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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
January 15, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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January 15, 2014

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12A Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 Peather River Uu.etm QHS students on national video Laura Beaton Staff Writer A National Science Foundation video about the RECON project in the western United States is now available online. The video features a clip of Quincy High School student David Hanna commenting on the project from the RECON team's Gansner Airport data collection site. "Instead of redoing an experiment, it feels like we're doing something that's contributing to science a little more," Hanna Said of the observations and data collection that the students conducted last semester. High school students and teachers in Quincy, Greenville and Portola, as well as Feather River College students and teachers, are part of the National Science Foundation's Research and Education Cooperative Occultation Network (RECON). The project's aim is to bring tot]ether students, teachers and knowledgeable amateurastronomers in communities with dark skies to collect data on Kuiper Belt objects out beyond Neptune. According to Marc Buie, one of two principal investigators leading the project, occultation occurs when something gets in front of something else. Using special high-powered telescopes with mounted cameras provided by NSF (and FRC), teams measure the time when starlight disappears and reappears as an object passes in front of it. The data for a specific Kuiper Belt object (KBO) is recorded at predetermined times and locations. The teams then submit their data, which is aggregated and analyzed by project leaders. The Kuiper Belt is a ring of icy debris that litters the solar system out beyond Neptune. Pluto was the first object identified in the Kuiper Belt in 1930. Since 1992, scientists have discovered more than a thousand Kuiper Belt objects and estimate there are more than 100,000 objects larger than 100 kilometers in diameter in the Kuiper Belt. The RECON project is focusing on "cold classical KBOs." According to RECON scientists, these objects are in nearly circular orbits around the sun that have likely not been altered since the formation of the solar system, an estimated 4.5 billion years ago. The project recently celebrated its In'st birthday. Now in its second year, leaders plan to expand the ranks of its team members from 14 communities to 40. That will allow the project to incorporate occultation data all the way from southern Arizona to northern Washington. To see the video titled "Young astronomers to investigate the outer solar system!" visit For information on the RECON project, go to Bob Battistoni commutes from Portola to Quincy for his job at Plumas Rural Services, logging 60 miles a day for the past 24 years. For 22 of those years, Battistoni has relied on his 1992 Saab 900S, which now boasts 315,000 miles. Photo by Debra Moore r  mTmESSES 10 Year Warra.j Was sjeg; NOW s LUXURY FIRM 10 Year Warrant# Twin sot, was W ............ NOW *288 FuU set, was  ............. NOW Oum s wm qw ......... NOW s388 long ,wssmw ............ NOW ra88 Was * ,JJmg, NOW '1499 MADE IN THE m LABOY' r ,leg, NOW THAT'S 37% OFF! ,SUNNY DESIGNS 5o#d Oak F.mire 10%-30% OFF 400 P/eaes in sioak andreadq00r immedia00 de00verq! LAMINATE UPTO 50% OFF Exampl=. mg emd Oak W s NOW SlS, VINYL 20 PMtmms In Sk uPlrO CARPET 40,000 square feet , In stock from 89sq. ft. stoek, rea##]00r immediate deDver#, pic00p and at the guaranOzd lowe00tpricel FLOOR HOME Car still reliable after more than 300,000 miles Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.corn Bob Battistoni bought his 1992 Saab 900S because it was a "little quirky and a little different," not to mention "sporty and fun to drive," but little did he know that he would still be driving it 22 years later. "I never thought I would have the car this long," he said of the vehicle that now has 315,000 miles on it. Not bad, when Consumer Reports estimates the average life expectancy of a vehicle to be eight years or 150,000 miles, while some well-buin cars can go 15 years or 300,000 miles. Battistoni's Saab has surpassed both markers, though it isn't close to setting some all-time records -- a 1976 Mercedes Benz 240D that went 2,858,307 miles or a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle that made it 1,442,044 miles. Battistoni has no illusions that his car will reach such lofty mileage, but he is very pleased with what it has achieved. Battistoni commutes daffy from his Portola home to his job in Quincy at Plumas Rural Services. And after 22 years, the vehicle has become fairly recognizable -- both for its unique shape and its license plate, which reads "NAILTECH" because originally his wife, Joni, who co-owns a hair and nail salon, was going to drive it. "For a lot of people, that's the way they know me," he said. Over the years the couple has purchased other cars for the family, but Battistoni keeps driving the Saab. "I've been back and forth in some pretty bad conditions," Battistoni said of winte driving. "But it's really solid." He equips the front-wheel-drive vehicle with studded snow tires and is impressed by the way it handles. Over the years Battistoni has replaced the brakes and the clutch, but other than that it's been just routine maintenance. He relies on Les Schwab for lube, oil, filters and tires, and turns to a Saab specialist in Nevada for anything more. Battistoni is impressed by the car's gas mileage and safety features, in addition to its superior handling and low maintenance costs. He knows that eventually he will get another car, but he's in no hurry. "Maybe if it only got 15 miles to the gallon, I'd want to replace it sooner," Battistoni said, "but it gets around 30." When it does come time to purchase a new vehicle, Battistoni would like to buy another Saab, even though the company no longer exists in the same form it once did. Saab formed in 1945 and launched its first car in 1949. General Motors purchased the car company in 2000 and sold it in 2010. The company was reformed in 2012 to be NEVS Saab (National Electronic Vehicle Sweden). "IfI could find a 2010 or 2011 with low miles, I would buy it," Battistoni said. But for the time being, commuters will still see the white Saab with the unique license plate driving back and forth on Highway 70. Lack of snow doesn't stall planning for annual poker run It appears that most of the members of the Lake Almanor Snowmobile Club were naughty this year, as Santa Claus didn't bring the snow they all asked for. Although no snow is expected in the near future, members are continuing to make arrangements for their annual winter Poker Run in hopes that Mother Nature will provide the needed frozen precipitation. As always, this year's event is set for Presidents Day weekend, on Saturday, Feb. 15. Riders will stage at the Lake Almanor Snowmobile Park at highways 36 and A13, in Lake Almanor. An alternate date has been scheduled for March 1, just in case conditions remain unfavorable. The Poker Run has been an annual tradition in the basin since 1995 and only two events have ever been cancelled due to lack of snow. Every year the club has chosen a local charity or person with needs to which to award the proceeds of the event. This year's event is dedicated to the memory of two members that passed away in the recent years: Richard Fording and Luke Sheehy. The proceeds will be donated to charities chosen by their respective families. Past contributions by the club have gone to elementary student Gavin Bean to help purchase a service dog (last year), Chester High School, the Ronald McDonald Camp, Sober Grad Night, Seneca Healthcare District's skilled nursing facility, the Chester Elementary School playground renovation and local families struggling with major medical conditions. Lunch will be provided to race participants at no cost, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Chester. Non-participants can enjoy the traditional pulled-pork meal by purchasing it at the event. Quality prizes will also be given away by drawing and auctioned off. Poker Run contestants will travel on their snowmobiles in a loop approximately 40 miles in length. Along the way they will encounter seven checkpoints to draw cards in hopes of assembling a winning hand, which could earn them up to $300 in cash prizes. The family event is open to riders of all abilities from novice to seasoned. Check-in starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the drawing following shortly after, at 2 p.m. The cost to enter the race is $25 per rider and includes lunch and a poker hand; extra hands may be purchased also. This year will also feature a competition between the members manning checkpoints for the best-decorated location. The Lake Almanor Snowmobile Club was founded in 1996 with 19 members, several of which continue to be active today. The club has grown considerably since its inception and continues to support the goals and traditions first implemented by its founding president, Dick Caywood. The first poker run was a watercraft event with a drawing for a 1996 Polaris SLT 700 PWC. The club has since focused on snowmobile events, which have been extremely successful; last year's event reached a high of 202 riders. For additional information on participating in the Poker Run or becoming a member of the club contact current club president Tom Gaither at 375-7781, or treasurer/secretary Kathy Donley at 596-4354.