WSMC Announces Plan 10/29/14


DOWNIEVILLE – After months of consultation with local residents, businesses and community leaders, the Board of Directors of Western Sierra Medical Center has approved a new plan to help deliver healthcare in Sierra County.

A key part of the new plan is for Western Sierra to help provide funding for a paramedic for the Western Sierra County Fire Districts to meet the emergency care needs of County residents and to assist with medical reviews for incoming jail inmates.

Under the plan, Western Sierra’s Downieville Center will remain open 5 days per week 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist patients with their care needs. On four of these days, a medical provider will be on site. On the fifth day, support staff will be available to help patients with billing questions, to schedule appointments and to connect them by phone to a Western Sierra medical provider. At other times and after hours, Western Sierra medical providers will be available by phone and at the ready to assist. This new schedule will begin Jan. 1.

“Unfortunately, as our population has declined and healthcare continues to change and challenge us financially, we simply don’t generate enough revenue to fully staff the center,” said Larry Allen, Board Chairman of Western Sierra Medical Center. “This new plan will make the best use of the limited resources of our non-profit facility and provide the most care with the resources we have available.”

”As part of our commitment to working with County leaders to meet the needs of the community, we are offering to help fund a paramedic for emergency care,” said Allen. “While many have seen Western Sierra as an emergency care provider, such care is best provided by professionals and facilities that are equipped for such situations.”

As we go forward, Western Sierra Medical Center will continue to work with community members, local and county officials to develop strategies for funding and meeting the healthcare needs of our rural residents.

“The long-term solution for Sierra County is to identify a way to pay for the healthcare services that the people of the County would like,” said Allen. “We are supportive of those efforts and look forward to a continuing dialogue about how to meet the health care needs of the County.”

The DeVita Speaks 10/29/14

Schooling Jerry on the Wet Stuff: Prop 1; let’s see the dollars

by DeVita

Laurenc DeVita

Laurenc DeVita

The ballot is next week; there are likely to be few surprises.

We all know Prop 1 is going to pass. People are so certain that some have already laid down their principles and are ready to stick their hands out, on the theory that, as long as it’s going to happen to them anyway, they might as well make a little money. How could the Prop not pass? It has a big purse and has promised something to just about everyone. People who think water is wasted in the ocean (I could do an entire editorial just on this) are getting dams; people who like little froggies are getting some conservation stuff; Central Valley farmers get more water (they use more than 80% of the state’s water); the cities get to keep growing. They even threw 50 cents at hazard fuel. Jerry did his homework and this thing is a masterpiece. Prop 1 money is good at the bank right now.

And that gives Jerry a perpetual sweaty pink glow. With money like that he can leave the legacy his old man failed to, kind of a creepy GWB thing going on there. He’s going to give money to everyone.

Ooops, almost everyone! The places where the rain and snow fall, places without big cities to gulp the water up, we don’t get so much. That’s where Jerry is flubbing the fondle. He needs to come up and spend the day with the boys and girls who live up here. We could school him on what makes the creeks flow. And, we could tell him how to use his new ill gotten gains to good purpose. I have the following recommendations.

How to have enough water in California

1. Save our asses! I prefer trees to cities, but it’s pretty clear more water would go down the rivers if there weren’t so many trees in the watersheds pumping it out. True, they put it in the air to make rain elsewhere, but this is about our rain. The trees are far too numerous and far too close together. A lot of growth is on steep hillsides where only fire can easily reach it.

Here’s the picture if we’re ignored: eventually all the hills will be burned. The air quality will plummet under the weight of carbon and soot in the air. The soil, stripped of trees, will now wash down the steep slopes into the creeks, which will leave their banks from accumulated forest debris, ash and mud. How do you like your water now?

Sure, it’s expensive to cut on steep hillsides and haul the biomass hundreds of miles, but you have SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS, Jerry! This is a good investment. It is also part of the the cost of the debt you incurred for using our mountains to clean your air and catch your water.

Forest biofuel is renewable, but not very green. A sincere effort at removing excess forest biomass includes running it through a cogen plant. You have the money, make it happen. Mastication is good for the forest, and should be a first choice for smaller material, but larger mass needs to go off site. Maybe the same trucks could haul the minerals and ash back to the forest.

2. Pay us for not piddling in the river! It sounds disgusting, and it is, but humans have a long history of agreements with upstream folks not to do some things in the river. More than that, we actively care for the mountains, both as landowners and as residents. Our economy was once tied to the rivers, now our destiny is tied to them. State laws require more of us and give us less and less in terms of regulations and codes. If the state can discourage us from traditional uses, it can pay us for the loss. A tax of a couple of cents for every gallon leaving the water producing counties for the Central Valley and areas south. It will keep us from prostituting our lands and our kids to exploitative businesses. Most of all, charging down stream users a realistic price for water will do more than low flow toilets to reduce water use. Conserve water, or pay the hillbillies more. Also, paying us in conservation grants is not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about cash money deposited to the counties to build long term sustainable rural industry.

3. Reverse “county of origin water rights”. Currently, a county of origin can claim water rights only to encourage development. If you want to live in a city, go to one. Development, as has been demonstrated, is not sustainable; indeed, the person who coined the term “sustainable growth” was a mathematician who meant it as a JOKE. Give counties the power to keep more water in the watersheds without development.

4. Go cold turkey on the drug of perpetual economic growth. California persists in boasting the “eighth largest economy in the world” but at what price? Can we boast if we only have the 12th largest economy? The end has to come sometime, or LA will cover the state. Going green means more than driving a Prius and using solar panels. There is no way to negate the impact of population on the environment, or population density on political power. In short, greed is driving the demise of what we love most about California. Institute policies which reduce growth in the most densely populated areas first, and then tax populated areas for their uses of open spaces, such as cleaning air and water and mediating weather, and use that money to help unspoiled communities to keep local control of land use and keep land values high enough that they don’t become meat for developers chased from cities. It’s a little hard to grab all that. I would ask him to take out his smart phone and go here:

5. Pay your bills. With all of that drug money (in this metaphor the drug is water, but in truth the drug is always and only money) maybe you can shake money loose somewhere else and pay your bills to the counties. Pay for Fish and Wildlife land; pay much more to communities around state parks. Pay back everything you “realigned” and, since Sacramento made the laws which created so many prisoners, take your prisoners back, too.

Prop 1 is no doubt a done deal; let’s see how much of that $7 billion sloshes this far up the mountain.

Wednesday October 29, 2014

This is what is known as a slow news week. There is no Board of Supes to report on, Carrie took a vacation, Carol read no books and didn’t go to the movies. What I do know I cannot talk about and once again I don’t know what I don’t know.

The Downieville Clinic -Patient Advocacy Committee will have a public meeting on Monday, November 10th at 4:00 PM in the Downieville Community Hall, lots of information and updates for everyone.

Meanwhile be ready for those Trick or Treaters on Friday evening. Hopefully they will be home warm and snug before the rain and (please) snow starts.Check out the National Weather Service Reno Facebook page.  It won’t be snowing in Downieville yet but hopefully the higher elevations will get their countable inches. Be sure to get your ticket to the Grubstake for the EMS fundraiser on November 9th and mark your calendars for a DC-PAC meeting at the Downieville Community Hall for Monday, November 10th at 4 pm. There will be news about the formation of the Sierra Frontier Medical Resources, Inc entity.

Next week there will be a report on the election so make sure to get your ballot in so you are in the count.

We do have The Cats, The Others, The Mountain Messenger, Dianne’s Ponderings, events that are happening and of course our guest columnists Lawrence Wittner.

This week’s photo was taken by Mary Davey of As the Yuba Flows on Facebook .

Sliding on Snow 10/29/14

New post on

Reversing A Trend: Part One
by Mark

Numbers DownEver since we officially started, back in 2008, our mission has been the same. We want to create a community of skiers and riders that have a passion for sliding on snow. Over the years, our readership has grown immensely, and our coverage has grown to cover 5 mountains. But we’re deeply concerned by the trends in the industry overall. The graph spells it out too clearly. In the late 70’s there were roughly 735 resorts in the US. By last season, that number was down to 470. Although the decline in skiers and riders is more difficult to track, in simplistic terms, the Boomer generation is getting out of the sport much more quickly than Generation X and Y are entering the sport. Why is that happening?


All of the above would be the correct answer, except we probably need to add in several more choices to have a completely correct answer. It’s a complex issue, but it’s one that some of us worry about.

Some of us just need to be on the hill. It’s likely that our parents took us out to some local hill with a rope tow until we developed the passion for snow, and we did the same for our kids. For the better part of 40 years, I have spent every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter vacation skiing with my family. It’s what we do, and we know that many of you do the same. We hope our kids will get the same opportunity for generations to come.

We don’t have all of the answers on global warming. It’s not to say that we all can’t do our part, but it is certainly a bigger problem than we can address in a couple of posts on a ski blog! But we believe we can have an impact on choices A, B, and C, especially because we believe they are all related.

More and more, resorts are becoming more about the “out of boot” experience, and not just about sliding on snow. More and more, ski hills are owned by real estate developers instead of skiers and riders. More and more, there are fewer options available for where to go skiing and riding. More and more, those options are getting either further away from home, or they are getting too expensive for middle and lower class families.

While this is of great concern to those of us that grew up skiing and riding, it seems to be of little concern to the few mega-corporations that own most of the ski areas in the US. We’re not just talking about KSL here, which is actually a relatively small player in the industry. While the mega-corporations may be okay with selling a million cheap season passes, they’re more concerned about selling real estate, and not to the local skiing population. They’re more concerned about selling a vacation experience to anyone that is willing to part with large sums of money. Evidently, it’s pretty lucrative, as the expansion of Vail Resorts over the last few years has proven.


What does that mean for us? To our benefit, it often leads to cheaper season passes, and those passes work often work at several resorts, scattered across the region, or maybe across the world. But overall the experience of sliding on snow is becoming more and more expensive and more and more exclusive. In the meantime, we end up spending more money if we really enjoy skiing and riding. The costs of rentals, lessons, team programs, and food and beverages has soared to bolster the income of resorts that can’t cover costs with lift tickets and pass sales. When the investors still insist on a return for their investment, resorts simply curtail the number of operational lifts or shorten the season to maximize profit.

The snow industry will not survive if every resort looks the same, skis and rides the same, and offers the same short season. Pretty soon, the only thing that will separate the mega-resorts is the “out of boot” experiences. Who will win that race? Will it be the resort with the mega-indoor water park or the one with a full mountain roller coaster? At what point will the resorts become just another cruise ship experience, where the focus is on the all you can eat buffet, shopping and an occasional “on mountain” excursion?

We know what’s missing. We believe that the survival of the snow industry depends on maintaining a stratification of ski areas or resorts throughout the US. In the last year, community ski areas have been a hot topic. My bookmark list is full of articles on the topic, and we’ll be sharing those in Part 2. But the Community Ski Area Survey, sponsored by the Mountain Rider’s Alliance and, last year made a couple of very important points:

• More than 70% of the 1400 respondents learned to ski or ride at an area with a vertical of less than 1600 feet. Of those, more than 60% learned at an area that was a “mom and pop” owned ski hill

• Only 10% of the respondents learned to ski or ride at a mega-resort with a vertical of 2500 or more than 12 lifts

We don’t see that trend changing any time soon. The average price for a day ticket now tops $100, and a lesson and rentals will easily add another $200. Are people willing to pay that much to try out the sport? Apparently some people are, but will it be enough to keep the sport alive? We think it’s unlikely. The snow industry needs to make sure that, as skiers and riders, we have as many options as possible for accessing the sport. We believe there are three essential “layers” of snowsports areas required to keep the sport alive.


• Typically local mountains that serve a community and day trippers

• Affordable day tickets

• Limited but affordable lessons

• Limited or no onsite rentals

• Limited advanced terrain

• Basic food and beverage services

• Hardware based terrain parks

• Often supported by community or public funding

• Typical patrons will be there 2 times per week


• Supported primarily by locals, day trippers and weekend warriors

• Affordable day tickets

• Affordable lessons and rentals

• Affordable team programs for kids

• More varied food services

• Developmental terrain park features

• Support the surrounding communities

Destination• Typical patrons will be there 12-18 times per season, but locals may be there more than 100 days per season

Destination• Supported primarily by destination skiers staying at the resort

• Visitors arrive primarily by air from other regions or out of the country

• Cheap passes encourage longer stays at the resort

• Focus on longer stays to sell “shared ownership” properties

• Provide a wide variety of “out of boot” amenities to encourage visitors to stay on property

• Offer “world class” experiences in housing, dining and on-mountain services

• The focus on “off season” activities may be greater than skiing and riding as the typical peak ski season extends only from mid-December until early March.

Unless we strive to maintain this stratification, the sport of sliding on the snow is likely to continue into a downhill spiral. Skiing will become something that the rich do as a novelty, taking a few runs a day while staying at their little place in Tahoe, which they own 1/26th of the year. Those of us that can’t afford the price of admission will learn about backcountry skiing or move on to other places. While that may be acceptable to some of us, for many of us it’s worth the effort to create change.

It’s easiest to just sit back and say change is impossible. It’s not. In Reversing A Trend: Part 2, we will be taking a look at what other communities are doing to protect local areas. We also have some suggestions about what we can do ourselves to protect skiing and riding for the masses.

Posted in Uncategorized

Home Grown Winners 10/29/14

Art Show Winners
Sierraville — Everyone was a winner as the Home Grown Art Show came to Sierraville on October 18 in a combined event with the Sierraville Volunteer Fire Department’s Pumpkin Patch. People from across Sierra County came to see the art and to enjoy a beautiful fall day with pumpkins, barb-b-cue, beer garden, vendors, and games for the kids. Happy faces filled the afternoon as young people took their turns climbing a 25 ft. rock climbing wall and then took a moment to pop inside and vote for their favorite work of art.
This event was presented by the Sierra County Arts Council and designed to showcase Sierra County artists. Forty-seven pieces were shown from 17 artists. Judges Lola Owen, Kathleen Goicoechea, and Katie O’Hara-Kelly were impressed with the quality and variety of art. Entry fees collected for the show went to prize awards. Best in Show honors went to Geoffrey Scott for his ceramic piece, “Devil’s Tea Party”, which featured a baby head tea pot and cups in one amazing and original piece of sculpture. People’s Choice went to student artist Erika Edwards of Sierraville for her remarkable color photo titled “Barbed Wire”.

There was a large showing of the traditional favorite, fiber arts, including first place winner Betsy Cammack’s quilted wall hanging with three-dimensional affects titled “Pup Tents”. Also in fiber arts was gorgeous eco-dyed silk from last year’s Best-in-Show winner, Virginia Jaquez. Other winners included Natasha Stanton who once again pleased the crowd with her acrylic on wood paintings, her piece titled “Gathering Ravens” taking first place in the acrylic category. First place winner for watercolor went to Betty Thatcher for her charming portrait titled “Tabby”. Other artists of note were Dwight Brooks and Joanne Corso with large format acrylics of scenes from the Sierra Valley. Sandra Loving’s quilted full length vest found enthusiastic fans. Thomas Hopkins showed a “Kokopelli Lamp” made of burled wood and metal that drew some attention. RJ Bauer contributed some stunning landscapes exhibiting his deft photographer’s eye.
The winners of the Artists in Schools raffle were announced at the end of the show. This raffle has been traveling all year throughout Sierra County and proceeds raised from the raffle contribute to the Artists in Schools Program at local schools. Thor Corcoran, a student at Downieville School, won a water color original “Fern Falls” by B.J. Jordan. Nathan Harding of Oakland won “Lavezolla Creek” a panoramic fine art photo from Mark Stevenson. Karen Galan of Downieville won “Sierra Valley Sunset” photograph by R.J. Bauer. Lynn Carr won the beautiful wall hanging “Blackberry Summer” by the Mountain Star Quilters. Thank you to all the artists who contributed to this raffle.
The Sierra County Arts Council would like to thank all the volunteers who helped to make this event possible including David Scott and Dwight Brooks for providing music. The Sierra County Arts Council is that State-Local Partner with the California Arts Council.

Our Kids Are Missed 10/29/14

Dear Editor,

It is with a heavy heart, that I sent you back your fourth, fifth and sixth grade students today after spending five amazing days with them down here on the coast across from San Francisco in the Golden Gate National Park. I work for NatureBridge (, an environmental science camp, and was assigned as their guide to teach them marine science.

I am writing to you to share my experience with everyone in town because it was such a pleasure getting to know them. These 13 eager students impressed me as having been particularly well prepared for their time at NatureBridge. Ours is a very demanding all-day and evening program, including scientific investigations, including learning about animal adaptations, about connections in a marine and terrestrial ecosystem, about hiking for many hours, about being a team player, about being self sufficient, and being a good steward of the earth. Your diverse students of different ages and cultural backgrounds rose admirably to the occasion for this nonstop five-day program far away from home.

As my chaperones, I had the pleasure of meeting your teacher Miss Maire McDermid, as well as one of your fathers Mr. Peter Sainbury. I so appreciated their expert help and dedication to make this week a success for everybody. They took time out of their busy lives in favor of the extensive organization of this trip.

Lastly, I would like to express my great admiration and support for Miss McDermid. I have worked at NatureBridge for 15 years now and have seen and met so very many students and their teachers. I can attest to the fact that your school has one of the very finest, most dedicated and well educated teachers that I have ever worked with. Your children are getting an excellent education and are in the very best of hands, based on my personal comparison with other students from around the State of California who attend our science camp.

I hope to welcome your school again next year.
Sincerely, Ingrid Apter

Dianne Ponders Autumn 10/29/14


Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

Many people feel that autumn signals the end of the good times and that winter will come too soon and too hard.

I love autumn. In New England, where I live, the foliage this year has been spectacular. My sister and I drove to a state park about 35 miles away, in the forests of northwestern Connecticut and we felt as if we were in a different world.

Colors on the trees were so vibrant they fairly sang. The beautiful photos on this blog page affect me the same way. Sierra County is beautiful, and someday I would like to see it “live.” instead of in photos.

The autumn colors here awaken an excitement in me. I look forward to a long winter hunkering down with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

Of course, there are the upcoming holidays. Anticipation and excitement are part of the season now through December. It’s a different kind of anticipation, though.

In the holidays, we struggle to get all the shopping done and the house cleaned and the cooking planned. We either look forward to this extra activity or dread it. I have made my holidays very simple the past few years and I now look forward to seeing all my friends, family and neighbors. So, the anticipation is a warm feeling.

Without the autumn colors, however, I think the feeling of anticipation of nature’s exciting array and of the upcoming holidays would be blunted.
So, take time to take a walk around your beautiful Sierra County and enjoy the autumn season as it occurs. I’ll be out walking among the fallen leaves and perhaps even diving into a pile of them the way i did when I was a youngster.

Andy Turns 90 !! 10/29/14

Golden Autumn Wine Fest 10/29/14

This Saturday, November 1st, the inaugural “Golden Autumn Wine Festival” takes place at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland…just off Hwy 65. Twenty top wineries from the northern half of the Sierra Foothills AVA-including Nevada, Butte, Placer and Yuba Counties-will present their wines.

This is an opportunity for wine lovers throughout the North State to interact directly with the vintners themselves while sampling a wide range of varietals and wine-making styles from the foothill territory of Northern California.

The event will take place in a beautiful hand-hewn, timber-frame barn, and will be accompanied by tasty hors d’oeuvres, a sampling of other locally-grown products and the option of Bishop’s famous barbeque lunch. Rain is expected to end Saturday morning, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

For the first time ever, Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm will extend its
season – Halloween has always been its last day-to accommodate this special occasion…and to allow adults as well as children to enjoy its corn maze, special baked goods, shops, miniature train, petting zoo and other down-home attractions.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Yuba-Sutter United Way to benefit grants for non-profit organizations providing services for “Healthier Children.”

Tickets are $25 – all tastings and hors d’oeuvres included – and can be purchased at Tickets can also be purchased at the Yuba-Sutter United Way office, 1521 Butte House Road, Suite C, Yuba City. Parking is $5.00, but is included with a pre-purchased ticket.

For more information, visit or contact Bob Harlan at (530) 743-1847.

LHS Homecoming Saturday 10/29/14

HOMECOMING WEEK – –This SATURDAY 11/1/2014 – – Come down and join us at grizzlesLoyalton High School for a yummy pancake breakfast @ 8:00am. $5/adult, $2/children & LHS kids eat free. Then head downtown for the Homecoming parade @ 10:00am. The Grizzlies will then be taking on the Greenville Indians in our last league game @ 1:00pm. Queen and Princess crowning will be done during 1/2 time of the game. GOOD LUCK to all the queen candidates, Allie, Morgan & Cheyenne. and the Princess candidates, Madison, Sage & Kaitlyn. GOOD LUCK GRIZZLIES!!!

Mountain Messenger (real wood pulp) 10/29/14

The Mountain Messenger is also experiencing a slow news week according to Editor Don Russell, however he always manages to come up with news that happened while no one was watching. This perplexes me as I don’t understand how he knows about the news when he is buried in a crossword puzzle. I’m thinking about starting to do them myself.

Don had lunch with District Attorney Larry Allen today. Don Potter and daughter Wendy Parrish of the Grubstake were seen eating lunch at Coyoteville Cafe at the same time. There was a child named Wyatt at the restaurant playing with a sparkle ball. Don acted as though nothing was happening and luckily the child never approached Don’s booth. Milly came in to get her lunch to go as she was doing all the work at the office. Supervisor Peter Huebner was also at Coyoteville and although he spurned the opportunity to share a booth with two lovely women, he grudgingly sat with Don and Larry. So that’s all the news this week. There might be more in the Messenger.

No good picture of Don and Larry having lunch, so here is a picture of Tim Holabird, who works for Congressman Doug LaMalfa and occasionally eats lunch in Downieville, he also supports Sheriff John Evans for re-election.

10/29/14 No good picture of Don and Larry having lunch, so here is a picture of Tim Holabird, who works for Congressman Doug LaMalfa and occasionally eats lunch in Downieville, he also supports Sheriff John Evans for re-election.

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…..


Page 1 of 10
1 2 3 10