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The Price The Declaration of Independence Signers Paid For Your Liberty


By Dr Harold Pease

The Declaration of Independence ends with one of the most passionate appeals ever put to words and memorized by yesterday’s grade school child. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

This document would bring on war against the then greatest power on earth, and no European strategist gave the Patriots a ghost of a chance of winning—yet they stood. Signers would be seen as traitors to the mother country and could expect the harshest treatment when caught. They could count on no one but God and themselves.

And, of course, a goodly number did suffer loss of life and property as a result. Most paid a remarkably high price for taking their stand. In a wrathful spirit of revenge, the enemy singled them out for harsh vengeance. Five were captured and imprisoned and two others barely escaped captivity. Richard Stockton, one of those captured after his whereabouts was betrayed by a loyalist informer, was “dragged from bed in the middle of the night, severely beaten and thrown into prison” where he underwent continual abuse and also suffered malnourishment. By the time the Congress arranged for his exchange, he was broken physically and never recovered. He had also lost almost all his property.

Unable to capture Abraham Clark, another signatory, the British took their wrath out on his two sons, who were imprisoned on the notorious prison ship Jersey. “Word was sent to Clark that his boys would be freed if he would disown the revolutionary cause and praise the British Crown. At his refusal, his sons were singled out for cruel treatment. One was placed in a tiny cell and given no food. Fellow prisoners kept him alive by laboriously pushing tiny bits of food through a keyhole. Both sons somehow survived their ordeal.”

The British had a particular zeal for destroying the homes and property of the signers. Those suffering this fate included Benjamin Harrison, George Clymer, Dr. John Witherspoon, Philip Livingston, William Hooper, and William Floyd. The sacrifices of John Hart and Francis Lewis are particularly noteworthy. “While his wife lay gravely ill, Redcoats destroyed Hart’s growing crops and ripped his many grist mills to pieces. Bent on taking him, they chased him for several days. They almost nabbed him in a wooded area, but he hid in a cave. When he returned home with his health broken, he found his wife dead and their 13 children scattered.”

The story of Francis Lewis was equally tragic. “When the British plundered and burned his home at Whitestone on Long Island, they took his wife prisoner. She was thrown into a foul barracks and treated cruelly. For several months she had to sleep on the floor and was given no change of clothing. George Washington was able eventually to arrange for her exchange for two wives of British officers the Continental Arm was holding prisoner. Her health was so undermined that she died two years later.”

Thomas Nelson Jr., another signatory, made one of the most unusual sacrifices of the war. At Yorktown the British had selected his residence as headquarters. Washington, reluctant to destroy his compatriots beautiful home, was directed to do so by Nelson himself.

Probably John Quincy Adams, a son of one of the 55 patriots making the above pledge and later a president of the United States, said it best. “Posterity—You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” Let us never forget that liberty is not free. It was purchased and maintained by the blood of those before us.

Today many believe that the biggest enemy to our liberty is from within. Certainly we have let the Constitution dwindle in its ability to protect us from federal overreach. If the cause of the American Revolution was excessive government, as historians say, and school children once memorized all the offending new rules and regulations documenting such, what can we say today when the rules are multiplied by perhaps a thousand? For most of us it is hard to argue that we are more free than they under British tyranny when our government tells us with whom we must share a bathroom or shower.

Let this be a warning to those who would take freedom from us now. We too are standing “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” mutually pledging “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.


Dr. Harold W. PeaseDr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Nine Dahle bills pass Legislature


Measures cut red tape to promote rural health care, sound forestry

SACRAMENTO -- With the end of the California Legislature’s 2015 session in sight, nine bills introduced by Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, have passed both houses of the legislature.

Reflecting his priority of building up the rural North State’s economy, Dahle’s legislation promotes sensible forestry and tourism, the preservation of the rural health care safety net, and the streamlining of burdensome anti-business regulations. With record setting State Revenue, Dahle did not vote to increase taxes.

“It’s been a challenging year in Sacramento,” Dahle said, “but I am happy to have won bipartisan support for practical bills that cut red tape and make life better for Northstate families. There is still much that needs to be done to help the tens of thousands of people living in poverty in California.”

The following 2015 bills have already been signed into law by the Governor:

Assembly Bill 1290 allows Mayers Memorial Hospital in Fall River Mills to save time and money by constructing its new hospital building using design-build contracting. This will speed the development of a modern, earthquake-safe hospital to serve eastern Shasta County and the surrounding region while reducing costs.
Assembly Bill 417 provides additional flexibility to the Board of Forestry to write tree replanting standards that reflect on-the-ground conditions instead of one-size-fits-all rules. AB 417 ensures the state government does not force landowners to plant too many trees that suck up ground water and then burn down.
Assembly Bill 223 gives businesses in the town of Truckee the opportunity to once again participate in the Business Logo Signing Program along Interstate 80. The removal of freeway signs and the construction of the Truckee Bypass has caused a steep drop in sales at affected businesses and harmed the economy of the Town of Truckee, which sponsored the bill.
Assembly Bill 985 reforms the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to add members of the Legislature as liaisons to the Conservancy’s board. This will help make the board more accountable to the people.
Assembly Bill 1004 updates the mission of the California Tahoe Conservancy to ensure its goals align with those of the 2014 Water Bond and other state priorities, and clarifies that the Conservancy may not sell property obtained via government eminent domain.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 53 honors Richard M. “Dick” Dickerson by designating a memorial highway in his honor on Highway 44 in Redding. Dickerson was a member of the Assembly, Shasta County supervisor, Redding City Council member, and long-time law enforcement officer who dedicated a lifetime to public service.
In addition, three bills have passed the Legislature and await the Governor’s signature:

Assembly Bill 264 streamlines the regulation of California seed dealers by eliminating a redundant layer of bureaucracy by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Market Enforcement Branch.
Assembly Bill 429 provides a preference, in state purchasing, for California-grown lumber, so the state government supports forest workers who have to meet the state’s strict environmental standards that other states and countries do not. This bill has been opposed by the Canadian government but received no “no” votes in either house.
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 22 designates the week of Sept. 13 through Sept. 19 as Sierra Nevada Watershed Protection Week. The resolution promotes the Great Sierra River Cleanup and encourages greater cooperation among federal, state and local agencies to restore the Sierra’s fire-prone forests to a healthier and safer state. Most of California’s water supply originates in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Federal Government continues to mismanage public lands in a way that is detrimental to the environment and economy of Northern California.


Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents California’s 1st Assembly District, including all or parts of Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.


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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Plant Now for a Beautiful Garden Now and in the Future By Melinda Myers


Don’t pack away that shovel and trowel. Fall is a great time to plant a few new additions in the landscape. Here are just a few ideas for adding immediate and long term beauty to your garden.

Add cool season annuals like pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale and stocks to brighten the fall garden. Those in milder regions will enjoy them throughout the winter. Consider adding cold hardy pansies. They provide color in the fall garden, survive most winters, and are back blooming in the spring just as the snow melts.

Fall is also a good time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. The soil is warm and the air cooler, so the plants are less stressed and establish more quickly. Select plants suited to the growing conditions and be sure to give them plenty of room to reach their mature size.

Plant trees so the root flare, the place where the roots curve away from the trunk, is even with the soil surface. Dig a hole, the same depth as the rootball, and two to five times wider. Roughen the sides of the hole and backfill with the existing soil. Water thoroughly and spread a two to three inch layer of mulch over the soil surface, keeping the mulch away from the tree trunk.

Follow a similar planting procedure for shrubs. Plant these so the crown, the place where the stems meet the roots, is even with the soil surface. And be sure to keep the mulch away from the stems.

Plant daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other bulbs in fall for extra color next spring. Set the bulbs at a depth of two to three times their height deep. Then cover them with soil and sprinkle on a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite (milorganite.com). This organic nitrogen fertilizer promotes rooting without stimulating fall growth subject to winter kill.

Start planting spring flowering bulbs after the nighttime temperatures hover between 40 and 50 degrees. Be patient – waiting until the soil cools reduces the risk of early sprouting that often occurs during a warm fall.

Those gardening in the far south and along the gulf coast can purchase pre-cooled bulbs to compensate for the warm winters. Or the chilling can be done at home by storing the bulbs in a 35 to 45 degree location for at least 14 weeks before planting.

Those tired of battling the animals may want to plant resistant bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, Fritillaria, alliums, Camassia, glory-of-the snow, snow drops, squills, and grape hyacinths. You may find it is easier to avoid the problem than battle the animals with repellents and scare tactics.

Plant a few short season vegetables in your garden for fresh-from-the garden flavor this fall. Simply count the days from planting to the average first fall frost to determine how many growing days are left in your area. Select vegetables that will mature and can be harvested in that amount of time. Leaf lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, radishes and carrots are fast growing, cool weather tolerant vegetables that make great additions to the fall garden and your dinner plate.

Get these vegetables off to a good start with a side dressing of low nitrogen fertilizer. Incorporate it into the soil prior to planting or sprinkle a narrow band along the row of plants. This organic nitrogen will provide needed nutrients without damaging the tender seedlings.

Extend the harvest season with the help of floating row covers. These fabrics allow air, light and water through while trapping the heat around the plants. No construction is needed; just loosely cover the plants with the fabric, secure the edges with pipes, boards or landscape staples and let the plants provide the support.

So be sure to get a jump on next spring’s garden season with a bit of fall planting now.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

California's Rural Counties Unite in Urging Congress to Fully Fund Federal PILT


RCRC Delegate Represents 30 Rural Counties During NACo Fly-In

SACRAMENTO, CA – September 09, 2015 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) announced today that 30 California counties have adopted resolutions urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Mariposa County Supervisor Kevin Cann joins the National Association of Counties (NACo) in Washington, D.C. this week armed with these resolutions, urging Congress to fully fund Federal PILT.

Federal PILT funding mitigates the impact to county governments and schools from the losses in property taxes due to nontaxable Federal lands within local government boundaries – a loss totaling an average of more than $40 million to California’s counties annually.

“Federal PILT is a critical funding source for California’s counties, particularly as many rural counties contain significant federal landholdings, and Federal PILT counts as a sizeable share of their county services budget,” said Lee Adams, RCRC Chair and Sierra County Supervisor. “Failure to reauthorize and fully fund the program will result in diminished funding for essential services such as law enforcement, firefighting, search-and-rescue operations, construction and maintenance of roads, and many other vital local services.”

Counties that contain National Forests, National Parks, lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, lands dedicated for Federal water use, National Wildlife Reserves, and inactive or semi-active Army installations are eligible for Federal PILT payments.

Supervisor Cann and other Supervisors/Commissioners from the 13 Western States will be on hand in Washington, D.C. advocating for Federal PILT funding through the end of the week. Through RCRC, 30 California counties have adopted resolutions urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund Federal PILT. The 30 California counties that have adopted individual resolutions this year include Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Imperial, Inyo, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Mendocino, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yuba, and Yolo.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Assemblyman Travis Allen Blasts the Governor for Wanting to Raise Taxes on All Californians


Assembly Republicans introduced a $6.6 billion transportation plan in June that would not raise taxes on California families

SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Allen issued the following statement regarding Governor Brown finally chiming in on California’s transportation funding problem:

“The proposal that the Governor unveiled today shows that he agrees with Republicans that CalTrans needs to become more efficient to save Californians money. However, the Governor and the Democrats in the Legislature can’t resist their desire to raise taxes,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen. “The Republicans in the Legislature have put forward a plan that would get families out of traffic, repair our roads and bridges, and not raise taxes on a single person.”

A new poll released yesterday shows that 63% of California voters oppose the Democrats’ plan to increase state gas taxes. The poll is in response to the Democrats committing to a 12 cent per gallon tax increase, a “road access charge” of $35 per vehicle annually, and a $35 increase on vehicle registration. The Governor’s proposal contains similar costs on California’s families in the form of a gas and diesel tax increase, coupled with a $65 “highway user fee”.

“Simply put, the Republican transportation plan was put forward almost two months ago. We stand with the people of California who are missing time with their families, at work, and in their day to day lives due to traffic; the same people who want our roads fixed without the government once again reaching into their pocketbooks,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

LOYALTON ROTARY MEETING CANCELLED IN HONOR OF DICK "TWIGGY" WIGGIN

"It is with profound sadness that I must inform you all that this morning we lost our dear Twiggy," was sent out to Rotary members over the loss of Dick "Twiggy" Wiggin of Chilcoot.
She later wrote, "This day has turned out more difficult then expected, for myself as well as I am sure for many of you who loved and adored Twiggy. It is because of this grief and more so because of the love and respect we all have for Twiggy that tonight, September 3, 2015, The Rotary Club of Loyalton will remain dark, there will be no meeting."

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Loyalton Lab Changes:


Eastern Plumas Health Care, Loyalton patients need to go to the Loyalton Clinic for their blood draws from now on. The SNF/hospital will no longer be doing blood draws.
Hours/days: 8:30am - 12:00pm, Mon. - Thurs.
Walk-ins are accepted, but the Loyalton clinic requests that you call ahead if possible: 993.1231.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tahoe National Forest Launches Every Kid in a Park Pass


Fourth graders, their families eligible for free access to Federal lands, waters nationwide

NEVADA CITY, Calif. – The Tahoe National Forest is proud to help launch the Every Kid in a Park program, as part of President Obama’s commitment to protect our nation’s unique outdoor spaces and ensure that every American has the opportunity to visit and enjoy them.

Starting today, fourth graders nationwide can visit the new Every Kid in a Park website to obtain a pass that provides free access to students and their families to all federally-managed lands and waters – including national forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges and waters. The pass is valid for the 2015-2016 school year and grants free entry for fourth graders and three accompanying adults (or an entire car for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 federally-managed sites.

“The Every Kid in a Park initiative will help plant seeds of knowledge, respect and understanding of the natural world into the minds and hearts of children. Cultivating a generation of children who understand the importance of natural resources, like those so plentiful in our Nation's forests and grasslands, will continue the Forest Service's legacy to manage the land for the 'greatest good for the greatest number in the long run,'” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The Tahoe National Forest does not charge an entrance fee. However, some developed recreation areas on the Forest charge a day use fee. The Every Kid in a Park Pass covers day use fees on the Forest. Other recreational fees, such as those at campgrounds, are not covered by the Pass.

President Obama launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative earlier this year as a call to action to get all children to experience America’s unparalleled outdoors. Today, more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas, and many lack easy access to safe outdoor spaces. At the same time, youth spend more hours than ever in front of screens instead of outside.

Fourth graders can log onto the website at www.everykidinapark.gov and complete a fun educational activity in order to obtain and print their pass. Students can also trade in their paper pass for an official access card at participating federal sites nationwide. Passes are available at all Tahoe National Forest offices.

Educators and community leaders can access educational activities, field trip options, and the ability to print passes for their classrooms. Parents visiting the new website can find additional links for more information on planning trips to nearby public lands.

Every Kid in a Park is a crucial component of a multi-pronged approach to inspire the next generation to discover all that our nation’s public lands and waters have to offer, including opportunities to be active, spend time with friends and family, and serve as living classrooms to build critical skills.

The Every Kid in a Park program is an Administration-wide effort administered in partnership with the Department of the Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For 110 years, the Forest Service has been a leader in environmental education. The Forest Service has an array of programs designed to get people into the woods, especially children. The agency reaches an average of 5 million people with conservation education programs, including Children’s’ Forests, NatureWatch, and FSNatureLIVE, a series of distance learning adventures that covers topics such as climate change, pollinators, bats, and wetlands.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

HUNGER THROUGHOUT HUNGER ACTION MONTH


FOOD BANK OF NORTHERN NEVADA AND FEEDING AMERICA NETWORK RAISE AWARENESS OF THE ISSUE OF HUNGER THROUGHOUT HUNGER ACTION MONTH

Hunger-Relief Organizations Encourage the Public to Join Spoontember this September and Support the 49 Million People Who Struggle with Hunger in America .

McCarran, NV, September 1, 2015 – Food Bank of Northern Nevada , a member of the Feeding America® nationwide network of food banks, will observe Hunger Action MonthTM – a nationwide initiative designed to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger and join the movement to help end hunger. Hunger advocates from northern Nevada and across the country are working together this September to shine a light on the issue of hunger and the 1 in 6 people who face hunger in America – including 105,320 here in northern Nevada.

“One in 6 people, including 43,360 children in northern Nevada struggle with hunger, and Food Bank of Northern Nevada is eager to rally around Hunger Action Month as we continue our fight to solve this issue,” said Cherie Jamason, president and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. “Hunger is an issue that affects everyone – our child’s classmate, an office coworker or neighbor down the street. September is an opportunity for all hunger-relief advocates to take simple steps towards supporting those in need.”

The Feeding America network of food banks also is participating in the new SpoontemberTM online initiative. To get involved, supporters can share a ‘spoon selfie’ or video of themselves balancing a spoon on their nose – a utensil that is most often used to prepare and provide food for others – and challenge friends and family to join them to generate awareness of the 49 million Americans who may not know where they’ll find their next meal.

In addition, Food Bank of Northern Nevada will commemorate Hunger Action Day®, which will be held Thursday, September 3. Hunger Action Day is an opportunity for the country to learn more about how hunger affects their community. Hunger advocates are encouraged to wear orange, post selfies, and use the hashtags #hungeraction, and #spoontember.

“Domestic hunger affects every community in our nation, preventing millions of families, seniors and children from thriving,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “This September we all are given a chance to come together and make a difference for those facing hunger."
Food Bank of Northern Nevada is providing several opportunities for community members to get involved in Hunger Action Month in northern Nevada:

· Thursday, September 3 - Go Orange and spread the word! Post your #spoontember selfie.

· The month of September also kicks off Bank of America’s Give a Meal Campaign. This campaign allows donors to amplify their donations through a 2 to 1 match! Individuals can donate to the campaign online by visiting feedingamerica.org/bankofamerica to help support the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. For every $1 donated through Give A Meal, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will give $2 more, up to $1.5 million across the nation - giving donors the opportunity to triple their impact.

· Run on Tuna Garage Sale: Saturday, September 12 from 7 am – 3 pm, located at 588 Marsh Avenue, Reno, NV 89509. Shoppers can exchange tuna for “tuna bucks” to buy items or pay with cash that will be used to buy tuna. All tuna raised will be donated to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

· Thursday, September 17 – Under Shelter: The Power Within at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. A very special evening of art and entertainment with the beautiful images in the exhibit by Judy Schott featuring portraits of people living in family shelters. The event is from 5:30 -8:30 pm with a suggested donation of $10. Proceeds to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and Volunteers of America. RSVP for this event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/under-shelter-the-power-within-tickets-18264335118

· Volunteer – Each contribution of time by volunteers sorting and packing food makes such a huge difference in the lives of families receiving food assistance. Visit http://fbnn.org for more information or email Mary Burdick at maburdick@fbnn.org to sign up.

· Beginning Saturday, September 26 – The Food Bank themed Andelin Family Farms corn maze. Get $1 off admission into the maze with a food donation through October 31. Visit http://www.andelinfamilyfarm.com/ for more information.

· All Month – Kimmie Candy is selling special Hunger Action Month ChocoRocks® with 100% of the profits going to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Candy can be purchased online at https://www.shopkimmiecandy.com/.

· Squeeze In – Visit any of the three Reno/Sparks locations of Squeeze In, donate tuna to the Food Bank and receive double points in their Egghead loyalty program. Locations can be found at Squeezein.com

· Kings Row Pet Hospital Tuna Drive – Donate 3 cans of unexpired tuna and receive $5.00 off your vet bill. Donate six cans and receive $10 off your bill! More about Kings Row Pet Hospital here: http://krphvets.com/.


Details and additional Hunger Action Month activities can be found at fbnn.org.

Individuals can also help show their support for hunger relief and Spoontember by joining the Hunger Action Month Thunderclap on Hunger Action Day, Thursday September 3, at 12pm EST. By visiting the Hunger Action Month Thunderclap https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/29835-spoontember advocates can synchronize a Thunderclap Facebook and Twitter message to be shared in tandem with thousands of others to raise awareness about domestic hunger.

Food Bank of Northern Nevada is one of 200 member Feeding America food banks, which serves every county in the United States and provides over 3 billion meals each year to Americans in need.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dahle Calls on Democrats to Stop Tax Drive



California drivers need bureaucratic reform, not still higher taxes

SACRAMENTO – On the 75th day of the transportation special session, Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, and his fellow Assembly Republicans are calling on the Democrats to stop their push for still more taxes and fees on already strapped California drivers and instead fast-track the Assembly Republican plan to fix California’s roads.

The Republican roadmap is stuck in legislative gridlock while Democrats hold partisan press conferences around the state, the latest of which took place in Fresno on Friday. The 9-point plan, unveiled by Assembly Republicans on June 29, would generate $6.6 billion in annual funding for roads and highways without new taxes. The Assembly GOP plan is the only comprehensive transportation funding plan on the table. It was endorsed on Friday by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“California’s drivers already pay among the nation’s highest fuel taxes, including new cap-and-trade charges that took effect this year, but suffer some of America’s worst maintained roads,” Dahle said. “The Republican plan would use existing funds and streamline California’s costly bureaucratic system to ensure taxpayers get their money’s worth.”

Today marks 75 days since the special legislative session on transportation first convened. During that time, Assembly Democrats have held partisan events in the Bay Area, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Meanwhile, they have not presented a comprehensive plan on how to fully fund California’s transportation needs. Despite a $4 billion surplus and a record state budget, Democrats failed to make transportation a budget priority this year.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

What Would California Look Like Without Lawns?

Drought is a serious issue in California. But in the rush to rip out lawns, are we making a catastrophic environmental mistakes?



It’s a tough time to be a blade of grass in California. Drought has caused the great American lawn to be viewed harshly. People in drought-stricken areas are ripping out their lawns, afraid of being drought shamed and labeled water guzzlers by other community members. Some estimates say one in five homeowners are switching to synthetic turf, aka, plastic grass.[i] But these knee jerk reactions without careful planning may be catastrophic mistakes. Without living yards, California is not going to be a nice place to live.

It will be hotter in your home and neighborhood. Lawns can be 31 degrees cooler than asphalt and 20 degrees cooler than bare soil.[ii] [iii]

Without grass to reduce the heat island effect caused by urban asphalt and concrete, plan for temperatures to rise dramatically. If you have lots of hardscape or plastic grass around your home, the temperature jump will be huge. And your home cooling bills? Expect them to go up.

Air quality will worsen dramatically. Grass plays a vital role in capturing dust, smoke particles and other pollutants. [iv] It also produces oxygen. A 25 square foot area will supply enough oxygen to support one person for a day. A turf area 50' x 50' will produce enough oxygen to meet the daily needs of a family of four.[v]

Without grass, California’s already struggling air quality levels will plummet. Ozone and particle pollutants will increase in the air you breathe. Plan for more code red days. Those with conditions impacted by worsening air quality – the elderly, the young – those with lung disease, asthma, heart disease or diabetes – may only leave home when absolutely necessary – and they’ll be advised to wear a mask and tote an oxygen tank.

Children and pets will be inside – a lot. Instead of being outside burning off snacks, children will be indoors due the lack of space to play and poor air quality. So will your dog, who is likely to object to “doing business” on plastic. Kids will also not get the attention and working memory benefits researchers found when children are exposed to greenery. [vi]

Water runoff will carry more pollutants into the water supply. Grass slows down and absorbs runoff into bodies of water[vii], while also cleansing water of impurities and dust, and reducing soil erosion. Without the filtering effects of grass, water entering the ground will carry these pollutants. Soil will erode into streams and rivers, carrying nutrients and chemicals with it, and causing large algae blooms which can steal oxygen from the water and kill fish.

Birds and wildlife will go away. Grass provides food and habitat for birds and small mammals. Insects, spiders and worms live among the grass blades and below the surface in the turf. Without grass, food sources for birds and small mammals will be gone. Your yard will be without songbirds or wildlife.

Forest fires will become more destructive. Living grass is an effective and natural fire break.[viii] Without grass around homes, fire will cause more property damage and endanger more lives.

Outdoor entertaining will become a rarity. The family football game on the front lawn after the big dinner, frisbee chasing for hours with your dog, and sandbox playtime in the yard for your kids will be relics of the past. Your outdoor dining area, barbecue, fire pit and other outdoor living areas will be hotter and less enjoyable.

Is this the California you want to live in? Before you rip out your lawn, consider the impacts and use commonsense. Everyone realizes that there is a drought, and that water has to be conserved. But deadening California’s landscape is only going to open the door to a greater devastation. We need a living landscape that is drought-friendly.

Kris Kiser is the President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). More information is available at www.opei.org/stewardship

Monday, August 31, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY CASES WEEKENDING August 28, 2015




David Money (33) Reno. Felony automobile theft. Sentencing is set for September 25. He remains in custody on a no bail hold

Zachary Norden (21) Portola. Sentencing for felony residential burglary. Four years probation, 120 days jail, fine $2420, and he was ordered to pay $2300 in restitution to the victim.

Timothy Diltz (52) Sierraville. Illegal burning of debris. One year probation, fine $685.

Brandon Lutes (45) Loyalton. Violation of probation on conviction of domestic violence for failure to report to probation. Thirty days jail, probation reinstated.

Robert Wharff (27) Goodyears Bar. Under the influence of a controlled substance. One year jail.

Adam Malik (36) Davis. Malik was placed on probation for assault on a peace officer and attempting to elude an officer when he rammed Sierra County Sheriff’s vehicle in July 2012. The violation of probation was his commission of a new offense where he stabbed a victim several times in West Sacramento while saying he was going to kill the victim. A jury acquitted Malik of attempted murder but convicted on Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Criminal Threats, and Causing Great Bodily injury. He received four years on the Sierra County Probation Violation, and five years, eight months on the new charges for a total prison commit of 9 years 8 months.

Denny Daneri (59) Goodyears Bar. Violation of probation for drinking alcohol in violation of his no alcohol order. Sixteen days jail.




Michael Neuman (41) Rocklin Disturbing the peace and failure to appear. One year probation, fine $1292.

Nathan Ashley (27) Loyalton. Possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). Ordered to drug diversion rehab.

Roberta Andeway (42) Sierraville. Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater. Three years probation, two days jail, fine $2427.

Lee Ann Pollastrini (42) Loyalton. Reckless driving, alcohol related. Three years probation, two days jail, fine $1599.

Rhonda Needles (40) Grass Valley. Possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine). No probation, 180 days jail, fine $220.

Jacob Hood (38) Willits. Battery and vandalism. One year probation, fourteen days jail, fine $1450, and restitution of $276 to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department for a broken window in a patrol car.

Friday, August 28, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY SOLID WASTE FEES

A PUBLIC HEARING on the question
of imposing solid waste fees for 2015-2016 as was set forth in Resolution 2015-061 and adoption of resolution certifying the results of the Proposition 218 protest proceedings regarding solid waste fees was debated at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting held in Loyalton on Tuesday, August 18th. During public comment Steve Schaffer, a property owner at Jackson Meadows asked if they pay regardless of whether they use the service or not. County Counsel Jim Curtis stated the fee was for the operation of the landfill and transfer stations. Schaffer stated it seemed like this was taxation without representation, adding it was a huge amount of money for a service he doesn’t use. Supervisor Lee Adams asked Schaffer what his property was worth without the service, adding it would be worth nothing. Adams said he knew his pain, as he was paying for a phone in Inyo County that he hadn’t picked up once.
Dan Mitchell stated he was representing two property owners in Calpine and felt he was under-represented for part-time residents. Mitchell felt it was an exorbitant amount of money for part-time use and wanted the Board to consider a fee by use. He stated assessing a general fee for every property was unfair. Adams stated he understood and explained what they face today with the solid waste system was what their predecessors decided when they opened a landfill in the 1960’s. He said the footprint at the landfill had shrunk and the State was now requiring $400,000 worth of vapor extraction. Adams said they based the costs on availability, adding he pays school taxes without having kids. He said the Board shares their concern, and the hours at the dump aren’t always convenient for everyone. Adams continued by stating the problem was it was really hard to create a system that was fair for everyone, adding this was the best system to make it as fair as possible. Supervisor Peter Heubner said they had gate fees before but it didn’t work so this was the way it was now. Adams added property would be worthless without a garbage disposal. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein stated the Water Control Board was a State agency and they would come down on them to find the money to pay for requirements or the fines would destroy Sierra County. He stressed the need to keep the service open and available for residents. Chairman Jim Beard said that was why the State of Jefferson was so important, adding it was not a unanimous decision on these rate increases. Adams said they have to monitor the landfill for 20 years after it closes and still have to pay the costs. He added Sierra County was not the first county to deal with this.
From the audience, Joe Arata stated it seemed like they were getting increases more regularly, with no accounting on where the money was going. He said the County was forcing him to pay over $600 a year for a 60-day visit to Sierra County, and felt it was inheritantly unfair. He stated the people creating the most waste should pay the most fees, and thought gate fees would be more fair and proportional. He stressed that part-time residents should not have to pay as much as full time residents, adding solid waste increases are only a Band-Aid and not a solution. He asked the Board what Sierra County’s values were when a widowed man would have to pay as much as a five person family, stating he has always been willing to pay his fair share. Adams said if they don’t like today’s Sierra County solid waste system they’ll probably like tomorrow’s even less. He stated they could no longer afford to do it on their own, adding it was tough for a County with 3,000 people in it. He said they don’t pay the cops for coming to their door, stating they prepay for that. Arata said he would like to see Sierra County go towards composting and recycling.
Schlefstein said the Budget was available to anyone anytime and Sierra County Auditor Van Maddox told Arata the Budget was on County website and would show him where the money was going. He said he started working in government in 1986 adding there was no place he had been where you get as detailed answers as in Sierra County. He said they try to put as much on the web as possible, adding nothing was hidden. Schaffer said he was frustrated and would like the Board to come up with better ways to assess the fees, and asked if they could raise fees at the campgrounds to make it more equitable.
County Clerk Heather Foster read the results from the protest votes, where she said of the 2,225 properties assessed, they received 22 non-residential and 221 residential for a total of 243 written protests which represented 11%. The Resolution was adopted unanimously. Curtis stated the imposition of the solid waste fees that were set forth in the Resolution were adopted, adding the protests were not sufficient to override it.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL - August 18th

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL Mayor
Pat Whitley had called for less attorney time yet Legal Counsel Steve Gross attended the August 18th meeting at a cost of $200/hour.
Councilman Ernie Teague had concern with the 3-hour meetings and some items discussed “at length” and suggested cutting back with a time limit. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and was continuing with five items left at 9:30 p.m. The Council cut the agenda short and adjourned at 10 p.m.
For public comment, Ray Belli had a good idea of retrofitting the pool building for bicycle camps or Bike Academy. He called it a “piece of the puzzle” with the museum and Boca line.
Concerning the City’s website, Finance Director Kim Lombardi told of needed software updates by Barbara Jaquez for $250. Mayor Pat Whitley called it “hard pressed to find money after the settlement.” She wanted Finance to look for it. City Clerk Tracy Smith called the site “embarrassing” it was so outdated. Pat didn’t want a deficit and members emphasized it was just $250. Ernie moved and Brooks Mitchell seconded to take the funds out of the general fund. Pat said they’d scrape the money. Kim was asked account totals and she stated checking and savings total was given $485,556.17 after the $41,000 payment.
The Council approved $74,297.94 in bills.
On water use, Councilman John Cussins said usage is quite high; 700,000 to 800,000 gallons a day which is usually 300,000 gallons per day, almost 2.5 times per capita.Stephen J. Rocklidge, PhD., PE-State Water Resources Control Board, Drinking Water Division serving Sierra and Plumas Counties was back and stated Loyalton was being judged by 2013 meters. He had been before the Board previously and asked for a 25% reduction. Data is collected for a water loss which can be used for repair using revolving grant applications. He said to go to two (2) days’ watering and the current ordinance has provisions for odd and even days through August. The CITY COUNCIL Continued....
Council was to meet in special session August 25th to adopt a resolution for two days’ watering as long as the Governor’s resolution is in effect.
On the park well repair, John told of a lost main electrical control switch with wrong fuses and new ones coming from Illinois.
The Finance Committee was also to meet August 25th over a proposal the mayor wanted in taking $8,000 rather than $6,000 a week as a reserve amount for the enterprise fund as reserve for fixing the wells. John wanted it kept the same.
Under Auditorium fees at the new City Center, the mayor said it had been decided $65 with kitchen, $30 without, yet Ernie wanted it clarified for non profits. Pat talked of expenses and being fair. Ernie asked about charging Loyalton High School. Kim and from the audience, Jackie Mitchell, told how the schools give back. Steve mentioned gift of public funds and told two conditions, public benefit or to get compensation or consideration and this situation sounded like a benefit to the public. Ernie said last year the City earned $1,430 on social hall rental fees.
From the audience, Annie Fassbender told how she and husband, Craig, had remodeled the kitchen and asked for one dance. Pat interrupted her, “Not true,” stating she hadn’t said one time. Brooks said go one time, “We said yes.” Tracy verified it, “to try out the floor.” Jackie stated before the Council, Annie “doesn’t get things right. She gets confused.”
Annie walked out of the meeting.
From the audience, Marilyn Whittaker questioned cooking at the multipurpose room in the former middle school and Jackie said there was no venting. A certified building inspector is coming next week. Pat said it is not a commercial kitchen and Kim suggested pulling the stove so no one will use it. Steve told of the needs to serve the public with a license by environmental health but they could keep the stove for staff but don’t charge for it and limit its use.
Discussion on the repair of the Senior Center had John question a 5-day bid and Senior Board member Don Yegge say they’d tried three bids. Pat told of only one proposal and John questioned scope of work. Brooks asked Steve over the City’s existing emergency of the thrift shop. Steve said if the City had spent more than $5,000 but could declare an emergency procedure, make a finding and declare emergency, go to competitive bid. With one bid, he suggested they suspend it and pay prevailing wages and use contract regulations with the State. He said it’s not within their ability not to comply. John brought up advertising, stating, “City has an obligation to do it the right way.” Steve talked on competitive bidding. John said after five days’ bid, everything would be “up and running.” Council would meet Monday in special session to accept a bid.
Ernie held discussion on administrative policies, specifically on requirements for mayor. The Council approved giving any member the chance to be mayor and not waiting the current two years. Brooks voted no. In other policies, Steve stated the City should have a point person for communication. John wanted it so everybody can talk to State agencies. Steve suggested power to contact outside agencies but not to make financial decisions. John said it was a “benefit to the City” for him to talk to Steve. Pat didn’t want to duplicate calls. The council unanimously passed committee chairs taking the lead and adding chair powers.
On Loyalton Mobile Home Park, Steve explained the City provides utility service through a master meter. To terminate, give notice to every unit and ability to establish service as a customer if it’s legal to provide service with policies in place. Pat said the City doesn’t own meters, shut off or hydrants. Brooks said it owns the water. Mark told how the water bill gets bigger and bigger. John asked about talking to HUD. Steve stated the “manager” has no legal holding. The ordinance says no service if not paid and he said to go by the guidelines. He called it “one customer.” Mark made a motion to shut the water off and Pat questioned health issues. Steve said to either turn water off entirely and some will be harmed or continue to take a loss. “Accept as much as you can take,” he advised. John will call HUD.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY'S MARIJUANA ORDINANCE


SIERRA COUNTY’S MARIJUANA

ORDINANCE was discussed to a full house at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting Tuesday, August 18th in Loyalton. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein said a petition had started in his district and felt the discussion needed to focus on plant counts. He stated the proposal was to limit plants lower than the 72 allowed now and thought some reasonable modification could be done to the existing ordinance. Schlefstein wanted to discuss a licensing and fee structure like dog licenses to help reimburse county staff time and ensure the County keeps track. He wanted to try and balance everybody’s rights and opened the meeting up for public comments.
From the audience a Sierra Brooks resident stated they have seen several large grows pop up in the community. She didn’t have a problem with outdoor grows, but had a problem with 60-70 plants. She felt co-ops and collectors were taking place. She’s heard about a grow that backs up to a day care center and felt they needed to protect property values and their way of life.
Another audience member stated this was a very emotional subject for people suffering with injuries and pain. He managed his pain with medical marijuana, and stated this was a very personal issue. He worried how people would look at them now that the public knows he uses medical marijuana, and pleaded with the Board to respect the dignity of the people. He felt like the mindset was not an accurate one and hoped the Board would keep this in consideration.
Four “heavily invested Sierra County moms” from Sierra Brooks said they had started the petition as they noticed their community rapidly changing. They had over 260 signatures and many of their supporters were raised here, adding it was not just a Sierra Brooks issue. They stated they fully supported medical marijuana and were not against it, but felt it was personal so it should stay personal. They said 72 plants was not personal use. They worried the community would be less desirable and hoped the Board would consider something more constrictive. A list was read of ordinance changes they would like to see considered which included; limiting greenhouse cultivation to four plants for parcels under an acre, scaling up to only 10 plants outdoors for parcels 5 acres in size or larger. For indoor it would allow 12 plants on all parcels. Both indoor and greenhouse may be grown but combined total must be no more than 12; cultivators must be full time Sierra County residents; cooperative gardens prohibited; no distinction between mature and immature plants; and all cultivators should be registered with Sierra County. The group also wanted grows at least 1,000 feet from bus stops, but Schlefstein stated bus stops were not specified.
Another audience member stated she felt she was being targeted for being honest, by having her grow outdoors, adding she was not cheating anybody and said they were “counting their chickens before they hatch,” as a lot can happen with outdoor grows like too much rain, cold temperatures, and rodents. She added there were a lot of misconceptions. She has been living in Sierra County for 11 years and was not here to take advantage of the law. She concluded by stating, “Why is it o.k. to put your rules on everybody else.”
A Loyalton resident stated he planted 25 seeds this year and got 13 plants and only seven are female.
Supervisor Lee Adams said the present ordinance was about a year old and they had had several committee and public meetings. He said they realized it’s a changing world and tried to strike a balance. He said Sierra Brooks can make the ordinance more re-mind everyone whatever they do can always be changed and felt Sierra County was more liberal with plant counts than many other counties.
Schlefstein thought the topic would be better served in a committee meeting and wanted to direct the same committee who worked on the ordinance before. Adams said he would like to see hearings on both sides of the county. Schlefstein encouraged the audience to come to the committee meetings or write letters to have their voice heard. Chairman Jim Beard told the audience that this was a long process that wouldn’t happen overnight. He said any ordinance takes 30 days to take effect, adding it would not affect this year’s growing season.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Homicide Investigation


Location of Occurrence: Bucks Lake near Sandy Point Day Use
Agencies: Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Plumas County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Justice Criminalist, CAL Fire, USFS, Fire Storm, California Highway Patrol, Chico Police Department, Bucks Lake Fire, Meadow Valley Fire and Plumas District Hospital.


On 8/22/2015 at 0630 the U.S. Forest Service, Bucks Lake Fire and Meadow Valley Fire responded to an early morning fire near the Sandy Point Day Use Area and Mill Creek Campground at Bucks Lake, Plumas County, CA.
Upon arrival, firefighters found a male subject, Sheldon N Steward, age 23 from Oakland, CA with stab wounds near the fire. The subject was flown to Enloe Medical Center in Chico for treatment. The Sheriff’s Office was notified and responded to conduct an investigation.
As fire crews put out the fire they discovered the remains of a burned body of Trevor F. Holminski age 20 of Emeryville, CA within the area of the fire. The Sheriff’s Investigations Unit responded to the scene to conduct a homicide investigation along with California Department of Justice, CAL Fire and The Plumas County District Attorney’s Office.
Later in the day Investigators responded to Enloe Medical Center to speak with Sheldon Steward. Steward was eventually arrested for Homicide and transported to the Plumas County Jail after his release from Enloe. Sheldon’s bail is set at $1,000,000.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Boil Water Cancellation- Sierra Brooks Water System

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DRINKING WATER
Este informe contiene información muy importante sobre su agua potable.
Tradúzcalo o hable con alguien que lo entienda bien.


DRINKING WATER PROBLEM CORRECTED


On August 21, 2015, customers of Sierra Brooks Public Services District (District) were advised to use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation. We are pleased to report that the problem has been corrected and that it is no longer necessary to use boiled or bottled water. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

It is no longer necessary to boil your tap water or to consume bottled water.


What Happened? What was done?

On August 21, 2015, the District issued a “Boil Water” Notice advising its customers to use boiled water or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation. The Notice was issued due to a water pipe break on Sierra Brooks Drive and Antelope Valley Road which occurred on August 21, 2015. The entire system has been disinfected and flushed. Results from bacteriological monitoring conducted on August 21, 2015 show that the bacteriological samples collected were negative for total coliform bacteria. The California Division of Drinking Water (Department) in conjunction with the District has determined that based on the bacteriological quality test a result, the water is safe to drink.

For more information, please contact Tim Beals at (530) 289-3201.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in daycare centers, the elderly or others that may not have direct access to this distribution notice). You can do this be posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

This notice is being sent to you by Sierra Brooks Public Services District.
State Water System ID#; 4600009.

Date distributed: Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday, August 24, 2015

July was Earth's hottest month on record;

July was Earth's hottest month on record; scientists say climate change is worsening California drought

By Paul Rogers

In a dramatic sign of climate change's growing impact, this July was the warmest month on Earth since modern temperature records were first kept in 1880, federal scientists announced Thursday.
While climate change isn't causing California's drought, it's making the disaster worse, according to a separate report released Thursday. The study by researchers at Columbia University, NASA and the University of Idaho found that rising temperatures over the four years of drought have caused more evaporation of water supplies, making California's drought about 15 to 20 percent more severe than it otherwise would be.
And there's no sign the heat is letting up.
El Niño conditions now underway in the Pacific will continue to warm the oceans and release enormous amounts of heat into the atmosphere this year, almost certainly making 2015 the hottest year ever recorded, breaking the previous record -- set in 2014 -- federal researchers said.
"The world is warming. It's continuing to warm. That's being shown time and time again in our data," said Jake Crouch, a physical scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Asheville, North Carolina.
Crouch and other researchers at NOAA, the parent agency of the National Weather Service, announced that the average global land and sea temperature in July was 61.86 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking a record set in 1998 by one-seventh of a degree, which scientists consider a large margin for year-to-year temperature changes.

That makes this July the warmest of all 1,627 months since January 1880, when Rutherford B. Hayes was president, Thomas Edison was tinkering in his lab and the U.S. had only 38 states.
Although droughts are a natural part of California and the West, the steadily warming climate is making the current drought more intense, according to the Columbia-NASA study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
The reason: Hotter weather is drying soil and plants at an unprecedented rate, pulling out moisture. And, the study found, the trend is creating a "new normal" for California.

"A lot of people think that the amount of rain that falls out of the sky is the only thing that matters," said A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the study. "But warming changes the baseline amount of water that's available to us because it sends water back into the sky."

At the present rate of warming and evaporation, California in 50 years will be in a semi-permanent state of drought, the study found, interrupted by intense storms.

Californians are desperately hoping the strong El Niño developing in the Pacific will bring heavy rain this winter. After four years of below-normal rain and hot temperatures, major reservoir levels are less than half of normal for this time of year, as wildfires rage across the state.

The Sierra's spring snowpack was virtually nonexistent this year, and farmers are pumping groundwater wells so heavily that the ground in the Central Valley is sinking 2 inches a month in parts, cracking roads.

State officials and the Obama administration have passed rules in recent years requiring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, factories and vehicles, along with mandates for more solar, wind and other renewable energy. But the new restrictions have been met with opposition from oil and coal companies and many Republican leaders.

"New scientific reports now make it crystal clear that climate change is already affecting California and the Southwest in the form of higher temperatures and a more devastating drought," Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement Thursday. "It's time for Republicans, foot-dragging corporations and other deniers to wake up and take sensible action before it's too late."

The vast majority of the world's climate scientists -- and organizations such as NASA, NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Meteorological Organization -- say the planet is warming because the buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere is trapping heat. The gases come from the burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Over the past 250 years, greenhouse gas concentrations have increased 40 percent in the atmosphere, and they are now at their highest rate in at least 800,000 years, according to measurements of air bubbles in ice cores from Antarctica.

Brown traveled last month to the Vatican to attend a summit on climate change held by Pope Francis, who issued an encyclical in June that said "the Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." He added: "What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?"

Brown and Democratic leaders are pushing bills in the Legislature that would require 50 percent of the electricity generated in the state to come from renewable sources by 2030, up from the 33 percent now required. The legislation would also require that by 2030 petroleum use in cars and trucks be reduced 50 percent and energy efficiency in existing buildings be doubled.

The hot, dry conditions across the West this year, exacerbated by low levels of moisture in trees and shrubs, continued Thursday to play havoc with fires.

More than 383,000 acres have burned so far this year in California -- an area 13 times the size of San Francisco. That's three times the average of the previous five years, which was 125,161 acres through mid-August.

Five U.S. Forest Service firefighters have been killed in recent weeks, three in Washington state this week and two near Lake Tahoe and in Modoc County over the past three weeks.

Said Stanton Florea, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service: "It's been a terrible year."

Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN

Monday, August 24, 2015

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has photographic evidence of five gray wolf pups and two adults in Northern California.

After trail cameras recorded a lone canid in May and July, CDFW deployed additional cameras, one of which took multiple photos showing five pups, which appear to be a few months old and others showing individual adults. Because of the proximity to the original camera locations, it is likely the adult previously photographed in May and July is associated with the group of pups.

“This news is exciting for California,” said Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state and it appears now is the time.”
CDFW has designated this group (comprised of two adults and five pups) the Shasta Pack.

Wild wolves historically inhabited California, but were extirpated. Aside from these wolves and the famous wolf OR7 who entered California in December 2011, the last confirmed wolf in the state was here in 1924. OR7 has not been in California for more than a year and is currently the breeding male of the Rogue Pack in southern Oregon.

In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list gray wolves as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The gray wolf is also listed as endangered in California, under the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. Gray wolves that enter California are therefore protected by the ESA making it illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect wolves, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct in California.

CDFW is completing a Draft Wolf Management Plan and will release it soon. Throughout the plan’s development, CDFW has held numerous meetings with stakeholders. Currently, CDFW is incorporating comments from a stakeholder advisory group, and considering revisions due to implications of this news, before releasing the draft plan to the general public. Public meetings will be scheduled to receive public comment on the draft plan.

In addition to the trail cameras, CDFW relies on help from the public to glean information about wolves in California. The public can report wolf sightings on CDFW gray wolf website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/Sighting-Report.

Though wolves rarely pose a direct threat to human safety, CDFW recommends that people never approach, feed or otherwise disturb a wolf. For more information about staying safe in wolf-occupied areas, including what people should do if they encounter a wolf, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Gray-Wolf/FAQ.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Loss and Injury of U.S. Forest Service Firefighters in Washington State

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on the Loss and Injury of U.S. Forest Service Firefighters in Washington State
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement regarding the loss of three U.S. Forest Service firefighters near Twisp, Wash. An additional U.S. Forest Service firefighter and two Washington State Department of Natural Resources firefighters also sustained life threatening injuries.
"On Wednesday night, we received the news that three U.S. Forest Service firefighters lost their lives battling a wildfire near the town of Twisp, Washington. We mourn the loss of the brave firefighters whose commitment to duty was so deep that they gave their own lives to protect others. We also extend our profound sympathies to the families and loved ones of the fallen, whose sacrifices are equally worthy of honor, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty. As we press on through an extraordinarily challenging wildfire season, we are reminded yet again of the perils our firefighters face as they protect communities from wildfire. Our firefighting personnel have been particularly hard hit this year and we've lost several lives. We continue to mourn for them and offer support to their families. On behalf of the American people, thank you to those who keep us safe."

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Tip Line Will Help Crack Down on Dangerous Drones

During Emergencies
Californians asked to help expose drone operators who threaten public safety
by News Center on August 18, 2015

To protect firefighting and public safety operations in California, state officials have set up a special toll-free tip line for anyone who has information that could help law enforcement investigators locate irresponsible drone operators.
Similar to a crime tip line, those who have information about irresponsible drone operators who have flown close to disasters and emergencies can call 1-844-DRONE11 (1-844-376-6311). This telephone line is not for reporting emergencies. If a drone is being observed flying dangerously at an active disaster or emergency, the public should call 9-1-1.
Since many people operate unmanned aircraft with little or no aviation experience, the FAA is also promoting voluntary compliance and working to educate hobby drone enthusiast about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws. The FAA has also partnered with industry and the modeling community in a public outreach campaign called “Know Before You Fly.”
Know Before You Fly Website at http://www.knowbeforeyoufly.org/

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FOOD BANK RECRUITS FOR VOLUNTEER SESSIONS



McCarran NV, August 19, 2015 – The Food Bank of Northern Nevada is currently recruiting volunteers to help with sorting and packing food to be distributed throughout the region. The organization serves more than 14.5 million meals to families in need each year throughout northern Nevada and the eastern slope of the Sierra in California. All of the food distributed through the 63,000 square foot facility must be sorted and packed by hand. The Food Bank offers volunteer sessions Tuesday through Saturday each week and the majority of open sessions are during the afternoons on Tuesday through Friday.

“We traditionally see volunteer hours drop off during the summertime with the greatest influx of volunteers coming out to help in November and December,” said Mary Donnell, executive vice president of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. “We could really use the help now to help us sort and pack donated food so that we can get it out to our partner agencies and the families who need it. We are so grateful to those who give their time. ”

The average volunteer session is about 2 ½ hours and the work consists of either sorting food drive donations by category and making sure they are not expired, or packing produce into bags for distribution to families. Families with children are welcome to volunteer if the children are ten years of age or older and are accompanied by an adult. The Food Bank asks that volunteers wear closed toe shoes when volunteering in the warehouse.

Signing up to volunteer is easy at fbnn.org. Those who are interested can fill out a volunteer application at fbnn.org, and then they will be able to view available opportunities and sign up online. Volunteers can also sign up by emailing our volunteer coordinator, Mary Burdick at maburdick@fbnn.org.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Steve Griffin Hired to Serve as Lassen National Forest Fire Management Officer


SUSANVILLE, Calif., August 18, 2015 – Lassen National Forest has hired Steve Griffin to be the organization’s forest fire management officer.

“Steve will be a great addition to our team,” said Lassen National Forest Supervisor Dave Hays. “He brings both strong fire management experience and excellent leadership skills to the Lassen.”

Griffin began his Forest Service career in 1988 at the Sequoia National Forest as a fire lookout, in time working his way up to become a member of the engine crew. He left to take on a three-year assignment as a hotshot crew member at Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks before returning to Sequoia National Forest as a hotshot squad leader. He subsequently worked as a fire engine operator and engine captain before becoming a hotshot superintendent and, ultimately, district battalion chief. In this last role, he supervised 21 people to manage emergency incidents in cooperation with multiple agencies and partners.

Most recently, Griffin served as the fire training officer at the Forest Service’s Northern California Operations center, where he provided regional oversight for training programs, supervised workforce development initiatives, and recommended changes to programs and policy at both regional and national levels. His success depended upon strong cooperation with other regions, as well as federal, state, and local agencies and stakeholders.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity help lead the fire program at Lassen National Forest,” said Griffin. “I look forward to working with both the Forest and our cooperators to advance an already strong program to protect the region’s natural resources.”

Lassen National Forest lies at the Crossroads of California, where the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet. The Forest is managed for recreational access as well as timber and firewood, forage for livestock, water, minerals, and other natural resources. For more information, call (530)257-2151 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/lassen.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

An Excise Tax on Marijuana Could Make Sense



California lawmakers are finally considering legislation to regulate medical marijuana, which has been legal under state law for nearly two decades. Among the proposals is a bill calling for an excise tax on marijuana that could raise nearly $60 million in revenue each year.

As a fiscal conservative and opponent of recreational marijuana, I’m an unlikely voice in the cannabis tax policy debate. Yet after speaking with parties on all sides of the issue, I’m convinced an excise tax on medical marijuana could make sense, and if done correctly, would help ensure California taxpayers are treated fairly.

I’m the first to admit that government is too bloated and that Californians are overtaxed. But the fundamental question here is who should pay the steep costs of marijuana-related activities that include trespass on public lands, water theft and unregulated use of pesticides.

Simply put: Why should those who don’t use marijuana pay the environmental costs associated with growing marijuana?

More funding is needed. Law enforcement officials are urging California to bolster its efforts to address the unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana for medical use at the state level. The rampant spread of unregulated marijuana grows have stretched local law enforcement thin in many communities around the state.

An excise tax on marijuana would provide local law enforcement with the revenue needed to combat these crimes. Local governments would be better able to respond to complaints related to cannabis grown and sold in their communities.

Revenue collected from a marijuana excise tax should not go to the state’s general fund—where lawmakers can spend those dollars on their pet projects. The revenue should be placed in a special fund where monies would be protected and only spent to combat marijuana-related crime, corruption and environmental damage.

While curbing crime is a worthy goal, lawmakers shouldn’t overreach. Setting the tax too high could backfire by harming industry participants willing to play by the rules. An unreasonable tax rate would cause an increase in the marijuana black market and drive the industry further underground.

As an elected tax official, it’s my job to make sure taxpayers are treated fairly. An excise tax on medical marijuana would ensure the medical marijuana industry and its end users—rather than ordinary California taxpayers—pay the costs of combating marijuana-related crimes.

Medical marijuana is already subject to sales tax—that’s been a settled issue for quite some time. Excise taxes are imposed on a specific good, typically at the wholesale or distributor level. The Board of Equalization currently collects excise taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco products, but not on marijuana.

Some might resist the call for a new tax, and normally I’d be with them. However, we as a society have agreed that certain shared priorities like police, schools and roads should be a government priority. Taxes provide funding for these shared priorities.

The question is who should pay for needed enforcement efforts? I think the cannabis industry and its users should, not California taxpayers who don’t use marijuana.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization where he serves as Vice Chair. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Monday, August 17, 2015

CHP ISSUES RESPONSE FOLLOWING ARRESTS



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner Joe Farrow and Doug Villars, president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, today made the following remarks following the announcement by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department that one former and two current CHP employees were arrested in connection with the 2012 murder of Turlock resident Korey Kaufmann:
“I am deeply saddened by today’s announcement. The allegations themselves are extremely disturbing to a professional law enforcement organization and are a deep blow to the soul of the law enforcement profession itself,” Commissioner Farrow said. “The entire Department and I are appalled at the mere thought that one former and two current employees played any role in this incident. What our Department has learned of the allegations regarding their involvement has truly hurt the men and women of this organization.

“We very much appreciate the efforts of all of those who have worked tirelessly to investigate
this case,” Farrow said. “I have questions, and I know the public and the media will have questions as well. While our desire is to be as forthcoming and transparent as possible, we also do not want to say or do anything to jeopardize justice for Korey’s family, to whom I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences.”

Villars also expressed his condolences to the family and said, “These charges are devastating and are not reflective of the values of the hard-working men and women we represent in the highway patrol.”

As soon as the CHP was made aware of the investigation and its employees’ potential involvement, the CHP took immediate action. Walter Wells, III, is no longer employed by the CHP. Officers Scott McFarlane and Eduardo Quintanar are on administrative leave and have had their peace officer powers revoked pending the results of the department’s internal investigation.

The CHP will continue to fully cooperate with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department on this investigation and the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office as it prosecutes this case.

“What I can assure you is this: the CHP has a long history as a professional and respected law enforcement organization. Every day, our 11,000 employees strive to be the Department the public expects and deserves,” Farrow continued. “Each and every one of them – those who wear the uniform and those who do not - have my full support as they go about their daily duty to keep California safe.”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SUPERVISORS' PAY RAISE

INTRODUCTION AND FIRST READING of an ordinance amending Section 2.04.070 and 2.04.100 of the Sierra County Code pertaining to compensation for County Supervisors was discussed at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting held in Downieville on Tuesday, August 4th. Supervisor Peter Huebner stated it was never a good time for the Board of Supervisor’s to ask for a raise. He said the Supervisors received their last raise in 2006 and discovered they were the only ones not to receive a cost of living raise. Huebner added this compensation would restore the longevity along with giving them a raise. Chairman Jim Beard stated it was not a raise it was a replacement of “stuff that was lost.” Huebner made the motion to waive the first reading and adopt. The motion passed with Supervisor Lee Adams and Supervisor Paul Roen abstaining on their vote before agreeing unanimously.
With this vote “each supervisor shall receive a salary of $2,737.40 per month, with the exception of the Chairperson of the Board of Supervisors, whose salary shall include an additional $100.00 per month.” For longevity pay, “members of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors shall, have their salary increased by five percent (5%) after each five years of actual service.”
According to County Treasurer/Auditor Van Maddox,
Board Prior New
Member Monthly Pay Monthly Pay

Adams 2,349.27 2,874.27
Huebner 2,590.07 3,168.88
Beard 2,237.40 2,737.40
Roen 2,237.40 2,73740
Schlefstein 2,237.40 2,737.40
After 1/2016 2,874.27

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Board of Supervisors

SOCIAL MEDIA was again discussed at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Downieville on Tuesday, August 4th.
Sierra County Sheriff’s Department was asking to use Facebook as a law enforcement tool. Information Systems Manager, Laura Marshall stated the $199.00 per month was for a company called Social Archive, which protects from any future litigation holds. She said this Facebook page would be an information page only, adding there would be no commenting. Supervisor Lee Adams said he appreciated it being a one-sided information page, but didn't see why they needed to go into this arena when four of the six neighboring counties aren’t doing it. Sheriff Tim Standley stated this page would conform to Lexipol’s scrutiny and 71% of people who have internet access were on Facebook. He said this is a very close knit community and it is not uncommon for someone to drop off a lost dog. Sheriff Standley stated the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t have the resources to deal with dogs, but thought it would be nice to take a photo of a lost dog and put on Facebook. He added it would also be worthwhile for winter road closures and summertime road construction areas. Standley felt Sierra County was ready to come up into modern times and stressed this was a way for the Sheriff’s department to provide a service to the community.
Supervisor Scott Schlefstein felt very strongly about this service and made the motion to approve the use of a social media page. Adams worried how much time will go into providing this service and stated that today he was not sold though he might change his mind in the future. Supervisor Paul Roen was happy to hear it was an information page only. Assistant County Counsel Rhetta Vander Ploeg said her concerns were alleviated with the Facebook page being a one-way street. Adams stated with County Counsel’s comments he was apt to approve this for a small amount of time to see how it goes. Adams added he would like to limit social media to the Sheriff’s Department only and if someone else wants to join then they need to come before the Board. Schlefstein said he would amend his motion to cover this.
With that the motion passed unanimously.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

School DISTRICT BOARD NEWS

SIERRA-PLUMAS JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD met August 11th in Downieville, and was videotaped in Loyalton.
Superintendent Dr. Grant told of Occupational Therapist services and the hiring of Janis Hardeman as School Nurse to provide services for children on both sides of the County.
Megan Meschery, President of The Sierra Schools Foundation told of donating over $120,000 to the district, schools and teachers and outlined the spring grant cycle of $22,000. She told the sad news of having to cancel the 2015 Gran Fondo, having started with low numbers and with not enough volunteer power. She is hoping to regroup with a different branding and different ride.
The Board passed the Superintendent’s County Salary of $21,963.00 per year with Trustee Sharon Dryden voting no. In the District portion, the Board approved the Superintendent’s salary addendum of 5% for a total of $124,455 with Dryden voting no. Following the meeting, Dryden stated she was not in favor of a raise above the Superintendent’s contract. The addendum is 5% above his contract, same as what the teachers were given.
In both sessions, public hearings were held to announce adoption of the Declaration of Need for Fully Qualified Educators for the 2015-16 school year. It announced a diligent search to recruit a fully prepared teacher was made and an insufficient number of certificated persons met the District’s employment criteria for the mathematics teaching position at Downieville and the Board authorized Grade 7-8 Pre-Algebra and Grade 9-12 Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry teaching assignment to Robin Bolle on the basis of a California Commission on Teacher Credential Variable Term Waiver.
The Board approved Bolle as Downieville Science and Mathematics, grades 7-12 and issuance of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Waiver in Mathematics and a Short Term Staff Permit in Biological Science.
Robin has a BA in Environmental Studies from Santa Barbara and said she loves a challenge, has worked in child care and knows the community well.
The Board appointed Melanie Larson as Downieville K-3 teacher, moving with her two kids from Auburn to Sierra City where she has a residence. She has a lot of experience teaching in multi-grade classrooms.
Plant Maintenance Worker Mike Hale has retired and was recognized for his service but was absent as it was his birthday. He was approved with a CalPERS exception to continue driving school bus. Mike started in the schools in August of 1983 and had a degree in landscape maintenance. Dr. Grant told of his “endless patience and persistence and how he helped with the Christmas programs. Mike was the first trained and licensed bus driver for the district and was said to have given “great service for many, many years.”
First day of school is August 31st and Teacher In-Service Days are August 27 and 28, starting off with an 8 a.m. welcome breakfast followed by a speaker from Nevada County schools.
Newly-hired Loyalton High School Principal Tom Jones was present in Loyalton and talked about deep detailing of classrooms, a new copier and a 3D printer which he called “an awesome piece of equipment,” used for math and shop. He was planning a potluck breakfast for his staff.
For sports, Jones told about an August 22 multi-school football scrimmage with games to follow through September 12th and “a lot of football.” There will be a volleyball game against Portola on August 25th.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Sierra Valley Gran Fondo Cancelled




The Sierra Schools Foundation and Reno Cycling Club regretfully announce that the 2015 Sierra Valley Gran Fondo is cancelled. The Sierra Valley Gran Fondo was planned for Sunday, September 13, in Loyalton, California. Full refunds will be mailed to all 55 pre-registrants for this event.

Sierra Valley Gran Fondo organizers would like to thank all past and present participants for their ridership and support and send out appreciation to all volunteers who made the 2013 and 2014 Sierra Valley Gran Fondo events such a success.

For more information on this cancellation or future events, please visit www.svgf.org.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

AIR QUALITY HEALTH ADVISORY SMOKE

Plumas County
August 20 - 25, 2015

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District is issuing an air
quality health advisory through Tuesday for Plumas County due to smoke from
fires in northwest California. Wildfire complexes in the Shasta-Trinity and
Six Rivers area are producing heavy smoke, some of which is expected to
travel eastward into the Sierras. Smoke concentrations are likely to reach
the Unhealthy or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range off and on over the
next several days, especially in northwest Plumas County, as the main
plumes and reservoirs of smoke ebb and flow across the landscape.

Smoke is primarily fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in
diameter (PM 2.5), which can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. People with
heart or lung disease, older adults and children are especially sensitive
to the health effects of smoke. Aggravation of heart or lung disease,
severe breathing difficulty and premature mortality could occur in people
with cardiopulmonary disease and older adults, while increased respiratory
effects may be evident in the general population.

If you smell smoke, or see smoke around you, consider restricting your
outside activities. Until the potential for poor air quality subsides,
individuals should consider taking the following actions:
- Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise when they can smell and
see smoke. That applies especially to school gym classes and athletic
practices. Young athletes are considered sensitive individuals and any
perceived benefits from a smoky workout could be outweighed by the negative
impacts of the smoke inhaled during that workout.
- People with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors when smoke can be
seen or smelled outside.
- Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.
- Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest
tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue. This is important for
not only people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for
individuals who have not been previously diagnosed with such illnesses.
Smoke can „unmask‰ or produce symptoms of such diseases.
- If possible, sensitive individuals should consider relocating to another
location that is not currently experiencing smoke impacts for a few days to
avoid long term exposure.
- Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm,
wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

In general, when smoke concentrations are elevated it is advisable to stay
indoors with windows and doors closed and set air-conditioners on
„re-circulate.‰ Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans. When
feasible, pets should be brought indoors when outdoor air quality is poor.
Warning: particulate respirators will not provide complete protection in
very smoky conditions and may even interfere with proper breathing. It
should also be noted that there is some controversy surrounding the use of
particulate respirators because of the many variables that may hinder their
proper use. Masks can create a false sense of security and should not
replace reducing activity or exposure. If you need to wear a mask, wear
the correct type of mask - disposable particulate respirators found at
hardware stores can be effective at reducing exposure to smoke particles as
long as they seal closely to the wearer‚s face. Look for respirators that
have two straps and have the words „NIOSH‰ and either „P100‰ or „N95‰
printed on the filter material.

Studies have linked fine particulate matter (smoke) with work and school
absences, respiratory related hospital admissions and health problems,
including burning eyes, aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms
(including severe chest pain, gasping, and aggravated coughing), chronic
bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death. Increased ozone
exacerbates these health effects. In addition to the acute health effects
of smoke, people may experience some cumulative effects, such as a dry
cough and chest discomfort.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Downieville Antique Bottle Show



Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 12 and come to Downieville for the annual Antique Bottles & Collectibles Show and Sale!

Over 40 dealers from several western states will be featuring a wide selection of antiques. In addition to antique bottles, you will find an interesting mix of insulators, gold rush items, advertising, ephemera, stoneware, railroad collectibles, jewelry, saloon, mining, and various western-related artifacts and “go-withs”. There’s something for almost every type of collector and finding a great treasure at this one-day event is inevitable.

“Early lookers” will be admitted for $10.00 between 8 am & 10 am. Admission will be free to all from 10 am - 3 pm. This year’s show will feature a display of western blown bottles with the infamous curved R attributed to the glass works located in San Francisco. All categories of bottles will be displayed including bitters, whiskies, medicines and sodas. Raffle tickets will be available for a chance to win some great prizes. Several beautiful examples of antique bottles, a gold nugget specimen and a pair of gold nugget earrings will be raffled to go home with lucky ticket holder winners.
The show venue is the Downieville School gym which is located in the heart of Downieville. Park and walk to the Bottle Show and take time to stroll along historic Main Street. Pick up a Walking Tour Map at the Visitor’s Center and discover the many historical points of interest within easy walking distance. Visit the museum to learn about local gold rush history. There are various shops in town to poke around in, as well as several restaurants for some tasty dining or stop in the local saloon or wine bar.
Downieville is on Hwy. 49, and just a two hour drive from Sacramento. The drive from Reno or Lake Tahoe is just under two hours. If traveling from the Grass Valley or Quincy areas, expect to arrive in Downieville in about an hour.
September is a beautiful time to tour the northern Gold Country; the days are warm; and evenings are crisp. Make the Antique Bottles & Collectibles Show in Downieville your destination on Saturday, September 12. For additional show/dealer information, please call Rick and Cherry Simi in Downieville at 530-289-3659 or email: ricksimi@att.net.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Arrest and Marijuana garden eradication


members from Plumas County SWAT Team, USFS Law Enforcement, United States National Guard and PJs Helicopter conducted a Marijuana eradication raid on July 15th in the area of the Moonlight fire near Antelope Lake. The raid team and support staff of approximately 25 personnel recovered approximately 16,500 Marijuana plants. The Marijuana garden was spread out over approximately ½ a mile with four different plots in rugged steep brushy terrain. There was a large amount of trash, fertilizer, chemicals and pesticides located in and around the garden. The characteristics of this garden were consistent with the gardens of large Drug Trafficking Organizations operated by the Mexican Drug Cartel.
During entry into the suspects camp by Plumas County Sheriff and USFS Law Enforcement, 1 Hispanic male was encountered. The suspect Jose Luis Barajas Alejandres 32 yoa from Moreli, Michoacan , Mexico fled on foot after several announcements for the suspect to surrender and was pursued on foot by Law Enforcement. Due to the danger of pursuing subjects on foot in a marijuana grow a USFS K9 was deployed. The K9 was able to apprehend one suspect, Jose Luis Barajas Alejandres 32 yoa from Morelia, Michocan, Mexico. During the foot chase and apprehension by the K9 the suspect sustained a broken leg and numerous bite marks while attempting to evade and resist arrest. The suspect was treated at the grow site for his injuries. The suspect was then flown out by USFS Helicopter to Greenville where he was transported by ground ambulance to Plumas District Hospital in Quincy. It is believed based on evidence in the camp that there were a total of 3 suspects tending to the garden. The investigation is ongoing.
The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that Marijuana cultivation possesses a public safety hazard to our community by the efforts these gardeners take to protect their crops, utilizing firearms and booby traps to scare off and sometimes injure the public. In addition these cultivations destroy our public lands and resources by the trash left by the suspects, the mass amounts of fertilizer and pesticides used by the gardeners which can leach into our water shed.
Members of the community are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office. Indicators to look for may be drip line, remote campsites, gardening tools, bags of fertilizer or pesticides, trash piles and encounters with unusual subjects on national or private lands.
Currently the Sheriff’s Office and USFS have pulled approximately 38,000 plants from USFS lands.

MORE MARIJUANA: On 7/15/2015, Plumas County SWAT Team, USFS Law Enforcement, Department of Fish and Wildlife and A&P Helicopter conducted a Marijuana eradication raid in the area of Red Bridge off the Laporte Rd and Fish Creek south of Eureka Ridge. The raid team and support staff of approximately 25 personnel recovered approximately 23,000 marijuana plants from the two gardens combined. There were large amounts of trash, fertilizer, chemicals and pesticides located in and around the garden. The characteristics of this garden were consistent with the gardens of large Drug Trafficking Organizations operated by the Mexican Drug Cartel. No suspects were encountered in the garden at the time of eradication but the investigation is ongoing.
No weapons were recovered from these particular gardens, although there have been weapons recov-
ered in numerous other gardens throughout the north state. There have been shots fired at the public as well as law enforcement who have encountered the suspects tending to the gardens.
Currently the Sheriff’s Office and USFS have pulled approximately 75,000 plants from USFS lands.


Two Marijuana garden eradications
Date of Release: 7/29/2015

Location of Occurrence: #1 Seneca

#2 Gilson Creek near Oakland Camp

Agencies: Plumas County SWAT Team, USFS Law Enforcement, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Butte County Sheriff’s SEU and helicopter

On 7/29/2015, members from the above listed agencies conducted a marijuana eradication raid in the area of Seneca. The raid team and support staff of approximately 25 personnel recovered approximately 20,000 marijuana plants. There were large amounts of trash, fertilizer, chemicals and pesticides located in and around the garden. The garden was located in rugged steep terrain in the Chips Fire area that burned in 2012. The characteristics of this garden were consistent with the gardens of large Drug Trafficking Organizations operated by the Mexican Drug Cartel. No suspects were encountered in the garden at the time of eradication but the investigation is ongoing.

Also on this date, members from the above listed agencies conducted a second marijuana eradication raid in the area of Gilson Creek 1 mile north of Oakland Camp in Quincy. The raid team and support staff of approximately 25 personnel recovered approximately 3,500 marijuana plants. Two suspects were encounter but were able to flee and avoid arrest through the brushy steep terrain. There were large amounts of trash, fertilizer, chemicals and pesticides located in and around the garden. The garden was located in rugged steep terrain in the Mount Hough State Game Refuge. The characteristics of this garden were consistent with the gardens of large Drug Trafficking Organizations operated by the Mexican Drug.

The estimated value of the 23,000 plants would be in excess of ten million dollars.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that marijuana cultivation possesses a public safety hazard to our community by the efforts these gardeners take to protect their crops, utilizing firearms and booby traps to scare off and sometimes injure the public. In addition these cultivations destroy our public lands and resources by the trash left by the suspects, the mass amounts of fertilizer and pesticides used by the gardeners which can leach into our water shed. Several forest fires have been caused by these growers by use of camp stoves and/or small camp fires.

Members of the community are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office. Indicators to look for may be drip line, remote campsites, gardening tools, bags of fertilizer or pesticides, trash piles and encounters with unusual subjects on public or private lands.

Currently the Sheriff’s Office and USFS have pulled approximately 98,000 plants from public lands.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

CDFW Completes Deer Capture Project in Truckee Area



The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has successfully completed a deer capture project involving the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer herd.
The purpose of the capture and study is to help researchers better understand deer migration patterns and reduce the high number of automobile/deer collisions on a busy 25-mile stretch of Highway 89.
Using tranquilizer darts, CDFW wildlife biologists captured 13 does and fitted them with global positioning satellite (GPS) collars. Blood and hair samples were taken, length and weight measurements were recorded and general health inspections were conducted on each animal.
This project was made possible through collaboration between CDFW and the California Deer Association (CDA).
"We are proud to partner with the department and others to ensure important wildlife studies and habitat conservation work continues," said CDA Chief Executive Officer Roman Porter. "In addition to the grants awarded by CDA's generous members, fees from hunting licenses and tags also help fund these important efforts to ensure healthy deer herds for years to come."
The GPS collars will record the location and send the information to researchers through a satellite. This will allow scientists to track the deer as they move from summer to winter ranges throughout the year often crossing Highway 89. Caltrans carcass data have confirmed that more than 1,000 deer have been killed along this busy road in the last 30 years.
"The tracking collars will show us exactly when, where and how the deer move throughout the landscape," said CDFW Environmental Scientist Sara Holm. "This type of information helps us make decisions on what type of crossing structures will make the most difference in saving the lives of both wildlife and people."
California's scenic Highway 89 runs through the lush meadows and dense pine trees of the Tahoe National Forest. Its western edge borders the Sagehen Creek Field Station and also happens to bisect the migration route of the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer herd. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 cars travel Highway 89 each day, making the trip extremely perilous for humans and wildlife alike.
The Loyalton-Truckee mule deer are a migratory herd inside the Tahoe National Forest.
The herd occupies the premium deer zones X7a/b. They have been studied for more than a decade for various reasons including health and migration patterns.
It is estimated that more than 2,000 deer occupy this area.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY A BIG WINNER AT THE CALIFORNIA STATE FAIR!


I am delighted to announce that the Sierra County Exhibit won the following awards at the State Fair: Gold Ribbon (we received 93 out of 100 points), the Best of Division for a Community Built Exhibit, and the People’s Choice Award for the “Most Fun” Exhibit. This could not have been accomplished without all of the help and support of our community. The following individuals should be commended for spending many hours building the exhibit: Mike Gyorfi, Jessie Gyorfi, John Bryan, Bryan Davey, Derek Beverly, Sig Ostrom, Gary Grutkowski, Ed Dail, Sandy Blake and Blake George. I am very grateful to these awesome volunteers who spent a day or more in Sacramento staffing the exhibit, which is a very important part of Sierra County’s participation at the fair: Lee Kirby, Tom Hunt, Liz Fisher, Sandi Kendall, Kaaren Smith, Enid Williams, Shirley Shank, Dave Marshall, Carol Marshall, Earl Withycombe, Olivia McCaffrey, Sharon Grenier, Curt Johnson, Donna Johnson, Ann Hutchison, David Hutchison, Mary Jungi, Dale Teubert, Bailey Jungi, Isabelle Acuna, Dianne Bruns, Desert Revels, Joy Lovett, Luna Payton, Lillian Lutes, Trinity Kelley, Teri Pederson, Hannah Pederson, Jan Koettel, Christie Brzyscz, Bruce Palmer, Colicia Palmer, Annie Terrassas-Fassbender, Craig Fassbender, Julie Osburn, Mike Galan, Karen Galan, Mary Davey and Bryan Davey. A huge thank you to these other individuals who donated their expertise or materials for the exhibit: Greg Bostrom, who built the replica of the Ruby Mine and Billy Epps and Sara Berndt who brought the Ruby Mine down to Sacramento; Curt & Donna Johnson for designing and building the county sign, Darby Hayes for the Townsend Big Ear Bats sign, the Sierra County Historical Society for the loan of pictures, Mary Davey for her photos and production of the DVD, Dave Marshall for the design of the gold display, Will Clark for loaning the ore cart, Ed Dail for building the ore cart and the tracking and Paul (Mike Gyorfi’s friend) who made the ore cart move, Paul Roen and Bryan and Mary Davey for loaning building and roofing materials. To Jessie and Mike Gyorfi, Mike and Karen Galan, and Bryan and Mary Davey who were there until the wee hours of the morning breaking down the exhibit after the fair closing, a big thank you. Thank you to Tim Beals and the Board of Supervisors for all of their support of Sierra County’s participation at the fair the past several years. And thank you – Sierra County community members – who were able to make it down to the fair and for voting for Sierra County for the People’s Choice Award. This year’s exhibit would not have happened without the vision of Kathy Breed, who designed the exhibit, and the dedication of Mike and Jessie Gyorfi, who carried the project through, with the assistance of Sandy Blake, until 6 am the morning of judging on July 9th. I have enjoyed working on this project with each and every one of you, and I am forever grateful to all of you who made this year’s exhibit at the fair a huge success.
Mary Ervin – Sierra City

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

California Statewide Fire Summary Wed., Sept. 8


On the fire front, we had no new large fire starts in CA over the holiday weekend although the Rough fire outside Fresno continues to burn vigorously. See the attached statewide fire map. Note: Updated figures for the Nickowitz and South Complex fires were not available at time of publishing the map; information shown on the map for those fires is from last night. Also, know that once an incident has reached 90% contained (indicated by the black flame icon) it will drop off the next version of the map.

Monday, July 27, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY CASES WEEKENDING July 24, 2015




Zachary Norden (21) Portola. He pled guilty to felony residential burglary, and will be sentenced on August 28, 2015. He is in custody on a no bail hold.

David Money (33) Reno. After a contested preliminary hearing, Money was ordered to stand trial on felony charges of auto theft and possession of stolen property. He is in custody on $30,000 bail.

Denny Daneri (59) Downieville. After pleading to Disturbing the peace, he was sentenced to three years probation, 34 days jail, and a fine of $685.

Joshua Smith (20) Loyalton. Reckless driving, bringing a sentence of one year probation, and a fine of $685.

Robert Hammett contributed $500 to the Sierra County Fish and Game Commission as a civil compromise involving stream pollution.

Brian Bunin (49) Reno. Unlawful discharge of an arrow in an unsafe manner. Fine $849.

David Hill (52) Alleghany. No valid driver’s license. Fine $385.

Russell Penn (37) Loyalton. Driving while his license was suspended and failure to appear. Three years probation, 8 days jail, and a fine of $2134.


Cory Grim (23) Fullerton. Grim was sentenced on a felony failure to appear. He recieved three years probation, 9 days jail, and a fine of $2395.

Joshua Perry (28) Sparks Nevada. Driving under the influence. Three years probation, 2 days jail, fine $2427, and ordered to attend alcohol classes.

Nicholas Zimmerman (27) Loyalton. Driving while suspended with a prior conviction. Eighteen months probation, 10 days jail, and fine of $1460.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Plumas Sierra County Fair Recap


Welcome to the Plumas Sierra County Consistent Fair! Some of the preliminary numbers are in on this year’s fair which ran from August 12 through the 16th, and they don’t show much change from last year, or even over the past five for that matter. Some catagories edged up slightly, some slipped, but no trend has developed. The good news is, all the numbers are certainly healthy. Attendance, parking, carnival sales and concession sales all saw slight increases. Judged exhibits were down slightly, although the number of paid exhibits held steady. In other words, many people turned in entry forms with the intention of bringing their jam, photo, or flower arrangement in, but didn’t make it.

Many people comment on the lack of commercial vendors in Serpilio Hall. Overall, the Plumas Sierra County Fair had one less commercial vendor than last year, but many wanted to be outside. Since the beginning of the recession, there has been less vendors in Serpilio Hall, and it appears the primary reason is time. Although a business could be exposed to thousands of new customers by having a booth at the fair, they do not have the time or staff to physically be there. It would appear the reductions in payrolls has been the main reason for the drop in commercial vendors at the fair. Comments from those vendors that were there, were generally positive. It is very inexpensive to have a booth at the fair, so if anyone is interested in next year, please contact the fair office.

Emphasis was put on who was collecting money for parking and it looked like the community responded. The wrestling programs from Chester and Quincy shared the duties and there were far less complaints from their customers. The $3 parking fee is far less than the $10 at places like Cal Expo, and here, the money is used to support wrestling and the fair. 200 more cars paid this year than last. The biggest increase was on Sunday, which had a 130 car increase. Overall, the wrestlers collected for 1574 cars.

Thanks to increased pre-sale ticket sales, the carnival revenue was up by $3000. Fair goers were pleased with the free carousel rides on Thursday. Sunday and Thursday were wristband days, and there are tentative plans to make wristbands available each day and possible sell a week long wristband. It is worth noting, there are strings of fairs in rural parts of the country that no longer have carnivals. With the price of fuel and labor costs, it has become less attractive to travel to some of these locations. Although we are happy with Wold Amusements, the fair did extend an offer to over eight other carnival operators to submit a bid for the Plumas Sierra County Fair. We received no responses. We are fortunate to have Wold Amusements, and they are happy to serve our community. Jason Wold does all he can to keep his rides safe and fresh, and is constantly on the look out for extra rides or new ones to bring to Quincy.

Food concession were up less than 1%, but this is one area that has increased each year over the past five years, and that is regardless of how many food vendors we have had. This year had 18 food vendors as opposed to 17 from last year. The top vendor sold basic fair food; hamburgers, corndogs and fries. The number two vendor was the Thai food, and number three was the ice cream vendor. Our local Indian Taco vendor was in the top six.

Wednesday and Sunday were the Pay What You Can Days. The community came through. Wednesday, which had no carnival, came in virtually the same as last year. Visitors donated $768.04, $17.86 less than than 2014. Sunday, however, saw a big increase. 2014 saw $849.50 placed in the box, this year had $1632.10 donated. Both of these figures represent a fairly close amount to what was taken in with paid admission around four years ago.

Thursday’s attendance was up 150 people, as was Friday’s. Saturday saw a 150 decrease in attendance. Paid attendance for the entire fair was 6254 and unpaid was 4246 for a total attendance of 10500, 14 more people than last year. How’s that for consistency?

Most of the compliments received by the fair was for the grounds entertainment. MindSurfin’, Capn’ Jack Spareribs and Circus Imagination were well attended. Chipperstock 2015 was fun and received a lot of buzz by offering 100 free tie-dye t-shirts to the first 100 attendees. That was thanks to the event sponsor Diamond Mountain Casino in Susanville, who also offered special coupons to fair goers as well.

Many people were amazed at the condition of the fairgrounds, in light of the drought, the recent High Sierra Music Festival, and the abbreviated maintenance staff. Mother Nature helped with her brief but intense afternoon rainstorms in July, but much credit has to go to Maintenance Supervisor Oran Morrison for his excellent skills. The fairgrounds are lucky to have him.

There were many exciting changes to the horse show this year and the credit goes to Marie Anderson, Horse Show Manager. The Junior Rodeo and Versatility Show were great successes and will come back next year in an expanded form. The Extreme Bulls and Broncs show on Saturday night was standing room only once again, and the American Valley Speedway races on Sunday are one of the biggest of the year.

Finally, the Art Barn, Home Arts, Floriculture and livestock areas were all complimented for the decorating and presentation of our exhibits. If you have any exhibits that need to be picked up, or if you want to pick up your premium check, call or stop by the Fair Office. The number is 283-6272 and they will make arrangements to get you your things.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Time to Uproot Some Perennial Farming Myths


By Tim Buzby

As California descends further into its worst drought in recorded history, Golden Staters are looking for someone to blame. Many city-dwellers have pointed fingers at the State's farmers and ranchers.

But they're blaming the victims. As Governor Jerry Brown put it, "[a]gricultural water users… have borne much of the brunt of the drought to date… with significantly reduced water allocations and thousands of farmworkers laid off."

This misconception is only the latest in a long history of myths about American agriculture. It's time to plow under these myths and plant some seeds of truth about our nation's farmers.

Myth: Big corporations have taken over the industry.

The idea that most farms today are run by big business is a head scratcher. Data from the Census Bureau show that 97 percent of the 2.1 million farms in operation in the United States are family owned. In total, 88 percent are small family farms.

Myth: All farmers are rich.

Data from the USDA show that farm households make roughly the same income as the median American household. But that money mostly comes from off-farm sources -- such as a second job, Social Security, investment income and the like. The USDA reports that 70 percent of farm families have a second job. Clearly, these farmers are farming because they like the work, not because it's fattening their bank accounts.

Myth: Farmers don't care about the environment.

No other industry on the planet depends more on a clean, sustainable environment than farming.

Farmers today are producing more with less. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, farmers produce 262 percent more food with 2 percent fewer inputs -- such as energy, seeds, fertilizer, feed -- compared with 1950.

Farmers have also cut back drastically on chemicals. Between 1980 and 2007, they reduced their use of pesticides by 20 percent.

Myth: Food costs too much.

By any measure, food today is less expensive in America than ever before, thanks largely to the incredible increase in farm productivity over the years. As a result, American families spend a smaller share of their income on food -- just 6.7 percent -- than families in any other country in the world. By comparison, families in France and Japan devote roughly 14 percent of their income to food.

Myth: Farming is in decline.

Even though farming represents a small share of the job market, the farming industry remains a significant share of the economy. Agriculture and agriculture-related industries accounted for $776 billion in GDP in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farm productivity has nearly doubled since 1980.

This economic strength is particularly important in America's rural communities. There, farming has been a crucial job creator, providing steady employment during the recession and creating new jobs in the years since.

What's more, U.S. agriculture is only going to grow. By 2023, agriculture exports are projected to be close to $175 billion, a roughly 25 percent increase from last year's numbers.

That's a future we can all benefit from. But to get there, farmers and ranchers need a little support -- in their home states and in Congress. And that support starts with a better understanding of who these Americans really are.

Today's farmers are producing more with less, making food more affordable, helping to protect the environment, and providing crucial jobs for rural communities. And they're doing it out of a love of farming.

That's a pretty good story to tell. And it's one that just happens to be true.

Tim Buzby is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Mac.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sky-high fines are self-defeating




By Brian Dahle


Arthur came into my District Office one day with a problem. He explained his situation hoping to get help. Apparently, Arthur ran a red light and was caught by an automated camera system. Because no officer on patrol actually stopped him and told him what he had done wrong, he was not aware of the violation at the time.



Arthur never received his ticket in the mail because he is in between homes. Court records show that the summonses had been returned undelivered on two occasions. Fortunately, Arthur was able to receive some mail which was delivered to a friend’s home including a letter from the DMV. The letter from the DMV warned him his license would be suspended for failing to pay the ticket.



In order to solve the issue, Arthur went to the courthouse to explain the situation. He was offered a new court date and the judge said he would consider being lenient. Unfortunately, the court date was weeks after his license would be suspended. To clear up the suspension, he would have to pay the full fine and penalties; roughly $700 including hundreds in charges for failing to respond to a court summons. A summons the court’s own records show he never received.

If he did not pay the fine, Arthur would be breaking the law anytime he drove his car. The car he happened to be living in when he was looking for work. Arthur was able to solve his issue, but millions of Californians are not as lucky. This is an issue that must be addressed.



Caught between steep fines, automated enforcement, and a system that suspends driver’s licenses as a collections tool, millions of Californians have lost their ability to legally drive. A report this spring concluded that more than 4 million Californians’ licenses were suspended from 2006 to 2013, with only a tiny fraction ever restored. They owe some $10 billion in unpaid fines.



If citizens cannot pay their fines in the first place, exactly how are they going to pay a much larger fine without the ability to legally drive? Unless they live in one of the few parts of the state with a robust public transportation network, which none of my rural constituents in the 1st Assembly District do, how are they going to obtain and maintain employment without a license?



Some people are just too heedless or irresponsible to take care of their fines. Some measure of accountability is important. But suspending a driver’s license is a severe penalty that should be reserved for keeping the roads safe. Nobody is crying for the drunk drivers who lose their licenses. But the fact is, the law often treats DUI offenders with more grace than it does the fellow who could not pay the $230 ticket for an improper lane change.



California needs to take a hard look at how its ticketing practices punish poor residents beyond reason or justice. The money raised through traffic fines pays for important programs such as DNA databases, emergency medical services, court construction. Scofflaws are an easy target, but we have crossed the line into extracting money for too many public services from those least able to pay.



Suspending licenses for unpaid debts is not only cruel to those who truly cannot pay but counterproductive when it costs people the very jobs they need. For middle-class professionals, a ticket might be an embarrassment and a headache. For a family already scraping by on low or sporadic wages, the system leaves them stuck in a legal and financial trap – a “hellhole of desperation,” as Gov. Jerry Brown recently described it. The Governor has proposed an amnesty program for unpaid tickets with penalties waived and tickets reduced on a sliding scale based on ability to pay. It is a great idea, but just a start, more needs to be done.





Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents California’s 1st Assembly District, which contains all of Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Shasta Counties, and portions of Butte and Placer Counties.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Senator Gaines Adds New Protections For Emergency Responders From Drone Threat


Drones Continuing to Menace Firefighting Efforts Around the State
SACRAMENTO - Responding to continued drone interference in fighting wildfires, Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today announced plans to introduce legislation to help protect emergency responders engaged in their life-saving work. Senate Bill 168, co-authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), grants immunity to any emergency responder who damages an unmanned aircraft in the course of firefighting, air ambulance, or search-and-rescue operations.

"This is maddening and I can't believe that hobby drones are risking people's lives to get videos on YouTube. Just this weekend in the North Fire, cars were torched on the freeways because drones made aerial firefighting efforts impossible. This bill will help make sure the skies are clear of drones and that the brave men and women fighting these fires can do their job of protecting the public without worrying about frivolous lawsuits," said Gaines.

"Drone operators are risking lives when they fly over an emergency situation. Just because you have access to an expensive toy that can fly in a dangerous area doesn't mean you should do it," said Assemblyman Gatto, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. "The legislature needs to act swiftly to make sure we send a signal that our society won't put up with this nonsense after seeing drone operators once again interrupt firefighting efforts in the Cajon Pass."

Gaines and Gatto are also teaming on Senate Bill 167, which increases fines and introduces the possibility of jail time for drone use that interferes with firefighting efforts. That legislation stems from additional, alarming reports of private, unauthorized drones causing mission-critical tanker aircraft to be grounded during firefighting operations, putting pilots, firefighters, civilians and property at unnecessary risk. Senate Bill 168 is a companion to that effort.

Senate Bill 168 is intended to indemnify emergency personnel in the event that their efforts damage an unmanned aircraft. It is the authors' hope and intent that the advent of effective "jamming" technology could keep drones away from emergency response areas and flight paths, and that warnings and public education efforts could ensure that the safest, least-damaging methods for avoiding or disabling unauthorized drones will be the primary methods used in these crises.

Gaines believes drones hold great promise for wildfire suppression and other emergency services when used properly by the responding agencies, but does not want rogue drones to interfere with the most effective response to time-sensitive crises.

"Private drones don't belong around these emergencies. That is the first message I want to get out," said Senator Gaines. "But if one gets damaged or destroyed because it's in the way then that can't lead to financial penalty for the people trying to save lives and property. It's unfortunate, but that's all it is. People can replace drones, but we can't replace a life. When our rescuers are risking their own lives to protect us, I want them thinking about safety, not liability."

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Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

Monday, July 20, 2015

SENATOR GAINES CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE MEASURES TO COMBAT SKYROCKETING GAS PRICES



SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today called on Governor Brown and state regulators to take any and all immediate measures available to stop the recent, massive spike in California gasoline prices.

“This overnight price explosion is killing California families and businesses and we cannot afford one more day,” said Senator Gaines. “The California Air Resources Board needs to immediately suspend the expensive special ‘summer blend’ requirement so we can import more gas now. We need to defer the gasoline excise tax. Not in a week or a month but this very minute.”

Supply disruptions are ostensibly behind the price jump, which saw prices shoot up between $0.20-0.50 per gallon statewide in less than a week. It is unclear when normal supplies will again be available and analysts expect prices to spike even further. Regardless, Senator Gaines saw the price spikes as part of a larger problem in California.

“California is wildly overtaxed and overregulated and it makes everything in our state artificially expensive, even when things are working right. When something goes wrong, it shoots prices into the stratosphere,” he said. “That is not fair to families. We are regulating and taxing them into poverty.”

Senator Gaines is currently carrying Senate Bill 1, which would suspend for the next decade the hidden gas tax that resulted from the expansion of California’s cap-and-trade program to include gasoline and diesel fuels. This program requires fuel producers to purchase emission allowances for every gallon of fuel sold in California.

The tax went into effect on January 1, 2015 and has contributed to the increase in fuel costs. Senate Bill 1 would suspend that increase for the next decade, saving individuals and businesses money and giving technology an opportunity to catch up.
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

WESTERN SIERRA MEDICAL CLINIC ADDS OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY SERVICES; HIRES DR. SCOTT MACK TO ESTABLISH PRACTICE



GRASS VALLEY – Western Sierra Medical Clinic has established an obstetrics and gynecology practice, hiring a longtime physician to start the much-needed service in the region.

Dr. Scott Mack — a 27-year obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN), most recently with Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Roseville — is the first physician to join the Maternal Health Unit at Western Sierra. The community has a critical shortage of OB/GYNs, forcing many women to seek the specialty service in other communities.

“Access to women’s health services is very important,” said Dr. Mack, who has already been meeting with patients during the past several days at Western Sierra in Grass Valley, and coordinating with other OB/GYNs to help continue to improve access to care for mothers and their still-developing babies.

Western Sierra CEO Scott McFarland agrees, adding the nonprofit health center began focusing on the community’s critical shortage of OB/GYNs a few years ago and is committed to developing a first-rate, high-quality practice. The center has about 20 patients every month who deliver a baby, further indicating the need for an OB/GYN practice at Western Sierra. The center provides comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health care in Nevada, Sierra and Yuba counties.

“It’s a critical component for a healthy community,” said McFarland, who added the health center is currently looking for a second OB/GYN to join Dr. Mack. “There is definitely a need, and we want to help meet it.”

Dr. Glenn Thiel, Chief Medical Officer of Western Sierra, knows firsthand the demand for women’s health specialists in Nevada, Sierra and Yuba counties.

“Women’s health is the foundation for healthy babies, children and families,” Thiel said. “Pre-natal care is so important; it plays a major role in a child’s health early on, but also for a lifetime.”

Better health care through every stage of life is the mission of Western Sierra. The center’s far-reaching goal of a one-stop health facility is the future of health care, said Dr. Mack.

“Our entire medical system will be turning to this team approach,” said Mack, who applauds the forward-looking effort by Western Sierra. “If you need to go to the lab or see another physician, it’s right down the hall.”

Western Sierra already had maternity services, including a midwife, but not an OB/GYN until Dr. Mack joined the practice this month.

“I have worked with many midwives and non-physician providers,” Dr. Mack said. “It’s all really part of a team effort. I’m the captain of the ship, but everyone is rowing the boat.”

Dr. Mack went to medical school at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Mack, whose father was a pediatrician and his daughter is a pathologist, has delivered almost 4,000 babies during his career.

“I wasn’t sure, but at the end of the year, I clicked with OB/GYN,” Dr. Mack said of his experience with numerous areas of medicine during medical school before choosing his specialty. “We kind of do everything for women — and deliveries are fun. Delivering a baby never gets old.”

But delivering babies is just part of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Mack will handle many other medical issues, from helping women determine the most appropriate birth control to performing hysterectomies.

“The field has changed a lot during the last 20 years or so, it’s a lot less invasive,” said Mack, who has physician privileges at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. He is also part of the on-call rotation at the local hospital. “We have a lot of non-surgical methods, and many more non-invasive surgeries.”

Dr. Mack has been practicing medicine since 1987, when he was in private practice in Mobile, Ala. He moved to the Bay Area and became a physician for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in 1993 and returned to private practice five years later in Fremont.

Then, he joined Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Roseville in 2011, but bought a home in Grass Valley and commuted at least 90 minutes round-trip every workday.

“In December, I drove by the building, and thought it looked very nice,” Dr. Mack said of the new Western Sierra Medical Clinic that opened on Old Tunnel Road in late 2014. The new facility is a few minutes from his home in Grass Valley. “I had minimal contact with the health care community, but I wanted to learn more about Western Sierra.”

Dr. Mack’s interest in the fast-growing health clinic was near-perfect timing for Western Sierra, McFarland said.

“With the new building we have a lot more space and we continue to look at bringing on additional specialties and expanding services,” McFarland said. “We’re very glad to have Dr. Mack, and help many of our patients get the health services they need.”

Dr. Mack joined the health center at the beginning of the month and has been busy buying equipment, including an ultrasound machine, to meet the needs of patients.

“I’m here now, and we are committed to continuing to build a women’s health department,” said Dr. Mack, who is married and has three children. “If (women) want an experienced OB/GYN who is up to date and cares about his patients, they will be very happy here.”

About Western Sierra Medical Clinic
Western Sierra Medical Clinic provides comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health care in Nevada, Sierra and Yuba counties. Founded in 1975, Western Sierra emphasizes preventive care, education and empowering patients to make informed decisions. Western Sierra provides services for the HMO and private markets, and to low-income and senior citizens. Western Sierra is the largest outpatient health care provider in Nevada County, where a new full-service health clinic meets the growing demands in the community. You can learn more about Western Sierra Medical Clinic at www.wsmcmed.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WesternSierraMedicalClinic.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY GRABS GOLD

SACRAMENTO–Sierra County’s State Fair exhibit took a gold medal, and was named best community built exhibit.
The award was presented to the Chamber’s Mary Ervin at a banquet for exhibitors on Friday, July 10. Attending were the builders and several other Sierrans including Supervisor Jim Beard, Director of Public Works Tim Beals, and Patty Hall of the FireSafe Council and Economic Development Committee.
The exhibit prominently features Greg Bostrom’s model mine adit as well as a replica of the Kentucky Mine and a stamp mill, connected with an ore cart tramway.
In addition to the gold mine theme, the exhibit highlights Sierra County’s agriculture, history, and the County’s traditional events.
Designed by the late Kathy Breed, the “set” was built by Jessie and Mike Gyorfi, John Bryan, Bryan Davey, Derek Beverly, Sig Ostrom, Gary Grutkowski, Ed Dail, Sandy Blake and Blake George.
An associate of Mike Gyorfi's, came down the final evening before judging and was able to get the ore cart to move back and forth.
Billy Epps and Sara Berndt brought the Ruby Mine down to Cal Expo the first day of building. Kurt and Donna Johnson made the Gold Pan County sign. Darby Hayes made a duplicate sign explaining about the Townsend Big-Ear Bats at the Kentucky Mine which is on display at the exhibit. The Sierra County Historical Society loaned us pictures for the exhibit. Mary Davey created the DVD. Will Clark loaned the ore cart. Dave Marshall made the gold display. Paul Roen provided building and roofing materials as well as Bryan and Mary Davey.
Builders are still hoping to snare the People’s Choice award, which wil be awarded just before the fair ends on July 26.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Pothole Strategy to Raise Taxes?


As seen in the Fresno Bee, Redding Record Searchlight and The Desert Independent

By George Runner

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but something is rotten with road funding in California.

Sacramento is flush with billions in unanticipated revenue. Yet a record $115 billion budget spending plan signed by Gov. Jerry Brown shortchanges the state's transportation and infrastructure needs. The only real funding boost goes to high-speed rail.

Budgets reflect priorities, and this shows that fixing roads is not a priority to Democratic legislators. Instead of fixing deteriorating freeways, some liberal lawmakers still hope Californians will give up their cars and ride mass transit.

But tax-and-spend politicians sense an opportunity. By starving road maintenance budgets, they hope to create public pressure for tax increases. Rather than curb wasteful spending, they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

Call it the "pothole strategy." It's similar to when the federal government closes the Washington Monument or school districts force teachers to buy their supplies. These highly visible actions appeal to people's emotions and can generate public support for higher taxes.

I hope Californians will not fall for this trick.

The governor's recent call for a special session of the Legislature on road funding provides an opportunity for lawmakers to push for higher road taxes. And Brown has now indicated that his promise to require a public vote on new taxes was for his first term only.

It will only take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and the governor's signature to raise your taxes.

Already this year, Democratic lawmakers have proposed new road-user charges and higher gas taxes aimed at generating billions in new revenue.

What's particularly frustrating about these efforts is that Californians are paying more gas taxes this year. California's mysterious cap-and-trade auction on carbon emissions is bringing in billions in new revenue.

Since Jan. 1, much of this funding comes courtesy of California motorists who pay a new "hidden gas tax" on tailpipe emissions. It's called a "hidden tax" because no one seems to know how much it actually is, though most experts seem to agree it's at least 10 cents a gallon.

So far, not a dime of the money collected has been used to improve our roads. Rather policymakers are directing billions to pet projects, like high-speed rail, and favored constituencies.

Due to high taxes, unique regulations and limited refining capacity, California gas prices are higher than nearly all other states. California's gas prices this year have at times exceeded the national average by more than a dollar per gallon!

Over a 10-year period leading up to 2014, sales and excise tax revenues from fuel sales grew by nearly 35% - from $6.5 billion to a record $8.7 billion. Due to a complicated formula the Legislature enacted five years ago, Californians have been overpaying tax. That's why my colleagues and I on the Board of Equalization lowered the gas tax by 6 cents per gallon as of July 1.

If you hear complaints about transportation funding cuts resulting from this rate cut, keep in mind that local governments essentially received their funding sooner than they would have otherwise. It's like a payday advance. When you get paid early, you shouldn't complain about not getting a second paycheck on the regular payday. Neither should government.

Instead of raising taxes, lawmakers ought to use the upcoming special session on roads to:

Identify and eliminate bureaucratic waste and mismanagement that drives up the cost of transportation projects.
Close loopholes that allow diversion of transportation dollars. Prioritize spending to ensure funding for highways, roads and other vital infrastructure needs.
Direct cap-and-trade revenues to fighting emission-causing traffic congestion and gridlock by expanding roads and building new ones.
Repeal the confusing "gas tax swap" and restore a fuel tax system that is clear and easy for the public to understand at the pump.
Direct the California Transportation Commission's Road Charge Pilot Program to consider only revenue-neutral alternatives to the gas tax system.
If, after taking these actions, the governor and Legislature remain convinced of the need for higher tax to fund roads, they should put forward their best plan and let voters decide. Giving the public a chance to weigh in on the issue, however, doesn't let lawmakers off the hook who got us into this situation by grossly mismanaging taxpayer dollars.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SIERRA BROOKS EMERGENCY ORDINANCE

AN ADOPTION OF AN URGENCY ORDINANCE was unanimously passed at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday, July 7th in Downieville implementing revised water conservation restrictions for the Sierra Brooks Water System through the end of this calendar year. Prior to the vote, Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals told the Board they had recently restricted outside watering in Sierra Brooks to two days a week. He said he was in the middle of some tricky discussions with property owners who were pushing the limit and felt the need to have the ability to move with enforcement. Beals stated if water figures don’t show a 35% reduction, the State will consider a fine. He said they were tracking pumpage rates everyday and as of June 22nd they were over. Beals felt with was a huge economic issue, stating the Lodge at Elwell can no longer use Long Lake for water and thinks the same thing might happen at Sardine. He predicts that there will be a number of victims through curtailments by the end of summer.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Sierra County Cooling Stations

With the summer months upon us, it’s increasingly important for Sierra County residents to remain aware of the quickly rising temperatures as well as the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and dehydration. Individuals with health issues are especially sensitive to spikes in temperature, so it is even more critical for them to stay cool and comfortable during these extreme weather conditions.
The following recommended measures will help prevent heat-related illnesses:
 Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing
 Remain well hydrated; don’t wait until you’re thirsty
 Minimize physical activities during the hottest parts of the day
 When in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen
 Open windows and use fans to allow fresh air to circulate
 Avoid hot foods and heavy meals
 Pay special attention if you take medications which increase sensitivity to high temperatures, such as psychotropic medications

COOLING FACILITIES:
Both the Loyalton Senior Center and the Western Sierra Senior Center act as community cooling facilities throughout the summer and are available for anyone to enjoy the air conditioning.
• The Loyalton Senior Center, located at 302 First Street in Loyalton, is open on weekdays from 9AM – 2PM.
• The Western Sierra Senior Center, located at 749 Upper Main in Downieville, is open from 9AM-3PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
All are welcome to utilize these facilities.
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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Sierra County ECONOMIC NEWS

SIERRA COUNTY’S Board of Supervisors’ Committee on Economic and Business Development met in Sierraville June 23rd. County Planning Director Tim Beals gave an update on Geothermal grant opportunities, stating they’ve gotten all documents pulled to portray the former project and added the grant guidelines are probably the same for May of 2016. The scope of the grant will be reviewed with the CA Energy Commission and to make sure the site on Filippini Road will be sound as a productive resource with a 16-inch casing. He talked of a marketing study and development project and the search for funding to bring in a user such as aquaponics, hatchery, hydroponics.
Sharon reported on the State Fair exhibit which had its first buildout the prior weed and she called “pretty spectacular.”
It was moved by Pat, seconded by Sharon and approved to update a public events policy in Sierra County which County Supervisor Paul Roen said had been brought before the Board three time before. It was stated there will be “push back” from local organizations.
Tim told about the two Plumas National Forest meetings on the Lakes Basin the 24th and 27th, suggesting to ask the forest service to extend the boundaries of recreation and giving pros and cons of that design. He told how the Sierra County portion of the Lakes Basin has no protection and if lost, it would change the landscape and could change the popularity. Trails on the Plumas are well marked, maintained and have public maps which Sierra County doesn’t get, not being part of the officlal national Lakes Basin.
Beals told of Sierra Nevada Conservancy soliciting projects due September 1st for forest health and fire reduction and said fire districts are in a good position to compete with no matching funds.
He reported on AT&T‘s broadband service coverage on West Side Road and Calpine Road, installing fiber due to competition.
As bicyclists filled the parking lot at the school, talk turned to the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships. Pat Whitley told of the City of Loyalton ordering banners and East Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce having Sierra Booster create flyers detailing local businesses. Tim said it’s not the money here but the scenery and pastoral setting and flatness of the race course. He was in favor to “start embracing this biking,” and said the “opportunity needs to be massaged.”
On other project updates, he told how Sierra Hot Spring’s improvements to an attractive destination and conference center would add a restaurant and addtional rooms which Beals called, “a real shot in the arm,” with the road dovetailing the project. Beals was asked about the County airport which he called a “pot of gold,” and which could be a unique opportunity.
Big Springs Garden has sold and Beals said it will be “pretty low key.”
He spoke briefly on the appeal yet with no formal decision on the Firm Foundation Academy at the former Pliocene Ridge School in Pike.
In Calpine at Sierra Valley Lodge there are “odds with the community.”
The snow grooming grant has expired and will have to be put out to bid.
At Sierraville School, there’s an interest for a portion of the former school building for high eleveation Alpine cheese with a dairy component in the Valley and a creamery at the school buildling. Beals called Lucy Blake “very capable and well connected.” and “a good person to team with.”
Present were members, Sharon Dobija, Patti Hall, Bryan Davey, Miriam Dines, Pat Whitley, Sidonie Christian and Jim Beard. Absent were Will Clark, Randy Wagner, Peter Huebner and Don Yegge. Pam Payen is off the roster and Greg Williams resigned besides the loss of Kathy Breed. It was decided to keep the members at nine rather than twelve for the short term.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Eco-Friendly Mosquito Control By Melinda Myers



Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your garden and outdoor parties. Look for environmentally sound ways to manage these pests in your garden and landscape.

Start by eliminating standing water in the yard. Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.

Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep water moving to prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.

Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much of your skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.

Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. You’ll enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including many garden pests and mosquitoes.

Keep the garden weeded. Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make your landscape less inviting to these pests.

Consider using a personal repellent to protect you against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.

Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors. Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away from you and your guests. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden, while weeding.

Then add a bit of ambience to your next party by lighting a few citronella candles for your evening events. Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties. Scatter lots of candles throughout your entertainment space. Position the candles within a few feet of your guests. This can provide some short term relief from these pests for you and your guests.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY ECONOMIC NEWS

SIERRA COUNTY’S Board of Supervisors’ Committee on Economic and Business Development met in Sierraville June 23rd. County Planning Director Tim Beals gave an update on Geothermal grant opportunities, stating they’ve gotten all documents pulled to portray the former project and added the grant guidelines are probably the same for May of 2016. The scope of the grant will be reviewed with the CA Energy Commission and to make sure the site on Filippini Road will be sound as a productive resource with a 16-inch casing. He talked of a marketing study and development project and the search for funding to bring in a user such as aquaponics, hatchery, hydroponics.
Sharon reported on the State Fair exhibit which had its first buildout the prior week which she called “pretty spectacular.”
It was moved by Pat, seconded by Sharon and approved to update a public events policy in Sierra County which County Supervisor Paul Roen said had been brought to the Board three time before. It was stated there will be “push back” from local organizations.
Tim told about the two Plumas National Forest meetings on the Lakes Basin the 24th and 27th, suggesting to ask the forest service to extend the boundaries of recreation and giving pros and cons of that design. He told how the Sierra County portion of the Lakes Basin has no protection and if lost, it would change the landscape and could change the popularity. Trails on the Plumas are well marked, maintained and have public maps which Sierra County doesn’t get, not being part of the official national Lakes Basin.
Beals told of Sierra Nevada Conservancy soliciting projects due September 1st for forest health and fire reduction and said fire districts are in a good position to compete with no matching funds.
He reported on AT&T‘s broadband service coverage on West Side Road and Calpine Road, installing fiber due to competition.
As bicyclists filled the parking lot at the school, talk turned to the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships. Pat Whitley told of the City of Loyalton ordering banners and East Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce having Sierra Booster create flyers detailing local businesses. Tim said it’s not the money here but the scenery and pastoral setting and flatness of the race course. He was in favor to “start embracing this biking,” and said the “opportunity needs to be massaged.”
On other project updates, he told how Sierra Hot Spring’s improvements to an attractive destination and conference center would add a restaurant and additional rooms which Beals called, “a real shot in the arm,” with the road dovetailing the project. Beals was asked about the County airport which he called a “pot of gold,” and which could be a unique opportunity.
Big Springs Garden has sold and Beals said it will be “pretty low key.”
He spoke briefly on the appeal yet with no formal decision on the Firm Foundation Academy at the former Pliocene Ridge School in Pike.
In Calpine at Sierra Valley Lodge there are “odds with the community.”
The snow grooming grant has expired and will have to be put out to bid.
At Sierraville School, there’s an interest for a portion of the former school building for high elevation Alpine cheese with a dairy component in the Valley and a creamery at the school building. Beals called Lucy Blake “very capable and well connected.” and “a good person to team with.”
Present were members, Sharon Dobija, Patti Hall, Bryan Davey, Miriam Dines, Pat Whitley, Sidonie Christian and Jim Beard. Absent were Will Clark, Randy Wagner, Peter Huebner and Don Yegge. Pam Payen is off the roster and Greg Williams resigned besides the loss of Kathy Breed. It was decided to keep the members at nine rather than twelve.
On discussion of mission, goals and structure of the committee, Pattie felt it should be a functioning committee. Tim said Greg left for things not accomplished to which Sharon added, “That’s been historical.” Pat stated they’ve never had a budget and are limited to what they can do.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SIERRA COUNTY COURT CASES WEEKENDING June 19, 2015



Justin Duncan (40) Calpine. Possession of a concealed weapon. Two years probation, five days jail, fine $1049.

April Williams (33) Transit. Sentencing on possession of methamphetamine, and failure of drug diversion. Ninety days jail.

Bryan Funk (57) Loyalton. Violation of probation (domestic violence) for consuming alcohol. Sentencing set for June 26.

Christopher Judge (35) Loyalton. Possession of Methamphetamine. Three years probation, 16 days jail, fine $1820.

Paul Evans (55) Sacramento. After a trial by jury, Evans was convicted of possession of methamphetamine. Three years probation, 90 days jail, fine $1855.

Jillion Whitton-Sanchez (33) Chilcoot. Inducing child to commit unlawful offense – truancy. Fourteen months probation, fine $785.

Dominic Martin (35) Susanville. Possession of methamphetamine. Referred for drug diversion.

Jordan Wing (22) Loyalton. Grand theft. Three years probation, 90 days jail, fine $3460, and must successfully participate and complete drug court.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Feather River rodeo coach named NIRA Coach of the Year


By Sonja Eschenburg
For the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association

CASPER, Wyo. (June 17, 2015) Jesse Segura, from Feather River was selected as the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s 2015 Coach of the Year.
Segura received the award at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) held at the Casper Events Center on June 17. The competition started on June 12 and runs through June 20. Feather River has ten contestants competing here this year. In fact, Feather River has had student athletes qualify every year since the program was started under Segura’s direction 10 years ago. His inspiration has come from real ranch cowboys. Growing up around Winnemucca, Nev., he has been around those cowboys all of his life.
“I liked what rodeo did for my friends,” Segura said. “It helped me get my education and I wanted to stay involved. Coaching provided me that opportunity.”
His intercollegiate rodeo background started at Lassen Community College at Susanville, Calif.,and West Hills Community College at Coalinga, Calif.. Attending community college “cut down costs and helped get required classes out of the way. He later transferred to Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) where he continued to college rodeo. In 2003 Segura was awarded the NIRA’s Men’s All Around Champion.
It is obvious Segura has good intentions for his students. He makes education a priority while encouraging success in the arena.
“I them to see the big picture and set up for the future instead of focusing on just right now,” he said. “Students need to understand that even though class is important, it is not only about the letter grade, education is a long term commitment.”
Segura knows finding the balance between school and rodeo “is tougher than any other college sport.” A typical day of practice generally includes working from sun up until sun down. It gets a little crowded with63 students, but the team practices every event every day. They have two arenas to work with so there is always something going on.
Courtney Wood, a second year agricultural business student at Feather River, is competing in this year’s goat tying. Wood says the school’s rodeo program is lucky to have Jesse because he always gives it his all. Jesse has made a huge impact on Wood’s performance both inside and outside of the arena.
“He really cares about our future and who we are as people,” she said. “But he never lets us forget to still have fun.”
The mayor of Casper has also proclaimed Thursday, June 17 Jesse Segura Day in the coach’s honor.
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

SUMMER DRIVING PRESENTS ITS OWN CHALLENGES



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Californians may be experienced with warm weather driving, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) warns that summer presents a new set of challenges on the roads.

“Carefree summer travel requires extra care by motorists to make sure the trip is not ruined by problems,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Drive at a safe speed, maintain your vehicle, and be aware of the challenges of summer driving.”

Some of the hazards of summer driving:
· Leaving children or animals in a vehicle – dangerous at any time of year – becomes extremely dangerous. Be sure that all children are properly restrained in a safety seat or booster seat when driving.
· More new drivers, generally young and inexperienced, will be on the road when school is not in session.
· Visitors not only generate more traffic on the roadways, but those who are unfamiliar with an area may be distracted looking for landmarks and exits.
· High temperatures may create problems for tires and engines. Hot weather can lead to blowouts in tires that have not been well maintained.
· More bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians are on the roads. Pedestrians can be unpredictable and hard to see, especially in bad weather or after dark.
· Forest and grass fires generate smoke, reducing visibility and sometimes causing road closures. More emergency vehicles may be on the road in a fire area. Check for road reports before you leave home.

“When school is out and temperatures climb, family travel can be a happy occasion,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “We can make sure it stays that way with a little trip planning and attention to safe driving.”

OTS also reminds drivers to make safety a priority:
· Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time.
· If you have a vehicle issue, drive out of traffic lanes and off the highway if possible – freeway shoulders are not a safe place for repair work.
· Research road conditions and closures before getting in the car. Visit www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov for real time highway conditions.

A few more tips for safe summer driving from the CHP:
· Vehicle care is critical: oil changes, cooling system, tires, belts and hoses, and windshield wipers and wiper fluid should all be well maintained.
· Carry a roadside emergency kit with fresh water, cell phone, first aid kit, flashlight, flares and a white flag, jumper cables, jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire, work gloves, basic repair tools and duct tape, a jug of water and paper towels for cleaning up, nonperishable food, extra windshield washer fluid, and maps.

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is Safety, Service, and Security.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

VEHICLE THEFTS DOWN FOR SECOND YEAR





SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California vehicle thefts decreased in 2014 by almost 7 percent from 2013. This marks the second year in a row that vehicle thefts have declined, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports.


In 2012, 174,457 vehicles were stolen in California, which was an 11.26 percent increase from 2011. Vehicle thefts decreased by 2 percent in 2013, to 171,036. Thefts continued to decrease in 2014, dropping to 159,271, a decrease of 6.9 percent from 2013.

“While the continuing decline in theft is good news,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said, “people need to remember that vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity. Simple deterrents such as locking vehicle doors, parking in a secure or highly visible location, and not leaving the car running unattended can make all the difference.”

The estimated total value of the stolen vehicles is approximately $900 million. Almost 90 percent of the vehicles were successfully recovered. Of the vehicles recovered statewide, 65 percent were recovered intact and in drivable condition. Less than 4 percent were missing major components, 12 percent were stripped of minor parts, and 18.9 percent were intentionally burned or wrecked. Additionally, in 2014, 65 of the recovered vehicles, or 0.1 percent, were cargo theft only – the products in a commercial vehicle were stolen, but the vehicle and trailer were not stolen.

The most popular cars for thieves are the 1996, 1994, and 1997 Honda Accord. The 2007 Suzuki was the most-stolen motorcycle and the 1988 Toyota pickup was the most-stolen personal truck. Toyota pickups have been the most frequently stolen pickup truck since 1984, attributed to its resale value, interchangeable parts, and availability.

Almost half of vehicle thefts occurred in the five Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego, which constitute 54 percent of California’s population. The five Bay Area counties of Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara accounted for approximately 20 percent of all vehicle thefts.

The CHP offers drivers additional anti-theft tips:

Always make sure you receive an ownership certificate when purchasing a used vehicle.
Never hide a spare ignition key on the vehicle.
Take extra precautions against theft if you drive one of the vehicles that is popular with thieves.
Be aware of your surroundings prior to leaving your vehicle.
Report possible vehicle theft activity by calling 1-800-TELL-CHP (1-800-835-5247).
The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

HOW FAR DOES SOCIAL SECURITY GO IN SIERRA COUNTY?

Social security is a vital resource for many aging Americans, but geography can have a big effect on how much value it provides them. Financial technology company SmartAsset recently released a study that shows where residents are getting the most for their social security money.

Check out the top counties in California below:

Rank County Cost of Living Annual Social Security Social Security Taxed? Social Security Goes Furthest Index

1 Trinity, CA $17,948 $17,365 No 69.62
2 Sierra, CA $19,633 $18,992 No 69.32
3 Tehama, CA $17,673 $16,895 No 68.62
4 Shasta, CA $18,191 $17,102 No 67.03
5 Siskiyou, CA $16,931 $15,794 No 66.79
6 Alpine, CA $19,333 $18,129 No 66.45
7 Mariposa, CA $18,867 $17,233 No 64.25
8 Glenn, CA $17,705 $16,059 No 64.19
9 Tuolumne, CA $18,798 $17,104 No 63.95
10 Humboldt, CA $18,221 $16,500 No 63.81


SmartAsset combined the cost of living by county, the mean social security income by county, and the social security tax in each county to determine where residents were benefiting the most from social security. For more information on the study, you can explore the interactive map and methodology here: https://smartasset.com/retirement/social-security-calculator#us

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nonlead Ammunition Requirement is Upon Us, No Lead Ammo on CDFW Lands Starting July 1


Starting July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state.

CDFW reminds hunters who plan to hunt bighorn sheep or at any CDFW wildlife area or ecological reserve where hunting is allowed on or after July 1, 2015 to acquire nonlead ammunition well ahead of their hunt. Hunters are also encouraged to practice shooting nonlead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with nonlead ammunition. Nonlead ammunition for some firearm calibers may be in short supply so hunters should plan accordingly.

In October 2013, Assembly Bill 711 was signed into law requiring the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting anywhere in the state by July 1, 2019. The bill also required an implementation plan designed to impose the least burden on California's hunters while adhering to the intent of the law.

In order to determine what was least disruptive to hunters, CDFW coordinated question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, held meetings with hunting organizations and hosted a series of eight public workshops throughout the state. CDFW then presented draft regulations, as modified by public input from these workshops, to the Fish and Game Commission.

In April 2015, the Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposed regulations and implementation plan.

Further phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California will continue on July 1, 2016, when nonlead ammunition will be required when hunting with shotguns for upland game birds (except for dove, quail and snipe), small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals and nongame birds except for when hunting at licensed game bird clubs. Nonlead ammunition will also be required when taking wildlife with shotguns for depredation purposes anywhere in the state.

Starting July 1, 2019, hunters must use nonlead ammunition when taking any animal anywhere in the state for any purpose.

Lead ammunition may still be used for target shooting. Existing restrictions on the use of lead ammunition in the California condor range remain in effect while implementation proceeds.

Hunting is not allowed at all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For those areas where hunting is allowed, nonlead ammunition will be required starting July 1, 2015. Hunters are reminded to be familiar with all hunting regulations before going into the field.

More information on the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/lead-free/.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

With Summer Here, Power Outages Should be Top-of-Mind


Mr. Electric explains alternate power sources

WACO, Texas (June 9, 2015) – Although April showers bring May flowers, the storm season, coupled with increased energy consumption, make June the most common month for power outages. June is followed by July and August for the most power outages by month in a given year.

More than 14 million people were affected by power outages in 2014. On top of that, the U.S. has more blackouts than any other developed nation, costing the U.S. economy $150 billion in damages annually. Mr. Electric explains why alternate power sources should be considered, especially during the summer months.

“It doesn’t matter where you live when it comes to storms,” said Dennis Teeuwsen, with Mr. Electric. “Whether it is snow storms up north, heavy rains down south or a strong windstorm, power outages happen in every region.”

There are many reasons for power outages. Storms, accidents, overloads and equipment failure all lead to power outages. Alternate power sources, like generators, allow homes and businesses to operate like normal until full power is restored by the original source.

“Generators are key to providing electricity when a disaster or accident happens,” said Teeuwsen. “They allow for little disruption in the home or office.”

Standby generators:

Allow critical appliances to continue to run when the power goes out

Though food can last for a while in an unplugged or non-running refrigerator, generators allow the appliance to run uninterrupted ensuring the food stays refrigerated. Other home electrical devices, like radios, will continue to run if power is lost.

Help avoid flood damage

With strong storms, heavy downpours can cause flooding in the home. Backup generators power sump-pump during the heavy rains, keeping homes from becoming flooded.

Have automatic transfer switches

Standby generators have a power management system and an automatic transfer switch. The transfer switch protects from back feed.

For more information about electrical safety or standby generators visit mrelectric.com.

About Mr. Electric®:
Established in 1994, Mr. Electric is a global franchise organization providing electrical installation and repair services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500,” Mr. Electric franchisees provide these services to both residential and commercial customers at almost 200 locations worldwide. Mr. Electric is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc., family of service franchises. For more information or to find the location nearest you, visit MrElectric.com.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

LIBERTY UTILITIES AWARDS SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDENTS AT SIX HIGH SCHOOLS AND ONE COMMUNITY COLLEGE





Lake Tahoe, CA. June 5, 2014. Liberty Utilities is pleased to announce the winners of its annual high school and community college scholarships for students living within the utility’s service territory. This is the third consecutive year that Liberty has provided these awards.


South Tahoe High School – Priya Patel

Loyalton High School – Cheyenne Little

Coleville High School – Joel Gomez

North Tahoe High School – Johanna Gur

Portola High School – Saul Juarez

Truckee High School – Aaron Kuyper

Lake Tahoe Community College – Antonio Benitez


Each high school senior will receive a $500 award, and the community college student will receive a $750 award. A Liberty Utility representative attends each of the school’s awards ceremony to personally congratulate the student and present the check.


“We’re very pleased to once again offer these scholarships to deserving students,” said Mike Smart, President of Liberty Utilities-California. “We truly enjoy supporting the communities we serve in this manner.”


Liberty Utilities is your local electric company serving approximately 49,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe and adjacent areas to the south and north including the cities of Markleeville, Woodfords, Topaz, Coleville, Walker, parts of Truckee & Verdi, Portola & Loyalton. We are committed to providing quality service to our customers, and our employees are involved in the communities in which they live and work. Visit us at www.libertyutilities.com

Friday, June 05, 2015

Plumas NF firefighters ready for a long season



Quincy, CA – June 5, 2015 –Quincy, CA - Firefighting forces from the Plumas National Forest are ramped up and ready for what might be a long and challenging fire season. “We are fully operational and ready for the season,” said Chris French, Acting Plumas National Forest Supervisor. “In addition to our local federal firefighters, we have contracts in place with our community fire departments, private fire crews/engines and many other firefighting resources.”

The forest has close to 250 permanent & temporary firefighters (almost half the workforce) including 14 engines/crews, three 20-person hand crews (two of which are Type 1 “hotshot” crews), 3 bulldozers, 2 water tenders (trucks) and a Type 2 helicopter. An additional 80 part-time personnel rotate as members of two “on-call” hand crews, a very successful program in its second year of operation. Ground resources are assisted by routine fixed-wing airplane reconnaissance (recon) flights that occur regularly during periods of lightning and more often as conditions warrant. Many other local, state and federal resources, including air tankers and helicopters, are available via regional and national dispatch centers.

Also staffed are Pikes Peak, Mills, Dixie, Smith, Mt. Hough and Thompson Peak Lookouts. “We had extensive windstorm damage and vandalism to the Thompson Peak facility in late spring and the building is unsafe to use, meaning our staffing is now based out of a fire vehicle on the peak vs the building,” noted French. Costly repair needs, including those of the damaged radio system, have been identified and funding to supplement existing forest budgets is being secured while contracts are being prepared. “The facility is very important to us and will be back in use once it’s repaired,” said French. The Mt. Hough Ranger District is preparing to re-open Red Rock Lookout to supplement lookout coverage on the northern boundary of the forest. The look-out has been closed for the last 6 years. It also sustained weather damage and vandalism although far less severe than neighboring Thompson Peak; impacts from a mouse infestation are being treated and some repairs will be needed. Staffing will be balanced with Thompson Peak; it may be full time at one site and partial at the other, or a different blend to provide coverage.

Residents are encouraged to visit their local County, Firesafe Council & other emergency services websites for helpful information about protecting their families, homes and property before, during and after emergencies.

Friday, June 05, 2015

BIKING EVENTS & LAWS

WITH BIKING EVENTS STARTING, please remember the recent law affecting motorists and bicyclists.
According to the law, a driver must allow three feet of distance when overtaking or passing a bicyclist. If three feet is not available, a driver must then slow to a safe speed and pass when no danger is present.
"Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.
According to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2012, there were 153 bicyclists killed in California, which reflects a 7 percent increase from 2011. Those deaths accounted for 5 percent of the total collision fatalities in California.
Here’s a list of local biking events:

• TOUR DE MANURE is on June 20th and offers a 62-mile loop, a 42-mile loop and a 30-mile out and back route with food, drink and SAG wagons and supports Sierraville Fire and Rescue.

• USA Cycling Amateur Road NationAL Championships SIERRAVILLE LOOP starts June 24th at 7:30 a.m. - 3:20 p.m. and awards are held at Northstar at 8 p.m.

• USA Cycling Amateur Road NationAL Championships LOYALTON June 26th and June 27th start 9 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday at Loyalton City Park. Awards each night are at 6 p.m. at Northstar Resort.

• THE AGONY RIDE, sponsored by Christian Encounter Ministries is held July 24-28 in Loyalton and is a 24-hour bike-a-thon to raise funds.

• GRAN FONDO “Where the mountains meet the valley,” is September 13th in Loyalton and offers three engaging routes and supports local schools.

THE WEEK END of June 26-27 is looking like a major one for Sierra Valley.
That’s the weekend of the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships starting in Sierraville June 24th and at Loyalton City Park June 26 and 27.
It’s also the weekend of the Loyalton graduating class of 1965’s 50-year reunion at Annie and Craig’s west of Loyalton and the 20-year reunion of the class of 1995 to be held at Sierra Valley Lodge in Calpine with a barbecue on Saturday at Graeagle’s Mill Pond.
There will be music at the Lodge in Calpine Saturday night as well as music by The Bourgeois Gypsies in the Loyalton City Park Saturday night.

TO VOLUNTEER HELP at the USA Cycling event, go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b4ea8ac28aaf85-amateur
Hundreds of volunteers are needed!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Tax Board Seeks to Stir up Pot Revenue


As seen in The San Diego Union Tribune

By Steven Greenhut

California authorities are notoriously creative when it comes to wringing as much tax revenue as possible out of the state's businesses, yet are leaving real money on the table because of their failure to come up with a simple way for medical marijuana dispensaries to pay their tab.
Voters legalized this business 19 years ago with the passage of Proposition 215. But an uncertain federal legal status has complicated the matter since then. The state only collects a small percentage of the sales-and-use taxes these businesses owe, although a new program is attempting to address the imbalance.

"Because of federal law, people in the cannabis industry aren't allowed to have bank accounts," said George Runner, a Republican member of the Board of Equalization, a state tax-collection agency. "Cash-based businesses are very hard for the BOE to audit. If we can't analyze a bank account, we can't accurately audit a business."

Because of federal law, dispensaries risk having their assets seized if they put them in an account. The result is bizarre: "It's a huge safety risk to have dispensaries pay their taxes by carrying duffel bags into BOE offices with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash," he added. Runner called on the federal government to legalize bank accounts, which is more important now that California has banned such cash payments...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mail Processing of Vote-by-Mail Ballots Continues to Grow in Importance

As policy makers discuss options to increase turnout 'vote centers' may increase use of vote-by-mail ballots
SANTA ANA, CA - May 26, 2015 - The statewide Association representing California's election officials (California Association of Clerks and Election Officials) urges postal officials to keep vote-by-mail ballot operations as a top priority as discussion over the use of vote-by-mail ballots continues to expand.

"As the Legislature continues to look at alternatives to increasing turnout in California, options such as "vote centers" are being discussed", said Neal Kelley, President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials. "It is vital that we work to ensure ballot delivery remains a top priority as the possibility of expanded use of vote-by-mail ballots continues to climb", he continued.

Voter participation by mail has been increasing in popularity, and will likely continue to increase in the future. Most recently, over 46% of voters in California are registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters. This has increased steadily since 2002 when the percentage of permanent vote-by-mail voters was only 8%. This number has only increased over time, and will most likely continue to increase.

The number of ballots cast by mail has also increased since 2002. In 2002, 27% of the ballots cast in the General Election were vote-by-mail ballots. As recently as the Primary Election in 2014, this number has increased to 69%. In the most recent Presidential General Election, 6.7 million votes in California were cast by mail.

In the majority of California counties nearly 40% of the vote-by-mail ballots returned for the most recent Presidential Election were received between the Friday before the election, and Election Day. Any delay to the delivery of the ballots could affect hundreds of thousands of ballots across California.

# # #
About the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials
The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) is a non-profit association representing California's Clerks (responsible for filing vital records, or important documents related to a county's specific population, including birth, death and marriage certificates); Clerks of the Board (supporting the Boards of Supervisors by preparing and recording minutes; receives and processes applications for property tax assessments); and Registrar of Voters (responsible for conducting elections throughout California).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GUN INCIDENT AT CO-OP

Plumas County Dispatch Center received a report on Thursday, May 21st at 9:58 a.m. of a subject with a firearm inside Feather River Food Co-op at 60 North Pine Street in Portola. The center was advised witnesses had disarmed the suspect and had the suspect detained. Responding units secured the suspect, weapon and the store. During the investigation it was discovered that Wayne Laird Brown, born Oct. 2, 1962, entered the business with a shotgun and numerous round of ammunition. Brown ordered employees and a patron to the rear of the store. A short scuffle ensued with a clerk and the suspect, resulting in the disarming of Brown.

No Sheriff’s personnel nor employees or patrons were injured during the incident.

S/ Brown was arrested on 4 counts of False Imprisonment and is being held on $50,000.00 bail. Additional weapons charges will be filed with the Plumas County District Attorney.

Agencies involved were Plumas County Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

LOYALTON VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS

LOYALTON VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS, Ben Tidwell, Gary Sterle, John
Fatheree and Kaitlin Wilson recently attended the Quincy Academy which Chief Volunteer Shawn Heywood states, “Is a great opportunity for Loyalton Fire Department and other surrounding volunteer departments.”
The Academy takes dedication as it is five Saturdays long, and covers many of the basic skills that every firefighter should have. Shawn explains, “The facility and program that Quincy Fire Department puts on is very impressive. They offer a variety of quality instructors and hands-on training in their impressive training facility.”
Loyalton Fire Department started making this a requirement to be a volunteer with LVFD a few years ago. This training not only assists the firefighter do his or her job better and safer, but also provides for a safer community.
Shawn states, “This year the fire cadets had an opportunity to become familiar with our newly-acquired self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) recently received off a regional FEMA grant. The cost of the Academy is very reasonable at under $100 per cadet, which includes the 5-week course, books/materials, hands on training, and excellent instruction by local fire service volunteers. These costs, along with transportation, and fire gear is all paid for through donations that are received by our fundraisers and generous community members.”
Loyalton’s next Volunteer Firemen’s fundraiser will be the Festival on the night of July 3rd with music, food and drinks at the Loyalton City Park.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

MUSEUM ADVISORY COMMITTEE

MUSEUM ADVISORY COMMITTEE members appointed by Loyalton City Council Tuesday night were Rebecca Kinkead, a 62-year resident,Elda Fay Ball, former curator and 69-year resident and Gary Nelson of Sierr Brooks who has many relatives in Sierra Valley and has donated his toy train railroad collection to the City of Loyalton.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Drought conditions have increased fire danger



Sacramento – With great weather expected across most of the Golden State this holiday weekend, CAL FIRE urges everyone to use caution as fire danger remains higher than normal due to the drought. Memorial Day weekend is often said to be the official start of summer with everyone enjoying outdoor activities and recreation during the three-day break.

“While we hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday, we also want it to be a safe one,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “The dry conditions throughout the state have created a situation where a fire could easily spark, so we ask everyone to be cautious as they enjoy their time outdoors.”

So far this year, CAL FIRE has seen almost twice as many wildfires than average and the peak of summer is still to come. In the midst of this severe drought, everyone is encouraged to be vigilant and remember that One Less Spark means One Less Wildfire.

Camping:
· Obtain a campfire permit (www.PreventWildfireCA.org)
· Check for local fire restrictions
· Clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any campfire
· Have a responsible person in attendance at all times
· Ensure all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving
· When barbequing, never leave the grill unattended

Vehicle
· Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground
· When towing, make sure trailer chains are properly secured
· Never drive or pull over into dry grass

Fire is not the only danger that can occur in the outdoors, as water drownings also increase dramatically during this holiday weekend. Warm temperatures make the cool waters of California’s beautiful rivers and lakes very enticing, yet very dangerous.

In the Water:
- Always wear a life jacket!
- Children should always be supervised by a responsible adult
- Never swim alone
- Drinking and swimming can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving

For more ways to be safe this holiday, visit www.ReadyforWildfire.org or www.fire.ca.gov

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Report Details Ag's Economic Contribution


The Agribusiness Institute at California State University, Chico has released the second in a three-year series of reports detailing the economic contributions of agriculture to the North State economy. Nearly one in five jobs in northeastern California and 17 percent of all economic activity in the region are connected to agriculture, according to the report.

The report, written by agricultural business professor Eric Houk, covers economic activity in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba Counties in 2012. The Contribution of Agriculture to Northeastern California’s Economy in 2013 is supported by a three-year grant from the Agricultural Research Institute to quantify the significance of agricultural production, processing and related industries to the overall economy of northeastern California.

The full report is available online at www.csuchico.edu/ag. For more information, contact Professor Houk at 530-898-4146 or ehouk@csuchico.edu.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Denham and Hastings Laud Pollinator Health Task Force on Release of Report on Honey Bees and Other Pollinators


WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement on the Pollinator Health Task Force’s release of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators:

“This week the Pollinator Task Force released its National Strategy to Promote the Health of the Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The plan, which is a culmination of a comprehensive and collaborative effort across 14 agencies and the private sector, outlines ways to improve pollinator health. It sets the goals of reducing honey bee colony losses during winter to no more than 15 percent within 10 years, and to restoring or enhancing 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next 5 years.

“As Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus, the goal of which is to find solutions to the issues facing pollinators nationwide, we applaud the efforts of the Task Force. This strategy could not have come at a more critical time for pollinators, as a recently released study revealed that in a 12-month period ending in April, more than 40 percent of U.S. honeybee colonies died.

“Pollinators are vital to our nation’s agriculture, economy, and ecosystem. With 75 percent of flowering plants relying on pollinators, and pollinators contributing nearly $15 billion to the nation’s economy, improving their health and strengthening their population is critically important. We are pleased that the issues facing pollinators are receiving the attention needed and will continue to work toward improving pollinator health nationwide.”

Congressman Jeff Denham serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Agriculture committees.

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as a Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chair of the Florida Delegation.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

LIBERTY UTILITIES FILES GENERAL RATE CASE APPLICATION



Lake Tahoe, CA May 18, 2015. Liberty Utilities has filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeking authority to increase revenue by $13.571 million beginning January 1, 2016. This increase is to recover costs associated with the distribution of electricity to Liberty’s 49,000 customers in California’s Lake Tahoe region and surrounding rural areas.
Every three years Liberty Utilities is required to file a General Rate Case (GRC) with the CPUC. The design of the actual rates themselves (prices charged to customer classes) and the cost of fuel and purchased power and other energy-related costs (known as ECAC—Energy Cost Adjustment Clause) will be determined in Phase II of this application, expected to be filed in early June.
At this time, the overall revenue requirement would increase 17.34% over that which is presently collected in rates. The increase is necessary to continue Liberty’s focus on delivering safe and reliable electric service to its customers. Components of the increase include vegetation management (trimming trees and branches from infrastructure that may cause outages), compliance with California’s requirements related to drought-related fire prevention along utility power lines, additional funding for the existing energy efficiency programs/incentives and funding to implement a new solar incentive program, as well as maintenance and upgrades to the existing electrical system.
The last time Liberty filed a GRC was in 2013 which resulted in an overall 4.97% increase in rates effective January 1, 2013. If Liberty is granted this request for an overall 17.34% increase effective January 1, 2016, its projected new residential rate of 16.73 cents per kwh (compared to the current 14.26 cents per kwh) is still equal or less than residential rates for neighboring electric utilities.
“While no one likes to see an increase in any of their bills, our customers have told us repeatedly over the years that reliability is paramount,” stated Michael Smart, President of Liberty Utilities-California. “Since acquiring the former Sierra Pacific Power California service territory in January 2011, we’ve made much needed improvements to our facilities and performed necessary maintenance on aging infrastructure that allows Liberty to provide better service in the long term. This GRC reflects the costs associated with those improvements.”
The utility’s most recent annual customer satisfaction survey showed customers are seeing the results of the utility’s focus on improvements and maintenance. The October 2014 survey reported that 83 percent of Liberty Utilities’ customers are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with the utility’s overall customer service.
The GRC legal notice and full application can be found at www.libertyutilities.com/west
Liberty Utilities is your local electric company serving approximately 49,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe and adjacent areas to the south and north including the cities of Markleeville, Woodfords, Topaz, Coleville, Walker, parts of Truckee & Verdi, Portola & Loyalton. Visit www.libertyutilities.com/west

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Western Leaders Gather to Discuss Future of Forestry

Western Leaders Gather to Discuss Future of Forestry

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC), in partnership with the Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) concluded their 2015 Spring Meeting hosted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). This event brought together leaders on Western forestry issues to learn about the future of forestry in a changing climate.

The two-day event attracted nearly 100 attendees from across the United States for a welcome by John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources and an opening keynote by Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

“The Western Forestry Leadership Coalition consistently brings together thought leaders and practitioners to discuss issues of the day,” said Under Secretary Bonnie. “This meeting was focused on fixing how wildfire suppression activities are funded, the priorities of the USDA and the Forest Service, and opportunities for collaboration to advance the goals of the Cohesive Strategy for Wildland Fire Management.”

During the 2015 Spring Meeting, attendees had an opportunity to participate in a field tour to Tilden Park, Grizzly Peak Road Scenic Overlook and a short visit to Oakland, CA to meet with community leaders working on urban forestry projects including representatives from California Urban ReLeaf. CAL FIRE representatives helped to facilitate the tour and educate attendees on the complexities of wildland fire.

"With over 33 million acres of forestland, California is the perfect place to host a gathering of the leadership dealing with the resource management challenges we are collectively facing across the Western United States," said Chief Ken Pimlott, California’s state forester. "The meeting provided an invaluable opportunity to exchange experiences and gain fresh perspective on critical fire and forest management issues."

Key topics of the WFLC Spring Meeting included wildland fire, natural resources policy in the United States and USDA Forest Service priorities in the Western United States. Other notable speakers included Jay Jensen, Associate Director for Land & Water Ecosystems, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Jim Ogsbury, Executive Director, Western Governors’ Association and representatives from key partner organizations.

“Holding the WFLC Spring Meeting in California allowed participants to discuss the impacts of the complex issues facing our Western forests,” said Alex Friend, WFLC co-lead and Director of the Pacific Southwest Research Station headquartered in Albany. “Now and in the years ahead, rigorous science will play a key role in helping land managers address these issues and restore resilience in forests across the West.”

The meeting concluded with a panel highlighting Western forestry priorities, initiatives and partnerships. Panelists included Rebecca Barnard, National Wild Turkey Federation; Tom Fry, American Forest Foundation; Nadine Block, Sustainable Forestry Initiative; and Mike Beacom, National Association of Conservation Districts.

To learn more about the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition and the Council of Western State Foresters, please visit www.wflccenter.org.

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About the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition

Formally established in 2000, the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) represents a unique partnership between the Council of Western State Foresters and federal government forestry leaders. WFLC is comprised of 34 members from across the federal and state agencies of the West which include: 23 state members (also known as the Council of Western State Foresters) which include State, Territorial, and Commonwealth Foresters of the West and American-affiliated islands of the Pacific; and 11 USDA Forest Service members, which include: seven Western Regional Foresters, three Western USFS Research Station Directors, and one USFS Forest Products Lab Director.

About the Council of Western State Foresters

The Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) is a nonpartisan organization of state, territorial, and commonwealth foresters of the Western United States and Pacific Islands. State Foresters are charged with providing forest management assistance to landowners, managing state trust lands, and supplying wildfire and forest health protection services. CWSF staff and members participate in the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition with Western members of the U.S. Forest Service leadership. CWSF cultivates partnerships, raises awareness and takes action on the most important issues affecting forests in the Western United States and Pacific Islands.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

CDFW and Partners Investigate Decline in Pheasant Population


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently hosted a pheasant ecology workshop to examine possible causes of a decline of the state's pheasant population over the last 25 years.

Held in cooperation with Pheasants Forever, the workshop convened more than 45 state and federal scientists, public and private land managers, and representatives from Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association.

Participants reviewed research from scientists at the US Geological Survey and heard from pheasant experts from across the nation. Data collected showed that contributing factors to the decline include changes in agricultural practices, growth of forested habitats in historic wetland and grassland environments, climate change and predation from increasing raven populations.

"The combination of modern analysis tools and on-the-ground land management techniques helped us chart a map forward, which is especially important during the drought," said CDFW Upland Game Program Scientist Matt Meshriy. "We look forward to collaborating with Pheasants Forever and other conservation partners interested in this species."

The workshop, held on April 30 and May 1, included presentations by Dr. Les Flake of South Dakota State University and Senior Research Biologist Dave Musil of Idaho Fish and Game. CDFW managers from six state wildlife areas and federal partners from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complexes also presented reports on site-specific conditions that described the breadth of habitat challenges facing pheasants and other upland nesting bird species throughout the state.

Pheasants were introduced in California in the 1890s and adapted well in the agricultural regions of the state. By the mid-1960s, about 250,000 hunters were spending about 800,000 days afield in pursuit of this game bird. Since the mid-1990s, populations have been steadily declining. In 2010, only about 30,000 pheasant hunters spent about 100,000 days afield.

Pheasants Forever is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $577 million on 475,000 habitat projects benefiting 10 million acres nationwide.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Federal Emissions Rules Would Choke U.S. Economy By Drew Johnson


Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park is a pristine display of natural beauty. Starting this year, however, the Environmental Protection Agency will give it a new designation: "Out of Compliance."

The EPA recently proposed new regulations that would dramatically lower ozone emission standards. Under the new standards, as many as 100 state and national parks would fail the test. And the compliance costs for public authorities and private businesses will number in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Indeed, the EPA's new ozone rules could be the most expensive regulations in America's history. They will destroy jobs and stunt economic growth throughout the country. The government should avoid the temptation to overregulate and reject this proposal.

Ozone is a naturally occurring gas that helps shield the Earth from the sun's rays. But when ozone interacts with emissions from industrial factories, cars, and electric utilities, it can cause serious health issues.

According to the EPA's own data, roughly 60 percent of the country would fail to meet the proposed rules change, which lowers the amount of ozone allowed from 75 parts per billion to about 60 parts per billion.

The proposal's impact on the U.S. economy would be devastating. The compliance costs for companies could hit upwards of $140 billion a year, according to a report by NERA Economic Consulting. And the rule change would destroy about 1.4 million jobs annually.

This burden would fall hardest on small businesses. On average, these firms already fork over $35,000 a year toward regulatory compliance. Mom-and-pop businesses typically run on very thin profit margins. Even minor upticks in operations costs could sink them.

Even President Obama has recognized this ruling's potential to kills jobs and devastate the economy. In 2011, he blocked a nearly finalized version of similar regulations from the EPA. In his own words, Obama opposed the ozone standards in an effort to "underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty."

The EPA claims the proposed ozone rule would generated public health benefits worth up to $38 billion.

That calculation is likely way off. According to a report by the research group Energy in Depth, the agency's figure is about 3,100 percent higher than its 2011 calculation for the same exact regulation. Somehow the economic benefits for the same environmental standard mysteriously jumped from $700 million to as much as $38 billion within a few years.

The Environmental Protection Agency is either conveniently excluding very real economic costs from its analysis, or inflating the rule's health benefits to justify federal overreach.

What's more, existing ozone standards are already doing a terrific job at improving air quality. These new regulations are unnecessary.

Indeed, Americans today are breathing the cleanest air in over 30 years. Since 2010, the ozone levels in the United States have plummeted by almost 20 percent. Over the same period, this country has cut both carbon and nitrogen monoxide emissions by more than 40 percent.

The federal government is about to issue an ozone regulation so stringent that even its own national parks cannot comply. This tightening would devastate American businesses and cost the economy billions in lost growth. This proposal needs to be scrapped before it can take effect.

Drew Johnson is a Senior Fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to limited, responsible government.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SUPERVISORS' SPECIAL SESSION

IN SPECIAL SESSION at the historic Yuba Theater in Downieville, Sierra County Board of Supervisors met on April 29th over the Firm Foundation Acadamy, Inc. land use development project.
County Counsel Jim Curtis gave the structure of the public hearings on consideration of a zone amendment from General Forest to Public Service filed by Firm Foundation on recommendation of the Planning Commission and on an appeal filed by Michael M. Miller on the Planning Commission’s approval. On Curtis’ recommendation, the two hearings were consolidated. He called it a “disservice” to fragment.
The project site is the former Pliocene Ridge School at 1999 Ridge Road in Pike.
Curtis gave the history of the County’s general plan, adopted in 1996.
County Deputy Planning Director Brandon Pangman gave the project description and background with the 557-page administrative record. He told of Phase 1 up to five classrooms with a change of occupancy to a dormitory with a maximum of 48 people, a modular for two caretakers and 12 staff faculty not on site.
Brandon explained the former zoning of General Forest with the school district which was subject to State but not subject to the County general plan. When the school property sold as private property in 2013, the zoning mattered and changed to Public Service.
Brandon told of background studies, traffic engineering, park analysis and 18 areas which dealt with a “very detailed checklist.” A 30-day circulation period received a lot of comments to which, he said, all were responded. The Planning Commission 4-1 approved the special use and adopted the negative declaration. He stated he believed the County followed all laws and procedures.
Planning Director Tim Beals addressed negative comments, stating any idea of conspiracy or prejudgment were not accurate. He stated it’s not the role of staff to determine if a project enhances the community. He called the quality of the staff report “quite high,” and it went to “extreme lengths to be open.”
Appellant Mike Miller agreed with Tim on staff but not on final analysis. Mike served on the Planning Commission 12 years. He told how when Firm Foundation first came, it fit the community but then homeowners had concerns; the project is too big. He told of misconceptions and how the project doesn’t fit Pike. He told when the school was built, State laws governed it and wildlife and deer migration were not considered. Key, he said, is the Public Service and stated General Forest would limit the type of growth. He felt his community was “under attack” by someone here under a year. He stated the General Plan can be changed with care and the gentleman came to the wrong place, a rural area to make profit in cultural heritage and history which doesn’t meet the quality of life and has no track record of running schools. He called it a “County issue,” and told the Board, “Your job is to work for your constituents. Something else will come to this site,” he stated.
Andy Cassano, Land Surveyor and Land Use Planner with Nevada City Engineering, Inc. out of Nevada City represented Firm Foundation Academy and showed photos of repair work and the investment his client has made on an abandoned and vacant building to a serviceable mode, creating an “important public center for Pike.” He was happy to be working with its staff. He told of water conservation “a must” and cutting 60-70% with $20,000 worth of turf when occupied. He told of proven technology with the sewer system. He stated foreign students “are not the case” but are marketed through California and State colleges. Conspiracy theories or hidden agenda “is just not it.” He called California planning laws “on the mark,” and of the public benefit and the school providing property taxes. He called the general plan its “Bible” and said this case “clearly shows land
as public service” and provides for the school.
The public hearing dealt with residents questioning if it were a software developing agency and Firm Foundation’s real function; groundwater and its supply; the impact of law enforcement and emergency medical services; supporting a day school like it used to be and support of software development which “makes millions” and they could afford to “truck water in.”
Those living across from Firm Foundation were in favor of it and there were letters read stating a “splendid job of renovation,” and those in favor of occupation, education and employment opportunities. Some called it a “small private university where I could take classes,” while others worried about the amount of water, students wandering around and being bussed in.
No decision was made that day. The Board of Supervisors is to analyze facts and information and determine if the zoning is consistent with the special use permit; “not a matter of like or don’t like,” according to County Counsel.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Truckee Donner Land Trust takes steps to restore the historic Webber Lake Hotel



(Truckee, Calif.) In 2012, Cliff and Barbara Johnson sold their Webber Lake Ranch, which included sheep grazing, timber management, camping, fishing, boating, and various family cabins and structures to the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Although the Johnson’s had received more lucrative offers on these lands they had owned for nearly a century, they chose to sell to the Land Trust so their love for the land and appreciation of its natural beauty and resources would be preserved for the public to enjoy forever.

Naturally, The Land Trust was thrilled to acquire Webber Lake and Lacey Meadows; 3,000 acres of enormous biological importance and opportunities for public recreation. But, something else of real importance came with the purchase. Something really important; one of northern California’s oldest standing buildings and one of great significance in California’s early history, the Webber Lake Hotel.

Dr. David Gould Webber built the Webber Lake Hotel in 1860. The hotel, just steps from the north side of Webber Lake itself, sits on Henness Pass Road, a popular stage route that in its heyday could see 100 wagons a day.

The hotel became celebrated and entertained guests such as Old Block Delano, an early comic writer, Charles Nahl, an early California artist, and Thomas Hill, a renowned painter. The three-story hotel provided respite for emigrants and miners while drawing hunters, fishermen, botanizers, boaters, and businessmen who enjoyed the lake.

The hotel’s true glory days arrived with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, Nevada, as a stage stop on the Henness Pass Road, which was a major supply line for the mines in Nevada.

It is not unusual for a land trust to acquire an historic structure but land trusts emphasize acquisition and management of lands and open space. An historic restoration can be a colossal undertaking for any land trust.

Says K.V. Van Lom, who is heading the Land Trust’s restoration efforts, “The Webber Lake Hotel is unique to California, the region, and deserves to be here for history buffs and visitors to explore forever. I just can’t overstate how important it is for this building to be saved,” she adds.

Tim Beals, Sierra County Director of Transportation and Planning says, “Webber Lake is one of Sierra County's most precious assets, and I will be looking forward to keeping the County Board of Supervisors updated and directly involved in any recreation planning so that the uses proposed at Webber Lake are consistent with the County General Plan.

The Land Trust has appointed Truckee architect Dennis E. Zirbel, experienced with restoring some of Truckee’s older buildings, to produce an Historic Structures Report, the first step needed for a restoration project. The report is currently in process.

Says Doug Gadow, owner of Linchpin Structural Engineering. “The building appears to be holding up very well. However, it has no apparent foundation and has settled significantly into the soil. The structure will need to be lifted, straightened, provided a foundation, and deteriorated framing will need to be repaired or replaced. The foundation work and wood deterioration repair will be costly, but definitely worth it considering the good condition of the rest of the structure.”

A Truckee local as well, Gadow too has extensive experience in historic restoration projects, and the Land Trust feels it is in the good hands of experts.

The Land Trust’s immediate plan is simple: clean out the building and make it structurally sound. Once this is accomplished, the front parlor will be restored to period, will display exhibits, and two upstairs sleeping rooms will be restored to period. The original external color of the hotel, white, will be applied as well. The building will also be put on the National Historic Register.

The Land Trust is now working with the Sierra County Historical Society, the Truckee Donner Historical Society and other agencies to collect artifacts, create exhibits, restore rooms, and search for funding sources.

“The Sierra County Historical Society is delighted to play a supportive role in the restoration of the Webber Lake Hotel. Its historic significance is undeniable, “ says Mary Nourse, the Historical Society’s president. She adds, "The structure is truly an historic gem and it is the logical repository for artifacts of a bygone era. Our membership will work to help preserve that history in order to provide a link to the past for generations to come.”

Dr. Webber was a well-known and respected leader in Sierra County, rumored to have adopted as many as 50 children. His contribution to Sierra County is notable.

“Dr. Webber figures prominently in the hotel’s restoration”, says Van Lom. “Not only was he a great gentleman, he built the hotel, and he also named nearby Mt. Lola after Lola Montez, the famous and scandalous courtesan who is rumored to have once stayed at the hotel. We absolutely need to obtain some of his personal items to honor him with an exhibit in the parlor.”

The Land Trust is asking for folks to search for Dr. Webber’s ancestors, artifacts, furniture, photos and time period items as well as to volunteer for in-kind projects such as debris removal, painting, expert services, etc. More importantly, if you would like to make a contribution towards the restoration, you can make a secure online donation at www.tdlandtrust.org, or send a check to the Truckee Donner Land Trust, P.O. Box 8816, Truckee, CA 96162. Be sure to note that your donation is for the Webber Lake Hotel Restoration.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Tax Hikes Look Silly as State Gets Financial Windfall



By George Runner

It must be silly season in Sacramento. As the state receives billions in unanticipated revenues, liberal tax-and-spend lawmakers are proposing massive tax hikes, proving once again that they are out of touch with reality.

One key measure of reality ignored by liberal lawmakers is Tax Freedom Day. Calculated annually by the Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day is the day Americans have earned enough money to pay their annual tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.

This year, National Tax Freedom Day arrived on April 24, but Californians didn’t achieve tax freedom until May 3. That means Californians had to work nine days longer than the national average to fulfill their tax obligations.

California’s Tax Freedom Day is the fourth latest in the nation. Only Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have later dates.

By proposing higher taxes, liberal legislators are trying to make taxpayers work even longer to pay their tax bill.

The other reality ignored by would-be tax hikers is that state government already has more than enough money. Due to the state’s volatile tax structure, a booming tech sector and soaring stock market, state officials are now swimming in cash.

In the critical month of April, state income tax revenues exceeded budget projections by 1.8 billion dollars.

Just how much money is 1.8 billion dollars? If state officials put the money in one dollar increments, they could string those bills together and have a chain long enough to travel the California coastline more than 200 times.

The same chain of dollars could wrap around the earth nearly seven times. It could even stretch more than seven tenths of the distance to the moon.

And that’s just counting unexpected revenue from April alone. Experts believe unbudgeted surplus revenues for the current fiscal year will exceed 4 billion by June 30, an amount larger than the entire budgets of four states.

With state coffers overflowing, it’s becoming increasingly bizarre that Sacramento spenders are proposing new taxes. Is their appetite for taxpayer dollars insatiable?

Among other schemes, they are plotting how to extend Proposition 30, the “temporary” sales and income tax increases voters approved in 2012. As I’ve observed many times, it’s rare to see a temporary tax go away, regardless of promises made to voters.

Reinforcing how out of touch they really are, prominent Democratic legislators have proposed massive tax increases on driving, gasoline purchases and vehicle registrations (SB 16), insurance policies (AB 1203), real estate documents (AB 1335) and services that could include haircuts, movie
tickets and many more (SB 8).

In addition, big spending lawmakers have introduced two constitutional amendments (ACA 4 and SCA 5) aimed at making it easier to approve regressive local tax hikes, including parcel taxes on homeowners. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association warns that these measures are a direct attack on Proposition 13, which voters approved in 1978 to protect homeowners from losing their homes to rising tax bills.

It seems that—regardless of reality—in California another day means another proposed tax increase. Despite our state’s high tax ranking and surging revenues, spending-addicted lawmakers always want more of your dollars.

Instead of ensuring taxpayers receive value for the dollars they send to Sacramento, lawmakers are taking the easy road by simply proposing new taxes. This allows legislators to avoid tough decisions and keep saying ‘yes’ to special interest groups.

Let’s hope there are a few folks left in the State Capitol who have the good sense to say ‘no’ to their proposals.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Californians Speak Out at State Capitol, Urge Action to Speed Up Vital Water Storage Projects



SACRAMENTO – A broad coalition of Californians including state legislators, farmers, farmworkers, business and labor leaders, water advocates, and others spoke out today at the State Capitol, urging the Legislature to act to expedite the construction of new water storage projects in California.

“If the Legislature is willing to grant the Sacramento Kings arena expedited environmental review, then surely we should grant it to crucial water storage projects, which benefit all Californians,” said Assembly Member James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, the author of Assembly Bill 311. “Once Water Bonds funds are allocated, the last thing we need are more delays. We must take action now to increase our storage capacity, and I am hopeful that the Legislature will listen to the voices of the many people who showed up at the State Capitol today to support expedited construction of these vital projects.”

“No civilized society seeks to destroy its own food supply or economic strengths, but that’s exactly where government water policies in California are headed,” said Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, of Modesto. “Californians are demanding action to increase water supply so farmers can grow their crops, businesses can thrive, people can get back to work and families can lead healthy lives. Passing this legislation is critical to protecting our local economies and our quality of life.”

During the rally, speakers talked about the importance of new water storage to increasing water supply in California. They noted that had the proposed Sites Reservoir in the North State been in place two years ago, 900,000 acre feet of new water could have been captured during that time. It is estimated that this would have been enough water to fill up a basketball arena 950 times.

Assembly Bill 311 (Gallagher) would streamline the environmental review process for the Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat water storage projects, thereby moving them out of government bureaucracy and into construction more quickly. The bill will be voted on in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday afternoon.

Although the California Water Commission is unable to release Prop. 1 storage funds until December 2016, Gallagher’s bill will ensure a more speedy construction timeline once funds become available. In 2013, the Legislature passed a similar bill to expedite the construction of a new sports arena in Downtown Sacramento.

The ongoing drought is hurting Californians. It is estimated that over 17,000 people have lost their jobs and the State has suffered $2.2 billion in economic damage as a result of the drought.

AB 311 is part of the Assembly Republican #GrowTogetherCA legislative package, which focuses on addressing the State’s critical infrastructure needs, like water, in order to spur economic growth.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

National Electric Company Urges Safety During Spring and Summer



May brings National Electrical Safety Month

WACO, Texas (May 20, 2015) – During the storm season, rain, wind and especially power issues, all have an affect on homes. With May being National Electrical Safety Month, the service professionals at Mr. Electric want to inform homeowners about electrical safety during the storm, spring and summer seasons.

“May is a great time to have National Electrical Safety Month,” said Dennis Teeuwsen, with Mr. Electric. “We still see plenty of rain through many parts of the country, so lightning safety needs to come into play. Also, many people will be using types of electricity that may have kept off for the winter.”

Properly install outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting needs to be installed properly. Certain installations of outdoor lighting require the running of underground electrical cables. A licensed professional should perform all home electrical work.

“Any time additional wiring has to be added to a home, whether it is outside or inside, a professional electrician should be called,” said Teeuwsen.

Practice lightning safety

Lightning can be damaging to all electrical equipment in and around the home. Lightning strikes can cause thousands in damages to electrical devices due to surges caused by electrical spikes. Take preventative measures by unplugging items such as tv’s, computers, game consoles and other home electrical items to prevent surges from ruining the equipment.

Correctly plug in heavy-duty electrical equipment

A dedicated circuit is used with the specific purpose of having its own circuit breaker in a home’s electrical box. Heavy appliances such as stoves and refrigerators should be connected to a dedicated circuit to cut down surges in the home.

Understand GFCI and AFCI outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets protect from ground faults. The outlets monitor current flow and turn off power if hazardous leakage levels occur. Arc-Fault Interrupter (AFCI) outlets provide added protection from potentially hazardous arc-faults. The outlets detect hazardous arc-faults and interrupt power. The AFCI outlet helps to reduce the likelihood of the home's electrical system from being an ignition source of a fire.

For more information on electrical safety visit mrelectric.com.

About Mr. Electric®:
Established in 1994, Mr. Electric is a global franchise organization providing electrical installation and repair services. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500,” Mr. Electric franchisees provide these services to both residential and commercial customers at almost 200 locations worldwide. Mr. Electric is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc., family of service franchises. For more information or to find the location nearest you, visit MrElectric.com.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

EAST SIERRA VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Looking for members!

The Chamber is meeting Saturday, April 25th at Golden West Saloon at 12:30 p.m.
New members invited! Come hear about the June 6th Car Show!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL - July 21ST

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL
discussed Sierra County’s Solid Waste System Fee Increase Protest at its July 21st meeting. The City has six bills, for an increase of $640.08. City Hall/Fire Department has decreased $155.66 due to recycling, from $519.92 to $385.92. The park is up $267.64 from $521.48 to $789.12; barn/Senior Center is up $484.78, from $1836.50 to $2321.28; the sewer plant is up $21.66, from $93.54 to $115.20 for the City’s grand total annually of $3,611.52. It was suggested they haul garbage and would encourage the Senior Center to recycle. This is the third increase in five years. Ernie said some pay $80 a month to haul garbage and part of the problem is some don’t pay, like the trailer park.
Brooks moved to oppose the tax, seconded by Ernie and approved unanimously.
Update on the Senior Center repairs was one bid for the complete job and needing to find out what insurance will pay minus deductible. Mayor Pat Whitley said the $5,000 CDBG fund will pay the labor. Senior Center Board member Donna May said the labor would be more like $7,000. Board member Jeff Toraason thought discussion was premature; they need to find out the bid and what insurance covers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sierra County sees increase in foreign-born residents



By Tim Marema and Roberto Gallardo

Like most of the United States, Sierra County saw an increase in the number of foreign-born residents over the last decade.

From 2000 to 2012, the number of Sierra County residents who were born in a foreign country grew by 84 people to an estimated 191, according to U.S. Census data.

The percentage of county residents who are foreign born also increased during the period, from 3.0 percent to an estimated 6.0 percent.

The findings could be important locally because a new study by the Daily Yonder indicates rural counties with a higher percentage of immigrants are doing better economically.

The study looked at the nation’s 1,966 nonmetropolitan counties, including Sierra County. Nonmetropolitan, or rural, counties have no cities of 50,000 or more residents and don’t have strong economic ties to a county that does.

The research showed that counties with a higher percentage of their population born in foreign countries generally had a higher per capita market income and more jobs. These same counties also tended to have lower rates of unemployment and better poverty than counties with a smaller proportion of immigrants.

In Sierra County, the economic results were mixed throughout the period of the study.

· Total employment grew by 1.1 percent to an estimated 1,533 full and part-time jobs.
· Unemployment rose by 8.7 percentage points to 14.5 percent.
· And the percentage of people living below the federal poverty line grew from 10.5 in 2000 to an estimated 13.1 in 2012.

The county’s overall 2012 population estimate was 3,200, a decrease of 11.0 percent over the past decade.

The connection between more immigrants and better economic performance did not surprise James H. Johnson Jr., a University of North Carolina business professor who has researched the economic impact of immigration.

“What people don’t understand is that immigration is a selective process,” he said. Immigrants tend to be younger and healthier than the general population, he said. “They are risk takers by definition. For them, the glass is always half full.”

But the demographic change can be challenging for smaller communities, said Daniel T. Lichter at the Cornell University Population Center.

“Whether communities take advantage of the potential of immigrant communities to improve the local economy depends on local leadership and how well they respond to immigrant populations,” he said.

The study is based on the 2000 U.S. Census and five-year American Community Survey data from 2012, the last year available when the study was conducted. The survey data is an estimate and has a margin of error that varies with county size.

More details on the study are available at www.dailyyonder.com/immigration2015.

Tim Marema is editor of the news site DailyYonder.com. Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., is a Daily Yonder researcher and an associate extension professor at the Mississippi State University. The Daily Yonder (www.dailyyonder.com) is published by the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Whitesburg, Ky.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

RCRC Applauds Two-Year Reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools


California’s Forested Counties to Receive More Than $53 Million in Funding for Public Schools and Road Programs
SACRAMENTO, CA – April 16, 2015 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) applaud Congress for their support of legislation providing for a two- year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS). Included as a policy rider to H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, also known as the “Doc Fix,” H.R. 2 will provide California’s forested counties with more than $53 million in SRS funding for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The President signed the bill into law late Thursday.
“SRS funding is critical to California’s rural counties, and we appreciate the reauthorization provided by Congress and the President,” said Lee Adams, RCRC Chair, and Sierra County Supervisor. “It’s now time to identify a long-term, stable funding source for forested counties and local schools to maintain vital programs, and avoid interruptions in services and operations.”
SRS funding mitigates the impact to county governments from the reduction of timber harvesting on federal forest lands. Prior to this reauthorization, SRS expired on September 20, 2013, resulting in a loss of funding for 2014 and future years to support critical programs in local schools and forested counties across the United States. Earlier this year, 27 RCRC member counties adopted resolutions urging Congress to reauthorize SRS, outlining impacts the lack of funding has upon local schools and county road programs. RCRC Officers utilized these resolutions in federal lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. this past February.
H.R. 2 also expedites SRS payments to counties by requiring the federal government to make payments within 45 days of the bill’s enactment. A detailed breakdown of California’s 2014 and 2015 SRS payment estimates can be accessed here.
ABOUT RURAL COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES OF CALIFORNIA (RCRC)
The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) is a thirty-four member county strong service organization that champions policies on behalf of California’s rural counties. RCRC is dedicated to RURAL COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES OF CALIFORNIA
1215 K STREET, SUITE 1650 SACRAMENTO, CA 95814 PHONE: 916-447-4806 FAX: 916-448-3154 WEB: WWW.RCRCNET.ORG
For More Information: Justin Caporusso (916) 447-4806 JCaporusso@rcrcnet.org

representing the collective unique interests of its membership, providing legislative and regulatory representation at the State and Federal levels, and providing responsible services for its members to enhance and protect the quality of life in rural California counties. To learn more about RCRC, visit rcrcnet.org and follow @RuralCounties on Twitter.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

The Fire Fee Shell Game: You Lose!


By George Runner, Vice Chair, Board of Equalization
Word count: 512

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the Governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire services.

The original fire fee was a scheme Governor Brown came up with after diverting about $90 million a year in fire prevention funds to help “balance” the state budget. Residents have gained nothing since this shell game passed. Not a dime of fire fee revenues can be used for actual fire suppression — trucks, planes or hoses. The funds can only be used for “prevention” efforts, which seem to be few and far between.

However, instead of simply repealing this onerous fire prevention fee, Democrats now want to replace a really bad policy with an even worse one.

AB 1203, authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer is currently awaiting consideration by the Legislature. The bill would repeal the fire fee, but replace it with a 3 to 5 percent insurance surcharge on all commercial and residential property statewide. The money collected from this fee would then be used to create a disaster response fund in the State Treasury.

Right now, this proposal is nothing more than a massive tax increase designed to further fund government bureaucracy. The current fire tax brings in about $80 million a year in revenue to the state coffers. If AB 1203 were to pass, that number could skyrocket to $500 million or more a year. That’s a colossal difference.

At a time when California is collecting record revenues, does Sacramento really need more of your money? For the month of March alone, revenues have come in $547 million higher than anticipated by the Governor’s budget.

Based on a $1,000 premium, a small business owner could end up paying tens of thousands of dollars more for insurance. And if you’re a residential property owner, you’d get hit with an insurance surcharge as well.

Why should Californians have to purchase additional insurance for something their tax dollars should already guarantee? Imagine having to purchase a crime insurance policy to ensure that local and state police respond to your 911 calls—that wouldn’t be effective or fair public policy, and neither is AB 1203.

Protecting Californians shouldn’t require new taxes or fees; public safety should be first, not last, in line for spending existing public dollars. If the state’s emergency readiness lacks adequate funding, California needs to do a better job prioritizing the more than $100 billion in taxes that taxpayers are currently sending to Sacramento each year.

Jones-Sawyer’s legislation requires a two-thirds vote. I hope both Democrats and Republicans will oppose this new tax proposal. It’s hard to imagine why the Legislature would replace a bad policy with an even worse one. Sadly, though, stranger things have happened in Sacramento.

The Legislature should repeal California’s illegal fire tax not replace it with a massive insurance scheme that will make life even more costly for Californians.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization. To help inform California taxpayers, Runner has established a website, calfirefee.com, to provide the latest fire tax news and information.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FW Urges Natural Control Methods for Pesky Rodent Populations


Rats, mice and voles are commonly sighted around homes and businesses this time of year. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages Californians to let nature control rodent populations by actively protecting their natural predators - owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures - rather than using poisons to eliminate pests. Environmentally friendly tactics (such as providing tall trees that raptors favor) will encourage these birds of prey to hang around your yard and remove rodents for you.

Most raptors use the same nest for many years and some even pass from one generation to the next. Bald eagles are known to have used the same nest as long as 35 years. That makes them an excellent long-term control for rodent populations in the immediate area.

During breeding season, a family of five owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents! You can encourage them by hanging a nest box on your property, but please don't do that if you or any of your neighbors are using anticoagulant rodenticides. Remember that poisoned rodents can poison the predators, scavengers and pets that eat them!

Even though the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have restricted public access to the most dangerous rodenticides, all rodenticides - including the types still available to consumers - are poisons that can kill wildlife, pets and children.

More wildlife could be saved if people would use sanitation, removal and exclusion to keep rodents out of homes and reduce their numbers. Like most animals, rodents will congregate and multiply where food is available and they feel safe. The easiest way to discourage them is to remove or modify anything that could make them comfortable. Sanitation is the first step to controlling rodents. For example:
Keep your home and yard neat and clean. Don't give rats places to hide.
Remove objects and plants that rodents can hide under, such as wood piles, debris, construction waste, dense vegetation and ground-covering vines like ivy.
Pick up fruit that has fallen from trees as soon as possible.
Secure your garbage in a tightly sealed can.
Seal water leaks and remove standing water that can attract unwelcome animals, breed mosquitoes and waste water.
To remove unwelcome rodents, set traps in secluded areas where they've been seen or are likely to travel: close to walls, behind objects, in dark corners, on ledges, shelves, fences, pipes and garage rafters. In areas where children, pets or birds might go, put the trap inside a box or use some kind of barrier for their safety. Check traps daily and wear disposable gloves when removing rodents from traps. Place them in a sealed plastic bag then into your garbage bin for weekly collection. Wash your hands after handling traps or rodents, even when using gloves.

Once you've removed mice and rats from inside the building, seal the entries they used to get in: openings where cables, wires and pipes enter buildings, and cracks or holes in the foundation, walls and roofs. Rodents can squeeze into holes as narrow as ½ inch diameter! Use hardware mesh and concrete, plaster or metal whenever possible. At the very least, stuff stainless steel or copper pot scrubbers, or Stuf-fit copper mesh wool into the spaces. All of these are sold online and at hardware and dollar stores.

If you feel you must use "rat poison," please carefully follow the label directions for all rodenticides. Only use them in small treatment areas indoors or right against building walls in tamper-resistant bait stations, never out in open field or garden areas, where they're most likely to reach wildlife and pets. Much more information and practical advice can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife/rodenticides.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Keep It California PAC

Rural California citizens vote to form a new multi-county, non-partisan political action committee called “Keep It California PAC”
On Tuesday April 7, 2015, concerned citizens from throughout rural California met in Redding, California and voted to form a new multi-county, non-partisan political action committee.
“Keep It California PAC was formed to represent the interest of all Republican, Democrat and Independent voters who oppose separation from California,” according to Keep It California Campaign Chair, Cindy Ellsmore. “Our mission is to advocate for better representation of rural California and to oppose breaking away to form a new state.”
The Principal Officers for the Keep It California PAC elected at this meeting include:
Cindy Ellsmore Campaign Chair Sierra County
Kevin Hendrick Vice Chair, Spokesperson Del Norte County
Rob Rowen Vice Chair, Campaign Headquarters Shasta County
Dolly Verrue Secretary Siskiyou County
John Mertes Treasurer Del Norte County
Larry Marks Assistant Treasurer Siskiyou County
“Keep It California is forming Local Coordinating Committees in every county where State of Jefferson proponents are active and has volunteers in 20 counties building these committees to monitor and respond to any incursions by Jefferson proponents,” stated Vice Chair, Kevin Hendrick. “Keep It California will provide material and financial assistance to these local efforts.” Hendrick was the director of the Keep It California campaign in Del Norte County which defeated the proposed State of Jefferson with 58% voting NO on an advisory ballot measure in June 2014.
Keep It California will encourage local agencies to evaluate the financial risks and uncertainties before continuing down the wayward path to Jefferson State and will inform voters and elected officials of the disastrous consequences of separating from California.
Most rural counties get back more money than local taxpayers pay to the State of California. “If we separate from California, our communities will lose millions of dollars in funding for roads, education, and social services for youth, families and seniors,” explained Cindy Ellsmore. “Jobs funded by the state through our schools, counties, parks, prisons, police and nonprofit community provide living wage employment which helps support our local economy.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

UPDATE ON LOYALTON MIDDLE SCHOOL - LOYALTON'S NEW MUSEUM

up-date to all of you Loyalton High School alumni who have so generously donated time and money to our effort to remodel our old cafeteria kitchen, located in the auditorium:
I am happy to report, we are 90% done!!
So far, it's painted, has new flooring, new cabinets, new curtains, new counter tops, etc.
We did keep the old double sink, which weighs a ton. Just ask my husband, Craig, and Mike Buck, who lifted it back into its old spot .
The old stove, donated by Earl and Rosalie Little, will be in by next weekend, and so will a used refrigerator. I am so happy to finally see the light at the end if the tunnel and I am sure you all will be happy with the results....."back to the 50's" look!
The flooring we put in the kitchen would be great to continue into the auditorium, but, we don't quite have enough donations left over to purchase the product for the 30 x 50 room. Soooo, if any more of you
Loyalton school alumni, or anybody, would like to contribute to the flooring ( my husband, Craig, told me he would donate his time on the weekends to install it), I would appreciate it. Make out the check to: Annie Terrasas, and in the "memo" space in the lower left hand corner, put "Alumni School project.”
Again, I would like to thank all of you for your support, and if there are cars in front of the school, that means the doors are open. Stop in and check things out!
Annie (Belli) Terrasas-Fassbender

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications to launch fiber network at Reno Collective Faster

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications to launch fiber network at Reno Collective
Faster connectivity to help grow Reno tech & startup community

April 8, 2015, Reno, NV: Cities around the United States are clamoring for the attention of large service providers, like Google Fiber, to provide faster Internet speeds. A new partnership between Reno Collective and Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications (PST) proves that this level of connectivity is already possible here in Reno.

New fiber service at 100 North Arlington will provide Reno Collective with connectivity that was not possible at the location before with other providers. The connection will be activated just in time for the International Space Apps Challenge, taking place this weekend.
The International Space Apps Challenge is a two-day hackathon where teams of technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, developers and students across the globe collaborate and engage with publicly available data to design innovative solutions for global challenges.
“As Reno Collective has grown into larger locations, we’ve always been looking for ways to scale up our technology and we kept hitting a ceiling with our connection,” says Don Morrison, a member-owner of Reno Collective. “Fiber is already all over town but the issue was getting it from under the street and into the building and thankfully Plumas-Sierra was able to do that.”

This new resource will be available to Reno Collective members and visitors, which includes many popular technology meetups and events including Hack4Reno, NASA Space Apps Challenge, RenoWired, Pixels of Fury and six software development meetups.

Both Reno Collective and PST are hopeful that the service will create opportunities for new endeavors and projects that were previously constrained by slower network speeds.
“PST’s partnership with the Reno Collective is hopefully the beginning of a trend. We are very excited about this opportunity,” said PST General Manager, Bob Marshall.
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About Reno Collective
Reno Collective is a collaborative workspace for designers, creatives, technologists, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Opened in 2010, Reno Collective was the first coworking space in the Reno area and has since been heavily involved in developing Reno’s creative, technology, and startup communities.

About Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications
Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications is an innovative provider of Internet and telecommunications services, continually striving to meet the critical needs of its community. PST was formed in 1987, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Portola, CA.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

#1 Killer of Teens is 100% Preventable





SACRAMENTO, Calif. - During California Teen Safe Driving Week from April 1-7, 2015, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Office of Traffic Safety, and Impact Teen Drivers will continue to emphasize the most deadly impact to teen drivers —reckless and distracted driving. Moreover, teens will learn that their number one killer is 100 percent preventable, if drivers and passengers make good decisions.

“People are starting to understand that everyday behaviors, such as texting, eating, applying make-up, or reaching for something, can be lethal when done behind the wheel,” said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers. “In a recent study, over 98 percent of people reported that texting behind the wheel is dangerous, but 75 percent still report doing it. The propensity for people to rationalize distracted driving behavior—the ‘not me’ mentality—is a big part of the problem.”

“One of the most difficult tasks for any officer is notifying parents that their teenager was killed in a traffic collision, and it is even worse when the crash was totally preventable,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Young drivers may not realize the magnitude of the aftermath of a fatal collision, and the emotional toll it takes. It is up to all of us – family, friends, experienced drivers – to set the right example, avoid distractions behind the wheel, and focus on our own driving.”

Research clearly shows that it is the cognitive distraction, not the manual distraction that presents the greatest risk behind the wheel. “We overestimate our abilities to multitask behind the wheel—the reality is our brain is not set up to do multiple tasks at once and do them well,” said Debbie Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council. “A moment of distraction behind the wheel—even one time—can have devastating consequences.”

Impact Teen Drivers uses a multifaceted approach to educate teens and communities about the dangers of reckless and distracted driving. Through the What Do You Consider Lethal? program, teens are engaged and empowered to make good decisions behind the wheel and spread the safe driving message to their peers. In Parent-Teen Workshops, parents are taught that they are the primary influencer of their teen’s driving attitudes and behaviors—and that “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work.

During California Teen Safe Driving Week, law enforcement agencies emphasize the need for a strong combination of education and enforcement to change driving attitudes and behaviors. They also stress that distracted driving injuries and fatalities are 100 percent preventable.

“We need to make distracted driving socially unacceptable, like driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “By combining education and enforcement to prevent distracted driving, we will make the roads safer for everyone.”

California Teen Safe Driving Week marks the beginning of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

SPECIAL MEETING OF LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL MARCH 31ST

A SPECIAL MEETING was held March 31, 2015 for the Loyalton City Council at Loyalton City Hall. Discussion and possible action regarding appointment of a Mayor was discussed. Current Mayor Brooks Mitchell stated his term would be over January 2016. Councilmember Mark Marin said some County officials indicated the City would get in their good graces if the Mayor was changed. Council member Pat Whitley stated January 2014 should have been Mitchell’s last year as Mayor and in January 2015 a new mayor should have been appointed. Mitchell said the Council chose to make him Mayor not Whitley and it bugged him that they wanted to make a change because county supervisors don’t want to work with him. Mitchell was worried about changing the Mayor with the City going to trial on May 5th and stated he’d signed seven depositions that morning.

From the audience, Dave Bowling stated he follows things that go on with the City pretty well and said it was sad to see this turmoil going on. He added that good things were happening with the City but not when the Council is contentious. Whitley said people don’t elect the mayor, the council does. Bowling added the way the Mayor’s term is interpreted is very difficult. Another audience member, Burt Whittaker said to run it by the City’s attorney to have the policy looked at. Phyllis Mitchell spoke in favor of Mitchell stating that Mitchell does not bring up county business and does not talk about council members. She said Mitchell has integrity and character and what he is doing is not for his own glory. She added as a business Phyllis and husband Chet worked with Mitchell and stated he has honesty. Phyllis quoted a scripture in the Bible stating if you bite and snap at one another, you’ll devour one another. Whitley stood by the way she read the policy. Another audience member in attendance, Marilyn Whittaker, said she’d been here a long time and added that under Mitchell’s leadership he brought the City back to the black. She stated under his leadership it’s been for the city.

Councilmember Marin stated the City should not have even been involved with cleaning up the hotel and said the City gave orders to clean it up. Mitchell asked Marin if he even read the report, adding the only thing the City did was pay Folchi to push the walls in. Whitley said the hotel was hurting the City immensely in the pocket book. Whittaker said the City has suffered because of the County, adding the City was better off without the County frankly and the City is moving along much better. Marin said the City has to work with the County and need to get along. Councilmember Ernie Teague said he’s made decisions he’s sorry for and does not like the many things that have been done. He finds it frustrating that too often the votes are 2-3. Teague said it splits the council and he doesn’t like it. Bowling told Teague part of legal procedure and that’s how it works. He said the point is when the vote is cast and final you move on. Bowling wanted to reiterate the positive things the council has done. Whitley said the City is trying to represent the citizens of Loyalton. She stated the main thing is to keep the City safe and keep the City monetarily with their head above water so they can swim. Mitchell’s brother Chet Mitchell said it saddens him there is so much backbiting going on from the City Council. He stated the Good Book says if a house is divided it will never stand, adding the City won’t agree on everything.

Councilmember Marin made motion to appoint Pat Whitley as Mayor. The motion passed with Mitchell and Councilmember Betty Ferguson abstaining. Ferguson wanted to step down as vice mayor right then and stated she heard council members talking that since she is moving she can’t be on the council and she has a letter from the Attorney General for health reasons. Motion and discussion will be taken for Vice Mayor at the next meeting.

Phyllis Mitchell said she’s heard the Council wants to shut down the project at the old middle school and wanted to know if that’s true. The Council said that wouldn’t happen.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Governor Brown Directs First Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions

Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.



“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” said Governor Brown. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”
For more than two years, the state’s experts have been managing water resources to ensure that the state survives this drought and is better prepared for the next one. Last year, the Governor proclaimed a drought state of emergency. The state has taken steps to make sure that water is available for human health and safety, growing food, fighting fires and protecting fish and wildlife. Millions have been spent helping thousands of California families most impacted by the drought pay their bills, put food on their tables and have water to drink.

A summary of the executive order issued by the Governor today.



Save Water



For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.



To save more water now, the order will also:



· Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
· Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
· Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
· Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.


Increase Enforcement



The Governor’s order calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing, recognized as an effective way to realize water reductions and discourage water waste.



Agricultural water users – which have borne much of the brunt of the drought to date, with hundreds of thousands of fallowed acres, significantly reduced water allocations and thousands of farmworkers laid off – will be required to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today’s order. Additionally, the Governor’s action strengthens standards for Agricultural Water Management Plans submitted by large agriculture water districts and requires small agriculture water districts to develop similar plans. These plans will help ensure that agricultural communities are prepared in case the drought extends into 2016.



Additional actions required by the order include:



· Taking action against water agencies in depleted groundwater basins that have not shared data on their groundwater supplies with the state;
· Updating standards for toilets and faucets and outdoor landscaping in residential communities and taking action against communities that ignore these standards; and
· Making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers.


Streamline Government Response



The order:



· Prioritizes state review and decision-making of water infrastructure projects and requires state agencies to report to the Governor’s Office on any application pending for more than 90 days.
· Streamlines permitting and review of emergency drought salinity barriers – necessary to keep freshwater supplies in upstream reservoirs for human use and habitat protection for endangered and threatened species;
· Simplifies the review and approval process for voluntary water transfers and emergency drinking water projects; and
· Directs state departments to provide temporary relocation assistance to families who need to move from homes where domestic wells have run dry to housing with running water.


Invest in New Technologies



The order helps make California more drought resilient by:



· Incentivizing promising new technology that will make California more water efficient through a new program administered by the California Energy Commission.

___________________________________________________________________________

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Executive Order imposing water restrictions on the state of California:

“In 2009, water agencies throughout California predicted that the new requirements placed on our state’s water system would leave us with no water during a prolonged drought. Fishery agencies and environmental groups balked, claiming this day would never come. With the fourth year of drought upon us, these kinds of policies are hurting California farmers, families and the environment, as Governor Brown’s announcement today shows. Decades of inaction have finally caught up with California’s refusal to build new storage. Conservation alone isn’t the answer.”


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

LOYALTON'S NEW MUSEUM & NOTE FROM ANNIE

THE HISTORIC HEARSE circa 1890-1915, in Loyalton’s museum, has lots of glass, some chrome and a lovely curved back. It is on display in the historic school/church, built in 1879 which may be the oldest local building, now situated at Loyalton Park. Along with the hearse is undertaker, Alice Reece’s black dress, shown above under plastic.
The Museum is scheduled to open Memorial Day at its new location at the former Loyalton Middle School.
Curator Jackie Mitchell plans to place the hearse in the old auditorium, next to what will be Annie Belli-Fassbender’s “Alumni’s Space” for fundraising. There are those who don’t want the hearse near dining. Jackie says that is the only space large enough.
Discussion over the hearse became contentious at the City Council meeting Tuesday night until Councilman Mark Marin’s suggestion of using a curtain to hide it during events was called a “good solution.”
Mayor Brooks Mitchell gave an update on progress of the new museum space, stating it’s two-thirds done with one room painted and flooring started. Concrete for the handicap ramp cost was $5,000 less. For Annie Terrassas’ room, cabinets and countertop are delivered along with flooring.
In the Thrift Store space, staples need to be removed and furniture emptied. Ten pickup loads have been taken to storage.
Ben Roberti talked about the trophies and those in cases at the new space may remain. New cases have been built at the high school and Ben will decide which of the 40 boxes of trophies to use. The mayor added there should be trophies through the fire department on display, too.
All the old drinking water fountains will remain in the new museum.
A fundraiser will be held at the new museum on
Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. with the reenactment portrayal of Andrew Jackson better known as “Big Jack” Davis by Lee Dummel. Call (530) 993-4012 for information.
The Council agreed to appoint a 5-member Museum Board. Jackie suggested former resident, Jim Olsen.
Gary Nelson of Sierra Brooks was present and thanked for an “excellent job” in donating the train, ranch, logging and Boca Dam display.
The mayor told of using $8,000 of the remaining $12,000 Loyalton Swim Pool funds at the museum and Rebekah McHenry Perez now in charge of that funding.
Discussion was over the May 8th sale of Loyalton Mobile Home Park LLC as tax-defaulted property and the cost of $6,000 a month for use of City water. The mayor stated the mobile home park manager hoped to be the owner and renegotiate the number of hookups since nine lots have no tenants. The park had 52 hookups and the City charged for 44, now down to 30 hookups. Councilman Ernie Teague “harped” on the $225,000 owed and questioned how the Council didn’t know what it was owed. The mayor applauded Ernie for his work on bringing in another $77,000 water and sewer funds which he called a “slow process” and admitted the City needs to trace the money.
In other action, the Council voted to advertise for a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, “clean up and green up” and repair the water system on Railroad Avenue for the car show June 6th and refer key enforcement to the finance committee.

From Annie Belli Fassbender: An up-date to all of you Loyalton High School alumni who have so generously donated time and money to our effort to remodel our old cafeteria kitchen, located in the auditorium. I am happy to report, we are 90% done !! So far, it's painted, new flooring, new cabinets, new curtains,new counter tops, etc..We did keep the old double sink, which weighs a ton, just ask my husband, Craig, and Mike Buck, who lifted it back into its old spot today . The old stove, donated by Earl and Rosalie Little, will be in by next weekend, and so will a used refrigerator. I am so happy to finally see the light at the end if the tunnel and I am sure you all will be happy with the results....."back to the 50's" look !
The flooring we put in the kitchen would be great to continue into the auditorium, but, we don't quite have enough donations left over to purchase the product for the 30x50 room. Soooo, if any more of you Loyalton school alumni, or any body,would like to contribute to the flooring ( my husband,Craig, already told me he would donate his time on the weekends to install it), I would appreciate it...make out the check to : Annie Terrasas, and in the "memo" space in the lower left hand corner, put "Alumni School project"....Again, I would like to thank all of you for your support, and if there are cars in front of the school, that means the doors are open, stop in and check things out !
Annie (Belli) Terrasas-Fassbender

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CAL FIRE Announces Awardees of Fire Prevention Fund Grants Projects Will Help Reduce Wildfire Threat



Sacramento – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has awarded over $9.5 million in grants throughout the state for a variety of projects aimed at reducing the elevated threat of wildfires due to the ongoing drought. A total of 83 grant applicants will receive funding for projects that contribute to fire prevention efforts around homes. The project will reinforce CAL FIRE’s ongoing efforts to address the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires.
“The high number of grant applications we received underscores just how vested the citizens of California are in preparing for our state’s inevitable wildfires,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and state forester. “We are looking forward to seeing ‘on the ground’ results these projects will yield.”
The Fire Prevention Fund Grants, created in the 2014-15 budget, are aimed at supplementing CAL FIRE’s ongoing activities by funding local entities’ efforts to help counteract the effects of the drought. Grant criteria weighted projects that addressed fire risk and potential impact of wildfire to habitable
structures in the State Responsibility Area, as well as community support and project feasibility.
Among winning projects were:
Sierra County: Residential Chipping Program $53,200 and Sierra City SC1 SC3 Fuels reduction $53,725;
Nevada County: Truckee Fire Protection District Community Wildfire Protection Plan $27,000, Nevada County Chipping Program $159,478, Bear River Pines Fuels Reduction $294,578, Nevada County Landfill Site Fuel Modification $31,020.
Plumas County: American Valley Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project $317,856.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

THE SIERRA BROOKS WATER SYSTEM PROJECT

to the residents. Beals said the assessment might go up a nickel, but not much and would pay the loan off a year early.
The acquisition of property from the Fish and Wildlife Commission was discussed. Beals thinks they now have their arms around the issue. Fish and Game has agreed to extend the property to include the pump station in the meadow, so the County will be gaining an additional half-acre. The County is now waiting to see the appraisal of the land the County is getting versus the land Fish and Game is getting in return. He said the State does not want a
THE SIERRA BROOKS WATER SYSTEM PROJECT was reported on by Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Loyalton on March 17th. Beals said a component of the USDA loan asked the County service area to fund one year of debt service, about $87,000 as a protection against default. He stated there had been back and forth discussions on how to fund, as it has to be in place when the final approval is given by USDA to proceed with bids. Beals felt the USDA might consider an option that demonstrates the County is on a teeter plan, with assurances that default on the loan will be recovered. County Counsel Jim Curtis said they could give an expressed resolution explaining the plan, as USDA was not that familiar with it. Beals said if USDA accepts it, they might increase the assessment $.10 per month. Beals stated the assessment district itself would fund the debt service reserve. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein was worried it would be an extra cost
third party in the mix, so the County will negotiate with Fish and Wildlife Commission directly through what the Sierra Brooks property owners want.
Beals stated the Forest Service has issued the use permit for the water tank. This allowed them to resolve the issue with the property owner, which could have halted the entire project.
Beals said the critical issue is the question of meters, as they are required as a condition of participating in this loan and grant. He said meters will encourage water conservation and there is a built in revenue stream for metering to follow
Continued on page 12.............

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Feds sued for blocking thousands of recreational routes in PNF



Representing two California counties and a broad coalition of associations and individuals who value public access to national forests, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) sued the federal government March 18, 2015 for acting to prohibit motorized travel on thousands of roads and trails in Plumas National Forest that have been used for decades for responsible and legally permissible recreational purposes.
Plumas National Forest is a 1,146,000-acre National Forest in the Sierra Nevada. The lawsuit argues the U.S. Forest Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture, violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), by blocking access to much of Plumas National Forest without a careful, factually specific review of environmental impacts, including consequences for the public.
“We are suing to stop federal officials from illegally ‘fencing off’ a vast portion of Plumas National Forest from responsible recreational use by the public,” said PLF Senior Staff Attorney Ted Hadzi-Antich. “Federal officials have a duty to protect the environment, but not to keep humans out of the environment. One of the primary purposes of our national forests is to provide for recreational uses. Yet the Forest Service is now prohibiting responsible recreation, by restricting access to thousands of roads and trails that the public has long had the right to use in motorized vehicles.”
PLF represents all clients without charge. The plaintiffs in this case are individual recreational users of the forest, including a disabled person whose long-time access has now been taken away; two associations of Californians dedicated to protection and recreational use of national forests; and two counties — Butte and Plumas — whose boundaries include substantial portions of Plumas National Forest.
The Forest Service’s 2005 Travel Management Rule provides for designation of roads and trails available for motorized recreation in the national forests. However, the Service implemented this rule in a flawed and illegal way when it issued its Plumas National Forest Public Motorized Travel Management Record of Decision and Environmental Impact Statement in 2010, according to the lawsuit.
In that 2010 decision, the Service excluded thousands of roads and trails used by the public for motorized travel and recreational purposes for decades. Although these routes had been previously unclassified and not officially part of the National Forest Transportation System, they were always open to the public and it was entirely lawful to use them for motorized travel. The Forest Service’s sudden decision to start banning motorized use of these routes was made illegally, without the factual analysis required by NEPA.
“Regulators closed off these roads without open and careful review of the facts,” said Hadzi-Antich. “This kind of drive-by decision-making isn’t just a careless way to make policy for our national forests. It’s also illegal. When decisions affect public lands, NEPA requires site-specific analysis of the environmental and human consequences, and that didn’t happen here.”
“The Forest Service failed to adequately consider the human toll that results from denying Californians and others the ability to continue cherished and family-friendly recreational activities that have been taking place in the Forest for generations,” said Hadzi-Antich. “Particularly egregious is the fact that the closure of these roads and trails deprives disabled persons, who require motorized vehicle transport, to enjoy many parts of Plumas National Forest.”
“The Forest Service’s decision also negatively impacts residents of Plumas and Butte Counties who depend upon access to the Forest for low-cost sources of food and fuel,” he added. “It also adversely affects numerous commercial interests in Plumas and Butte Counties that derive income from providing services related to motorized vehicle use and recreation, both for county residents and tourists attracted by the Forest’s recreational opportunities.”
“The forest belongs to the people, and, in a responsible way, we should be able to use it,” said Plumas County Supervisor Terry W. Swofford. “This lawsuit is about the freedom to access public lands,” added Plumas County Supervisor Sherrie Thrall.
Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the case is Granat v. United States Department of Agriculture. Further information, including the complaint, a video, a podcast, and an explanatory blog post, may be found at www.pacificlegal.org.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulation, in courts across the country.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE CHILCOOT CHICKS

The Chilcoot Chicks recently provided a harmony workshop for the Choir class at Loyalton High School. The Chilcoot Chicks are a Barbershop Quartette. Laural Colberg and Sherry Pitts are of Chilcoot and both raise chickens - thus the name of the group. Other members are Barbara Rich, and Karen Garner, both of Reno.
Laural sings Lead, Sherry is Tenor, Barbara sings Bass and Karen is Baritone. They have been singing together for almost 3 years. “We do it just for fun and we sing for people who don't normally have access to music because they are home bound or in a Care Facility. Locally we have sung for the Senior Center and the Care Facility in Loyalton. We have a member in each decade, 50's, 60's, 70's, and our lovely Base is in her 80's. We have about 7 songs on You Tube,” says Laural.
“When we heard the school was offering Choir, we volunteered to come in and do an afternoon workshop with them to show our support for Music in the Schools, and Ms. Baker in particular for taking this on. It was a fantastic afternoon with some really wonderful and talented kids. We performed for them, they in turn performed for us. We brought music for several songs and worked with the kids. By the end of the day everyone was singing in four part harmony to Old Mc Donald, Happy Birthday and Christmas Chopsticks.”
"Our goal was to show our support for the School Choir Program, show them that music can follow them into adult hood, and pass on some tricks and techniques for how we learn a new song and our harmony parts.
"The day surpassed our expectations. Through a lot a laughter and camaraderie, the group was able to learn and even perform the songs for other classes that dropped in to see what all the commotion was in Ms Bakers room. We hope that they will consider inviting us back again."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ART RENAISSANCE AT LOYALTON HIGH SCHOOL

A renaissance – a rebirth – of interest and talent in the arts has been occurring at Loyalton High School this year with the addition of many new arts-related electives for students.
A recent article in The Washington Post said that students benefit from at least 10 skills and personal characteristics from arts instruction: creativity, confidence, problem solving, perseverance, focus, nonverbal communication, the process of receiving constructive criticism, collaboration, dedication and accountability.
LHS principal Marla Stock said that she is really excited about the new arts classes “because it makes students excited about their education.”
Students are benefiting from new courses in Choir, Ceramics, Film Making, Graphic Arts/Photography and Floriculture, as well as the other visual and per- forming arts courses previously offered—Film Appre-ciation; Art 1, 2, 3, 4; Studio Art, Advanced Placement Studio Art, Yearbook Production, Arts and Crafts and Theater Arts.
See the complete story with photos of various projects in the March 26th issue of the Sierra Booster!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If we don't restore forests, carbon fight is futile


by Brian Dahle

You may be an eco-conscious Californian. You might drive a hybrid car and have solar panels on the roof. You want to do your part to slow global warming.

Good for you, that’s your prerogative. But I have bad news: Those efforts will be fruitless if a carbon crisis in the making isn’t addressed. I’m not talking about coal-fired power plants in China – though they’re a serious problem. I’m talking about our own California backyard.

Forests are one of the few ways we can offset the carbon dioxide emissions of our cars and power plants. Trees breathe CO2 and turn it into wood that, at least in theory, can lock up carbon for centuries. And who doesn’t like the idea of growing majestic trees while helping the climate?

Just one problem: The forests of the Sierra Nevada, though strictly protected, aren’t aging into towering old-growth groves. On the contrary, they’re burning up in catastrophic megafires with carbon footprints to match.

The Rim Fire in 2013 burned an area larger than San Diego, and its smoke carried CO2 equal to the annual tailpipe emissions of more than 2 million cars. The dead trees left in its wake emit more carbon as they decay. Yet none of those emissions are counted by the California Air Resources Board.

The Rim Fire was the largest blaze on record in the Sierra Nevada, but the relentless trend is toward larger, hotter fires. Seven of the 10 largest fires in California history have burned in the past decade. If nothing changes, blazes like the Rim Fire will soon be just another summer day. By some measures, California’s forests have already flipped from a carbon sink to a net source of CO2, worsening rather easing climate change.

With its yearly summer dry season, California’s landscape is inevitably fire-prone. Forests once naturally burned every 10 to 15 years or so, thinning the forest by burning slow and low to the ground allowing for trees to survive. When a forest is healthy, it thrives on flames that clean out weak trees and underbrush, and start new cycles of growth. Unfortunately, today’s Sierra Nevada forests aren’t healthy. Instead of the giant, fire-resistant trees we treasure, we have fire-trap thickets. The government has suppressed or “fought” fire for 80 years and as a result fires today are now catastrophic. They burn so hot that they destroy everything in their path, ruining wildlife habitat and watersheds.

The U.S. Forest Service has raised increasing alarms in the past few years over the need to restore the millions of acres of forest it manages in California, but resources for restoration and fire prevention remain scarce, even as we spend billions fighting out-of-control wildfires.

We don’t have to watch in paralyzed horror as our forests burn. We don’t have to wait for answers from a gridlocked federal government.

We can act.

California is raising billions of dollars in new revenue through its cap-and-trade program. The state is taxing carbon emissions and, by law, that money must go toward environmental programs that reduce our carbon footprint and help adapt to the inevitable changes the state faces. If we really care about carbon dioxide, it is essential to invest at least part of that money in forest restoration and woody bioenergy to bring California’s forests back toward a healthy balance – as I propose through Assembly Bills 670 and 1345. AB 1345 would also require the Air Resources Board to track the wildfire emissions, just as it does every other source of greenhouse gases.

Research by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service demonstrates that thinning fuels and restoring our forests can shrink the state’s carbon footprint. But that is just the start of the benefits of healthy, fire-resilient forests. Taming catastrophic blazes lowers firefighting costs, improves habitat for endangered wildlife, and provides more reliable water supplies.

That water doesn’t just supply summer camps up in the pines. Even if you live hundreds of miles from the mountains, when you fill a glass of water, much of it probably came from a stream in the Sierra Nevada.

Scientists tell us the mountains of California have already warmed over the past century and that we can expect more. Experience tells us fire seasons have already become longer and more dangerous. And a look at our reservoirs shows water is increasingly scarce.

We know what to do to address these problems. The only question is whether we’ll start acting before fire scours the forests from our Sierra watersheds.

Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents the 1st Assembly District, including the northern Sierra Nevada from Lake Tahoe to the Oregon border.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shouldn't California Have the Best Roads By Now?


As seen in the CalTaxletter, Fox & Hounds Daily, Rocklin & Roseville Today and Sierra Booster

By George Runner

If high taxes guaranteed results, then California should have some of the best roads in the nation. For years we've had one of the highest gas taxes, yet our freeways consistently receive failing grades.
It makes no sense unless you admit that high taxes don't guarantee good roads. That's one of many reasons I had no trouble voting with my State Board of Equalization colleagues to approve a 6 cent cut to the state's gas tax. Under a confusing and complicated law commonly known as the "gas tax swap," the state has been over collecting tax dollars as gas prices have fallen. The new rate helps solve this problem.
Any tax cut is a rare bit of good news for overtaxed Californians. This gas tax cut also has the added benefit of partially offsetting the cost of a new hidden gas tax that took effect January 1 to help fund high speed rail and other so-called anti-global warming efforts.
California will still have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation, but even so not everyone is pleased to see the tax go down. In fact, some government officials are devising new schemes-like mileage taxes and road user fees-aimed at getting even more of your dollars.
But before you send any more money to Sacramento, you deserve a clear picture of just how much money the state already receives for transportation and how those dollars are spent.
Here are a few key facts the media often fails to report:
Fuel tax revenues have grown — Even as vehicles have become more efficient, fuel tax revenues grew 35% in the past ten fiscal years-from $6.5 billion to a record $8.7 billion. Most of these dollars are reserved for transportation, although some sales tax dollars go directly to local governments.
Total transportation spending is an estimated $28 billion — Fuel taxes are only one piece of the transportation funding puzzle. The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates total transportation funding in California from all sources of government is $28 billion. About half of this funding comes from local governments, and a quarter each from the state and federal government.
There's plenty of money available — Governor Brown's proposed $113 billion General Fund budget would be a record high for state spending. Even so, it provides very little funding for transportation. Perhaps because most transportation funding now comes from special funds, California's spending on highways is below average when compared to other states. At the same time, California's overall state spending and welfare spending both exceed the national average. If we need more funding for roads, why not use General Fund dollars like we did in the past? It's all about priorities.
California taxpayers are not getting good value for the dollars they send to Sacramento. Due to questionable laws and regulations, the cost of transportation and infrastructure projects is far higher in California than other states. It's a tough sell to say Sacramento needs more money when projects like high speed rail and the Bay Bridge are plagued by waste and cost-overruns.
The State of California ought to be investing your tax dollars wisely and cost-effectively, not wasting them on bullet trains and bureaucracy. If our leaders spent less time concocting new tax schemes and more time properly stewarding existing funds, perhaps we'd all spend less time stuck in traffic. Maybe someday we could have the best roads again, too.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Simple Steps to Seed Starting Success

By Melinda Myers

Get a jump on the growing season by starting your favorite or hard to find plants indoors from seeds. Starting hard to find plants, like many of the heirloom or newly introduced varieties, from seed may be the only way you will be able to add these to your garden. Plus, you’ll be extending the growing season and bringing the fun of gardening indoors.

All you need is a little space, a few supplies and of course seeds to get started. Check the back of your seed packets for planting directions. Most recommend when and how to start seeds indoors as well as any other special care the seedlings will need.

Purchase, recycle or make your own containers from newspaper. Sanitize used pots by dipping them in a one part bleach and nine parts water solution and then rinsing them with clean water.

Fill the containers with a sterile well-drained potting mix or seed starting mix. Once the containers are filled, plant the seeds according to the seed packet directions.

For most seeds, plant them twice their diameter deep and gently water. Continue to water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Extend the time between watering and increase your seed starting success by covering the container with plastic. Or purchase a seed starting kit, like the self-watering Growease seed starter kits.

Move your containers to a sunny window as soon as the seedlings emerge from the soil. Turn plants often to encourage even growth. Or increase your success by growing seedlings under artificial lights. You can make your own light system or purchase tabletop, shelf units or easy to assemble light systems, like Stack-N-Grow (gardeners.com). Keep the lights four to six inches above the top of the seedlings for best results. As the seedlings grow, be sure to maintain this distance by simply raising the lights or lowering the containers.

Move overcrowded seedlings to larger containers once they have two sets of true leaves. The first leaves that appear are rather indistinct and are called seed leaves. The next set of leaves look more like the mature plant’s leaves and are called true leaves. Once the next set of true leaves forms, it is time to transplant overcrowded seedlings.

Use a fork or spoon to carefully lift out the seedling. Clusters of seedlings can be dug and carefully teased apart before planting in individual pots. Be careful not to pinch and damage the young tender stems.

Place seedlings in their own clean container filled with moist sterile potting mix. Plant the young plants at the same depth they were growing in the original container.

Thin seedlings started in individual containers as needed. If you planted several seeds in each small container remove all but the healthiest one. Prune the weaker seedlings to ground level, so the remaining seedling can develop into a strong transplant for the garden.

Continue to grow your plants in a sunny window or under artificial lights and water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.

Soon it will be time to move your homegrown transplants into the garden.

No Gardening Space – No Problem
By Melinda Myers

Brighten up your patio, deck or front entrance with containers. They’re an excellent way to add color, fragrance and beauty where plantable space is limited or non- existent.

Set a few containers on the front or back steps, in the corner of your deck or other location where they can be enjoyed. Try stacking and planting several containers to create a display with greater vertical interest. Check the views when looking from inside the house out as well as when enjoying the space outdoors. Strategically place containers for the greatest viewing pleasure.

Save even more space by using railing planters. You can dress up the porch or deck by filling these planters with colorful flowers and edibles. Make sure they are sturdy and easy to install. Reduce time spent installing and maintaining with easy-to-install self-watering rail planters, like Viva balcony rail planters (gardeners.com)

Don’t limit yourself to flowers. Mix in a few edibles and bring some homegrown flavor to your outdoor entertaining. You and your guests will enjoy plucking a few mint leaves to flavor beverages, basil to top a slice of pizza or sprig of dill to top grilled fish.

Herbs not only add flavor to your meals, but texture and fragrance to container gardens. And the many new dwarf vegetable varieties are suited to containers. Their small size makes them easy to include and many have colorful fruit that is not only pretty, but delicious.

Add a few edible flowers like nasturtium and pansies. Dress up a plate of greens with edible flowers for a gourmet touch. Or freeze a few pansy flowers in ice cubes and add them to a glass of lemonade or sparkling water.

Include flowers like globe amaranth (Gomphrena), Lisianthus, and daisies that are great for cutting. You’ll enjoy your garden inside and out throughout the season.

And don’t forget to plant some flowers for the butterflies to enjoy. Zinnias, cosmos, and marigolds are just a few that are sure to brighten any space, while attracting butterflies to your landscape. Salvia, penstemon and flowering tobacco will help bring hummingbirds in close, so you’ll have a better view.

So make this the year you select a container or two that best fits your space and gardening style. Fill it with a well-drained potting mix and combination of beautiful ornamental and edible plants to enjoy all season long. The additions are sure to enhance your landscape and keep your guests coming back for more.




Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Government Has More Than Enough of Your Dollars

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…


As seen in the Amador Ledger Dispatch, Ceres Courier, Desert Independent, Fox & Hounds Daily, Hesperia Star, Noozhawk, Rocklin & Roseville Today and Victorville Daily Press

By George Runner

After years of debt, deficits and budget cuts, it may come as a surprise to learn that our state government is flush with cash. But you wouldn't know it by the talk of tax increases coming out of Sacramento.
First the facts:
California is outspending other states - As the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters recently reported, census data shows California state spending jumped 7.5% last fiscal year and is well above average when compared to other states.
The Governor's proposed budget is huge - In January, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $113 billion budget proposal-the largest ever in California state history. If there's any criticism of the Governor's budget so far, it's that he is underestimating revenues. The Legislative Analyst's Office recently reported that current fiscal year revenues alone will exceed the Governor's forecast by $1 to $2 billion or more.
California taxes are really, really high - Californians pay some of the highest income, sales and gas taxes in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, many small businesses face top marginal tax rates of 51.9%-the highest in the nation.
But in California, facts like these never get between liberal politicians and their need to spend more of your tax dollars. Already this year they've implemented or introduced at least three schemes to get more of those dollars. And it's only February!
On January 1, the Governor and his Air Resources Board appointees quietly imposed a hidden gas tax (currently 10-15 cents but could go higher) to help fund California's bullet train and other so-called anti-global warming efforts. Falling gas prices helped mask the tax increase, but the gap between California's gas prices and the rest of the nation has grown.
On January 12, Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) released a tax hike plan that would impose a massive $10 billion dollar tax on services like bank transactions, haircuts, movie tickets and everything in between. When asked about the Senator's proposed tax hike, Governor Brown said, "If you tell people that their Pilates class will be taxed at 8.5 percent, they may not be as yoga-happy as they were before."
On February 4, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) unveiled a plan to impose a new $1.8 billion "Road User Charge" on drivers to help pay for road improvements. California drivers would be forced to pay $52 or so annually on top of the taxes and fees they already pay. There's no question that California's roads need help, but the Speaker seems to miss the fact that Californians already pay plenty to support our roads and highways.
And this list doesn't even include ongoing efforts to gut Proposition 13 tax protections for homeowners, raise taxes on soda purchases and impose a mileage-based tax on California drivers.
Lawmakers are quick to propose new taxes and fees, but they're slow to eliminate old taxes-including those that are proven failures or no longer needed.
Almost since the day California voters first approved Proposition 30, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and others have been calling for these temporary taxes to be extended or made permanent. Either approach would impose a multi-billion dollar tax increase on Californians from all walks of life. Rather than further sap California's sluggish recovery-California has the second highest unemployment rate in the country-these temporary taxes must be phased out as promised.
And let's not forget that during difficult budget times in 2011, the Governor and Legislature imposed a controversial "Fire Prevention Fee" on rural Californians, including many seniors on fixed incomes. This "fee," which is really an illegal tax, has been a nightmare for both the state and homeowners. Rather than admit the mistake and repeal this bad law, the state is attempting to stall a class action lawsuit that I strongly support and expect will ultimately prevail in court.
Tax-and-spend politicians always push for more spending, taxes and regulations that rob us of freedom and jobs. They'll do their best to convince you, the California taxpayer, that you just aren't paying enough tax because they believe if each taxpayer paid just a little bit more, California could finally solve its problems.
Don't fall for the lie. Sacramento does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending addiction. There's plenty of money-just not enough to fund the endless spending appetite of tax-and-spend politicians.

George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL - February 24th

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL members Ernie Teague and Mark Marin attended the court hearing for the Loyalton Mobile Estates held in Downieville last week where the mobile home park dropped its receivership.
City attorney Tom Barth was on teleconference.
Prior to the court hearing, the City was awarded $1,600 in water bills but the Loyalton Mobile Estates owes $167,000 in prior bills.
The court now decides about the mobile home park going into backruptcy.

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL voted Tuesday night to spend $1,500 out of general fund monies to decorate the abandoned indoor swimming pool building at the city park with barn quilts. Teresa Green will be paid $200 for one 4’x4’, $300 for one 6’x6’, $400 for one 8’x8’ and $600 for a 6’x12’ flag. Material includes 3/4” plywood, a 2”x4” frame, two coats exterior primer, two coats exterior color and two coats exterior uv polyshield. Teresa’s work can be seen on the barn quilt hanging on the Sierra Booster garage facing School Street in Loyalton.
The featured quilts were winners selected in a contest held nearly two years ago with winners being awarded prize money.

JEFFERSON PRESENTATION
Loyalton City Council heard a presentation on the State of Jefferson presented by Tom Dotta Tuesday night at a special meeting at the Social Hall with an enthusiastic crowd attending.
Tom explained the problem of a lack of representation based on population. He talked of the problem of regulation with taxes on income, sales, gas, property, fire and maybe mileage. As for finances, he told of 570 California agencies which he said would be “cut to bare bones.” He talked of California’s debt and unfunded liabilities and the need to talk to County supervisors.
Supervisor Jim Beard was present. Tom said a vote meant a seat at the table which won’t cost.
Mayor Brooks Mitchell questioned how they are funded and was told 100 percent volunteer. He questioned the need for tax streams and State and federal grants.Tom questioned back, where would the budget be without State mandates. He handed out flyers on projections of revenue. He said a resolution from the City would be non-binding and no cost but said we need change. And, he added, no management fees.
Councilman Mark Marin felt the State has the best fire protection agency with Cal Fire and was told all equipment in northern California would stay here, just like with Caltrans.
Beard talked about increased mandates but decreased money to fund more out of the general fund.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Grant was all for local
control but wanted to know how to make up the State allocation. Tom suggested getting paid for trees, mining, using natural resources, getting people back to work. They need votes to get the answers, he said. Jackie Mitchell asked how to get timber when the federal government owns the timberland. “We the people” own it but the federal government manages it, she said.
Mark Marin asked what it would take and was told to get a declaration registered at the Capitol, there’s a “magic number” and vote by Assembly and Senate as a first vote and then it goes back to Washington for a second vote.
Councilman Ernie Teague felt there is a big problem with the federal government.
Mike Moore was concerned for education when we have “fantastic schools.” He stated Forest Reserves at 91% loss if no Secure Rural Schools and Sierra County roads will lose half of $900,000 with the federal road fund almost out of money. Tom stated there would be the same property tax. He asked how good California is doing with school enrollment down 50% over 10 years.
Jim said next step is to get a seat at the table for negotiation.
Bob Green talked of the decline in Sierra County and stated Jefferson gives us an optimistic attempt to control our own destiny.
Cindy Ellsmore, former Sierra County Treasurer had concerns with changing representation which would violate the Supreme Court decision and said it “can’t happen.” She asked who pays the costs of suing to change representation, gave figures and called it
“unrealistic.”
Kristin Gallegos wanted prewritten letters to support the movement.
Craig Fassbender asked what our forefathers would have done.
Sue Camara talked about how the City was proactive with the County and getting its own building permits.
Julie Osburn asked, “If not difficult, why do it?” and she wants to do something about being the second poorest county in California.

A WHOLE REPLICA of the Clover Valley and B&L Railroad, complete with the mill pond by Gary Nelson of Sierra Brooks was approved by Loyalton City Council Tuesday night to be an exhibit at the Loyalton Museum at the new Loyalton City Center (formerly Loyalton Middle School). Councilman Mark Marin thought the display “really cool,” and member Betty Ferguson was impressed with it. Betty moved to acquire the display and Ernie Teague seconded it with approval in the absence of member Pat Whitley who remains in a Reno hospital yet is adamant she will be home the end of the week.
Out of the $60,000 budget for the City Center project, the Council reported it had spent $22,000 and has $20,000 “earmarked.” A work day is being held Saturday and the school is moving its property. Next week the will have four volunteers painting.
The City approved business licenses for Oleum Supply for selling recycled motor oil with whom the City wants a professional services agreement and to John Eberhard’s “King’s Ride,” a transportation business.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Falling Gas Prices Mask Hidden Tax




By George Runner
So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?
Due to high taxes and costly regulations, our state's gas prices are higher than other states. It's been that way for years.
But what's new is that the gap between California's and other states' gas prices has grown.
To get a sense of the change, compare California gas prices with those of the nation as a whole. According to GasBuddy.com, even while overall prices have fallen, the gap has grown from about 32 cents per gallon just a month ago to as much as 47 cents this January.
That's a 15 cent increase in just one month!
The likely culprit is a new "hidden gas tax" that took effect January 1. The new regulation expands the state's cap-and-trade program to include transportation fuels. The expansion is the latest in a series of sweeping and costly regulations developed by the California Air Resources Board as it implements the California Global Warming Solutions Act.
Luckily for the Governor and his Air Board appointees, gas prices barely budged when the new rule kicked in; in fact, prices have continued to fall, masking the rule's true impact and ironically causing the new "hidden gas tax" to be even more hidden.
Just a few years ago gas prices were soaring dangerously near $5 per gallon. Imagine public outcry if the government had caused gas prices to soar then!
When government imposes higher costs on fuel providers, California consumers inevitably pay the price in lost jobs, income and opportunity.
As economist Severin Borenstein notes: "Every analysis of cap-and-trade - or of a gas tax or, for that matter, of movements in the price of crude oil - finds that a change in the cost of selling gasoline, up or down, is quickly and fully passed through to consumers."
We'd likely all be paying 10 to 15 cents less per gallon if not for the new regulation. Depending on the auction price of emission credits, some fear the cost could grow far higher in future years.
Concern about the economic impact of high gas prices led to a bipartisan effort last year to postpone the planned cap-and-trade expansion. Unfortunately, Assemblyman Henry Perea's legislation (AB 69) died when Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg refused to authorize a hearing.
Republicans have already announced a repeal effort this year in the form of SB 5 and AB 23, but it's hard to imagine their bills will fare better.
Of course, with hidden taxes, exactly how much more we're paying is anyone's guess. That's just one of many reasons hidden taxes are such a bad idea. Taxes should be transparent, straightforward and easy to understand. You shouldn't need to hire an economist to know how much money you're sending to Sacramento-or Washington, D.C.-each year or how it's being used.
We do know that 25% of the billions in new revenue the State of California collects from its cap-and-trade system is being used to fund the state's costly and controversial high speed rail project. Yet even with this funding source, the project-which recently broke ground in Fresno-still lacks the necessary funding to finish the job.
So next time you fill up at the pump, remember you're helping pay for a train you won't be able to ride until the year 2029-assuming it ever gets built. (Even then you'll still have to pay to ride the train.)
Maybe that's why politicians try so hard to keep taxes like these hidden.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Americans Need Money, Not Washington


By Glenn Mollette

American's median income was $51,939.00 in 2013. In 2012 our median income was $51,759.00. In 1999, the pre-recession peak median American income was $56,436.00. Five years ago the United States Treasury took in 2.1 trillion dollars.
Last year our federal government collected a record amount of taxes, just over 3 trillion dollars! (Wikipedia, Household Incomes in America) Struggling Americans sent more money to Washington than ever before in our nation's history. As Americans' incomes have struggled, stagnated and stalled good old Washington is rolling. What is wrong with this picture? Americans are poorer but Washington is richer. Washington is getting more of hard working Americans' money so they can determine our lives. Washington now determines our health care, our retirement and care for all of the people who do not want to work. The average American could not survive in retirement without Social Security.

Americans need more money, not Washington. Americans are spending their money on food, utilities, mortgages, rent, gasoline, car payments and health care. Granted, recent gasoline prices have helped. After these expenses, there is not much money left over for family excursions, clothes and saving for retirement. The American dream used to include owning a house, two cars, sending the kids to college and a two weeks vacation each year. By the age of 62 you retired to do what you wanted to do with your life. That's not happening today because Americans don't have enough money. Go to Walmart or MacDonald's and you'll see lots of seniors working. People who are 75 years old and occasionally even 80 are working minimum wage, 30 hour a week jobs. A few do it because they need something to do. Most Americans are in those jobs because they need the money - desperately.

Here are some stats: 19% of middle-class Americans have zero retirement savings. 34% are not currently saving for retirement. 41% of Americans between the ages of 50-59 are not currently saving for retirement. Based on the numbers, most retirees will be unable to even retire on 70% of their working income. The median savings across all age groups was only $20,000. Housing, healthcare, food and transportation make up about 65% of Americans' spending. (Huffington Post: posted, 10/27/2014) Combine this with falling incomes over the last decade and you have a poorer America - but not Washington. What's wrong with this picture?

Americans could always cut out a few things to save money, but what? Some Americans polled by Daily Finance said they could curtail eating out and buying fewer clothes, taking fewer vacations, giving fewer gifts, buying fewer groceries and cutting back on entertainment. 12% of those polled said they would not make any cuts and are spending like there is no tomorrow.

Americans need better jobs that pay more money. Working at fast food restaurants and retail has never provided us with comfortable incomes. We need progressive industry. We need to continue on our path to being the world's energy provider. However, we must lead the world in clean energy. We can learn how to use fossil fuels cleaner but we are not there yet. We should learn how because we have a lot of oil and coal. However, we must become the world leaders in using wind and solar energy. We are on our way and this is not the time to stop. We must go back to making everything that China makes from clothes, to furniture, to electronics. The auto industry exports our cars to other countries and then brings those earnings back to America.

We have to go back to work in this country. We have to sell our products to the 95% of the world's population who do not live in America. We have to stop penalizing people and corporations for being successful. It is time to cut the corporate tax rate to 15% and lower taxes for all Americans. Washington does not need more money, Americans do.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Assemblyman Dahle on Digital Privacy



Consumers aren’t just consumers anymore. They are also the product.

Today’s technology provides astounding information at the swipe of a finger.

In the market for a car? You can search dozens of dealerships at once for the paint color and price you like best. Google Maps will give you detailed directions to the dealership in a strange town. Yelp will inform you of the neighborhood’s favorite spot for lunch. Facebook will connect you to the old friend who happens to be in town the same day. Accuweather will give you the hour-by-hour forecast so you know to leave early and avoid the rainstorm.

But information flows both ways. The networks that feed us so much vital information are also watching us, tracking where we go, what we buy, who we see and what we eat. Those digital profiles are then fed into ever more sophisticated databases that are bought and sold like cattle at the auction yard. Your search history, reading habits, shopping profile – they’re all for sale to the right bidder.

In some respects, this isn’t new or even a threat. Mailing lists have been around for decades – which is why one subscription to a dog magazine brings five catalogs for collars, chew toys and veterinary services. But the sheer volume of data being compiled about everyone one of us is unprecedented.

And nobody much cares whether the world knows you’re a dog lover. But maybe instead you searched the web for information about how to help a severely depressed teenager. Or checked prices for diabetic socks and blood glucose monitors. Or bought a handgun and ammunition. Or researched bankruptcy.

Our digital lives can reflect our innermost personal lives, and the privacy implications of their becoming new data points in freely traded customer profiles are frightening. Forget the retailer that wants to sell you something. Think about the stalker that wants to hurt you. Or the hacking ring that wants to steal your identity and drain your bank account.

Technological innovation propels California’s economy. It has made life richer and more convenient for everyone. At the same time, our state has a long tradition of protecting citizens’ privacy – which the California Constitution declares an “inalienable right.”

The growing tension between our economic trends and our legal tradition is what led the California Assembly to create a new Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. I have the honor of serving as one of the founding members.

I am not remotely against technology, which isn’t just for techies. From the seat of a tractor out in the field, a farmer like me can check hay prices, order seed, get updated soil temperature and moisture readings, and arrange a contract to plow and plant the neighbor’s field – all while the GPS-enabled controls do most of the driving. And that’s using last season’s gadgets.

But in this world of social media, ever-present surveillance cameras, location-based advertising, smart electricity meters and thermostats, and drone aircraft, the threats to our privacy have multiplied far faster than the law can keep up.

We can’t and shouldn’t stop technology’s evolution, but it’s past time the Legislature takes a hard look at what it will take to ensure we don’t discard our treasured rights like last year’s cell phone.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project

Barn Quilts are coming to the Sierra Valley. The Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project had an organizational meeting on Wed., Jan. 28 at 12:00 noon at the Sierraville School, 305 Lincoln St, near the intersection of Hwys. 49 & 89. Carolyn Kenny, who was instrumental in the creation of the Quincy Barn Quilt Tour in Plumas County, will be guest speaker.
Barn Quilts are a national movement featured in counties throughout the United States. Barn Quilts honor the economic and cultural contribution of ranching and farming in our rural communities while also celebrating one of America’s historical art forms, the quilt square. Barn Quilts become local landmarks helping to preserve our rural heritage and provide a point of interest for visitors and sightseers. Barn Quilts are painted Quilt Squares-usually fashioned on boards and then mounted. A Barn Quilt is almost always a single square. Barn Quilt Tours take visitors on a route through the countryside to view . These Quilt Squares come in all sizes, but traditionally are large, between 6ft x 6ft and 8ft x 8ft, depending on the size of the hosting structure.
In many communities, an organizing group - an arts council, a quilt guild, a 4-H club, or simply a motivated bunch of residents - work together to organize their barn quilts into a tour. Sierra County Arts Council (SCAC) is spearheading the Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project. As State-Local Partner with the California Arts Council (CAC), the SCAC is in a prime position to apply for a grant from the CAC as part of their Creating Places of Vitality (CPV) Program that supports rural and underserved communities through grant opportunities for small arts organizations. Local organizations and volunteers will play an essential role in making this project a success. Community support is what will make the Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project a reality.
Among those organizations we expect will play a vital role in our project: Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen, Sierra County Historical Society, Rotary, 4H, Mountain Star Quilters, Eastern Sierra County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Loyalton, Sierra County, and Sierra County Volunteer Fire Departments. This is just the beginning of the list. We hope to also bring in local sponsors and businesses and any volunteers who would like to help. Community involvement and landowner cooperation is essential to this project.

Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project

The Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Project (SVBQP) held an organizational meeting Feb. 28 at Sierraville School. The next SVBQP meeting will be held on Wed. March. 18 at 6pm, Sierraville School, 305 Lincoln St, near the intersection of Hwys. 49 & 89.
Plans are moving forward to the creation of these 8x8 foot square Barn Quilts and for the Sierra Valley Barn Quilt Tour, website and brochure. To raise funds the SBBQP plans to also create smaller 2x2 foot barn quilts and 4x4 foot barn quilts for purchase by local businesses and property owners. Keep an eye out for displays in your neighborhood and application forms if interested in owning a small barn quilt, or contact B.J. Jordan at the number below.
Plans for the project also include a marketing and media campaign to promote tourism and support our local economy. A website and a tour map/brochure will be included as part of the campaign.
The SVBQP is looking for owners of barns in the Sierra Valley that would be willing to host a barn quilt and be part of the tour. If you own a barn and are interested in hosting a Barn Quilt please contact B.J. Jordan at the number listed below.
The Mountain Star Quilters are partnering with the Sierra County Arts Council to apply for the “Local Impact” grant through the California Arts Council, which will help to fund the project. Timetable includes one to two months of painting and construction this summer at Sierraville School. Sierra County and the Sierraville Recreation Association who manage the Sierraville School, have been very helpful with the project. Plans also include a celebration this fall completion of the project.
How may you get involved? Come to the meeting on March. 18 and find out. If you can’t make the meeting please call or email B.J. Jordan at (530)289-3673 or info@sierracountyartscouncil.org. Website: www.sierracountyartscouncil.org

LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL approved $1,500 out of general fund monies last month to decorate the abandoned indoor swimming pool building at the city park with barn quilts.
The City approved $200 for one 4’x4’, $300 for one 6’x6’, $400 for one 8’x8’ and $600 for a 6’x12’ flag. Material includes 3/4” plywood, a 2”x4” frame, two coats exterior primer, two coats exterior color and two coats exterior uv polyshield.
The featured quilts were winners selected in a contest held nearly two years ago with winners being awarded prize money.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

PSCF Foundation receives non-profit status



What began with a small taco feed of concerned community members in the Floriculture Building of the Fairgrounds, has now become a full fledged non-profit corporation. The PSCF Foundation has been created to benefit the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds. Its mission is to support the Fairgrounds and the Fair, ensuring that the grounds and facilities will remain and prosper for future generations. Through fundraising, grants, and volunteer organization the PSCF Foundation will strive to provide the Fairgrounds with the resources needed to remain active, solvent, and viable in our community.

The idea of a foundation began in 2012 when State budget cuts began to threaten the basic health of the beloved fairgrounds. Although the staff and county have worked hard to keep the Fairgrounds operational, it has gone without many enhancements that could make it even more functional and enjoyable for the residents of Plumas and Sierra Counties. A core group of supporters began to meet irregularly and created all the necessary paperwork to become a California Public Benefit Corporation and apply to the IRS as a 501(c) (3) non profit. That approval was recently received from the IRS and now the Foundation is ready to move forward on numerous projects.

The Board of Directors identified 8 areas they are ready to work on. The first is a comprehensive volunteer program. The Foundation has been working on a database of volunteers that matches individuals with specific tasks needed to be accomplished at the Fairgrounds. The volunteer program will feature a regular newsletter, recognition and an annual appreciation function. If anyone is interested in becoming part of this program, they are urged to contact the Fair Office.

Other projects the Foundation has already supported include financial support for Fair U, the annual event held in February that gives the public free lessons in projects that can be entered in the Fair. Besides Fair U, the group sponsored the Sweetheart of the Mountains Competition last year, and will do so again. Awards for the Junior Livestock program was also handled through the Foundation last year.

The Foundation is working on two additional projects. The first is the Foundation will offer scholarships for entry fees in some areas that the Fair would like to see increase participation. Scholarships for entries will be announced that will allow entry in certain Divisions and Classes at the Fair for free. This will hopefully stimulate interest in some areas that haven’t gotten many entries in the past. Those scholarships will be announced in the 2015 Fair Exhibit Guide. The other project is Art at the Fairgrounds. The Foundation will be looking for proposals for public art that will be displayed at the Fairgrounds throughout the year. Fundraising will take place to help pay for those installations and it is hoped the program will help the Fairgrounds become a kind of permanent art exhibit. Ideas are being worked on with an announcement planned for the Spring.

The non-profit is working on a capital improvement project in the form of installing hand dryers in the bathrooms at the Fairgrounds. These hand dryers will save the Fairgrounds thousands of dollars in paper products and cleanup. The project requires 12 dryers at around $600 each.

Finally, the Foundation will work on increasing its membership. Several generous souls have already given sizeable donations as Founding Members. This one time $500 donation designates the giver as a Founding Member of the PSCF Foundation. Their name will be engraved in acrylic and displayed in the entry way of the Tulsa Scott Pavilion forever. These Founding Member gifts will be available through the end of the 2015 Fair. Besides being a Founding Member, there are several other annual memberships available, ranging from $40 as a Fair Backer to $1000 and above as a Fair Shareholder. These memberships feature passes to the fair and various gifts with the Foundation logo along with recognition in the Fair Program and on the Foundation Roster, also displayed in the entry to the Tulsa Scott Pavilion. Information cards with all the membership options are available at the Fair Office and on the Fair website, www.plumas-sierracountyfair.net. Just click on the PSCF Foundation tab at the top of the page. By becoming a member, you show your support of the Fair, and help accomplish many of these projects.

Donations made through the Foundation offer that tax benefit that makes giving a little easier. The involvement of a non-profit in these projects creates a much more flexible environment than the Fair as a government agency could.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

VETTRAX JANUARY 2015




TAX EXEMPTION FOR VETERANS – The California Constitution and Revenue and Taxation Code Section 205.5 provides a property tax exemption for the home of a disabled veteran or an unmarried spouse of a deceased disabled veteran. The exemption is available to a disabled veteran who, because of an injury incurred in military service:

- Is blind in both eyes; or
- Has lost the use of two or more limbs; or
- Is totally disabled as determined by the VA (at the 100% service connected rating) or by the military service from which the veteran was discharged.

The issues regarding this exemption is complex, and the eligibility requirements are specific. Consult the local assessor’s office for detailed requirements regarding this exemption. For Sierra County contact the assessors office at (530) 289-3283 for Plumas County contact the assessors office at (530) 283-6152.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Turkeys Cause Massive Spikes in Plumber Calls Every Year



Loyalton, CA (November 21, 2014) – Preventing plumbing problems in the kitchen during the Thanksgiving holiday is easy as pie, if cooks know the do’s and don’ts of their drains and garbage disposals.

Year in and year out, the Thanksgiving holiday brings a spike in emergency calls to plumbers for malfunctioning garbage disposals and clogged drains. In fact, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, seeing a nearly 50% spike in emergency visits.

“At Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we want to make this holiday enjoyable for our customers, so we’re available in case a plumbing disaster strikes,” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. “Our Mr. Rooter plumbing service professionals take a great deal of pride in being a hero for our customers.”

With a house full of family and friends, more leftovers go down the drain. That means an increase in the chance of drains clogging and garbage disposals breaking.

After the Thanksgiving feast is cleaned up, it is important for cooks to know what should - and should not - be put down the drain.

“Garbage disposals weren’t designed to replace the trash can,” Thompson said. “On top of that, they usually get overworked during the holidays.”

While counting your blessings this Thanksgiving, be thankful for these Top 5 Turkey Day Tips from Mr. Rooter Plumbing:

Don’t put turkey bones or skin, or potato and onion peels down the garbage disposal.
Throw leftovers in the trash or compost pile.
Feed waste gradually to prevent overloading the garbage disposal.
Avoid pouring grease down the drain – it will harden on your pipes; wipe off greasy pans before washing.
Don’t operate dishwasher if you suspect a problem. It discharges into the disposal.
About Mr. Rooter®:

Established in 1970, Mr. Rooter is an all-franchised, full-service plumbing and drain cleaning company with approximately 300 franchises worldwide. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its “Franchise 500” and Franchise Times Top 200, Mr. Rooter franchisees provide services to both residential and commercial customers. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974 and is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc. For more information or to find the location nearest you, please visit our Web site at www.mrrooter.com

Thursday, December 11, 2014

LIBERTY UTILITIES REMINDS CUSTOMERS TO PREPARE FOR WINTER STORMS AND POSSIBLE OUTAGES


Lake Tahoe, CA December 10, 2014. Liberty Utilities is reminding customers to always be prepared for winter storms and possible power outages that may result from them.
“Although we’ve made significant progress in reducing electrical outages since acquiring the utility nearly four years ago, the reality is that a really big winter storm can impact our ability to keep the lights on,” according to Mike Smart, President of Liberty Utilities-California.
With the approaching winter storm, Liberty offers the following outage preparation tips:
Flashlight – Always keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Do not use candles in a power outage or other emergency. Camp lights and lanterns may also be useful; however, do not use kerosene lanterns indoors unless you have proper ventilation.
Appliances & Electronics – Turn off or disconnect any appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out. Unplug your computer to avoid the possibility of surge damage when the power returns. Always use a surge protector for valuable electronic equipment, and you may want to purchase an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). A UPS is a battery back-up system that supplies power for about 15 minutes – long enough for you to save all work and shut the computer down. Surge protectors and UPS can be purchased at most office supply and computer stores.
Leave light on – Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when your power returns.
Staying warm – If you’re cold, put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Close doors to unused rooms. Use wood-burning fireplaces if available, but ensure the flume is open.
Refrigerators & Freezers – Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible. Cover a stand-alone freezer with blankets, quilts or sleeping bags to further
insulate it and help keep food frozen. Transfer refrigerated food to ice chests filled with ice if outage is prolonged.
Stay Informed – During a prolonged outage, Liberty Utilities will use local media outlets to communicate with our customers. Please use your wireless devices or battery-powered radios to check local media reports. Liberty Utilities will post necessary emergency notices to their website at www.libertyutilities.com
Voluntarily Conserve During Peak Use Times When Power Is On – Liberty’s customers’ electric use rises substantially during peak times—typically from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. With the extra strain that a winter storm can put on the system, Liberty asks that customers try to minimize their usage during that time. For example, try not to do laundry or run the dishwasher during those hours.
“We’ll be monitoring the storm and have crews ready to respond if needed,” Smart added. “Since we purchase our power from NV Energy, we’ll also be communicating with them throughout the storms to do everything possible to keep our customers’ lights on.”
Since acquiring the utility in 2011, Liberty Utilities has invested about $2 million annually in vegetation management efforts, removing trees and branches that may fall on power lines, especially if they are laden with snow. The utility has also invested in many small-scale improvement projects, and are hoping to receive permits in early 2015 to begin a major upgrade project on two key transmission lines known as the 625 and 650 power lines.
Liberty Utilities is your local electric company serving approximately 49,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe and adjacent areas to the south and north including the cities of Markleeville, Woodfords, Topaz, Coleville, Walker, parts of Truckee & Verdi, Portola & Loyalton. We are committed to providing quality service to our customers, and our employees are involved in the communities in which they live and work. Visit us at www.libertyutilities.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If You Think It's an Emergency, Go to the Emergency Room By Michael Gerar

di

Pop quiz: if you're having chest pains, should you go to an urgent care center or the emergency room?

The answer should be obvious. Yet according to a new poll, patients suffering from real medical emergencies like this one are not heading to the ER.

Seven in 10 emergency physicians treat patients who end up in the ER only after first going to urgent care centers -- and learning that their medical problems were too serious to be treated there.

As urgent care centers explode in popularity, it's critical that Americans understand the difference between urgent care and emergency care. Choosing an urgent care center over an ER during a medical emergency could cost a patient his life.

There are currently some 9,000 urgent care centers nationwide. These facilities fill an important gap in the health care system for patients who need time-sensitive care but can't wait to see a primary care physician or don't have one.

Urgent care centers are often open on weekends and evenings, in addition to normal business hours. Most don't require appointments. They're generally able to provide routine treatment for simple health problems, such as ear infections, strep throat, or sprains, on a first-come, first-served basis. And they often have on-site X-ray machines to diagnose simple fractures.

Emergency departments, on the other hand, are always open and ready for whatever comes through the door. The sickest patients in an ER generally go to the head of the line.

Some emergency conditions are more obvious than others. Most people would not hesitate to go to the ER for a gunshot wound, for instance.

But something like slurred speech also requires a trip to the emergency room. It's a symptom of stroke, which can kill 2 million brain cells a minute. Delaying treatment by even minutes can be the difference between a full recovery and death.

Patients may not think that their condition screams "emergency." But even fairly benign symptoms can be warning signs of a life-threatening condition.

Consider abdominal pain. Perhaps it's just an intestinal virus. But it could be a ruptured bowel, which requires emergency, life-saving surgery. It's an emergency physician's job -- not a patient's -- to know the difference. And these emergencies can only be managed at one place -- the emergency department.

Part of the problem is that patients are misinformed about the role of urgent care centers. Consumers are often swayed by their relatively low prices and marketing. Indeed, more than half of ER physicians say that urgent care centers in their communities advertise themselves as an alternative to emergency rooms.

Take Nason Medical Center, which offers urgent care services in South Carolina. It was recently ordered by the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control to stop using the word "emergency" to advertise itself because it confuses patients.

Such intervention by government officials is valid, considering that misinformation can put patients at risk. BroMenn Medical Center in Chicago has reported that since last August, five patients have come to the ER with heart attacks -- after first seeking care elsewhere for their chest pains.

Patients can't be expected to diagnose themselves. Those with the symptoms of a medical emergency should go to the emergency department. Delaying critical care by going to the wrong medical facility might make the difference between life and death.

Michael Gerardi, M.D., is president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Warning signs of a medical emergency:
http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/IsItAnEmergency/Default.aspx?id=122

Symptoms of childhood emergencies:
http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/IsItAnEmergency/Default.aspx?id=124

Friday, December 05, 2014

Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools Funding Update - FROM RCRC




On Thursday, by a vote of 300 to 119, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3979, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2015. (California Congressional Delegation Roll Call Vote can be accessed here.) The primary purpose of the measure is to set national defense policy for the country as negotiated between the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Attached to this measure is a federal lands package which includes a $70 million appropriation for the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, as well addressing other natural resources issues such as energy and mineral production, land use issues, and land conveyances. The $70 million was acquired from savings found in the federal lands package. It should be noted that federal PILT has been a $450 million program annually. As such, this $70 million appropriation will serve as a ‘down payment’ towards reaching the $450 million level for FY 2015 ($70 million only represents approximately 16% of the total FY 2015 estimate).

NDAA is expected to be considered in the U.S. Senate in the coming days as the 113th Congress comes to a conclusion. However, because the federal lands component of the bill is controversial, and H.R. 3979 can be subjected to amendments, the measure’s fate remains unclear. To date, it is also unclear how the measure will be viewed by the Obama Administration.

While there appears to be progress on PILT, efforts to provide funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS) in the final days of the 113th Congress appear to be allusive. The NDAA does not contain any funding for SRS. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a key member in the SRS discussion, has been working to find a vehicle for a FY 2014 SRS reauthorization claiming that a one-year reauthorization can be paid for from other “offsets” in federal spending. At the time of publication, those efforts have not been successful. It should be noted that assuming an SRS reauthorization for 2014 is not finalized in the coming weeks/months, adjustments to counties’ PILT payments will need to be made.

While many had wanted to see full, multi-year reauthorization for PILT and at least a 2014 reauthorization for SRS occur in the 113th Congress, in a matter of weeks the 114th Congress will convene and work may be undertaken to address these very important programs for California’s rural counties. However, at this point in time, the fate of this and other programs is in flux, and subject to change. RCRC ‘s federal advocacy team will be working to secure funding for these programs and will be joining our partners in this effort.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Caltrans, Fish and Wildlife to Drivers: Watch out for Wildlife


Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are cautioning motorists of an unusually high number of collisions between drivers and wildlife on mountain highways this autumn. The increase has been particularly notable on Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50 in Placer and El Dorado counties.

"There were an unprecedented 23 incidents involving large animals on Highway 50 and I-80 in just six days from Nov. 14-19," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Drivers need to use caution and watch out for wildlife as they travel through the Sierras and other rural areas."

"Motorists need to be on the lookout for animals on or near roadways, particularly deer and bears," said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. "It's not only dangerous for the animals, but drivers and their passengers can be injured or killed if they hit - or swerve to miss - an animal."

Caltrans and CDFW offer a few tips for motorists:

Be particularly alert when driving in areas frequented by wildlife and give yourself more time than usual to react safely by reducing your speed.
"Sweep" the roadway from side to side with your eyes as you drive. This increases your chance of seeing anything that might become a hazard.
Pay particular attention when driving during morning and evening, as wildlife are most active during these times.
If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following it.
Don't litter. Odors from all kinds of products may entice animals to venture near roadways.

There are probably several factors behind the animals' increased movements near highways. One is the deer rut, or mating season, and bucks are always more active this time of year. Recent wildfires in the mountains and foothills also destroyed a considerable amount of vegetation, forcing wildlife to travel farther than usual to forage. The drought has stressed existing vegetation, likely reducing its normal nutritional value and forcing animals to eat more than usual. Bears are getting ready for hibernation and are foraging far and wide to get enough nutrition to make it through the winter.

"Wildlife corridors" constructed under some highways have helped reduce wildlife-related incidents. Caltrans recently completed construction of a wildlife crossing on State Highway 89 in Sierra County and has two others planned for construction next season. The district also built a wildlife crossing on Highway 50 and has a project programmed for next season to study wildlife activity near state highways.

In addition, Caltrans has wildlife warning signs posted in key areas along its state highway system and will be installing more with help from CDFW and other partner agencies. Caltrans will also be using its electronic message boards to alert motorists of increased wildlife activity.

Caltrans District 3 is responsible for maintaining and operating 4,385 lane miles in 11 Sacramento Valley and Northern Sierra counties. CDFW's North Central Region is responsible for managing California's diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources across 17 counties.

Please visit the Living with Wildlife web page at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife for more information and to report a wildlife incident or dead or injured wildlife.
# # #

Monday, November 24, 2014

East SIERRA VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Looking for members!

EAST SIERRA VALLEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE supporters met at Sierraville Kitchen November 21st to discuss options.
Former Board members, Jennifer Johnson, Shelly Wright and Corby Erwin were absent. Attending the meeting were President Joel Gressel, newly-appointed City Councilman Mark Marin, Terry “The Trashman” LeBlanc, substitute teacher and coach Ben Roberti, public-relations person for Tahoe Adventure Company and Tahoe Truckee Homes Samantha Belli, Dickson realtor Bonnie Jessee, Tahoe Forest Hospital’s Sterile Process Technician Barbara Hill, local jewelry artist Pam Cawiezel and Sierra Booster editor Jan Buck.
Barb Hill wants to expand advertising and Pam talked in favor of bigger signs on Highway 70.
Terry LeBlanc said KOH used to work with locals.
Joel stated, “It works if you have people to manage the creation of an event.” He told how it usually happens with one person doing it.
Pam wanted to get kids involved and the parents will follow. And, kids learn to earn money.
Joel talked of facilities with music and talked about the pavilion in the park and his former involvement with the pool event. The initial response was to have more music in the park. He said it’s now better to house music in the park.
Mark Marin was called “The music man.” He suggested music once a month with a finale, a “two day deal.” Terry wanted the Hot Springs to work with them and Pam Cawiezel wanted an open mike. Joel talked about “closet musicians.” Mark called the Blues “root of all American music.” But with no place to stay, he talked about Woodstock and said there’s “lots of room,” and “yards like a trailer park.” Mark said insurance made things impossible along with the cost of a beer permit.
Joel stated you “can’t be afraid of those things.”
Mark said he’d help once on the City Council January 1st.
Joel talked of being instrumental with the pavilion and that Craig McHenry had looked for somebody other than the City as it didn’t have personnel.
Barbara talked of trail runs like for bikes, with food and drink at the Rotary park.
Terry talked about a car show for “anything with wheels and an engine.” He was assured of help by NorCal Highwaymen if he held it early or late June. Jan thought graduation week end might be good with a lot of visitors. Joel would check on graduation date with wife, Susan and get it to Jan. Terry wanted no registration fee the first year, and would accept old logging trucks, antique trucks and would contact Chris Guidotti and liked music on the porch at Golden West.
Mark loved the town “so packed up.”
Joel said the Chamber needs a president and vice president, secretary and treasurer.
Pam Cawiezel volunteered to be president and Barbara Hill, vice president. Bonnie Jessee volunteered to be treasurer and Jan Buck offered to be secretary, as she was already taking notes. Ben Roberti and Terry LeBlanc will be directors and they added Samantha Belli.
The Farmers Markets were discussed and it was agreed to hold them again on Sundays from 11 to 3 p.m.
Joel told of the requirements of the County on events was to create one along with the budget and present it to the Board of Supervisors.
Pam wanted a “Get to Know Your Chamber” potluck at Sierra Brooks Lodge. Joel will check finances and if there’s money, it will be held at Golden West and they’d purchase finger foods. If there are no funds, it’s a potluck at the lodge.
Meeting adjourned about 10:30 a.m

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Government Stalling Tactics Slow Fire Tax Lawsuit

As Californians hope and pray for an end to California's drought and dangerous fire conditions, I am thankful for the many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires throughout our state.
We're also reminded that not one dime of our state's so-called "Fire Prevention Fee" has helped fund this year's firefighting efforts.
Someday a court will strike down the unfair and, I believe, illegal fire tax enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.
But getting there is proving quite a challenge.
As you may recall, in 2012 the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), with my strong support, filed a class action lawsuit seeking to invalidate the so-called fee on the basis that it is really an illegally enacted tax.
Since then, California Department of Justice attorneys paid with your tax dollars have repeatedly sought to do everything in their power to slow the case down.
I'm told some of the state's stalling tactics go far beyond what is typical of government attorneys involved in legal proceedings. These tactics include filing multiple demurrers aimed at blocking California taxpayers' right to a class action — all of which were, thankfully, denied by the court. Government lawyers have also flooded HJTA's small legal team with more than ten thousand unsorted and mostly irrelevant documents in a blatant attempt to drag out the discovery process.
The reason is simple. The state knows it's going to lose this case, but it also has a financial interest in delaying that loss as long as possible.
By stalling, the state gets more time to send out more bills and collect more revenue. Most likely the trial date won't be until after next year's bills go out in the spring, which regrettably means rural Californians more than likely will receive yet another bill next year.
The Legislature should have repealed the fire tax by now. But it hasn't. And when a bad law should be eliminated entirely, it's hardly any consolation to see it merely amended.
Even so, it's worth noting that Assembly Bill 2048 (Dahle, Chesbro and Gordon), which was recently signed into law, makes a number of small but important changes to the Fire Prevention Fee, including: (1) eliminating the egregious 20% per month penalty charged to fee payers who protest their fee and are denied and (2) ensuring that homeowners who lose their home in a natural disaster will be exempt from paying their fire fee bill that year.
I remain optimistic this "fee" will be declared an illegal tax and the money returned to taxpayers. Unfortunately, as a direct result of the state's delaying tactics, when rural Californians will finally receive the just verdict they deserve is anyone's guess.
To learn more, visit Calfirefee.com or find the latest news on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Consumer Alert: California Newspaper Subscription Scam



SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to Californians regarding a recent scam involving fake newspaper subscription mailings. Individuals throughout California have recently received deceptive mailings that claim to be bills, invoices or renewal notices for newspaper subscriptions. The mailings may appear to be legitimate renewal notices from a local newspaper, but they are most likely a scam and should be ignored and reported. Seniors should be especially wary, as they are frequently targeted by scams of this nature.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

The deceptive notices may contain the following information:

The words “Notice of Renewal,” or “New Order”;
A company name that has words such as “Publishers,” “Billing,” “Services,” “Payment,” or “Circulation” in its name;
A official-looking “Control Number”;
Statements encouraging consumers to lock in their “low rates”;
Small print on the back of the invoices stating that they come from someone other than the publisher;
A self-addressed, postage unpaid envelope bearing a Post Office box or other mailing address that is located in a different state than the publisher;
The notices offer renewals and new subscriptions at highly inflated prices —in some cases nearly twice the actual renewal cost;
Subscribers have reported receiving these deceptive notices outside their regular billing periods, and sometimes after they have already renewed their subscriptions.
WHAT TO DO:

If you receive a suspicious subscription notice, do not pay it. Consider canceling the order if you believe you may have already paid a suspicious renewal notice.
If you have a question about whether your subscription is expiring or needs to be renewed you should contact your newspaper publisher directly. Contact information is generally available in your newspaper, and on the newspaper’s official web site.
Consumers who receive a deceptive renewal notice should file a complaint with their newspaper. They can also file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at http://ehome.uspis.gov/fcsexternal/default.aspx and with the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.
California consumers can also file a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office at: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company. Be sure to attach a copy of the deceptive notice to your complaint.

Friday, October 31, 2014

SIERRA COUNTY SUPERVISORS' SALARIES

A SECOND READING and adoption of an ordinance to amend sections of Sierra County Code pertaining to salaries and benefits for County Supervisors was discussed at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Loyalton. County Counsel’s assistant Rhetta stated that if there were any edits to the ordinance it would not be able to be passed until next meeting. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein had an edit in a form of a motion and wanted to increase the salary of the Supervisors from $2,237.40 to $3,227.40 a month beginning December 25, 2014. He stated this would cover the costs that had been cut from the increasing health insurance and the 4% for PERS or $129 would be added on June 25th, 2015. Supervisor Lee Adams said that would be an increase to the General Fund over $51,000 a year, and added with this motion we are treating ourselves differently than we treated our employees. Supervisor Jim Beard seconded the motion, but the motion failed with Supervisors Adams, Peter Huebner, and Chair Paul Roen voting no. Supervisor Huebner then made a motion to the original ordinance which increases the Supervisor’s salary 2% on December 25, 2014 and an additional 2% June 25, 2015 both of which hinge on the Secure Rural Schools reauthorization. Huebner’s motion failed to get a second, so the motion died as well as any increase to the Supervisor’s salaries.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why Conserve?


Information taken from www.saveourh2o.org and http://ca.gov/drought/topstory/top-story-14.html
Here in the upper Feather River Watershed the hint of fall colors, cooler temperatures, and a few autumn rain showers make it easy to forget we are still in a serious drought. But the fact remains that the drought is so severe throughout the state that Governor Brown just recently issued an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to families in dire need. The order makes funding available through the California Disaster Assistance Act to provide water for drinking and sanitation to households currently without running water. This is hard to fathom for those in the upper watersheds who have not experienced such ominous conditions, and is a stark reminder that we must all continue to do our part to conserve water. Even in normal water years, some areas of the state find it difficult to meet all water demands. Water deliveries have been permanently reduced due to environmental concerns from some key water projects, while other systems struggle with aging infrastructure and other challenges. Major concerns include the ever growing state population creating more demand on our water supplies, while our supply is predicted to shrink by as much as 25% by 2050 due to changes in rain and snowfall patterns affecting the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Experts say the changing precipitation patterns will result in longer periods of drought. Californians cannot continue to take their water supply for granted. While state and local leaders continue to work on long-term solutions to our water challenges, saving water on a daily basis helps to stretch our supply. In wet years, it helps keep water in reservoirs for the inevitable dry years to come. In dry times, like now, conservation is a critical tool to help ensure that we have enough water for our communities, environment, farms and other important parts of our economy. It’s easy for every Californian—young and old—to save water every day. The good news is there are lots of simple ways to reduce the amount of water we use at home, both inside and outside. If we all work together, we can make a difference for California’s future. Tour the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s interactive H2ouse at http://www.h2ouse.org/tour/index.cfm to learn more ways to save water indoors and outdoors!

Monday, October 20, 2014

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL REPORT:

CHP REPORT:
On August 28 at approx. 12:15 a.m., Russel W. Cohen, 67 of Reno, NV was driving a Sea Breez motor home in Portola, westbound on SR-70 west of West Sierra Ave. Cohen related he removed his eyes from the roadway to look at a fire and allowed his vehicle to drift to the right onto the north shoulder of SR-70. The right side of Cohen’s vehicle collided with the driver side mirror of the parked Caltrans pickup. There were no injuries.

On August 28 at approximately 8:40 p.m. Sue Cahill of Quincy was driving a white 1997 Honda Accord eastbound in the number two lane of State Route 70 approaching Mill Creek Road. Richard Cahill was a passenger. At the same time, Sara Vanpetten of Quincy was driving a silver 2004 Honda Civic eastbound in the number two lane approaching Mill Creek Road directly behind the Honda Accord. Sara Vanpetten was driving the Honda Civic at a speed greater than Sue Cahill in the lane ahead of her vehicle. Sare Vanpetten allowed dthe front of the Honda Civic to collide with the back of the Honda Accord. An officer from CHP Quincy Area office arrived on scene to conduct an investigation during which he determined Sara Vanpetten was driving while under the influence of Alcohol and caused the collision resulting in visible injuries to herself and complaint of pain injuries to both parties in the Honda Accord. Sara Vanpetten was placed under arrest at the collision scene for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, causing injuries. She was booked into Plumas County Jail in Quincy after receiving medical assistance at Plumas District Hospital.

On August 29, at about 3:37 p.m., Evan Leal, 17 of Portola was driving a 2003 Dodge eastbound on Graeagle Johnsville Rd. at a stated speed of 55 mph. West of Poplar Valley Rd. as the vehicle drove through a right hand curve, Leal stated the steering of the Dodge malfunctioned and he was unable to control the vehicle. He was able to slow the vehicle but the vehicle left the north edge of the roadway and traveled down the north shoulder up the north dirt and rock embankment and overturned, coming to rest on its left side. Two passengers, Matthew Heffron, 17 and Brandon McGarity, 16, both of Portola, were able to exit the vehicle through the passenger side rear door with the assistance of passing motorists. Leal was removed from the vehicle by fire personnel. He was transported to Renown Medical Center by Care Flight for precautionary reasons and later released without injury. All occupants were wearing safety belts at the time of the collision and there were no injuries.

On August 30, at 9:43 a.m. T. Wooldridge, 56 of Reno, NV was turning left from SR-70 onto SR-89 southbound. B. Grant, 38, of Quincy was traveling straight on SR-70 through SR-89. Wooldridge turned left directly in front of Grant and the two cars nearly collided. Grant swerved right to avoid the collision and entered the dirt shoulder. Grant’s vehicle lost control in the dirt and flipped onto its left side. All four occupants in Grant’s car sustained injuries. Wooldridge returned to scene and all parties waited for CHP assistance.

On August 30, at 5:40 p.m., Michael Griffis, 64 of Gilroy, CA and his passenger had pulled into a gravel area on the west side of SR-89 in their 2011 Jeep with the intent of making a U-turn and returning to Sierraville. Richelle Kirk, 16 of Truckee, was traveling southbound on SR-89 in her 2000 Subaru, approaching Griffis’ location and Griffis began to make a U-turn and entered the southbound lane as Kirk was approaching southbound on SR-89. A collision was unavoidable as the right front of the Subaru and the front of the Jeep collided within the southbound lane. No injuries were reported and all involved parties were wearing safety belts at the time.

On August 30, at 11:49 p.m.,James M. West, 50, of Dunsmuir, CA was traveling northbound on SR-89 in his 1976 Ford F100 pickup while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. West allowed his truck to leave the roadway where it entered a drainage ditch on the east side. The front of the truck impacted a wood forest service sign and came to rest. West was contacted by Sierra County Sheriff Deputy Sanchez approximately one minute after the collision and CHP responded to investigate the collision. West received minor injuries and was subsequently arrested for DUI.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Don't Be Scared - Be Prepared!



September was Preparedness Month.
October is the time for a plan to be put in motion, although humans resist planning.
Pet Parents must be the ALPHA in emergency situations…especially when panic sets in.

Peggy Rew, a Sparks-based American Red Cross Dog & Cat First Aid & CPR Instructor, recently taught a class in Loyalton thanks to Niecea Freeman and her family of furry friend lovers.

Rew has submitted a preparedness article for your information.

Secured at home:
~ Be sure all pets are micro-chipped or at least, have a collar and identification.
~ With any weather changes, bring pets inside the house or garage and are easy to locate in case you have to evacuate. Dogs will panic and run while cats hide in fear.
~ Don’t be surprised if pets hide in tubs or dark closets.

Movement items:
~ Leashes, collars, blankets, kennels, crates for all pets.
Dogs, cats, ferrets, pet pigs, and birds can be transported in a dog crate, but practice, practice, practice loading all pets before you have to go. Get them comfortable by leaving the crates out where they can investigate inside and out. Cats can be easily ‘poured’ into a crate from the top rather than shoved.
Crates usually remind them of something unpleasant like going to the Vet, so give them a chance to make it their ‘safe’ place.
~ Calming Aids: Benadryl is a great calming aid for pets and people. Keep fresh lavender, mint & chamomile and a bandana in a Ziploc. Put the bandana on your pet and the calming will start. Whole Foods has a spray form of lavender, but get it in advance. Life’s Abundance has a Soothing Mist that works well, too. www.rewcrew.com

Nutrition supplies:
~ Pet food, bottled water, chicken broth, Pedia-Lyte for hydration; manual can opener; dishes; treats; medication/allergy list; toys for distraction; kitty litter and box. Keep emergency pet food kits ready at home as well as at friends’ or relatives’ homes in case you end up there, but be sure it’s fresh. Yes, this will require you to check it and date it every few months.

Pet boarding options:
~ Evacuation centers: Find the closest one, though many sites can’t take pets into the facility, so be prepared with other options.
~ Out of your area: Make a list of pet-friendly hotels or boarding kennels far away from the affected area like Truckee, Roseville, Fernley, Fallon, Reno, Carson City, Portola, etc.
~ Washoe County Regional Animal Services (775.322.3647) and outlining county Animal Rescue Agencies keep a list of boarding options if they can’t board your pet. Many local facilities offer free boarding when emergencies occur.
~ Although keeping the family together is preferred, be ready to separate pets if needed. Ask family members which of your pets they can take, if needed.

Injury Preparedness:
~ First Aid kits for your human family and one for your furry kids with photos of each pet.
~ Include a list of behavioral issues (thunder, chemical allergies, etc.) if boarding is needed.
~ Panic can cause injury: don’t be scared, be prepared.
~ Not sure how to build a first aid kit or how to care for an injured pet?
~ Come to Dog & Cat First Aid & CPR classes. Host one for your group of friends, family or community.

After the fact:
Some pets may experience a variety of behavioral issues after an emergency.
Be their eyes, ears, and nose until everyone is settled back home, but be aware this can take a while. Pets can not tell you if they are upset or anxious, so please, please keep watch on them until you feel they have settled down. You may need a simple ‘Vet Check’ just to make sure they are ok.


Peggy Rew is a Sparks, NV-based American Red Cross Dog & Cat First Aid & CPR Instructor and travels nationwide. Her students include:
~ Northern Nevada and Northern California Pet Parents, Doggie Daycare Employees, and Rescue Groups
~ Denver-based Canine Companion Puppy Raisers & Handlers & Craig Hospital Employees/Volunteers
~ National Guide Dog Users and Puppy Raisers
~ The Shining Stars Youth Cancer Foundation in Colorado

Dog & Cat First Aid & CPR classes is the best two hours you’ll spend to be prepared for your furry family. The education will last a lifetime. Interested in hosting a class? Contact Peggy Rew. Cost: $35 for one certificate or $45 for both certificates.

Rew is also a published wordsmith/poet who felt a Dog Bite Prevention Educational Coloring Book was needed for anyone who interacts with dogs or for people who don’t understand dogs.
She is part of the Art Paws organizing team; a local educator; professional pet nanny; pet rescue group liaison; and Life’s Abundance distributor of Planet-friendly products for pets and people. Life Abundance’s Soothing Mist is another amazing calming aid.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friends of Independence Lake, Inc. is a Non-Profit!

We at Friends of Independence Lake, Inc., continue to work to keep our public roads, lands, and lakes open to the public. Until now, it has been three couples spending tens of thousands of our own individual funds to fight for these rights. The public support has been invaluable to us, knowing that we are helping the coming generations to have the same type of access that we have had throughout our lifetimes. We appreciate you all "having our backs" while we waded through the legal issues, the countless meetings, and the frustrating slowness of the process to try and keep access to Independence Lake.



Friends of Independence Lake, Inc., is now a California State and Federal Non-Profit, enjoying 501(c)(3) status. We can now accept tax-deductible donations to our cause.



As our tax year draws to a close, and the potential to return full public access to Independence Lake draws closer, we need your help in funding this fight. If you would like to donate, please visit our website: www.friendsofindependencelake.com and click on the "donate" button near the welcome banner. You can donate by credit card, PayPal account, or you can send us a check to: FOIL, P.O. Box 1064, Loyalton, CA 96118-1064.



All of us so appreciate your help and your funds! We promise to continue the fight to keeping our public roads, lands, and lakes open to the public, starting with Independence Lake!



Gratefully,

Julie Osburn

CFO, Friends of Independence Lake, Inc.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Dahle reforms of SRA fee become law



AB 2048 waives fee in disasters, reduces late penalties

A measure sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, to reform the state’s “fire prevention fee” will become law.

The Governor signed Assembly Bill 2048 on Tuesday, fixing some of the worst parts of the Cal Fire “fire prevention fee” imposed on residents of the mostly rural State Responsibility Area.

It waives the fee for homeowners who lose their residence to a wildfire or other natural disaster – commonsense relief that was not allowed under the original legislation. It reduces a steep penalty for late payment -- 20 percent per month – to just 10 percent, in line with other state fees. It ends mandatory annual increases for inflation. And it streamlines appeal procedures.

“Like most North State residents, I’d rather see the fee simply repealed,” Dahle said. “In the meantime, this bill reforms some of the worst aspects of the fee. In particular, it was egregious that the law taxed homeowners who’d lost their homes to fire.”

Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, represents the 1st Assembly District, which includes Shasta, Lassen, Nevada, Siskiyou, Modoc, Plumas and Sierra counties, and portions of Butte and Placer counties.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

LAW REQUIRES MOTORISTS TO GIVE BICYCLISTS THREE FEET FOR SAFETY AS NEW SCHOOL YEAR ROLLS IN



SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With children heading back to school, motorists should expect to see more children riding to and from school on their bicycles. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) would like to remind the public that on September 16, 2014, a new law affecting motorists and bicyclists takes effect.
According to the law, a driver must allow three feet of distance when overtaking or passing a bicyclist. If three feet is not available, a driver must then slow to a safe speed and pass when no danger is present.
"Motorists are reminded to pay close attention as the school year approaches and exercise caution when they see bicyclists on the road," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "Be sure to move over or slow down to pass when you see a bicyclist on the road and help keep our roadways a safer place."
According to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2012, there were 153 bicyclists killed in California, which reflects a 7 percent increase from 2011. Those deaths accounted for 5 percent of the total collision fatalities in California.
"As important as it is for vehicles to be mindful of our bicyclists, those who ride must exercise safe practices and ride smart," added Commissioner Farrow. "With both drivers and bicyclists doing their part, we can help reduce the number of tragedies involving bicyclists."
The danger surrounding motor vehicle traffic is just one aspect of a child's safe passage to and from school. According to Safekids.org, more children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to bicycling than any other sport. Bicycle helmets, which are required by law for children under 18 years of age in California, can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent - yet only 45 percent of children 14 and under usually wear them.
The CHP joins with Safekids.org in offering the following traffic safety tips for bicyclists:"Use your head, wear a helmet." It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injuries and deaths from bicycle crashes.
Tell your children to ride on the right side of the road with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible.
Use appropriate hand signals and obey traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers. Bicyclists should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
When riding at dusk, dawn, or in the evening, be bright and use lights - and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It is also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve bicyclist visibility to motorists.
Actively supervise children until you are comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.
The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the people of California.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Have You Changed Your Water Habits?


As the hope for a wet El Nino winter begins to wane, the seriousness of the drought continuing into 2015 is daunting. Most in Plumas County have fared ok through the dry summer, although there are those who have not. Many local agricultural producers have been hit hard by the drought, either unable to irrigate simply because the creeks are just too low or because state restrictions either limit or completely prohibit them from taking any water from local streams. Many have turned to drilling more wells and pumping groundwater to meet water demands; however, groundwater management has become a hot topic across the state.
Taken from an article published in the Washington Post a few weeks ago, a recent study by U.C. Davis researchers warned that some of the state’s aquifers could soon be depleted if pumping continues at current rates, which have helped farmers survive this year. However, one of the authors, Richard Howitt, a professor emeritus of resource economics said, “A well-managed basin is used like a reserve bank account. We’re acting like the super rich who have so much money they don’t need to balance their checkbook.” “The study estimated that 5.1 million acre-feet of water will be pulled from the state’s underground reserves this year, a volume roughly equivalent to the storage capacity of Lake Shasta, the state’s biggest reservoir and third-largest lake after Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea.”
So what can we do? Last week we shared what Feather River College is doing to reduce their water consumption. Plumas County Facility Services has cut back water use by reducing the sprinkling time 50% on the Courthouse, Dame Shirley Plaza, Library and Museum lawns. Dony Sawchuck, Plumas County Facilities and Airports Director, also noted that most departments are no longer washing vehicles as well. As individuals and homeowners there are lots of small things we can do that can add up to significant water savings. For example, when running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water and adjust the temperature as the tub fills. Or better yet, recycle indoor water outdoors: put a bucket in your shower and use it to water plants.
If you would like to share what you are doing locally to “save our water”, email Gia Martynn at gia@plumascounty.org. As the upper Feather River Watershed Coordinator at Plumas Corporation, she will share your tips in subsequent drought articles and on their website and FB page. For more information and tips on conserving water visit www.saveourH2O.org
You can also find out what is happening locally by attending the The September Plumas County Drought Preparedness Task Force meetings held on the first Monday of each month at 9:30am in the Plumas County Building and Planning Services conference room at 555 Main Street in Quincy. meeting will be on September 8th due to the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Funding Available to Help Schools With Limited Internet Connections



SACRAMENTO—Eligible districts and charter schools are encouraged to apply for new funding to help school sites connect to a high-speed network in time for next spring’s new online assessments, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said today as he announced the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (BIIG) Program.
“The real world thrives on interconnectivity and so must our children’s education in order to prepare them for college and careers,” Torlakson said. “With the help of this grant, even children in the farthest reaches of the state will have a chance to connect to the world around them.”
The BIIG funding opportunity is being administered by the K-12 High Speed Network, in consultation with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education. The goal is to help students, educators, and staff connect to a reliable high-speed network so they can implement the new computer-based California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) assessments in the 2015 spring testing window. Funding was provided by a one-time Proposition 98 General Fund re-appropriation to support network connectivity.
Local educational agencies are eligible for nearly $27 million in BIIG funding. Priority for funding will be given to those school sites that without such help would be unable to conduct the CAASPP. The grants must be used to enhance school site Internet connections.
Another component of the BIIG Program is a report on the overall status of network connectivity in California’s schools. This report will also be completed by the K-12 High-Speed Network, and is due by March 1, 2015, to the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and the budget committees of each house of the Legislature.
For more details, visit the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program Web page.
Advancing education technology in California is one of Torlakson’s priorities. He convened his Education Technology Task Force in 2012 to recommend ways to bring 21st century tools into California's classrooms to improve teaching and learning. The Task Force released its blueprint in April entitled, Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014 – 2017, which focuses on four key areas: learning, teaching, assessment, and infrastructure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2013-2014 Grand Jury Report

The 2013-2014 Grand Jury began the year with some house keeping tasks
that required action.
The first was the drafting of a Conflict of Interest Code for the Grand Jury
that then had to be approved by the Board of Supervisors and enacted. This code
establishes the standards for Grand Jurors when it comes to conflicts of interest
between personal interests and the public interests of the Grand Jury.
The next issue that needed to be addressed was the funding needed by the
Grand Jury to carry on the business of the Grand Jury for a complete year as the
Grand Jury, historically, had insufficient funds to pay the small costs incurred for
meetings and mileage to those meetings. Each member is entitled to $15.00 for
each Meeting of the complete Grand Jury and mileage costs of $0.55 per mile.
After these two issues were addressed then the Grand Jury was able to
start the work that it is impaneled to accomplish. The review of the operations of
the County of Sierra and report the findings to the citizens of Sierra County.
Additionally, it is tasked with making recommendations for improvements and
corrections to the operation of the County.
This review was started by interviewing Department Officials, Members
of the Board of Supervisors, Sheriff and the other elected officials. This
provides the Grand Jury members with the education of the operation of the
County and in some cases bring issues to the attention of the Grand Jury for
further review.
The Grand Jury has only one area of the County that must be reviewed
each year and that is the jail. Any other departments, agencies and the City of
Loyalton can be reviewed as needed. Additionally, citizens brought concerns,
issues and complaints to the Grand Jury by written letters, and personal
appearances before the Grand Jury.
The 2013-2014 Grand Jury decided on investigating 7 areas or issues of
the County. began the year with some house keeping tasks
that required action.
The first was the drafting of a Conflict of Interest Code for the Grand Jury
that then had to be approved by the Board of Supervisors and enacted. This code
establishes the standards for Grand Jurors when it comes to conflicts of interest
between personal interests and the public interests of the Grand Jury.
The next issue that needed to be addressed was the funding needed by the
Grand Jury to carry on the business of the Grand Jury for a complete year as the
Grand Jury, historically, had insufficient funds to pay the small costs incurred for
meetings and mileage to those meetings. Each member is entitled to $15.00 for
each Meeting of the complete Grand Jury and mileage costs of $0.55 per mile.
After these two issues were addressed then the Grand Jury was able to
start the work that it is impaneled to accomplish. The review of the operations of
the County of Sierra and report the findings to the citizens of Sierra County.
Additionally, it is tasked with making recommendations for improvements and
corrections to the operation of the County.
This review was started by interviewing Department Officials, Members
of the Board of Supervisors, Sheriff and the other elected officials. This
provides the Grand Jury members with the education of the operation of the
County and in some cases bring issues to the attention of the Grand Jury for
further review.
The Grand Jury has only one area of the County that must be reviewed
each year and that is the jail. Any other departments, agencies and the City of
Loyalton can be reviewed as needed. Additionally, citizens brought concerns,
issues and complaints to the Grand Jury by written letters, and personal
appearances before the Grand Jury.
The 2013-2014 Grand Jury decided on investigating 7 areas or issues of
the County.
Each member of the Grand Jury expended at least 200 hours of their time
developing the information needed for the final report that is being submitted to
the citizens of Sierra County for their review.
We, as the Grand Jury, wish to thank the Judge Kennelly and all of the
personnel in the Court office for their outstanding and pleasant assistance. It
made our work easier and that was greatly appreciated.
As the foreperson, I want to personally thank each of the members of the
Grand Jury for their dedication and work needed to prepare this report for you.
The members of the 2013-2014 Sierra County Grand Jury
1. Adasiewicz, William Pike
2. Bostrom, Docia Sierra City
3. Camara, Sue Loyalton
4. Diedrich, Sandra Sierra City
5. Holley, Ed Loyalton
6. Kinkead, Becky Loyalton
7. Mitchell, Beverly Calpine
8. Potter, Mary K. Downieville
9. Sharp, Joan Pike
10. Verner, Dale Loyalton
11. Walsh, Juliana Sierraville
Respectfully submitted,
William Adasiewicz,
Foreperson of the 2013-2014 Sierra County Grand Jury
INDEX
Introduction Page 1
Members of the Grand Jury Page 2
Law Enforcement Committee Page 4
Community Corrections Program Page 7
Probation Page 9
Calpine Water District Page 11
Elections Page 14
Turner Desk Page 18
City of Loyalton Page 20
SIERRA
COUNTY
GRAND
JURY
REPORT
ON
THE LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE
SUMMARY
Each year it is the obligation of the Sierra County Grand Jury to inquire into jails within the
county pursuant to the authority granted by Section 919(a) and 919(b) of the Penal Code.
BACKGROUND
Sierra County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement, patrol emergency services, and
public safety services for the residents of Sierra County.
The county jail is used for the detention of persons under the following circumstances:
a. awaiting arraignment
b. awaiting trial or other disposition of their case
c. persons sentenced to a county jail term or to a state prison term that are eligible to be
served in a county jail pursuant to AB 109 realignment guidelines
persons sentenced to mandatory state prison term awaiting transport to state prison
facility
Sierra County’s jail facility became an addition to the courthouse in the 1980’s and underwent
remodel up-grade in 1992-1993. A new substation was constructed on the eastern side of
Sierra County in Loyalton in 2007.
In prior Grand Jury Reports, the jail’s deferred maintenance resulting in on-going structural
deficiencies has been cited as a continuing problem.
APPROACH
An inspection of the jail facility took place in September, 2013
and again in October, 2013.
The second inspection was conducted by grand jury members that were not able to attend the
initial inspection.
The Loyalton sub-station was inspected in October, 2012. Sheriff Evans was interviewed by
the committee in September, 2013 at the jail in Downieville and by the entire grand jury in
December, 2013 at Sierraville School, Sierraville.
DISCUSSION
the structural deficiencies as possible and as budget restraints allowed.
At this time all repairs that could be made have been made.
The entire jail and sheriff’s office have been painted. Aesthetically, the jail is currently in the
best condition it has been in years. Additional up-grades and improvements have been made
to the elevator as well as room/area identifiers in the jail and sheriff’s office in general.
Painting and other signage improvements have also been made.
FINDINGS
F1. The Radio Antenna Towers, (although there is “Restricted Area – No Public Access”
signage), do not appear to be secure from public access, posing possible liability issues
should someone attempt to climb the towers and injure themselves.
F2. Existing sally-port recreation area continues to not meet the standards set by the state
per Title 24 for jail building standards for that purpose.
F3. Jail facility was built as a Type I* facility but has always operated as a Type II**
facility.
a. *Type I facility holds inmate up to 96 hours.
b. **Type II facility holds inmates pending arraignment, during trial, and upon
sentencing.
F4. An up-grade to the sally-port/recreation area would bring the jail into full compliance with
Title 24 for jail building standards. While non-compliance is not illegal, it exposes the
county to civil liability should a negative event occur.
F5. Funding to rectify existing non-compliance with Title 24 due to the sally-port/recreation
area structural deficiencies is being sought via AB 109 realignment funds.
F6. There is a possibility that the jail will be deemed a financial burden to the county that can no longer be sustained, thereby generating continued discussion on whether the jail
should be maintained or closed meaning inmates would be permanently housed out of
county.
F7. Disbursement of AB 109 realignment funds to bring the existing sally-port/recreation area
is pending completion of the SB 678/AB 109 Integrated Implementation Plan prepared
by Fred Campbell, Criminal Justice Research Foundation, and the Board of supervisors’
decision regarding the viability of keeping the jail open. As of the time of this report, the
finalized report was still pending completion.
F8. There appeared to be a lack of effective communication from administration as to what
training was available for Correctional Officers versus what training the Correctional
Officers were actually being offered or sent to by superiors. That issue has been
resolved.
Sheriff Evans, the deputies, and the correctional officers/dispatchers are commended for their
hard work at resolving those matters that were within their power to resolve. Sheriff
Evans and his staff’s cooperation with this grand jury has been exemplary.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1. Upon completion and presentation of Fred Campbell’s in-depth analysis of the jail, the
Sierra County Board of Supervisors must make a decision of the financial viability of
keeping the jail open.
R2. The Sierra County Board of Supervisors must hold public hearings throughout the
county in order to gain the public’s input regarding the prospect of closing the jail.
R3. The Sierra County Board of Supervisors must act as expeditiously as possible on the
information presented for the benefit of Sierra County.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following individuals:
n John Evans
n Sierra County Sheriff-Coroner
From the following governing bodies:
n Sierra County Sheriff-Coroner
The governing bodies indicated above should be aware that the comment or response of the
governing body must be conducted subject to the notice, agenda, and open meeting
requirements of the Brown Act.
SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS PARTNERSHIP
SUMMARY
The 2013 – 2014 Sierra County Grand Jury decided to form a committee to get an
understanding of the mandated programs of the Community Corrections Partnership.
GLOSSARY
CCP - Community Corrections Partnership
BOS - Board of Supervisors
FY - Fiscal Year
BACKGROUND
The Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) was formed due to the realignment law
(AB109). Realignment was mandated by the state to keep the prison population down by
reassigning inmates to county jails. The Chief Probation Officer is the chair of the
Community Corrections Partnership. The Executive Committee consists of: a representative
of the Sierra County Sheriff's Department, a representative from Sierra County Probation
Department, representation from Health and Human Services, the Public Defender, the District
Attorney, and a retired judge appointed by the Superior Court Judge. Regular committee
members include a representative of the Board of Supervisors (BOS), the superintendent of
schools, and a victim /witness advocate.
APPROACH
A meeting of the Community Corrections Partnership was attended by the committee. Copies
of the in-progress funding chart from AB 109 and SB 678 were obtained. A copy of the
implementation plan, titled FY2011, was obtained. This included the proposed jail
improvement plan. The chair of the CCP, who is the Chief Probation Officer, was interviewed
by the grand jury.
DISCUSSION
The CCP has been preparing a Draft SB 678 & AB 109 Integrated Implementation Plan with
the assistance of the Criminal Justice Research Foundation. The plan includes programs and services provided, targeted offender groups, and funding sources. The plan includes a
proposed Sierra County Jail improvement. It also includes a feasibility study on whether to
continue to have a jail.
n Past Grand Jury report noted the need for jail construction and upgrades to the facility's
outdoor recreation yard.
n The current CCP study of jail feasibility needs to be completed and presented to the
Board of Supervisors who would make the final determination on the jail.
The implementation strategies adopted by the Community Corrections Partnership are for FY
2011 -2014. Integrated Implementation Plan involves “core” programs /facilities that include:
(1) alternatives to incarceration; (2) custody housing; (3) alternative custody diversion
programs; (4) community supervision; (5) evidence-based assessments and treatment
programs; and, (6) continuum of intermediate sanctions for program violations.
The Integrated Implementation Plan continues the basic organizational structure that
integrates jail inmate custody housing capacity and programming across the three components
of County's adult criminal justice system including (a) jail housing (Sheriff's Department),
(b)community supervision (Probation Department), and (c) Court processing and treatment /
programming (Drug and Realignment Court).
Treatment and programming includes increased services directed to offenders participating in
expanded alternatives to incarceration. Non-custody diversion programs include home
detention and electronic monitoring and community supervision (Day Reporting Center).
The planning, development and implementation of the program is shaped by certain guidelines
and principles. Each program is concerned with maximum community safety and treatment
support for high-risk offenders.
FINDINGS
F1. The CCP is spending the funds according to the state recommendations.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1. It is recommended that a clear method of tracking funds and reporting on outcomes be
followed.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following individuals:
Information on how various departments will track funds and outcomes from the Community
Corrections Partnership Committee in care of Jeff Bosworth, chairman.
9
SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE PROBATION DEPARTMENT
SUMMARY
The 2013-2014 Sierra County Grand Jury, upon reviewing the history of past Sierra County
Grand Jury reports, decided to form a committee to review the Probation Department because
it had not been reviewed in nine years.
GLOSSARY
CCP - Community Corrections Partnership
EM – Electronic Monitoring
BACKGROUND
Probation has undergone some changes since the enactment of the California Community Corrections Incentives Act of 2009 (AB 109 and SB678) established a Community
Corrections Partnership (CCP) in each county which consists of several government and
community stakeholders to approve budgeting..
Due to reduced funding the staff for probation was reduced from five to three.
Probation clients used to be supervised by county probation before prison commit. Parole
clients were supervised by state parole agents after prison release. Since the realignment
instituted by AB109, certain felonies (non-violent, non-sexual) can be served in county jail
instead of state prison, so those would be under the supervision of the Probation Department.
The Probation Department at the time of the interviews included three people: the Chief
Probation Officer, the Deputy Probation Officer, and the Probation Specialist/Drug Court
Coordinator.
APPROACH
The Chief Probation Officer was interviewed by a committee. Later the Chief Probation
Officer was interviewed by the entire Grand Jury. At that time the Grand Jury was presented
with the Chief Probation Officer's history of education and experience. A detailed chart
including staffing, budget, funding sources and a chart on realignment was provided.
DISCUSSION
Electronic monitoring is used in five possible situations: 1) probation; 2) intermediate
sanctions; 3) pretrial for those who can't afford bail and can't be released on their own
recognizance (up to defendant and not available to dangerous criminals); 4) jail overcrowding;
and 5) early release. The electronic monitoring involves an inclusion zone, where the
individual is confined to one area and/ or an exclusion zone, where the individual is restricted
from a specific area.
The Probation Department is county based and its main objective is to prevent incarceration
and make sure the clients keep the rules ordered by the judge.
The most common crime committed in the county is residential burglary.
FINDINGS
F1. In response to the AB109 Realignment Act and the impact the legislation could have in
terms of longer county jail terms, the Probation Department has developed and has
secured approval from the Sierra County Board of Supervisors to implement the Pretrial
Electronic Monitoring Program (EM).
F2. We find that the Probation Department is operating very effectively with limited staff.
They have a wide range of clients and responsibilities. Their effectiveness could be
better with more staff and resources. The Probation Department will be getting more
staff with the realignment funds, and the staff is up to the challenge of improving the
results of the programs
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1. Continue the Electronic Monitoring Program that is in place.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following individuals:
nThe Chief Probation Officer, an acknowledgement of the report and comments.
SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE CALPINE WATER DISTRICT
SUMMARY
As requested by the Grand Jury of 2012-13, we have reviewed the methods of operations of
the above District. The Calpine Water District was found to be following legal procedures as
well as being very cooperative with the Grand Jury. The report finds that they have a long
term improvement plan in place with regard to their water system. This plan includes fire
protection procedures with the local volunteer Fire Department, scheduled maintenance, and
upgrades to their water system. It is recommended that they continue to move forward and
consider the state licensed Water Operator’s recommendations which will improve the
longevity, sustainability, and productivity of the water system.
GLOSSARY (IF NEEDED)
SCADA – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
RCAC – Rural Community Assistance Corporation
BACKGROUND
This District has a five member Board. It provides water service and fire hydrants to a total
of 200 customers in the Calpine District. It was established in 1958 and is under the
jurisdiction of the State of California’s Water Quality Board and Water Quality Standards
established by the Safe Drinking Water Act.
APPROACH
The Grand Jury committee attended multiple District Board Meetings. We interviewed the
Water Operator, who is currently contracted by the District (since 2008) and has been
instrumental in operating and maintaining the water system. We also reviewed and positively responding and acting accordingly to resolve apparent issues.
DISCUSSION
There are currently nineteen (19) fire hydrants within the District. It was requested at the
November 20, 2013 board meeting by two volunteer fire department members, that a
maintenance program for these hydrants be put into place and adopted by the District. This
would ensure that the fire hydrants are in good working order in case of an emergency/fire.
They have contracted with RCAC to conduct a median income survey, which is required in
order to apply for grant funding. This funding would assist in the implementation of the new
(telemetry) SCADA System as well as the installation of water meters at each residential
service.
A pilot study is being conducted on the arsenic remediation at Well #2.
The budget is a work in progress.
Every six months they have in place a review process for their long term plan, and the above
items are reviewed and discussed at those times.
FINDINGS
F1. The Board meetings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month and are properly posted
at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting, which is in compliance with the Brown Act. The
postings include two public community bulletin boards.
F2. They are in compliance with the State of California water testing requirements.
F3. All invoices are presented to the Board members at the monthly board meeting for
approval, prior to the disbursement of funds by Sierra County.
F4. The financial statement currently has a positive cash flow.
F5. The District has a routine maintenance schedule in place for existing facilities and a long term improvement plan for the upgrade of facilities with the following people serving as
Project Chairs: James Murphy -meters; Pat Blide - arsenic levels; Russell Rosewoodtelemetry;
Christine Lindberg -finances.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1. Continue to conduct monthly board meetings in accordance with the Brown Act.
R2. Continue to stay in compliance with regard to water quality testing requirements. (This
includes required licensing of your water system operator.)
Make sure the budget allows for current expenditures.
R3. Continue to discuss the ability of financing for the long term plans which are currently in
progress.
R4. Consider collecting facilities fees from all new development in order to plan for future
13
growth and upgrade of facilities as warranted.
R5. Implement a maintenance program for the fire hydrants to ensure public safety.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following governing bodies: the Water District Board for Calpine.
The Grand Jury commends the district for conducting business in the proper manner.
SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE ELECTION PROCESS
SUMMARY
The Grand Jury sent two observers to watch the vote counting process on Election night on
June 3, 2014. Sierra County vote is done entirely by mail. Ballots must be received by the
County Elections Official no later than 8PM on June 3, 2014 to be counted.
BACKGROUND
THE LETTER FROM CLERK-RECORDER/ ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT
The Sierra County Elections Department would like to invite two members of the
Grand Jury to serve on the Logic and Accuracy Board for the June 3, 2014 Statewide Direct
Primary Election.
The purpose of this request is to provide the Grand Jury with the understanding of
the procedures involved in conducting an election. We are requesting that the two members
of Grand Jury serving on the Logic and Accuracy Board be present at 6:00 p.m., June 3,
2014. Please contact our office as soon as possible with the names of the two representatives
who will be joining us on election night. If you are unable to assign two members of the
Grand Jury please let us know so that we can make other arrangements.
In addition to serving as our Logic and Accuracy Board, the Grand Jury is also
invited to observe any part of the vote-by-mail process. Please see the enclosed Notice of
Central Counting Place and Commencement of Vote-By-Mail Process. Also, enclosed for
your review is the "Vote-By Mail Processing Observer Guidelines". It is the goal of this office
to insure the integrity and accuracy of the election process. Should you have any questions
or concerns regarding this request please contact my office at (530) 289-3295.
Very Truly Yours,
Heather Foster,
County Clerk-Recorder
Enclosures
NOTICE OF CENTRAL COUNT
COMMENCEMENT OF VOTE-BY-MAIL PROCESS
NOTICE OF CENTRAL COUNT
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the following central counting place has been
legally designated by the Registrar of Voters of the County of Sierra for the Statewide Direct
Primary Election to be held on June 3, 2014.
COUNTING PLACE
100 Courthouse Square Room 11
Downieville, CA 95936
The Registrar of Voters also, hereby notifies all interested organizations that the verifying
of signatures on vote-by-mail ballots cast for the Statewide Direct Primary Election will
commence on May 7, 20 14 and will continue thereafter in the County Elections Office at I 00
Courthouse Square, Room 11, Downieville, California. On May 28, 2014, or at any time
thereafter, the opening and processing of vote-by-mail ballots will commence. This process will
continue until all election results are tabulated and the election is certified. The process is done
in a manner which insures the secrecy of all ballots.
The processing of vote-by-mail ballots is open to members of the public for observation.
Observers shall not interfere with the orderly processing and counting of vote-by-mail ballots,
including touching or handling of the ballots or envelopes.
Dated: May 5, 2014
HEATHER FOSTER
Sierra County Registrar of Voters
VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT PROCESSING
OBSERVER GUIDELINES
GENERAL RULES
I. No observer shall interfere with the orderly processing of mail ballot return envelopes or
ballot processing/counting. Observers shall not touch or handle the ballots (Elections
Code § 151 04 (e)). Observers shall not enter inside the area where the processing of mai I
ballot return envelopes and the processing/counting of mail ballots takes place.
2. Observers will be permitted access to a designated observation area, sufficiently close to
enable them to observe and challenge whether individuals handling vote-by-mail ballots
are following established procedures (Elections Code§ 151 04(d)).
3. Observers, while within the designated observation area shall not:
• carry on conversations with each other
• engage in loud talking or arguing or make disruptive comments or noises, including
sighs or gasps.
4. Questions or challenges regarding the handling of vote-by-mail ballots shall be addressed
only to Melissa Kinneer, Elections Supervisor or Heather Foster, County Clerk.
BALLOT HANDLING CHALLENGES
I. Any member of the county grand jury, and at least one member each of the Republican
county central committee, the Democratic county central committee, and of any other party with a candidate on the ballot, and any other interested organization, shall be
permitted to observe and challenge the manner in which the vote-by-mail ballots are
handled, from the processing of the mail ballot return envelopes through the counting and
disposition of the ballots (Elections Code § 151 04(b )).
2. Observers may not challenge signatures on mail ballot return envelopes. Only the
elections official shall perform signature comparison, in accordance with Division 3 of
the California Elections Code.
3. Observers may challenge whether the individuals handling mail ballots are following
established procedures. Established procedures of the Sierra County Clerk-Recorder
include the following:
a. Verifying signatures by comparing them to voter registration information
ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE:
The signature comparison is done at the time a return batch is processed and the return status is entered
into the vote-by-mail list.
b. Duplicating accurately any damaged or defective ballots
ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE:
Two Election Officials must work together on this process:
• One worker reads from the ballot, as the second worker marks the exact votes
from the original to the duplicate ballot.
• The workers write the date, duplication cross-reference sequence number and
both workers' initials on the original/old ballot as well as on the
duplicated/new ballot.
• The original/old ballot is placed in a "Duplicated Ballots" manila envelope
and the duplicate/new ballot is placed in a "Duplicate" ballot container sealed
and with the "temporary storage seal" signed by both workers. The sealed
container shall be taken to the central counting place to be counted and/or
placed in the Clerk-Recorder's safe to be counted at a later time.
c. Securing vote-by-mail ballots to prevent tampering before counting.
ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE:
Returned vote-by-mail ballots are kept in the
safe located in the Clerk-Recorder's Office when not being worked on by the
elections office staff. Persons other than elections office personnel are not allowed
access to the secure storage area unless escorted by Elections Office personnel.
The safe is locked at all times when staff is not present and the building is secured
with an alarm when the county offices are closed. No containers with ballots shall
be left unattended unless they are locked in the office safe.
VOTER CHALLENGES
1. Prior to processing and opening vote-by-mail ballot return/identification envelopes, the
election official shall make available a list of vote-by-mail voters for public inspection,
from which challenges may be presented. All challenges shall be made prior to the
opening of the identification envelope of the challenged vote-by-mail voter (Elections
Code§ 151 05).
2. Challenges may be made for the same reasons as those made against a voter at a polling
place (Elections Code §14240(a); 15105):
a. That the voter is not the person whose name appears on the index.
b. That the voter is not a resident of the precinct.
c. That the voter is not a citizen of the United States.
d. That the voter has already voted in this election.
e. That the voter is presently on parole for conviction of a felony.
3. In addition, a challenge may be entered on the grounds that the ballot was not received
within the time provided by the California Elections Code or that a person is imprisoned for conviction of a felony (Elections Code § 151 05).
4. If the elections official receives, by mail or otherwise, any document or list concerning
the residence or other voting qualifications of any person or persons, with the express or
implied suggestion, request or demand that the person or persons be challenged, the
election official shall first determine whether the document or list accompanied by
evidence constituting probable cause to justify or substantiate a challenge (Elections
Code § 14240( c)).
5. Because the voter is not present, the challenger shall have the burden of establishing
extraordinary proof of the validity of the challenge at the time the challenge is made
(Elections Code § 151 06).
DISCUSSION
As observed the Clerk/Recorder maintains checks and balances, confidentiality and assures
that the vote counting machine and program are working properly. Additionally, the
Clerk/Recorder followed the procedures as outlined above.
FINDINGS
F1. The Clerk/Recorder diligently oversaw the entire process.
F2. People were encouraged to observe the entire process of verifying signatures on the
vote by mail ballot return envelopes.
F3. People were encouraged to observe the process of counting of the ballots.
F4. The Staff was extremely professional and thorough in strictly following the protocol
for counting and verifying the vote count.
F5. Test ballots were scanned, fed thru the counting machine and verified by Grand Jury
Members to assure the counting machine was functioning properly. The actual voted
ballots were only handled by designated Elections Officials who then fed through the
counting machine.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1. The citizens of Sierra County should thank the Clerk/Recorder and her staff for their
professionalism and the excellent care in making the voting process honest and transparent.
The process is open for all citizen observers.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following individuals:
n Heather Foster, Sierra County Clerk-Recorder

SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE TURNER DESK
SUMMARY
This matter was brought before the Grand Jury addressing one piece of historical furniture
belonging to the County of Sierra that is no longer under the control of the County or a
Historical / Museum entity designated to preserve the piece. But there is a much bigger issue
also that needs to be addressed which how the County of Sierra catalogs, preserves and
controls the many historical objects that it is has acquired over time or acquires in the future.
BACKGROUND
In 1943, the Turner family of Sattley donated a table to the Sierra County Board of
Supervisors. The table was made by F.H. Turner in 1907 at the Turner Saw Mill in Sattley. A
carving on the table reads: "Presented to the Board of Supervisors of Sierra County by F. H.
Turner, March 1, 1943.”
Up until December of 2006, the table was located in the Sierra County Courthouse, for many
years in the County Assessor's Office.
APPROACH
A citizen was interviewed by the Grand Jury. Materials were provided including the
following: copy of an article from the Mountain Messenger dated March 3, 1943; copy of a
page from James Sinott's book, History of the Sierra Valley; various email correspondence
regarding the table; and, Board of Supervisor ROP regarding approval of declaring the table
surplus.
DISCUSSION
The Grand Jury examined documented evidence that led to several findings.
On December 12, 2006, an email was sent from a county employee to the Public Works
Department asking how to give Bill Copren, retiring county assessor, the table/desk located in
his office. The email did not mention that the table had been given as a gift to Sierra County.
An Agenda Transmittal and Record of Proceedings form, dated December 12, 2006, was
submitted from the Department of Public Works and Transportation, requesting "Approval of
declarations of surplus for table in County Assessor's Office and authorization for Director of
Transportation for disposition" as a routine operation. The table was not clearly identified and
again the historical significance of the table was not mentioned.
The Board of Supervisors ROP, dated December 19, 2006, stated that the Board approved the
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declaration of surplus for a table in the County Assessor's Office and authorization for
Director of Transportation for disposition.
FINDINGS
F1. Pertinent information was omitted in the agenda item (i.e. indicating the table was a
surplus item rather than disclosing its historical significance).
F2. Bill Copren is in possession of a cultural artifact donated to Sierra County.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1 The Sierra Board of Supervisors should reexamine its policy of disposing of surplus
items to avoid a recurrence of inadvertently getting rid of valuable or historical items. They
should be wary of being fooled through less than honest means to declare something surplus.
R2 Resolution 2006-193 was approved incorrectly due to misrepresentation, and the Grand
Jury recommends that the Sierra County Superior Court order the Turner table be returned to
the county forthwith.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following governing bodies:
The Sierra County Board of Supervisors
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Sinott, James, History of the Sierra Valley, page 290

SIERRA COUNTY GRAND JURY REPORT ON
THE CITY OF LOYALTON
SUMMARY
Originally known as Smith’s Neck, Loyalton’s sentiment of loyalty to the Union Cause during
the American Civil War led its name change in 1863. In 1901, Loyalton was incorporated as a
dry town; its size was set at 50.6 square miles. It was California’s second largest city after Los
Angeles. Today, Loyalton is the only incorporated city in Sierra County. There are only nine
incorporated cities in California with smaller populations than Loyalton, whose population is
769.
Loyalton is located at 39°40ʹ′36ʺ″N 120°14ʹ′35ʺ″W (39.676558, -120.243157). Elevation above
mean sea level for the area is listed as roughly 4,930 feet (1,500m).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of .4 square miles (1.0
km2), all of it land.
Demographics
2010
The 2010 United States Census reported that Loyalton had a population of 769. The
population desity was 21 people per square mile (835.2/km2). The racial makeup of Loyalton
was 701 (91.2%) White; 2 (.3%) African American; 21 (2.7%) Native American; 0 (0%)
Asian; 0 (0%) Pacific Islander; 20 (2.6%) from other races; and 25 (3.3%) from two or more
races. Hispanic / Latino of any race were 108 persons (14.0%).
The Census reported that 738 people (96.0% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%)
lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 31 (4.0%) were institutionalized.
There were 308 households, out of which 86 (27.9%) had children under the age of 18 living
in them; 163 (52.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 28 (9.1%) had a
female householder with no husband present, 19 (6.2%) had a male householder with no wife
present. There were 25 (8.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 0 (0%) same-sex
married couples or partnerships. Eighty-one households (26.3%) were made up of individuals,
and 35 had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40. There were 210 families (68.2% of all households), and the average family size
was 2.84.
The population was spread out with 156 people (20.3%) under the age of 18, 55 people (7.2%)
aged 18 to 24, 164 people (21.3%) aged 25 to 44, 243 people (31.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 151
people (19.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.2 years. For every
100 females there were 101.3 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 98.4
males.
There were 371 housing units at an average density of 1,043.6 per square mile (402.9/km2), of
which 225 (73.1%) were owner-occupied, and 83 (26.9%) were occupied by renters. The
homeowner vacancy was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.8%. 526 people (68.4% of the
population) lived in owner-occupied housing units, and 212 people (27.6%) lived in rental
housing units.
2000
As of the census of 2000, there were 862 people, 323 households, and 235 families residing in
the city. The population density was 2,516.4 people per square mile (978.9/km2). There were
347 housing units at an average density of 1,013.0 per square mile (394.1/km2). The racial
makeup of the city was 94.90% White, 0.23% African American, 2.67% Native American,
0.12% Asian, 0.58% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino
of any race was 7.19% of the population.
There were 323 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living in
them; 53.6% were married couples living together; 11.1% had a female householder with no
husband present; and, 27.2% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of
individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The
average household size was 2.58, and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city, the population was spread out with 29.1% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24,
24.8% from 25 to 44, 24.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100
females aged 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,063, and the median income for a
family was $39,750. Males had a median income of $38,864 versus $23,571 for females. The
per capita income for the city was $15,732. About 20.3% of families and 18.1% of the
population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of
those aged 65 or over.
Politics
In the state legislature, Loyalton is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Ted
Gaines, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle. Federally,
Loyalton is in California’s 1st Congressional District, represented by Republican Doug
LaMalfa. Because Loyalton is Sierra County’s most populous municipality and its only
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incorporated city, generally half of the meetings of the county’s board of supervisors are held
in Loyalton while the other half are held in Downieville, the county seat.
Selection for Review
The City of Loyalton had not been investigated since 2007, and, with the problems that face
the city, it was decided to take a closer look at the city government. The Grand Jury received
a number of requests from citizens requesting that the Grand Jury take a close look at the city
and its operation.
As the tenth smallest city in California, Loyalton faces many problems that are not unique to
small cities, i.e. city income to pay for adequate city services, employees and their benefits.
The city presently has only one full-time employee and varying numbers of part-time
employees on the payroll. Labor is also provided at times by unpaid volunteers.
The management for the city is through the City Council with the Mayor and one City Council
member appointed to act as a defacto City Manager.
The City, through its City Council, has decided that amateurs know the best way to run the
city, and this is causing problems that are starting to show up. This is exposing the citizens of
the city to liability issues in many forms and from many sources.
The lax oversight of previous city councils resulted in the misappropriation of city funds that
were then dispensed as inflated wages to employees. Luckily, the city was able to recoup
some of the money through claims to their insurance carrier.
The Grand Jury unfortunately does not have the resources to perform a forensic analysis of the
bookkeeping of the city, but there is some evidence that the city is playing games with
accounts to accomplish projects and outcomes that do not follow the basic rules of accounting.
The City Council decided that a contract with Sierra County to provide the resources for the
issuance of building permits and inspection services was not providing the flexibility and type
of service desired, so they have contracted with private individuals to provide those services.
The lack of trained individuals to handle critical issues within the city further exposes the
citizens to costs that cannot be determined at this time but were wholly avoidable. For
example, the recent fire that consumed the Loyalton Hotel has resulted in liability to the city,
and thus its citizens, for the improper conduct of attempting to dispose of the remains of the
fire without proper protocols for the handling of toxic materials and then entombing potential
toxic material at the fire site by covering the site with dirt.
The gifting of city property to private landowners does a disservice to the other citizens of
Loyalton. For example, the City paid for the demolition and removal of the debris from the
hotel fire and then supplied materials, equipment, and labor for work on private property by hauling dirt from county property to cover the site of the fire at the Loyalton Hotel.
The lack of training and knowledge of the handling, storage, and use of toxic materials has resulted in Cease and Decease Orders issued by the State of California after employees told to apply the toxic materials were found to be untrained in the use of these toxic materials and not provided with appropriate safety clothing and protection equipment.
The failure of the City to retain independent professionals capable of reviewing, inspecting, and overseeing the construction of the sewer treatment plant has resulted in a failure of the sewer treatment facility which is now resulting in the city having to find money from outside
sources to even pursue a cause of action for breach of contract against the parties involved with the construction of the sewer treatment plant. Litigation is always an unknown with unknown outcomes; even if the City is able to prevail, will there be enough money in a judgment left after costs to pay for the repairs to the sewer treatment facility?
The actions of the City Council to lower sewer and water fees to curry favor with the electorate instead of providing the leadership needed to assure the necessary funds will be available for repairs whether to the sewer system or water system in the future is short- sighted and very problematic.
The city has less that $300,000.00 in reserves for a 2.3 million dollar budget, which indicates
that the city is one month away from bankruptcy.
APPROACH
The Grand Jury interviewed previous employees, citizens, and City Council members and
reviewed documents provided by City, County, and State departments and officials.
DISCUSSION
the City Council did not listen to or consider the input form the citizens of Loyalton and did
what they wanted to do regardless of public opinions to alleged mismanagement by the City
Council, including
1. Mismanagement of City funds and
2. Of employees and
3. Improper use of credit cards and
4. Misappropriation of grant monies and the use of those monies on projects that were
not allowed under the terms of the grants.
These resulted in low employee morale and discord through
1. Lack of proper and clear communication by City Council members
2. Issuance of improper directives by City Council members
3. Arrogant, dismissive, and condescending attitudes on the part of City Council members toward employees
4. Being asked by City Council members to do, act, and perform tasks that were questionably legal or proper because the city council members wanted to accomplish a goal and didn’t care if it was proper or not. Examples included spraying herbicides without proper protection for the employees and placing expenditures in accounts that were not correct and could in fact have been illegal. In one particular case, an employee failed to comply with an improper directive, and the employee was terminated.
The Grand Jury found some of the City Council members to be less than honest with the Grand Jury in an effort to minimize their involvement in certain activities and an apparent attempt to shield themselves from any liability. This specifically concerns information told to the Grand Jury by Brooks Mitchell and Craig McHenry. Mr. McHenry claimed that he did not supervise work assigned to City employees and yet Mr. Mitchell said that Craig McHenry was in fact the supervisor of employees. Further we had witnesses who claimed that both Craig McHenry and Brooks Mitchell were involved and directed the efforts to have contractors demolish and haul the debris away from the hotel fire to the dump. They at the same time denied any culpability for those orders. In spite of this, they authorized an amount believed to be in excess of $6,000.00 to be paid to one contractor for the demolition and hauling of debris from the hotel fire. It could be easily argued that the City of Loyalton exceeded its authority by doing more that putting the fire out and knocking down the walls (if they were determined to be a hazard). Someone at the city council level authorized city employees to haul dirt and cover the hotel site after the debris was hauled away which covered up toxic material possibly left behind. (Ash and debris had filled the basement areas of the hotel.) It is known that the
toxic material, lead, was found to be in the debris from the fire.
There were questions raised regarding the method of awarding contracts fro equipment purchased by the City. In one case it appears that Mr. Craig McHenry had the City purchase a tractor without going out for bids. This a policy that does not respect the need for cities to spend their monies wisely by getting multiple bids for large purchases to prevent overpaying for the desired items.
The City Council has decided to use volunteers who work for free to do many city projects, but they do not determine if these volunteers are healthy enough to be doing the jobs they are assigned. In one case we found that an operator of heavy equipment has a history of strokes.
This raised the question of whether this failure to determine the health status of these
volunteers prior to assigning them tasks exposes the city to greater liability and whether the
insurance carrier will cover this lack of due diligence by the City.
We reviewed the policy and procedure manuals and found them to be incomplete and wanting
when it comes to issues like drug testing.
We strongly question the long term viability of the City of Loyalton with its declining
population and lack of jobs within the community to support its citizens.
FINDINGS
F1. In talking to the previous bookkeeper for the City, sufficient concerns were raised to
warrant further investigations to determine if in fact funds are being used for improper
purposes, i.e. funds from one account being used in another.
F2. Our investigation found that the micro managing of employees resulted in scheduled
tasks not being done on time resulting in additional costs to the city. Regular
maintenance of the pumps at the sewer treatment plant was not done resulting in
premature failure of pumps because the employees were assigned other tasks.
F3. Because previous City Councils failed to monitor the financial status of the city and its
expenditures including wages paid resulting in losses to the city, we are deeply
concerned that reducing fees for water and sewer is short sighted when the costs to the
city are unknown for the final repair of the sewer system.
F4. The City has been saved from bankruptcy by the insurance settlement for employee misbehavior at the least and criminal embezzlement at the worst.
F5. Likewise, without the luck of the USDA grant to pursue litigation against the contractors involved with the original construction of the sewer treatment system, the city would again be bankrupt as they would have no resources to pursue the litigation or to repair the sewer treatment system.
F6. This lack of financial stability dos not bode well for the longevity of the City.
F7. The fact that the members of the City Council cannot get their stories straight as to who
directs the employees on a daily basis reinforces the allegations of a lack of clear
communication to the employees as to their tasks and duties. This lack is further
reinforced by policies and procedures manuals that are generally vague and unhelpful to
the employees.
F8. The fact that City Council members are acting as professional managers of the City
without the knowledge commensurate with the position exposes the city to additional
liability, whether it is the lack of knowledge of the safety requirements for application of
herbicides or the possible toxic nature of material after a hotel or other building burns to
the ground.
F9. There appears to be no coherent policy for using volunteers, i.e. whether drug testing
needs to be done (especially in the case of driving city equipment) or health checks to prevent high risk people from performing tasks dangerous to their health. The city is exposed to liability, and if the risk is not covered the city will be bankrupt shortly.
RECOMMENDATIONS
R1 Each one of the findings are self explanatory as to what needs to be done.
R2 The best recommendation that the Grand Jury can make is for the citizens of Loyalton to become involved with the city and watch everything they do.
REQUEST FOR RESPONSES
Pursuant to Penal code section 933.05, the grand jury requests responses as follows:
From the following governing bodies:
n The City of Loyalton
The governing bodies indicated above should be aware that the comment or response of the governing body must be conducted subject to the notice, agenda and open meeting requirements of the Brown Act.

City Initial Response to Grand Jury Report:

The City thanks the Grand Jury members for their report but takes issue with many of their findings and recommendations. The Grand Jury members refer to the current City Council members as amateurs inept at running a city and attempt to explain their numerous accomplishments as luck. The Grand Jury members assume that only full-time professionals can manage local government.
The Grand Jury members claim the current City Council was “lucky” to recoup misappropriation of City funds that were dispensed as inflated wages to employees by the lax oversight of previous councils. The current City Council devoted extensive resources but at a reasonable cost to prepare the insurance claim. Patsy Jardin, the former City Clerk, was retained to do a forensic examination of all the City financial
records from the date of her retirement in
December of 2004 to December of 2010. This
task took months to complete and was the key to recovering the monies.
The Grand Jury members also claim the City was “lucky” to receive the $1.4 million dollar grant from USDA for engineering costs, attorney fees, and repair costs for the Waste Water Treatment Plant evaporation ponds. This was accomplished by professional skill not luck. City council members spent considerable time documenting problems with the WWTP evaporation ponds and submitting the required information to USDA.
The Grand Jury members claim the City has failed to retain independent professionals for the WWTP litigation. This is incorrect. The City has hired an attorney who specializes in government construction contracts and several highly qualified and respected engineers using the USDA grant funds. The legal case is set for trial, May 5, 2015, and mediation is scheduled for October 2, 2014. These results come from years of hard work by current City Council members—not luck.
The Grand Jury questions the integrity of the Mayor and Director of Public Works, because apparently the members do not understand the difference between management and supervision. The City Public Works Director manages public works projects by determining city priorities. He does not directly supervise work performed by the maintenance crew. The City recently purchased a CAT mini-excavator with grant funds from USDA. The City received multiple bids and selected the low bid.
The Grand Jury members also question the City’s use of volunteers. The strength of the community comes from its volunteers. The City has eighteen volunteer firemen. They are indispensable to the City. Others in the community volunteer to help in the park and do special projects. All volunteers are covered by the City’s worker compensation and liability insurance.
The Grand Jury members allege inaccurate facts regarding the hotel fire, in claiming mismanagement by City officials. In their investigation, the Grand Jury members forgot to interview the key witnesses—the Loyalton volunteer fire fighters.
FOUR THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE HOTEL FIRE

The 3-day fire was fought in 2 phases. The first phase, the initial attack, was fire suppression and protection of nearby structures. The second phase, the fire overhaul, was putting out the still-burning debris buried under the knocked down concrete walls. The first fire crews were onsite by 2:30 am Saturday, December 14th and the last crew left early Monday afternoon, December 16th. Under firefighting protocol, the Loyalton Fire Chief had sole authority over the fire site for the 3-day duration of the fire.
The Fire Chief’s overhaul plan was to disperse and soak the burning debris with fire hoses on-site using the two adjoining lots east and west of the hotel. The plan was to disperse the burning material using heavy equipment because the fire site itself was too dangerous for the fire fighters to enter. Midday Saturday while the fire fighters were completing preparations for their fire overhaul plan, Intermountain Trucks backed into the two adjoining lots without permission from the fire chief and waited to be loaded.
County personnel had prepared their own much better overhaul plan without any request from the fire chief or any city official. The county’s overhaul plan was to haul the concrete walls and burning debris to an isolated location at the landfill, where it could burn without being a continuing danger in the center of the community. All the arrangements at the landfill, the determination of how the burning material would be separated prior to hauling, and the decision regarding what trucks would haul the material were made by county personnel. No City official called Intermountain or ordered the burning debris sent to the landfill. The Intermountain Disposal Trucks parked on the adjacent side lots blocked the Loyalton Fire Department from implementing its overhaul plan. The fire fighters quickly saw the advantage of handling the burning material once instead of multiple times. Fire fighters implemented the County overhaul plan by soaking the burning material twice--once as the excavators shoveled it and again after it was loaded. The fire overhaul was completed in 18 working hours of winter daylight from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon.
The Solid Waste Joint Powers Agreement between and City and the County has three major provisions. The agreement gives the County sole management authority over solid waste including the landfill. The agreement requires City residents to pay the exact same solid waste fees as County residents and entitles City residents to the exact same services as County residents. The City believes it is being unfairly targeted by the County. If the hotel fire had occurred in the center of Downieville or Calpine instead of Loyalton would those communities receive the same treatment from the County for the removal of burning debris to the landfill or a transfer site to insure the safety of their communities?
The City expresses its gratitude to the Loyalton Fire Department, all the volunteer fire fighters who came from outside the community, and the Sierra County personnel who protected Main Street during the fire. They were all heroes. They should be honored not investigated.

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Report Shows Budget Impact of Rising Firefighting Costs


Other Forest Programs, Including Efforts to Help Prevent and Mitigate Fire Damage Have Shrunk;
Secretary Vilsack Renews Call to Better Protect Public Forests from Wildfire Threats
WASHINGTON, August 20, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report showing that as the cost of fighting forest fires has rapidly increased over the last 20 years, the budgets for other forest programs, including those that can help prevent and mitigate fire damage, have substantially shrunk. The Forest Service's firefighting appropriation has rapidly risen as a proportion of the Forest Service's overall budget, increasing from 16 percent in 1995 to 42 percent today, forcing cuts in other budget areas.

"Climate change, drought, fuel buildup and insects and disease are increasing the severity of catastrophic wildfire in America's forests," Vilsack said. "In order to protect the public, the portion of the Forest Service budget dedicated to combatting fire has drastically increased from what it was 20 years ago. This has led to substantial cuts in other areas of the Forest Service budget, including efforts to keep forests healthy, reduce fire risk, and strengthen local economies."

Vilsack noted that on top of the budget reductions outlined in the new report, the Forest Service's non-fire program budgets are affected by "fire borrowing." Funds spent on fire suppression have exceeded the allocated amount in all but four years since 2000. In these cases, the shortfall is covered through transferring, or "borrowing" additional funds from Forest Service programs that have already been cut over the last 20 years. Secretary Vilsack renewed his request to Congress to allow an existing disaster fund to provide resources to fight catastrophic fires in years when Forest Service and Department of Interior fire costs exceed the amount Congress has budgeted, rather than forcing borrowing from non-fire programs.

"Bipartisan proposals to fund catastrophic fire like other natural disasters could help ensure that efforts to make forests more healthy and resilient and support local tourism economies aren't impacted as significantly as they have been in recent years," Vilsack said. "These proposals don't increase the deficit, they just budget smarter by allowing existing natural disaster funding to be used in cases of catastrophic wildfire."

Today's report shows the extent to which many Forest Service program budgets have been cut even before borrowing occurs to accommodate for the rapid rise in firefighting costs in the past 20 years. For example:

Funding for the Vegetation and Watershed Management Program – a cornerstone for forest, rangeland, soil and water restoration and enhancement activities, and a key factor in post-fire restoration – has been cut by 22 percent since 2001. This has reduced the Forest Service's ability to prevent and limit the spread of invasive species, which can weaken forest health and make forests more susceptible to fire.
Maintenance and capital improvements on approximately 21,600 recreation sites and 23,100 research and other administrative buildings has been reduced by two-thirds since 2001.
Support for recreation, heritage and wilderness activities that connect the public with our natural lands and support tourism and thousands of jobs (visitors to national forests contributed more than $13 billion to America's economy each year) has been cut by 13 percent.
Wildlife and fisheries habitat management has been reduced by 17 percent, limiting recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species.
Research funding has declined by over $36 million in the ten year period ending in 2013.
While fire staffing has increased 110 percent since 1998, staffing for those dedicated to managing National Forest Service lands has decreased 35 percent over the same period.

Vilsack said the average number of fires on Federal lands has more than doubled since 1980 and the total area burned annually has tripled. He said that climate change, population growth near forests, brush and fuel buildup have drastically increased wildfire severity and the cost of fighting them.

Vilsack's request to change the way catastrophic fire costs are funded is included in the Obama Administration's proposed budget and is supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The change means that in years when the cost of fighting wildfires exceeds the firefighting budget provided to the Forest Service by Congress, additional resources would be provided from an existing fund already in place to help provide emergency funding for natural disasters, rather than forcing the Forest Service to take money from other programs designed to protect forest health.

To read the full report, go to: http://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/media/2014/34/nr-firecostimpact-082014.pdf

The mission of the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the Nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

SIERRAVILLE POST OFFICE HOURS TO BE REDUCED

POSTAL AUTHORITIES held a meeting concerning Sierraville Post Office on Wednesday, August 6th at Sierraville School.
Lynn Holmes, Manager of Post Office Operations, Nevada-Sierra District from Reno introduced herself to a rowdy crowd. There were instant complaints about incorrect information listed on handouts.
Holmes told the crowd of “good news,” the post office won’t close but will reduce its hours to two hours, most likely from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. every day and Saturday operations will not change. She told of a “tremendous amount of customer surveys returned,” 60 out of 153. Seventy-two percent of respondents wanted realignment of hours; 5% delivery option and 23% made no selection. They had been evaluated, she said and based on input, unfortunately due to economics and the condition of the post office, have to look at reducing hours. The hours, however, she said weren’t “locked in” and finalized hours will be posted.
Those in the crowd weren’t happy and one vocal customer called it “wasting our time.” Holmes tried to explain they were reducing hours because the post office hasn’t enough money.
Holmes was hit with a lot of questions and made no attempt to answer, referring them to the Manager, Consumer Industry Carla Denard at (702) 361-9204 out of Las Vegas.
Customers questioned getting mail the same day, late arrivals at the post office and how the postal employee could get her work done in such short hours.
The outspoken gentleman accused the post office of not responding to a July 27th 2-page letter. “Not a word comes back,” he stated. “Nobody bothered to respond.” He wouldn’t answer when asked how it was addressed.
Others asked how’d they make the post office hours when they worked until 5 p.m. and Holmes was accused of knowing the hours when she came.
Holmes continued to give the “point of contact.” She was questioned over postal employees’ retirement and how the Sierraville Post Office was losing money, being interrupted by the one gentleman. On finances, Holmes called it “challenging.”
Mary Moreau told the crowd, “Can we stop killing the messenger?” Holmes stated they’re “Hashing it out so there’s minimal delay for you.” Other post offices, Truckee and Loyalton, were said to be open all day. She didn’t know status of Calpine and she didn’t know the number of boxes at Sierraville.
At this point, the gentleman sitting in the front of the room next to Holmes, rose and stated in 23 communities, he’d never encountered this reaction before. He was Mike Behrend, Reno Postmaster, and stated simply, they aren’t maintaining enough revenue. He told of other post offices with reduced hours which are “working wonderfully.” He said the work load can be done and surveys were looked at.
The surveys were questioned when “you’ve made up your mind.”
He, too, referred questions to Carla Denardo. He stated the postal service lost $5 billion last year which has some to do with prefunding. First class is declining with the internet.
Banking services in the post office and wages to drive from Loyalton were questioned. Customers stated they couldn’t buy stamps at Sierraville.
Tim Holabird, representative for Congressman Doug LaMalfa introduced himself and said to write the Congressman, the only office which “can really do anything to help.” He pointed out, too, Sierra County Supervisor Paul Roen was there. He stated Congress voted they can’t close post offices, but can reduce hours yet have to justify it.
Olivia McCaffrey was ashamed how the crowd acted so rudely. Mary Moreau called for a compromise on hours, perhaps Monday, Wednesday and Friday four hours which may accommodate those on their way home from work.
Holmes said they look at hours of operation and what’s brought in.
Under further question, Holmes stated they’d used current data and will continue to hire. The lack of stamps and mail supplies was discussed along with parcel lockers.
Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals defined the questioning and called it a “drastic reduction in services.” He told of recent goings on that may not have been included in analysis. He was given Carla Denard’s number and it was asked why didn’t Carla come?
Beals said he’d never seen reduction down to two hours, stating, “That’s huge,” and added it’s “hollow when we can’t interact with answers.” Calpine Post Office was said to be reduced to 4 hours.
Behrend told of “walk in revenue,” what comes across the counter. He stated, “If you love your post office, buy those stamps.” Under discussion, it was said postage meters don’t credit the post office.
The hours will be posted for 30 days and during that time, customers have an opportunity to respond.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

MORE TAXES

To My Fellow Citizens of California:

Drought conditions in California grow more serious by the day.

Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board issued mandatory conservation measures to ensure that our water supply remains reliable. Whether you’re a rancher, farmer, business owner or an average Californian — it is crucial that you do all you can to conserve water.

State government, of course, has a major role in how we manage and conserve this fundamental resource. In March, I signed legislation to provide over $680 million for drought relief efforts, including money for housing and food for workers directly affected by the drought, bond funds for local projects to capture and manage water more efficiently and funding for emergency drinking water supplies. The recently enacted state budget contains specific funding to lessen the impacts of drought on fish and wildlife across the state.

But the drought shows no sign of letting up, so we must do more.

Five years ago, state legislators and the Governor put a pork-laden water bond on the ballot — with a price tag beyond what’s reasonable or affordable. The cost to taxpayers would be enormous — $750 million a year for 30 years — and would come at the expense of funding for schools, health care and public safety. This is on top of the nearly $8 billion a year the state already spends on bond debt service.

Since being elected governor, I’ve worked with the Legislature to reduce the state’s fiscal liabilities. Together, we’ve made steady progress paying down debt and enacting responsible, balanced budgets and it is no time to turn back now. Therefore, I’m proposing a no-frills, no-pork water bond that invests in the MOST CRITICAL PROJECTS without breaking the bank.

My $6 billion plan provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and added storage. It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities and for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of our most important rivers and streams.

This water bond is tied to our comprehensive Water Action Plan that charts the way for California to become more resilient in the face of droughts and floods. It goes a long way to ensure clean drinking water, protect habitat and free up funding for local water projects.

Water is central to our lives, our wildlife and our food supply. Our economy depends on it. We must act now so that we can continue to manage as good stewards of this vital resource for generations to come. But we can and must do so without returning California to the days of overwhelming deficit and debt.

Respectfully,

Jerry Brown

For more on how you can do your part to conserve water, please visit www.saveourwater.com

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

America's Backyard War



By Glenn Mollette

I'm going to pass on trips to Israel for a few weeks. Walking around the Gaza strip looking for some good Arabic food would be crazy right now.

Thousands of Americans each year travel to see the sights of Old Jerusalem and walk in the places where Jesus once walked from the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and any place that a tour bus can travel. I have only been to Israel once and loved every minute of the trip. The places I saw where beautiful and inspirational.

The Temple Mount is a place in Jerusalem that is thought to be one of and probably the holiest shrine in the city. The golden dome temple stands out from all the other buildings when looking at it from the Mount of Olives, which is thought to be the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. At the time of our visit the Temple Mount was under the control of the Palestinians. We were allowed access to visit but I didn't enjoy the visit for a second. The guards did not at all look welcoming and all carried machine guns. I was glad when we stepped off that property.

The land of Israel is so small, about the size of New Jersey. Gaza is only 139 square miles and crowded with over 1.7 million people making it the seventh most densely populated area in the world.
The area is too small for such hatred and violence. With all that is going on in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Israel, how long will it take for the entire Middle East to blow up? Who will be the first to go crazy and set off a nuclear weapon? That will be crazy and the chain reaction will be earth altering.


While all the war seems to be so far away, television once again brings everything very close and up front. Yet, we can still go to the ice cream shop or order pizza while flipping through the television channels or posting pictures on Facebook.

Never mind that we are in a war right here in our country. You could take a little trip southwest and see the thousands of people storming the borders of our country. Southern California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are in serious trouble as thousands of people from Mexico and Central America are coming here every day. How long will it be before it's the Taliban with four or five thousand thugs targeting a border city and fighting to take over that city? Currently, I don't think they would get very far. Or, how far would they get and how many people could they kill?

America's southern borders seem far away for most
Americans. Everything seems to be someone else's problem being played out on television. We turn off the television and breeze out the door to whatever we want. However, our southern border is essentially our backyard.

If America does not secure our borders fast the America we grew up in will not be recognizable in ten years or much less.

We need to spend the trillion dollars or whatever it takes to better secure the Southwest part of the United States. Along the way we need our military patrolling the wall.

I would rather build bridges than walls. But in this age there is an evil mindset that is determined to eliminate America's freedom. We have to build walls, seriously protect them and keep our freedom.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

SIERRA BROOKS WATER SYSTEM

THE SIERRA BROOKS WATER

PROJECT was discussed at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Loyalton on Tuesday, July 22nd with many Sierra Brooks residents in attendance. Sierra County Planning Director, Tim Beals gave an update to the crowd and Supervisors, stating at the last Home Owner’s Association (HOA) meeting the appraisal was in the process, and was stopped for Sierra Brooks’ CC&Rs to be amended. He said there were some delays in the Forest Service NEPA process and even though the Forest Service was very cooperative, it took a lot of time. Beals continued, because of these set backs, Department of Fish and Game put the project on the back burner. He stated now that they have the appraisal and NEPA document, they are able to proceed with the land adjustment, access easement and finalize the methodology. Beals stated there is a host of regulatory changes that have to be made to existing County ordinance, meter reading and rates, regulatory framework for existing wells and those who don’t, who were previously authorized to have one; how the County deals with multiple lots under the same ownership and how they deal with merge lots maintained by one ownership, adding they will need a set of rules enforced by the County as the owner and operator of the system. Beals told the Board to understand there will be two elections one is for the assessment district and the other is the increase, which will be required for the operation of maintenance. He said this is not a good year to look for a well driller, but are situated for a good position in 2015.
Supervisor Scott Schlefstein said the Sierra Brooks community is concerned at the amount of time left with still a lot to do. He stated the goal is to figure out a game plan before they come up against the July USDA deadline next year.
From the audience, Tom Rowson Director of the HOA and serves on the Water Board, stated it’s very important they work as a team. He said they understand they aren’t the only project in the County, and need each of the Supervisor’s support. Rowson added they are up against the nine-month time period, and asked the Board to allow staff to get this done.

Beals stated the HOA has been very supportive, with no lack of enthusiasm. He said there wasn’t anything negative about this project, adding it was one of the finest opportunities he’s seen in a long time with the low interest rate of a little over 2%.

Sierra Brooks resident and HOA Chairman Barbara Leffingwell, appreciates everything the County has done so far, but would like the project to get on the front burner so the opportunity is not lost.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

From the USDA Drought Monitor (USDM):



Increasingly, drought indicators point to the fact that conditions are not appreciably better in northern California than in central and southern sections of the state. In addition, mounting evidence from reservoir levels, river gauges, ground water observations, and socio-economic impacts warrant a further expansion of exceptional drought (D4) into northern California. For California’s 154 intrastate reservoirs, storage at the end of June stood at 60% of the historical average. Although this is not a record for this time of year—the standard remains 41% of average on June 30, 1977—storage has fallen to 17.3 million acre-feet. As a result, California is short more than one year’s worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet, for this time of year. The historical average warm-season drawdown of California’s 154 reservoirs totals 8.2 million acre-feet, but usage during the first 2 years of the drought, in 2012 and 2013, averaged 11.5 million acre-feet.

Given the 3-year duration of the drought, California’s topsoil moisture (80% very short to short) and subsoil moisture (85%) reserves are nearly depleted. The state’s rangeland and pastures were rated 70% very poor to poor on July 27. USDA reported that “range and non-irrigated pasture conditions continued to deteriorate” and that “supplemental feeding of hay and nutrients continued as range quality declined.” In recent days, new wildfires have collectively charred several thousand acres of vegetation in northern and central California. The destructive Sand fire, north of Plymouth, California—now largely contained—burned more than 4,000 acres and consumed 66 structures, including 19 residences.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Attention Commercial Agriculture Irrigators:


Public Notice July 17, 2014
New Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) program
C Dobbas, Executive Director, Upper Feather River Watershed Group

Even as severe drought conditions challenge California farmers and ranchers, the State requires agriculture irrigators to comply with regulations of at least two state water agencies: The Department of Water Resources (DWR) oversees water rights and allocations; while the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWB) oversees water quality concerns. Upper Feather River farmers and ranchers receive their irrigated lands water quality program information, and regional representation, through the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition which represents 13 sub-coalitions within its area.

The new Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP), now referenced as Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR), has been adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Irrigators have an option to join local coalitions to work as a group to comply with the program for their areas, or file a Notice of Intent to comply on an individual basis. The coalition option remains the most cost efficient method of program compliance for farmers and ranchers, since the fees and reporting requirements are shared through a group approach to the program.

July 15, 2014 – Annual coalition participant lists were submitted to the Sacramento Valley Coalition. If you are a current UFRWG member who paid your annual dues, you are enrolled as an active member and meet current compliance requirements. If you missed renewing your membership, you may still do so by July 25. Please contact us asap.

July 21, 2014 - Local Coalitions must notify their current members about the new WDR program and its expanded requirements. Upper Feather River Watershed Group (UFRWG) is the local coalition for Plumas, Sierra & a portion of Lassen County. Members have been informed of the impending new program at the 2013 November annual meeting and through a May Newsletter mailing. Additionally, an updated Newsletter with further specific information will be mailed out again in August.

Coalition members will receive several new program documents: 1.) Notice of Confirmation – to acknowledge the new program with its new requirements, this will be mailed with annual membership invoices ; 2.) Farm Evaluations – members will be asked to complete a farm evaluation survey to help quantify local surface and ground water quality practices being implemented. These will be submitted to the RWB in group format.

October 2, 2014 is the non-member enrollment deadline set by the RWB for coalition sign-up.
Irrigators who are not currently members of a local coalition may soon receive a letter from the Regional Board which has increased outreach and enforcement efforts. Outreach lists have been sent to local coalitions for parcels within their watersheds, and mapped by the RWB, as potential irrigators who need program coverage.

The Board of Directors of the UFRWG approved a 15% discount on back fees and dues for new members who enroll by the October 2, 2014 deadline identified by the RWB. Any commercial farmer or rancher who wishes to utilize the coalition option to comply with the new Waste Discharge Requirements for agricultural growers may call Carol 775-722-2610 or email cjdobbas@yahoo.com

Program information for the new Waste Discharge Requirements for commercial agriculture irrigators can be found on the Central Valley Regional Board website at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/water_issues/irrigated_lands/new_waste_discharge_requirements/sacramento_river_watershed_wdrs/index.shtml

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Downieville Clinic

THE DOWNIEVILLE CLINIC PATIENT’S ADVOCACY COMMITTEE (DCPAC) Chair Ingrid Larsen gave an update on the status of the clinic. She stated the Downieville community and beyond has been concerned with the possibility of the clinic’s reduction in hours, and the elimination of its 24/7 service. Larsen said since the Downieville forum with CEO Scott McFarland, DCPAC has been an active committee meeting once a week and have had five meetings to date with 50 -75 people from the community in attendance at each meeting. She said the committee made a presentation to the Board of Directors to try and appeal for their commitment to the Downieville clinic and recently had an interface with the CEO and number of people from administration and Board of Directors. DCPAC has asked the Board of Directors for many documents, and Larsen was elated to receive a copy of the Agreement of Merger between Western Sierra Medical Clinic, Inc. and Miners Community Clinic, Inc. Larsen handed copies to the Board of Supervisors and noted at the time of the merger she was the Secretary of the Board of Directors. Larsen stated with this agreement the committee is trying to remind the Board of Directors to look at its service commitments and objectives which state providing on-site medical care on a 24 hour, seven day a week basis in Downieville, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay or insurance status. The agreement also states maintaining its provision of medical services per its agreement with the Sierra County Jail and Sierra County Health and Human Services. Larsen stated the committee thinks its essential the Board of Directors review the contract before making cuts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Illegal Immigration, how many will the boat hold?



By Glenn Mollette

Two thousand two hundred and twenty-three people desperately tried to escape from the sinking Titanic. One thousand five hundred and seventeen perished, as they could not escape. Most of them could not escape because there were not enough lifeboats. There were boats for only eleven hundred and seventy-eight people. Sadly, the ship was not properly equipped with enough lifeboats.

Who in their right mind would have preferred the sinking ship to a lifeboat? No one wanted a sinking ship. People who drowned desperately wanted a lifeboat. Escape was impossible because there was no place to escape.

If I lived in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Central America or numerous other countries including Mexico I would be scratching and clawing to find a way out. Who wants to live in such places of violence and poverty? Millions are stuck and will never escape. Millions of people have found a place of safety and freedom in America. People keep coming and coming. Actually there will never be an end to the rush of people storming our borders for safety and freedom, as long there is a magnet to draw them here. Also the best of any lifeboats will sink. Even the Titanic sank. Do we sometimes think we are unsinkable? America is not unsinkable.

I think too much of America sits around glued to social media eating ourselves into the grave while more and more people are coming into our boat. Some of them are hard workers and will do their jobs rowing and keeping the boat afloat. Others are climbing on board staring at us wondering what we are going to do to save them from drowning.

There is room for more people in America, but, how much room do we have?
We don't have room for more freeloaders. We don't need more liars filling out claims for social security disability and then working cash only jobs to keep their government check coming. We don't need more people on food stamps and Medicaid getting free food and medical rides at the expense of the working citizens. Unfortunately the boat is already crowded with Americans who have learned entitlements as a way of life. How many of these people can we take on before we sink?

There is room for people who will fill out their paperwork and come into our country documented. We have room for hard workers who will pay their taxes, and keep America strong and secure. Those who cross our border illegally are illegal. They are not going to fight for America's freedom and values, serve in our military and keep America strong. They are lawbreakers and need to become legal.

We have kept the American boat of safety and liberty floating for quite a while. Millions have come here and tremendously contributed. However, how many illegals will the boat hold before we sink?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

4 Helpful Hints on Garden Mulch


Most gardeners know that mulching trees, shrubs and flower beds is a good practice, even if they may not know all the reasons. Beyond the obvious advantage of its decorative use to make plantings look clean and attractive, there are real environmental benefits that can also help gardens reduce maintenance and protect every homeowner's investment in time and plant materials.

1. Weed Control
Most homeowners understand mulch helps reduce weeds, but best results depend on understanding why. Weeds need sunlight to germinate in the soil. The proper use of a mulch that will serve as a barrier to sunlight can help decrease the germination of weed seeds. Use a shredded hardwood or softwood material at a depth of at least 2-3 inches for best effect.

HINT: If you prefer the more rugged look of larger particles like mini nuggets or nuggets, use a 1-inch layer of shredded material first and then place a 2-inch layer of larger materials on top to get the advantages of both materials.

2. Erosion Control
Mulch is often used by highway departments to stabilize roadside embankments from erosion. The same principle applies to home gardens and should follow the same guidelines. Slopes create collection points and water flows that can carry soil downhill. The same is true of large-particle wood mulches. Since wood products often float, large particle mulch may flow downhill in a significant rainfall. Shredded hardwood mulches should be used to stabilize slopes. These materials are more dense and tend to mat together. In lighter rainfall, most shredded mulches will trap and absorb moisture thereby preventing its collection and runoff. In heavier rainfall, the intertwined particles of a hardwood mulch hold the material together.

HINT: Unfortunately, a torrential downpour on a steep incline may create more force than even the best mulch can resist; so, the steepness of the slope and the frequency of torrential rains must be considered when selecting your mulch options. An inorganic mulch like rock or stones may be your best option, especially for areas too steep to maintain plants.

3. Moisture control
On the opposite extreme from torrential rains is drought, and once again, mulch can provide needed protection for landscape plants. As a wood product with a large surface area compared to its size, mulches can absorb a significant amount of water. That retained moisture, which is released over time, can reduce the need to water plants during a drought. Even more important is the ability of mulch to allow water to penetrate to the ground while forming a barrier to reduce evaporative losses under the sun.

HINT: Retaining existing moisture is just as important to reducing water use as is the retention of new moisture. Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of loose fill mulch to allow moisture access from the top and prevent moisture loss from beneath.

4. Temperature Control
Excessive heat in the soil can damage plant roots, kill beneficial bacteria and deactivate slow release fertilizers. A 2-3 inch layer of any organic mulch can reduce the soil temperature around plant roots. In colder climates, a good mulch layer can insulate the soil from excessive cold protecting the roots from freezing. Mulch can also be piled around tender plants in a freeze.

HINT: Do not leave the mulch on above-ground stems for long in warm weather. The added moisture and heat can encourage insects to attack the stems. During the growing season, keep mulch 1 inch from the base of shrubs and trees.


Simple Steps to Seed Starting Success
By Melinda Myers

Get a jump on the growing season by starting your favorite or hard to find plants indoors from seeds. Starting hard to find plants, like many of the heirloom or newly introduced varieties, from seed may be the only way you will be able to add these to your garden. Plus, you’ll be extending the growing season and bringing the fun of gardening indoors.

All you need is a little space, a few supplies and of course seeds to get started. Check the back of your seed packets for planting directions. Most recommend when and how to start seeds indoors as well as any other special care the seedlings will need.

Purchase, recycle or make your own containers from newspaper. Sanitize used pots by dipping them in a one part bleach and nine parts water solution and then rinsing them with clean water.

Fill the containers with a sterile well-drained potting mix or seed starting mix. Once the containers are filled, plant the seeds according to the seed packet directions.

For most seeds, plant them twice their diameter deep and gently water. Continue to water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Extend the time between watering and increase your seed starting success by covering the container with plastic. Or purchase a seed starting kit, like the self-watering Growease seed starter kits.

Move your containers to a sunny window as soon as the seedlings emerge from the soil. Turn plants often to encourage even growth. Or increase your success by growing seedlings under artificial lights. You can make your own light system or purchase tabletop, shelf units or easy to assemble light systems, like Stack-N-Grow (gardeners.com). Keep the lights four to six inches above the top of the seedlings for best results. As the seedlings grow, be sure to maintain this distance by simply raising the lights or lowering the containers.

Move overcrowded seedlings to larger containers once they have two sets of true leaves. The first leaves that appear are rather indistinct and are called seed leaves. The next set of leaves look more like the mature plant’s leaves and are called true leaves. Once the next set of true leaves forms, it is time to transplant overcrowded seedlings.

Use a fork or spoon to carefully lift out the seedling. Clusters of seedlings can be dug and carefully teased apart before planting in individual pots. Be careful not to pinch and damage the young tender stems.

Place seedlings in their own clean container filled with moist sterile potting mix. Plant the young plants at the same depth they were growing in the original container.

Thin seedlings started in individual containers as needed. If you planted several seeds in each small container remove all but the healthiest one. Prune the weaker seedlings to ground level, so the remaining seedling can develop into a strong transplant for the garden.

Continue to grow your plants in a sunny window or under artificial lights and water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.

Soon it will be time to move your homegrown transplants into the garden.


Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

IBHS Offers Guidance on Preventing Lightning-Related Damage to Homes and Businesses


TAMPA (June 20, 2014) – It’s summertime and as the temperature increases so do the chances for thunderstorm and lightning activity. Next week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) reminds people to take steps to prevent lightning-related damage to their homes and businesses.

“Summer can be a carefree time of year, but it’s also a time when more lightning strikes occur because of the increased number of thunderstorms,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “A strike to an unprotected structure could be devastating, but there are things you can do to prevent a catastrophic event from happening.”

“To truly protect your home or business and its contents, consider investing in a certified lightning protection system to reduce the risk of damage. Contact your local utility company to inquire about programs to provide and install these systems; many companies provide this service. If this is not available in your area, consult a licensed electrician to install the system,” Rochman said.

Additional steps home and business owners can take to protect appliances and electronic devices from power surges caused by lightning strikes include:

Plug electronic devices (laptops, DVD players, etc.) into a surge protection device, not a power strip. Both allow you to connect multiple electronics to a power source; however, a power strip does not protect against a spike in electrical power. A surge protection device, however, protects devices from such spikes.
Connect telephone, cable and/or satellite TV and network lines to a surge protection device.
Check the packaging labels to be sure the surge protection device has been tested to UL 1449.
Purchase a surge protection device with a Joule rating of over 1,000. The Joule rating typically ranges from 200 up to several thousand.Remember, the higher the number the better.
Look for a surge protection device with a clamping voltage rating (voltage at which the protector will conduct the electricity to ground) between 330 v to 400 v.
“Lightning is one of those severe weather events that doesn’t command as much attention but causes an estimated $1 billion a year in property damage. We must acknowledge lightning’s power and do what we can to protect our structures and the valuable belongings inside them from the effects of a strike,” Rochman said.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Loyalton Hotel Debris update

ENTEK CONSULTING GROUP, INC. agreement was amended at the Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting held in Loyalton on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, to update the scope of service and increase compensation an extra $6,700 for final testing of the Loyalton Hotel debris piles. Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals stated the additional testing was a gamble but expects to have the piles significantly reduced with this final testing. Beals said results came in the day before, and looks like a minimum 60% reduction in the 400 yards. He hoped by the next meeting on July 8th in Downieville to have the official results and an action plan. Beals added, it’s an increase in the cost, but was a good risk to take and saved at least $20-$30,000 by extra testing. He stated the net result is whoever is paying this bill has a significant reduction.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Delaying Social Security Could Increase Lifetime Income for Sierra County Residents





By Tim Marema and Roberto Gallardo

The Daily Yonder



Sierra County residents who are nearing retirement age can increase their lifetime income if they can wait a bit to start drawing Social Security benefits.

In Sierra County 651 residents – or 21.1 percent of the population – are aged 55 to 64. Those are the years when folks start thinking seriously about retirement.

Workers can start taking Social Security at age 62. But for those who can wait, the benefits go up.

“If you need Social Security early, take it – you’ve earned it,” said Virginia Reno with the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. “But waiting even a year or two can make a big difference in the long run. The extra benefits are there for life.”

Payments increase by 5 to 7 percent for each year of delay between ages 62 and 66, and by 8 percent for each year of delay between ages 66 and 70. The increases stop at age 70.

For someone who can wait until age 70 to take Social Security, the reward is a lifetime monthly benefit that is 76 percent higher than if taken at age 62.

For example, a worker who qualifies for a Social Security benefit of $750 at age 62 would receive $1,000 by waiting until full retirement age (66 for people born in 1943 to 1954). By waiting until age 70, the retiree would receive $1,320 a month.

The higher benefit would also be the basis for future inflation adjustments.

Around California, only about one in three residents who are currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits waited until full retirement age to start their payments, according to the Social Security Administration.

In Sierra County, 625 residents received retirement benefits from the federal system, according to 2012 figures.

The average recipient of Social Security retirement benefits in Sierra County received $1,181 a month in December of that year. On an annual basis, that brought $8,856,000 in income to the area – 7.3 percent of all personal income in the county, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Getting the most out of Social Security benefits becomes more important the longer retirees live, said Leticia Miranda, a policy adviser with the National Council of La Raza, a nonprofit that focuses on Hispanic issues, including retirement.

“You may be here longer than you think,” Miranda said.

About half of seniors aged 65 to 69 get most of their income from Social Security. Many have other assets or work part time. But for three out of four seniors in their 80s, Social Security is the main source of income.

Nationally, a woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live until she is 86. For men, it’s 84 years.

Another consideration is how the timing of benefits will affect a spouse’s income, Reno said.

“If you are the higher earner in a couple, delaying benefits not only means a higher benefit for you for the rest of your life,” she said. “It also means a higher benefit for your spouse if she or he outlives you in old age.”

In more than half of couples who are 65 today, one spouse will live beyond 90, she said.

But residents of nonmetropolitan areas like Sierra County may have a harder time delaying their retirement.

“In rural areas there is often a challenge as folks move toward retirement,” said Deanna Sharpe, a personal finance professor at the University of Missouri. “They are more likely to face unemployment. Jobs are not as available. And when they are, they tend to pay less.”

Economic downturns can also affect when people decide to start receiving Social Security, Sharpe said.

“One of the coping mechanisms during the recent recession was to pick up Social Security at age 62, even if they might not have planned to do that before the recession,” she said.

Retirees need to make informed decisions, Sharpe said, but too often that doesn’t happen.

“We find in surveys of financial literacy that quite a large portion of folks don’t understand the basics,” she said. “That’s a concern.”

But retirees can easily find free or low-cost advice. Sharpe said many USDA Extension Service offices can provide information on retirement planning. She also recommended nonprofit organizations such as the National Endowment for Financial Counseling and Financial Education (www.nefe.org).

The Social Security Administration website (ssa.gov) has a calculator that allows workers to estimate their retirement earnings based on their own work records and estimated retirement age.

And the National Academy of Social Insurance has materials online about the impact of delaying Social Security benefits (www.nasi.org/WhenToTakeSocialSecurity).

With national discussions about Social Security frequently in the news, some workers may worry whether the system will be there when they need it. Sharpe said people should stay abreast of the issues. “That’s part of making an informed decision,” she said.

But Reno said that should not influence a personal decision about when to draw benefits.

“Social Security will be there if you wait,” she said. The system is fully financed for about the next two decades and is three-quarters financed thereafter, she said.

“Despite what you may hear, lawmakers have some good options to fix the system for the long haul,” she said.

Tim Marema is editor of the Daily Yonder (www.dailyyonder.com), a national website that covers news about small cities and rural America.

Roberto Gallardo is an associate professor at the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Support for the research and production of this article was provided by the National Academy of Social Insurance. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the Daily Yonder, which is published by the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Whitesburg, Ky.

Monday, June 09, 2014

OPERATION SAFE BOAT


15 Minutes of your time could save your life or the life of someone on your boat.

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Frenchman Lake Boat Ramp
Detail: Voluntary Safety Equipment Inspection

A joint agency “Water Safety” day at will be held at Frenchman Lake on Saturday, June 14 from 9:00 am -4:00 pm. The event will be staged at the Frenchman Lake Boat Ramp.

Voluntary safety equipment inspections by US Coast Guard Auxiliary & Plumas County Sheriff’s Boat Patrol personnel will be conducted to ensure boaters have all of the required US Coast Guard safety equipment. The CA Highway Patrol will be looking at trailers to ensure that they are properly equipped and safe to operate on the highway. Fish & Wildlife Wardens and specially trained K9’s will be examining boats for invasive species mussels. Boating Safety Items such as Personal Flotation Devices (Life Jackets), Type IV Throw able (seat cushions), Fire Extinguishers, Sound Making Devices, Operational Navigation Lighting and Engine / Fuel enclosure requirements will be examined.

Boat owners may go to the US Coast Guard Web Site at http://cgaux.org/vsc/ or read the California ABC of Boating Book to review requirements and be prepared for the inspections.

Representatives from the various organizations may also have informational booths set up. There will be handout materials and some free items available for the public.

Please call the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office with any questions at 530-283-6375; ask to speak with a member of the Sheriff’s Boat Patrol.
Boating Safety is our Goal

Thursday, May 29, 2014

No Relief in Sight From California Wildfire Risk

AccuWeather Global Weather Center -- 28 May 2014 -- AccuWeather.com reports the ongoing drought will continue to keep the fire danger elevated in California indefinitely into the summer.

While a storm system was bringing showers to parts of the Northwest on Wednesday, no rainfall is forecast to reach central and Southern California through the weekend and beyond.

Moisture from Amanda, now diminishing over the Eastern Pacific, will not reach the state.

Weather fairly typical of California for late May and early June will continue into next week with areas of low clouds yielding to sunshine on the coast and sunshine all day across the interior.

According to Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, "In California, there will be slight cooling this weekend, followed by a warming trend next week, but the risk of wildfires will continue."

Very little rainfall typically occurs in California this time of the year, and when it does occur it tends to be very sporadic.

"The problem has been, and will continue to be, associated with the lack of rainfall and mountain snow over the winter," Clark said.

Since Nov. 1, 2013, many areas in California have received less than half their normal precipitation.

As a result, the brush is very dry and more typical of late summer, when there is an uptick in wildfires.

A large fire broke out on Memorial Day in Mariposa County, California. The blaze, known as the Hunters Fire, began near the Hunters Valley Access Road in the Bear Valley area.

According to CAL FIRE, as of late Tuesday, the fire had consumed 1,300 acres, threatened 100 residences and was only 20 percent contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

A breeze averaging 10 to 20 mph from the northwest can cause problems for firefighters Wednesday and again on Saturday in Mariposa County. While light winds are generally forecast during most other days, large fires can generate their own wind and can be unpredictable.

As of the Memorial Day weekend, there have been more than 1,700 wildfires in California since the start of the year, which have burned more than 15,000 acres.

For the year to date, compared to the five-year average, the number of California fires is nearly double and the amount of acres that have burned is more than double.

Fires have scorched other parts of the Southwest this spring.

The Slide Fire close to Slide Rock State Park, in the Flagstaff, Arizona, area continued to burn Tuesday.

According to InciWeb, the fire has consumed more than 14,000 acres and was 25 percent contained. The blaze was reported on May 20, 2014, and the cause is under investigation.

While a developing El Nino typically brings a bumper crop of tropical systems over the Eastern Pacific during the summer, a direct visit by a tropical storm is extremely rare in California.

The warmer-than-average water temperatures of the tropical Pacific Ocean produced by an El Nino pattern cause changes in steering winds around the globe.

According to AccuWeather Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok, "There is a chance that some moisture comes in from the tropics later in the summer, but rainfall would tend to be very spotty."

Winter is a long way off, but there is some hope that the developing El Nino will deliver much needed rain to the region.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Multiple Sclerosis Center in Loyalton

BONNI SUE HICKSON is seen zipping around Loyalton in her power chair.
Bonni Sue has Multiple Sclerosis, an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. But she hasn’t let it stop her. Bonni Sue was honored as the 1985 Disabled and Outstanding employee of NV and inducted into the National Hall of Fame at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1988, received the U.S. Wheelchair Tennis Association Community Service Award in 1990 and 1998 for outstanding contributions to tennis development for wheelchair players and the Hall of Fame for Northern Nevada Tennis Association in 1997 and the Soroptimist International of the Americas’ “Woman of Distinction” in recognition of her professional and voluntary accomplishments in the program of Health and Education, September 11, 1991.
Bonni Sue is healing from a recent MS flare in Eastern Plumas Health Care’s skilled nursing while maintaining her home at Sierra Valley Apartments and keeping regular hours at an office behind Stuff n’ Things on Highway 49 in Loyalton.
Her office in Loyalton is for the MS Society and a support group focused on Rural Outreach to Wellness which serves Sierra, Plumas and Lassen Counties. It is a Nevada non-profit 17 years, when Bonni Sue started her vision in 1984 during an eleven-month hospital stay at Washoe Medical Center in Reno. It is to co-create and build, for physically challenged adults and children, families and communities, a sustainable “green” eco-village designed as an educational and prevention/wellness transformative self-healing retreat.
Through the Rplefct (“a ripple effect,”) Foundation, she is focused on Phase 1 with Bureau of Land Management in CA for 60 acres in Palomino Valley in Nevada near the Mustang holding ground and Phase II, a 1,000-acre mountain transformational retreat center for the physically disabled, their families and communities.
Bonni Sue says silence is a prerequisite and it’s healing.
“We will be exploring consciousness studies, medicine, science, transpersonal psychology and the perennial philosophy of the ages,” she states. Several hospitals and philanthropic organizations have requested her presentations on the Rplefct Foundation.
She is at her Loyalton office every afternoon which she calls her “healing space.” Its window space, overstuffed chairs and her 1918 piano are all for wellness. Meetings for those with Multiple Sclerosis, one on one or groups and families are all about community. And, she is getting the first laptop to do social networking to be in sync. Bonni Sue is a registered nurse in both states 35 years and is keeping current with new therapies and therapeutic medicines coming out; a lot oral and she says, “A lot going on; changes.”
Having had MS 45 years, she calls it “true and dear to my heart.” She believes in living life fully and will learn how to walk again. In the meantime, her power chair allows her any place accessible. Living temporarily at the skilled nursing allows her the physical therapy and rehabilitation needed.
“Patience, humor and faith,” are her mantra, “not particularly in that order,” she adds.
Bonnie will celebrate a Grand Opening at Suite 1, 213 Main Street, Hiway 49 in Loyalton on Saturday, June 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. Messages can be left at (530) 993-4499 between 1 and 6 p.m. daily.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

California Rancher: Worst Drought in a Lifetime Forces Slaughter, Sale of Cattle


AccuWeather Global Weather Center -- 9 May 2014 -- AccuWeather.com reports when it's over, it'll rain a sunny day for cattle ranchers from Texas to California seeking a release from the dry, withered grip of persistent drought strangling the nation's top cattle-producing states.

However, recovery from years of less than substantial rainfall has contributed to a drastic decline in cattle numbers nationwide, which will have long-lasting impacts on the industry, according to cattle ranchers and industry officials.

"By far, the last four years have been the most stressful and economically damaging," Alameda County, California-based Rancher Tim Koopmann said. "It's the worst I can remember."
Koopmann, 61, who serves as the president for the California Cattlemen's Association, has lived through several harsh droughts at his 2,600-acre family ranch, which has been located in the county since 1918.

The years between 1975 and 1977, and between 1987 and 1989, were particularly hard, he recalled, adding that some people never recovered.

"We're still surviving," he said, referring to the collective of cattlemen living in the area, which houses an annual grassland of approximately 180,000 acres.

Koopmann, who has had to cull about half of his own herd down to 200 mother cows, said cattle ranchers are faced tough decisions due to a lack of forageable food and basic water supplies.

Rebuilding their herds in the future will be a steep road for many ranchers.

According to his estimate, approximately 140,000 mother cows had to be liquidated either as breeding stock or sent off for slaughter and processing.

An average cow requires about three percent of its body weight daily in dry matter, he said. An average mother cow needs around 12 to 18 gallons of water a day to sustain itself.

The area where Koopmann works features annual grasslands, a rarity for most cattle ranchers who must work in the perennial grasslands of the Plains states, he said.

"From early winter, around November, we have a green feed source which peaks in June; they send thousands of stocker cattle to California for winter gains," he said. "We're a rare commodity."

In November 2013, thousands of cattle were sent for their winter gains, which average around 300 pounds, but they were sent back to neighboring states in December due to a lack of water for both food supply and basic drinking sources.

"There is no water," he said, citing a well on his property he thought would never go dry. "It's not just grazing, we don't have water for stocked cattle."

This has been detrimental to some California cattle ranchers who rely on getting paid by weight for stocker cattle's winter gains.

"It' had a big impact on folks because a lot of people count on that as their sole source of income," Koopmann said.

Alternative methods of feed utilizing the by-product of corn and rice are being researched to offset the lack of grass, he said.

"We're a pasture state," Koopmann said.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said numerous beef-producing states are experiencing ongoing drought conditions, which has drastically decreased the national supply.

Ongoing drought conditions have also reduced the supply of cattle in Texas, the nation's largest state for beef production, contributing 6.3 billion pounds in 2012, 15 percent of the national total, Texas Department of Agriculture Spokesman Bryan Black said.

Some cattlemen have begun to rebuild their herd, primarily in East Texas, where drought conditions have subsided slightly.

"Since January 2011, the total number of cattle and calves in Texas has declined by 2.4 million head to 10.9 million head," Black said.

Beef cow numbers have dropped by 20 percent over the same period to 4.35 million head.

"Right now the cattlemen have started to rebuild their herd," Texas Farm Bureau Spokesman Gene Hall said. "It will be cramped a bit if we get another round of no rain."

Texas needs sufficient rainfall over a long period of time so pastures can recover, Black said.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said the horrible thing about a drought is that it lingers and perpetually builds despite close to normal statistical averages in rainfall.

"To break a drought, you have to have above-normal rainfall for many months," he said. "You don't make up for lost rainfall, and it stays below normal for months or years because drought builds on itself. Drought is not always evident, it creeps up on you all of sudden."

"In areas where grass plants have been completely killed by drought, pastures may have to be completely restored," Black said. "Weed, prickly pear and brush control are also an issue for ranchers since they often come back quicker than grasses."

Koopmann and Hall said cattlemen have to either sell what they can as breeding stock or slaughter some of the herd, which has also ultimately slowed the breeding process.

"It got to the genetic core," Hall said. "It takes nine months to make a new cow."

Rebuilding the herd while maintaining the integrity of the breed will be extremely difficult for cattlemen because livestock are specifically bred for their respective climate and regions, Koopmann added.

"It's like starting from scratch," Koopmann said. "We've all worked diligently to provide that. It's amazing how different cattle are. Everybody adapts their cows to their specific area."

Clark said the area where Koopmann works is a much cooler, more moderate climate than parts of the Central Valley, which primarily houses dairy cows rather than beef cattle.

"The cattle there would rely more on natural grazing there," he said.

In order to rebuild herds, ranchers will have to be able to find replacement cows that are not so high in price that they cannot generate a profit, according to Black, citing increased demand for ranchers recovering from drought in East Texas.

Ranchers could also forgo the profits of sales from heifers (young females that have not yet calved) from their own herd in order to hold them back for breeding, he said.

It takes about 2.5 years for the beef from a calf to reach the meat counter.

"Our beef cattle in the U.S. is at the lowest it's been in 63 years," Koopmann said. "It's the fewest mother cows we've had in 63 years."

Due to the massive reduction in cattle supply nationwide, beef prices, already hovering at record highs, have spiked 1.9 percent in March, bringing the Choice beef retail value to $5.27 per pound.

Koopmann said it frightens him to see areas of California being exhausted of their water resources, including increased sinking due to groundwater extraction in the Central Valley, one of the largest agricultural hubs in the United States.

"There is a growing international market for our product," he said, citing an impairment in overall profitability for cattle ranchers nationwide. "I'm afraid our domestic supply will be challenged. I fear we're going to overprice ourselves."


By Michael Kuhne, Staff Writer for AccuWeather.com

Friday, May 09, 2014

BURN PILE WARNING

it is important that any burn piles that may have been active in the past few days be checked for hot embers, even if the pile appears out on the surface smoldering embers are possible at the bottom of the pile.

“The predicted seasonal spring winds and lower humidity’s can cause even old piles to reignite and quickly spread” stated Unit Chief Greg McFadden. “We have seen residential dooryard burn piles reignite and spread beyond the resident’s control in the past few days.”

As always, citizens using fire should do so safely. The following are guidelines that must be followed in order to burn safely and legally:
- Burn Hours are 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – out cold at 11:00 a.m.
- Only small piles of vegetative waste may be burned.
- Burn barrels are no longer allowed.
- Before burning in Butte County, you MUST call the Butte County Air Quality Management District at 332-9407 or at www.bcaqmd.org to determine air quality burn day status.
- Provide a 10’ area free of flammable materials and vegetation around all burn piles and incinerators.
- Have a water source available and an adult in attendance.
- Pay attention to weather conditions and forecasts.
- Do not burn on windy days.
- Do not leave smoldering fires unattended.
- Make sure that the fire is out when the control burn is completed.
- Residents must have their copy of the valid permit accessible when burning.
- The yearly burn ban will be implemented on June 1st, 2014 or sooner if conditions warrant.

Remember, persons burning are responsible to maintain control of their fire. If a fire escapes your control, you may be held criminally and civilly responsible for all costs associated with the suppression of the fire and the damage that it caused. If you need further information about safe burning, please stop by your local fire station or contact the CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Rescue Fire Prevention Bureau at (530) 538-7888

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SIERRA VALLEY REAL ESTATE UPDATE BONNIE JESSEE, ABR, RSPS REALTOR ASSOCIATE

Six month sales have been on the increase from the previous six month period. We have seen 19 closings in the Valley with the average per square foot price at $85.87. What is important to note is that of those 19 sales; 9 have been REO or bank owned properties which typically sell at a discount due to condition of the property. Banks are reluctant to make any repairs so they will discount the property to obtain a cash buyer as some of the REO properties could not qualify for lending. Only 3 of those sales have been in Loyalton while the rest of sales have been across the Valley.
Pending sales in Loyalton currently show an increase in price per square foot to $97.13 (mind you, these sales have not as yet closed but I am basing that number on probable contract price). That is some good news for certain!
Current listings and sales for six month have been all standard or non-bank owned properties in Beckwourth. Beckwourth’s price per square foot for sales is currently at $147.00 however; keep in mind these are acreage properties.
Portola six month per square foot sale pricing is at $78.00; while per square foot asking price is currently averaging $112.00. Currently of the 20 active listings in the Portola Area (we are not including Grizzly Ranch or Gold Mountain); three are pending. Also on a positive note only one of the new listings is an REO property and two of the pending are REO properties while of the six month sales of ten properties half were REO sales.
It is positive to see a decrease in short sales and bank owned properties coming on the market in recent months. Increasing demand for housing in the area will create higher pricing.
If you are contemplating selling your home here are the TOP FIVE improvements to make that won’t break the budget:
PAINT – inside/outside. Fresh paint is an instant upgrade and buyers will notice!
CLOSETS – buyers will open closets and the neater it is the more they can envision themselves living there.
EXTERIOR – walk outside and look at your home – landscaping is important! Just keeping it tidy is enough. And while out there – how do your windows coverings look from the outside? Consistent and neat is the goal.
CLEANING – mega important. Wipe down walls and cabinets as well as doors and floors. Place a pleasant scent in your home also (candles are dangerous so use something else). Place inside cabinets rather than exposed.
ENTRY – even if you don’t have a large foyer you can keep fresh flowers or other ‘welcoming’ items that instantly say – CLEAN and FRESH!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Study: Investing in forests reduces megafires and saves millions


Cost-benefit analysis in Sierra Nevada shows savings of up to 3 times to pay for treatments up front
San Francisco, CA - A new study released today finds investing in proactive forest management activities can save up to three times the cost of future fires, reduce high-severity fire by up to 75 percent, and bring added benefits for people, water, and wildlife.

"Recent megafires in California and the West have destroyed lives and property, degraded water quality, damaged wildlife habitat, and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars," said David Edelson, Sierra Nevada Project Director with The Nature Conservancy. "This study shows that, by investing now in Sierra forests, we can reduce risks, safeguard water quality, and recoup up to three times our initial investment while increasing the health and resilience of our forests."

The Mokelumne Watershed Avoided Cost Analysis examines the costs and benefits of reducing the risk of high-severity forest fires through proactive techniques like thinning and controlled burns. Set in the central Sierra Nevada, just north of last year's destructive Rim Fire, scientists modeled likely future wildfires with and without proactive fuel treatments. The results indicate that investing in healthy forests can significantly reduce the size and intensity of fires and save millions of dollars in structure loss, carbon released, and improved firefighting safety and costs.

Megafires have become much more common in the last decade-the average size of a fire today is nearly five times the average fire from the 1970s, and the severity is increasing. The Sierra Nevada is at especially high risk this year with only one-third of normal snowpack as a result of the drought. "Many scientists are predicting an increase in the size and severity of fires due to a changing climate," said Jim Branham, Executive Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. "These fires, such as last year's Rim Fire, degrade wildlife habitat, release massive amounts of greenhouse gasses, and can result in many other adverse impacts."

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service spent $1 billion to cover firefighting shortfalls, taking money from programs that fund activities designed to reduce the risk of such fires. New bipartisan legislation called the Wildfire Funding Disaster Act seeks to address this problem by creating a reserve fund dedicated to excess firefighting costs, similar to the way FEMA provides funds to respond to other natural disasters.

"Our ongoing goal is to increase the pace and scale of our restoration work and this study strongly supports that," said Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. "Our current pace of restoration work needs to be accelerated to mitigate threats and disturbances such as wildfires, insects, diseases and climate change impacts. The goal is to engage in projects that restore at least 500,000 acres per year. Many types of projects help us reach our restoration goals including mechanical vegetation treatments, prescribed fire, and managing wildfire for resource benefits."

The study is authored by the U.S. Forest Service, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy and was developed in consultation with a broad range of local and regional stakeholders. It concludes that the benefits from proactive forest management are 2-3 times the costs of fire fighting and that increasing investments in such activities would benefit federal and state taxpayers, property owners (and their insurers), and timber companies.

For more information on the Mokelumne Avoided Cost Analysis, or to download the study, please visit www.sierranevada.ca.gov.

About the Sierra Nevada Conservancy
Created in 2004, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) is a state agency whose mission is to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. The SNC has awarded over $50 million in grants for projects to protect and enhance the health of California's primary watersheds by improving forest health, remediating mercury contamination from abandoned mines, protecting critical natural resources and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Funding for these projects comes from Proposition 84 passed by voters in 2006.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Driving Blind for Three Seconds - What Would You Hit?

The average time spent reading or typing a text message is 4.6 seconds, and just 3 seconds of texting while driving at 65 mph is the equivalent of driving 100 yards, or the length of a football field, blindfolded. This is just one of the shocking statistics that you will learn about at the statewide kickoff for April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP), and more than 250 law enforcement agencies across the state will join forces in a month-long public awareness and enforcement campaign aimed at preventing distracted driving deaths and injuries on California roadways.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Trillion Gallons Wasted: Mr. Rooter and Fix a Leak Week Fight Common Household Leaks


Mr. Rooter Plumbing Recognizes National Fix a Leak Week with Tips, Tools

With the weather across America reaching record lows this winter, homeowners’ plumbing may be weeping – and not tears of joy. The harsh winter has caused thousands of homes to experience busted and leaking pipes, causing major damage – to both the home and the wallet. Add to this number a rash of running toilets and dripping faucets and the water wasted due to household leaks is colossal.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Fix a Leak Week, celebrating its sixth anniversary, will be held March 17-23. Mr. Rooter Plumbing will be participating by offering an online tool designed to help calculate the amount of water a home is wasting due to leaks that are not repaired in a timely manner.

According to the EPA, untreated leaks can add up to more than one trillion gallons of wasted water per year, equaling more than the combined annual water usage of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

“Most people don’t realize that the little leak in their faucet is costing them a pretty penny and wasting a very valuable resource,” says Mary Kennedy Thompson, President of Mr. Rooter LLC. “Oftentimes, the leaks found in the home are fairly simple to correct. These include dripping faucets and leaking toilet flappers and valves.”

Mr. Rooter Plumbing offers these tips and tools to help alleviate the burdens a leak can cause:

Check the homes water usage during winter months. If your usage exceeds 12,000 gallons a month, it is possible you have a leak.
If a faucet is leaking, replace the faucet washers and gaskets if they appear worn. Tighten loose showerheads.
Running toilets can waste more than 200 gallons of water daily. A simple method for checking for leaks is placing one to three drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. After 15 minutes, if the water in the bowl has changed color, you have a leak. Old flappers are often the cause of these leaks. Replace any flappers that have decayed or retained mineral build-ups to alleviate this problem.
“These simple tips can save a homeowner money and can save millions of gallons of water annually,” says Thompson. “All of our small efforts can lead to big change.”

For more information on Fix a Leak Week, visit: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/fi

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cattle Ranching Critical to Environment, Even During Drought


Posted on March 14, 2014 by Karen Sweet, Livermore Cattle Rancher

Cattle in Bridgeport, CA
It is human nature to come at a crisis from one’s own point of view. Sometimes, however, that can lead to conclusions and courses of action that are ineffective at best and drastically short-sighted at worst. With the drought and its impact on agriculture in the news, I am taking this opportunity as a beef cattle rancher to provide insight into California’s cattle production, its value to our environment and our state’s economy, and what ranchers are doing to conserve water not only during this severe drought, but all the time.

First, let’s start with the water usage numbers. A lot of erroneous statistics have been tossed around that aren’t based in cited evidence. In reality, it takes 441 gallons of water to produce one pound of boneless beef—a fraction of the amount of water that is used to produce everyday items such as one cotton T-shirt. That 441 gallons of water includes the water the animals drink daily, water used to irrigate pasture land and grow crops cattle are fed, and the water used in processing the beef. Water conservation has long been a commitment of U.S. ranchers, and we have reduced the amount of water used to raise beef by 12 percent compared to 30 years ago. (Source: “The environmental impact of beef production in the United States: 1977 Compared with 2007,” J. L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, 2011)

Secondly, cattle production has many positive aspects beyond providing food that benefit everyone. California ranchers—in fact, all ranchers—think about the environment daily. We understand that raising cattle requires careful use of resources with an eye toward both sustainability of the cattle operation and preservation of wildlife habitat. Contrary to what you might have heard, ALL beef cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass on pastures. About 85 percent of U.S. rangeland is unsuitable for crop production, but it is suitable for grazing and for complementary wildlife habitat. This is particularly true for California, a state with more diversity in our rangeland than any other in the country. Some 60 to 70 percent of California’s endangered species such as the California tiger salamander and the California red-legged frog live on privately-owned rangeland. This rangeland also plays a critical role in California’s water supply. According to the California Department of Conservation, while California’s rangeland is about 25 percent of all land in California, about 85 percent of California’s drinking water is collected and stored within these rangeland watersheds. Ranchers actively support on-going watershed research to help them improve their land stewardship practices and protect the water quality leaving their ranches.

In addition to the interconnectedness of rangelands, water, and wildlife, farmers and ranchers have a huge impact on our state’s economy. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, there are 80,500 farms and ranches in California and agriculture is a $44.7 billion dollar industry generating at least $100 billion in related economic activity. Milk, cattle and calves are among the top five valued commodities for California agriculture. Most people don’t realize that across the United States, 97 percent of the cattle ranches are family-owned. These are individuals and families like mine that have been doing this work for generations, and who have been working to continually improve the sustainability of what they do. My grandchildren, for example are the seventh generation to live on the ranch in the East Bay.

California’s ranchers and farmers are caring for our animals during this stressful time, often at great financial risk to purchase hay and other carbohydrate feedstuffs like almond hulls. There is less rain water for the pastures, and some stock ponds and creeks have gone dry since there has not been rainwater runoff. Ranchers are using our compromised water and forage sources carefully. In too many cases some need to sell some or all of their livestock to others who have both sufficient feed and water to take care of the animals. It hurts ranchers to lose their hard-earned enterprise and animal husbandry efforts for the year and, perhaps permanently. But it hurts even more when our neighbors regard us as perpetrators of the water problem and not a key component of California’s food supply and natural resources – affecting their own daily lives.

Karen Sweet is a cattle rancher in Livermore, CA.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Uncharted Territory in California Drought: Difficult Decisions Weigh on Ranchers

The year 2013 went down in the record books as the driest ever for the state. Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Jan. 17, 2014, as a result. The minimal rainfall has had significant negative ramifications on the landscape. Due to this, agriculture and livestock in the state have taken a large hit, which could have economic impacts in the years to come.
Almost half of the fruits and nuts grown in the United States come from California. The state leads the country in the production of many different crops, including almonds, artichokes, grapes, kiwi, olives, peaches, pomegranates, rice and walnuts.

In a University of California Davis study, led by Leslie Roche, postdoctoral researcher for the Department of Plant Sciences, the California Cattlemen's Association was surveyed to see how the drought conditions were impacting their businesses and ways of life.

"We basically asked ranchers, there were about 511 respondents, what are their strategies for drought management, what are their goals that they have on their ranches and what practices work for them," Roche said.

After the initial surveys, Roche's team began to conduct personal interviews with ranchers and farmers in the state. After this interview stage, the team will begin onsite ranchland health assessments to evaluate how these methods are helping to combat the drought.

So far, their results have shown that the widespread nature of this current drought is forcing difficult decisions on ranchers.

"This drought is particularly deep," said Dr. Ken Tate, professor and cooperative extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. "It's affecting ranchers across the entire state, nobody's really immune from it."

Tate explained that costs are rising for ranchers, forcing the purchase of more expensive hays, for instance. For those who cannot afford the rising costs, they are reluctantly selling off cattle that they would much rather keep.

"One of the questions that Leslie asked them was 'out of the last 10 years, how many of them have been drought?' In some parts of the state people are saying eight, nine years," Tate said.

Looking ahead, the dry winter will continue to have negative impacts on farmers and ranchers. Tate explained that many farmers who grow their own crops rely on irrigation systems, and that with a lack of snowpack this season reservoirs may not have an adequate supply of water this summer.

The state of California made $44.7 billion in 2012 off its agricultural products, more than any other state in the country. As water reserves dwindle and the cost of maintaining farms and livestock go up, production abilities will suffer.

California's leading cash commodity is its dairy industry, which went down 10 percent from 2011 to 2012. From 2011 to 2012, there were 1,000 farms lost.

"It's really been cumulative impacts for them," Roche said. "We started talking to people last April, and we were already hearing about the drier years just in the last two years that has resulted in quite a few people, especially in Southern California, who have had to reduce their herds by almost half."

With that already occurring, Roche said, then the larger growing regions of the state entering exceptional drought this year, many are concerned about the further reduction of their crops and livestocks.

Across the country, the increased costs of production for California farmers could mean increased prices for the crops that the state provides the majority of.

Tate said that the ranchers in the study are being asked whether their current methods of sustaining will be adequate if the drought persists.

"The fast majority, 95 percent if not more, say no, that their current strategies or their past strategies are not going to be adequate going into the future. It's a bit of an uncharted territory for a lot of folks. Strategies, even past, multigenerational strategies, most people think are not going to continue being adequate going in to the future if this persists."

By Samantha-Rae Tuthill, Staff Writer for AccuWeather.com

Friday, March 14, 2014

Study released on impacts of conifer removal to restore aspen stands

VALLEJO, Calif., Feb. 18, 2014 -A recent collaborative research project by the University of California, Davis and the U.S. Forest Service found that conifer removal to restore aspen stands can be conducted without degrading aquatic ecosystems.

The study (conducted by Bobette E. Jones, Monika Krupa, Kenneth W. Tate, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0084561) which took place from 2003-2010 and was published in the journal PLOS ONE in December 2013, detected no adverse effects to water quality, temperature or aquatic insects when mechanical equipment was used to restore aspen stands adjacent to streams.

Aspen provide many ecological services, including high species and landscape diversity, higher water retention, wildlife habitat and forage for livestock and wildlife. Since aspen provide so many ecological services, there is concern about their decline in the Western U.S.

Aspen trees are shade intolerant and without regular disturbance (fire), conifers eventually shade them out and reduce the ecological services that aspen stands provide. Over 90 percent of aspen stands in forested areas of California have some level of conifer shading. Removing conifers using mechanical equipment to increase sunlight to aspen is an effective technique to restore stands, but there have been concerns with using this approach adjacent to streams.

Other scientists lauded the report. "For years aspen stands have declined in vigor and sometimes died because of pressures from encroaching conifers," said Malcolm North, Research Scientist with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station in Davis. "Reluctance to thin out the conifers because of concern for stream water quality has contributed. This study demonstrates that those impacts are negligible."

This long-term study was designed to identify if there would be any negative consequences to aquatic ecosystems when using timber harvest techniques. The study evaluated two aspen restoration projects adjacent to perennial mountain streams on the Lassen National Forest. The research began prior to any treatments, with continued data collection occurring two to seven years following treatments. Soil scientists, hydrologists, fish biologists, foresters, ecologists and University of California, Davis specialists identified key aquatic and soil attributes. These traits included stream temperature, water quality, stream shade, overstory tree canopy cover, aquatic insects, soil compaction and soil moisture.

UC Davis researchers analyzed the data and found that water quality did not change following timber harvest implementation. In fact, more than 80 percent of all stream water samples analyzed were below the detection limit, with some meeting drinking water standards. The timber harvest treatments did reduce canopy cover which resulted in an increase of solar radiation reaching the streams, but there was no corresponding increase in stream temperature. The aquatic insects also confirmed the water quality results, with the highest percentage of pollution tolerant species detected prior to treatment implementation. Finally, soil moisture availability increased in treated aspen stands compared to untreated stands. This demonstrates that restored aspen stands would be more resilient in drought years.

Some previous studies indicate that timber harvest activities were found to impair water quality and aquatic ecosystems. The findings of this study, however, concur with recent research in which partial harvesting of areas near streams and rivers can be conducted without damage to aquatic ecosystems. Land managers can use this study to assist their future decisions for restoration activities near stream areas.
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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

LETTER OF INTEREST FROM LOYALTON CITY COUNCIL:



Kenneth Cutler, Sierra County Health Officer
Elizabeth Morgan, Director of Environmental Health

Re: Site Security and Assessment of Loyalton Hotel Burn Site

Dear Kenneth Cutler and Elizabeth Morgan:
This letter is a response to your letter requesting the City fence the public sidewalk in front of the hotel burn site and retain a Certified Asbestos Consultant to determine if the ash and debris is hazardous waste. The City retained Asbestos Science Technologies, Inc. The attached report states that all samples taken on the public sidewalk came back containing no asbestos. The samples were analyzed using Polarized Light Microscopy as required under EPA guidelines.
The City was notified that the property owners also requested that the hotel burn site on their lot be tested. The City has received a copy of a second report by Asbestos Science Technologies that states all samples taken on the hotel burn lot came back containing no asbestos.
Your letter contains several factual inaccuracies. You assume the age of the hotel building is all the same.
While the original structure was constructed in the 1920’s, the hotel was partially remodeled with a new porch across the front extending into the City’s sidewalk between 2000 and 2005. The ash and debris on the public sidewalk in front of the hotel burn site is from the new porch and would not contain hazardous materials. The fire was so hot that the porch fiberglass shingles melted and stuck to the City sidewalk.
Your letter also alleges the demolition of the hotel building occurred after the fire. This is not correct. The building demolition occurred during the fire. After initial fire suppression, the 17,000 square foot concrete and wood structure was deemed unsafe for entry by firefighters to complete fire extinguishment and overhaul due to the possible collapse of the burned out walls. An additional safety concern was the possibility of firefighter falling into hidden void spaces under the hotel containing burning material. Acting to protect the safety of the firefighters and the safety of the public, the Loyalton Fire Chief made a brilliant decision to extinguish the fire during the overhaul phase using heavy equipment. I, as City Mayor concurred in this decision.
The entire city is proud of our Volunteer Fire Department saving downtown Loyalton. A retired Reno fireman said that the Reno Fire Department could not have done a better job. I agree.
Sincerely,
Brooks Mitchell
Mayor, City of Loyalton

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SIERRA COUNTY BECOMES FIRST CALIFORNIA COUNTY TO LAUNCH ADVANCED FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY PLATFORM



Cloud-Based OpenGov.com Enables Sierra County to Engage Residents by Inviting Them to Explore County's Financial Data on the Internet

Downieville, CA - January, 30th 2014 - Sierra County and OpenGov.com announced the deployment of a powerful new tool that visualizes the county's financial data. By leveraging the OpenGov open budget platform, citizens and staff can use the web-based software to enhance access, understanding, and analysis of the city's annual budget.

Van Maddox, Sierra County's Auditor/Treasurer-Tax Collector, initiated the partnership to make the government administration's finances easily accessible and understandable, and to build trust with citizens in the community. The public is invited to explore the tool on the County's web site, or directly at http://sierracounty.opengov.com.

"With the OpenGov Platform, Sierra County residents have a better understanding of where their tax dollars are going and how the money is spent locally. We wanted to be more transparent and this software allows visitors to drill down into the data and view it in a more enticing way," said Maddox.

"Sierra County is the first county in the state of California on the OpenGov Platform and is raising the bar for government by bringing its finances to life," says Zachary Bookman, CEO and co-founder of OpenGov. "The county deepens it trust with its citizens and provides meaning to the data by making its finances easily accessible."

About OpenGov, Inc.
OpenGov offers web-based software for state and local government finances. The OpenGov Platform provides instant access to the budget and visualizes current and historic revenue and expenses-from multi-year trends to object-level details. Government officials and citizens use the platform to understand, analyze, and share the data. Learn more at https://sierracounty.opengov.com/

Monday, January 27, 2014

Seventy-nine years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change



TUOLUMNE, Calif.-Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn. A team of scientists led by Research Ecologist Dr. Eric Knapp, from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, found dramatic differences in forests today compared to historic conditions prior to logging and fire suppression. The team conducted their research in the Forest Service's Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest on the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada, remeasuring three large historical plots originally established in 1929 to evaluate the effects of different logging methods. Trees were counted and their diameters measured across entire plots and in neighboring unlogged areas with the same fire history. Understory vegetation (tree seedlings, shrubs, and leafy plants) was quantified to determine changes over a 79-year period. They also collected fire scar samples from nearby stumps and dead trees to pinpoint dates of previous forest fires.

As in many forested areas in the western U.S., fire is much less frequent than it once was. Results showed that the study area had not burned since 1889. Prior to 1889, the forest burned on average every six years.

The forest currently contains 2.4 times more trees than it did in 1929-mostly in the small and intermediate size classes. The excess density was nearly identical in the plots logged in 1929 and plots without a history of logging, suggesting that over the long-term other factors, including fire suppression, may be exerting more influence than past logging on forest density and the current susceptibility to uncharacteristically severe fire. Historical logging removed many of the largest trees and often targeted the most fire-resistant pines. Very large trees were still less abundant than in the old-growth condition in 1929. The forest today also contains more fir and cedar and fewer pines than it once did. Shrubs, which provide food and cover for wildlife, covered 29 percent of the forest floor in 1929. Currently, the same shrubs cover only two percent of the forest floor -a decline that appears to be the result of higher tree density.

"The forest changes we found in this study are emblematic of similar changes that have occurred in the absence of fire throughout the western U.S., and help to explain why fires such as the nearby Rim Fire burn as intensely as they now do," said Dr. Knapp.

The plots measured in this study are among the oldest known to still exist on Forest Service lands in California, and the historical data showing what the forest once looked like provide valuable information about how to restore greater fire resilience and improve biodiversity in forests today.

The full report can be found at: http://treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/45212

Headquartered in Albany, Calif., the Pacific Southwest Research Station develops and communicates science needed to sustain forest ecosystems and other benefits to society. It has research facilities in California, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us/psw/.

Friday, January 24, 2014

COUNTY MEETS OVER LOYALTON HOTEL DEBRIS

THE CITY WAS ABSENT at a meeting held January 8th at Sierraville School to discuss disposal of debris from Loyalton Hotel. Present were Sierra County Sheriff John Evans, County Planning Director Tim Beals, Ricky and Richard Ross of Intermountain Disposal, Terry LeBlanc of Solid Waste, Craig Morgan, Principal Engineer of Avalex Inc., Dennis Marsh of County Planning and Building,
County Supervisor Jim Beard, Supervisor Chairman Paul Roen, Realtor Bonnie Jessee, Mountain Messenger's Don Russell, Sierra County Detective Mike Fisher, County Counsel Jim Curtis and County Environmental Health Specialist Elizabeth Morgan.
Sierra Valley Fire was represented by Chief Dan Wentling and Richard Maddalena along with taxpayer, John Roen.

Beals found it "startling" no one from the City was in attendance and owners of the Loyalton Hotel, Joan and Bud Carroll had been expected but were not there. Fisher said they were neither coming and Beals responded, "Wow." He called it "an incredibly serious situation developing" and he stated it necessary those participants directly involved take responsibility. He recommended they proceed in the interest of the taxpayers and county to handle the situation properly.
According to Mayor Brooks Mitchell, the City did not attend on advice of its risk manager and legal counsel.
Beals told of the December 14th fire at Loyalton Hotel and the demolition and clean up "hasty and quick and very accelerated" to get the site cleaned up and hauled off. The dilemma at the landfill is it was to be stored temporarily, kept at an isolated site and they are now dealing with a class of waste and issues within the immediate future are a big concern, such as clearance from law enforcement and fire services.
Beals told of "incredible quickness" and an official of an agency would isolate the site, with protection of the public and conduct tests qualifying the matter, issue notifications and make demands of the owner on what intent is for the property. He told of a need to move forward, potential exposure, hazardous material and enforcement for improper handling. He questioned any local declaration of emergency and told there had been none.
There are 800 yards of fire demolition within gates on the County property and 100 yards of steel taken on site. Contact with the owner was they were upset and had concern with no notification and decisions about their property without their input.
Beals told of 800-yard piles of material, due diligence with Avalex Inc. sampling, and no one taking charge which should be the hauler, City and the property owner.
The material, according to Beals, has tested positive reporting levels of asbestos in the ash pile. The County is rejecting acceptance of the loads which need to be relocated under proper authorization permits and by a licensed contractor to a proper location such as Kettleman City or to Idaho. Best management with waddles, signs to stay away have been used and it was discussed how best to remove the material and keep away from employees and the public.
Landfill required reporting has been given the County Health Department, the Water Quality Control Board, CAL Recycle, and the Department of Toxic Substances Board, federal and state agencies.
Beals stressed need of the property owner's intentions. He said they got a full account from Quincy's fire which involves six different insurance agencies and it's all still there with insurance companies "battling it out," and until resolved, someone has to cover costs. He "hated to think the level of numbers we're talking; a lot of money," he said and called it "a big deal." Without the City and property owner present, Beals said he felt like "teaching a class with nobody in it."
Craig Morgan of Avalex, Inc. said waste cleanup is not complete and there is a metals concern with toxic surfaces and heavy metals; one hurdle they couldn't get over. If not metals, they have more options and he didn't know if Lockwood would take it. Terry LeBlanc told of having hauled asbestos shingles to Lockwood. Elizabeth Morgan said it's not permitted and she has to start citing the County. Richard Ross gave cost of acceptance at Lockwood as $14/yard. Beals urged the need to have the material moved but one test, although valid, is not indicative of what's throughout all the yards.
Craig said it's not the County's job to figure out how extensive it is but is an asbestos consultant's, a licensed very narrow field of expertise.
Ricky Ross stated on scene, the City was in total control and Mayor Brooks Mitchell had wanted to get it out and told to haul. The fire chief had cooperated. Folchi was called by the City at 5 a.m. with two excavators and Joy Engineering was retained by McHenry to haul from the sewer plant to fill holes. They formally billed the City and a tipping fee $15.59/yard. Beals questioned the holes and what caused that and was told they were from the old boilers.
County Counsel Jim Curtis called it a "unique and volatile relationship with parties." He told how they treat asbestos very seriously. He call potential for issues "very huge" and mentioned a court order to get it properly removed. More parallels to Quincy were given. The condition of the property as it sits today was called another burden.
Sheriff John Evans stated they'd been done with the scene as evidence and released the scene and had nothing to do with knocking down walls which were unsafe. Their only role was "who done it?"
Beals stated to plan a letter in the form of a demand to expect a response with planning a timeframe to be served personally to the City and property owner and copied to all applicable State agencies.
As far as the investigation status on the fire, Detective Mike Fisher stated it was human caused.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

"Historic" Loyalton Hotel Destroyed by Fire


At approximately 2:20 a.m., on December 14 2013, the Loyalton Fire Department received a call from the Sierra County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center advising of a structure fire at 605 Main Street in Loyalton, The Loyalton Hotel. Fire Department personnel responding from Sierra Brooks reported seeing flames above the city skyline. Additional resources were immediately requested from surrounding jurisdictions. Loyalton Fire Department responded 3 Engines. Beckwourth, Sierraville, and Sierra Valley Fire Departments responded with two engines each. Upon the initial dispatch, the second story and roof of the 17,000 square foot concrete and wood building was nearly fully involved with fire. The major concerns at that time were the exposures nearby, which included Leonards Market and the old Plumas Bank buildings across the street, the pharmacy building to the east, and the two residences directly behind the hotel.
Upon arrival, the heat from the fire had caused the windows of the market and bank to begin to blow out and the paint was bubbling on the exterior walls. The ATM machine at the bank had started to melt. The pharmacy building was also receiving significant heat with vinyl siding beginning to melt off the exterior walls. These structures were about to ignite upon arrival. Loyalton Fire was able to provide initial exposure cooling and knock down of the fire in the front of the hotel with the use of the deck gun from the new grant-purchased fire engine. Other Loyalton engines took locations at the pharmacy and residences behind the structure and began exposure control and cooling measures. Engines from neighboring departments were quick to react and received assignments, assisted with exposure protection and fire extinguishment flawlessly. Due to the amount of water needed to keep this fire contained to the hotel, three separate fire hydrants were used to provide the adequate water needed.
Golden West Dining opened early and offered all firefighters breakfast and Leonards provided coffee and rolls. Kim Folchi picked up the tabs for lunch.
Due to the building being abandoned and having no electricity, Loyalton Fire Department requested a certified fire investigator from Truckee Fire Department, who investigated the scene. Along with the Fire Investigator, Sierra County Sheriff's Office, and Loyalton Fire Department Personnel assisted in investigating the cause of the fire, which is still underway.
Loyalton Fire Department would like to thank the Truckee, Sierra Valley, Sierraville, and Beckwourth Fire Departments for their quick response and actions at the fire.
The fire was contained to the hotel. No injuries were reported. Leonards Market, the Plumas Bank/ATM, and the pharmacy received minor damage. After Initial fire suppression, the burned hotel structure was deemed unsafe for entry to complete fire extinguishment and overhaul due to the possible collapse of the burned out walls. Another concern was the possibility of firefighters falling into hidden void spaces under the hotel which contained burning material. The only way to make the area safe for extinguishment was to demolish the building immediately. Safety of the public was a key priority for the City, LVFD, and SCSO. All involved agencies agreed to demolish the building and remove the debris quickly.
The Loyalton Hotel, 16,720 square feet, was a vacant commercial building located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Loyalton. According to former Loyalton Museum Curator Elda Fay Ball, it opened in 1925, having been built by the owners of Sierra Hotel which had burned in 1923. The owners took insurance money and built the luxurious Loyalton Hotel which featured steam heat and the only concrete sidewalk in town. Elda Fay lived in one of its upstairs apartments the summer and fall of 1946-47 with her mother and step-father. Her mother managed the kitchen for several months and Elda Fay waited tables. She remembers it housing a lot of friendly people, mainly single men, including the late Pierre Bonahan and Theo Wells. It had a nice lobby with comfortable chairs and, men, who would sit outside the pool hall in summer, would occupy the hotel lobby in winter. Elda Fay remembers the bar very elegant with the restaurant in back.
Elia MIles says it was built later than 1925. She remembers as a girl of 7 or 8 years old when it was built, 1927 or 1928. She agrees it was elegant, carpeted and a beautiful stairway with dining in the back room behind the bar. Her aunt, Eva Woods, stayed in a room with a double bed for $20/month. Elia remembers Mrs. Johnson needed that bed and exchanged it for a single at $15/month. Eva worked at the box factory and when the kitchen was rushed, she'd work in exchange for a meal.
Chet Mitchell states there was a Flying A gasoline station on the west side lot, operated by Carl Fargo.
In the 1930's, according to Elda Fay, Louie Martini and his wife, Hazel, lived there and Louie ran it. Their daughter, Velma Howes remembers having played there as a child. Elda Fay said she notified Velma of the fire and noted, "Some of our childhood is gone."
It was Hazel Hammond who built on the restaurant in 1950. That year Rosalie and Earle Little were married and lived upstairs a couple months and Earle remembers walking through the lobby, occupied by loggers.
Many locals worked there, including Pat Snider who worked in 1966-67 and remembers Hazel as a "stand up lady." Maggie Rushing and Marge Hubbs and Stella Vanetti also are remembered as having waited tables. Louise Kerr and Joe Scocik owned the property in the 1960-70's and added an array of antiques and barnwood to the dining and upstairs rooms. They created it as a real destination, holding huge yard sales on the empty lots and hosting motorcycle and various car groups. They also opened Smithneck Country Store on the west side of town. Emil and Lorel Atkinson also ran the business and added a barbecue to the restaurant where diners could cook their own steak. Lorel wrote articles on those years which were published in the Sierra Booster. Other owners included the Aharts and Joan and Bud Carroll. The Carrolls, according to Joan, received no grants yet improved the appearance greatly, adding a pitched roof at $50,000, dormers and balcony. Joan talked Bud into letting go of the liquor license in favor of a family ice cream parlor and they had grand plans for a deli. Bud worked nights and week ends alone, added ornate woodwork and archways on the building and residents held great hope for an eventual opening. They also owned the red brick building which they remodeled and housed a very nice antique shop and the current Dons home where Joan opened a quilt shop which was beautifully designed for fabric and sewing projects. She appreciated the historic charm and approached the City Council about adopting a building ordinance to keep any new building looking historic. Both the Carroll businesses were eventually closed and the hotel project shelved and never completed. It was currently up for sale at $169,000. Joan says they had to make regular visits because it was "always broken into."
During the fire, several surrounding buildings received minor damage due to the extreme heat of the fire. Damage included broken/cracked windows at Leonards and the bank building , damaged siding at the pharmacy and a slightly melted automated
teller machine which declined to operate and may take up to a week to get parts. The new fire engine had some decals and lights melted. However, the Community Christmas Tree continues standing, its lower branches still brightly lit.
The Loyalton Hotel was completely ravaged by the fire and at daybreak, only the concrete walls remained. To make it safe, City Council had Folchi Construction knock the walls down. Fill material from the wastewater plant was hauled in to fill holes where boiler plants once were.
At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, Assistant Chief Robert DeMartini stated things "went very well under the circumstances." He added praise for the Explorer Scouts who showed up at the fire and told of the excellent training program Fire Chief Shawn Heywood has set up, complimenting Shawn's vast experience along with his and wife, Kelly Heywood's medical training too.
Truckee Fire District Investigators are assisting the Loyalton Fire Department and the Sheriff's Office in the ongoing fire investigation.

Anyone with information related to the fire please contact Sheriff John Evans or Detective Mike Fisher at (530) 289-3700.


Friday, December 20, 2013

SIERRA COUNTY VS. CITY OF LOYALTON

A SPECIAL MEETING of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors was held in Loyalton on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 for the review of County agreement No. 2008-041 dated April 1, 2008 "Planning Services Cooperative Agreement" between County of Sierra and City of Loyalton for planning, zoning, land use, and building inspection professional services by the County to the City of Loyalton and direction with regards to action to continue, amend or terminate existing agreement. All supervisors were present except Supervisor Scott Schelfstein.
Supervisor Peter Huebner started the meeting by stating the agreement had been violated by the City of Loyalton. He said the City already issued a building permit without Sierra County knowing about it and felt the agreement was no longer in effect.
Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals told the Board what he's come to know is that since September there has been an ongoing program by the City of Loyalton to start gaining independence in the area of current building and planning unbeknownst to the County. Beals only stumbled upon it when he was going to put a stop work order for a building project in the City. He called it spokes of a wheel and said County forms are being used and being signed off by people not associated with the County and no indication on their qualifications. Beals was aware that proper process hadn't been followed and the City didn't get good counsel from its planner. Beals stated separations are required for fire protection between property lines and between structures and there are flood plain issues. Beals felt dismayed at the lack of communication and being put in this position. He also felt sorry for the homeowner who was innocently caught in the cross fire and concerned about the liability that might accrue.
Beals stated Council member Craig McHenry wanted to propose a 6-month pilot project that would allow the City a pathway for independence. Beals felt the purpose for this meeting was whether the County wants to come along for 6 months, adding he doesn't want to be "responsible for a program we don't have control over." Beals said it was stunning that there wasn't any communication from the City as there is a lot involved in the delivery of these services. He added, there is so much "involved with what we do it may be taken for granted." Beals wanted to makes sure the City Council was going into this with their eyes open, adding if "they want an independent department more power to them."
Supervisor Lee Adams said in his view the County was invited in by City and just as easily can be invited out. He added the City can control their destiny. His concern is a two-tiered system, which isn't very practical.
From the City of Loyalton, Councilman Craig McHenry gave a presentation as Mayor Brooks Mitchell was at a doctor's appointment. McHenry handed out a letter type document and told the Board and Beals they were starting at the wrong date. He stated Sierra County Board of Supervisors breached this agreement in 2012 when they required prior approval by the Board for any services to the City. McHenry went on to say in the middle of June in 2012 the City made multiple requests by phone and email to the County for an amended categorical exemption for the Loyalton City Park Improvement Project as the scope of the project had changed. McHenry stated a month later the City was informed the County had to get prior approval from the Board of Supervisors. McHenry concluded that since that breach they have not been using the County planning services. He continued if the County looked at the minutes and agendas for the City this has been very clear and in the last 6-8 months the City has had several zoning workshops and dealt with two variances. He added the City has established its own city code enforcement committee and done all of this without using the planning services of the County.
McHenry said the City's preference is for the agreement to be suspended for 6 months. He stated "Tim made valid comments" and personally is not sure if the City can handle the building permit process, but has had numerous requests from citizens that aren't satisfied with the current building process. McHenry concluded that this has to be a mutual partnership not a dictation from the County to the City. He added the Council has done a lot in the last three years and are prepared to go forward and would like to work with the County.
Beals exclaimed, "This is stunning!" a classic bait and switch and no more true than the man in the moon. He said this is classic trying to hide the real issue and divert attention to something else. Beals defended himself by stating he could provide the email and fax transmission of notice of exemption. He said he told them he was not going to sign on behalf of the lead agency and told the Board he wasn't comfortable with the project. Beals stated he and Bryan Davey assisted Mr. McHenry but the lead agency was the city. He continued that the County worked with the City every time it was requested. Beals said the County loaned equipment and gave them contact names and has bent over backwards whenever they asked for it. He added to put the blame on the County for the actions of the City is just incredible.
McHenry interjected that Beals was confused as he did do a notice of categorical exemption for the proposed conversion of swimming pool building, but did not do the categorical exemption on the scope of the park project. He said he has the emails and they were ignored. McHenry added several requests were made for a County Grader and the City requested mutual assistance in regards to street repairs and their response was they could not do anything without prior approval from the Board of Supervisors. Beals said he brought those requests to the County Board every time and the County Board said fine, though wanted to steer away from the water sewer project when the repairs to the street were so completely lacking quality control and construction and wanted to stay out of it.
Heubner felt they were on two different planets and asked McHenry if you have so much evidence, referencing the handout, you told your citizens something totally different at the last City Council meeting. Huebner continued and told McHenry the City broke the contract and his motion is to honor the contract and get out of the contract.
Supervisor Beard said support services do not mean the County has control over everything that happens in the City. Beard stated Craig McHenry and Brooks Mitchell approached him about concerns he might have on the property next to him. Beard is a believer in property rights and has no objections of anyone building on their property as long as it was in the confines of their property.
County Counsel Jim Curtis told Beard the focus is not on that specific permit. If it was on that permit, Beard would be disqualified. Curtis added the focus is on the relationship between the City and the County and their cooperative contract.
Council member Pat Whitley asked, can the City do any better than the County? She didn't know, but they'd like to try. Vice Chair Paul Roen said nobody is going to fault you on that..
From the audience, Chris Alexander had two questions. How does the city and county plan to deal with existing permits from the county and does the letter from Mr. McHenry represent the entire council? Whitley doesn't know how many outstanding permits the County has. Beals said there probably are a half-dozen permits and the County could hand them over to the City or County could finish them, but there needs to be a handoff in place.
McHenry told Alexander at the last City Council meeting the City voted to do the pilot project. Alexander further questioned the letter and whether the Council was in agreement. Whitley said no. Beals asked if the document represented the entire City Council and Huebner questioned whether it was an official document. McHenry said it wasn't a letter only his presentation on behalf of the City.
Huebner and Roen asked County Counsel what their options were? County Counsel said City can terminate the contract but a shared structure formally or adhoc is not only inconsistent with state of law but asked what happens when something goes wrong? He added a comprised process invites both the City and County to be named in litigation. County Counsel doesn't remember seeing anything in writing about what McHenry is talking about but it's an indication that the relationship isn't working. He stated the agreement does have termination provisions, a 90-day clause, but when a contract is breached you don't have to go through the 90 days.
Adams finds it somewhat interesting that the County breached almost a year ago and are just now hearing about it. He added it makes it awkward for the County to try and stay in this, though is fully fine with the City's independence and if it doesn't work well, he is willing to come back as there is a long history between the two entities. Adams asked what would it do to the City if at the snap of a gavel the City is exclusively doing building and planning. McHenry said he would like the County to finish those previously issued building projects.
County Counsel suggested they don't terminate yet and come back at the next meeting with an agreement to terminate but recognizing the continuity of the old and previously issued building permits. Adams made a motion of intent, which didn't get a second.
County Counsel wanted a paper trail and Alexander as a citizen would like to see a paper trail on this letter given by McHenry.
Huebner wanted to terminate the agreement at this meeting, but received no second.
Beals feels County should complete the tasks already being done by planning department. Curtis doesn't know how we carve that out if the Board finds the City in breach of contract and thinks a structure is appropriate.
Adams made a motion of intent to terminate the agreement with action to continue those permits already issued by the County if that is not agreed to, the County terminates the motion period and all activities cease to function. Huebner made 2nd The motion passed with Beard voting no.
County Counsel will have a resolution at the next board meeting, which is Tuesday, December 3rd in Downieville.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Local Resource Center Provides Support for Family Caregivers



Family members caring for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia know how all-consuming their task is. In California alone, there are more than 4 million family caregivers, each spending 20-40 hours per week caring for their loved ones.
Family caregiving is typically what sustains adults with disabilities, yet caregivers often make major sacrifices to help loved ones remain in their homes. The stress of caring for family members with dementia has been shown to impact a caregiver's health and immune system for up to three years after their period of caregiving ends.
"Many family caregivers for brain impaired adults and frail elderly don't know they have local resources to support them," said Michelle Nevins, executive director of Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center. "Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center provides opportunities for education, respite care and support groups that understand the day-to-day tasks and struggles of a family caregiver."
Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center is part of a statewide system of resource centers serving family caregivers. Del Oro serves California's gold country counties: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba. Del Oro provides support groups, educational events and respite care for local families, free of charge.
According to Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center, nearly one out of every four households care for brain impaired adults and the frail elderly. Through Del Oro's online resource, family caregivers can find information on chronic and disabling conditions and diseases, aging, caregiving issues and community resources. Del Oro also supports local families through consultation, case management services, respite care and short-term counseling.
The reality of caregiving is best understood not with statistics but through the stories of spouses, children, siblings, and friends who have stepped forward when a loved one needed them. Their experiences illustrate the need for support, encouragement and resources to empower them in their caregiving journey.
For more information visit www.deloro.org

Friday, November 08, 2013

The Toll Of Obamacare





House Floor Speech

November 19, 2013


Mr. Speaker:

We are now seven weeks into the implementation of Obamacare. We know in the first four weeks, 106,000 Americans placed health plans in their shopping baskets, though it is not clear how many of them actually purchased plans.

Meanwhile, it is now estimated that some FIVE AND A HALF MILLION Americans have lost the health insurance that they had, that they liked, and that they were promised they could keep.

The inconvenient truth is that this law has dramatically INCREASED the ranks of the uninsured.

Yesterday came word that college students are seeing their low-cost student plans cancelled - with replacement costs as much as 1,800 percent higher under Obamacare.

Although the President recently assured the nation that the cancelations are confined to the individual market, we are now learning that his administration gives a mid-range estimate that 2/3 of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans face cancellation as well. Some estimates are as high as 93 million Americans with employer-sponsored plans will lose their plans next year.

And these reports don't account for the millions more who are seeing massive rate increases in their current plans.

Nor do they account for the millions more who have had their hours cut back to part time, have had their wages cut back, or who have lost their jobs altogether as employers struggle to stay in business while bearing these staggering costs.

Nor do they account for those who discover that by accepting Obamacare plans they are losing their doctors.

Wal-Mart now warns that the financial impact of this law could materially depress holiday shopping.

Mr. Speaker, we are watching nothing less than the wholesale destruction and collapse of the American health care system, which, for all its flaws, was still the most advanced, accessible, adaptable and responsive health care system the world has ever known.

If you doubt that for a second, ask yourself where the world's elites came when they needed first class medical care. It wasn't Canada or England or Mexico - it was the United States.

And now we are losing that.

There was nothing unforeseen about this fiasco: Republicans have been warning of these outcomes from the very beginning.

When we warned that Americans would not be able to keep their health plans, we were called extremists.

When we warned that Obamacare would result in massive cost increases on consumers we were called alarmists.

When we warned that many Americans would lose their jobs, have their hours cut back or see salary cuts, we were called racists.

When we asked for a one year delay in this program to address these issues, we were called demagogues, arsonists and jihadists.

But now all of those warnings have come to pass, and still the Democrats persist in imposing this law on an unwilling nation.

In doing so, great violence is being done to our Constitution.

In implementing this takeover of one sixth of the American economy, the President has repeatedly asserted what can only be described as a doctrine of executive nullification: the authority to ignore the parts of the law he finds inconvenient or embarrassing and to pick and choose those who must obey that law and who need not.

He has granted a reported 1,600 exemptions for politically well-connected interests, including many labor unions.

He has excused big businesses from the requirement that they provide health care to their employees, while forcing employees to fend for themselves.

He has excused members of Congress and their staffs from paying the full cost of Obamacare policies.

And last Thursday, he announced that health insurers can ignore the law that requires them to cancel existing policies. Notice that he didn't say he would seek to change the law. He said he would IGNORE the law for a year and he invited health insurers to do the same, in direct violation of his principle constitutional responsibility to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

Mr. Speaker, I appeal to my Democratic colleagues to consider the damage that this law is causing - both to the American health care system and to the rule of law itself. I ask them to heed the growing pleas of the American people to have their health plans restored to them. I ask them to join Republicans in repealing Obamacare and to help us replace it with the patient-centered health care that we have proposed: reforms that preserve the best of American Health Care while repairing its flaws.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Sierra County Issues Past Due Invoice to California Department of Fish and Wildlife


Downieville, CA - November, 5, 2013 - Sierra County issued a past due invoice to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) this past week for monies owed to the County for Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILT). To date, the DFW owes nearly $817,996 in delinquent payments to Sierra County.

California PILT was established in 1949 to offset the adverse impacts to county property tax revenues resulting when the State acquires property for wildlife management areas. Fish and Game Code Section 1504 specifies that the DFW shall pay annually to the county in which the property is located an amount equal to the county taxes levied upon the property at the time title was transferred to the State.

"The DFW has failed to make annual PILT payments in more than a decade, and in some counties, even longer than that," said Paul Roen, the Sierra County board vice-chair. "This loss of property tax revenue year after year impacts Sierra County's general fund, leaving all general fund programs underfunded, and some needs such as animal control completely unmet. We strongly urge the DFW to honor this past due invoice, and resume ongoing annual payments as required by law."

In total, the DFW is in arrears to California counties more than $17 million through the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

California Counties Urge National Forest Management Reform



SACRAMENTO, CA - October 28, 2013 - The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) announced their joint support for the enactment of legislation to better manage California's national forests.

"The growing bipartisan recognition that Congress must address proper management of our nation's forests illustrates the need to enact healthy forest legislation in 2014," said Kevin Cann, RCRC Chair and Mariposa County Supervisor. "The recent wildfires on U.S. Forest Service lands clearly demonstrate the results if Congress fails to act."

Two weeks ago, RCRC and CSAC authored a joint letter to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources urging the creation of bipartisan legislation related to forest management reform. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1526 to provide a mechanism for better management of our federal forests; however, most congressional observers believe that legislation will not be considered in the U.S. Senate.

"The health of our forests, the safety of our rural communities, and California's natural resources are threatened by the current condition of our national forests," said David Finigan, CSAC President and Del Norte County Supervisor. "It is crucial that all of California's forested counties experience a reform in the management of the forests to minimize fire threats, ensure a proper balance of animal life and vegetation, protect recreational opportunities, and help rural communities return to economic vitality."

RCRC and CSAC argue that while components of the House of Representatives-approved legislation may not be acceptable to the majority of the Senate, reforms can be adopted to address active management, streamline environmental laws, and revise the U.S. Forest Service's day-to-day approach to managing our forests.

Monday, October 28, 2013

SIERRA COUNTY ARF

Sierra County Animal Relief Fund (ARF) is currently seeking members to join our Board of Directors, and is also seeking general members. Position openings are President, Secretary, and Treasurer. We are also looking for volunteers to help in the following areas:
Community Outreach - helping at events and talking at schools and local organizations
Grants - researching and submitting
Event Coordinator - finding and developing events for fundraising/outreach programs, booths, bakers for events, set-up, staffing, break-down, etc.
Storage - we need storage for both our organization supplies and/or controlled storage for pet food distribution. Having a storage place for food is our biggest need, and will cut down on pet food costs by allowing us to take food donations from the public.
Travel - distributing food, transport of animals to vet appointments, and transport of injured animals (we have been used by emergency services when an animal has been involved in an accident, and contacted by the public regarding hurt or distressed animals)
Volunteer Coordinator
Food Donations - purchase pet food on a case-by-case basis
Recycle Program - people to accept recyclables and take them down to a paying recycle center
We are always looking for people to become members, and help come up with ideas to allow ARF to grow and help even more animals and their families.
To find out more about ARF and its mission visit www.animalrelieffund.net. For further information please contact Rachel Guffin at 289-2720 or e-mail sccaarf@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rural County Representatives of California Maintains Opposition to Unfair Fire Fees



Second Round of Bills Mailed to Rural Homeowners


SACRAMENTO, CA - July 23, 2013 - The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) announced today their continued opposition to the state imposed State Responsibility Area (SRA) fees as the second round of bills are slated to hit rural homeowners' mailboxes. The SRA fees, also known as fire prevention fees, are imposed by the state, and aim to backfill a void created in the CAL FIRE budget in 2011.

"RCRC remains opposed to this fee. It is bad public policy, and unfair to rural homeowners," said Kevin Cann, RCRC Board Chair and Mariposa County Supervisor. "We will continue our efforts to repeal this fee, and relieve rural homeowners of this duplicative tax."

The SRA fee is the result of budget bill AB 29X, approved by Governor Brown in 2011. This legislation was passed into law with little opportunity for public input, and was vehemently opposed by counties, fire districts, and associations representing firefighters. The first round of bills were mailed to rural homeowners in 2012, following a costly, and inefficient implementation period, where the state spent an estimated $15 million in up-front costs to launch the program.

RCRC has ongoing concerns with several aspects of the fee. First, according to CAL FIRE's own data, their most expensive activities are for fire suppression in highly urbanized areas, not rural areas. Second, most landowners in the SRA have already agreed to a fire protection and prevention tax at the local level, making the SRA fee duplicative. Finally, SRA fees weaken the state's mutual aid system, and by taking a greater role, place the state in a position of long-term liability over local firefighting and prevention efforts, leaving them vulnerable to legitimate litigation claims.

Bills for the 2012-13 fiscal year will begin hitting rural homeowners' mailboxes this week, mailed in alphabetical order by county. A detailed schedule is available on the BOE website at:
http://www.boe.ca.gov/sptaxprog/fire_prev_fee.htm.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Real Endangered Species: The Sierra Nevada Hard Working Family






Mr. Speaker:

I rise today to warn of the latest episode in a saga that can best be described as "Greens Gone Wild." It involves the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to declare two million acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as "critical habitat" for the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog and the Yosemite Toad under the Endangered Species Act.

That is essentially the footprint of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Lassen County north of Tahoe to Kern County just outside of Los Angeles. This designation would add Draconian new restrictions to those that have already severely reduced productive uses such as grazing, timber harvesting, mining, recreation and tourism and fire suppression efforts.

And for what? Even the Fish and Wildlife Service admits that the two biggest factors in the decline of these amphibian populations are not human activity at all, but rather non-native trout predators and the Bd fungus that has stricken amphibian populations across the western United States - neither of which will be relieved by this drastic expansion of federal regulations.

The species that will be most affected by this action is the human population, and that result will be tragic, severe, and entirely preventable.

For example, timber harvesting that once removed the overgrowth from our forests and put it to productive use - assuring us both healthier forests and a thriving economy -- is down more than 80 percent since 1980 in the Sierras - all because of government restrictions. The result is more frequent and intense forest fires, closed mills, unemployed families and a devastated economy throughout the region.

Existing regulations already effectively put hundreds of thousands of acres of forest off limits to human activity by such laws as the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, not to mention a crushing array of California state regulations.

This proposal by the fish and wildlife service would vastly expand these restrictions.

This is part of a much bigger picture.

In Yosemite National Park, the Department of Interior is proposing to expel long-standing tourist amenities from the Valley and lock in a plan that would result in 27 percent fewer campsites than in 1997 and 31 percent less lodging.

Throughout the Sierra Nevada, the U.S. Forest Service is closing access roads, imposing cost-prohibitive fees and conditions on cabin rentals, grazing rights, mining, and of course, timber harvesting, and obstructing long-standing community events on which many of these towns rely for tourism.

The one common denominator in these actions is an obvious desire to force the public off the public's land. Gifford Pinchot, the legendary founder of the U.S. Forest Service always said the purpose of the public lands was the "greatest good for the greatest number in the long run." John Muir, the legendary conservationist responsible for preserving Yosemite Valley did so in the words of the legislation he inspired, for the express purpose of "public use, resort and recreation."

These visions of the sound management of our public lands by the pioneers of our parks and forest systems are quickly being replaced by elitist and exclusionary policies that can best be described as "look, but don't touch; visit, but don't enjoy."

No one values the natural resources of the Sierra Nevada more than the people who live there and who have entrusted me to speak for them in Congress. These communities have jealously safeguarded the beauty of the region and the sustainability of the lands for generations. Their prosperity - and their posterity -- depends on sustained and responsible stewardship of these lands.

Now, Federal authorities are replacing these balanced and responsible policies with vastly different ones that amount to a policy of exclusion and benign neglect.

We have a sacred obligation to future generations to preserve and protect our public lands. But protecting our public lands for future generations doesn't mean we must close them to the current generation.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

FRIENDS OF INDEPENDENCE LAKE ASK SIERRA COUNTY TO CLAIM ROAD

FRIENDS OF INDEPENDENCE
LAKE (FOIL) came in good numbers to the Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting in Loyalton on Tuesday, July 16th to show new information about the road to Independence Lake. Spokesperson Kenny Osburn addressed the Board and talked about some misconceptions like, Independence Lake is NOT private; violating private property rights is NOT FOIL's intent; quiet recreation isn't for everyone; maintained road mileage is accurate; and new road alignment mileage is accurate.
Osburn introduced GIS (Geographic Information Systems) expert, Kyle Felker of Kyle Felker Consulting who was hired by FOIL to accurately map the Independence Lake Road based on Sierra County's documents. The project was used with a resource grade GPS (Global Positioning System) which is a mapping grade. GIS uses the GPS data and makes an analysis with it. The road is 4.6 miles long, with the Tahoe National Forest Boundary the only fixed point to go on which was made clear once Felker and Osburn found the USGS survey monuments and blaze marks where the bark had been shaved off of trees in the 1800's to mark the boundary.
According to Osburn and Felker, using these tools and the county's documents, show the road ends 18 inches west of the dam. The gate should be right on the dam.
In 1973 the County lost .05 of a mile on the road and no document shows where or why it was taken out. Osburn said he wanted to meet with Planning Director Tim Beals to go over the new data, and hoped to come to the meeting "holding hands" in agreement. But unfortunately that didn't happen and said it was frustrating Beals won't meet with him.
Osburn stated FOIL does care about the fish and AIS. Multiple members have been doing the inspections and received training. Osburn felt he had brought a pile of information and hoped the board would make a decision on this matter.
Board member, Jim Beard didn't want to continue to keep the road locked if the road ends past the gate and was willing to make a motion to this effect. Board member, Lee Adams argued the County has no idea if this is accurate, adding the Board needed time to look at the information and confirm its accuracy.
Chris Fichtel from the Nature Conservancy found the presentation "very interesting information." He stated, this information requires time for everybody and the gate is there due to County research, adding they haven't had the time to review the information.
Beals said he has had no time to process the information and compare it to what was presented two years ago. He said to take a motion today or a staff opinion is troubling. Beals had a number of questions including the progressive maintained mileage over time. He said a lot needs to be explained. Beals continued stating maintained mileage started in the 40's and 50's and all changes make a difference. Beals stated if this is a priority he'll have to put other things on hold as he doesn't have a "twin brother" and needs to have the resources or the time to look at this new information. County Counsel Jim Curtis added whatever is going to happen we need to get it right, stating the next step in this is likely to be litigation and the County does not have a deed to this road. Curtis further stated they are ascertaining this by historical use, but this is not the sole fact in the evidence.
He stated two outcomes: It is criminal to block a public road, but we also may have civil litigation. Curtis asked the Board its priorities in the county and is it worth the investment? Adams echoed County Counsel's sentiments calling it a complicated issue where neither side is right and neither side is wrong. He added some things can't be open all the time to be protected and Independence Lake may not be a priority to the majority of Sierra County when there are more pressing items to take precedence, like Sierra Brooks' water system. Adams concluded by stating he was getting to not like this lake, calling it "trouble," and "their middle east."
Supervisor Peter Huebner made the motion to have the issue go to the Public Works, Roads, and Solid Waste Committee which was approved unanimously.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Our Loyalton Library"

OUR LOYALTON LIBRARY
Hello again, from the volunteer staff at the Loyalton Library. We are slowly expanding our shelf space
so we can better organize our "Friends of the Library" donated books. They are being arranged alphabetically by author and genre. This should make it easier to find what you are looking for. Mysteries, westerns, and adventure novels are very popular with patrons and we maintain a good stock of these books, mostly in paperback.

We also have new arrivals in our large collection of children, juvenile, and young adult books. We plan to offer them on a "read and return" plan so that more people can take advantage of them. In addition, free
childrens' books are available from our cart in front of the library.

In the near future, we will feature our new books and other media arrivals on a separate display shelf for our patrons. New titles arrive all the time, thanks to generous donations from members of the community.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked with Lee Dummel, a member of Trails West, Inc., a group dedicated to researching and locating the early emigrant trails in our area. I had previously read about Jim Beckwourth,
a mountain man, who blazed an alternate route to the gold fields from Sparks, Nevada through the Sierra
Valley to Marysville, California. The group published an excellent driving guide for the Beckwourth route in 2012 and Lee kindly sent me copy. The trail is marked by fifty monuments and the guide describes


the location of each one. I hope to obtain a copy of the guide for the library in the future along with a definitive biography of Jim Beckwourth by Elinor Wilson (entitled "Jim Beckwourth;" University of Oklahoma Press, Norman; Copyright 1972).

Information about past native cultures in Sierra Valley is difficult to locate, but we have available "The
Circle of Stones," privately published by Richard Schwartz (copyright 1995), which describes his research of a curious stone circle in the Stampede Valley (now Stampede Reservoir). The circle was successfully moved to a park in Truckee, but its origin remains a mystery.

Another volume, presently on loan to a Cal-Davis stu-dent, is "The History of the Maidu" which is the seminal work on the most recent native culture in our region. We hope to have this volume returned soon for the use of our library researchers.

We strive to obtain quality research materials which encompass local subject matter in the areas of history, pre-history and physical sciences. Stop in and let us know what you would like to see on the shelves and we will try to find it.
We are open Wednesday through Friday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Thanks for your support.

Jon Schumacher

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Pesticide Labels Will Better Protect Bees and Other Pollinators



WASHINGTON - In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.

"Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts," said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

"The proper use of pesticides is critical for the protection of honey bees, and the crops that depend on them for pollination," said Kathleen Johnson, EPA's Enforcement Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. "We will be working with our state partners to ensure the pesticides subject to these new labeling requirements are applied correctly."

The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Today's announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The EPA will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health, showing scientific consensus that there are a complex set of stressors associated with honey bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

The agency continues to work with beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, pesticide and seed companies, and federal and state agencies to reduce pesticide drift dust and advance best management practices. The EPA recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Most Fire Deaths Result in Homes with No Smoke Alarms


CAL FIRE Reminds Californians to Check Their Smoke Alarms

Sacramento - While a 2010 study by the National Fire Protection Association found that 96 percent of all homes have at least one smoke alarm, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. To help reduce the number of home fire fatalities, CAL FIRE is reminding all Californians to make sure they have working smoke alarms in their homes.

"Smoke alarms give you and your family an early warning when there is a fire so you can quickly get outside," said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, CAL FIRE-Office of the State Fire Marshal. "Smoke alarms save lives, but they must be in good working order and must be tested."

Smoke alarms should be installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. While most smoke alarms come with 10-year batteries, CAL FIRE recommends that you test your smoke alarm monthly to ensure it's in good working order. Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years.

Families should also practice with their children what to do when there is a fire. Every family should set down and create an escape plan with an outside meeting place. If the alarm goes off crawl low to the ground under the smoke and exit the home quickly. A neighbor's yard or a sidewalk mailbox are common meeting places to ensure that everyone gets out safely. Families should practice home fire drills regularly.

Working smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent. A smoke alarm is a small price to help keep you and your family safe.

Friday, March 15, 2013

TIME TO SELL YOUR OLD CAR

BUSINESS IS BOOMING AT SCRAP YARDS - TIME TO SELL YOUR OLD CAR
4 Mar, 2013

Scrap Metal Investment

With the uncertainty of the US budget crisis in the midst of a down economy, selling off junk cars and other large appliances for scrap metal has become an interesting endeavor in terms of investments and portfolio diversification. As the price of both scrap and precious metals are on the rise, there is increasing activity at all levels of the supply chain with an interest in acquiring scrap for money.

Industry Makeup

The beginning of the supply chain can be a crude and grueling enterprise. Men and women across the United States wake up at very early hours of the morning to travel to different communities in search of unwanted metals in garbage bins, storage units, public property, or left out on the side of the road for pickup. These metal hunters have been coined as "scrappers", ending their days at dusk by traveling to junkyards that offer cash for specific types of metal and other materials. In the UK, these are known as "scrapyards" while in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand they are referred to as "wrecking yards".

Junkyards will store, crush, and compact purchased metals and then re-sell them to firms that specialize in reforming. Reforming the metals often involves melting them to their original form, and then reproducing them into different products. Many of these products are reintroduced to the market, and often wind up back in junkyards, cycling through the industry. As a result, the metal scrap industry is one of the most highly recycled in the world.

According to a report, "Business is booming at scrap yards, where recycling and metal dealers are seeing a growing number of homeowners and non-traditional clients making the extra trip to cash in their used bikes, old tools and discarded soda cans. The scrap yards also have their share of regular customers, including contractors, who consider what they expect to earn in scraps when they bid for a job, and peddlers, who drive around retrieving metal discards."

Indeed, a common junkyard in any given American city or town can net $3 for an old bike, $20 for the copper parts inside of an old air conditioning unit, $40 for a cast iron bathtub, and a few hundred dollars for an old automobile.

Monday, March 04, 2013

California Bullet Tax Would Backfire



As seen in the Orange County Register, Daily Democrat, San Bernardino Sun, California Political News & Views and Fox & Hounds Daily

By George Runner

If you want to grow government these days, it seems the fashionable thing to do is invent new taxes. Two years ago, legislators conjured up an illegal fire "fee." Last year, they invented a confusing new lumber tax. Two voter-approved multi-billion dollar tax hikes later, and the politicians still want more of your money. This time they want to tax your ammunition.

Two lawmakers-Assemblymembers Roger Dickenson (D-Sacramento) and Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) are authoring legislation to impose a nickel-per-bullet tax on the sale of ammunition in California. Apparently they couldn't agree on where to spend the revenue, so each lawmaker is introducing his own measure.

A nickel per bullet may not sound like much, but it will mean that each box of 100 shells purchased by a hunter or recreational shooter will cost $5 more. Double that number if both proposed bills pass.

Guns and ammunition are a convenient scapegoat for the tragic loss of life in recent shootings. But more gun laws and higher taxes won't stop crime. In fact, increased laws and taxes could backfire by leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless and creating a lucrative new source of revenue for criminal gangs.

Consider cigarettes, for instance. Taxes may have discouraged smoking, which is a good thing, but they've also created a huge market for smugglers. A recent study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found that more than one third of cigarettes smoked in California were smuggled into our state. Not coincidentally, the state with the highest cigarette taxes, New York, had the highest smuggling rate: 60.9%.

The social costs of smuggling include health and safety risks, increased law enforcement expense and higher crime.

An ammunition tax will backfire, and the reason is simple: evading a new tax on bullets will be a piece of cake. California consumers will simply stop buying ammunition at local gun stores and instead start buying it online from out-of-state stores that don't have to collect California taxes.

True, these consumers will still owe use tax on these purchases, but few will pay it-and enforcement will be difficult and, in most cases, cost-prohibitive.

State coffers will see little to no additional revenue, but many California small businesses will suffer greatly as ammunition sales shift to their out-of-state competitors.

It won't be the first time a new tax fails to yield the promised revenue. Supporters projected that a 2008 malt liquor tax would raise $41 million for the state. Actual revenue was less than $200,000, because most manufacturers simply reformulated their products. Tax policy has consequences.

Another reason to oppose new taxes and fees is that California already has too many. As a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the State Board of Equalization, I oversee the administration and collection of more than thirty tax and fee programs-like sales taxes, fuel taxes and tire fees-that impose upon nearly every aspect of life. Each new tax or fee inevitably grows the state workforce and costs millions of taxpayer dollars to administer and enforce.

Speaking of enforcement, California already has some of the strictest and most complicated gun laws in the nation. The problem is we don't do a very good job enforcing those laws with the billions in taxes Californians already pay.

At a recent legislative hearing, the Attorney General's office reported that it lacks the resources to enforce existing laws prohibiting felons and other dangerous individuals from owning weapons. Nearly 20,000 people identified by the Armed Prohibited Persons System are in illegal possession of firearms, but there aren't nearly enough investigators to keep up. And the backlog grows daily.

It's not a question of whether Californians are paying enough taxes-we clearly are. It's the state's spending priorities that are out of whack.

We don't need a bullet tax, and we don't need more tax and fee programs. Legislators simply need to stop enacting new laws that chase law-abiding taxpayers and jobs out of our state, and instead start prioritizing the enforcement of laws we already have on the books.

George Runner is a taxpayer advocate and elected member of the state Board of Equalization.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

THE LAW AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTION



Contractors, Owner-Builders; Property Owners, and Tenants: Please be aware that Senate Bill - SB 183 requires all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel heat source (wood, coal, propane, oil, kerosene, etc.) to install carbon monoxide alarms within the home beginning July 1, 2011, and owners of multi-family leased or rented dwellings, such as an apartment building, are required to comply with the law by January 1, 2013. There are two types of Carbon Monoxide (CO) devices. The most typical that is installed in a single family home is the carbon monoxide alarm which has its own built-in power supply and audible signal. Most importantly, please be aware that the carbon monoxide device must be one that has been pre-approved by the State Fire Marshall (SFM). SB-183 prohibits the marketing, distribution, or sale of devices that are not approved and listed by the State Fire Marshall. You can find a list of State Fire Marshall approved devices at http://osfm/fire.ca.gov or email (building@sierracounty.ws) or call the Sierra County Building Department at 530-289-3251 if you should need assistance. Thank you.

Monday, February 04, 2013

There's cash in your backyard!


Take a look in your back yard. What's back there?

If you have some old vehicles back there - car, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV or 5th wheel, four wheeler, whatever - that's cash sitting there. Cash you could be using to pay down bills, take the family out for a meal, put gas in your working vehicles. The choice is really up to you.

How long have those things been sitting there? They're just rusting away and being an eyesore. It's time to get rid of them and get some real money in exchange.

"We want to buy it. We don't care what kind of condition it's in, running or not, we'll buy it," said Barry Barbee, president of AutoWranglers.com . "We'll come get rid of that heap, which helps clean up your yard and makes your neighbors happy and give you money. It's that simple." www.autowranglers.com

AutoWranglers.com covers the entire nation. Northern California, no problem. Just call Barry or Tina at the toll free number and it's handled. Maine? South Texas? Minnesota? New York City? They have it covered.

"When we make a deal, within 24 hours our crew will be there to pick up the vehicle and deliver a check. It's that simple. You call us. We settle on a purchase price and get directions for the pickup crew and everything else is 24 hours or less before you have the cash," said Tina Wiley, executive buyer for AutoWranglers.com . "There's no obligation on you. We just want to give you some cash and get rid of a pike of rusting junk. We even pay for the phone call."

Think of the environmental consequences too. Chances are that old heap is leaking fluids, contaminating the soil and groundwater for years to come. Get rid of this minor environmental disaster by calling AutoWranglers.com now.

"Do the Earth a favor and do the children a favor. Get rid of that pile before it causes any more problems," Mr. Barbee said.

Got more than one vehicle or boat or RV? No problem. AutoWranglers.com will but it all.

For more information contact Barry Barbee or Tina Wiley toll free at 877-845-7378 or email them at For a free quote please click: http://www.autowranglers.com/request-a-quote.php and tina.autowranglers@gmail.com

Sunday, November 25, 2012

$5,000-+ REWARD


Is posted for information leading to conviction in burglaries having taken place in the Beckwourth area and are currently under investigation by the Plumas County Sheriff's Office.
Back on the night of October 8th, Nervino Airport in Beckwourth was robbed when the front door was picked. The culprits cleaned out a tool box, leaving the box and taking insignificant items such as a roll-around stool. Among the most expensive items was a Schwinn red mountain bike and red and white helmet, a red and white radio-controlled airplane and various valuable avionics test equipment which fortunately is all registered with the FAA.
The Dobbas' hay barn in Plumas County also got hit, with two batteries taken out of the loader used as a hay squeeze.
A break-in at JC Enterprises on October 13th ended with an estimated loss of $8,000 which included an older Lincoln portable welder on a small, 2-wheeled trailer. Also taken were an Ingersol Rand air wrench, Mac Tools air wrench, Chicago Pneumatic air wrenches, Makita electric portable grinder 8", Dewalt electric grinders, Makita electric skill saw and portable drill, Pneumatic Slag hammer, S&K tools socket set, Taiwan made 3/4" drive socket set, Craftsman Tap & Die set, three different Victor cutting torch set ups including regulators and hoses, miscellaneous hand tools out of a tool box, Slugger cut off saw, Stihl TS 400 cut off saw, miscellaneous brass pipe fittings, partial and new rolls of romex and assorted wire.
Then during the early morning hours of October 19th several motorhomes and businesses were burglarized in the area near Hawley Road, including Mountain View Industrial Park.
Unknown suspects forced entry into approximately 15 motorhomes and/or structures and stole several items of value, including televisions and propane tanks.
It was also reported the Caltrans yard trucks were targeted with cut lines and stolen gas.
A lot of local people are very angry, they are not going to put up with this behavior any more. The drug users, dealers and meth providers take notice, you are being watched and we are coming after you! Sheriff Hagwood met recently with these angry citizens and he stated, "The citizens should not be nervous, the scum bags should be nervous!"
This rotten behavior must stop, why would a person take drugs in the first place don't they realize they are giving up their lives to a substance that will eventually kill them? The drugs are in charge of their lives so why would anyone want to be led by the nose by a drug? It boggles the mind. So if they can't be responsible citizens then what happens to them is their own fault. They must feel justified in stealing from local residents, from people they have known for a long time.
There is an organized group of citizens who are working with the Sheriff's Department, they will be looking and reporting what is seen. The people of this County and City of Portola deserve better! The $5,000 reward is offered for the capture and conviction of any of these people. The person with information can be anonymous, just let the Sheriff at the Substation in Portola know the details.
We are coming!

Anyone with information regarding the thefts are encouraged to
contact the Sheriff's Office at (530) 283-6300.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Runner: New Study Shows Californians Overtaxed



SACRAMENTO - George Runner today highlighted a new report by the Tax Foundation showing that the average Californian's tax burden worsened in 2010.

"At a time when Californians could least afford it, our state and local tax burden was among the highest in the nation," said Runner. "This new report provides further proof that by every measure Californians are overtaxed."

The Tax Foundation's Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking estimates the average total tax burden for residents of each state. This method takes the point of view of the individual taxpayer, counting all taxes he or she pays, no matter to which state they are paid.

According to the report, Californians paid 11.2% of their income in state and local taxes in 2010-the fourth highest tax burden of any state. Only residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut paid more.

In 2010 the average California resident earned $43,919 but paid $4,934 in state and local taxes-$3,953 to state and local government in California and $981 to governments in other states.

Runner hopes that next year's report will show some progress given the July 1, 2011 expiration of California's temporary tax increases. But he also cautioned that future tax burdens remain uncertain.

"Sacramento politicians are always scheming up new and creative ways to take more of your hard-earned dollars," warned Runner. "Taxpayers must remain vigilant, knowing that jobs, not higher taxes, are the best way to ensure our state's prosperity."

The full study is available at www.taxfoundation.org.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit www.boe.ca.gov/Runner.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CABIN CREEK BIOMASS FACILITY

A CABIN CREEK BIOMASS FACILITY proposed for Placer County at the site of the Eastern Regional Landfill between Truckee and Squaw Valley on State Route 89 was on the Sierra County Board of Supervisors' agenda August 21st in Loyalton.
Planning Director Tim Beals addressed the question of competition and the impact of future operations of the Sierra Pacific Industries' biomass plant in Loyalton. He suggested engaging in formal dialogue as part of the CEQA process and the need to file comments in a timely manner. He stated the Cabin Creek facility clearly intended to go forward and was clearly in competition with fuels this plant could rely on.
Supervisor Lee Adams was disappointed and questioned why Placer County wants to do this and didn't want to spend taxpayer's money opposing it. He suggested a letter to Placer County to question why build from scratch and force a facility 40 miles away to be moth balled or torn down.
He stated there needs to be a group to go over the document and see if it's accurate and sets competition, suggesting the County would want to weigh in.
County Counsel called it "picking the document apart"........."substantial meat to it." He talked of a "fair amount of effort."
Supervisor Scott Schlefstein suggested cooperating.
From the audience, Loyalton Mayor Brooks Mitchell urged to Board to take a strong position. From an economic position, he called it "almost a deal breaker." He asked the Board to stand up for economic conditions. He said the City was willing to be involved.
Supervisor Bill Nunes felt a need to know information from owners, Sierra Pacific Industries.
Chairman Peter Huebner directed Beals, "If you have the time," to set a meeting with an ad hoc committee of himself and Supervisor Schlefstein. The meeting tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, August 29th was to include SPI, Plumas Rural Services, the Forest Service, City, Assessor, Beals and Jim Curtis.
Nunes questioned Peter if hauling to Loyalton was to begin September 1st.
Supervisor Goicoechea answered, "Not September 1st," but added the Loyalton plant is taking fuel stock.

Friday, August 31, 2012

What Can I do?

Living in the Sierras has never been easy, but it has always been worth the hardships one endures due to weather, because the residents have an attitude of perseverance and intestinal fortitude - grit and guts. The recent economic down turn has us all tightening our belts - or even selling our belts to try to make ends meet. But who is really feeling the pinch, are those whose circumstances may not have been wonderful to begin with: those on fixed incomes, senior citizens, the disabled.
"What can I do?" When a problem is so overwhelming that it seems insurmountable, we often feel that one person's efforts can't possibly make a difference. But it can. Rather than trying change the world, try changing first your own attitude, then the perspective of those around you. Don't think about what you can't do, but of what you can do. Here is a start:
- Growing a vegetable garden? Plant an extra row to donate to your local food bank. Or just buy an extra can or jar of something to donate.
- Cutting wood? There are senior citizens and disabled folks who would literally cry, they would be so grateful to receive some firewood.
- Enjoy gardening? Some senior citizen could use an extra hand in their yard.
- Go to Reno on a regular basis anyway? There are folks who must get to regular appointments several days a week. You could drive someone in, drop them off while you do your errands, and pick them up when they are done.
- Enjoy learning? You would make the best teacher. There are many places that need volunteers: the Literacy program, Angel Wings, Food Closet, companion program, after school programs - all can be accessed through the Family Resource Center.
- Are you a great cook? Or just have that one special dish everyone craves? Share your talents with young people, or shut-ins, or just your neighbors.
One person, doing one thing, changes everything. Be that one person, and encourage others to do the same. What you give will come back to you in abundance. And hold on to an attitude of gratitude.
Carolyn Widman, Executive Director
High Sierras Family Services
Sierra County Child Abuse Council

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CDFW and the BEAR League Remind Tahoe Residents to Secure Doors, Windows, Crawl Spaces from Bears



With the cold winter months just around the corner, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is partnering with the BEAR League to urge Tahoe residents, businesses and cabin owners to remember to bear-proof their properties.

This time of year, black bears are trying to consume as many calories as possible and are looking for that ideal spot for their winter hibernation. Unfortunately, bears are often attracted to crawl spaces under people's homes because they are quiet, secluded, dark, dry and out of the wind.

"As far as a bear is concerned, an opening to a house's crawl space is an open invitation to set up a den in an ideal location," warns Marc Kenyon, CDFW's human-wildlife conflict program coordinator. "Bears are incredibly strong and can fit into very small places. We've seen bears gain access to well-stocked cupboards from under the floorboards."

Ann Bryant, director of the BEAR League, estimates that at least 50 or more bears hibernate under homes or cabins in the Lake Tahoe area every winter, and to complicate matters, they sometimes give birth to their young there.

"If a bear gets under your home, there is a chance it could turn into three or four bears in January when the females give birth," says Bryant. "No one feels right about evicting a mother bear and her tiny cubs out into the cold in the dead of winter."

There are several things residents, rental property owners and businesses can do to ensure this doesn't happen:

1) Secure all crawl space doors and opening so bears don't move in for the winter. Inspect the entire foundation of your home or other buildings, including under decks and porches, for even the smallest opening.

2) Remove all food - including pet food, canned food, teas, spices and bottles of soda- from homes that will not be occupied for the winter. Leave nothing inside your cabin that has a scent or looks edible.

3) Do not place rodent control bait in or under your home as it has proven to be a very powerful bear attractant.

4) Clean your house thoroughly with ammonia-based products before closing it up for the winter.

5) Close and lock all doors and windows even if you're going to be away from home for only a short period of time. Tahoe bears have learned how to open them without breaking in. This applies not only to vacant properties but to year-round residences as well.

6) Consider electrifying doors and windows, especially on homes without dual-pane glass and homes that will be vacant for a period of time.

For more information, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/bear.html and www.savebears.org.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

RURAL NEWSPAPERS

America's metropolitan newspapers are in trouble, beset by declining circulation and ad revenues and free online competition. But rural and community newspapers are weathering the storm, with over 7,500 publications serving markets of less than 30,000 people.

The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University has just published an analysis of rural newspapers, including an interactive map showing 300 years of American papers. Created by a team of journalists working together with scholars and students from Stanford's history and computer science departments, the visualization tracks the growth of media from Boston's Publick Occurrences in 1690 to more than 10,000 publications in print today.

"The community newspaper business is healthier than metro newspapers, because it hasn't been invaded by Internet competition," Al Cross, a rural journalism analyst at the University of Kentucky, told the Center's researchers. "Craigslist doesn't serve these kinds of communities. They have no effective competition for local news. Rural papers own the franchise locally of the most credible information."

According to a 2010 survey conducted by the University of Missouri, Columbia for the National Newspaper Association, more than three-quarters of respondents said they read most or all of a local newspaper every week. And in news to warm the heart of any publisher, a full 94 percent said that they paid for their papers.

Take tiny Pinedale, Wyoming, home to 2,030 residents and two competing weekly newspapers, the Pinedale Roundup and the Sublette Examiner. Go to a town council meeting and you'll probably find a reporter from both papers, alongside a writer for the town's web-only "Pinedale Online!"

"It is more than a little ironic that small-town papers have been thriving by practicing what the mainstream media are now preaching," writes broadcast journalist and University of Southern California journalism professor Judy Muller in her new book, Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns (University of Nebraska Press). "'Hyper-localism,' 'Citizen Journalism,' 'Advocacy Journalism' - these are some of the latest buzzwords of the profession. But the concepts, without the fancy names, have been around for ages in small-town newspapers."

Friday, May 25, 2012

DOG OWNERS BEWARE: NO 'ONE FREE BITE' RULE IN CALIFORNIA

In Recognition of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 20-26) Attorneys Jason Cohn and Saar Swartzon Educate Consumers about the Legal Responsibilities of Dog Ownership

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean taking longer walks with Spot. You may trust your dog would never bite someone but are you one hundred percent sure? For dog owners, a dog bite can mean major consequences. When a person is bitten by a dog in California, the dog owner is liable for damages even for first time bites. As attorneys who have too often seen first-hand the long-term anguish of dog bite victims, Jason Cohn and Saar Swartzon of Cohn & Swartzon see National Dog Bite Prevention Week as an opportunity to urge consumers to fully understand the state and municipal laws pertaining to dog bites.







According to the Center for Disease Control, dogs bite approximately 4.5 million people each year in the United States. Those who are at the greatest risk include children from ages five to nine, adult males and individuals with dogs in their homes. In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog bites. These disfiguring injuries can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) along with embarrassment and humiliation.

Cohn and Swartzon, recognized authorities on personal injury issues, are readily available for interviews on the following legal responsibilities of dog ownership.

� Become familiar with the no "one free bite" rule in California - California Civil Code states "The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner�s knowledge of such viciousness." The law in California makes an owner strictly liable for any dog that causes injury. This liability extends to other dogs that are attacked as well.

� Review homeowner or renters insurance policies to make sure proper insurance coverage is included - This protects in most cases the dog owner from having to pay damages related to dog injury claims. Make sure the insurance policy does not exclude your particular breed of dog. Owners should have enough insurance coverage to protect their assets.

� Understand the risks of not having proper insurance coverage - Homeowners who do not have the proper insurance coverage in their home insurance policy are personally liable even if the attacking dog belongs to a renter. Most dog maulings involve rips and tears of flesh and victims are generally awarded high damages as juries can relate to these injuries. According to Professional Insurance Agents, dog bite claims exceeded $400 million across the nation in 2010 and cost on average $26,000 per claim. Dog owners without proper insurance coverage can lose their homes, assets and income as a result of a single dog bite.

� Owners are still liable in dog parks � The location of the dog mauling does not matter. California�s strict liability statute applies even to public places such as parks and beaches: California Civil Code states, �The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.�


Thursday, May 17, 2012

CHP REMINDS ALL MOTORISTS THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING THE ROAD



SACRAMENTO, Calif. When it comes to traffic safety, some actions bear repeating. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds all motorists to safely share the road and look twice for motorcyclists.

California is home to more than one million licensed motorcycle riders and an environment that lends itself to near perfect riding conditions year round. For this reason, it is important that every motorist remain vigilant while traveling on the states roadways.

Whether a driver is at an intersection or changing lanes, they should always keep an eye out for motorcyclists. Because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, it can be difficult for drivers to judge the distance and speed of an approaching motorcycle, said Commissioner Joe Farrow.

In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 361 people died in California and nearly 11,000 others were injured as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle.

In addition to outfitting themselves with the necessary safety equipment and riding gear, it is highly recommended that motorcyclists seek proper and professional training before beginning to ride, added Commissioner Farrow.

Administered by the CHP, the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) offers the Basic RiderCourse for beginning motorcyclists and Basic RiderCourses 2 for riders who are interested in improving their skills. The CMSP expects to train 65,000 motorcyclists this year and operates more than 120 training sites throughout California. Course information and locations may be found at http://www.ca-msp.org/.

Helping the CHP spread the word about motorcycle safety awareness throughout the month of May, the California Department of Transportation will display an important message statewide on their changeable message signs: Share the Road, Look Twice for Motorcyclists.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ZOMBIE DRIVERS ENDANGER OTHER MOTORISTS



Law Enforcement to Target Distracted Drivers Texting or Using Hand-Held Cell Phones

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Danger lurks behind the wheel when a driver redirects their attention from the road to some other distracting behavior, like talking on a cellular telephone or text messaging. During the month of April, law enforcement agencies throughout California will be especially focused on taking enforcement action on these inattentive, zombie drivers.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) along with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Impact Teen Drivers, and law enforcement agencies statewide are preparing to launch the second annual National Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign, Its Not Worth It! During the campaign kickoff month in April 2011, more than 52,000 citations were issued by law enforcement statewide, four times the monthly average. A first time citation will cost a minimum of $159, with a second violation at least $279.

Drivers need to ask themselves, Is that phone call or text message worth my life or the lives of those around me? said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. The answer is simple, its not worth it. Every distraction affects a drivers reaction time, and things can change without notice.

In recent years, hundreds of people have been killed in California, while thousands were injured, as the result of collisions that involved at least one driver who was distracted. This distraction can be any activity that diverts the drivers attention away from the primary task of driving. According to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, the act of talking on a cell phone can reduce more than 35 percent of the brain activity needed for driving. Essentially distractions change a seemingly good driver into a zombie behind the wheel.

To dramatize this "zombie-like behavior behind the wheel, zombies are being added to this year's "It's Not Worth It" campaign. The campaign will be supported by statewide grassroots outreach, social media activities and television commercials that encourage people to focus on the road and not be a zombie driver.
-MORE-
Law enforcement sees firsthand the devastation caused by distracted driving and the needless pain associated with the senseless collisions that follow, added Commissioner Farrow. I am grateful that so many of the states law enforcement agencies are joining us in this important traffic safety endeavor again this year.

More than 200 local law enforcement agencies and 103 CHP offices will be participating in the monthlong, life-saving effort. Similar to the previous years campaign, there will be both an enforcement and educational component. The overall goal is to reinforce to the motoring public the dangers of distracted driving and reduce the number of people impacted by this destructive behavior.

Parents and other adults need to set a positive example, said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. Start by never calling or texting anyone, especially your kids, when theres a possibility they might be driving. Then let that same action follow you when you are the driver.

Among the more than 1,800 drivers over the age of 18 who participated in last years annual statewide traffic safety survey conducted by OTS, talking and texting on a cellular telephone were rated the two biggest safety problems on Californias roadways. In fact, talking on a cellular telephone (handheld or hands-free) was identified as the most serious distraction by 56 percent of the respondents.

Adults are not the only offenders when it comes to distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction was involved.

Teens, even more than adults, are accustomed to using technology to have instant access to their friends. Its not only technology teens are frequently distracted by loud music, passengers, and other everyday tasks that, when done behind the wheel, become lethal, said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers. These everyday distractions, coupled with inexperience, often have deadly consequences.

This year, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month coincides with California Teen Safe Driving Week, which is the first week of April. For nearly five years, Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit organization, has been providing awareness and education to teenagers, their parents, and community members about all facets of responsible driving, with the goal of reducing the number of injuries and deaths suffered by teen drivers as a result of distracted driving and poor decision making.

Age aside, Californias traffic safety partners are asking for the publics help in making this Aprils distracted driving awareness campaign successful.

It is important to note that the success of this campaign is not measured by the number of citations the officers write, because we are hoping that by calling attention to this effort we will gain voluntary compliance, added Commissioner Farrow. The success of the campaign is measured by the number of lives saved.

Dont be zombie drivers; focus on the task of driving when you are behind the wheel. Remember, whatever the distraction, Its Not Worth It!

Friday, March 09, 2012

TREASURE MOUNTAIN 4H IN SIERRAVILLE & CALPINE HAS PARTNERED WITH CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS TO PROVIDE TROOPS WITH FREE CALLS HOME



Treasure Mountain 4H Club and non-profit Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. are asking Sierra Valley residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. With ongoing deployments to combat areas and elsewhere, as many as 369,000 troops are serving in the U.S. military overseas. By donating gently-used cellular phones to Cell Phones for Soldiers, Sierra Valley residents can provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home. Your old phones are recycled. The funds received from recycling are used to buy troops pre-paid calling cards.

Beginning today, residents can donate their phones to the cause at Loyalton and Sierraville locations, including:
- Sierra Valley Feed and Ranch Supply (Sierraville)
- Sierraville Post Office- inside lobby
- Loyalton Elementary School office
- Other locations may pop up as our 4H club spreads the word!

Treasure Mountain 4H wanted to do a community service project that would help our countrys soldiers be able to call home to their families. Phone calls home from other countries are so expensive, said Ben Hopwood, Treasure Mountain 4H member.


Siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist founded Cell Phones for Soldiers at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided more than 114 million minutes of free talk time to service men and women stationed around the world. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase pre-paid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 12,000 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.

Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations like Treasure Mountain 4H that take the initiative to support our troops, said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. We have also watched the communication gap between our armed forces and their loved ones continue to grow as more troops are deployed for their third or fourth tour overseas.

Donated phones are sent to Michigan-based ReCellular for recycling. For every donated phone valued at just $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.

ABOUT CELL PHONES FOR SOLDIERS INC.
Cell Phones for Soldiers Inc. (CPFS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing deployed and returning troops cost-free methods to communicate with family while serving in the United States military. Based in Norwell, Mass., CPFS was founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old. From the recycling of used mobile phones and cash donations, the organization has raised more than $7 million, collected more than 8.3 million cell phones and provided troops overseas with more than 114 million minutes of free talk time. For more information www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com. Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JoinCellPhonesforSoldiers

Thursday, February 16, 2012

LETTERS OF INTEREST:

THE UNITED STATES POSTAL

SERVICE NOTICE withdrawing its final determination to close Sattley Post Office on January 5th and respectfully requests that this proceeding be dismissed, has brought a lot of joy to Calpine residents.
The exact reasoning may never be known yet Debbie and Ken McMasters led the charge with much community help. Postal clerk Ginny Butlers appeal was evidently not allowed, as it never showed up on the Docket yet her letter gives great testimony and background.
Post Office Operations /The Postal Regulatory Commission 901 New York Avenue NW, Ste 200 Washington DC 20268-0001
Dear Mr. Granholm,
I have been employed at the Calpine/Sattley Post Office for more than 11 years, the last two as Officer in Charge. I have enjoyed working in my small community helping the residents with their postal needs. We are like an extended family looking out for each other, sharing at community events, and supporting each other when the need arises. The closure of the two post offices in Calpine and Sierraville is a concern to me as well as all the residents who rely on the consistent and dependable conveyance of their mail by the USPS. I have tried, without success, to find the justification for the closures.
The question most frequently asked by USPS patrons is, How are we going to get our mail? We were first told our mail would be accessible through the Post Office in Sierraville, then Clio, then Portola, and now it is back to Clio. It seems as though not only are the residents uncertain about the future of rural communities mail, but the USPS is uncertain as well.
My customers are very disappointed with the way the USPS has handled the proposed closure at both the Calpine and Sierraville offices. Residents feel their concerns are not important and have fallen on deaf ears; regardless of what the residents say, the USPS has already made its decision.
Many of my customers are seniors and veterans and get the majority of their prescription medications by mail, some of which require a signature. The decision to close these offices could mean residents may be forced to drive up to 26 miles to get their prescriptions or other important packages.This poses many difficulties, especially for those living on a fixed income. Travel costs, time, and unsafe winter road conditions are only some of the problems. There are many days in winter when the road over Calpine summit is dangerous. Rural communities lack public transportation or a taxi service for residents who would find it difficult to drive to the nearest Post Office.
During the community meeting in Calpine, USPS representatives stated that it is no more difficult to travel for mail than it is for shopping.This is an example of thoughtless bureaucrats who did not consider that residents in rural communities typically shop only once or twice a month for food and other staples. This is not a viable option for retrieving and sending mail.
The residents in rural communities are the most loyal customers the Postal Service has.They shop online, pay and receive their bills by mail, and still like sending cards and letters the oldfashioned way. Local offices are important to all residents in rural America. It is not a convenience to have a Post Office accessible year-round. It is a necessity.
Respectfully,
Virginia Butler


Due to personal reasons, which are outlined in a letter sent to his patients, Dr. Colin Kopes-Kerr will be leaving Eastern Plumas Health Care at the end of January. We are very sorry to see him gohe is loved by his patients and has made a significant difference in our communitys awareness of preventative health care. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
Doctors at the Portola Clinic will soon have increased time to see clinic patients since the new emergency room hospitalist program will have ER doctors following patients throughout their hospital stay. Clinic physicians, freed from their hospital duties, will soon be offering evening and weekend hours at the Portola Clinic to better serve our community. Any of these physicians, as well as our Family Nurse Practitioners, will be happy to see Dr. Kopes-Kerrs former patients.
Patients looking for a new provider should look at the Find a Provider page of our website at www.ephc.org; it lists a short biography for each provider. And, EPHC encourages patients to ask questions about our various providers so they can find the best fit for their particular needs. Please call Tiffany Williams, Executive Assistant to the CEO, 832.6564 for more information or to have your questions answered.
Thanks to our community members as we work to remain flexible and continue to provide top quality care through inevitable changes in our organization.
Were very sorry to see him gohe is loved by his patients and has been very involved in working to raise this communitys awareness of low cost health and illness prevention measures. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

An Open Letter to My Patients: January 20, 2012
Dear Friends and Colleagues in Healing,

I am saddened to have to announce that I will be leaving Portola at the end of January. It has been my pleasure to get to know you. I know this result is a big disappointment for us both. My work here has been a source of great satisfaction for me. The practices in both Portola and Graeagle have been the best practice situations I have worked in. The relationship with my patients has been warm, rich and varied. The staff who have supported me have been wonderful to work with and exceptionally diligent. I believe we have practiced very good medicine together. The pace has been just right, allowing enough time to get to know you. I admire the mutual commitment to doing the best we can with less, since we dont have all the fancy medical technology or specialists.
This place is wonderful. I have been fortunate to live in a wonderful house just a block away from the hospital. I have cherished being able to do most of my errands with just a brief walk to the store or the bank. Wherever I go, I see people I know. Every time I step outside, no matter where I am or what the season, I feel exhilaration with each breath of fresh air and every fresh vista.
The most frequent questions I have had over the year have been Do you like it here? and Are you going to stay? I want every one to know that I have loved it here. That has nothing to do with my decision. It was my hope and wish that I would be able to make this my long-term home and that I would be able to slowly wind my way into retirement over the next ten years.
The reason that I cannot is solely due to the economy and the limitations of California law on practices in settings like this. To make a long story short, while I think I am a good physician, I have been far less successful at business. With the crash of the economy, a huge loss on my home, and a marriage that did not work out, I am in the biggest financial hole of my career. Tom Hayes and I had both hoped that I would be able to develop a growing practice here with brighter prospects ahead, but this is not working out. As everyone knows, the California legislature and the Federal Medicare program have put a near stranglehold on small rural health care systems like ours.
What most folks do not realize is that California law also prohibits hospitals from directly employing physicians, which compels a resort to independent contractor agreements lacking in standard benefits like any retirement benefits and paid time off. This makes a long-term practice in a declining economy extremely challenging. In my current situation, I cant make it without these benefits. And as much as Ive worked with Tom and the Eastern Plumas Health Care District, weve been unable to come up with any alternatives that solve the problem.
Due to these restraints I am leaving at the end of the month. I will miss you all and this special place very much. I have been very blessed to have shared this last year with you.
You wont be left without a caring and highly competent provider, however. Mary Morrison, FNP, will be increasing her hours and days in the Graeagle Medical Clinic beginning in February. Morrison is a long term Plumas County resident whose family history with Portola hospitals goes back generations. Mary has served as an RN and then an FNP for forty years. And, there are a number of fine providers available to serve you at the Portola Clinic, as well.
Sincerely,
Colin Kopes-Kerr, MD

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Independence Lake Untangled

An issue-by-issue look at why Independence Lake, a navigable waterway, owned by you is still being held hostage by a conservation group.
This issues focus is on the publics right to access this Gem of the Sierra. The California Department of Fish and Game 2011 Freshwater Water Fishing Regulations identify Independence Lake as open year around for fishing with several provisions to protect the Lahanton Cutthroat. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has closed the lake for the season and currently has a locked gate on a county road effectively precluding the public from exercising its right to access year around. How did we get here?
It sure gets tiresome responding to the same old misnomer, TNC bought the lake and did it with private donations. This couldnt be further from the truth. Friends of Independence Lake has repeatedly pointed out that you, a citizen of this great nation, own the lake and have a right to access it year around; it is after all held in trust for you by the California State Lands Commission. Unfortunately TNC and the decisions of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors have severely restricted your access. The land around Independence Lake was purchased by the TNC with your tax dollars in attempt to protect you from yourself. Any guess why this spectacular pristine lake is so perfect? The answer can be found within its traditional users who have used and protected her so well for so long. Over 98% of the monies used in the land acquisition, $15 million were from you the taxpayer and of course now the newly named Independence Lake Preserve is closed for the season. Millions of other tax dollars are currently being used for stewardship and improvements on the property as well, in todays fiscal mess.
Aquatic invasive species, a unique strain of the Lahanton Cutthroat Trout and a multibillion dollar non-profit conservation group have singled Independence Lake out and decided to protect her. Could it be more about a new user group, perhaps those who believe in quiet non-motorized boats and those who dont carry guns to hunt and have the attitude of an elitist?
Buyers beware: in the TNCs Title Report, TNC was warned of the publics right to access the lake including multiple types of recreation. The old owners have been criticized for restricting access in the past but the restrictions of the past owner were never this harsh and unreasonable. Hind sight is 20/20, I wish we knew then what we know now. Two wrongs dont make a right!
Sierra County Board of Supervisors have been requested multiple times to stand up for the rights of the people in regards to Independence Lake. Public access is the topic of this weeks story, in particular the direct violation of the Board of Supervisors to the Sierra County General Plan Policies which require the County to ensure adequate access to public lakes and reservoirs. The Parks and Recreation Policy element 5a mandates that the county must [e]nsure adequate access to public waterways. The Parks and Recreation Policy element 8a directs the county to [e]nsure adequate access to public lakes and reservoirs. The County has also claimed that it has abandoned portions of Independence Lake Road, which provide the public direct access to the Lake. However, any claim of abandonment by the County is illegal and in direct contravention of the well established legal rule that once a public road that provides public access to navigable waters is established, the county cannot legally abandon the road if it would destroy the right of public access to such waters.
The Board of Supervisors have not helped the citizens of Sierra County in this matter. Their Planning Director can be quoted in a February meeting as saying that he did not even read the legal opinion of Friends of Independence Lake. Without such thorough review, what else is your Board of Supervisors willing to give away of your public rights? Issues such as these must have an objective and thorough review. Have you ever wondered who holds the Board of Supervisors responsible? The answer is you! Remember this when it is time to go to the polls a year from now. Stay current on the issues and please vote. Stay tuned for the next issue which will focus on the two roads that access Independence Lake and the illegal abandoning, gifting and mileage claimed of one such road.

Independence Lake Untangled 3, Sierra County Road 351
As promised this issue will address the illegal abandoning/gifting of County Road 351, the old access from Highway 89 North at Sagehen summit which runs right into Independence Lake. Many old-timers remember making the journey from Truckee to Independence Lake via this road. A portion of this road was recently locked by the Nature Conservancy. Today Sierra County still continues to collect maintained road mileage funds on it and doesnt put a dime back into it. Just recently, with assistance from Friends of Independence Lake (FOIL), the County has found the road again.
Sierra County has maintained mileage records on this road since at least 1956 and has been collecting funds on 2.85 miles since then. This road, for 2.85 miles, travels from Highway 89 North directly to Independence Lake. Ironically the Director of Public Works claims a portion of it was given away with a Handshake and sites a 1962 document as proof. The county never had that authority to abandon any access to a navigable waterway. In fact, the County is remiss in not following legal procedure to abandon and/or gift a road. Therefore the County has illegally given away a portion of County Road 351 to a conservation group giving away our public assets for no financial or access consideration. This should anger all of us. Our public tax dollars paid for this road a road which provided our access to a public lake. In a Staff Report provided to the Sierra County Board of Supervisors the Director of Public Works even admits the County did not formally relocate County Road 351.
County Road 351 is an example of having the right facts with no one to listen. FOILs attorney advised Sierra County Board of Supervisors that County Road 351 could not be legally abandoned, and that in any event, the County had not followed proper procedure to abandon a County Road. The Board, however, chose to listen solely to the evidence provided from one employee while ignoring all other evidence. In the legal opinion provided by FOILs attorney, Sierra County was advised ..the county cannot legally abandon the road if it would destroy the right of public access to such waters. In a map provided by a Sierra County employee after a visit to the lake with FOIL, the old alignment is shown in its entirety and crosses the outlet portion of the lake that is now currently the overflow ending in the old public campground. As shown in the several Sierra County documents, road 351 actually connects with the much contested county road 350 which remains locked just prior to the lake, with or without mileage lost in the 70s. Therefore the two roads connect and form a loop to the lake, as shown in several Sierra County maps.
Lets demand Sierra County use the money they have collected over 30 years on County Road 351 and reopen and improve the publics access to Independence Lake. The County legally cannot abandon or give away any portion of this road. Ask your Board of Supervisors to maintain our public assets! Next issue will give FOILs view of being Put to pasture with the Sierra County Water Resources Board.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

Protect our forests and trees by not moving firewood Stop the spread of nonnative insects



VALLEJO, Calif., June 13, 2011 An act as simple as transporting firewood can lead to widespread devastation.

The Pacific Southwest Region Forest Health Protection staff of the U.S. Forest Service recently completed a report that will soon be published entitled, Firewood Movement A Threat to Californias Forests? The report notes that since 2008 the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has inspected and recorded details on firewood entering the state through 16 agricultural border protection stations. These stations have recorded approximately 24,062,000 pounds of firewood in over 10,600 individual loads entering the state between 2008 and 2010. Over the same three-year period, a total of 391 pests were prevented to over 150 named destinations (with the vast majority in California). Some of the notable species that were intercepted on firewood include emerald ash borer and gypsy moth, both of which were transported to California illegally in violation of nationwide Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service quarantines.

The report found that firewood in private vehicles was almost 10 times more likely to be denied entry into the state and/or confiscated than commercial loads of firewood. Firewood transported to California came from 45 states, Canada and Mexico. Almost 600 unique destinations were listed for firewood entering California.

Nearly every major urban area in California was represented, as well as at least five National Parks and five National Forests within the state. Top destinations to which firewood bearing potential pests was being transported were the greater Los Angeles urban area (75 forest pests), the Sacramento urban area (36), the San Diego urban area (32), Crescent City and Fresno (24 each), and the San Francisco-Oakland urban area (23).

As a single dramatic example, last July, a couple from Michigan was stopped in their RV at the Topaz border station (south of Lake Tahoe). Inside their vehicle was ash firewood containing adult and larval emerald ash borers. This is the furthest this invasive exotic species has been carried and detected from its federal quarantine area in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, where it has killed millions of urban trees and cost municipalities and homeowners billions of dollars in tree removal costs and lost property values.

Even insects native to the U.S. can become devastating pests if moved to an adjacent state. Less than half (46.6 percent) of the wood borers native to Arizona also occur in California. The gold-spotted oak borer is a wood borer native to southeastern Arizona that was introduced into San Diego County, California in the early-2000s, most likely from firewood. In its new environment this beetle infests at least four new host species of oak that have no co-evolved defense mechanisms; the result has been tens of thousands of trees killed with no known mechanism for containing the insects spread. Any one of the hundreds of firewood-borne pests intercepted at CDFA border stations every year could be the next gold-spotted oak borer or emerald ash borer in its effects if successfully introduced into a new area. This is particularly true in California, where non-native pests could have infested over 95 percent of the state had they reached their destinations. Its worth noting that almost the entire state of California is within 50 miles of a federal or state park or forest.

How you can help:

- Leave firewood at home do not transport it to campgrounds or parks.
- Use firewood from local sources.
- If you have moved firewood, burn all of it before leaving your campsite.

Monday, June 13, 2011

EDITORIALS

THANKSGIVING offers us the opportunity to thank you, Dear Reader, for your continuing support and dedication to reading. We thank you for affording us a chance to write our opinion and we are truly thankful to those of you who differ in peaceful manner. We especially appreciate those of you who challenge us rather than slew hurtful words and cut off communication.
We cherish those kind words written across renewal forms, e.mails and faxes.
In spite of budget deficits, shuttered businesses and increasing unemployment, we love the fact you continued to make the Sierra Valley elk your top priority.
Im thankful to Mayor Pat Whitley for her negotiating spirit and to the Council members for their long hours paid just $49.50/month; to hospital CEO Tom Hayes and his staff who work tirelessly to keep our health care; for the innovative plans by our school administration and staff; to all the many volunteers who keep the lights on and the fires lit and I offer special thanks to those of you who sign petitions, call, write and e.mail our elected officials, all for the betterment of our communities. Keep up the good work! This is a great time for heros!

* * * * *

THERES A GREAT NEW CONCEPT for Loyaltons bio mass plant as a non-profit.
Keith Logan of Logan Associates told County Supervisors of an aggressive plan, only aspirations until the complete sale yet which would have world class companies coming to Loyaltons business park from all over the world.
And Planning Director Tim Beals told of how one cur-rent business at the local park, KJL, is moving from the business park to Plumas County.
It should be mentioned KJL is one world-class company weve had all along, as a hub-zone company which supplies NASA fastener parts and weve had NASA officials in and out of Loyalton.
It currently employs 11 local residents and would be great to keep it in Sierra County.
Yet the business is in escrow for the former Yamaha building in Chilcoot. Its a great boost for Plumas County for employment, traffic and more frequent use of UPS and Fed X, all losses for Sierra County.

* * * * *

ON THAT SAME NOTE, it was talked about using chips at the bio mass plant. But it continues to make little sense that we truck in somebody elses
green waste when our forests are littered with dead and dying timber and even burn piles. Take a drive along Highway 49 to Sierra City and see the neatly piled debris which should be ready to be trucked yet may well be burned.
I posed that problem to Supervisor Peter Huebner who in turn, said to tell that to the Fire Safe Council.
Executive Director Cindy Noble verified the plan for Yuba River District to burn these MANY, MANY, MANY piles, and wrote, This depends on many factors, to start the contract for the tonage , the distance from the site to the plant and how much is piled on site and being used at the plant.
In answer to the above, Supervisor Huebner wrote,
It looks like it is going to be a heavy snow winter, and comes spring with the co gen plant open, we will see again many bio mass Trucks heading to Loyalton, and all the rest will follow. He adds, I will again be representing our board on all bio-mass meetings in our region, getting fuel from Nevada, Placer and Sierra County, just as before the trucks will be coming to Loyalton in early spring.


* * * * *

THE GOOD NEWS out of that conversation came from Sierra Pacific Industries Manager Jim Turner who said that SPI is still accepting green waste at the Loyalton Sierra Pacific Industries bio mass site Monday - Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thats only for clean green waste; please, no processed wood or old cabinets, etc.


ITS NOT GOOD to hear how Loyalton may be dying. Instead, Id like some focus on whats going on, whats new and what to look forward to.
Granted, we have lost many businesses. But there are some new ones in place which deserve our trade. We have a new clothing store and anticipate a new hairdresser, tucked inside Loyalton Spa on Main Street in the big yellow house.
With the biomass plant closure and Royce Stevens loss of salvage of aluminum and glass, it seems there would be a great opportunity for similar jobs in this green environment.
The Loyalton Rotary Park up Smithneck Road has a new pavilion and many new improvements, including connecting sidewalks, attractive rock around the restrooms and a nice stage area and new tables - all set for the annual 4th of July barbecue and auction. Rotary members will be in high mode with all that new area!
And its hoped more improvements are forthcoming at the City Park under the Prop. 40 funding, originally scheduled for the swimming pool. Now that swimming pool building is targeted as a community hall with more grant funding.
With more emphasis on our music program in the schools, theres a greater need for that community hall.
And perhaps the most important feature to hit this area will be Plumas Sierra Rural Electrics anticipated broadband, which will attract more home-based businesses on high speed internet. One of those businesses Loyalton lost in the red brick building was over lack of internet.
Did you know we have three realtors? With no store fronts, they are not as visible but theyre here.
And please dont forget those faithful businesses who do have store fronts and open every day, particularly Golden West Saloon and Leonards, who provide rare daily service and are always there.
In addition to our businesses, we have a wonderful museum, Senior Complex with sweeping views of Sierra Valley, lively Senior Center and transportation system, efficient health care clinic and a caring skilled nursing facility, library services and child care.
The only sure way to assure they remain in tact is for us to utilize them. Make Shop Local a way of life!
And to assist those businesses, the City Council has frozen current water and sewer rates and approved zoning to make downtown more friendly as community/commercial and allow housing among businesses.
So there you have it. We arent dying. Were changing. We have businesses. You just dont see them all to know theyre here.

LOYALTON RESIDENTS: Did your property taxes rise? Mine did.
Following an article in the July 21st Sierra Booster issue on A Decline in Value Review by the Assessors Office, I noticed my Loyalton property taxes had increased despite the fact the assessor stated 838 properties reviewed by hand and 649 which qualified for a further decline.
In a call to Assessor Laura Marshall, she stated Loyaltons commercial properties hadnt been reviewed by hand and advised me to go on the County website under the Assessors office and print off Decline in Value Request Forms.
Simple as that.
Do it.


* * * * * 

HIGHER TAXES? NOT!
A week ago Tuesday the Sierra Valley Hospital District Board met for discussion of a shortfall for the bond payment for the upcoming year and discussion of the short fall on general fund from property tax revenue drop.
As unbelieveable as it is, those of us in the former hospital district continue to pay taxes on the bond for the hospital which no longer exits.
In its place we were given the Advanced Life Support ambulance.
Any argument against taxes could follow what was said against a swimming pool assessment last year.
We have rising unemployment, loss of jobs and loss of homes.
This will be on the next Loyalton Board of Supervisors meeting agenda on September 13th.
Now is not the time for higher property taxes; especially on a service we no longer receive.


THOSE MASSIVE MEDICAID CUTS as requested by California were approved by the Obama administration on Friday, October 27th.
Known as California State Plan Amendment 11-010 it allows cuts to MediCal payments for its hospital skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) by 10% of 2008 rates in effect, a 23% cut.
Cuts will be retroactive, causing Eastern Plumas Health Care to have to underwrite care it has already given back to June 1. Since a staggering 93% of its Skilled Nursing Facility patients are on MediCal, this amounts to a $1.1 million hit per year.
A news release from The Department of Health Care Services DHCS (reprinted on sierrabooster.com) talks of value of our provider partners and looking forward to continuing our service to our most vulnerable populations...........a unique monitoring plan....to ensure access to care is not compromised as the reductions are implemented, yet EPHC CEO Tom Hayes states that as false. He has heard nothing from anybody at the State over concern and its been quite quiet.
Hayes said on Monday they will work in filing a plan with the State to meet its standards in transferring patients. On Monday, he met with families of Portola Skilled Nursing Facility residents and on Tuesday, he met with Loyalton families to provide information. Sadly, he stated statistics show those transferred will die within three months.
Hayes stated they are looking at both Loyalton and Portola Skilled Nursing Facilities and cant survive as a hospital with as many skilled nursing facility residents. They have to figure at what point to reduce patients to break even and to run at a reduced level.
All employees have taken a 5% pay cut.
Outpatient charges have been increased 20%.
Various services are being looked at as to which ones can continue.
The hospital is working with the USDA on its loans and if it doesnt really work with us, Eastern Plumas Health Care may have to default. It is asking to waive, restructure or delay payment on USDA loans.
Hayes stressed all costs are being looked at and even the Christmas party has been cancelled!
Hayes did state they are not terminating any ambu-lance services in Loyalton and will keep the clinic open. As for the skilled nursing facility, they are looking at any private company to take it over.
Facility issues make it difficult in Loyalton, Hayes said and they need to come up with heating, air and seismic modifications which are very expensive.


* * * * *

THOSE USDA LOANS are not only being looked at by Eastern Plumas Health Care but by the City of Loyalton as well.
While the health care has a number of USDA loans, Hayes said he is asking for relief because of cash flow and the issue is having to make payments with government cuts.
With the City of Loyalton, its making payments on a wastewater project which is proving defective and which was approved by USDA. The liner at the wastewater plant has leaks.
The City was delinquent on one payment yet approved a partial payment during a special meeting held November 1st. The City Council held a meeting November 3rd with USDA representatives trying to iron out some issues, according to Mayor Pat Whitley.
It seems USDA would prefer to work out a plan rather than have a city and health facility default on payments.
We need our elected leaders to make sure we get relief.


* * * * *

RESIDENTS are urged to use their local health facilities and take advantage of all they have to offer.
In an article by By Margaret Moslander on Health care for Remapping Debate, it states Long wait times, rushed appointments, and the failure of doctors to be forthcoming with important information lead patients to feel devalued, overlooked, frustrated, and disrespected."
Patients, as observed by Julia Hallisy, founder of the Empowered Patient Coalition, are already stressedoften they have to get back to work, and cant afford to take 2 extra hours out of their day, especially in this economy.
Cut extra time by using local health care. Eastern Plumas Health Care has clinics in Loyalton, Portola and Graeagle where health care providers know your name.
When you choose EPHC for your health care needs, you're helping to make sure we'll be here to serve you in the future.
We have 250 employees--we are your neighbors, your friends, your family--we are your community hospital, as stated on its website.
It is a non-profit, rural healthcare provider, where your tax dollars help keep it alive.
And you should use it.

AFFECTS OF A CLOSED BIO MASS (Co-gen), other than what most call a dying town, were well explained by Timothy Evans, Tahoe National Forest Natural Resource Officer at the Loyalton Rotary Clubs noon meeting last fortnight.
Timothy reported on a $20 million Castle Timber Sale that didnt sell with no bids due to the closure of the Loyalton biomass plant.
In addition, he stated all the timber sales will now be bid through the Quincy Sierra Pacific Industries plant because of the closure of the Loyalton plant.
This is not to mention the loss of reliability in electricity with the plant off-line and the possible unplanned outages we could be facing.
On the flip side, Timothy reported there are plenty of chips for the Loyalton biomass plant if it does open up.
With the growing emphasis on green energy and the surging price in oil and gas, it only makes sense biomass should be in huge demand.
According to Sierra County Supervisors Chairman Peter Huebner, there is a lot of competition now with biomass. Weve previously written about the new plant Nevada County is planning to open and its yet to be seen if it will further affect Loyaltons plant.

WHAT A CONTRAST IT IS between this years winter and the winter of 1952 when storms started in late January and dumped 5 to 6 feet of snow. With crude snow removal back then, the area was snowed in for days.
Hal and Sweetie Pie had published the Sierra Booster just four years and Hal had a deadline to meet. Never having skied, he decided to learn on a trip over Yuba Pass once the storms ceased. The late Attilio Genasci told me he was feeding cows when he looked up to see a lone figure approaching on skis and Hal asked about cutting across the valley. Attilio gave good advice against it and heres Hals 1952 version of his trip:
So many have asked if I was going to write about my ski escapade in this issue that I feel sort of obliged to do so.
Here goes: Unaccustomed as I am to public skiing - when I showed signs of getting cabin fever in Loyalton a couple of weeks ago and had need to go to western Sierra County, I skied to Sierra City because the roads were snowblocked. I took five spills learning to ski the first day and wound up in good fettle at the Frank Turner Ranch in Sattley - hosted by Bill Borges. Leaving up to 15 inch trenches behind, it took me 7 hours and 20 minutes of steady plugging to make the top of Yuba Pass and another three hours to reach the Fred Cooks at Pioneer Lodge. The snow storm that day did not help much but I came to the conclusion that 7 foot skis in soft snow were entirely wrong. The Cooks were glad to get some mail and see some passing traffic. Their lodge was in a bad way with one wall being pushed in by snow more than six inches. I hope they get help before the place collapses. That night it took two more hours of floundering in the storm and getting almost lost in the dark to reach Bassetts Resort where I stayed overnight. Irene and Red Smith were snowed in with Aide Joe and guest Red Mottini, the mail man. Starting from Bassetts with another foot of snow on top and more coming down I reached Sierra City in a little less than five hours on the third day. It was a lot of fun considering it was the first time I had skied and I was amazed to learn that some folk expressed the opinion to wife Allene that Id never make it. Dont they know I had it figured out that if I got half way and found I couldnt make it - Id turn around and go back?

Friday, June 10, 2011

FOR HELP WITH FERAL CATS

FOR HELP WITH FERAL CATS: COMMUNITY CATS, working out of the Washoe County Regional Animal Services medical area, is located at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. From October to March it takes out-of-county feral cats to spay, neuter and vaccinate. Other months are reserved for those previous users of the service. For information, call 775-219-9692.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Water Recreationists Encouraged to Prevent Spread of Invasive Mussels



As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the Bureau of Reclamation and multiple federal, state, and local agencies are actively encouraging water recreationists to remain vigilant in preventing the transport and spread of harmful aquatic invasive species to un-infested water bodies by following the standard precautionary steps of "Clean, Drain, and Dry."

Zebra and quagga mussels are freshwater bivalve mollusks, typically less than an inch in size that can rapidly proliferate in dense clusters by adhering to hard surfaces with hair-like threads. Mussels spread from infested waters by attaching to the hard surfaces on watercraft and trailers or are transported as larvae in the water left in boat engines, bilges, live wells, buckets, or crevices that can remain wet.

"Once invasive mussels become established in a waterway, they cause significant damage to aquatic ecosystems and water system infrastructure," said Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor. "Reclamation is working with our federal and state partners to prevent the further spread of mussels in western reservoirs and waterways. We are also actively developing and evaluating remedies to treat facilities already impacted by mussels."

Boaters and recreational watercraft users are the first line of defense in preventing the spread of these troublesome invasive species by making it a habit to practice "Clean, Drain, and Dry" when leaving any body of water. Inspect and remove all visible debris including plant material and mud, and wash with hot, high-pressure water if possible. Drain any space that can hold water by removing plugs and inclining watercraft. Ensure all areas are completely dry by waiting at least five days before launching into another body of water.

Following these steps will significantly reduce the likelihood of unintentional spreading of mussels between water bodies. In addition, many reservoirs have mandatory mussel inspection and cleaning stations operated by federal and state partners.

Please visit Reclamation's mussel web site to learn more about preventing the spread of mussels: www.usbr.gov/mussels.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How invasive plants affect you and what you can do about it. Lepidium latifolium (aka: Tall Whitetop or Perennial Pepperweed)



Maybe you have seen them growing on the side of the road, or out in your pasture. Tall Whitetop can grow from 2 to 7 feet tall when in full bloom; it bears showy clusters of fluffy white flowers. Have you seen them in the Sierra Valley? Maybe you saw some out along the Middle Fork Feather River. These plants spread via an extensive network of roots that can spread more than 10 feet. New shoots sprout from these roots to form new plants.

Roots exposed by washouts and land disturbances fragment and move along wet areas to start new infestations downstream. Roots fragmented by the plowing, disking, tilling and other soil turning activities increase plant densities and facilitate further spread. Each plant can produce as many as 10,000 tiny red seeds that spread out and can out-compete previously existing plant communities.

Tall Whitetop can invade a wide range of habitats including riparian areas (along creeks and streams), wetlands, floodplains, marshes, hay meadows, pastures, and croplands, along roadsides, railways, and vacant lots. It adapts quickly to natural and disturbed wetlands, which we have in abundance around Sierra Valley.

As it establishes and expands, the Tall Whitetop creates large stands that displace native plants and animals. In addition to impacting alfalfa and pasture production, it has been reported to adversely affect food quality and nesting habitat for native birds. Once it establishes a foothold, it seriously decreases the productivity of our lands. These weeds are particularly devastating after wildfire because they easily dominate the revegetation process.

Even though this plant quickly takes over there are some things that you can do to help in the fight against them. The first step it to get to know what these plants look like, be aware of them and fight them before they get too established. Be on the lookout! If you spot Tall Whitetop, dig it out and watch it carefully. If the invasion is widespread, call David Arsenault with the Sierra Valley Resource Conservation District (SVRCD) at (530) 283-0455. Your call will help us map infestations so that we can start the fight to control the spread of these invasive plants. It will likely take several years to eradicate this aggressive invader so let's begin the battle now. By actively managing our private lands and working together we can make the Sierra Valley a more productive, healthy place for future generations.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Conservative Corner By Gail M. Ellingwood

Made in the U.S.A.

On the heels of celebrating our nation's birth, it seems fitting to visit a topic that has concerned me of late. If you talk to my friends and relatives, they might even tell you that I am a bit obsessed with this particular subject: how difficult it is to find things made in the U.S.A. While this is probably not news to any of you, I would love to hear from you on this topic, particularly if you have found solutions.
An email I received recently only fueled this obsession for me. It advocated a one month boycott of goods made in China, stating, simply choose another product, or none at all. This is easier said than done. Once you start reading labels which I have only recently begun to do, the none at all option is often the only solution, there being no alternatives. After a little research, I found that this is not a newly circulating email. In May of 2011, Snopes.com posted that this email has been circulating since early 2009 without gaining much traction or interest with the dates of the proposed boycott being continually pushed into the future, so it does not so far appear to have been a particularly effective call to arms.
However, on February 28th 2011, Diane Sawyer launched ABC World News' Made in America Challenge and reported that Economists say if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country. The downside is that you must spend much more than that if you make a concerted effort to buy American. There is a Catch-22 or vicious circle built into the system, thanks in large part to American unions pricing their labor out of competition. Add to this that some opine that the Chinese manipulate their currency, called the Yuan. They peg their currency to the dollar. It is estimated that the Yuan is under-valued by 40%. This makes Chinese goods less expensive than what they should be and more difficult for American manufacturers to compete with China and actually costs us jobs. These people also believe that there are quality and safety issues with Chinese products, something borne out by the recent outcry associated with lead paint on children's toys.
I am not an economist and can't personally validate any of the above claims, but recently downloaded a report updated by the Congressional Research Service in 2007 for members of Congress entitled Is China a Threat to the U.S. Economy? to try to understand some of these issues on an intellectual level, rather than a knee jerk reaction level. Obviously, conditions have changed with our current debt crisis and China owning so much of our debt, and I am still looking for something more recent that addresses these changes.
On a personal level, the practical side of trying to buy American is frustrating. At a recent visit to a large, popular sporting goods store, I systematically canvassed the women's clothing department and found only two blouses that were not made in China; they were made in Vietnam. In some cases, I have had to refine my desire to buy American to buying non-Chinese made. As long as quality and price are in line, I have found that I don't feel as bad about buying from developing countries that don't have the stranglehold on our economy that I perceive China to have.
On a trip to Ft. Bragg last month, I found a women's clothing store that sported an all U.S.A. made sign in the window. The quality was high and so were the prices, supporting my earlier theory that American labor may not doing itself any favors. At the dawn of the industrial age, unions were valuable protectors of the health and safety of workers. My personal opinion is that in many cases, they are now protectors of unsupportable salaries and bad politics. (Reread the part where I said, In my opinion and in many cases)
Nevertheless, I bought about $300 worth of clothes because I believe it is time to put my money where my mouth is. If I don't take advantage of buying American when and where I can, I am forced into the uncomfortable position of needing an article that I buy against my conscience and it doesn't feel good. To reflect back on the ABC story mentioned above, I just paid 10 times my $3.33 share towards 10,000 new jobs. I hope those clothes last a long time.




In a valley in the Ouachita Mountains in eastern Oklahoma. On my walk today, I saw cranes, snapping turtles, puppies, butterflies, horses, burros, new born calves, wild daffodils, and scissor-tailed flycatchers (state bird of Oklahoma). Sunny, breezy and in the 70s this picturesque place definitely qualifies as a retreat. Todays column is going to be a bit longer than usual as I have provided some text from the California Election Codes at the end for reference. Please bear with us as this is a discussion that is likely to cover several issues. Please email us at conservativecorner@yahoo.com or blog us at SierraBooster.com. Please maintain civil discourse.
Redistricting
I wonder how many of you know how important this word is to your life here in Sierra County. According to 21500 of the California Election Codes cited below, redistricting is the process used after a census, in this case the 2010 census, to adjust the boundaries of any or all of the supervisorial districts of the county so that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be
Gerrymandering
is the unfair practice of drawing district lines to achieve political gain for legislators. Districts are drawn every ten years based on population counts collected by the United States Census. The practice of gerrymandering involves the manipulation of district drawing in aims to leave out, or include, specific populations in a legislator's district to ensure his/her reelection. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
In a puzzling move at the last Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Supervisors appointed a group of County employees with respect to the redistricting effort consisting of the Assessor, the County Clerk and the head of the Dept. of Planning and Transportation.
The vote was 3 (Chairman Adams, Supervisors Goicoechea and Huebner,) to 2 (Supervisors Nunes and Schlefstein). The committee, according to an email from Supervisor Huebner to one of his constituents, is The first round of looking at the district[s]getting all the information is done by staff, the Accessor, (his spelling) the Clerk Recorder and the Director of Public works, it has nothing to do with where their (his spelling) live, only what the job is. Once this information is available it will be presented to the board, and two Supervisor[s] will be with the commission (authors emphasis) to finish the job.
Well, folks, there may be some problems here. If this is a commission, which Supervisor Huebner states in no uncertain terms that it is (see emphasis above), it violates 21502 below which specifically constitutes the commission as the district attorney, who shall be chairman, the county assessor, and the county elections official if he or she is elected by the qualified electors of the county, or, if not, the county superintendent of schools if he or she is elected by the qualified electors of the county, or, if not, the sheriff. (The only stated involvement of the county planning department in the Code is the preparation of population estimates.) In a conversation with the DA, he reported that he had neither been asked nor declined an offer to head a redistricting commission.
If, on the other hand, this is a residents committee (see 21505 below), then Supervisor Huebners constituent is correct in asserting: the east side of Sierra county is being mis-represented, this time in the case of not having anybody from the east side on the redistricting commission.

If Supervisor Huebner misspoke and it is not a commission, but a staff committee composed of some of the members who would normally be on a commission and some who wouldnt, then it is extralegal. Extralegal is defined as outside of legal control or authority; not regulated by law (Websters New World College Dictionary, 2010), and we, the citizens, dont know what the heck the purpose is.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, some say that there were issues with the last redistricting effort. Anyone looking at a map of the current Sierra County supervisorial districts might agree. In order to assure the citizens of the County that the upcoming attempt has value and is fully compliant with state law, we need answers to some questions that are already being asked. If you agree that there is some uncertainty in what your Supervisors are doing and you want to understand this very important process, call them, particularly the ones that voted in favor of this committee, commission, or whatever it is.

Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS CODE; SECTION 21500-21506

21500. Following each decennial federal census, and using that census as a basis, the board shall adjust the boundaries of any or all of the supervisorial districts of the county so that the districts shall be as nearly equal in population as may be and shall comply with the applicable provisions of Section 1973 of Title 42 of the United States Code, as amended. In establishing the boundaries of the districts the board may give consideration to the following factors: (a) topography, (b) geography, (c) cohesiveness, contiguity, integrity, and compactness of territory, and (d) community of interests of the districts.

21500.1. The board shall hold at least one public hearing on any proposal to adjust the boundaries of a district, prior to a public hearing at which the board votes to approve or defeat the proposal.

21501. The boundaries of the supervisorial districts shall be adjusted by the board before the first day of November of the year following the year in which each decennial federal census is taken. If the board fails to adjust the boundaries before the first day of November following the year in which the federal census is taken, a supervisorial redistricting commission shall do so before the 31st day of December of the same year. The adjustment of the district boundaries shall be immediately effective the same as if the act of the supervisorial redistricting commission were an ordinance of the board, subject, however, to the same provisions of referendum as apply to ordinances of the board.

21502. The supervisorial redistricting commission shall be composed of the district attorney, who shall be chairman, the county assessor, and the county elections official if he or she is elected by the qualified electors of the county, or, if not, the county superintendent of schools if he or she is elected by the qualified electors of the county, or, if not, the sheriff.

21503. At any time between the decennial adjustments of district boundaries, the board may cause a census of the county to be taken as provided in Section 26203 of the Government Code, and may adjust the boundaries of the supervisorial districts on the basis of that census, or on the basis of population estimates prepared by the State Department of Finance or the county planning department or planning
commission, pursuant to Section 21500.

21504. Any person claiming that the estimates of population used in the redistricting pursuant to Section 21503 do not reflect the current population within the district boundaries more accurately
than the most recent census data, may commence an action in the superior court in declaratory relief to determine that fact. The action shall be brought within 30 days after the adoption of the redistricting ordinance.

21505. The board may appoint a committee composed of residents of the county to study the matter of changing the boundaries of the supervisorial districts. The committee shall make its report to the
board of its findings on the need for change of boundaries, and the recommended changes, within six months after the final population figures determined in each federal decennial census have been
released, but in any event not later than August 1st of the year following the year in which the census is taken. Recommendations

Friday, April 08, 2011

LETTERS OF INTEREST:

Dear Editor,
It is my pleasure to announce Sierra County Health Department and Eastern Plumas Health Care, Loyalton Campus in collaboration with St. Joesphs Medical Center will be hosting a digital mobile mammography event in Loyalton on April 9th, 10th and 11th, 2012. St. Josephs Medical Center of Stockton Mobile Mammography Program, is the first mobile unit of its kind in Northern California, providing the latest in state of the art digital mammography services. The development of this program was made possible through a grant received by the, Susan G. Komen - For the Cure, Sacramento Valley Affiliate. In order for Sierra County women to receive their mammogram, they must receive an order from their health care provider by March 19th, 2012. Women can obtain these orders locally at the EPHC-Loyalton Clinic or through Robin Jaquez, NP at Sierra County Health Department. Orders will then be faxed to St. Joesphs Medical Center in Stockton, and participants will be contacted by a representative from St. Joesphs to schedule their mammography appointment. Due to the time required for each mammogram, we are unable to accept walk-ins. Participants who have private insurance, Medicare, Medi-Cal, or Family PACT coverage are covered for mammography services. Those who do not have health insurance may qualify for funding that pays for their mammogram. If not, a reduced fee for service rate is $80.00 Once the services are complete, all mammography screenings are read by licensed radiologists and results are sent to the patients and their physician within two to three weeks of their exam. For patients needing additional imaging following there screening, St. Joesphs is also able to extend their care by offering the uninsured financial assistance through grants that the patient may qualify for.
As my Masters of Public Health (MPH) internship project, I want to create access to preventive screening in my home community through mobile mammography. This is a great opportunity for Sierra County women over 40 to obtain their annual mammogram and utilize preventive services right in their own backyard. Statistically, rural women are less likely to receive preventive screenings, more likely to be underinsured and be diagnosed with cancer in latent stages. Encourage your Sierra County grandmother, mother, sister, aunt or friend to get their mammogram, and let Sierra County be a county of healthy rural women.
In health,
Lisa Jaquez, Project Facilitator
Sierra County Resident and MPH Candidate-2012, University of Arizona



Dear Parents and Concerned Citizens:
The Sierra County Arts Council was pleased to be able to offer art and music instruction in Loyalton and Downieville Schools through our Country Roots Artist in Schools Program last school year. This program is funded through a grant from the California Arts Council. With this funding we were able to bring artist residents into our schools including Randy Prichard into Loyalton Elementary and Middle Schools to teach music; and Katie OHara-Kelly, Peggy Daigle, Cathy Stewart and Kathy Fischer into Downieville Schools to teach music and art. We hope that some of you were able to see the results of this instruction at student performances and through art displays at our school sites.
We were able to meet our funding requirements and match dollar-for-dollar our award of $3000 for last year making our entire budget $6000. We achieved our matching funds last year by raising money through our Country Roots Raffle of fine art, through funding from Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District, and through generous donations from private individuals and civic organizations.
This spring we applied again for the Arts in Schools program and are pleased to announce that our efforts have been rewarded and we will receive an award of $6400 this year for our program. This means that our entire budget has been more than doubled to $12,800. We have expanded our music program into Loyalton High School and also expanded our program at Downieville Schools.
Our challenge is to raise the matching funds for the Artists in Schools Program grant of $6400 and to bring arts education to every student in Sierra County.
We have received generous donations from local artists for our raffle this year including artists Leland Cross, Virginia Jaquez, Darby Hayes, and B.J. Jordan. SPJUSD has generously offered us $2000 in support. We are confident that we will be able to raise
the funding necessary to continue our program for this year and for many years to come. The California Arts Council Artists in Schools Program is supported through funding from the Art Lover License plate.
In Sierra County we have always taken pride in community. In the face of drastic cutbacks to educational funding in our schools, we believe that by working together, much can still be accomplished to enhance arts education for all the children of Sierra County.
We hope that you will consider making a donation to help with this worthy effort. Please make checks payable to: The Sierra County Arts Council at the address above.
Thank you for your time and consideration and special thanks to our resident artists, our site administrators, our teachers, the board of the Sierra County Arts Council, SPJUSD and all the volunteers who helped to make this program possible.
Yours truly,
B.J. Jordan
Executive Director



Loretta Kirkpatrick Manager Consumer Affairs 1001 E Sunset Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89199-9655
August 24, 2011 Dear Ms. Kirkpatrick,
! Enclosed with this letter are 274 Petition to oppose the Calpine/Sattley post office closure signatures that have been gathered, in opposition response to the Invitation for comments on the closure proposal to close the Sattley, CA post office and extend service by Highway Contract Route Service.
! First of all, please correct your records as the Sattley, CA post office was closed years ago and was consolidated with the Calpine post office. It is now the Calpine/ Sattley, CA post office and is truly a community center, the heart of our town. ! We disagree with this proposal as it does not address the issue of Calpine being in a geographically isolated area with risky travel conditions especially in winter, to services rendered exclusively by the United States Postal Service (USPS), when those services already exist at the current Calpine/Sattley post office location.
! As stated in the RESPONSIVENESS TO COMMUNITY POSTAL NEEDS at paragraph 3, We will continue to provide effective service through the Sierraville Main Post Office; and at paragraph 8, If this proposal is implemented, delivery and retail services will be provided by the Sierraville Post Office, an EAS-11 level office. The Sierraville Post Office is nearly 20 miles round trip from Calpine. The Sierra Valley is located at 5000ʼ Elevation and is the largest Alpine Valley in the country, with wind, rain and snowstorms occurring frequently from Fall through Spring.
! If Calpine residents were to have to drive to Sierraville to access services rendered exclusively by USPS, this would pose a risk; especially in winter having to deal with the Sierra Valley snowstorms and drifting snow along the roadway. In an article posted on msnbc.com, an elderly man died on snow-covered roads driving to the next closest post office 17 miles away. The link is as follows: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35261157/ns/us_news-life/t/post-office-closings-upset- rural-communities/#.
! This is not a well thought out proposal, and would be particularly risky driving for our seniors who may not have a computer or the capability of computer skills or even internet access to pay bills online, etc. Rarely do I pay bills online, only if the payment might not be received in time by mailing it. This closure would also put more vehicles on the road vs. one USPS mail carrier, which would have to deliver to the Calpine proposed cluster boxes anyway. In the worst economy of our lifetime and with gasoline prices so high in addition to more air pollution from added vehicles on the roadway, this proposal is ill-conceived.
! The proposal document also states at paragraph 9, Retail service is also available at the Clio post office an EAS-13 level office, located six miles away. Please note that Clio is eleven miles one way, from Calpine over Calpine Summit; nearly double the mileage as stated in the document.
! In addition, new information has been obtained regarding the Sierraville post office; that it is on an Expanded Access Study List for closure. This new information was not listed on the June 29, 2011 Proposal to Close the Sattley, CA Post Office. The public meeting regarding the Sierraville closure has been scheduled for September 15, 2011 per David Rupert, USPS Communications in Denver CO. !
! According to Mr. Rupert, USPS is exploring the possibility of delivering mail to Calpine via a delivery route out of Clio; if the Sierraville Post Office is closed. This new information is an even worse idea as that would put Calpine residents at even more risk by driving twenty two miles round trip from Calpine (elevation 5000ʼ) over Calpine Summit (elevation 5500ʼ) to Clio (elevation 4500ʼ) to access services already being rendered in Calpine, as that infrastructure is already in place. The area between Calpine and Clio is also a major deer migration area. Again, more vehicles on the road vs. one USPS delivery vehicle. Calpine Summit is a very winding road and can be treacherous in winter with numerous wintertime accidents.
! Mr. Rupert also noted a need for Congressional action: An authorization to move from a six day to five day delivery and the elimination of USPSʼs requirement to pre- fund the next 75 years of retiree health benefits in just 10 years. ! The Clio post office is only three miles away from the Graeagle post office and both are at the same elevation located within the Mohawk Valley. I also understand it is very costly to run the Clio post office. We are not proposing USPS close the Clio post office because of itʼs close proximity to Graeagle. But it just doesnʼt make sense for Calpine residents to have to drive 22 miles round trip over Calpine Summit and down to Clio for services rendered exclusively by USPS when the Calpine post office already exists!
! Not to mention the added expense of building and maintaining outdoor cluster boxes on Sierra County property and the added inconvenience and stress it poses for residents. Particularly seniors attempting to get to an outdoor cluster box picking up mail and medications in icy conditions, especially in inclement weather. Sierra County has even proposed reducing the rent to USPS. I for one would be more than willing to pay a rental fee for a box if that would help keep our post office open, and I know other residents would be willing also. And what about packages too big for a cluster box, what happens with those packages; would a Calpine resident have to drive 22 miles to Clio to pick up a package? Also not mentioned is the fact that residentʼs mailing addresses will change, and to what end? Will we also lose our ZIP Code if the Calpine office closes? Confusing the situation even more for everyone involved, and these questions go unanswered.
! In an article about the USPS closures Renee Brown who coordinated the Calpine meeting, callously stated about the Calpine closure "there were no other retail businesses open, so most people made regular 'trips to town' anyway". What town was she talking about, Sierraville? Clio? When I make a "trip to town" for shopping I go to Reno, Nevada once a month or less. That is an hour away, two hours round trip - I go to the Calpine post office frequently.
! In that same article, a statement reads about the Orovada NV post office, "It was later determined that the office would remain open, thanks to community input and a review of options". We request that common sense prevails here also and the same determination be made for the Calpine post office, that it remain open.
! I have a small business and use the Calpine post office exclusively for buying stamps, mailing bills, letters and insured parcels, registered parcels and certified mail, express mail, items I have to sign for and picking up mail at my box. There are at least 17 small businesses within the Calpine area that use USPS at the Calpine post office. ! And why are rural towns such as Calpine being specifically targeted? According to a Wall Street Journal article located at http://online.wsj.com/article/ SB10001424053111903999904576467921947248738.html, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe stated, In many cases, the brick-and-mortar post office will change rather than vanish. Under a new village post office concept, the postal service will seek deals with grocery stores or gas stations in towns that are losing a post office to provide limited postal services. Well, the USPS proposal eliminates the Calpine post office - we do not even have a grocery store or a gas station.
Current Law created by an act of Congress states (emphasis added):
TITLE 39--POSTAL SERVICE PART I--GENERAL CHAPTER 1--POSTAL POLICY AND DEFINITIONS Sec. 101. Postal policy
(a) The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people (Note: the people is inclusionary, not exclusionary) by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
(b) The Postal Service shall provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining. No small post office shall be closed solely for operating at a deficit, it being the specific intent of the Congress that effective postal services be insured to residents of both urban and rural communities.
! Closing rural post offices which account for less than 1 percent of USPSʼs annual budget expenses, is not the answer. Quoting from a postal publication, It is a known fact that 92 percent of all post offices lose money. The savings are minimal both short term and long term, especially when considering all the costs of closing an office. In some cases, guidelines are not being followed, very little information shared, the process is being rushed and we have a mess. The seven largest postal Areas in this country cost twice as much to run as the 10,000 smallest post offices. An individual small post office was never established to make money. It was established to provide the same universal mailing service to everyone, equal justice under the law. We are not second-class citizens; we deserve access to the postal services that urban areas enjoy.
! In light of the new information that the Sierraville Post Office may now be closed, we request an extension of the comment period, especially when regarding there are no appeal rights for stations and branches after the decision is made. The petition specifically requests an additional meeting with the decision makers so they can see first hand geographically what the small rural town of Calpine is dealing with if our post office closes.
! In closing, local small town post offices are the lifeblood of communities such as ours; they serve the needs of and are the backbone of rural America. They are an integral part of the social, political and economic fabric of small communities. Closing the Calpine post office would do great harm to the residents of this small town; it would be another death knell to our community and will hurt attracting those that might like to live or do business here, particularly in these economically hard times. The post office binds the community and the nation together. Perhaps USPS can close an urban Post Office where mileage, weather and geographic isolation are not such issues; or cut an employee in Reno or Las Vegas.!
Sincerely,
Debbie and Ken McMaster Residents and post office box holders Calpine, CA 96124
cc: Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, USPS Congressman Tom McClintock, 4th District California Igor Birman, Congressman McClintockʼs Chief of Staff Tim Holabird, Congressman McClintockʼs Sierra County Field Representative Doug Watson Manager, Post Office Operations/A Reno NV Renee Brown Manager, Post Office Operations Las Vegas NV Terry Felix, Facilities Requirements Specialist Las Vegas NV David Rupert USPS Communications, Denver CO Sierra County Supervisor Bill Nunes ! !



Senator Gaines,
On behalf of the Graeagle Merchants Association, we oppose the state's plan to close Plumas Eureka State Park, Plumas Countys only state park! Plumas Eureka State Park is an extremely vital economic component to Eastern Plumas County, an area dependent upon tourism and recreation. In the worst economy of our lifetimes, to shut down one of the biggest attractions in our entire area will adversely affect the Graeagle/Blairsden area, an area dependent upon tourism. Our entire area depends on tourism, from the golf courses, restaurants, the grocery store (only one), the gas station (only one) and the various retail shops. Without the tourism our area gets from the operation of Plumas Eureka State Park, our local merchants will suffer greatly.
Cultural and heritage tourism, tourism directed toward experiencing the traditional and contemporary culture, arts and special character of a place, is among the fastest growing segment of the tourist market. Plumas Eureka State Parks main draw (besides its incredible beauty), is its heritage. This state park attracts people to our area and allows the visitor to experience what it was like during the gold rush days of Plumas County. With a wonderful museum, a docent program with a working blacksmith shop, gold panning and interpretative programs, Plumas Eureka State Park enables its visitors to not only see the history, but to be part of it. People are able to really experience Plumas Eureka State Park, not just see it.
Another very important factor is that the Graeagle area is very dependent upon the Reno/Sparks/Carson City population for our visitors. Without the state park as a draw, these people will go to Lake Tahoe and not spend money in our area. Graeagle also gets a tremendous draw from Sacramento, and if the park is closed, these visitors too will go elsewhere.
Plans have been underway to reopen the historic ski hill in Plumas Eureka State Park, the birthplace of the worlds first ski races. If the park is closed, this too will have another negative impact on our area and the efforts put forth by the volunteers to get the ski hill opened. Reopening the ski hill within the park will greatly enhance the winter opportunities within our community, opportunities that are currently available only far away in Tahoe. A local ski area will mean opportunity for our schools to offer ski programs to our children. Locals will be able to ski locally and keep those recreation dollars within the community. Reopening the ski hill in Plumas Eureka State Park is vital to the heritage and economics of our area. The connection that our area has to Californias unique place in history should not be forgotten or closed. See the article below regarding the Historic Longboard Revival World Championship Ski Races.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-ecker/experience-skiing-history_b_799890.html
The Graeagle Merchants Association has created a map of our area and Plumas Eureka State Park is a major component of this brochure. Without the park as a component of this publication, it appears a moot point to even create it. We are trying to promote our area, but if Plumas Eureka State Park is closed, one of our best resources available to promote is gone...
Our area is a destination area! We are dependent upon destinations and the state is planning on closing one of the, if not the most visited destination in our entire area. To do so will have an incredible negative impact on our entire economy. Please take these comments seriously, and help the governor rethink the policy of closing this state park to help maintain the economic viability of Graeagle and Eastern Plumas County.

Sincerely,

Ken McMaster
Chairman
www.graeaglemerchants.com





Mr. Ronald S. Sykes
Chief, Traffic Operations Branch
Department of Transportation
District 3
703 B Street
Marysville, CA 95901-0911

Re: Proposed speed limit increase, Loyalton, Sierra County

Dear Mr. Sykes:

I have lived at 116 Main Street (Highway 49) for 30 years, where my husband Craig and I have raised four children and where our oldest child and her husband now live with us with their four children, ages four and under. It is my understanding according to your letter of February 3, 2011, to the Loyalton City Council that Caltrans proposes to increase the speed limit from 25 mph to 35 mph. We live in the very area you propose to increase the speed limita neighborhood of nine homes, one vacant business, and one active business. My husband Craig (who is a City Council member) and I adamantly oppose any increase to the speed limit on High way 49 in Loyalton for several reasons.

First, drivers already do not obey the speed limits on Main Street. Truckers and other drivers often only begin to take their foot off the gas as they are passing by our house. An increase in the speed limit would encourage them not to decelerate at all as theyre flying through town. The road is narrow, and homes are close to the highway. A speed increase would be dangerous to the people who live and walk on my street.

Second, our end of Main Street is a path for children walking to school from the western side of town--especially from Hill Street and the trailer park (Hill St. and Main St.), where many small children live. These children cross Highway 49 to get to the elementary school, middle school, and high school, as well as the park; many of them cross at the Taylor Street corner or at the bridge. On snowy/icy road days or even days when the road is covered with sand, cars driving 35 miles an hour --or probably even faster--might not be able to stop in time for these children, who must walk in the road because the snow plows have pushed the snow up onto the sidewalks on our block. I am a teacher at Loyalton High School; I have lost several students to tragedies and pray I never have to experience another.

Third, senior citizens also walk on Main Street past our home from the senior housing complex at the end of Hill Street--some in motorized carts because of their disabilities. They usually ride on the shoulder of the road because the ups and downs of the sidewalks make it hard for them to navigate the sidewalks.

You might argue that other towns in the area have 35 mph speed limits. However, their highway situations are different than ours in Loyalton. In Sierraville the road is wider, with ditches on each side of the road, protecting pedestrians. In Portola Highway 70 is much wider and is absent of residences. There are many more residences on Main Street in Loyalton than businesses.

The protection of children, seniors, and other citizens who walk on Main Street should weigh in much more heavily than the convenience of those who simply want to get through our town more quickly. We have never allowed our children to play in front of the house, but kids will be kids. One of our dogs was killed by a car years ago. God forbid that a childs life would have to pay for someone elses desire to speed through Loyalton.

I trust that you will make a decision that benefits the lives of those who live in our community. I am also sending copies of this letter to Assemblyman Dan Logue, State Senator Ted Gaines, and Congressman Tom McClintock, as well as the Sierra County Board of Supervisors. Since Sierra County Sheriff John Evans and all school officials oppose such a change, I can only imagine that our county, state, and congressional representatives would as well.
Sincerely,
Janet Holm McHenry
530.993.4019
janetmchenry@live.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

INDEPEDENCE LAKE LETTERS

Dear Editor;
On Feb 15th the Board had an agenda item to discuss Independence Lake access.
Many on the audience had taken off work to attend the meeting and express their views. The problem is that The Nature Conservancy purchased a strip of land around Independence Lake using $15 million in tax money and locked the gates that provide access to the public owned lake.
For an hour we were subjected to the planner listing every reason he could come up with why the county had no road to the lake. Part of his ramblings is how objective he is and he just deals with the facts. Wow, it wasn't hard to see how he was leading the Supervisors.
Finally one Supervisor did ask how long this presentation was going to last and after a few more minutes of ramblings the meeting preceded. The TNC and the Friends of Independence Lake both had Lawyers to express their stands. The TNC wanted to use the delay tactic and the Friends wanted an access decision. The County Counsel talked on and it seemed as he did not suggest a decision and delay was better for him. The public spoke with overwhelming support of the county granting access.
Supervisor Schlefstein made a motion for the County to provide access; he received no 2nd from the other four supervisors. This could be compared to the Loyalton swimming pool decision, to be put to vote, a motion was made and no one would 2nd it. The district 4 Supervisor said he would not support anything that had language of power boats being used in the lake. Now this Supervisor seemed to be taking ownership of the lake it sounded like, remember the lake belongs to the public, not the TNC or the County. The question at hand was the public's access to the lake.
Supervisor Nunes worked hard to come up with something, and he did. It was something he could get votes for. From what it sounded like his motion was to say that access should be provided and they supported access. This was a long way from deciding that the public will have access and the county would own up to a road to the lake.
When election time comes remember who voted for the people and who voted for the TNC that used $15 million of your tax dollars to purchase the strip of property around the lake and deny access to the public owned lake.
Not giving Supervisor Schlefstein a 2nd might as well been a vote for the TNC and no access.
Thomas Dotta, Rural Loyalton


To: The Board of Supervisors
Re: Independence Lake


My name is Rachael Lewis and I am currently 40 years old. When I was three weeks old, my parents took me to Independence Lake. My parents, my brother, my aunt and uncle and my cousins were all there too. My family couldnt believe what a happy baby I was, I was at Independence Lake. Every year for the next 39 years, Independence Lake is where we went for our family vacations. I looked forward all year to that one week in the mountains away from the city. Independence Lake holds an extremely special place in my heart, with memories so priceless it would take me hours upon hours to describe, so I can say with great enthusiasm that it is probably my number one favorite spot in the whole world.

I grew up at Independence Lake from toddler to teens to motherhood. I even had my wedding at Independence, I have never been to a more beautiful and meaningful wedding before or after. Independence Lake is where I could be myself, meet wonderful people, commune with nature, play in the lake, cry, laugh and sing around the camp fires and go fishing with my Dad and have conversations with him that we never would have had without Independence Lake.

My father began going to Independence Lake with his father and mother in 1950 and when he met my mom in 1966, began taking her. My father passed away suddenly in 2004 and I have made it a point to make sure that I fulfill my mothers requests Take me to Independence Lake. Since my fathers death, I have continued going with my son and mother to what until now has been untainted.

My mother became ill in 2008 and is confined to a wheel chair and until last year I was still able to take her to her favorite places to look out on the Lake. I cannot describe how sickening and saddened I was to hear last year that not only could we not get in, but the road had been changed so there was no lake access. How do I take my mom to see her favorite spots before she dies? How will I share this lake with my son and his children and have them experience the magic of Independence Lake? Where will I find my Independence without Independence Lake? It brings tears to my eyes writing this. Please, if its not broken, dont fix it. Keep Independence open to those who have enjoyed and nourished it for decades and for the future generations who it will be passed down to.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Rachael & Sharon Lewis
Reno, Nevada

Sierra County Board of Supervisors
Re: Independence Lake
To Whom it Might Concern,
Several months ago I appeared before you to express my concerns regarding all of the changes taking place at Independence Lake, from change in ownership of the Land previously owned by NvEnergy, to the unentitled control and restrictions that the Nature Conservancy and their friends are trying to demonstrate.
This group, whoever they really are, finagled enough money from public funds to purchase the Land around Independence Lake. They cannot own the bed of the lake since it belongs to the people of the State of California and the water belongs to TMWA, the water purveyor for the Reno/Sparks area. I have searched and been unable to find anywhere, a document giving ownership or control from either of these entities to any group or individual.
This group, whoever it really is, has also restricted access to the lake, which has a history of over 100 years of being used freely by the general public. A general public that has historically taken care to keep the area and the lake in a beautifully attractive area to visit. Accessible to all who wished to visit without restrictions that require everyone to hike a substantial distance and restricts access to those with handicaps or senior in age.
My first trip to Independence Lake was the summer of 1969. I have spent time up there every year since, with the exception of this past summer. Because of back surgery last year I was unable to walk anymore then a couple of hundred feet and definitely unable to walk over rocky ground and step of logs and bushes. I might add that just a couple of months ago I had a second back surgery and this year I will be 73 years old. It bothers me that this group that has assumed ownership, as if it is their own, is so intent on keeping me out of Independence Lake. Over the years I have had talks with them, at least those connected with the Nature Conservancy in Reno and they assured me, time and time again, that they would keep the lake open and accessible in a manner commensurate with the history of the lake. None of the actions that I am seeing gives any indication that this is even remotely the truth.
At the time I spoke before the Supervisors last year, one of your members ask Why should we be concerned about this? and I brought to your attention the lose of revenues because this land was taken off of the tax rolls and all of the visitors/shoppers that use to come to enjoy the lake would not come anymore. I also mention that there is documentation that this group plans to raise $400 million + to continue to buy land and take it off of your tax roll. Maybe your budget is plush enough that this is not a concern to you??? However, I believe their efforts to purchase land at Lake of the Woods and Weber Lake will have an even greater effect on your budget in the future.
I dont believe your citizens (Voters) had this in mind when they elected you to look after their interest.
Please, please do not ignore this issue and let it become the 900 pound gorilla in you community. It makes no difference that the people visiting Independence Lake are from California or Nevada or New York City; their dollars all spend the same. We love to come to your area and we do spend money every time we are there. If the beauty and atmosphere of Independence Lake, Lake of the Woods and Weber Lake are no longer accessible then we will find other places to go.
Tom Young
Just a retired private citizen
Reno Nevada

Saturday, February 05, 2011

New Local Government Compensation Reporting Website

The Local Government Compensation Reporting website was released by State Controller John Chiang on Monday. The new site will allow users to access the salary, pension benefits and other compensation factors for more than 594,000 city and county employees throughout California. Reportedly 83 percent of all local governments complied with the new reporting requirements, which were announced back in August after the pay scandal in the city of Bell.
City of Loyalton was listed on the non-compliant list.
The new website will be updated weekly to reflect incoming details. If information is not eventually offered, a local government could face a $5,000 penalty.
The League of CA Cities is urging local governments to be compliant in light of the Bell scandal.
Check out:
St. Controller Unveils New Local Government Compensation Reporting Website

Friday, October 29, 2010

Plumas-Sierra REC Announces Fiber Project

Milford, CA February 2, 2012 Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications has commenced construction of the 183-mile fiber optic network that will bring much needed broadband backhaul access to our rural region.
In September 2010, Plumas-Sierra accepted a grant award totaling $13.7 million to build a fiber optic network from Reno to Susanville and Quincy.
The grant is from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency inside the federal Commerce Department, and is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Plumas-Sierra also received a matching grant of $1.7 million from the California Advanced Services Fund as part of the project.
The Plumas-Sierra Fiber Network will extend from Reno to Hallelujah Junction, north to Susanville and west to Quincy. Lateral extensions will include Herlong, Loyalton, Portola and Graeagle.
The project has completed the required environmental studies and obtained its California Environmental Quality Act and Federal Finding of No Significant Impact allowing the project to move into the construction phase.
The project is benefiting from the mild winter weather, allowing a jump start on the construction schedule. Crews began construction in January; the project is scheduled for completion by July 31, 2013. When completed, this network will provide local businesses, Internet service providers and major institutions in our region with access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband, on both wholesale and retail levels.
Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative providing high-quality telecommunications services to Lassen, Plumas and Sierra counties in California and Washoe County, Nevada.
Founded in 1937, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative (PSREC) is a member-owned electric distribution, transmission and generation utility providing electrical power and related services to more than 6,600 member/owners in Plumas, Lassen, and Sierra counties in California, and parts of Washoe County, Nevada. The cooperative is controlled by the membership through an elected seven-person board of directors.
Office headquarters are in Portola, California.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

LOYALTON SENIOR CENTER THRIFT SHOP

CHECK OUT LOYALTON SENIOR
THRIFT STORE NEWS
Phone: 993-1948
Open SOME Saturdays.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
$1/bag sale coming soon! Check out the large inventory of warmer clothes and fall wear we have available plus yard ornaments and decorations. Halloween is coming soon!
There is a great variety of jewelry and clothing accessories.
Purchasing gently used items from the Thrift Store is considered a green effort. It decreases landfill use and saves money at the same time!
Help in the effort and keep our planet greener by patronizing the Thrift Store!




Thank you for your generous contributions.
But please, DO NOT BRING car seats and mattresses (against the law to sell), T.V.s, computers, furniture that is broken and worn out and clothes stained and torn. We have only a small number of volunteers and it takes a lot of time and energy to go through donations, plus the expense of hauling items to the landfill.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Purchasing gently used items from the Thrift Store is considered a green effort. It decreases landfill use and saves money at the same time!
Help in the effort and keep our planet greener by patronizing the Thrift Store!

Monday, February 08, 2010

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

Letter to the Editor
What changes have we seen that show Sierra County is prospering?
There are letters that readers send in stating they were born in Loyalton and then they go on to want to save Sierra County with easements. Does Sierra County have a plan to be saved? We sure pay a planner plenty, $185,000.00 a year with benefits, for that we should have a great plan. One wonders how Sierra County plans to pay the planner as property values go down and more and more ground is saved by conservation easements.
We have empty buildings, lost services and now lost Post Offices. This is all from the no growth plan that has been used in Sierra County for years. The evidence is County wide.
With no private jobs that pay benefits and only tax paid jobs, where is the hope that we need to hang on to. Our Board of Supervisors has a list of reasons that their hands are tied. We need to elect a Board that will not have tied hands and will care for Sierra Countys future along with the future of our graduating classes.
For years we have heard the environmentalist say they are saving America for the children. Now the children are the needy as America is crashed into third world status to save the environment. There are many that blame companies for taking jobs to foreign countries. Jobs are being driven out of America by the out of control environmental laws that pushed the jobs out of California and America.
We have saved the world enough, now we need to save our jobs, food and families and the world will do just fine.
Thomas Dotta
Rural Loyalton



An Open Letter to Laurie Oberholtzer, Sierra County Land Trust
Dear Laurie,
This is an approximation of the remarks that I gave to the assemblage at Sardine Lake Lodge yesterday. Please excuse me if I prettify and expand them them a little bit.
Thank you, Laurie.
Thank you for your work with the Sierra County Land Trust, with the Trust for Public Land, and with the State of California for bringing us to this wonderful day. Today we celebrate your acheivement, our achievement, in making sure that these magnificent Sierra Buttes are open to our children and grandchildren, to all people forever. This beautiful day, in this spectacular setting, we celebrate an accomplishment that people will remember with pride and gratitude.
Laurie, thank you for your kind words about my father, Winslow Christian, and my sister and brother-in-law, Megan and Ken Wright. My father, and after him Megan and Ken, believed in you and your project. You honor Dad's memory in this achievement, and my sisters Megan and Sidonie share my gratitude for this honor.
I would like to share some memories about the traditions of conservation in Sierra County, to reflect a little on the present, and to look forward from this vantage. In particular, I want to recognize some of the individuals in this county who have worked over the years to protect our beautiful home, to recognize that this wonderful project is part of a long history here, and to celebrate, on this momentous occasion, other work in our program that needs remembering.
We have with us today a woman who is if not the oldest, then perhaps the longest serving volunteer in our campaign. When Joy Punchard was a freshman at Loyalton High School, in 1969, she typed the envelopes for the letters that Jim Lonergan had started sending out, alerting the friends and defenders of the Sierra Nevada to the enormous all-year resort complex that the Disney Corporation proposed to build around Independence Lake in Sierra and Nevada Counties. It was a David and Goliath struggle, one man on a public school salary in a working class community against a rich and powerful corporation. But Jim's letters eventually roused a coalition of hunters and fishermen in the mountain communities and the conservationists in the urban centers of California, and after public hearings around this region and debate in the newspapers Disney abandoned its plans.
Jim Lonergan's victory, our victory, came at a tremendous cost to Jim and his family. Of course there were then, as there are today, differences of interest and opinion on the directions that we should take in this area, especially as everybody knew then that the timber industry, long-time mainstay of the economy of the Sierra-Plumas region, was on its way out. Childhood friends of Jim (a native of Loyalton) turned against him, his personal and professional life disintegrated, and he left us too soon.
But my hero Jim Lonergan taught me, as he taught others, that there come times when one must stand up, even when standing up comes at enormous cost. We still owe Jim an enormous thank you, it is way overdue. Jim's son Greg Lonergan has come over from Loyalton to join in this celebration, and it is our honor and pleasure to thank Greg and his family for his dad's sacrifices and contributions that, I believe, helped make this day possible.
I did not give Ann Genasci Eastwood enough notice to come here today. It is not true that I wanted Ann to come because I had a crush on her in the first grade. What is true is that her father, Attilio Genasci, with the support of the children, honored their wife and mother Angie (a Loyalton schoolteacher) by helping launch the protection of the ranching traditions of Sierra Valley by giving up the development rights to the 700-acre Gensasci Ranch. Today some 30,000 acres (and counting!) in Sierra Valley are protected from residential development, and will continue to provide habitat and watershed values forever. Sierra Valley is a place of both beauty and environmental importance, the stop on the great Pacific Flyway that gave Plumas County and the great Feather River their names. We thank the Genasci family, and their many neighbors in the ranching communities of Sierra Valley, for their stewardship, responsibility, and generosity in delivering this treasure to our descendants.
We celebrate today, then, a big step in a long journey, which we hope will continue into the future. This step has, like the earlier steps, come with pain and difficulty. I know that Laurie and others here have been the subjects of harsh personal attacks. I regret those very much, and am very glad to see the smiles on everybodies' faces here. I know there are others, not here today, who have also heard hurtful comments. On this day of celebration, we do not linger on the pain; rather we remember that we must act with respect for our neighbors, especially when there are differences, work to understand and resolve those differences, and look forward to better days ahead.
In looking forward from today, I want to mention my friend Tom Dines, and his wife Miriam Hill Dines. Tommy, yet another native of Loyalton, has the snowmobile shop in Sierra City. Those snowmobiles have opened the wonderland of the wintertime Lakes Basin to countless people who could never otherwise share the magic. I have occasionally grumbled at the noise of the high-markers in the Upper Salmon Lake Basin...but I also know and appreciate that Tommy, Richard, and many other members of the snowmobile community, both local and visiting, have developed and taught, and when necessary enforced, the codes of good mountain manners that allow us all to share this wonderful place. Perhaps we can find ways that many of the people who today celebrate the Sierra Buttes in the summer sun can share as well their sublime grandeur in the deep snow and sunshine of March.
Tommy and Miriam, and Greg, and many other families have worked hard and made sacrifices in order to raise their children in these small communities in the mountains, breathing the clean air, and enjoying the neighborliness that they, we, love. It is not easy. These are not rich communities (except in their surroundings!) and today, as before, it takes hard work and perseverence, and above all a deep love of place, to make it happen. I admire these people, my friends, for the fortitude and wisdom to give their children this gift, a gift that our parents gave us, a childhood and home in this wonderful place.
It is strange to me to say that Miriam and Tommy are grandparents, of John Lucchesi. John is a child of Sierra County, with ancestors from Loyalton, Sierra City and Allegheny. He and his peers, your children and their children and grandchildren, can come to these places.
What my parents, and the parents of Joy and Ann and Greg and Tommy and Miriam, gave to their children is something that all of our children and grandchildren, and the many beautiful descendants of the other people gathered in the Sierran sun, and the offspring of our friends and neighbors, can share for the years to come.
This is a day of happiness and great good fortune in this magnificent place, for us and everybody else who love the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sierra County, California.
Thank you, friends and neighbors near and far, for this wonderful gift to our offspring.
Jason Christian
Upper Salmon Lake


Hi Jan,
I am writing this letter to clarify details regarding the delivery of concrete by White Cap Ready Mix, Inc. (WCRM) to the curb and gutter project attempted by Michael Paul Construction earlier this summer. The mixer truck delivering the concrete that morning was not held up for an extended period of time. It arrived at the project 49 minutes after leaving the batch plant in Delleker. On any day, we anticipate a 40 minute trip plus or minus 5 minutes, to travel to Loyalton in a loaded mixer. There was road work on Highway 70 that day as new pavement was placedI figure the delay was about 9 minutes maximum to stop, then travel through the work zone.
The contractor originally placed an order for a July 9, 2011 deliverya typical 6 sack concrete mix. One business day before the delivery was to take place, we received a call from a person on behalf of the City of Loyalton, changing the mix design to one more appropriate for curb and gutter concrete. This request was noted and mix CT675SC currently in use on other Caltrans projects was chosen. This last minute change created confusion among the contractor and other entities due to the higher cost of the CT mix. Ultimately the contractor was responsible for payment so WCRM advised that he confirm the order. The order was eventually cancelled and moved to the following Monday. The scheduled delivery time was changed at least 4 times prior to the final confirmation on that Monday morning. White Cap Ready Mix finally received the OK to batch and send the perishable product.
Pouring concrete in an arid climate can catch out of towners off guard if they are not prepared and apparently the easiest excuse for the job going bad, was to throw us under the bus.
Regarding the statement that The City hopes to hire local contractors to complete the project, it would not have to look far to find a qualified contractor. There are at least three in Loyalton and numerous others nearby (including myself) who are licensed to do commercial concrete work. I was not contacted originally, or since to negotiate a price and neither were several of the contractors I have spoken with. Who negotiates these projects and why would they not look to their own community first?
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Respectfully,
Dixie Lee Higgins
General Manager


Dear Sierra Valley community and Sierra Booster,
We Sierraville Fire & Rescue volunteers want to thank all of you for your support of our third annual Tour de Manure bicycle ride. The Tour's purpose is to raise funds for fire and rescue training and showcase the Sierra Valley and its businesses. We thought youd enjoy the online comments on www.active.com as much as we have, so here are some excerpts. For Tour news next year, please like us on Facebook or check out www.sierravillefireandrescue.com/biketour.html. If you have suggestions or want to volunteer next year, please let us know at tourdemanure@gmail.com.
Active.com excerpts:
"Quiet country roads, beautiful mountain and Great Basin scenery, totally friendly volunteers (who put their heart and soul into this event, you can feel it!), and delicious after-ride food and fun music. One feels very comfortable here being a part of the community. Keep up the great job!
The organization is super, the food is great, and the course is one of the prettiest I've been on. Nice work, Tour de Manure, and thank you for a great time!
I love the "vibe" of this Tour. It's friendly and low key. The venue is beautiful and the volunteer support is the greatest. There is no comparison to the party food that's provided, served by cheerful volunteers.
The quiet roads, beautiful scenery would have been enough for us to enjoy the day, but to have such great support on the ride and the amazing meal afterward really made the day special.
My husband and I completed this ride on Saturday. It was our first event ever and it was a blast. The scenery was beautiful with the snow in the back mountains. The lunch and entertainment was wonderful. We plan on coming back again next year. Thanks again for a great time.
The volunteers were great...especially some of the friendly ladies (at the rest stop) who are quite some characters!
This is a perfect course for tandems. An incredible lunch, live band and t-shirt included are a bargain. Anyone with access to tandem club contact information should really get the word out! Thanks to all the volunteers for a great time.
It was fun to see the kayaks in the marsh/wetlands - to say nothing of the birds. The Tour de Manure is going to become one of those annual events for us. Thank you for all of the hard work, planning, fine music, and great volunteers!!! Thanks to the courteous vehicle drivers who put up with bicyclists, including the bicyclists who forget to share the road. See you next year!
Thanks again, Sierra Valley!
Sierraville Fire & Rescue volunteers


Hi,
I am a parent of one of Miss Schofields second grade students. His name is Louis Siqueido. We just recently found out the hard way, that the school might be making some big cuts to his school. My son was in town with me and over heard some adults talking, saying the school was going to let his beloved teacher go. When we got in the car to head home my son burst into tears. I told him instead of crying use your energy to do something about it. We only discussed the matter a little bit more before bed time, That night when most 8 year old boys should be asleep, mine was awake alone in his room trying to figure out a way to save his teacher's job! The next morning I didn't think twice about his swollen little eyes and pale face, I just figured he spent the night crying. After he caught the bus I went into his bed room and found that he had spent the whole night making fliers to hand out to save his teacher's job!! I scanned a few of those flyer's and decided to share them with all of you. Miss Shofield is a huge asset to our community! I agree with my son that loosing Miss Schofield would be a huge mistake!



Both of my children were born in Sierraville. Shortly after our second one was born we moved to Sparks, NV. My son Louis attended kindergarten and 1st grade in Nevada. This last year we decided to move back. We were very unhappy with the school district there. We felt every day was a struggle, he hated school, was having trouble reading. The teachers were old and tired and just didn't care. Second grade with Miss Schofield has been the most amazing experience! Suddenly he loves to go to school! His improvement in reading has been the difference between night and day! He now reads with the enthusiasm and expression that I have seen Miss Schofield express while reading to the students! She saw Louis's academic weaknesses and did something about it! She truly cares about each and every one of those kids and makes it her mission to help them to succeed! This is only her first year as a teacher, I can only imagine what greatness she will bring to her future students. My little girl goes into Kindergarten this fall. I only want the best for my kids! I want to know that Miss Schofield will be there for her when the time comes!



My husband and myself have felt it has been a huge privilege to have Miss Schoflied as our sons educator! Her energy and enthusiasm is refreshing! She is hard worker and very dedicated! Some people where born to be teachers and Alicia Shofield is no doubt one of those people! I just wanted to speak up and let you know that loosing her would be a huge injustice to our children! I hope that you all can use your energy as my son did to save his teacher's job!!
Thank You! Annie Siqueido


I am proud to come from such a small community that has so many people who are "involved" with what is going on in our local government. I always say, "If we can't control what is going on locally, how can we control what is going on in our state or federal government". This is what the words "grass roots" means...After reading a couple of letters-to-the editor in the last issue of the Booster....I have to support what both Janet McHenry and Mike McKee had to say. Both issues they brought up has to do with how our tax dollars are being spent, mostly foolishly. Mike brought up a good point about Loyalton's business park being a great sight for the new court house. Anyone who has had to travel to Downieville to the court house, know its very inconvient, especially the parking. The business park has more than enough room, and plenty of parking and easy to get too. We all need to let our supervisors know our concerns and hopfully they will do what is right for all of Sierra County and not just the West side of the mountain. Lets use our tax dollars wisely. Why is so much money being spent on a Court house when the State of California is broke ? Just wondering.........Thank you, Annie Terrasas

Dear Editor;
Can it be true that three Sierra County Supervisors, Lee Adams, Dave Goicoechea and Peter Huebner all voted for three people from the Downieville Courthouse group, Heather Foster, Laura Marshall and Tim Beals to draw the Supervisors District lines that will be in place for the next 10 years?
Heather and Laura are elected and that can make sense, but to put the planner in with no one from the east side of the county makes no sense. What about the Mayor of Loyalton, or any of the City Council, if you can have the planner on the panel, you can have anyone on the panel? The east side has the most people and 3 Supervisors felt it was much more important to have their planner from the west side on to further his agenda than give the east side a voice.
The Supervisor from District four, Dave Goicoechea voted to have the planner from Downieville be his choice over getting at least one person to represent his voters interest.
It should be no surprise that he would vote for the planner after the planner stood by him to rush his Farm Security Zone thru so Dave could save his Ranch from being taken by the massive amount of development in Loyalton. Do the voters still think he is taking care of their interest? After a couple years with him what has Loyalton gained? Dave did not support the Loyalton Swimming Pool. It would appear like he couldn't even keep the Co-gen going to get his free irrigation water.
District two which has the south side of 49 west of Loyalton has Peter Huebner to look after their interest. He did not vote for anyone from the east side either, the planner was his choice. Why should he change, he said he would support the Loyalton Swimming Pool and he did not. He said he had someone to finance the pool as he was trying to get votes and to this day the pool is not open. The area has new rest rooms though.
District one's Lee Adams from Downieville, supported his District to the fullest.
We can thank two Supervisors that objected and wanted representation from the east side, Scott Schlefstein District five and Bill Nunes District three. We owe them a lot of gratitude from all around the county. It is only fair that the largest populated area is at least represented as the new districts lines are drawn. They voted for fairness.
With the schools losing enrollment numbers and now suggesting 20% reductions, unemployment out the roof and the cost of running the County far more than the tax revenue, how much more no job and no growth are the voters going to penalize themselves with by allowing the planner to have his way?
Please contact the Board of Supervisors and demand that the east side has representation for redistricting.
Thomas A. Dotta
Rural Loyalton


Letter to the Editor:
Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of profit. Websters
Is anyone else alarmed at the rate at which true entrepreneurship is being replaced by dependency on grant money?!
Supervisors in several counties have even said to me, Well, you gotta go after the grants! Really? What about going instead after the environmentalists (another word being mangled by new definition) who go after massive amounts of government grants, do not account to the people for their expenditures, use the money purchasing/developing public lands, then restrict or close these public lands for public use. If the environmental group(s) have purchased the lands with tax dollars, are they not therefore, still public lands? These groups then go about lobbying to restrict logging, fishing, boating, recreating and private enterprise in the name of forest management, watershed and wetlands and wildlife protection, etc.
Supervisors look at it as free money without considering the hoops, rules, permits, regulations, matching funds and the fact that usually between 85% and 95% goes for administration! Much is without oversight and the projects weve seen are very poorly executed! Add in the fact that so many private property and private water rights have been violated in the process that BOS now have to pass resolutions to protect the citizens rights against these illegal intrusions.
In recent months, weve lost access to Independence Lake, were losing access to forest lands and soon Webber Lake, too. Now the enviros at Plumas Corps many departments define the economically unsound Bio-mass program and endless grant seeking as the new entrepreneurship!
Thats repugnant!
Sherry Halverson
Plumas County Watchdogs Committee, Portola


To the Editor:
I recently attended a Loyalton City Council meeting to make my plea about not increasing the speed limit on Main Street. Prior to my presentation Sierra Countys Superior Court Presiding Judge John P. Kennelly explained to the council and audience that the new regional courthouse in Portola was open for business. It has been many years that the courts shifted to management by the state of California, and folks, we are now paying for this dearly. Some 50 projects are underway to the pricetag of $6.5 billion. The Plumas-Sierra courthouse at the end of Gulling Street near the Little League fields is the first of those--at $4.7 million in construction fees. Its a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. You can take a peek at it at this website--http://www.courts.ca.gov/2780.htm--or make the short drive to Portola to view for yourself the award-winning structure.
After doing a little online research, this gave me a great idea, especially since a similar new courthouse apparently is going to be built in Sierra County. Since the state of Californias priorities seem completely screwed up, lets play the funding gamebut make our own rules after the building is delivered. We could CALL it the Sierra County Courthouse, but instead of conducting court there, we could conduct school. Instead of filling the building with filing cabinets and paperwork, lets bring in desks and SmartBoardsand most importantly, children.
Perhaps then we wouldnt have to worry about whether or not there would be power in the building that day or whether the boiler would continue to provide heat or whether the wind would blow dirt through the windows or whether the roof would leak again and ruin students work and textbooks in their lockers. For the last several years Ive had the privilege of mentoring teachers in the district, and Ive been visiting Downieville to work with teachers there every quarter. Ive come to know its staff to be hard working and compassionate with its students--just as are the teachers in Loyalton. Your Sierra County teachers are delivering quality instruction. We just need a few financial breaks to provide facilities that meet the basic needs for our students.
Its time that we all started advocating for our children and our schools. Since the state of California is throwing money in the wrong direction, I would urge you to write to your state representatives and explain that rural schools need a break to provide facilities, instructional materials, and teaching staff--so that our students can have warm schools and up-to-date textbooks and art classes. The state obviously has funds--but its representatives apparently dont know how to spend the money appropriately.
Heres where you can write:

The Hon. Dan Logue
California Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Ted Gaines
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 3056
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Jerry Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Tom Torlakson
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 5602
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Years ago 20 of my seniors wrote letters to Caltrans and other state officials and got much-needed highway improvements on Highway 49 between Loyalton and Vinton. It simply took some education to point out that priorities were misplaced. Its time for public officials to restructure finances and programs so that we are investing in our future--the coming generations.
Respectfully,
Janet Holm McHenry





OK,OK! You win. WOW---Quincy courthouse---38,283 sq.ft. at $51,767,000 or $644/sq.ft.

Downieville courthouse---14,950 sq.ft. at $23,145,000 OR $721/sq.ft.

That's 2 to 3 times the cost per sq.ft. that a luxury home costs. (I haven't checked for many years---but schools used to cost a multiple per sq.ft. of what it cost to build a house. We felt safe with our kids in our homes--but had a different standard for schools?)

Phil Cammack, Sierra City



Janice:
On the 18th you ran an article about court houses entitled WITH A FIVE YEAR EXTENSION. I've seen the Plumas/Sierra courthouse in Portola, and it seems quite elaborate, and a "work of art". It said the cost was $4.7 million. It went on to say that another one proposed for Quincy was priced at almost $52 million. And, further, that yet another one was being looked at for Sierra County (didn't say in what town), and it would cost somebody over $23 million.
Are those misprints, or could the proposed Houses of Justice actually cost that many more times the cost of the one in Portola?
We read your paper every week. You have the best paper in the area. Too bad the other local papers aren't as good and as thorough as yours.
Best Regards, Tom Nolte


Editor:
What is going to happen to Marble Hot Springs, now that Carmichael is gone? One would hope that heirs would clear out the spring and reactivate it. Would almost be funny if the spring erupted and belched out the huge tree roots. Could happen! That spring has seen human use for centuries. On the other side of the road was a pool that hunters used to clean game. In our time, people still thought that the spring had healing powers. In 1962 or '63, we met a man who came from Massachusetts every year to spend a month there, as he said, "Getting rid of my winter aches and pains." There were two rather ramshackle buildings for private bathing, built by the Marble Family, and some open pools. He parked his trailer on the road, and spent his days soaking in the spring, basking in the sun and fishing at the Steel Bridge. He had been coming there for years, and each year he mended the buildings and keep the area clean.
People came to the spring from all over the West, drawn by word of mouth, and took bottles of the water home to drink. Last summer we were hailed by some women in a car, who asked what happened to the "wonderful" spring. They had driven their mother up from Roseville for a last visit. There is still hot water around the tree roots, but it doesn't flow as it once did. They got a small bottle of water for her, which she had clutched in hands as they drove off.
The spring has its own history, which should be recorded before all the old ones in the Valley are gone. 'Til later ... Jean Myles


Letter to the Editor,
Many thanks to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, Corky Lazzarino of Sierra Access Coalition, California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), Recreation Outdoor Coalition, Butte County Supervisor, Kim Yamaguchi, and all others who helped with the timely filing of the appeal to prevent the USFS from its planned closure of miles of trails and major restrictions to use of public lands.
There has been a concerted effort by the USFS to incrementally accomplish this massive land grab nationwide. In California, the Plumas National Forest which is included within the five counties of Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Butte, and Yuba, was the last forest to have to deal with this attempted illegal seizure of land and power not conveyed to it by the Constitution.
Note that the appeal deadline was December 27th, right during the holidays.
With the exception of Lassen County, the other counties were cooperative in filing appeal(s) thanks to the huge effort of the aforementioned, and this without pleas for financial assistance although, donations would undoubtedly be welcome and helpful. CORVA found so much merit to Sierra Access Coalitions appeal that it donated $1,000 for legal fees.
Those of us, who honor the Constitution, enjoy the natural beauty of the Plumas National Forest, and who are fervent about tourism and outdoor sports here champion this cause and are thankful to everyone, agency, and group within the USA who are striving to keep big brother within his prescribed bounds.
For more information or to donate, see the following websites or email addresses:
www.sierraaccess.com
sierraaccess@yahoo.com
www.corva.org
kyamaguchi@buttecounty.net
smilligan4732@sbcglobal.net (Recreation Outdoor Coalition)
Sincerely,
Sherry Halverson
Plumas County Watchdogs

Dear Editor;
Now we start 2011 and look back at the last year to see how we made Sierra County a better place. Our leaders, the Board of Supervisors are the ones that we can ask, are we doing better, they have been elected to look after our best interest.
Do we have more jobs than we had last year? If we do I have not heard where they are. I could be wrong though, we have not seen the Board of Supervisors (BOS) publish in local papers how many employees work for Sierra County and what the payroll cost is. If you care to look at the Sierra County payroll by position here is the internet link in case you don't have it, I encourage everyone to review where their money is going: lgcr.sco.ca.gov/ then go down to county salaries.
This is one area, which despite the economy, can do as it pleases. What is the cost of county cars, what is the cost of the fuel, and how many miles do the county vehicles drive?
Have you ever paid attention that rule after rule is passed to make projects so expensive that they are impossible in Sierra County? This is the best way for the no growth agenda to be played out. When have you heard of an emergency meeting of the BOS being held to help a tax payer build a new home or business?
What we have is a Green environmental group in Sierra County that is headed by a person that Sierra County's Planner trained. So it appears if the no growth Green agenda is slipping and something might be built, the Environmental extremist step in, threaten the supervisors and that ends that project, the Supervisors fold, if this is not so, please show where the growth is in Sierra County.
We have many hard working business people and their supporters who push hard for local shopping. We have many that say agriculture is the backbone of the county. If you want to buy a pair of pants, the thrift store is your answer, if you need a tractor, tuff luck, if you need a tractor part, tuff luck.
If the BOS is the leader, why are they not solving problems like this? In 2007 Loyalton decided, with the help of the no growth extremist Greens, that Loyalton did not need to grow. Just as soon as they won their point the City Council voted in a 5 million dollar sewer project. Now the empty lots stay empty three years later and the residents are forced to buy many of their supplies out of the county or state. Why is the BOS not working with the City to provide property that can accommodate business and jobs? We have a new City council and the time is right for the County BOS to show leadership and work with the city to provide incentives to get business and jobs in Loyalton. This would be private jobs, not more tax burden. This could be a new way to think: the BOS could be the leader and give direction instead of taking direction from one of their department heads. It will be great to see Loyalton rise above the cloud of destruction the no growth agenda has held over Loyalton the past 30 years. Please support saving Loyalton, Sierra County's only City.
Thomas Dotta, Rural Loyalton

Wednesday, January 06, 2010