Dianne Ponders Change 4/1/15

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

On Sunday night, four of us women in my apartment building gathered (in our bathrobes) to celebrate/mourn the departure of a lady held dear throughout our little community.

Bea will have left for California by the time you read this, Lord willing. She celebrated her 90th birthday on March 27.

Back in January and February, Bea began to complain about not being sure of herself and being afraid to go out. Her daughter, who lives near San Jose, came out to check on Bea and found that Bea needed help in the hospital. Later, Bea was transferred to a nursing home which can best be described as a pit. Finally, Bea’s daughter, Elaine, was able to place her into a decent home. All of this took weeks and weeks, and Elaine stayed in her mom’s apartment to get all the work accomplished..

In the meantime, Elaine convinced her mother to come back with her to California, where there is a beautiful nursing home only minutes away from Elaine’s address. As of Sunday night, Bea was eager to undertake a new phase in her life — pretty good for a 90-year-old woman I thought.
Bea and Elaine were scheduled to leave on Tuesday evening, with Monday being Elaine’s last day in her mother’s apartment.

So on Sunday, Elaine and three of us came together in Bea’s old apartment and talked. And talked and talked over glasses of wine from little sample bottles found in airplanes and hotel minibars.

Of course, we spoke of Bea and how beloved she is throughout the building. Then we began comparing notes about our parents and upbringings. The subjects changed as quickly as the weather does here in New England. We talked about launching new careers after age 50, how it feels to experience becoming older. We discussed world affairs and one of our group told us in great detail what it was like living in Communist Hungary. Under the Communists she was told that America was evil. She said she did not know English existed as a language until she came to Canada and had to learn it at age 33.

There was so much to say, especially how we will miss Bea and pray for her safe journey to California. A friend of Elaine, Bill, will travel with Bea and Elaine to help lift and wheel Bea as is needed.

So as of this writing all is arranged, and Bea will become another resident of California. And we will, sadly, say our goodbyes to a grand lady. Vaya con Dios.

Welcome to California Bea !

Washington State Provides ALS 4/1/15

Downieville Volunteer Fire Department recently began a partnership with the San Juan Islands Fire Department in Washington state to assist with medical response in western Sierra County.

Fire Chief Lee Brown was reluctant to talk about the endeavor but has reportedly said, “we had to do something, the WSMC is unable to provide 24/7 ALS emergency response locally, and in exchange for purchasing the San Juan Fire Truck. San Juan FD  have agreed to provide a paramedic response as quickly as possible.”  When asked about the timeliness of any response Chief Brown suggested that we can call them on the phone and if someone is in the area on vacation or just passing through it is possible they could respond.  Meanwhile they could tell us whether it is a real emergency in case we don’t know.

Sheriff’s Public Log 4/1/15

SO Badge

Sierra County Sheriff’s Public Information Log


  • Suspicious telephone calls received at Fournier Ranch
  • Ambulance needed for woman with shoulder pain in Sierraville
  • Suspicious telephone calls received in Sierra Brooks


  • Reckless driver reported on Hwy 49 Nobd near Loyalton


  • Ambulance needed at SNF in Loyalton
  • Truant student reported in Loyalton
  • GPS spot alarm activated in Wild Plum area Sierra City
  • Civil file in Downieville
  • Truant students in Loyalton
  • Ambulance requested in Courthouse parking Downieville


  • Unlicensed dog cited in Pike City
  • Restraining order violation reported in Downieville
  • Ongoing citizen dispute reported in Loyalton
  • 9-1-1 hangup call back considered conflicted residents in Loyalton


  • Truant student reported in Loyalton
  • Mixed Shepard Dog lost at Willow Creek Campground
  • Probation violation arrest in Loyalton
  • Agency assist to Lassen County near Loyalton


  • Citizen needs assist with disabled vehicle near Sierraville
  • Bag of personal items lost in Downieville
  • Reports of drone flying around Downieville
  • Threats being issued in Downieville


  • Single motorcycle accident near Sierraville

Board Letter on OSV 3/25/15

March 24, 2015

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service-Tahoe National Forest       631 Coyote Street Nevada City, California 95959-2250                                         Attn: Mr. Tom Quinn Forest Supervisor

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors on March 17, 2015 authorized and strongly endorsed this letter providing comments on the “proposed action” for designation of over-snow vehicle use (OSV) as part of Subpart C of the Forest Service Travel Management Rule as it affects Tahoe National Forest.

Transcending all of the County’s comments on the proposed action is recognition of the OSV winter snow grooming program funded by the State of California and implemented through a unique and successful partnership between the State Department of Parks C!Jld Recreation, US Forest Service, County of Sierra, volunteer user groups such as the Sierra Buttes Snowbusters, private contractors, landowners, and many recreation interest that enjoy the winter opportunities afforded in the Tahoe National Forest. This program is a major part of the economic engine that supports the existence of the communities within the County and its continued operation is critical to the County and to the region. Sierra County is the implementing and contracting party for these annual grant funds and the measured success of the program in providing opportunities for the recreating public, its respect for the resources in existence on public and private lands, and its importance to the economic viability of the region must have strong support in the selection of any proposed action.

Additionally, the County provides the following comments for your review and consideration in selecting any action or implementing any program related to OSV use and management:

1) Sierra County strongly supports a “status quo” alternative in that existing programs, existing management and oversight, and current use of the National Forest through OSV opportunities should continue without further additional regulatory influence. Multiple use should remain unchanged and the current opportunities afforded to the recreating public should not be altered. The support for ”status quo” is viable and strong and there is no basis for considering a reduced scope of program under the National Forest’s proposed travel management plan for OSV use.

2). The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) exists throughout Sierra County, particularly in areas where OSV use is predominant during winter months. Typical winters provide a snow condition that is optimal for OSV use yet the alignment and location of the PCT is not discernable under several feet of snow. The County supports designating specific locations where structured/vehicular OSV grooming may occur upon trails/roads that require crossing of the PCT but there should be no attempt to regulate and direct open-country OSV users to cross the PCT at designated locations. The County opposes any effort to direct individual and open-country users to cross at designated locations. Any proposal to designate a “corridor” where OSV use is prohibited will be catastrophic to the County’s OSV program and essentially exclude miles and miles of prime recreational area from access by the public during winter months. The 1982 comprehensive plan for the PCT and the interpretations of the management direction should clearly allow open use of lands containing the PCT during winter months. The Lakes Basin is one of many examples where interpretations that restrict crossing or open-country OSV use will all but eliminate these lands from use by the winter recreating public. It makes no sense, is not supported in fact, and is virtually unenforceable. The County will strongly oppose any effort to implement further restrictions along the PCT impacting winter OSV use.

3) A more coordinated process and decision making mechanisms must be created to evaluate the method used to determine whether or not to commence grooming operations on a given day. The current restriction to 6 inches of snow depth at a trailhead and 12 inches in the open country to be in place before grooming is authorized fails to consider location of trailhead and its elevation, temperature, snow consistency, weather forecasts, conditions at higher elevations, season of the year and other factors that can contribute to this decision. This formula must contain discretion, flexibility, and be supported by reasonable standards that will continue to afford necessary protections to public and private lands yet not unduly restrict OSV grooming and use. Sierra County would desire to be part of this decision making formula but regardless of the County’s involvement, a better process for making this decision needs to be in place.

4) The proposed action and the EIS to follow needs to provide a much stronger analysis of the positive economic and social impacts and the value of the OSV program to the economic vitality of the region during:winter months. The interaction and positive impacts occurring at Bassetts Station, Yuba Pass, and Little Truckee Summit all point to increased economic and social interaction locally and regionally and any analysis of this should be a critical chapter in the proposed plan and EIS.

5) The existing parking area at Little Truckee Summit generates issues for traffic and management and a project to expand the parking area to manage the existing use should be strongly encouraged. This improvement would not be designed or proposed as a measure to induce further use but rather managing the current use. The safety issues along State Route 89 at the existing trailhead and the liabilities that accrue are sufficient to warrant the execution of such an expanded project at this site.

6) Further OSV prohibitions and putting forth an alternative that overly restricts OSV use is not supported by the County. Expanded efforts should be implemented by the Forest Service and the County to provided enhanced public outreach and education on the proper operation of OSV use and standards to avoid environmental impacts and measures to assure operator safety. Expanded efforts to reach the public OSV recreational user and a concurrent level of consistent enforcement will assure all parties, including private landowners in the checkerboard pattern of land ownership in the region, that measures have been taken to afford a maximum level of protection without the need for increased regulation, prohibition, and other undesirable methods of management.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment and the Board of Supervisors would ask that the receipt of this letter be acknowledged by the Forest Supervisor and that assurances are given to coordinate with and involve this Board in all future actions pertaining to OSV use on the Tahoe National Forest.

Sincerely, Sierra County Board of Supervisors, James Beard Chairman

CC: Members of the Board, Ranger Youngblood, Ranger Hayden, Ranger Roubique, Sierra Buttes Snowbusters C/0 Mr. Bob Latta, Representative Doug La Malfa

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring !! and we have so much to look forward too… Banff Film Festival is coming to the Yuba Theatre and La Cocina del Oro fondly known as “Feather’s” will be reopening on that weekend. I think the Grubstake will be opening too… I hear there is stuff going on in the bakery and I saw some action at Smoothieville… talked to Karla Gardner at Indian Valley Outpost Resort and they will be opening the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. They added “Resort” to the name as they will have cabins and Teepees for visitors to Sierra County. They will be serving lunch and dinners. Being recreational gold miners they are looking forward to life in Sierra County. Dave has background in firefighting and will eventually join DVFD and Karla has background in health and eldercare issues… what a great addition to our community.  The Red Moose will be opening in Sierra City the first weekend in April and word is that Mountain Creek Restaurant will be happening again. I heard there are four new children moving into Sierra City… good news for our school. Things are starting to perk up

But before all that is the B Street Theatre coming to the Yuba Theatre on March 31st at 9:45 a.m. and two of our local students, Katie Epps and Aaron Foster won the Playwriting Contest sponsored by B Street and their plays will be performed. Admission is free and we are all invited.http://sierracountyartscouncil.org

Some other news is the Grass Valley Union newspaper ran an article (in this issue of the Prospect) on the efforts to rebuild the emergency medical response abilities in western Sierra County. It is an excellent article, however there are some clarifications that need to be made as in this eloquently written piece by a member of the community: Mr. McFarland and Ms. Rubin are disingenuous when they suggest that emergency care should be provided via the Emergency Medical Care System(EMS). The EMS System was the WSMC Downieville Clinic integrated with the local EMS volunteers and Enloe Medical Center. WSMC dismantled a highly effective, efficient and cost effective comprehensive health care delivery system and then has the temerity to suggest that it should fend for itself without advanced life support staffing and a facility in which to provide that care. The Clinic Staff were highly trained Medical Providers who had Advanced Life Support and Emergency Care Skills. The Administration’s actions have resulted in relegating the medical care provided in western Sierra County and its residents and visitors to Third World Medicine! We have patched together a volunteer ad hoc advanced life support capacity while trying to develop an alternate EMS and Urgent Care capacity. This results in the increased use of Advanced Life Support resources from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Ambulance and the use of Advanced Life Support Helicopters at $42,000 per event. Hardly a way to improve the cost effectiveness of care. Mr. McFarland has also chosen to obstruct the ability of the community to develop other clinic resources claiming a monopoly of the care provided to this community. There are over 1000 residents in this area that are affected by this action and over 5000 visitors per day during the tourist season April through October. In a sad and ironic twist of fate, the resources developed by the Downieville Community are being used to crush the capacity of the community to maintain the health care system it created. The metaphors abound.

and so Sierra County ranks 57 out of 58 being the second worst health care area in the state of California CHR2015_CA_0. Communities use the Rankings to identify and garner support for local health improvement initiatives among government agencies, healthcare providers, community organizations, business leaders, policy makers, and the public.

This week we have all the usual suspects: Carrie’s Corner, Gabby, Cooter, Cats, Others, local news and events, guest columnist Laura Finley and DeVita’s Fringe.

The lovely photo is by Darcy White with a rainbow overlooking Downieville.

I almost forgot, it is warm, getting warmer, time to think about yourself and pets and rattlesnakes, let’s not have a repeat of last year when we lost two pets to snake bites. Be aware.

The Mountain Messenger (pulp wood) 3/25/15

The Mountain Messenger is getting ready for the annual April 1st edition next week. This makes everyone nervous and they try to avoid doing or saying anything that might find it’s way to Editor Don Russell’s ears. Those who have been around awhile know there is no escaping the issue… if you have done anything in the past year you may be highlighted in the April 1st issue. The issue is so popular it sells out almost immediately, so order a subscription so you won’t miss it. I am a little reluctant to make fun of Don or Milly or anyone associated with the paper as I don’t want to be on the list of “those Don has payback accounts with”.  So hold your breath till next week and try not to make any news.

One of my favorite pictures of Don, he looks extremely sexy, friendly and gregarious like the wonderful person that he is.

3/25/15 One of my favorite pictures of Don, he looks extremely sexy, friendly and gregarious like the wonderful person that he is reputed to be.

Send anything you need published to Milly, the former CEO and 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.. Write to Don Russell at mtnmess@cwo.com and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..


The Others 3/25/15

I am not an "Other", I am a cat who was able to fly and disappear and then return to my lovely home with some who are jealous of me... Mr. Bean Williamson

3/25/15 I am not an “Other”, I am a cat who was able to fly and disappear and then return to my lovely home with some who are jealous of methey are so jealous I may need a new home… anyone interested? (I come with cat support)  Mr. Bean Williamson

Gabby’s Weather Fringette 3/25/15

Summer is in that Air!
By Gabby Fringette

gabby-in-social-space-150x150Ah, the smell of pit-stains and fresh-mowed grass fill the air. People are diving into ponds and pools, and holding barbecues. It’s a beautiful July day.
But wait… something isn’t right, here. The Saint. Patrick’s day decorations are still up, and the Easter ones haven’t even been put up. OH MY GOD IT’S STILL MARCH!
Although it’s felt like spring for a long time now, the abnormal heat, the pot growers in the hills, the animals humping in the back yard, now it’s technically spring.
However, it feels like summer. The blossoms have been pollinated, shirts have been sweat through, and the Frostys are opening.
My vote is that we just end school early, and call it summer.
However, nobody is listening to me at the moment. Their mistake.
At my school it means spring break, and spring Testing conveniently held the day spring break is over, meaning you have to study you week off, effectively turning your spare time into school.
You gotta love school.

At my house spring means Spring planting, Spring manure laying, followed by Spring bathing.
However, to my chickens, it has been spring for a while now. In fact, to them it’s summer. So now I have a bunch of angry birds mid-molt, running around leaving trails of feathers. To my garden, it’s also summer. The fruit trees have already blossomed, the over winter plants we planted last fall have already sprouted.

I gotta wonder… what will this accelerated season bring for the future? Drought? We’ve only had a few rains and one snow this year. Or will there be a sudden huge influx of cold weather, killing off the vegetables and the smaller, less hardy tourists?

We’re coming into some weird weather. Or so we say. Actually, climate fluctuations are common. They happened all the time, until there was a hundred years of bizarre steady seasons. Now we’re getting a little random and dry. We’re coming out of weird weather, not going into it. Let’s hope the strange weather comes again, because I’m already feeling a case of Apocalypsia coming on.
Canned beans anyone?

Downieville Rocks ! 3/25/15

Aurum Gardens has been awarded the first Cottage Food Operation (CFO) permit in Sierra County. Proprietor, Robin Bolle is estatic about the Class B permit that allows her to sell products at The Shack, Main St., Downieville.

The first line of Aurum Garden products will be Downieville Rocks! line of adventure food and products. A variety of candies, snacks and trinkets will be offered clipped to a carbine stating clearly that Downieville Rocks! Each treat will highlight unique features an fun of our area. Collect them all, they will be available at The Shack 289-3202 in April 2015.

A CFO allows for low-risk food products to be made or repacked at a private residence for sale to consumers (California Homemade Food Act AB1616(Gatto). This law effective in 2013 was in response to the demand for locally grown food and products such as those found in farmer’s markets, natural food stores and gourmet restaurants. There are two CFO classifications – one allowing only direct sales (Class A)  and Class B which allows direct and indirect sales. Class B allows products to be sold to stores and restaurants for resale and is a more stringent permit process with in-home inspections.

Carrie’s Snake Corner 3/25/15

By: Carrie A. Blakley

Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera Daisy

Well, the rain was nice, while it lasted. It would be nice if we had some more coming our way……soon. Even so, with the days starting to warm up, most of us love to throw open the windows to let the fresh air in. It’s nice, especially after a good rain. I love the smell of rain, don’t you? Quite frankly, with the house so closed up for the colder months, throwing open the window actually lets all the stale air out. There are a few house plants that you can use to help keep your air filtered inside, even with the windows opened. The good news is that these plants require minimal care, and tend to do well in almost any location – so long as that location is not the inside of a closet, laundry hamper or the cat box.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

While you’re at it, you might want to consider not putting these plants in the oven, attic, basement, under the sink, over the refrigerator or next to the stove top. Also, try and keep most of these plants away from children, and small pets. Or rather, small children, and all pets. Well, you know what I mean. So now you’re asking: ‘Ok, out with it! What plants?!’. They are as follows: Aloe Vera (also a handy medicinal plant to keep around), Peace Lily, Snake Plant (No, it does not produce snake blooms or flowers that hiss at you), English Ivy (which, will probably greet you each morning for tea and biscuits), Pot Mums/Florist’s Daisy, Gerbera Daisy AND Weeping Fig (This one is a bit picky when it comes to where it’s located).

For those of you who are about as inept at taking care of house plants, as an orange peel would be at walking the dog, I highly recommend getting easy to care for plants (read that as: incredibly difficult to kill without a gun, scissors, knives and a flame thrower), such as the Aloe Vera, Peace Lily and Snake Plant (again, no actual snakes are involved with this plant). You’ll want to make sure to follow all care instructions – if

Snake Plant

Snake Plant

they come with the plant. Otherwise, water these plants about once weekly, or, until the soil is relatively dry in between waterings (this does not include waterings from your pets, or children).Remember, even when we throw open the windows and let the nice fresh air in, we’re also letting stale air out, and pollens, mold spores, and other such airborne items in. Enjoy the warmer days ahead, and don’t worry – having a snake plant in your house will not give the house the idea that it’s harboring snakes.

DeVita’s Pessimist Fringe 3/25/15

Persistent Pockets of Particular People
Cheerless musing from the Fringe
By DeVita

fringe logoI’ve had plenty of reasons in recent months to think about the little town in our area of the Sierra.
I’m not talking about Truckee, but places like Truckee used to be, small towns, communities. There are many in our part of the Sierra; Loyalton and Portola are two that come to mind; towns built on work, willing to work still, but the jobs have move on.
When the jobs move on, towns find themselves facing hard choices. A lot of people wait for the old ways to come back; it’s what people know, what they could count on once.
Some towns are pretty, like the towns of the Canyon, or the towns around Lake Almanor, at the tail of the Sierra. Those pretty towns live for awhile on their quaintness and the beauty of the surrounding hills; they become the summer place for people who do bring in money, but don’t bring in the things a town needs: kids for the schools, and jobs that pay.
These small communities are special and rare, but it isn’t likely they’ll be listed as endangered and protected. Their difference is demonstrable: there is a number, “Dunbar’s number” which is based on the ratio of the cerebral cortex, and is a measure of an animal’s social ability, the number of other animals it can know socially. For humans, that number is quite large, but not 20 million, as live in Mexico City, or even hundreds of thousand, or tens of thousands, and not thousands. Dunbar’s number for humans is about 150. In our small communities, each person is linked to 150 more, and those are linked to another 150, some the same, some different. Even so, our small communities are knit very tightly. It’s different in small pockets of people.
I’m haunted by the feeling that my life might bracket these little towns, that towns like Loyalton and Portola, which were busy with commerce when I was born, might sunset during my life.
It takes a long time for a dying town to lose its pulse. The people stay, but they get older and older and one by one leave the planet. When they leave, if no heir wants the house, it is often either sold as is at bargain prices, or it goes vacant. A vacant house gets the same ailments as its owner many times, as older people don’t have the ability or money to have maintenance and repairs made. Eventually, when the owner passes and the house is vacant, that neglect takes over; the leaky roof means mold in the walls; the neglected eave means rats move in; the stopped rain gutters mean water migrating beneath the sheathing of the roof.
As houses pass, the town passes. Tax revenues go down; infrastructure starts to fail; houses become unsellable because of sewer and water issues, the spiral continues.
Abandoned towns are interesting. Their weathered buildings, the lifeless stare of sashes without windows, sagging roofs and leaning porches. A game can be made: why did this town die? Did its inhabitants try to do something, to save it, or did they simply leave?
What isn’t interesting, but is instead heart breaking, is to see the truth of it: little towns that outlived their purpose and died the slow death of obsolescence; the young leave, the old die, and one day the last old timer is gone.
There are cities, dying, in the Rust Belt, too; their death is similar but their mass, their huge size, the investments they represent, the population which can lose a third and still remain a city, that inertia of size, keep them on their feet. It’s miserable to watch them die, too, neighborhood by neighborhood, but it takes a long, long time, and during that time there are brief flares of economic heat; a big cities dies like a big fire; there is heat and fuel and sometimes flames rise from the glowing coals.
But the places I worry about, the dabs of cottonwoods and scattering of houses through the trees along the river, places that smell of wood smoke from chimneys, and people who know each other through moments remembered but long past, and buildings that have seen births and deaths, those places lack the inertia of big places.
Instead, they pass relatively quickly from flame to coal to cold ash, a few decades, a single lifetime.
Someday will someone make a game in our community: what did they do to save their town?

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