Wednesday February 15, 2017


We had two beautiful days of Spring in the middle of winter this week. Despite all the yellow and blue in the sky, winter is not done with us yet and we are in for some more rain and snow, a good thing or at least better than the drought. Everyone has managed to stay calm and carry on…. even better said by Cherry Simi in a Facebook post, “I’ve been reading about all the crazy weather here and in Nevada County, and I have to say we Sierra County folks are from pretty resilient stock. Everyone I know has taken the inconveniences of roadblocks, flooding, power outages, and the rest of it, in stride–no complaining, no whining– just acceptance of this is what it’s like to live in a beautiful place without the influence of city demands. We’re tough and should be proud of our endurance! Sierra County may be small, but we’ve got some pretty big souls here!”  

So once again we salute, appreciate and are so lucky to have the District 3 CalTrans employees on are state roadways. They are out there in the wind, rain, mud, snow keeping the roads open and ready for emergency traffic. Sierra County Roads and Public Works you are incredible, not only are the regular road and public works crews out there but I’ve seen and heard the office staff out and about working above and beyond there jobs. All of our emergency services and volunteers have been doing double and triple duty these pass few weeks and the Sheriff’s Office too, everyone is doing more than their part and we who live here are so lucky, of course most of us who live here are volunteers and pitch in whenever something needs to be done. So we just hope you know and realize we see you and thank you so much.

This week we have the usual columnists, Be Encouraged, Carrie’s Corner, local news and events, Cats and Others, Firehouse News, District Attorney Cases along with columnists Rivera Sun, Robert Koehler, Winslow Myers and Tom Laurent.

The photo this week is of the No Yuba near Sierra City taken by As the Yuba Flows , Mary Davey.

We have lost Tom, he fought the good fight, had 79 11/12th years and enjoyed the last five in Downieville with many friends enjoying the Downieville Lions, Downieville Museum Docent, Native Sons, talking politics with Jack and his many friends at the senior lunches. We’ll write more on the wonderful man who many love and respect in next weeks issue.

District Attorney Cases 2/15/17


Sierra County District Attorney
Lawrence R. Allen
District Attorney / Public Administrator
530.289.3269 530.993.4617


Jeff Ketter (53) Laughlin NV. Possession of methamphetamine. Seventeen days jail, fine $835.

Paula Sylvestri (52) and Michel Sylvestri (54) Sierraville. After a contested preliminary hearing, both were ordered to stand trial on charges of a residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, and use of a deadly weapon (a hammer). The testimony produced at the preliminary hearing demonstrated that in September of 2016, Ms. Sylvestri decided to travel from her home in Sierrville, to their rental unit in Loyalton to confront the tenant – her aunt. She enlisted Michael to go with her, and, packing a hammer, went to the rental unit. Michael used his pass key to gain entrance to the private area of the residence, knocked on the apartment door, and lured the victim out into a hallway. At that time, Paula went after the victim, striking her in the head several times. The victim screamed for help, and the Sylvestri’s fled the scene. The victim was air lifted to Renown Hospital in Reno where she was treated and released. The Sylvestri’s remain free on bail amounts of $100,000 and $25,000.

Drew Kinzie (36) Downieville. He was sentenced on a felony false imprisonment conviction resulting from a domestic violence incident. He was placed on Three years probation, 180 days in jail, 987 days supervised release, and ordered residential re-hab for 90 days. He was also ordered to successfully complete drug court, and complete a 52 week batters program.

Thomas Stafford (29) Loyalton. He violated parole on an underlying conviction of residential burglary by absconding and possession of methamphetamine. He was ordered to serve 135 days jail, and discharged from parole supervision.

Glenn Knapp (54) Alleghany. Knapp plead guilty to battery on a domestic partner as a misdemeanor. He was placed on 18 months probation, served 5 days jail, fined $1540, and ordered to complete a 52 week batters program.

Michael Brooks (31) Loyalton. He violated parole by absconding. He was sentenced to 135 day jail, and reinstated on parole.

Ervin Krall (68) Elverta. Hunting in the wrong zone. He was fined $1055.

Hannah Ashley (35) Guerenville. Ashley pled guilty to Kidnaping, abduction of a child, and two counts of residential burglary. She will be sentenced on April 4. She remains in custody on a “no bail” hold.
According to evidence produced at the preliminary hearing, Ms. Ashley was the subject of a state-wide Amber Alert when, on October 23, she entered the house of her mother who had full custody of her infant (seven month old) son, and she abducted the child. On October 25, she was spotted by Sierra County Deputy Sheriff Nathan Rust around 6:30 in the morning heading north on highway 49. Deputy Rust attempted to stop Ms. Ashley with red lights and siren, but Ms. Ashley refused to yield, leading Deputy Rust on a chase up Highway 49 at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. Deputy Rust lost sight of the Ashley vehicle as it entered Downieville. The vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Downieville. Search teams were formed involving the California Highway Patrol, the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, Cal-Trans, Downieville Fire Department, and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Around 3 PM on the 25th, Ms. Ashley was apprehended by Highway Patrol Officer Matt Sprague in downtown Downieville after a citizen recognized Ashley from the Amber Alert photos. The child was crying in a canvas bag carried by Ms. Ashley when the arrest occurred. Later in the day it was discovered that two houses in Downieville had been broken in with property missing. Testimony indicated that Ms. Ashley was wearing clothing and boots taken from the two residences when she was arrested. Ashley remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.

On The Shelf by Paul 2/15/17


Issue 2017 – 1

A New Year — Same Old Ever-Changing Library
The Downieville Library enters the new year much as it left the old one: offering the same services as before; but, seemingly, with always something new to offer. On the services front, there are, of course, books to check out and read (children’s fiction and non-fiction, young adult fiction, adult fiction and non-fiction), audio books for listening, DVD and VHS movies for watching, a computer for use, as well as a Wi-fi connection so that people can use their own devices, copying and printing capabilities, and knowledgeable and friendly staff on hand to be of assistance. On the “something new to offer” front, the reference room is shaping up very nicely (watch for more information in an upcoming On the Shelf column), and new books, audio books, and videos arriving in the library on a somewhat constant basis.

So, whether you’ve been a regular patron of the library — or have never visited it before — we urge you to make it a part of your regular 2017 routine. You just might be amazed by what you discover here.

What’s New
Speaking of “something new to offer”, several new items have recently been added to the library’s collections:

Fiction books
Edge of Battle, by Dale Brown
Sorcerer to the Crown,by Zen Cho
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Black Site, by Dalton Fury
Heroes Proved, by Oliver North
Blue Labyrinth, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (large print)
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials, by Ovidia Yu (mystery)

Non-fiction books
This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes, by Marilyn Berger
Flags of Our Fathers, by James Bradley
The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War, by George B. Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph W. Kirkley
Black Hearts, by Jim Frederick
The Manhattan Project, by Cynthia C. Kelly (editor)
Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II, by James J. Kimble
I’m Staying with My Boys, by Jim Proser
Always Running, by Luis J. Rodriquez

Audio books on CD
Divine Love, by Wayne W. Dyer
We Are Water, by Wally Lamb
After I’m Gone, by Laura Lippman
Recovering Charles, by Jason F. Wright

Book Share & Review Group
One other offering the library brings to the community is the Book Share & Review Group. During its bi-monthly gathering, participants share books they have read (some are in the library, others aren’t), so that we are exposed to books which we otherwise might not have encountered. The next gathering is Tuesday, February 28, 1:00 PM. You are welcome to come and share — or just to come and listen.

FireHouse News 2/15/17

ALLEGHANY: February 6, firefighter training.
CALPINE: February 6, first responder training. February 8, skills testing for first responder class. February 9, responded for flooding in Sierraville. February 11, CPR training.
CAMPTONVILLE: February 7, firefighter training. *Responded for an emergency.
DOWNIEVILLE: February 9, firefighter training.
LOYALTON: February 6, training for vehicle fire initial attacks/flood response planning. February 9, general response to local flooding. *Responded to tow a vehicle from high water. *Ambulance assist. *Assisted a resident with water pump due to flooding. February 10, assisted with dislodging a vehicle that was stuck in mud. *Responded to a home heating oil tank leak. *Responded for another leaking oil tank. *A citizen required transport home due to high water and safety concerns. February 11, responded for a possible propane leak.
PIKE CITY: February 7, mutual aid response to Camptonville – cancelled. February 9, firefighter training.
SATTLEY: February 6, first responder training. February 8, skills test for first responder class. February 9, responded for flooding in Sierraville. February 11, CPR training.
SIERRA CITY: All’s quiet…
SIERRAVILLE: February 6, first responder training. February 8, skills test for first responder class. February 9, responded for flooding. February 10, responded for flooding. February 11, CPR training.

Firehouse News 2/8/17



January 30th Firefighter training.

January 30th – First respondert raining.                                                                    February 1st – First responder training.

CAMPTONVILLE :                                                                                                JANUARY 30th – Firefighter training.                                                                           February 4th Responded for an injured female. *Responded for a vehicle in the ditch.
February 2nd – Firefighter training. * Responded for an injured female – cancelled.
February 4th Responded for an ill female, transported to SNMH.
February 5th Responded for an ill female in GYB, transported to SNMH. *Responded for an ill male, transported to SNMH.
LOYALTON : all’s quiet.
PIKE CITY : February 9th Firefighter training.
SATTLEY : JANUARY 30th First responder training, in Calpine.
February 1st First responder training, in Calpine.
SIERRA CITY : February 4th Repeater repairs attempted, at the Hilda repeater.5th
February 5th -Using snowmobile ‘s, the attempt was made, again, to repair the Hilda repeater.
SIERRAVILLE : January 30th First responder training, in Calpine.                           February 1st First responder training, in Calpine.                                                      February 2nd Business meeting.

Remember Who We Are 2/15/17

Winslow Myers

Remembering Who We Are – by Winslow Myers

Our young nation is enduring a period of farce, though it doesn’t feel so amusing for stranded immigrants or unemployed coal miners.

There is a more determinative context for immediate events that we fail to call upon because at first glance it doesn’t seem remotely relevant: in addition to being Americans, we are citizens of Earth. Even beyond that, we are integral with the stupendous unfolding story of the Universe.

O.K., so the elements that make up our bodies were formed in the atomic furnace of stars. Really, so what?

Here’s what. The scientific story of the Universe is not an alternative fact. We all share the story, Shia and Sunni, Israeli and Palestinian, Christian and Muslim, Trump supporter and Trump resister.

It is an astounding story of emergence, creativity and survival on every level, from the formation of galaxies, to cells learning how to replicate themselves using DNA, to the development of mammalian care for offspring over millions of years. And, though it is 13.75 billion years old, for us it’s a new story, about which we have learned more in the last 50 years than in eons of gazing up at the mystery of the stars.

This story is not only what every human shares; it is the deepest resource for our own creativity as we address our looming challenges. It is a story, from the cooperative ecology of coral reefs to nations in complex trade agreements, that verifies the golden principle of interdependence. It is a story whose cycles, because nature leaves no waste, provide the best design models for human-manufactured materials and processes—even for the design of our institutions.

And it is a demonstration of why we can feel optimistic about our species and the Earth system even at difficult moments: we’ve come through so much. Not one of our ancestors going back to the absolute beginnings of cellular life made a fatal mistake before it was able to reproduce. We are the near-miraculous result of that unbroken chain of reproduction linking us to the entire emergent process.

Our shared scientific story is a great unifier. There is not a Muslim and a Christian science, or a Capitalist and a Socialist science; there is only an endless patient positing and testing of hypotheses. Tentative, seemingly impossible hypotheses gradually become generally accepted truths. The world goes from flat to round. The sun replaces the Earth as the center of the solar system. Cholera, once thought to be airborne, turns up in water, becoming easier to control or even conquer.

What is really important about this moment in the history of the Earth? It is the boiling up of race-based nationalism we have been seeing in the U.S. and Western Europe? Surely the scientific fact that the human species has exceeded the carrying capacity of its life-support system transcends in significance nationalist responses to events like the tragic movement of refugees around the globe. The strains of global climate instability have been one of the very causes of the great migrations of people away not only from murderous social chaos but also from disease-infested water and untillable soil. Meanwhile the overwhelming majority of the victims of terror are Muslim.

Is this not also the moment we have arrived at the realization, even if it is not yet universally shared, that the collective destructive power of the weapons deployed upon the Earth has become so great that war as a solution for our conflicts has become obsolete? All war is civil war. “We build/they build” weapon cycles are a poor substitute for meeting human and ecological needs directly and strengthening real global security.

Our most difficult challenges cannot be met except on a whole new level of international cooperation built upon shared insight, listening to other frames of reference, collaboration more than confrontation, and sacrifice for the common planetary good.

This can feel frightening, making “America First” a tempting illusion. Instead a fragile system of international law is emerging as an appropriate response to the unavoidable fact that all nations share one ocean and atmosphere, and no one will be secure unless all are secure—ecologically, militarily, politically, educationally, medically, economically. We cannot maintain a healthy market system upon an ailing Earth.

How does our own nation take its place among the rest? Our constitutional guarantees have unleashed a tremendous prosperity, and a technological creativity which will be essential to meeting the ecological challenges the world faces together.

But, to use the 1967 terminology of Martin Luther King Jr., there are materialist, militarist and racist forces at work in our country that resist, in favor of their narrow self-interests, our evolution toward new sources of sustainable energy, greater participatory democracy, and healthier manifestations of King’s vision of a beloved community.

Astronomically wealthy individuals and their agents seem unable to see that their own well-being depends ultimately upon the health of the Earth out of which they are attempting to extract fossil fuels as if more Earth-friendly technologies did not exist. They control much of the major media, which coin money off the dark energy of political polarization and a clickable sea of distracting trivialities.

It is not trivial when so many young black men languish in corporate prisons for minor drug offenses, when we are falling behind in the strength of our public education and medical insurance systems, when student debt has become unsustainable, when so many other nations are further up the curve of conversion to solar and wind.

One antidote is remembering who we are in the context of the true story of the Universe and Earth. What follows from that is ownership of America’s own real story, a story that includes the unearned suffering of the native peoples, who have everything to teach about sustaining our resources into the future.

Central also to the American story is slavery and the unearned suffering of African-Americans. A spiritual resilience that wears the faces of Douglass and King and Baldwin and so many others could be a core resource for an American identity and strength available to all the races. But it isn’t yet, because whites still haven’t come to terms with the sins of our origins. Black lives matter for so many reasons, not least that until they do we cannot authentically celebrate national diversity in equal liberty. Only then will our light illuminate an Earth struggling with the tension between heartfelt democratic longing and heart-shriveling fears of the “other.”

Finally, it comes down from Universe to Earth to America to me, who, in Ta-Nehisi’s provocative phrase, happens to be white—already a minority on Earth and soon to be one in my country, but as yet a privileged one. As such I bear a special responsibility to resist the polarization that erupted in this last Presidential election cycle. I may be white and progressive, but I pledge to a flag that stands for one nation, indivisible. I bear a special responsibility to work for not only racial, but also political and economic, inclusiveness, reaching across artificial divides to understand those who chose to vote for an inexperienced leader. If we remember who we are as children of the Universe, of Earth, and of the American ideal of diversity in community, a new world is still possible. It begins with me.

Winslow Myers, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide.” He also serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative.

How Low is the Question? 2/15/17

Mel Gurtov

The Honeymoon Is Over – by Mel Gurtov

President Trump is often depicted as “unconventional” and his actions “unprecedented.” But his novelty exposes him and his administration to closer scrutiny than any previous presidency. Turns out the emperor has no clothes; his “unconventional” behavior is often criminal, corrupt, duplicitous, unreliable, and incompetent. Across the spectrum of professions—from art museums and lawyers to actors, federal and local government employees, athletes, and NGOs—the outpouring of criticism is unprecedented. So is the number of negative votes cast by Democrats against every one of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Trump has been denied a honeymoon.

People in his administration are following the Trump pattern. His national security special assistant, General Michael Flynn, lied about his pre-inauguration contact with the Russian ambassador, somehow forgetting to mention that the conversation (recorded by US intelligence, it turns out) included discussion of US sanctions. Sean Spicer is the source of constant jokes as he desperately tries to represent the administration’s position—and consistently misrepresents it. (Spicer and Reince Priebus are rumored to be on Trump’s chopping block. Flynn just got chopped.) Kellyanne Conway violated the law by promoting Ivanka Trump’s jewelry on national TV. Betsy De Vos pretends to be an education secretary. Stephen Miller, a top aide to Trump, arrogantly claims that the president’s national security actions “will not be questioned,” and continues to trot out false claims about immigrants’ voting and links to terrorism.

As for Trump, every day he shamelessly violates the Constitution’s so-called emolument clause by profiting from the visits of foreign dignitaries to his hotels and golf resorts. He clearly will not reveal his tax returns or put a wall between him and his assets unless under court order. Every day he displays an inability to focus on the important and instead attacks those who criticize him. And every day he reveals an embarrassing lack of experience in foreign affairs, such as welcoming Japan’s leader as “Prime Minister Shinzo” instead of Abe, changing his mind (at least for now) on “One China” and Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank, insulting the leaders of Mexico and Australia, and sloppily handling classified material and national security conversations (such as happened over dinner with Abe when informed of a North Korean missile test).

Stephen Bannon is a different species entirely. He hides in the wings, avoiding conversation about his attraction to fascism, his understanding of “America First,” and his cozy relationship with far-right white supremacists from the Vatican to France and Britain. Unlike some of his colleagues, he knows what he’s about, and thrives on not having to answer to anyone but Trump. When Bannon calls the media “the opposition party” and advises them to “shut up,” portrays Muslims as enemies of the state, and suggests that the 1930s were “exciting,” we had better wake up to the threat to democracy he poses.

Fortunately, this administration’s dysfunction is costing it in cohesiveness and efficacy. Leaks are more numerous than usual, so much so that an “insider threat” program is reportedly under consideration to catch the leakers. The New York Times reports that Flynn’s National Security Council is in turmoil as foreign policy professionals try to keep up with (and understand) Trump’s tweets. As the fiasco surrounding the executive order on a Muslim ban showed, officials who should be consulted on important decisions are being bypassed. The halls of the State Department and other agencies are largely empty as many experienced people have either resigned or been pushed out.

Trump’s honeymoon never happened because he gave us no reason to be patient and “see how he does.” A majority of Americans are on to him: the February 13 Gallup Poll shows that he has set another record for unpopularity: a 40 percent approval rating and 55 percent disapproval. How low can he go? Watch and see, but also act.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.

Docents Needed at So Yuba State Park 2/15/17


The barn, gas station and visitor center will be open and there will be docents on site to show prospective docents and volunteers what types of volunteer opportunities we currently have at the South Yuba River State Park.
Once you are familiar with the great opportunities available to you, there will be Volunteer Sign-Ups on Saturday, March 4th from 9:00am – 3:30pm OR Saturday, March 11 from 9:00 – 3:30pm. Prospective volunteers only need to attend one Saturday block.  The location for sign-ups will be at Empire Mine State Historic Park Docent Room. The Sign-Up session will cover what a “volunteer means to California State Parks” and discussing park policies, procedures and philosophy. We will, as a group, be guided through the hiring paperwork and discuss the benefits of being a State Park volunteer. Since a criminal background check is required prior to working as a State Park volunteer, we will have onsite finger printing “live scan” being conducted during the Saturday sessions. Individuals will need to bring to the sign-up a photo ID and $10 check or cash for the background processing.

For any additional questions or concerns please contact: Ranger Marc Wetherbee , State Park Peace Officer  CA State Parks: Sierra District, South Yuba River State Park Office: (530)432-2546, Email:

Bay Area Travel Show 2/15/17


The 2017 Bay Area International Travel Show was held on Saturday and Sunday, February 11th and 12th, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Sierra County was represented at the show by Mary Ervin, Sierra County Chamber President, and Stacey Estrada, Publicity Chairperson of the Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen and member of both the Sierra County and East Sierra Valley Chambers (both pictured here). Mary and Stacey spoke to thousands of people, including members of the Press and travel-related agencies, about the beautiful resources we have in Sierra County and encouraged them to come and visit us.

Mary Ervin, Sierra County Chamber President, and Stacey Estrada, Publicity Chairperson of the Plumas-Sierra Cattlewomen and member of both the Sierra County and East Sierra Valley Chambers (both pictured here)

PILT On The Table 2/15/17

SACRAMENTO, CA – February 02, 2017 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) is once again sponsoring legislation to require the State to make good on their obligations to counties through the commitment of Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) payments. Senate Bill 58 by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) is a bipartisan effort to amend Fish and Game Code language back to its original form, making State PILT payments to counties a requirement.

Established in 1949 to offset adverse impacts to county property tax revenues that result when the State acquires private property for wildlife management areas, State PILT helps small and rural counties fund a variety of programs and services that benefit county residents. In 2015, the final State Budget Package included language in the Fish and Game Code that changed “shall” to “may” to make future State PILT payments to California’s 36 PILT counties permissive.

“State PILT is crucial to California’s counties, and over the last 15 years counties have struggled to tighten their budgets in order to fund programs and services for residents when the State stopped making payments,” said Bob Williams, RCRC Chair and Tehama County Supervisor. “This language change only makes it easier for the State to forego their obligation, further impacting programs and services to residents throughout the state.”

In 2016, RCRC sponsored Senate Bill 1188, also authored by Senator McGuire (D-Healdsburg), in conjunction with 15 co-authors. SB 1188 was also a bipartisan effort to restore the changed language. While the legislation received unanimous support throughout the entire legislative process, the Governor vetoed SB 1188, citing his commitment to follow through with payments during his tenure.

“We are grateful to Governor Brown for honoring the State’s commitments over the past couple of years, and recognize that he is the first Governor to do so in over a decade,” said Williams. “However, given the history of the payments, we have legitimate concerns about how the next Administration may handle the State’s obligations to counties, which SB 58 solves with an implementation date of January 1, 2019.”

“The State needs to step up and follow through on a promise and advance Fish and Wildlife PILT payments to rural counties,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “Since 2001, California has been depositing millions of PILT dollars that should have been going to rural counties into the State General Fund and it’s time to give counties their due.”

A detailed Q&A on California State PILT can be accessed here. The full text of SB 58 can be accessed here.

About Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC)

The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) is a thirty-five member county strong service organization that champions policies on behalf of California’s rural counties. RCRC is dedicated to 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 and follow @RuralCounties on Twitter.

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