Newspaper Archive of
Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
December 31, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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December 31, 2014

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter RE GI {5) NAL Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 1B From ice cream to lucky pilots... The past year features chills, spills, and small-town thrills .j Jan. 8 ' Sheriff Greg Hagwood said Chris Driscoll represents everything he is looking for in  dJnf."  1Yln nf integrity with strong ties to the community. On Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, DriscoU continued his law enforcement progression when he was sworn in as a Plumas County sheriffs deputy. Driscoll, a graduate of Quincy High School and Feather River College, took the oath from County Clerk-Recorder Kathy Williams on the steps of the Plumas County Courthouse lobby. With his wife, Lindsay, and their sons, Cooper, 5, and Kade, 2, at his side, Driscoll received enthusiastic applause from family and friends on hand for the ceremony. Two years earlier, when Driscoll began working as a corrections officer in the jail, the sheriff predicted a bright future for the accomplished three-sport athlete. In November, 2013, the supervisors voted unanimously to earmark $82,000 for deputy salaries for the rest of the fiscal year. The board is considering an additional $250,000 in 2014. Jan. 15 District 5 Supervisor Jon Kennedy became chairman of the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 7, following the unanimous vote of his colleagues. District 2 Supervisor Kevin Goss will serve as vice chairman for 2014. As Kennedy took over the chair previously held by Terry Swofford, Supervisor Lori Simpson commended Swofford on his performance as chairman for the past year. The first meeting of the year was fairly brief, with the supervisors authorizing a number of employee recruitments and finalizing their grand jury response. Jan. 22 Gov. Jerry Brown issued a drought emergency proclamation for the state Jan. 17, but how that will ?tmpact Plumas County Temains to be seen. " "I'm not sure of all the :impacts to the upper .watershed, but it certahily bears watching," said Jerry Sipe, the county's office of emergency services director, in a written update to the Board of Supervisors. Sipe also included a long-range weather forecast, which predicts below-normal precipitation for California and Northern Nevada through April. "We're facing perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago," Brown said in declaring the emergency. The governor called for a voluntary "20 percent conservation of our water use" by the state's residents in both urban and rural areas, but mentioned the possibility of mandatory conservation. "Hopefully it will rain eventually," Brown said. "BUt in the meantime we have to do our part." Jan. 29 The Plumas County Sheriff's Office needs a new correctional facility and An unsuspecting driver reacts as Sheriff Greg Hagwood delivers ice cream cones in this image captured from the Wall's Ice Cream commercial on YouTube. Pilot John Fehrman, pictured, and his passenger, Isaac Preston, escaped serious injury when Fehrman's plane made an emergencylanding in a rugged and remote area northwest of Antelope Lake. The 1946 Euro Coupe was completely destroyed in the crash. Photo by Isaac Preston Union Pacific Railroad workers respond to the scene of a Tuesday, Nov. 25, derailment in the Feather River Canyon near Belden. Photo by Mike Taborski administrative space and the California Highway Patrol is looking for property to build a new office. "It seemed redundant to pursue parallel projects," Sheriff Greg Hagwood told the Board of Supervisors. Hagwood and CHP Lt. Joe Edwards asked the supervisors to endorse a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown supporting a joint venture. "This is an exciting prospect," Edwards said, noting that it accomplishes two goals improving service and saving money. "The governor has said that he wants to consolidate government efforts," Edwards added. He said that the Truckee CHP office and police department are also looking at a joint facility, but this would be first CHP/county venture. "This totally makes sense," Board Chairman Jon Kennedy said. In addition to sending a letter to the governor, the supervisors discussed including the area's state and federal legislators. "It will take the county, state and federal governments to carry this off," Edwards said. Feb. 12 The Plumas County sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a hospital patient after a violent struggle acted in self-defense and the defense of others. That was the finding of an investigation conducted by the Plumas County District Attorney's Office. The investigation report concluded that deputy Tom Klundby acted lawfully in the Oct. 20, 2013, fatal shooting of 53-year-old Mariano Mauro at Eastern Plumas Health Care in Portola. "Had Tom not been there, or had Tom been disabled (during the struggle with Mauro) there was a legitimate concern by that hospital staff as to what could have happened," District Attorney David Hollister said. "The overwhelming credible evidence shows Deputy Klundby acted in self-defense and the defense of others ..." Hollister said. "No evidence exists to support any contention the shooting was criminal." The California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol and the sheriffs office assisted it/the investigation. Feb. 19 After a trial run, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors' meetings are now streaming live beyond the courthouse walls. "I'm pretty pleased with the way it's come together," said Dave Preston, the ,county's information technology director. The public can access live video and audio of board meetings by going to and clicking on the link. Archived video from previous meetings will also be available on the site. The archived video will include indexing so the public can view a specific agenda item. A camera mounted in the back of the boardroom captures the board as well as the first two rows of the audience. Additional cameras might be added at a Inter date to provide more coverage. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall championed the project and paid for the camera. Feb. 26 Four CalFire inspectors will spend three months ensuring that Plumas County homes are ready for fire season. Shane Vargas, the local CalFire representative, said that a grant would pay for four individuals to conduct defensible space inspections from April through June. "We're roiling this out as a brand new program," Vargas said. "The focus is going to be on education." Grant funding provides four inspectors for the local CalFire unit, which includes Lassen, Modoc and Plumas. But because there are engines and personnel in Lassen and Modoc, the four will be working in Plumas. And because the Westwood CalFire station covers the Lake Alman0r Basin, the inspectors will cover Canyon Dam and south. Additionally, homes that are in a local responsibility area are not part of the program. "It's for residences in SRAs (state responsibility areas)," Vargas said. Property owners who have been assessed the state's $150 fire fee are in the SRA. The inspectors will visit the properties (a homeowner need not be home) and inspect for a variety of items such as whether there are combustible materials near a home or if a tree limb is too close to a chimney. The inspectors will leave an inspection form for the homeowners detailing what needs to be done. The goal is to make residences and their communities more resistant to wildfire. Vargas estimates that 50 percent of the property owners "might need to fix a couple of small things," while 25 percent might require a couple of days' work. The remaining group could be facing fixes that require more time and money. March 5 As Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications continues to roll out its fiber optic line, an effort is underway to control expectations. Yes, someday it may bring high-speed Internet to most residents' doorsteps, but for now the utility is focusing on businesses, establishing hotspots for residents and tourists to access, and linking the communities. "We are trying to make sure that each area has a hot spot pocket," Bob Marshall said during a Rec and Tech meeting. Marshall, who is the general manager of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, ticked off a number of specific areas that have or soon will have fiber optics and high-speed Internet. A corridor runs through Portola and Quincy, with plans eventually for Chester and Greenville. The fairgrounds and this summer's High Sierra Music Festival are among the highest priorities for Marshall. The event draws 10,000 people to the area and Marshall said he wants them to leave with one message: "You don't have to go back." That's the mission of Rec and Tech bring people here for the recreation and lifestyle, then keep them here with technology that allows them to work remotely. March 19 "Money is seed corn, not just sustenance," Aleece Oravetz said in her address to Plumas Unified School District's board of directors. Oravetz was referring to the district holding on to too much money in its reserve fund. She said excessive austerity creates stress for students, parents and teachers. "You are being abused," a parent recently told her. She said in many districts, three preps are considered too many. In PUSD, teachers with four, five, six or even seven preps is the norm. She spoke of her own 60-hour workweeks, her dedicated Sunday afternoons for AP tutoring and study groups, every lunch period spent working, the school activities she attends with papers to grade and the ever-increasing duties that keep piling up on teachers. This year alone she said there have been six major changes, many of them unfunded: PBIS, Aeries, Common Core, OARS program, leadership teams and a realignment of the CTE program. "We simply need a realistic interpretation of the budget," Oravetz summed up at the end of her 15-minute address. Oravetz was followed by many other eloquent and emotional speakers, who spoke of feeling hopeless, overworked, ashamed (of the district's pay scale), ridiculed by their out-of-town colleagues for the district's low wages and backbreaking workloads, and above all else tired. From Portola to Chester and everywhere in between, teachers and classified staff stood up and spoke out in tones ranging from beseeching to demanding to accusing. They asked the board to wake up and turn things around by spending some of the excess reserve on much-deserved wages. March 26 The waiting list stands at 70 people, and both the Plumas County Board of Supervisors and the Mental Health Department want to do something about it. Mental Health Director Peter Livingston appeared before the supervisors to ask for some immediate help and to lay out a long-term staffing plan. "Seventy people on a wait list regardless of the issue is 70 people too many," Livingston said. "We have to address that." "Obviously you're trying to staff up," Board Chairman Jon Kennedy said, and asked about those on the waiting list. Livingston explained that the wait list is triaged so that those who need the most help are seen first. When asked to describe what circumstances would result in receiving immediate care, Livingston cited the examples of someone threatening suicide, or a teen who is cutting herself. Kennedy asked for examples of circumstances that are considered nonemergency, to which Livingston listed depression, anxiety issues and family problems. Supervisor Lori Simpson noted that Livingston had worked at the department for a long time, and asked him if the waiting list had ever included so many people. "No," he responded and guaranteed that he. could address it once his department is fully staffed. April 2 A joint venture by the Plumas County sheriff and the California Highway Patrol appears to be dead just two months after it was announced. The CHP Commissioner's Office said it won't be joining forces with the sheriff to build a new joint facility in Plumas County. The CHP's director of communications, Fran Clader, announced the decision in an email to Feather Publishing on Friday afternoon. "While we appreciate the Sheriffs interest in this area, the lengthy process to See YIR, page 4B !