The Real Don Russell 10/28/15

by Ross W. Taylor

Ross Roasts Don

Ross Roasts Don

An Address Upon the Occasion of Celebrating Don Russell’s Completion of 25 Years
At The Mountain Messenger, October 25, 2015

LEGAL NOTICE: All persons mentioned below, as in fact most people I know, are fictitious and entirely products of the reader’s imagination.
I first met Don Russell in April of 1990 or ’91 while he and his then partners were setting up the new regime at The Mountain Messenger, which was in the same location it is now, although at that time it still had some unfortunate signs of the long-term residence of several cats. I was in hopes of finding some work, and I was pleased to see a number of Macintosh computers being installed. I was also curious about the new editor.
Don was certainly easy to talk to and I soon learned that he had some real experience working for big city newspapers; so big and famous that I was rather intimidated. I was able to counter that I had once been in the printing plant of the San Francisco Chronicle, although I never did master the art of folding one of those newspaper hats the press-men wore. Don then went on to talk at remarkable length about his time fishing on Puget Sound. I thought that this wasn’t such a great qualification for his new responsibilities in the gold country. He was quick to correct that impression too, assuring me that in the 1970s he had been a long-term resident of Relief Hill, a bustling Nevada County metropolis that I equated with our own community of Howland Flat. Then I heard some more about commercial fishing.
I also learned that Don was very interested in politics and planned for the paper to offer considerably more detail about county meetings and activities than it had been used to carry. He wanted to know if I would be interested in helping cover these events. I think my shudder gave me away. Don was interested, however, in my abilities with Macintosh computers and newspaper graphics and as a result I have worked irregularly for the newspaper ever since, although I think Don would consider the word irregularly to be a considerable understatement and to encompass several meanings.
When not talking about fishing or politics, Don also likes to talk about cars. In fact, his car is what first brought him to the attention of most Sierra County residents. People tended to notice a goateed man wearing a cowboy hat driving around in a thirty-five-year-old Volvo sedan. In time, the more politically active would spot its arrival and begin to tremble. I was never sure if that was because Don might ridicule their opinions in the newspaper or they simply feared he might offer them a ride in the Volvo.
Don isn’t the first celebrity to turn heads when going back to his hometown, but I’m pretty sure that he was the first to revisit the Motor City while driving a freshly painted, forty-year-old, bright red Volvo 240. I think the red paint had been on sale.
I believe Don once actually paid all of five hundred bucks for one of his cars, but that was the usual premium for getting four-wheel-drive. A series of Volvos was eventually replaced by a series of Subarus, which disappointed many a local as they provided less warning of trouble’s arrival. There was even a gas-guzzling Dodge Ramcharger for winter travel for a time, although it actually tended to spin like a lazy susan whenever it got near a slick road surface. He now, of course, generally moves around in a nondescript Buick, having gotten it from his then ninety-two-year-old mother when it became too old for her to drive.
I have ridden along with Don through at least the fringes of major forest fires and alongside disastrous floods on roads that were either crumbling into the riverbed or at least partially blocked by fallen and burning trees. The worries of such ventures down officially closed roads were calmed by the driver’s happy recollection of netting salmon in huge quantities near the Canadian line. I was less calmed to be in a thirty-five-year-old car repaired whenever an even older newspaper editor had the time to get out his wrenches. These exciting events were generally followed by a memorable edition of the newspaper featuring a front page photograph of a county supervisor handing over a piece of paper and shaking hands with someone.
I suppose I should talk some more about the history. The paper had been put out using a couple of Compugraphic phototypesetting machines before Don’s arrival. To use these, you typed in an article and it produced a column of type on photographic paper. If you had made a typo, or had to change anything, you got out an Exacto knife and cut the incorrect item out and pasted in the corrected text rather than retyping the whole thing. Don’s arrival ushered in the new age of laser printing from text entered into computers where typos were easily corrected in Quark Xpress. The new setup consisted of a used Macintosh IIcx with a huge 19-inch black and white monitor and two Mac Classics. These looked like the original Macs from 1984 but were much better machines. They actually included 10 megabyte hard disks! For the purposes of comparison, I bought a five-Terabyte hard drive a couple of months ago that holds 500,000 times as much data. Note that I said black and white monitor—it displayed black dots or white dots, gray wasn’t available. The screens on the Classics were all of seven inches wide.
A few years later Don was forced to use one of the Classics for a day or two while its replacement was being repaired. He swore he would never complain about the newer machine’s lack of speed again. Today the paper’s ten-year-old machines are increasingly incompatible with the rest of the computing world and the paper may be forced to upgrade its software from the 1994 version.
For over twenty years Don got up in the wee small hours every Thursday morning to take the newspaper ‘boards’ to Quincy, timing the journey to arrive before most of the staff at Feather River Publications, an even longer and tougher chore when the worst storms of the winter seemed to arrive on Thursdays. The ‘boards’ were each page of the paper pasted up ready to be photographed before being burned onto the lithographic plates that would be used on the press. Today the pages are e-mailed the night before and the folks in Quincy produce the plates directly from the computer images, allowing a welcome extra hour or more of sleep. The paper still has to be picked up and distributed and Thursdays are still long and task-filled days.
The twentieth century actually ended before the newspaper began converting to digital photography. Pictures in the ’90s were taken on black and white film and developed and printed in the Messenger’s small darkroom and only then pasted onto the ‘boards.’ Ken Beaver took care of that chore for the paper and did a great job for all that time. When Ken was unavailable, Gordie Bell stepped in and did very considerable service for the week or two Ken would be gone. If your grandchild’s picture didn’t come out well in the paper, don’t blame them. It is almost impossible to get all the photos in a single issue to come out well in a standard print run between the several photographers and wildly different exposures on the various pictures.
I helped Don find the paper’s first digital camera, a remarkably professional used camera that featured a whole megabyte per picture and a real pro detachable flash unit. He is still muttering about losing it because newer units feature a crummy built-in flash and outrage him by providing too many pixels.
The years also brought the internet and networked computers. There is not much nostalgia for the years of carrying floppy disks, and later, Zip disks, between computers, but the network tends to be way too likely to break when you really need it. The internet brought e-mail, spam, and the ability to send the paper to the printer electronically. It also brought regular correspondence from the mild, the community-oriented, the weird, and the deranged. It did cut down on the consumption of fax paper.
Speaking of paper, I’m reminded of the billing. The original Macs were sold with the hope that you would buy an Apple impact dot matrix printer to go with it. The paper had one and it was used to prepare the bills on pre-printed four-part NCR paper. Don loved this system and was absolutely resistant to converting to a laser-printed billing system. There were years of increasingly awkward work-arounds running cables between rooms each week, firing up a 12-year-old computer that still had the necessary Appletalk interface, and moving files with zip disks between the current machine and its long-obsolete predecessor before the old system was abandoned. Something like four different very old printers had been involved and new ink ribbons had become unavailable. It should be noted that Don still owns more typewriters than most modern day national governments.
Don is a people person and has interacted with an extraordinarily large number of the county’s residents over the years. All of the county supervisors have changed two or three times and all but one of the department heads, or two, or three, or so, depending on how one counts Tim Beals. The Messenger staff, which is strictly speaking only two, but sometimes includes me and a few others, has changed more than once as well.
Liz Fisher helped Don take over in the early 90s and can still be counted on to provide great aid in times of need, usually at very considerable inconvenience to herself. Damaris Harbert labored in the office for more than a decade, frequently not only alone in the building but without any idea of where Don was or when he would return. This was always difficult because people would keep calling or popping in to see him and she couldn’t answer their questions. She learned the answer to the most reasonable questions in self-defense. She somehow kept producing the bulk of the paper’s day to day work and on Wednesday Don would sit down and put it all together with her help. Nancy Carnahan suffered through much the same thing for a few more years and now Jill does the work and even manages to produce a new issue if Don is out of town. Mary Johnsen, the institution’s famous ‘resident shrink’, has unfortunately moved away, but was a long-time provider of copy-proofing assistance as well as producing a regular column and offering other help as needed.
Pancho Wilmarth, Carolyn Dobbs, and Al Pratti are now all gone, but wrote weekly columns for the paper for many years and each was memorable in their own right, providing recollections of people and times long past. I’m pretty sure Don never met Tom Magliotti, but Don was responsible for getting Click and Clack into the Messenger each week and their column seems a little lost without the brotherly rivalry between the two men. I should mention here that Click and Clack is sponsored by Parts for Imports, which has continued with its support for all these years. They are a small, independent auto parts firm that is able and happy to supply parts for domestic vehicles as well as imports, particularly for cars newer than Don’s.
While I’m indulging in a commercial break, I’d like to mention The Bookseller. They no longer advertise with the Mess but were quick to sign up when Don first added the crossword to the paper and they stuck with the newspaper for over twenty years while suffering increasing competition from superstores and on-line retailers. They’re on Mill Street in Grass Valley.
I should probably mention DeVita and even the Prospect, but since we can’t spell his name to his satisfaction I won’t. It’s not our fault he’s silent-vowel-challenged.
There are a number of other persons that have passed that I met and got to know by hanging out with Don that played a part in the history of the Mess. Ed Carrier, who would come out with a smile and a pleasant word or two each week when the new Messenger arrived in Sierra City. Don Bowling, who was perhaps the most efficient ever chairperson on the Board of Supervisors. Bob Bowling, who laughed at Messenger jokes over the dangers of telephones for years and would, after his retirement, meet Don for breakfast together in Quincy on the occasional Thursday. Nevada “Babe” Lewis, whose politics I found frustrating, but our friendship with Don caused me to end up laughing with on a rare occasion when we both found ourselves agreeing on a ‘boondoggle’ waste of tax-dollars issue. Rick Clough, who offered support with late night provisions of the brewer’s art, was a highly valued companion on several hilarious expeditions across the neighboring state of Nevada. Bookman Cooper, whose real first name was Warren, became a friend of Don’s in grade school and was good enough to provide a weekly column detailing the follies of the professional athletes we watch on TV on Sunday afternoons. Warren could be counted on to pick Don up at the airport whenever he flew back to Detroit. Some of you may have met him at one of the annual Chili Cook-offs.
Through the years Don has kept in touch with the editors of neighboring and competing newspapers and with at least the offices of our state and federal legislators, as well as meeting and interviewing most of those legislators and frequently the principal candidates for those offices when seriously contested. The Messenger has been surprised more than once over the performance of our office-holders. Sometimes that surprise has even been a pleasant one.
It has been interesting to see the people that want to visit with Don. I have been astonished to discover people displaying great interest and knowledge in local politics who I never thought to follow such things at all. At other times people seem to either be indifferent to fairly significant changes or trends in this part of the world and then remarkably worked up over things that probably won’t affect them at all. Whether you like Don or hate him, agree or disagree, write a letter to the editor. There’s a lot of white space to fill.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Unknown-4This weekend is Halloween, so be ready for our little ghouls to be knocking on the door. Trick or Treating in Sierra County is always fun as we know all the little goblins. Be sure to keep your four legged friends inside so they don’t get scared.


It’s Bat Week — a week dedicated to celebrating the importance of bats! Far from scary, these little creatures act as pollinators and natural pest control. To learn more cool bat facts, find out what challenges are facing bats today and what you can do to help

You might want to take a look at this proposal for the Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration. It involves the No Yuba River through Sierra County to above Sierra City and you might want to have some input. Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibilty Study Report The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is involved and here is their notification Department of the Army_1, the meetings set up are not in Sierra County and I believe the Board of Supes and Director Tim Beals will be requesting Public Meetings within Sierra County.

We have our guest columnists Tom Hastings, Andrew Moss, Michael DeValve and John LaForge, DeVita’s Fringe, Dianne Ponders, Mt. Mess, Gabby, Cooter, Cats, Others, and of course local news and events.

The prickly photo of a porcupine feasting on Darcy White’s flowers is a keeper. Good to see Porcupines are still around.

Cooter & Claire (off the record) 11/11/15


We've been through this before... I am not allowed to speak freely, however, off the record, I would say he is too easily influenced by that Russell fellow... but strictly on the QT.. between you and me please....

11/11/15 We’ve been through this many times before… I am not allowed to speak freely, however, off the record, I would say he wants to be Don Russell, he goes through identify crisis fairly often… Claire asked to be silent on this issue… I don’t know what is happening but I will miss you.

Dianne Ponders Cuts 10/28/15

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

WASHINGTON — Eleven million people face a deep, abrupt cut in disability insurance benefits in late 2016 if Congress fails to replenish Social Security’s disability trust fund, which is running out of money, the Obama administration said Wednesday.

Officials expressed concern about the Social Security program as they issued their annual report on the financial condition of Medicare and Social Security, which together account for about 40 percent of all federal spending.

The trustees of Social Security, including three cabinet secretaries, said the disability trust fund would be depleted in the last quarter of 2016. After that, they said, benefits would automatically be cut by 19 percent because revenues, largely from payroll taxes, would be sufficient to cover only 81 percent of scheduled benefit payments.

The report sets up a fight between President Obama and Republicans in Congress. Mr. Obama wants to replenish the disability trust fund by shifting some payroll tax revenues from Social Security’s retirement trust fund.

Republicans, however, want more significant changes to improve the program’s finances. These changes could include reductions in disability benefits, restrictions on eligibility, new measures to combat fraud or new strategies to help people return to work. In January, Republicans adopted a new rule in the House that could block a direct reallocation of money at the expense of the trust fund that provides benefits for retirees.

The White House acknowledged the financial problems of the disability program in a separate report issued by Jeffrey D. Zients, director of the National Economic Council, and Shaun Donovan, the president’s budget director.

The trustees, in their report, said that the squeeze on the disability program was “but the first manifestation of larger financial imbalances facing Social Security as a whole, as well as Medicare.”

What all that means is that people on Social Security will not see a raise in 2106, and they will have to pay more out of pocket expenses for treatment that is now covered. And people on disability will be hurt the most.

Congress has mandated a 20 percent cut in disability payments. A person receiving $1,000 a month now will see $200 less in their checks next year. One man living in my apartment building says the cut will mean he will no longer be able to afford adequate food, even if his rent is adjusted to make up for the shortfall.

We cannot allow situations like that to happen. We need to write or call our congressional representatives and urge them to back off on the cuts. We don’t see congress people or government workers getting their pays cut. It’s always the poor who get shafted and suffer the most in any budget “adjustments.”

Write or call your senators and congress members and protest. Maybe, just maybe, our voices will make a difference

DIG News 10/28/15

The DIG group met on October 21, 2015, after taking a break from the very successful Brewfest in July. This event grossed over $22,000 which we will use toward Downieville community projects. We have set the date for the 2016 Brewfest for August 13, 2016 and are already planning and inviting brewing companies. We had a very positive response from all the brewing companies that participated in July, and look forward to hosting this event again! The DIG meeting on Oct. 21 focused on the proceeds from the brewfest and we’re moving forward with our plans to contribute toward construction of the Gazebo in Gold Rush Park.

 We hope to have a gazebo in place to dedicate during the 2016 Brewfest! The community project in mind to donate 2016 brewfest proceeds is the Downieville Community Hall. It really needs a cosmetic face lift and other enhancements to make it more “user friendly”.

We were so fortunate to have sponsorship from the Downieville FIrefighters Association for the Brewfest, but realize we need to be self-sufficient to continue with our fund-raising efforts for community projects. We are working toward becoming a non-profit “business league” so we can obtain insurance to sponsor our own events.

Attached is a list of projects that DIG has accomplished.. As a small group of merchants and residents, we have many things to be proud of, this list is a reminder of things we have accomplished working together over the years.ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2

The next DIG meeting is Tuesday, November 17 at 6pm. at the Mike and Karen Galan residence. Everyone is welcome!! Social time is at 5:30 and the meeting starts at 6:00pm. We hope to see YOU and bring a friend!

Cherry Simi
Vintage Gal Antiques

Being Correct Credit 10/28/15

Communication and appreciation

by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Tom Hastings

Most of the really confident people I met were actually rather stupid.” –John Cleese, So anyway…

We lost the developer of nonviolent communication this year, Marshall Rosenberg (1934-2015), a man focused on how we can more effectively help wend our way through our conflicts with others—but without engendering more hurt along the way.

Rosenberg acted as a facilitator, mediator, and trainer in more adaptive communication methods that help us get what we need while giving others what they need. His framing stressed clarity and accountability.

We all know some of these techniques. Comedian John Cleese may or may not have heard of Rosenberg, but here is an excerpt from his autobiography that shows one of those flashes of genius:

  • I also knew that I could “do” confident, and it helped enormously socially that I appeared to be able to fake it no matter how insecure, anxious, or inferior I actually felt…[I had] the sense that I should be formidably well informed about everything… I had an epiphany. I was talking to a very well informed fellow called Peregrine something-or-other, and nodding knowledgeably, and smiling wryly at I knew not what, when on an impulse I suddenly said, “I don’t know about that. Will you tell me about it?”
  • There was a moment of silence, but the ceiling did not fall in. Peregrine something-or-other did not slap me contemptuously with the back of his hand, or spit in my face. Instead, he visibly brightened and proceeded to give me a thoroughly good explanation of what he had been talking about. He enjoyed explaining it, and I enjoyed understanding it, and he clearly liked me better for having given him the opportunity to display his learning. Instead of humiliation, then, I had initiated a profitable transaction. It was a revelation, and I found it such a liberation, and a relief, to be able to abandon that phony omniscient posturing.

I will suggest we take that even a step further. Give credit to our opponents for being correct. Find the kernel of accuracy or justification in what our “enemies” say or do, and openly acknowledge that. It can be positively disarming and it can draw down the frantic urge to hurt us.

Example: ISIS is right to try to redraw the boundaries in the Middle East. Those borders were imposed on the region by European cartographers at the behest of their colonial and imperialist rulers. The people of the region should enjoy the sovereignty over the political boundaries that all peoples deserve.

Does this statement weaken the drive by all reasonable people in the region to reduce and eliminate the ISIS terrorist threat? No. It weakens the outrage that fuels ISIS, if it’s accompanied by a US pullout and cessation of bombing. It makes the US look large and mature. Then a follow up of a US-led global boycott of ISIS and a stress on the outrageous conduct of their operatives can reach the ears of the people of the region and elsewhere. Such conduct by the US could radically reduce recruitment to ISIS and hollow out its authority.

This is the beauty and magic of adaptive conflict communication. It can attenuate damage and increase gain for good ethical and moral practices. Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist, worked his entire professional career on these concepts. If such strategies and tactics can save lives and lower all other costs, aren’t they worth trying?

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is core faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University and is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Create a Just System 10/28/15

Love for Justice

By Michael DeValve


Michael DeValve

For far longer than any of us have been alive, the U.S. criminal justice system has functioned under the de facto principle that black and brown bodies were objects to be subjected to scrutiny, control, and all too often, state-sanctioned violence. Today we can see that although progress has been made, that progress is minute in comparison to what remains to be done.

The suffering of certain Americans disproportionately at the hands of the justice system is on the surface of a much deeper problem we are facing. Misguided policing priorities and practices, poor jail conditions, coerced plea bargaining, simplistic thinking about “criminals” and “justice,” patchwork use of restorative techniques amidst a generalized retributive system, mass incarceration, masculinized and militarized law enforcement cultures, threadbare efforts at “rehabilitation,” the drug war, vengeful policymaking, and commodification of justice outcomes prove we have a very big mess to clean up. To clean this mess, we need something much more complete than slow and piecemeal justice reform measures.

Ultimate fault does not reside alone with those who serve as agents of justice service. You and I, through our demands, assumptions, misunderstandings, fears, addictions and attachments have as much responsibility for this mess as we have at stake in it. We expect the police to do our bidding as taxpayers and yet we hope they look the other way when we are caught speeding. We tell judges, DAs, police, and mediators that we want justice, but in fact what we mean is that we want the person who hurt us to be hurt worse. We remain punitive only because we have neglected to see and honor our own incredible ability to be better administrators of a new justice paradigm.

What America needs now is a Manhattan Project on Justice. We need a concerted, focused, all-encompassing program. We must create a justice system that is intentional in its mechanisms, fully committed to the wellbeing and actualization of every sentient being it serves. Victims, witnesses, and offenders must all be represented and looked after within our new system.

It will have to be a fundamental reconceptualization, not only of the criminal justice system but also of justice itself. We must finally realize that our due is, in fact, love: the selfless, courageous, endless wisdom-led service of another human being’s actualization. The reason our criminal justice system creates more pain than it resolves is that it is founded on fear, authority, and vengeance–not love and truth. Like a massive coal-fed furnace, as long as our justice system continues to operate, belching out suffering and toxicity more prolifically than healing, we will continue to pollute each other and our collective future.

The idea that justice is love may seem odd at first, but there is no mistake and no doubt. As frightening as it may be to commit to the well-being of one who has done harm, it is possible and it is in our enlightened self-interest.

I am hereby inviting all humans to express their interest in a better system– to me, to your neighbors and to your representatives for a summit on justice.

Michael J. DeValve, Ph.D., syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University.

Posted in Uncategorized

If It Is Necessary 10/28/15

What’s Missing from the Presidential Debates?

by Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss

I have learned a great deal from the presidential debates held thus far this season (four Republican, one Democratic to date). I have learned about the candidates’ experiences and positions on the issues, as well as about the different ways they communicate their views. I have appreciated the questions posed by the moderators as well as by members of the public, but something’s missing from all of the exchanges.

Despite the plethora of pre-debate and post-debate commentary on the candidates’ performances, I do not recall hearing or seeing much commentary about the kinds of questions posed to the candidates. As someone who taught college writing and literature classes for several decades, I have gained respect for the power of a good question, for its capacity to serve as a window opening onto new possibilities of understanding. So let me illustrate my concern with a single example from the Democratic presidential debate on October 13:

CNN’s Anderson Cooper posed the following question to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont: “Senator Sanders, tell an American soldier who’s watching right now tonight in Afghanistan why you could be Commander-in-Chief given that you applied for conscientious objector status.” Sanders answered that he applied for C.O. status because he opposed the policies that led the U.S. into the Vietnam War. On the other hand, he supported the war in Afghanistan and other U.S. military actions, including air strikes in Syria.

As Sanders explained, “I happen to believe, from the bottom of my heart, that war should be the last resort; that we have got to exercise diplomacy, but, yes, I am prepared to take this country into war if that is necessary.”

Cooper’s question elicited important information from Sanders about his views. What if Cooper also asked a different kind of question: “How do we avert wars?” This kind of question could open up a broader set of possibilities – certainly broader than information about a candidate’s willingness to use military force.

A broader question could get candidates and viewers not only to identify the threats we see to our national security but also to think about what national security is in the first place. It might get us thinking about the kinds of conditions (economic, political, cultural, and environmental) that make us feel secure or insecure on our own soil. In addition, it might lead to other questions: Why, for example, does any one nation need more than 650 military bases in 38 countries around the world? (Some experts put that number at more than 800.)

These questions are not abstract or speculative. More than 6,800 Americans have lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. More than 970,000 veterans’ disability claims have been filed with the VA for injuries sustained in those wars. The claims cover a wide range: from shrapnel wounds and brain trauma to the loss of limbs and post-traumatic stress disorder. Moreover, there are record suicide rates: as much as 50 percent higher for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans than for the general population.

Before we put our soldiers in harm’s way, we should be asking the candidates the right kinds of questions: not just the so-called “tough” questions that evoke dramatic performances, but the creative, open-ended questions that get us all thinking about alternatives to war and violent conflict.

Andrew Moss, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is an emeritus professor from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he taught a course, “War and Peace in Literature,” for 10 years.

Dwight at the Sierra Valley Lodge 10/28/15

Sierra Valley Lodge is happy to welcome local resident Dwight Brooks as our partner and General Manager of The Lodge effective immediately. Mr. Brooks will also oversee the transformation of the Lodge’s restaurant into a more locallydriven, familyfriendly BBQ centric menu. Dwight Brooks is no stranger to the Sierra Valley where he has been a residence since 1999 after moving to the area with his wife, Heidi where they raise their two boys. After honing his culinary skills in his Sierraville cafe for the past several years, Dwight plans to take his growing love of smoking and bbq ing ribs, turkeys and brisket to a whole new level at Sierra Valley Lodge.

The new hours for the lodge will be Thursday through Sunday from 11am til 11pm. Menu items to include a la carte BBQ plates, sandwiches and pasta. Look for the restaurant to feature daily specials, lower prices, a bigger selection available in the bar and on Sundays, the emphasis will be on families with kids under 10 eating free! Dwight is also a musician and his love of music will dovetail well with the Lodge’s musical offerings which include a great Halloween show this Sat as well as a very special New Year Eve show with the Dead Winter Carpenters!

The lodge was originally built in 1919 as a recreation hall for the once thriving mill town owned by DaviesJohnson Lumber Company. Although the town and the hall have changed over the years, the enjoyment the town and the county have derived from the space made it an important part of the community as they watched bands, graduations, weddings, and cowboy poetry readings over the year.

There are now rooms available for the lodge which will be open all winter long as well as the bar and the restaurant. So come on down to Calpine! Sierra Valley Lodge is located at 103 Main St, Calpine CA. This charming venue boasts a state of the art digital sound system, a restaurant and a great local western themed bar.

The Parish Entertainment Group is owned by Michael O’Connor and Jason Perkins who operate The New Parish, The Rock Steady, The Speaker Box Cafe and Leo’s in Oakland, plus Brick & Mortar, Place Pigalle, BIg Rec and Crafty Fox in San Francisco. Their latest installment is Sierra Valley Lodge a mountain music venue (

Carrie’s Icy Corner 10/28/15

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley

Unknown-5Here comes the rain…da da da da….wait, that’s Sun, isn’t it? Ah well, rain is nice. It gives us all a chance to walk around in wellies, muckers, duck boots and bucket hats. That, or we can all pretend to be the Gorton’s fisherman for a day, or two. Either way, it’s not so bad, right? Well, that, my friends, depends on how you define ‘bad’. See, water is great, and all the gods ever known to humanity know we sure do need all the rain we can get. slippery-roads-28767714However, on a more scientific level, the solid form of rain, is called ‘ice’, and that can be bad. Especially if you’re in an area where the temperatures are dipping into the mid-30s at night, like they have been at my home.This is that short period of time between Fall and Winter (Yes, I said it), that I have lovingly dubbed ‘Crappy Driving Conditions Season’. That is, black ice, slippery roads, the entirety of the Sierra County Wildlife Zoo dashing through the roads at any given moment, and the ever present onslaught of ‘I have no idea what that just was, but it looked important so I better slow down a bit’. In other words, crappy driving conditions. Put it this way, when the law enforcement officers are continually having to go all over the county just to rescue another poor road sign that got pulverized, just because someone was driving too fast…it’s an issue. Please, please, please, please, PLEASE be extra careful while driving during this time of the year. Seriously, the roads are not safe to drive even normally. You need to keep your eyes on the road at all times, and watch your speed. Just doing those two things could save your life, or that of someone else. Just be safe, and remember to never take these roads lightly. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be a few minutes late, than dead.

DeVita’s Grownup Fringe 10/28/15

fringe logoCan we talk like big people?
An outline of the terrain from the Fringe
by DeVita

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors is having public meetings on legal medical marijuana commerce.

1. The county population is getting older, poorer and smaller in number.
2. This is because the resource exploitation and agriculture we once enjoyed are no longer supported by the market.
3. The state of California just enacted three bills which regularize medical cannabis commerce. It classifies cannabis as “agriculture”.
4. The bills are terrible, they create 17 new felonies, they dramatically restrict the ability of fellow patients and friends to share cannabis, and on and on. There are 28 agencies that can stop a cannabis license.
5. The new law was finally passed because it is clear that recreational cannabis will likely pass the initiative process this year, and legislators and regulators wanted a head start.
6. As bad as the law is, we can use it as a starting place to sculpt how we want our county to compete for the billion dollar cannabis market.
7. The law allows, and even requires, counties to have some medical marijuana laws and regulations. Sierra County has a good start; Plumas has nothing.
8. Bad local ordinances will discourage beneficial outcomes of cannabis commerce and encourage negative, illegal impacts. Some actions can’t be taken: you likely can’t stop personal growers.
9. Good local ordinances will encourage small, stable cannabis farms and dispensaries which obey the law and encourage others to obey the law. A good law can help prevent corporate pot growers and ensure small, craft cannabis growers can live.
10. Sierra County is not going to get rich on cannabis; the real growers are warehouse growers down state. Now that growing isn’t illegal any more, it won’t pay to find remote places to grow. There is simply no way Sierra County is going to become a “pot county”, whatever that is. If we are lucky, we might find about 120 jobs, either by creating new jobs or by making existing jobs legal.
11. For nearly 40 years our government told lies about cannabis, even as their own research found otherwise. The government is not your grandpa. The government is a mob of competing interests. Sometimes the government is wrong. In this case, almost everything the government taught us was wrong. No “gateway”, no “amotivational syndrome”, no dangerous pot drivers, no reefer madness at all. Instead, a cancer drug, a seizure drug, a drug for strokes and heart attacks, a drug for neuropathy, a drug which is one of the few anti-inflammatory drugs which crosses the blood/brain barrier. And, it’s a plant, not a dangerous pharmaceutical. Do the research yourself.
12. Our county supervisors listen to the voters (except those that don’t want re-election). If the voters rely on old cannabis mythology, and insist the board pass bad laws, they will.
13. This is our chance to get what we need: a legal income for people in the county who are young enough to have kids.
14. After six years of asking, no one has suggested a better way to bring money in to the county. All the bike races in the world won’t do what having a small, legitimate, stable cannabis industry will do. Every rural place wants tourism.
15. It’s up to you.
A short synopsis of the law is below, from Emerald, the grower’s association. Please try to do the right thing. Good luck.

Gabby’s Datette 10/28/15

The Eight Commandments of Dating Me
By Gabby Fringette
gabby-in-social-space-150x150The Gimpy One recognizes that I’m finally old enough to date, and he’s being surprisingly gracious. He just has a few little rules. I thought they would be the normal curfew rules, my date has to be inspected first that sort of thing.
But instead, he sits me down, and lays down the rules.

“Alrighty, Gabby, yer about datin’ age, which give a poor old papa like me a giant pain in the ass, what with all them boys wanten yer squishy bits. So, let’s go over some basic ground rules. A lot of the kids I knew growin’ up didn’t have ground rules, they were expected to be good. We ain’t makin’ that mistake with you. Anywhere yer date touched you, I touch him. (‘d’you really wanna kiss her on the lips, boy?’)
Oh, and another thing is, I don’t like it when people drive too fast, so have him drive nice and slow. In fact, I think I’ll drive, I jus’ ain’t comfortable when other people are drivin’ me. Call ahead to the restaurant, because I have a special diet, what with my flatulence and such.
If we go to Lover’s Leap, it may have to be renamed ‘Lover Accidentally Fell to His Death’. Accidents happen, especially to handsy little snots.
If yer date decides to take his mom’s van, he should bring two things; a funny DVD in case I gets bored, and a football helmet in case I don’t get bored.
Also, I’m probably going to bring a date, named Ms. Smith-Wesson. Speakin’ of names, yer date will be called ‘Rodney’, ‘What’s-His-Name’ or ‘Boy’ through the entire date, especially to his face. Unless his name is actually is Rodney, then I’ll improvise, with Robbie and Richie. Oh, one last little rule, you can’t go on a date Sunday, because it’s extra bad to kill someone on the Sabbath. Now, nice, and reasonable, right?”
Left with no choice but to agree, guess who’s going on a double date next Saturday?

Sheriff’s Public Log 10/28/15

SO Badge

Sierra County Sheriff’s Public Information Log


  • 0849 – Overturned vehicle with trapped occupant missing dog near Sierra City
  • 1224 – Bicycle found near Kentucky Mine in Sierra City
  • 1321 – Laptop stolen while staying at motel in Sierra City
  • 1329 – Dog bite reported from above located dog near Sierra City
  • 1561 – Juvenile vs step parent disagreement in Loyalton
  • 1541 – Sierra County Warrant arrest in Reno, NV
  • 1605 – Caller may have lost his wallet in Sierra County


  • 0842 – Theft of checks reported in Loyalton
  • 1111 – Fraudulent transaction reported in Pike City
  • 1137 – Squatter occupying a trailer in Goodyears Bar
  • 1716 – Loose dog barking in the street in Downieville
  • 2058 – Pedestrian jumping in front of traffic in Sattley
  • 2317 – Burglary and theft of turtle from Downieville School


  • 1007 – Welfare check requested for someone in Alleghany
  • 1127 – Vehicle accident with injuries near Coyoteville
  • 1155 – Vehicle into tree on Ridge Road near Oregon Creek Rd
  • 1359 – Welfare check requested for subject in Sierra City
  • 1523 – Disabled vehicle on Hwy 89 causing hazard near Sierraville
  • 1609 – Susanville CHP reports reckless driver near Sierraville
  • 1656 – Possible elder abuse in Loyalton
  • 1924 – Trespassing reported at Fournier Ranch


  • 0357- Generator running day and night in Pike City area
  • 1547 – USFS reports disabled AT&T truck reported near LaPorte
  • 1555 – Deputy issues traffic citation near Loyalton
  • 1712 – Found purse in Downieville brought Sheriff’s Office
  • 1856 – Suspicious circumstances involving male and female in Loyalton
  • 1943 – Hang up called 9-1-1 from Green Acres
  • 2053 – Ambulance needed for fallen wife in Loyalton
  • 2103 – Deputy notices suspicious activity at Fournier Ranch


  • 0943 – Request for welfare check relayed by Deputy in Loyalton
  • 1740 – Vehicle crashed into highway snow pole on Depot Hill
  • 1806 – Welfare check requested for subject at Webber Lake
  • 2117 – Ambulance needed for fallen female in Downieville
  • 2252 – Noise complaint at the Sierra Valley Lodge in Calpine


  • 1715 – Report of spray painter getting paint everywhere in Downieville
  • 1920 – Suspicious custody issues reported from Sierra Brooks
  • 2118 – Deputy reports open door  at Downieville School
  • 2318 – Ambulance needed for juvenile with asthma attack in Loyalton


  • 1319 – Medical emergency with injured mountain biker in Downieville
  • 1944 – Deputy arrests DUI subject near Fournier Ranch
  • 2214 – Susanville CHP requests agency assist near Calpine

Samuel Henderson Doyle 1932 – 2015

Samuel H. Doyle

Samuel H. Doyle

November 14, 1932 – October 24, 2015

Samuel Henderson Doyle JR. was born on November 14, 1932 in Westville, Oklahoma to Samuel Henderson Doyle SR. and Myrtle Loene Doyle.

He grew up and went to school in Greenville, California and graduated from Greenville High School with the class of 1950. After high school he joined the U.S. Army, and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War from 1953-1954.

In 1954 he returned back to Greenville, California for a short time before moving to Sierra County, California where Sam raised five children and served a very extensive law enforcement career. Sam was employed for many years as Deputy Sheriff for the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, and in 1970 he was elected Sheriff. Sam was honored with the appointment to the Advisory Committee for the Project Safer California Office of Criminal Justice Planning by Gov. Ronald Reagan. After serving two terms as Sheriff he lived in various places while continuing to work in law enforcement including serving as Under Sheriff and Chief Investigator in Campbell County, Wyoming. In 1994 after 36 years of service he retired in Winnemucca, Nevada and then moved to Buffalo in 2007. Sam enjoyed spending time outdoors, fishing and camping. He served as a campground host in the Big Horn Mountains and enjoyed spending time with family.

He is survived by three sons, Samuel Doyle of Sheridan, David Doyle of Gillette, and Mark Doyle and his wife Tina of Green River; two daughters, Janie Long and her husband Dave of Buffalo, and Laurel Morsette of Gillette; one niece Barbra Doyle of Greenville, California; eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, and three sisters.

Graveside services for Sam Doyle, 82 year old Buffalo man who passed away Saturday evening at the Johnson County Health Care Center in Buffalo will be October 27 at 10:00 A.M. at Willow Grove Cemetery with Pastor Peter Friese officiating. Donations in Sam’s memory may be made to the Buffalo Hospice in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at:

Cheney Still Spews 10/28/15

Still Torture After All These Years

By John LaForge

John LaForge

John LaForge

Thomas Buergenthal, 81, was a judge for the International Criminal Court (ICC) for 10 years. Last July he said the architects of systematic torture in the G.W. Bush Administration, Dick Cheney in particular, will eventually be prosecuted. Last year, President Obama also stated, “we tortured some folks,” which is an admission to both a federal crime under the Federal Torture Act and a violation of the UN Convention against Torture.

Judge Buergenthal told Newsweek, “Some of us have long thought that Cheney, and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black [sites], should appear before the ICC.” As if to taunt the Fates, Cheney has said, “I’d do it again in a minute” when asked about the use of torture.

Additionally, according to two Senate reports, one in 2009 from the Armed Services Committee and one in 2014 from the Intelligence Committee, the America Psychological Association (APA) acted in the Bush/Cheney torture program as enablers. Singled out by name were psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who designed U.S. military and CIA torture methods and “were instrumental in persuading the CIA to adopt stress positions, temperature and dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding in interrogations,” the Guardian reports.

The APA asked U.S. attorney David Hoffman to investigate complaints by some of its members over “collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate” torture. The APA’s strict code of conduct forbids its members from aiding in the torture, although the rules permit involvement with military interrogations. In July, Hoffman completed his report and the APA’s ethics chief Stephen Behnke – who stifled internal dissent over the collusion, suppressed ethics complaints, and manipulated membership resolutions and voting – quickly resigned.

The U.S. government knows who committed the crimes – and who destroyed videotape evidence – but Obama refuses to prosecute and his administration stands accused of actively hampering investigations into secret CIA torture sites. In fact, the only CIA officer ever prosecuted in this ongoing scandal was John Kiriakou. In 2007, he was imprisoned for two years for divulging the truth about the CIA torture. The agents breaking the laws remain free.

Both Kiriakou and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab are owed official pardons by Obama. Diyab is a Syrian who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. He was cleared for release – without being accused of a crime – in 2009 but remains imprisoned. Diyab is being brutalized by the “force-feeding” because of his long-lasting hunger strike. Steven Miles, a University of Minnesota Professor of Medicine, told the New York Times that being strapped into a restraint chair and having a tube pushed into your nose and down to your stomach is painful to endure. Dr. Miles says the prison has turned force-feeding into “a penal strategy dressed up to look a medical procedure.” A lawyer for Diyab, Eric Lewis, told a federal court last October that the force-feeding constitutes torture because it inflicts “additional and gratuitous suffering” in order to compel prisoners to stop nonviolent protesting.

The UN Human Rights Committee has called for further investigations into the “unlawful killings and the use of torture in overseas operations” used by the U.S. The UN Committee against Torture has raised concerns over current interrogation rules used by the U.S., its failure to fully investigate allegations of torture, and the “draconian system of secrecy” and indefinite detention without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay.

A full accounting and criminal investigation of the torture regime must be made, including disclosure of videotapes of CIA interrogations under Bush and of force-feeding under Obama. There is no other way to demonstrate that law binds U.S. presidents, to ensure that such crimes are not repeated, to recover the right to condemn torture by other states, and to reduce the chances that captured U.S. soldiers will not be tortured using the same sickening rationale that Cheney still spews on Sunday talk shows.

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

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