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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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November 28, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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November 28, 2012
 

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2A Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 Feather River Bulletin Debra Moore Staff Writer d moore@plurnasnews.com Treat your heating system as you would your vehicle. That's the advice local ex- perts share with their cus- tomers. "Would you buy a brand new car and not tune it up for 10 years?" asks Richard Kerr of AAA Maintenance. He services Toyo and Monitor heaters. "Everything that burns fuel needs routine maintenance." Judi Madden of Madden Plumbing and Heating agrees. She said that she had a customer who was experi- encing problems with his sys- tem, but hadn't had it ser- viced in years. Hehappened to be a pilot. "If You serviced your plane the same way, you would fall out of the sky," she told him. Both Kerr and Madden rec. ommend an annual inspec- tion to ensure that your heat- ing system is safe and func- tioning properly. When a heater or furnace is main- tained correctly it will pro- duce the most heat at the least cost. The following tips are provided by United States Department of Energy: Maintain your furnace. Clean your furnace filters monthly or replace if necessary. A clean unit runs more efficiently. Use insulation. Insulate your attic to an R-value of 38 for a gas- heated home and 50 for an electrically heated home; your walls to an R-value of 19; and your sill box (upper portion of your base- ment walls) to an R-value of 10. Insulate around windows and doors. Weather-strip and/or caulk all areas of noticeable leaks around windows and doors. Removable caulking is a good option for windows that you open in summer but not in winter. Change your thermostat settings. In the winter, set your thermo- stat at 60 degrees F when you are sleeping or gone. Set the ther- mostat to 68 degrees F when you are at home. This can save 10 percent or more on your heating bills every winter. Turn down the thermostat when away. If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, turn your thermostat down to save energy but never lower than 40 degrees F. If you have deli- cate houseplants, keep the setting at 50 degrees F or higher. Let the sun in. The sun's energy can have a noticeable effect on the temperature in your home, especially from windows facing south and west. Keep window shades and drapes open during winter months to let in the sun's radiant heat. Warm with a space heater. A portable space heater can heat a single room without using your furnace to heat the whole house. Using a space heater to heat all or most of your home costs more. Always follow the manufactureVs safety instructions when operating space heaters. ) Use the fireplace sparingly. Many older natural fireplaces are inef- ficient and draw more heat out of the house than they produce. Close the flue to eliminate drafts when not in use. Consider fireplace inserts, doors or covers. If you use your fireplace often, consider these products to help reduce the heat loss in your home when using the fireplace. You save money on your heating bills while still being able to enjoy your fireplace. Toyo and Monitor stoves Kerr has installed and ser- viced Toyo and Monitor stoves for 16 years. During an the stove remains cool to the interview last week, he touch he advises caution with talked about the importance putting items on top. of proper maintenance and"I don't like to see potted offered tips to keep fuel costs plants," he said because if wa- down. ter were to spill on the unit it "It's important to make could short out the circuit sure that they're running effi- board. He also recommends ciently," he said, and a key in- using a surge protector. dicator is the flame. When Kerr performs an in- "You need to maintain a spection, he changes the fuel blue flame," he said. A tall, filter, services the burner, in- yellow flame indicates a prob- spects the tank, looks for lem and could lead to a signs of water in the fuel oil, cracked heat exchanger, and cleans the unit. He also suggests checking"My goal is to make it run for debris, dust and pet hair as efficiently as possible," he that could attach itself to the said. unit, particularly the fan. He Though Kerr makes sure recommends carefully brush- the equipment is in top form, ing off the fan and warns that it's up to the resident to en- Now that our job is done, we're going south for the winter. We'll see you in Springi Thank you for your business, and we wish you happy holidays! Otilio & Shannon Garcia P.O. Box 1919 Quincy an accumulation of pet hair sure that it is operated prop- could lead to a fire. erly to maximize efficiency. And though the surface of For example, when raising the temperature setting, Kerr advises doing it just a couple of degrees at a time. "If you have been gone and set the temperature at 55 degrees, don't bring it up to 72 degrees immedfately," he said. Kerr explains that a heater of this type has tilree or four speeds. When it is operating on high, it uses more fuel and is harder on the unit. By rais- ing it a few degrees at a time, the unit will run on high only incrementally. Many mode s of Toyo stoves have lights that indicate in which mode the stove is oper- ating, but in Other models, the fan is audible and the differ- ence can be detected. He also .advises placing the sensor in the correct position, about 18 inches off the floor. However, if it's a mobile home, he advises against putting the sensor on an out- side wall, which is colder and will force the unit to run more. When Kerr inspects a unit he advises residents on the best place to put the sensor for their home. He also cautions that these small units are designed to supplement a larger heating DISTRICT HOSPITAL Amy Bennett, Registered Nurse Amy is kind, caring and considerate to art her patients. She is atways witting to hetp out other staff and other departments whenever she can. She is truty a represen- tative of art that is good at PDH. Con!lratulations Amy Bennettl Plumas District Hospital Employee of the Month of October 2012 system or to heat smaller spaces. "One of these stoves should only use one to 1.5 gallons per day," he said. At the current price of roughly $4 per gallon, that means a monthly heating oil bill of $120 to $180 per month. Forced air systems Whether the forced air sys- tem is heating oil or propane, Judi Madden recommends an- nual service. Madden suggests having the unit serviced between April and August. She said that people usually wait until the first cold snap and then call, often when the furnace isn't working. "We want to avoid crisis management," she said. When technicians make a call, they perform a number of tasks including checking combustion, replacing the oil filter, inspecting the elec- trodes and combustion tools, and checking the blower. Madden said that the an- nual inspection for a propane furnace includes checks for carbon monoxide, combustion efficiencies and condensation. Just as with the Toyos or Monitors, residents have their roles to play in the proper op- eration of the their systems. Residents are encouraged to change their filters regularly and Madden also recom- mends raising temperatures in two-degree increments. In addition to proper main- tenance and operation of a heating system, Madden said it's important to ensure that heat isn't escaping from a home. She said the swiftest energy savings comes from sealing off any areas that allow out- side air to come into the house and installing attic in- sulation to prevent heat from escaping. Madden and her husband, Jim, received their certifica- tions as building analyst spe- cialists this summer. When they returned home, they turned an infrared light on their own house. "We aimed it at the ceiling and found large holes in the insulation," she said. Maddens said that skylights and can lights are also areas that often aren't properly in- sulated. For more tips on ensuring that you maximize your heating potential, see the above insert. Company coming for the Holidays? There's still time for interior painting and touch-ups No job too big or too smalll We've built our reputation on competitive prices and uncompromised quality since 1980. Free Estimates A.A. Knudsen Pain Graeagle: 836-0160 CAU0#595150 Quincy: 448-6594 to Benefit QHS Ski Team Salad, Bread, Beverage & Dessert (To-go Orders Available) D - 7:30pm, $10 per adult *5 per child 12 and under Tickets available at Moons in Quincy or for more info, call Katy Dyrr at 394-8480 i Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com Fresh from layoffs and pay cuts during budget hearings, the Plumas County supervi- sors were in no mood to grant pay increases to anyone, even if the money Would come from state and federal coffers and not the county. Pat Leslie, the interim mental health director, asked the supervisors to grant pay raises for both mental health and behav- ioral health therapists. Leslie said that the depart- ment's responsibilities were increasing and she was find- ing it difficult to attract and retain therapists. "Mental health profession- als are critical to public safe- ty, and a system, limiting re- cruitment and retention can result in poor response or no response to emergency situa- tions," Leslie wrote in a memo to the board. Leslie told the supervisors during their Nov. 13 meeting that her department was ex- periencing a "constant and sustained growth in case- loads," and with a "lot of sig- nificant health care changes coming," she expected that trend to continue. During an interview follow- ing the meeting, she said that the county historically had an active, open caseload of approximately 300, but now the number is closer to 500. One-third of the clients are children. She said it is difficult to re- cruit and retain therapists'be- cause the pay scale in Plumas County is low, while employ- ees are asked to be on call around the clock. The county currently has nine therapists on staff. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that she had researched the issue and recent recruit- ment efforts drew 14 qualified applicants for one position and 18 for another. "A lot of people are inter- ested until they can talk about the money," Leslie said, and added that three therapists left in their first year because of salary issues. And of the 14 applicants that Thrall referred to, Leslie said, "Only four came for an interview." She said the department in- vests time and money in training, and then the indi- viduals leave. "It's the same situation in the sheriff's department," Thrall responded. "It's some- thing that rural counties deal with." Thrall advocated that the department use funds to hire more therapists, rather than raise the salaries of existing therapists. She said hiring more thera- pists would improve the i il ............................ i iii i : ~?i!7 : i!i!!i: working conditions of the current employees because they would not have as much on-call time. Leslie said that she had hoped to be able to do both with the goal of improving re- tention. Board Chairman Robert Meacher was sympathetic to Leslie's plight, but said that the board had "a sour taste of whacking everybody's pay in the budget process." He suggested that the re- quest be reviewed mid-fiscal year. Supervisor Jon Kennedy agreed with Thrall and thought it was advisable to hire more therapists, which would improve the employ- ees' work lives. Board observer Larry Dou- glas spoke out on behalf of Leslie's request and said, "We have to compete; we have to give her the leeway." The board voted 44o-1 to de- ny Leslie's request for raises and tasked the department in- stead with "looking to in- crease the number of thera- pists to reduce on-call for staff and improve services to the public." Simpson voted "no" ex- plaining that it didn't include an opportunity for Leslie to return mid-year. "I encourage you to come back," Simpson told Leslie. Following the meeting, when asked if she would re- turn, Leslie said that she "planned to keep the conver- sation moving forward." Waiting for therapy With nine therapists and a caseload of 500, can the de- partment respond to everyone who needs services? "Because we set~ve the en- tire county, one area can be more pressed," Leslie said. Currently the pressure is on the eastern end of the county, where there is a wait list for services. Clients are seen at the de- partment's main office at the courthouse annex in Quincy, and also at satellite offices in each of the communities. Ad- ditionally, therapists go to school sites to work with children and they make home visits. A mental health therapist is charged with working with individuals with mental ill- ness, while a behavioral ther- apist works with those who also have substance abuse is- sues. "Some of the population is dual-diagnosed," Leslie said. A new director The Board of Supervisors is in the process of hiring a new mental health director and in- terviewed candidates Nov. 13. Leslie has served as the in- terim director in the wake of John Sebold's resignation last May: