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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 Bulletin Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 11A ,: Economic group sees signs of hope, more work ahead Tiffiney Lozano Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com ' While warnings of econom- ic doomsday still march bold- ly across the top of many newspapers in the nation, lit- tle victories are emerging here at home thanks to the ef- forts of a small but deter- mined group. "We want to look at every economic engine we can for this county to sustain a vari- ety of businesses," said Bill Wickman, Plumas County Economic Recovery Commit- tee chairman. Fueled by the belief that the county's fate cannot be left to the state and federal govern- ments, Wickman character- ized the committee's work as a parallel effort to the county supervisors' work. While the area's economic health is just one of many issues supervi- sors oversee, it is the sole fo- cus of PCREC. "It's better to have more voices," explained Supervisor Terry Swofford, who with Su- pervisor Lori Simpson attends PCREC meetings regularly. Formed March 2009, PCERC initially focused most of its energy on keeping the small- log mill open in Quincy, through:a fierce letter writing campaign targeting key legis- lators. Broadening its concerns over the last year, the com- mittee currently focuses on advocating a "Think Local First" education campaign; and joining with other rural counties on common chal- lenges, such as water and tim- ber issues and continuing leg- islative action. Think local first A dollar spent in an inde- pendent, locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the communi- ty, according to a study by the Sierra Business Council in Truckee. With fundamentals such as this, PCERC is educating reEl- dents about the role con- sumers play in maintaining the community's health and uniqueness. Though county sales tax revenue is down from a year ago, some local merchants did report a small bump in sales over the holiday shopping season, perhaps a sign resi- dents do understand their part in the success or failure of local businesses. Bink Huddleston, Sterling Sage owner and Indian Valley chamber president, agreed, "People understand if they want it to be here, they have to support it." In other local efforts, the Plumas Chamber of Corn- Moonlight Fire sales save local logger Tiffiney Lozano Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com With equipment sitting idle, bills stacking up and no prospective jobs Doug and Stacey Stoy sat helpless last fall, unable to put the 15-20 people to work they normally employ every logging season. "Things were very, very scary," said Stacey. The reprieve they needed came when a United Sates dis- trict court judge released tim- ber sales on the Moonlight Fire site in late August 2009. "It couldn't have come at a better time," said Doug. Knowing this was their one opportunity to get back into the woods, the Stoys risked everything. "We really went out on a limb," said Stoy. "I hawked everything to get the money together to buy two of the three sales." With the release of the sales, "We put 40 men to "We put 40 men to work. That's 40families in a valley that doesn't have 2,000 people." Doug Stoy, Logger work. That's 40 families in a valley that doesn't have 2,000 people," said Stoy, pointing to the impact these timber sales had on the area. "When these sales go through, it's really a success story for the whole communi- ty," he said. "We live here, eat here, shop here, buy gas here millions of dollars came through the community after the release of those sales." While the Stoys will be back to work in the spring as soon as weather permits, not all area timber workers have been so lucky. According to figures provid- ed by Sierra Pacific Indus- tries and the U.S. Forest Ser- vice, the county lost 150 jobs with the small-log mill clo- sure in Quincy and an addi- tional 39 employees due to a dropped shift at the Collins Pines Company mill in Chester; the closure of the Loyalton biomass co-genera- tion plant affected another 22 employees in Plumas and Sierra counties. The Forest Service's region- al plan acknowledges the loss of an additional 1.6 jobs per direct job in related services within the business commu- nities. Plumas Tax Assessor Chuck Leonhardt also warned of the longer-term impact job losses can mean for the area: referring to the closure of a lo- cal hospital in 2007, and the prospect that some schools are facing possible closure due to declining enrollment. Stoy thinks there are wide- ly held misconceptions about th logging industry in gener- al, and that is why so many environmental groups still battle the forest treatment plans in court. "We have the most regulat- ed industry there is," he said. "There is this misconception that we go in and cut every- thing there. It's just like a gar- den we take out the weeds." The forest has to be main- tained to remove the fire dan- ger he explained. The Stoys have made it through this season, but there is always next year, and the year after that. Doug believes that for loggers such as him to do their jobs, the public has to remain vocal. "Without public pressure, those sales would not have gone up," he said. "Bottom line is we are a timber indus- try community always have been. always will be." A Home o Read LThis: ire Reducing Your Utility Bills :s We Build. ELECTRIC! BUILT RIGHT...IT'S THAT SIMPLE take advantage of low interest rates, t0 first time home buyer tax credit and home loans for energy efficient homes. AVERAGE WAGES (PER HOUSEHOLD) AVERAGE GAS PRICES (PER GALLON) PROPANE GAS PRICES (PER GALLON) ELECTRICITY COSTS (PER MONTH ON AVERAGE HOME) $38;225 ENERGY STAR WE DELIIVER I Quincy Susanville Greenville Chester P0rt0la 283-0800 257-5321 284-7800 258-3115 832-4646 merce is strengthening its website, creating opportunity for members to draw business from outside the county. A coalition of rural counties Uniting through common bonds such as water and tim. bet issues, PCERC has joined forces with other rural coun- ties in the Sierra Nevada. Dis- cussions are underway with Siskiyou, Trinity, Sierra, Tuolumne, E1 Dorado, Modoc, Calaveras, Lassen, Placer and Amador counties. The group looks forward to a Feb. 19 meeting in Chico where it hopes to establish a coalition and agree on a communal agenda to take to legislators. "This broadens the dialogue and leads to a more non-parti- san approach to our prob- lems," said John Sheehan of Plumas Corporation. A key issue slated for dis- cussion is the treatment of For- est Service land and the subse- quent creation of local jobs. A recent Forest Service study showed that for every one mil- lion board feet increase in saw log volume, there is an associ- : ated increase of 11 new jobs. : ; If the Forest Services :: opens potential treatment '.* acreage previously dis- : cussed, it could mean an in- crease Of 4 billion board feet : of saw logs and therefore an :" estimated 4,400 new jobs for i: rural counties. : "Indications have been fa- :': vorable," said Sheehan, refer- ': ring to recent district court :: decisions releasing local tim- :" ber sales. :: Letters to legislators :: Letters to legislators--one of the most effective strate- ; gies to date--is an ongoing ? task for PCERC. Committee ': members agreed letters to Re- : gional Forester Randy Moore ::: and several assemblymen have made them more aware :: of the county's circumstances. '; Heavy on figures and statis-  tics, the letters clearly outline :: the county's requirements to remain economically viable into the future. Recreation and industrial jobs are keys to the future of Plumas County, according to the group. neg00ntng our 27th year in business! During the past 26 years, we are proud to have built more than 70 homes and 100 garages in Plumas County, not to mention the hundreds of remodels, additions and. insurance repairs we've done as well. With the change in the economy (specifically, fewer new housing starts), my business partner (and son) Donavon and I knew we had to change our business model. We're not goinganywhere, and we still build new homes, garages and commercial buildings. So, in the past year we found there was a real need to assist homeowners in making their existing homes more efficient, attractive and valuable. We've helped lots and lots of people with all kinds of projects that might have only taken 15 minutes to several days or weeks to .... complete. ..... And, if we couldn't do their job, we'd . make sure to connect them with some- one who could. It's that kind of service and satisfaction that will help take us through our next 25 years!!! Need help REPLACING or REPAIRING: DOORS TRIM WINDOWS PLUMBING ROOFING ELECTRICAL If it's something we can't fix, we'll find somebody who can. CONSTRUCTION SINCE 1984 General Building Contractor Calif./ic. #453927 (530) 283-2035 FREE ADVICE FREE ESTIMATES and WE WELCOME OWNER PARTICIPATION !