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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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February 12, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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February 12, 2014
 

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FEATHER RIVER urrounding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 Vol. 147, No. 26 Feather Publishing Co., Inc. 530-283-0800 www.plumasnews.com 50 CENTS Court orders state to pay SPI $24 million Judge blasts CalFire and its lawyers for 'corrupt' tactics in Moonlight Fire lawsuit Dan McDonald Managing Editor dmcdonald@plumasnews.com A judge ruled last week that CalFire wasn't truthful in its attempt to sue Sierra Pacific Industries for its alleged role in the 2007 Moonlight Fire. The judge tol d the state to pay for its "corrupt and tainted" actions against the timber company. The state of California was ordered to pay SPI more than $24 million in penalties, legal costs and fees incurred during its defense of the Moonlight Fire lawsuit. Judge Leslie C. Nichols imposed sanctions against CalFire for engaging in "the pervasive and systematic abuse of California's discovery rules in a misguided effort to prevail against these defendants." Nichols ruled that CalFire investigators weren't truthful in their testimony about the Moonlight Fire. "Had they (CalFire) testified truthfully from the start, as required, defendants would have likely spent nothing, or very little, as the case most likely could not have advanced," the court added. The fire, which ignited Sept. 3, 2007, on private forestland in Plumas County, raged for more than two weeks. It burned 65,00 acres, including 46,000 acres in the Plumas and Lassen national forests. Judge Nichols' decision was the opposite of a 2012 ruling in federal court that cost the family-owned timber company millions of dollars. In July 2012, SPI and other defendants agreed to pay the federal government $122.5 million in damages. It was the largest recovery ever received by the government for damages caused by a forest fire. SPI's share of the settlement was $55 million and the forfeiture of 22,500 acres .of timberland to the government. Sierra Pacific said it agreed to the 2012 settlement because U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller ruled that SPI would be liable for the fire damages even if it proved it didn't start the fire. Prosecutors in that case argued that there was evidence the ffu'e was started by a spark from a bulldozer being used by an SPI subcontractor. Sierra Pacific argued in the 2012 case that CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service were trying to cover up the actual cause of the fire -- and that those agencies should have been held responsible for letting the fire get out of control. When asked if SPI planned to appeal the 2012 ruling and settlement, the company's acting general counsel, David Dun, said SPI is looking into it carefully. CalFire was suing SPI in civil court to recover the $8 million it spent fighting the fire. But SPI maintained, as it did during the federal lawsuit, that the state's case was baseless. The timber company argued that CalFire investigators suppressed documents, photographs and diagrams that would have See SPI, page 6A Today: Father/daughter Valentine's Day dinner, Moon's Restaurant. Seatings at 5 and 7 p.m. Fundraiser for Quincy High School's softball team. Menu: calzone, salad, bread, dessert, drink. $20 per father-daughter combo, $10 each additional daughter. Proceeds go toward obtaining new uniforms. Presale tickets available at Carey Candy Co., T's 2 Go. Quincy Little League sign-ups, 5:30- 7 p.m., Quincy High School cafeteria. Costs $50 per player, $125 maximum per family. After Feb. 13 all sign-ups $70. Prospective players must bring birth certificate; parent must be present to register. Evaluation day Sat, March 8, at Feather River College gym. For information: Michelle Morrison, 283-3322; Holly Buus, 283-1522. Tomorrow: Words & Music, 7 p.m., Patti's Thunder. Monthly series of acoustic music, spoken word features Plumas Ukulele Society. Sign up at the door for open mic. $3. Sponsored by Plumas Arts. For information: 283-3402. Friday: Children's Dental Health Fun Day, 9 a.m. -rl p.m., Feather River Family Dentistry across from Plumas District Hospital. In observance of National Children's Dental Health Month, free dental services available for children ages 6 months -,10 years. For appointments (recommended): 283-3915. For information: Tiffany Leonhardt, 283-7971. Comedy Night, Town Hall Theatre. Appetizers, no-host bar 6:30 p.m.; show 7 p.m. Local comedians presented by Association of Concerned Theatregoers. $15/couple, $10/person. Tickets available at Carey Candy Co., Epilog Books. For information: James Shipp, jamesshipp@hotmail.com. See Q, page 5A To subscribe to the Bulletin, call 530-283-0800 A black bear cub looks on as Zia Cressy and her dad, Danny Cressy, pose for Darla DeRuiter at Quincy Elementary School's Family Science Night on Feb. 6. DeRuiter, the director of the Environmental Studies Program at Feather River College, and Cressy, a student in the program, staffed their exhibit, Close Encounter of the BEAR Kind. Photos by Laura Beaton Student curiosity captured by science Laura Beaton Staff Writer Ibeaton@plumasnews.com Snakes, skulls and bears were just some of the fun exhibits that Quincy Elementary School students and families got to explore Feb. 6 at Family Science Night. A dozen exhibitors set up science-related displays, many of them hands-on and interactive. From "ghost bubbles" to JeopBIRDY, live snakes and lizards, elephant toothpaste, fish printing and more, students had a chance to ignite their curiosity and learn all kinds of interesting scientific facts. The sixth-grade class sold chicken wraps and rice bowls to raise funds for their Plumas to the Pacific watershed adventure later in the year, and baked goodies were sold by the fifth-grade class. Presenters included Plumas National Forest, Feather River College, Quincy High School, Plumas Audubon, "Dino" Don Dailey, Feather River Trout Unlimited, Plumas-Sierra 4-H Program, Sierra Nevada Journeys/Grizzly Creek Ranch and Plumas County Office of Education. Request to rescind general plan denied Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.corn With allegations of Brown Act violations and threats of legal action, a group of local citizens asked the Plumas County Board of Supervisors to rescind the county general plan and associated environmental documents and provide the public an opportunity to comment on them. The group sent a 16-page ..... mmto the.board tiffed "Notice and Opportunity to Cure" on Jan. 16 and the board adopted a two-page response to the request during its Feb. 4 meeting. In short, the supervisors said, "No." The vote to deny the request came after a lengthy exchange between the public and the supervisors. County Counsel Craig Settlemire briefly summarized the group's request, which, along with reopening the general plan process, asked that the county counsel be disqualified as an advisor to the Board of Supervisors on the matter. "How do you feel about that last one?" Board Chairman Jon Kennedy asked Settlemire in one of the lighter moments of the morning. See Response, page 5A Investigation concludes shooting was justified Evidence shows deputy acted in self-defense Dan McDonald Managing Editor dmcdonald@plumasnews.com The Plumas County sheriffs deputy who shot and killed a hospital patient after a violent struggle acted in self-defense and the defense of others. That was the finding of an investigation conducted by the Plumas County District Attorney's Office. The investigation report, which was completed Jan. 27 and released to the public last week, concluded that deputy Tom Klundby acted lawfully in the Oct. 20, 2013, fatal shooting of 53-year-old Mariano Mauro at Eastern Plumas Health Care in Portola. "Had Tom not been there, or had Tom been disabled (during the struggle with Mauro) there was a legitimate concern by that "1 absolutely believe that he acted legally and appropriately." Greg Hagwood Sheriff hospital staff as to what could have happened," District Attorney David Hollister said. "The overwhelming credible evidence shows Deputy Klundby acted in self-defense and the defense of others .. ' Hollister said. "No evidence exists to support any contention the shooting was criminal." The DA's office outlined its findings during a Wednesday, Feb. 5, press conference at its office in the Quincy courthouse. The California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol and the sheriffs office assisted in the investigation. In addition to an 18-page report, chief investigator Jeff Wilkinson showed video evidence taken about two hours after the 1:20 a.m. shooting. The written report is available in its entirety on the Plumas County website (http://bit.ly/lbiibKg). The video showed a trail of blood spots and debris left by the struggle that began outside Mauro's room and ended with thefatal shots fired in the hospital lobby. Klundby, who responded to a 911 call from a hospital staffer, was the only officer at the scene. An agitated Mauro, whose aggressive behavior prompted the 911 call, attacked Klundby shortly after the deputy arrived. See Justified, page 4A Jeff Wilkinson, investigation supervisor for the Plumas County District Attorney's Office, uses a PowerPoint presentation Wednesday, Feb. 5, as he describes events leading up to the Oct. 20, 2013, officer-involved shooting at Eastern Plumas Health Care. Wilkinson is pointing to an image showing where deputy Tom Klundby fired the shots that killed Mariano Mauro (body covered by a sheet) in the hospital lobby. Photo by Dan McDonald ' "