May 2011 Newsletter

Hello Yogie Fans!

I am starting this update on a very serious note. On Tuesday 26 April 2011 our area experienced some very serious and devastating storms. There were several tornadoes in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, which we refer to here as the “Ark-La-Tex.” There was quite a bit of damage, but happily, there were no reported injuries or deaths in our area. A tornado did a great deal of damage in the Frierson-Kingston community about 6 miles south of Yogie and Friends. It was reported that about 100 utility poles were down and Yogie and Friends was without power for about three days.

At no time was there ever any damage or any animal escapes at Yogie and Friends. In fact, Yogie and Friends only received a lot of rain and a little wind. You would never have even thought there had been any bad weather in the area. One of the tigers, Gomez, was even swimming in his pool when all this weather around us was happening. Unfortunately there were several rumors that there were “Lions and tigers running loose in Frierson,” This was not so. Never, ever, did any animal escape their enclosures. A Desoto Parish Deputy even came to the property to verify that there was no damage and no escapes. All animals are, and always have been, present and accounted for.

Please rest assured that Yogie and Friends ensures that public safety is of utmost importance to us.

 Upgrade Status: We are happy to report that things are moving along toward getting our den houses onto the property. The Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees) from Barksdale Air Force Base spent the week with us clearing trees, building and leveling the land and dirt in the back of the animal habitats in preparation for the buildings that are being donated by CellXion of Bossier City. The only thing that was an issue was how to get the buildings off of the 18-wheeler and down the lane onto the Yogie property. Well, this issue is resolved thanks to the wonderful owner, John Parsons, of Deep South Equipment. He is going to loan the use of a special all terrain forklift that will be able to go over the road, onto the property, and even maneuver the buildings into place behind the habitats. This is such a relief and so appreciated.

Once the buildings are in place the next step is modifications. We hope to have the buildings in place within the next few weeks. Then they’ll need to be stripped of the electrical, air conditioners, and some other items. Reinforced doors will need to be created connecting the den houses to the habitats. A few other modifications will need to be made and then that will complete the requirements that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said we need to do in order renew our permit. Our deadline for them is July. We hope/expect to beat this deadline.

We will ask for volunteers to help with the strip down and modifications to the buildings once we do get them in place. We’ll send out e-mails and put this request on Face book as well. Keep watching for updates.

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): Good news! We are back in CFC. There was a mix-up with last year’s program and this time we made sure that we were not missed. Our paperwork was filed as soon as we knew the date it could be submitted. There was no way we were going to miss this. Too many of our fans like to donate to Yogie this way. CFC is a Federal payroll deduction program that Federal and Military personnel can donate to the charity of their choice. If you are interested in contributing this way our CFC number is 42427

Volunteers of the Month: Our volunteers of the month are the guys from NMCB 28 Naval Mobile Construction Battalion, located at Barksdale Air Force Base. They did an awesome job for us getting the land prepared for the buildings coming from CellXion. They were with us all week and it was amazing watching the skills these guys have. This is what they do in the Navy and they knew just what to do to make things possible for us to meet our upcoming deadline. Thanks so much  EOC (SCW) Robert Shaw. CM1 (SCW) David McGowen. CM2 (SCW) Jason Manchester. CM3 (SCW) Joseph Murrell. You guys rock!

Also, a special thank you to 2Lt Ashley Dancer, 2Lt Scott Vaughn, 2Lt Brad Yuska, SrA Makenna Williams, and A1C Alyssa Daffer from the 26 OWS at Barksdale Air Force Base. They came out on April 26th to work on some other tasks that needed to be done. Thanks so much for your help!

 

 

 

Donations: We recently had a little financial setback when our much needed tractor broke down. It has been repaired, but it cost us over $1850 to do so. This tractor is a huge part of the necessary equipment we use at the sanctuary and we had to get it repaired. Fortunately this kind of repair extends the life of an item like this and helps us avoid having to purchase another at possibly $20,000 or more. Its running good as new, but we could use your financial assistance to help build up some much needed funds. We are trying to prepare for the den house modifications and know we will need to purchase materials for this. Rest assured that your donations are always used in the most effective and responsible way. We are 100% volunteer driven and all money goes to the care and upkeep of the animals and sanctuary. We are a no frills facility. It’s all about the animals. And remember that your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Face Book: Don’t forget to follow us on Face Book. We have a very active page and update it often with news and events as they happen. Tell all your friends about us. We’d love to get a huge fan base.

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program: The Enrollment period for the 2011-2012 Program Year is 1 June – 31 December 2011. The accumulation period is 1 July 2011 – 30 April 2012. This is the time frame that money is accumulated when you use your linked Kroger Plus Card.  If you are already a Neighbor to Neighbor participant, and Yogie and Friends is linked to your Plus Card, you will need to relink it again during the enrollment period. It is so easy to do. Just give the cashier the letter we have linked on our website. The old letters work since it is the same barcode. The cashier will scan that and your Plus Card and it will be linked. Every time you shop at a Kroger in Texas and Louisiana and use your card, then a percentage of the sale goes to Yogie and Friends. Kroger gives a portion of $1 Million to local Texas and Louisiana programs through this program. Let’s see if Yogie and Friends can be one of the top 20 this year. The top program made over $50,000 through this. We would love to see the big cats benefit by our shopping at Kroger.

A few ways to help financially:

An easy way you can help the cats is when you do your shopping on-line is by using iGive. If you do your shopping on-line then you can contribute by shopping through the iGive tool. Everything helps. Visit www.iGive.com and select Yogie and Friends as your cause when you shop. It’s so easy.

Coins for Cats! Do you empty your pockets of all your coin when you get home and throw them in a jar or piggy bank? Well, what a great way to get kids involved in fundraising help for the animals.  A little coin can go a long way! That little bit of effort can end up being a nice chunk of change.

Go Green with our ink jet and cell phone recycling program. This program has been doing very well. What a way to help the big cats and environment all at the same time. It’s an easy way to get kids involved as well.  Details are listed on our website.

We have several programs for you to help our animals: www.magfundraising.com, www.igive.com, Cause ID 19883, www.networkforgood.org, www.goodsearch.com, just to name a few. They are all listed here on our website.

Please come out and visit the sanctuary and see how well loved and cared for these animals are. It’s also very educational for our visitors.

Jenny and the Yogie Cats! 


Posted in Monthly Newsletter

Our Director on Coffee Break @ BPCC

 

Yogie and Friends Executive Director, Jenny Senier on Bossier Parish Community College’s show "Coffee Break" 4/20/11

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Posted in Special Announcements

25 – 29 April Projects and how you can help

Hello All,
 
Yogie and Friends has a big project coming up the week of April 25th – 29th. The Navy Construction Battalion (Sea Bees) on Barksdale Air Force are coming out to help us prepare the property behind the habitats for the buildings from Cellexion to be easily moved in place. They will clear, grub, and level the area for the buildings to be used as den houses. This is the kind of work they are trained in and we are getting skilled volunteer help. This is amazing and we are thrilled to have them. You have no idea just how much so.
 
We want to best utilize this week to get as much stuff done to the Yogie property as possible. We realize we are talking about weekdays that people normally work, but often, as with us military, there are opportunities for volunteers to come out and help during the weekdays. Companies love community involvement and usually encourage their workers to get involved. We are hoping that we can get a lot of help this week.
 
We have a lot of small projects as well that can be done quickly with skilled help. The projects are as follows:
 
Carpentry
Install window in Admissions/Gift shop building
Fix bathroom wall (there are several cuts in the wall due to electrical repairs)
Repair weather stripping on exterior doors.
Finish trim work in building and especially over side exterior door.
Install heavy duty peel and stick floor in Admissions/Gift building.
Install small awning type roof over both exterior doors to prevent leaks and help with rain coverage.
Repair cedar fence and gate as needed.
Possibly metal fence pole installation and overall fence maintenance or repairs.
 
Landscape
Mow and weed eat
Clear brush around property near fences and growth of limbs on fence.
Remove Pampus grass bush near fence (this stuff does cut, so it takes work and care of the person doing it)
 
Feeding Volunteers
Since we will have several volunteers out there helping. We are often asked by others who cannot do the more physically labor intensive work how they can help. We thought about this and thought "How about helping feed them?" We have so many fans who are amazing cooks. We have a grill, outdoor refrigerator for sodas and we do have Powerade and water for everyone, a covered picnic area, and plenty of shade and places to rest. If this is something you could or want to help with, then please let me know. It’s probably a good idea for us to have a schedule of who could do what days. I had made a list of things I was going to buy myself like hotdogs, hamburgers, etc., but thought maybe I could enlist the help of others regarding this too. There may be businesses who can donate with this.
 
Miscellaneous
Bring sunscreen if you feel you need it.
Bug Spray
Closed toe work shoes.
Work gloves
Hats
Sunglasses
Common sense clothing. (No clothing that could get caught in machinery or jewerly. We have seen people lose fingers to rings being caught in stuff. It is for your safety as well as the animals. We don’t need an earring ending up in a big cats digestive tract).
 
 
Our volunteers must be 18 or older (17 for active duty military). Most kids will be in school, so it isn’t an issue anyway. We do ask that you not bring any young children with you during this work detail due to safety issues. Nobody will be able to watch them.
 
We plan to start work at 9 A.M. (The Navy guys will be there earlier because of equipment work). This will be for the entire week. Please let me know what you can volunteer to do and what days. Some may be able to help everyday, but we realize this isn’t necessarily going to be the case. Whatever you can do is greatly appreciated.
 
This is a great opportunity for Yogie and Friends to get so much important work done. I realize that some of the work detail is supportive work and repairs, but it is all in support of these great animals.
 
We have a deadline of July to get the buildings from Cellexion on the property, into place, and modified (that will require another major work detail later) as den houses for the cats. If we don’t get the work done we will not be able to renew our license with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). We don’t know what that means to the future of our 17 resident animals.
 
Please feel free to crosspost this to people you know who are able to help.
 
For the cats!
 
Jenny
Cell 318-286-1145 


Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary.
128 Fob Lane
Frierson, LA 71027
318-795-0455
www.yogieandfriends.org  
A 100% volunteer driven organization. 
Celebrating Ten Years of Rescue!
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Posted in Special Announcements

April 2011 Newsletter

Happy Spring!


Yogie and Friends begins its 2011 season tomorrow. The sanctuary will be open from noon – 5 P.M. (Weather permitting) and it looks like it will be a perfect weather day for our visitors. We hope you’ll come out and visit us tomorrow and often.


Volunteers: We want to remind people that Yogie and Friends is a 100% volunteer driven rescue sanctuary. Nobody receives any compensation for the work we do. We have a great crew of volunteer staff and we love what we do. We appreciate all the volunteers who come out and help us with mowing, weed eating, cleaning, and just whatever is needed to be done to make life as stress free and comfortable for these animals.

Finances: Whenever you donate to any non-profit you have a right to know where your tax-deductible dollars go. Never be afraid to ask about the financial solvency of a non-profit. If they balk at answering your questions, then you may want to rethink who you are donating to. Visit Guidestar.org and you will also be able to view an organizations tax forms. There is nothing wrong with knowing if organizations are being good stewards of your donations.

Den Houses: Two of the Cellexion people came out to Yogie and Friends to see what kind of logistical issues we are facing in order to get the buildings out to the property that will be used for den houses. We don’t know at this time what we will need for equipment to do so. That is what is currently being determined. Fortunately the buildings are only about 9000 pounds, which at first we thought they were 15,000. This will make maneuvering them a bit easier. We do have to prep some of the area around a couple of pens to make it more level and dirt was purchased to do this. We hope to get assistance from the Navy Sea Bees and other construction companies to ensure we are ready to put the buildings in place. Our new deadline with Wildlife and Fisheries is July and we really hope to be done well before that.

Bake Sale and Fundraiser: Our bake sales get better and better. This last one was the best and most successful to date. Keep watching for our updates on this and all fundraisers. Thanks so much to those who helped make it such a success. The bakers, volunteers, and most importantly, those who came out and bought items in order to support the big cats. We couldn’t do it without you.

Gift Shop: We have a small gift shop at the sanctuary that you can buy some really nice gifts. We have a nice selection of t-shirts, ceramic mugs, tiger umbrellas, puzzles, animal figurines, and more. Come check us out. Again, 100% of the proceeds go to the care of the animals.

Face Book: Don’t forget to follow us on Face Book. We have a very active page and update it often with news and events as they happen. Tell all your friends about us. We’d love to get a huge fan base.

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC): Yogie and Friends has been told that they will not be able to be part of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) for the second year in a row. They changed some of the requirements for how the IRS forms are filed and since we are such a small organization we file the IRS 990ez, which is pretty extensive. However, they want a different form to be used and it’s too late for that. They also said they won’t accept organizations that use the accounting method we use, so we will change that during this new year to be eligible for next year. But, CFC has accepted us in the past, and shouldn’t have based on that. We are going to file an appeal and complaint regarding this. It may not do any good, but it may help change some of the forms used for smaller organizations. We can only hope. CFC is a government employee payroll deduction program. The military uses this as well as postal employees and other Federal employees. It’s a great help to our animals because it is an easy way for folks to contribute to the big cats. Since we will not be able to be part of the payroll deduction program we hope donors will look at donating directly to Yogie and Friends. We have several donors who choose to have a monthly donation come out of their checking accounts directly to Yogie and Friends. By doing this there are no fees. PayPal charges a small fee. Just 2%. Others have much higher fees. CFC has fees. You can still help the animals by setting up your own payment plans and this way the animals will not lose out. Thanks for your help with this.

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Program: The Neighbor to Neighbor program will end this year’s cycle on 30 April 2011. The accumulation period for the 2011 – 2012 year begins again in July 2011. You will need to relink your Kroger Plus Card again, but please use your cards like crazy and help the cats while you shop at Kroger. The letter is linked on our website. The barcode numbers remain the same. Just download this letter and make sure you hand it to your cashier to scan it along with your Plus Card and this will link it together so Kroger’s in Texas and Louisiana will donate a portion of the sales to Yogie and Friends. It’s a win, win situation. No money comes out of your pocket (other than what you are paying for your groceries of course). This is Kroger’s way of giving back.

A few ways to help financially:

An easy way you can help the cats is when you do your shopping on-line is by using iGive. If you do your shopping on-line then you can contribute by shopping through the iGive tool. Everything helps. Visit www.iGive.com and select Yogie and Friends as your cause when you shop. It’s so easy.

Coins for Cats! I recently emptied a little piggy bank I throw all my change in when I come home. It wasn’t even full, maybe half so. It added up to $106! That little bit of effort ended up being a nice chunk of change. I gave it to Yogie and Friends. This is a neat way for kids to be able to help the animals with very little effort.

Go Green with our ink jet and cell phone recycling program. This program has been doing very well. What a way to help the big cats and environment all at the same time. It’s an easy way to get kids involved as well.  Details are listed on our website.

We have several programs for you to help our animals: www.magfundraising.com, www.igive.com, Cause ID 19883, www.networkforgood.org, www.goodsearch.com, just to name a few. They are all listed here on our website.

Let the 2011 Yogie season begin!

 

Jenny and the Yogie Cats!


Posted in Monthly Newsletter