Wednesday April 27, 2016

Breaking News : Groundbreaking for Sierra County Highway 89 Wildlife Undercrossing

WHO: California Department of Transportation, Highway 89 Stewardship Team members (USDA Forest Service, CA Dept. Fish and Wildlife, Sierra County Fish and Wildlife Commission, Sierra County, University of CA Cooperative Extension, UC Berkeley-Sagehen Creek Field Station, CA Deer Association, Trout Unlimited)

WHAT: State Highway 89 Paired Wildlife Undercrossing Project Groundbreaking Ceremony

WHEN: Monday, May 2, 2016 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Sagehen Summit on Highway 89 approximately 8 miles north of Truckee and approximately 9 miles south of Sierraville.

Contact: Liza Whitmore (530) 634-7640 cell: (530) 701-5209

So, here it is almost May, gadzooks, the year just began and it almost half over, okay maybe that is a stretch, it just makes me wonder where the time goes. One way to slow down and enjoy the day is to go to the Mad Hatter Tea Party on Saturday, April 30th at 12 noon in the Native Daughters Hall. Luncheon, desserts, raffle prizes and funny hats. Donation is $10 at the door.

Saturday evening is the Grand Opening for the St Charles Saloon and new owner Steve Sharp, come down, say hello and have fun, if you don’t drink the St Charles serves great Shirley Temples and sodas… the history of the St Charles in Downieville is it’s fun for all, beginning at 4 p.m. Burgers & Hotdogs (you can bring a side dish if you want) live music with the Dyin Breed, friends, pool, food, watching the game and just chatting with friends, of course you do have to be 21 yoa. Call 289-3237 if you need more info…or see St Charles on Facebook. See you there.

We have lots of local news and events, Be Encouraged, Carrie’s Corner, Cats, Others, Dianne’s on a one week sabbatical, our guest columnists this week are Mel Gurov, John LaForge, Erica Chenoweth, Rev. John Dear and Tom Hastings, take the time to read these columns as we head into the future of the Earth in which the United States and all humans reside.

The photo this week is by Bryan Davey above Sierra City taken recently, last week it was lovely Spring flowering trees in Downieville and yet winter returns to the hills surrounding us.

Help Wanted at FRC 4/27/16

The Family Resource Center in Loyalton seeks a friendly person, knowledgeable about local resources, to join our team. Must have a sincere desire to assist families in making positive changes. Please contact us at SCCAC POB 1016, 315 Main St., Loyalton CA 96118. 530-993-1110 EOE

CA Fire Safe Council Director 4/27/16

Sacramento, Calif. (April 27 , 2016) – The California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) today announced the appointment of Stephen Gort to the position of Executive Director, effective May 1, 2016.
Mr. Gort assumes the position originally announced as Ruben Grijalva, who had to decline due to urgent personal needs. Mr. Gort will leave his position as President of The Napa Communities Firewise Foundation, currently in its 12th consecutive year of operation and begin his duties in the Sacramento office of CFSC.
Napa Firewise operates under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors and highly skilled fire professionals. Gort created its strategic plan, many of its outreach programs and its financial system. He obtained 501c (3) status for Napa Firewise.
“The CFSC Board and staff welcome Stephen as Executive Director,” said Jerry Davies, board chairman. “He brings a wealth of expertise and experience in fire prevention, finance and grant writing to the California Fire Safe Council.”
In addition to his work with the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation, Gort serves as manager for Circle Oaks Community Homeowners’ Association in Napa, providing hands-on administration of a working fire safety program. He helped Circle Oaks achieve Firewise USA recognition as the first Firewise Community in Napa County.
“I have worked with many Fire Safe Councils in Napa since 2003. I know how much they need and want the assistance and support provided by the California Fire Safe Council. I am eager to join in this important work”.

Prior to the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation, Gort fulfilled a career at IBM as a Director and Principal in the Management Consulting and Services Organization in California, Ireland, and several European countries.

Reporting to Chairman Davies and the Board, Gort will focus on expanding the relationships and support of CFSC grants for fire prevention programs conducted by California’s local Fire Safe Councils, fire agencies, Firewise and Fire Adapted Communities.

Gort holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University in New York and completed undergraduate studies at St. Bonaventure and Pace Universities.

CFSC, a statewide non-profit organization, receives federal grants from agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and others. These funds provide grant monies to local Fire Safe Councils and other community organizations in California using the innovative online Grants Clearinghouse of the California Fire Safe Council.
The CFSC Grants Clearinghouse is an online grant application process that makes it easier to find and apply for wildfire prevention grants to support community projects. In its 12 years of grant making, it has funded over 900 grants totaling over $90 million for projects to reduce hazardous fuels, provide wildfire prevention education, and create risk assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
For more information visit

Pleas are Ignored? 4/27/16

Board of Supervisors ignore pleas from Sierra County Patients

After months of meetings, the Sierra County Board of Supervisors voted in Ordinance 1071—the new medical marijuana cultivation code—despite wide ranging protests from county residents. Having witnessed this injustice firsthand, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling letters to the Board that were made public so that the community at large can see the depth of harm the new ordinance poses.
Here are the voices of your neighbors:
“I have around 15 medical conditions… which cause chronic pain… I need a lot of medicine.” “If it wasn’t for marijuana I do not know if I would be alive today.” “I was a victim of a car wreck… I broke my back, hip and pelvis in four places… When I discovered medical marijuana I got my life back… I cannot afford to go purchase it elsewhere.” “Should the proposed changes [No. 1071] take effect, we will not be able to grow our prescribed medicine.” “Please take these words of a sick, hard-working man into consideration”—“Please don’t change [the now old] ordinance.”
“[There is a] need for medical cannabis and the need for good, honest, community-minded medical cannabis farmers to provide medicine for the people that need it.” “Allow… collective gardens that have been acting in compliance with state and local law to continue.” “The proposed ordinance is harsh, unjust, and most severely affects the aged and ailing”—“most medical marijuana patients are elderly and/or disabled and on fixed incomes.” “The proposed changes of a maximum 100 sq. ft. per prescription, no more than 10 plants of any size per prescription and no more than two prescriptions per parcel are simply unreasonable.” “No one other than an experienced doctor is qualified to recommend how much cannabis a person needs based on his or her ailment”—“the amount of medicine a patient needs is their decision to make along with their physician.” “Do you really think someone with stage-4 liver cancer, severe arthritis or chronic pain can cultivate the amount of cannabis they need?”–Don’t you want to see people who are sick get better?”—“Please help us keep our right to medicine!”
“We all have different terrain, abilities, and resources for our cultivation practices… what one person can get out of one plant another may need five or ten.” “Many flowers [cannabis buds] have to be disposed of due to pests, mold, and mildew…[some] are lost to storms and animals.” “Having adequate space and an ample plant count allow us to pick the best of our medicine and ensure that we have what we need.” “We and many others have put most everything we had into these gardens and properties and do not have the financial or physical means to change them now”—“to tear out… and redesign our gardens” “will cost so much it will make it impossible for the sick to grow their medicine.”
“You [the Board] are restricting so many people from being able to grow their own [medical cannabis] and then limiting their neighbors from being able to grow for them”–“You will be forcing fixed-income residents who wish to live within the law to drive to Sacramento to purchase cannabis (probably grown in our region) at retail prices”–“You are depriving these people of their quality of life and health.” “The amount of pain it [Ord. No. 1071] would cause a large number of Sierra County residents is staggering, while the pleasure it offers [to proponents] is unremarkable.” “As representatives you have a duty to empower your constituents to pursue health, wealth, and happiness. We deserve your assistance not resistance.”
“[The passage of Ordinance 1071 shows a] lack of appropriate legislative due process with resulting loss of rights… [and a] lack of legislative justification… Patients have legal rights; collectives are allowed to function… The new Sierra County ordinance fails to protect those rights…. It [also] represents a taking of property rights.” “This is a community issue without community input. We are the community and voters in Sierra County. We deserve to be heard and we deserve to be treated fairly.” “No other crop recognized by the Dept. of Agriculture gets such size, growth, and plant limitations on it.” “What’s next are we going to be told how much food we can grow?”
“This ordinance will break the community effort to conform to the law”—“ [it] will create criminals.” “People who wish to be, literally begged to be, legitimate, who are legitimate at the state level, will again become outlaws.” “Law enforcement will be busy persecuting the sick and elderly and their caretakers; while those without concern for our natural environment and community health will be out in the forest constructing guerilla operations. This proposed ordinance would actually take resources that should be spent on protecting the land from those gross violators and wastes them by penalizing people who were, just the year before, operating within the protection of the law.” “The draconian $1000 a plant fine is intended to create a bounty for which the county can hunt. It is an insult to the people, patients, caregivers and collectives… who testified during the many public comments to the board.” “If my family decides that providing for our health… is more important than obeying the newly revised restrictions (and grows what was legally allowed last year), then we will be slapped with a whopping $52,000 fine.” “When I cannot pay the fine, what then? You take my land? [Yep. See section 8.02.080 C] I am not a criminal and do not deserve to be treated like this.” “Our rights are being violated [and] our intelligence is being disrespected.” “An over-arching code–passed without allowing for stakeholder/community negotiation–in spite of the protests from the group most affected (Sierra County’s MMJ patients and growers)– is lazy, cold-hearted, and undemocratic” and “it invites legal action from the medical cannabis community.”
“Cannabis has been cultivated in Sierra County for years by your neighbors and friends.” “Most cultivators… work hard to respect regulations and use good management processes to respect their neighbors and environment”—“nurturing the land so that their crops are pure, renewable and natural.” Now is the time to preserve the small craft farms that are supporting many Northern Californians.”
“I urge you [the Board] to… meet with us to better understand what we do, how we do it and work together to find solution to the concerns we ALL share”—“a real compromise that addresses the public’s concerns and allows patients and providers to continue living within the law.” “We offer up our knowledge & experiences to have an honest conversation with anyone sincerely interested…. Please open your hearts and minds to finding viable solutions & compromises.” “Please refrain from insisting on this divide”—“We would prefer to work with the Board rather than against it.”
Of the 49 letters I reviewed that were made public with the ordinance packet, only one had anything negative to say about cannabis cultivation. The other 48, written by 28 different authors, were used to craft the article you just read and overwhelmingly oppose Sierra County Ordinance 1071. Unfortunately, the BOS dismissed massive public outcry and voted in the new ordinance… but there is still hope folks. Sierra County residents have responded by initiating a referendum to put the new law to a public vote and are out collecting signatures now. Whether you are a patient, a grower, a sympathetic citizen, or just someone who thinks that laws should be for the people by the people, please help by signing and/or circulating the referendum. We all deserve a say when our well-being and freedoms are at stake.
If you would like to sign the referendum and/or circulate, you can contact me personally by email at and I will help connect you to someone who can assist you further. We have until May 19th to collect as many signatures of registered Sierra County voters as possible, so please do not hesitate to get involved. It is crucial to the continued vitality of our community that we achieve this referendum and vote down the new ordinance. Let’s grow a healthier future together!
Sincerely, Ian Ileson
Resident of Pike and a Sierra County Growers Assn. member

First 5 Needs Exec Director 4/27/16

First 5 Sierra is now accepting applications for the part-time Executive Director position. The deadline to apply is May 25, 2016, at 3:00 P.M. Applications are available at 701 Main Street, Loyalton. Please call 993-4884 for more information. EOE

PreparAThon Day 4/27/16

Join Us for National PrepareAthon! Day on April 30
America’s PrepareAthon! urges everyone to participate in activities to prepare for a wide array of hazards.

National PrepareAthon! Day – Saturday, April 30 – provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and communities to take action to prepare for specific hazards through group discussions, drills, and exercises.

America’s PrepareAthon! offers free, easy-to-use guides, checklists and resources to help individuals, organizations and communities practice the simple, specific actions they can take for emergencies relevant to their area. Examples of actions you can take for National PrepareAthon! Day include:

Create a family emergency communication plan. Visit and download Be Smart. Take Part. Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan. Collect the information you need, decide on the places you will meet in case of an emergency, share the information with your family, and practice your plan.
Download the FEMA app for disaster resources, weather alerts and safety tips. FEMA launched a new feature to its free mobile application that will enable users to receive push notifications to their devices to remind them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. The application also provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and open recovery centers, tips on how to survive natural and manmade disasters, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation.
Sign up for local text alerts and warnings, get the latest forecast at and download weather apps to stay aware of worsening weather conditions. Visit and download Be Smart. Take Part. Know Your Alerts and Warnings to learn how sign up for local alerts and weather apps that are relevant for hazards that affect your area.
Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place. Have all of your personal, medical, and legal papers in one place, so you can evacuate without worrying about gathering your family’s critical documents at the last minute. Visit and download Be Smart. Take Part. Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuables for a helpful checklist.

Visit the America’s PrepareAthon! website,, to sign up and register your participation and find information on hazards, tools, and resources.

County Job Info 4/27/16

Community Outreach Coordinator
Under direct supervision, employees in this class plan, coordinate and promote various County programs on a county wide or regional basis; increase or maintain membership in community coalitions; assist in providing educational services and presentations to the community; prepare and distribute information flyers, posters and other public relations materials; perform related work as required.
$19.50 – $21.50 per hour (DOQ)
Published April 26, 2016 8:00 AM
Closing  May 13, 2016 5:00 PM

New county job info here

The Cats in Therapy 4/27/16

Calpine VFD Events 4/27/16

The Calpine Volunteer Fire Department is gearing up for the summer season, with two events that you and your family will enjoy. Attend, eat, drink, and let your support make ya all kinds of merry!
On Saturday, May 21 the hard working firefighters will hold a Pancake Breakfast and raffle. The menu includes hotcakes, (duh) eggs, sausage, juice and coffee. Adults eat for $10, kids 8 and under are $8. The griddle will be fired up from 8-10 a.m.
Mark your calendars for Sunday, June 20, so you don’t miss out on the Calpine VFD Bingo! event, being held from 4 – 7 p.m. Bring everyone you know, the more players, the bigger the pot, and all the more *gossip” you’ll get to hear! Admission is $10 for 10 games. The evening will also include a 50/50 cash prize, hot dogs, beer and soda available for purchase. Your little darlings can attend and assist, but winners must be of legal voting age. That’s 18-years or older in Calpine.
Both events will be held in the CIA building. For more information please email Angela at

We Endorse Paul 4/27/16

Editor: We are writing this letter in support of Paul Roen for Sierra County Supervisor, District 3. We have firsthand knowledge of Paul’s ability to help in any situation that may arise and equally be able to handle in a timely fashion. Rumors some folks are saying that Paul does nothing for eastern Sierra County is simply not true. In addition to many other things Paul owns the Sierra Valey Feed & Ranch Supply in Sierraville which provides jobs. He is part owner and he and his partners provide funds for  the Golden West in Loyalton which is struggling to remain a vital part of Loyalton. Sheri Roen, Paul’s wife is very involved with the community as a volunteer with the school transporting students for sports and serves on the board of community organizations. Supervisor Roen and his family  are an  incredible asset to our community and we endorse him for another term as a Sierra County Supervisor.

Mark Marin and John Cussins, Loyalton

Paul for Sierra County 4/27/16

Editor: Sierra Pacific INdustries is pleased to offer our support to Paul Roen for reelection to Sierra County, District 3 Supervisor. Through his actions he has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to improving the quality of life in Sierra County. Paul understands the need to manage our forests for the safety of our mountain communities, to provide valuable employment opportunities and to supply the wood products we all use.  We look forward to continuing our relationship with Supervisor Roen, and wish him the best in the coming election.

Mark Lathrop, SPI

DeVita Editorial 4/27/16

Take Back Sierra County Government

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors passed a group of ordinances April 19, 2016. The ordinances represent a complete reversal of the county’s previous position on medical cannabis of a year before.
The process from which the ordinance was produced was very badly flawed. During what was supposed to be a public hearing, Supervisor Adams argued with citizens, accepted no input, and made it clear he was taking unilateral action.
Only Supervisor Peter Huebner declined to support the ordinance, for the reasons we all should insist on: it didn’t follow proper process, and it wasn’t fair.
The new ordinance will have many negative effects on our community. Two of common concern are property rights and due process.
The new ordinance, in an attempt to bully citizens, gives enforcement unreasonable powers, including the power to retroactively cite for something that is no longer there. It allows the county to come on anyone’s property at any time for any reaon.
Both members of the Board and members of law enforcement have agreed that the new ordinances will produce more crime, and will likely increase environmental degradation.
The environment takes a further hit when the Board sends medical cannabis patients inside, with indoor grows. If all patients and caregivers do as the Board intends, the negative impact on the environment from greenhouse gases will outweigh any benefit the ordinance might have had.
I will sign the referendum because the process by which the ordinances should have been determined was flawed; we were denied due process.
I will sign because property owners are harmed.
I will sign because the environment will be harmed.
I will sign because patients deserve to grow their medicine.
I will sign because I believe in liberty.
Laurenc DeVita

Laurenc L. DeVita MA

Find A Way 4/27/16

Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov

Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea   by Mel Gurtov

Sanctions on North Korea have failed.

North Korea has now been sanctioned five times by the United Nations Security Council for its nuclear and missile tests: resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016). UNSC Resolution 2270 is the strongest one yet, spelling out in great detail the proscribed goods and requiring that all parties neither import them from nor export them to North Korea. Each resolution obliges the members to carry out the terms of the sanctions and (as the April 15 press statement of the UNSC says) “facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.” This is a case of mission impossible for two fundamental reasons: the sanctions will not work, and the fact of them impedes any chance for a “peaceful and comprehensive solution.”

Foremost among the obstacles to an effective North Korea sanctions regime is smuggling along the China-DPRK (North Korea) border. Military items disguised as ordinary goods seem easily able to evade detection thanks to inconsistent inspection by border guards, bribery, false declarations, and North Korean firms based in China that actually belong to military-run trading companies. Since these practices are surely well known to the Chinese authorities, it seems fair to assume they have no strong interest in preventing or at least substantially reducing it—something they could accomplish with a more intensive border inspection process. That China is not doing so no doubt reflects its oft-stated position that the North Korean nuclear issue is the result of other countries’ policies, not China’s, hence that resolving it is others’ responsibility, mainly the US.

This is not to say that China is refusing to follow the UNSC’s latest resolution (UNSCR 2270). Beijing’s criticism of North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests has become increasingly harsh and open over the last few years, and voting to approve UN sanctions is one way to underscore its criticism. Reports indicate, for example, that China has closed its ports to North Korean coal and iron ore exports. But the Chinese have created a large loophole. At their insistence, 2270 allows for humanitarian trade affecting people’s “livelihood.” Thus, as China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on March 4, “We will earnestly observe the UNSCR 2270. The resolution prohibits the DPRK’s export of coal, iron ore and iron, but those that are deemed essential for people’s livelihood and have no connection with the funding of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs will not be affected.” As a result, China’s exports to North Korea actually rose about 15 percent in the first three months of 2016 compared with 2015, and Chinese imports rose nearly 11 percent.

These figures come from a Chinese customs official. They may underplay the actual trade figures, which are said to have been deleted from official PRC trade reports in order to hide the volume and character of the trade.

China is hardly alone when it comes to evading sanctions on North Korea. The DPRK operates numerous entities that do business abroad in illicit goods. Namibia, Iran, and Russia are usually mentioned in this regard. Two specialists call these trading entities “North Korea, Inc.” Their research concludes that “sanctions have actually improved North Korea’s ability to procure components for its nuclear and missile programs.”

The reason is that the trading firms, mainly in China and Hong Kong, have been willing and able to pay a higher price for these goods to middlemen, who in turn are willing to take greater risks to sell. The writers acknowledge the great difficulty in getting ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying the North Korean firms and finding ways to put them out of business. In the end, they say, only diplomacy will resolve the problem.

Reflagging and renaming North Korean ships is another common tactic, as is falsely claiming a ship’s destination as (for example) China rather than the DPRK. For example, an unpublished UN report describes how the North Koreans used a Singapore branch of a Chinese bank to pay for their ships to transport weapons through the Panama Canal. Then there is the story of a British banker who, according to the Panama Papers, set up a front company in Pyongyang, registered in the British Virgin Islands, to sell and procure arms.

North Korea’s military program also benefits from the fine line that often exists between civilian and military items. Commercial trucks, for example, can be used to mount a variety of weapons. A Chinese-made truck used in both China and North Korea for mining operations has reportedly been adapted by the North Korean military for its new mobile rocket-propelled artillery system. Six mobile intercontinental missiles (possibly fakes or mock-ups) paraded in Pyongyang in April 2012 likewise were mounted on Chinese-made trucks.

When all is said and done, the most likely scenario is that the new round of sanctions will produce no better results than previous rounds. This is so not only because North Korea has many ways to procure items needed for its military purposes, and plenty of willing private sellers. China, as North Korea’s principal trade partner for many years, is not going to watch the North disintegrate in spite of Beijing’s discomfort over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. China’s leaders will do more than previously to enforce sanctions, such as inspection of cargo bound for and incoming from North Korea; but they will do a good deal less than the US wants, especially when it comes to border inspections. For just as President Obama has hawkish advisers who want to turn the screws on North Korea even tighter in hopes of regime change, President Xi has people around him who think resisting US pressure is strategically more important to China than undermining Kim Jong-un. Secretary of State John Kerry may well say that China’s approach “has not worked, and we cannot continue business as usual.” But the Chinese have a perfectly good comeback, namely, that Washington and Pyongyang must find a way back to the negotiating table.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University and blogs at In the Human Interest.

RCRC Advocates 4/27/16

SACRAMENTO, CA – April 27, 2016 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) announced today the addition of two Legislative Advocates to its governmental affairs team. Mary-Ann Warmerdam has rejoined RCRC to cover agriculture, water, and other resource-related issues, and Tracy Rhine has joined the team to cover land use, health and human services, telecommunications, and overall infrastructure issues. Warmerdam and Rhine join the existing RCRC governmental affairs staff in advocating on behalf of RCRC’s 35 rural California member counties.

“We are excited to welcome Mary-Ann and Tracy to our team, and to the county family,” said Greg Norton, RCRC President and CEO. “Their individual skillsets, experience, and passion will serve our member counties well.”

Warmerdam previously worked for RCRC in 2003, and brings a wealth of legislative and regulatory affairs experience to her new role from both the state and federal levels. Warmerdam most recently served as Regulatory Affairs Leader for The Clorox Company.

Prior to joining RCRC, Rhine held several positions with the Department of Consumer Affairs, most recently serving as Chief Deputy Director. Rhine has also worked in the Legislature both as a Member consultant with the Speaker’s Office of Member Services, and as a Committee Consultant with the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions.

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