11-7 Mutual 11 9:24 a.m.

A member reported that another member parks a tricycle in her carport space. The member has received citations for this issue in the past.

11-8 Mutual 2 11 p.m.

An officer was sent to determine the name of the contractor working at an apartment.

11-8 Maint. Yard 4:38 p.m.

A group of teenagers were observed skateboarding in the drainage ditch. Police responded.

11-8 GRain Road 8:05 p.m.

A SUV hit the fence by the drainage ditch, breaking a post and damaging the fence. The vehicle did not stop.

11-9 Mutual 12 7:35 p.m.

A neighbor frequently peeks into an apartment window, rings the doorbell, and creates a general disturbance.

11-13 Mutual 15 4:10 p.m.

An unleashed dog bit another dog who was being walking by a member. A pet citation was issued.

11-13 Mutual 12 5:40 p.m.

A member was counseled about not smoking in the laundry room and leaving extinguished cigarettes in the laundry room trash can.

11-14 Mutual 5 4:01 p.m.

An officer was sent on a welfare check for a member. Paramedics transported the member to the hospital.

11-14 Mutual 3 8:23 p.m.

A member was unable to stay in the apartment overnight, due to an odor of a solvent from an apartment under construction.

11-16 Mutual 2 12:30 p.m.

Two small dogs were unleashed, and approached a member. The dogs are reported to be off their leashes frequently. A pet citation was issued.

11-17 Mutual 1 7:15 a.m.

A member was observed speeding. When an officer stopped her, she got out and started screaming in the street. She nearly struck the officer with her vehicle as she left after getting a citation.

11-18 Comp. Lab 1:20 p.m.

A member was confrontational at the Computer Lab, and was observed beating and kicking the front door.

11-18 Mutual 11 2:48 p.m.

A tricycle was parked in a member’s carport space again. The Member moved it to the correct space, and reported this ongoing issue.

11-19 Clubhouse 6 9:35 a.m.

A member was observed riding his scooter at a high rate of speed and driving recklessly in the hospitality area.

11-20 Mutual 4 11:50 a.m.

A man was observed on a roof. He was a member’s son, cleaning another member’s gutters. He left the roof when informed of a safety concern.

11-22 Mutual 4 9:05 a.m.

A member reported another member yells at people when they pass by.

11-24 Mutual 14 7:30 a.m.

A vehicle was observed speeding. When an officer pointed the infraction out to the driver, he became aggressive and started rambling and shouting.

11-26 Mutual 11 1:30 p.m.

A member was backing out of a carport, and she clipped an unidentified man riding a tricycle. There was no damage or injuries.

11-27 Mutual 5 3 p.m.

A member reported that the neighbor behind her knocks on the wall when she cooks and makes noise in her kitchen.

11-28 Mutual 1 8:12 p.m.

A member’s grandson was at the apartment without her permission. Police responded.

11-29 Mutual 3 4:30 a.m.

An officer assisted Seal Beach police with a member who was disoriented.

11-29 Mutual 1 7:10 a.m.

A member reported a neighbor’s grandson bangs on the wall of her apartment and makes noise in the attic.

11-29 Mutual 4 1:15 p.m.

A man came to the door of an apartment planning to install a “box” that was not ordered by the shareholder. He was refused entry.