Wednesday January 30, 2013

This week has been quiet and not much has happened if we ignore the constant din of mainstream media talking about fake girlfriends and the latest Lohen blurbs. We have to believe nothing is happening in the world. The Sheriff’s Office is holding a meeting as I write with various agencies involved in the Bear Cub fiasco. The news we reported last week evidently wasn’t the real story. The bear cub was captured but did not survive and there are various tales as to what happened and who was responsible and when intervention in wild animal welfare should be taken. We will update when we get the rest of the story. It was sad, this little orphaned cub was in town for several weeks, it was immediately apparent it had lost it’s mother, it was too young to be on it’s own and everyone was worried about it and yet despite repeated calls to Fish and Game and other agencies that might have helped nothing was done until it was too late, hopefully we’ll find out what happened and how to avoid the situation in the future.

The usual suspects are here this week, Carols Movies , Carols Books , Carries Corner   Cooter , Fringe Bitchination , Gabby , Java and Jerusha. Be sure to check in on the Speech Contest Winner and find out about who’s buying Nuclear Waste . Sad to report we lost a wonderful lady Mary Clemo .

The photo is by Tara Dines of Sierra City it was taken on Hwy 49 near Clark Station north of Sierra City.

Wednesday January 23, 2013

1/23/13 It is so cold, so very cold, well actually it has warmed up it was in the 40’s today. I’m sorry if I whine about the cold a lot but there has just been an ice field in most parts of Downieville for the past two weeks and it is getting old. Just remind me of this when I start to whine about how hot it is in July.

The good news is the little  Bear Cub everyone has been worried about in Downieville has been captured and hopefully will be able to get healthy with the help of a Fish and Game Biologist.

The Board of Supervisors met and as usual we have all our regulars Gabby , Carrie’s CornerCarol’s Books , Carol’s Movie , Java , Jerusha , Mystery Shoes some guest commentary Civil War , Legitimized Violence , School Safety and be sure to check out the picture on the Mountain Messenger page. We don’t know where the Fringe is and Cooter wouldn’t tell us anything.

This weeks photo is by Lee Adams at the Kentucky Mine Trestle to the Stampmill.

Board of Supervisors Tuesday January 22, 2013

1/22/13 The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in Loyalton on Tuesday, January 22, Chair Scott Schlefstein called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and the fun immediately began.

Supervisor Paul Roen tries to fix a stubborn stuck door at the Loyalton Center while Supervisor Peter Huebner helps and Tim Beals directs...

Supervisor Paul Roen tries to fix a stubborn stuck door at the Loyalton Center while Supervisor Peter Huebner helps and Tim Beals directs…

Sierraville District Ranger Quentin Youngblood gave the USFS report to the Board saying the event held at the Little Truckee Summit OHV Park on January 11,12 and 13 was a big success. A Skidoo dealer offered snowmobile demonstrations and products and they expect another event like this later this year. There are no prescribed burns or logging operations now due to snow cover.

Health and Human Services had many items on the agenda, beginning with a report from Lori Marsh on why Sierra County got an “F” rating from the American Lung Association. It seems that all of Lori Marsh’s efforts to counter the effects of big tobacco on our children were not enough for ALA, because the County does not take action to prevent smoking in public places such as parks and recreational areas. It is not our program’s fault it is the Board of Supervisors not taking action by way of non smoking ordinances which is the problem.

An agreement between Sierra County and Northern California Emergency Medical Service (NorCal EMS) to  in the amount of $10,800 to pay its 1/6 share of the LEMSA Coordinator was approved.

A request by the for In Home Support Services (IHSS) to increase the wages of workers by $1 was denied by the Board in spite of the fact that the money was in the budget and it would not cost any more money to increase 31 workers from $8.56 an hour to $9.56 because other county workers are not getting any pay raises . Supervisor Huebner recused himself at the suggestion of County Counsel Jim Curtis as Huebner’s wife Louise works as an IHSS employee.

In other actions for Health and Human Services the Board approved a Medi-Cal Data Privacy and Security Agreement between DHCS and Sierra County. Authorized Child Welfare Services to purchase CWS/CMS computers for $15,000. Jim Beard was reappointed to the Sierra County Solid Waste Enforcement Appeals Panel as he was terminated as Public Representative.

Director Janice Maddox gave an overview of the structure of Sierra County Mental Helath Services and related Mandates. A discussion and Resolution regarding SC Mental Health Emergency (5150) Assessments was approved.

The Board decided that Sierra County becoming its own Mental Health Plan as opposed to functioning as an agent to the Placer-Sierra Mental Health Plan was a good idea and it is in process.

At 10 a.m. Loyalton Friday Night Live coordinator Barbara Weaver brought Jorge Garcia, Liz Lizarde and Cheyenne Little to make a presentation to the Board regarding the dismal rate of compliance with tobacco sales to minors in Sierra County, demonstrating that there is an 80% failure rate by establishments selling cigarettes to minors.

Jorge Garcia, Liz Lizarde  and Cheyenne Little wait to make their presentation to the Board

Jorge Garcia, Liz Lizarde and Cheyenne Little wait to make their presentation to the Board

Here they use panel demonstrating failure of compliance

Here they use panel demonstrating failure of compliance

Planning Director Tim Beals and Planner Brandon Pangman presented the staff report and analysis of the proposed initiative filed by the Plumas-Sierra County Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) see the report here: CAPR Initiative Analysis . The Board once again discussed what to do, if anything, regarding the initiative . Chair Schlefstein said he was reading the report and “by the time I reached page 12 my eyes glazed over, and I had a depressed, sinking feeling seeing all the agencies involved and then I got to the Global Warning Act….”.  Schlefstein continued that he found a quote online that said it all.

Supervisor Scott Schlefstein quoted from a Roger’s Rules column ” i.e., the insidious proliferation of rules and regulations (and their concomitant rulers and regulators) that we’re told are being put in place for the commonwealth but in fact are really put in place to  squelch individual liberty and solidify state control over our lives.”

Supervisor Lee Adams said the real problem lies when, “what you want to do and what your neighbor wants to do don’t exactly mesh.”

Supervisor Jim Beard wondered if the work on the General Plan could eliminate the need for an Initiative.

Director Tim Beals suggested that “everyone is trying to come to the same end point”, where property owners are able to build SFR on their lot.

Robert Eshleman said he “felt Tim and Brandon were the best apologists for the county” and the report was fair but brings us back to the General Plan. He said if nothing else the initiative has so far brought the discussion to the forefront.

Supervisor Lee Adams said property rights are fine for everyone until “someone builds a nuclear reactor   next door.”

No decision was made nor was one suggested, and the discussion died until the next Board meeting maybe.

A mysterious visitor to the meeting was suspected of being a Federal Agent there to investigate Mountain Messenger editor Don Russell however eventually his real identify turned out to be Andy Gomez from Anthem Blue Cross there to address the Board regarding Medi-Cal issues.

Federal Agent investigating Mt Messenger Editor Don Russell turned out to be Andy Gomez from Anthem Blue Cross

Federal Agent investigating Mt Messenger Editor Don Russell turned out to be Andy Gomez from Anthem Blue Cross

Chair Scott Schlefstein recognized three members of the Sierra County Road Crew, Dennis Marsh, Rob Moore and Zack Filippini and three Solid Waste Gate Attendants Lisa Copren, James Wright and Jason Wardrobe for their hard work.

Dennis Marsh

Dennis Marsh receives Recognition from Supervisor Schlefstein

Supervisor Schlefstein presents recognition to Rob Moore and Zack Filippini.

Supervisor Schlefstein presents recognition to Rob Moore and Zack Filippini.


Lisa Copren receives Recognition from Supervisor Schlefstein

Lisa Copren receives Recognition from Supervisor Schlefstein

Jason Wardrobe receives Recognition from Supervisor Schlefstein

Jason Wardrobe receives Recognition from Supervisor Schlefstein




Monday January 21, 2013

Today is the holiday honoring Martin Luther King. In addition President Barack Obama will be sworn in publicly for his second term, a sweet serendipity event. Recently the Fringe posted (on Facebook)  this speech,“Beyond Vietnam”,  made by MLK in 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City. As I read the speech written more than 40 years ago I was struck as how with a few location and country name changes it would apply to todays situation and the United States involvement in world struggles, I wondered how we could have learned so little in almost half a century. I urge you to read the speech and think about contacting your representatives, we have to get better, we are on a collision course with … with what… we don’t know, but it doesn’t look pretty, we can change this course… we have to… it’s just us humans on this small planet, there is no alternative. 

Another article by Robert Dodge Martin Luther King & Inauguration Day,  a thoughtful look at where we are 50 years after the “I have a Dream” speech and what we can do to make real progress in protecting our “finite fragile future of our planet.”

Wednesday January 16, 2013

1/16/13  Ok, here it is another Wednesday and it appears the very very cold snap is letting up a little, it is now 42 F outside and feels downright toasty. Some of the ice is melting although my sidewalk is still mostly below 4 inches of frozen snow.  The Burning Trees Fest was lots of fun and we’re looking forward to next year when the trees might actually burn. The plan left out the part about snow wet trees don’t burn well.

Our guest columnist Winslow Myers, along with our regular features,Cooter, Java, Gabby, Carrie’s CornerJerusha, Carol’s Books  and Movie and of course the Fringe with  Primary Togetherness can’t be missed. There are lots of things to go to and interesting articles so check them all out.. The Downieville Improvement Group is generating enthusiasm for the coming year see here: DIG . The Sierra County Chamber wants you and needs your membership SC Chamber. Local poet Jubilee Hill wrote about the gold miners plight in Virginia’s Poetry Cornerr.

This week’s photo was taken yesterday on Depot Hill by County Supervisor Lee Adams in case you wondered if it is really cold… there’s the prrroof… like in brrrr…

Sierra Booster On Fire Sunday 1/13/13

8:34 p.m. Ira Hays reports from the valley: We just returned from downtown Loyalton where we took these photos of the Sierra Booster Office on fire. Several fire trucks were on location as Loyalton Volunteer Fire Department members attack the fire from inside and out. Temperatures dip below 3F degrees as members of the LVFD gaining entrance to the attic space to vet the fire and gain access to fire.  We can still see smoke was coming from under the eves on all sides of the roof area. One  CHP’s on traffic control says his office received the call at approx 6:30pm. Flames were shooting from the north side around the eves of the building when he rolled up on the scene.

Sierra Booster building in Loyalton

Loyalton Fire Dept fights fire at Sierra Booster Office



Board of Supervisors 1/9/13

Board of Supervisors Meeting of January 8, 2013.

This was the first meeting of 2013 and new Supervisors were sworn in and the passing of the gavel from Chairman of the Board in 2012 Peter Huebner to Supervisor  Scott Schlefstein.

District 1 Supervisor Lee Adams was re-elected unopposed to his second term, District 3 Supervisor Paul Roen was elected to replace outgoing Supervisor Bill Nunes who served four terms and District 4 Supervisor Jim Beard replacing one term Dave Goicoechea.

Supervisor District 1 Lee Adams, Supervisor District 4 Jim Beard and Supervisor District 3 Paul Roen


The newly seated 2013 Sierra County Board of Supervisors.
County Clerk Heather Foster, County Counsel Jim Curtis, Supervisor D1 Lee Adams, Supervisor D2 Peter Huebner, Chair Supervisor D5 Scott Schlefstein, Supervisor D3 Paul Roen, Supervisor D4 Jim Beard and County Treasurer/Auditor Van Maddox

Planning/PW Director Tim Beals with Miriam Dines who had just received praise from the Board of Supervisors for her 22 years of dedicated service to the County of Sierra.

After Chairman Schlefstein called the meeting to order, Supervisor Paul Roen was voted in as Vice Chair and so will be on the fast track for learning the job of Chair during his first year as a Supervisor.

Roen then requested two items be pulled off of the consent agenda both belonging to Dept of Health and Human Services Director Janice Maddox. The issues were approval of Sierra County’s updated Strategic Plan for Alcohol and Other Drug prevention and authorization to fill the vacant Health and Human Services Assistant Director position. Maddox explained the issues and assured Supervisor Roen the position would be an internal promotion type hire and both items were approved unanimously.

Next on the Agenda was the staff report and analysis of the proposed initiative filed by the Plumas/Sierra County Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR). This was a long involved discussion, led by Planning Director Tim Beals and Planner Brandon Pangman, who was attempting to revive his father’s (former County Counsel and now retired Superior Court Judge Bill Pangman) reputation for wordiness as Supervisor Adams noted, although the younger Pangman did an excellent job of being succinct and clear in his presentation.

Pangman demonstrated how the General Plan(GP) as it stands gives property owners the right to build a Single Family Residence (SFR) on their property and the Zoning Code is there to help build in flexibility and be able to look at each individual situation and to allow discretionary review. The most important issue is the discretionary or non-discretionary component. There are currently 29 base Zones in the GP with only 3 overlays. The current Zoning Code(ZC) is based on a 1973 ZC borrowed from Glenn County. After the 1996 General Plan update funding was an issue and any real work on a ZC was waylaid.

Pangman said the analysis shows that the Initiative does not succeed in its intent and it doesn’t deal with the details. Further Sierra County has always allowed SFR on property as a right but the problem is location, which is critical and the initiative isn’t going to deal with that and it completely ignores restrictions and doesn’t allow for discretionary review. According to Pangman, the County and CAPR have the same end goal but to accomplish it will take a lot more detailed amendments to the GP, we have to deal with this and there will still be conditional use permits.

When it was the Board’s turn Adams asked what result would be if Initiative was approved in its present form. The initiative would not change zone variance requirements, if property is R1 is “by right” buildable SFR, however there are setback requirements and special treatment and stream setback areas that need to be addressed.

County Counsel Jim Curtis spoke about the state mandate to the County requiring a General Plan, that ship has sailed and the GP elements and parts need to be integrated. Curtis also allowed that the initiative process is a cherished and allows the people to take matters into their own hands, but he does not want to create more legal battles and it is likely to have unintended consequences, even though the initiative writers may say, ” didn’t mean or what I meant was” a judge won’t be discretionary, they care about the written language.

Milt Holdstom talked to the Board about his TPZ land where there is a moratorium on building and said there has to be a solution for this type of quandary. Robert Eshelman also spoke and said that what Curtis said “is true and Brandon is fair”, he would encourage everyone to look at the Initiative as the county is unique and the reason we build by the river is because it’s the only flat spots.

The written analysis by County staff will be presented to the Board for the next meeting on January 22 in Loyalton and the focus will be on questions and issues the Board might have. Schlefstein requested the written analysis be in the Board packet and availble to Board members prior to the meeting.

County Planner Brandon Pangman presents synopsis of analysis of the CAPR Initative with a full written report to follow at the January 22 meeting in Loyalton

Milt Holdstrom of CAPR speaks to Board of Supervisors

Robert Eshelman arose to speak on the CAPR initiative and did not manage to remain within the three minute limit given to him

County Counsel Jim Curtis gives his take on what the CAPR initiative will do to the county General Plan and Zoning Codes

The Board of Supervisors adjourned and a meeting of the County Service Area Board of Directors was called to order to hear a Resolution approving expenditure from the Sierra Brooks Water System budget in an amount not to exceed $5,000.00 for a property appraisal of lands that will be needed by the County to proceed with the water system improvement project and authorization to the Director of Transportation to seek quotes from qualified appraisers and to return to the Board with a professional services agreement for the appraisal. Director Adams said he was good with the appraisal but not interested in an unfriendly condemnation as this concerns property owned by the Department of Fish &Game involving property swaps. A friendly condemnation as is currently being proposed with the City of Santa Clara would be fine.

The Board of Supervisors then reconvened  and agreed to send a letter to the state requesting an extension of time to meet landfill gas emission requirements  as that is what the whole property swap with is about to solve that problem.

The County directed Tim Beals to meet with CalTrans regarding the Perry Creek Bridge on State Route 49 in Sierraville.

County Auditor/Treasurer-Tax Collector Van Maddox was authorized by Resolution to open or close bank accounts for the county and all entities under the Board of Supervisors. Something Maddox has always done, but now it is formalized. Adams mentioned the Resolution must have been written by staff as there were no spelling errors.(laughter ensued)  Anyone receiving any written communication from the Van Maddox would understand the implication of that comment.

Louise Huebner and LeTina Vanetti were appointed to the Child Care Council Planning Commission. Supervisor Huebner abstained from the vote being married to Louise.


Wednesday January 9, 2013

1/9/2013 Well, once again, the best laid plans of ….. my plan was to get all of my columnists up and most everything written and ready to post on Monday so that after the Board meeting on Tuesday I would have nothing to do but write the Board of Supervisors piece and ready to put up. I did write an editorial this week so I don’t need to go into any personal revelations in this post. I will say Monday was spent doing something I didn’t plan, oh that’s right, I was visiting a friend, funny how that happens and then Tuesday, the Board meeting was short and I would have had all afternoon except another friend wanted a ride to Grass Valley and I took the opportunity to dodge work and go for a jaunt and then this morning I sat down determined to focus on the Prospect, however a local emergency needed some attention and me and another Salvation Army worker helped out someone down on his luck needing to get to Oregon but that takes awhile to figure out the logistics here in the boonies. So that’s my excuse for being so late.

This week we have Carol’s Book Review, Carrie’s Corner, Cooter, Java, Jerusha, the Fringe, my editorial, Gabby, and the Board of Supervisor’s. The Downieville Improvement Group is having a meeting tomorrow, Thursday at the Masonic Hall and invites anyone interested in the town and our events to come out. And we are having a Burning Tree Fest in the Downieville Park on Sunday at 11 a.m. bring your Christmas tree and have some hotdogs, marshmallows and hot cider.

The gorgeous photo of the Sierra Buttes from Bassett’s meadow is by Don Yegge.

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