FELONY COMPLAINT – John Thomas Conway
On July 13, 2020, Sierra County District Attorney Sandra Groven, filed a complaint in the Sierra County Superior Court, charging John Thomas Conway, with murder, Penal Code section 187(a); attempted murder, Penal Code section 664/187; robbery, Penal Code section 211; assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, Penal Code section 245(c); unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, Penal Code section 246; burglary, Penal Code section 459; and felon in possession of a firearm, Penal Code section 29800(a).
There are several special allegations alleged, including intentional discharge of a firearm with injury and murder from a motor vehicle.
The charges against Conway, stem from an incident that began July 3, 2020 in the Poker Flat Area of Sierra County and ended on July 4, 2020 when Conway was taken into custody.
The investigation is ongoing and involves multiple crime scenes and multiple victims.
Sacramento - Today, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered small businesses across the state to close indoor operations including restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, cardrooms and bars. The Governor also shutdown indoor operations in counties on "County Monitoring List for 3 Days" such as salons, barbershops, gyms/fitness centers and malls. In their continuing effort to advocate for employers and workers, Northstate lawmakers Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Assemblywoman Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) issued the following statement:
"Let's be clear: It is imperative that we all do our part by practicing social distancing and acting responsibly in order to suppress this virus and protect our community.
"But these efforts are undermined when the Governor is single handedly and arbitrarily crushing people's livelihoods - their ability to put food on the table, to pay rent and to pay their bills.
"There is no justification for this approach. There is no evidence that any of these activities are causing an increase in Covid-19 cases.
"Restaurants and churches are not the source of our increase in cases. Small businesses are hanging by a thread and this action puts all the burden of this crisis back upon them. Main Street is struggling for its very life, while Lowe's and Home Depot are packed with people and having record years. No one can make any sense of these confusing orders.
"Businesses have NOT been the direct cause, they've done everything they've been asked to do successfully. These shutdown orders punish them, their customers and it completely misses the target, especially in our rural towns.
"It's painful to watch the Governor constantly change his mind if counties can govern themselves or not during this pandemic. It's even more painful being forced to sit on the sidelines as the California Legislature has handed over all authority to one man.
"Keep in mind that 7.5 million Californians are jobless. That EDD has not been able to handle the current unemployment claims. People who filed in March still have not received payments. How in the world will EDD be able to handle the enormous uptake in cases based on today's one-size-fits-all decision?
"We have said it before: human lives are at stake. People are stressed and filled with anxiety about their livelihoods. The mental health and other side effects of today's decision will be felt for years into the future."
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Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California's First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
Elected to the State Senate in January 2013, Senator Nielsen represents the Fourth Senate District, which includes the counties of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba. To contact Senator Jim Nielsen, please call him at 916-651-4004, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @CASenatorJim.
Senator Brian Dahle represents California's 1st Senate District, which contains all or portions of 11 counties, including Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Siskiyou, and Shasta.
Assemblyman James Gallagher represents the 3rd Assembly District, which encompasses all of Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties as well as portions of Butte and Colusa counties.
Assemblywoman Megan Dahle represents the 1st Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Butte and Placer counties, along with Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, and Siskiyou counties.
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Senator Jim Nielsen, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814
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LaMalfa, California Republicans Urge Governor Newsom to Immediately Release Coronavirus Aid to Local Governments
(Washington, DC) — Congressman Doug LaMalfa, joined by the California Republican delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to Governor Newsom requesting he immediately release federal funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According the local health officials, Governor Newsom has threatened to withhold this funding from several counties if they refused to comply with state shutdown mandates. California received $15.3 billion in funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund earlier this year, $9.5 billion of which was disbursed to the state with the intention of the state sending the money to smaller counties.
LaMalfa said: “Many of our smaller, rural counties are facing extreme budget deficits as a result of COVID-19. The CARES Act created a fund to assist local governments, but Governor Newsom refuses to disburse the aid. In fact, it seems that he is actually blackmailing our local governments in to complying with his shutdown orders, even when several counties in the North State have yet to experience a widespread outbreak. However, as coronavirus cases increase in our region, counties who have yet to receive aid will have to bear the brunt of coronavirus costs. Our counties need this money now more than ever, and the Governor needs to disburse it immediately.”
You can find text of the letter here or below.
We are writing today in response to reports from our local health officials that your office has given notice to several counties that Federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act would be withheld if they do not fully comply with mandates created by the State. All of us, as Members of the California Congressional Delegation, share your concern with the rising number of active COVID-19 cases in California. Choosing this moment to threaten local government funding is unhelpful and counterproductive.
Congress intended for the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) authorized and appropriated in the CARES Act to serve as an immediate $150 billion line of aid to every State and local government in the nation. California received, by far, the largest allocation in the country: $15.3 billion, of which $9.5 billion was disbursed directly to the State. California’s 2020 Budget tepidly directs $1.8 billion in Federal funding to cities and counties, including those that already received direct payments from the U.S. Treasury. This funding is needed to help counties and cities train contact tracers, expand local healthcare capacity, and provision any other assistance needed. Yet as of July 1st, California has delivered almost none of this Federal aid to local governments and counties.
By withholding CRF payment disbursements from these localities, the State is creating winners and losers. In addition, guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury regarding implementation of the CRF clearly says that States cannot impose restrictions on transfers of funds to local governments that go beyond requirements outlined in Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act. Accordingly, we believe that the State may be inappropriately withholding CRF funds to localities by imposing conditions on such disbursements that are inconsistent with the Treasury Department’s guidance and Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act.
As COVID-19 positive cases in California increase once again, our local governments are left with fewer options and less funding than they had earlier this year. Rather than continue to withhold Federal funding in exchange for compliance with State mandates, and to ensure that the State is in full compliance with the Treasury Department’s guidance and the law, we ask that you expeditiously release this funding to our local officials.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42)
Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-22)
Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25)
Rep. Paul Cook (CA-08)
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
'It’s A Way Of Life': Rural California Towns Deal With Loss Of Income, Identity As Coronavirus Cancels Summer Events
By Tessa Paoli and Nina Sparling
TyAnna Farmer had her outfit ready for the High Sierra Music Festival this year. Sparkles, glitter, glow sticks, and fishnets. “All the festival works,” she said.
Farmer will be a senior next year at Plumas Charter School in Quincy. She looks forward to the High Sierra Music Festival every year.
“High Sierra doesn't even feel like I'm in Quincy, it feels like I'm in a whole other place,” Farmer said.
But High Sierra was one of dozens of summer events cancelled this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's kept many mountain towns in Northern California normally bustling with tourists quieter than usual this year, especially over the holiday weekend.
Many long standing July Fourth events were cancelled in Sierra and Plumas counties, leaving locals worried about the economy and less than excited to spend the weekend socially distant. Farmer is bummed to miss out on the annual escape from small-town life, and the cancellation is a big problem for local businesses.
John Steffanic manages the Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. It’s about 60 acres of neatly mowed grass. Normally, he watches the music festival unfold from a cot in his office. He’s trying to stay optimistic, but the cancellation is a huge hit for his operations.
“Twenty percent of our revenue is from the High Sierra,” he said. That’s nerve-wracking for the fairgrounds, but Steffanic is more worried about what it means for the community to lose out on thousands of tourists with money to spend.
“It's not like they're just blowing into town, bringing their own beer with them, and they're making bologna sandwiches,” he said. “They come. They spend money.”
But it’s not just big-ticket music festivals that aren’t happening this summer. Taylorsville, a tiny mountain town 45 minutes north of Quincy is dealing with a cancellation of its own: the annual Silver Buckle Rodeo.
Misty Banchio is a fourth-generation cowgirl and president of the Indian Valley Riding and Roping Club.
“My dad, my grandfather, and now my kids and I all have rodeoed,” she said.
Misty Banchio has never seen the grandstand at the Silver Buckle Rodeo empty on the Fourth of July — until this year.Nina Sparling for CapRadioThis is the first time the town canceled the event since 1949. The rodeo is the event of the year in Taylorsville. Banchio held out until early June to make the call, in part because she knew it’d be hard on local businesses.
“This town like triples just because of the rodeo,” she said. The cancellation left her neighbors uncertain how to celebrate.
“A lot of people have called me and are like, what are we going to do on the Fourth? We have nothing to do because it's been here so long,” Banchio said.
And like in Quincy, Taylorsville’s small businesses rely on the rodeo to stay open year round. Kelly Tan owns Young’s Market in town and she counts on the Fourth of July weekend, too.
“We just have to make it up somewhere else,” she said. “You just have to be as smart as you can and hope for the best in the end.”
She cut the store’s hours and is working on controlling other expenses, too.
But for Banchio, the rodeo is more than an economic pillar. It’s a piece of what it means to live in Taylorsville.
“This is not just canceling an event,” she said. “It’s a way of life.”
Canceling the rodeo is letting down future generations, who she hopes will keep the event going. Her daughter Lacie Banchio was counting on the rodeo this year — she was hoping to run for rodeo queen.
“This is the first year we haven't had it,” she said. “I don't know what I'm supposed to do.”
Ten-year-old Bodie Kingdon is learning to be patient, too. He’s been riding horses since he could walk.
“It's so fun. I like it so much,” he said. “It’s gonna suck now that it's canceled.”
This year, he was supposed to move up a division, to saddle bronc. Like everything, it’ll have to wait.
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State Board of Education Adopts New Guidance for Arts Education and World Languages Instruction in California
SACRAMENTO—The State Board of Education (SBE) today adopted new K–12 guidance for educators to provide high-quality instruction in the arts disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts and for educators to provide high-quality world languages instruction and make classrooms more inclusive. These guidance documents, which are called frameworks, are the result of an exhaustive public vetting process overseen by the SBE and the California Department of Education (CDE).
"With these adoptions today, California is reinforcing for educators a truth we all know: That students thrive in an educational landscape that allows them to create and express themselves and encourages them to become members of our global society through language and culture," said Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the California SBE and of the Learning Policy Institute.
“An arts education is more important than ever during these difficult times, allowing our students—who are a diverse array of learners with a wide range of needs, abilities, and experiences—to express themselves, become engaged, be creative, and learn to be fully prepared to contribute to civic life. World languages are needed as California expands opportunities for its diverse student population and allows them to develop intercultural competence and become global citizens,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “Access, equity, and inclusion are core themes in these frameworks. They both provide the tools for future success as students complete their education and navigate the international marketplace.”
The 2020 California Arts Education Framework for Public Schools, Transitional Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Framework) provides guidance and support for all educators and stakeholders in arts education in implementing the 2019 California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Arts Standards) so that all California students can develop foundational knowledge and artistic literacy in the arts.
Educators can use this Arts Framework as a guide to curriculum and instruction to inform both the what and how of teaching in and through the arts. This includes the following:
· High-quality, standards-based sequential instruction in each of the arts disciplines.
· Teaching the arts disciplines through the authentic processes that artists engage in, such as creating, performing, and responding.
· Culturally and linguistically responsive teaching to maximize inclusivity and build relationships in the arts classroom.
· Planning instruction using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to remove barriers and foster inclusion in arts learning.
The 2020 World Languages Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (WL Framework) is aligned to California’s 2019 World Languages Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (WL Standards). The WL Framework includes guidance to help educators ensure more California students have pathways to learn a world language. It also includes discussions and examples of the instructional shifts needed to fully implement the WL Standards, including through the use of authentic materials.
The numerous figures, guidance, and descriptions of instruction throughout the WL Framework are aligned not only to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages standards, but also to recent initiatives such as the California Education for a Global Economy, Global California 2030, and the State Seal of Biliteracy.
The WL Framework addresses the three strands in the WL Standards:
· The Communication standards address receptive, interpersonal, and presentational modes of communication in the target language.
· The Cultures standards promote the development of cultural competence to prepare students to interact successfully in the target language.
· The Connections standards ensure students apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the target language.
You can find the Arts Framework and the WL Framework on the CDE website.
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. You may also follow Superintendent Thurmond on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
For what appears to be a father-son outing on July 3, 2020, ended in senseless tragedy.
At about 1600 hours, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office received information that two persons sustained gunshot wounds by an assailant in the Poker Flat area of northwestern Sierra County. The assailant was driving a utility terrain vehicle (UTV) stolen out of North San Juan. Neither victim knew the shooter, and the act appeared to be a random act of violence.
After the two victims were transported out of the area, a 911 call came in from a 15-year-old caller in the same general area. The 15-year-old told the 911 dispatcher that he and his father, who was later identified as Dr. Ari Gershman, a physician from Danville, encountered the suspect while driving down a dirt road, and, according to social media accounts by relatives, were checking directions. The suspect opened fire on Dr. Gershman and his son, killing Dr. Gershman. The juvenile son fled into the forest to escape the shooter and find an area where he could call for help.
Throughout the night of July 3, and into the following day, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office coordinated a massive law enforcement response to the area. Responding agencies included: U.S. Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Grass Valley Police Department, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, and Yuba counties. Additionally, helicopters from the California Highway Patrol, Washoe County (Nevada), and Placer County Sheriff's Office assisted throughout the incident.
Initial responding officers were able to locate Dr. Gershman and his vehicle. Officers searched the surrounding area for the suspect and missing juvenile. Officers remained in the area searching throughout the night. As day broke the following morning, tactical teams were assembled and continued searching the area.
In the afternoon of July 4, CDFW wildlife officers and a K-9, using human tracking skills, hiked through the forest with a Sierra County Deputy tracking the missing juvenile. Although the juvenile had fled a considerable distance, the officers were able to track and locate him. Even though the juvenile had fled the shooting and spent the night alone in the forest, he was in good physical condition and did not require medical attention. After giving him food and water, officers transported him to the Sheriff's Office, where he was reunited with his mother. Sheriff Fisher described him as a “good kid who did brave stuff. He is lucky to be alive.”
Shortly after the juvenile was located, the suspect approached two CDFW wildlife officers and a USFS officer at high speed in the UTV. The officers were maintaining a checkpoint on Saddleback Road and attempted to stop the vehicle. The suspect failed to stop and tried to run over the two wildlife officers and then fled south on Saddleback Road towards Downieville. A third wildlife officer was positioned down the road in Downieville and started driving up the hill to block the suspects' vehicle. A vehicle collision ultimately occurred as officers were attempting to take the suspect into custody. The suspect immediately represented a threat to the officers, leading to an officer-involved shooting and deployment of a K-9. The suspect was taken into custody, and after receiving medical treatment at the scene, he was transported to the hospital in Chico under guard. The suspect has been identified as John Thomas Conway, age 40, a convicted felon from Oroville.
In addition to the above law enforcement agencies who assisted in this incident, Sheriff Mike Fisher would like to thank the Downieville and Sierra City Fire Departments for their quick response and medical treatment of the shooting victims. ”I would also like to thank the Sierra County businesses and numerous local volunteers who made food for the officers involved in the incident.
Fisher called it a “phenomenal response.“ There were 72 law enforcement officers from all over the State and four helicopters; two CHP and one from Placer County and Washoe County’s Raven helicopter.
The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with Sierra County District Attorney who anticipates announcing charges soon.
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to please contact the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 289-3700.
Eastern Plumas Health Care has received two positive COVID-19 test results for employees in our Portola Skilled Nursing Facility.
Precautions were put into place in both our Portola and Loyalton facilities beginning March 3, 2020. These precautions include no visitors, a separate employee entrance, testing and daily screening. These precautions remain in place. Employees and residents will be tested weekly. Staff is notifying our resident’s families.
This is all the information that will be released at this time. Further information will be released as necessary. Thank you for respecting the privacy of our employees and residents.
Please remember to practice social distancing, hand washing and wear a mask.
For information regarding COVID-19 in Plumas County please contact Plumas County Public Health at 530-283-6400 or COVID19@countyofplumas.com.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao Kicks off National Pedestrian Safety Summit as Communities Reopen and Motorists Return to the Road
WASHINGTON – Safety advocates joined federal and state transportation agencies today as the U.S. Department of Transportation launched a virtual safety summit with the first of three webinars to discuss ways to reduce pedestrian fatalities on the nation’s roadways.
“This virtual summit will share important information on how everyone can work together to reduce pedestrian fatalities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that, in 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, the highest since 1990 and 53 percent more than in 2009.
"While vehicle occupant fatalities declined in recent years, pedestrian fatalities actually increased,” Secretary Chao said in her opening remarks today.
Seventeen percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018 were pedestrians.
“There's a sliver of positive news which can be found in the newest 2019 data indicating pedestrian fatalities decreased by two percent last year,” said Secretary Chao. “But these are preventable tragedies and that's the reason for this national dialogue."
Discussions and stakeholder presentations during today’s pedestrian safety summit is part of an effort to inform the Department’s development of its national action plan on pedestrian safety.
"It has never been more important for all road users to be sober and focused on safe travel,” said Secretary Chao. “During the COVID-19 lockdowns this spring millions of Americans eager to get outside found that sidewalks suddenly seemed very narrow. Seeking to social distance, many pedestrians detoured onto streets. Now fortunately there wasn't as many cars as usual on the road, but there was heightened concern over pedestrian safety and many communities took steps to address it."
NHTSA has designated October as pedestrian safety month and is working on educational materials. More information regarding the “USDOT Summit on Pedestrian Safety – Virtual Series” can be found at http://www.pedestriansafetysummit.com/.
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