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Plumas News by Debra Moore, Managing Editor - 12h ago

Emergency personnel responded to a report of a possible drowning at the Rock Creek Bridge on Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17. Initially Quincy Fire and Plumas District Hospital were called to the scene, but CalFire took command of the incident. At 6:44 p.m. divers retrieved the body of Palo Alto resident Heather Noone, 48. She had been walking along the trail when she fell into the creek. Her husband tried to rescue her, but the current was too swift. She was found wedged between rocks.

 

The post Drowning victim identified appeared first on Plumas News.

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Plumas News by Debra Moore, Managing Editor - 1d ago

Update 4:45 p.m.: It’s been reported that a dive team from CalFire is preparing to recover the body of a female drowning victim.

Emergency personnel are responding to a report of a possible drowning at the Rock Creek Bridge on Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon. It’s reported that a Caltrans worker is in the water trying to reach the victim. A Feather Publishing reporter is headed to the scene.

The post Possible drowning in the Canyon appeared first on Plumas News.

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This great blue heron is just about ready to snatch up his breakfast on the morning of July 9. It is always a joy to watch the diverse wildlife around Lake Almanor during the summer.  Photo by Gregg Scott

The post Lake Almanor wildlife abounds appeared first on Plumas News.

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A resolution to apply for and accept $500,000 from the County Noncompetitive Allocation Award under the California Department of Housing and Community Development was approved by members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on July 9.

Aimee Heaney, Mental Health Services Act coordinator, was before supervisors discussing the application process and what the funding means for Plumas and Sierra counties.

The funding is designed for small counties with populations of less than 200,000, Heaney explained. Both Plumas and Sierra counties are designated frontier counties. Population levels have fallen even further below those ranked as rural counties.

It allows for mixed-use, affordable housing projects designed for permanent supportive housing units for target populations, she explained.

The target population includes those people living with a serious mental illness and to families with children living with a serious emotional disturbance.

No Place Like Home is a statewide housing program administered through HCD.

“Does Roger (Diefendorf) have anything to do with this?” Supervisor Jeff Engel asked. Diefendorf is executive director of the Plumas and Sierra counties Community Development Commission. Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors also sit on the CDC.

Heaney said that with the participation of CDC, Plumas County’s Behavioral Health becomes competitive as a county. Other departments and agencies in the county also participated in the application process.

Behavioral Health is also partnering with Sierra County’s Behavioral Health program. Future affordable housing developers, those interested in housing and the Continuum of Care are also among those participating.

In turn, Sierra County will also partner with Plumas and is to receive the same set amount of funding.

Heaney said, “We’re moving along through this process.”

About 30 people can participate in the program, she explained.

It was recommended by the Plumas-Sierra Housing Continuum of Care that a housing consultant be brought in to move the process along.

Following the meeting, Heaney explained that this sounds like a lot of money, but it really isn’t because housing is so expensive. What is good about it is that it can be used to leverage larger projects.

The deadline for the grant acceptance form and the accompanying resolution is Thursday, Aug. 15.

The post No Place Like Home program moves toward $500,000 for permanent housing appeared first on Plumas News.

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Plumas News by Stacy Fisher, Staff Writer - 2d ago

Rick Roy, hunter education coordinator for the Lake Almanor Basin, announced that the Department of Fish and Wildlife is sponsoring a multi-day “traditional” hunter education course, scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 6 and 7, and Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 13 and 14, at the Westwood Community Center, 275 Birch St., in Westwood, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The fee is $10, which includes all classroom instruction.

Students must attend all classes — 10 hours total — to qualify for a hunter certificate. Lessons include knowing your gun, gun safety, laws governing hunting, knowing your way around the woods and your responsibilities as a hunter.

California hunter education, a state mandated program required for all hunters, is an effort to raise safety and conservation awareness.

California requires hunter education training for those who have never held a California hunting license, who do not have a hunter education certificate or who do not have a hunting license from another state or province issued within the past two years.

If your child is under 18 years of age, they must present to the instructor a parental release form, signed by the child’s parent or guardian.

Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend with young students, especially those younger than age 16, to help define new words or provide additional tutoring during and after class.

All students are required to obtain a California Get Outdoors ID (GO ID) prior to registering for California Hunter Education courses (follow instructions on the CDFW website).

To register for the course and to download parental release forms, access the website by first going to California Hunter Education – California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Next look for Find Events Near You. Then Search by event date/location. Instructions for the Go ID are there as well.

There is also a waiver that must be printed from this web site.

For those who may not have a home computer to register, local libraries have computers available for the general public.

Proper registration is your first and most important step in getting your hunter education certificate.

When you register successfully, you will be creating your specific hunter education certificate number.

Without a correct registration and waiver (submitted to Rick Roy at the first meeting), you will not be able to attend the class.

Parents and legal guardians who will be present in the classroom will also need to present a waiver.

If you have any problems registering or need additional information, contact Rick Roy at 521-5571.

The post Hunting education class open enrollment appeared first on Plumas News.

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Plumas News by Victoria Metcalf, Assistant Editor - 2d ago

“Wow, things have lightened up considerably,” said Supervisor Lori Simpson as Deputy County Counsel Gretchen Stuhr prepared to respond to the Plumas County Civil Grand Jury’s concerns about the new voting system.

Simpson, like other supervisors, has grown used to a much longer list of recommendations members of the grand jury believe they need to address.

This year (2018-19), members of the grand jury said they accepted an invitation from Kathy Williams, Plumas County Clerk-Recorder, who also oversees the elections process.

Members, in their response to activities, said they attended the Nov. 6, 2018, process for voting by mail. And ultimately decided an official investigation was warranted.

“The investigation included a review of manuals and written documentation, observation of each of the steps in the process, review of the elections code, and interview of selected elections division full time and part time employees,” they said in the report.

They found “no apparent irregularities in connection” with the election process they observed last year. “It observed that the Elections Division works diligently and effectively, and that its personnel are well-trained and knowledgeable as to the numerous requirements of the Elections Code governing the conduct of elections within the county,” the grand jury said in its report.

What did concern those looking into the process is that elections staff has to operate dated equipment, below-mandated staff, and without a well organized set of written procedures.

Since elections were handled by mail the process was simplified, the report stated.

Stuhr responded to recommendation R2 before supervisors on Tuesday, July 9.

“The Civil Grand Jury recommends the Election Division seek, the county administrator consider recommending, and the Board of Supervisor deliberate and consider approving, the funding for the purchase and installation of new voting system equipment and software in order to comply with AP 19:020.”

County counsel’s response is that the recommendation hasn’t been implemented, but it will be in the future. “The Board of Supervisors is aware of the need and requirement to update our current voting systems,” Stuhr pointed out in a letter to Judge Douglas Prouty, the presiding judge over the grand jury.

“It is estimated this process should be completed prior to the end of the current calendar year,” she said.

Considering past responses to the grand jury, Simpson said they have insisted on specific dates. She added that threats of indictment were given if the exact date wasn’t provided.

Stuhr explained that the state has an estimated deadline on this recommendation for elections. There is a contracting process that needs to happen and that takes about five months. Stuhr thought the upgrading should be done before that. She said it should be in place and operational by next March, in time for any elections.

Simpson persisted with a specific deadline and Stuhr agreed to put Dec. 31 on the document.

Simpson relaxed and said she didn’t want supervisors turned in to the district attorney for not being specific about a date.

County Administrator Gabriel Hydrick pointed out that the grand jury also asked for a response to two other items.

A second recommendation stated: “The Civil Grand Jury recommends that the Plumas County Elections establish a written departmental policy and procedures manual, or at a minimum develop a fully integrated table of contents or index to facilitate efficient usage of the various procedures. Such manual should include procedures confirming that the quantitative limit set out in Elections Code 3005 is satisfied in connection with each election. It is also recommended that the elections division firm with county counsel or appropriate counsel compliance with Elections Code section 3005.”

Hydrick said that he has been working with Williams’ office to correct the issue.

And the third thing the grand jury wanted to know was why a position in the clerk’s office remained unfilled. This issue was not addressed during the meeting.

The post County responds to Civil Grand Jury’s voting machines concerns appeared first on Plumas News.

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James Wilson, left, a health education coordinator for Plumas County, takes a photo with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams during a roundtable discussion held in Sacramento on the opioid crisis in late June. Photos submitted

In recent weeks Plumas County Public Health representatives have been to Washington D.C. twice, as well as to the state capitol to share what the county is doing right to fight the opioid crisis locally.

Recently they gathered around their large conference room table to discuss their ventures.

What’s been unique is that often Plumas County is the only rural entity in the mix, and it is being held up as a model for what can be accomplished.

“There is generally a mindset of lack (of resources), and we’ve taken our limited resources to find solutions to our problems and that’s been applauded,” said Shadi Barfjani, program division chief for the Plumas County Health Agency.

Washington, D.C.

Barfjani and Zach Revene, the agency’s assistant director, were in Washington D.C. in last month to attend a meeting with Betty-Ann Bryce, who is the lead in the Public Health Education and Treatment Unit at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“I know you; you guys have been on my radar,” Barfjani recalls Bryce as saying when she met the Plumas County representatives. Barfjani added that Bryce wants to visit Plumas for a closer look at local efforts.

Barfjani said that she and Revene focused on the “collaboration and partnerships” that have aided the county’s effort to address the opioid crisis.

Bryce wanted to learn from rural counties about best practices as well as what would aid their efforts in the opioid fight.

One of those issues is transportation and the inability of residents in rural areas to be able to travel to access recommended treatment.

Barfjani and Revene weren’t the only duo to travel to the nation’s Capitol. James Wilson and Barbara Schott, both health education coordinators for the public health agency, traveled to Washington D.C. last month to speak at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Both trips to D.C. were paid for by grants obtained by the health agency.

Plumas was one of 12 agencies asked to present on what was being done to combat the opioid crisis. Again the pair focused on the collaborative effort that exists within the county — with the sheriff’s office, the courts, behavioral health, social services and private and nonprofit agencies — as well as with other counties.

“On a national scale they are recommending what we are already doing,” Wilson said.

But when asked what could be done to make their jobs easier, Schott said they encouraged a move away from punitive drug laws and advocated for a single-payer health care system so that individuals could cross state lines for treatment. For example, a Californian on MediCal cannot access treatment in Reno.

Sacramento

Back in California, Wilson participated in a small round table discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on Monday, June 24, and was joined the following day by Barfjani and Nicole Reinert, a health education specialist, to attend the National Opioid Leadership Summit 2019.

During Monday’s roundtable discussion, Wilson was one of 16 individuals invited to participate.

In a letter sent in advance of the roundtable, a Public Health Institute representative wrote, “This is an important conversation because we are focusing on a hand-picked group of experts who have first hand experience with the opioid epidemic in California. We hope to offer our insights, discuss some treatment models, examine how to organize communities to respond proactively, and develop the best ideas on how to build a culture that can better manage the challenges we face, now evidenced by what is happening to communities as a result of opioids.”

Wilson said that the Surgeon General has personal experience with the opioid crisis because he had a brother who was incarcerated for stealing $200 to support his addiction. He has pushed for making treatment more available and was able to convince then Gov. Mike Pence to implement a syringe exchange program — at least on a temporary basis to help stem the spread of HIV.

As an aside, Plumas County has a robust syringe exchange program with no restrictions, enabling the department to distribute 40,000 syringes last year.

And Wilson told the surgeon general that the program is a success precisely because there are no restrictions — as there are in other areas — that would prevent people from accessing the clean needles.

The small group on Monday blossomed into a gathering of at least 400 people on Tuesday for the annual summit.

Wilson said that attendees were assigned to tables and each one was tasked with coming up with a solution to the opioid crisis.

Reinert said that the table discussions were her favorite part of the summit and her group favored ending incarceration in favor of treatment options.

Barfjani said that her table discussed the need to incorporate drug treatment options as part of medical training. “We need to include it in the curriculum,” she said.

Back in Quincy, Schott summed up what the public health agency is trying to accomplish. “We are looking at the whole spectrum from prevention to treatment,” she said, explaining that means preventing people from becoming addicted; keeping them safe while they are using; guiding them toward treatment resources and improving their overall health.

Andrew Woodruff, the health agency’s director, said, “I’m so proud of our county and our entire team,” he said. “They are helping people well beyond our county.”

The post Plumas County’s approach to opioid crisis feted nationally appeared first on Plumas News.

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Nearly 100 attendees met two 2020 political candidates at a picnic July 13 in Quincy’s Gansner Park. Sponsored by the Plumas-Sierra Political Coalition, the event was hosted by several local organizers. From left were Dan Wilson of Portola with Eastern Plumas Indivisibles; Sierra City’s Cindy Ellsmore with Sierra County Democrats; and Quincy’s Faith Strailey, Chair of the Plumas County Democratic Central Committee. Next are Elizabeth Betancourt who is running for the state assembly and Audrey Denney who has launched a new run to challenge incumbent Congressman Doug LaMalfa. Also on the picnic’s list of sponsoring organizations were Davney Gasser of Quincy; Jason Christian of Portola; Marsha Roby from Greenville’s Indian Valley Indivisibles, Graeagle’s Zoe Byrd; and Genesee’s Linda Bailey. Not available for the photo was Sierra City’s Sylvia Lopez. Photo by Roni Java

The post Groups host picnic for candidates appeared first on Plumas News.

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Nearly 40 Plumas residents from all over the county gathered on Main Street at Dame Shirley Plaza in Quincy on Friday, July 12,  to stand in solidarity with thousands of Americans nationwide during the Lights for Liberty Vigil held “to end human detention camps” at the U.S. southern border.

They came with signs and animal cages filled with symbolic baby dolls to protest inhumane conditions faced by refugees, particularly migrant children.

Carrying messages such as “Left-Right, We Can All See Wrong,” the protestors waved to an endless stream of honking cars and trucks filled with drivers who waved back with shouts of support.

Three generations of families were at the rally and some attendees claimed “no party preference” or no political affiliation at all, other than an affiliation with the human race. Others represented the Plumas County Democrats, Sierra County Democrats, Eastern Plumas Indivisibles and the Indian Valley Indivisibles.

The national vigil saw protests in more than 700 cities calling for an end to the compulsory separation of migrant families seeking legal asylum at the U.S. border and demands for the reunification of detained children as young as infancy through teen years with their families.

Thousands of children remain in federal custody at various detention camps under conditions that congressional visitors describe as unsanitary and unacceptable.

“We cannot live isolated from the rest of the world; their problems are our problems,” said Faith Strailey of Quincy, Chair of the Plumas County Democratic Central Committee, one of the rally’s main organizers. “This movement was organized because the incarceration of asylum-seeking refugees and the separation of children and babies from their families is unconscionable!”

Strailey explained the combined group joined the nationwide vigil out of concern that the federal government has treated refugee individuals as criminals.

“They have used children as pawns to deter lawful asylum seekers and ignored international and federal laws regarding the treatment of refugees,” Strailey said. “The consequences have been horrific. The death of children and the suicides of detainees are now a part of the American legacy. This is not the America in which many of us believe. Common decency and morality requires that we speak out to condemn these policies and end them.”

Having recently joined forces as the Plumas-Sierra Political Coalition, the four groups are working to address a variety of concerns and issues, including support to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling and rein in political spending designed to influence American voters.

Lights for Liberty is a coalition of grassroots activists with support from long-standing immigrants’ rights organizations and other organizers.

More information can be found at www.lightsforliberty.org.

The post Plumas protestors rally to support nationwide Lights for Liberty vigil appeared first on Plumas News.

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Plumas News by Victoria Metcalf, Assistant Editor - 2d ago

When someone in the Redberg Avenue area reported a broken waterline the evening of Wednesday, July 10, it caused quite a bubble of excitement.

Not much was going on. High Sierra Music Festival and the crowds drawn to it or Plumas County’s other vast recreational opportunities for the four-day July 4 weekend left some at loose ends.

When Plumas County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center reported a broken waterline it drew quite an emergency response.

While those arriving to the scene anticipated a geyser of water shooting into the air, what they really found was bubbling water that was spreading.

According to Jim Doohan, general manager of the American Valley Community Services District, the problem was a loose coupling.

Apparently a new employee with the construction company in charge of building the Grocery Outlet at the corner of Redberg and Main, didn’t tighten it down enough, Doohan said.

Crews were working on the connections to the AVCSD waterlines that day, Doohan explained.

They went ahead and charged the system, which is the standard practice of adding HTH tablets or calcium hypochlorite, a form of bleach, to clean the system. The practice is then to let the tablets do their job on disinfecting the system for a few days.

It’s “not a total blowout,” Doohan said. It was a 2-inch line that started leaking and set the rest in motion.

Members of the Quincy Fire Department arrived immediately and the California Highway Patrol was on scene in case traffic control was needed.

“The guys got out there pretty promptly,” Doohan said about AVCSD employees. They were able to fix the situation with no other incidents.

The post Leak draws interest appeared first on Plumas News.

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