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$21,000 raised for workers

Nevada City businesses and individuals reached out Thursday – to the tune of at least $21,000 – to help 52 employees out of work because of the March 20 fire that struck downtown establishments.

At least 22 businesses donated a percentage of Thursday’s proceeds; waiters and bartenders donated tips, and individuals wrote checks.



The funds will go to employees from Friar Tuck’s (both the wait staff and performers), The Herb Shop and its record and deli businesses, Off Broadstreet theater and The Earth Store (temporarily closed due to smoke and water damage).




Thursday’s donations were brought in all day Friday to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, which, with the Nevada County Cultural Preservation Trust, administers the Nevada City Fire Relief Fund. The donations were divided into 52 checks of $400 each, which were mailed out Friday afternoon by chamber staff.

Before Thursday, chamber representatives knew of 12 Nevada City restaurants and four bars which would take part in the 24-hour benefit. The number of participants increased as businesses and individuals unexpectedly dropped off money Friday, according to Cathy Whittlesey, the chamber’s executive manager.

“I wasn’t surprised at everyone coming together,” Whittlesey said. “I am surprised at the total. I was hoping for $10,000, which would have been about $200 per employee. They got double.”

The funds disbursed to the unemployed includes $3,878 donated by individuals and businesses before Thursday’s benefit, including a March 24 benefit by Asia and Cafe Mekka which raised $1,333.92.

“The spirit of Nevada City has helped to build us back from what could have been a depressing time,” Whittlesey said.

Steve Cottrell, Pat Dyer, Bob Crabb, Paula Gleicher, Joe Greenstreet and Mikail Graham pulled Thursday’s benefit, dubbed “Help Heal the Heart of a City,” together in less than a week.

“I’ve never seen anything like this as the community coming together on one day to raise money for a cause,” said Cottrell, a Nevada City council member who has lived here since 1977.

Other businesses participating Thursday included Villa Venezia and Swiss House in Grass Valley and Lou La Bonte’s in Auburn. Swiss House donated a gift certificate for the April 14 fire victims’ benefit at Miners Foundry Cultural Center.

“Residual impact of Thursday’s benefit will be in the mail delivery the next few days,” Cottrell said. “There’s still several hundreds of dollars to come in because of TV, radio, The Union and word-of-mouth in the community.”

Area TV channels 3, 40 and 10 helped publicize the event, Cottrell said.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, all Whittlesey and Gale Byington, the chamber’s administrative assistant, did was count money, accept more donations, and write checks for the employees.

“I think this is fabulous,” Byington said. “It says a lot about our community.”

She said donations from throughout the state and one from Louisiana have been sent to the fund.

“The biggest donation came from La Mesa for $5,000 from a private individual, not a former resident but a frequent visitor,” Byington said.

Donations to the Nevada City Fire Relief Fund can be sent in care of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 132 Main St., Nevada City, Calif. 95959. Call the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at 265-2692 for more information about the fund.

Nevada City businesses participating in Thursday’s 24-hour benefit, according to the chamber, included Asia, Cafe Mekka, Cirino’s, Citizens Restaurant, Citronee Bistro & Wine Bar, Cooper’s Saloon, Country Rose, Fred’s Szechuan Chinese Restaurant, Ike’s Cafe, Java John’s, Kirby’s Creekside Restaurant & Bar, Los Sombreros, McGee’s, Mine Shaft, Moore’s Cafe, National Hotel Bar & Victorian Dining Room, Nevada City Carriage Co., New Moon Cafe, Pine Street Market, Posh Nosh, South Pine Cafe and Trolley Junction.


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