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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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March 10, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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March 10, 2010
 

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...... - ....... ., .................. ,...., , ............ l .... :..: .... FEATHER RIVER cy and Surrounding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Vol. 143, No. 31 50 CENTS I Backcountry powder I dC.ol!ege trustees 00v00ded about I After hiking up into the Bucks Lake Wilderness Area with climbing skins on the bottom of his skis, Miguel Jeffrey of Meadow Valley removes the skins for the ski down. The backcountry skiing remained good last week after a snowstorm dumped t feet of powder March 2-3. Photo by Shannon Morrow wo[ J faculty layoffs Delaine Fragnoli Managing Editor dfragnoli@plumasnews.com In a dramatic 2-2 vote, Feather River College trustees failed to pass a reso- lution that would have sent layoff notices to six full-time faculty members. The fifth trustee was absent from the Thursday, March 4, meeting. The board was scheduled to revisit the issue at a special meeting Tuesday, March 9. Trustees John Sheehan and John Schramel voted no, and trustees Bill Elliott and Leah West votes yes. Positions on the chopping block included three sports programs -- football and men's and women's basket- ball; two vocational programs -- office career and tech- n61ogy and outdoor recre- ation leadership; and a library science position. Faculty, staff and students packed the meeting room. A student forum the day before attracted about 125 students. The overwhelming majority of those who addressed the board asked the trustees not to issue the layoff notices. Discussior/highlighted on- going concerns with the school's amorphous budget- ing process. Faculty union president Michael Welser said faculty would not accept the school's internal num- bers because they were not validated and so he was using figures provided by the chancellor's office. Librarian Tom Davis pointed out the school had re- cently received a letter from its accreditation committee continuing FRC's warning status. The committee has repeatedly expressed concerns about a lack of coordination between the school's planning and budgeting processes. Academic Senate president Dr. Chris Connell said the administration's numbers for the outdoor recreation program were in error-- by a factor of 200 percent. He said alternatives to layoffs had not been considered and discus- sions should have started one or two months ago, Several speakers, faculty and student alike, expressed fears that if programs were cut, students would leave and it would become harder and harder to attract and retain younger faculty. Englis instructor Dr. Joan parkin said it was ironic that on the eve of her tenure, the school was set "to take away the programs that made me want to teach here. Why would I stay?" (The trustees later voted to grant tenure to Parkin and Dr. Derek Lerch, who teaches environmental and earth sciences.) The layoffs "send a rues. sage of weakness," said art instructor Dianne Lipscomb. "We don't look viable" to the state or to the accrediting body. Parkin suggested the layoff resolution was a bargaining ploy by the administration to get faculty to take a proposed 6 percent pay cut. College president Dr. Ron Taylor told the assembly he agreed with many of the comments. "Nevertheless, we are in the midst of a crisis." He said the school needed to "bring the budget into balance. We are $614,000 in the red this year, and that's expected to grow next year." He cautioned that the layoff notices were a "precau- tionary action. We don't have to implement them. I regret that I have to recommend it, and I empathize with the anxiety it causes." By law, the district must send layoff notices by March 15 and make a final decision on layoffs by May 15. Trustees asked if it was possible to convene some kind of budget forum. Taylor responded he was using three avenues of discourse: collective bargain: ing, the budget committee and the strategic planning committee. He was "leery," however, "to convene an ad hoc process. It's kind of dangerous." As the discussion contin. ued, some divisions among employee groups surfaced. Welser and Connell pointed out the board approved, at the same meeting, contracts for three administrators -- Chief Instructional Officer Dr. Michael Bagley ($121,199), See Layoffs, page 14A Bucks Lake Lodge fire ruled accidental fresh powder on top of a three-foot base. The snow crippled rescue efforts from emergency personnel who arrived from Meadow Valley Fire Depart. ment and Plumas District Hospital by snowmobile and snow cat shortly after 5 a.m. Knowing the lodge could not be saved, firefighters quickly went to work build. ing snow berms to protect the remaining cabins. Although the fire destroyed the lodge completely, every- one got out safely including the owners' dogs, Jack and Jill, and lovebird Romeo. Nikole Melo, Cal Fire bureau chief, concluded the investigation last Tuesday, and said due to the extensive damage, the agency could not determine the exact cause; however, the fire did origi- nate near the stove, which was left burning during the night. Owners Luis Gutierrez and Rebecca Guereque said the resort, which is normally open year-round, is closed for now due to lack of water, heat and electricity. As soon as the snow melts, Guereque said they would resolve those issues and plan to open the remaining 11 cabins and the 12-room Timberline Inn by Memorial Day weekend for the summer season. The couple is working with local designer Ken Roper to design and rebuild the historic lodge with the same feel, but also a few improve- ments. Ideas for new features include a kid's area away from the bar, and possibly a movie theater in the basement. "We want to keep it family- oriented," said Guereque. "It has always been a family place, and always will be." Though the entire commu- nity mourns the loss of the iconic lodge, for Gutierrez and Guereque they lost not only their home, but also the family's livelihood. See Lodge, page 14A Tiffiney Lozano Staff Writer Isatchwell@plumasnews.com Fire officials have deter- mined the fire that destroyed Bucks Lake Lodge, the owners' cabin residence and two outbuildings earlier this year started accidentally near the wood-burning stove in the lodge. The Jan. 20 fire started around 4:30 a.m., a day after a heavy snowstorm, which left the resort with two feet of Reichle resigns as county counsel; Morris appointed March 2, meeting. Morris, an attorney who is the county's resident expert on water law and policy, has served as deputy county counsel for Plumas in the past. On the long-term plan for the county counsel office, Ingstad commented, "We're going to take a little time to think about it this week because we didn't know this was going to happen." The CAO said he would help cut down Morris's workload by reviewing contracts, as Ingstad has previously practiced law for 12 years. Ingstad said Morris would be paid at the same rate as be- fore, with half of his compen- sation coming from flood con- trol and the other half from the county counsel budget. In a phone interview Reichle.said he wasn't step- ping down because of health concerns, but that some recent time away from work because of a medical issue gave him an opportunity to reflect on his employment. He thought the county de- served the opportunity at this time of transition to have one person in the coun{y counsel office for several years and he couldn't commit to that himself. Reichle said he could see himself working for the county on specific legal mat- ters, as he was before taking his current position, because he liked the idea of saving the county money by performing tasks that a large firm would charge more for, but this wasn't the right time for him to head the county counsel office. iil!!![!!ll!!!!!lr6 To subscribe to the Bulletin, call a30-283-0800 Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plu masnews.com iiii!ii! :iiiiiiii!i!ii;!!iii!ii Plumas County Adminis- trative Officer Jack Ingstad ......... .............................................................. recently announced the :SeePage iB Board of Supervisors ac- cepted a resignation letter from County Counsel James Reichle and appointed Coun. ty Flood Control and Water Conservation District Manag- er Brian Morris as acting .... county counsel in closed ......... session during a Tuesday, rT'': ' .... ,"4 r ,,  ' :1: ::::: f ilit:00l;[;]itillll]lJ00llhi:,:ili{ll:t;i,00]iiill]ltil00il]lMJllllllll00 -i,11111 .... : :