Wednesday June 29, 2016


This coming weekend is the 4th of July and there is nothing like a 4th in Sierra County. Parades in Downieville and Loyalton. Picnics, Vendors, and lots of fun. enjoy the BBQ and street dance on Saturday and the traditional parade and foot races and especially the famous “fireless fireworks” as the parade’s grand finale on Monday, July 4th!  Downieville is now famed for its Fireless Fireworks the length of Main Street following the Parade. If you’ve never seen it you are in for a treat your feet are the igniters. And if you are a Veteran, you are this years Grand Marshall of the Downieville Parade so make sure to get in the front with the Veterans of Sierra County.

First of all a big thanks to Tim Beals and the Sierra County road crew and Steve Folsom and Caltrans road crew for cleaning up town the last couple days.  Yesterday the Caltrans crew was sweeping and cleaning up the streets. Today the county road crew repainted all the lines on the streets and parking spaces. The merchants and I’m sure the residents appreciate the work.

During the July 4th weekend celebration, it is an opportune time to purchase your Brewfest tickets for Saturday, August 13 at 2 PM – 6 PM ! Tickets are available at Sierra Hardware, Downieville Day Spa, St. Charles Place Saloon, the Second Hand Store, 49Wines and Vintage Gal Antiques. There will also be a ticket sales table set up in town. Visit for more.

While you’re here enjoy the food at Coyoteville, La Cocina del Oro, Jada’s, Two Rivers Cafe, Smoothieville for ice cream and enjoy a cold one at the St. Charles. In Sierra City, the Country Store has the best fantastic sandwiches, Red Moose for Fish & Chips, Herrington’s Restaurant, breakfast and dinner and of course Sardine Lake Lodge and Packer Lake Lodge for scrumptious dinners.  You can find things to do  in Graeagle right here

So we have Tom Hastings, Winslow Myers, Rivera Sun and Mel Gurtov for the moments we can sit and think about life and how we can make it better for humanity, we are a very small planet. Dianne got a new computer and is back with her Pondering, The Cats, The Others, local news and happenings. Please have a fun and safe 4th and do not start any fires please.

This weeks photo is not in Sierra County but near Pahrump, NV where Janice Maddox saw a spectacular sky and shared it with us.

and if you have any Nehi grape soda please get it to Don Russell asap.

DVL Lions Meetings 6/29/16

For the first time in an almost century the Downieville Lions Club has changed their meeting date to the 3rd Monday of each month beginning on July 18th at 6 p.m. The Lions are extending an invitation to anyone in Sierra County who would like to be part of a fun group, who actively volunteer and participate in almost every event in the county. We need you and want you come to a dinner meeting as our guest to see what it is like to be a Lion. Call or email membership co-chairs Mary Ervin 862-1173 or Liz Fisher 289-3632 for location of meeting, sometimes we do Potlucks and sometimes we meet at local restaurants.

Tea Out the Window 6/29/16

Rivera Sun

Rivera Sun

The Nonviolent History of American Independence -by Rivera Sun

Independence Day is commemorated with fireworks and flag-waving, gun salutes and military parades . . . however, one of our nation’s founding fathers, John Adams, wrote, “A history of military operations . . . is not a history of the American Revolution.”

Often minimized in our history books, the tactics of nonviolent action played a powerful role in achieving American Independence from British rule. Benjamin Naimark-Rowse wrote, “the lesson we learn of a democracy forged in the crucible of revolutionary war tends to ignore how a decade of nonviolent resistance before the shot-heard-round-the-world shaped the founding of the United States, strengthened our sense of political identity, and laid the foundation of our democracy.”

One hundred-fifty years before Gandhi, the American colonists employed many of the same nonviolent actions the Indian Self-Rule Movement would later use to free themselves from the same empire – Great Britain. The boycotting of British goods (tea, cloth, and other imported items) significantly undermined British profits from the colonies. Noncooperation with unjust laws eroded British authority as the colonists refused to comply with laws that restricted assembly and speech, allowed the quartering of soldiers in colonists’ homes, and imposed curfews. Non-payment of taxes would prove to be a landmark issue for the independence movement. The development of parallel governments and legal structures strengthened the self-rule and self-reliance of the colonists and grew local political control that would ultimately prove strong enough to replace British governance of the colonies. Acts of protest and persuasion, petitions, pamphlets, rallies, marches, denouncements, legal and illegal publications of articles, and disruption of British meetings and legal proceedings were also employed.

Some of the most powerful boycotts in nonviolent history occurred in the New England colonies against the British Crown. Though the term boycott would not emerge for another hundred years until the Irish coined it during tenant and land struggles, what the colonists called “nonimportation programs” dropped British revenue in New England by 88 percent between 1774 and 1775. In the Carolinas, colonists deprived the Crown of 98.7 percent of import revenue. Moreover, in Virginia and Maryland, the rate reached an impressive 99.6 percent participation.

Resistance to the Stamp Act of 1764 thru 1775 dropped revenues 95 percent below what was expected. The British could not even pay for the cost of enforcing the Stamp Act throughout the colonies, and it was repealed in 1766. Newspapers published without paying the Stamp Tax used noms de plume to avoid reprisal. Courts closed because lawyers and judges refused to pay the Stamp Act for the printing of court documents. Shipping permits were supposed to be stamped, and, since merchants and shippers refused to pay the tax, ports closed, and even official documents were not delivered! Merchants of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia pledged a nonimportation pact until the Stamp Act was repealed. Six months later (at a time when crossing the Atlantic by sail took at least six weeks, and sometimes as long as three months), the Crown repealed the Stamp Act under pressure from its own panicked merchants.

In a campaign that is strikingly familiar to Gandhi’s spinning campaign, the American boycott of imported British cloth held spin-ins, whereby young women gathered in large groups to spin homespun yarn for weaving cloth. Colonists even stopped wearing the traditional funeral black (which mirrored English style) in protest of Great Britain. Women played significant roles in all the nonimportation programs, especially the resistance to the notorious Tea Act. While everyone remembers the Boston Tea Party’s dumping of tea into the Boston Harbor, few Americans have heard about how Susan Boudinot. She was the nine-year-old daughter of a New Jersey patriot, who, when handed a cup of tea while visiting the governor, curtsied, raised the cup to her lips, and then tossed the tea out the window.

These are just some of the many nonviolent actions engaged in by Americans in their struggle for independence. Some scholars even go so far as to call the Revolutionary War, the “War of Reclamation,” for the revolution had already been won in the hearts, minds, homes, and practices of the people by the time the British Crown sought to reclaim the independent and self-governing colonies. This Independence Day, tell the stories of the role nonviolent action played in establishing the United States. Perhaps by next year, we will be participating in re-enactments of spin-ins, holding mock funerals for Lady Liberty, and engaging in boycotts of imported goods to commemorate how American Independence was actually won.

Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the Programs Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence.

RFP Jim Crow Bridge 6/29/16

Sierra County
Department of Transportation

Request for Proposals to Provide
Construction Management Services for
Jim Crow Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project
Federal Aid Project Number BRLO-5913 (055)

Notice is given that a Request for Proposals to provide Construction Inspection and Materials Testing for the Jim Crow Road Bridge Rehabilitation at the North Fork of the Yuba River has been issued. The County will enter into a negotiated contract with the selected consultant. The Consultant shall provide all required construction engineering and inspection services for the Jim Crow Road Bridge Rehabilitation, as outlined in the Request for Proposals, including but not limited to a Resident Engineer and project inspector(s) responsible for the inspection, materials testing, environmental monitoring, labor compliance and construction management services in conformance with all County and State standards and standard practice for federally funded projects.

The Request for Proposals, including Scope of Work and sample agreement, can be obtained at the Sierra County Department of Transportation, 101 Courthouse Square, Downieville, California 95936, Telephone 530-289-3201 or online at Proposals must be delivered (not post-marked) in sealed envelopes no later than 2:00 p.m. on Friday July 8, 2016 in a format as described in the Request for Proposals to Sierra County Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 98, 101 Courthouse Square, Downieville, CA 95936.

Everything We Cherish 6/29/16

Winslow Myers

Winslow Myers

Up Against the Wall  – by Winslow Myers

Everything on our small planet affects everything else. This interdependence is more a harsh reality than a New Age bromide. A diminishing few may still deny human agency in climate instability, but they can hardly pretend that diseases, or wind-driven pollution, are stoppable by national borders. Even Donald Trump would not be able to build a wall that stopped the Zika virus, or micro-particulates wafting from the coal plants in China, or the cross-Pacific drift of radioactive water from Fukushima.

It is especially urgent that we understand the bizarre interdependence that arises from the reality that nine nations possess nuclear weapons. It no longer matters how many nuclear weapons a given country has, because detonation of such weapons by any nation, even a relatively small portion of the world’s arsenals, could result in a “nuclear winter” that would have planet-wide disastrous effects.

We have reached a wall, not a physical Trump-style wall, but an absolute limit of destructive power that changes everything. The implications even reverberate back down into supposedly smaller, non-nuclear conflicts. The late Admiral Eugene Carroll, who was once in charge of all American nuclear weapons in the European theater, said it straight out: “to prevent nuclear war, we must prevent all war.” Any war involving any nuclear power, including such regional conflicts as the ongoing border dispute in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, could rapidly escalate to the nuclear level.

Apparently, this notion, understandable enough to a layperson like me, has not sunk in at the highest levels of foreign policy expertise in our own and other countries. If it had, the United States would not be committing itself to a trillion-dollar upgrade of its nuclear arsenal. Nor would Russia be spending more on such weapons, nor India, nor Pakistan.

The analogy with America’s gun obsession is inescapable. Many politicians and the lobbyists who contribute to their campaigns, defying common sense, advocate for an expansion of rights and permits to carry guns into classrooms and churches and even bars, arguing that if everyone had a gun, we would all be more secure. Would the world be safer if more countries or God forbid all countries, possessed nuclear weapons—or would we be safer if none did?

When it comes to how we think about these weapons, the concept of “enemy” itself needs to be mindfully re-examined. The weapons themselves have become everyone’s enemy, an enemy much fiercer than the evilest human adversary imaginable. Because we share the reality that my security depends upon yours and yours upon mine, the concept of an enemy that can be effectively annihilated by superior nuclear firepower has become obsolete. Meanwhile, our thousands of weapons remain poised and ready for someone to make a fatal mistake and annihilate everything we cherish.

The most implacable adversaries are precisely the parties who should be reaching out and talking to each other with the most urgency: India and Pakistan, Russia and the U.S., South and North Korea. The difficult achievement of the treaty slowing and limiting the ability of Iran to make nuclear weapons is beyond laudable, but we need to augment its strength by building webs of friendship between U.S. and Iranian citizens. Instead, the status quo of mistrust is maintained by obsolete stereotypes reinforced by elected officials and pundits.

Important as are treaties of non-proliferation and war-prevention, networks of genuine human relationship are even more crucial. As the peace activist David Hartsough has written about his recent trip to Russia: “Instead of sending military troops to the borders of Russia, let’s send lots more citizen diplomacy delegations like ours to Russia to get to know the Russian people and learn that we are all one human family. We can build peace and understanding between our peoples.” Far from the easy dismissal as naive, it is actually the best realistic way our species can get past the wall of absolute destruction that contains no way out on the level of military superiority.

Reagan and Gorbachev came very close to agreeing to abolish their two nations’ nukes in their conference in Reykjavik in 1986. It could have happened. It should have happened. We need leaders with the vision and daring to push all-out for abolition. As a citizen with no special expertise, I cannot understand how a person as smart as President Obama could go to Hiroshima and hedge his statements about the abolition of nuclear weapons with mealy phrases like “We may not realize this goal in my lifetime.” I hope Mr. Obama makes as great an ex-president as has Jimmy Carter. Set free from the political constraints of his office, perhaps he will join Mr. Carter in robust peace initiatives that use his relationships with world leaders to seek real change.

His voice will be crucial, but it is only one voice. NGOs like Rotary International, with 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs in virtually all countries, are our safest, quickest way to real security. However, for organizations like Rotary to really take on war prevention as it took on the worldwide eradication of polio, rank-and-file Rotarians, like all citizens, must awaken to the degree to which everything has changed, and reach across walls of alienation to supposed enemies. The horrific possibility of nuclear winter is in an odd way positive because it represents the self-defeating absolute limit of military force up against which the whole planet has come. We all find ourselves up against a wall of impending doom—and potential hope.

Winslow Myers, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide.” He also serves on the Advisory Board of the War Preventive Initiative.

Mountain Messenger (epiphany) 6/29/16

I was hoping if I just started writing an epiphany would appear and suddenly the meaning and truth of Don Russell would become apparent. It didn’t work. WAIT.. THIS JUST IN FROM JILL – “Don Russell has been grumpy this week. Possibly it is the heat. Maybe it’s just civilization in general. Or, and this is what is most likely causing his even less than pleasant personality this week – his request for grape NeHi soda has gone unanswered. Man he loves that sugar-filled carbonated beverage. His poor underpaid, overworked, unappreciated office gal (she wears almost as many hats as Tim Beals does, only Beals’ hats are fancier) has been trying to appease her boss with a dang grape NeHi (bonus points!). Alas, her search has been to no avail.If anyone knows where to score some good grape, please email Jill at the Mess  the Mess. Please!”

The mystery of Don continues. So Don is prepared to have his usual wild 4th of July weekend having fun with friends and enemies in Downieville or Grass Valley/Nevada City, someone said he had a friend there, possibly named Nuke, but not a for sure thing. In case you wonder why we celebrate the 4th the Mountain Messenger prints the complete text of Declaration of Independence, it is a historical issue that you do not want to miss. If you don’t have a subscription come to town, have fun and visit a newsstand. Best to have a subscription because then you never miss a word of the Editor’s rants, he rants quite often, they are educational, pithy and humorous all at the same time depending on your perspective. Subscription information is below the photo below…..

Don Russell, a little confused as usual, is waiting for the Downieville 4th parade to begin.

6/29/16 Don Russell, a little confused as usual, is waiting for the Downieville 4th parade to begin.

mess subcrip (1)Send anything you need published to Milly, the CEO and most important person in the office, at 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 and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

Get a Normal Process 6/29/16

Tom Hastings

Tom Hastings

Get to work or wait for the voters’ verdict  -by Tom H. Hastings

Judge Merrick Garland, chief judge of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is President Obama’s nominee, as we all know, for the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court. The deadbeat Republicans in the US Senate, using their usual underhanded tricks, have refused to even consider this nominee or any other put forth by the president. How many things are wrong with this stonewalling posture?

· We see the results—all truly controversial issues of great import go undecided by the Supremes now because they are at a 4-4 tie.

· Republican leadership is virtually unanimous in being factually woefully in error that there is a rule or a custom not to make such nominations in the final year of a presidency. This is something that might be unusual but hardly rare, and presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Herbert Hoover to Woodrow Wilson to Dwight Eisenhower and more have all done so, some successfully, some not, all at least were afforded a normal process.

· Republicans need to stop calling President Obama a lame duck. He is not. After the election and before inauguration is the lame duck period. He is just a sitting president currently and he did his job finding a nominee.

· By saying that a president cannot do his job—that we elected him to do twice—that logic should ridiculously extend to all elected officials because they might not get re-elected, so they presumably can’t make any decisions until we “let the American people decide the direction of the court.” Instead of an early July 4 recess to avoid thinking about banning assault weapons, just recess until next January, without your obstructionist pay.

I personally wish President Obama would have nominated someone with a stronger human rights, civil rights, and environmental protection track record. But at the very least, the Senate should do its job and hold the hearings and confirm or reject the Garland nomination. The American Bar Association gave the judge its highest rating and he was confirmed easily by a bipartisan vote to the Circuit Court.

President Obama was just handed a defeat on shielding the parents of Dreamers from deportation, a 4-4 tie by the stymied Supremes that let stand the ruling of a lower court because that’s what a tie vote does. This question—and all others that are close and controversial–cannot be dispositively decided until sometime in the distant future, after the election, after inauguration, after nomination, after hearings, after possible confirmation. Nice job, Republicans, you scofflaw dirty tricksters. I hope the American people do indeed decide the direction of the court by voting you out.

Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Graeagle Barn Dance 6/29/16

Kicking off the Fourth of July events this year, the Graeagle Lions Club is scheduled to host the Dance at the Barn on Friday, July 1st at the Corner Barn in Graeagle located on Highways 89 & 70. Admission is $6 per person and the event goes from 6 to 11pm. This annual event features an evening of dancing, drinks and hot rods. The music will start at 7 pm with music by Blue Haven, and there will be fabulous hot rods courtesy of the Sierra Cascade Street Rodders. Hamburgers, hotdogs, beer and wine will be for sale, so plan to kick off the Fourth with some fun! For more information on this event contact the Graeagle Lions Club at 530- 836-2200. Visit our official MVID Celebration page at for more information and an updated schedule of events.

Dianne Ponders Generosity 6/29/16

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

Between massacres and Donald Trump, my outlook on life had taken a downhill turn until last Saturday, when an act of generosity brightened my day (if not month).

I have been without a reliable computer for a few weeks now and was unable to write even a few lines for the Sierra Prospect. Frankly, I was not in a position to buy another computer. Then on Saturday, my doorbell rang and there was my neighbor with what looked like a computer box for a desktop and a big smile.

“What’s this!” I exclaimed, as James walked into my apartment with his booty.

He replied, “I told you I was working on something to get you a better computer, and here it is!”

He then proceeded to disconnect my old clunker (which had Windows XP and the slowest response time since the building of the Ark). Two hours later, after much hard work and a few groans along the way, my new (used) computer was working and I was able to let Liz Fisher know that I would write a column for this week.

I could write reams of copy against Donald Trump, I thought, but the idea made me stomach sick. As for my position on gun control, I believe we need to keep the assault rifle off the public market. I am sure the country’s founders did not imagine the rampant gun mentality — or madness — that rages through our country now. From Columbine on, we’ve been assailed by almost weekly or monthly tales of mass slaughters to the point we are almost numb to them.

I chose to write about generosity because James’ story is one of pride and bigness of heart.

He has served in the military, and had several good jobs as a computer expert with such companies as IBM. When he became ill with a rare form of leukemia he was forced to take on a job as an apartment building superintendent. Now, he is disabled and on a fixed income, like the rest of us in my apartment building. His medical bills are monumental, and he lives in constant pain from tumors throughout his body.

Yet, he finds ways to be of service to many of us and to give us joy and pride and even an every-other-month treat of Dunkin’ Donuts.. I asked James what I owed him for the computer, and he replied evasively … nothing. I finally persuaded him to let me buy him lunch, and I called in the order on my charge card.

After the computer was installed, James ate his lunch (by then almost supper). I again asked him what else I could do to pay him back and he refused once again to discuss it.

So, this column is a tribute to a friend and his generosity, and to his courage and example of living a brave life. He has made my life richer.


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