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Letters to the Editor

Note: Letters to the Editor are not necessarily the opinion of the Editor and/or staff.

Dear Editor

I would like to respond to a few of Ranger Wilbanks comments regarding my letter to the editor that was published October 25th. The letter was a copy of an email written to a group of concerned citizens, land owners and conservationists who have been involved in trying to stop the “heavy handed” part of the Outback Aspen Restoration. So, when I stated “from what we all see as devastation of our national forest”, the reference was from the group’s point of view which differs drastically from the US Forest Service. Earlier this week, I wrote what I thought would be my last email to the group regarding this project. I say with much sincerity that Quentin Youngblood has earned my respect and has been the one who has cooled me down and brought me to that point. But now the record needs to be set straight regarding Mr. Wilbanks rebuttal.
He incorrectly stated that I “assert the project actually targets aspen trees for cutting and sells them for matchwood” and that my statement is “pure fiction”. I actually said “it has not made any sense to me why they would cut over 200 aspen. According to one of our neighbors who talked to a logger, they sell them to a match manufacturer like Diamond!! Makes sense now but it is not confirmed”. I refer the readers to a YouTube video called “Outback Aspen Restoration” that shows over 205 sizable aspen trees cut and stacked in thirty piles within one single aspen grove. There are numerous photos to prove it in addition to the video. The “unconfirmed” comment was because I heard second hand from one of the land owners that the aspen go to a match company. I did not say anything about them targeting aspen. Why they were cut is still a question in my mind and no other reason makes sense to me! Look at the video and decide for yourselves. If one of the readers of this is bored and looking for something to do, it would be interesting to get the records through the “Freedom of Information Act” and see if the timber sales included aspen. The coordinates to the grove are on the video if you would like to visit and see for yourself.
Another incorrect statement is that he was “saddened that we came in late to the process”. We attended the one-and-only “Outback Collaboration Meeting” with the US Forest Service in October of 2008. There was NO MENTION OF CLEAR CUTTING and we were “content” with the information we were given. It is not our fault the US Forest Service failed to inform us of the extreme heavy handedness they would execute and implement on this project. If anyone is sad, it is us who will see the “clear cut” forest for the remaining years of our lives! Yes, we call it devastation! And what infuriates us is when our forest authorities tell us that our concerns are invalid and try to dismiss our opinions and make light of what we say and what they did!
The heavy handedness of this aspen restoration has been under the scrutiny of many experts who without a shadow of doubt disagree with what has happened. The US Forest Service keeps referring to the “Scientific” aspects of the restoration. YOU DO NOT NEED A DEGREE OR NEED TO BE A FORESTER to know that when you see a swath that is over 300 feet wide and 2,500 feet long go up a mountainside without leaving a living tree within the path that something is RADICALLY WRONG. If you think this is “pure fiction” when new Google Earth imagery comes out that is dated October 31, 2012 or later, punch in these coordinates and see for yourself! 39°29’12.63”N 120°20’10.85”W what was once a forested mountain is now a snowmobile playground!

Gary Risse

Dear Jan,

I am writing in response to Sam Wilbanks’ letter in your Nov.8th issue. I appreciate it when one of our respected ex-rangers talks about how to save trees in our forest, but does not take any other concerns into consideration. What is most important is to save the aspens, and the heck with the rest of the users of the forest.

Don’t get me wrong, I like aspens. I have them in my yard, and I don’t doubt that what the Forest Service is doing will work (God only knows there has certainly been thousands spent on studies!). Also, I like wildlife. I don’t hunt much, but appreciate all that it has to offer. I spend a lot of time in and around some of those aspen stands that Sam is referring to. As a matter of fact, the aspen stand in the main Smithneck Canyon, just south of Sierra Brooks, is one that I know well. I have walked that stretch several times along the creek, but after the Cottonwood Fire, that stretch of aspen has turned into a complete disaster, with downed trees and aspen so thick that it is impossible to navigate! The Forest Service has declined to do any clean up on that stretch. I know the aspen are flourishing, but forget about the fisherman, the hiker, the hunter, the rancher, and God forbid if there is another 1997 flood.

Sam says, “If one aspen grove dies, that is a disaster,” but I wonder if he thought that about the spotted owl as it put our loggers out of business and has left our communities, schools and businesses in dire straits? The Forest Service’s policies change with the wind; next year it will be yet another crisis. The fact is that this branch of government has become so political that all decisions are made in court and not based on what is best for the land or the majority of normal folks.

Sam also states what a great deal the Forest Service is getting, being paid for these large conifer trees, because there is no federal subsidy. The federal government (Forest Service) has one of the largest natural renewable resources in our country, but has somehow figured out how to run it in the negative so that taxpayers can pick up the tab. The Forest Service has become a pawn for environmental groups, getting hauled into court at every turn on every decision, but until just recently, have realized that maybe they won’t have job security if there are no timber sales or grazing permits, but I am sure there are still lots of studies to be done. The Forest Service needs to push back on these groups and realize that there are a lot more rational- thinking people than these whacked out greenies!

I know that this letter will probably provoke extremists to respond and suggest that I am a heartless killer of the environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have made my living off the land and take great pride in taking care of what feeds me. My opinions, of course, are not backed by taxpayer funded research, but just plain common sense, which is not so common any more.


Einen Grandi, Rural Loyalton

November 8, 2012

Just a quick note, if you wish to print it, regarding the ongoing discussion over the US Forest Service Aspen restoration project that some are calling “forest devastation” and “clear cutting”.

Mr. Risse and I totally agree on one thing, Ranger Quentin Youngblood is doing a great job. His professional education in the science of wildlife biology, and his concern for the forest and all of its components truly give him the tools to do a great job. However, his honesty, respectfulness, and desire to “hear the other point of view” make him truly one of the best professional resource managers I have known.

I don’t dispute that Mr. Risse and his group of concerned citizens think that the aspen restoration units look ugly, and “devastated”. In fact, here I can agree. They do have that appearance. However, Mr. Risse and his cohorts will not have to “see the ‘clear cut’ forest” for the rest of their lives. Within two to three years these areas will be dense with new aspen sprouts and beautiful foliage. Within five short years the aspen clones these treatments are designed to restore will be providing excellent habitat for wildlife that depend on it for food and cover, and riotous color and scenery for human visitors as well. Amazingly, in the short interim, while the Forest has that “devastated” look, many species of birds and small mammals will benefit greatly from the temporary forest opening.

By the way, if there were aspen cut and stacked by the loggers (I have no reason to doubt Mr. Risse’s word) these were trees unavoidably damaged and thus removed during the operation. This makes sense to me, but now it is not confirmed.

Finally, I totally agree with Mr. Risse that “YOU DO NOT NEED A DEGREE OR NEED TO BE A FORESTER” to make a judgment about how things appear to you. However, I am very grateful that we have dedicated men and women WITH DEGREES IN FORESTRY, WILDLIFE BIOLOGY, and other disciplines who work together to manage our precious National Forests. I am also grateful that I no longer work for the Forest Service and can freely speak my mind as a concerned citizen.

Stand by to watch the aspen explode! With any luck, we will all be here in a few years to see it!

Sam Wilbanks

Concerned Citizen

September 10, 2012
Dear Editor,

My name is Gary Risse and I am an owner of twenty beautiful acres of Saddle Meadow located east of Perazzo Meadows along the historic Henness Pass Road. Our acreage borders the Tahoe National Forest on our eastern boundary. Our views of the aspen groves to the east are staggering in the fall. Every year, visitors gather along the Henness Pass Road to photograph and explore the aspen. A few years back we received information about the Outback Aspen Restoration from the US Forest Service. After reading through the information, we were both excited and apprehensive. We attended a „Public Collaboration Meeting on October 20, 2008 and our fears were put to rest. Other than our concern for the financial impact to our government, this was all my wife and I needed to put our concerns to rest. We quickly spread the word that this would be a „good thing.

We spent last week vacationing at our property and witnessed firsthand that the fears dispelled at the meeting were obviously misleading! The unbelievable destruction of our „Old Growth trees and what we had thought to be illegal „Clear Cutting of our forest was happening day and night before our eyes!

We contacted (3) other attendees to discuss what they remembered of the meeting and we all remember very clearly that we were told „You won‚t even know we were there when we are finished.

It is extremely difficult for us to understand how the guardians of our forest would allow this to happen! We had many friends and family members visit us while we were there and the looks on every face when they arrived were shocking and the first thing out of their mouth was „What are they doing? They're destroying our forest!

We fear it is too late to stop the destruction but I spent a good part of my vacation taking photographs to share with any media or groups that may be willing to help.

Many of the photographs and information have been posted on a Facebook page.

Sierra Mountains-Help Save our Conifers

The most knowledgeable person is Fred Mitchell. He and his wife Pam live in a beautiful home adjacent to the devastation and would love to give you a personal tour of the area. You will need to leave a message on his phone but he checks it often; 530-913-2804. Please contact either of us and help us to:



Gary Risse

Trustee, Halls Irrevocable Trust 916-796-6015

August 30, 2012
To The Editor,
Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Coop has a great history of bringing affordable, low cost electricity to this area that no one wanted to service. In recent years that is no longer the case, affordable, low cost that is.
I have written a letter after many phone calls to Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Coop. I am told that their electric charges are comparable to PG&E’s. My experience is the PSREC charges at best two times as much, and/or more than three times more than any charges people I know have with like electrical usage as me with PG&E and Liberty Electric in Portola. PSREC rates are based on cost of service, and I have been told we have no choice. I believe there is always a choice
These other companies are for profit and make a profit on their per kilowatt charge. PSREC has a higher per kilowatt charge plus a facilities charge. They still promote themselves as providing low cost, economical electricity?!! Several people I know of have electric bills that more closely resemble a mortgage than any electric bill I have ever seen. It makes me wonder how many have lost or given up their home because they could not keep the lights on and pay their mortgage? Electric rates have always been higher than gas, natural or propane, but I never thought in my life that PG&E would look sooooo good! I want everyone to be happy. Compromises need to happen to lower the cost of service. 15% cuts are nothing compared to what a lot of other people have had to cut. The high cost of living here because of electrical charges, are not going to keep people in this area, let alone businesses. The challenges that PSREC has in delivering electricity are the same for any electrical provider in a rural area. Being smaller often means working harder and/or smarter. They have pointed out to me that the other companies are raising or raised their rates but neglect to mention that PSREC has raised theirs as well. PSREC needs to drop the facilities charge, (or any other they might dream up to take the place of it) to be close to being comparable with other electric providers in the area. I personally think by the time they finish their fiber optic lines they will be obsolete with today’s technology, who knows about the future.
A few years ago, Portola got to choose their electric provider because the company they previously had, sold their customer base. If PSREC cannot, or will not give their electric users affordable electricity I think it is time they choose to sell their customer base and give the businesses and the people a chance in this economy to buy local. Why can’t the members vote for this?
Being a coop, there is no regulatory agency to keep them from raising the rates as high as they want to, and raise them again is what they plan to do, per Rural Lite! A lot of people just pay their electric bill and believe what they are told, just do not pay attention to it or think there is no choice. People also tend to believe something because they are told it repeatedly, but that does not make it so. I would like people to look at this situation and think about it. I have had people want to start a petition regarding this issue. What do the members really want is my question? I do not know of anyone that would not like nor need their electric bill cut significantly. I do not like having to attend meetings etc. but will plan on attending PSREC’s meeting Sept. 8, 2012 and hope anyone else who wants lower charges will go too. PSREC may get the message if enough people show up to protest their rates.
Thank you.

Rebecca Morrill

3-27-2012 Dear Editor;
I ask you to please take a look at the condition Loyalton is in. Loyalton is Sierra County’s only City and was once the hub of Sierra Valley and further. Just look what has happened since the year 2000:
An industrial park was built on County, not City property. No buyers that built on what appears speculators and now it sits as a flood plain and weed patch, I say flood plain because I have pictures of it flooding.
At the Loyalton City Council meeting, Oct 16th, 2007 the minute’s state: Ray Kruth from ECO- Logic presented the council with a preliminary engineering report for the waste collection, treatment and disposal. Mr. Kruth recommends alternative #4 which consist of new effluent storage lagoon and using land irrigation of effluent. It was moved by Mike Moore and seconded by G. Shelton to accept the preliminary engineering report and the recommendations of Mr. Kruth, the motion unanimously carried. Council members present were: Mike Moore, M. Hudson, C. Alexander, G. Shelton and S. Jackson. This started the project that is breaking Loyalton!
At the Loyalton City Council Meeting, Nov 20th 2007 minutes: Mike Moore stated the city has supported the pool project but if the pool cannot sustain itself the city could not go forward with the project. The pool died
At the Loyalton City Council meeting March 18th, 2008, It was moved by Gary Shelton and Seconded by Mike Moore Raising the Sewer service from $24.50 to $50.00.Motion carried unanimously. This started the trend to the new failed waste water billing that is now $111 headed toward $200
The Loyalton General Plan was redone; Mike Moore was for “infill”,(using empty lots, not expanding Loyalton’s size),“sensible” and small growth. How is that working for Loyalton?
How is it to have no bank, No Restaurant , Bar, Motel, No Laundromat, No Co-Gen, An Abandoned School, No Pool, No Country Cooking and the list goes on. No employment!
The Schools that Mike Moore claims he did so much for are falling apart according to those who wanted a bond because the schools are in such bad condition. Mike Moore has failed.
I have watched the destruction of my home town from Mike Moore and his like mind supporters. Please reverse the destruction, Save Loyalton, Elect Jim Beard!
Thomas Dotta, Rural Loyalton

Dear Editor,
While reading Mr. Mike Moore’s letter of intent to run for Supervisor,
District 4, I realized I had a very different memory of his public
As Principal of the Loyalton High School and Middle School he took two
classrooms off the Middle School and took down the bleachers at the
High School with no plans to replace them.
When Mr. Moore was Superintendent, the school was investing $17
million dollars with the saving of the County Treasurer. When we had
the money Mr. Moore should have been an advocate to spend some of that
reserve account to repair the schools in Loyalton. The Sierraville,
Downieville and Pliocene schools were all in good repair at that time.
Mr. Moore left the $17 million in the account for a later
Superintendent to steal.
When Mr. Gottardi retired as Mayor of the Loyalton City Council, he
left a $261,000 in reserve. Mr. Moore was on the City Council when
there was no supervision of the Finance Director when the money was
mismanaged and stolen.
Last but not least, was the State of California wanted to raise the
speed limit on a part of Main Street, many teachers, principals and
the public were all writing letters to oppose the increase and
Chairman of the School Board Mr. Moore said he could not be involved.
That is the kind of representation we will get if Mr. Moore is elected!
Jackie Mitchell

Letter to the Editor:
The Sierra Valley Grange would like to express our appreciation for
the great coverage of our Cowboy Poetry shows which is our major
fundraiser for the Grange. The Sierra Valley Grange was established in
1931 and the current building was constructed in 1934. The Grange is a
national (1867) and state agricultural institution and community
service organization and everyone is eligible to join. For contact
Many thanks,
Rich Moore, Master

To the Editor:
For over 236 years, we Americans have owed our freedoms to the men and
women of the United States Army. Now, at long last, the American
Soldier will be honored with the National Museum of the U.S. Army near
our Nation’s Capital.
Many members of our community have proudly worn the uniform of the
U.S. Army. As a Founding Sponsor of the Museum, I ask that you help to
make everyone in our community aware of this long overdue national
project by running a story on plans to build and open this important
new Museum on July 14, 2015, the Army’s 240th Birthday.
For more information, please contact the Army Historical Foundation at
. Thank You.
“Bill” Rau of Clio

To the Editor,
I do think that the Loyalton City Park is in need of some urgent
attention. I was raised in this area and I remember enjoying how nice
the equipment was back then. The current, sparse play equipment was in
disrepair when I moved back here eight years ago and has only
deteriorated since. The playground and the grounds are, in a word,
“uncomfortable.” I try to take my children there, but there is very
little shelter. The grass is incredibly “pokey,” as my daughter
describes it. There are no swings in the swing set and I have been
watching for some for eight years now. I just don’t want to stay long
or go again soon.
Is it worth saving? I think so. Though our population has gone down,
we are still a strong community of families and extended families who
love this place and its people. So where do we start? I hear we have
some grant money and there is some disagreement of whether to spend it
on a pavilion or other things. I was on the fence, but am ready to
agree with the pavilion for three reasons:
1. It would be a way to spend the money on something for the whole
community, not just a certain age group.
2. It would make the park more comfortable for any group of people.
3. It might bring events to our area which would help our businesses
and would help our community come together more.
Of course, I selfishly want nice grass and better play equipment for
my kids. As I understand it, grass is the next project to be done in
the spring and swings are a priority as well. I can understand wanting
to build a pavilion before you put in new grass. If the pavilion is
built right with a stage, power, lights and shelter, it would be a
beautiful place to hold a concert, a play, a family reunion or even a
birthday party. I see it as a step towards a park we can all use and
be proud of.
Donna Dorsey

To the Editor,
It would be nice if the playground had swings and the swings were
blue, please. And woodchips under the slide so when we kids reach the
bottom we slide onto woodchips. And it would be nice to have a place
for plays, and the grass to be a little softer. And I like the skate
Madeline Josephine Dorsey

Good morning,

The end of summer is bringing to light a new controversy at Independence Lake: hunting. We were approached by several citizens who inquired about hunting this fall at the lake, specifically waterfowl. I hate to use the word private property but do agree that the property around the lake is indeed private, owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), bought with your tax dollars. The previous owners (NV Energy) did not allow hunting on the land either, but remember the lake is owned by the state of California and waterfowl hunting was not uncommon on the lake. Last Saturday was the opening of the Canada Goose season in that area and TNC did not allow hunting on the lake they do not own! Although this lake is not a big destination for hunters it is the mere fact that TNC denies any person wanting to hunt the lake owned by all of us. This is discrimination! Attached below is an explanation from Chris Fichtel, the Project Manager of Independence Lake Preserve to one such hunter. Some of the other lakes that are similar and hunted in the area include Stampede Lake, Jackson Meadows Reservoir, Meadow Lake and Milton Reservoir.

TNC's title report by First American Title Insurance Company for the Independence Lake Property Acquisition clearly states that "8. A public easement for navigation and the incidents of navigation such as boating, fishing, swimming, hunting and other recreational uses in and under the Independence Lake, unnamed lake and unnamed creeks or streams and including a public right of access to the water." This document proves that we are allowed on the lake 365 days a year regardless of our recreational preferences and that The Nature Conservancy knows it.

We have compromised on so many things in order to have some access but we are continually getting taken advantage of. Sierra County ignored this and other evidence allowing TNC to lock gates at the two access points entering the lake. I personally was harassed by the TNC while accessing this public lake in June of this year prior to their "Opening" with a clean, inspected, 12 foot boat and motor on a Sierra County road. TNC even went as far as reporting me to the Sierra County Sheriff, accusing me of trespassing which Sierra County Sheriff declined to act on. We are begging you for your help, this lake is for everyone, it is not just for the elitists who don't believe in hunting and motor boating. Although some feel like a lawsuit is the only way to solve this issue, we can't figure out why our local, state and federal agencies won't step in. How much should we endure? Please help us make a change. Why should public citizens be required to file a lawsuit to protect all our public access and rights? Can we please get a meeting together with Assemblyman Logue, Congressman McClintock and all the state agencies to stop this private/non-profit conservation group from shutting us out of our land and rights?

Thank you for your continued support.

Kenny Osburn, Friends of Independence Lake

---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Christopher Fichtel
> Date: Thursday, September 8, 2011
> Subject: Early Season Goose Opener
> Thanks for getting in touch. Glad you made it up to I. Lake this
> year. Regarding the question about the early Canada Goose season, we
> are not set up to run a waterfowl hunting program and the boats are
> not available for hunting. We are mindful that other people will be
> using the preserve up until the end of October and use of firearms
> when others are in the area may present a liability for TNC. You are
> welcome to give me a call. I hope you have a good fall. Chris Please
> consider the environment before printing this email Chris Fichtel
> Independence Lake Project Director

Letter to the Editor
What changes have we seen that show Sierra County is prospering?
There are letters that readers send in stating they were born in Loyalton and then they go on to want to “save” Sierra County with easements. Does Sierra County have a plan to be saved? We sure pay a planner plenty, $185,000.00 a year with benefits, for that we should have a great plan. One wonders how Sierra County plans to pay the planner as property values go down and more and more ground is “saved” by conservation easements.
We have empty buildings, lost services and now lost Post Offices. This is all from the no growth plan that has been used in Sierra County for years. The evidence is County wide.
With no private jobs that pay benefits and only tax paid jobs, where is the hope that we need to hang on to. Our Board of Supervisors has a list of reasons that their hands are tied. We need to elect a Board that will not have tied hands and will care for Sierra County’s future along with the future of our graduating classes.
For years we have heard the environmentalist say they are saving America for the children. Now the children are the needy as America is crashed into third world status to save the environment. There are many that blame companies for taking jobs to foreign countries. Jobs are being driven out of America by the out of control environmental laws that pushed the jobs out of California and America.
We have saved the world enough, now we need to “save” our jobs, food and families and the world will do just fine.
Thomas Dotta
Rural Loyalton

An Open Letter to Laurie Oberholtzer, Sierra County Land Trust
Dear Laurie,
This is an approximation of the remarks that I gave to the assemblage at Sardine Lake Lodge yesterday. Please excuse me if I prettify and expand them them a little bit.
Thank you, Laurie.
Thank you for your work with the Sierra County Land Trust, with the Trust for Public Land, and with the State of California for bringing us to this wonderful day. Today we celebrate your acheivement, our achievement, in making sure that these magnificent Sierra Buttes are open to our children and grandchildren, to all people forever. This beautiful day, in this spectacular setting, we celebrate an accomplishment that people will remember with pride and gratitude.
Laurie, thank you for your kind words about my father, Winslow Christian, and my sister and brother-in-law, Megan and Ken Wright. My father, and after him Megan and Ken, believed in you and your project. You honor Dad's memory in this achievement, and my sisters Megan and Sidonie share my gratitude for this honor.
I would like to share some memories about the traditions of conservation in Sierra County, to reflect a little on the present, and to look forward from this vantage. In particular, I want to recognize some of the individuals in this county who have worked over the years to protect our beautiful home, to recognize that this wonderful project is part of a long history here, and to celebrate, on this momentous occasion, other work in our program that needs remembering.
We have with us today a woman who is if not the oldest, then perhaps the longest serving volunteer in our campaign. When Joy Punchard was a freshman at Loyalton High School, in 1969, she typed the envelopes for the letters that Jim Lonergan had started sending out, alerting the friends and defenders of the Sierra Nevada to the enormous all-year resort complex that the Disney Corporation proposed to build around Independence Lake in Sierra and Nevada Counties. It was a David and Goliath struggle, one man on a public school salary in a working class community against a rich and powerful corporation. But Jim's letters eventually roused a coalition of hunters and fishermen in the mountain communities and the conservationists in the urban centers of California, and after public hearings around this region and debate in the newspapers Disney abandoned its plans.
Jim Lonergan's victory, our victory, came at a tremendous cost to Jim and his family. Of course there were then, as there are today, differences of interest and opinion on the directions that we should take in this area, especially as everybody knew then that the timber industry, long-time mainstay of the economy of the Sierra-Plumas region, was on its way out. Childhood friends of Jim (a native of Loyalton) turned against him, his personal and professional life disintegrated, and he left us too soon.
But my hero Jim Lonergan taught me, as he taught others, that there come times when one must stand up, even when standing up comes at enormous cost. We still owe Jim an enormous thank you, it is way overdue. Jim's son Greg Lonergan has come over from Loyalton to join in this celebration, and it is our honor and pleasure to thank Greg and his family for his dad's sacrifices and contributions that, I believe, helped make this day possible.
I did not give Ann Genasci Eastwood enough notice to come here today. It is not true that I wanted Ann to come because I had a crush on her in the first grade. What is true is that her father, Attilio Genasci, with the support of the children, honored their wife and mother Angie (a Loyalton schoolteacher) by helping launch the protection of the ranching traditions of Sierra Valley by giving up the development rights to the 700-acre Gensasci Ranch. Today some 30,000 acres (and counting!) in Sierra Valley are protected from residential development, and will continue to provide habitat and watershed values forever. Sierra Valley is a place of both beauty and environmental importance, the stop on the great Pacific Flyway that gave Plumas County and the great Feather River their names. We thank the Genasci family, and their many neighbors in the ranching communities of Sierra Valley, for their stewardship, responsibility, and generosity in delivering this treasure to our descendants.
We celebrate today, then, a big step in a long journey, which we hope will continue into the future. This step has, like the earlier steps, come with pain and difficulty. I know that Laurie and others here have been the subjects of harsh personal attacks. I regret those very much, and am very glad to see the smiles on everybodies' faces here. I know there are others, not here today, who have also heard hurtful comments. On this day of celebration, we do not linger on the pain; rather we remember that we must act with respect for our neighbors, especially when there are differences, work to understand and resolve those differences, and look forward to better days ahead.
In looking forward from today, I want to mention my friend Tom Dines, and his wife Miriam Hill Dines. Tommy, yet another native of Loyalton, has the snowmobile shop in Sierra City. Those snowmobiles have opened the wonderland of the wintertime Lakes Basin to countless people who could never otherwise share the magic. I have occasionally grumbled at the noise of the high-markers in the Upper Salmon Lake Basin...but I also know and appreciate that Tommy, Richard, and many other members of the snowmobile community, both local and visiting, have developed and taught, and when necessary enforced, the codes of good mountain manners that allow us all to share this wonderful place. Perhaps we can find ways that many of the people who today celebrate the Sierra Buttes in the summer sun can share as well their sublime grandeur in the deep snow and sunshine of March.
Tommy and Miriam, and Greg, and many other families have worked hard and made sacrifices in order to raise their children in these small communities in the mountains, breathing the clean air, and enjoying the neighborliness that they, we, love. It is not easy. These are not rich communities (except in their surroundings!) and today, as before, it takes hard work and perseverence, and above all a deep love of place, to make it happen. I admire these people, my friends, for the fortitude and wisdom to give their children this gift, a gift that our parents gave us, a childhood and home in this wonderful place.
It is strange to me to say that Miriam and Tommy are grandparents, of John Lucchesi. John is a child of Sierra County, with ancestors from Loyalton, Sierra City and Allegheny. He and his peers, your children and their children and grandchildren, can come to these places.
What my parents, and the parents of Joy and Ann and Greg and Tommy and Miriam, gave to their children is something that all of our children and grandchildren, and the many beautiful descendants of the other people gathered in the Sierran sun, and the offspring of our friends and neighbors, can share for the years to come.
This is a day of happiness and great good fortune in this magnificent place, for us and everybody else who love the Sierra Nevada mountains, Sierra County, California.
Thank you, friends and neighbors near and far, for this wonderful gift to our offspring.
Jason Christian
Upper Salmon Lake

Hi Jan,
I am writing this letter to clarify details regarding the delivery of concrete by White Cap Ready Mix, Inc. (WCRM) to the curb and gutter project attempted by Michael Paul Construction earlier this summer. The mixer truck delivering the concrete that morning was not held up for an extended period of time. It arrived at the project 49 minutes after leaving the batch plant in Delleker. On any day, we anticipate a 40 minute trip plus or minus 5 minutes, to travel to Loyalton in a loaded mixer. There was road work on Highway 70 that day as new pavement was placed…I figure the delay was about 9 minutes maximum to stop, then travel through the work zone.
The contractor originally placed an order for a July 9, 2011 delivery…a typical 6 sack concrete mix. One business day before the delivery was to take place, we received a call from a person on behalf of the City of Loyalton, changing the mix design to one more appropriate for curb and gutter concrete. This request was noted and mix CT675SC currently in use on other Caltrans projects was chosen. This last minute change created confusion among the contractor and other entities due to the higher cost of the CT mix. Ultimately the contractor was responsible for payment so WCRM advised that he confirm the order. The order was eventually cancelled and moved to the following Monday. The scheduled delivery time was changed at least 4 times prior to the final confirmation on that Monday morning. White Cap Ready Mix finally received the OK to batch and send the perishable product.
Pouring concrete in an arid climate can catch “out of towners” off guard if they are not prepared and apparently the easiest excuse for the job going bad, was to throw us under the bus.
Regarding the statement that The City hopes to hire local contractors to complete the project, it would not have to look far to find a qualified contractor. There are at least three in Loyalton and numerous others nearby (including myself) who are licensed to do commercial concrete work. I was not contacted originally, or since to negotiate a price and neither were several of the contractors I have spoken with. Who negotiates these projects and why would they not look to their own community first?
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Dixie Lee Higgins
General Manager

Dear Sierra Valley community and Sierra Booster,
We Sierraville Fire & Rescue volunteers want to thank all of you for your support of our third annual Tour de Manure bicycle ride. The Tour's purpose is to raise funds for fire and rescue training and showcase the Sierra Valley and its businesses. We thought you’d enjoy the online comments on as much as we have, so here are some excerpts. For Tour news next year, please “like” us on Facebook or check out If you have suggestions or want to volunteer next year, please let us know at excerpts:
"Quiet country roads, beautiful mountain and Great Basin scenery, totally friendly volunteers (who put their heart and soul into this event, you can feel it!), and delicious after-ride food and fun music. One feels very comfortable here being a part of the community. Keep up the great job!”
“The organization is super, the food is great, and the course is one of the prettiest I've been on. Nice work, Tour de Manure, and thank you for a great time!”
“I love the "vibe" of this Tour. It's friendly and low key. The venue is beautiful and the volunteer support is the greatest. There is no comparison to the party food that's provided, served by cheerful volunteers.”
“The quiet roads, beautiful scenery would have been enough for us to enjoy the day, but to have such great support on the ride and the amazing meal afterward really made the day special.”
“My husband and I completed this ride on Saturday. It was our first event ever and it was a blast. The scenery was beautiful with the snow in the back mountains. The lunch and entertainment was wonderful. We plan on coming back again next year. Thanks again for a great time.”
“The volunteers were great...especially some of the friendly ladies (at the rest stop) who are quite some characters!”
“This is a perfect course for tandems. An incredible lunch, live band and t-shirt included are a bargain. Anyone with access to tandem club contact information should really get the word out! Thanks to all the volunteers for a great time.”
“It was fun to see the kayaks in the marsh/wetlands - to say nothing of the birds. The Tour de Manure is going to become one of those annual events for us. Thank you for all of the hard work, planning, fine music, and great volunteers!!! Thanks to the courteous vehicle drivers who put up with bicyclists, including the bicyclists who forget to share the road. See you next year!
Thanks again, Sierra Valley!
Sierraville Fire & Rescue volunteers

I am a parent of one of Miss Schofields second grade students. His name is Louis Siqueido. We just recently found out the hard way, that the school might be making some big cuts to his school. My son was in town with me and over heard some adults talking, saying the school was going to let his beloved teacher go. When we got in the car to head home my son burst into tears. I told him instead of crying use your energy to do something about it. We only discussed the matter a little bit more before bed time, That night when most 8 year old boys should be asleep, mine was awake alone in his room trying to figure out a way to save his teacher's job! The next morning I didn't think twice about his swollen little eyes and pale face, I just figured he spent the night crying. After he caught the bus I went into his bed room and found that he had spent the whole night making fliers to hand out to save his teacher's job!! I scanned a few of those flyer's and decided to share them with all of you. Miss Shofield is a huge asset to our community! I agree with my son that loosing Miss Schofield would be a huge mistake!

Both of my children were born in Sierraville. Shortly after our second one was born we moved to Sparks, NV. My son Louis attended kindergarten and 1st grade in Nevada. This last year we decided to move back. We were very unhappy with the school district there. We felt every day was a struggle, he hated school, was having trouble reading. The teachers were old and tired and just didn't care. Second grade with Miss Schofield has been the most amazing experience! Suddenly he loves to go to school! His improvement in reading has been the difference between night and day! He now reads with the enthusiasm and expression that I have seen Miss Schofield express while reading to the students! She saw Louis's academic weaknesses and did something about it! She truly cares about each and every one of those kids and makes it her mission to help them to succeed! This is only her first year as a teacher, I can only imagine what greatness she will bring to her future students. My little girl goes into Kindergarten this fall. I only want the best for my kids! I want to know that Miss Schofield will be there for her when the time comes!

My husband and myself have felt it has been a huge privilege to have Miss Schoflied as our sons educator! Her energy and enthusiasm is refreshing! She is hard worker and very dedicated! Some people where born to be teachers and Alicia Shofield is no doubt one of those people! I just wanted to speak up and let you know that loosing her would be a huge injustice to our children! I hope that you all can use your energy as my son did to save his teacher's job!!
Thank You! Annie Siqueido

I am proud to come from such a small community that has so many people who are "involved" with what is going on in our local government. I always say, "If we can't control what is going on locally, how can we control what is going on in our state or federal government".  This is what the words "grass roots" means...After reading a couple of letters-to-the editor in the last issue of the Booster....I have to support what both Janet McHenry and Mike McKee had to say. Both issues they brought up has to do with how our tax dollars are being spent, mostly foolishly.  Mike brought up a good point about Loyalton's business park being a great sight for the new court house.  Anyone who has had to travel to Downieville to the court house, know its very inconvient, especially the parking.  The business park has more than enough room, and plenty of parking and easy to get too.  We all need to let our supervisors know our concerns and hopfully they will do what is right for all of Sierra County and not just the West side of the mountain. Lets use our tax dollars wisely.  Why is so much money being spent on a Court house when the State of California is broke ? Just wondering.........Thank you, Annie Terrasas

Dear Editor;
Can it be true that three Sierra County Supervisors, Lee Adams, Dave Goicoechea and Peter Huebner all voted for three people from the Downieville Courthouse group, Heather Foster, Laura Marshall and Tim Beals to draw the Supervisors District lines that will be in place for the next 10 years?
Heather and Laura are elected and that can make sense, but to put the planner in with no one from the east side of the county makes no sense. What about the Mayor of Loyalton, or any of the City Council, if you can have the planner on the panel, you can have anyone on the panel? The east side has the most people and 3 Supervisors felt it was much more important to have their planner from the west side on to further his agenda than give the east side a voice.
The Supervisor from District four, Dave Goicoechea voted to have the planner from Downieville be his choice over getting at least one person to represent his voters interest.
It should be no surprise that he would vote for the planner after the planner stood by him to rush his Farm Security Zone thru so Dave could save his Ranch from being taken by the massive amount of development in Loyalton. Do the voters still think he is taking care of their interest? After a couple years with him what has Loyalton gained? Dave did not support the Loyalton Swimming Pool. It would appear like he couldn't even keep the Co-gen going to get his free irrigation water.
District two which has the south side of 49 west of Loyalton has Peter Huebner to look after their interest. He did not vote for anyone from the east side either, the planner was his choice. Why should he change, he said he would support the Loyalton Swimming Pool and he did not. He said he had someone to finance the pool as he was trying to get votes and to this day the pool is not open. The area has new rest rooms though.
District one's Lee Adams from Downieville, supported his District to the fullest.
We can thank two Supervisors that objected and wanted representation from the east side, Scott Schlefstein District five and Bill Nunes District three. We owe them a lot of gratitude from all around the county. It is only fair that the largest populated area is at least represented as the new districts lines are drawn. They voted for fairness.
With the schools losing enrollment numbers and now suggesting 20% reductions, unemployment out the roof and the cost of running the County far more than the tax revenue, how much more no job and no growth are the voters going to penalize themselves with by allowing the planner to have his way?
Please contact the Board of Supervisors and demand that the east side has representation for redistricting.
Thomas A. Dotta
Rural Loyalton

Letter to the Editor:
Entrepreneur: a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of profit. Webster’s
Is anyone else alarmed at the rate at which true entrepreneurship is being replaced by dependency on grant money?!
Supervisors in several counties have even said to me, “Well, you gotta go after the grants!” Really? What about going instead after the “environmentalists” (another word being mangled by new definition) who go after massive amounts of government grants, do not account to the people for their expenditures, use the money purchasing/developing public lands, then restrict or close these public lands for public use. If the environmental group(s) have purchased the lands with tax dollars, are they not therefore, still public lands? These groups then go about lobbying to restrict logging, fishing, boating, recreating and private enterprise in the name of “forest management,” “watershed and wetlands and wildlife protection,” etc.
Supervisors look at it as “free money” without considering the hoops, rules, permits, regulations, matching funds and the fact that usually between 85% and 95% goes for administration! Much is without oversight and the projects we’ve seen are very poorly executed! Add in the fact that so many private property and private water rights have been violated in the process that BOS’ now have to pass resolutions to protect the citizens rights against these illegal intrusions.
In recent months, we’ve lost access to Independence Lake, we’re losing access to forest lands and soon Webber Lake, too. Now the enviros at Plumas Corp’s many departments define the economically unsound Bio-mass program and endless grant seeking as “the new entrepreneurship!”
That’s repugnant!
Sherry Halverson
Plumas County Watchdogs Committee, Portola

To the Editor:
I recently attended a Loyalton City Council meeting to make my plea about not increasing the speed limit on Main Street. Prior to my presentation Sierra County’s Superior Court Presiding Judge John P. Kennelly explained to the council and audience that the new regional courthouse in Portola was open for business. It has been many years that the courts shifted to management by the state of California, and folks, we are now paying for this dearly. Some 50 projects are underway to the pricetag of $6.5 billion. The Plumas-Sierra courthouse at the end of Gulling Street near the Little League fields is the first of those--at $4.7 million in construction fees. It’s a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility. You can take a peek at it at this website-- make the short drive to Portola to view for yourself the award-winning structure.
After doing a little online research, this gave me a great idea, especially since a similar new courthouse apparently is going to be built in Sierra County. Since the state of California’s priorities seem completely screwed up, let’s play the funding game…but make our own rules after the building is delivered. We could CALL it the Sierra County Courthouse, but instead of conducting court there, we could conduct school. Instead of filling the building with filing cabinets and paperwork, let’s bring in desks and SmartBoards…and most importantly, children.
Perhaps then we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not there would be power in the building that day or whether the boiler would continue to provide heat or whether the wind would blow dirt through the windows or whether the roof would leak again and ruin students’ work and textbooks in their lockers. For the last several years I’ve had the privilege of mentoring teachers in the district, and I’ve been visiting Downieville to work with teachers there every quarter. I’ve come to know its staff to be hard working and compassionate with its students--just as are the teachers in Loyalton. Your Sierra County teachers are delivering quality instruction. We just need a few financial breaks to provide facilities that meet the basic needs for our students.
It’s time that we all started advocating for our children and our schools. Since the state of California is throwing money in the wrong direction, I would urge you to write to your state representatives and explain that rural schools need a break to provide facilities, instructional materials, and teaching staff--so that our students can have warm schools and up-to-date textbooks and art classes. The state obviously has funds--but its representatives apparently don’t know how to spend the money appropriately.
Here’s where you can write:

The Hon. Dan Logue
California Assembly
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Ted Gaines
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 3056
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Jerry Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Hon. Tom Torlakson
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 5602
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Years ago 20 of my seniors wrote letters to Caltrans and other state officials and got much-needed highway improvements on Highway 49 between Loyalton and Vinton. It simply took some education to point out that priorities were misplaced. It’s time for public officials to restructure finances and programs so that we are investing in our future--the coming generations.
Janet Holm McHenry

OK,OK! You win. WOW---Quincy courthouse---38,283 sq.ft. at $51,767,000 or $644/sq.ft.

Downieville courthouse---14,950 sq.ft. at $23,145,000 OR $721/sq.ft.

That's 2 to 3 times the cost per sq.ft. that a luxury home costs. (I haven't checked for many years---but schools used to cost a multiple per sq.ft. of what it cost to build a house. We felt safe with our kids in our homes--but had a different standard for schools?)

Phil Cammack, Sierra City

On the 18th you ran an article about court houses entitled WITH A FIVE YEAR EXTENSION. I've seen the Plumas/Sierra courthouse in Portola, and it seems quite elaborate, and a "work of art". It said the cost was $4.7 million. It went on to say that another one proposed for Quincy was priced at almost $52 million. And, further, that yet another one was being looked at for Sierra County (didn't say in what town), and it would cost somebody over $23 million.
Are those misprints, or could the proposed Houses of Justice actually cost that many more times the cost of the one in Portola?
We read your paper every week. You have the best paper in the area. Too bad the other local papers aren't as good and as thorough as yours.
Best Regards, Tom Nolte

What is going to happen to Marble Hot Springs, now that Carmichael is gone?  One would hope that heirs would clear out the spring and reactivate it.  Would almost be funny if the spring erupted and belched out the huge tree roots.  Could happen!   That spring has seen human use for centuries.  On the other side of the road was a pool that hunters used to clean game.  In our time, people still thought that the spring had healing powers.  In 1962 or '63, we met a man who came from Massachusetts every year to spend a month there, as he said, "Getting rid of my winter aches and pains."  There were two rather ramshackle buildings for private bathing, built by the Marble Family, and some open pools. He parked his trailer on the road, and spent his days soaking in the spring, basking in the sun and fishing at the Steel Bridge.  He had been coming there for years, and each year he mended the buildings and keep the area clean.   
People came to the spring from all over the West, drawn by word of mouth, and took bottles of the water home to drink.  Last summer we were hailed by some women in a car, who asked what happened to the "wonderful" spring.  They had driven their mother up from Roseville for a last visit.  There is still hot water around the tree roots, but it doesn't flow as it once did.  They got a small bottle of water for her, which she had clutched in hands as they drove off.  
The spring has its own history, which should be recorded before all the old ones in the Valley are gone.    'Til later ... Jean Myles

Letter to the Editor,
Many thanks to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, Corky Lazzarino of Sierra Access Coalition, California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), Recreation Outdoor Coalition, Butte County Supervisor, Kim Yamaguchi, and all others who helped with the timely filing of the appeal to prevent the USFS from its planned closure of miles of trails and major restrictions to use of public lands.
There has been a concerted effort by the USFS to incrementally accomplish this massive land grab nationwide. In California, the Plumas National Forest which is included within the five counties of Plumas, Lassen, Sierra, Butte, and Yuba, was the last forest to have to deal with this attempted illegal seizure of land and power not conveyed to it by the Constitution.
Note that the appeal deadline was December 27th, right during the holidays.
With the exception of Lassen County, the other counties were cooperative in filing appeal(s) thanks to the huge effort of the aforementioned, and this without pleas for financial assistance although, donations would undoubtedly be welcome and helpful. CORVA found so much merit to Sierra Access Coalition’s appeal that it donated $1,000 for legal fees.
Those of us, who honor the Constitution, enjoy the natural beauty of the Plumas National Forest, and who are fervent about tourism and outdoor sports here champion this cause and are thankful to everyone, agency, and group within the USA who are striving to keep “big brother” within his prescribed bounds.
For more information or to donate, see the following websites or email addresses: (Recreation Outdoor Coalition)
Sherry Halverson
Plumas County Watchdogs

Dear Editor;
Now we start 2011 and look back at the last year to see how we made Sierra County a better place. Our leaders, the Board of Supervisors are the ones that we can ask, are we doing better, they have been elected to look after our best interest.
Do we have more jobs than we had last year? If we do I have not heard where they are. I could be wrong though, we have not seen the Board of Supervisors (BOS) publish in local papers how many employees work for Sierra County and what the payroll cost is. If you care to look at the Sierra County payroll by position here is the internet link in case you don't have it, I encourage everyone to review where their money is going: then go down to county salaries.
This is one area, which despite the economy, can do as it pleases. What is the cost of county cars, what is the cost of the fuel, and how many miles do the county vehicles drive?
Have you ever paid attention that rule after rule is passed to make projects so expensive that they are impossible in Sierra County? This is the best way for the no growth agenda to be played out. When have you heard of an emergency meeting of the BOS being held to help a tax payer build a new home or business?
What we have is a Green environmental group in Sierra County that is headed by a person that Sierra County's Planner trained. So it appears if the no growth Green agenda is slipping and something might be built, the Environmental extremist step in, threaten the supervisors and that ends that project, the Supervisors fold, if this is not so, please show where the growth is in Sierra County.
We have many hard working business people and their supporters who push hard for local shopping. We have many that say agriculture is the backbone of the county. If you want to buy a pair of pants, the thrift store is your answer, if you need a tractor, tuff luck, if you need a tractor part, tuff luck.
If the BOS is the leader, why are they not solving problems like this? In 2007 Loyalton decided, with the help of the no growth extremist Greens, that Loyalton did not need to grow. Just as soon as they won their point the City Council voted in a 5 million dollar sewer project. Now the empty lots stay empty three years later and the residents are forced to buy many of their supplies out of the county or state. Why is the BOS not working with the City to provide property that can accommodate business and jobs? We have a new City council and the time is right for the County BOS to show leadership and work with the city to provide incentives to get business and jobs in Loyalton. This would be private jobs, not more tax burden. This could be a new way to think: the BOS could be the leader and give direction instead of taking direction from one of their department heads. It will be great to see Loyalton rise above the cloud of destruction the no growth agenda has held over Loyalton the past 30 years. Please support saving Loyalton, Sierra County's only City.
Thomas Dotta, Rural Loyalton