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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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December 8, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE DFG needs outreach, analysis before closing refuges WHERE I STAND PLUMAS AUDUBON SOCIETY BOARD OF DIRECTORS The Plumas Audubon Society is a chapter of the National Audubon Society. Our chapter includes more than 200 members, the majority of whom live in and around Plumas County. The PAS mission is "to promote understanding, appreciation, and protection of the biodiversity of the Feather River region through education, research, and the restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems." The Plumas Audubon Society's board of directors is concerned that inadequate public outreach and peer-re- viewed research have been completed prior to the pro- posed elimination of state game refuges. Before eliminating wildlife protections that have been in place for nearly 100 years, it would be prudent for the Cali- fornia Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to provide scientific research, educate and involve the public in poli- cy decisions that affect public and private lands and the wildlife that inhabit those lands. Plumas Audhbon requests that the DFG complete a Cali- fornia Environmental Quali- ty Act (CEQA) document that discloses, evaluates and miti- gates the direct, indirect and cumulative effects to all wildlife species and their habitats in all state game refuges being considered for closure. The limited information re- garding the elimination of state game refuges provided by the DFG is biased and lacks scientific rigor. The DFG website includes an article by Eric Loft and Sonke Mastrup, "Game Refuges: A Tragic Waste?" The article takes its title from an Aldo Leopold quote used out of context. Loft & Mastrup state: "Aldo Leopold, the 'father' of wildlife management in America, on the subject of game refuges in his classic book 'Game Management,' stated that the successful use of refuges 'depends on know- ing when not to try. A tragic waste of enthusiasm and funds has often followed blind reliance on refuges.'" In the next sentence of "Game Management," Leopold writes: "...refuges will play an important role in the future of migratory game, forest and range, and wilder- ness game, but not in farm game." Leopold's point is that where hunting is hard to con- trol, refuges are necessary. On the other hand, on private lands, where the farmer can control hunting, refuges will not be successful. In summarizing, Leopold states, "The basic function of a refuge is to produce an out- flow of game to surrounding range." State game refuges have not been "A Tragic Waste" as argued by Eric Loft, DFG's Wildlife Branch chief. They may not have been as successful as hoped because, as Loft himself states in an in- terview for the Silicon Valley Mercury News, the DFG has not worked to improve wild- life habitat in the refuges. Five of the 24 refuges that DFG,proposes to close are in the Feather River region. State Game Refuge 1G is comprised of a mix of federal, state and private lands in eastern Tehama County. The eastern Tehama Coun- ty deer herd is the largest mi- gratory deer herd in the state. Western Plumas County pro- vides important summer range for the herd. As the herd migrates to winter range it passes through a portion of State Game Refuge 1G known as "The Narrows." If hunting is allowed in this mile-wide area during the migration, the herd will be massacred as it tries to make it to low ele- vation winter habitat. The Mt. Hough Refuge pro- vides vital deer habitat and is important for the protection of band-tailed pigeon and the Merriam strain of wild turkey. Because Merriam turkeys inhabit higher elevations than the Rio Grande strain, they occur only in a few loca- tions in California. Since they are at higher ele- vations, turkey hunting sea- son in California typically opens before Merriam turkeys have had a chance to breed. If hunting is allowed in the Mt. Hough Refuge, Merri- am turkeys in Plumas County' will probably decrease in number. The Dixie Mountain Refuge provides exceptional deer habitat in easterr. Plumas County. The area contains many large bucks and im- portant fawning grounds that should be kept under protec- tion. The refuge serves as a source area for deer and other wildlife. The Smith Peak Refuge also provides important deer habitat in eastern Plumas County. The refuge also serves as a source area for deer and other wildlife. The Johnsviile Refuge was created prior to the establish- ment of Plumas-Eureka State Park, which it exists within. Although this refuge is relatively small, it has great potential to serve as a model area where the DFG can improve wildlife habitat in refuges. Plumas Audubon would like to partner with DFG and pursue grant funding to im: prove wildlife habitat in the state park and the other refuges. The Plumas Audubon Society board hopes state game refuges in our region will be preserved. We pledge to work with the DFG and federal land mangers to improve wildlife habitat in the refuges as we have done on public and pri- vate lands in Plumas County. Currently, Plumas Audubon is administering an $180200 grant to protect Western and Clark's grebes at Eagle Lake and Lake Almanor through research and education efforts. In the future, Plumas Au/lubon hopes to work with state and federal wildlife managers to pursue similar Projects at state game refuges, if they are protected. In summary, the Plumas Audubon Society board of directors is concerned that inadequate public outreach . and scientific research have been conducted before the proposed elimination of state game refuges. These sanctu- aries have protected wildlife for nearly 100 years. Before eliminating state game refuges, DFG should provide outreach to the public as mandated by Senate Bill 1166. Furthermore, the elimina- tion of state game refuges would have significant cumu- lative impacts on the state's wildlife and an environmen- tal impact report should be completed as mandated by CEQA. Finally, we want state game refuges in the Feather River Region to be protected and are eager to partner with DFG and federal land man- agers to improve wildlife habitat in these wildlife sanc- tuaries. Working together, we can improve the state game refuge system and ensure wildlife protections for the next 100 years. Hate truck is a missed opportunity for positive dialogue WHERE I STAND BETTY MOURA FORMER ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT PLUMAS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT This is not intended to de- fend nor criticize anyone who has an opinion regard- ing the recent issue of a truck with posted opinions parked in the Plumas Unified Dis- trict Office parking lo t . As a former employee of .... PUSD, in my role as adminis- trative assistant to the super- intendent, I witnessed on a daily basis the issues and activities of the district, some of which were confidential and many of which were related to board policies and other legal issues. These are my perceptions and my personal opinion of the issues that have been recently reported regarding the parking of a vehicle with inflammatory remarks in the district office parking lot. Incidental to this issue is the fact that all the adminis- trators, with the exception of munity School. That adminis- trator is Director of Business Yvonne Bales. It is unlikely that any other administrator was aware of the truck parked in the rear lot. To address the point that no one expressed concern is specious. Personnel at the district office are under sig- nificant pressure to carry out their responsibil!ties. Most one; have offices located on of the administrators have the first floor ar/tl typieatly 7 dual rotesdue to significant use the parking lot in front that faces Church Street. Only one administrator has an office located near the rear parking lot, which abuts the building currently hous- ing the Plumas County Com- budgetary reductions. Day to day they are focus- ing on demanding issues that affect the district and all PUSD students. Whether or not other busi- ness office employees were aware of, or even objected, they most likely had other more pressing issues rather than being drawn into the fray. Furthermore, the primary role of the Governing Board of Educatiofi is to provide oversight to insure the super- intendent makes certain the activities of the school dis- trict are in compliance with ' Education Code and that board policies comply with current state and federal taws and are implemented fairly without prejudice. The superintendent acted accordingly to direct the administrator to follow regulations and not continue to park in the district office parking lot. At no time during my tenure at PUSD did I ever question whether the board of education, the superinten- dent, the administrators and all other staff had the best interest of the students as their primary concern. I believe this incident could have been an opportunity for those who complained to as- sess their beliefs,and possible prejudices and move on without rising the vindictive ' and inflammatory tone as included in the recent issues of the Feather Publishing newspapers. I would have preferred to hear that Mr. Eaglesmith took the opportunity to use this incident for his students to discuss the issue without prejudice and in the context of freedom of speech, which is part of our Constitution and is not available to the citizens of many other countries. If we object to others' opin- : ions or prejudices, we have the right to respond, hopeful: ly, with respect and witho.ut prejudice. This issue has the potential of becoming a posit" " tire force to acknowledge and respect other points of view Without being vitriolic or prej- udicial. It is this part of our heritage that has moved us from Rosa Parks to President Barack Obama. Generosity is alive and well throughout Plumas County WHERE I STAND DENNIS THIBEAULT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PLUMAS CRISIS INTERVENTION AND RESOURCE CENTER As she held up a cute little coat with a fur-lined collar, the teary-eyed mother ex- claimed, "I was worried that my little girl wouldn't have enough warm clothes this winter. She's growing so fast." That mother is one of liter, ally hundreds of men, women and children who have bene- fited from Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center's coat drive with drop- off boxes at Plumas Bank and Bank of America. With the recent early cold spell, the coats were more appreciated than ever. Just when we thought we couldn't meet all the requests for help with Thanksgiving dinners, local church groups, private individuals and local service clubs stepped up to the plate. The crisis center helped 130 Quincy families enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner this year. The Angel Tree project, where children from around the county are "adopted" by individuals who buy them gifts that they've requested, will soon be underway. We expect more children than ever will be referred to us by agencies that work di- rectly with poor families. We have no doubt that Plumas County residents will again extend their generosity to fellow citizens who've fallen on hard times. The many people who come to us to ask what they can do continually amaze us at Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center. Even though we operate a number of programs that can help with rent, utility payments, medical gas vouchers, food vouchers, transportation as- 'sistance, emergency shelter and the like, there are always needs for which we have to "open the piggy-bank" to solve a pressing problem. There are too many times in a day when we have to say, "We're sorry, but there's nothing we can do to help." That is repeated every day in the family resource centers in Portola, Greenville and Chester. Thanks to the gen- erosity of the many individuals and groups who offer to help, those instances are reduced. It seems we are barraged with news and opinions of what's going wrong on a daily basis. It's good to be re- minded of what's going right. We in Plumas County can be proud of the fact that we have so many people of good will who view all the people of Plumas County as their neighbors. They don't just save it up for the Christmas season, either. We at Plumas Crisis Intervention and Re- source Center salute you all. LETTERS to the EDITOR Wrath of the masses I am a longtime visitor to Plumas County, and I hope to relocate to your community in the future. I have just read the front-page article in my weekly copy of the Bulletin re- garding Yvonne Bales and her "old Ford pickup." I am absolutely flabbergast- ed that not only has this type of behavior occurred in Quincy, but that a high- ranking administrator in the public school district is responsible for it. I realize that Plumas County is a small, out-of-the- way rural community but it is California, and it is the year 2010, not Mississippi in the 1960s. Do the honest, responsible citizens of the county, and the school district officials realize what will happen if the nation- ai media outlets get hold of ./ this story? Quincy will be dragged through the mud all the way back to the 1920s, and that will not be fair to any of the good people of the county I have come to know. I know that many in the county love to hate the large cities (and I can hardly wait to leave mine), but this would never be tolerated where I live. Ms. Bales would find her- self besieged with the wrath of the masses, as well she should be. Memo to the school district superintendent: Do the right thing and fire this woman immediately. Steve Nuetzel Not fit By saying nothing when wrongdoing is observed is, in effect, offering silent approval of the wrongdoing. Perhaps others are so disturbed they don't know what to say about someone who holds the ex- treme beliefs that Yvonne Bales apparently holds with regard to "white supremacy" in this day and age, much less be employed by an institution (PUSD) whose purpose it is to educate our youth. I received my teaching cre- dential kn 1967. I was taught that the behavior of a teacher must always be above re- Proach. I assumed that this same edict would apply to those employed by a school district, and in my 40+ years of experience as an educator that has always been the case until now. I am disappointed as well as dismayed by the tacit ap- proval of Bales and her extremist ideas by all who knew of her views and who saw the truck with its vulgar and inflammatory bumper stickers and did nothing. It is my opinion that Bales should be encouraged to seek employ- ment elsewhere immediately. In my opinion she is not a fit role model for our youth and should not be allowed to work in any capacity for an institution whose purpose it is to educate and influence young people. Further, the silence of the PUSD/PCOE board and its superintendent at the meeting where these and other disturb- ing facts were made public by a well-respected, retired educator was equally pathetic. This silence was only made worse when board chair Brad Baker, tried to quiet Mr. Strailey as he told of one transgression after another that should have been as disturbing to the board and administration as it was to the public. If, as Baker implied, the board and administration were already aware of these issues, why have they not been effectively dealt with? The board of directors and Glen Harris specifically should be ashamed of them- selves. They are obviously not doing the job we elected them to do ... overseeing our school district and ensuring it and each of its employees is held to the highest possible stan- dards. Judy Gimple Greenville Way to go Not to drag the school em- ployee bumper sticker issue out too long, but... It's amazing that a school a couple weeks ago near Stockton was ready to kick a 13-year-old kid out for flying an American Flag from his bike and riding it to school. With the support of parents, community, veteran's groups and a Harley-Davidson motor- cycle club that had the boy escort them to his school, flags-a-flying everywhere, the school backed off and said he could park his bike on school grounds, flag and all. The school's whole point in the first place was that the flag might offend some other ethnic groups. Then we have our school district that pretty much says they can't instruct an employ- ee not to park a car with racist messages on it next to a school. Way to go school systems, government and freedom of speech groups everywhere. Flay an American flag on your bike and risk getting booted out of school. Park a car with racist signs on it on school grounds and, oh well, freedom of speech. Great message for all the young people out there. John Kreth Quincy Mistake So the supervisors made a mistake in allowing Inter- mountain Disposal to close the Graeagle Transfer site. It is proving to be a decision which is detrimental to every- one ... individuals stuff their garbage into dumpsters at business locations, business locations' dumpsters are over- flowing and there's much littering .which didn't happen before. All of this adds up to an ugly situation for tourism. The good news is that a bad decision Can be corrected. So the eastern Plumas County residents ask the Board of Supervisors to reverse their ill-thought out vote. Sherry Halverson Plumas County Watchdog Committee Give more I've been mulling over the whole Christmas spirit thing. I truly do have a generous heart, but my funds are limited, as they are for many of us. And health problemsmake it difficult for me to get out and do things. I've noticed some things, like the people in the cul- de-sac across the street from me usually turn on outside Christmas lights starting the day after Thanksgiving, but there are none there so far this year. Driving home from town Sunday night, I didn't see any lights anyplace. I look forward to the lights as a brave statement against the darkness of this time of year. I was going to put up outside lights, then decided against it because I need to try to keep the electric bill down. It's gotten cold so early and I must cut corners. So it is for many of us. I an donate a dollar for: See Letters, page 12B