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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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February 17, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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February 17, 2010
 

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FEATHER RIVER T and Surrounding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 Yol. 143, No. 28 50 CENTS County considers mid-year budget Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com Plumas County Adminis- trative Officer Jack Ingstad told the Board of Supervisors at a Tuesday, Feb. 9, meeting that he would be recommend- ing a $400,000 general fund reduction at mid-year. The CAO said he would bring suggestions to the county budget committee, and the full board would hear the ideas resulting from that meeting in March. Chairwoman Sherrie Thrall commented the county's will- ingness to cut in anticipation of problems stemming from the economic downturn had put it in a better position that many others. Ingstad agreed that the board should be commended, adding that most boards were afraid to cut based on projec- tions and that the Plumas County board acted more like a business than a government agency, which would pay off for the citizens in the long rUN. He also spoke about some of the actions the county has taken to address the down- turn. Ingstad said that the county got state and federal dollars for a fire station at the Beck- wourth airport, two paving projects at the road depart- ment, and the sheriff office's new emergency public notifi- cation system. He said that the county was also receiving funding for future projects, including work at the Quincy airport, the Lake Almanor recreation See Budget, page 10A Members of the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department selected the late Dale Lancaster to receive this year's Fireflghter of the Year award. Commissioner Mike Nero (left) made the presentation to Lancaster's widow, Rae (center), and their children, Kevin and Melissa. Photo by Mike Taborski Lancaster honored as Fireman of the Year Tlfflney Lozano Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com The late Dale Lancaster was named Fireman of the Year for the Quincy Volun- teer Fire Department Feb. 13. The presentation was made Saturday night at the annual installation-of- officers dinner at the fire hall. According to Chief Robbie Cassou, the firefighter of the year award is given to the firefighter whose perfor- mance throughout the year best exemplifies the spirit of volunteer firefighting. Cassou said Lancaster was one of the department's most dedicated volunteers. As the department's assistant chief, Lancaster was responsible for coordinating the month- ly drills for emergency med- ical and rescue services. He coordinated the medical coverage at the fairgrounds auto races and was instru- mental in the flreflghtmg role as well, said Cassou. According to Cassou, when QVFD couldn't afford a particular high-tech tool available to wealthier fire rescue agencies, Lancaster would disappear into his shop, and build the tool himself. "His ability to bring peo- ple together for the common good was a testament to his character and his dedication to serve his fellow man," said Cassou. "He will be missed." Jim Mann was also recog- nized as the Top Responder for the year. The Top Responder recog- nition goes to the volunteer flreflhter with the highest number of responses to fire and medical calls. This year, James Mann re- sponded to 317 calls person- ally, nearly I00 more calls than any other volunteer fire fighter. The QVFD as a group re- sponded to more than 2,500 calls in 2009, and put in an impressive 3,100 hours of training between them. Captain Richard Stockton presented four milestones of service awards. They went to Robert Pearson and Michael Stockton, each amassing 35 years with the department, followed by Tony DeMartini, 30 years, and Julie Cassou with 15 years. Longtime commissioner Bob Fitzsimmons installed the department's 2010 offi- cers: Secretary Julie Cassou captains Clayton Beck Cobey Brown, Frank Carey, John Cullen, Richard Stock- ton and Ben Windle; Assis- tant Fire Chief Ray Nichol; Deputy Fire Chief Dave Windle; and Fire Chief Robbie Cassou. Lab at fault in EQSD well testing Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com East Quincy Service Dis- trict Manager Mary Henrici told the district board at a Tuesday, Feb. 9, meeting she believed a recent well test done by an outside lab was flawed. In January the manager informed her board that the nitrate levels at the well jumped from 2.1 milligrams per liter of water in May of 2009 to 32.8 mg/L, which she said was highly unusual. Henrici told the board at the February meeting that her suspicions were confirmed when new test results from that same lab and another both indicated the nitrate levels were less than 3 mg/L. She explained this almost guaranteed the previous test was wrong because "nitrate doesn't go down. It always goes up." The manager said this was because groundwater moved very slowly and pollution was generally believed to be on the rise over time. She added that in any case such a large level of pollution couldn't possibly disappear in a month. Henrlct also told the board she wrote a "kinda nasty" let- ter to the lab that gave them the high test because the fact that the test exceeded half the maximum level allowable in drinking water meant the dis- trict would now have to test the well quarterly, or four times as often, which she said was expensive. See Well, page IOA To subscribe to the Bulletin, call 530.283.0800 Service district merger back on track Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.com The two Quincy-area ser- vice districts appear to be back on good terms and once again headed towards consol- idation after two months of positive meetings in a row. The two district boards appeared to:be in good spirits throughout that period, voic- ing positive opinions about several of the key players in the consolidation process in- cluding the Local Agency Formation Commission and the PMC consulting group. The two district boards met as the American Valley Com. munity Service AuthorRy in late January, eliminating an old disputed motion to form a consolidation committee and adding a new motion in its place. Quincy Community Ser- vice District board member Jim Bequette suggested the joint board void a motion he made in May, which was unanimously approved ini- tially but later interpreted differently by the two boards. He then introduced a new motion for discussion, which called for the creation of a consolidation committee, consisting of two board mem. bern from each district and the two district managers. The motion specified that the committee would bring ideas regarding the possible consolidation of the districts to the AVCSA board, which could then decide whether or not to act on them. There was some discussion of whether managers should be on the committee with the amount of work already on their plates. The AVCSA board decided that the managers could choose an employee to sit in for them on the committee when necessary, but that they should be involved in the process to contribute their knowledge. The group also agreed that committee meetings would be open to the public but infor- mal, meaning they wouldn't necessarily have a posted agenda for each meeting. The board also acknowl- edged that the AVCSA would have to meet more often than quarterly if the consolidation process progressed. Bequette and Denny Churchill were selected to represent QCSD, while East Quincy picked their board president Howard Hughes and Greg Margeson, who they thought would bring a fresh perspective as he was the newest member of the AVCSA. The board scheduled the first consolidation committee meeting for Friday, Jan. 29. At a Tuesday, Feb. 9, East Quincy Service District board meeting, chairman Howard Hughes told his board that the meeting had gone very well and Bequette was nominated as the com- mittee chair. Hughes explained that the committee returned to the re- port prepared by the consult- ing company PMC for guid- ance on several topics. The chairman said the re- port led committee members to recommend the first phase of consolidation consist of a single district board and billing and accounting sys- tem but two distinct "areas," each composed of a current service district, with the staff and managers still handling their own area. He said they also followed the recommendation of the configuration eventually nar- rowing to one manager and one combined staff organized to cover the entire district area in the most efficient manner. Hughes commented the committee also agreed with PMC's recommendation to re- tain Best Best & Krieger LLP for legal counsel during the transition period, and to at- tempt to hire John DeSelle for billing and accounting advice. QCSD board member Denny Churchill attended the EQSD meeting and he and the East Quincy board agreed that PMC did a good job and the report would be helpful as the districts moved forward. The rest of the QCSD board agreed that this made sense at its Thursday, Feb. 11, meeting. Both boards also seemed optimistic about the LAFCo process, given the recent changes in leadership in that organization. Hughes and Churchill informed their boards that the committee would be meeting with LAFCo Execu- tive Officer John Benoit at the EQSD office Friday, Feb. 19, at 11 a.rn. to get an idea of what the process would be like from his end. QCSD board member Dick Castaldini responded, "Well he's sharp. I really like that guy. I am so impressed." Both meetings ended on an extremely optimistic note. Hughes told his board that a large service district was basically the step before forming a city and that the combined district might stretch from Massack to Meadow Valley someday. Henrici agreed, explaining that a service district could control around 13 different services including: irriga- tion, flood, fire, police and airports among others. Hughes proclaimed, "I think we're really laying the groundwork of something pretty big and I think we're all going to be very, very proud of it in time." Churchill agreed, telling the EQSD board he felt every- one was in agreement "that our primary responsibility and concern is for our employees and our customers and that is paramount." He added, "The employees are going to be a big, big part of this" and "should be kept in the loop all the way at all times." "It is very likely as I see it with this new configuration we're going to need more bodies not fewer," he con- cluded, eliciting words of agreement from the EQSD board members." At the QCSD meeting Bequette explained, "I've been tearing my hair out over this consolidation for about 15 years and I've about given up hope a number of times. "After this meeting the other day, I really came away from that feeling good. I think that both boards are more or less in .unison on it now. I think there's real hope of something happening." Special: Kids page on Haiti Inside today's paper you will find a special page about Haiti for kids, their parents and teachers. The Kid Scoop's Special Haiti Earthquake Edition is designed to give parents and teachers the vocabu- lary and background need- ed to better understand the news articles about this historic disaster. Using activities, the page explains how earthquakes occur, asks kids to think about what kindness is and offers ways kids can help with Haiti relief. We hope you will take the time to review the informa- tion with your children. Teachers who want addi- tional copies of the page for classroom use should con- tact their local Feather Publishing office. In Quincy, 283-0800; in Portola, 832-4646; in Chester 258.2516; and in Indian Valley, 284-7800.