Wednesday March 27, 2013

This week was a busy week with lots going on. It seems the town is slowly waking up from the long cold winter, Spring is here the daffodils are blooming in town. The kids at school had a Talent Show, Downieville Volunteer Fire Department had their annual Firemen’s Appreciation dinner. The Williams Fire Department came up and served BBQ Tri-tip, salad, garlic bread, green beans, and the best mushroom rice ever, what a great crew.

We have all the usual Columnist both local and guests please click on them in the above directory as it is very late and I want to publish and get some shut eye. The photo this week is once again by Mary Davey, we are so lucky to have so many talented photographers in Sierra County.

Downieville Treasure Hunt in June

Downieville Town Treasure Hunt

Tired of closet clutter?  Is that exercise bike just gathering dust?  Then consider this—join in and be part of the Downieville Town Treasure Hunt, scheduled for the Fishing Derby weekend; June 15 & 16.  It’s a treasure hunt of community yard sales, all through Downieville.  Start spring cleaning and be part of the fun!  A” treasure map” will be available to mark the locations of all the sales, so make sure you let Kathy Whitlow or Cherry Simi know you’re going to be selling.  The deadline to get on the map is June 1.  The more sales, the more enjoyable it will be for buyers!  The hunt is on!

Wednesday March 20, 2013

Here we are, another Wednesday, another issue. Today was cold and rainy for the first day of Spring. But the heat is coming, make no mistake and probably I will be whining about how hot it is. And any day we will be seeing the Dogwood blossoms, the photo this week is courtesy of Miriam Dines.

So just to let you know, the Fringe Editor and I have a long history of working together. Back in the early 90’s we were both at the Mountain Messenger and I was his boss, and then we established the Sierra County Prospect and he was my boss and then last year we switched roles and I’m his boss again. The reality is neither of us is the Boss of the other. We respect each other, it is just that he is so often so wrong. Anyhow… his letter this week Dear Liz is titled in a way that some may think offends me, but it is something we started at the Mess, when we argued in print about different issues and in those days the Saturday Night Live news skit, where the words, “Jane you ignorant slut” became famous, reminded us of us and Larry and I used them in our commentaries. So it makes us laugh instead of really getting angry with each other, although this commentary by the Fringe certainly made me gnash my teeth and mutter under my breath, I print it in the spirit of the 1st Amendment and I absolutely believe that he is out to lunch and refuses to see anything rational and just wants to continue the hyperbole and angry misinformation about why gun restrictions and reducing gun violence is necessary. See his column The Fringe -Love it or Leave It Anyhow don’t feel sorry for me, sticks and stones…… Be sure to read Board of Supervisors , Carol’s Movies , Carol’s Books , Carrie’s CornerGabby , Cooter and Java .

Board of Supervisors March 19, 2013

3/20/13 Loyalton

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors met in Loyalton on Tuesday March 19 and conducted business in a leisurely fashion, letting anyone talk as long as they wanted about whatever they wanted.

The Board approved  an Agreement approving the Title X, Family Planning Services agreement for the term of January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013.

Then it approved a Resolution directing the Sierra County Planning Commission for an amendment to Ordinance 1042, zoning code section 15.12.282, pertaining to permitted uses in the floodplain overlay district; specifically to replacement/repair of existing septic systems.

Paul Roen was appointed to the Sierra Valley Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) proposal to form an implementation group for the Feather River Integrated Regional Water Management Plan with Plumas County  to represent Sierra County in the process.

An Agreement for professional services with Frances Heritage, LLC for environmentally sensitive action plan construction monitoring for the Little Truckee River Bridge Project and an Agreement for professional services with Frances Heritage, LLC for environmentally sensitive action plan construction monitoring for the Ridge Road Rehabilitation Project were approved.

A Resolution was approved authorizing additional expenditures from the Justice Facilities Fund for air conditioning upgrade and necessary electrical work to support the upgrade in the first floor computer room to mitigate overheating conditions.

The County’s required participation in the USDA Approval of required certifications for County’s participation in the USDA  grant/loan for the Sierra Brooks Water System to be submitted as part of the County’s formal application resulted in a long discussion. Direction was given to County Counsel to proceed with retaining independent bond counsel for USDA grant/loan for the Sierra Brooks Water System to be submitted as part of the County’s formal application and to set a public hearing required to satisfy USDA requirements for grant/loan application.  District 1 Supervisor Lee Adams noted that this issue was taking much time of Planning & Public Works staff and while “everyone deserves clean water, Sierra Brooks is the only part of the county that does not deal locally with their water and this is not fair to the balance of the county, especially Alleghany.”

Loyalton resident Don Yegge completed his presentation to the Board regarding a Veteran Services Officer in Sierra County and offered to fulfill this by working as an Advocate with the established Placer County program. The Board thanked Don for his willingness to do this and finding a good way to get it done.

The Plumas Librarian, Lynn Sheehy talked to the Board about Sierra County Library system and expressed concern of a lack of Literacy Program in Loyalton.

A State Assembly Resolution of Appreciation was presented to retired Supervisor Bill Nunes for his work and dedication to Sierra County by Supervisor Paul Roen.

Retired Supervisor Bill Nunes receives a State Assembly Resolution of Appreciatio to him by Supervisor Paul Roen

Retired Supervisor Bill Nunes receives a State Assembly Resolution of Appreciatio to him by Supervisor Paul Roen

A presentation by the Loyalton High School Future Farmers of America (FFA);  Devon Graham, Kolbie Johnson, Sierra Little, Austin DeBerg, Cathy Russell, Robin Griffin, Pepe Vasquez and Instructor Cali Griffin was about recognizing and celebrating the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.

Supervisor Roen introduced the group.  Each student gave some interesting facts about some item of agriculture.  Broccoli, grapes, peaches, and one talked about pizza. The Board enjoyed the presentation.

Supervisor Adams advised all of his appreciation of their interest in agriculture and its impact on calif. While known for gold, only $100 billion in gold has been removed from California in the past 162 years. Today, agribusiness is a $100 billion a year business in California.

Loyalton FFA members Devon Graham, Kolbie Johnson, Sierra Little, Austin DeBerg, Cathy Russell, Robin Griffin, Pepe Vasquez and Instructo Cali Griffin

Loyalton FFA members Devon Graham, Kolbie Johnson, Sierra Little, Austin DeBerg, Cathy Russell, Robin Griffin, Pepe Vasquez.  Not shown  Instructor Cali Griffin

At the last Board Meeting on March 5, the Board agreed to send a letter to the USFS in response to the surprise news of more mining site and cabin demolition. See the letter sent March 13 here 13_03_13 Quin re coordinating and opposition to activities

The Board went into closed session leaving the usual group of malcontent journalists muttering aimlessly in the cold outside.

Sheriff John Evans thinking about who will be arrested next... possibly Don Russell?

Sheriff John Evans thinking about who will be arrested next… possibly Don Russell?

If anyone wonders what goes on in closed session… this may be a clue…

Sources say this is how Supervisor Lee Adams deals with Closed Session...

Sources say this is how Supervisor Lee Adams deals with Closed Session…


Wednesday March 13, 2013

For some reason my creative brain is faltering in thinking of something pithy or witty to write as an introduction to this week’s edition of SCP. This week’s photo was taken by Lee Adams, the No Yuba River in Indian Valley.

Well froot loops, I started writing this hours ago, but got sidetracked into putting up articles, writing other stuff, meeting with Salvation Army representatives, arranging pet care, going to the beauty salon for manicure/pedicure, working just very hard and here it is at the final crunch and I just still am at a loss for words. I do want you to read the columns this week, especially Michael Moore’s (the author and documentarian, not the one in Loyalton) Look at the Picture as he makes us think about what it takes to spur oneself into action. His points are well taken and I am old enough to remember what it was like in the south in the 50-60’s and to have lived through the long terrible moments of the Vietnam War. I am a Veteran, I served in the Women’s Army Corp before it was just the Army for all, I am a patriot, an American and I love my country and our Constitution. Writing this makes me sad that I have to defend anything I think or feel because we all do live in America where being free to disagree and speak up and those, like me, who have taken a stand on the gun control issue have been subjected to hateful comments and acts. I personally have never been against gun ownership, I don’t own one, I think it is fine for those who want to own a gun. I just want more standards, background checks, insurance, licensed and it isn’t necessary to have guns made to shoot multiple rounds quickly.  In addition to the Army I worked in law enforcement for 12 years and have been trained in weapons. I have never wanted or needed a personal firearm. Others don’t feel that way. I believe my right to feel safe with more control are just as important as your right to own a gun. Well, I probably wrote more than you wanted to read but there it is. So keep those cards and letters coming, but try to play nice, please.

Wednesday March 6, 2013

3/6/13 Before I forget be sure to check out Jubilee’s poem on Virginia’s Poetry Corner. Some of you may remember Virginia Collins, she worked at the Mountain Messenger as Jill of all Trades back in the early 90’s when I was Editor there. She started the Poetry Corner at the Mess and in her honor and remembrance I brought it back to SCP. This week’s poem about a town called Downieville says it all, don’t listen to the doom and gloom naysayers, listen to Jubilee as she is right. People proclaiming everything is awful have been with us here on earth since the beginning, somehow life goes for better for worse over and over again, just cycles and if you live long enough you will experience many of them. Times are tough, times are better, never forget adversity makes you stronger, so use the tough times to enjoy the better.

Boy, sometimes you just learn a lesson. The Board meeting was over early on Tuesday and I could have been writing and putting things up. But no, I just frittered my time away and figured I had all day Wednesday with nothing else to do and I could just get up early and get it all done. My plan was working fine, I hopped out of bed, walked the dog, came back to the house just in time for the power to go out, thanks to the rain/snow/wind storm. I had thought about that possibiltiy, as we do lose power here in the winter but had dismissed it from my mind, foolish me… Well that is my excuse for publishing later than usual this week..

Meanwhile this week’s photo reminds us of what we have to look forward to this coming Fall which will arrive after this Summer, which is next as it is Spring now, the photo courtesy of Jim Johnston at Camp Yuba via David Keyes Photography at

Board of Supervisors 3/6/13

The Board of Supervisors met in Downieville on Tuesday, March 5 and what was thought to be an easy, short agenda had some exciting moments, and it didn’t take long for those moments to arrive.

Supervisor Huebner, Schlefstein, Roen,  Beard, Auditor Maddox and Editor Russell (back to camera as usual)

Supervisor Huebner, Schlefstein, Roen, Beard, Auditor Maddox and Editor Russell (back to camera as usual)

Chair Scott Schlefstein called the meeting to order and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, no one took advantage of the Public Comment Opportunity. Under Committee Reports Supervisor Paul Roen gave a brief account of meeting with District Ranger Quentin Youngblood and a FS Biologist. The Board moved on to Department Manager Reports and Director of Health and Humans Services (H&HS) announced the east side Mental Health Psychiatrist was retiring and the county needs to find someone to contract with for the future. So everything was quiet and orderly and they moved on to the USFS Update.

A quiet, orderly, unassuming woman stepped to the podium and announced herself as Kathy Van Zuuk, a Community Liason and Botanist for Tahoe National Forest (TNF).

TNF Community Liason Kathy VanZuuk

TNF Community Liason Kathy VanZuuk

Van Zuuk said that District Ranger Genice Froelich was unavailable and had sent her to give the report. The report was 1) Robert Stuler has signed the relinquish documents to the USFS for his cabin on FS property and the cabin will be used as a training burn with the cooperation of DVFD and USFS.

2) The Peachay Mining Claim Cabin will be destroyed. This brought on quite a bit of dissension as various Supervisors and the audience muttered about the USFS abuse of power and wondering why this decision was made prior to the determination of the historical significance of the site which was established prior to the existence of the FS.  (see Peachay letter here: Peachay letter)

3) The Barbara Foust Claim was going to be addressed including occupancy trespassing. Which quickly tipped the issue to the boiling point as this was the first mention of the issue. Van Zuuk said a letter had been sent to Supervisor Lee Adams, who was not present during the Board meeting as he was in Washington, DC with other RCRC representatives meeting with representives about Secure Rural Schools funding, no one else had seen the letter and asked when it had been sent and she replied sometime after Feb 25, right around the time Adams had left on the trip. Lot’s of discussion bordering on anger ensued about District Ranger Froelich’s cowardly act of sending Van Zuuk into the fray knowing the news would not be taken well. Don Russell wanted to know why the County hadn’t been consulted as had been promised by the FS after the Nixon Mine debacle in Sierra City. He said, ” because you can doesn’t mean you should”, in referring to cabin and historical site destruction by the FS. Tim Holabird, District Rep for Congressman LaMalfa referenced the USFS actions as “an abuse of authority by an agency out of control.”  An audience member mentioned the displacement of people living on these various sites an it was just a wrong action by the FS.

Van Zuuk maintained her composure and said the FS was continuing to work on a Communications Plan during wildfires in the county, still addressing issues at the Kentucky Mine in Sierra City and expanding the parking area at Fiddle Creek Campground. After her report there was a break and both Supervisors and audience members apologized to Van Zuuk for having to experience anger that Ranger Froelich should have been there to address. More than one thought it was a deliberate attempt by Froelich to distance herself from the “firestorm of dissent”.

And then the Board Meeting began:  Director Janice Maddox discussed the portential impacts of Healthcare Reform on Sierra County H&HS and it was referred to H&S Committee.

A Professional services agreement with Priscilla Russell for the completion of H&HS Policies and Procedures was approved.

Update on the Loyalton Skilled Nursing Facility possibility of closure was given. Supervisor Jim Beard said the total job loss would be 40, in addition to having to find other facilities to lodge our seniors in need of a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Chair Schlefstein said he had contacted Senator Ted Gaines, and Beard said he had called Assemblymember Louis Alejo, sponsor of AB900 even though it was “painful calling a Democrat”, forgetting for a moment that Supervisor positions are non-partisan.

A discussion about creating a a H&HS community consortium was civil. A letter from C. Ingrid Larson requesting non-profits be exempted from having to subscribe to solid waste collection service had been pulled from the Correspondence and added to the regular agenda. The discussion included County Counsel Jim Curtis who suggested, “just on legal grounds and Prop 26, the difference between taxation and fees is tightened up, and they have to maintain structure and not invite dissension” and the Board just can’t make those kind of exemptions.

Another letter pulled was from Sheriff John Evans regarding assault weapons ban of 2013 and the dismantling of the 2nd Amendment. Chairman Scott Schlefstein said he pulled the letter just because he wanted to commend the Sheriff for writing such a letter and “putting it out there.” Supervisors Beard and Roen agreed.

The Auditor, Treasurer/Tax Collector requested a letter in support of Assembly Bill 182 Capital Appreciation Bond tightening rules on issuing these types of bonds. Roen moved and Beard 2nd and it was approved.

An update and discussion on Secure Rural Schools Funding and report of the Quincy Library Group meeting included the news that Congressman Doug LaMalfa was committed to the QLG and SRS and that Supervisor Lee Adams was presently in Washington.DC  with RCRC lobbying for continuing SRS funding for rural counties.

Supervisor Adams in Washington. DC

Supervisor Adams in Washington. DC

Presentation of Bids and adoption of a resolution awarding a public works contract to the lowest qualified bidder for the Ridge Road Rehabilitiation Project in Alleghany resulted in 8 close  bids ranging from 1.9 million to 2.2 million  and it was awarded to Knight River Construction. The firm who did the Highway 49 surfacing last year. Sierra County residents will be happy to welcome the construction  firm’s return they did good work and helped the local economy. Contract Administrator Brian Davey said the project will be 100% federally funded including a $210,000 bid for the construction inspection and materials testing  for the project by Omni-Means Contractors.

A presentation was made by Loyalton resident Don Yegge, a veteran suggesting that the County of Sierra might be well served by having a Veterans Service Officer or joining in with a nearby county who does have an established VSO position and program. According to statistics provided by the California Department of Veteran Affairs Sierra County has 410 resident veterans. A good showing in a county of 3500 population.  Various scenarios and logistics were discussed along with the stringent requirements by the CDVA regarding confidentiality and programs. Tom Holabird from Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office promised to work with Yegge on possible solutions and report to the Board in a month.

Tim Holabird and Don Yegge confer in the lobby of the Courthouse after meeting with the Supervisors

Tim Holabird and Don Yegge confer in the lobby of the Courthouse after meeting with the Supervisors

 The following picture says a lot:

Water dispenser and bottles waiting to be returned to vendor.

Water dispenser and bottles waiting to be returned to vendor.

This wasn’t a topic of conversation during the Board of Supervisors but it was an act of the Board a few months ago saying that water dispensers and bottled water in the courthouse and offices of county workers were no longer being provided in cost cutting measures. The program originally was one designed by a Risk Manager and Safety Officer for the county. In addition to providing cold water to employees it cut down on loss of employee hours due to sick leave via no longer sharing drinking fountains frequently a source of transferred viruses in the workplace. It was a strange cost saving as all employees, department managers and Board of Supervisors benefited from the water dispensers and the cost was borne by funding from the Trindel Insurance Safety Program rebates. It isn’t apparent if the funding is now being spent for employee benefit or in some other endeavors, at any rate it is just another example of how little the administration values the health of employees.