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…..


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