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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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December 3, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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December 3, 2014
 

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6B Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Re porter EDITORIAL AND OPINION EDITORIAL We were lucky: This time it was just a lot of corn Last week's derailment of 11 railcars in the Feather River Canyon probably won't garner the kind of attention it should. That's because nobody got hurt and the cargo that spilled into the river was just corn. It was a lot of corn, but still, just corn. If the railcars were carrying volatile Bakken oil, this would be an entirely different story. People likely would have died in the resulting series of massive explosions. Firefighters would still be struggling to contain a forest fire in the roughest terrain in the country, and the river would be running black with oil -- all the way to Lake Oroville and beyond. It would be an environmental disaster. With the perfection of hydraulic fracking techniques, our nation's oil deposits in the upper Midwest until recently considered too tough to extract are being tapped like never before. Consequently, trains are transporting more oil to refineries on the West Coast. One of the gateways to those reFmeries leads through Plumas County and the Feather River Canyon. Nearly every year there is a train derailment in the Canyon. And now that trains are hauling more than twice the amount of oil they did just two years ago, the odds of a deadly spill are growing. Despite increased safeguards, accidents are going to happen. In a recent story we reported California statistics that revealed the dramatic increase in accidents involving oil traveling by rail. The numbers were alarming: After just three incidents in 2011, there were 25 in 2013. As of June 2014 there were already 24 in California. It's not a matter of saying it might someday happen. It will. The only questions are: When? And how bad will it be? We don't have to look hard to fred examples of what could happen here. In July 2013, half the town of Lac-M6gantic, Quebec, was leveled when 63 tank cars of Bakken oil exploded during a derailment. Sixty-three people died. We aren't, trying to condemn the use of our nation's railroads to transport oil, gas and hazardous chemicals. Frankly, it's probably the safest and most economical means of moving the stuff. We aren't joining the debate over the fracking technique used to pry oil and natural gas out of the ground. Regardless of how you feel about it, the fact is this country's oil renaissance is producing an economic boom. We are no longer forced to pay top dollar for Middle East oil. But with all the positive comes some negative. For us, that means a couple trains loaded with Bakken oil traveling through Plumas County every week. All we can do is be as prepared as possible for the inevitable accident. As our county's office of emergency services director has been saying, we need to be better prepared. We need to have a good response system in place. We need to work together with the state to make sure our fin-st responders have all the resources and training available. We have to be able to act quickly when the oil hits the river. Yes, we dodged a bullet last week. The next time we might not be so lucky. Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. The board consists of the publisher, managing editor and the appropriate staff writers. Feat00Pfiblishing 0000wspaper / For breaking news, go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Taborski .............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski .... Legal Advertising Dept. Dan McDonald .......... Managing Editor Jenny Lee .................. Photo Editor Ingrid Burke ................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Miriam Cody Michael Condon Makenzie Davis Ruth Ellis Will Farris Susan Cort Johnson Greg Knight Debra Moore Maddie Musante Ann Powers M. Kate West Aura Whittaker Sam Williams James Wilson Feather River Bulletin (530) 283-0800 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Lassen County Times (530) 257-5321 Printed on recycled paper Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Westwood PinePress (530) 256-2277 Member, California Newspaper Publishem A,.OO. A drug is a drug." Let pot pay for our sins Granted, I'm only one person, but about the worst thing I've ever seen a pot smoker do is bogart my Doritos and then breathe on me. That said, I'm not a pot smoker and I defmitely have mixed feelings on the marijuana legalization debate. While I wholeheartedly support medicinal marijuana use, I'm not overly enthusiastic about legalizing another mood-altering substance for recreational use. But that's my dilemma if relaxing with a joint is illegal, then shouldn't throwing back a martini or firing up a Marlboro be as well? Moreover, if we don't ban those other additive and dangerous substances, maybe we should treat marijuana the same by MY TURN ANN POWERS Staff Writer apowers@plumasnews.com decriminalizing it and making a lucrative sin tax from it. For example, cigarettes are among the most heavily taxed consumer products in This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI Not just an ordinary day....a sampling of weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. December 3 1816 -- Illinois, "The Prairie State," becomes the 21st state. 1960 The Broadway musical "Camelot" debuts at the Majestic Theater in New York and would become associated with the Kennedy administration. 1967 -- An organ transplant team in Cape Town, South Africa, headed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, carries out the first heart transplant on a 53-year-old man. December 4 1881 -- The first issue of the Los Angeles Times is published. 1954 The first Burger King opens in Miami, Florida. 1956 -- "The Million Dollar Quartet" including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash get together in Nashville, Tennessee for a one-time impromptu jam session, which Sun Studios records. 1978 -- Following the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein, 45, becomes mayor. She was subsequently re-elected and served until Jan. 1966. 1991 Pan Am Airlines declares bankruptcy and ceases operation. December 5 1933 Alcohol prohibition in ends, repealing the 18th Amendment, which was passed in 1919. December 6 1768 The first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is published. The 2010 edition was the last printed edition. 1877 The first edition of the Washington Post is published. 1884 The construction of the Washington Monument in WaShington, D.C. is completed. 1947 The Everglades National Park in Florida is dedicated. 1964 NBC Television network debuts the Christmas special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." December 7 Today is Pearl Harbor Day, which commemorates the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. 1787 Delaware, known as "The First State," becomes the first U.S. state. 1869 Jesse James, famous American outlaw, commits his first confmned bank robbery in Missouri. the U.S. Federal, state and local governments bank more money from cigarettes sales than retailers, wholesalers, farmers and manufacturers combined. Since 1998, governments at all levels have collected more than $528.5 billion in cigarette taxes, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research think tank based in Washington, D.C. In addition, the federal government has collected about $10 billion in revenue from excise taxes on distilled spirits, beer and wine in 2012, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Maybe we should take a look at those revenue sources and also learn a lesson from Colorado. It's no surprise that Colorado's legal recreational marijuana sales have surpassed those of medical marijuana. when the various taxes for pot are totaled, a $30 eighth of marijuana (one-eighth of an ounce) carries about $9 in taxes, or 30 percent overall. By comparison, the equivalent tax on cigarettes is 31 percent and tax on beer is 8 percent, according to the Colorado Revenue Department. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking the reasonable and responsible approach on how to spend an estimated first-year windfall in sales tax revenue. In a letter to the chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, Hickenlooper requested $45.5 million toward youth marijuana use prevention; $40.4 million for substance abuse treatment; $12.4 million toward public health; and $5.2 million toward law enforcement, regulatory oversight and coordination activities. He's clearly not in any haze over this. And forget whatever you thought you learned from the movie "Reefer Madness." At best, it's an amusing cult flick. There are worse vices and far worse consequences. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, not including accidental deaths, are attributed to alcohol. Conversely, the CDC does not have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana yet. This could change aslegal recreational use becomes more prevalent, but my guess it won't reach alcohol's alarming statistics. Furthermore, health-related costs for alcohol consumers are eight times greater than those for marijuana consumers, according to the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. Remember my Doritos pet peeve? Well, See Powers, page 8B REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historiar 75 YEARS AGO ..... 1939 A Portola community Christmas tree will be placed and displayed at the intersection of Commercial and California streets and will be lighted this weekend. Three new polling places have been added to Plumas County's other thirty existing precIncts. Portola will now have a total of five precincts instead of three and Quincy will add one additional precinct. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1964 The last half of our bound volumes in our archives for the year 1964 (July through December) is missIng and those historical items are not available to include in this Remember When column. 25 YEARS AGO ..... 1989 The foundation for the Meadow Valley Post Office was poured this week and construction of the new building will be completed in about four weeks. A modular postal building will be used in the interim. The Plumas County Board of Supervisors adopted a policy which would eliminate and ban smoking in all county-owned buildings for both employees and the public. 1O YEARS AGO ..... 2004 Black ice and freezing weather did not deter the Plumas County Planning and Engineering Department's move to the recently renovated building (formerly the Feather Publishing building) adjacent to the Plumas County Courthouse in downtown Quincy. The building will house their offices along with the Plumas County Assessor's office. Note: items included in the weekly Remember When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. Is a new Cold War with Russia looming? With many things in life, most especially fashion, trends tend to put in an appearance every generation or so. while I am not a fan of the skinny jean or the new waistband on pants that are so unflattering to so many women, I have to say my personal opinion on the topic pales with my thoughts about the potential return of the Cold War. The Cold War is defined as a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc, countries including the United States, its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies (28 member states across North America and Europe) and others, and the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact, which was originally a collective defense treaty among eight communist states of Central and Eastern Europe. It is commonly accepted that the duration of the Cold War was from 1947 to 199i. It was called "cold" because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, as opposed to the hot spots of fighting that exist around the globe today. Although there were major regional wars in Vietnam and Korea that were supported by both sides, the Cold War primarily split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany between the USSR and the United States, which did, in effect, propel the two countries with such profound economic and political differences into superpower status. The two superpowers never engaged directly in full-scale armed combat but the flexing of their muscles kept tensions high for decades as they each armed heavily in preparation for World War III, a possible all-out nuclear war. As each side had a nuclear arsenal that filled the mission of deterring an attack by the other side, the Cold War became a standoff that was termed MAD, or mutually MY TURN M. KATE WEST Staff Writer chesternews@plumasnews.com assured destruction. The struggle for dominance during those years was expressed with conventional military action in proxy wars around the globe, psychological warfare, propaganda, technological competitions such as the Space Race and espionage. The Cold War Was the glory days for intelligence agencies such as the CIA and KGB, big military and black budgets and likely even the literary creations of super spies like James Bond, 007. For those younger than the baby boomer generation, knowledge and subsequent sentiments about the 1960s Bay of Pigs invasion, the fall of the Berlin Wall or even the collapse of the Soviet Union may not exist. The global focus of today is on terrorism although the potential of nuclear war does continue in conversations about why President Bush, in 2002, was convinced that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Periodically, the talk of nuclear weapons capability does also include the countries of India, Afghanistan and North Korea. Even as the news focus remains on terrorism-related issues, I cannot tell how surprised I was to recently read that we, as a nation and the world, might be looking at a return to the Cold War. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, news stories have centered on Russia's poverty, empty shelving in stores, frigid temperatures, mob-like gangs and other hardships facing the people of this nation. It now appears that, although the political climate has much evolved since the famous shoe-banging-on-the-table incident of Nikita Khrushchev, Russian politics may be in the process of a 360-degree turnaround with Vladimir Putin. In mid-November CNN broke a story about Russia's plan to send mid-range bombers to patrol the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Reporters Greg Botelho and Faith Karimi also wrote, "And, as recently as June, U.S. fighter jets have intercepted Russian long-range bombers off Alaska and California. "Those four Russian planes flew within an area 200 miles from the North American coast. Two peeled off and headed west, while the other two flew south and were intercepted by U.S. F-15s within 50 miles of the California coast. "In September, the United States intercepted six Russian planes, including fighter jets and tankers, in airspace near Alaska, officials said." Other reported incidents have taken place in Europe and, after consideration, the consensus appears to be that "Russia is flexing its military muscle and identifying the United States and NATO as its enemy." It is also believed that those provocative acts by Russia are the result of NATO's actions in the Ukraine and Putin's distinct dislike of meddling on his turf. After years of near complacency on the topic of a Russian threat we, as Americans, may need to look backward in order to better move forward.