Mountain Messenger (news on paper) 5/28/14

There is huge news about Editor Don Russell. Many people don’t believe it but I have a picture demonstrating it is true. He and a cohort Scott McDermid got hair cuts together. We often hear of women having a “girl’s day out at the Spa” but who knew that men do it too. Proof is in the pudding and I’ve got proof or is it I’ve got pudding. At any rate you will see these two hot hunks were at the Downieville Day Spa and came out looking so much better, youthful and stunningly handsome. Still don’t believe it well here it is…..

Don Russell very pleased with his image while Scott McDermid ttys to avoid camera but he is there on the left, Kathy Fischer and Kristy Folsom are pleased with their handiwork.

5/28/14 Don Russell very pleased with his image while Scott McDermid trys to avoid camera but he is there on the left, Kathy Fischer and Kristy Folsom are pleased with their handiwork.

Send anything you need published to Milly at or you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Milly). For a subscription: send in as below or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Tell Don, you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

mess subcrip

Letter for WSMC 5/28/14


Meeting, no meeting……. oh, dear. I just KNOW we need to keep what we have, I just KNOW someone from not nearby has tried to mess with the plan/policies that are WORKING. I will come back up for a meeting, if one is indeed needed. PLEASE keep the information coming.

Enid Williams, Downieville

Nevada County’s $15 Million 5/28/14


The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) oversee the Local Highway Bridge Program (HBP). This program funds the replacement or rehabilitation of public highway bridges that have been identified as structural deficient or functionally obsolete. About $300 million in Federal funds are made available to local agencies annually for this work.

The County’s Department of Public Works was recently successful in receiving nearly $15 million dollars in local HBP grant funding to replace or rehabilitate eight structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges. The average age of these eight bridges is 80 years old, and many of these bridges have met or exceeded their useful life.

The County has received funding for both the design and construction of seven bridges:

Soda Springs Road at the South Yuba River ($1.5 million)
Donner Pass Road at Soda Springs Creek ($2.0 million)
Purdon Road at Shady Creek ($2.2 million)
Dog Bar Road at Bear River ($4.3 million)
Garden Bar Road (west) at Little Wolf Creek ($1.7 million)
Garden Bar Road (east) at Little Wolf Creek ($1.2 million)
McCourtney Road at Rock Creek ($1.7 million)

In addition to these seven bridges, the County has received an additional $150,000 in funding to prepare a Preliminary Engineering and Feasibility Study for the North Bloomfield Road Bridge (Edwards Crossing) at the South Yuba River. This study will look at various rehabilitation or replacement options for this historically significant bridge that was constructed in 1904. The bridge is classified as both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete and is eligible for federal HBP funding. Public Works staff will present the results of this study and recommendations to the Board of Supervisors at a later date.

The County is in the process of soliciting civil engineering firms to oversee the preliminary engineering for these bridges and plans to formally begin bridge design later this year. Staff anticipates the first of these bridges to be constructed in 2017 or 2018, and will deliver approximately 2 to 3 bridge projects per year.

Wednesday May 28, 2014

If you live in western Sierra County you have probably been aware of the furor over impending changes at the Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Downieville. At one point there was a meeting scheduled for May 27th. Scott McFarland, CEO of the Western Sierra Medical Clinic was unable to attend the meeting and so the Chairman of Sierra County Supervisors Paul Roen went to Grass Valley. Mr. Roen encouraged McFarland to attend the Board of Supervisor’s Meeting on Tuesday June 3 at 10 a.m. to explain the situation to the Board and McFarland agreed and also committed to return on Wednesday June 4th at 3 pm to continue the discussion with members of the community at the Downieville School Gymnasium . So everyone is encouraged to attend the Bd of Supes on Tuesday, June 3rd for a 10 a.m. timed item and also  the meeting on June 4th at 3 p.m. Please be there, and if you cannot, please write a letter or email to to express your concerns. Here’s a site that explains why the Grants are available to Sierra County

The most important thing I almost forgot is Monday June 2 is going to be National Donut Day in Downieville. This year it will be at the Smoothieville on Main St. Bring a can of food or cash donation for the Western Sierra Food Bank and get a free donut. Everyone is invited, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m (unless we run out of donuts). Help the Food Bank and have a donut!!

We have a new columnist this week, Dianne’s Ponderings. Dianne is a friend of mine, her husband Ed, and my brother, Don, were in the Navy together and they met when Ed came home on Leave with my brother. She’s always been a writer, and I have asked her before to write for us and she finally agreed, so here’s looking for more pondering about life and anything else that pops into her brain.

Meanwhile we still have our  guest columnists, Kathy Kelly, Lawrence Wittner, David Swanson and of course Carol’s Books and Movies, Gabby, the Fringe, Cooter, The Cats, The Others.

Don’t forget if you have not mailed your ballot be sure to get it idelivered to the County Clerk in Downieville before the Polls close on June 3rd.

The gorgeous photo this week is by Janice Maddox, she took it on a woodland walk in Calpine.

WSMC Information 5/28/14

Scott McFarland, CEO will appear at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, June 3 at 10 a.m. to tell the Board what’s going on and then on Wednesday, June 4th there will be a meeting at the Downieville School Gymnasium for the community to listen and give input to McFarland and the Board of Directors for the Western Sierra Medical Clinic. You are encouraged to attend both meetings to hear what is said to the Board of Supervisors and to have a discussion with WMSC powers.

I requested a copy of a statement made to the Western Sierra Medical Clinic Board of Directors by Frank Lang in an effort to have the Board understand the necessity of having an pro-active Clinic and 24/7 emergency care available in western Sierra County. Also here is a site that explains why western Sierra County is eligible for Grant funding
Statement by Frank J. Lang, NP, EJD
WSMC Board of Directors Special Meeting
May 22, 2014

Good afternoon. I want to thank Mr. McFarland and the Board of Directors for the opportunity to share my thoughts in the matter of staffing the Western Sierra Medical Clinic, Downieville Site. Mr. President, I would like to present this statement and then be pleased to respond to questions.
The issue is how to provide medical staffing in Downieville. A brief historical perspective may be helpful. The Clinic began in 1974 when a group of Lions Club members developed a community interest committee that evolved into the first Board of Directors. Our story was the basis for numerous grants and the HRSA 330 approval in 2007. That story is still relevant. The Clinic remains a vital clinical, economic and social structure in this community.
Dr. Sutton had provided medical care until he passed away in 1965. There was no medical care available until the Loyalton physician started coming one day per week in the early 1970s.When I arrived in Downieville in 1976 there was virtually no consistent primary medical care or integrated EMS response to medical care and emergencies. The fire department had begun to teach EMTs so the basic infrastructure was in place.
Western Sierra County comprises a 500 square mile frontier area which has no other medical care facilities. The only other acute care resources are local fire departments in Alleghany, Downieville and Sierra city. These are staffed by volunteers and the availability of 1 ambulance in Alleghany/Pike and 2 ambulances in Downieville. There are generally 1-2 EMTs in Alleghany and Pike and 4-6 EMTs available in Downieville and Sierra City. There are currently three (3) functioning Advanced EMTs who are able to start an IV and administer oral glucose and sublingual Nitroglycerin, injectable glucagon, injectable Narcan and auto inject epinephrine. One is in Sierra City, one is in Downieville and one is in Alleghany. They operate under the medical control of the medical provider in Downieville. EMS regulatory control is provided by Norcal EMS in Redding. The Clinic’s interface with EMS is provided by Enloe Medical Center, which has designated the Downieville Clinic as an Alternate Base Station to allow medical control. The Clinic is required to have a Physician or Field MICN available for that control and functioning in the field. There is a contractual Base Station agreement with Enloe Medical Center to that effect. I currently fill that role. There are no functioning Paramedics in western Sierra County. A Paramedic does live in Downieville, however, he works in Nevada County, which is governed by Sacramento Sierra EMS, and he has chosen not to associate with Norcal EMS, which governs Sierra County. Downieville Volunteer Fire Department administers the Ambulance System in western Sierra County. The volunteers are paid when they go out on the ambulance. The EMTs are coordinated by the Training Officer, Jacie Epperson, RN. There is monthly training and Run Review provided in Downieville by Enloe Flight Staff and it is funded by Enloe Medical Center. The Clinic Medical Provider is encouraged to attend.
Western Sierra County EMS statistics from their Intermedix EMR Reports include an average of 10 runs per month a third of which are trauma and 2/3rds are medical emergencies. 1/3rd originate in Sierra City and 2/3rds originate in Downieville. A small number originate in Alleghany. 1/3rd are generally evacuated by a combination of land ambulance and helicopter, mostly serviced by Enloe Flight Care.
Today there is an integrated team response to primary care needs, urgent and acute medical as well as trauma emergencies that comprises the Western Sierra County Primary Care and EMS system. No one aspect of this system is greater than the whole nor is a system whole unless all components are included. The Medical Clinic operational model is consistent with the HRSA goal of Medical Home and indeed is currently designated as a Medical Home.
Today’s Medical Home is a cultivated partnership between the patient, family, and primary care provider in cooperation with specialists and support from the community.  The patient/family is the focal point of this model, and the medical home is built around this center.  The Medical Home has seven (7) crucial characteristics.  These characteristic stress that care under the Medical Home model must be accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. The Medical Home has been defined within these 7 principles: These are found on the HRSA Web Site.
1. Personal physician or medical provider:
Each patient has an ongoing relationship with a personal physician or medical provider trained to provide first contact, continuous and comprehensive care.
2. Physician directed medical practice:
The personal physician leads a team of individuals at the practice level who collectively take responsibility for the ongoing care of patients.
3. Whole person orientation:
The personal physician or medical provider is responsible for providing for all the patient’s health care needs or taking responsibility for appropriately arranging care with other qualified professionals. This includes care for all stages of life; acute care; chronic care; preventive services; and end of life care.
4. Care is coordinated and/or integrated:
Across all elements of the complex health care system (e.g., subspecialty care, hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes) and the patient’s community (e.g., family, public and private community-based services). Care is facilitated by registries, information technology, health information exchange and other means to assure that patients get the indicated care when and where they need and want it in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.
5. Quality and safety are hallmarks of the medical home:
Practices advocate for their patients to support the attainment of optimal, patient-centered outcomes that are defined by a care planning process driven by a compassionate, robust partnership between physicians, medical providers, patients, and the patient’s family.
Evidence-based medicine and clinical decision-support tools guide decision making.
Physicians and medical providers in the practice accept accountability for continuous quality improvement through voluntary engagement in performance measurement and improvement.
Patients actively participate in decision-making, and feedback is sought to ensure patients’ expectations are being met.
Information technology is utilized appropriately to support optimal patient care, performance measurement, patient education, and enhanced communication.
Practices go through a voluntary recognition process by an appropriate non-governmental entity to demonstrate that they have the capabilities to provide patient centered services consistent with the Medical Home model.
Patients and families participate in quality improvement activities at the practice level.
6. Enhanced access to care:
Is available through systems such as open scheduling, expanded hours and new options for communication between patients, their personal physician or medical provider and practice staff.
7. Payment:
Appropriately recognizes the added value provided to patients who have a patient-centered medical home. The payment structure should be based on the following framework:
It should reflect the value of physician and non-physician staff patient-centered care management work that falls outside of the face-to-face visit.
It should pay for services associated with coordination of care both within a given practice and between consultants, ancillary providers, and community resources.
It should support adoption and use of health information technology for quality improvement;
It should support provision of enhanced communication access such as secure e-mail and telephone consultation;
It should recognize the value of physician or medical provider work associated with remote monitoring of clinical data using technology.
It should allow for separate fee-for-service payments for face-to-face visits. (Payments for care management services that fall outside of the face-to-face visit, as described above, should not result in a reduction in the payments for face-to-face visits.)
It should recognize case mix differences in the patient population being treated within the practice.
It should allow physicians to share in savings from reduced hospitalizations associated with physician-guided care management in the office setting.
It should allow for additional payments for achieving measurable and continuous quality improvements.

I firmly believe that the Downieville Model has been doing this for 38 years. It should be incorporated at the Miner’s Site in Grass Valley and that recruitment for providers should include an understanding that the Western Sierra Medical Clinic includes 2 sites and that staffing is a mutual system responsibility.
The Medical Provider in Downieville has to have multiple competencies including family medicine, pediatrics, surgical, orthopedic, obstetrical, radiologic, behavioral health, home care, hospice, jail care and emergency medical skills. This is difficult enough to find in physicians let alone nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants, but not impossible.
The Medical Model for the past 38 years has been to provide 24-hour, 7 days per week medical care to Western Sierra County. This has been challenging to say the least and I have experimented with various staffing models to meet that demand. The model requires significant personal commitment and is admittedly not easily found. Nor do I think it can be accomplished any longer with just 1 person. It requires at least 2 if not 3 individuals who can rotate through the clinic to maintain that availability and skill set. Dr. Kellerman and I continue our commitment to assist the Board of Directors in meeting that requirement.
All of you know the challenges of driving 50 miles on these mountain roads which can vary the time to Grass Valley by 1-2 hours depending on the weather and 1-1/2-3 hours to Truckee depending on the weather to meet acute and regular care needs. The whole point of a community Health Center is to meet the needs of the communities that they serve.
The minimum standard, it seems to me, is that everyone in Western Sierra County should have access to regular primary care, ACLS intervention, emergent medical or traumatic injury treatment and care when they are dying. We have saved and lost many individuals over the years and all had the benefit of a responsive and integrated medical care system. The cost for this system should be shared by the consumer, the responsive agencies, the County, the state and the federal government. I fought for the Jail Contract to provide $55,000 to offset the cost of afterhours care. The Sierra County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday, May 20, 2014, to maintain the Jail. It remains a Clinic Jail Contract responsibility to provide medical care to that facility. I understand the clinical and administrative issues having done both roles for 35 years. I understand the clinical needs of the community. I understand the need to have an integrated Clinic EMS system. The only purpose for all of this is to meet the individual citizen/patient and institutional care needs in this frontier area.
The communities in western Sierra County deserve the opportunity to participate in these decisions. Western Sierra County requires 24 hours 7 days per week on site care to meet the community health care needs. It might be hard to do but it is not impossible. If you abandon us it will be a catastrophic system failure and relegate us to Third World Care.

The Cats 5/28/14

We've talked about this before.. this is my space.. I don't want my photo taken ... this is the last time... I'm calling Rachel at ARF she'll make you stop...

5/28/14 We’ve talked about this before.. this is my space.. I don’t want my photo taken … this is the last time… I’m calling Rachel at ARF she’ll make you stop…

Good Food in Downieville 5/28/14

by courtesy of Milly of the Mountain Messenger

Now open in Downieville, besides the regulars, are two renewed businesses. Smoothieville, owned by Jean and Will Clark has a new face behind its doors, and menu. Justin Ensley had always dreamed of serving food to the local community as well as Sierra County visitors.


“I’ve always liked people, and I have always worked hard. I wanted to be able to fill the winter gap when there isn’t much open for people to find a place to eat. I plan on staying open throughout the winter.”

With Justin at the helm, Smoothiville offers the usual ice cream and Smoothie fare, in addition to other new and exciting menu items such as fresh salads at an affordable price. Salads have amazing toppings, a large variety of dressings, he will also offer chili, hot and cold sandwiches, fresh fruit. Already a winner is the fresh doughnuts and bagels Justin sells everyday.IMG_0220

Justin brings in the finest ice creams that he picks up from Tillamook and Cascade Glacier.

Smoothiville is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. until last light. “I’ll stay open each day for as long as I am needed. I want to be an asset to the town, here for you. I would like to thank those who have supported me; Woody and Billie, Ernie Peachay and Jim Astesana have been like family. I don’t know what i would have done without their friendship and support. And Will and Jean Clark, I thank them for this opportunity to make my dream come true.” said Justin to the Messenger staff, as he scooped a large bit of ice cream for customer Penelope Snow.

Head around the corner from Smoothieville to Downieville Mountain Cafe (formerly Downieville Mountain Bakery) now owned by Charles and Katie Read. The Cafe is a family owned and operated business offering baked muffins in mouth watering flavors, breakfast sandwiches, a fresh lunch menu all served in a friendly, comfortable setting.

Charles has been cooking onand off for 15 years and loves bringing great food items to the table. “We are not a strict bakery, although we do offer fresh baked goodies for you to enjoy.”DSCN1705

Besides the muffins, Charles and wife Katie are baking cookies, pies, scones and comfort food as well. This winter the Cafe will serve up a dinner menu with homemade chili, meatloaf, Italian dishes and much more.

When asked what the motivation behind their opening was, Charles stated “ Larry Breed, with his attitude and amazing personality, unknowingly helped motivate me. He is just wonderful, his advice and support was spot on. I am thankful to Larry.”DSCN1703

The Downieville Cafe is open 6 days a week, closed on Thursdays, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Cafe plans to remain open during the winter and for holidays. Be sure to say hello to the Read chi dren, Charlie and Jasmine, who offer up the warm, friendly welcome, no different from what you’ll receive from their parents.


OZ A Big Hit 5/28/14

OZ directed by JoJo Epps was a hit and a Wow show and if we were on Broadway it would be an extended run. Sadly we only had two days to see this wonderful production put on by a cooperative effort of Downieville Drama students and the Sierra County Arts Council.

A pre-show Kansas Hoe-Down written and directed by teacher Alicia Schofield and starring the K-3 students, Sully Kaiser, Colton White, Mariah White, Logan Kinneer, Jamsmine Smeltzley, Abby Sainsbury, Jasmine Read, Ariann Jackson, Klaesy Knoefler, Natalie Rust, Charlie Read and Landon Jackson was a big hit.

Karlee Bolle as Dorothy, Katie Epps as ToTo, Sierra Folsom as Boq, Austin Foster as Toq, Aairon Foster as Loq, Fiona Baiker as Glinda the Good, Savannah Burr as Wicked Witch, Alison Rambo as Scarecrow, JoJo Epps as Tin Woodsman, Jarrett Lawes as Cowardly Lion, Abby Sainsbury, Gillian Rust Esmeralda Nevarez, Eliane Campbell as Poppies, Josh Delisle and Jacob Rust as Fighting Trees, Megan Parker as China Princess, Makalia Rollins as Guardian of Oz 1 and Matthew Lozano as Guardian of Oz 2, Kaylon Hall as Oz, Tristan Jackson, Jake Sainsbury and Jesse Folsom as Winged Monkeys and Alexis Whitaker as Aunt Em performed admirably to the delight and awe of the audience.

A big thanks was given to Cracker Eshleman, Lynn Fillo, Kathy Fischer, Peggy Daigle, Cathy Stewart and Greg Bostrom for their assistance and expertise in bringing the production to fruition.lion and tomd

lionand tin

wicked and flowers


Bennie Roosevelt “Buck” Barker, 1932-2014

Alleghany, CA-May 21, 2014: Buck Barker, also known as the Watchman, passed away on Friday, May 2, 2014 at the age of 82. He lived in Gold Canyon, near Alleghany, CA, where he resided for most of the last forty years. Buck died at home of natural causes in the presence of friends.

Buck was born November 7th, 1932, in Mentor, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He is preceded in death by his parents, William Matthew and Lyda Caroline Barker, by his two brothers, Frank and James, and his sister Ellen. Buck is survived by his sister Jean Baker who resides in Missouri, his nieces Judy and Marika, and his nephew Eddie Barker, all of California.
After the Barker family moved to California, Buck enlisted in the military and became a maintenance mechanic and paratrooper. He served three terms, one in the Army and two in the Air Force. After he left the military he worked as a welder. He loved camping in Indian Valley as often as he could. Later in life he claimed it could have been the energy of the crystals embedded in the mountains that drew and kept him here.
Eventually, he decided his love for this area was greater than his need for money. He had no idea what he was in for when he took his first caretaker job at the Ruby Mine. He was not prepared for a long isolated winter with 13 feet of snow. He ran out of firewood and started cutting the tops off of trees in the deep snow. Even the tree tops eventually ran out and at one point he removed every other wooden step so he could build a fire.
Buck later became caretaker at the Osceola Mine in Alleghany, the upper Plumbago, then the German Bar Mine, the Alchemist Mine and finally the lower Plumbago. Buck was always generous and when he came across some gold, he wanted to help others. He loaned money to people who took advantage of his kindness and never returned it. Soon Buck was penniless again without an income. By then he rarely left the canyon and had to rely on others to bring him provisions, knowing that he could not pay for them.
Buck made so many great friends over the years that they supplied what he needed without him ever having to ask. His knack for remembering people’s names, along with his sharp wit and wry humor, meant that most everyone who met him became instant friends for life. Buck always said that as long as he had his beer, his chew, and his friends, that was all he ever needed. Buck had honor, a good heart and he became a part of the beauty he lived in.

A Summer Solstice Celebration of Buck’s life will take place on Saturday June 21st, 2014 in rustic Alleghany. Family and close friends will gather at 11:00 am for a symbolic send off ceremony and distinguished 21 Beer Salute at Pucker Point above Gold Canyon. There will be car pooling (off-road vehicles only) to the Point. Predicted return is by 1:00pm for memorial and pot luck at the old school gym. The entire event is pot luck and BYOB. Donations for beer kegs will be accepted.
Many are expected so guests can set up picnic style at the park any time during the day. Parking is first come first served. Musicians, singers and all acoustical instruments are welcomed. Buck loved Blue Grass music, Country, and especially the soundtrack from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” Join us to make the mountains rock and reverberate with the eagle spirit of Buck Barker. Plan on camping over if you will be impaired to drive steep winding roads. For more information call 530-287-3446.



Carol’s Books 5/28/14

Carol Says:

Unlucky 13
James Patterson

This book was a disappointment. Maybe it is just me thinking that. No, I looked up other reviews just now and found others thought the same. I have enjoyed this series but this was over the top and the same old theme, plus bad guys from previous books in this series. Really, can’t the author come up with new bad guys?

And I am tired of the bad guys always going after the main character, Lindsay, during and at the end of the book. This book was over the top with unrealistic situations for 3 of the 4 main characters. He has done better in the past and hopefully #14 will be better, or I shall have to opt out of this series. I would say miss this one and hope #14 is better.

Amazon Says:
Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (May 5, 2014)

The Women’s Murder Club is stalked by a killer with nothing to lose.

San Francisco Detective Lindsay Boxer is loving her life as a new mother. With an attentive husband, a job she loves, plus best friends who can talk about anything from sex to murder, things couldn’t be better.

Then the FBI sends Lindsay a photo of a killer from her past, and her happy world is shattered. The picture captures a beautiful woman at a stoplight. But all Lindsay sees is the psychopath behind those seductive eyes: Mackie Morales, the most deranged and dangerous mind the Women’s Murder Club has ever encountered.

In this pulse-racing, emotionally charged novel by James Patterson, the Women’s Murder Club must find a killer–before she finds them first.

Carrie’s Corner 5/28/14

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley

With the days warming up, and the nights not getting as cold, many of our gardens are doing rather well. The newly planted seeds are just starting to sprout up. The cute flower that you brought home from the nursery is starting to grow well. And, wait…stop the press! Who ordered holes in the plants? I don’t remember asking for any holes in my plant leaves. For that matter, I’m pretty sure none of you did either. And who, might I ask, decided to come into the yard and move the containers all over the place without my permission? Also, I would like to know who has been borrowing the watering can in the middle of the night, and dumping it all over the terra cotta saucers. Welcome to the bane of the gardener’s existence. Or, more commonly known as ‘get the hell out of my garden’.
This is when gardeners are going out in the morning to water their new crops, only to find that some have holes in their leaves, while others bear a striking resemblance to wilted leaves. We also find out that there are new critters who have not only come to visit, but have decided that our yards are the new hot spot in town. Time to get down, and dirty. Your garden has just become home to snails, slugs, raccoons, mice, moles, voles, and, the occasional deer. In other words, an open salad bar. Chances are, you’ve got a spare can of beer…ok, maybe not a spare can. Pour that into a bowl. Bury the bowl in the dirt until the rim is level with the ground. Good-bye snails and slugs. Build a bat house (not a bat cave). Bats eat thousands of bugs per night. Having a few around is going to do a lot of good at keeping critters at bay (especially the flying variety).

Ground up egg shells, used coffee grounds, sandpaper…all are rough items that slugs and snails hate to get onto. Copper works well too, but it will not kill them. It will simply deter them. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray around the garden. Make sure that you do this to the critters, and not your vegetation. Cinnamon works great against ants (as does Chili powder, cayenne powder and garlic powder. Dump that stuff right on top of the ant hill. Ants be gone!! The best way is to lure the critters away from your garden, without killing them. So be sure to try natural solutions before purchasing any chemicals that are not 100% organic. Safety first! Always use gloves while getting rid of critters. The last thing you need is a paper cut, from the sharp edge of a leaf…that you accidentally top off with chili powder, vinegar or beer. Oh my!

It’s Not Inevitable 5/28/14

Why War Is Not Inevitable

By David Swanson

David Swanson

David Swanson

If war were inevitable, there would be little point in trying to end it. If war were inevitable, a moral case might be made for trying to lessen its damage while it continued. And numerous parochial cases could be made for being prepared to win inevitable wars for this side or that side.

Developing ways to avoid generating conflicts is part of the answer, but some occurrence of conflict (or major disagreement) is inevitable, which is why we must use more effective and less destructive tools to resolve conflicts and to achieve security. But there is nothing inevitable about war. It is not made necessary by our genes, by other inevitable forces in our culture, or by crises beyond our control.

Our Genes

War has only been around for the most recent fraction of the existence of our species. We did not evolve with it. During this most recent 10,000 years, war has been sporadic. Some societies have not known war. Some have known it and then abandoned it. Just as some of us find it hard to imagine a world without war or murder, some human societies have found it hard to imagine a world with those things. A man in Malaysia, asked why he wouldn’t shoot an arrow at slave raiders, replied “Because it would kill them.” He was unable to comprehend that anyone could choose to kill. It’s easy to suspect him of lacking imagination, but how easy is it for us to imagine a culture in which virtually nobody would ever choose to kill and war would be unknown?

Whether easy or hard to imagine, or to create, this is decidedly a matter of culture and not of DNA. According to myth, war is “natural.” Yet a great deal of conditioning is needed to prepare most people to take part in war, and a great deal of mental suffering is common among those who have taken part. In contrast, not a single person is known to have suffered deep moral regret or post-traumatic stress disorder from war deprivation.

In some societies women have been virtually excluded from war making for centuries and then included. Clearly, this is a question of culture, not of genetic makeup. War is optional, not inevitable, for women and men alike.

Some nations invest much more heavily in militarism than most and take part in many more wars. Some nations, under coercion, play minor parts in the wars of others. Some nations have completely abandoned war. Some have not attacked another country for centuries. Some have put their military in a museum.

Forces in Our Culture

War long predates capitalism, and surely Switzerland is a type of capitalist nation just as the United States is. But there is a widespread belief that a culture of capitalism — or of a particular type and degree of greed and destruction and short-sightedness — necessitates war. One answer to this concern is the following: any feature of a society that necessitates war can be changed and is not itself inevitable. The military-industrial complex is not an eternal and invincible force. Environmental destructiveness and economic structures based on greed are not immutable.

There is a sense in which this is unimportant; namely, we need to halt environmental destruction and reform corrupt government just as we need to end war, regardless of whether any of these changes depends on the others to succeed. Moreover, by uniting such campaigns into a comprehensive movement for change, strength in numbers will make each more likely to succeed.

But there is another sense in which this is important; namely, we need to understand war as the cultural creation that it is and stop imagining it as something imposed on us by forces beyond our control. In that sense it is important to recognize that no law of physics or sociology requires us to have war because we have some other institution. In fact, war is not required by a particular lifestyle or standard of living because any lifestyle can be changed, because unsustainable practices must end by definition with or without war, and because war actually impoverishes societies that use it.

Crises Beyond Our Control

War in human history up to this point has not correlated with population density or resource scarcity. The idea that climate change and the resulting catastrophes will inevitably generate wars could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is not a prediction based on facts.

The growing and looming climate crisis is a good reason for us to outgrow our culture of war, so that we are prepared to handle crises by other, less destructive means. And redirecting some or all of the vast sums of money and energy that go into war and war preparation to the urgent work of protecting the climate could make a significant difference, both by ending one of our most environmentally destructive activities and by funding a transition to sustainable practices.

In contrast, the mistaken belief that wars must follow climate chaos will encourage investment in military preparedness, thus exacerbating the climate crisis and making more likely the compounding of one type of catastrophe with another.

Ending War Is Possible

Human societies have been known to abolish institutions that were widely considered permanent. These have included human sacrifice, blood feuds, duelling, slavery, the death penalty, and many others. In some societies some of these practices have been largely eradicated, but remain illicitly in the shadows and on the margins. Those exceptions don’t tend to convince most people that complete eradication is impossible, only that it hasn’t yet been achieved in that society. The idea of eliminating hunger from the globe was once considered ludicrous. Now it is widely understood that hunger could be abolished — and for a tiny fraction of what is spent on war. While nuclear weapons have not all been dismantled and eliminated, there exists a popular movement working to do just that.

Ending all war is an idea that has found great acceptance in various times and places. It was more popular in the United States, for example, in the 1920s and 1930s. In recent decades, the notion has been propagated that war is permanent. That notion is new, radical, and without basis in fact.

David Swanson writes for PeaceVoice and wants you to declare peace at His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.


DVL Treasure Hunt 5/28/14

Downieville “Treasure Hunt” Yard Sales
Now’s the time to clean out closets and get ready for the yard sale weekend of Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15. Sales will be located all over town in Downieville and a guide will be available to help prospective buyers find their “treasure”!
Location maps will be available at many businesses in town and posted on the window of the post office. To be included as a seller on the treasure map for one day or both, please call Cherry Simi at 289-3659.

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