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IN THE NEWS
September 29, 2015
37 Miles of Great Shasta Rail Trail
Great Shasta Rail Trail opened three sections of trail totaling
37 miles following ceremonies in Mc- Cloud and Burney on
September 26 and 27. Trail head signs identify open sections of
the 80-mile former McCloud Railway Company rail bed. Ten-years
in development, the recreational trail is for nonmotorized,
year-round activities such as hiking, walking, bicycling,
equestrian, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing.
In the picture above, Co-founders of the Great Shasta Rail Trail
Joe Studenicka and the widow of co-founder Wayne Pauley, Laura,
cut the ribbon officially opening the Burney end of the trail.
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Mayers Honors Dahle
Mountain Echo editor
FALL RIVER MILLS – California State Assemblyman Brian Dahle
has been instrumental in getting legislation passed and
signed that has made it possible for Mayers Memorial
Hospital to survive on at least two occasions recently. The
last, authoring and guiding Assembly Bill 1290 to a
successful conclusion made it possible for the hospital to
fulfill the mandates of the Seismic Compliance law in the
tight time frame which demands completion by January 1,
2020. By making it possible for the district to contract
with one firm to do both the design and the building, the
project became viable and will be completed within the
deadlines set in the seismic law.
In recognition of his help the invited him to last week’s
Mayers Board meeting and presented him with a plaque and
resolution thanking him for his tireless work on their
In a surprise move, at least to the recipient, Interim CEO
Louis Ward presented the district’s Chief Financial Officer,
Travis Lakey, with a framed copy of the USDA loan documents
obtained through his months of almost daily contact and
effort which is giving the district the bulk of the money
needed for the seismic driven construction. In his report to
the board Ward said, “On August 26th we received the call
our community has been waiting on for the better part of a
State Senator Pushes for Early Completion of Fall River
September 23, 2015
Director California Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 942873
Sacramento, CA 94273-0001
Re: Cassel-Fall River Bridge
Dear Director Dougherty: I am writing regarding the
emergency closure of the Cassel-Fall River Bridge. A recent
inspection revealed that Pier 3 is approximately 25%
undermined, Pier 4 is more than 50% undermined and Pier 5 is
approximately 25% undermined. Both CALTRANS and the Federal
Highway Administration have deemed the structure unsafe.
While I fully understand the need for the emergency closure,
I am concerned about how long the community will go without
a replacement bridge. I am told that replacing the bridge is
complex because the site is archeologically and
environmentally sensitive. I can appreciate those
sensitivities, but I believe that CALTRANS needs to do
everything it can to streamline the replacement due to the
very real public safety issues that have arisen.
Big Eddy residents are understandably concerned that Fall
River fire and ambulance response times will jump from 4
minutes to more than 20. The response time for a fire engine
from Johnson Park jumps from 18 minutes to 36 minutes. A
fire engine responding from Soldier Mountain will take more
than a half hour, when the pre-closure response time was
less than 20 minutes. In any emergency, minutes matter. I
therefore respectfully request that CALTRANS exercise all
possible flexibility in fast-tracking this project, which is
already eligible for federal bridge replacement funding. It
is critical that the environmental studies be concluded
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Ted Gaines Senator, First District
Rumble Strips Filled In
BURNEY — Caltrans filled in the controversial rumble strips
on Highway 89 at the intersection with Highway 299 Monday,
The strips had been the start of an effort to cut down on
the number of serious and often fatal accidents at that
intersection years ago. Serious and often fatal accidents
continued to occur. A Blinking red light was added and still
the accidents continued to occur.
Finally, after a double fatality which garnered a major
protest from local residents. Overhead flashing red lights
were added and the major accidents ceased.
The cuts in the rumble strips caused a major vibration in
vehicles which led to trucks losing nuts and bolts, the fear
of vibration sensitive cargo, dishes and other items in
motor homes being damaged.
A noticeable number of drivers, from long haul, logging, to
delivery trucks, campers, motor homes and passenger cars
familiar with the placement of the rumble strips began to
pull onto and drive on the shoulders, creating the potential
for accidents with other vehicles who thought they were
turning right and began to pass them.
Last year after articles and editorials appeared in Mountain
Echo Caltrans partially filled in the east and west strips
on Highway 299.
After another year without any major accidents Mountain Echo
brought the matter to the agency’s attention again. As
before we asked that they review their studies and only
remove the strips if it was not going to increase the
potential for serious accidents.
Last week they filled in the north and south strips on
Highway 89 at that intersection.
The overhead flashing red lights, illumination of the
intersection, warning signage and four-way signals do
remain. In addition enough of the indentations remain to
give a gentle rumble all four ways.
Mariah Maier Honored
River High School announced today that Mariah Maier has been
named a Commended Student in the 2016 National Merit
Scholarship Program. A letter of Commendation from the
school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC),
which conducts the program, will be presented by the
principal to this scholastically talented senior.
About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are
being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.
Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for
National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed
among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students
who entered the 2016 competition by taking the 2014
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
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Burney Water District Pays for Sludge Removal
By Walt Caldwell
Mountain Echo editor
BURNEY – Why do special districts, such as the Burney Water
District, need reserve accounts?
That district’s board demonstrated the need last week when
they authorized District Manager Willy Rodriguez to transfer
$136,000 from reserves for capital improvements to the main
cash fund to pay for the latest round of sludge removal from
the collection ponds at their sewage plant off Black Ranch
Rodriguez told his board that the district is getting closer
to their goal of being in a position where they can replace
the pond liners – another major expense.
The board also authorized the district manager to sign all
necessary documents to secure financing for the district’s
vehicles. The lender, he explained, had given them three
repayment options. The shortest would cost them
approximately $14,000 in interest. The longest would cost
In other business Rodriguez let his board know that Shasta
LAFCO, the local area formation commission for the county
was in the process of doing sphere of influence and
municipal service reviews as required by law. He said he
didn’t expect the process to be a big deal or more expensive
He also told them the district was filling out an
application for a permit for regulatory coverage for
drinking water discharges to waters of the United States,
something they had never done before. He didn’t expect any
The new mandate was brought about by districts who
chlorinate or use other chemicals, flushing hydrants and
otherwise allowing their water to run into drain systems
which in turn get into reservoirs, streams or lakes, with a
possibility of harming the environment. He didn’t feel
they’d have a problem getting the permit because they don’t
chlorinate or use other chemicals.
He told the board the outside auditors hadbeen to the
district August 27 and 28 and had completed the work there.
He expected to know the preliminary results shortly. Pool
Manager Stephanie McQuade reported that the pool had closed
for the year. The regular season had closed September 4 and
47 people had paid to use the pool during the late season
which had just ended. Among a number of services, the
district had given 187 swimmers pool lessons,. They had sold
20-non resident pool passes.