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January 14, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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January 14, 2015
 

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6B Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter EDITORIAL AND ,OPINION EDITORIAL ..................................... 7 ..... The frog is our friend; policymakers trying to protect it are not Last week Plumas County realized its in'st tangible economic casualty directly related to the yellow-legged frog. The popular Lost Sierra Endurance Run scheduled for early September was canceled. It's canceled because the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship said it can't afford to pay for a frog habitat impact analysis associated with the U.S. Forest Service's special-use permit. This is likely just the beginning of the economic collateral damage resulting from the frog being considered an endangered species. The cancellation of this race amounts to a substantial fmancial loss for Plumas County. The 200 - 300 competitors, along with their friends and family members, would conservatively spend about $100,000 in our community. The loss to the lodging industry alone would be about $60,000. Regardless of which side of the frog debate you are on, there is no denying this cancellation is tough to accept. It's sure to add even more fuel to those who believe humans -- especially those whose livelihood is being endangered -- should have the same protection as an endangered frog. R's a frog that few of us have ever seen and whose entire population in our county -- by state biologists' own admission -- wouldn't even fill the bottom of a small bucket. Our knee-jerk reaction is to lash out at the local Forest Service. But, in reality, the boots-on-the-ground government workers in our county are just following their marching orders. The real blame rests with our elected officials in Washington. They failed to consider the economic impact of placing the frog on the endangered species list. Their rigid policies failed to allow any wiggle room so the local USFS could use its common sense regarding special-use permits. It's the $6,186.58 permit fee that caused the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship to cancel the endurance run. Most of the reason the permit fee is so expensive is the local USFS doesn't have the budget to pay its staff to study an event's potential effect on the frog habitat. What's worse -- silly, actually -- the USFS should already have a study from U.S. Fish and Wildlife in its hands. It was supposed to be fmished in November. Fish and Wildlife, not taxpayers who already pay for the right to enjoy the forest, should be paying for its tardiness. But until the USFWS study is delivered, the Forest Service will reportedly have to do its own studies each time it issues a special-use permit. The cost of extensive studies will be passed on to applicants -- with no guarantee that it will be completed in time or even allow an event to take place after it's completed. Who in their right mind would pay for something like that? This is where common sense should be applied. The impact to the frog's critical habitat from the Lost Sierra run would be... zero. The runners would be following the same well-worn trail they have for years. The frog faces more danger from hungry snakes and birds than from some guy running down a trail. A young family with curious kids hiking the trail would be more likely fo bother a frog. As much as we have joked about the yellow-legged frog in this newspaper, we agree the frog is innocent. It's a fragile and infected species that is likely headed for extinction, but it is innocent. It's our lawmakers who are guilty of signing off on poorly thought-out policies. The Lost Sierra Endurance Run is history-- at least this year. But the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife should work together to remedy the permit-fee problem in the future. The USFS' Beckwourth Ranger District would deservedly be praised if it could fred a way to waive or reduce this ridiculous fee. It might require some serious outside-the-box administrative gymnastics to lower the special-use fee to a more affordable amount, but it could be done. Maybe the district could compensate its biologists with comp time or something. We don't know what the answer is. But we do know the Lost Sierra Endurance Run was an instance in which the rules should have been bent. If they aren't in the future, the economic frog damage to our county will eventually be measured in millions of dollars. Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. The board consists of the publlsher, managing editor and the appropriate staff writers. .....  Fea0000bllshlng /!!N6wspaper For breaking news, go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Dan McDonald ......... Managing Editor Jenny Lee ................. Photo Editor Ingrid Burke ................ Copy Editor Staff writers: Miriam Cody Michael Condon Makenzie Davis Ruth Ellis Will Farris Susan Cort Johnson Greg Knigh t Debra Moore Maddie Musante Ann Powers M. Kate West Aura Whittaker Sam Williarns James Wilson Giggling Guru teaches health benefits of laughter If laughter really is the best medicine, I should've overdosed by now., Those who know me can attest that I like to laugh. Not only that, but I like to make others laugh. That's probably why I tend to write more about my putz friends and my crazy cat than I do my political opinions and beliefs. I've tried my hand at stand-up comedy (to varying results) and generally bellow out an inappropriate joke every chance I get (also to varying results). There's something about the sound of laughter that just gets to me. It lifts my spirit. From the most muffled snicker to the world's most boisterous guffaw, I love the sound of laughter. Lately, my most occupying goal in life has been making my daughter laugh. Luckily, she's kind of an easy audience. All it takes is sticking my tongue out and making some silly noises and she lets loose a belly full of laughs. My wife, too, likes to laugh. There'll be times when we are sitting on the couch, reading in silence, and I'll hear a little snort come out of her. "You got to read this," she'll say with a sheepish grin on her face. Now that I think of it, she has to have a sense of humor to marry a goofball like me. One of the most side-splitting, bring-me-to-tears experiences I've ever had was when I attended a workshop led by a guy who called himself "the Giggling Guru." MY TURN JAMES WILSON Staff Writer jwilson@plumasnews.com His real name was Madan Kataria. He zealously preached the gospel of laughter, praising the health benefits of a chuckle. According to him, unconditional laughter or laughing for the sake of laughing can benefit a person's physical and psychological states immensely. Between high school and college, I lived in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I wanted to see the world while I was still yore]g, before I got jaded. I have to hand it to the Vietnamese. They really know how to laugh. In every aspect of their culture, there's a playful spirit emanating. But that's another story. One day, my friend Kurt asked me if I would like to go with him to see the Giggling Guru. He told me he heard the experience would have us roiling on the floor. "Is he a comedian?" I asked. This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI Not just an ordinary day....a sampling of weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. January 14 1952 -- NBC television's long-running morning news program "Today" debuts with host Dave Garroway. 1973 Elvis Presley's concert"Aloha from Hawaii" is broadcast live via satellite, and sets a record for the most-watched television broadcast of an individual entertainer. January 15 1889 -- The Coca-Cola Co. is incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia. 1943 The Pentagon, the world's largest office building, is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia. 1967 The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles with the Green Bay Packers vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. The final score is 35-10. 2001 Wikipedia, a free content encyclopedia, goes online. 2009 Shortly after takeoff from La Guardia Airport in New York, a U.S. Airways flight makes an emergency landing in the Hudson River by pilot in command Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. Everyone on board survives. January 16 1942 -- A Trans World Airlines flight traveling from Las Vegas to Burbank crashes shortly after takeoff due to pilot error, killing all crew members and passengers including movie star Carole Lombard. She was married to Clark Gable at the time and was returning to their Southern California home. 1964 The Broadway musical "Hello Dolly" starringCarol Channing opens, bginning a run of 2,844 performances. 1973 The Sunday night weekly western-themed television show "Bonanza" airs its final episode on NBC. January 17 1929 The cartoon character "Popeye the Sailor Man" appears in the Thimble Theater comic strip in newspapers nationwide. 1949 "The Goldbergs," the first sitcom on American television, airs for the first time. "No, he's a guru from India," Kurt told me. "He leads people in laughter." I thought about that for a minute. "What do you mean? He just tells people to laugh?" "That's what it sounds like," Kurt said with a shrug. I figured, "What the hell I've got nothing better to do today." We arrived at the location of the workshop and were met by hundreds of people. The workshop's venue wasn't that large, so we all crammed our way inside. The Giggling Guru was seated in the middle of the room, and everyone sat cross-legged around him. I was put off at first due to the cramped atmosphere. Every time I breathed, my knee would rub up against my neighbor's. "Silence!" the Giggling Guru commanded as everyone hushed. He asked us to close our eyes and meditate, and he would bring on a low laughter. He started with a snicker. Once that hit, I heard a couple people let out chuckles. "Heh hehP' the guy next to me let out, rubbing his knee up against mine. One by one, everyone seemed to get in on the joke. Part of what was so funny was hearing the absolute ridiculousness of everyone's laughter. There were cackles, hee-haws, crows and tee-hees each one unique. The laughter just swept through the crowd. The infectious energy hit everyone and before I knew it, I was howling, falling to my side and onto my neighbor. "Silence!" the Giggling Guru bellowed out again. It took a while, but he was eventually able to get everyone to quiet down. "Everyone close your eyes and I will start the laughter again," he said. We all closed our eyes, waiting anxiously. The Giggling Guru knew that laughs were crouched on our tongues, ready to pounce forward, but he cruelly stalled them from unleashing. We sat in silence, with our eyes closed, for nearly five minutes: Anticipation was building, and building, and building. The room, quiet. Everyone, still. Silent. Quiet. Then, it came out. The Giggling Guru let one fly. And by "let one fly," I'm not referring to a laugh. The Giggling Guru ripped the loudest, squeakiest, longest bit of gas I've ever heard, and the silence was over. The room immediately roared with laughter. Everyone was falling all over one another, trying to catch their breath as their bodies uncontrollably convulsed in laughter. This' went on four b6tR 30 minutes. No one was able to stop laughing. The Giggling Guru got up and left the room, leaving everyone in stitches. People, still laughing and in tears, started to clear out around me. I walked out, still laughing uncontrollably. For the next couple days, my stomach, cheeks and jaw hurt from the experience. To this day, I can't help but let out at least a snicker when I think about the time I laughed with the Giggling Guru. Laughter may or may not help with health benefits, but hey, it can't hurt. REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 100 YEARS AGO ..... 1915 Plumas County High School commenced the second semester of the term on Monday following the holiday recess. There were several new scholars added, bringing total enrollment up to 35. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1965 About 29 inches of rain and warm weather, following in the wake of snow, resulted in flood conditions throughout Plumas County. In Quincy, the roof of the Pine Hill Motel garage north of Quincy collapsed and a large amount of equipment stored there was destroyed. The roof of Smith Distributing Company warehouse collapsed, crashing onto stacks of beer storage. The roofs of two barns in Meadow Valley collapsed, killing two cows. There was severe damage to the pillars of Chester's main bridge caused by large timber and debris. 25 YEARS AGO ..... 1990 Judy Wells announced her intention to run for the office of Plumas County Clerk-Recorder in the June election, hoping to replace lla Diggs, who is retiring after holding that position for more than ten years. Wake-up call makes me think outside the big box Right before Christmas, I had a conversation with a woman who manages a local business. She told me the store brought in $3 for the whole month. Tears welled in my eyes as I saw the fear and desperation in her's. Three dollars. For the whole month. Right before Christmas. She said the month before wasn't much better, and the owner wanted to close up shop -- like so many others in our community competing against big-box retailers, a strained economy and the struggling job market. But bargain shopping isn't always a bargain for the local economy and that pre-Christmas conversation was a wake-up call. I made my New Year's resolution right then and there to buy local whenever possible. It's time for me to start thinking outside the big box. Here's why: A dollar spent locally is a dollar that stays local. Mainly because it keeps money in the area's economy. It goes to local payroll, the local owner, local taxes, etc. Remember, it's tax revenue that fills potholes, employs police officers, plows public roads, maintains our public parks and more. It also gives individuals and families a chance to come home to a thriving commupity. Nonprofit organizations benefit from the buy local movement as well. Nonprofits receive an average 250 percent more support from owners of smaller businesses than they do from large businesses, according to AIBA. Where would some of our neighbors in need be without Eastern Plumas Community Assistance Network? How about the critical services that depend on generous contributions from the Eastern MY TURN ANN POWERS Staff Writer apowers@plumasnews.com Plumas Health Care Auxiliary? I also want my home to be a sanctuary. I grew up around lakes and woods, and I want to die around lakes and woods. Buying local gives me a better chance of doing that here. That's because hometown entrepreneurs can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. This translates to contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. A major pet peeve of mine is bad customer service. Area merchants often hire residents with a keen understanding of the products they're selling and take more time to get to know customers. Translation? Better customer care and overall friendliness. Graeagle is a resort community and that can lead to resort-town prices. When business owners pretty much have to make a year's worth of income in a few short months during tourist season, I fred the higher prices to be understandable and necessary. However, not everything in our vacation destination shopping district comes with sticker-shock fees. For example, I absolutely love "thrifting." Plumas County has some great secondhand stores. I estimate about 90 percent of anything with a designer label on it in my closet cost me less than $5 -- thanks to these local thrift havens, A lot of those treasures came with the original price tags still attached. Moreover, several nearby retailers of gently used products are run by volunteers and benefit local charities and municipal operations. And then there's the huge food advantage of buying local. As Northern Californians we have some of the best farmers' markets around. I don't think I ever closed my eyes and felt true bliss while eating a tomato until I bought one at a farmers' market just . east of Portola. It reminded me of that scene ' from "When Harry Met Sally." Sure, maybe we can get a better deal online or at a big-box retailer-- but is it really a better deal overall? Three dollars. For the whole month. Right before Christmas. It reminds me of something I came across online: An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other's hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said: "Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?" Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture means, "I am because we are." Ann Powers is a staff writer for the Portola Reporter.