Betty Vilas 1923 – 2014

Mary Elizabeth Vilas

Mary Elizabeth Vilas

Betty Vilas, 90, of her beloved Downieville, died peacefully here Saturday September 20, 2014.
She was born Mary Elizabeth Lavezzola at Miss Elizabeth Watson’s Sanitarium in Nevada City, December 30, 1923 to Tony and Tessie Lavezzola. Betty graduated from Downieville High School and attended Yuba College in Marysville. Upon leaving college she worked as an assistant for two doctors in Sacramento. Soon thereafter, Betty married Thomas W. Vilas March 9, 1946.
Betty and Tom established Sierra Hardware in 1947, and they worked side by side, as partners in the business. Later she was joined in the store by her best friend, Jean Stevens. Together they enjoyed fishing, gardening, bingo and occasional gaming trips to Reno. Betty was an excellent cook, seamstress and a “Mrs. Fixit”. She was involved in almost every community and school organization over the years and made herself available to a number of townsfolk in need of health care at home before those services were available here. Above all else she was a world class mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She made friends of all ages easily and cherished them forever.
Betty was preceded in death by her brother, Peter (Butch) Lavezzola in 1968 and her husband, Tom in 2002. She is survived by her children – Thomas Vilas and wife Judi , Betty Brau and husband Paul, Cindy McCreary and husband Dennis, grand children – Jennifer Sahyan and husband Robert, Tony McCreary, Randi McCreary, John Clayton and wife Michele, Jana Teter and husband Brian, great-grandchildren – Devyn and Dominic Teter and Ryan Clayton.She is also survived by her dear friend and sister-in-law, Marian Lavezzola and nieces Jan Hamilton and Pamela Brandon.
The family wants to thank all those who have expressed such warmth in their condolences and sympathies. In accordance with her wishes there will be no formal services. Although Betty dearly loved flowers, her wish was that in lieu thereof donations might be made to the Downieville Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 25, Downieville, CA 95936 or the Kellermann Foundation, P.O. Box 832809, Richardson, TX 75083-2909.OBit logo

Sheriff’s Public Log 10/1/14

SO Badge

Sierra County Sheriff’s Public Information Log


  • Report of a Battery in Sierraville
  • Fraud on an elder in Goodyears Bar
  • Ambulance needed in Loyalton
  • Threatening behavior in Loyalton
  • Co-workers dispute in Sierraville
  • Ambulance requested in Loyalton
  • Battery in Sierraville
  • Suspicious vehicles on a FS dirt road near Downieville


  • Welfare check needed on suicidal patient
  • Three yoa with possible neck injury near Loyalton
  • Bear cub wandering alone near Loyalton
  • Stolen firearm near Camptonville
  • Vandalism on property at Hawley Lake
  • Vehicle with expired registration towed in Loyalton
  • Battery in Downieville
  • CHP requests assistance with Sierraville road hazard
  • Injured deer in road near Sierraville
  • Deer broke into house and turned off answering machine in Goodyears


  • Audible alarm at Loyalton School
  • Theft via email in Sierraville
  • Investigation of controlled substance somewhere
  • Civil standby in Loyalton
  • Restraining order served in Loyalton
  • Suspicious circumstances in Sierraville


  • 2′ x 2′ boulder inhwy 49 south of Bassetts
  • Alarm issue in Downieville
  • Property damage from bear in Downieville
  • Vandalism in Sierraville
  • Marijuana after eviction in Loyalton
  • Poison oak victim needs ambulance in Loyalton
  • Ambulance for broken hip in Sierra City
  • Ambulance for heart issues in Loyalton


  • Fire alarm at school in Loyalton
  • Theft of marijuana reported in Calpine
  • Court commitment in Downieville
  • Civil service in Downieville
  • High school kids loitering in the road Loyalton
  • Restraining order violated in Downieville
  • Mining diver reported in Sierra City
  • Violation of probation arrest in Loyalton
  • Problems at a resort with bear near Downieville


  • Family disturbance in Loyalton
  • Child dials 9-1-1 from Coyoteville
  • Injured deer on Gold Lake Road
  • Death threats in Yuba County
  • Vehicle accident reported by Plumas SO near Sierraville


  • Complaints of loud music in Loyalton
  • Overdue party reported to SCSO
  • Suspicious persons at home with owner gone Loyalton
  • Accidental firearm discharge with injury near Alleghany
  • SCSO assista Fish & Wildlife near Jackson Meadows
  • Washoe SO reports domestic violence in Verdi

Thelma Norton 1918 – 2014

Thelma Norton

Thelma Norton

Thelma Norton

Thelma Norton passed away on September 30, 2014. She was 96.
Thelma Norton, for decades, has been the heartbeat of kindness, joy, and love in Downieville.
It is not difficult to locate her cozy residence, for it is near the center of town. Similar to her pretty face, the front yard has a warm friendly appearance. There is a soft mellowness, a quiet glow; a peacefulness.
On holidays, Thelma decorated the outside of her neat residence with attractive and colorful designs. Even though there are no words, the feeling is conveyed about the gladness abounding in that particular holiday. No matter what the mood of the person going by, there is a warm uplifting of the spirit.
Thelma’s life was not contained entirely within the strong walls of her well-cared for home. In fact, it overflowed in compassionate directions. Where there was a sick or elderly person, her tender kindness prevailed. Where there was sorrow or tribulation, her support was offered. Her loving helpfulness responds in greatly-needed ways.
Moreover, her sincere spirit was revealed in the way she walked, smiled, and greeted people. There was a lifting melody in her footstep, a song, a light-heartedness.
There is no kind of measurement for her goodness, joy, and kindness. Her vibrant character, however, entitled her to be Downieville’s glorious and precious valentine.
Arrangements are under the care of Chapel of the Angels Mortuary in Grass Valley.

We Support Sheriff Evans 10/8/14

Over 150 Years of
Sierra County Law Enforcement
We have proudly served Sierra County and our years of experience and professional judgement have led to the decision to endorse Sheriff John Evans as the best qualified person for the job.

Lee Adams – Deputy, Sergeant & Sheriff – 28 years
“John has proven himself to be a sheriff who understands both the demands and responsibilities of the office he holds.”

Steve Eich – Deputy & Sergeant – 28 years
“I like and admire Sheriff Evans growth as an effective leader, responsible department head and financially sound decision maker during a deep recession nationwide.”

John Fatheree – Deputy – 10 years
“Sheriff Evans has taken positive steps to further the professionalism within the sheriff’s office. John Evans has my full support and vote.”

David Marshall – Deputy, Sgt. & Undersheriff – 35 years
“John is the right person at the right time.”

Steve Peterson – Deputy, Sgt., Lt., Undersheriff – 35 years
“Sheriff John Evans has the focus, initiative and ethics that will continue to lead Sierra County in a successful direction.”

Mel Ponta – Reserve Deputy – 29 years
“The people of Sierra County have invested greatly in a sheriff who has served his county well.”

Sheriff Evans has the proven ability, experience and knowledge of our unique community and we ask you to vote with us for the best man for the job.

 Ad by the Committee to Re-elect Sheriff John Evans

County Government News 10/1/14

Did You Know …
· That you can receive email notifications of, county government news, county jobs, bid postings, county board and committee meetings, and more on the Sierra County website? Just go to and click on Notify Me, enter your email address and choose the notices you would like to receive. After responding to the confirmation email listing the chosen options, you will be added to the subscriber list. When you receive an email notification from the county website, you can be sure it is coming from the small number of people who are trained and authorized to send them.
· Fire season is upon us. It’s time to enter and/or update your CodeRed emergency notification information to receive alerts from authorized county departments for urgent messages of fire, flood, evacuation, missing person alerts, etc. CodeRed now has the ability to send to home and cell phones, emails and text messages in emergency situations so you can receive information if you are away from home. Access CodeRed online through the county website homepage or you can call the Office of Emergency Services at 530-289-2850 to receive assistance in entering in your contact information. Do it today!
· More information about how to prepare for an emergency is available under Emergency Services.
· We need your help: Can you help identify the internet and cellphone hotspots in Sierra County? We’d like to put this information on the website for visitors and residents alike. Please send the addresses and we’ll put it up.
· In the past year, there were over 45,000 visits to the website with 139,000 pages viewed. Clearly it is an essential information source for our county of 3,086. If you have suggestions for improvements to the website, please send them on. It will always be a work in progress, let’s make it the best it can be.
Thank you,
Cindy Ellsmore
Volunteer Webmaster

Code Red Sign Up Now 9/24/14

Sign up and update your CodeRED information
Fire season is upon us. It’s time to enter and/or update your CodeRED emergency notification information to receive alerts from authorized county departments for urgent messages of fire, flood, evacuation, missing person alerts, etc.
Fire season is upon us. It’s time to enter and/or update your CodeRED emergency notification information to receive alerts from authorized county departments for urgent messages of fire, flood, evacuation, missing person alerts, etc. CodeRED now has the ability to send to home and cell phones, emails and text messages in emergency situations so you can receive information even if you are away from home. Also be sure to check the location of your home or business on the map and adjust it as needed.

To prevent redundancy and the inherent problems of maintaining two alert systems, this email alert system from the county website is being discontinued. Please add or update your contact information to CodeRED using the link below. Do it today!
More about CodeRED and emergency preparedness:

More Code Red & Sign up

Wednesday September 24, 2014

Here it is Fall, for sure, no doubt about it and it is supposed to rain in Downieville tomorrow. Time to ignite the pilot light on my propane stove.  I’m hoping it will be as easy to do as last year. The year before it took 4 different people to figure out how these new fangled things work. Last year I did it by myself, but when it lit I was surprised and wasn’t sure what the key ingredient for success was, let’s hope I surprise myself this year.

Spike has settled in and is an indoor cat for the winter, so those who have noticed his absence from the porch and were concerned, he is content in the house, see this week’s The Cats, he and Jasper have become friends.

There will be an important community meeting with Downieville Clinic – Patient Advocacy Committee (DC-PAC) on Monday September 29th at 4 p.m. at the Downieville Community Hall. District 1 Supervisor Lee Adams and District 2 Supervisor Peter Huebner will report on their meetings with WSMC CEO W. Scott McFarland and Downieville Fire Chief Lee Brown, Sierra City Fire Chief Bryan Davey and EMS Supervisor Jacie Epperson will report on meetings regarding the future of Emergency Response for western Sierra County. Other important decisions need to be made and will be discussed at this meeting so be sure to attend.

So this week, we have thoughtful guest columnists, Rob Okun, John LaForge, Winslow Myers and  Laura Finley writing about issues we need to really think about and then step to the plate. The Fringe, Gabby, Carrie’s Corner, the Cats, the Others, many local events to plan for and local news. You’ll notice on The Others I’m getting a little desperate (LA) so if you have a dog, snake, bird send me a picture please so I don’t have to resort to this week’s tactics.

This week’s photo is by Mary Davey of

Truckee Call Center 9/24/14

Truckee Ranger District Establishes King Fire Call Center

Center to ensure clear, accurate information for Truckee and North Lake Tahoe

Truckee, Calif. – The Tahoe National Forest, working with the California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 and local emergency services partners, has established a call center at the Truckee Ranger District Office. The purpose of the call center is to provide residents of Truckee and Lake Tahoe Basin with clear and accurate information on the King Fire.

The Truckee Call Center phone number is: (530) 587-9096

“Since the King Fire started, we’ve seen false rumors and misinformation spread in the community and having deleterious effects,” said Joanne Roubique, Truckee District Ranger. “This call center will help us better meet the needs of the Truckee and North Lake Tahoe communities.”

The Truckee Call Center will operate every day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., until information needs change. The Center will be staffed by the U.S. Forest Service, the incident management team assigned to the fire, and local fire and other emergency services partners.

In addition to the call center, information and updates on the King Fire will be available on information boards throughout the local communities and at planned community meetings.

Additional information on the King Fire can be found online at:

Big City Rod Run Results 9/24/14

Here are the results from this years Sierra City, “Big City Rod Run”.

Bassett’s Station’s award for Best Paint was taken by Jim and Denise Blake of Newcastle. Their entry was a beautiful Hawaiian Orchid Purple 1940 Ford Coupe.

Big Springs Gardens award “The Flower of the Lot,” was given to Bob Grey from Grass Valley, with his blue 1968 Mustang.

Big Mountain Mining Supply, chose Steve Welch’s from Folsom, 1932 Gold Ford for their “Gold Digger Special”.

The Carriage House Inn gave their nod of “Park It Here”, to Dan Bryan from West Point and his 1938 Black 2dr., Black Sedan.

The CHP chose Steve Clark of Maybe, CA., for his 1957 Black Chevy 210 for “Most Likely To Be Impounded”.

ECV Downie Clampers Chapter 1849, gave “Nancy’s Ride”, to Brad Blake of El Dorado, for his yellow flamed purple, English Ford Anglia.

ECV Widder’s of Downie Chapter 1849, not to be outdone, gave their award, Kim’s Kruiser, to Ray & Hazel Guaraglia of Olympic Valley for their 1956 Del Ray Chevy.

Downieville Grocery chose Jim Correll, of Grey Eagle, for “A Prospectors Pick” his entry a 1960 Ford F10

Fox Parlor chose wisely for their “One Foxy Ride” award. It went to Allen McCloud from Manhatton, NY., no not really, Nevada, for their 1947 Chevy 2-door coupe.

The Grubstake Saloon’s award “All That and a Cherry Coke”, was given to Rich Sides from Orangevale with his 1932 Blue Ford.

Herrington’s Resort gave Nolan Carter of West Point, “A Class Act”, for his 1956 Ford 2-door.

High Country Inn, awarded Trey Gott of Downieville their “She Can Fly” award for his 1967 VW in blue and white.

Kokanee Kabins with “Room for Two” was given to Colette Young of Chico for her 1953 White Vette pulling a matching boat.

La Concina De Oro, gave their award “Nacho Mamas Car” to Marty Souter of Grass Valley and his 1940 Ford Rat Rod Pick-up.

Mountain Creek Restaurant Joanne’s award went to Charlie Catron from Grass Valley with his 1934 Red Ford Coupe, for “Best Chrome”.

The Mountain Messenger’s “Bad News” Award went to Irv Dickson of Folsom, with his 1927 Ford Roadster.

My Sisters Cottage gave their “This One’s For The Girls” award to Vaughn Parks of Reno and his 1950 Green Willy’s Panel.

The Old Sierra City Hotel chose for their “Saturday Afternoon Drinking Club Pick”, to Goose Helrich of Sparks for his 1933 Lipstick Chevy.

Riverside Inn awarded R.D. & Letina Vanetti of Loyalton, their award of “River Run”, for their 1940 Black & Silver Rat Rod.

Packer Lake Lodge gave their “Al Packer Special”, to Bob Patterson from Camptonville with his Red 1946 Plymouth Special.

Sardine Lake Resort found their recipient for “Best Catch of the Year”, Tom Coleman of Gridley, who drove his 1968 Grey Chevy Camero.

Sierra Booster’s award “Hal’s Blast from the Past”, went home with John & Leigh Ann Isgreen from Soda Springs for their 1934 Black Ford Vicky.

Sierra Motors gave “Off The Hook” to Mike Butler of Chicago Park and his 1930 Ford 2dr Sedan.

Sierra City Methodist Church chose Dan Escoveda from Auburn with his 1937 Champagne Chevy Coupe for their “One Righteous Ride” subtle with a hint of sin 🙂

Sierra County Sheriff gave the “Best Get Away Car” award to Bob & Freddie Leary, from Grass Valley, and their 1932 Black Ford Coupe.

Sierra Skies RV Park’s award ” Best Trailer Queen”, went to John & Princess Lunetta of Santa Clara and their 1982 Pioneer Jet Boat.

Sierra City Youth chose Dale Cox of Squaw Valley/Sierra City, with his 1963 White Chevy Corvette, for their “Future Hot Rodders Pick”.

Sierra County Arts Council gave their award “Jewel of a Jalopy”, to Richard Smith of Roseville and his Red 1934 3 window Ford with a Hemi. It was the flames that got them!

Sierra City Fire Dept. gave their special award of “Just A Hunk of Burnin’ Love”, to Leon Watson of Reno, with his 1932 Red Ford Coupe.

Sierra Country Store presented their award “Midnight Moonshine Runner”, to Dave Nye of Georgetown and his beautiful 1946 Chevy Sedan Delivery.

The Snowbusters award “Peddle to the Medal”, went to Steve and Mary Morrow of Truckee and their 1934 Black Ford Vicky.

Sorracco’s Saloon gave their award “Best Trunk to Stuff a Body In”, to Jay and Adrian Miller of Sparks, for their entry of a 1966 Mint Green Chevy Chevelle.

Terry the Trashman awarded his “A Recyclable Relic”, to Gary & Nancy Pettigrew of Carmichael and their 1935 Hupmobile.

The Sierra Prospect gave their award of “Front Page News” to Paul & Kelly MacNeil, from Auburn, with their 1932 Mellow Yellow Ford.

The Buttes Resort presented Johnny and Sharon Miller of Folsom their award of “She’s a Real Butte”, for their 1957 Marine Blue 3100 Chevy Pick Up.

Tom’s Snowmobile awarded John Link from Grass Valley, their award for “Best Sled”, for his 1972 Grey Ford Bronco.

The Town Tramps presented their coveted award for “Best Back Seat” to Tom & Cheryl Lincoln of Sacramento and their Cherry Red 1966 Chevy Chevelle.

Sierra City Yacht Club gave their award “She’s a Cruiser”, to Scott Gibson of Sacramento for his 1978 Southwind Jet Boat.

Intermountain Disposal had it in the bag with their choice for “A Trashy Treasure”, Terry Spiller of Auburn with his 1946 Grey Plymouth.

U.S. Forest Service and presenter Smokey the Bear gave their beautifully hand made specialty award to Mike Williams of Sacramento for his 1956 Green and White Mercury Montclair.

Lucky Winner, Richard Smith of Roseville, with his red1934 Ford 3-window coupe with Hemi was awarded a photo of his car by acclaimed photographer Darby Hayes.

And TA DA!!!!!!!

The Highwaymennorcal Car Club, Hosts of the Big City Rod Run, awarded the “BEST OF SHOW”, to Bob Whitaker of Roseville and his Gorgeous Island Coral 1960 Buick Invicta.

Larry and Kathy Breed would like to acknowledge the following, Lola & Jerry Haddox, Sandy Blake, Tom Tomlinson, Carmen Hescock, Patricia Martin, Sharon Dobija, Vicki Howard, Karin Brown , for all their hard work to make this a successful event.
A HUGE thank you for all the support from our community businesses and agencies. You do such a great job making everyone feel so welcome.
Looking forward to 2015. Mark your calendars, August 28 & 29TH, see you there!

Lost Sierra Huge Success 9/24/14

Post Lost Sierra Hoedown Blues
by Mark

The third weekend of September has come and gone, and the second Lost Sierra Hoedown will Iive on only in our memories. It was every bit as epic as we thought it might be, especially for those that heeded our advice and purchased their tickets early. Yes, the Lost Sierra Hoedown was completely sold out by early Friday afternoon this year, leaving quite a few people disappointed to find that gate tickets were not available. While many festivals can sell unlimited tickets, the Johnsville Ski Bowl is located within Plumas Eureka State Park. They have smartly limited ticket sales to 500 people to minimize impacts on the Ski Bowl and its historic lodge. A cadre of artists, guests and volunteers brought the peak attendance to roughly 700 people over the weekend.

Bobcat Rob Armenti and The Two Bit Hustlers got the afternoon crowd on their feet. Photo by David Carmazzi

Bobcat Rob Armenti and The Two Bit Hustlers got the afternoon crowd on their feet. Photo by David Carmazzi

Attendees enjoyed a wide spectrum of music over 4 days, with musicians chosen from the local population and nationally known stars providing sets that ranged from classical guitar to the Grateful Dead, Nirvana, americana and rockabilly. While early afternoon shows enjoyed small and mellow crowds in lawn chair mode, the evening shows churned up the dust in the Ski Bowl with a large crowd enjoying boot stomping fun. When the main stage was done at midnight, the late night shows continued in the Eureka tent until nearly sunrise.

The Hoedown is more than just a music festival. It’s also a celebration of camping, sustainability and a passion for sliding on the snow. With the weather bringing mostly sunny skies this year, nearly all of the guests and artists camped together, just feet from the stage. Those seeking at least a few hours of sleep each night moved a few hundred yards down the road to makeshift car camps in the parking lot, or enjoyed the peace of the Plumas Eureka State Park campground. The perfect weather offered more opportunities for hikes to Eureka Lake and Eureka Peak, or a scenic tour to the old town of LaPorte.

This year’s Hoedown is expected to largely close the gap in funding needed to complete the installation of Squaw’s old Mainline chair at the Ski Bowl, as well as bring the Intorf Lodge and restrooms back up to code, allowing for an opening in 2015-16. We were really proud to be help underwrite and sponsor this year’s Hoedown. We offer a big salute to Azariah Reynolds, Drew Fisher and the army of volunteers from Plumas Ski Club, Sierra Nevada College and other volunteers that made the event possible. Thanks to the many people that stopped by the merchandise booth and shared your happy thoughts about !

We already can’t wait until next year. We sure hope you believe us when we tell you the event will definitely sell out, so grab your tickets early!

Mark | September 23, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Tags: Drew Fisher, Grateful Dead, Lost Sierra Hoedown, weather | Categories: Featured, Mark’s Reports | URL:

Mountain Messenger (paper with words) 9/24/14

The Mountain Messenger is a fine newspaper and all the news that Editor Don Russell sees as fit to print is in it and a few items snuck in by the underpaid worker Milly. Milly is the only person who is allowed to look Don in the eye and call him names. Although there is the thought that Don’s beloved Irene is allowed to look directly at him on some Intimate occasions. But no one is sure. Don maintains the appearance of friendship with a plethora of beings, mostly men. Children, dogs and cats are not allowed in his presence. Milly and Irene are the only women known to garner any attention from Don. Don often shouts at Milly to leave him alone. We think he speaks nicely to Irene although, again, no one is sure. It makes Don less grouchy if you place advertisements in the Mess and order subscriptions. It is almost Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza and everyone in Downieville is hoping there are lots of gift subscriptions for friends and family ordered so that Don will be tolerant of the townsfolk during the holidays. Please help us… please..

Don's dream is to be Santa Claus someday except for the kid thing, he has gotten the look down pat.

9/24/14 Don’s dream is to be Santa Claus someday except for the kid thing, however he has gotten the look down pat.

Send anything you need published to Milly, the most important person in the office, 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

Dinner For YOU 9/24/14

Downieville Elementary School 5th & 6th Grade

Will deliver a fine dining experience to you


This is a fundraiser for our Marin Headlands field trip. We need all the support we can get to make this amazing trip happen. So, PLEASE come have dinner and support our class trip. Thank you.

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