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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
December 10, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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December 10, 2014

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8B Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter D ITORIAL AND OPINION EDITORIAL ire The Graeagle Fire Department is one of the fmest and most respected in the county-- if not the entire region. Its volunteers are some of the best-trained and professional firefighters around. The Graeagle Fire Protection District's board of directors needs to adhere to those same standards. Asking the board of directors to justify a $250,000 annexation fee was a fair question, The board members' response that they don't have to answer the question because they "don't want to" was not a fair answer. The fallout from the district board's stonewalling of a Feafher Publishing reporter has raised legitimate concerns by the community about the board's conduct and perception of itself. At the very least, the board members don't seem to understand the basic public-meeting laws of the state's Brown Act. The developers of the Feather River Inn project and the public have a right to know how the GFPD board came up with a quarter-million-dollar buy-in fee to annex the development into the fire protection district. It may be an attempt to gouge a company that is perceived to have deep pockets. On the other hand, the $250,000 fee might indeed be justified. Providing fire protection costs money. All the public wants to know is how the district arrived at that number. Without an explanation, the fee is perceived to be arbitrary. By law the district is required to conduct a transparent fee justification study, known as an AB 1600 study. The process includes public notification and public hearings. It requires ordinances to be established and approved before an annexation fee can be set. Every step of that process is open to the public. The results of the study belong to the public, not the district. When the GFPD board chairman told our reporter he didn't even know what an AB 1600 study was, we couldn't help but be suspicious of the district's process. The board magnified our suspicion by telling us it was our job to investigate for ourselves how it arrived at the number-- even though it should be public information that anyone on the street can read. The GFPD board members told Feather Publishing they are not going to do our homework for us. They said it should be our job to dig up the information. Fair enough. We have Filed piiblic nf atib-ffrequest'for a study that we suspect might not even exist. Forcing us to do investigative gymnastics for a public document is the same as them telling you to do it. But as a representative of the public, we know it is our duty to get the facts and report them to you. And we are glad to do it. But we are concerned that the GFPD directors -- like those of many small special districts in our county -- have a misconception of their duties. Even though the board is made up of volunteers, it's not a private club that can do whatever it wants and make up rules as it goes along to serve its purpose. Every small district board should have at least one board member who is well-versed in the Brown Act. And the board members need to understand they work for you, not their own special interests. Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. The board consists of the publlsher, managing editor and the appropriate staff writers. Fea Pfiblishing , wspape For breaking news, go to 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 Debra Moore Michael Condon Maddie Musante Makenzie Davis Ann Powers Ruth Ellis M. Kate West Will Farris Aura Whittaker Susan Cort Johnson Sam Williams Grsg Knight James Wilson Feather River Indian Valley Record Bulletin (530) 284-7800 (530) 283-0800 Portoia Reporter (530) 832-4646 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Westwood Lassen County Times PinePress (530) 257-5321 (530) 256-2277 Printed on recycled paper Publishers Assoc, Califomia N~paper The boardroom will not be the same I began reporting on the Board of Supervisors a little over two years ago. It wasn't my first go-round. It's what I did when I tin'st started working at Feather Publishing in 1993. I would go on to cover the boards in Shasta and Tehama counties as well. I mention that only because it demonstrates my familiarity with a lot of different supervisors -- I even married one. So it was with an open mind that I attended my In'st meeting back in 2012, but it closed pretty quickly. I didn't like Jon Kennedy. I found him brash and arrogant and quick to complain about what I wrote. "I have been doing this for 20 years and you have been a supervisor for just two," I remember telling him after he complained MY TURN DEBRA MOORE Staff Writer about a story I had written. During the ensuing weeks our relationship improved. Either I became a better writer or he grew a thicker skin. This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI Not just an ordinary day....a sampling weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. December 10 1817 -- Mississippi, "The becomes the 20th state. Magnolia State," 1884 -- "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain is published. 1901 -- The In:st Nobel Peace Prizes, named after Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, are awarded in Oslo, Norway and continue to be awarded each year on December 10. 1906 -- President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Noble Peace Prize, becoming the first American to win the award. 1927 -- The term: "The Grand Ole Opry" is first used on-air during a radio broadcast. December 11 1816 -- Indiana, "The Hoosier State," is admitted into the Union as the 19th state. December and Christmas, the colorful plant native to Mexico was brought to the United States by Joel Poinsett. He was the in'st U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett grew the plants at his plantation in Greenville, South Carolina. 1787 -- Pennsylvania, "The Keystone of State," becomes the second U.S. state. 1917 -- In Omaha, Nebraska, Father Flannigan founds Boys Town, a camp for wayward boys. 2012 -- The Concert for Sandy Relief takes place at Madison Square Garden. It's purpose is to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. It is televised on 20 international networks. December 13 Today is Ice Cream Day. Charles Minches is credited with inventing the ice cream cone at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. 1577 -- Sir Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England on a round-the world voyage to explore the Pacific Coast for Queen Elizabeth I of England. 2000 -- A1 Gore concedes the presidential election to George W. Bush after political and legal turmoil from the initial election results 36 days prior. 2008 -- NASDAQ stockbroker Bernie Madoff is arrested and charged with :: securities fraud in a $50 b i6n:Ponzi: scheme. 2003 -- Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured in Iraq by United :: : StateS and United Kingdom soldiers. December 14 December 12 1819 -- Alabama, "The Cotton State" or Today is National Poinsettia Day. A well "The Heart of Dixie State," becomes the recognized symbol of the month of 22nd state. Jon may still be perceived as brash and arrogant, but after watching him in action for the past two years, I shudder to think of a future in Plumas County without him. He drives that board -- especially fiscally. It's hard to imagine what budget hearings will be like next year in his absence. He knows the numbers; he knows the departments; and he takes the lead during those discussions, pushing for decisions to be made. Perhaps if there were a functioning county administrative officer, Jon's loss wouldn't be felt so keenly. A good CAO gathers information and Presents different scenarios for the board, pointing out the ramifications of whatever decision supervisors choose to make. For example, agenda items are placed on the board by county department heads. They provide the backup that supports their requests, whether it is for more employees, new equipment, a project or whatever else is desired. What they don't provide is the ripple effect of that decision. How will it impact the county as a whole in the long term? Supervisors don't have the time to perform that function, though Kennedy often tried. In addition to his leadership capabilities, I will miss the fun that he brings to the boardroom. His quick wit can make a tedious subject less so and a tense moment lighter. Since he decided not to campaign for another term, he has become more entertaining, even irreverent at times, but with a self-deprecating sense of humor. Jon loves the job and admits that he really doesn't want to leave Plumas County. But he is going to be with his family who refused to remain in the area because of some of the vitriolic rhetoric that they were routinely subjected to as fallout from his position. He had to choose between work that he loves and a family that he loves even more. We aren't just losing a good leader; we are losing an entire family. His wife worked for the local hospital, was the cheerleader advisor and was also involved in a host of other school and community activities. They, along with their sons, represent exactly the type of family that those who market the county hope to attract. Jon's last meeting will be Dec. 16 and I'm sure it will be bittersweet. The meeting before Christmas is always festive, with carolers in thelobby and., .... . ; a potluck feast, but it will be a sad day as well. Not only for a man who will be saying goodbye to the work that he loves ' and does well, but for the residents of this county who may not realize what they are losing. REMEMBER WHEN December) are missing and those historical ................................................................... items are not available to include in this KERI TABORSKI Historian 75 YEARS AGO ..... 1939 The weekend storm brought much needed precipitation to a parched California and Plamas County. The storm caused a shut down of local mills and logging operations, which had seen an exceptionally long season attributable to favorable fall weather conditions. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1964 The last six months of bound volumes in our archives for the year 1964 (July through Remember When column. 25 YEARS AGO ..... 1989 Dan Lambach, of Quincy, announced his intention to run for Plumas County Sheriff this week, joining Plumas County Sheriff Lt. Don Stoy, who had previously declared his candidacy in the upcoming June election. Lambach is a 21-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. He is currently a part- time on-call Plumas County Sheriff transport officer. The Feather River College Foundation recently purchased a new edition of the World Book Encyclopedia for the Feather River College reference library. 10 YEARS AGO."..2004 The Portola Assembly of God Church has been in Portola for more than 60 years, meeting in private homes and various buildings in Portola. Currently the church is building a new 14,500 square foot facility next to Highway 70, and 2.5 miles west of Portola. With the new building a new name, "New Life Christian Center," will be adopted. 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. Federal mining laws pre-empt state regulations My better half has been in and out of town a lot, working on a mine somewhere. He won't tell me where. Ever since he left, this time, it has been raining. I don't really like to mine for gold in the rain, especially freezing rain, dipping my bare fingers into icy waters to shake out a pan, but I've been thinking about it. My feet go so numb in the creek I can't feel the rocks that smash into them as I slosh through the water, slipping every two steps, looking for a rich pocket. Still, given the chance, I'd be out there today. And I would finish the day hiking up a steep ravine, with my hands bleeding because I forgot my gloves, my toes throbbing as they thaw out mid-climb. That's what gold fever does to people. I would do it all with a smile on my face, too, with or without pockets full of nuggets. Admittedly nuggets would certainly help. I've had a lot more indoor time lately, since I got a real job and became domesticated. My hands are no longer the cracked mess of ripped cuticles they were in the summer, when I was spending long days mining. December comes along of its own accord, however, and spring will do the same. The snow will melt, the rivers will rush, and shining specks and chunks of gold will be loosed from their winter lodgings and sent downstream. They will bounce and dance and flit about in the water until they land somewhere, heavy, with a "thunk" inaudible under the rush of roaring flood-stage waters, and there they will wait -- for me. MY TURN MIRIAM S. CODY Staff Writer In the meantime, I can reminisce. It was late spring. The water was still plentiful enough to do some sluicing, but the drought conditions kept a favorite creek low enough that bedrock was exposed for a long stretch on both sides. Larry (my prospecting partner and handsomer hal0 had plans to clean out a pool in the creek using a homemade hand tool, for lack of a dredge. (A dredge is a kind of mining equipment that sucks gold-bearing material from the bottom of the stream, where most of the gold is likely to fall, since it is so heavy.) Dredging has been prohibited in California for the past five years, so this tool was his best go at it. I was still mentally stuck on the bank we pulled nuggets out of the day before. I couldn't get it out of my head. I knew the hard packed gravels in that spot were sitting right on top of bedrock all along the bank, and that meant more gold had concentrated there. Once it sinks down to the bedrock, the gold can't sink any farther. I cleaned up good that day, working deliberately and meditating on the steady sound of the creek's current and the fresh smell of the cold air just above the water. A bird I'd come to know, who always flew down the creek at breakneck speed around 4 o'clock, chirping madly, broke my trance. A gust of wind through the canyon sent a few loose leaves into the creek, and they bobbed along and disappeared around the bend. "How'd you do, babe?" I asked Larry. He answered with a disappointed "eh/' and a frustrated expression on his face. "I just can't get the gold with this thing. I need a dredge here," he said. He was right. This was an ideal situation in which to use a suction dredge to recreationally recover gold with little to no environmental impact. That's just what so many California miners are asking for in the fight to end the unconstitutional ban on suction dredging. I say "unconstitutional" because the prohibition of dredging began as a moratorium that was meant to last two years, and has now gone for five. A moratorium should have an end date, shouldn't it? Furthermore, federal law gives U.S. citizens the right to place claims and mine for minerals on public lands. My understanding is that we shall retrieve it however we must -- not however "The Governator" said we could. Many California miners count on their See Cody, page 10B I