Beason Applauds Sierra County 9/3/14

On behalf of the 34 member counties of the Rural County Representatives of California, I want to applaud Sierra County for its bold action in declaring a state of emergency as a result of inadequate response to extreme fire danger in California’s forestland.

At our August Board of Directors meeting, RCRC undertook a similar effort and presented a statewide resolution for its members to adopt at the county level declaring an ongoing emergency regarding the insufficient and ineffective forest management and wildfire prevention activities on federal lands across California.

RCRC has long advocated for a common-sense approach toward reducing the effects and severity of wildfires, most recently focusing our efforts on getting the pace and scale of forest management on public lands increased. As a statewide organization whose member counties contain more than 70 percent of U.S. Forest Service’s land in California, RCRC is using the resolution drive as part of a broader strategic effort to demonstrate the widespread, statewide impact that poor forest management has upon our citizens.

Like Supervisor Paul Roen, we too feel that the status quo is unacceptable, and while forest management reform has been an ongoing focus for RCRC, we believe that a coordinated, united show of support cannot go unheard.

Nate Beason

Nevada City, Calif.

The writer is chair of the Rural County Representatives of California and Nevada County supervisor.

Fringe Reviews Grand Jury 8/27/14

Straight talk about Loyalton
A Fringe Review of the 2013-2014 Grand Jury Report
by DeVita

Grand jury reports are often mostly fat and gristle. I’m guilty, in past, of making humorous and disparaging remarks about grand jury reports. Not so this year’s report.FINAL SIERRA COUNTY CIVIL GRAND JURY REPORT 2013-2014 2014 8 19

I find this one to be unusually pragmatic, objective when applicable, humorous when applicable, and incredibly well organized. Others might find it differently. Read it yourself:

1. The report covers the jail, of course, and makes prudent recommendations, including considering closing the jail. I hope the county doesn’t close the jail; it’s bad enough to be in the jug without being sent to bunk with the miscreants of other counties. Even so, I know the recommendations of the Grand Jury are right; like so many other things we value, we might not be able to afford this any more. Let’s hope the effort to get money for the jail from AB109 Realignment funds is successful. The report praises Sheriff John Evans and jail staff for cooperating on the investigation.

2. The Grand Jury investigated the new bureaucracy created by Realignment. This is the state effort to keep people from California’s over crowded prisons. It’s working as intended. but staff involved should do sound financial record keeping and keep good data on outcomes.

3. The GJ gave the nod to electronic monitoring: good work to Jeff Bosworth and staff.

4. Calpine Water District recommendation: Continue making the best of a bad situation. Flush the hydrants once in a while.

5. The report advises the people to thank and congratulate Heather Foster and the staff who accomplish our elections and protect our vote: “The citizens of Sierra County should thank the Clerk/Recorder and her staff for their professionalism and the excellent care in making the voting process honest and transparent. The process is open for all citizen observers.”

6. The Grand Jury tracked down the Turner table, a table made by F.H. Turner at Turner’s mill in Sattley in 1907. The family gave it to the county 36 years later. It sat around the court house and apparently ended up in the office of the Assessor. When Bill Copren, himself an antique valuable to the county, retired, it was given to him; however, the historic value of the piece was not included in the request to the Board of Supervisors to dump it as surplus. The GJ wants the court to instruct Copren to give the table back.
And no doubt the table should be given back to the county, but Bill Copren’s contribution to the county and to the preservation of the history of the county should be noted.
The Grand Jury recommends that the County take better care of it’s stuff.

7. Finally, the Grand Jury addressed the misery that is Loyalton. The story of Loyalton itself is just interesting, like a slow motion train wreck. It’s what Loyalton stands for that has a larger implication; it stands as a symbol of our shared frustration. the struggle of small towns who outlive their social usefulness.

The Grand Jury report neatly consolidates the long series of events by which the little town struggles against death. It begins with the town’s vital signs: population is down almost a hundred people from ten years before and in 2010 was 769. It might be 750 by now. The town’s population is older than average, with the median age being about 45 in 2010; the median age in California was about 33 at the same period. The town is also more poor, with a median household income of $10,000 a year less than the rest of the state, and a home value of less than half the average of the state.

In living memory Loyalton was a vital town, with a car dealership and a hospital. Loyalton is a town that worked, was proud to work, celebrated people with dirt on their hands and pitch on their jeans. The work went away. People have been waiting a long time for that prosperity to return, they waited through the mill closing and being hauled off, they waited through economic “downturns” and the collapse of real estate.

A lot of things have changed in living memory. Time was, people did for themselves. They didn’t waste money on pointless nonsense. When there was work to be done, they did it. They didn’t accept defeat.

All of those fine qualities have gotten Loyalton in trouble.

The Grand Jury report outlined the social and economic environment: it is the tenth smallest incorporated city, like other very small cities, it’s mostly broke, has few employees and relies on volunteers (poorly trained volunteers with health issues). Work to be done, people do it.

As the budget went down, they hired locally instead of getting professionals at a price they couldn’t justify. When the work on the sewer raised sewer costs dramatically, but didn’t actually fix the most problematic part of the system (the ancient services from the houses) the city leadership balked, lowered rates to what their often old and poor people could afford. It was a huge amount of money to send sewage into a cow field, sewage that would have found it’s way there anyway, as some see it (actually, it was a plan to control sewage in the wet season). The fee schedule originally set up would have paid for and maintained the system; reducing that amount means there isn’t the money to service debt and do maintenance.

The Grand Jury discovered Loyalton doing what other poor towns and indeed, poor people, do, robbing peter to pay paul, assigning money to projects they hope would arrive, misusing some funds.

In an effort to spur growth the city fired the county from building inspections and hired a private firm. That engenders extra cost, but doesn’t actually give the city more power to build houses. Building inspections are part of a greater system, which includes insurers, and lenders; play funny and nobody will stamp your work.

Then, the Loyalton Hotel burned down. For decades it has been a symbol of the end of prosperity, sitting vacant and concrete as a grave marker, at the kink in the road, making it visible from a distance coming from either direction. The owners should have fixed the building, torn it down, or given it to the city. Instead, they did nothing and the city took care of the problem.

At the very least, the city took it on itself to haul off, before proper inspection, remains of the building, and to make the site safe by putting some dirt down on on the ashes. When there’s work to be done, do it: haul the stuff away, put some dirt down and an eyesore is gone, risk to citizens is gone, and thousands and thousands weren’t wasted on experts who could only tell everyone what everyone could see: there was some lead paint and such because it was an old building, and it burned down.

But, this isn’t 1950. The stuff is going to hit the fan on all of these things, and the city is poorly prepared for any more trouble of any kind.

The Grand Jury came to an not very surprising conclusion: the City is one month from bankruptcy. So are most Americans.

Some would say that some local loonies took control of the City Council and, through arrogance, bullying, and denial, have run the city in to the ground. The GJ found, to no one’s surprise, that Brookes Mitchell and Craig McHenry had trouble with the truth. The report found enough to make charges possible. The two ran Loyalton, breaking laws left and right, or, if you like, quickly getting things done, and done wrong. But, that’s what happens when no one better cares to run for office, when there is no one local to do better, when people with those skills have moved, or invested in something else.

The Grand Jury recommended: The best recommendation that the Grand Jury can make is for the citizens of Loyalton to become involved with the city and watch everything they do.

From the outside, that certainly does seem to be the case that the council got drunk and made some very bad decisions, but pretty clearly things wouldn’t be much better if the state legislature had been running Loyalton. The town is in a hard way. In fat times, even bad city governments govern pretty well. In lean times it’s hard to make headway regardless of who is at the helm.

Loyalton, the town and its citizens, haven’t done anything to deserve this fate. They’ve been as hard working and decent as they were in good times; it’s as pretty a little town as you could ask for, and the people who have stayed out the hard times don’t deserve to have their houses made valueless. But they will. If the state starts to fine them for sewer violations, and the city can’t afford to fix them, that will be the end.

So, it looks like Loyalton is crazy, like when someone who is dying of hypothermia takes all their clothes off. From the inside it’s the decay of a town that deserved a better end. Loyalton’s craziness comes from a reality which is simply not acceptable. It’s the same inability to accept reality that has driven people in Downieville to start spreading their clothes on the snow. It’s gripped a lot of little California towns. It isn’t so much Loyalton that has changed, it’s the times.

Is there nothing Loyalton can do? Maybe, maybe not. It wouldn’t be the first town in California to be abandoned because of sewer or water problems. If people with enough money to pay the tariff on the sewer, the problems caused by hauling the old hotel away, and to hire qualified city staff, then perhaps the little town could be saved. But, why would such marvelous beings invest in Loyalton when where are even more picturesque little towns going bust all over the mountains of the west? That’s how extinction can happen.

When the City of Loyalton is gone, there will still be people living in town, still be a post office and a store, but it’ll cost a dollar to poop, and the county will call the shots. Maybe that’s enough, maybe something will happen with the cogen plant, or some other unforeseen event will bring a gush of money to the town, a good town, one that deserves to live.

But, that’s my opinion, and not part of the Grand Jury report.

Others may differ, but I find this to be one of the best GJ reports in a long time.

Good luck!

Gabby Fringette 8/27/14

Summer is Over
By Gabby Fringettegabby-in-social-space-150x150

I love summer. The slight sting on my face from sunburn, the refreshing tang of lemonade in the shade. The slightly murky scent of a swimming hole that isn’t exactly clean, but you know it’s safe because of all the varieties of salamanders that thrive.
The total feeling of relaxation, because you know you don’t have to do anything.
But, alas, it is not to be now.

School starts in the middle of August.
Summer seemed to be over too soon. It’s not fair, and it makes me want to throw a tantrum like I’m a small child.
Unfortunately, that position in the family has already been claimed.

When I was a small child, from the time when the nip in the air was gone, to the time when it came again, seemed endless.

I just feel like I didn’t get enough summer stuff done. The lack of frolicking is staggering.

Most of my summer was taken up with paint mixing, a delicate dance with stacks of paper, and chicken politics.

To make things worse, the smart part of my brain slept funny. So now it’s sore and irritable, and won’t be happy with the choices the illogical part of brain made.
Pretty soon the realization of the classes I signed up for will hit me… yup, there it is.
What was I thinking?! Intro to Demonology?! Elementary paperwork?! Sociology?!

Okay, all is not lost… except summer. As I get older, summer break has been getting small and smaller. When I’m an adult, I won’t get a summer break at all.
I lament and dislike this.

What would I do if I had the summer to do over again?

I’d have spent less time on the computer. All that time exposed to the radiation from the screen, I swear it fried part of my brain.
The flashing lights and ability to speed stuff up shortened both my short term memory and my attention sp…
Wait, what was I saying there?

I would have spent more time outside. Despite the constant threat of mountain lions, I love the outdoors.
Besides, we have a dog. A lion would probably attack him first, and give me time to get to the house and grab my hefty but handy shotgun.

I would have buried more things. There’s nothing like the thrill of brushing the last rough grains of dirt off a little box, and thinking ‘I might have finally found buried treasure.’

I would have eaten more summer foods.
A hotdog and a root-beer float just don’t taste the same when you’re having it with pumpkin pie and figgy pudding.

Well, now that I know summer is disappointingly short, I’ll try to do better next year.
Have a happy fall…

Carrie’s Corner 8/27/14

By: Carrie A. Blakleyimages

All right everyone, it’s back to school time, and once again it’s time for some handy duty back to school tips and tricks that will perhaps help your days go just a bit smoother. When packing lunches, remember that those fancy hard plastic ice packs aren’t always necessary. In fact, they can take up quite a bit of room in the lunch box/bag. Need a form fitting ice pack? Just mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol and 2 cups of water. Try to get as much air out of the bag before you seal it shut. Then, put it in the freezer. It will need to be in there for about an hour. After that, it’s good to go! If you want to be sure it’s extra sealed, simply place the sealed bag zip-side down into another zip-loc bag.

Do your kids come home with bags that smell like they brought home a dead animal? Simply mix baking soda and a few drops of essential oil together. Place that into a sandwich sized zip-loc bag, and poke a few holes in the top of the bag (just under the seal) to allow the aroma to seep out. Place the bag upright so that it does not tip over and leave it over night in the book or duffel bag(s). If it’s an odd-shaped bag, just place the zip-loc baggy into a flat container to keep it upright.

Bumps, bruises and scrapes? How about mosquito bites, minor sun burn or rashes? Forget all of those fancy creams and ointments (unless your child really requires them). Place some witch hazel on a cotton ball and let the soothing begin. Witch hazel helps to draw out topical, and just-under-the-surface oils from the skin. That includes anything that may be trapped in the pores. This is also another reason why witch hazel makes the perfect anti-zit facial toner for both males and females! No matter what, just be sure that you have a wonderful school season! Let me know if you have any handy duty tips and tricks to make your child’s school days a bit better! Happy learning everyone!

Big Sierra City Rod Run 8/27/14

This year marks our 7TH Big City ROD RUN, held in our beautiful mountain town of Sierra City.
People come from near and far to join in on this fun CAR PARTY. This year’s entries list Petaluma, Napa, Cool, Redding, Stockton, Folsom, Reno and yes Loyalton as home! We even have one that shows Manhattan, NY., as home.  How on earth did he find us??
We have 40 awards which are sponsored by businesses from all over the county, including Sierra City’s Fire Dept., Sierra County Sheriff’s Dept, and even the Sierra City Methodist Church “One Righteous Ride”. Everyone  is waiting to see who gets the Town Tramps coveted “Best Back Seat” award! Heck it’s worth it just to come and hear the name on the awards.
Please mark your calendar’s and plan to attend whether you bring your own wheels or as a spectator.
Show & Shine, live music, poker walk, hot rods, rat rods, drag boats and possibly a few motorcycles. Saturday, September 13TH from 10:00 AM… till the cows come home, awards at 4:00 PM. After the awards there will be a cruise, so if your attending as a spectator be sure to whoop and holler for your favorites as they come by. We hope to see you there!! More and Entry info

Wednesday August 27, 2014

Well it is that time of year for a good read. So why not check out the 2013-14 Sierra County Grand Jury Report. FINAL SIERRA COUNTY CIVIL GRAND JURY REPORT 2013-2014 2014 8 19 . Be sure to read the City of Loyalton portion, not good news.

Tomorrow, Thursday 8/28/14 Congressman Doug LaMalfa will be at the Downieville Community Hall from 10 a.m. to noon for a Town Hall Meeting with the community. This is an excellent opportunity to ask the Congressman about your concerns. Of course a major issue is the Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Downieville future and how congress will be addressing funding concerns for rural health clinics as the focus has changed from geography to population. Rural areas cannot compete with populated areas and yet the health needs of these frontier areas are as critical as any city. So come to the meeting and ask the Congressman to be a leader in addressing these issues.

Saturday night is the Downieville Volunteer Fire Departments Labor Day Dance and the proceeds are for the Community Hall so chip in and help out and dance out summer.

And then on Tuesday, September 2nd at 11:30 a.m. the Sierra County Board of Supervisors will be having a Discussion/Action item on the agenda to address the future of Downieville’s Western Sierra Medical Clinic and the needs of their constituents and the Jail contract with WSMC. Go, listen, learn and put your two cents in about why 24/7 primary, urgent and emergency response is necessary for the economic and livability of western Sierra County.

Here’s an update on what might happen this winter .

Once again we have Carol’s Books and Movies, The Fringe, Gabby, Dianne’s Ponderings, The Cats, The Others, lots of local events for Labor Day Weekend, have fun, be safe, and don’t start a wildfire please.

The week’s lovely photo is from Ann Platt and maybe one of the last of summer shots…


David Keith Farmer 1927 – 2014


David Keith Farmer MAY 2, 1927 – AUGUST 24, 2014

David Keith Farmer, aka “The Mayor,” passed away peacefully Sunday, August 24, in Reno with several members of his family by his side. David suffered a stroke late Wednesday afternoon. In the days following the stroke and up to his passing David was continually surrounded by family members. David was 87 years old.

David was born May 2, 1927 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Janette Farmer. He left home at the ripe old age of 14 and made his way across the nation at least twice “riding the rails.” He was 16 when WWII began so naturally he exaggerated his age and joined the Navy/Air Corps. After his release from the Navy, he joined the Army where he served in both WWII and the Korean Conflict.

It was while he was stationed in Japan with the Army that he met the love of his life, Eleanor. They had been married 56 years when Eleanor passed away in 2007. David is also pre-deceased by his son-in-law Richard Jackson.

He is survived by his four daughters; Allison Baca, Hillary Lozano, Valerie Jackson, Cynthia Schofield, three sons-in-law, 11 grandchildren and their spouses, 22 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandson.

Graveside Services with Military Honors will be held at the Downieville Cemetery Sunday August 31, at 2:00 P.M. and a Celebration of Life immediately following at the Downieville School Cafeteria/Gymnasium.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations in honor of David be mailed to: Veteran’s Guesthouse, 880 Locust St., Reno, NV 89502, or they can be made online at

OBit logo


Dance To Trash Gordon August 30

The Downieville Volunteer Fire Department

Labor Day Weekend
Saturday, August 30, 2014 @ 8p-12mn

Join us for a benefit street dance featuring the

Trash Gordon Band

Main Street
Downieville, CA

Tickets: $8 @ gate

Hot dogs, nachos, beer, wine and soda will be available for purchase during the dance.

All proceeds go directly for maintenance and improvement of the Downieville Community Hall.

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