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January 14, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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January 14, 2015
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 71B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Proposed degree fills need, builds on existing excellence With the passage of Assembly Bill 850 (Sen. Block), up to 15 California community college districts will be eligible to offer technical baccalaureate degrees. The California Community College Chancellor's Office will select, through a competitive process, which districts and what degrees will be offered. Feather River College recently submitted an application to be considered as one of the 15 colleges in this unique pilot program. FRC applied to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in equine and ranch management to help supply an unmet industry demand for trained workers in this growing industry. According to the California Higher Education Master WHERE I STAND DR. KEVIN TRUTNA SUPERINTENDENT/PRESIDENT FEATHER RIVER COLLEGE recent budget cuts and limited availability of programs, Sen. Block sponsored legislation to allow a pilot program through which community colleges can help meet the workforce demand in technical fields that require a four-year degree. The legislation allows technical programs to offer bachelor degrees in areas where there is an identified workforce demand for specialty training. In addition, any proposed community college bachelor degree may not duplicate nor compete Plan, community colleges offer with current CSU or transfer education, basic skills attainment and career/technical training programs. The California State University System offers bachelor's and master's degrees. However, with the growing California population, University of California degrees. Consistent with this intent, FRC submitted an application that met these requirements as well as built upon the strength of its existing equine studies program. Unmet demand According to recent labor statistics, the equine Industry employs over 54,000 workers in California, adding $4.1 billion in contributions to the California economy through over 698,000 horses in the state. There is a need for skilled employees who combine practical agricultural business management training with industry-standard horse techniques. The proposed degree falls between the already strong FRC equine studies associate degree for training horses and the scientific, university-level agricultural programs. This is a practitioner degree designed to supply farm and ranch managers for horse-related agricultural industries. Support from CSU and UC programs Prior to submission, FRC held discussions with CSU and UC agriculture programs that include a large-animal component as part of their curriculum. Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU Fresno, CSU Chico and UC Davis all have horse operations within their agricultural colleges. These universities wrote letters of support for the FRC Bachelor of Science degree in equine and ranch management, stating that the proposed curriculum will serve an important demand, meet industry standards, train students to be ranch managers and supplement the mission from each of their own existing agriculture degrees. Building upon success For the past decade, between 30 and 70 degrees or certificates have been awarded yearly to graduates from the FRC equine studies program. The second most popular associate degree awarded at FRC is in equine studies/horse training and the third most popular degree is in university agricultural studies. Far and away more certificates of achievement are earned through the equine studies program than the rest of the college combined. Almost one-third of the entire graduating class every year from FRC earns a degree related to equine or agricultural studies. Graduates routinely garner positions in the equine field as FRC has a national reputation for producing exceptionally prepared horse trainers. Graduates win national competitions, work for industry leaders, train horses at small and large ranches, and start their own businesses. The proposed Bachelor of Science degree will build upon existing program excellence and provide opportunities beyond horse training to include ranch management techniques. Feather River College is proud of the breadth of courses and programs that it offers to the residents of Plumas County and other students who enroll. Several unique programs exist to serve the educational needs of FRC students. Equine studies is one particular vocational program that attracts students from the western United States and beyond. With the passage of Assembly Bill 850, Feather River College is hoping to expand upon the existing unique horse training curriculum to meet an industry demand by producing a trained equine management workforce. The proposed degree is designed to fill in the gap that exists between CSU/UC agricultural programs and the current FRC equine program for horse trainers. Within the next month, the chancellor's office will notify FRC of the decision to include the equine and ranch management degree as part of this innovative pilot program. Should it be selected, this program will bring new students to campus, build upon the existing national reputation and provide additional job training opportunities for students. Cal Fire's misconduct besmirches employees" good name Carefully and truthfully fmding the origin and cause of ffn'es plays a key role in fire prevention and the protection of lives and property in California. Between the two of us, we proudly served Californians for more than six decades at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. We were proud of Cal Fire. Today, in retirement, we are embarrassed and angry. The causes are manifold. The Moonlight Fire started on Labor Day 2007 in the northern Sierra Nevada. It ended two weeks later, but not before incinerating 65,000 acres --45,000 in our national forests. Cal Fire allegedthat the fire started through negligence and violations of law. Cal Fire sued several parties to recover the cost of WHERE I STAND TOM HOFFMAN RETIRED CHIEF MIKE .COLE RETIRED BATI-ALION CHIEF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION suppressing and Investigating the fwe. In its efforts to recover $8 million in fire suppression costs, Cal Fire has spent at least $10 million in legal fees, experts and costs pursuing its case. After s.even years of state litigation, California Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols dismissed the case and ruled against Cal Fire. The judge awarded $32 million In attorney's fees and expenses to the defendants, but his description of the investigation and prosecution is what troubles us most. Nichols called Cal Fire's Moonlight Fire investigation "corrupt and tainted" and found "egregious" and "reprehensible" "governmental corruption" on the part of state investigators and prosecutors. According to Nichols' decision, Cal Fire investigators ignored their initial fire origin findings, manufactured evidence and obstructed justice. They failed to follow up on individuals who might have started the blaze, and falsified interview statements of individuals they wanted to bame. Through discovery and depositions, defense attorneys learned that Cal Fire Investigators hid key photographs and then lied about what they revealed. "The misconduct in this case is so pervasive," Nichols wrote, "that it would serve no purpose for the Court to attempt to recite it all here." The Moonlight Fire investigators were not worried about evidence and justice they were "all in," Nichols found, to pin the blame on the defendants. This year we joined other Cal Fire retirees in filing formal complaints with Cal Fire, the California Attorney General and the governor's administration against those employees involved in this incompetent and corrupt investigation. We believe they compromised Cal Fire's reputation and ability to promote a culture of accountability and integrity. They have also besmirched the professional reputation of honet, hardworking Cal Fire law enforcement officers, current and retired. Of course, Cal Fire officials were but a part of a joint federal-state effort. Lawyers in the office of the California Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California are also culpable for the "corrupt and tainted" Moonlight Fire action. Unfortunately, Sierra Pacific and other defendants entered Into a massive settlement in the federal case before fully understanding the extent of the corruption Shubb to restore the integrity of our judicial system and set aside the perpetrators' ill-gotten settlement. Our complaints and other efforts to salvage justice from the Moonlight Fire ruins are important. Public trust In our justice system can only be restored when Cal Fire, the California Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney General address Nichols' findings with actions commensurate with the damage they have created. Tom Hoffman, of Orangevale, is the retired chief oft'we prevention and law en[oreement a t the that state Judge Nchols ................... discovered. In light of these Forestry and Fire Protection. discoveries, the defendants Mike Cole, o 8an Luis Obispo, is have now petitioned U.S. a retired battalion chief and District Judge William B. /n vestiga tor for Cal Fire. LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for letters All letters must contain an address and phone number. Only one letter per week per person will be published; only one letter per person per month regarding the same topic will be published. Feather Publishing does not print third-party, anonymous or open letters. Letters must not exceed 300 words. Writers responding to previously published letters may not mention the author by name. The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m.; deadlines may change due to holidays. Letters may be submitted at any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952 or emailed to dmcdnald@pluma'mews'cm" More frog headlines In the spirit of your paper's New Year's editorial, I'd like to share some Feather Publishing headlines I'd like to see in 2015: "County Supes' Grandkids Adopt Yellow-Legged Frogs; Force Elders to 'Pinkie Swear' to Not Hurt Them" "Calaveras Jumping Frog Contest Restricted to Native Frogs Only; Local Maidu Man's 'Mountain Red' Favored to Win" "California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lives Up to Its Name" I'm guessing the wish-for-extinction headline was more an expression of frustration at heavy-handed bureaucratic responses than wanting to beat up on frogs. Linda Blum Meadow Valley Wish for extinction? If you've watched a nature show on TV, you've probably learned about an endangered species somewhere on earth that is nearing extinction. Leopards, black rhinos, gorillas.., all these animals are on the brink. One of our neighbors is also in trouble, and has been listed as endangered: the mountain yellow-legged frog. When this newspaper included "Yellow-legged frog declared extinct" among their wish list for 2015 headlines, I was disgusted and appalled. It's hard to imagine the discussion that led to this callous decision to wish for the winking out of another species. Amphibians worldwide are declining; In fact, they are the most threatened class, with 41 percent of frogs, toads and salamanders in trouble. And our paper hopes the local frog most on the brink goes extinct in the next 52 weeks? Darla DeRuiter Meadow Valley It's not easy being yellow-legged I was shocked to see that one of the "Local headlines we would like to see in 2015" printed by Feather Publishing was "Yellow-legged frog declared extinct." The publisher, managing editor and responsible staff should rescind this spiteful, destructive remark. Do you really believe that the world would be better off without yellow-legged frogs? Do you truly fear that the removal of exotic trout from one small lake will destroy the economy of Plumas County? Do you think this vindictive headline is funny? Extinction is no laughing matter. Over 40 percent of amphibians are on the brink of extinction. A fourth of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles, and a sixth of all birds are nearing extinction. Personally, I wish to live In a world filled with a diversity of species and hope the coming year is prosperous for all life. I fmd it hard to believe that any person would wish for the end of animals as benign as a frogs that have inhabited this place for millions of years. I hope people of all races and religions hold other species in high regard. After all, numerous religious texts teach humans to respect life. Spiritual leaders, poets, scientists, politicians and lawyers have stood up for creatures that do not have a voice of their own. What role does the media play in the current mass extinction of species?* Sadly, those responsible for publishing our local newspapers are maliciously encouraging the extinction of native species of frogs. *The last great extinction occurred 66 million years ago when an asteroid struck Earth, sent debris into the atmosphere, altered the climate and led to'the end of dinosaurs and many other species. Read "The Sixth Extinction" by Elizabeth Kolbert to learn about extinction. Darrel Jury Meadow Valley A question of rights It seems that the animal rights extremists and the "touchie-feelie" voters are more concerned about the rights of chickens than the rights of the unborn. Isn't California a wonderful place to live? Roy Wallis Westwood Freedom of the mind There are walls and there are walls. There are walls that protect life and freedom; there are walls that restrict freedom; there are walls that simply ensure the privacy of homeowners; there are walls that nations build between one another; and there are walls that no longer serve their original purpose. The great wall of China, Hadrian's wall and Israel's wall were all built for the protection of the people. The Berlin wall was built to restrict freedom of movement between the halves of the separated city. Homeowner walls are everywhere, although the community to which I belong forbids walls between neighbors. Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" discusses walls that no longer have a purpose. John Ciardi, the poet and poetic critic, interprets it, as I have always interpreted it, as a condemnation of outdated walls that nations build between one another. At the University of California at Irvine, Robert Frost, around 1959, took Ciardi to task for giving that poem, as well as his "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," more meaning than was his Intention. That being said, I would apply John Ciardi's idea of the rippling effect of poetry. That is, the language and images of the script are such that they give off ripples of deeper meanings that stimulate the mind. Now, there seems to be an attitude that the doctrine of the separation of church and state is somehow comparable to the Berlin Wall that restricted freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, the separation works as a unification of total freedom to practice one's religion or philosophy in any manner he wishes. No man has the right to dictate his neighbor's conscience. The separation of church and state is not a wall; it is a conduit to freedom of the mind. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Quoting Maya Angelou New year resolutions. Perhaps an appropriate time to reflect on words of wisdom issued by people whose lives and principles we admire and respect. Maya Angelou's seven best-selling books and countless poems are remarkable. She read one of her poems at Bill Clinton's Inauguration, was nominated for a Pnlitzer Prize and a Tony Award, received three Grammys, served on two presidential committees and received the National Medal of Arts, the Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was awarded over 50 honorary degrees. From Ms. Angelou's vast repertoire, I offer the following selections applicable to the racial and social tensions and divisive politics across our country. See Letters, page 8B Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, IQuincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: i pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-maih whitehouse.gov / contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg, Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 1 St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 220454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DIST. - Doug LaMalfa. 506 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3076. lamalfa.house.gov. DISTRICT OFFICES: 1453 Downer St., Suite #A, Oroville, CA 95965; 2885 Churn Creek R., Suite #C, Redding, CA 96002. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3070, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. El Dorado Hills Constituent Service Center:. 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112, E1 Dorado Hills, CA 95762. (916) 933-7213, FAX (916) 933-7234; Redding Constituent Service Center. 1670 Market St., Suite 244, Redding, CA 96001, (530) 225-3142, FAX (530) 225-3143. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 1ST DIST. - Brian Dahle, State Capitol, t Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249, (916) 319-2001; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 2080 Hemsted Dr., Ste. #110, Redding, CA 96002; (530) 223-6300, FAX (530) 223-6737. I GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/ (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160.