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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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June 6, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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June 6, 2001
 

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16A Wednesday, June 6, 2001 From Page One entimmed from page others from making a living. "Some of us-feel that this is a testing ground," Meacher said, referring to Modoc's and Trinity's problems. Environmentalists want to see what kind of legal action farmers are willing to take, Meacher said. Meacher added, "I think it's a show that's going to be play- ing everywhere soon." Following the meeting, Meacher said it won't be long before Plumas County starts to see similar problems. Fa Ipbm Nearly 100 years ago, the federal government decided to make a large investment in an irrigation plan for the area known as the Klamath Basin, which includes farm- ing areas in Modoc and Trini- ty counties. A canal connecting the lake to the farmland allowed the federal government to trans- fer a half million gallons of water per minute. I uatatkm Today, for the first time ever,-the canal will remain virtually empty all summer. Dennison exclaimed, "These people are devastat- ed.. The solutions are few and far between, officials say. Last month, Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou and Modoc counties and ordered the Office of Emergency Ser- vices to give water farmers $5 million to drill new wells. While the wells will not help the crop in 2001, it will protect topsoil that would emUmemd lingo IA conjunction with UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramen- to, was another suggestion. Under that scenario, pa- tients would not meet in per- son with a psychiatrist, but meet with them through the telemedicine link. Dennison said there must be a better and less expensive solution to what the four counties are now faced with, and that's paying upward of $300,000, collectively, for very little service. New mlicNm Keefer's initial concerns about finding qualified staff to fill vacancies in the mental health program, stem from "new legislation coming down the pike." Keefer said that in eyeing new state regulations expand- ing mental health services, he's of two minds. As the fa- ther of a son who needs the services, "I think it's great." But as an administrator, he sees the changes as "a poten- tial crisis." Assembly Bill 1422 is the new legislation that will re- quire more entitlement fund- ing. With that bill comes $244.5 million, according to Lassen County Administra- tive Officer McFerrin White man. According to the bill, by Ju- ly 1, 2004, mental health ser- vices become entitlements, with an advocacy commis- sion to promote improved ac- cess to services. The new law requires that services be provided, where- as current law requires ser- vices be provided according to funding availability. In funding this, under the new legislation, the state gen- eral fund and not the counties will be required to match fed- eral funds for mental health services for MediCal, and oth- er adjustments. Despite additional funding coming into the counties from 2004-2007, Keefer is con- cerned that the necessary staffing won't be available. doamtama Plumas Supervisor Robert Meacher, serving as chair for the quad meeting in Quincy, said that similar situations were happening with a num- ber of departments in Plumas County. "We're seeing a struggle," Meacher said. "Urban Cali- fornia caught up with us." He added that quality of life, a longtime selling point for rural counties to counter lower wages, "no longer makes up the difference." Meacher asked Keefer to take the lead in discussing the situation with depart- ment heads in the four coun- ties, and get back to the vari- ous supervisorial boards with information on what might be done. otherwise turn to dust and blow away. At last week's meeting of the four counties, Dennison urged Modoc officials to write letters of protest to bol- ster rallies ~nd protests al- ready being conducted by farmers. But that may not accom- plish much, Huffman replied. "You can write a letter, but it doesn't do much," Huffman said. "The environmentalists can generate 35,000 postcards in no time at all. They can easily match us letter by let- ter without blinking." Tea party propoaNKl Plumas County Supervisor B.J. Pearson recommended a try at civil disobedience. He said all the counties in the region should pull togeth- er and dump a 100-pound teabag into the lake to send a message to the federal gov- ernment. "Then we should say, 'What part of that don't you under- stand?'" Pearson said. When Pearson's plan to recreate the Boston Tea Party drew some laughs, he didn't crack a smile. He said he was serious. U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, who represents a host of counties in the region in Con- gress, including Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Modoc and Siskiyou, is trying to help out the farmers. The representative is call- ing for a revision of the ESA. Dim Cootimae4i from pale 1A tice, the control board noted that: "Despite repeated no- tices, Plumas County contin- ues to submit reports months (or years) late and incom- plete. The reports are an inte- gral part of determining if the site has impacted ground wa- ter quality." As a result, the board fined the county $10,000. The coun- ty requested a hearing to per- suade the board to modify that amount. Hunter said he would re- frain from commenting on the situation until after the public hearing. County Counsel Rob Shul- man said he had just learned of the hearing and was not aware of the details. Howev- er, he said, the county has been fined in the past and has successfully argued to have the fines reduced. Ill c Taking proper care of your electric appliances makes them last longer and operate more effi- ciently; not to men- tion saves you money on repairs and energy bills. Study your owner's manuals and follow all safety instructions. 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