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Utahns are pitching in to help hurricane victims

Groups around Utah are working to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. Among them are:

The Downtown Alliance will accept donations to benefit the American Red Cross Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Downtown Farmers' Market. A booth will be set up in the center of Pioneer Park (300 South and 300 West). Donations can be made with cash, personal check or business check.

Best Friends Animal Society is trying to reunite pets with their Gulf State owners. The Kanab-based facility will work with local officials and animal rescue groups to assist animals who were left behind or lost during the hurricane. People can call 435-644-3965, Ext. 4455, or send an e-mail to hurricane@bestfriends.org with their personal information and a detailed description of their pet.

Every dollar donated by the nearly 300 employees of Sandy-based Harman Music Group will be matched by parent company Harman International. The fund-raising effort will continue for a month, but the Utah division of the global corporation has designated today as the main push for funds.

The campaign is at the direction of company founder Sidney Harman, who ran a similar company effort following the devastating Asian tsunami late last year and personally donated $1 million to the cause, said Sharon Howard, human resources director at Harman Music Group.

"Bless his sweet heart, the man is over 80, but he's always the first person in line to pitch in and help," she said.

All funds raised will go directly to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

Inmates at the Utah State Prison are competing to see who can donate the most money. So far, more than $1,000 has been raised from about 200 inmates with more money to come, Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said.

The inmates housed in Lone Peak decided to raise some money and came up with about $500. When the women, housed in Timpanogos, found out, they decided to try to outdo the men, ending up with $560. Now, inmates in Wasatch and Oquirrh units are contributing money, Ford said.

A semitrailer truck stocked with 22 pallets of food, including bottled water, energy drinks and nutrition bars, departed from the Utah Food Bank Thursday afternoon for the Gulf Coast. The food bank is not accepting food donations for hurricane victims because of the logistical challenges of collecting, sorting and distributing the items. Rather, it encourages that monetary donations be made online at www.secondharvest.org.

The Utah Apartment Association is responding to a call from the Department of Homeland Security to supply a list of all available properties that could be used to house hurricane evacuees. Anyone with a residential unit that could be used for that purpose is asked to call 1-888-244-0401 or send an e-mail to kallie@uaahq.org with the size and location of the property, as well as the monthly rental rate.

The Regence Group, which includes Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross Thursday and is encouraging its employees to donate to local Red Cross organizations as well.

Oktoberfest visitors can tack an extra dollar or two on their purchase of bratwurst and beer now through Oct. 9, and Snowbird will match the contribution to the American Red Cross. Donations can be made on all purchases at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, from lodging to food, and will be matched up to $10,000.

Motorcycle enthusiasts can show their support by attending a Sept. 17 benefit concert in Moab. The concert, featuring local country singer J. Marc Bailey and the female pop group Taja, is scheduled for the second day of the Iron Horse Rally in Moab.

Bailey is formerly of the group River Ranch, which played at the Governor's Ball during the 2002 Winter Olympics and has opened for country stars Toby Keith and Gary Allen, said organizer Deston Rogers of Rogers Entertainment Promotions.

"We may only raise $100, but we're going to give it the best effort we can," Rogers said. "It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1,000, it all makes a difference. This is about people helping people. Americans coming together for Americans."

Purple, yellow and green silicone wristbands bearing the words "Katrina Relief" are available online at www.reminderbandaid.org. Logan-based Reminderband will donate all proceeds to the American Red Cross and hopes to raise $10 million for hurricane relief efforts.