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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
January 27, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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January 27, 2010

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8B Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010 EDITORIAL OPINION Bulletin, Progressive; Record, Reporter EDITORIAL Because we're not Haiti By now we've all seen pictures of the horriflc conditions in Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake Jan. 12: Entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble, collapsed hospitals, a port and airport that could barely function. While we can't control natural disasters, we can control our ability to respond to them. It should be an embarrassment to the world community that it has let a nation languish in such poverty that it had absolutely no capacity to deal with a natural disaster that was sure to come sooner or later. In contrast, our mountain county weathered last week's storms with just one major injury re- ported--one person in a vehicle accident. Al- though there were intermittent power outages and road closures, our emergency response sys- tems worked. That's due in part to simply having the neces- sary equipment and infrastructure--snowpl0ws and tow trucks and hospitals--but it's also due to having trained personnel in place and set process- es and protocols. We congratulate our emergency personnel on a job well done and hope they can sustain through what is predicted to be more bad weather this week. All this was in the back of our minds when we listened to a woman complain recently about building permit fees. She's not alone. A lot of peo- ple never stop to think was goes into those---a structural plan check and a life-safety check as well as in-the-field inspections. "Why does it have to cost so much?" she asked. Because we're not Haiti. One of the first pieces of news out of Haiti was that hospitals had collapsed. California has the most stringent seismic building standards in the world. Those standardsare even higher for what are considered "essential structures:" hospi- tals, firehouses, schools--everything you most wouldn't want to collapse in an earthquake. We , want those structures not just to stay standing, but to function. We have heard a lot of talk recently about plans to build a new hospital in Quincy that would meet the latest seismic standards for hospitals. The sticking point has been the cost. Opponents don't want to pay more than $50 per $100,000 of as- sessed property value. Proponents say the hospi- tal can't be built for that price. Opponents are mad because the actual cost for the bonds that have been sold so far washigher than the estimate on the ballot. And they fear the rate could go much higher when additional bonds are sold. (The hospital directors have said they~ .. are not going forward with a planned bond sale next month.) We grant that there are probably some seniors on a fixed income or a family whose breadwinner has lost a job for whom the higher rate is a real burden. But many opponents do not fit into that category. For them, it seems to be more about control, feeling misled and a general anti-tax ideology. But Haiti provides a cautionary example of what happens when a community can't or won't invest in the life-and-death essentials. If our com- munity truly cannot afford to build a new hospi- tal, then we have bigger problems than we thought. If we can--we're not saying it will be easy--we should. We have a 50-year-old building that needs to be replaced. We should build our hospital, and build it well. Because commitment to community should be ' n stronger than a y ideology. Because we're not Haiti. A . Feath ng l paper ~Breaking News'.... go to Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B.~aborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson .......... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Cheryl Frei Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shillito Linda Stachwell Feather River Westwood Bulletin PinePress (530) 283-0800 (530) 256-2277 Lassen County Times (530) 257-53211 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 Visit to artist's studio re-inspires MY TURN LIND.& S.&TCHWELL Staff Writer "I guess a lot of the questions in poetry can only be answered by poetry. That is, they can only be answered by dramatizing and intensifying the contradictions which we suppress in everyday life in order to get on with it," wrote poet Robert Hass. Most of us spend 99 percent of our time getting on with it. In fact, if we are taken by the allure of those intense contradictions, it can make getting on with it difficult. There are the high times, which Irish author James Joyce explored in his auto- biographical novel" A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." As Joyce admitted himself, he was overly influenced by the Catholic Church. He called the moments of clarity "epipha- nies." These are the times when every- thing comes together--a moment when the world seems to freeze on the intake of breath, when everything is in its right place and speaks some truth to the person experiencing it. Of course, with the highs; you often al- so get the lows. I don't have to look else- where for a phrase to describe this. I call it diving into the abyss. I've been going along swimmingly for the most part, in life's middle lane, enjoy- ing the quotidian, taking pleasure in get- ting things done. Sometimes, though, there's just a hint of something missing. The other day, I was asked to work on an article on the artist Phil Gallagher, who happens to live tucked away in near- History & Mystery I :i,' ':2-!(::U:'2: ~':~ This week's history photo was taken in 1911, after a series of snowstorms buried downtown La Porte. The only way to get around was on. long, handmade "snow- shoes." To Submit a history, mystery or where-in-the-world photo, email smor- or call 283-0800. Photo courtesy of Humas County Museum by Meadow Valley. I was rumbling evenly along when I caught sight of some photos of his work. I'll admit my interest was piqued. I called, set up an interview and headed up to his house on one of the final, dreary days of the year. Gallagher was standing outside his studio waiting for me. I fol- lowed him inside; and that's when the transformation began. I'm not religious, though I am eclecti- cally spiritual. Here I was, walking into a cathedral of sorts, a place where light, col- or, image, history--ancient and modern-- converged. Gallagher likes talking about juxtaposi- tions: Place two things next to each other that might not normally appear together, and each element comments on the other. For example, put an ancient image such as a petroglyph into a contemporary, ab- stract painting. It focuses the eye and mind on the ways in which the two are dif- ferent and the ways that they balance and comment on each other. To return to the poet Robert Hass: "In California in the early Spring, There are pale yellow mornings, when the mist burns slowly into day, The air stings like Autumn, clarifies like pain - Well, I have dreamed this coast myself." I think Hass is saying the artist gets good at seeing into things, at feeling the truth of the matter.He can, finally, dream up that coast of pure, stinging clarity. Every artistic medium is a vehicle to that kind of expression. An artist sees, feels, thinks a great deal of the time what most of us save for that one percent when we release ourselves from getting on with it and peer (usually, rather than dive) into the abyss, or look at the heights (but most often choose not to scale them). I don't know how much time Phil Gal- lagher spends in his studio or what he does to bring himself back to earth. I hear from a reliable source that he bakes fan- tastic bread, so perhaps that's it. I do know that at a time when I needed it very much, a visit to Gallagher allowed me to escape the quotidian and to remind myself what makes for life, for something meaningful and something beautiful all at the same time. I thank Phil for sharing that with me, for expressing the ideas beard his work in a way I could understand'. !~tlked out of his studio more alive than I've been in ages, and reminded of what, to me, really matters. For that, I owe him a great deal. REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO .... 1930 A federal bill was passed this week pro- viding funds for the completion of the North Fork of the Feather River Highway continuation from Quincy to the Califor- nia-Nevada State border. W.E. Ward, pioneer California newspaper- man, 86, died in Dunsmuir this week. The family settled in Plumas County in 1852 and Ward learned the printers trade in Quincy and later took up the news and editorial end for a number of years and conducted the Plumas National-Bulletin, one of the oldest weekly newspapers in California. 50 YEARS AGO .... 1960 Advertisement: Grand Opening of the Copper Hood Restaurant (formerly Bert's) Saturday night, Greenville, A Unicorn system has been installed at Gansner Airport and now all three Plumas County airports are able to communicate with pilots. All airports also have lighted runways enabling air traffic at night. 30 YEARS AGO .... 1980 Plumas County Building and Grounds superintendent Coy Block received a cable from the Federal Electric Regulatory Com- mission in Washington, D.C. to lower the temperature at the courthouse to 65 de- grees or face a $1,000 fine. The FERC noti- fied the county that the Plumas County Board of Supervisors or the County Coum sel did not have the authority to boost the courthouse temperature to 72 degrees. 10 YEARS AGO .... 2000 Quincy High School's football team, after months of uncertainty about where it would call home, will plays it's 2000 season at Feather River College. The Plumas Uni- fied School District board had allocated $6.,000 in fees for this season. Note: Items included in the weekly Remem- ber When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. You know what MY TURN M. KATE WEST Chester Editor As I very gratefully welcome the heat and lights available at the Chester Pro- gressive office this afternoon, I think back to earlier this morning when ! could see my breath as I flipped pancakes on the propane stove in my garage. Why, you ask, would I be flipping pan- cakes in a garage in the dead of winter? Because Chester was hit with storms Jan. 18--23 that resulted in a series of power outages, the latest of which is over 30 hours induration as I compose this opin- ion piece. So, I'm thinking ... this must be karma. Why? Because earlier this month I learned how to set up a page on the social network FaceBook and one of the first things I did was post my favorite camping photographs. Then I talked about how much my husband and I enjoy our horse camping trips, especially the cooking of great meals outdoors. I'm thinking this, coupled with the they saT--be careful countdown I wasdoing in December pret- ty much sealed my fate. I clearly remem- ber thinking forward to my first potential campout at Lake Oroville and counting down the days to mid-April. At that time I was about 121 days away from tempera- tures in the mid-70s to low-80s and wish- ing time would fly so I could unpack the propane stove. Well my goodness--how time has flown! But instead Of blue skies and warm days, I have gray skies and temperatures in the teens and 20s! Br-r-r-r-! I'm thinking one has to be careful what she wishes for! On the other hand, and despite the many high-altitude storm hardships we have worked through this week, I believe most of us still remain thankful for the lessons we have learned while living life in the mountains. I think the first lesson that is most com- monly learned is sheer appreciation. There are those moments when you come upon a sight, whether it is an animal, a meadow, a sunrise or sunset when you know there is no lovelier place on earth. The second lesson and those that follow are usually directly related to the differ- ences in lifestyle that come with moun- tain living. Those differences can be as simple as learning to adjust the damper on the woodstove or putting into perspec- tive the distances we are required to trav- el to go from one community to another in Plumas County. Distances. I can remember having con- what you wish for versations in the past when I mentioned how far I drove to work when I lived on the Peninsula and worked in Quincy. The looks that would come on people's faces--so funny! You could only laugh and tell them that you truly didn't need to pack a lunch to travel that far! Then there is the gratitude you feel when you have gone head-to-head with those high-altitude elements and again conquered the resulting hardships. Last, but certainly not least, is the ca- maraderie you experience when you stop in a restaurant or post office and are greeted by fellow community members who have just shared a similar ordeal. There are no words to describe how it feels to be warmed by mega-wattage smiles and good humor as jokes fly about the week's many tribulations. While many of the jokes included talk of snow birding or even selling homes to avoid another week like this in the fu- ture,.laughter always belied the serious- ness of the statements. People here live in the mountains for a reason and like the postman's creed of "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..." it sure seems that when it comes to choice of lifestyle, they can't be deterred either! As for myself, and all that wishful thinking--I'm going to reverse my direc- tion in the alphabet and instead of propane stoves I'm going to think palm trees from now on out! L_