All Things Considered with Alex Cohen |

Daily Dose: cold shelters, KFC Tweet Scholarships and AAA Five Diamond recepients in southern California

December 1, 2010 - Even though today is the first day of December, it's been chilly in southern California for quite a while now. A "Cold Weather Shelter" opened today in Riverside. The city and county pay for the program that provides homeless people a warm and safe place to sleep.

The shelter is located at Path of Life Ministries on Hulen Place. The shelter has added 72 extra beds to accommodate people.

Ronald Stewart with Riverside County's Department of Public Social Services says case managers will also be on site. Take a listen:

Check-in starts at 5 pm. Beds are available first come, first served. There'll be a hot meal in the evening, breakfast in the morning, and a place to shower.  The shelter is open seven days a week, and the program continues until April 15th.

Twenty-thousand dollars for 140 characters is not a bad deal. And that's just the deal that Amanda Russell is getting thanks to KFC and Twitter.

The national chicken chain is sponsoring a contest where students can tweet to apply for a scholarship. Russell, a Long Beach Polytechnic High School student, started a Twitter account just to enter the contest.

The 17-year-old wrote "hey Colonel! Your scholarship's secret ingredient missing from my recipe for success! Got the grades, drive, just need the cash!"

The entries ranged from the lyrical -- "If you give a girl a drumstick, she'll want wings. Give her wings, she'll get a degree, take flight, and change the world" -- to the heartwarming -- "1st to go to college in my Family. KFC can be the 1 st to change my future. Being the victorious KFCScholar will feel S-O G-DOUBLE-O-D Good!"

KFC is accepting applications for 2011 scholarships through Feb. 9. Seventy-four additional scholarships will be awarded for next year. Visit for more information.


Looking for a deluxe hotel or restaurant to whilst away the holiday hours at? Well, today the AAA released its list of Five Diamond rating recepients. Sixteen hotels and two restaurants in Southern California, including 11 in Los Angeles and Orange counties, are on that list.

"The AAA Five Diamond Award is North America's most coveted and respected trademark in the global hospitality industry," said Patricia Marenco, the Auto Club's approved accommodations supervisor. "It is a symbol of excellence."

I wouldn't mind having the job of AAA evaluator... The AAA evaluates about 58,000 properties annually. Only about a quarter earn the prestigious AAA Five Diamond distinction.

Here is the full list of Five Diamond recepients. The number on the right is the number of consecutive years that venue has been on the list:
      -- L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, 10;
      -- The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows, 3;
      -- The Peninsula Beverly Hills, 18;
      -- Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Carlsbad, 12;
      -- St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, Dana Point, 4;
      -- The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 25;
      -- The Lodge at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, 9;
      -- Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 10;
      -- The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, 19;
      -- Island Hotel Newport Beach, 19;
      -- The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, 2;
      -- Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 5;
      -- The Grand Del Mar, 2;
      -- Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara, 6;
      -- Simpson House Inn, Santa Barbara, 14; and
      -- Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, 3.
      The two restaurants receiving the AAA Five Diamond rating are:
      -- The Belvedere, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, 16; and
      -- Addison, The Grand Del Mar, 3.