University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is exploring the viability of procuring land and facilities, associated with the biomass facility in Loyalton, to develop a new Research and Extension Center (REC) focused on development of high-value biobased products. As California grapples with the many challenges of forest stewardship, it is vital that we invest in research on new, and innovative, ways to utilize biomass. Recent progress on commercial bioplastics, cellulosic nanofibers, and biomass as a feedstock for chemicals and polymers offer great opportunities to both improve forest health while supporting viable new industries. UC ANR is currently initiating environmental and engineering reviews and assessments of the Loyalton plant and land; final decisions on this particular property will depend on those assessments and subsequent negotiations with the owner. Regardless of whether UC ANR procures the Loyalton facility, we are strongly committed to expanding our efforts to serve California’s forest communities through improving the health of its ecosystems and people while also supporting vibrant regional economies.
A FATAL COLLISION occurred on April 22, 2016 on SR-70 east of SR-49.
Joshua P. Cooper, 33, of Quincy was driving a 2009 Jeep at approximately 5:50 p.m. and Breeze L. Tate, 51, of Blairsden was driving a 2000 Lexus sedan westbound on SR-70 east of Cooper. The conditions at the time were cold and cloudy with heavy snowfall and a snow covered roadway. Cooper lost control of the Jeep and it spun out of control, crossing into the westbound lane and into the path of the Lexus, where the two vehicles collided. Both vehicles sustained major damage. As a result of this collision, Tate sustained fatal injuries and Cooper sustained major injuries. During the course of the investigation of the collision, Cooper was suspected of driving while under the influence and was subsequently arrested. This collision is still under investigation.
Frenchman Lake Fishing Report
Fisherman have been having great luck fishing at Frenchman Lake this past week. Night-crawlers remain to be the #1 choice of bait although some have been having good success using lures & powerbait.
April 16th, Steve Penrose & family of three from Reno, NV caught 7 beautiful trout near the dam. They were using Kastmaster lures.
April 16th, two locals, Bud & Shortie caught 6 rainbows close to 2lbs. They were fishing near the dam using pink powerbait & worms.
April 20th, Dustin Scoville, age 10 from Portola, Ca caught two nice sized rainbows at the dam. One was 17" & the other was 14". He was using night-crawlers.
The boat ramps are not in but you can launch a boat at Frenchman's Campground & people have been having great luck fishing from boat! Chilcoot, Frenchman, & Spring Creek campgrounds are all open for camping. Big Cove & Cottonwood are not open yet.
Reminder this coming weekend, Saturday April 30th, streams open! Stop on into Wiggin's Trading Post for a refreshing drink, a freshly made sandwich, and/or to just browse around. We appreciate your business.
Please call us for current lake conditions and updates on the fishing-
Wiggin's Trading Post (530) 993-4683
Quincy, Calif – March 28, 2016 – The Plumas National Forest is seeking a campground host for Gold Lake Campground in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area near Graeagle, California, and Running Deer Campground located at Little Grass Valley Reservoir near LaPorte, California. The volunteer positions will begin in late May and last into September. Enthusiastic campers who enjoy working outdoors and with the public are welcome to apply.
Host duties may include welcoming visitors, sharing news and information about recreational opportunities in the area, and light campground maintenance. Hosts will receive a free campsite, be provided with propane, have their gray water pumped and have use of a golf cart. Hosts must provide their own self-contained RV or trailer and personal vehicle.
For more information about the host opportunity at Gold Lake Campground, please contact the Beckwourth Ranger District at 530-836-2575. If you are interested in hosting at Running Deer Campground, contact the Feather River Ranger District at 530-534-6500. Additional forest information is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/plumas/home.
By Supervisor Paul Roen
Golden West Saloon
April 22, 2016
Hello and thank you for making the effort to be present today. It is local government month across the nation and it is Earth Day so there could not be a more appropriate and timely opportunity to make a public announcement that showcases the success and effectiveness of our local government and the birth of a project that has so many environmental benefits, economic potential and regional significance. This type of public announcement is not a common practice in the County but in this case, the significance of the subject matter and its importance to the County and City elevates the subject to one that needs to be shared immediately with all of you.
I am very excited and extremely pleased to announce a major project that has been under consideration for months involving the Sierra Pacific Industries property behind us which consists of 212 acres of industrial, business park and residential opportunities. Since early spring of 2015 when Supervisor Adams and I were able to organize a critical summit meeting in Truckee to discuss the future of the Sierra Pacific Industries property in Loyalton, we at the County level have been very engaged in meetings, negotiations, and coordination with Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Business Council, US Forest Service, Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, Northern Sierra Partnership, Sierra Pacific Industries and others to create, support, and implement a regional project that will have immediate and lasting impacts on our communities and today, it is being formally announced that the University of California and Sierra Pacific Industries have executed an agreement that will enable the purchase by the University of California of the entire Sierra Pacific Industries property holding for the development of a regional educational facility for the UC system, including research and development into wood and forest product technology, bio fuels, biomass energy production and cogeneration, forest health, and other key components of a full service educational facility.
Additionally, the County has been meeting with upper management with the California Conservation Corps (not a Department of Corrections inmate), and the agency is committed to looking at a full service facility to be located on this property to serve the increasing needs of the Eastern Sierra region. The relationship between the UC system and the California Conservation Corps is very close and very compatible. This project will provide local employment opportunities, an increased source of local and regional commerce, will introduce a large number of people to the region, stimulate housing construction and the County will be the recipient of a modern, technologically advanced educational facility that will have regional and nationwide recognition.
We are encouraged by this series of developments and I want to take a brief moment to recognize those contributing agencies that are working on our behalf.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy has been a strong supporter and key agency to bridge any issues involving financing and issues within the Sierra Region; Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative has been a critical partner in assessing electrical generation and distribution issues; Sierra Business Council has been a strong base of support within its membership and ability to reach out to those who can assist; US Forest Service who has been committed to coordinating its forest health project and feed stock to the biomass opportunities for the environment and the region; Sierra Pacific Industries who has recognized and accommodated the County’s requests to delay decommissioning of the Loyalton plant and to seriously consider opportunities which the County may suggest; the California Conservation Corps which has attended meetings with us locally and has developed a strong sense of commitment to a project at this site; and finally but most noteworthy, is the University of California which has recognized the value of this property and the opportunities that exist from a project at this site.
The potential for partnerships...the ability to develop cooperative ventures...the economic and business opportunities that will be stimulated locally...the investment in public and private capital into this region...these factors individually and collectively offer an opportunity that we have not seen available in our recent history. An industry and an opportunity that is so engrained in our local culture and economic history and which is so compatible with the use of this property can offer immediate and long-term benefits.
I look forward to now being able to openly discuss and promote this project with my fellow Board of Supervisors and with the city of Loyalton. Although I have given general reports to the Board of Supervisors in the past few months, specific details could not be openly discussed pending the outcome of private negotiations that were ongoing between the parties. However, we are now being made aware the decisions have been made, agreements have been executed and the concept of this project is now a matter of public information and I am excited and very proud to be in the position today to be able to announce this milestone and share it with you.
Supervisor Paul Roen
“WE ARE FLAT BROKE,” Mayor Mark Marin announced in his State of the City address at Loyalton City Council April 20th. He stated the Council is fighting six contractor cases not hired by the City Council with no contractor licenses and he’d met with the State Board. He told of seven cases and six contractors working illegally. He went on to tell how the City streets were falling apart with no money to take care of them. He mentioned sewer litigation on Beckwourth Street and at the wastewater plant and hoping to win litigation. Councilman Brooks Mitchell stated there’s a settlement conference on May 23rd. Each time the settlement amount goes up, Brooks said, with a number “to make the city whole.”
The mayor continued on about further litigation with public retirement the City owes for $1.6 million. Council member Pat Whitley stated there’s “no litigation.” She said they’re not suing and Brooks added negotiations are still going.
Mark ranted the audit is “off the wall.” He told how nothing had changed from last year. He continued on the electric bill issue at the new city hall with the city not getting the bill. He said the water system is a mess with pipes breaking and water running through riveted boiler pipe, the main line feeding the city. The city is in negotiations for a grant yet may not get it with the audit.
Pat stated there are only two material weaknesses, one ongoing.
Mark asked County Treasurer/Tax Collector Van Maddox to come forward. Van explained the most critical items in the audit are repeated from prior years. Most serious, he stated, is not having an accounting system. He stressed the core is no accounting system with no one who knows full blown fund accounting and system. He quoted probably $50,000 and suggested “a lot of clean up; a couple years and two clean audits in a row.” If not addressed, Van stated it may affect grants and Mark told of trying to get a grant for a new well.
The $50,000 figure brought surprise. At the April 12th special meeting, Pat, who is over protective on contingencies, suggested they use $10,000 on the fund accounting.
Councilman Ernie Teague told how he’s been on the council four years but knew there was no money and yet they’d spent tens of thousands of dollars and he didn’t think they should spend.
Pat said it would be “nice if people voted no on things.”
John Cussins was not present and wastewater and water system discussion was tabled a third time.
A PRESENTATION by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on financial assistance programs becoming available in the form of grants, loans, and combination grant/loans available for community facilities, housing rehabilitation, and mortgage assistance was given at the Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting in Loyalton on April 19th.
Sierra County Planning Director Tim Beals introduced Mike Velez Community Program Specialist and Robert Canepa Loan Specialist from the Auburn office.
Velez discussed projects they were currently working on which included water tanks for Calpine and Sierraville PUD. He said Downieville received money for an ambulance purchase and is helping Camptonville with new equipment. Velez wanted to look at any other big projects the County might need assistance with. He said loans are available for construction projects at very low rates and can help with transportation, education, public safety, jails, courthouses, community centers, libraries, and senior centers. Velez continued that grants are available for purchases and loans for any construction. He stated there is funding for economic development, drought related projects, and storm water drainage systems.
Velez encouraged the board to look at all avenues within USDA so they didn’t miss any funding opportunities.
Canepa discussed the housing element and stated he was a loan officer with rural development and works with the single-family housing program focusing on loans and grants in rural areas, adding Sierra County meets this description. He spoke on two programs. The first was the 502 Mortgage Program, aimed at very low and low-income households. Standard terms are 33 years at 3% fixed interest geared for families who can’t obtain conventional financing. The program does accept 100% of the loan. He had heard about the trailer park and said some of those residents could qualify through him. The second program is a 504 Loan and Grant Rehabilitation. He said one has to be 62 years and older, has to own the home and land but it doesn’t have to be paid off. He stated he could grant up to $7,500 in repairs for the home. Eligible repairs are anything health and safety. Typically he works with roofs, inside ceiling damages, and ADA compliant areas. Canepa stated there was plenty of funding as California hasn’t used its allocation in five years.
The two representatives left contact information and the board thanked them for making the trip.
Lake Tahoe, CA April 15, 2016. Earlier this week, Liberty Utilities participated in the official groundbreaking ceremony for their first-ever solar facility being built in Mineral County, Nevada (see photos below).
“This project continues Liberty’s commitment to renewable energy sources,” states Greg Sorensen, President of Liberty Utilities-CA. “When completed later this year, the solar project will meet 25 percent of our customers’ energy needs.”
The Luning Solar Energy Center (aka the “Luning Project”) will be a 50 MW project. In addition to the solar facility itself, a 120 kV power line approximately 1.6 miles long will be constructed from the solar facility to NV Energy’s existing Table Mountain Substation.
The Luning Project will deliver its generation at this point of interconnection on the NV Energy Transmission system in Nevada. NV Energy will then deliver the energy to delivery points within Liberty Utilities’ California service territory.
Liberty Utilities currently purchases all of its power from NV Energy through a Purchased Power Agreement (PPA), except for emergency diesel-generated power. Last year Liberty re-negotiated their PPA with NV Energy to exclude coal-fired power whenever possible. Renewable resources currently comprise approximately 22% of Liberty’s total power mix and meet the State of California’s current mandate, which is scheduled to increase to 33% by 2020 and 50% by 2030.
Liberty’s most recent annual customer satisfaction survey conducted in fall 2015 revealed that 68% of their customers rated Liberty as an environmentally responsible company.
Liberty Utilities is your local electric company serving approximately 49,000 customers on the California side of Lake Tahoe and adjacent areas to the south and north including the cities of Markleeville, Woodfords, Topaz, Coleville, Walker, parts of Truckee & Verdi, Portola & Loyalton. We are committed to providing quality service to our customers, and our employees are involved in the communities in which they live and work. Visit us at www.libertyutilities.com
California Association of Clerks and Election Officials Supports Increased Resources in Advance of June Primary
Surge in voter registration and statewide petitions impact local resources
April 11, 2016 - (SANTA ANA) - County election officials watched closely as the chances of California playing a significant role in the Presidential primary changed from unlikely in January to certain in late March. We are working within our current budgets to successfully administer elections and ensure voters are well informed and can vote with little to no wait.
However, other circumstances this year pose unique challenges that will require additional resources. This is the first election we have administered where a dozen potential statewide measures in circulation will be delivered to our offices nearly all at once, at the same time that final planning for the June 7th primary converges, which includes surges in voter registrations.
The surge in voter registration is unusual not only in the amount of registrations but in how early it began. We generally see the spike in registration in the days and weeks leading up to the voter registration deadline, which this year is May 23rd. We have determined that we will need to process an unusually high amount of voter registration forms for a primary- while at the same time processing an unusually high amount of initiatives.
"We are grateful to Secretary of State Alex Padilla for his letter to the Governor and legislative leaders on April 4th requesting additional election administration funds for his office and county election officials," said Neal Kelley, President of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials and Registrar of Voters, Orange County. "Not until late March did we see enough evidence to suggest that the June 7th primary would put a highly unusual strain on our limited resources," he continued.
Swift action is needed to provide county election officials with additional staff and resources. We look forward to working with the Governor, legislature and Secretary of State to craft strong provisions with the necessary checks and balances in place to ensure these funds are used expeditiously and responsibly.
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About the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials
The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) is a non-profit association representing California's Clerks (responsible for filing and maintaining important documents in the public interest); Clerks of the Board (supporting the Boards of Supervisors by preparing and recording minutes; receives and processes applications for assessment appeals); and Registrar of Voters (responsible for conducting elections throughout California).