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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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September 26, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 7B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE The untold story of logging and our forest I have been told that now is not the time to complain about the Forest Service and its practices. I disagree, and now is the perfect time, long overdue, and I will explain why. First of all, let me explain about logging and loggers. The U.S Forest Service and not loggers make all the deci- sions on our national forests. The public is under the im- pression that loggers are somehow exempt and don't need to abide by the same rules as everyone else. This is not true: They are no different than you. They also must pay for a firewood per- mit, a Christmas tree permit and camping permit and com- plete other requirements needed. Clear cutting was a decision made by the Forest Service that loggers strongly opposed. Loggers were then told that they would do as they are told or never work on the national forests again. So, in order to pay our bills and feed our fam- flies, we were forced to com- ply. We did as we were told. The demise of the timber in- dustry was due to the Forest Service and environmental extremists knowing full well the outcome of this plan and the outcry it would cause across the nation. The Forest Service never defended its practices so they just let the logger take the blame. Loggers were visible and vulnerable and the threat of losing their jobs was ever' present. WHERE I STAND DONNA McELROY FOUNDER, YELLOW RIBBON COALITION, MEADOW VALLEY In 1992, my husband (lan) was the truck boss for Clover Logging and came home one night really angry and de- pressed. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that the Forest Service came to the shop and he was told to put up a sign on the bulletin board. It stated that any truck loaded with government logs that were too late (7 p.m.) to be scaled were ordered to leave their loaded trucks at either Sierra Pacific or Clover Log- ging shop or their jobs would be terminated. Most of these trucks were owner operator truckers (gyp- pos) who lived out of this area. After a few days of being an- gry and fed up with even more Forest Service B.S., I phoned their district office and spoke with Bill Wickman and Fred Kruger. They told me there was a load of logs unaccounted for so, from now on, this will be the rule. When I asked how these truckers were to get home, I was told that it was not the Forest Service's prob- lem. After a short pause, I told them if this was their rule the Forest Service will have to pay for the liability o n those trucks that were being left un- attended. They said that couldn't be done. The next day the sign came down and their rules no longer applied and we were able to take our trucks home. We all see a lot of loaded log trucks going to the sawmill, however most of you are not aware that the majority of these trees are coming off pri- vate property and very little off the national forest. The size of the trees we were allowed to cut was so small that most loggers and mills closed down and went out of business. Through all of this, there was one tree that wasn't given any considera: tion and that's the family tree. The McElroy family settled at Rich Bar in 1856, and has never left Plumas County oth- er than to serve our country. Every four years we get a new forest supervisor who doesn't establish any roots in our community. My heart is saddened to see what is occurring on our forests today. Before we worry about saving owls, frogs, goshawks, trees, plants and water, the first thing we need to do is manage our forests to make them healthy and safe for all of the above. Our forests have never been in worse shape than they are right now due to not just poor management, but mismanage- ment that I feel borders on criminal management. In the 1980s and 90s, Gerald Vemer, from high up in the Forest Service, came up with the plan that there should be up to eight snags per acre on our forests for spotted owl habitat, mistletoe manage- ment, and meadow enhance- ment, so here on the Plumas, the Forest Service (not the log- gers) started girdling perfectly healthy trees. A chain saw and an axe, used to cut into the cambium layer, causes a tree to slowly die creating a snag. That prac- tice left even more dry fuel on our forest floor. I can show you pictures of about a thou- sand snags created on the Plumas. In 2000, we had the Storrie fire that was caused by a spark from the railroad and co'uld have been extinguished at 50 acres but became an in- tentional burn. There was a helicopter right there to put it out but the For- est Service wouldn't allow it because the copter hadn't been inspected by the Forest Service and so the fire burned over 55,000 acres. The Forest Service sued the railroad and received $102 million and set aside $80 mil- lion for the Storrie fire restoration. One of the first things the Forest Service did with the money was to lease office space from the county at the Annex to the tune of $70 thousand a year for two-and-a half or three years. To my knowledge, the only thing that got restored or planted were a few picnic tables in 12 years. Before I get to the Chips fire, I must address the Herg- er-Feinstein Quincy Library Group. I was never a part of this so I can only tell you what I have personally seen and know. I think this started out to be a good plan but I'm not sure that they have kept close enough track of the Forest Service on the group's pro- jects. ' I would think that with all the difficulties in getting a timber sale completed these days that the Forest Service would want to make sure the forest looks good following completion of the sale. One of the things that helped to sell the QLG plan was to reduce fuel for fires so if you leave that fuel in place for years, it would seem to defeat the origi- nal intent. I will start with Meadow Valley, as that is where I live. In 2009, this community was surrounded by hundreds of QLG slash piles that had been left for six or seven years. On Sept. 20, 2009, we had the Sil- ver Fire that burned more than 300 acres within a half mile of these biomass piles and our homes. After two community meet- ings in Meadow Valley, I pre- sented the Forest Service with a signed petition of 122 resi- dents who stated that they wanted their area logged and reforested. Their reasoning was to utilize burnt dead tim- ber, harvest the trees and make their community safe. I was told that this wasn't pos- sible because of steep terrain, cost and the presence of ser- pentine. So it's been three years and little progress (if any) has been made. The QLG plan was to reduce hazardous fuels around our communities. It is not work- ing. Just look around Canyon Dam, Highway 70 at Bonta Road, Highway 49 from Bas- sett's towards Sattley, and Meadow Valley. There were 60,000 biomass piles on the Beckwourth Ranger District for 10 years and sat so long that it is no longer mar- ketable. The Forest Service is now offering 10 cents a ton for the biomass. Rather than let the wood cutters have it, they would rather see it rot. When I asked the Forest Service who was in charge of monitoring these QLG bio- mass piles, they said they were. In other words, we have left the fox in charge of the hen house. The only thing dif- ferent between us and what happened in San Bruno with the PGE gas explosions is our fuel is all above ground. Now for the Chips Fire. Everyone who lives in our once beautiful Feather River Canyon and surrounding area agrees that the Forest Service didn't act quickly enough, but instead let it burn. Now due to the conditions left by the Storrie fire, it helped fuel the 74,000 acres of the Chips Fire. Just think of the thousand of merchantable trees that went up in smoke and the thousands upon thou- sands of birds and animals that were burned alive. In closing, I must mention that there are still many fine people who work for the For- est Service and would agree with this article, but they can't take a chance in speak: ing out. L E T T E S 'r o :E H l!!i E D I T O 1:( Only ourselves to blame The kitchen of the Indian Valley Senior Nutrition Cen- ter will close beginning in No- vember while the kitchens of the other communities will continue to function. There are no heartless vil- lains here wishing to punish our community. I think I can aptly apply Shakespeare's comment in Julius Caesar, "the fault lies within our- selves." By not supporting and par- ticipating in the luncheon pro- gram, we have proved the adage "use it or lose it." Not enough of us have used it so we will lose it, There are some folks, however, who have used it and for them it has come to mean more than just an affordable lunch. Ithas been the center of their daily social lives. I am just as much to blame as anyone else. I was a fre- quent patron of the program until my wife needed constant attention; and I must confess, the last time I had lunch there was in 2003, and that was for a special program honoring Margaret Cooke, one of the most important individuals ever to grace our Indian Val- ley. I don't know if a resurgence of participation could save the program, but I for one, would pledge attendance. I guess I just thought that it would al- ways be there whenever I needed it. That was a painful, wrong assumption. Salvatore talano Taylorsville They just don't get it The Portola City Council showed the public that they just don't get it. They responded to the grand jury report like chil- dren who received a less-than- perfect report card. Instead of taking responsibility for their conduct and discussing the recommendations for ways to improve their performance they argued with the f'mdings. This Portola citizen is grate- ful for the work of the grand jury and hopes that our elect- ed officials will change their ways rather than increase rates and taxes. Economic de- velopment is an option to bankruptcy. The council goes blindly for- ward thinking that they are above criticism and there is nothing wrong with their behavior. Councilman William Weaver's conduct confirmed that the grand jury report was correct. He got into a shouting match with a con- cerned citizen in the audi- ence. Councilman Curt McBride admitted that the council has acted unethically. For the last decade, the city has been on the path of finan- cial doom. The council's spending practices have de- pleted funds from the sale of city property to Woodbridge and the funds from the Lake Davis settlement. They have raised fees and taxes rather than_ cutting ex- penses. The greed of the staff has led to job losses. It is time to change the path of the city to one of healthy business growth and prosperity for the citizens. This path will lead to prosperity for the city. The past year has been one of protesting the increased water rates, complaining about being disenfranchised, and a lack of respect from the city council. Times may change. The council seems to have forgot- ten that citizens recalled the former mayor. Citizens can re- scind the rate increase that was unethical. Citizens may initiate more recalls. The council doesn't get that they are elected to be for the people and that our government is by the people. Larry F. Douglas Portola Support "appreciated I find this a very difficult letter to write as Plumas County, Portola and Eastern Plumas County especially, has been a part of my life for the last 32 years. Some of you may already know that this past April, like so many others, I lost my home to the bank. I then de- cided to move to Austin, Texas, to be closer tO my old- est daughter and her family, which includes my 8-year-old grandson. This has been the best part of my move. The main reason I am writ- ing is because so many have depended on me through the organization I formed when moving here, Project Santa Claus. I wanted the communi- ty to know this organization is no more. This past year we helped 291 families and it is those fami- lies who concern me during the coming holiday season. Another group is forming to take over where Project Santa left off, but there will be some differences. I don't know what those will be or how the organization will work but to those of you that supported Project Santa all these years, please support them as well. Having been involved in lo- cal politics during the past 32 years, I am sure there are some of ysu very happy to know I am gone. I hope there are some of you that will miss me as well. To all my friends that I leave behind, please know you will always have a very spe- cial place in my heart. I have the same email and cell num- ber; you can also find me on Facebook if you need me. Goodbye. Fran Roudebush Retired Plurnas County Supervisor FounderCoordinator Project Santa Claus Austin, Texas Ignore liberals The silent treatment (it's more painful than being yelled at) should start Nov. 7 and last the next four years; it works. Conservatives should walk away from anyone they know who voted for Obama; you have nothing to lose or in common with them. With all the major media, print media, union thugs and Hollywood stars at his beck and call, it looks as though the president may win re-election. Conservatives have choices to make over the next four years. This country will con- tinue to slip into debt and the dollar will be devalued even more. You simply can't pay people who aren't working. You can- not pay them lifetime health care and lifetime pensions. We can't do it; even if you wanted to, even if that was your defimition of fairness and equality. You can't do it. Infla. tion is on its way and Ameri- ca's credit rating will fail. You might as well stay put in the mountains; it's safer. Do you own a private busi- ness? It's going to be more years of hardship for some in Plumas County. Hide (deduct) as much cash from the gov- ernment as you can; to offset Obamacare. Why hire any- one? You don't have to befriend liberals, they exacerbated this mess. You can ignore them completely. Hang your flag upside down on Nov. 7, in protest of his next four years. Want a happier four years? You know who they are, so avoid conversations and asso- ciations with the opposition. Don't help them. Find honest friends who share your com- mon interests and goals; it's easy. Above all, turn off the news. If we have an earthquake, you'll know it. Spend time with conservative friends, read, and enjoy your hobbies, like reloading ammo. I hunt coyotes and wolves. It helps the ranchers, main- tains the eco-system and up- sets the environmentalists. Trent Saxton Lake Davis Republicans help the wealthy It should be crystal clear what the goal of the Republi- can/Conservative/Tea Party is. In a secretly videoed fundraiser, Republican presi- dential candidate Mitt Rom- hey basically stated that 47 percent of Americans are free- loaders and that his job is not to worry about "these people." The real Romney/Ryan yard sign: "Believe in half Ameri- ca." But even this isn't the ex- tent of their true goal. People need to face the truth: the Re- publican Party's only concern is for the ultra-wealthy. The "born with a silver spoon in their mouth" politicians like Bush and Romney, feel that they and their ultra-wealthy friends are "entitled" to own and run America. It isn't called socialism or commu- nism, as my neighbors are propagandized to say. It is called an aristocratic oli- garchy. It started with the Reagan administration and culminat- ed in the George W. Bush ad- ministration. It's called class warfare and the wealthy are winning. They demonize and destroy organizations that unite Americans for the com- mon good -- commonly called unions. They have closed 50,000 factories and ship our jobs overseas. They throw mib lions of Americans under the bus and then call them free- loaders. The wealthy own most politicians and, in return, they give the wealthy huge tax cuts. Subsidies are given to extremely profitable corpora- tions, and these same corpora- tions (and the wealthy) pay lit- tle to zero taxes. They want to stealour So- cial Security and end Medicare and Obamacare. They are letting our country and infrastructure crumble to ruins. They are financially suffocating our schools, as they know that public educa- tion is mandatory for a democ- racy. They are taking everything and leaving you and I behind. Some Americans want only the wealthy to succeed. Other Americans want all of Ameri- ca to succeed. I hope people understand this distinction. And for America's sake, please vote this November. Mark Mihevc Graeagle Firefighters deserve credit I'm writing in response to Mr. Stringfellow's letter (Sept. 19). While I can understand frustration on his part about the Chips Fire, I cannot un- derstand his comment that the "Thank you Firefighters" signs made him want to "puke." As the mother of a wildland firefighter, his comment made me furious. It is not the fire- fighters that cause these fires nor are they the ones who de- cide how. to fight these fires. They are, however, the ones who risk their lives every sin- gle day fighting fires. While my son is not a "Hot- shot" he works with a Type-2 IA crew. He does not sit on his "butt" all day, he works 16- hour days, carrying 60 pounds of fire gear on his back, dig- ging fire lines for 14 days straight, takes two or three days off then is back on the fire lines to do it all over again. He risks his life every single day spent firefighting. As to the Chips Fire camp, it had to house, feed and show- er over 1,000 firefighters and, in my opinion, it is neither wasteful nor criminal to pro- vide the basic amenities to these men and women spend- ing hours fighting these fires. I realize that things were done differently in the '70s and '80s. But I also realize that after 30-40 years there are a lot more rules and regulations that the USFS has to follow. Don't blame the firefighters for your frustration, blame See Letters, page 8B ..... your electe .......... Contact d officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov/contact / U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 3934)710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 I St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 4TH DIST. - Tom McClintock. 508 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-2511; FAX (202) 225-5444. mcclintock.house.gov. DISTRICT OFFICE: 8700 Auburn Folson Rd., Suite #100, Granite Bay, CA 95746; (916)786-5560, FAX: (916) 786-6364. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3056, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. Roseville office: 1700 Eureka Rd., Suite #120, Roseville, CA, 95661. (916) 783-8232, FAX (916) 783-5487; Jackson office: 33 C Broadway, Jackson, CA 95642, (209) 22,3-9140. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 3RD DIST. - Dan Logue, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 1550 Humboldt Rd., Ste. #4, Chico, CA 95928; (530) 895-4217, FAX (530) 895-4219. GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/ (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. - -- v Hr, , i .... r:rrrr w I State