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

OPINIONS ARCHIVES

Editorial
It has been 50+ years since the start of the Viet Nam War and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since.

An awful lot of young folks sacrificed an awful lot and each found his or her life changed forever.

It wasn’t just those who went that suffered and suffer.

Mom’s, dads, brothers, sisters, sweethearts and others who lost children in the jungles and rice paddies aren’t going to forget.

But for some the hurt is even more unbearable than the knowledge that their children gave their lives. There are still those who don’t know if their child is alive or dead, possibly still a slave or a prisoner. Obviously with each year that passes, the odds of their still being alive are slimmer and slimmer. But, unlike those whose fate is known, there are still more than 1600 whose fate is not known.

Keeping the pressure on both our officials and those in Viet Nam has paid off. Each year more remains from that horrible conflict are found and because of the pressure to do what is right, they are returned. It may not change their fate, but it gives their families closure and them the honor and peace of being home.

In past years the American Legion and VFW posts locally have read the names of all those still known to be missing.

This year, they are concentrating on those from California who are still missing. Their names will be read this Saturday evening and everyone is invited.

Please come.
Editorial
Oops!This year marks my 40th Inter Mountain Fair. Who has attended 50 or more? Send me your name, town that you live in, how many years you’ve attended and your favorite part of the fair.

I would really like to hear from you!

We all tend to think in the present. As an example A number of friends and I were grousing about how this had to be the hottest year and the worst smokefilled skies .

Then I started writing the “29 Years Ago This week” (below) and guess what - “Despite the intense heat and dry weather,” and a little further down “The Burney Fire is a mere wisp of itself this week, with 30-40 men patrolling the burn area and watching for possible flare-ups.” This is just a normal year.
Editorial
I thought I was behind schedule. I got up at 4:45 a.m. and started getting the Sheriff’s log and a few other stories typed and into the layout for the upcoming issue.

At 7:15 I decided I didn’t have time to shower and barely had time to cook and eat my breakfast before getting ready to go to work.

I had let Donna sleep later than I usually would on Monday so I woke her up as I started cooking.

Everything was hunky dory until Donna sat down, turned the TV on and looked at the clock.

“Why did you wake me up so early on Sunday morning?” She asked.

Oops!
Editorial
After 53+ years of marriage, Donna is taming me a little.

As an example, I got a phone call Friday. After a touch to long of a moment of silence, which usually is a major signal to hang up, this male voice comes on the line that was probably American, but sorta questionable.

He verified my name and the name of my business and then identified himself as so-and-so from Dunn and Bradstreet.

Instead of doing what I have done for the past 53+ years and giving him a quick, loud, education in a vocabulary he is probably becoming quite familiar with, slamming my phone down or dropping it into a metal waste can and banging it back and forth, I calmly said, “I don’t really want to lose my temper and swear at you, but I’m not interested and you’d better take me off your calling list.” Then, without slamming the phone down, I hung up.

I have to admit that if I had slammed my office phone down, I might have broken it.

I have to admit that, when it comes to solicitation calls, I don’t care if the caller is male or female, if they aren’t obviously trying to sell me Girl Scout cookies, ads in the year book or local businesses, the above would have been my favorite approach. However, one of these days the caller might just be my maker calling, and I’d hate to screw that one up.

I have to admit, that if I had dropped my phone into the trash can, I would have been disappointed because I don’t have a metal waste basket or trash can in the office anymore, the metal ones are hard to find. They are all plastic and the phone doesn’t break anyone’s ear drums when it bounces off the rubber.

That being what it may,doing what I did was not nearly as satisfying as it would have been if I had followed original instinct.

That said, I took a giant first step and Donna should be proud of me. Maybe I’ll be able to routinely control myself and learn to be civil to those *%#W$* idiots — maybe.
Editorial
I have been all over Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko’s butt for about a month now and I think it is time to point out that he and I have a disagreement over one speech, given one time, in Burney.

The problem with editorials is that they can, and will expand, in this case possibly casting a reflection on his overall job performance and that of his department.

So again, I want to point out that the county has a growing problem with the homeless, with drugs and with the Sheriff’s Department’s ability to deal with those problems.

That issue is complex, and goes way beyond what it appears that the Sheriff himself can do.

In that speech in Burney he appeared to have given up. I took, and still take, exception to that attitude and he knows it.

I will continue to press the issue in hopes that someday he will prove me wrong.

That doesn’t mean that overall he or his department are not doing a good job with what they have.

Outside of the areas of concern stated earlier in this editorial, under his leadership, even with the lose of revenue, the current horrendous national push to badmouth police, and the liberal California legislature and the 9th District Court of Appeals, his department has maintained a good level of visibility in our area. If you take the massive area the Burney deputies cover, and the number of deputies available, into consideration, their response time and the results are reasonably close to being as good as ever.

Major crimes, such as the Wicks murder, The Ingot junk yard murders, and others, have been investigated with incredible effort and positive results.

The deputies are working closely with the Highway Patrol. They back each other up. Between them, they respond the closest officer to a scene needing law enforcement regardless of whether or not it is “their job.”

No, Sheriff Tom Bosenko, you and your folks are doing a good job with the restraints placed on you.

Just Do Not Give Up!

Find a way to do what appears to be the impossible. It is out there. Then do it.
Editorial
I have a serious question regarding a topic that has been offending my sense of sensibility.

I need to qualify my statements with the caveat that I haven’t had a smoke in the last 30- years and only had two marijuana cigarettes and that was in the 1960’s.

I fully understand that smoking is bad for you and those around you. An awful lot of people have died because they smoked or were around those who did smoke.

That isn’t really what this editorial is all about.

I’ve watched as those who were the crusaders against smoking, their followers and supporters crusaded against smoking. First they just belittled those who smoke, kinda like the white’s in the south with their white only bathrooms and drinking fountains.

Then they got it banned from various establishments and types of establishments.

Then they got tobacco ads banned from newspapers and television.

Then they started raising taxes on tobacco products.

And it has done a lot to curb tobacco use.

The fact that the politicians syphoned a lot of revenue off taxes raised with the promise that it would be used for tobacco education is another topic - I won’t go into it here. We all know that if a politician can get his or her grubby little fingers on money of any kind it will be used for everything but what it was intended for.

My major question and the question that has been nagging at me forever is - that if smoking tobacco is so bad and if it makes those opposed to smoking angry enough and concerned enough and morally outraged enough to do all these things, then why aren’t they and why haven’t they gone after the pot smokers with the same vim and vigor?

I think I sense a double standard and in many cases that double standarard can be “Don’t do as I do - do as I say.
Editorial
I just finished wrapping up the story about the Public Employee Retirement System, a major player in the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department slashing services.

Two things are fairly apparent. First, if we want good law enforcement, we are going to have to pay what it costs to provide it. Secondly, People should not be critical of past, present or future government employees because they have good retirement packages. I’m in my 70’s and working – not because those folks chose jobs that had decent retirement plans, but I chose a vocation I wanted to pursue and the retirement be damned. If I was or am unhappy because I don’t have a nest-egg, the only one I have to blame is myself.

After listening to the Sheriff’s presentation at the town hall meeting.

He made some great points, including the change in laws and the focus it has forced on law enforcement. What bothered me and still bothers me is the “my hands are tied” attitude.

Tom Bosenko is a career cop. He’s a good cop. He’s experienced. He has gone up through the ranks and thus honed his leadership abilities to what should be razor sharp by now. He has a nice office, good secretary, good staff and he makes a nice salary. We are paying him to do a job – keep the citizens of Shasta County safe, not tell us it can’t be done.

If he was in a football game, had the ball and a run up the middle didn’t give him the yardage he needed, he had better instruct someone to go around the end or go long for a pass.

Personally, I don’t care if the criminals are are arrested and booked for the crimes they should be booked for. I’d be happy if they got arrested for something else they did that drew jail time or something that sent them back to a jurisdiction in south Florida.

When the Feds couldn’t build a case against Al Capone for murder and the numerous other violent crimes he fostered or took part in, they nailed him for tax evasion.

I don’t personally feel that it is my job to do the sheriff’s job. If there’s something I want to volunteer for I’ll be happy to do so, as will most the folks I know. Many of the folks at that meeting had either gone the extra mile or are willing to go the extra mile. I do expect the top man in the sheriff’s department to figure out a way to do his job and overcome the stupidity of those who throw roadblocks in the way.

On a good note, I made a snide remark about the Sheriff’s office and how it should spend time solving the vandalism at the Fall River Dump.

As it turned out, they were and busted a woman for it before my snide remark hit the street. Good going guys.
There are a few “This and That’s” that need to be taken care of.

Regarding our let us know who this is the “Vira Willmore” feature weekly...

I had a brilliant idea a few months ago of making champions out of those who identified six featured people correctly. That turned out to be an oooops.

The problem is that I barred them from guessing until I had enough for a “tournament of champions” That was a major mistake for two reasons. First this isn’t the kind of a contest that lends itself to that kind of competition, I couldn’t come up with a competition that would work, and secondly I was unintentionally penalizing folks from the weekly competition when I shouldn’t be.

Therefore, Patty Richwine is the Champion but will now be eligible to identify as many people as she can right along with everyone else.

Number two: I sat through a community meeting that I had Alex cover because I knew in advance that I couldn’t be objective and I believe in objective reporting. I did keep my opinion to the opinion page.

However, I also lumped Sheriff Tom Bosenko and Supervisor Mary Rickert together. I should not have done that. As she pointed out, it is the sheriff’s job to fight crime - not hers.

She dropped by last week to say she took exception to my remark that she had her head buried in the sand.

That conversation was exceptionally productive. I haven’t had a supervisor’s column since John Caton’s. The number one rule has always been that I don’t do any editing to it other than obvious spelling errors. It will be the supervisors, to do with as the supervisor sees fit.

A supervisor’s column adds a lot to the paper and also gives the Supervisor a chance to write about what is happening and about what they think about the various issues or problems.

Also, in talking to her, it was obvious that she was exceptionally involved and knowledgeable regarding the drug problem, mental health, crime and homelessness. Like our other supervisors over the years, she’s also involved with many organizations and meets with representatives from the others.

The Sheriff also called. Naturally he was disappointed in the editorial. He said he is fighting crime as well as it can be fought with laws that don’t have any teeth in them and the fact that between the Public Employees Retirement System and the State dumping the cost of Home Health on the counties has resulted in the loss of over $2 million in annual revenue to his department and thus the cuts. He says the Intermountain Area was not singled out and the cuts were department wide.
Editorial
I just finished wrapping up the story about the Public Employee Retirement System, a major player in the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department slashing services.

Two things are fairly apparent. First, if we want good law enforcement, we are going to have to pay what it costs to provide it. Secondly, People should not be critical of past, present or future government employees because they have good retirement packages. I’m in my 70’s and working – not because those folks chose jobs that had decent retirement plans, but I chose a vocation I wanted to pursue and the retirement be damned. If I was or am unhappy because I don’t have a nest-egg, the only one I have to blame is myself.

After listening to the Sheriff’s presentation at the town hall meeting.

He made some great points, including the change in laws and the focus it has forced on law enforcement. What bothered me and still bothers me is the “my hands are tied” attitude.

Tom Bosenko is a career cop. He’s a good cop. He’s experienced. He has gone up through the ranks and thus honed his leadership abilities to what should be razor sharp by now. He has a nice office, good secretary, good staff and he makes a nice salary. We are paying him to do a job – keep the citizens of Shasta County safe, not tell us it can’t be done.

If he was in a football game, had the ball and a run up the middle didn’t give him the yardage he needed, he had better instruct someone to go around the end or go long for a pass.

Personally, I don’t care if the criminals are are arrested and booked for the crimes they should be booked for. I’d be happy if they got arrested for something else they did that drew jail time or something that sent them back to a jurisdiction in south Florida.

When the Feds couldn’t build a case against Al Capone for murder and the numerous other violent crimes he fostered or took part in, they nailed him for tax evasion.

I don’t personally feel that it is my job to do the sheriff’s job. If there’s something I want to volunteer for I’ll be happy to do so, as will most the folks I know. Many of the folks at that meeting had either gone the extra mile or are willing to go the extra mile. I do expect the top man in the sheriff’s department to figure out a way to do his job and overcome the stupidity of those who throw roadblocks in the way.

On a good note, I made a snide remark about the Sheriff’s office and how it should spend time solving the vandalism at the Fall River Dump.

As it turned out, they were and busted a woman for it before my snide remark hit the street. Good going guys.
Editorial
A couple of years ago the Sheriff’s Department began playing musical chairs with the Burney Command. The commanders no longer live in Burney. Then the commanders began to have other commands or duties at the same time. One who was promoted to Burney Commander also still worked part time for the major crimes unit. Another one oversaw both the Coroner’s office and Burney Division. We lost a sergeant who was not replaced. Instead, one of the existing patrol deputies was appointed senior deputy. Then, in the last few weeks, we lost our division status and have become a “station.” Instead of having a captain, a lieutenant is now in charge. He’s not in charge of just Burney. He is in charge of all the county’s patrol division – covering all four of the county’s “stations” at the same time.

At Tuesday night’s meeting Bosenko revealed that the Burney area no longer has 24-hour on duty coverage. He said that if a person had an emergency during those hours, dispatch has to call a deputy at home, and get him out of bed. He has to get dressed and go on the call.

Bosenko also said the sworn peace officer staffing in Burney was nine now. I checked and that includes the Sergeant and Detective. I also learned that the Lieutenant in charge of patrol also has other duties.

The Burney “station” is open four days a week, not five, Monday through Thursday.

Bosenko leaned on major crime statistics which showing that there wasn’t any real increase in major crime.

I wonder if Sheriff Bosenko has a grasp on reality. He was quoting “Major Crime” statistics. And one of those statistics must have included one of the most horrific murders in county history and it happened in Johnson Park less than eight months ago. That said, there is a lot more to law enforcement than handling murder, rapes and robberies. He didn’t mention that it wasn’t too many years ago that the County-wide Sheriff’s call log only had 21-22 pages daily, Then it grew to 30 pages daily and now there are days when it is over 40 pages. He didn’t mention what he is doing to stop the cronic vandalism at the Fall River Transfer Station.

The Sheriff and our county supervisor are human ostriches with their heads buried in the sand. Even if money was available it would disappear as quickly as it appeared and they would need more. More money has never solved the problem and isn’t the answer now. That begs the question of why, if we are short deputies, short commanders, letting the majority of offenders go, not patrolling as many shifts, not having the Burney office open five days a week, on and on, why they are still short of money. It just doesn’t compute. Why, when you begged, whimpered and cried and got money to open the substation office and get 24 hour patrol only to have it disappear a few months later? Where is all that money going?

A few years ago the homeless and the drug problems weren’t that big of a deal in Redding and was still bearable in the big cities. Those problems were non-existent up here. Now it is horrific in the big cities and is a major problem in Redding.

Even though Bosenko and Rickert don’t want to recognize it, homelessness and wandering drug addicts are a major problem in our area. You already have a makeshift city of homeless in the area of the Burney transfer station on Black Ranch Road. How long is it going to be before the really bad ones drift in or the drugs fry the brains of those already here to the point that they do things like pour gasoline on someone and light it? Additionally, the forests around the towns of Burney, Hat Creek, Old Station and Cassel are ripe for careless, not attended campfires or smouldering cigaretts.

We already have vagrants sleeping on the sidewalks, behind businesses, on roofs, in back yards, in vacant buildings, in the woods and so forth.

Cal Fire Prevention officers made a dent in the “illegal” camp problem in the woods last year and it was greatly appreciated. But they, just like the rest of law enforcement up here, spent a whole lot of time writing tickets and otherwise “enforcing the laws on the general law-abiding citizenry instead of totally concentrating on the offenses of the living trash. That doesn’t go unnoticed and it isn’t appreciated.

As far as citizens stepping up to the plate, the audience that night included a number of church people who actively work to make life better for those in need. It included two people who over the years had run for Supervisor. It included a former Shasta County Supervisor and his wife. At least two special district managers, members of the Intermountain Patriots, of Sheriff’s Flying Posse, members of the VFW, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, and so forth, all of who are concerned and do what they can to the solve the problem. If you can’t or won’t do anything to stop the offense, then don’t try and prove you are needed by taking it out on the people who are already being victimized. Not only that – you want us to give you more money?

Don’t pat yourself on the back saying you are doing your job when you aren’t. The individual officers are good, dedicated professionals, but they are only as good as their leadership allows them to be. Local law enforcement, led by you, is doing a dismal job at best and all you’ll say is that it is going to get worse and citizens need to step up and do your job for you.

Shame on you!
Editorial
I’ve been going through old issues of the Mountain Echo finding things I can compile for a new weekly column, 30 years ago this week (see below).

I wanted it to be 30 years ago this week, but things became complicated when, for whatever reason, a number of issues turned up missing.

We forgot to save some, we gave them out as people asked for them, they became damaged and so forth. So the column that started out as 30 years is actually 31 years this week.

It is fun to look back and remember the events, the prices on the grocery ads, and all the people, so many I remember.

It also reminds me of all the things we had then that we don’t now, events, celebrations, community affairs.

I hope you enjoy the column as much as I enjoy putting it together.

31 Years Ago
This week in 1986
Citizens Utilities discontinued its fire dispatch services and transferred them to the California Department of Forestry in Redding. The company cited alleged mistakes by the dispatchers and the Burney dispatch center’s priorities.

The Burney Fire District’s board refused to transfer the ambulance dispatch to CDF and the Burney Dispatch Center would also continue to handle the Burney Sheriff’s substation calls.

The employees of Sierra Pacific’s Burney Mill voted 33 to 81 not to unionize.

Pine Grove Mosquito Abatement District announced that despite the severe mosquito problem in the Fall River Valley, the district’s funding was limited and they would have to concentrate their abatement efforts on the areas that had the heaviest influx of mosquitoes and in the most heavily populated sections of the district.

The Fall River Mills Community Services District set a public hearing regarding the possibility of re-hanging a pipe line from the Fall River Bridge or install it under the river. The board and district engineer left the impression that they favored going underwater. They would save $10-15,000 if the river was drained and they didn’t have to hire a diver. However, timing was crucial because it had to be done when the farmers were done irrigating.

The Burney Water District’s board of directors voted to purchase a $28,000-plus IBM computer to replace their $12,000 system that was a year old and had been “a mistake.” District Manager Bill Suppa said they could take the money out of the equipment repair fund.

The board indicated that the possible annexation of Johnson Park, the Fruit Growers Supply Company development and the swimming pool into the district could create a need for the system.

Justice Court Judge Larry Frumes ordered a 21-year old Burney man to pay a $2,000 fine, suspended his driver’s license, gave him 120 days in jail and three years formal probation for felony drunk driving in an accident which injured four 16-year old passengers. The accident occurred south of Lake Britton on Highway 89 when the driver lost control, went off the roadway and rolled the vehicle.

Crew members of the USS Missouri filled a half page of Mountain Echo with thank you letters from the crew for how well they had been treated and the fun they had when they had accepted the Burney Basin Days Committee’s invitation and came to town during Burney Basin Days.

The weather forecast for the week was: a few clouds Tuesday, otherwise fair through Saturday - cooler.

Rick and Cathy Sperry, Dan and Dee Porter, Don and Jill Kerns, Carlos and Yolanda Duarate, Lynn and Mark Riggins Collin and Emaline Haynes, Jack and Carol Poytress, Wally and Karen Checken, Dick and Shirley Uhl, Bud and Ruth Knoch, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Brewster, Todd and Elizabeth Reynolds, Tom and Patty Taylor, and Fern and Chuck Barber all had anniversaries during the week of July 15 through July 21.

Christopher James Fowles, son of Heather and Matthew Fowles, former residents of the Valley, Natasha Jane Mike, daughter of Mike and Shella Bohall of Burney, Lynn Gomez-Barba Rocksann, daughter of Benito and Angelita Gomez of Burney; Tyler Charles Simmons, son of Ellis and Marilyn Simmons of McArthur, Daniel Paul Thompson, son of Paul and Constance Thompson of Burney, Michelle Luane Henderson, daughter of Michael and Pamela Henderson of Johnson Park, Joseph Cummings, son of Joe and Roberta Cummings of Burney; and Veronica Lea Pendleton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Greg Pendleton were born during the period of July 1 through July 12 at Mayer’s Memorial Hospital.

Elsie Nelson, 81, of Burney died.

We’ll skip the bookings and court report.

Jim and Flora Gordon of Nubieber won a VCR drawing at an Adin and Bieber Chamber of Commerce picnic.

Post 369 of the American Legion and its Auxiliary installed its officers. Robert Fredette, Sr, commander: Durwood Lee Hinds, first vice commander, Richard Harold, second vice-commander; Randy Scholl, adjutant; E.C. Hayes, finance officer; Jere Howard, chaplain; Tony Booth, sergeant- at-arms; Joseph Gleason, judge advocate; Theodore Sampson, historian and Joseph Gleason, service officer.

Auxiliary 369: Dorothy Scholl, president; Ann Howard, first vice president; Susan Brown secretary-treasurer; Doris Hayes, chaplain; Debbie Smith, historian; Beth Harold, sergeant at arms; Ardis Cunningham, marshal; Cindy White, 3-year executive; and Ruby Barber, musician.

Sierra Market advertised Cross-Rib Roast for $1.99 a pound, Turkey at $1.19 a pound, Heinz Tomato Ketchup for 69 cents; Extra Large cantaloupe 5 pounds for $1 and seedless grapes, 2-pounds for $1.
Editorial
Donna and I drove down Main Street at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. It was well after the parade and the street was deserted..

Donna pointed out how clean the parade route was. No litter, paper sacks, wrappers, garbage or beer and soda cans.

You wouldn’t find that in the big cities. There would be litter everywhere.

It’s a pleasure living in the Intermountain area with people who give a damn!

Thank you everyone! Speaking of giving a damn...

The Burney Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a meeting featuring Sheriff Tom Bosenko and Supervisor Mary Rickert at 6 p.m. next Tuesday in the Veteran’s Hall. The topic will be drug abuse and the homeless problem.

I’ve talked to previous sheriff’s and to county supervisors. They all tend to have the same answers 1. We need more money; 2. We need more jail space; 3. It is against the law to enforce the laws already on the books; 4. It is a social problem and we need more programs to rehabilitate or take care of people with the problems.

Those excuses are just that, excuses, and they have worn thin.

I’m personally tired of hearing the same old excuses.

The problems are real and they need to be dealt with or a way found around them.

How many top inventors and business people, Rockefellers, Carnigue, and Edisons said or thought “It has always been done that way so we need to keep doing it that way?

Yes, there are folks with mental diseases and they need to be taken care of. Find a way! There are drug addicts and criminals because we allow criminals, drug addicts and dealers to exist.

If, when I was a kid, someone had tried to sell either my brother or myself drugs, my dad would have killed the person - no questions asked. Now kids sell to kids while parents whimper that their kid is misunderstood. They need money to buy more drugs. They steal or sell their bodies to support their habits and they hook others.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a society and thus the politicians and leaders who use the cop out ...”It doesn’t work,” or “we need more money.”

Both of the folks coming Tuesday are bright people earning good salaries. They are paid to do more than wring their hands while not doing anything.

A sign at Superior Aveune Steel says it best - “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

We are paying them good money to find solutions - make them build the damned door!
Editorial
Oops! Toward the end of the week, a week and a half ago, we had heard that the start date for the Pit River Bridge that services the Fall River-Cassel Road at the south end of Fall River Mills was to be moved to 2019. The interest in the bridge, and that project in particular, drove us to do a hurr- up story on it for that upcoming issue.

Unfortunately neither the Shasta County Engineer in charge of the project Shawn Ankeny nor myself fully understood what the other was saying during the phone interview and I didn’t go into any depth in the interview, which led to misunderstanding and an article which appeared to be critical of Caltrans another agency which plays a major part in the project.

During the phone interview we confirmed that the date had been moved to 2019. Since much of the major concern revolving around the repairs to the current bridge was environmental, I asked him if that was what was delaying the start of this project. He said no and that was where the interview went south. He heard me ask if the bureaucratic process was to blame and agreed, not thinking that I would equate the “bureaucratic process” with Caltrans.

Anyway, Caltrans had a right to be unhappy when it is the system rather than the agency that is so cumbersome.

Ankeny has fully explained it now. “The County is working on numerous reports for Caltrans to review and approve. I believe you asked if it was fair to say that the bureaucratic process is to blame; to which I agreed. I did not mean to impugn the people at Caltrans. Both the County and Caltrans must comply with the voluminous state and federal codes that relate to public works projects. The local Caltrans folks have been working hard alongside us at the County to get this project to construction. I assure you they consider this project a priority.”

I give Caltrans a hard enough time on occasion without giving them a hard time for something that isn’t deserved. I apologize.
Editorial
“Hubs” is gone But not forgotten Not only did Donna and I lose a good friend this week when Bill Nesbit died, But even though they never knew it, he was a major reason the Mountain Echo will be able to celebrate its 40th year in October.

When I walked into a meeting at the then Mountain Echo office in Juniper Center in late 1979 I had no idea that I was, through fate, luck and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, form a 36-year bond and friendship with two wonderful couples I’d never met before, the Nesbits and the Martinsons.

Thirty-six years is a long time, especially when you are in business and riding a roller coaster economy in a rural area. I still look back in amazement and so much gratitude for all their patience and help. Each of them went out of their way to help us over the years. Bill was the businessman of the four, but a businessman with faith and a heart. There were many times over the years that we succeeded, not in spite of Bill, but because of him. Like so many people who have to reflect at times like this – after the fact – I wish I had told him how much I appreciated him more often.

After losing Kira Brazo, we lost Bob Martinson in January 2015 and now Bill.

I remember Bill for a lot of reasons, but one incident that really helped mold the way I operate today sticks in my mind.

He was a practical, no nonsense guy who would say what he thought, when he thought it. He took exception to one of the letters to the editor I published and thought I needed to know that there are times when enough is enough.

It was less than a year after I took over the editorship. We had moved to the building now occupied by Up Town Pizza.

Having the big mouth and sharp pen that I am known for, and an audience who wasn’t totally used to me at the time, I was often receiving less than flattering letters to the editor regarding everything from being downright stupid to being one of several 4-letter words. In those days I would just shake my head, clean up the 4-letter words and run the letter.

I wasn’t too experienced, but had and have always felt that if I was going to have my say, the reader ought to have a right to theirs. Finally I got a letter (there wasn’t any e-mails in those days) from Bill. He pointed out that yes, the reader had a right to vent about me, however, I had a right to reply. Ooooh what a difference that made in my morale.

I don’t use the privilege too often, but I do use it. It is amazing how much better I feel just knowing that I can legitimately defend, clarify or whatever when it is called for. He and the other three are the reason the Mountain Echo is still in business today.

Both Donna and I miss Bob and we will miss Bill (or “Hubs” as his wife Sharon referred to him so often in “Sharon’s Shelf”). He was a good guy and also had the good sense to marry Sharon.
Editorial
Before I get into my editorial I want to congratulate all of the graduating seniors. You made it guys. The world and its situation is becoming yours. Don’t blame the state of it on the older generation - do something about it. Each generation, including mine, my folks and their folks, blamed it on those that came before and your kids will blame it on you - unless you do something about it! You are extremely bright, talented and energetic. It’s your turn.

Developer Ralph Lane built a two story office building on the northeast edge of Burney in the 1980’s.

It is in an area zoned for mixed commercial use and has lived up to that designation.

In its earlier years the building served as a real estate office, radio station, church and warehousing for grocery suppliers.

Then it went empty and stayed empty for at least 10 years or more, basically a commercial eyesore.

While it didn’t have graffiti painted on the walls or its windows broken out, it was obviously vacant it reflected negatively on the area’s economy.

To the east of it is the Burney Mosquito District Office compound. Behind that, on Cornaz, is Burney Disposal which includes garage and shop for its trucks. In the past there was also a bike repair shop in that compound. Further to the north on Cornaz, behind the building in question was an old saw shop that someone burned down and a few homes and ranch land.

Across the street is forest which is up for sale for development.

To the west on the same side of the street is a recycle center building supply, car wash, insurance office, tire store and more.

To the west on the other side of the street is a community center and day care and a strip mall. The Post Office, hospital annex, doctor and dentist offices McDonald’s Restaurant, vehicle lube and clinic within walking distance.

A woman and two men moved up from the Bay Area and started working on the building.

One, a farrier, doesn’t work out of the building. The other man is a welder and metal sculptor.

The lady, an attractive, middle aged grandmother, took over the front portion of the building.

She has been a licensed barber for over 20 years. She is a member of the state association for massage therapists whose clientele in the Bay Area includes a number of well-known sports professionals.

She completely redid the inside of the gutted inside - painting, redoing the floors, furnishing and decorating.

With the exception of the business sign, which like many of us when first going into business, didn’t have money for an expensive professionally produced one, everything else is first class.

She is one of only two men’s barbers in the area and the only massage therapist outside of Mayers Memorial Hospital’s Physical Therapy Department who has an established location.

Shasta County has a little known, but necessary part of the Planning and Building Departments that is charged with forcing those who are excessively messy to clean it up. If you look around town it is quite obvious that they do not do anything unless someone complains. Apparently the welder and barber made someone mad and they complained to the clean up cop who came out and ordered the welder to clean his metal yard up and he has. In the process the junk cop went through the county code and found that massage therapists can be lumped under “massage parlors,” which requires a special permit. Also for some reason the zoning didn’t allow barbers unless they got use permits which all together would cost them a total, I am told, of $5,000 to get.

I find that rather questionable when there’s a barber shop in the mall down the street that is open part time, masseuse’s business cards in the two gyms downtown on and off and is the same service offered by the hospital.

I tried to get information regarding the cost of the process from the county, and true to its reputation, got an answering machine with message that he’d call back in three days. (That was three months ago - and he still hasn’t (typical).

Dealing with real cops can be less than stimulating, but give a bureaucrat the authority to play cop and generally it doesn’t make for friendly relations.

I have no idea how they or the junk cop behaved, but even if they didn’t hit it off real well we have a legitimate professional with years of training and a legitimate practice at one end of the building and an artist who turns out the type of sculptures that grace many studios at the other. Real cops treat the people they deal with professionally. I don’t know if the junk cop did or not, but I wonder.

These folks had and were turning a deteriorating blight into an attractive part of the business community along the highway.

They were providing very real and needed services to the community.

The county had PG&E pulled their gas and electrical meters and apparently won’t let the utility put them back in until the folks come up with $5,000 and go through the lengthy red-tape process so one of them can get licenses.

As a side note, that may be why so many hair stylists work out of their homes, instead of following the rules.

It is well known that the Redding-based government does not want any business, development or services in Eastern Shasta County and will do everything they can to block it.

This appears to be such a case.

Editorial
Bob Osborne represented every reason we had moved back to Northeastern California.

It hadn’t been too long after we moved back here in 1976 that something went wrong with our little Toyota station wagon.

It has been so long ago that I can’t remember the exact details but we were at the Cheveron Station in Burney and parts had to be ordered and it would be down for roughly a week.

Bob Osborne happened to be gasing up his wonderful old pickup and somehow saw the look of desperation on my face and the little 5th grade girl that was with me. I think Donna was tending store at Caldwell’s Corner.

I didn’t know Bob and Arnie was still going to East Burney Elementary and I’m sure he didn’t know me but he said something to the effect that “You’ve got a problem don’t you?” I admitted I did.

Bob didn’t hesitate, he’d have to check with his wife Susan, but he’d be happy to loan me the pickup for the week. He refused to take any money and didn’t attach any strings. I couldn’t believe it, but I never forgot it either.

Because of his health I hadn’t seen Bob in a few years and we’d lost touch, but as far as I was and am concerned, Bob Osborne was one of the nicest guys I ever met. and I wish I had been a lot more in touch! He was honest, helpful, trusting, kind and went the extra mile when a stranded stranger needed help. How many folks do you know that would do that?

Editorial
I’m going to do something I don’t usually do, primarily because I don’t always notice what’s going on around me, take the time to appreciate obvious excellence – even when it hits me up alongside the head or I’m afraid I would embarrass the individuals involved or hurt someone I didn’t recognize that deserves it.

That being said, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and say what’s on my mind. Please understand that I’m only recognizing two of the scores of young folks we have in the Intermountain Area who also deserve and have earned being singled out in their own right.

 Last year Cyanna Iniguez, who had just been installed as the McArthur FFA Reporter called me to introduce herself.

I had no idea she was a Sophomore and would be a Junior at the time she was doing her job. In fact I had no idea that she wasn’t a full-fledged Senior all year. She certainly had the maturity and the work ethic of someone much older.

Cyanna wasn’t just shining me on. I told her when she first called that I would be delighted to get everything in the paper and put it in a good location if she sent it to me. I needed it no later than Friday or needed to know that I would have it coming so I could save space to be sure it got in.

My past experience had been that teens meant well, but there was always sports, tests, dates, events, holidays and family matters that had always seemed to somehow take precedence. That was not the way Cyanna worked. She did what I needed. She also was happy to take on a story or picture on something I’d heard about involving the FFA, that she hadn’t planned on doing. She wanted to do it well and do it right and she did. Thank You Cyanna.

The second is Jackie Mendosa. She did something I’ve never seen another teen do,and did it better than I’ve ever seen even most polished ‘professionals do and reached out in the process, grabbing a panel of five female and male judges, aged lower-middle to middle-senior and reached us to a point of bringing tears to all of our eyes as she gave her senior oral presentation.

There aren’t too many teens willing to discuss the subject of our society’s discrimination against females or do it in a straightforward manner pointing out the pressures put on young women to be anorexic, the male dominated fixation on having large breasts, especially in advertising, and what those pressures do to a woman’s sense of herself and self-esteem.

I know she probably touched each of us in a different way.

She reached me at three levels.

One, as a older male raised before “women’s lib” matured beyond burning bras, I had represented a lot of what she talked about without realizing I was doing anything that hurt or belittled women.

Secondly I have a lovely wife and daughter who have faced the discrimination problems daily.

Third, my daughter just retired after 33-years in the Army as a First Sergeant. She faced “male superiority” in a male dominated organization her whole career, breaking barriers for other women by going for the gusto and not backing down. She became the second female parachute jump master instructor in the Army, She raised her son as a single mother, and slipping into a potential combat situation when the 82nd Air Borne was slated to go into Haiti because her name was Arnie – they didn’t realize she was a female and she didn’t bother to tell them.

Jackie Mendosa and Cyanna Iniguez, each in their own way, touched me and proved that the youth of today are far more mature and complex than I often give them credit for. The future of our society is in good hands.

Thank you ladies.
Editorial
After last week’s issue came out I received a few comments on my homeless story and editorial, “That’s great, just how are you going to pay for it? In other words, we’ve got a problem but since there “isn’t any money” we’ll ignore it.

I’ve got a couple of partial solutions for starters and I’m sure there are a few hundred more floating around.

The TV news casters quoted the head of the Bureau of Reclamation as saying that work was starting on the Oroville Dam spillway and it would cost in the neighborhood of something like $257,000,000. Of course “that’s an emergency.

Of course putting a stop to the illicit drug problem isn’t an emergency. The fact that we have a visible, over-abundance of people (mostly fairly young and vulnerable) homeless people who have mental problems, refuse to recognize the fact and need to be locked up for their and the general public safety isn’t a problem? The fact that we turn potentially dangerous criminals or criminals in training, loose because we don’t have the facilities to house them isn’t an emergency.

If the state can come up with $257 million for a spillway emergency or get a bond passed for something as critical to our safety and well-being as a high-speed rail system that will only serve a portion of the state, I feel we should be able to 1. Launch campaigns to show the Supreme Court that turning mentally defective people out on the street has done them and us far more harm than good and that it is doubtful that our forefathers had criminals and, or the folks with mental problems out on the streets when there is a strong possibility that they will harm themselves, the general public or both.

Throwing money at programs that are only voluntary, ignoring drug problems, turning criminals loose because their offenses haven’t killed or maimed anyone don’t make sense.

It is one thing to be liberal, or for that matter conservative, and another to have enough grasp on reality to govern. If fires, floods, dam spillways, wind storms and drought are emergencies then so are the social problems that are threatening our safety and well-being. Reopen mental facilities with up to date training, equipment and trained personnel. Build the jails we need and get the legislatures both state and federal levels to stop their political posturing, take a hard look at the laws and instead of refusing to enforce them, keep and enforce the ones that make sense and get rid of those that don’t. Then build the additional jails we need, stop coddling criminals, put teeth back into the meaning of “pay for their crimes” and see if that doesn’t go a long way toward taking care of the problems.
Editorial
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the great social experiment that unleashed and is now exacerating the homeless problem, compounded the drug problem, geometrically compounded the petty theft problem and is now giving fledgling criminal the experience and the attitude they need to become real bad-asses isn’t working.

Every agency and politician I talked to in doing my story had programs and solutions, most being used to no avail.

When are those in charge going to wake up and realize that the problems weren’t epidemic and many cases didn’t exist when there were laws and facilities that made treatment mandatory and took the mentally at risk and petty criminal off the street and didn’t condone or poo-poo drug sales and use.

The folks in charge right now are sitting on a ticking time-bomb. If they don’t do something to stop the problem the honest folks who are becoming serious victims will.
EDITORIAL
Donna and I went to the Heritage Foundation’s Wine and Cheese Tasting and the Fall River Valley Choir’s “100 years on Broadway” Sunday.

What a treat!

The wines, cheeses and extras were wonderful and wonderfully interesting.

The Choir was amazing.

I can’t sing. I can’t play any instruments and my “Music Appreciation,” knowledge was gained in a single class in night school at college. But boy did I appreciate their performance, their music and their awesome talent. It is absolutely amazing what a couple of dozen folks of all ages and professions in a rural atmosphere can do!

It was a wonderful afternoon!

Thank you!

EDITORIAL
Hal Haydock died after a lengthy battle with health problems and true to form, he worked right up to the end without complaining or letting on just how bad he was.

I can’t even remember the year that I first met Hal. I know it was shortly after he and Kathy opened their restaurant and bakery just west of McArthur.

Hal was a very private person and kinda hard to get to know. In fact it took me several months before I finally realized that beneath his quiet, raher shy exterior was a heart of pure gold. However, without making it obvious, or a big deal, he quietly proved it.

Besides being undoubtedly the best baker in the area, he was a heck of a chef.

He put his talents to good use. In the 80’s he recognized a need, a big need - Holidays without all the trimmings and he and Kathy set out to right the situation.

He, Kathy, their employees and families gave up their Thanksgiving, talked the Lions into the use of their hall in McArthur and put on on a traditional Community Thanksgiving Dinner for several years without charging folks, making sure no one went hungry. To Hal and to Kathy it wasn’t about the cost or the effort. It was all about making sure that folksl who might not otherwise get a hearty Holiday dinner and a chance to visit with each other, did.

Over the years they not only provided most everyone in the Valley with their own special meals but with their friendship and support.

He loved antiques, baking, cooking and being good to people.

He was one heck of a nice guy, with a nice family, who never asked for a hand out but always gave a hand up. He will be sorely missed!

EDITORIAL
At first blush not seeking the death penalty in the murder of David Wicks may seem totally wrong, but there are good reasons for what the District Attorney did.

In the first place, Mr. Venegas has not had his day in court. He has not been proven guilty.

Even if he is, the strongest argument against the death penalty in this case is that the family of David Wicks has told the District Attorney they don’t want it.

You and I may disagree or not. Those poor folks have already lost their loved one. It would be absolutely inhumane to add the burden of guilt that would fall on their shoulders to the already absolutely horrible death of David.

The argument that we will pay for an incarceration in prison for years to come doesn’t hold up in California.

It may be expensive to house and feed someone but not as expensive as paying some already rich attorney millions of dollars to find a loop hole and let the killer off.

Then, I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life locked up with the lovely folks who actually get locked up in California.
EDITORIAL
The concept of selling subscriptions to the air and ground ambulances is a win - win for everyone.

It costs a tremendous amount of money to staff and operate an ambulance service, whether it is air, ground, or both.

The ambulance provider is not sending someone with a first aid card out to pick a patient up. the folks that operate as medics are highly trained individuals whose training, both the initial and ongoing training is extremly expensive.

The vehicles they respond in and care for patients in are extremely expensive, be it air or ground. The record keeping requirements are high. The medical equipment and supplies, including fuel, costs a lot.

The idea that a person can pay a fixed subscription price and get the service needed, spreads the cost for a single payer out, making it affordable.

If the subscriber doesn’t need the ambulance, the loss to that subscriber is minimal compared to what it would be if the service was needed. By spreading the cost out, used or not used, the service is available to the subscriber when it is needed.

It just makes good common sense to pay a small amount up front annually instead of being unable to pay for the service when you do need it.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done before everything is in place, but it is coming and it behooves us to welcome it.

EDITORIAL
I want to apologize for all of the typos in last week’s edition. We had major, major computer problems which ate into our deadline to the point that we finally got everything laid out but beyond than had to cut our losses. Computers are not fixed, programs are working and my hair is a shade whiter. I’m sorry.

This is the third time I’ve started this column. The first time I read it, deleted all of the four-letter words and found that I didn’t have anything left. The second time I tried using examples of the problems and it became so convoluted that even I couldn’t make a sense out of it.

In short I’m extremely unhappy about two issues and extremely happy about a third.

All three will really irritate the liberals.

First there’s the increase in the gas tax. How long will the gas tax go to pay for road repair – the repair they already get tax revenue to do along with the federal highway tax money to help? It wouldn’t be going to be funneled off the pay for the graft, corruption and mismanagement by those running the public employee retirement systems that has put them in such a bind, would it?

Secondly we already have an extremely serious problem with petty and not so petty criminals running loose on our streets and now they want to do away with the bail bond system which was designed and used primarily to assure that the criminals who need it can’t get out and run around our streets. They want to make sure that the bail amount is affordable so people can get out regardless of their financial situation. Since that will drive legitimate, licensed, regulated and monitored bail agencies out of business all bail will undoubtedly be done by the state or county, probably since the amounts will be reduced and there is no incentive for the state or county to go to the trouble of foreclosing, it will turn into as much of a joke as their “catch and release” program is now.

Third – There was a time that I wouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump. Then there was the moment I held my nose and, because of the other choice, voted for him. Then came the time of mixed emotions when he would make a damned fool out of himself one moment and become wonderfully careful, measured, straight forwardly presidential. Finally there was last Thursday night when he shoved a badly needed missle up the fanny of a country that has needed an enema for years and at the same time put the world on notice that the US is back in the business of being the strongest, toughest and best country in the world, not some third world, third rate nanby-pamby.

There! I did it – no swearing – no rambling!
EDITORIAL
I got this brilliant idea for an editoial while standing under the hot side of warm water beating down massagingly on my neck and shoulders Friday morning.

No, I wasn’t singing. I tried that once when I was a sophomore in high school and it scared me so bad I haven’t had the guts to try it again.

Anyway, I was standing amidst stream of water - shampooing, soaping and doing all the other stuff that makes a shower so wonderful when my eyes caught the drain sucking up all that precious liquid, running it through a drain pipe, into a septic system out the leachlines, into the dirt (lets be nice and call it dirt instead of lava rock even if it is in Johnson Park. From there I visualized it filtering through layer after layer of dirt until all the little drips ran into the undergound aquafier or river and did whatever it does until it made the mistake of being sucked up into a well or the Del Oro tank on the hill where it would start its journey all over again.

That was when the injustice of it all struck me.

Here I was, and am, giving a large portion of the water back to the water company so it can meter and charge me for it again.

That is intrinically unfair, whether it is the Del Oro Water Company, Burney Water District, Fall River Valley Community Services District or the LA Water Company.

My fragile brain went into the “what if” mode and I wondered why, if people put solar panels or windmills up on the roof or in the yard and feed PG&E which in turn pays them for it, why we couldn’t hook up a meter to our septic tank or sewer connection and bill the water company for it.

That sounded pretty good to me.

Of course being the realist that I am, I realized that it would never work. No matter how satisfying it would be to get a check from the water company, the fact that someone would have to pay the company something so it could pay me so I could bill them. That, like life itself isn’t necessarily fair, but a check or two would be nice, even if it was for something as ephemeral as water.

EDITORIAL

I’ve been officially covering Mayers Memorial Hospital since 1980 or 1981.

 I witnessed Judi Beck spearhead Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the hospital expansion and Everett’s Build of the Burney Annex. They did a magnificent and all but impossible job. I witnessed Everett and his board move the hospital through uncharted waters, keeping it afloat and expanding over the years.

 I watched all of the boards, CEOs and staff contribute to keeping it afloat and moving forward and they were all dedicated and hard working.

But I have never seen a group of people who move more surely, competently, professionally, as a team, giving credit where credit is due and it is really showing - from board to staff.

I have to admit that kind of behavior makes it tough to be a grouchy editorial writer.

I’m impressed.

 

EDITORIAL
Everything’s right in Fall River High School’s world and they earned it.

They weren’t satisfied with taking the Girls and Boys Basketball top championships, their FFA let the world know they were there in force. Now their Softball and Baseball teams are winning. They never seem to do anything halfway.

Congratulations!!!!!!!!
EDITORIAL
Wow! What a b a s ke t b a l l season!

Who says our small, rural, public schools can’t do it!

Gotta send the kids to the private schools - no way the kids from up here can get ahead academically or athletically.

BULL PUCKY!

We’ve got some of the finest kids, athletically and academically and the teachers, coaches and administrators who support, push, prod, and mold and motivate them and our school alumni’s rosters continue to bulge with their accomplishments and we always have!

This is going to be a short editorial because I can sum up the topic in a sentence or two.

C O N G R AT U L ATIONS! YOU GUYS AND GALS ARE ABSOLUTELY TOP NOTCH! KEEP IT UP!
EDITORIAL
I just learned that I lost a dear friend, Russ Buhay, over the weekend.

I haven’t received any obituary information yet so I don’t know a lot.

All I know for sure is that he was the quiet guy in the background.

I spent several years in the Fall River Lions with him. He never stepped out and grabbed one of the glory jobs like I was prone to do, but he had my back all the way.

That doesn’t begin to count for the work he did for youth, seniors or anyone who needed it..

If I, or anyone else I knew, ever needed a job done in the Lions, he was one of the guys completely dedicated to getting it done.

I know he was the same way with church projects because I alway saw him pushing a lawn mower or repairing something.

Russ was one of those fellows you think of when you think of the backbone of a small community and he was definitely that! One of the most dedicated, nicest men I ever knew.

I never saw him ask for a thank you and he was alway there. I’m going to miss him a lot!
EDITORIAL
Gotta admit that on a scale of one from one to 10 putting on chains has to rank a minus 5.

I wasn’t very fond of it when I was 35. Now, at 75, with trouble getting up and getting down, plus a few extra years to hone my vocabulary it is best that I don’t run into any civilized human being when I might get caught in that position. Thus, discrection being the better part of valor I find every excuse in the world not to put myself in that position. I even have found the little patience that elluded me for all these years. I can and have actually waited.

But my livelihood doesn’t depend on getting from point A to Point B in the middle of a blizzard. There are an awful lot of folks who have no choice.

So what do you do. If you are a plow driver you spend 80% of your time plowing and the other 20% being called everything in the book because you plowed a driveway, or bunch of driveways. You are wasting your time if you tell them that you’ve been plowing the damned road without a break for six or more hours and have another six to go. Nor does it help to ask them to run down to the end of your route and explain to those folks they won’t get their road plowed because you are going to be a good guy and plow driveways out.

If you are a trucker, you are on the time clock or a route that has to be done or you don’t get paid. If you’re driving singles it isn’t your fault they get squirrelly, you still have to do your job. and the sign doesn’t say you have to put chains on.

If you are driving duals, and they put up a sign that forces you to put chains on when they aren’t needed it costs you time and money. Then you toss the passenger car amateurs into the mix and all bets are off.

In all of my wisdom of not knowing what I’m talking about anyway, it strikes me that if Caltrans in Burney went back to R-1 modified it MIGHT stop a few accidents, and even a few are better than none. There were a couple of horenddous tie ups on Hatchet this year. If the cops got tough and burned people for ignoring the signs or vandalizing them there would probably be less of it.

However most, if not all of the plow drivers are more concerned with keeping their trucks on the roadway than getting license numbers and turning people in. Most of the cops are extremely busy with the fender benders brought on by nasty weather and it strikes me that John Q public won’t get any smarter, so my guess is that right, wrong or indifferent, this is one of those nasty little items that no one is going to do anything about.
EDITORIAL
I went to a 4-H demonstration day in Burney last Saturday and it was so refreshing.

I am forever railing about the people who wander up and down my street at all time of the day and night, going to the house on the end of the block and coming back a few moments later.

Others, high on whatever, or off their meds ,wander the street waving their arms and dressed in t-shirts in frigid weather. Not to hard to tell that they are on something other than aspirin.

For the most part they are dirty, sloppily dressed, unkempt and not someone you’d want to get close enough to smell.

But there are those refreshing times, times too often overlooked or missed entirely - those times when I get to see the top 20-30% of the other side of the coin, the young people who will make our futures bright.

Every-once-in-awhile I have the privelege of going to a 4-H or FFA or Scouting event and see what our leaders of tomorrow really look and act like and it is impressive.

Those young people don’t glare at the adults. They are neat, clean, well mannered, intelligent beyond their years, confident and sure of themselves.

I’m equally impressed to see the adults that are there helping, teaching and guiding them.

True, I know some mighty fine young folks that aren’t exposed to a lot of adult involvement, but it is so much easier for those who have it.

I just want to say thank you to the kids who think enough of themselves and their futures to open themselves to the opportunities that will make them successful and to the adults who bend over backwards to guide them. You are what our society and our future is all about.
EDITORIAL
I haven’t been real observant this last week.

Besides the weather changing from terrible, frozen wet and nasty to just wet and almost livable, the only other thing I noted of real interest was a Super Bowl where the Patriots were absolutely dismal in the first half and Falcons were absolutely dismal in the second.

Of Course the last team to be absolutely brilliant usually can pull it out even ifthey weren’t supposed to have enough time to do it. They did.

I gotta admit that I didn’t have a favorite but the Patriots earned the win.

In the meantime I’ll keep my ball cap on to keep the rain off
EDITORIAL
I haven’t been real observant this last week.

Besides the weather changing from terrible, frozen wet and nasty to just wet and almost livable, the only other thing I noted of real interest was a Super Bowl where the Patriots were absolutely dismal in the first half and Falcons were absolutely dismal in the second.

Of Course the last team to be absolutely brilliant usually can pull it out even ifthey weren’t supposed to have enough time to do it. They did.

I gotta admit that I didn’t have a favorite but the Patriots earned the win.

In the meantime I’ll keep my ball cap on to keep the rain off
EDITORIAL
In the past few weeks I have found myself becoming extremely short with people who want to gripe about how horrible President Donald Trump is.

Whether or not I voted for him is a moot point. I do everything I can to keep national politics out of my paper. My reasoning is simple. I have been to Washington D.C. four times. The first time I landed at Dulles International airport, changed planes and left immediately. The second I came in late at night on a train, and left within an hour. The third I drove through DC with a buddy who was on his way to Pennsylvania to buy a car when I was in the service.

The fourth I spent a delightful week’s vacation there and got to see the sights, talk to a congressman, visit with my wife’s sister and my daughter who came up to meet us. My political education is limited to US History 101 and a semester of political science.

In other words I have no real education or experience in politics and therefore shouldn’t burden any reader with my opinion or pretend that I know what I’m talking about.

All I’m going to admit in print is that I was extremely unhappy with the direction the country went under the former president and I was horrified at both party’s propaganda and rhetoric in the last election.

That said, we have a duly elected president who has been sworn in, moved in and is making presidential decisions.

Like him or not he won, he is in power and he has a right and a duty to govern.

For crying-out-loud give him a chance to do that.

If you can’t - have the courtesy not to burden me with your intolerance
EDITORIAL
When it comes to the arrest in the David Wicks case everyone should be rejoicing.

The detectives and deputies did one hell of a job. They didn’t let community pressure for a quick solution or anything else get in the way of doing it right. Nor did they rush to judgment.

They took almost a month to solve a high profile case and it took that long because the time was needed.

They did a lot of leg work, expended a tremendous amount of manpower, kept the investigation close to their vests, waited for the state’s crime lab to identify the DNA profile, presented it to the District Attorney’s office for a warrant, located and waited for their suspect and took him into custody without incident.

The evidence thus far collected according to the facts of the arrest, indicate that Juan Manuel Venegas committed the murder of David Wicks.

The Sheriff’s Department is making sure there isn’t anything that they might have missed. The investigation is ongoing and we’ll know if anything else important comes out.

The Sheriff’s Department has and is doing their job as it should be.

The problem lies not with them, but with a certain percentage of the population that out of anger, helplessness, or just plain nastiness, are not content to let things along

Those people are carrying things too far. They want blood and don’t care who gets hurt in the process or why.

The system demands that Venegas goes through the justice system, to be tried and if found guilty sentenced and punished. That is as it should be. If anyone else is found to have had any part in it, they will face the same consequences - again, as it should be.

There is absolutely no sane reason for people to get on social media or anything else and threatening, belittling, harassing, degrading or tormenting people who have no guilt, no part, no more knowledge of the crime than anyone else.

I remember a vicious, hateful, horrific crime that occurred in the early 1980’s - Bill Proctor of Johnson Park was found guilty of raping, torturing and murdering Burney Elementary School Teacher Bonnie Stendal.

He had a brother, sister and mother, all of them good people. All of them innocent of any wrong doing. Bill happened to be a “Bad Apple.” Shortly after the trial, they moved away.

Why? They didn’t do anything.

David Wicks was a friend to a lot of us.

He was a good, decent, religious man who led a good life.

How do you think he would feel if he read the hateful garbage that has been posted on Face Book or the innuendo that seeps through the community.

He would be more than embarrassed, he would be ashamed of you!

Love and remember David. Don’t blindly hate or harass innocent people.
EDITORIAL
Skip Willmore suggested that I stop by the park and take a look at Burney Falls - so I did.

He wasn’t wrong. It was impressive.

In fact it was impressive from the moment I got out of the car in the parking lot and began to make my way through the slippery slush that was still on the pavement.

The roar of the water was almost deafening.

By the time I inched my way along the path to the overlook I could see the massive volume of water that hammered what would normally have been the pool below.

When I saw it, the water was a cauldron rising in a dome-like shape of foam and mist. Not exactly what the normal visitor is treated to.

It appears that we’ll be greeting a new snow storm by Wednesday. It is nice to know the drought is over.

Our farmers and ranchers will get a break and that is nice. On the other, I’m one of those folks who is never satisfied. In the middle of the summer when it is hot, I’m looking forward to the cold of winter and now that the cold is here I’m waiting for the warmth of summer - you just can’t please me.

On a sad note, living in a rural area like the Intermountain Area means that I know an awful lot of people - fine, good people!

I’m always saddened when a friend or neighbor or someone who I really look up to dies. I miss them all and my heart goes out to their loved ones. Then comes the times, like those of the last few weeks when we’ve lost friend after friend after friend.

It gets to the place where it is overwhelming.

To everyone who is suffering through this rough time please know that Donna and I love you and are thinking about you. Our prayers are with you.
EDITORIAL
It was raining out Sunday - 5.5 inches in 24-hours in Bartle.

Normally I wouldn’t know that piece of trivia but Wayne, Marilyn, Donna and I took Sunday afternoon off and went to meet friends, see Rufus and watch football.

On the way there we passed the entrance to Burney Falls State Park on Hwy 89, along the “kinda straight” stretch and started down the downgrade toward the bridge.

We were talking about the weather and the roads and potential for flooding.

That’s when Caltrans helped me out.

No sooner had I commented that we’d really know if it was flooding if the Bridge (at the south end of Lake Britton and probably some 40 - 60 feet off the water normally) was under water.

The final curve to the bridge entrance sported a n iofficial Cal tans sign saying something to the effect of “danger - flooding.”

I know... I know... It obviously wasn’t what I thought - probably just a few hours too many in front of a computer!, but the timing was right even if Caltrans had meant someting else.


EDITORIAL
It was raining out Sunday - 5.5 inches in 24-hours in Bartle.

Normally I wouldn’t know that piece of trivia but Wayne, Marilyn, Donna and I took Sunday afternoon off and went to meet friends, see Rufus and watch football.

On the way there we passed the entrance to Burney Falls State Park on Hwy 89, along the “kinda straight” stretch and started down the downgrade toward the bridge.

We were talking about the weather and the roads and potential for flooding.

That’s when Caltrans helped me out.

No sooner had I commented that we’d really know if it was flooding if the Bridge (at the south end of Lake Britton and probably some 40 - 60 feet off the water normally) was under water.

The final curve to the bridge entrance sported a n iofficial Cal tans sign saying something to the effect of “danger - flooding.”

I know... I know... It obviously wasn’t what I thought - probably just a few hours too many in front of a computer!, but the timing was right even if Caltrans had meant someting else.
EDITORIAL
When we first came back to the area in 1976 people didn’t lock their houses or cars. Girls and women weren’t afraid to walk the streets alone at night.

Sure, there was crime, and some of it was horrific, but it wasn’t anything the deputies couldn’t handle and they did. The streets hadn’t been taken over by people in dark clothes that wander, some wearing huge knives and walking Pit Bulls in an attempt to intimidate, at all times of the day and night. In those days There wasn’t a whole lot of talk of people taking the law in their own hands.

What has changed? It isn’t because the deputies aren’t willing or capable of doing their jobs. They are. Their training and physical abilities are as good as always.

The problem falls squarely on the shoulders of a lame society where parents won’t allow anyone to discipline their children and then call the cops to have them tell Johnnie he shouldn’t talk back to his mommy because they are afraid to do it.

It falls on voters who think that white collar crimes are all petty and that drug use is really okay. It falls on lawmakers who spend more time making stupid laws than making laws that enable law enforcement to do their jobs. It falls on the social workers and do-gooders who condone and enable people to become homeless and stay that way.

The list of societal meltdown is pretty long and it isn’t getting any shorter.

However, the mood in the Intermountain Area is changing. It is becoming dangerous and someone is likely to get hurt if something isn’t done to cure the problems quickly.

Making it harder for the law abiding citizen to protect themselves isn’t the answer. The law abiding citizen isn’t the problem.

The argument that not all of the street wanderers are bad is not the answer either - you can’t tell the bad from the good until one of the night crawlers sets someone on fire.

EDITORIAL
I first met David Wicks several years ago while delivering newspapers to the store.

Living in Johnson Park I shop for ice, propane and an occasional snack there so I ran into him reasonably often.

Being a person who has a terrible time remembering names I always admired the way he would always greet me with a huge “Hello Walt, how are you!”

I wasn’t alone. That was the way he greeted a number of people.

He was always smiling and helpful. As with any business person, he had a serious, business side, but I never saw him angry, rude or mistreat anyone.

Obviously he did something to some nut that really set the idiot off.

It makes me wonder what our area is coming to when a nut can walk into a store, set a nice guy on fire and burn him to death and then calmly leave.

Because of the liberal judges, lax laws, and failure of our government to either cure the problems or enforce the rules of a civilized society and force the people who are causing the problem to conform with society, we have to lock our cars, our houses, watch our backs and now more and more of us are arming ourselves.

How long will it be before there’s another vicious murder?

Maybe, just maybe, these folks shouldn’t get welfare, food or lodging.

Maybe they should get mental health, rehab, or clean up and get a job.


Editorial

Bobby Thompson was one of those who was always there when someone needed him.


It didn’t matter what day of the week it was or how he felt or what it would cost him, if someone needed him he was there - and that includes these last six years when he was fighting insurmountable health issues.

The man with a twinkle in his eye, a grin and a bone-crushing handshake was a great man. A good friend, and outstanding community supporter.

I will miss him a lot.


Editorial
Thanksgiving Day came in with a bang. Even though the probability is there that someone up here knows Sherri Papini or the family, I don’t know of anyone.

It didn’t really matter. I’m pretty sure that in the past month we’ve all gotten pretty close to her emotionally.

A young, pretty mother went for a jog and disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

This world and for that matter this county has its share of sexual predators.

I know I almost got tears in my eyes when I got the early morning press release saying she was safe, in a hospital and only had non-life threatening injuries. Not only that it didn’t sound to me like a sex related crime.

What better news could we all get? And that was before time for the traditional dinner arrived.

The turkey was great. The ham was great, the yams were great, the salads were great, the desserts were delicious, and the company great.

Gotta admit I over ate. There was this chocolate pie with a whipped cream topping.

I have a weakness for chocolate pie and a weakness for whipped cream.

I might have been okay but there was a carton of whipped cream right next to that pie.

I was a kid again. I over indulged. In reality I heaped enough whipped cream on top of the whipped cream so I couldn’t see the chocolate....

I had to take Tums, but oh was it good!

On another great note: Check out the mountainecho.com and see what our updated page looks like.

We hope you like it.

Editorial
I received some really good news for the area just as I was putting the paper to bed last week.

I tried to verify it and get the information but wasn’t able to until after I had already gone to press.

So, “a day late and a dollar short” here’s the news...

I’m not a big fan of Governor Jerry Brown, but when he does something right he oughta get a pat on the back.

He appointed Dan Marcum to the State Water Board.

Most appointments don’t reach out and grab me, but when we get direct representation on a committee that is vital to not only the health of the area, but in many cases the survival of it, that is important.

Beyond that there isn’t a man in the state of California better qualified to have a say in water usage than Dan Marcum. I’m 70 plus and I can remember the City of LA messing with watering lawns etc. and that was as important and inconvenient to our family then as it is now. But now they’ve gone a step further and they are messing with Ag water, the water that makes it possible for crops to grow so you and I can eat.

Unfortunately the vast majority of those who get to mess around with it think their food comes from the grocery store and will always be there.

Dan was a career Farm Advisor and was responsible for many of the innovations our ag community adopted and crops produced here.

Dan is a rancher and thus a water user.

He won’t be the only member on the board but he’ll be a member and that means maybe, just maybe we’ll have a voice.

Way to go Dan!
 

 
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Editorial
After a quick Facebook lesson and a weekend of contemplating how I should proceed with my Facebook pages, I have come to the following conclusions. I currently have two ”Mountain Echo Newspaper” pages (even though one is missing the ‘r’ in the user name.

I found that there is no way to correct the missing R problem without doing a new page. It left me with no choice. A page with errors like that is unprofessional and I have to change it.

Effective immediately, I will delete one of the newspaper Facebook pages, I will delete the new one without the ‘r’ and stay with my original page. That page has over 1100 likes and it doesn’t really make sense to try to start over. I thank all those of you who signed up on the new page and I really appreciate your audience. Now that I have found I have to make the changes to delete that page please make sure you are following the original “Mountain Echo Newspaper” Facebook page (the one that is spelled right).

If this is confusing to you, believe me, it is confusing to me also, but I think this is the best if not only real solution now that I better understand how Facebook works. The newspaper Facebook page will be much more active than in the past. It will be kept up to date and we are excited to use this avenue to communicate with both our readers and our local communities.

Loretta Carrico-Russell, an excellent reporter will be editing the page and both she and I will contribute regularly. Our goal is to provide local and regional updates.


Editorial
Thanksgiving Day came in with a bang. Even though the probability is there that someone up here knows Sherri Papini or the family, I don’t know of anyone.

It didn’t really matter. I’m pretty sure that in the past month we’ve all gotten pretty close to her emotionally.

A young, pretty mother went for a jog and disappeared under suspicious circumstances.

This world and for that matter this county has its share of sexual predators.

I know I almost got tears in my eyes when I got the early morning press release saying she was safe, in a hospital and only had non-life threatening injuries. Not only that it didn’t sound to me like a sex related crime.

What better news could we all get? And that was before time for the traditional dinner arrived.

The turkey was great. The ham was great, the yams were great, the salads were great, the desserts were delicious, and the company great.

Gotta admit I over ate. There was this chocolate pie with a whipped cream topping.

I have a weakness for chocolate pie and a weakness for whipped cream.

I might have been okay but there was a carton of whipped cream right next to that pie.

I was a kid again. I over indulged. In reality I heaped enough whipped cream on top of the whipped cream so I couldn’t see the chocolate....

I had to take Tums, but oh was it good!

On another great note: Check out the mountainecho.com and see what our updated page looks like.

We hope you like it.

 

Editorial
This coming Saturday, the day after Black Friday when the Big Box Stores and TV stations say that any red blooded American with 10¢ in his or her pocket must rush to a big box store and spend it is Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses are something that we all take for granted. That’s why so few of them are left in our area.

It’s a sobering thought for those involved in fundraising to think back and realize that the last time you went into one of our small businesses was when you wanted them to give something for a raffle prize or for a donation.

That too is why there are so few small businesses left in our area.

Our local small businesses should be the first place we shop. Then, if they don’t carry what you need or they can’t compete price-wise because they can’t cut deals with big wholesalers or shipping firms, then try the chains and big box stores.

Remember Small Business Saturday!


Editorial
This coming Saturday, the day after Black Friday when the Big Box Stores and TV stations say that any red blooded American with 10¢ in his or her pocket must rush to a big box store and spend it is Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses are something that we all take for granted. That’s why so few of them are left in our area.

It’s a sobering thought for those involved in fundraising to think back and realize that the last time you went into one of our small businesses was when you wanted them to give something for a raffle prize or for a donation.

That too is why there are so few small businesses left in our area.

Our local small businesses should be the first place we shop. Then, if they don’t carry what you need or they can’t compete price-wise because they can’t cut deals with big wholesalers or shipping firms, then try the chains and big box stores.

Remember Small Business Saturday!



                                                    

 

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