Published every Tuesday   Phone/Fax (530) 336-6262           P. O.  Box 224, Fall River Mills, CA 96028

Interesting, interesting!

We have another “Bad Boy” in town.

I can remember as a kid that in addition to the FBI, CIA and Secret Service, there were city police officers, highway patrolmen and sheriff’s deputies. As a teen in Cedarville I added game wardens to the list.

Either I’ve just become a lot more aware over the years or we’ve got a lot more people who carry badges than before.

Whether good or bad, some Cal Fire people are sworn law enforcement officers and I’ve seen them back up deputies.

BLM has cops. The Forest Service has cops and I’ve seen them back up deputies.

Of course we have federal and state park rangers and on and on it goes.

But now we have “Egg Cops” - some jerks with the authority and nerve to walk into stores, not bother to find the store’s owner, write tickets and order employees to break eggs - because they say, they are “illegal” eggs because the original producer, no, not the hen, failed to go through the hassle and expense to print numbers on them that no one pays any attention to anyway. That is so far off base as to defy belief.

I’m serious folks. The state has “egg cops.” They work for Food and Ag and were responsible for having shut down the “Farmers Market” in McArthur three or four years ago because none of those selling their produce, eggs, ect. had purchased licenses or gone through other crap the state now insists on.

This time they walked into McArthur Mart, and bullied the clerk. Since the owner wasn’t present they demanded that the clerk break all the offending eggs in front of them.

Looking at it without being in a position of having to take the fall out, I like to think I would have refused because it wasn’t my store, they weren’t my eggs, I didn’t have authority to break up company property and besides that they could kiss my fanny.

Additionally I like to think I’d have told them to break the eggs if they wanted but I was going to video it on my cell phone so my boss would know who did it and not blame me.

It strikes me that we have a lot more important issues than keeping local folks from buying local produce and eggs from people they know and trust. After all it is perfectly okay to buy produce from places like Mexico which uses human excrement for fertilizer or China that uses God only knows what because they can buy the government off.

I think the egg cops, “would be” macho heroes, should go out and fight real crime.

With hunting season being open on humans in the Bay Area the state and cities could use the “Egg Cops.” They could practice being bullies, freeing up the real cops who know what they are doing, so the cops workloads could be reduced to a level they could actually manage them. The “Egg Cops” could be bullies, harassing the people who fail to pay.

This alcohol party story rang my bell. I am mad because adults allegedly had a major lapse of common sense and held the party. First: I should make it clear that Burney High School is a good school. It’s students are good students, at least 90% of the time.

I am mad because those at the party were allegedly out of line. I am mad that (if you read facebook or talk to some people) they think the whole thing is overblown and should never have come to light, much less be a news story.

However, what makes me the maddest is that we (news media) are the ones said to be at fault because we are covering it - never mind that one student ended up in the hospital or that the students cost the school the balance of its football and Volleyball season. In other words, they feel they can do as they damned well please and any and all should be ignored.

After all “it happened a few days ago so it is no longer news” - In other words, “We should have gotten away with it.”

“All you ever do is print the bad stuff about kids.” In other words, our weekly sports pages which is 90+percent high school, the students of the month, the school columns, the school athletics, the FFA, the 4-H the community and school honors don’t count. I realize that there is a certain segment of our society who can’t control their children.

I realize that many adults and children feel that the children should have a free pass to do what they damned well want to and God help anyone who wants to hold them accountable. I realize that there are a number of adults who recognize the delinquent behavior by their children as an embarrassment and, while not controlling them, would do almost anything to keep their kids names or faces out of the news.

This is all well and good but I can remember the time that the bodies of two preteen girls were being carried in the arms of EMT’s who were crying. They were killed after the parents got done at the bar, got in the van where they’d left the two girls and pulled out in front of an oncoming vehicle. I can remember the body of a teen girl her pale gray-blue face staring sightlessly at the huge truck she had just pulled in front of after drinking.

I can remember a lot more, but I think I make my point.

The idea that “It will never happen to me or mine,” is a lot of crap. It can. I hope it doesn’t. Maybe the parents were lucky when they did it. Maybe their kids will be lucky. Maybe not, it can happen.

I have always tried to be up front with people. That is why, if you look at the top, left-hand corner of this week’s issue or any other in the past few years, you see a statement in a circle. It says - “If you don’t want to see it in the paper - don’t do it.”

That statement is not window dressing. I mean it.

I’m not at all interested in trying to make one of our schools look good when it wasn’t.

We shouldn’t be teaching our kids that they can do any damned thing they want because they aren’t adults, thus not responsible - They, and for that matter, their parents, are responsible and should be held accountable.

It is the job of those of us at Mountain Echo to report the news, all of the news we learn about regardless of their station in life or position in the community.

If the school, parents, the alumni, or the students don’t like the image their school is projecting then they should police their own.

Mountain Echo goes out of its way to report the good things that happen at school and to or by our children.

Mountain Echo will also report the bad things so clamp down on those that are out of control.

If you do something illegal then the only people any of you have to blame is yourselves.

That’s just half of it.

We have verified that the party was held at a private residence with students bringing the alcohol.

When one of the students was found in bad enough condition to alarm the hosts, they allegedly drove the student to the hospital roughly 20 miles away.

I was a hospice volunteer for a number of years and as a result of that a mandated reporter.

Mandated reporters are people who have regular contact with vulnerable people and are therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected. Mandated reporters are people who have regular contact with vulnerable people and are therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected.

I am a regular reader of the Sheriff’s service log and Mayers and other medical institutions throughout the county routinely report dog bites, assault victims, suspected abuse situations and other crimes.

It wasn’t this time - why?

I can vaguely remember a Burney lady who had an underage party at her house going to jail. She allegedly furnished the alcohol.

In the not too distant past in another Shasta County city, Two girls were drinking after the parents went to bed and sleep. One of the girls died of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol and minors has always been a problem, always has and always will, but people have to understand that it can have real consequences.

Youth and adults who poo poo the whole thing as a “boys will be boys,” situation need to understand that a drunk may well go around a curve and take on another vehicle killing someone. Someone without supervision may just drink too much and die. Reputations may well be ruined...

And for what?

Last week I ran a story about the Alturas California Tribe members, specifically Alturas Tribe member Daren Rose being fined $765,000 for 1,000 violations of selling non-compliant cigarettes to non-Indians in Shasta and Siskiyou Counties.

In researching that article I also determined that the tribe consists of 5-7 members.

Of those, which includes Rose, one, Calvin Phelps, who votes on tribal matters by e-mail in prison in Mocksville North Carolina for a conviction of a cigarette export scheme brought to light by a federal undercover operation in Guntown, Miss.

A federal affidavit for a search warrant by the BIA named Jerry Montour, of Canada as financing some of the Alturas Tribe’s operations. Montour, according to the affidavit and information on the Internet has an extensive international criminal record.

The legal compact between the Alturas Tribe and the State of California reads in part”

Promote ethical practices in conjunction with that gaming, through the licensing and control of persons and entities employed in, or providing goods and services to, the Tribe’s Gaming Operation and protecting against the presence or participation of persons whose criminal backgrounds, reputations, character, or associations make them unsuitable for participation in gaming, thereby maintaining a high level of integrity in tribal government gaming.

Considering that there are only seven tribal members at best, and two of them have major criminal records, one of them allegedly voting from his prison cell and another with a massive fine for violation of the tobacco laws as they apply to “non-Indians,” something just doesn’t smell right.

Add to that the allegation by the federal government that a person with international criminal convictions is involved in financing some of the tribe’s interests, it can’t help but make a person wonder why the Federal Government, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or the State of California, or the District Attorney for Modoc County isn’t taking an in depth look into what is going on in the tribe, the Alturas Rancheria or the Desert Rose Casino or all of them.

It doesn’t appear to pass the smell test.

 I don’t care if it is “profiling” or not. If someone has “F” you tattooed on his forehead or anything else for that matter, it isn’t a sign that the person is an upstanding citizen. The same goes for tattoos around the neck.

There have been people stumbling around back yards in the middle of the night. There have been guys dressed in dark clothes after a normal person’s bedtime who have been caught around storage sheds and “I was just trying to find your spouse.”

Cars have been stolen recently. Magazine salesmen scamming and scouting the residential areas.

There have been cars broken into and others vandalized.

We’ve had fires set by scum who don’t give a damn lighting bonfires and for whatever reason leaving them unattended or being to high or drunk to know that they were getting away from them.

It is great that we now have 24-7 deputies on duty. It has noticable cleaned up the downtown Burney streets after dark.

But those fellas can’t be everywhere all the time. That isn’t reality.

If you aren’t alreadylocking your house at night and when you’re leaving (even to go to the store) you’re nuts.

If you aren’t locking your car anytime you get out of it, you’re nuts.

Folks the Intermountain Area has grown up and some of its growth hasn’t been for the better.

If you haven’t already figured it out, we have more than our fair share of transients and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a number of them are not someone you’d want your daughter dating.

I have no problem with the Pit River Bridge being condemned. Nor do I blame those in charge for their hard-nose approach.

I wouldn’t want to take the chance and drive my loved ones across a disaster waiting to happen.

I would have done exactly what those in charge did with one major exception.

No thinking person can expect those in charge of safety and who know the bridge condition and the danger it poses to take the chance of being responsible for someone’s life.

The thing they did wrong was failing to notify the people, especially those responsible for emergency and other critical services that the closure was coming and they had better be prepared to handle it.

It wasn’t nice to know the closure was going to happen for two months and not tell anyone until 10 hours before locking the bridge off.

They did a lot more than just inconvenience the populace, they put lives and property in real danger.

Fortunately we have the caliber of emergency service people who were capable of figuring out what had to be done, work together, and get it done.

A lot of people are going to be inconvenienced for a few years, but with emergency services available and people willing to do what has to be done, everyone should survive.

Inconvenience or not, it is a lot better to be alive than crushed or trapped and drowned when the bridge fails with vehicles on it.

Another great fair is history. School’s back in session. The weather was great last week, I even had to put a blanket back on the bed. In other words, Summer, while it may linger on weatherwise, has slipped into the history books and it is time to get our noses back to the grindstone.

In case you didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this week’s front page, there are issues that you need to be aware of.

Folks in the Old Station area are about to get a much improved pavement on the most slippery section of Highway 44 and folks who might drive heavier vehicles on Six Mile Hill Road between Cassel and Fall River Mills should undoubtedly attend the hearing regarding potential weight restrictions on the Pit River Bridge just south of town.

Another Fall River Mills area issue is the condition of the Community’s water mains. Like we humans, the mains are getting older - after all they were put in the ground in the 30’s or thereabouts. We get artheritic as we get older. Our shells get a lot more fragile and we flat wear out - so does the pipe as is evidenced by the picture.

Unfortunately, just as with us, when we start to wear out it costs money to fix, repair or replace our various parts. That is also exactly what happens to the pipes. We don’t like it, especially the costs, but it is a fact of life.

Don’t be surprised when the latest water rate study comes back in and rates have to go up. The alternative is getting buckets of water out of the river and I don’t know about you, that’s a lot of hard work, won’t taste good and will probably really irritate the health department, so be aware - an increase is coming in the not too distant future and there’s good cause for it.
I 've reached the point where I either write this editorial or all the hot air building inside me will explode.

Since I don’t want Donna to have to clean up the mess I’m going to write it.

I am not a psychiatrist, politician, sociologist, or any other type of expert, therefore the reader needs to remember to take what I write here for what they think it is worth.

Four things are really bugging me.

First: The national media has stopped being recorders of current events and have become advocates for this cause or that. They pick and chose and report or slant to fit their agenda - and folks, that isn’t right. Historically their job has been to record what is happening, not molding it and making what they want happen.

Second: Police officers are human beings that come from normal families, raise normal families, love and live like anyone else. They got into their line of work because they thought it would be interesting. They have stayed with it because they enjoy it.

They spend far more time helping people than they do “busting” people. They may sound curt and demanding and they have the persona of not taking a whole lot of crap, but if they didn’t they would. They are highly trained and higly regulated.

When push comes to shove and they have to act they don’t have time, nor do they take the time, to think about whether the good guy, the bad guy, or victim in a bad situation is red, white, green, brown or purple, straight, gay, Catholic, Protestant or Muslem. They react to the situation as they are trained to do.

They don’t get their jollies from drawing and firing their gun, stun gun or using their mace. All that does is open them for a lawsuit that they will likely have to defend themselves. They do it to protect themselves, their partner or others.

Third: This “Black lives matter” crap is just that - crap. Cops don’t have time to single out blacks or whites in a riot, robbery, car jacking, or other crime. They can’t afford to say “Now son, I know you don’t like me. I’m not going to hold the fact that you just drew down on me and said you were going to kill me against you, will you please put down that cocked, stolen weapon. I promise I’ll not arrest you.” That ain’t gonna happen. The cop would have a bullet between the eyes before he got the “Now son,” part of his speech out.

Fourth: A couple of blacks get shot while raising hell with the cops and a couple of TV people get offed because a black nut has it out for them. The world erupts, and predictably the people that have no concept of the Bill of Rights or history and have their heads so far up their fannies that they don’t understand reality start screaming for gun control.

Ask them what Hitler and Mussollini did before gaining complete control of their countries. They took away everyone’s guns. Our forefathers had the same fear that’s why they have the right to own guns in the Bill of Rights.

Additionally it is a proven fact that the violent, career criminal and most of the gangbangers haven’t bothered to register the hand guns or AK’s they bought illegally or stole. Only the honest citizen does that. Take away the honest person’s guns and only the bad guy will have them.

People, especially the liberal intellectuals who live in a dream world, are trying to force peace and goodwill on a world that isn’t ready for peace and goodwill and they need to get their heads screwed on straight.

There are a whole lot of things in this world that aren’t right, but trying to brain wash the people only works on those weak minded individuals who want to be brained washed. Tying the hands of the people protecting them because a segment of society doesn’t like them, only leaves society more vulnerable and taking away citizen’s ability to protecting themselves only makes them and thus their country weaker.

We have a front page story, a very short front page story because that is all the information we received by press time on PG&E’s blocking off the south and eastern side of Fall River Lake.

I don’t have a problem with their doing it, but I do have a problem with how they are going about it.

Over the years I have received numerous calls from people upset with quads, off-road cycles, pickups etc. using that area for their playground to “Mud.” I have also seen numerous calls of parties, problems, and have covered a couple of fires in that area over the years. Now it’s coming home, just as it has in so many forests, other PG&E and public lands and we are being locked out.

The unfortunate part of it is the few jerks who destroy the chances for the rest of the population to have a chance to reasonably and responsibly use and enjoy the land.

Not only does that immature type of behavior destroy the environment, chances are that if there is an injury or death, regardless of whose fault, a shyster lawyer will become involved and the landowner has the deep pockets, so guess who will probably have to pay. It is no wonder PG&E does what it does.

In the case of PG&E FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Agency that can say yes or no to PG&E’s license, has become involved. They don’t really care about the people, but they do the environment. So, even if a good case to keep it open is presented, chances are it will fall on deaf ears.

The lady who first brought this problem to my attention had some great points and some good suggestions for possible solutions and she is right. If handled properly by both sides it might result in a workable compromise that would benefit both.

While PG&E has every right, as the property owner, to do what it is doing, the way it is being done is not neighborly and is really tacky.

There was no warning, there was no meeting, there was no searching for a way around it. It was simply a complete lock down to motor vehicles, roughly two miles from the lake.

The folks who live in the town of Fall River Mills and vicinity have had access to that property since it became PG&E’s in the early 1900s. In addition to those who abuse it, kids have gone fishing there and families have swam there all along.

There are recreational facilities on the other side of the lake. There is a boat ramp and picnic areas and restrooms. No real spots dedicated to little swimmers.

Sure, mothers could load their kids in the car and drive around to the other side, but why?

PG&E said they don’t have a problem with people walking in, they just don’t want vehicles. The boulders used on the other side to keep mudders out seem to work. Why not use the same principal on the town side also? Gates only keep the good people out.

A jerk is going to be a jerk because they are getting away with something and gates aren’t going to do more than slow that type of behavior down.

What it will stop is the mom and four or five kids from going to the lake for a nice time. Two miles isn’t more than five minutes by car, it is a long trek on a 90 degree hot afternoon on foot.

There are many solutions that can be negotiated if PG&E will sit down with folks and negotiate instead of not being neighborly and not considering others.

There is nothing wrong with using their brand new gates to lock the property off during the rainy season when the Jerks like to tear the countryside up.

There has to be other solutions as well. Together the town and company could figure them out. That way everyone wins. FERC should be happy. PG&E will be happy, the residents of Fall River Valley who use that side of the lake should be happy and those who don’t care about others can find someplace else to tear up.
I listened to an individual last week who was dead set against Dollar General coming into the Fall River Valley and wanted to everything possible to stop it.

I beg to differ with that person.

I’ll admit up front that, when it comes to the Valley, I’m from the old school. I would much rather that every store in town bear the name of a local owner. I’m all for the names of the Gibson’s, the Bruce’s, the Bassetts, the Callsion’s and the Brouseau’s adorning signs on stores that they own and operate in the Valley.

I’m all for the Ready Eddy’s, the Press-on Printing’s, the Fall River Drug Store’s, the “Y” Saloon’s, the Magestic Lady’s, the Small Talk’s, Sears Catalog store’s, the Ward’s Catalog stores, the True Values, Petal Pusher’s Gallery and Gift’s Co-op and others. They and those that remain were the backbone of the communities in the Fall River Valley. They, and those that remain were and are the ones that hired local employees, spent their money locally, supported the local sports, schools and events.

However, the truth is, there aren’t that many left. I drove from Bridge Street in Fall River Mills to McArthur Farm Supply in McArthur and there were 28 former store fronts that were either vacant or being used for storage. That is 20-25% of what were once viable stores in two small rural towns – our towns now vacant.

Yes, when Dollar General comes in they will compete in some ways with the five or six retail businesses we already have left. However, the competition will be limited to specific items and the existing stores carry a lot more than just those items. Also one of the reasons the local stores have survived is that they are conveniently located to attract the customers needing specific items.

No one likes competition. I don’t, but it is a fact of life and I’ve learned to live with it. It simply makes me a better businessman.

I hadn’t shopped in a Dollar General Store so I drove to Alturas Saturday. The store was smaller than I expected, It had several folks shopping in it. Their store’s parking left a lot to be desired, something that may have been unique to that location.

They weren’t selling junk. They weren’t limited to merchandise priced at $1 or less.

The vast majority of items, as a guesstimate, 95% was merchandise under $10. There were a few items around $20. A lot of it was grocery type items, soda pop, dry cereal, packaged candies, some cold-box items, an entire section of greeting cards at very good prices, a very few items of men women’s, children and baby clothes and underwear, A whole section of school supplies, some linens, over the counter medications, toiletry items and more.

On the plus side, the Valley will be able to drive to a local general merchandise store and shop for low cost items that we had but have lost over the years as the variety stores went out of business.

We are looking at a variety store, not a big box store. We are looking at a store with national buying power, experience in rural, underserved areas with the money to support them. We are looking at more employment and, in some cases, keeping some folks shopping at home rather than going over the hill to Redding.

The advantage of having Dollar General far outweighs the disadvantage.

Those retailers who carry the same type items aren’t going to be happy, but it is a reality, they will do as they always do and adapt.

There was a time when the Valley hosted A baby wear store, a large lady’s store, a general “American Made” clothing store, A shoe store, two general merchandise variety stores, two grocery stores, two convenience stores, a flower shop, a pharmacy, along with two hardware and building supply stores and two auto supply stores.

As roads and cars improved, outside advertising became more prevalent and locally merchants became less and less interested in drawing customers, keeping customer loyalty, keeping their names in front of the local residents and selling their customers on their stores, we started to die.

A well financed retailer with a proven business model that works in rural, underserved areas should be a welcome addition to the Valley area. In part:

• It will bring some much needed employment.
• It will help keep Valley customers in the Valley.
• It will increase the variety of merchandise available in the Valley.

Those that don’t want to see growth will see decline and while the trees, rivers, and fields are beautiful, the vacant, dilapidated buildings dotting the area aren’t.

I wrote a spirited editorial last week leaning on people with trashy yards.

I don’t apologize for it.

However, One of those I took on was a vacant lot on Second Street in Fall River Mills. It was and is pretty bad at the moment. The property owner who has only had the property for a few months dropped by the office and explained.

The place had been a rental before he bought it. Whoever was renting it allegedly totally trashed the residence and when leaving left the trash almost knee deep inside.

He says the pile of trash, which doesn’t have any garbage or other decaying matter in it is the junk he removed from the house and that he will haul it all away once he finishes getting trash and the construction debris out.

In the meantime he said he is buying tarps and will cover it.

It is only right to let folks know that he isn’t some slob who doesn’t care and that he is doing his best to improve his property and wants to be a good neighbor.

On another subject...
Mayers Memorial CEO Matt Rees and the hospital district’s board of directors quietly parted ways late last week.

I’ve watched the hospital, its boards and CEO’s operate for the past 34 or so of my 38 years of reporting. I have also watched them come and go and as far as I’m concerned Matt was one of the best ones.

I’m glad he was here, sorry to see him go and wish him the best in the future.

Mayers has gone through one of the roughest periods in its history in the past five years.

The state has made impossible demands like forcing the hospital, already having a hard time financially, to rebuild to new standards without providing the money to do so.

The State, Feds and major insurance companies have demanded that the hospital serve people, claim they are paying for those services and yet dragging their feet in paying and only paying portions of their treatment.

Doctors are being pirated by large urban hospitals and becoming scarce in rural areas.

In the early days the hospital attracted doctors, wooed them, supplied them with offices and other perks. Now that is against the law.

It used to be that rural hospitals handled their major emergency patients because the only way to a trauma center was by ground ambulance. Now they are flown to those trauma centers often without ever seeing the Mayers Emergency room.

It takes a special person, a qualified person, to come into an established rural community and as an outsider make necessary changes, modernize, meet the challenges, and keep everyone happy while going forward.

Matt was lucky and unlucky at the same time. He was sharp, experienced and energetic. He had a good board to work with. He had an excellent staff and continued to develop and recruit that staff. He had a good, caring community.

Over the past five years Mountain Echo has recorded the changes, the improvements, and the accomplishments.

Matt set the atmosphere for improvement and moving forward.

He did a lot of work in the healthcare field that benefited Mayers.

At the same time he hired and set the stage for people like Val Lakey who lobbied and worked so hard to get the state to make changes. He hired and set the stage for Caleb and Louis to not only put major systems in place to modernize the hospital, but to make policy and directional changes that help the hospital survive. Marlene has done a marvelous job raising funds for a number of things including the pending construction. He helped the Chief Financial Officer and others, all the while doing things that increased morale of employees throughout the hospital.

As far as I’m concerned Matt was a good CEO and I’ll miss him.


It appears to me that way too much emphasis is being placed on being politically correct rather than doing what is necessary and letting the chips fall where they may.

A hundred and twenty years or so ago, if you stole a horse, they hung ya. They might or might not have gone through the niceties of a trial.

When I was a kid, I went to school. If I cut school or got in a fight I went to visit a higher authority who sat behind a big desk and scowled. He didn’t even listen a whole lot, he got out his paddle and gave me three good licks.

I didn’t commit the crime twice.

In my youth if someone would have wanted to sell me drugs, my dad would have taken care of the situation. No trial, no jail, no probation, just a body.

If someone had a yard so gross that it was a public health hazard or a major fire hazard a few of the neighborhood men would have paid the occupant a visit and the yard would have been cleaned up, and not by the visitors.

Sounds nasty? Not really. I get discouraged when everyone’s little darlings can do whatever they want because “after all, boys will be boys.” I’m getting tired of calling a bunch of no-shows at court the “County’s most wanted” then booking and releasing them again because there’s no room for them anyway. It is discouraging to see the real criminal doing what he or she wants - after all some do gooder might be able to rehabilitate them.

Give me a break - people don’t have to live up to standards anymore and those who don’t are expected to lower ours.

A few things this week... First, a few weeks ago I wrote an editorial in which I said Cal Fire sent letters out to Hat Creek area residents regarding the homeowner’s fire suppression efforts.

Cal Fire pointed out that they don’t send out questionnaires to anyone and, because of the community’s proximity to the National Forest, the Forest Service handles property care and maintenance for fire safety. Actually, I wasn’t questioning the methodology, but its use, by Cal Fire who collects an SRA tax. That being the case I shouldn’t have gigged them for an area they don’t cover. Of course if the residents of that area are paying SRA fees, they might want to know where the money is going.

Secondly, I am an extremely proud Dad and Donna is an extremely proud Mom - Our daughter, US Army First Sergeant Arnie Cobos retired from the Army after 32 years. She’s quite a gal and we are sooo very proud and happy for her!

Arnie is a 1984 graduate of Burney High School.

This entire area is becoming a dumping grounds for a whole lot of undesirable humans and trash.

Regarding the humans, I wouldn’t be quite as critical of our homeless population if it wasn’t for the fact that the population is much the same in the cold of winter as the summer and they don’t seem to get jobs, homes or move on.
I can sympathize with folks temporarily down on their luck who have lost their residences or vehicles and jobs and are trying to work their way out of the situation they are in. I don’t have any patience for people who move into the woods and leave their trash there. I question the motivation of anyone who, in the winter months especially, will live in the rain, snow and cold of the Intermountain Area wooded areas instead of the Good News Rescue Mission or similar establishments in the warmer climate of Redding which even has more services. Makes you wonder if they aren’t hiding from something.

It would be almost tolerable if it wasn’t getting worse instead of better.

The garbage situation is also becoming worse — a whole lot worse.

I ran a story on one such property on Highway 299 near County Line Road a few weeks ago. I did the story because there were a number of other problems at that location which begged to be aired.

I then wrote an editorial saying that I wasn’t going to be a garbage cop, that was the county’s job.

Since that time it came to light that a location on Second Street in Fall River Mills next to the run-down two story home, is being used as a trash dump by someone in that neighborhood. There is, and has been for the past several weeks, a pile of everything imaginable that is roughly three feet high, covering an area of roughly 100 square feet. As far as I can tell the only saving grace is that no one is dumping rotting garbage or sewage in it.

There are houses and yards almost as bad throughout the area.

Then we have public property such as the alleyway and back yard that was featured in last week’s letter to the editor section. Besides being a nuisance it is a major urban fire hazard and as the lady pointed out, won’t be addressed by Cal Fire or the Burney Fire Department.

I’m not going to be the garbage cop, but some group with the ability to raise money might look into the feasibility of hiring an attorney and suing the County Environmental Health Department for not doing anything in the Intermountain Area.

Donna and I just paid our $115 + State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fee (tax).

We did it in spite of the fact that we live and pay taxes for fire protection in and by the Burney Fire Department.

We did it in spite of the fact that this is at least the second year that the California Department of Forestry has pushed the Burney Fire District until it agreed to go around and threaten to cite people who didn’t clean up their weeds, get their leaves off wood shake roofs, etc.

We did it in spite of the fact that Cal Fire is supposed to use the money raised from the SRA tax to provide and promote fire prevention.

Was I happy about paying it?   No.

I was even less happy about it when I drove away from the front of our house and past the neighbor’s house which had been vacant for a couple of months and had front, back and side yards full of foot-high, dry weeds and no one has apparently done anything about forcing whoever is responsible to clean the mess up.

Living in Johnson Park, I passed a number of other yards that weren’t exactly clear, but were a whole lot better than that one. I turned onto Highway 299 toward Burney and passed the Cal Fire Station. In front of the station was a neat, well uniformed young firefighter with a leaf blower, blowing the front of the Cal Fire yard cleaner than it already was.

That afternoon I talked with a friend from the Hat Creek area.
He had received a questionnaire in the mail regarding whether his yard was clean or not. The instructions with the letter were to fill it out and mail it back to Cal Fire.

Now Burney did do a share of the fire prevention last year when they had more personnel. This year they are short staffed so guess what? Is Cal Fire stepping up to the plate and doing what the law demands if they are to receive the SRA tax or are they too busy using leaf blowers to make sure their property is spotless?

Did they hire more clerical staff to handle the questionnaires they may or may not get back or did they laugh all the way to the bank?

It seems to me that they were accused of having a hidden slush fund around the same time the park’s department got caught. If I remember right there was no real explanation and the whole thing was quietly hushed up. I’d be glad to print a retraction of that last statement providing Cal Fire provides me with a complete, verifiable accounting of what happened and if there was anything to it, how it was resolved.

From what I’ve seen over the years I’ve dealt with them, Cal Fire has way too much power, too much money and too little accountability.

Ever since I did a series on “The eyesore of the week” 30 some years ago, I’ve stayed away from it for a number of reasons.

I knew that I’d be asking for another flood of eyesores if I did what I did last week.

However there is one difference, That one involved a number of factors from sewage to child molesters and a county that doesn’t give a damn.

Since then I’ve had requests to run various people’s pet eyesores.

The problem is that I’m not going to be the town’s garbage recorder.

What is such a crying shame is that people have to resort to coming to me in the first place because they live in the eastern end of the county instead of the Redding area where someone “important” will be taken care of.

E nv i r o n m e n t a l Health which fights any response to a problem at all and finally sets a hearing date four months out, Child Protective Services that ignore the fact that a child molester is living in the same residence as a 5-year old, A health department that could care less about garbage or sewage.

It is downright pitiful!

Everyone gets their pay and benefits without providing the services the people supposedly pay taxes for and the only way people can solve a problem is to take it to the paper.
I used to be in the Burney District and have covered them since the late 1970’s so I have a pretty good feel for the problems and issues they face and I have sat through so many of their meetings over the years that I have a reasonable understanding of what they face, what monies they get in, what monies go out and how their hands are tied by laws and regulations and tight funding.

I’m not saying they, or anyone else, is God’s gift to providing water - certainly not for what we’d like to pay for it. However, the days of hiring a couple of strong young men who can drive a CAT, wield a shovel, and fix a pre-computerized era gas or diesel engine are gone, right along with the people that can feed themselves, not to mention their families on minimum wage.

There are laws, rules, regulations and safety issues, all of which are extremely important and could cost them their lives or their jobs as well as cost the district hefty fines.

The people in the office are expected to routinely handle computerized equipment, programs and systems, money, questions, unhappy customers and so on.

The Manager has to have years of experience, know the system, its weaknesses and strength, how to handle a multitude of emergencies. In the last couple of years those emergencies have included wild fire that burned close to their wells and nor far from a tank, wind storms that downed and uprooted trees which threatened their system, heavy rains which forced crews to work extensive overtime to minimize dangers and damages. A pump on the high pressure side of the system that was going out and had to be replaced while keeping the system’s pressure up. That doesn’t count things like thieves and vandals damaging the office and equipment, the office’s roof being damaged by wind, one of the district’s vehicles being stolen and on and on.

These days the job market is tight. If an employee feels he or she is being taken advantage of, not paid what others in the same classification are, or can get more benefits or pay elsewhere, They will. There are districts and industries that need their skills and there aren’t a whole lot of folks in the local job market qualified or willing to do what they do.

Regarding the system itself, the water doesn’t bubble up and flow out of artesian wells. Water has to be pumped. Because of fire flow pressures so there’s enough water and pressure to fight fires from a hydrant, as well as a reliable and adequate water supply 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, for the district’s customers, a quantity also has to be stored in huge water tanks so there is enough to cover the district’s needs including needs in emergencies.

Tanks and wells, pumps, pipes, monitoring systems, meters, meter boxes, backhoes, trucks, safety equipment, and on and on, have to be purchased, repaired and periodically replaced. Many of those items cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If a pipe wears out, breaks or springs a leak, it has to be replaced. Money has to be available to cover those costs.

Some of the customer’s water is used so they can flush their toilets, take bathes, wash clothes and dishes, and so forth.

If Burney was in a third world country, chances are the sewage could be dumped onto farm land but there are a lot of laws that prohibit that, for the smell as well as the health and safety of those in its path.

The district takes advantage of gravity where it can both for the movement of both water and sewer, however the district is built on a side of a mountain and its terrain is uneven. The Physics dictates that gravity will take the liquid down, but pumps, whether it is men with buckets, or machines using gas, diesel or electricity, have to drag, carry or push it uphill.

Then they face all the laws. There are laws that have tremendous fines if sewage escapes the system and gets into creeks or rivers. There are laws that demand routine testing of the water or pollution. There are laws that say the sludge has to be cleaned out of the sewer ponds. There are laws saying that the weeds that tend to grow around the top of sewer ponds have to be removed. There are laws that protect workers and equipment is required when workers go into facilities that might contain gases.

PG&E doesn’t give their electricity away. The cost of that “luxury” is already well over $100,000 this fiscal year. Engineers are required more and more and they, like the independent auditors don’t come cheap.

I’ve taken a lot of words to say it, but bluntly, it takes a lot of money to run a water and sewer district. A lot can quickly go wrong and the potential of not having water or sewer is unimaginable.

I’ve watched a lot of boards, a lot of managers and a lot of employees at the Burney Water District over the years and I haven’t seen too many culls.

Additionally, while past boards, reluctant to raise rates, have opted to budget for the immediate needs and not the future, this board, faced with pipes and equipment, some of which are 40 years old or older, has had the guts to look at the consequences and are reacting the only way they can, by raising the rates as gingerly as they can and still put the money aside that will soon have to be there.
Thank You
The teachers and staff at Mt. View High School and Soldier Mt. High School would like to thank the following businesses for their support and donations contributed to our Sober Grad night. Without all of the thoughtful and much needed support, our students would not be able to participate in a Sober Grad event. Thank you again to each of the following people and businesses:

Alpine Drive In
Burney Bowling Alley
Dottie & Bob Sales
Dr. Patterson
Fall River Boosters
Gepetto’s Pizza
H & R Logging
Leo S. Jones Propane
McArthur Farm Supply
McDonalds Mountain Cruisers
Mt. Burney Coffee Company
Napa Auto Parts
Burney Pit River Casino
Safeway Soroptimist International of Burney/Fall River
Mt. View High School/Soldier Mt. High School Students and Staff members
I was really disappointed to find out that four people were all that stood between the folks of Big Valley and the necessary medical capabilities it takes to save lives.

They lost lives last year that they might not have had those services been available. How many will they lose in this next year? Shame on all of those who voted no!

A few years ago, a group of folks under the leadership of Rick Morris and the Burney Chamber of Commerce got together, formed the town beautification committee and went to work. They didn’t sit around waiting for someone else to do it - they did it.

Over the ensuing years, weeds disappeared downtown and were replaced with flowers, bark and other landscaping. Old West wagons, farm equipment, benches and more appeared. Christmas Tree Lane became the showpiece of the Burney Basin.

First, we as a community need to recognize and thank them. The town really is attractive and clean in appearance giving visitors and residents a good impression of our town and thus area.

Second, they have started a new program, “Adopt a Plot,” (see Page 3), to encourage the community to become involved. It is set up so it won’t take that much time from a person’s busy life, and it will keep Burney looking as pretty as does now. Get involved.

Thank you Committee, you did great!

This week is National Hospital Week and it is a good time to take a look at your hospital.

Mayers has gone through a lot of growing pains since the late 1950’s when everyone recognized the need, got together, donated, worked, and (unlike Big Valley and its need for an ambulance) accepted a tax to help keep it alive and save lives.

Mayers has grown from one little wing to three and its leadership is now working to build and rebuild, upgrade and become even more state of the art.

In the old days CEO Everett Beck, his wife Judi, board were able to work their way through the growth, needs, and modernization needed at that time. The laws were fewer and not as complex. The economy somewhat better, building codes not as strenuous and nothing was as expensive as it is now.

Now, CEO Matt Rees and his team have managed to get old debt almost paid off, fought for legislation and help in getting favorable payments from a government that seldom understands or cares, backed up and punted when the game changed, as it often has, and is now walking through the minefield of roadblocks with getting the latest construction that is needed, done.

In the meantime, folks in the district have a new ambulance coming, an excellent staff, from ambulance and emergency room, to long-term care.

Take a good look at them this week -you’ll be surprised at how well they are doing.

Yes, former LAFCO Chief Executive Officer Jan Lopez got a lot of work done before the board declined to renew her contract.

In fact, she got a massive amount of work done before they pulled the plug but there were a number of things that you don’t normally have that raised flags to me. She had already pissed off Cal Fire years ago in a very public battle with them as a consultant for fire companies.

Then after a number of years of flying below the public radar, she was as vocally vicious to her predecessor and appeared to work tirelessly in an effort to destroy her credibility and get her fired.

Second, at the time of those attacks and shortly before being hired by LAFCO, she was the consultant to the Fall River Valley Community Services District, which involved a portion of the same people who were after the old Executive Officer.

Whether rightly or wrongly, she was tied to the former general manager of the CSD and the board who blessed him, known for an attitude of trying “to take over the entire Valley and beyond.

So when it finally came to doing a sphere of influence for the combined fire services, guess what, the maps blatantly cut into fire company, and thus Cal Fire (contracted county fire) turfs which really excited people who believe that you “Don’t tread on me.”

Add that to the fact that when the former executive officer left her position, there was a surplus of funds. When she left, Lopez was already under a cloud of spending money for expenses such as staying and eating, in county, at places like the Fall River Hotel, when she lived in county herself, then went public alleging that LAFCO was not only broke, but was so far in debt that they were not going to have any choice, but to raise the fees they charge the special districts.

Well, in a recent finance meeting (See page one), the e-mails she sent were apparently misguided, as the financials now show they don’t have much, but they are still in the black.

It strikes me that something isn’t right - I have no idea what or where, but someone needs to take a good hard look at the situation and either demonstrate that there is or is not a problem and clear the air.

I got my bell rung Friday when I received an irate call from an irate individual with an issue with the way Mountain Echo covered what, to him is the most important issue ever to face the Intermountain Area, because he is sure we’ll be biased.

Looking at it dispassionately, there are at least four issues of the same importance with the same level of interest and the same potential for goring someone’s ox on my table right now. We don’t make the issues, we report on them. That is the world I play in.

Like my father-in-law who was also a newspaper editor, owner said, “At least 50% of the people are going to hate you 50% of the time and it won’t always be the same people.”

It generally isn’t any big deal. If they are rational, I talk to them. If not, I hang up on them. This time the caller made the mistake of insinuating that I ran a yellow rag because I knowingly ran stories written by a reporter who was married to a former LAFCo Commissioner who had the audacity to get up and tell the commission why he didn’t think this guys ox (project) was a good idea.

In essence what the caller was saying is - How dare someone who had spent over 20 years on the LAFCo board have an opinion and what gave him the right to voice that opinion? Worse yet, how dare Caldwell have a reporter on staff, covering meetings that her husband had once been a commissioner on and who had an opinion about a project that hadn’t even been before the board when he retired. Worse even yet, how dare Caldwell publish her story.

Well, the real world doesn’t work that way.

In the first place I run a small weekly newspaper. The number of people who want to be a reporter is limited. The number of good reporters are even fewer and the excellent reporter like the one in question, is rarer.

In the second place, in scarcely populated rural areas such as ours there are a limited number of people with an infinite number of choices as to what, if anything they want to become involved with. I’ll guarantee you that leadership positions, and positions on boards aren’t high on a whole lot of people’s agendas.

My reporter’s reporting is not limited to LAFCo. She has contributed a number of other stories and they have all been accurate and well received.

It has been my position from the outset that if you are going to write about something, it is a good idea to know something about what you are writing about.

I’ve been involved over the years and still am. My reporters have been and often are involved - I encourage it.

There is two things that I and my reporter have to keep in our minds - is what I’m writing accurate and am I keeping my personal biases out of it.

We have a check and balance system that goes beyond the writer. The writer has an editor - me. I have an editor, Donna - my wife.

The other important thing to realize is that the reporter is not writing about the issue at hand. The reporter is writing about the meeting or whatever and what was said, or came up or the history involved. The opinion isn’t the reporter’s, it is the person who was saying whatever. If the person fails to make the point or is inaccurate or acts stupid, that is on them.

If we write opinions it goes on this page - the opinion page.

The term “Yellow Journalism” came about when Pulitzer and Hearst are said to have brought about the Spanish American War by writing inaccurate stories for their own gain, not because one of their reporters was married to a man who had stepped up to the plate and been involved in something for a number of years.

Moral of my rant... Don’t attack the messenger, write a letter to the editor about the issue - that way the side that doesn’t agree with you can call you names or try to get you fired. Just have the courage to sign the letter for print.
Thank You
Editor: The Big Bend Community Club’s 34th Almost Annual Trout Derby was a great success. We would like to thank the communities of McArthur, Fall River Mills, Burney, Big Bend, Montgomery Creek, Redding, Round Mountain, Anderson and Cottonwood for the great raffle prizes.

The winners of the Trout Derby were: • First Place - Ken Randolph with a 24 1/2 inch, 5 lb 1/4 oz, German Brown;
• Second Place - James Anderson with a 17 9/16 inch, 1 lb. 5 oz. Rainbow;
• Thomas Hardy with a 16 3/4 inch, 1 lb 9 1/2 oz Rainbow.

Thank you to all fishermen and fisherwomen for your participation. The club would like to thank Rogue and T. F. Carabajal of Sweeties Cafe for the great food.

The music of Heavy Dose of Blues ended the evening on high note.

Thank You All,
Joyce Hebert, Chairperson
Thank You
The family of Chuck Simmons wish to thank everyone for their love, support, kindness and prayers during our time of loss.

Thank you,

The Chuck Simmons family


I’ve got to give the readers a heads up on this editorial. First, I am not a fan of Cal Fire leadership, in my opinion it borders on a philosophy of taking no prisoners and operating as an absolute dictatorship.

Second, I have absolute loyalty to our local fire departments and companies.

Third, while I understand the reason for forming Local Agency Formation Commissions, their purpose, and needs, I have been an alternate commissioner, and I have observed them for years.

I am left with the opinion that the LAFCO laws, like any laws, are “one shoe fits all,” the commissioners for a large part are simply politicians who, like windmills, turn in any direction at the slightest breeze, and the whole outfit is rift with power struggles, and ulterior motives.

Fourth, as a semiindependent commission, there is far too little oversight in how they conduct themselves.

With all of that said, I should have really studied the Fall River Valley Coordinated Fire Protection District Sphere of influence map instead of looking at it as a casual observer. Additionally I should have put more thought into the immediate past histories of some of those involved. With those items in mind and the caution to remember that I’m far from being an expert on LAFCO or on this particular problem. However it appears logical that the SoI go back to the drawing board.

It isn’t because anyone in what was or is the SoI going to be short changed for service. They are not. In reality, the departments and company involved already have agreements to assure the affected area’s safety and response. However, territory wise, Soldier Mountain is an apparent satellite of McArthur, not of the Shasta County Fire Department and that was not anyone’s intention.

It needs to go back because Soldier Mountain, McArthur or Shasta County Fire, or a combination thereof scewed up in the beginning.

Soldier Mountain started following the Chalk Fire. It was logical. It was needed. It was formed as a satellite to the McArthur Department. Then it became more feasible for them to go under County Fire’s wing.

At that point, if the map LAFCO is using is correct, most or all the niceties were taken care of, except that instead of Cal Fire carving out the portion of territory where Soldier Mountain is headquartered it remained in the service area of McArthur.

To make matters worse, the Commissioners accepted petitions affecting Soldier Mountain which aren’t verified as legitimately coming from the affected area. Those petitions probably skewed commission votes one way or the other.

My guess is that before it is over, the SoI, which was already pretty shaky, will be overturned.

That Shasta County Fire will do what should have been done long ago and make sure that Soldier Mountain’s territory is included in their kingdom.

That process will include petitioning LAFCO and the agency to do whatever has to be done, by the book, pass it, and then go back to the Joint SoI and go through the process again and pass a new one.

Personally I can’t see where any of them are, in reality hurt by the present arrangement, but it would be tidier, with less feelings hurt by doing it right.

It is only a sphere, it isn’t even going to affect any of the agencies pocket books and any annexation into any district could be forced into a vote of those in the proposed boundaries.


Editor: I have heard it said that the “Big Valley” area already has ambulance service so why should we tax ourselves for something we don’t need.

Let’s be clear, the area that will be served by the Southern Cascade Community Service District does not already have service.

Yes, there are ambulances that come when you call 911, the closest ambulance legally has to respond. They, however, do not have to come if they are already committed on another call or transport. Mayers routinely staffs only one of their two ambulances. When they are committed elsewhere they are not available to come here. Mayers is also not routinely staffing with an ALS crew. This means, if they come when you call, they are not qualified to do everything you might need. A BLS crew, while better than nothing, is not the same. There have been at least two cases where Mayers was committed and Modoc was dispatched. Modoc refused to come stating they were also committed elsewhere. The ambulance that responded came from Burney. Burney covers a huge area and is a very busy station.

I appreciate everyone who responds to emergency calls no matter where they come from, including the first responders of the Fire Departments. However, I am not willing to gamble with the lives of my loved ones to save $130 a year. Those lives are priceless to me.

Cost of one parcel tax for SCCSD $65

Cost of two or more parcels tax for SCCSD $135

Cost of a life of a loved one saved PRICELESS!
Diane Bouse

It appears to me that someone shot from the hip at last week’s Mayers Memorial Hospital’s board meeting and caused Mayers management staff unnecessary embarrassment.

It is one thing to do that when you are a member of staff, it is another when you are a consultant being paid millions of dollars to develop plans for the hospital and should know better.

Consultant Charles Dandy told the board that they had to meet a deadline in early May which for all practical purposes was impossible to meet and intimated that the deadline was cast in concrete.

Shortly after his statements the board unloaded on staff and began to pick various items apart, saying they weren’t being thorough.

Maybe the board was right, maybe not, I’m not in a position to know.

However, when a member of staff makes a simple phone call and verifies that the data staff was relying on was right and consultant was wrong I think that if I was on the board I’d be taking a good hard look at the consultant.

Tuesday’s the big day. LAFCO is doing something it hasn’t done in a long time, if ever - two of the commissioners plus the Executive Officer and staff are coming to a public map meeting tonight (Tuesday) 5 p.m. at Ingram Hall to discuss the current Fall River Mills, McArthur and Northwest Lassen Fire Department’s joint sphere of influence map.

It is an informal workshop and no decisions can or will be made.

I’m sure it will draw a lot of interest and a spread of views from positive to extremely negative.

Personally I would like everyone to be civil - there is very little to be gained by attacking or playing on personality issues.

From my point of view the whole thing should be fairly simple, straightforward, and logical.

Yes, there are some historical issues that LAFCO should be able to demonstrate have been cleared up and are no longer issues. If they can’t - well they (LAFCO) deserves what it gets. If they can demonstrate that they are now non issues, then let’s keep it civil.I am not very happy about the Emergency Services flap at Mayers Memorial Hospital.


It has all of the earmarks of a blackhead that can grow and erupt and do some real damage to the hospital, employees and people the hospital serves and all deserve better.

They have excellent people on both sides who, for a variety of unstated reasons don’t like each other, don’t want to work for or with each other, do or don’t want change, and may have distorted the situation because “By God we’ll do it my way or else.”

That is petty and counterproductive on both sides.

Mayers wasn’t doing very well morale wise or financially when Matt Rees was brought on board, ostensibly to get things going on the right track and turned it around.

So far, financially the hospital is doing better overall than it had done in years. Morale is 200% better than it has been since I first came here in the late 1970’s. The top management team under Rees are local and talented.

That said, long-time Docs like Dahle and Watson have served, treated, birthed, greaved with and celebrated with the majority of people in the hospital’s service area.

The emergency room and ambulance service has become far more complex over the years and again, those who work there are responsible for saving an untold number of lives.

Everyone in the hospital steps up to the plate in emergencies - always has and I hope, always will.

There are always personalities and with them agendas and job differences.

Management generally does what management has to do because it has to be done to survive or at least stay viable. Management doesn’t always tell those not in management what they are doing nor expect to be second guessed.

People who have seniority often feel they know what’s best because their existence points to the fact that it works.

Outsiders often side with those they know or have loyalty to rather than those who know what to do and do it.

In general, unless you’re sitting on the top of the mountain, you don’t have the entire picture.

I’m not suggesting that one side or the other is right or wrong in this case. There’s a lot to be said on both sides and there are ways to do things and ways not to do things. If you’ve ever been in a hospital setting, and most of us have, you know that in most cases “bedside manner” really counts.

I am suggesting that everyone get their acts together, figure out the hidden agendas, work together, straighten out the problems, start treating each other like they would want their loved ones treated and move forward.

The people they serve deserve it.

I understand turf wars, what causes them, and the fact that they could usually be avoided if someone wasn’t out there stirring the pot.

In the case of the fire departments in and around the Fall River Valley, I’ll lay the blame directly on LAFCO on the one hand and Cal Fire on the other.

Why LAFCO wants to meddle in the affairs of Cassel is beyond me. Those folks don’t want to be messed with. They don’t and haven’t wanted any outside interference and do quite well on their own. They are happy to help if called on, but they don’t want outside interference in their affairs.

Regarding Soldier Mountain, McArthur and Fall River Mills, the three stations have gotten along quite well since the inception of Soldier Mountain’s fire station. They support each other and back each other up.

They could and would sit down and solve their problems if they didn’t have Cal Fire stirring the pot.

Personally I’d like to see Soldier Mountain go through the effort and become a district and get totally out from under Cal Fire’s control. They they could decide their own destiny rather than have an outside agency meddling in their affairs.

That way if they liked the idea of a formal sphere of influence with the other districts they could. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be obligated to.

Thank You
On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, our greatgrandson was brought to the Emergency Room at Mayers Hospital. He had a fractured ankle due to a sporting accident. The emergency room was full with a variety of dire emergencies being addressed.

On duty that night were four exceptional professional people. The following staff at Mayers are as follows: Dr. Dan Dahle, nurse Lauann Wellemeyer: and EMT’s Deanna Cater and Dusty Do etch. Their consideration for us was amazing. They answered every question that both the child and adults asked. They gave him physical and emotional care. This can be a very trying time for a child and his loved ones. Their patience with all of us was profound.

The child’s injuries were such that Dr. Dahle contacted Dr. Guthrie at Mount Shasta. The two doctors concurred that he should have immediate surgery. It was about 9:30 p.m. when the youth arrived at Mount Shasta and the surgery was performed around that time.

The following morning Dr. Guthrie had scheduled surgeries. We did not have the opportunity to meet him that morning: however, we are most appreciative and grateful for his abilities. In retrospect, we observed that the nurses and staff at Mt. Shasta Hospital were also kind, considerate and helpful.

We are proud and pleased with the employees of both hospitals, for their abilities, talents and consideration. May God bless all of you.
Thank You,
Diane and Rick Phay

You have to read Mrs. Russell’s report on LAFCO to believe it. Misuse of public funds is a serious charge and those allegations get lost when the various commissioners are embroiled on or off stage in what can best be described as a circus. When they are busy muddying the waters with political posturing and verbal fisticuffs it is all too easy to lose sight of those things that should be the commissioner’s objectives, i.e., making sure staff performs their duties in a lawful manner and making sure the organization does what it is chartered to do.

They are also on shakey ground when they violate employee privacy rights.

The commissioners aren’t there to host their rather vicious version of “Saturday Night Live.”

My understanding of the laws is that when a public agency is investigating, and/ or, considering charges against any employee, whether it is a janitor or the executive director, the investigation and possible charges are, under the Ralph M. Brown Act, other state and federal laws, and just plain human decency, is to handle the charges in closed session.

Charges, whether real or imaginary, have the direct effect of damaging a person’s reputation.

In my opinion the Commission’s performance in the last year of the previous executive officer’s tenure was outrageous and it hasn’t gotten any better with the latest executive director.

Shasta County Supervisor Les Baugh has an absolute right and justifiable moral duty to resign from a committee which he feels is allegedly acting illegally or condoning illegal action. But the charges he is referring to involve an employee and thus should be private until such time as the board decides to formally pursue the matter, if they decide to do so.

Along with that, for the commissioners to attack each other on a personal level in public is far from being professional - political, maybe, but Shasta County isn’t the congress or executive branch and I for one, expect better of them.

There are a couple of items in the news that folks should start watching.

First water and sewer users in the Fall River Valley Community Services District need to be aware that push is coming to shove and that the board of directors of that district are stepping up to the plate. Realizing that they are in a position where they have to start putting money aside for the replacement of their aging infrastructure which has already started to fall apart, they are looking at the looming possibility of a major rate increase and trying to find alternative ways to raise the money. Neither way is going to be pleasant and will hurt someone. My suggestion is to keep an eye on what’s going on and make positive suggestions rather than “You can’t do that to me.”

The second is the state is actively working on a take over of water rights - even the Pre 1914 rights are in jeopardy. If you own water rights, research them, document them and that you are using them. If you have any questions call the Northeastern California Water Association (see page 1) and get your questions answered. It isn’t hard to figure out why the Intermountain Area is the only place to live!


As far as I can remember this is a first – the first time I’ve written an editorial the day after the current issue hit the streets.

I started full-time with Mountain Echo the first week in December 1979. The paper was 20¢ a copy when I joined the team, and circulation was around 100. They were mailed at that time on a bulk permit.

I’m not sure of the exact date that we got our second class status. Sally and Kira had applied for it before I came on board and it was okayed either in the winter or early spring of 1980. Sally also came up with a wonderful subscription drive and our circulation bloomed.

I did exactly what the management before me did, and what Sally and Kira did before them – I took the papers to be mailed, along with the required postal forms and a check for the amount we owed to the Post Office. In those days Post Master Iris Bassett or her right hand lady Mickey Young, took the papers at the post office, now the late Gallery and Gifts Co-op. If there was a problem Iris or Mickey called me and I took care of it. There weren’t any threats. During the entire 35 years or 1,850 issues of Mountain Echo involved, we have never missed a Tuesday publication (or in the cases when Christmas or New Year’s Day fell on Tuesday) the day before or after the holiday.

We have driven many thousands of miles to be printed and get our papers without missing a beat. We have dealt with six fine postmasters and a like number of postal clerks, again, without missing a beat – until this week (now last week).

As I remember it, in the beginning I had to fill out a single page postal form, then it went two-sided, still filled out by hand, and of course signed under penalty of perjury. Then the Post Office went digital. The form increased until it is now two plus pages of worksheets which I have to hand sign, and another page that actually says I mailed it, again under the penalty of perjury and now the threat of our paper not being mailed.

During that time we labeled, sorted, tied, bagged and delivered the papers to the Fall River Post Office, purchased stamps, envelopes, paid box rent and used their “First Class” services.

Last year Mountain Echo paid the U.S. Postal Service $6,358.84 for their services.

Last Monday, after spending a large portion of Sunday night as usual, at the computer with an extremely painful shoulder injury (my stupidity), I did as I always do, went from the house to the office and continued to work. When I finished laying out the last page, doing the last correction, sending
the last page to the press, I filled out the post office’s paperwork on line, printed it off, gave it to Donna to write a check and she put it and the check on Joy’s desk so it would be taken to the post office with the labeled papers in the morning – Joy and Diane address label the papers going to subscribers in the Fall River Valley, east and out of the area papers going to Redding and beyond. Donna and I do the labeling for the Burney/Hat Creek/ Old Station and Cassel area. We both did our jobs and the paperwork was delivered to the Fall River Post Office along with the addressed papers, and check to cover the postage as computed by the Postal computer system, as usual.

I got a call Tuesday saying the Post Office didn’t have my paperwork in its computer system. I had done everything on my end and Diane hand delivered everything to the Fall River Post Office I was still pretty well exhausted and since it was a day off, not fully computing. There was no mention that my papers wouldn’t go out as usual.

There was no one in the Mountain Echo office Tuesday, there never is. After the ladies finish delivering the mail to the post office they go home. Had someone told me that some of my papers weren’t going to get delivered I would have hauled my butt out of the chair and driven to Fall River regardless of how tired I was.

The next day (today) the local post office figured out that I had submitted the paperwork (they had the printed copy in their hands). The Postal computer system is roughly one step above being a joke. It is off line part of the time, they make changes without giving any notice or issuing any instruction on how to complete the paperwork and generally kick you out if you make a mistake and make you start filling the forms all over again. Suddenly the local folks figured out that since they had a copy in hand and of course my money, there was a way to deliver the papers and the papers went out after being held the extra day.

What did fry me was that they didn’t feel it was any big deal, there were only a few customers inconvenienced. Believe me as far as I’m concerned every one of my customers count. It may not matter to the postal service but it does to Mountain Echo and I apologize on my own behalf and on behalf of the Mountain Echo.


I met with Shasta County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mark Lillibridge, commander of the Burney Patrol Division last week and he added a few tips to suggestions I had heard before regarding self protection from burglaries and thefts.

The bulk of the recent business burglaries occurred because the bathroom window or other small windows weren’t closed or weren’t securely latched.

Lillibridge had two other suggestions. First keep a light or lights on in the business and around it at night for two reasons. The burglars like to work in the dark and the cops need to be able to see inside and around the business to watch for movement and other suspicious circumstances. Second buy security systems. Using Safeway Stores as an example, the vast majority of petty thefts are solved right away because they have the incident and perpetrators on film or disk.

He points out that systems that used to cost in the thousands of dollars can now be purchased for under a thousand. Remember that those type systems don’t work if they aren’t hooked up, put in strategic positions and used. Again, the scum bags that are breaking into businesses often case them before doing anything and if they see cameras, they shy away from those businesses. If they don’t and the cameras are being used, chances are much better that they’ll be caught.

We all know, or at least have been told on numerous occasions that the Intermountain Area of today is not the Intermountain Area of 20 years ago. Basically you are a damned fool if you don’t lock your car, if you leave your keys in your car, if you don’t lock your home when you leave and your garage when you aren’t in it. It isn’t even a good idea to warm your car up unless you stay with it or can lock it and reopen it while it is on.

Of course burglar alarms are wonderful, if they are professionally installed and connected to a service. If not, you get what you pay for. A nice noisy system that wakes up the neighborhood and is sensitive and easily set off when it is armed is much better than one that isn’t.

The patrol deputies are out there. They are doing their jobs, but they need all of our help.
The Big Valley Endowment Foundation would like to thank the following businesses and individuals for help with our annual Adin Crab Feed.

If you are driving or out at night and see something suspicious, call 9-1-1 and report it. You may save someone a whole lot of money and cause some jerk a whole lot of grief.


A Personal Note
I owe a lot of people for an awful lot of things, but there has always been one man who stood out when it came to making me a newspaper man - Bob Martinson.

He took a raw, fiction writer and radio DJ, and taught him what it takes, what is expected, and how to think community newspaper.

Beyond that he ignored the impulse to skin me a few times and remained encouraging and supportive to Donna and I and the Mountain Echo to the end.

Bob was a tremendous newspaper man in his own right, with a career that took him from small weeklies to major metropolitan papers. He was a wonderful mentor, with the skill of Ben Bradley, the patience of a saint,

He, his wife Suzanne, his partners Bill and Sharon Nesbit, owned the Echo from 1979 to 1982 and did far more than just support us. Once he got me started They all made it possible for Mountain Echo, and thus myself, to survive.

Donna any my deepest sympathies go out to Suzanne and the family.

Doing it Right
I was sitting in the Fall River Valley Community Service District’s monthly board meeting last Wednesday evening when it dawned on me that the board and management were talking about things that had their roots in meetings a few years ago. They were going after grants that had their roots in an earlier time. They had just accomplished things that previous management and boards had wanted to. They were putting things in place that will solve the problems they had been wrestling with for years. Like previous management and boards they were concerned with money but had it under control. They were in the early stages of putting in a water tank in McArthur, have a master plan, have completed the pipe replacement project along a lengthy portion of Highway 299. They are getting a leak detector and back hoe, and took steps to get the money to accompany grant moneys to take care of the oldest pipe in the system. They have a firm handle on getting the state parks grant for the park project by the old mill site.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

The bulk of those things had been on the drawing board before.

Those of us who remember those olden times don’t necessarily remember them with fondness which is a shame.

Unlike the last year, those early days were fraught with bitterness, hatreds, dictatorial policy, vendetta’s, hidden agendas and, on occasion. Illegal secretiveness.

It has been wonderful and continues to be wonderful to watch a team of five board members, a manager, two field men and two office professionals, essentially the same numbers as before, work together, work for and with the community and the users, bending over backwards to let people know what they are doing and why.

There haven’t been any circus acts, distractions, lies, omissions, unnecessary attorney fees, or I’m going to do it because I’m me and I want to.

The result is glowing. The nearly bankrupt district is now on track, not wealthy, but able to pay its bills on time. The customers are able to talk to staff and management and get straight answers. The infrastructure is getting upgraded while emergencies are also being taken care of. There’s a new phone system. The board and management have cut their losses, dumping unrealistic proposals like Kilarc, while keeping the parks they had wanted and working through the myriad of problems.

The district also has outstanding leadership and staff, a manager who pours his heart into the job, coordinates, questions, researches and works hard to bring people on board. The board is not made up of lightweights. They take their job seriously, are fairly well informed, ask questions and refuse to be yes men and women. If they don’t have the information they feel they need, they refuse to act on an issue until they do feel comfortable with it.


We have suddenly developed a major problem in the Intermountain Area.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist driving down the street after dark to tell that there is more than one individual dressed in all black with hoodies, wandering around and disappearing into shadows. Some may be innocent, some - not so much.

We have teen and young adult skateboarders doing their things on the sidewalks and parking lots (like the Veteran’s Hall’s).

We have more than our share of individuals who have tattoos that are all to common on criminals.

The local law enforcement guys have their hands full and are hampered by new laws.

Thirty years ago we had a couple of big deputies, who weren’t totally hamstrung like they are now. I know of more than one occasion where they picked up this or that individual, drove them to Bella Vista and told them not come back. Guess what - out of town scum found someplace else to try and bully.

One time in the late 70’s or early 80’s there was a rash of business burglaries. A few of the deputies got together, got permission from the business owners and spent nights on selective roof tops. Guess what, they made arrests, broke the burglary ring, and while we’ve had isolated burglaries since then, there hasn’t been a major cluster until now.

There were vandals in the late 80’s and early 90’s. A few moms and dads cried bitter tears about how the police were picking on their wonderful, innocent children, “boys will be boys,” unsupervised teens, but the crap stopped.

We have dedicated cops up here. I know most of them. For the most part, I’m impressed. They have and are, doing their best. They have a big territory and limited staff. They can’t concentrate all of their manpower on downtown Burney for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Law enforcement management falls short.

I hear a lot of excuses and most are based in fact.

You have a judicial system that fosters crime. You have stupid laws that fill the jails with novices so they can become bitter and trained criminals. You also have budget restrictions.

That said, you also have and have had for 20 years, top leadership with little imagination. They are terrified to do anything out of the box. And they lack the imagination to come up with alternatives that will really work.

Their excuses:

“This is California. We can’t give the inmates pink underwear and put them in tent cities” The Courts wouldn’t allow it.”

“We can’t enforce a curfew. We don’t have the manpower and other niceties to do that.”

“We can’t keep the ‘non violent’ criminal, there isn’t room for them.”

“ Get used to it. It’s all the State and Feds fault that we have all the scum bags and it will only get worse.”

“We don’t have the money.”

Those are not solutions, they are cop outs.

How does the hierarchy know that pink underwear and tents won’t work? Have they tried it? How do they know they can’t buck the system? Have they tried it?

A fact - proven nationwide and undoubtedly worldwide, the more unpleasant the jail, the less likely habitual criminals are to do things that will get them locked up there. They’ll go someplace else, where conditions are better and take their chances there.

If my solutions are unworkable - then I think they should think outside the box and come up with their own. Don’t stick with the status quo. We are the victims and we aren’t happy with the status quo.


I’m sure that if you’ve been around long enough you’ve noticed how government and big business works for you.

When you draw social security you receive an annual notice, most of the time you receive a tiny increase - cost of living. Then you get a notice that your Medicare premium just went up taking it away.

This year AARP didn’t even blush, they raised the rates considerably and aren’t taking it out of Social Security.

Then you have the falling gas prices. It had been pretty bad and for that matter even at $2 + way too much.

However it has gotten down to where it is semi manageable so our politicians decided to implement a tax to force it to increase by God only knows how much.

Nice going folks.

We don’t need the Tea Party. We need a Tea Party.


First and foremost — MERRY CHRISTMAS from Donna, our entire crew, and myself !!

Second — I normally let the front page news speak for itself and don’t feel it necessary to push people to read it. This week is different.

People often skip over the news about meetings and such, there was a lot of “meat” in the meetings this last week and people need to be aware of it.

Second, I apologize in advance for the abnormal number of stories that have been continued, but I didn’t have any choice.

Third, there was so much that took place in these meetings that I had to break them up into smaller stories. Some of those stories wouldn’t fit on Page One so I tried to get them on the same page I used for continued stories.

Fourth, my observations on LAFCO, primarily its board, and their treatment of executive officers.

Years and years ago, when I was a special district alternate on that board and the late Julie Howard was the executive officer, things were pretty cut and dried and there wasn’t a whole lot of dissension until Julie’s health began to deteriorate and she began having a difficult time with one of the members of the board. I wasn’t on the board any longer and had lost touch, but as I remember it, she retired or quit.

Amy Mickelson-Beadle was hired and spent better than 8-years with the organization, then the board bowed to pressure from the Fall River Community Services District and eventually reached a mutual separation agreement.

One of Mickelson’s most outspoken critics, a CSD consultant, Jan Lopez, was hired to replace her and now she’s experiencing the wrath of some of the board.

That’s the history.

I don’t have any problem with governmental or other boards disciplining or terminating managers or executive directors. That’s their job. They supposedly have all the facts, including inside information. They are supposed to evaluate, discuss and reach an intelligent decision.

If that had happened in Mickelson’s case I wouldn’t have had a major problem. That is not what I observed. It appeared that political pressure had been applied to a few of the board members that were much more concerned with keeping this or that special interest appeased by publicly humiliating an employee.

I could have been wrong, but that’s the way I saw it.

Now, the current exec, Jan Lopez, is beginning to feel the brunt of the same type of thing. The Cal Fire/ County Fire Chief and Lopez have had a bitter history, and the Chairman of the board, Les Baugh, has gone into the public attack mode and is starting to get support.

Again, I don’t know all of the facts, but I’ve been on two special district boards over the years, and put one manager in jail, but I didn’t jump out and belittle a manager or other employee in public, nor did the boards I was on. We discussed the problems in executive session, with the “offender”. We gave the “offender” fair hearing and when possible, a chance to correct the problem, we didn’t humiliate them in public.

It makes me glad I’m not a big time politician


Donna and I got to talking on the way home from the Ham dinner Saturday night.

We both spent parts of our childhood in Rural Northern California. In fact we first met as kids in Cedarville.

We did our thing and as adults moved back to the Intermountain Area as quickly as we possibly could and have spent almost the past 40 years here.

One of the main things that touched us Saturday night is the same thing that often touch us - we know almost everyone - we belong.

We could never say that about the cities we lived in nor would we really have wanted to.

We are proud to belong and prouder yet to know you all. Thank you for being our friends!

Thank You

The Burney Fire District and its Auxiliary send a great big THANK YOU to all of you who so generously donated money, toys, and time to this year’s Santa’s Workshop.

The children were delighted to receive their gifts from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

We would like to recognize those businesses and individuals who once again helped to make this year’s toy drive a huge success by their contributions: Burney VFW - Post 5689, Pit River Casino, Mountain Cruisers Car Club, Soroptimists, Tu- Bit Enterprises, Burney Sporting Goods, Tri Counties Bank, US Bank, Burney 4H Group, Donna Schechla & Friends, Dave Gilmore, and the Secret Santas that wish to remain anonymous.

Many thanks to our Santa’s Workshop elves who helped to make this year’s event successful by donating their time and talents, decorating, baking, sorting gifts, and so much more: Daryl & Gayla Conover, Kim & Aaron Golczynski, Laura Hodge, Kortney Maranto, and the Burney Fire District employees who helped pull it all together!

Wishing everyone a very safe and happy holiday season! Burney Fire Protection District.


When fact and hearsay get mixed up its as bad as making assumptions without checking my facts - I walk away with egg on my face and owing someone an apology.

We reported a recent LAFCO meeting a few weeks ago correctly. However in the following days facts became involved with misunderstandings. I wrote a long (way too long) editorial explaining the history of personal interactions between fire districts and LAFCO staff. The history was correct. However afterwards I was getting, the story that the LAFCO executive officer, Jan Lopez, had proposed including the Cassel Fire Company in a joint Fall River, McArthur and Northwest Lassen Fire Department Sphere of Influence.

Now, after “rechecking” facts, I have learned that when joint SOI came up on the agenda, one of the commissioners had asked about including Cassel in that sphere, but it had not been proposed by staff. Additionally Cassel and Soldier Mountain which was also mentioned along with both County Fire/Cal Fire, which Cassel and Soldier Mountain fall under and the County CEO were among those who opposed such a move.

Anyway it is abundantly clear that I owe Jan Lopez an apology - I had indicated that the “fictional” inclusion wasn’t too bright and she should have known better - obviously that was incorrect.

I apologize.


Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Mountain Echo!

Yes, there are more than a few things in this world that aren’t right. There are a lot of things that have happened that we wish hadn’t, and I suspect that goes for all of us.

But you know what? We are here, for the most part comfortable, for the most part not hungry, for the most part with a roof over our heads, a few hundred years after the Pilgrims and Indians met peacefully and broke bread.

Yep, I may fear what is happening in the world. I may not be at all happy with the idiots who run our country. I may hurt for those who are less fortunate than I am, but there is a lot to be happy for.

From Donna and I and from the staff at Mountain Echo, we hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving week appears to have been a quiet, enjoyable week for most. I know it sure was for Donna and I.

We had a chance to talk with our daughter Arnie and our grandson Scott and our great grand kids, a wonderful Turkey dinner with all the trimmings at the Vets Hall in Burney and just relax a lot.

Donna and I agree with Val Lakey (see column immediately below), we hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

It is wonderful to live in an area where you can wander around outdoors without worrying about being mugged or shot, knowing that your stores aren’t going to be burned or looted by professional agitators just out to see what kind of hate and discontent they can stir up.

Yep, the week was good to us and the area we live in is wonderful.


Where healthcare is concerned it all appears so simple.

If you have a rash you go to the clinic to see a doctor. If you have an accident you are hauled to the emergency room and if you’re having a baby or an operation you go to the hospital. If you’re having a massive heart attack you’re stabilized at the hospital and then flown to a trauma center.

It would be nice if everything was so neat and clean - it isn’t.

Thirty-eight years ago There were Doctors Zahn, Howlett, Noacker, and Mosher. All four had their own practices. If and when another Doc was needed, Mayers CEO Everett Beck and his wife Judi went out recruited, wooed, and whatever else was necessary to convince him or her that this was to be their new home.

That’s why you have the Clinic housed in what was originally built to house Doctor Noaker’s practice and the building at the back of the Fall River Parking lot that was the office of Dr. Berthelson.

There were no helipads, Trauma was to a large degree handled in- house.

I can remember when a dump truck on A-2 outside of Bieber pulled out of the quarry and T-boned a tour bus load of senior citizens. If I remember right Mayers was licensed to handle 28 critical patients. Ambulances from Adin, Fall River and Burney hauled patient after patient in, filling the rooms and the hallways, and the hell with what they were licensed for - it was an emergency.

Yes, some were sent on to Redding - by ambulance and some with minor injuries were helped at the Bieber Memorial Hall and then brought to Fall River to be reunited with others in their group. And, as a side note, The Hospital, staff and doctors didn’t lose anyone. Things were simpler in those days. When I first came here the only wing at Mayers was the original wing. Everett, Judi and their board determined that they needed a new wing and then others. Each time Judi went out and raised the money. The Becks and their board got their plans done expeditiously and got the job done. There was no state agency that required four or five years of diddling around and millions of dollars dotting all their I’s and crossing all their T’s.

Volunteers were one of the mainstays of the healthcare system in the Intermountain Area. Volunteers didn’t need to be fingerprinted, background checked and so on and so forth.

As the healthcare system grew up, air ambulances and helicopters appeared on the scene and then, having proven themselves, took over. On the one hand they saved a lot of lives. On the other, they took considerable business away from the small, rural, basic Mayers Hospital.

Specialists became more and more the norm, forcing Mayers to either send patients out who needed their services or contract with the specialists to come in.

Technology went ballistic and hasn’t slowed down. While some wages were saved by eliminating unnecessary wages, adding to the unemployment of the area, it forced upgrading of equipment and knowledge.

The State and Feds took more and more of an interest in healthcare. We all know what happens then. If instructions, rules or laws can be written in a paragraph or less the government forms an agency, overstaffs it, gives them more authority than needed and encouraged them to write an encyclopedia for each new rule, regulation or law. Then they have to hire people to interpret them.
Doctors, who got in the business because they love to work with people, help people, save people and feel like they are accomplishing something, found more and more that their time was being taken up with paperwork, forms, covering their butts, keeping up with trends in office equipment, technology and personnel costs.

Yes, things have changed. Now what Everett and Judi did in a couple of years for less than $100,000 now takes six to ten years at a cost in the millions. The hospital can’t hire its own docs. Docs don’t want and for the most part can’t afford their own offices.

The big guys are stealing most of the good doctors before the little guy can attract them.

Government Insurance is raping the little physician and hospital and the specialists are keeping their patients close to their own offices.

Long explanation, but times have changed and are still changing. Give the folks at both Mayers and Mountain Valley’s your understanding, loyalty and backing. Give them a break and help them - These folks do one heck of a good job with what they have and with your help and support may just be able to do even better.


Call it Karma, call it connections, call it what you will, but what goes around, often comes around, history repeats itself or comes back to bite you in the fanny.

What a person does about it is up to them, but if the connections are obvious and your ego has teeth marks in it, my suggestion is to review the situation dispassionately and work around it to solve the problems before you’ve been the guest of honor for dinner,instead of at dinner.

Several years ago Shasta LAFCO’s now Executive Director Jan Lopez’s husband was on the Igo-Ono Fire Department. It was a time of change. It isn’t uncommon for the state fire agency to try to flex its muscle, often irritating the fire companies it oversees and this was a period that the California Department of Forestry would, I’m sure, prefer to forget.

It was at about that time that Millville angrily bowed out of the county system and formed its own fire department, really upsetting CDF. It was also the time that Lopez wrote a letter to the editor about her perception of the CDF and the Igo- Ono Fire Company. It appeared that Lopez was promoting herself as an expert and consultant on fire departments but that really set CDF off.

The affair ended up with the Division Chief at the time passing down an edict that if Lopez wanted something, anything, Lopez was to go directly to his office, no one else was to talk to her.

Everything eventually quieted down, at least publically and years went by.

Then, in an unrelated issue, in Fall River Mills, the Community Services District, was languishing. It was still in existence in spite of a series of managers with a series of problems and a board of directors who couldn’t generate enough interest to get replacements for themselves, thus staying on simply to keep the district from folding.

Finally the district did get the new blood they needed on the board.

After a long overdue scathing audit from an independent auditor, they got rid of the manager and found a new one to their liking. During that time, on a less than unanimous decision, they hired Lopez to help them. The old manager couldn’t stand her and blew her out.

In most cases the board members of districts do everything they can to become well versed in the variety of laws and regulations governing their district. Additionally, they rely on the manager to keep them from stepping on the proverbial cow paddy. Just as importantly, the manager depends on the board to keep him or her on the right path with what they want done and what is legal and ethical.

In the case of the CSD at that time, they needed money for everything from new equipment and infrastructure to pay, reserves, and their accounts payable. It was apparent that the new board and the manager felt the way to do that was expand their district and their services, including taking over other districts that the Service District Law allowed. How it was done wasn’t important.

The manager was given carte blanche in getting that done. As far as the board was concerned, at least publicly, he could do no wrong.

He re-hired consultant Jan Lopez and while she produced her document showing why it made sense for the CSD to take over the entire Fall River Valley and beyond, the manager went about alienating and irritating nearly every district he would contact.

When the manager of LAFCO at the time didn’t bow to the Manager and Lopez’s demands the manager and the board began a vicious campaign to demonize her and because that manager didn’t get a lot done in a timely fashion, eventually won.

Lopez, who had joined in the fun of belittling the old manager during the LAFCO meetings, managed to become the new executive director of that agency and did what the old manager had not - got a whole lot done in a timely fashion.

However, old memories die hard on a lot of fronts. Combine that with a lack of knowledge about the personalities of those that would be affected and the overall terrain of the districts involved, led to last week’s comeuppance.

Do I think Lopez is still trying to further the agenda of the Fall River Valley Community Service District - not really.

That district’s new management and new board are too busy capitalizing on some of the good things the old board and manager had accomplished as it pertained to water - sewer - and parks and moving full steam ahead on their own path.

They have managed to bring the district’s finances under control and are much more concerned with getting along with the other districts than trying to take them over.

I personally think that Lopez is trying to bring together like districts in the same geographic area so they can share services and save everyone money.

Unfortunately, she included a couple of fire companies that are under the jurisdiction of Cal Fire which has a long memory including one which is fiercely independent and is situated in territory that, whether it makes sense on paper maps or not, is in reality, separated by less than stellar roads and also separated by terrain which time wise make quick response to fire calls by the other departments difficult if not impossible.

If I were Lopez I’d make it a point to visit areas like Cassel and then ask for their advice and listen carefully before getting involved.


Mayers is facing some real problems, undoubtedly short term problems because they are on top of the situation and doing what is necessary to correct it.

Hospitals rely on patients for revenue. Patients rely on Doctors to tell them when they need the services of the hospital from surgeries and tests, to hospital stays.

While hospital finances are complex because of the variety of sources their income comes from, if they don’t have a steady flow of patients, they don’t have income and if they don’t have income, well, you know...

In the state of California it seems to be just one damned thing after another.

Last year their income was threatened because the state didn’t want to pay them break even for long-term care.

They got that taken care of only to face a new challenge - lack of doctors.

Since they can no longer hire doctors, they have to rely on either private practice or clinic physicians.

The local physicians gave up private practice in favor of working for the clinic several years ago.

Recently a number of factors have contributed to a real shortage of doctors and nurse practitioners.

Three have moved out of state, two have retired and those in the know say it is becoming harder and harder to get doctors to come to rural areas like the Intermountain area. That puts a lot of pressure and much heavier workloads on the remaining doctors which may well contribute to even more doctors leaving. Mayers management is taking a bold and broad view at the problem.

Like any business, they have taken cuts, giving salaried employees two furlough days a month, they have cut hours, and they aren’t filling some vacancies.

They have extended their line of credit to give them the cash they need to operate when the cash doesn’t come in when they need it. They are working on tightening up policies so they cut the time they have to wait and then comes the biggie - starting their own clinic.

According to CEO Matt Rees, they can open the type of a clinic that marries nicely to a critical Access hospital.

If done as he envisions it, they won’t negatively impact Mountain Valley Health Center. He says the clinics cater primarily to medicare patients. If formed, the hospital’s clinic will deal primarily with third party payers like Blue Cross. But, it will be a critical care clinic, similar to the hospital and thus by law they will get paid their costs.

That means they can hire a couple of doctors, with a reasonable work load, and because they will get more money from the providers, they’ll be able to pay more and they won’t be cutting into Mountain Valley’s clientele. Hopefully everything will work out quickly.


I was browsing through Facebook the other day and ran across a comment from an individual about how the cops had nothing better to do than pick on this innocent, meek and mild friend.

I’ll admit that I chuckled when I read his comment, in reality the police responded to a disturbance call. The guy was allegedly threatening to bite a woman (brave man). When they get on scene he’s fighting with some guy (meek and mild) and is stupid enough to jerk away from the officer who tries to break it up (rocket scientist).

As a retired bailbondsman and a hard news reporter for more years than I care to remember I can’t help but reflect on how niave (a polite way to say stupid) both these folks must be.

There are a lot of things that young people who want to live on the edge need to know.

First: It isn’t the brightest idea to make a public spectacle of yourself when you have outstanding warrants for your arrest. It is even worse if those warrants, etc. have led to your face being plastered all over the media as one of Shasta County’s most wanted.

Second: If you are going to get in a disurbance of some kind there are a few realities you need to be aware of - Disturbances generally create noise, commotion, or otherwise become visible to other people. That generally can result in a 9-1-1 call.

9-1-1 dispatchers radio police officers and the police officers respond to fight calls because there’s a good chance that if they didn’t they’d be responding to a major assault or murder.

Third: On-duty police officers are men who are not drunk or high on drugs. They make it a point to work out and be in good shape. They are also trained in breaking up fights and arresting uncooperative people.

The police wear belts that we called a “Sam Brown” when I was a kid. On it they have a pistol, a pair of handcuffs, mace, a Taser, and quite often a baton. They know how and when to use each. Some of them also have trained police dogs with them.

Either way, when a police officer arrives on the scene and notifies his dispatcher that he is there, it generally only takes seconds for the second officer to pull up and every other on -duty police officer in the county knows what’s going on and where.

Four: Have enough common sense to realize that struggling with a police officer or officers is ill advised

One of the first commandments of living in a civilized society, whether you are law abiding or otherwise, is and always has been that if a police officer comes on scene and starts giving orders - follow them. Guilty, innocent or whatever, the officer isn’t there to pick on you and he doesn’t have time to worry about what color you are. He or she is there to solve the problem, defuse the situation or arrest someone before he, she or someone else gets hurt. He or she doesn’t have the time nor is he or she in the mood to worry about your feelings or arguments.

If an officer says “Stop” you stop immediately. If the officer says “put your hands on the top of your head” don’t look around and say “Who me?” You do it and do it immediately.

The police are out to solve the immediate problem and enforce the law. Situations change on them so fast that they don’t have time to say “would you please put down the knife...” and they won’t be nice if you don’t. the young person on facebook and poor, picked on friend, grow up, try to be productive members of society.

If you don’t want to do that, then don’t bitch when you get nailed.


I was set up last week.

Not that I’m complaining. I took the story I got at face value and while I thought the name I was given wasn’t exactly newspaperish, I shrugged and figured “What the dickens” and put it in.

I had no doubt that “Cutie Pie” was a real person when listed as what I thought was one of the patients brought over in the evacuation. It wasn’t. It was a local staff member, nicknamed by one of the patients as “Cutie Pie.” After getting ribbed at the board meeting I checked into it and found a patient had been extremely unhappy at being transfered until seeing Cutie pie.

Now Cutie Pie is anything but my idea of a Cutie Pie. In fact ... Oh well, we won’t go there.

Be that as it may, Mayers, including Cutie Pie, did just exactly the kind of job we’d expect - excellent and I’m proud of them...

That includes Cutie Pie.


When it comes to straightening out the curves on Highway 89/44 there are a lot of things which just don’t add up, not to mention drilling bore holes in an extremely fragile ecological area.

In the first place straightening out curves on a steep mountain road isn’t going to stop either ice or speed problems.

If an idiot is going to drive too fast on a curvy road you’d better believe that a straight one will only make it more enticing. Ice doesn’t care if the road is straight or curved, it will form whenever and wherever the conditions are right.

Curves, if anything help because, by their very nature, they limit the distance a driver has to build up speed.

Regarding Big Springs, why would anyone trust an agency that is too sloppy to do the proper investigation on a project and too arrogant to listen to the locals and other experts once they’ve made up their minds.

The Caltrans engineers don’t have to live in the area, the residents of Old Station and Hat Creek do - it is extremely important to give serious consideration to their concerns, not slip things through with as minimal notice as possible.

We are only a couple of weeks away from elections and I’m having a hard time getting enthusiastic.

The only politician I feel strongly about is Assemblyman Brian Dahle. He’s done a fine job for the folks up here. He’s been a staunch supporter of legislation for the hospital, He’s been able to nibble around the edges of the SRA Tax and gotten a lot accomplished.

Additionally he hasn’t forgotten he’s from this area, supporting and attending events and making himself acessable.

I have no trouble endorsing him.

Doug LaMalfa also got my vote for Congress.

The only other thing I did do when I sent my ballot in was vote against every single judge they had on the list and by far most of the propositions.

It is really disheartening to go to the trouble to vote and for the most part feel that you’ve just wasted your time.


It is a newspaper’s job to inform people about what is going on. That way, it gives the readers an opportunity to do something about situations they read about.

The problem is that they have to get the information. It is difficult if not impossible to get information on their own so they rely on people like me to get it for them - and I like to.

A typical example is the Sheriff’s log.

I fully understand and sympathise with victims of sex crimes not wanting information out that would give their identity away.

That said, I have used the log since 1978 as a reporting tool and since 1980 as a feature in the paper.

In the old days we got the information on who called it in, where it occurred, what had occurred, and often who the victim thought the person was.

Laws have changed and probably rightly so. I have no business putting in names of “suspects” until an investigation is conducted and they’ve been charged.

I don’t mess around with potential, tried or actual suicides intentionally because I don’t want to chance causing already dispondent people to go over the edge.

I don’t report victim names because 1. Too many are too vulnerable and if I don’t report them it wouldn’t be fair to report the others. 2. The Sheriff’s Department censors some of them.

But the Sheriff’s Department finds more and more lame excuses for not putting information in.

Here are two typical examples:

September 7, 2014 - 9:28 a.m.

Beat 15 (Burney area).

An annonymous caller reported an unfamiliar male wandering through an unspecified neighborhood this morning and is currently in the “listed,” but not shown on the log, address... or on September 13, 2014, at 12:34 a.m. - Beat 16 (Fall River Valley area).

An annonymous reeporting party made a report of three subjects, 1 male, two female in a fight. Doesn’t want to go outside and look. Advises suspect male is on playground area of censored loction. Ongoing problem being drunk and causing fights.

One of the reasons people read the logs in the paper or on the Sheriff’s website is so they know where the crimes occur. They also want to know if it is sAfe to go outside alone at night in their neighborhood. People like to know if there are burglaries or vandalisms in their neighborhoods.

There was no logical reason for withholding at least loctions and probably names in the two incidents I just listed and there have been dozens of them.

There is certainly no reason for the Sheriff’s to list bookings without names or indicating they were juveniles like they did last week.

The system, any system, is far from perfect, but the willful withholding of information that should be shown for people’s safety and information that is public for Joe Blow, but not public for someone else is wrong. Publish what you are supposed to publish, don’t play favorites, and be equal handed.

Just one more thing especially important when it comes to sheriff’s logs - I’m human. Sometimes I make mistakes and if I find out, I correct them. But call me when it first happens don’t let it sit there for a long time so any correction would be meaningless.


The 4-Hers who took the time and energy out of their already hectic fair schedule on Parade Sunday to walk in front of the parade with signs reminding folks to stand and show respect to the United States Flag deserve a big thank you!

My casual observation is that there appeared to be more exhibits, more animals, and more people. That makes for a great success for the Fair Board, Heritage Foundation, workers, volunteers, participants, exhibitors, and those who came to enjoy a great fair.

The Sheriff’s log didn’t show an unusually high number of calls or arrests which is another good sign.

Now that summer is over we can concentrate on water issues, school issues, and the other day to day things that seem to take a back seat when we are busy having a good time.


We had a wonderful time at the fair. Had a lot of fun visiting with folks we hadn’t seen in years.

It’s amazing the great kids who grew up here that aren’t kids anymore and we got to visit with several.

Beautiful exhibits, fine food, great entertainment, and the amount of time and effort that staff, volunteers, and exhibitors was amazing.

Everyone who had anything to do with putting the fair on or putting things in it did an unbelievably good job!

Fair board and staff, Heritage Foundation and volunteers, “WAY TO GO”

May every fair be as successful!


We had a wonderful time at the fair. Had a lot of fun visiting with folks we hadn’t seen in years.

It’s amazing the great kids who grew up here that aren’t kids anymore and we got to visit with several.

Beautiful exhibits, fine food, great entertainment, and the amount of time and effort that staff, volunteers, and exhibitors was amazing.

Everyone who had anything to do with putting the fair on or putting things in it did an unbelievably good job!

Fair board and staff, Heritage Foundation and volunteers, “WAY TO GO”

May every fair be as successful!


When it comes to “why newspapers” I can be serious or flippant.

A weekly newspaper is a record with a special meaning to the reader and it is a personal meaning.

I have saved more than a few newspaper clippings in my life and my daughter will get them when I’m gone. I have our wedding announcement from the paper. I have the little article the Modoc Record did on me when I went in the Marines in the 1950’s. I have articles about our Marine Air Group picking up Allen Shepard and John Glenn and their space capsules when they landed in the ocean. I have my Mom’s obituary and more. Somehow an article printed off like a letter or something on regular paper just wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t have the aura of legitimacy that a real newspaper article has.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but those yellowed pieces of newsprint with ragged scissor cut edges mean a lot to me - always have and always will and as an editor I enjoy it when I can put things in Mountain Echo for someone else to cut out and some day be able to pass it on to their kids or grandkids.

If it is on newsprint it’s real - if it is on computer paper, as far as I’m concerned, it loses something in the translation.


I attended a rather lengthy Fall River Valley Community Services District (CSD) meeting last week.

It wasn’t the first long CSD meeting I had ever attended, but I was impressed.

It was well run, all business, a lot of questions, a lot of topics, no flare ups, and easy to tell that a lot of district business was moving forward smoothly.

It left me with a desire to make the next monthly meeting so I can see the progress the district makes as it continues to move forward.

On another subject, School is starting, watch out for the kids when you are behind the wheel!


It has been almost two weeks since the fires started in the area and thankfully it appears that the immediate danger of catastrophe is over - for all but eight families.

The firefighters did a great job and deserve a big thank you, but I do have a question for the fire management team.

I know that back fires are a major tool in fire fighting and are successful in a majority of the cases, but I’d like more information about them.

1. Are back fires an art or a science?

2. Do those making the decisions to have ground crews set the backfires have extensive education in exactly how a backfire in a given area at a given time of day under given circumstances will act and what the results will be?

3. Does the management team consult with people in the immediate area of the planned back fire to confirm and verify such factors as wind behavior in the area they plan to burn?

4. If the above is affirmative, does the management team take the local observations seriously and act accordingly?

5. Is there any additional precautions taken when a backfire is set in the vicinity of residences or other structures?

6. Is there adequate resources committed to the immediate area where each backfire is to be set, to keep it from getting away from those setting the fires?


I had a few subjects planned for inclusion in this week’s weeks editorial, but the fires have obviously taken precedence.


The firefighting crews are always magnificent, rising to the challenge and doing a superhuman job in impossible terrain over an unimaginable number of hours and nasty conditions. They are and must be recognized as true heroes.

But don’t stop there. How about the Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Deputies, Police, Game Wardens And other who save us from ourselves by evacuating, putting up with us when we are less than cooperative, and working command posts? What about the ambulance personnel who go into the areas to help the sick, the incapacitated or injured.

Don’t forget the fairgrounds or school’s, all of which are gearing up for things like the fair and the start of school.

Don’t forget the Red Cross folks who first, take the time and go to the effort to be trained and then spend countless hours working shelters so those who are displaced will have a safe place to stay, eat, sleep and more.

It is obvious that I’ve just scratched the surface. So those not mentioned, I’m sorry, it wasn’t intentional.

There is a real community effort involved and if you take a look around you, they aren’t all from the communities affected


We are saying thank you and hope you do also.

AAdditionally I would like to thank Ron Mosher. He is a marvel, not only covering the fires but getting them on his website so people were informed when I couldn’t get them on mine. Thanks!

When we moved up here we all understood that we were moving into rural California and as such we traded the ability to walk down the street to Walmart or the mall for our own little piece of God’s Country.

The problem is, like everything else in life, there are no guarantees. In this case the County, State and Feds have figured out just how easy it is to dump on us and are doing it.

The very latest is, of course, the county court’s decision that it makes more sense for anyone needing court services to travel to Redding instead of one judge who gets paid $100,000+ a year whether he or she drives up here or not.

They cite cost saving and expect us to buy into that without taking time to think about it.

The Burney Court is in a building the county has depreciated out years ago. The building isn’t being shut down - thus they can’t claim to be concerned or that they will save on repairs - if the roof leaks over other offices, they’ll still have to repair it.

They aren’t going to save on personnel - they have said if there are any personnel they will be transferred to Redding to help the Redding people.
They have only had to pay for janitorial costs for two days a month and some utilities.

So just exactly what is it they are saving? The Judge’s drive to our area and back.

I have to admit it is not just the judges. It is also the private attorney’s who charge $200 an hour and plead for extensions, who don’t really care what happens as long as they are paid for it. It’s easier for them to do that in Redding because they live there.

Of course rural cuts aren’t restricted to just the courts. The Sheriff’s office is closed to the public in Burney so if you need a deputy you have to call and hope there is a deputy available to answer the phone. If not, you have to flag one down on patrol.

The services they used to provide in the office are all now done in Redding.

But the crooks aren’t. They are brazenly strutting down Main Street in each one of our towns at all hours of the day and night. Not only that, there are a bunch more of them than there were. There aren’t any more deputies and even when they arrest someone chances are the person they picked up will be strutting down the street with a smirk the next morning because the state and feds don’t want to have to do anything with them and the county can’t find the room.

Of course there is also the other side of the coin. We in Rural California now get to pay an annual tax (they try to call it a fee) so Cal Fire can “educate” us not to burn things down - but they don’t tax the people in the city. They don’t use the money to fight fires and they haven’t spent money on grants for things like Fire Safe Councils like they promised yet.

Oh well, I’d still rather live here than there.
The residents of the Fall River Valley have a real crisis on their hands. It is pressing and needs to be solved before major break-downs force the closure of the Fall River Cemetery.

The Fall River Valley has at least four cemeteries, two of which are primary cemeteries, all within the boundaries of two districts, The Fall River Mills Cemetery and the Pine Grove Cemetery.

One of those districts is perpetually broke. One is “well to do.”

There are undoubtedly a number of factors for the condition of the two, but the fact remains conditions at the Fall River Mills cemetery are dire and the conditions at Pine Grove are good.

One of the major factors, if not the major factor, in the two is tax revenue. For whatever reason, the Fall River District’s taxable property is small and thus the tax revenue is dismal. The Pine Grove District is much larger and thus so is its income.

The Fall River District used to be able to borrow against its future tax revenues to get the cash flow to operate. Unfortunately, the district’s well pump broke down. The board was able to get it patched, but the well is pumping sandy water which damages the well and the sprinklers. It is only a matter of time before one or both give out. Either way it will cost several thousand dollars to replace them.

That district is now depending on donations and hope to raise money with a bingo night, 7 p.m., August 1, at the Fall River Veterans Hall (see page 5) to get enough money flowing to pay their PG&E pumping bill and keep the cemetery lawn green.

Shasta LAFCO Executive Director Jan Lopez met with the Fall River board recently and made some suggestions. They can merge with Pine Grove. They can combine their operations with Pine Grove’s. They can adjust their boundaries with Fall River taking over much of the Glenburn area. Finally, there is the option of going to the people of the Fall River District and seeing if two-thirds or more are willing to vote in an increase in property tax to support the cemetery.

Looking at the situation with detachment, the Fall River District got itself in the position it is today, just as surely as Pine Grove did. Most if not all directors on both district’s boards who were responsible for laying the groundwork for their current conditions are now gone and it doesn’t do a lot of good to pat any of them on the back or kick them in the rear. People don’t get on these small boards to screw things up or cost the district’s money. They get on the boards for which they don’t get paid, to do the very best they can with what they have to help their community. They are human, circumstances including law, population and the economy are ever changing. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose.

All four of Lopez’s suggestions make sense. All four takes negotiators from both boards looking realistically at what the various proposals would do to their district, how they can ascertain that the citizens of both districts will continue to be well represented, and how can any agreement come out without hurting either district.

Each of the suggestions has different consequences. Each has different benefits. Needless to say, any solution is going to be complex.

The Valley is lucky in that it has two mature boards which represent different portions of the same valley. Almost everyone who has raised a family in the Valley has friends or relatives buried in both cemeteries.

I am hoping that the two district’s can get together and start working something out before everything comes crashing down around their ears.
Pat Baremore was not one of those who took center stage.

Pat was a doer - a worker, fiercely loyal to her family, her profession, her employer and patients. She was also one of the hardest working and kind people I have ever known.

When I first met Pat, she was on the job in one of the long-term wings - I want to think it was the second one built, but it has been well over 30 years and I can’t remember for sure.

I do remember she and Lou Schroeder were the ambulance attendants. Both, were EMT’s, Lou in mainenance and Pat, I think was in housekeeping, but again, I can’t remember for sure. The idea was for them to be immediately available for the ambulance and also be able to make a living.

She worked full time at Mayers and went to school at the same time, earning her RN.

She was one of the first nurses at Mayers to complete training and become a MICN which made advance life support on area ambulances possible through Mayers. She also headed the Emergency Room.

Several years ago she came down with Cancer. The rumor at the time was that she was in a lot of pain and had thought about throwing in the towel. But, even if the rumor was true, that wasn’t Pat’s nature.

She fought back. She came back and, as before, she contributed so much to those who needed her.

It takes a special person to be a doctor or nurse for hospice, to love your patients, care for them and do everything in your power to make their last days as peaceful and comfortable as possible, knowing that you are going to lose them.

I can’t even imagine how tough it must have been, knowing that, like those she helped, her time was limited.

She worked close to the end and I doubt that too many folks knew her cancer had caught up with her.

She was a brave and dedicated woman who wouldn’t quit and there are legions of folks in the entire Intermountain Area whose lives she touched and made a lot better by her and because of her.

Thank you Pat - I’m just one of a legion of folks who will miss you!

Our anniversary is over as is Burney Basin Days and I’m exhausted. 

I’m extremely happy, but pooped.

On a serious note, the temperatures are exceptionally hot, the rainfall well below normal, the weed are brown and dry.

Thanks to a massive quick response from Cal Fire, the local fire departments and company’s we dodged the bullet.

History has proven that had the response been less or slower, the fire would have been on the outskirts of Fall River Mills as I write this Monday morning.

We owe all the firefighters a tremendous thank you!

I’ll say right up front that I’m not a taxpayer in the Fall River Valley Community Wow, how time flies!

This Saturday will be Donna and my 50th wedding anniversary.

I’ve been telling everyone that I just got married - and it really feels like it was last week.

I remember a lot of the details. It was really nice weather in Riverside.

Donna and I would just as soon have gone to Las Vegas without a lot of fluff and flutter and at a fraction of the cost, but Mom and Dad Davis weren’t having any of it and they were paying for it. We ended up in the beautiful chapel at the Mission Inn. Donna was beautiful in her gown, but that wasn’t unusual, she was very pretty in anything she chose to wear.

I actually squirmed into a tux for the first and only time in my life.

I remember saying “I do,” and exchanging rings.

Beyond that, I don’t remember anything except that we were anxious to get into real clothes and go on the honeymoon it had taken us a year to save for. I do remember a guy at a gas station telling me it sounded like all my lug nuts were off on our old Pontiac. Turned out to be pebbles my best man had put in the hub caps.

If we didn’t have to look in the mirror the wedding could just as easily have been yesterday. But reality is reality. Our hair is a lot whiter and we’ve got a lot more aches and pains than we had 50 years ago.

I wouldn’t trade those 50 years for anything. It has really been a nice ride and if our bodies hold out I’m looking forward to at least another 50.
Love You Hon!

Happy Anniversary!

I’ll say right up front that I’m not a taxpayer in the Fall River Valley Community Services District or the Fall River Cemetery District. However, I do pay a water bill through my business and I have a lot of friends buried in the cemetery.

When I was a kid in Cedarville I thought the cemetery there was a beautiful one. As I remember it, there were tall, old trees and lawn.

Since that time things have changed. Yes, it is well maintained and I’m sure the Valley is proud of it. However, there are no trees and there is no grass.

Again, I no longer live there and I don’t pay taxes there so I don’t have a lot of room to complain. I will say that I was disappointed when I saw it.

Back to the Fall River Cemetery, they get a negligible amount of property tax. Their endowment money is tied up by state law - they get to use the interest earned on it, but if you have a savings accounts at any of the banks you know how much money they give you for putting your money with them. The money charged for the grave liners is used to pay for the grave liners and the rest of it pays to have the graves dug and refilled.

LAFCO takes a small percentage of their tax dollars and I’m sure the County also does.

They pay one parttime employee. The directors don’t get paid anything and haven’t.

There has not been, and is not, enough left over to pay PG&E to pump water even if the district had the money to fix the switch to their well. They have been trying to get grants and have been turned down.

They need help and they have asked the CSD for it. The CSD board appears to be sympathetic.

However, the CSD also is in an extremely tight financial position and have to seriously consider costs associated with being a good neighbor and fiscally responsible district at the same time.

There are a lot of factors to weigh and I’m just awfully glad I’m not on either board. The directors of both have a tough job and should be thanked for being willing to take it on.
I am amazed at the community’s response to the flag given to VFW Post 5689 by the family of Lance Corporal Tyler Roads after he was killed in Afghanistan and the theft of that flag a couple of weeks ago. People care and it is awesome!

The reward for the return of the flag has grown from the original $100 put up by the post, to $500.

A tip has been received about the theft and is being followed up on.

Amee Mack is coordinating with Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, who is also an active duty Navy officer. She has explained what took place and asked him if he could have a flag flown over a military base in Afghanistan donated to the post.

Additionally, by coincidence, Lance Corporal James E. Jarrell, USMC, who is currently stationed with the R4 Operations Group aboard Camp Leatherneck, in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan, had been working on a flag flown over the base as a thank you to the post. That flag was dedicated March 27.

We have to admit that it is beyond explanation that a Marine Lance Corporal from Burney would send such a gift to the post at a time that the a flag from another Lance Corporal who had been stationed in the same province and given his life in the same province was stolen.

In his letter to the Post that came with the flag, he writes “I just wanted to say thank you forthe package that you all sent a few months back, sorry I did not send anything earlier.”

What a community we live in!
What kind of low-life scum would stoop so low as to steal the flag that flew over Lance Corporal Tyler Roads’ Post in Afghanistan where he was shot and killed?

What kind of a lowlife S O B would steal the flag presented to the Burney VFW Post by Tyler’s mother so it could be displayed in her dead son’s honor?

What kind of callous jerk would take it off the post’s wall and walk out with it?

I sure hope he or she is proud and can look at his or herself in the mirror each and every morning.

Next to desecrating the hero’s grave that is the lowest, most despicable act imaginable. It falls right in there with spitting on the family or the veterans who were willing to lay their lives on the line so scum like the thief can be free to desecrate their memories.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I had to go back through the 2010 pictures of Tyler’s funeral. I had to see the anguish on Tyler’s grandparents faces, on Tyler’s mother’s face and on his sister’s face. Every time I went through them I choked up.

If there is someone out there that knows of a person who suddenly came or comes into possession of what appears to be just a used American Flag or goes around bragging about how he or she got even with the Road’s family, with Tyler or with the Vets please let the Burney Post know.

Or, if you were in the post and for whatever reason decided you just had to have that flag it would be not only the honorable, but the right thing to do, to return it.

Post 5689 is offering a $150 reward, no questions asked, if it is returned.

If someone has the flag and wants to return it without going to the VFW, they can drop it on the counter at the Burney Post Office. The Post Office will make sure it gets back to the Post.

That flag is not a rag or a plaything. It is an American Flag. The thief can never prove that flag flew in a combat zone and was saluted by Lance Corporal Tyler Roads and other Marines risking their lives.

That flag has special meaning to the family of the Marine who laid his life down to protect it and the veterans who have been willing to lay down their life for it. It has no value to the scum who stole it!
Ray, formerly of Shipwrecks, dropped by this morning to say hi.

He’s doing great in Idaho, has a new business and loves it.

He says living is a lot cheaper, taxes are lower. Everyone carries a gun so you don’t do the stupid things you do in California - It might just get you shot.

He’s put on a little weight and looks happier than the dickens.

It is too bad they don’t need another cantankerous newspaper editor, We’d move there.

While I’m sure they’ve got their share, I doubt that every third car or pickup carried a gun and badge, whether it was Cal Fire or dental inspectors - In California everyone’s got to be a cop. When you look at things, it makes sense. The more cops, the more crime. In California you turn them all lose anyway, but look at the number of people it keeps who can push their weight around to piss generally law abiding folks off. Generally they’ll move to Idaho to get away from having to put up with the crap.

I would have suggested Nevada, but then you’d have to put up with Harry Reid, that’s as bad as putting up with Nancy what’s her face.

It would, however, be nice to be able to live in a state that believed in a modicum of common sense and didn’t have to take everything you own so they could become millionaire legislators or get retirement after one term - specially when a lot of real people here don’t have enough money to retire regardless of how long we work.
It is generally real easy to be an outsider looking in. Opinion comes pretty easy when you don’t have any responsibility, penalty or reward for the outcome of an opinion.

The ambulance measure in Big Valley isn’t really one of those.

I drive the Big Valley roads with some frequency. I used to drive them all the time.

I’ve been extremely lucky, I haven’t taken on any deer, car, cycle, cattle etc., but it was always comforting to know that if I did, there was an ambulance, manned with dedicated individuals who would get me out of the vehicle or what was left of it, and get me or the other guy to a hospital.

And yes! I would pay for it. Ambulance rides aren’t cheap. Taxes generally cover housing the vehicle and possibly an on-duty crew, maintenance and upkeep of the building, insurance, etc.

The funny thing about it is that I didn’t and don’t really care, and I can’t understand why any of the folks in what will be the district would care.

How do you tell your Dad, who’s having a heart attack, that you’ll load him in the pickup and drive like a madman to the nearest hospital without any medical attention on the way?

How do you listen to your baby having trouble breathing while you drive like a madman for the nearest medical facility?

The people who are pushing for this ambulance have made it as fair and equitable as possible. They have jumped through the hoops - yes, partially for themselves - they want an ambulance to come when they need it. But they are also thinking about you folks and maybe even me, because accidents, illness, major medical emergencies and so forth are, first, pretty random and second, pretty unforgiving if people don’t do everything they can to minimize the impact.
On April Fools Day I challenged folks to find errors in the paper and send them in, along with $20 bills for each mistake. Right off I was the recipient of (unfortunately) a counterfeit item of currency for several thousand dollars.

There have been a number of excuses resulting in three or four bad ones since then that I have taken care of, but last week I screwed up the date on page one and no one noticed. That should have made me a millionaire.

I apologize and am taking steps to curtail many of these. Can’t do much about painful emotions at any given moment, or any given story, but I can get more hard nose about trying to get things in the paper well past deadline which cause the bulk of the problems.

Again, my apologies.
It is subtle for the most part, but it is there and it isn’t getting any better. Small communities depend on its members and its community members rely on each other.

Donna and I came to the area in 1976 and the slide, even though not as pronounced had already started.

The community center in Montgomery Creek was basically a pipe dream. Now their marque sports the plea for folks to show up and get on the board so they can keep it open.

Their Lions club was never huge, but it was active turning out at least four district governors, busy with bingo’s, BBQ’s and a variety of events that gave folks a place to meet.

Burney Basin Days was dominated by Lions and Rotary events, now the watermelon eating contest, frog jumping contest, sack races, bike races and kiddie events are all but gone because there aren’t enough service club members to go around and more and more become endangered.

The Fall River Lions took over the Grange Hall, now there is a rumor that they want to see if the Burney Rotary will take it over.

The Chamber’s Monday night monthly meetings were packed with school officials and the county making reports. it is a lot better than it was a few years ago, but it is far from packed.

Big Valley has its own set of problems.

What’s the answer? The younger folks need to look around. Those they depended on when they grew up and when a lot of their kids grew up aren’t getting older - They are older and many, so many, are dieing.

It is painfully apparent that if the young, want an active community, one with the ability to govern itself, to have a variety of things to do, to have a sense of community, you’d damned well better do something about it.

Course, you can always move to the city where somdeone else will be more than happy to take care of you - Been there, done that, Don’t want that type of care.


Senator Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery St. St 240,

San Francisco, CA 94111


Senator Dianne Feinstein
One Post St. Ste 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104

Rep John Doolittle

4230 Douglas Blvd, Ste 200

Granite Bay, CA 95746


Assemblyman Doug LaMalfa
2865 Churn Creek Rd. Ste. B
Redding, CA 96002

Senator Sam Aanestad

777 Cypress Ave.

Redding, CA 96001

Rep Wally Herger
55 Independence Cir, Ste 104,
Chico, CA 95973

 Supervisor Brian Dahle

Supervisor Dave Bradshaw
155 Co. Rd. 90



Supervisor Glenn Hawes
1815 Yuba Street

Redding, CA 96001