IFPD Chief Mark LaMont presents a plaque to the owners of Tommy’s Kitchen. Tommy’s Kitchen also provided meals for the firefighters on Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Rachel Teeguarden

Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) expressed its gratitude to a couple locals and some businesses at its Tuesday, Nov. 26 board of commissioners meeting. The district presented plaques to Gisela Stearns, Idyllwild Bake Shop and Brew, who recently closed its doors, Sheila Zacker, Firehouse Subs, La Casita Restaurant, Tommy’s Kitchen and Mountain Center Cafe.
The restaurants kept the IFPD firefighters fed during the 2013 Mountain Fire and last year’s Cranston Fire.
IFPD was the recipient of a Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation’s grant for gear.
Sheila Zacker led fundraising efforts after the 2013 Mountain Fire for station improvements and again after the Cranston Fire for the purchase of personal protective equipment for the firefighters.
Gisela Stearns donated funds for the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatuses.
Other meeting business

La Casita receives a plaque from IFPD Chief Mark LaMont for the district’s gratitude in helping keep the firefighters fed during the fires. Photo by Rachel Teeguarden
The crew from Idyllwild Bake Shop and Brew receive their plaque from IFPD Chief Mark LaMont (far left). Photo by Rachel Teeguarden

The department received slightly used turnout gear (personal protective equipment) that was donated by the Beverly Hills Fire Department. According to Fire Chief Mark LaMont’s report, the gear will be utilized by the Intern Reserve Training program.
The board voted to retain the legal services of Cole Huber with a start date of Dec. 5. The board put out a request for proposal (RFP) for legal counsel and had held a meeting to interview the two responding firms — Cole Huber and Varner & Brandt — on Oct. 29. Unfortunately, the board was unable to make a decision at that time due to only three of the five commissioners being present.
“When brought to a vote, two board members voted to retain Cole Huber and one board member voted to retain Varner & Brandt,” LaMont wrote in an email.
The Nov. 26 motion to retain Cole Huber passed 3-1 with Commission President Jerry Buchanan voting against the motion. According to the meeting minutes, Buchanan stated that he wants to retain the services of the current legal firm. Commissioner Larry Donahoo was absent from the meeting.

IFPD Chief Mark LaMont (left) presents a plaque to Emily Pearson, the owner of Mountain Center Cafe. Photo by Rachel Teeguarden
Sheila Zacker (right) poses with IFPD Chief Mark LaMont (left) as he presents her with a plaque. Photo by Rachel Teeguarden