Tears of Joy w/Lou 2/25/14

OKAY FOLKS, OUR TRIP TO GRAEAGLE THIS MONTH WAS CANCELLED DUE TO BOTH DRIVERS BEING ILL. WE ARE GOING TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE. IN THE MEANTIME:
SOME OF THE TASTE TESTING COMMITTEE DROVE TO COLUSA, CALIFORNIA A FEW DAYS AGO TO DINE AT Roccosbarandgrill.com. CAROLEE ORNBAUN, ONE OF THE OWNERS OF ROCCO’S MET US UPON OUR ARRIVAL. NOW, CAROLEE MANAGED SEVERAL CHEVRON STATIONS IN THE GREATER SACRAMENTO AREA. DURING HER CAREER AT CHEVRON, SHE HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING RICK CLEMO (SHE CALLS HIM CLEM). AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, RICK DELIVERED CHEVRON FUEL PRODUCTS, (BULK FUEL) ALL OVER NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA. AND, AS SOME OF YOU KNOW, RICK AND HIS LOVELY WIFE GAIL HAIL FROM DOWNTOWN DOWNIEVILLE. I WON’T TELL YOU HOW MANY GENERATIONS THEIR FAMILES HAVE BEEN IN SIERRA COUNTY, BUT, LET’S JUST SAY, THEY LOOKED FOR GOLD WHEN THE TREES WERE SPROUTING NEW. ANYWAY, CAROLEE INVITED RICK AND GAIL TO ROCCO’S FOR A MEAL. AS I MENTIONED, WE ARRIVED AND MET CAROLEE AT THE FRONT DOOR AT 546 MARKET STREET IN DOWNTOWN COLUSA. THE BUILDING HAS BEEN THERE SINCE THE 1860’S AND JUST REAKED WITH HISTORY. WE WENT DOWN ON A SUNDAY AND AS YOU MAY KNOW, PRIME RIB IS USUALLY SERVED ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS. WELL, RICK PULLED SOME STRINGS AND WE HAD THE CHOICE OF PRIME RIB. NOW, IT’S NOT JUST PRIME RIB, IT’S ROCCO’S SLOW-SMOKED PRIME RIB. I HAD CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP THAT WAS AMAZING. CAROLEE BROUGHT OUT A WHOLE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD SMOTHERED WITH BUTTER AND GARLIC. CAN YOU SAY TEARS? HOLD ON, I’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN. WITH MY PRIME RIB I ORDERED A BAKED POTATO….LOADED. AND IT WAS LOADED! WE HAD A CHOICE OF A 16 OUNCE OR A 26 OUNCE PIECE. SINCE I’M WATCHING MY FIGURE, I HAD THE 16 OUNCE. AND OF COURSE, IT COMES WITH VEGI’S. THE MEAL ARRIVES AND I DIG INTO THE PRIME RIB. I CAN’T EXPLAIN THE EMOTION THAT CAME OVER ME WHEN I BIT INTO THAT PRIME RIB. SMOKED, TENDER, DONE TO PERFECTION. TEARS STREAMED DOWN MY FACE. THAT WAS THE MOST AMAZING FLAVOR! WE CONTINUED OUR MEAL AND ATE UNTIL OUR EYES WERE POPPING OUT. BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL FOLKS. CAROLEE TELLS US OF THIS DESSERT THAT HER HUSBAND MADE. GEEZ, REALLY? DO WE HAVE ROOM. AH, BUT OF COURSE, THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT. HE MADE BREAD PUDDING TOPPED WITH JACK DANIELS CARAMEL SAUCE. LET THE TEARS CONTINUE. USING OUR BETTER JUDGEMENT WE DECIDED TO SHARE DESSERT. ABSOLUTLY AMAZING! WE HAD TO CALL A TOW TRUCK TO HAUL US OUT OF THERE. CAN YOU SAY WADDLE? HAVE I SOLD YOU YET ON ROCCO’S?
SO, HERE’S THE DEAL

SATURDAY, MARCH 14TH
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T WANT TO DRIVE, WE WILL TAKE THE VAN(S). DEPARTURE FROM DOWIEVILLE WILL BE 10AM. TRAVEL TO COLUSA ARRIVING AT ABOUT NOON. GOOD TIMING, HUH? WE WILL STOP AT THE COLUSA CASINO FOR LUNCH (IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE FOOD) AND FOR THOSE WHO MAY WANT TO GAMBLE, WE WILL LEAVE YOU THERE. FOR THOSE WHO MAY WANT TO TOUR HISTORICAL COLUSA, WE WILL DEPART FROM THE CASINO AND TAKE A SELF DRIVING TOUR OF THE AREA. AFTERWARDS, WE WILL EXTRACT THOSE WHO ARE GAMBLING AT THE CASINO AND ARRIVE AT ROCCO’S AT 5:00 PM FOR DINNER. THE COLUSA CASINO IS 5 MINUTES FROM ROCCO’S. I HAVE TRIED TO SCAN THE MENU FROM ROCCO’S TO ATTACH TO THIS ANNOUNCMENT WITHOUT SUCCESS. SO, YOU CAN GO TO WWW.ROCCOSBARANDGRILL.COM TO VIEW THE MENU.
NOW, YOU MUST LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO JOIN US ON THIS ADVENTURE BEFORE MARCH 8TH SO I CAN LET CAROLEE KNOW. I’M PRETTY SURE YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE.
ROCCO’S………..COLUSA………..MARCH 14TH

On The Shelf 2/25/15

Issue 2015-1

on the shelfIntroduction to the Column                                                  “On the Shelf” is a column which will — on a somewhat regular basis — bring news of happenings at the library, book reviews, introduction to books and other items new to the library, and other tidbits to tantilize your interest in our local library.

Introduction to the Library
Located downstairs in the Native Daughters Hall, on Commercial Street in Downieville, the library is open to the public twice a week: on Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM; and, on Thursdays from 12:00 noon to 4:00 PM. The library collection includes: both non-fiction and fiction books for children, young adults, and adults; DVD’s, VHS tapes, and audio books; and, several different kinds of reference books. Most of the books belong to the Downieville Libary, itself, having been added to the collection through purchase or donations. Some of the books in the library are on permanent loans from the Plumas County Library (of which the Downieville Library is a station). Peggy Daigle is the branch librarian; she and several volunteers staff the library during its open hours.

Any person who has a local address (both physical and mailing), along with either a driver’s license or other permanent identification, can obtain a Plumas County Library card at the Downieville Library. For children, the application for a library card needs to include a parent’s signature. With this card, persons may check out materials from any branch or station of the Plumas County Library. Temporary library cards are also available for summer and other short-term visitors to the area. The temporary card can be used only in the Downieville Library.

What’s New
Due to the generosity of a friend, Mead Kibbey, the library now has WiFi accessibility. There is a computer at the library, which is available to the public. Also, people can bring their own laptops, notebooks, etc., and connect through the library’s internet connection.

The library recently received a fantastic donation of 44 books from the library of one its long-time patrons, the late Billy Laux. Billy was a great history buff, and the majority of the books are historical and/or biographical. Included in this gift are books on ghost town in the west, vikings, the Napoleonic wars, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, biographies of Clara Barton, Henry Clay, Grover Cleveland, Sitting Bull, and Woodrow Wilson, and many more.

Book Review Group
On February 19, seven people gathered at the library for the first meeting of the Book Review Group. The group will meet on the third Thursday of the month, on an every-other-month basis, with the next meeting set for April 15 at 2:00 PM. All interested persons are welcome to attend. Bring one or more books that you would like to share with the group, and be prepared to say something about the book(s). The purpose of the group is to discover what other people are reading that may also be of interest to ourselves.

Here are a few of the books that were shared this time (more will be featured here in later columns):
Portrait in Sepia, by Isabel Allende: this work of fiction takes place during the time of the California Gold Rush, with action happening in Chile and San Francisco. A traumatized young woman is forced to explore the mystery of her own past. (On the shelf in the Downieville Library.)
The Collected Stories, by Grace Paley: this collection of short stories was a finalist for the 1994 National Book Award for Fiction. The author speaks through her characters’ authentic voices of New York City. (On the shelf in the Downieville Library.)
The Tenderness of Wolves, by Stef Penney: this work of fiction is a murder mystery which takes place in Canada’s Northern Territory in the 1860’s. It was the 2006 Costa Book of the Year winner. (On the shelf in the Downieville Library.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good News… I still have cough, cold, headache, cough, miserable, yucky big blob of  snot stuff… and I won’t be writing a long entry. More good news is we have a new column, On The Shelf by Paul Guffin about what’s going on at our local library… more than we knew.

Mark your calendar for the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Downieville on April 3-5, 2015 http://sierracountyartscouncil.org/archives/3625 .

The 7th Annual Snowball is right around the corner! This year’s semi-formal/formal ball will be held Saturday, February 28, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at the Community Hall in Downieville, and Vegas is how it’s going down this year! This is a fundraiser for the Downieville School Sports program. Entertainment provided by Mountain Event Productions. There will be great raffle prizes ranging from overnight stays at popular casinos in Reno, with dinner and show tickets, to numerous gift certificates from local vendors and artists, these tickets are 6 for $5.  And to entice those of you who are unsure of going… We will be raffling off a 1 week stay in a beautiful condo on the big island of…. HAWAI, these tickets are $5 each.I!! The Raffle drawing will be held at 9:30 p.m. and either you or your ticket must be there. Hors d’oeuvres , beer and wine will be available. Tickets are $15.00 each or 2 for $25.00. For additional information, please contact Jenny Varn at 530-289-3326.

And the March 7th is the Annual Yuba Pass Chili Cookoff. Be there and enjoy friends, family, food, fun and bribe the judges for your favorite cook.

So we have the Fringe, Gabby, guest columnist John LaForge, articles about SOJ and local events and happenings.

This week’s photo by Mary Davey of https://www.facebook.com/AsTheYubaFlows kind of evokes the springlike feeling, which should make us happy, usually does but this year is more worrisome as the drought continues and water becomes more of an issue.

Public Notice NSAQMD 2/25/15

Public Notice

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District is preparing its annual budget. Pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code Section 40131, the District will conduct a public hearing at the two offices of the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District via either videoconference or telephone conference on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend and comment at either of the two Air District offices located at (Site A) Litton Building, Third Floor, Suite 316, 200 Litton Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945 or (Site B) 257 East Sierra Street, Unit E, Portola CA 96122. The public hearing is for the exclusive purpose of providing the public and interested parties with the opportunity to comment on the proposed District budget for fiscal year 2015-2016. Written comments may also be submitted to the District during the hearing or mailed to Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District, P.O. Box 2509, Grass Valley, CA 95945, but must be received in the Grass Valley office before 5:00 p.m. on April 23, 2015. Documents will be available by March 24, 2015 (thirty days prior to public hearing) and may be requested by calling (530) 274-9360 or picking them up at either 200 Litton Drive, Suite 320, Grass Valley, CA. or 257 East Sierra Street, Portola California.

SOJ – the Process? 2/25/15

SOJ 2/24/2015 Loyalton City Council meeting

The SOJ presentation by Tom Dotta to the Loyalton City Council and seventeen community members was a revealing insight into the process they envision for accomplishing their goal of creating a new state with more local control.

Mayor Brooks Mitchell started the questions by asking about finances and the debt Jefferson would be responsible for since the majority of Sierra County’s budget is funded by the state. These were followed by Councilmembers Ernie Teague and Mark Marin questioning how the revenue would be replaced since most of the county is federal property and exempt from property tax.

School Superintendent Merrill Grant asked how to make up for the substantial state funding loss to the schools. School Board President Mike Moore expressed concerns about the curriculum being decided at the county level and the impact on students transferring between counties. Additional state funding has been received to replace the heating system in Downieville School and another $700,000 for the Loyalton High School roof. The federal secure rural schools (SRS) funding would be reduced by $900,000 which also affects the county roads funding.

Dotta’s answer to the revenue questions was that once the SOJ gets rid of all the CARB and other regulations that prevent logging, mining and create unnecessary state mandates, more jobs will be created and the tax money will increase. But we won’t know how much until we get there.

I expressed concerned about the legal battle to reverse the one man one vote Supreme Court decision. A big question being who will pay for the legal costs and what is the likelihood of success. A number of question about the financial viability of this proposal should be evaluated before the Board of Supervisors adopts this “non-binding” Declaration. The information is available locally now.

This is how it would work:
1. First, the Board of Supervisors would hear a presentation and adopt their Declaration and Petition to Withdraw from the State of California by a majority vote – at least 3 supervisors. According to the SOJ proponents, no financial analysis of the impact of separating from CA prior to adoption is needed because “we will find out” when negotiations with the state take place.
2. Next, the counties that adopt the Declaration and will ask the state legislature to pass the petition to create the new state. This would also be a majority vote – 62 votes.
3. Then it would go to congress and have to be passed by a majority – 269 votes.
4. A new constitution will be drawn up by a Jefferson constitutional convention
5. Finally, negotiations between California and the new state of Jefferson would take place:
a. The amount of debt Jefferson would assume including the CalPERS and CalSTRS liabilities of state and local employees and teachers will be a difficult problem since some jurisdictions have unfunded liabilities and CalSTRS is funded on a year to year basis. The amount of debt assumption will be enormous but, don’t worry, SOJ assumes zero percent interest will be paid on this debt.
b. The ownership and transfer of state property including parks, prisons, highways, dams, state buildings and equipment, etc.
c. A myriad of other issues like water rights, continuing in-state tuition for California CSUs and UCs, etc.
6. THEN the people of Sierra County and the rest of Jefferson will know the financial impacts of this decision. But it will be too late and we will never have voted on what the people want. It will all be decided by a majority of our Board of Supervisors, State legislature and Congress.

So much for wanting more local control and better representation when they want to bypass a vote of the people and allow only 3 people on our boards of supervisors in each county to start us on this financial collision course.

But if this plan doesn’t work, they are prepared to initiate a lawsuit that will have to be decided at the US Supreme Court and want each county to have “standing” aka being “harmed by the lack of representation”. Guess who pays the bill for the army of attorneys it till take to bring this to the Supreme Court?

I’m beginning to realize that I don’t respond to the historical philosophical arguments about the representation issues SOJ purports. What I care about is the practical consequences to our families, businesses, services, education and environment. If you are concerned about this as well, please contact me at cellsmore@att.net.

Keep It California!
Cindy Ellsmore, Retired Treasurer-Tax Collector, Sierra County

Mountain Messenger (and garden slugs) 2/25/15

The Mountain Messenger is eagerly awaiting this Saturday night when the 7th Annual  Snowball Dance will be held at the Downieville Community Hall. This is a fun event for everyone and everyone can be their, young old, families… 12 and under with parents are free. Oh, I just realized this might be why Don Russell may not be there.. hmmm …. I think he’s gone to the dances before but maybe that’s why he isn’t there is he isn’t there because he knows “they”(children) will be there.. the SnowBall Dance is an old-fashioned community shingdig where kids wind their way across the dance floor in a game of tag while the big ones are dancing jigs…. anyhow this years theme is Las Vegas… so dress the best can for a night on the town. Ties are not required. Meanwhile getting ready for the weekend of  March 7th Yuba Pass Chili Cookoff is fairly simple. Word on the street is Don is stacking the deck with Judge’s who feel Don should win or worst things will happen. You can fix that… judge’s will be bribed just make sure your bribes are worthy, candy, flowers, free tickets, hooch, secrets are sure to garner attention. So be prepared to wheel and deal, eat chili and have fun.

Don wonders about his secret chili ingredients and wonders if dead cats are legal...

2/25/15 Don wonders about his secret chili ingredients and wonders if Carrie’s Garden Slugs would be the final key… 

Send anything you need published to Milly Snow, the most important person in the office, at yesdearyousuck@yahoo.com 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, mtnmess@cwo.com you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

mess subcrip

Gabby’s Chips in the Brain 2/25/15

Your Brain is the Internet
By Gabby Fringette

gabby-in-social-space-150x150Misleading title: your brain is not the internet. Not yet.
Google is coming up with a computer chip to stick in your brain. It’ll be the internet, and a computer, so you’ll be on the internet all the time. You’ll be able to open your car doors with your mind, and you’ll have a better memory and you’ll never forget any little trivial bit or piece, and you’ll always be on facebook and you’ll be able to know where all of your friends are all the time.
Sounds great, right?
Wrong!

The chairman Schmidt, of the Google board, when asked about the future of the internet, actually said; ‘it will disappear.’ Which, frankly, sounds creepy and ominous. Then even creepier, ‘there will be so many IP address, so many sensors, you won’t even notice it. You’ll walk into a room, and with your permission, you’ll be able to interact with stuff in the room.’
This scares me, and not just because he sounds like a moron psychopath.

It’s already possible to read people’s thoughts. Not like they know exactly what you are thinking, but more along the lines of how you feel, when you see a picture of a certain person, or if you’re lying or not.
Thoughts can also be altered, like you feel a different emotion when you see that same picture of a person. The brain chips will make this much easier.

Still, people think this is a good thing.
The general consensus is that this will bring more privacy, more convenience, etc, etc. However, the consequences of this won’t be based on a bandwagon argument.
Not only will people, the government, hackers, terrorists, be able to mind-freak you easier, there may be unknown consequences. Maybe an increase in brain cancer, or maybe a decline in intelligence.
This may sound like the premise for a sci-fi dystopian, but this shit is happening.

There are already Google Glasses, and contact lenses that automatically take pictures, and send them to your smartphone and whoever else.
Am I the only one who has a sense of foreboding and possible doom? Maybe verging on a disaster, or other happenstance of a major emergency?

One site said it would automatically do everything for you, predict what you want to eat, what you want to watch. It’ll take the menial tasks out of life.
So basically, we’ll have no control over our own lives? We already hardly have a handle on what’s going on, now you want to complicate it with mind controlling computer chips?
Well, when you put it like that, it hardly seems like a good thing anymore.
This same site said it would be available for ten thousand bucks, but the cost would go down as demand increased.
I think I’ll just sit back and watch the plane crash. After all, if all of our thinking is done for us by computer chips, and there’s an EMP, or a reversing of the poles, then all of the electronics will go screwy, and it’s doom doom DOOM!
I’m not saying this will happen, I’m not trying to slippery slope you, but there is always that slim chance.
Now that’s we’ve gone through the flaws of this plan, let’s look at some of the good things.
Keep in mind, all of these could be flaws, depending on how you look at it.

1. You could look up anything, just by wondering about it. Keeping in mind, this could go SNAFU very easily. Someone says, ‘I wonder who played so-an-so in such-and-such film.’ You think of that, trying to remember, and the chip looks it up for you. Then an errant though pops into your head; damn he’s ugly, glad I’m not his girlfriend. I bet his ass is ugly.’ Boom, the chip looks that up, and naked pictures pop into your mind.
2. Just saying. You’re life would be full of that crap.
3. I’ve run out of nice things to say about it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get one.
Just think of all the consequences. Is this a good thing?

http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/here-comes-the-google-brainchip/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/google-chairman-eric-schmidt-internet-765989

DeVita Fringe Time Travels 2/25/15

fringe logoSierra County, February 25, 2050
Three tomorrows
from the Fringe
by DeVita

1.
Sierra County, 2050
Downieville Ca–Sierra County officially ceased to be a county on 25 February, 2050.
The county had struggled for nearly 50 years, clinging to life as traditional resources continued to decline and the county’s population finally dropped below 1750. The state decided, and the people of Plumas, Nevada and Yuba as well as Sierra Counties agreed, that the county was no longer functional and needed to be absorbed.
Supervisors of all four counties met with the press to share the details.
Sierra County Supervisor Peter Huebner, who himself witnessed nearly 80 years of county history, spoke first. “I know some aren’t happy with this compromise, but it was the only way to bring services to county residents that other Californians enjoy, such as chip implantation for our criminals and troubled youths. I know that over time, people will come to see this as a good thing. I know I will.”
Yuba County Supervisor Ned Singlass assured residents of the canyon towns that their services awaited after only a short drive down river. Plumas County Supervisor Anita Biggen promised that Loyalton and Calpine would experience no changes, since the 400 residents there already received their services in Portola. Residents of Sierraville, under the agreement, would receive basic services at the North Truckee Professional Center, just South of town, and would answer to Nevada County for Health and Homeland services.

2.
Sierra County, 2050
Sacramento, February 25 2050 — Sierra County Board of Supervisors announced that they would remove Sierra County Militia members from key points along the Yuba and Feather rivers and would remove all explosive devises as part of an agreement which would give the county .012 cent tax on every gallon of water that leaves the county. The tiny county, with only 2000 legal residents and almost no tax base lost tourism when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife closed all lakes and rivers to fishing, except for Snag Lake. The county was destitute; the local sheriff refused to arrest county residents, particularly in crimes against travelers; social services consisted on one part time staff and a red phone to the suicide hotline. The situation drove county officials to dire measures.
Sierra County Supervisor and Militia Colonel Randy Rickhouse said “This victory shows what can be done when we take control of our own resources. Let’s hope we don’t need to resort to such drastic measures again.”
But Governor Diana Falana disagreed. “The state leadership decided to take the high road. Rather than take a thousand lives, the state agreed to pay the county to steward the water.”
Details of the deal reveal that Sierra County, in exchange for the revenue, would protect the quality of the river and enforce fish and wildlife laws.
Critics point out that the County won the right to deliver the state just what it wanted; local point out that now there will be some jobs, patrolling the waterways and scouting the streams to make sure no one was making unauthorized use of the water.

3.
Sierra County, 2050
Downieville, California, February 25, 2050– The Sierra County Board of Supervisors decided a hotly contested issue: growth in the county. Sierra County Director of Planning Briana Nouse announced that the Board of Supervisors declared a moratorium on all building, except agricultural building. “The county simply can’t take any more growth,” she said referring to the fact that the county went from 2870 people in 2016 to over 75,000 by 2045. “It isn’t the life our residents want, we’re primarily an agricultural county. We don’t like stop lights.”
Loyalton, the beating heart of the county boom, has six stop lights; the first where Sierra Brooks Boulevard meets the famed Green Highway from the east, and three more including one which mediates workers from the Truckee and Sierraville areas to the west.
The county traces its prosperity to two pioneers who acted in 2016 to set the stage for the Loyalton Carbon plant. The first was Lee Adams, who as county supervisor and Chair of RCRC fought to insist that marijuana could only be grown in the 20 smallest counties. That “20 smallest counties” limitation partly explains why the county decided to limit population.
The next was Paul Roen, who, seizing the situation at the same time to organize investors to purchase the old Loyalton Cogen plant. The group essentially got the operation for the prices of scrap and the land as environmentally impacted. Within five years the old equipment, operating under a program from the Air Quality Management District, turned hazardous forest fuel to heat and electricity to grow marijuana on the site.
Within 10 years the site had gone solar, shutting down the old cogen plant forever, but it served its purpose and got the project on line.
By 2045 Loyalton was the high tech center of cannabis growing, with workers commuting from Reno to work in the greenhouses.
Planning Director Nouse paid homage to those pioneers. “Thirty five years ago our county was spiraling the drain, economically and socially. These two visionary leaders saw a window in history and leaped through, bringing the whole county with them.”

Our Last Waltz 2/25/15

Waltzing at the End of the World

By John LaForge

John LaForge

John LaForge

It’s hard to imagine celebrating nuclear war planning, but that’s what was on the agenda at Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden, Utah last Thursday, Feb. 12.

At an official awards ceremony, there were prizes for “top performers” at the base including Team of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Key Spouse of the Year. Base commander, Col. Ron Jolly, said, “The Airmen here see the big picture and know that it is … about providing support to Team Hill.”

What is “Team Hill”? At one-million acres and 20,000 personnel, Hill AFB is tasked with maintaining and testing the “reliability” of, among other things, the country’s 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs. The 60-foot-tall, 39-ton rockets, with 335-kiloton nuclear warheads (think Hiroshima, times 22), can fly 6,000 to 7,000 miles before detonating on targets chosen by the Global Strike Command (its real name) in Omaha.

Hill AFB’s “state of the art” test facility conducts exams of “nuclear hardness, survivability, reliability” … “nuclear radiation, air blast, shock and vibration” and “electromagnetic pulse.” These are the effects of nuclear weapons detonations, and the base keeps our ICBMs “reliable” — that is ready-to-launch from bunkers across North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

In ballistic missile terms, “reliability” means the guarantee that radioactive firestorms covering 40-square-miles-per-warhead can be unleashed a world away using rockets launched with the turn of a key. (Daniel Berrigan once wrote that in World War II the Germans delivered people to the crematoria, and that now missiles carry crematoria to the people.)

In April 2014, military teams still doing their Cold War duty — 26 years after the “war” ended — were given fresh encouragement when Hill AFB handed out its “Brent Scowcroft Awards.” They went to hard-working personnel in the “Launch and Test Team” and to others working in maintenance, logistics, acquisition and something called “sustainment.”

The prize is named after Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who at the height of Cold War hostilities led a Reagan-era commission that recommended increased spending on ICBMs. The 1983 Scowcroft Commission recommended “a land-based force with a significant, prompt hard target kill capability.”

The euphemism “hard target kill” refers to H-bombs accurate enough to destroy another country’s missiles in bunkers before they are launched — a nuclear “first-strike.” This is what Minuteman III missiles can now accomplish and what they now threaten, 24/7, with their Mark 12A warheads. Scowcroft’s commission advised the Air Force to develop single-warhead missiles, which is exactly what our arsenal of Minuteman IIIs has become.

Like scandal-ridden “missileers” in their boring, dead-ended launch sites around Malmstrom Air Base, FE Warren Air Base and Minot AFB, Team Hill prepares and polishes the machinery of nuclear holocaust. Its ICBM System Program Office has “real” Minuteman missile “launch facilities and launch control center facilities.” Hill’s Nuclear Weapons Center “develops, acquires and supports silo-based ICBMs…manage spares…sustains silo-based ICBM systems” and it buys “spare parts, services, and repairs” for “Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) programs and ammunitions.”

Two years ago, Hill awarded a $90-million contract to a Cincinnati firm to build a new truck for hauling the giant ICBMs. The truck, called a “transporter erector,” installs and transports the rockets. According to the Air Base, it “will serve the Minuteman III ICBM through 2035.”

But what about the Peace Prize President’s “world free of nuclear weapons”? The Most Powerful Man can’t even close a small, relatively new, off-shore penal colony at Guantanamo. To even challenge — much less cut back — the trillion-dollar nuclear war budget, the Prez would need a massive grassroots anti-nuke rebellion and the fearlessness of MLK.

Meanwhile, the bureaucrats, attendants and supporters who plan and practice the unspeakable are so desensitized, distracted or benumbed, that at Team Hill’s Feb. 12 gala, “well-known local civic leaders and special guests presented the awards.” One event committee co-chair said, “We really wanted our award nominees to feel like celebrities.” The Public Affairs office boasted of “valet parking, interviews on the ‘red carpet,’ hors d’oeuvres, a string quartet and dancing.”

It’s past time to admit this behavior is deranged and to declare the nuclear war party over. The question isn’t how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but how many “key spouses” can waltz atop 450 loaded ICBMs.

— John LaForge works for Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog group in Wisconsin, edits its Quarterly newsletter, and is syndicated through PeaceVoice.

Weekly Warrior by Sierra Folsom 2/25/15

Hello again readers! In Ms. Maire’s 4th, 5th and 6th grade class they have been learning all about Native Americans, doing cool dioramas and even making pottery and totem poles with our art teacher Mrs. Kelly. The students are memorizing states and capitols and learning about Westward Expansion. Ms. Maire hopes people will go to the Snowball that supports the school’s athletic funds.

Miss Schofield’s class is still working on their Fairy Tale unit. They are studying Fairy Tale elements to determine, what is and is not a Fairy Tale. They are also comparing and contrasting several different cultural versions of the story Cinderella. Did you know that nearly every culture in the world has some sort of Cinderella story and there are over 1,500 different versions of the tale worldwide? Pretty interesting. The class is taking a detailed look at the traditional French version of the story and comparing it to The Rough Faced Girl (a Native American version) and Mufaro’s Daughters (an African version). With all of these Fairy Tales the students are also gearing up to write some Fairy Tales of their own, using the classic structure of a Fairy Tale, but adding a twist or two – blending characters from other tales or telling the story from a different perspective. It should be fun! The K-3 class has also been reaching for the stars in their Lexia practice (an online, individual phonics/early reading computer software provided for the class to pilot for the district with a generous grant from the Sierra Schools Foundation). A number of students are gaining a new level every week. “Way to go little readers!! says Miss Schofield.

Mrs. Fillo’s 7th and 8th grade students are working on term papers about local mines. Thank you to Mark Helm, Tammy Helm and Cy Rollins for helping us with information about them. Mrs. Fillo wanted to thank community members for ordering flowers; it was one of the best-handled, most profitable CSF flower distributions. Special thanks to Patty Hall and Kristy Folsom for their help, especially for making all the out of town deliveries.

Mr. Tassone said the school would be looking at benchmarks soon for 7th, 8th and 11th Smarter Balance testing. Soon we will be starting trout in the classroom with the 7th, 8th and 9th graders. We will be going on field trips and exploring micro invertebrates. Mr. Tassone said that he enjoyed watching the Varsity Boys basketball game at home recently.

The Varsity Boys basketball game on Friday, February 13th against Greenville was a well-played team effort; they passed to all players open. Our team broke 30 points, Rosendo Marquez made two three-pointers, Alexis Whitaker had good shots and Matthew Lozano made the first seven points. On Saturday, February 14th the Jr. High boys and girls team were in Quincy. The girls and Jesse Folsom played the first game; Downieville won. Makalia Rollins made 7 baskets, Esmeralda Nevarez made 1 basket, Sierra Folsom made 1 basket, Jesse Folsom made1 basket and Elaine Campbell made 2 baskets. The boys’ team played the second two games and they won both and all did well. Tristan Jackson and Jacob Rust were good shooters; Jesse Folsom, Aaron Foster and Austin Foster played good defense. The first three games we played were against our grade level. That day we won three out of four games; the last game we lost playing against 8th grade boys. The basketball season in now officially over; the last set of games was played by the elementary/junior high teams in Loyalton on February 21, with the boys winning. Jesse Folsom was Mr. Defense on that game, Jonnie Catoe had a good scoring day and Tristan Jackson was dynamite dribbler and good scorer/passer. Thank you to all our loyal fans, both at home and at away games; we really appreciate your support!

Is It A Water Grab? 2/25/15

http://unofficialalpine.com

Squaw Valley: Can We Really Trust What Is Going On?
Squaw Valley Martis Water Grab

Squaw-Valley-Martis-Water-Grab

We’ve been able to avoid Squaw Valley politics for awhile at UnofficialAlpine.com. It’s been awfully quiet over the ridge, leading many to speculate on exactly what’s going on. As it turns out, we still have much to be worried about.

The Squaw Valley Public Service District elected today to pursue the 8-Mile Pipe option to import water from Martis Valley as the best option for a redundant source of water for Olympic Valley. We’ve written about the 8-Mile Pipe several times. Here’s a refresher:

• It would import water to the Squaw Valley Public Service District from the Martis Valley aquifer, reportedly only as a secondary backup source of water for the District. There has been much discussion regarding water studies that show there is enough water already in Olympic Valley to support KSL’s proposed over-development in the valley.

• The last estimated cost for the project in 2009 was $30 million. The pipe would likely be routed along West River Street and Highway 89. Plans would call for sharing the costs with other utilities which may also choose to extend services to Olympic Valley. It would be a major construction project that would be likely to affect recreation and traffic flows in the corridor for quite some time.

The meeting of the SVPSD Water & Sewer Committee this week reviewed the Phase II alternatives that might serve as a secondary source of water for Customers in Olympic Valley. The other sources under consideration were:

The north fork of Squaw Creek (aka Shirley Creek)
The south fork of Squaw Creek
Drilling horizontal wells in the north flank of Olympic Valley
Drilling horizontal wells in the south flank of Olympic Valley
Additional surface storage of water in Squaw Creek
Waste water treatment and reuse
Securing water from the Alpine Springs Water District in Alpine Meadows
The complete memo that describes all 7 of the alternative options is available on the SVPSD site.

By rejecting the options explored in Phase II, the District will now move into Phase III, which is a pursuit of the 8-Mile Pipe option to secure a secondary source of water from Martis Valley groundwater. Until last September, groundwater pumping in California was largely unregulated. New legislation signed in September requires that local districts control use of groundwater, and allows the State to step in when necessary to protect the resource. The actual regulations for groundwater use may take years to actually take shape.

Since we started covering the 8-Mile pipe story back in 2013, more concern has developed over the groundwater supply in Martis Valley. A fourth year of drought means that surface sources all around the Tahoe basin may be strained in the coming years, and there is no guarantee that Martis Valley will be able to meet the needs of an over-developed Olympic Valley. It’s an issue that affects all of us that live outside of Olympic Valley that bears watching.

In Other Squaw Valley News…
Efforts to “Save Olympic Valley” have been resumed. The month of December was a quiet month in terms of saving Olympic Valley from the possibility that the community might organize to form the town of Olympic Valley. Thank god that Squaw Valley is there to save the community from itself!

moneyThe most recent posting at the Placer County Elections office show that Squaw Valley donated another $25,000 of cash to keep the Save Olympic Valley campaign alive. They also donated another few thousand dollars in non-cash contributions. Although the pace of spending has slowed considerably over the last two months, the fact is that Squaw Valley has now spent very close to half of a million dollars fighting the will of the people in Olympic Valley, and that’s before the election process has even begun. Are you still feeling good about paying $124 for a lift ticket over the holiday period?

OSV Meetings in March 2/25/15

Nevada City, Calif. – The Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposal to designate over-snow vehicle (OSV) use on roads, trails and areas on lands within the Tahoe National Forest. The EIS will also identify snow trails available for grooming on the Forest. Public input on the initial proposed action is encouraged.

The Tahoe National Forest maintains a world class OSV trail system. Designating OSV use on the Forest will ensure over-snow vehicle activity, such as snowmobile riding, is effectively managed to: provide access; ensure OSV use when there is adequate snow; promote the safety of all users; enhance public enjoyment, minimize impacts to resources; and minimize conflicts among users.

As an initial step in preparing the EIS, the Forest Service has developed a proposed action, which serves as a point from which to continue dialog with interested members of the public about this project. At this time, a decision has not been made regarding the project.

“The Tahoe National Forest has an extensive system of excellent trails and areas where visitors can enjoy over-snow vehicles in the forest during the winter season,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn. “Your participation in this planning effort will help us continue to offer a variety of winter recreation opportunities that are second-to-none.”

The Forest Service encourages your participation in this process and requests comments on the proposed action. To ensure your comments are fully considered during this initial scoping phase of the project, please submit them by March 25. Additional comments are welcome throughout the planning process.

To facilitate public input on the proposal, five meetings are planned. All meetings will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the following locations:

March 2 – Tahoe National Forest Headquarters Office, 631 Coyote Street, Nevada City, CA
March 3 – Truckee District Ranger Station, 10811 Stockrest Springs Road, Truckee, CA
March 4 – Sierraville District Ranger Station, 317 South Lincoln Street, Sierraville, CA
March 5 – Sierra City, Sierra City Community Hall, 13 Castagna Alley, Sierra City, CA
March 9 – Foresthill Fire Department, 24320 Main Street, Foresthill, CA

For additional information and how to comment, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe.

For more Tahoe National Forest information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Tahoe_NFand “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TahoeNF.

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