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


The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department started releasing their new version of the Daily Logs last week and a few things became immediately apparent.

There is less information available on the public version than in the old days.

However, this isn’t the old days. Shasta County has taken an extremely conservative approach as to what is releasable and what isn’t. They also purchased and installed a program which reflects that conservatism. I may not like it but their approach will minimize lawsuits.

The second thing I noticed seems like they have more calls now than they did have.

Also there appears to be considerably more vehicle and pedestrian stops than before.

I’ll admit that in the past I have made a few editorial comments about the cops picking on law abiding citizens.

As I worked the log today it dawned on me that we as a citizenry are under siege from the trash running our streets and we can’t have it both ways.

 Yes, I have white hair, yes, I drive a newer model car, but a patrol unit cruising down the street may or may not be able to get a good look at me when his instinct or training says “take a look at that guy.”

If we want the cops to make it uncomfortable on the folks that are stealing us blind, vandalizing our property, harassing us and so forth we need to encourage their efforts. Now that I recognize the need and the obvious fact that they are only doing their job I’m more than willing to put up with being pulled over once in awhile.

 I’d a lot rather they make sure I’m not a yo-yo while making it uncomfortable for the bad guys than to not check because they might hurt my feelings.

In addition to the Sheriff releasing the logs again, private citizens have also created several pipelines for information on Facebook and are posting “What’s happening.” A few are openly assisting the deputies in chasing down known druggies and other trash and bringing problems to light.

The Citizen’s Patrol is also out being another set of eyes for the police.

The thing that makes me the happiest is that it was reaching a point where it would have been all too easy for people to get pushed beyond endurance and resort to violence.

Instead, it appears that a few folks with level heads have stepped forward and are aggressively pursing the problem non violently while helping deputies rather than hindering them.

If all of us do our part, say thank you to the cops, and put up with the inconvenience of an occasional unwarranted, traffic stop, maybe we’ll get our towns back.

Personally I think we all may be going in the right direction,.

I keep hearing what I feel are lame excuses for not providing the public with pertinent information that is, in reality essential for personal and community safety.

I’m not willing to buy into the Sheriff’s Department’s public position that under the current laws there is nothing they can do to protect us and yet they won’t provide us with the information we need as citizens to take steps to insure our own safety. We need the Sheriff’s daily logs. If we know what is going on in our neighborhoods we can take extra precautions as needed.

Two of the area’s commanders got up in front of a hall full of people and blatantly told the audience that they had to get rid of the old logs because they released too much information to the public.

That is horse pucky. Up until five or six months ago they had the same daily log format they had for the 40 plus years I’ve been reading them.

Over the years they began redacting more and more information.

As a reporter I wasn’t happy but it was obvious that the information blacked or whited out made sense. It is not appropriate to put children’s names or the victims of some crimes. Putting the names of callers in the log could lead to retaliation. Information on investigations should obviously be confidential until the matter goes into the court system.

Those items were routinely redacted. As a personal preference we had stopped putting in the full address on most reports.

It doesn’t take five or six months to fix something that wasn’t broken to start with.

Now we can’t see the in custody’s and the photos disappeared a long time ago.

Sure, if we know who we need to get a picture of or find out the in custody information we can ask for it. That is, we could if the Daily Logs were still available.

There are two things this Sheriff’s Department is lacking:

1. Being open with the public so we know what is or isn’t going on.

2. Pro-active law enforcement where the deputies are allowed to think outside the box and look for ways to stop crimes before they occur.

The one thing the Sheriff’s Department does not need is more money.

The board of supervisors has given them more money on more than one occasion for more deputies, staffing for the sub station, open office hours and we get it. Generally after a delay and then only for a few weeks or months before the money is funneled down to Redding.

I think I speak for most folks up here. We aren’t interested in excuses. We want results. Money is an excuse.

We have a right to know what goes on in our neighborhoods on a daily basis and they, in turn have a right to expect our support and help.

Kyle Cantrell and his group need a good pat on the back. They are working on solutions and there is a good chance that will be a start to cleaning up our towns. Thank you guys and gals.

There are too many examples of what has happened in our towns to list them all.

For the purpose of this editorial I’ve chosen three locations because they are indicative of the problem and are three examples of why I’m personally so unhappy with what has been going on and why things need to be changed.

A few months after Donna and I moved to the Intermountain Area in 1976 I went to work at KAVA Radio in Burney as a DJ and newsman. It is right across the street from Washburn Bue Park where folks play ball, picnic and watch their kids as they play. It was a nice radio station.

The Rainbows end Mobile Home park sits on Highway 299 in town for everyone to see. It went from a viable park to an abandoned eye sore.

In the early days of Mountain Echo one of the best retail stores in the Fall River Valley was the Fall River Pharmacy. Then it was V&S Variety. Since then it has sat vacant and deteriorated.

The problem is evident in every community in the Intermountain Area.

If you start at Round Mountain and work east the business sections of every one of the towns on the 299 corridor to Adin are the same.

The towns are falling apart bit by bit. Vacant store fronts, run down and abandoned buildings leave the impression that no one gives a damn anymore. There are homes or what were homes in the residential districts that aren’t any better.

Our school population has declined. Our work force is rapidly declining. Our retail is practically non existent.

Are there solutions or have we just given up? The solutions must start with you and me.

We have to make sure our property is kept up to the best of our abilities.

 I read Supervisor Mary Rickert’s column as I was putting it on the page and I want to commend her and the county for their efforts to take care of the homeless in the Redding area. I hope that when they get the bugs worked out and some experience with it that they extend it to Eastern Shasta County.

On the school front, we have to change the culture at our schools and bring back common sense. Rigid rules that can’t possibly be enforced need to be dropped. Discipline needs to be maintained and that includes stopping those who bully.

Proactive law enforcement needs to become the norm - not the woe is me and we can’t do anything crap, but life can and should be made uncomfortable for those who are making us uncomfortable, not the other way around. Just an idea, but what would happen if you had one officer on duty in the daylight hours and the rest of the officers on duty and patrolling between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most of the crime occurs?

The county can also be lobbied to the point that code enforcement people will actually come out and do their jobs, force clean-ups and condemn buildings.

Yes, we are half-way to hell with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel so to speak. But it doesn’t take a genius to look at the towns in the Intermountain Area and see that doing nothing and getting nothing but rhetoric from a majority of the politicians isn’t working.

We can sit and gripe about it or we can do something.

Citizens who are fed up with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department’s inability to protect them are planning a meeting for Wednesday May 1st at 7 p.m. at the Burney Veterans Hall to seek legal solutions to solving the problem.

Before last year’s election Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko openly addressing a packed veterans hall, flatly said he cannot do anything to control crime in the county. He blamed it on the State Legislature and the State’s voters. However, that doesn’t stop him from asking for more money.

Since that time he has taken the “Crime Log” Sheriff’s Daily Log and the “In Custody on Line” off his website. Before that he had removed “mug shots” from the web. Therefore the average citizen has no way of telling what calls the Sheriff’s Department is getting, where the calls are originating or what most of the individuals getting booked look like.

The citizens can no longer tell if their neighborhood has been targeted by the variety of homeless, drug addicts, vicious pets, or wild animals or other crimes.

The citizen can no longer tell if the number of calls in the Intermountain Area warrant the number of officers assigned on any given shift or to any given area.

The Burney substation is no longer open and hasn’t been for a few years because, the Sheriff claims he doesn’t have the money to staff it. That means the only direct contact we have with the deputies, is when deputies respond to a report of a crime and tell us there’s nothing they can do or infer that we are at fault because we didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent the crime.

We have to drive to Redding to see crime logs, handle court matters or whatever. We now have to go through a phone system where you get a 9-1-1 operator to make a report and you are told a deputy will call you back.

When a crime does occur and, out of frustration, you tell a deputy you’ll take the matter into your own hands, they explode and tell you that you had better not or “you’ll be the one in trouble.”

The Sheriff intimates that he can protect us if we give him more money which is a lot of horse pucky. He has been given more money several times only to either ignore his promise or actually do what he said he would for a few months before channeling it elsewhere.

My suggestion is that folks show up to the public meeting with the idea of finding solutions, not to form a vigilante posse.

Then sit down and rationally figure out how to prevent and/or, eliminate the problem ourselves. If we can involve the county, the courts, the Marshall’s office and the Sheriff’s Department, well and good, but we don’t need political lies or feel good “Oh sure, give us the money and we’ll solve all your problems. It ain’t gonna happen.

Throwing good money after bad money is not the answer. Nor is being told that they can’t do it and you had better not.

We are at the point that we need to come up with good, viable ideas that will work whether the Sheriff buys into them or not, before things become ugly.

To be rather crude, there’s really only one way to describe it — Crap Happens.

The McArthur and Fall River Mills Fire Departments are looking at the possibility of merging into one. No decisions have been made and probably won’t be in the near future. They are simply looking at the pros, cons, and process at this point.

As I understand it now - The two boards had each chosen a couple of their directors and their chiefs to form a committee to discuss the idea and determine if it was viable and something they wanted to explore. At that point they didn’t need public input and/ or to have answers to any questions.

This is the Intermountain Area. Nothing remains totally quiet when it involves more than two people. Word got out, and eventually reached me.

“I understood” it was a public meeting that was being kept quiet. The two districts are tax based districts, considered political districts and thus fall under the Brown Act, commonly known as the open meeting law.

Hind sight is always wonderful. As I understand it now, the informal committee was surprised when people started coming in and sitting down. They were even more surprised when I showed up.

As related to me last week, the “committee” had no intention of doing anything behind anyone’s back. And they did not make any motions or try to pass anything. It was a case of reasonable people, trying to solve a problem. Whether they did it correctly or not is questionable - it didn’t appear that way to me at the time.

I’m as “guilty” as they may have been because I ran with what it looked like without checking it.

Right or wrong, in this case no harm was done.

I personally wish them luck. They are trying to solve a sticky problem which, “when it gets far enough along may very well affect the reliability of fire protection in the Valley and whether the control remains in the hands of local folks as it has always been or run by the state which is what is driving the current effort.

The actual process will, if they decide to do it, involve LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission), public notices, and a bunch more.

Not only will they determine if such a merger is in the best interests to both districts and the people they serve, they must also work out a compromise on how things are to be done as a combined fire department, melding the best of both. There is possible savings in overhead, combining resources, combining training and improving response and more.

Sorry for the misunderstanding and I wish them luck. After talking to some of those close to the situation I’m convinced they will do it right and notice meetings that should be public so that everyone can se
Well gee whiz and surprise - surprise. Why have the citizens of Johnson Park been written off by the Shasta County Legal System? We had another shooting in Johnson Park last week. Not only was it the Belegante house at the west end of town and this time they found an explosive device in the neighborhood where the alleged jerk lived.

I do care that California State Law says criminals can run free. I do care about the Sheriff of Shasta County not letting his deputies protect and defend the citizens as he advertises on all of his patrol vehicles. I do care about the DA letting perpetrators off lightly.

I do care that for the last several years the Belegante house has been a known drug house, with known felons regularly using it - like T.J. Belegante, who, when he became enough of an embarrassment to them, they finally sent him to state prison, but that was only after he was allowed to terrorize not only the Burney area, but Pittville and the Fall River Valley.

I do care that this is the second shooting incident in less than 18 months.

I do care that a couple of years ago a good, honest, hard working, nice man was burned to death by a jerk and the DA agreed to give the guy who admitted doing it a face-saving manslaughter charge and light sentence.

I do care that there were burglaries to the bakery that was trying to go into business, the three grand thefts and burglaries to the Johnson Park Fire Station and the major burglary and grand theft to a shop inside a fenced compound of a trucking yard there, not to mention the burglaries to the storage units, residents and cars in the area.

I do care that one of the things that made the murder trials for the burning suspect somewhat murky is the fact that there were at least two other jerks known to the police to be possibly capable of doing the crime freely hanging around the Johnson Park area.

Sheriff Bosenko wants more money to hire more deputies. What for? He already said publicly that there isn’t anything he can do. If he won’t let his existing deputies do anything why should he hire more? We can no longer find out or keep track of what is going on in our area because the Sheriff is hiding the daily logs from the public.

We are told by deputies that their hands are tied and there is nothing they can do. However tell them you’re going to take matters in your own hands and all of a sudden they are irate. This is not East LA, Watts, East or West Oakland or San Francisco.

Most of us live here to stay away from that crap. What’s wrong with this picture?

Juan Venegas pled guilty to killing David Wicks in December 2016. In exchange he received the guarantee of a ridiculously light sentence which some idiot like our current governor can probably change with a stroke of his pen.

The Redding Record Searchlight has an excellent, well balanced article on that explores the “logic” behind the plea deal.

The conclusion they reached is basically what most of us have reached — You don’t make a deal with a man who now admits that he tortured a man to death by setting him on fire.

It is typical of what the California trend is regarding crime and no punishment nowadays, but that doesn’t make it right.

My heart goes out to the Wick’s family and to the Venegas family. They are innocently caught up in a hell all their own.

They are all innocent victims. They have each lost someone they loved and believed in. Neither side will have full closure.

I know folks who still believe he didn’t do it, that he was simply so desperate for a lighter sentence that he took the plea to guarantee it.

I understand what they are saying, however, to tell the victim’s family and others the sequence of events, the “logic” of what he did, and admit that he was on methamphetamine when he did it, linked with the DNA evidence and testimony that point to the plausibility of his statement and then to apologize to the victim’s family is enough evidence for me.

I do understand the grief and the loyalty of his supporters, but I have a suspicion that there isn’t anything that anyone, including Juan Venegas, could say or present as evidence that would change their minds. I respect that, I just don’t agree with it personally.

I had the chance and took a tour of the new hospital wing at Mayers in Fall River Mills last week. The last time I saw it they had just set the huge I Beams in place and it was open for the most part.

CEO Louis Ward and Public Affairs head, Val Lakey had explained where things would be when everything was said and done, and I could visualize it. It was actually easier to visualize that time because noting was in the way of my imagination. Now there’s metal posts everywhere.

 It looks pretty cool, but there is so much metal it defies imagination.

In reality it is great to see it go up from a slab of concrete to the finished product.

 One thing is for sure there’s a lot of thought that has gone and is going into every space and every hallway and every room. It is easy to see that nothing this side of an eight point earthquake is going to be any kind of a problem and with the exception of a volano going off under it, that isn’t going to happen.

I was impressed by the priorities. It wasn’t keep it simple or get it done. It was patient privacy, the most efficient work flow and thus patient service, safety and security for everyone on the premises and to do what they could to make it easier for those who come after them to expand and grow as necessary.

Everyone involved is doing a great job and it is getting done in the time frame necessary.

 I only met kindergarten teacher Bonnie Stendal one time and that was an evening she and Superintendent Harry Ketman were at a Fall River Lions Club lady’s night. She and Harry were happy.

My daughter was almost out of high school and, as a reporter- photographer I didn’t have a lot of contact with the teachers at Burney Elementary at that time. The next time I saw her, she was partially clad in a night gown, being brought up, carried up the side of the hill above Lake Britton where her killer had dumped her lifeless body. The body, as I remember it was in a bed spread her body had been wrapped in, now carried by four or five men. No one was smiling that afternoon.

Bonnie’s breast had been carved with a pocket knife and bit viciously. She had been raped before her killer or killers strangled her. That was in April 1982.

Investigators going through her bedroom found the inspirational booklet she’d been reading the night when the house was broken into. It was under her bed. A local 20-year-old, Bill Proctor, a former paper boy of ours, freshly out of the Youth Facility in Redding for other crimes, had left his bloody palm print on it.

Justice Court Judge Larry Frumes presided over the preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Bill Phelps presided over the trial, local resident Jeannie Barber sat on the jury.

Proctor was found guilty and sentenced to die. Legal wrangling got him a second sentencing hearing which also ended up giving him the death penalty.

He has been on death row in San Quentin for 35 years while a highly paid state-hired attorney went over and over the case word by word and retiring, turned it over to his soon to become highly paid daughter who did the same thing. I talked to the attorney a few times, he was trying to gain sympathy because of Bill’s childhood which left something to be desired.

The case languished in the court system for 20+ years before the appeal was denied, sending it to the Federal Court which still has it.  Proctor, now probably 55 or 56 is still there.

I spent a morning reading the “horror stories” about how these poor inmates are held in jail with only a few times a week out of their cells in a small exercise yard and fed food that most people would turn their nose up at home.

Senator Jim Nielsen served on the California Board of Prison Terms, from 1990 to 2007. Immediately following Governor Newsom’s “moratorium on the death sentences of 737 murders on death row last week he said: “Victims who survive the horrific murder of child or a parent or a spouse suffer a pain that never completely goes away. When the murderer is convicted and sentenced to death, family members experience a basic sense of justice.

“Governor Newsom callously disregards the anguish of these families and rips from them any sense of justice, victimizing them all over again.

“The Governor’s action today brings back the pain and agony they have been forced to endure.

 “This executive order is an affront to our system of justice.

“A jury convicted these violent criminals. In some trials, 12 people spent weeks, sometimes months, of their lives reviewing witness testimony, physical and DNA evidence, and before determining beyond a reasonable doubt that these murderers committed the most heinous acts against other human beings.”

From another perspective, I wrote Proctor in an effort to get an interview in the 1980’s.

He said in the letter that he’d outlive me and by the way he asked in what I felt was a veiled threat, asked how my daughter was.

I agree with Nielsen when he says, “California voters have spoken loudly and clearly, as recently as 2016, that the death penalty serves as a legal and appropriate punishment for those who commit vicious, evil crimes. Special circumstances are always of the most vicious and cruel acts one human can inflict upon another.

“The Governor has the authority to delay the implementation of the law but his action is eroding faith of California voters in our democracy and our system of justice.”

The Original Night Stalker, also known as the East Area Rapist, is awaiting trial for the torture, rape and murder of an estimated 63 people. These calculated crimes were so heinous that he could face the death sentence, if convicted by a jury of his peers. If convicted during Governor Newsom’s term, justice would not be served for these victims and their families.”

Those poor, badly treated death row inmates are there because they killed someone, and, as pointed out have been proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. They are there for years and years because bleeding heart liberals and those who live in la la land who say that it is okay to kill rabid animals. Did they find a “humane” way to kill their victims. You’ve gotta be kidding. Why should we be so worried about this so called “cruel and unusual punishment?” Whatever happened to “An eye for an eye...”

They are rabid human animals who are worse than any mad dog in existence and they should not be put up in the Hilton and fed at I-Hop or Dennys while they spend years and years and years in prison so someone might come up with a reason not to kill them. Give me a break!

Almost everyone knows that for over 20 years I had a day job and a second job.

It all started when Donna and I received a call from Pat Pullen of God Father Bail Bonds. My brother had been a bad boy and he needed a co-signer.

For some reason Pat took a liking to me and offered me a job.

 My day job has been extremely varied and exciting, but nothing compared to the time Pat and I stood over a bed, hands on the revolvers on our hips and asked the guy we needed to turn in to the jail if he wanted to get his pants on or go to the jail in his undershorts.

It was fun, exciting on occasion and a real opportunity to meet a bunch of interesting people, most just good people who had made or been accused of making one mistake.

Bail business slowed way down and I retired from it.

Yes, I do miss opening my brief case on the front counter of the Modoc County Jail to get paperwork from under the revolver and set of hand cuffs but most of all I miss Pat.

The little lady with the derringer sticking out of her bra between her breasts, was so much more.

She was involved in so many things meant to help people. I only knew a few of the things she was involved in like being a strong financial supporter of the Women’s Refuge, and she helped so many people on a personal level

She had come to the US after World War II. She had been a teenager there, raped by an Italian soldier and not wealthy, she may have gotten into a tough occupation but she had a heart of gold.

Pat died last week after a long battle with cancer, her painful early life shouldn’t have ended in pain, but now she’s at peace. I’m glad she isn’t suffering any more. I miss her.

This was an interesting period for a lot of things in the Inter­mountain Area.

Crab feeds are great draws. There’s the Adin Crab Feed, The Fall River Booster’s Crab Feed and the last one of major notice, the Burney High Baseball crab feed. Crab costs a lot so tickets cost more than most fund raisers and so as not to either have too much or too little crab the tickets are sold for the most part ahead of time. Not surprisingly, all three dinners are packed with crab lovers, organization sup­porters and stir-crazy folks who really look forward to a night out. The Burney Crab Feed, just like the others, was packed with folks getting to sit down and talk and laugh with folks they don’t see every day and eat crab and or tri-tip. Personally I like tri-tip, but for the life of me I don’t know why anyone would eat it when crab was at hand.

At the same time as the feed in Burney the McArthur Fire Department was delight­ing children with games, teens with the dunk tank and us old fogies with Bingo at the Fire­men’s Carnival. That event helps raise funds for new equipment for the department and is a major reason McAr­thur has some of the equipment it has.

Then, of course, there was snow one minute with rain the next followed by a moment of blue sky here and there. Couldn’t ski at the Mount Shasta Ski Park – they were snowed in. That doesn’t sound right for a sport that depends on snow, but it was too much of a good thing.
Add all that to the fact that the spring flowers are starting to come up, time change is this coming Saturday – and I’m gonna get it right this year – It is Spring forward one hour!

It won’t be too long and the baseball and softball fields will be dry, as will the track and we’ll all be wrapped up in “Play Ball!”


WARNING — My Mtecho@frontiernet. net e-mail was hacked.

The hackers got into the address, copied all of my contacts and sent bogus e-mails saying it was an urgent request - I needed $200 to help my nephew. They wanted the folks to get a certain type of gift card and email “me” the pin number so “I” could get the money out. The email address to send the pin number was, of course, theirs).

I need to let everyone know three things before I go further.

First, I don’t have a nephew, I have two wonderful nieces.

Second, They are roughly Arnie’s age have jobs and works their tails off. They don’t need my help in that way.

Third. They have never asked for money.

I’m far from being wealthy, but if I ever needed $200 that desperately and couldn’t put it on a card, I’d personally go to the bank and take out a loan as most people would. I wouldn’t ask via an email or on Facebook, I’ve got more pride and better sense thanthat. \\Anyway I was up to my eyebrows dealing with layout of the paper. I needed to check my email for something.

I routinely use Outlook for my email because it has a lot more security features.

For some reason, either computer, fingers, Old Timer’s Disease, or Outlook itself, I couldn’t get Outlook to come up on the computer.

As with most other people, when I have a problem and don’t have time to fool around, I punt.

In this case I got on the Internet and tried to open my email through Frontier.

I received this message on what I thought was a legitimate Frontier site complete with logo, “Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox. To renew the mailbox Kindly Click Here. Sincerely, The Frontier Secure Team

There were two blanks, one for my email address and the other my password. Shame on me! I know such company’s never ask for passwords but the message caught me at a weak moment. A red flag did start to come up. Unfortunately I ignored it.

It couldn’t have been more than 60 seconds from the time I answered the damned email before a friend called and said “I just got a strange email - Do you need $200?” I asked why?

After hanging up I immediately got into my email account and the rest is history.

Not being a practiced password changer it took me a few minutes to figure it out and change it. The few minutes lag wouldn’t have made any difference. The hackers probably did everything, including getting into copying and then erasing the contacts in my program, and send out the messages within 60 seconds after they got into the account.

I only know of one person who tried to send me money and that person thought it was strange that I didn’t want the money sent to the address he had for me. He checked with me and found that I had been hacked. That person acted fast enough and was able to call the store where the gift card had been purchased and they canceled the card.

Only two others contacted me. A few questioned it on Facebook - Donna quickly told them and everyone using Facebook who were friends what was going on.

I did the best I could to alert folks of the scam also through my Facebook, Mountain Echo’s which hooks to my web page telling people not to send any money.

I’m sorry, and thank everyone, specially the friend who started to send the money.


I wonder what George Orwell would think of the current media and Internet crisis in the world, specially her in the United States.

In his classic “1984” he wrote about Big Brother having two-way televisions (Computer Monitors”) in every house and tracking the citizen’s interactions at home as well as work.

He also wrote about Big Brother who was for all practical purpose omnipotent with the power to arrest, incarcerate and (torture) their subjects to make them change their ways as they saw fit.

His book came out while the Soviet Union-and their brand of communism was at its height. He had lived through the times involving the fascists, and other hate mongers. All of which tortured to control and were advocates of Socialism where everyone was equal except the ruling class which had it made.

The book really made you think.

If he were alive today would he be writing about the hidden but obvious dangers of the Media twisting the news to fit their own agenda?

Would he write about the unreasoned hate mongering and pandering of both sides of the media?

Would he write about both sides ignoring most of t he local news like a major bank robbery or vehicle crash in the city they are stationed in (unless it involved so many people they couldn’t ignore it) to report that President Trump went to the bathroom? The one side had a picture of him pulling his pants up while the other refused to admit that he had even had to go to the bathroom?

Would he write about the newscasters reading only what their “producers” wrote, regardless of what it said, without question? Would they write about the producers taking their orders from faceless and nameless power mongers above them without question?

Would he speculate on which shadowy group of media moguls behind the scene would win and sway the masses to do their bidding when it reaches a point when no intelligent person would run for President only to be ineffectual and unproductive because of the continuous war to destroy him and his party?

Would George Orwell take on Face Book and the Internet in general because of the addiction of the masses and their ability to put whatever they wanted on their blog and a certain amount of idiots would believe their inane attacks without question?

I’m sure Orwell would have a field day and name it “2019.”

The addiction of the masses in “1984” was pornography. That might transfer to “2019,” but the Internet would also play a big role.

Where is another George Orwell when you really need him?

I just read Val’s “Blue Skies” and I really commeserate.

Doing columns of any kind week after week, month after month, year after year becomes a real challenge.

Before I erased the first half of this week’s column which was pontificating on the “Raid” bug, I suddenly remembered an article that caught my attention. I finally had something to write about.

I was sitting in the lobby at Mayers the other day, reading a fairly highbrow magazine. I was impressed with the articles and each had a list of sources for their information afterwards.

The article that caught my attention was by a children’s specialist of somekind and what it was saying rang true.

We protect our children considerably more than we should, using this spray, that sanitizer and being as politically correct as possible - all in the name of saving our children from themselves.

I came out of the “Bubble era where some kids had lost their immune systems for some reason and had to kept in a pure atmosphere inside a bubble or tent of some kind.

And this article hit home. I have felt that way for most of my adult life. It said it is okay for kids to play in mud, spread things best left in diapers around, eat dirt, forget to wash their hands and chew on grocery cart handles. The theory behind it is that it helps the young one to build up an immune system that will last them a lifetime.

I’m 77 that’s almost as old as dirt. In my lifetime I played on my mom’s kitchen floor freshly sprayed with DDT. I’ve chewed on table legs painted with lead paint. I’ve whiled away summer afternoons sliding down mud slides carefully crafted on near stagnant irrigation ditches. They hadn’t invented bike helmets when I was a kid. I fell out of trees, off the bike, dumped my motorcycle, oh yes, horror of horrors, I would get my hands on liquid mercury and turn copper pennies into silvery ones by rubbing the mercury into them.

Before everyone gets up in arms, remember, I’m not advocating any of these things or the three million other indiscretions that I managed to live through. But I do feel that the article, taken with a certain amount of discretion has a good point.

A certain amount of building up your immunity as a child at least has a potential for building character. Just like the old paddle in the vice principal’s office. You learned what you should and shouldn’t do.

Last week I ran Post 5689’s winning Voice of Democracy Winner Burney High School’s Mireya Ramirez Barrea’s speech Why I Honor the American Flag. This week I have the privilege of sharing the winning Patriot Pen’s essay from Burney High School student Richard N. Murphy. Both presentations say it all:

I honor the American Flag because it symbolizes a great nation filled with freedom, independence, and unity from oppressors, and reminds us that we have an elected president, not a lifelong king. The American Flag represents and honors those who fought for this country, dead and alive. United we stand, divided we fall. John Dickinson wrote this in his song called “The Liberty Song.”

The American Revolution was a colonial uprising that occurred between 1765 and 1783. The British raised taxes on the thirteen colonies and they had no proper representation in Parliament. The colonies won Independence on the 4th of July 1776. The continental congress passed an act establishing an official flag on June 14th, 1777. They resolved that the flag of the United States will be thirteen stripes, alternating red and white, and thirteen white stars in a blue field, to represent the union of the states.

I honor the American flag because it represents the sacrifices the thirteen colonies made for freedom from oppression. I honor the American Flag because it represents freedom. Many men fought for our flag in the name of freedom, like World War II veterans and Vietnam veterans, dead or alive. My great grandpa was in World War II . He was a colonel and was sent to the South Pacific. My grandpa is a Vietnam War veteran who served two tours in Vietnam. Both my great grandpa and my grandpa survived the wars and were able to come home. My grandpa still has shellshock and nightmares to this day.

United we stand, divided we fall originated in the fourth verse of “The Liberty Song” by John Dickenson. The phrase that became a rallying cry during the civil was for the Union cause. In World War II, it invoked American patriotism and unity among allied nations. There is so much division in America today due to politics. The goal is to cause division amongst American citizens. If the powers that be succeed, America will fall.

America is the freest country on earth. Many sacrifices have been made in freedoms name. There are those who disrespect our flag today. They need to be reminded of our great rallying cry, united we stand, divided we fall. If America is to stay free, we need to reunite ourselves as a country. I honor the American Flag because I don’t want all the sacrifice for my freedoms to be in vain.

This speech was presented byby Mireya Barrera at the Burney VFW Awards Banquet after winning at the club level earlier this year.

The presentation by Voice of Democracy Winner from Burney High School Mireya Ramirez Barrera Mrs. Madden Honors English II

Why My Vote Matters
According to an article published by the PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, “In 2016, more than 57.6 million people cast ballots and voted in the presidential election. That was only around an estimated 58 percent of eligible voters.” I believe the 2016 elections had a large turnout. 58 percent is a little over a half of eligible voters, but if you look at the years before, participation rates have gone up. That year almost topped the record set of 64 percent in the 2008 election. These numbers bring forth the realization that not everyone eligible to vote is expressing that right. Why may that be? There may be the few who cannot take the time to vote. Then there are the people who do not think that their votes matter. But, is that truly the case? I believe that in the United States of America, in a democracy, every vote, including mine, matter.

If everyone decided they were not going to vote in the elections, we would no longer be a democracy. To be a democracy is to be run by the people. That is what Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin envisioned when this country was founded. We have the right to vote for a reason. History shows that even one vote is enough to change the outcome. According to The Daily Orange, “Without one vote for each, California, Oregon, Texas and Washington would never have become states, and our flag would only have 46 stars.” And, “In 1876, it was one vote that declared Rutherford B. Hayes, as the 19th president of the United States.” Every vote is equally important in deciding the future of our country. That’s why it is so important for us to vote. My one vote could make a difference.

It is important to remember that we have had to fight for our right to vote. During the American Revolution, we were fighting for our freedom. For a place where we could not have our rights taken away from us. In an article published by the Library of Congress, the Library wrote, “When the fifteenth amendment was passed, black men were finally granted the right to vote, but it was not until 1965 when the majority were granted that right.” Women were granted the right to vote in 1920; that was almost a hundred years ago, which in retrospect, is not that long ago. Today, soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are risking their lives for the same freedoms that we have fought for in the past. It is our civic duty to honor the trials and tribulations that our ancestors have gone through, that we are still going through, to give us this right.

And yet, many people do not. “An estimated 1 in 10 Asian Americans voted in 2016. Around the same could be said for Hispanic Americans,” wrote the US Census Bureau. So many people do not register to vote. Our entire way of government is based on the people. This may only work if the people speak up and vote. The US Census Bureau also stated that, “Around 24 million people between 18 and 29, voted in the 2016 elections.” This number was higher than years before. It goes to show that young people have an interest in the future of the country, our future. We, the new generation, will be here for years to come. So, you have to remember that we are the deciding votes about the future. By voting, you are playing a role in your future. It is crucial to remember the elections are not only about the President. My vote can have an impact on the law, the representatives elected and many more important decisions.

As I have said, I believe that every vote is equally important. Many will argue with me and say that it does not make a difference whether they vote or not. I say, it is our civic responsibility to go out and vote. My vote matters because by voting I honor our ancestors and founding fathers. My vote matters, because it is the deciding factor in our futures. Without voting, we are not a democracy. We would no longer be of the people, and for the people. So go vote and let your voice be heard.
I knew David Wicks and his wife Sonya pretty well. I’d been a vendor delivering newspapers to the store on a weekly basis when they were at the Old “J” Mart and at Rocky Ledge.

I bought gas from their pumps on occasion. I bought ice and other goodies from the store.

They were both nice people, awfully nice people. I lived less than two minutes from the store, one if I was in a hurry.

David would always look up and holler “Walt! How are ya!” When I’d come through the door.

I don’t remember the exact scanner call. I believe it went something like “Station 17 (Burney Fire Department) reported fire at Rocky Ledge Shell.”

I don’t remember if it said “Stage” or not. All I remember is that fires and gas stations don’t mix and there was probably something else to the call that made it urgent. I was there in less than a minute. I parked as I normally do when responding to a call that indicates emergency equipment will be involved, well away from the building, grabbed my camera and started toward the building. I could see action to the rear so I headed that way.

A man was laying face down near the edge of the field behind the station. He wasn’t moving or making noise. It was obvious he had his clothes burned off. Another store clerk that I knew was standing behind the building frantically asking where the fire department was. I told her what I knew, that it was on its way. I run a family paper, I wasn’t going to take what I would consider something that I wouldn’t put in the paper unless I was asked to by the police or coroner.

I know that for the clerk it seemed like everything was in slow motion but in actuality the Fire and Sheriff’s Department was there within two minutes after I arrived and they had to come from downtown Burney, five plus miles away.

That’s been two plus years and two trials ago. In that period of time the Sheriff’s Department, its Burney Division and its major crimes unit, the District Attorney’s office and Public Defender have massaged their respective view points, evidence or lack there-off and outdid one another on seeing how long they could stretch things out and how much money they could cost the tax payers.

I was a bail bondsman for over 20 years. I have a very low opinion of public defenders in general. The one assigned to the defendant Juan Venegas is an exception. He’s not looking for a plea bargain or hurry up, let’s get this over with. He’s fought for Venegas tooth and nail. I admire that.

Living in the neighborhood where someone who had just threw gasoline or whatever it was on someone and then ran, I was impressed with the amount of work the Sheriff’s Department did in the initial days of the investigation. Beyond that, I want whoever did what was done to my friend David Wicks brought to justice and punished to the full extent of the law.

That said, I run a small paper, I don’t have the luxury of attending the trial, sixty miles away day after day.

Like most everyone, I’ve had to rely on the Redding media which does cover it reasonably well.

I also know the defendant’s family. They are good people. I don’t know the defendant but have been left with the impression by those who did know him that he had more than his share of problems.

With that history and the above statement said, I don’t have any mixed emotions. I don’t know who did it or why. I have the luxury of being able to suppose whatever I want. I’m not charged with determining whether this defendant did it beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not the one that will have to look at myself in the mirror each morning. Thus far 24 people have and seven of them weren’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt he was guilty.

Two trials, two hung juries, mountains of paperwork, questions surrounding the validity of the evidence during and after the first trial, respectable individuals who, including the victim’s relatives, are not convinced the defendant did it add to the doubts that I already have.

While it is obvious that there is probable cause or there wouldn’t be a trial in the first place, I’m having a hard time with the “without reasonable doubt” clause.’

If he’s guilty then two years out of his life isn’t any big deal, but if he’s innocent it is. I’d hate to think that he is being tried a third time because of someone’s ego .

It has been an extremely interesting week. Lots of things were going on. At one point I had at last two things to do an editorial on. At the moment I’m down to one. It is the same thing I editorialized on in 2011 - bullying.

We’ve all been bullied and it may seem trivial, but it isn’t. It can last a lifetime like it did with me. Or it can cause someone to take their life like it has others. It ain’t trivial folks. It is extremely dangerous and can escalate to the point of no return.

When I did the series of articles on bullying in 2011 I had several documented cases where it turned to tragedy and I thought things had settled down. Both the victims and the perpetrators have long since left Burney High School and settled down. I’m glad.

I’m equally certain that the victims will remember the incidents and while it probably will be like my jurnior high school experiences just be an unpleasant memory. We are the lucky ones.

Just because a “huge” kid, twice my size took a disliking to me and started confronting and spitting in my face, doesn’t mean I have nightmares. But I hold a hatred for that guy that will always be with me. I could do without that.

It happens to both boys and girls, but is more noticable with the girls, probably because the victims are more easily intimidated and hurt emotionally than the boys - I don’t know. Neither should be condoned or allowed.

The attitude that boys will be boys or kids will be kids, or its just a kid thing as long as they don’t hospitalize someone... is a crock of crap and shouldn’t be tolerated. Nor should the adults who have those attitudes.

There’s an old saying that goes something like “If it wasn’t so funny you’d cry.”

I know I butchered that saying but it fits.

Let’s take time to look at four of the new laws our legislature sent to the governor. All four of which should have had the legislators who authored it and those who passed it committed. Of course we all knew that this governor was too stupid and two interested in feathering his own nest to oppose anything sent to him by his cronies.

Breast feeding stations -
I’ll agree that breast feeding is for the most part a private matter between a mother and a baby.

I won’t argue that if a mother wants to breastfeed her baby in private that she should have that right.

I’ll also admit that I haven’t visited a whole bunch of women’s john’s so I don’t know how they are generally furnished, however the ones I have seen are generally more spacious and smell a whole lot better than a man’s. Also I can’t remember seeing any that didn’t have at least a chair in them.

I’ll also admit that a stall in the women’s restroom leaves a lot to be desired from a convenience and sanitary place to feed a baby.

That acknowledged, I personally don’t find any reason that a woman who is similarly equipped to other women anatomically, and a large percentage of those who have not either breast fed their own babies or seen religious paintings or female relatives or friends breastfeeding, can’t do it in the lounge portion of the women’s restroom.

Board of Director’s equity
Hmm, let me see, I’ll admit I haven’t read the entire bill as passed, but on the surface it spells out that it is a must that there be at least X number of women to serve on a board of directors of various sizes. I wonder if the same holds true of boards that might exist made up of all women. Do they have to have at least one man?

The Plastic Straw ban.
That defies any logic to start with but of course there is a “sit down restaurant lobby.”

If there is a real plastic straw problem logically it would come from fast food restaurants where straws, generally plastic ones go out the door with every cold drink that is sold with or without food.

But then, the one that beats them all is the new gender identity on drivers license law.

I’ll get in a lot of trouble but I think that most cops and most store clerks, bartenders etc look at the picture and face on the license. If the face and license says male they expect to see a masculine figure there. If it says female they expect to see a female form in front of them. There is no need to know that person’s personal or physical situation beyond that of identity. If the holder of the license wants to be or is Jane when they are or want to be John there is a better place to prove it than on their drivers license.

The one thing that has been really bugging me about this area’s law enforcement, or lack there of, comes directly from Sheriff Tom Bosenko.

I don’t care if he has six months on the job or 150 years, he has become inadequate.

He pointed out in a public meeting that he had given up. and that is apparent.

In the past four years there has been at least three times the Board of Supervisors have given him big hunks of money. One was to staff and open the Burney substation with regular office hours. He did, just long enough for the board to forget his promise. One of the ladies retired and he didn’t replace her. The other one is loaded down with field duties such as tagging abandoned vehicles and only able to staff the office part time.

Both the other times was to get deputies into the division. Instead of putting experienced deputies in, he had to hire, train and finance cars for them and then for whatever reason, the number of staff has again shrunk.

During his last four years he has taken the full time commander out of the station. He still has not reinstated continuous 24-hour patrol, they have taken our full-time resident detective away from us and sent that detective to Redding. One of our two sergeants left and wasn’t replaced for months.

He has taken away direct access to the public logs, which, if not at least a direct violation of the California Public Records act is certainly against the spirit and intent of the law. People have no idea what is going on unless they were actively involved in an incident.

He can’t even get his internal operation under control. It has become so bad that the deputies can’t find out about calls that were handled unless they can find a deputy who handled the call.

If they can’t find things is it any wonder that the Johnson Park Fire Hall gets broken into three months in a row, reports of the incidents are made for insurance and investigative purposes and the only way the public finds out is through the Fire District’s Monthly meeting. A deputy couldn’t find any information about the crimes.

He couldn’t find out anything on the Ogiba’s repeated thefts and harassment. That is just another Michi Brown matter that is brewing.

It isn’t safe to put our mail in or get it out of cluster boxes in that neighborhood. One of ours was hit and torn off the concrete pad a few months ago. The back of another, on Highway 299 again, a block from the restaurant, was completely destroyed by crowbars and cluster boxes are being destroyed in Burney proper.

Yes - thank God if you call 9-1-1, and say someone’s got a gun, you’ll get immediate response and damned good response - for anything else it appears we are on our own.

Should we start carrying firearms to protect ourselves against obvious adult male hoodlums dressed in black in front of an empty building within view of Highway 299 practicing their knife throwing skills on trees across the street from Ogiba’s in the early daylight hours of an extremely cold morning.

There is no proactive law enforcement in the Intermountain Area.

There are no stake outs. There is no undercover work. There is no real daytime patrol through the neighborhoods and at night it appears that the residents are completely on their own.

Is it our cops fault? No! Is it our board of supervisors fault? No!

The responsibility starts at the top. Bosenko is great for riding in parades and flipping pancakes at Airport Day, but when he gets money on false pretenses and transfers it to other areas as quickly as he can there is something really wrong.

We need to get rid of him and get someone who is willing to try different approaches to law enforcement and experiment until a workable solution is found.

The one thing that has been really bugging me about this area’s law enforcement, or lack there of, comes directly from Sheriff Tom Bosenko.

I don’t care if he has six months on the job or 150 years, he has become inadequate.

He pointed out in a public meeting that he had given up. and that is apparent.

In the past four years there has been at least three times the Board of Supervisors have given him big hunks of money. One was to staff and open the Burney substation with regular office hours. He did, just long enough for the board to forget his promise. One of the ladies retired and he didn’t replace her. The other one is loaded down with field duties such as tagging abandoned vehicles and only able to staff the office part time.

Both the other times was to get deputies into the division. Instead of putting experienced deputies in, he had to hire, train and finance cars for them and then for whatever reason, the number of staff has again shrunk.

During his last four years he has taken the full time commander out of the station. He still has not reinstated continuous 24-hour patrol, they have taken our full-time resident detective away from us and sent that detective to Redding. One of our two sergeants left and wasn’t replaced for months.

He has taken away direct access to the public logs, which, if not at least a direct violation of the California Public Records act is certainly against the spirit and intent of the law. People have no idea what is going on unless they were actively involved in an incident.

He can’t even get his internal operation under control. It has become so bad that the deputies can’t find out about calls that were handled unless they can find a deputy who handled the call.

If they can’t find things is it any wonder that the Johnson Park Fire Hall gets broken into three months in a row, reports of the incidents are made for insurance and investigative purposes and the only way the public finds out is through the Fire District’s Monthly meeting. A deputy couldn’t find any information about the crimes.

He couldn’t find out anything on the Ogiba’s repeated thefts and harassment. That is just another Michi Brown matter that is brewing.

It isn’t safe to put our mail in or get it out of cluster boxes in that neighborhood. One of ours was hit and torn off the concrete pad a few months ago. The back of another, on Highway 299 again, a block from the restaurant, was completely destroyed by crowbars and cluster boxes are being destroyed in Burney proper.

Yes - thank God if you call 9-1-1, and say someone’s got a gun, you’ll get immediate response and damned good response - for anything else it appears we are on our own.

Should we start carrying firearms to protect ourselves against obvious adult male hoodlums dressed in black in front of an empty building within view of Highway 299 practicing their knife throwing skills on trees across the street from Ogiba’s in the early daylight hours of an extremely cold morning.

There is no proactive law enforcement in the Intermountain Area.

There are no stake outs. There is no undercover work. There is no real daytime patrol through the neighborhoods and at night it appears that the residents are completely on their own.

Is it our cops fault? No! Is it our board of supervisors fault? No!

The responsibility starts at the top. Bosenko is great for riding in parades and flipping pancakes at Airport Day, but when he gets money on false pretenses and transfers it to other areas as quickly as he can there is something really wrong.

We need to get rid of him and get someone who is willing to try different approaches to law enforcement and experiment until a workable solution is found.

To put it bluntly this has been an unusual week and is an unusual issue of Mountain Echo.

We had a saying about things like this in the Marine Corps, but what is happening here is a good thing rather than a bad thing. Either way I can’t use it in polite company.

Anyway we have an over-abundance of ads and an over-abundance of pictures and stories to go in this issue.

Unlike the Marine Corps saying which had negative connotations, this is wonderful, absolutely wonderful !

My original plan was to do the Year End Review (A 40-year tradition) in three weeks, devoting the first two to the community and hard news and the third week to the sports.

Ain’t gonna work that way. I now know it will take me at least three weeks to do the hard news and since it has been years since I’ve done the sports, it will probably take longer there also.

The calendar also hampers normality.

Because Christmas and New Years fall on Tuesday this season, we will print and publish on Monday night as usual. Dennis and Diane will distribute the street machines on Monday night. We will all take the holidays off and the papers will be mailed to subscribers on the 26th and 2nd.

Donna, Walt, Valerie, Elizabeth, Diane, Joy, Alex, Ron, Jennifer, Stacie, Megan, Marty and everyone else who has been or is a part of our Mountain Echo Crew, we all wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’m inviting you to join us for last Sunday night’s dinner. The only catch is, you have to imagine you were there.

Donna and I and friends were invited to a good friends home for what we knew would be a delicious dinner.

The host family of three plus big puppy are as normal as a family of three with a big puppy can be.

The home was immaculate, warm, cozy, friendly and a setting for good cheer. The wife was an outstanding cook, the husband a great host.

The guests were eclectic, ranging from middle aged to young elderly (even though none of us would cop to that) all somewhat outdoorsy, maverick types that you’d see in any local grocery store or restaurant.

One of the guests was already there when we arrived. I’d always admired him because he looked 10-years younger than me when he was damned-near twice as old. Two of the nicest, down to earth folks with great senses of humor pulled in the driveway behind us and we trooped into the house.

Our host took our coats and made it a point to get our hats also and hung them on a coat rack all prim and proper.

We chatted with them, their son and the friendliest puppy you’d ever met.

The puppy was big enough to almost knock you down with his affection, and friendly enough to charm you out of any treat you might have inadvertently been hiding from him. He loved to be petted, look adorable, and would give the most affectionate and sloppy of all puppy kisses.

We chatted. We all petted the puppy. We all kidded our hosts and the other guests until it was time to get to the serious business of eating.

I’d felt a tug and instantly fished what was left of my napkin back up. Not thinking too much about it, The really wet part was gone and being a career dog person I had never minded sharing left over parts of a napkin the dog might have chewed on so I didn’t think anything about it.

We’d all seated ourselves, been served with a great Clam Chowder and started to eat when a late arrival appeared at the door.

He was a big, outdoorsy guy with white beard, mustache, twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks.

He laid his coat across the top of the couch and being in polite company took his cap off when he sat down to eat.

Half a bowl of Clam Chowder later the lady next to him, also a dog lover, said she thought the puppy had left one of his toy by her chair.

She bent over, picked something up, It wasn’t really recognizable any more, but the late arrival said it looked like a ball cap. He took it by the brim like owners of ball caps are prone to do and snapped it so it would magically turn into the cap they were used to wearing.

He put it on. It was pretty lose. It didn’t cover his ears or the back half of his head anymore.

Having had a half hour or better of light conversation, great food and a couple of glasses of wine, the entire table became focused on the now rather strange hat and how its owner might keep it on his head.

Being a good hostess, the lady of the house instructed her young son to go get the duct tape.

It was at about that time that Donna, who had enjoyed our feast as much as I, but also believed that discretion was the better part of valor, and I, started saying our goodbyes and we edged toward the door,

After all - on the one hand the event is now part of Burney Christmas Lore and the poor guy will be ribbed about his half Christmas hat forever, but on a more practical note it is hard to get one’s hair out of duct tape especially when both are still attached to your head.

Here it is - the dreaded Monday morning deadline and I still don’t have an editorial... I want you to know that it isn’t my fault! It is my wife Donna’s.

In the 50++ years we’ve been married Donna has often worked overtime at driving me nuts. But it hasn’t really interfered with my editorial writing. I’m proud to admit that I’m ornery enough and opinionated enough that I can create a scathing editorial piece at the drop of a hat.

However, recently, Donna has become addicted to Oooshy gooshey movies on the Hallmark Channel. You know the channel - the one where there isn’t any swearing and the guys and the gals find a reason to kiss on the average of every 30 seconds - when they aren’t trying to thicken the plot by temporarily being mad at each other. Anyway, this morning I had finished almost everything but the editorial. I was kinda at a loss at what I wanted to be mad about this week so I plopped down with her in front of the television.

Bad mistake. There were these small children, all properly terrorized by a mean government agent all dressed in black with a shoulder holster he kept dipping into and bringing out a pistol that would make Clint Eastwood proud.

He had St. Nick who was wearing civilian clothes in handcuffs. He nor his SWAT team were buying the Night before Christmas story and kept accusing Santa of smuggling toys..

When that finally ended with the bad guy crying on the floor talking to a brown and white EverReady bunny that kept hopping up to him for love, I got nailed by a gorgeous young thing that had been friends with Michelangelo and was going to bring Christmas back to this small town where the fire department was all volunteer and the mill had closed a few years ago causing Christmas Spirit to dwindle.

Thank goodness I had to tear myself away from the mesmerizing television and come to the office. Unfortunately I still don’t have a real editorial other than it’s all Donna’s fault -- and I’m sticking to it!

Twas the night of Thanksgiving, when all thru the house, Not a ceature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The lists were hung to the purses with care, In hopes that Black Friday soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions from Facebook danced through their heads,

And Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a couple hour nap -

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I dragged myself from bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a magnificent shopping cart, and eight well-worn carrds and a few pieces of paper

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles with his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Visa, now! Discover, now! Master! and Rewards; “On Cash, on! Checks and Preferred;

“To the front of the line, elbow to the door “Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to roof-top the coursers they flew, with the cart full of toys - and St. Nicholas too;

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little card.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around. Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound;

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tattered from a fight in the aisle;

A bundle of toys was flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack:

His eyes - now puffy from that scuffle for such a good deal! his dimples once merry, His cheeks like roses, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was no longer as white as the snow.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly That shook when he tottered like a bowl full of jelly; And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself,

A slow wink of his eye and a twinge in his neck Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings, then cringed with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He limped to his cart, to his cards he gave a whistle, And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle;

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight - Do it all after Black Friday, The pain just ain’t worth it!

Unfortunately when you have an elected public official who has given up and is no longer doing anything more than drawing his six-figure salary, there is very little that can be done to force that person to do his job or guide others to do theirs.

Tom Bosenko has become a cull, keeping his deputies from doing their jobs for several months. Witness the Bill and Michi Brown affair. It has been an obvious stalking crime for months. It has been an obvious hate crime with racial overtones for several months. It has been an obvious assault case for several months. Yet there was nothing under the sheriff’s interpretation of the law that could or would be done. Horse pucky! The FBI will run frothing at the mouth if someone in the ghetto complains when a cop shoots some scumbag who yells racial harassment. If we can’t or won’t investigate the allegations thoroughly, shouldn’t we have gotten the Feds involved. It could have been thoroughly investigated and instead because of Bosenko’s “there’s nothing we can do” attitude all the Browns got was the same thing so many of us get if we call in - “there’s nothing we can do without a witness!” What happens if there’s a murder and no witness to it? Give me a break people. That is an outright lie!

Now it is really starting to show and Bosenko is protecting his ample hind quarters. Starting the 15th we won’t have a log so documentation of a potential or real problem will no longer be available to public scrutiny. We will have no way of knowing about those type of activities unless we have direct knowledge of something going on. We will have no way of knowing when we need to do something to protect ourselves or our loved ones.

It has been pointed out to me that the town of Lookout had the same problem in the early1900’s. They petitioned the county and the state for help because of a group of lawless individuals who were running rough shod over them.

When they couldn’t get any help from state or county law enforcement and they were pushed far enough. They lynched the group of perps. You can still see the nooses in the museum in Alturas and If I’m not mistaken that bridge still stands in Lookout.

They exist as a reminder that we can and will protect ourselves when we are forced to do so.

They (the Deputies) hadn’t seen it happen. You’d think a brick and a broken window might be enough start some type of action, but no, the Brown’s couldn’t produce a witness so there was nothing they could do. That went on for months until the ___-hole finally hit Michi in the face with a shot from a sling shot. Then they had a witness, the victim, so deputies could do someting. And, if I understand the street talk right, now the jerk is either in hiding or has skipped town and of course the Sheriff still can’t do anything.

It isn’t the deputy’s fault. Leadership starts at the top and in a para-military organization, you follow orders and your leadership or else.

The Sheriff has figured out a way to hide the fact that he can’t lead. Do away with the logs.

The following is now appearing in red on top of the what the department now calls a log.

“The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of implementing an integrated records system together with the City of Anderson Police Department, the City of Redding Police Department, the Shasta County Probation Department, the Shasta County District Attorney and the Superior Court of Shasta County.

As such, we have made changes to the Sheriff’s Office webpage and information which is posted including discontinuing the posting of daily logs. Be assured, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to provide ALL legally required information. Effective 8:00 a.m. November 15, 2018 the Sheriff’s Office Call Log Link will be removed.”

The “right to privacy” that the Sheriff is hiding behind will really go into effect then. Without knowing the name, location and nature of the crime or incident we won’t be able to get any infomation on it.

From now on we will no longer be able to find out if there are bears or mountain lions in our neighborhoods. Those used to appear on the log. We won’t be able to get a clue about the type of incident I just described.

We won’t be able to find out if mail boxes are getting broken into in our neighborhoods.

We won’t be able to know if Safeway and Rite Aid are having shoplifting problems - the Sheriff already refuses to do much about them because they are property crimes.

The list goes on and on. The problem with such problems as shown in the log is that they make the Sheriff look bad and we can’t have that.

At the same time the Glenn County Sheriff’s Department sends out a log listing all calls from agencies for whom they dispatch. In addition they have what Shasta County used to have on their logs listed by case and sent out with the main log.

It isn’t that it is against the law to reveal what is in the log. Nor do they give enough information to hurt investigations. They simply have a sheriff who believes in transparency and the ability of his officers. The Sheriff of Glenn County doesn’t have to hide what his troops do.

Another major problem I have with the way Bill and Michi were handled is that the Sheriff’s Department “Prides itself” in “Serving and Protecting.”

When they can’t or won’t fight crime and hide what is going on they stop protecting us. That puts us in a position of having to protect ourselves. Of course that is against the law and I’ll guarantee you they will come after you or me if we protect ourselves.

No - it is definitely time for Tom Bosenko to retire with what reputation he has left and let the County find a replacement - after all anyone he would suggest would be suspect from the start.

We need a straight forward election or even better a recruitment process complete with a study of the past history, ability of the candidate and questioning by either the board of Supervisors or from a select law enforcement committee.

I tried get the Sheriff to make the logs public under the Freedom of Information Act and I was told by legal counsel that I had a case. The Sheriff’s Department stonewalled me and then gave me a different version of what they said I wrote, which of course means I’d have to take them to court.

Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of money.

Sooo...the ball is in your court. I’m willing to take the slings and arrows by doing it publicly. You folks have a right to write letters and to make phone calls.

Do not tie up emergency lines!

DO NOT CALL 9-1-1.

His phone number is 245-6054.   He can also be reached by calling 1-800-479-8009 and asking to be transferred to the Sheriff’s office administration

I went to a fire this morning, No one was injured or killed - which is a good thing. However, I am concerned. It was on Shasta Street, the main street to the Sheriff’s Burney Patrol Division’s substation.

Deputies go up and down that street several times a day.

In addition the residents on the street have been complaining to deputies for over three months. Deputies reportedly have arrested one a few doors down and all it did was slow the traffic down.

The neighborhood used to be an upper middle class neighborhood with good hard-working families living there.

What a shame!

We no longer have any way to really protect ourselves. If we take matters in our own hands we go to jail. If we don’t there’s a good possibility of major disasters.

That fire this morning could have set neighboring houses, a cars width away on fire. The field behind the residence is the site of the old Desmond Mill and it stretches the length of Shasta Street and beyond.

On top of this the Burney Fire station in Johnson Park was burglarized last night and now we have fire trucks temporarily without chain saws and other equipment. Sure you folks will help buy more but temporarily if the tools are needed they aren’t available. Also the roof on the fire hall and other necessities will suffer because funds will have to be diverted to fix the station’s door and add additional security

I owe Elizabeth one “Snicker’s Bars” and I’m on a self imposed diet and I ate and enjoyed the two that I got.

That’s an inside joke if you didn’t read last week’s editorial.

Not surprisingly I haven’t received any response to my public record requests under the Public Records act for the public information on the daily logs that they are willfully withholding without explanation.

Guess I’m going to have to start working on the next step.

I’d sure like to know what the Sheriff is withholding that is important enough for a law enforcement officer to willfully break the law - and that is what he is doing.

Oh well, we’ll see where it leads us.

This has been one of those unusual weeks.

 I could write about politics but I’m really not in the mood.

I could write something sweet and nice, but I’m truly not in the sweet and nice mood.

I could leave this space blank but that would look like I’m lazy.

I would write about what I really want to write about but it might be misinterpreted.

It would undoubtedly get me hung in effigy even if I didn’t deserve it.

Then, on the other hand, now that I’ve got your curiosity up, I can leave you guessing as to what I’d love to editorialize.

Have a great week! (I think Walter needs a Snickers bar--Elizabeth Reynolds)

 My Mom and Dad and grandparents weren’t wrong. The signs were all there, but I didn’t really notice it until a couple of years ago.

After all, the societal problems weren’t my generation’s fault. Thanks to my generation my daughter and grandson were going to have a lot better place to live than I had when I was a kid. Boy was I naive,

Then the supreme court ruled that everyone, regardless of whether they were competent or mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with “freedom,” had equal rights. We began passing laws that said Pot and other drugs, ought to be legal. Then the do-gooders thought that even the derelicts and criminals needed to have cell phones and food stamps and so forth, at our expense, then those who dared arrested the poor, downtrodden people who crap on our sidewalks, pee on our buildings, and start fires in our woods and vacant lots led to overcrowded jails and prisons. The legislature stirred. If we incarcerated the poor downtrodden malcontents and folks that ought to be institutionalized, and wouldn’t be money left to build high speed rail and pay for legislator’s retirements so they passed laws saying that unless you kill or maim someone they don’t want you in jail. They want you to be able to steal, pee on the walls and so forth.

The do-gooder’s jumped on the bandwagon. Everyone is equal, everyone should get and so forth.

I hate to say this but it wasn’t my mommy or daddy, who screwed everything up, It is you and me and our generation and it isn’t pretty.

We are the one’s who are screwing it up, or allowing it to be screwed up for our grandchildren!


 A friend, business professional, and 20 year coach of Cross Country Running in Fall River Mills and his wife, also a business professional here in the valley, are retiring and moving out of state. Wednesday was his last Cross Country meet.

Bill Brown brought Cross Country to the Valley and I’m really hoping that it will continue. It is a sport that takes considerable conditioning and stamina and prepares the athletes for other sports, both team and individual, if they so choose.

Either way, Cross Country running acquaints the runners with the fact that there is definitely a world beyond computer games and TV and they are much better individuals because of it.

Bill and Michi, Donna and I will miss you, as will all those kids you coached over the 20 years and your customers.

Please keep in touch!


It is funny how some things sound sweet while others just flat reach out and grab you, saying “how nice.”

It was around 9 p.m. yesterday. I’d been on and off the computer all day and I was fairly pooped.

Then I started typing Catherine Harris’s tribute to Joy Williams. I knew it was sweet before I started, but then it grabbed me.

It was so nice and so real.

Even me, as crusty as I am, was more than a little touched.

Catherine is quite a lady and obviously so was Joy.

The fall colors are coming out. I’ve had to put on a light jacket when I leave the house in the morning.

They’ve got a ways to go before they reach their full beauty, but it is nice to see them, not only because of their beauty but their turning also kinda signals the start of the end of fire season.

Who knows, we might even get some rain sooner or later.

I find that Mountain Echo is getting an increasing number of unsigned letters.

Of course most of them are attacks on various entities including ourselves and staff..

I don’t care about the personal attacks. I have a waste can within reach.

I do not pass the other letters on nor do I run them.

We found it necessary years ago to ban unsigned letters primarily for those reasons. Yes there are the few where people don’t want to get mixed up in something but they’d love to have me do it for them.

There are those who want to attack a government agency and they have every right. However, again, if they are too afraid to take them on personally, what makes them think I should?

There are those who want to attack local businesses.

I depend on local businesses and good will for my income. I find no reason that I should lose their goodwill because someone else is afraid of losing theirs. “It ain’t gonna happen.”

I’m a prime example of having the ability to piss a lot of people off on my own - I don’t need any help.

The policy of not accepting unsigned letters and those with libel or slander is stated on the bottom of this page.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was walking on my treadmill at home one morning when Donna yelled at me to come into the living room. There’d been a terrible plane crash into a skyscraper.

That was 9-11-2001, 17 years ago.

What amazes me is that very few people remember that day anymore and even worse don’t give a damn.

Well over 3,000 people died and probably as many more made ill from fumes, hazardous waste and falling debris.

It really angers me that some folks, especially in congress and state legislatures now are back doing everything possible to block legislation and tested methods that have a strong tendency to curtail the behavior that leads to that.

The only people that seem to worry about cops getting injured or killed are the cops and their families.

Shame on us!

There is a strong movement to stop capital punishment. After all, it is cruel and inhuman - tell that to the woman that was raped, tortured or killed or their families. Tell that to the people who were maimed, crippled or paralyzed for life because some yo-yo ran onto a sidewalk on purpose and hurt or killed them.

The people are like sheep. We’ve got Bill Proctor on death row - by the way, he left his bloody palm print on kindergarten teacher Bonnie Stendal’s self help book in 1982. The blood was undoubtedly hers, on his hands because he carved on her chest with a pocket knife before killing her. But we’ve been told that execution is inhumane and that we shouldn’t do it. Of course the people saying that are the high priced attorneys that have made two generations of their ilk wealthy by dragging it through the courts.

Then, of course, we have gun control movements, never mind that before Hitler took the Jews off to concentration camps everyone’s guns had been confiscated.

Foks, wake up! Where is your common sense?

As I grow older I find that I’m a lot like my dad and fatherin- law. I’ve become a lot more emotional. I tear up when I see our flag and hear the national anthem. I tear up when I see someone honored for something they’ve done.

I tear up when I see people doing nice things for others.

In other words I’ve turned into an old softy.

Wednesday night was no exception. I was standing next to retired principal Jeannie Utterback as Greg Hawkins MC’d Ron’s retirement send off on the football field. It was such a well deserved ceremony at such a fitting location and event. Jeannie said something about how nice it was and how Ron deserved it and I know I sounded unintelligible because I was having trouble getting the words out. Yes, it was wonderful. It was fitting and extremely well deserved.

Twenty years ago both Ron’s and my hair was just starting to turn. Now its white. Neither of us had trouble navigating a football field then. Now we have trouble getting in and out of our cars.

I’d like to say that both of us grew a lot professionally, but it would be pretty hard for Ron, already a sports genius, to improve even then, but I’m sure he’d tell you he did.

Ron has been a rock and I’ve leaned on him a lot.

Ron has been a damned good friend, still is, and I hope we will be for years to come.

Like he said, “We’ve had one hell of a ride.’

Ron can’t be replaced, but I can try to make him proud of us.

My strategy basically is to go back to the basics. In 1998 I had Angie Hero, Val Lakey and others covering sports and they did a great job. Both of them have moved on and are very successful in their own lives. So I have to build a new team and I’m working on it.

I have some wonderful people who saved my life when Ron got ill earlier, taking photos giving me information, teaching me the new ropes and refreshing my memory on things forgotten.

I’m building my new team and hope to announce them next week.

I expect that trying to fit into Ron’s size 45 shoes will be a big challenge, but with folks like I’m able to draw from and rely on, We’ll do Ron proud. Yes, the Mountain Echo sports section will change, Ron is irreplaceable. But it will not go downhill, it will just be different. Anyone who would like to take part in our challenge can call me at 945- 4530 I’d love to talk with you!

Thank you Ron Mosher from both Donna and I and our readers for a wonderful 20-year ride and don’t be a
This is the season of the year that hero’s come to the forefront. This year isn’t any different than most others.

Linda was telling me about an incident during the Fall River Evacuation during the Hat Fire.

She was a Red Cross Volunteer and she showed up at Fall River High School before the power went out.

Well, to abbreviate a long story, the power went out as evacuees were pouring into the High School and suddenly there was no power or hope of power for some time.

Word came down that the evacuation center was moving to Adin because there was no power in Bieber either.

No transportation until one of the school’s transportation men came by. He immediately suggested that he call Greg Hawkins, Superintendent of the school district and get permission to use the district buses. Greg didn’t hesitate, he okayed it and everyone was relocated to the Adin Community Center. Yeah, the school district will be reimbursed by the Red Cross or someone, but that takes time and there are a multitude of other problems and considerations - but the community needed instant help and he made that help available. Thanks Greg and drivers. And, before I forget it, Thank you Fred Gideon, Linda and all the Red Cross Volunteers! You are and were wonderful.

Then you have Larry Fowler, the Operations Manager for the Fall River Valley Community Services District who spent 72 hours straight in mud and water keeping the district’s pumps going with generators they had to borrow from the state and have them bring them up so the hospital had service.

He had Karl Young his operations man with him before he sent him home for some rest after 18 hours. How do you say thank you to those two guys?

Those are just two stories of undoubtedly many regular folks who rose to the front because the folks in their communities needed them.


I had one of my editorials written before the Hat Fire blossomed.

Somehow it simply did not feel right to take that tone at the moment.

It is easy to gripe about something, but not always that easy to take the other tack.

In this case it isn’t too hard to find the positive aspects.

I’d been in Redding when Ron called.

That has to be 60 miles away and I had Donna in the car and she’d have killed me if I’d put a lead foot on the gas pedal. Ron, told me what part of the fire he was covering and that he’d try to get good pictures.

As usual, he didn’t settle for “good.” He wanted excellence and did it!

I got there and found that this fire meant business.

I got into the area, took my pictures, when a Cal Fire Battalion Chief and two Highway Patrol officers pulled up behind me and strongly suggested I leave, with flames starting to surround us,.

Since the flames were more than a little warm and the fire had just broken through to the highway and jumped it, I grinned and agreed, getting in my car and heading out of the fires path as they drove right through it to see if there were any other damned fools along the road.

As the adrenalin eased off, I realized, as I have in the past, just how calm, disciplined and businesslike those folks, fire and police, are in the face of crisis.

I’ll admit that I needle them in non crisis situations when I think it is the only way to get my point across. But I’ll be the first to stand up for them when I feel they deserve it - and folks - everyone, fire, CHP officers, deputies and county and state road workers did a magnificent job and because of them no one has died and unless the winds change we aren’t going to lose any homes.


I had “One of those weeks” last week. Murphy of Murphy Laws fame, stepped in and gleefully made sure that anything that could go wrong - did. Unfortunately when you’re in the weekly newspaper business, the results hang around for a week, making sure that everyone gets to see where and how I screwed up.

As an example, retired McArthur Post Office Postmaster Janet Oilar, a faithful reader of Mountain Echo for almost 40 years, passed away. My math went south and in a front page story I said she died at the age of 76. My error. It was called to my attention and I recalculated. She was actually 82. My apology to her family.

I escaped Wednesday. Had dinner at the Red Tavern in Chico. If you’ve never been there I highly recommend it. Great food, great wines, great atmosphere and fine service.

The Red Tavern is always a nice, romantic must when we actually get to go.

The real reason we went was so a dermatologist could get hold of me. He did some carving on my ear Thursday morning and got a nasty spot of skin cancer off that I had earned by not wearing broad brimmed hats and loving the sun too much.

The good news is that he got it all. I spent the next few days with a bandage over my ear that looked like a short white horn had sprouted from the side of my head.

Last week was one of those we’d like to forget.

The temperatures topped 100 in Redding and were in the 90’s in the Intermountain Area.

The sky was orange and you could look directly at the sun through the smoke. There were fires all across the north state.

It brought the best out in people and the worst.

Firefighters were exhausted.

Law enforcement personnel worked tirelessly to help and sometimes prod citizens possibly in a fire’s path to evacuate and then making sure that looters didn’t take advantage of the situation.

Thank God, this time the folks up here weren’t evacuated, but the officers had plenty on their plates, directing traffic at the scene of fires that did pop up in our area, as well as handling routine calls, all the while ready to switch modes should something happen here.

I don’t show my respect and admiration for those guys in our area as often as I should and now, to both law enforcement and fire fighters.

You are doing a wonderful job. Thank you!

We are half of the week here in the office and half at home. Yes, it makes it hard to communicate with folks, but when the office reaches 90+ degrees, the fans don’t do a whole lot. We don’t have a cooler or a air conditioner because the landlord won’t allow us to have a hole cut in the wall - something about insurance and that’s just tough.

We live in Johnson Park so we go through construction lines every day, either going to and from the office or into Burney and back home.

I know there are a number of folks that are angry over the construction and the waits, I’m not.

Yes, there have been excessive waits at time, but the car has air conditioning and a radio so I survive nicely.

The speed and progress of the construction amazes me. I don’t know their exact time-line and not being in the construction business I’m not sure, but it looks to me like they are ahead of schedule.

Either way they are preparing to lay the final layer of asphalt which means they are getting reasonably close to doing all of the final little jobs like striping, guard rails and the like.

In my opinion Hat Cereek Construction is doing a good job and doing what they can to make it as easy as possible on the rest of us.

That said, I’ll be glad when it is done.

I first noticed the California and Shasta County “Health” Gestapos when the health department entered the Burney Bowl and cited Marv Lankford for allowing is patrons to smoke in his lounge.

That was a few years ago. Then “egg cops” marched into McArthur Mart and bullied an employee, ordering her to destroy the eggs in the store because they were real farm eggs, and weren’t state certified.

That has been a couple of years ago. Then I began to hear rumors about charity bake sales being shut down because the baked goods hadn’t been prepared in a county inspected and certified kitchen. In fact a couple of county Gestapo agents shut down the Burney Lions Auxiliary members selling baked goods at the Burney Basin Days Lions Breakfast because their kitchens hadn’t been inspected and certified.

I realize that what I’m about to type isn’t politically correct, but this is a crock of S___.

It isn’t about “health.” It is for the most part about the state giving the county more mandates with strings attached, so the county an hire want-a-bes who can carry badges and throw their weight around — never mind that some kid won’t get a scholarship because good-hearted, civic minded ladies weren’t able to raise the money to give the kid one.

When are the folks who have any brains wake up and say enough is enough.

Teach kids and parents who need help, some common sense.

Educate the public instead of penalizing them. It seems the State has a lot more important things to do than penalize ladies for baking cookies.

What a gorgeous view awaits the area visitors who decide to take in some back road forest attractions. Yes, we have scum that dump in the woods. There’s a penalty for it - a fairly stiff one, if you get caught, but the type of person that does this is the type who likes to shop and not pay for their merchandise, gets their gas out of syphon hoses and cook their meth in town with their windows open. Shame on you!

We had the fans going in the office Wednesday morning and didn’t hear the crash or the resulting calls, and activity of emergency teams at the scene.

When I did go outside and saw the ambulance,fire Chief’s truck and activity, I put my cell phone in camera mode walked up a block and started taking pictures like I usually do.

As I gave the vehicles a wide berth and got to where I could see what was going on, it wasn’t hard to see that the EMT’s were performing CPR on a person on the ground.

I moved back to a spot where I could capture as much of the drama as possible without being crass, did my thing and left.

A victim is always “lucky” when all the emergency crews are working. However, I didn’t know just how lucky this man actually was.

He apparently had a heart attack while driving westbound in downtown traffic.

By coincidence both Chief Clinical Officer for Mayers, pharmacist Keith Earnest and the hospital’s new Chief Nursing Officer, Candy Vculek were behind him.

Stopping, it was obvious to them that the victim wasn’t breathing and had no pulse. Someone called for Mayers’ Ambulance which was only minutes away.

It was estimated that the victim had been totally unresponsive for two minutes before Vculek and Paramedics David Robb and Zita Harrington were administering CPR, and had their defibrillator out of the ambulance and were able to bring him back.

The Life Flight helicopter landed, loaded the man and headed for the trauma center in Redding, a trip that would have been well over 70 road miles, and a mountain Range’s windy roads by ground transport. By air it was probably 30-45 minutes.

As I write this, the victim is not in a mortuary someplace. He’s in a top-notch trauma center recovering, thanks to circumstances and the Intermountain Area’s topnotch professionals.

That folks, is why all of us are so fortunate to have Mayers Memorial Hospital, Semsa, Mountain Valleys and the doctors, nurses, Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, firefighters, CHP, deputies and citizens - all who care.

Thank You!

Up front. I have no expertise in the area I’m going to comment on. I’m simply a private citizen with my own view and I’m not interested in the politics on either side of the issue. If the politicians can screw things up, they will. There seems to be a big hullabaloo over illegal immigrants being separated from their children as they are sent home where they belong.

1. What part of illegal don’t they or their supporters understand?

2. Illegal actions tend to have consequences. If they don’t get caught they are home free, however most get caught and therefore have to face the consequences.

3. In their case if they had children, whether they or their children like it or not there are still consequence.

4. If they and their families didn’t want to face the consequences they had a few choices, They didn’t need to come here in the first place. The adults also didn’t need to have children.

5. If they are being deported it is my understanding that the children can go with them.

6. If they truly loved their kids they would keep them with them or they would go to the trouble and effort to become citizens and thus be able to stay.

There is absolutely no reason that we, the folks who pay our own way, should have to pay their medical, their food, their education, their welfare and at the same time be called callous, unfeeling hateful Americans because we resent people who take advantage of us.

I know a lot of wonderful Mexican people and families. Just like me, they work. They take care of their families. They raise wonderful children.

I agree that there should be some way for them to stay legally. However, it is not staying at my expense, refusing to learn our language, flying the Mexican flag above the US flag, talking to cops in Mexican, and illegally forming a minority that “need special attention.”

My ancestors came to this country, applied for citizenship, took all the crap of being immigrants and became productive, law abiding citizens, raised good families and learned English.

If these folks don’t want to be separated from their children then take them with them. If they want them to have all of the advantages they feel American children get then apply for citizenship, earn citizenship and become productive American citizens and educate your children in the process

My hat is off to the Burney Fire Protection District. They did something that should have been done in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. At this month’s board meeting they agreed to take their funds away from the Shasta County Auditor-Controller, and out of the Shasta County Treasury.

Every special district in the county should consider a similar move.

In the case of the Fire District it will save money currently being paid in late fees because the county auditor’s office deals with so many rules, regulations and inefficiencies that it can’t pay the district’s bills on time.

The concept that they are a watchdog and will catch embezzlement depends strictly on the auditor in office at the time and the clerks he or she has working.

I remember being on a board in the late 70’s and early 80’s. We became aware of a possible embezzlement. I began to investigate.

I went to the Auditor’s office at the time and asked for our bill file. The lady, one of the senior clerks there, gave me the folder. I sat down and within minutes found a major problem. She said they had wondered when we would notice that. The employee got jail time and repaid us.

Beyond that, they have a tremenmdous turn over of emplyees and each one changes the account numbers to suit that clerk’s interpretation making it impossible for us to keep track of what we are spending where.

The Burney Fire District got tired of trying to explain to their vendors that the district wasn’t really a deadbeat and had to pay the late fees themselves, using money that should have gone to running the district.

They realized that they were getting what they paid for. The county service was “free.”

By paying a private CPA theywill get the oversight demanded by law, statements they can read and their bills paid in a timely fashion.

Good going guys

Donna and I had an absolutely delightful time Sunday evening at the Rex Club’s Murder Mystery Dinner.

Hulas and Homicide is a delightful who-doneit. It is one of those plots and plays that I can’t talk aboiut because it would spoil the plot for anyone that might come across it - plus the owner of the script would have a difficult time selling the plot to another restaurant that wanted to put on a mystery dinner.

Take my word for it, it was great fun. there were right around 30 people dining and trying to figure out the who did it and why. I was actually too busy playing my role and trying to figure out who the cluprit was to actually take a head count.

I’ve done several of these put on by the staff at the Rex over the years, been arrested by Connie or Felicia and handcuffed, surprisingly unaware that I was really the murderer until it was too late at least six times.

True to California justice I was quickly released because it was basically against the law to eep me arrested.

The cuisine and setting were Hawaiian. Mai Tais, Kalua Pork Entree Ham and Potato Soup, Green Salad with fruit and Poppy dressing, Coconut Prawn Appetizers and Pineapple Upside- Down Cake. Turned out that it was way more than either of us could eat in the four hours we spent visiting, guessing, playing roles, laughing, and catching all of the potential clues.

Kathy McAlerney was the culprit this time and her picture in handcuffs will be in next week’s paper.

She made a great culprit and believe me if you weren’t there you missed a wonderful event.

There’s a few this and that’s that need to be addressed.

An unusual crime has been committed in Burney. You might scoff at the idea that someone would go to the trouble of stealing pretty spring plants from in front of Art’s Outpost, but it has happened - not just once, but twice.

It sounds strange but I’ve had exactly the same experience at my office in Fall River Mills.

Now I can paint a picture of a nefarious little old lady in a polka-dot house dress, sneaking up on the plants, lurking in the shadows furtively watching for pot heads and trespassing vagrants (otherwise as they would prefer it -homeless by choice) jerks.

Seeing that the coast is clear, she leaps into action, grabs the pretty- pretty’s by their stems and after jerking them out and shaking them quickly, stuffs them down the top of her dress.

On the one hand I’d like to think that is true and on the other I’d be very disappointed if it was.

Stealing flowers usually occurs by some 7-year-old boy for a bouquet for a girl he’s smitten with, not little old ladies. Also, not too many 7-years-old are out stealing flowers in the middle of the night.

No, unfortunately it is undoubtedly some pot head or homeless vagrant that are angry because someone had the audacity to want to pretty up the front of his business so those passing his business or through his town would smile and be left with a good impression.

People who rip plants out of flower beds are exactly what they want people to think they are. Trash!

Unfortunately even lovely small towns like Burney and Fall River Mills have just that - Human Trash.

They don’t want anything beautiful - but more importantly, they don’t want anyone else to have anything beautiful either.
 I’m always ragging on the facebook inaccuracies. And I found out that it ain’t always the case.

 Last week, Donna was listening to all the talking heads on the national media. She is also is an avid reader of face ook, so, of course, she was doing both.
Guess what, face Book had information that the volcano in Hawaii had gone off, spewing all the stuff it spews 30,000 feet in the air.

Fox News never missed a beat. The panel of “experts” who had spent the earlier halfhour espousing the wonderful qualities of the President kept right on running off at the mouth.

We turned it over to CNN and the talking heads on that channel were still busy trashing the president. We watched for the next several minutes and it didn’t get any better.

There wasn’t any indication they even knew where Hawaii was or that there was any kind of problem.

After all, you can’t expect the quality of talking heads that now dominate national TV on all sides to be able to handle anything more than the propaganda they’ve been told to put out, especially when their “producers wouldn’t know a truthful, real news story if it hit them over the head.

It is much easier for them to preach to their own choirs than it is to go out on the limb and look at a real story or to inform the public rather than try do anything but warp their minds. Shame on them.

 Traffic control, no matter what the reason, is always a pain in the rear and all points south. However, as a driver who has to drive through the Rocky Ledge project at least on the three days a week that I’m not working from home, I want to sincerely thank Hat Creek Construction for doing the work required to widen the cut though Rocky Ledge at night when traffic is lighter.

That effort has made it a lot easier on the folks like myself who have to go through that section of highway or go miles out of our way to go around it.

I’m not at all sure that I am going to be happy with the road being narrowed to two traffic lanes in Johnson Park proper, but that is a wait and see thing.

Regarding the area they are cutting away, there has been a gentleman who lived near or on the ranch to the east of Rocky Ledge.

For years he has tight-rope walked his bike up the hill and rode down with no escape space on either side of the road if there was a problem. ‘For years many of us held our breath hoping on a daily basis that he wouldn’t be caught in a situation where two loaded semi’s, going in opposite directions passed each other while he was on the non-existent shoulder.

Widening that portion of the highway is a great thing and a possible life saver.

Cal Trans and the contractor have also bent over backwards to be as courteous and considerate as they can be and I appreciate it.

I made a trip through the construction Thursday evening because I took part in “judging” the Senior Orals in McArthur.

It is always awesome to watch the unbelievably large equipment, but coming back, watching them work with only strategically located spotlights swinging in the dark with the movement of the booms was awesome.

Speaking of the Senior Oral boards, I have done it almost since the program first started and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Over the years I have laughed with the presenters. I have wiped tears out of my eyes on occasion with the presenters and I’ve always been impressed with the depth of effort and knowledge the seniors demonstrated getting ready to graduate.

They are impressive .

On yet another topic It’s going to be a great fair season and fair. Thank you Heritage Foundation for the great First Balloon Festival.

I need to clear up a misconception about the picture of the two guys peeing I ran on page one of last week’s paper. It didn’t dawn on me that readers might be blaming the cops for the guys peeing on he building. I did not have that intention nor was I trying to imply that. Logically, if someone saw them doing that and called 9-1-1, the pair would have finished their business and disappeared before the caller had even given the operator the information. I think I said what I had to say on the rest of it last week. However, and by the way, when someone does an outstanding job they deserve a thank you. We had a call on Oregon Street in Johnson Park Saturday and the CHP officer and the deputy did an outstanding job. They were professional, handled a tough situation, and everything came out great. Thank you!

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Department feels that two things make it impossible for them to do their jobs - money and the lenient laws.

Yes, both are major hindrances to their doing what they are charged to do as peace officers. But neither make it impossible.

The answer isn’t money. I can remember going down to the Shasta County Court house with Shirley and Marv Lankford and others and picketing the board of supervisors in the 80’s to get more money so the deputies could get a raise. I seem to remember that it was given them. As a side note not a single deputy came up to us in the weeks that followed and said Thank You.

The various sheriff’s have cried poor mouth every single year since them. When they don’t get money, they cut services to the public. It is coincidental, but the cuts, whether across the board or not, because of ur distance and remoteness, impact services in the Intermountain Area far quicker and more than in other areas.

There is some talk now about their wanting us to pass a special assessment to tax ourself more give them more money. THAT IS NOT THE ANSWER. They’ll still be cutting services and wanting more moneyn a year or so.

The real problem is that the Public Employee’s Retirement System is bankrupting the State and local government agencies eating up more and more of the tax revenue. That needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed in a way that doesn’t break promises and contracts to the employees, past, present and future. That will take some real thought, but the alternative is a lot worse.

The laws are another problem. The legislature has decided that lawlessness is fine and its okay to have tweekers peeing on public buildings and breaking into homes, cars and where ever, and the do-gooders have decided to enable the tweekers by feeding, giving them phones, sleeping bags, clothes, etc. so they can stay here.

That should not stop the cops from ontacting them every time they see them, running their records, frisking them, busting up homeless camps and taking them to Redding when warranted. Pretty soon it becomes to uncomfortable to stay here and they move on.

Do it. Nothing else seems to work.

I had really hoped that I would be writing an editorial that would say “Lynn was found.”

Unfortunately that’s not the case. I’m getting a lot of feedback that people are unhappy that the Sheriff’s Department won’t include them in their search effort and have, instead, told them anything they did had to be their own effort.

Right up front - they have to be that way.

The old days when everyone turned out instantly, checking in with the authorities or not checking in, but searching as a part of the official search party ended when untrained, unorganized civilians like you and I twisted our ankle, broke our leg and sued the County, or went out and got lost and forced another search effort to start.

Thank the Attorneys and folks that use them.

Don’t get down on the sheriff’s Department.

This is the week it all starts, the “rehab” of Highway 299 from 4-Corners to the Cal Fire station or there abouts.

It’s like I told the Caltrans man at the open house. I have some real mixed emotions.

On the one hand we have a heavy flow of commercial traffic that moves well through Johnson Park on the four lanes it has. Also everyone, from Caltrans to the cops to the truckers and the rest have and do go 60 mph on it regularly

If you have to wait to get on the highway it is only for a second.

Changing that will slow traffic down - no big deal, but it will make it much more difficult to get on the highway.

He said they have to accommodate the pedestrians and bicyclists who already have ample space now if they are not so strung out on drugs that they don’t give a damn.

I have no problem waiting and seeing. I hate to admit it, but I have been known to be wrong so it won’t be the first time I’ve had to eat my words. We’ll see.

The positives are many. The Rocky Ledge grade is, in my opinion exceptionally dangerous as it is. It is far too narrow in the cut and bicyclists and pedestrians are taking their lives in their hands when they travel through it.

The pavement part of the project isn’t a “rehab if I understand it right. It is a gut job. They plan to remove all the old and replace it. Good idea folks

An old friend died last week. I’ll miss his midwestern drawn grin and friendly advice.

I first met Joe Harris in August of 1956. Our family had just moved to Cedarville from the LA area - where we had to dial the entire phone number.

My dad got a hold of Citizens Utilities in Alturas, Citizens Utilities is nowFrontier.

Joe Harris showed up to install the phone.

We were on a party line and had to listen to the number of rings before we answered the phone. I’m not sure but I think ours was a short ring and a long one.

In 1976 when Donna, Arnie and I moved back to the area we lived a couple of miles outside of McArthur and were on a party line.

I joined the Rotary Club shortly after we moved here and Joe and I established a 9-year relationship working on Rotary projects and a friendship that remained intact until his death.

He was always the go to man when I needed advice from a level-headed guy.

Ann, his wife, was the secretary for the Burney Water District.

They were both dedicated to the Intermountain Area and spent most of their adult years making it a wonderful place to live.

After he retired and moved to Arizona, he would come back in the summer and generally came into Anna’s in the morning and we’d chat.

I’ll miss his advice, humor and friendship. I will miss him.

He was a great guy.

I have taken another oath for 40 years which is exactly the same the Governor and other elected and/or appointed officials routinely take.

It reads “I, name, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.“

It is basically the same oath a president takes at the federal level upon entering office..

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

And the one taken by state officials including the Governor.

I (Governor) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of ….

None of them say anything about following only the laws that they deem convenient, will draw more votes or that it is okay to do as we damned well please rather than obey the law.

The governor of the state of California, many of the politicians, many in very high places, state and federal are wantonly violating lawful laws of the United State they have sworn to uphold publicly and are giving the citizens the finger and getting away with it. Obeying only the laws you agree with isn’t a part of the equation especially when you took an oath or oaths swearing they’d uphold all of the laws.

Why do you and I have to obey all the laws when they don’t?

I wish I could get all riled up about something, but truth is that’s a problem this week.

My daughter Arnie, and her husband Chris came out from Raeford North Carolina and spent the week.

It is hard to be in a riled up mood when they are here.

Worse yet the four of us spent two-plus days at the Surprise Valley Hot Spings, soaking in the hot tubs and turning into prunes.

We ate at the Country Hearth and Brass Rail and played at the Casino.

It was tough duty but someone had to do it and we just couldn’t seem to pass it up.

After that and lots of visiting and visiting and visiting, I’m too worn out to be in a riled up mood.

Besides it is Easter week and all the kids are getting ready to look for eggs.

I’ve decided to not worry about writing something worthy of being called an editorial and save it to next week.

Have a happy Easter everyone.

I was sitting in my usual chair with Rick, Dana, Chad and Bill. My seat doesn’t have a direct view of the doorway and I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention.

We have had five or six visitors at meetings in the 40 years I’d been on the Burney Basin Mosquito Abatement District. A couple of those were from County Auditor-Controllers making their rounds, one was from the wife of an employee who was being fired, one was from a forester who was claiming we were killing good bugs along with the bad, and a student from a class in journalism I was teaching at the time.

A lot of other district routinely have more people at each meeting than we’d have in all my years.

It should have alerted me when my wife, Donna, came in and sat down, but it didn’t. It should have alerted me when retired District Manager, Mike Churney came in and sat down. It should have alerted me when Alex Covin, our reporter and his wife came in and sat down.

I hadn’t asked any of them to attend the meeting which was going to be routine.

No flags went up in my mind. Nothing registered. They had all made plausable excuses for being there. The board president, Abe, came in and sat down. Then a young man introduced as Simon Watson, came in. He was well groomed, had a sports coat and polished leather shoes on.

That made me uspicious. Something was going on, but it wasn’t until he took over and mentioned my name that I realized I had been had.

Simon introduced himself as an Aid to State Assemblyman Brian Dahle and said he was also standing in for Shasta County Supervisor Mary Rickert who was out of town on County business and couldn’t be there in person.

He spent the next few minutes reading a certificate of appreciation from the State Assembly and a plaque from the County board of Supervisors boosting the heck out of my ego to the point I didn’t think they were talking about me.

I am extremely honored and blessed to be honored by Donna, Alex, Linda, Abe, Mike, Rick, Dana, Chad, Bill and especially Mary Rickert, the Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Brian Dahle and the Assembly. Thank you all folks

Looking back and remembering can be a lot of fun.

I lived in Tujunga, an suburb of Los Angeles for 15 years. It was on the side of the mountain and I had to walk my bike more than ride it.

My brother and I didn’t run with the best crowd and my folks realized that if they didn’t get us out of the city we’d be in juvenile hall or worse shortly. My dad was a retired railroad engineer for the Santa Fe and my mom was a school teacher.

Making a long story short, my mom was hired as a third grade teacher in Cedarville.

I don’t know how many of you can remember the moment when you discovered “home.” I do and it wasn’t LA.

I had a learners permit at 15½ and was driving an old Powell pickup loaded with our belongings. We were on 299 just pulling out of downtown Canby. My dad was in the passenger seat.

“Want to know where we’re going?” He asked as we passed the hot springs where the Cat Fish are raised.


He pointed to the mountains a ways ahead.

“See that “V?”

I looked for a couple of seconds and saw the “V-like” dip that formed Cedar Pass.


“Right on the other side.” He said.

I don’t know why, but at that moment I fell in love with northeastern California and knew I was home.

Cedarville was different than Tujunga. The side streets weren’t a whole lot wider but they weren’t crowded with parked cars and houses shoved up tight to each other and there weren’t any curbs or sidewalks.

I could breath and believe it or not my next memory was standing in the window of my second story bedroom looking down on the street. Two sisters were walking up the street.

They were the first kids I saw roughly my own age. I married Donna, the younger one years later.

My stay in Cedarville wasn’t without incident. In Cedarville it took every boy in Surprise Valley High School to field a football team.

In Tujunga I hadn’t even been allowed on the track or field if the “Jocks” were practicing.

We won some, we lost some. We did play Fall River High School and the best tackle I ever made was on what was probably the 30-yard line at the far end of the field. The coach even complemented me.

However, my favorite memory was the night that my best friend, John Cox and I drove to Alturas in his powder blue Chevy with the pink top and sawed down Modoc’s, then wooden, goal post at the eastern end. It felt so gooood.
I took a delightful class years ago. It was called logic. Logic is reaching the conclusion in situations where if A equals B and B equals C then A must equal C.

However that is just part of the equation and that logical conclusion is only correct when it is applied with the caveat of “everything else being equal.”

Perception, like assumptions does not make everything else equal and it does play havoc with reaching true conclusions.

That is a long, convoluted way of saying I screwed up.

Over the years I have watched the California Colleges, Universities, large city high schools and even a couple of our, now long retired, teachers act in less than patriotic fashions in front of their students. I have witnessed political correctness carried to extreme.

Beyond that I hear about history being ignored and so on.

Then I had the opportunity to go to Burney Elementary School on Washington’s Birthday.

The fact that they were still celebrating Washington’s Birthday should have been a clue.

I was there to see a flag folding ceremony put on for the younger classes by the Burney Veteran’s Combined Honor Guard. Clue number two?

The kids came in wearing red, white and blue tricorn paper hats made to resemble the hats worn in the Revolutionary War era.

The teachers led the students in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and a medley of patriotic songs before turning the program over to the Honor Guard.

By that time I realized my perceptions were flawed and thus, so were my “logical” conclusions.

Then just to add frosting to the cake, at the end of the ceremony every child in the audience filed by the honor guard and shook each of the men’s hands.

I was totally wrong and you know what? I’m glad that I was.

We have patriotic kids, teachers and schools and that is wonderful.


The Intermountain Area lost a fine gentleman and one of a disappearing breed when Andy Lakey died last week. who transitioned from horse and wagon to tractors and the machinery that does it all,

He was a darned good cattleman who kept his eye on his cattle from atop a saddle, not a 4-wheeler.

He was generally not too happy about the Forest Service grazing fees, but delighted to be able to spend time riding herd on the cattle and camping in the Bear Creek or Hambone areas, enjoying the good life.

He was best known for his love of flying and dedication to the Eastern Shasta County Sheriff’s Flying Posse which he helped form and flew with until 2001.

He was heavily involved in the Masons and affiliated organizations, spending a lot of time and effort helping the Shrine Club raise money for their hospital dedicated to helping Crippled Children in Sacramento and other charities,

He and his late wife Millie were always there when someone needed them.

I can still remember how she used to shake her head and smile almost shyly when Andy was busy spinning a yarn or two at any one of the dozen events they would be at. A tough man physically, he took a nasty spill from a horse in his later years but was back up and riding and herding long before most younger men would have even looked at a horse again.

An excellent family man, a good husband, good rancher, fine pilot and all-around good guy. What more of a legacy can a man leave?

I know Millie is happy to be with him again, but, like so many in the area, I’m going to miss him dearly.


I’m going to attempt to explain my reason for being deadset against this Sanctuary City and Sanctuary State Crap. Unfortunately the issue has reached a point where law, order, reason and logic no longer apply. The politicians who are all for it have ulterior motives. They are, by profession, panderers. They don’t consider anything beyond “I need their vote.” The people they pander to have an ideology built on the emotion of sympathy and don’t mind to cost or the result. 

I don’t feel sorry for the politicians,. They will say and do anything to keep their jobs.

I understand the emotion of sympathy. However, lets look at the facts.

The Congress of the United States is made up of two houses. The members of each are opposed to each other politically, but there was a time when they could work together well enough to pass laws necessary to maintain a functioning legal society, like setting up procedure for folks become citizens. Those laws were practiced, adjusted, tweaked and otherwise massaged over the years.           

As I remember it, those rules, regulations and laws require those wishing to become citizens to apply for citizenship, undergo a background check, get a sponsor so they don’t become a burden on society, learn English, learn American History as well as the laws and mores they will have to accept to become good, everyday citizens. After a period of approximately 7-years (if I remember my 8th gradehistory right) they took a test demonstrating a descent proficiency of the US, took part in a formal ceremony swearing allegiance to the United States and became a member of our society.

There are emigrants who would be assets. There is no reason they couldn’t and shouldn’t do it legally. Those I know who have are proud of it. There are also those like the ass in San Francisco who (if you believe him) found a gun on the street which accidentally discharged killing an innocent tourist.

Our politicians from those on local mosquito abatement districts to the President of the United States take an oath to protect and uphold the laws of the United States. Those who break that oath are not committing civil disobedience they are deliberately breaking the laws they swore to uphold.

The answer is simple. Either break a law and go to jail or if they don’t like that law – work and get it changed


Back in the stone age I can remember how proud of the new County Jail District 3 Supervisor John Caton was.

It was state of the art and had plenty of room. Shasta County was going to be able to rent the excess cells to other counties who were still overcrowded.

As a bail bondsman I still bailed a few out of the old jail, while bailing others out of the new jail.

I can’t remember for sure the time frame Caton used in predicting overcrowding but it was probably 20-25 years which were probably right on the money because overcrowding has been a problem for some time now.

I know that when it comes to regulations and cost, facilities such as the jail are as touchy as hospitals and schools. Construction time and costs are double.

Unfortunately funding for that type of project doesn’t grow on trees.

The state and federal politicians don’t take anything beyond whatever feels good or where the pressure is when they pass laws that cause the overcrowding issues. Their attitude is “So what, I want to be re-elected - let the next guy or gal deal with it.

None of them want to deal with the reality that clearly points out that - yes, the first time offender should possibly be given education, counseling, love and tender care.

However, jail isn’t supposed to be a country club. If you want to cure the problem or at least minimize it, you should make it as nasty, unpleasant and uncomfortable as possible so they might think twice about getting locked up the second time.

That would save the expense and inconvenience of overcrowded jails and letting criminals and nuts run around loose to terrorize the folks who try to live reasonably law abiding lives.

ongratulations to the county! I’m proud of your efforts to at least temporarily solve the problem.

Maybe in the 20-25 years it takes to reach overcrowding again, our state and federal politicians and judges will decide enough is enough and recognize that the Doctor Spock philosophy didn’t work with most kids and sure as the dickens won’t work with criminals.

I’ve had a man who wants to put his opinion about why it is okay for pro athletes to kneel during the national anthem in my paper. The problem is that he doesn’t want to have his name attached.

If you look above you will see my name on this column. I believe that people have the constitutional right to speak their minds. However, I also feel that it is essential that those people put their name to the piece they want published. It saves me lawsuits, being blamed for the article, hurting peoples feelings when they really have no way to defend themselves and it stops a lot of garbage. Granted, there are times when some of those articles should be published but with the above in mind, I can’t set that precedent.

I have no problem printing views that are opposed to mine or flat attacks on me, but their name goes with it.

Since a bunch of extremely well paid, wealthy people would rather make spectacles of themselves than put their money into efforts that actually help those they feel are abused, neglected or ignored, causing me and numerous other people to watch college football instead of pro-ball, I’m going to weigh in on it and put my name to it.

I was once Corporal Caldwell USMC. I enlisted, I wasn’t drafted. It was made clear to me when I enlisted that I was going to be a Marine and that I had to be willing to die for my country as many Marines had done through the years. I was one of the lucky ones. I enlisted before Nam and got out before all hell broke loose.

Throughout the last three centuries there were numerous young men and women who enlisted to serve their country, which has the most iconic and recognizable symbol in the world representing it, its history and everything it stands for – it’s our flag. Many of those who enlisted weren’t as lucky as I was. They saw combat, have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, problems with the after effects of Agent Orange, were maimed or mangled, died quickly or slowly, spent months or years in hospitals, counseling, physical or mental therapy. They went in healthy young people and were changed for life.

If you think that’s bad, what about all of those who were drafted in the civil war and all of those who were drafted since 1940 to the end of Nam? All of those folks who had plans and dreams and lives that didn’t include possibly going into combat. People who were pulled away from wives, girlfriends, schools and possible careers, basically forced into the military against their will, sent overseas and, in spite of that, fought for their Flag and Country and suffered the same fate. They, saw combat, have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome problems with the after effects of Agent Orange, were maimed or mangled, died quickly or slowly, spent months or years in hospitals, counseling, physical or mental therapy, who went in as reasonably happy, healthy young people and came back changed. To make it worse those in the Nam war came back to be sworn at, spit on, harassed, demeaned, watched their flag burned and were otherwise belittled by those who, like the wealthy pro athletes today, wanted to protest.

As a kid in a religious grammar school I proudly said a morning prayer and placed my hand over my heart and said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. As a teen in public school, As a cub scout and boy scout we saidthe pledge of allegiance to the flag.

In case you just flat don’t get it…the flag is the one unifying symbol of the United States of America and regardless of the country’s faults (and there are many) it is the one symbol that men and women honor and die for, because, as lousy as our country can be, as lousy as some people think it is, or how stupid and self-serving our politicians are, it represents our country and there’s a hell of a lot more good about our country than bad.

Thousands of men and women died for the flag in the Revolutionary War. Thousands died for that flag in the War of 1812. Thousands died for that flag in the Civil War. Thousands more died for the flag in World War I. Thousands died for that flag in World War II, Thousands more died for that flag in Korea and Viet Nam. And, if that is not enough, Our men and women have or are dying for that flag in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere. That isn’t counting those who were wounded or maimed while in service represented by the Flag of the United States.

I realize that there are certain kinds of people who were born to protest. They don’t think about it, they just do it because it makes them feel good. Then there are the professionals who go from riot to riot for fun and monetary gain. Those folks would trample or burn a crucifix, a cross, the Star of David or other religious symbols or the flag of the United States instead of using their energies and money to help those they are supposedly so passionate about. They don’t give a rats rear end about who they hurt and it is seldom those who are actually to blame.

And yes, in America we have freedom of speech, any of you have a right to voice your opinion, but if you are going to use my paper to do it, you’d damned well better be willing to put your name to it.

And remember the good things done in the name of America, the freedoms that you have and want to abuse.

They are also represented by the American Flag. Honor it!

It is extremely interesting that the State of California and the County of Shasta just don’t get it.

We can’t punish criminals or we won’t punish criminals and there is always an excuse.

We can’t put people in jail that should be because the county doesn’t have money. Hell - that is the same excuse they were using in the mid 1980s.

We’ve got enough money to give the poor - downtrodden homeless that don’t want help, cellphones; which they charge up by stealing electricity to charge the phones. We give people who refuse to take care of themselves medical care and food.

But we can’t lock up scum. Instead we send them the direct message that it’s okay to do what they are doing.

Well bleeding hearts, those who want to give the scum everything under the excuse that if we give them enough they’ll come to seminars, church services, counseling. Horse pucky.

Career skaters like the one in Redding with something like 57 arrests in two years and the Phipps with a major court case pending and warrants from three oher jurisdictions get picked up on shoplifting in another county in the last two weeks. This is becoming the norm.

We saw what can well be the start of citizens taking the law into their own hands and solving the problem the system refused to handle a couple of weeks ago in Johnson Park.

A man reportedly left another man with the impression he had stolen from him. The stealing didn’t stop. Then the accusee was allegedly shot by the accusor. The accusor reportedly told police he was fed up and did the town a favor.

Who is next?

The blood is on the systems hands.

I went to see a friend the other day. He looked like I remembered him, just more fragile.

A gentleman helped him into a chair and left us to ourselves.

I could tell so I didn’t wait, but introduced myself and gave him the card I’d brought.

He fumbled with it for a couple of moments but couldn’t open it and couldn’t look me in the eye.

He’d been a teen when I was born and had gone off to do his duty like the man he was.

He came home, married a lovely lady and raised a nice family.

He was one of those guys who always had a joke or a yarn to spin and was a master at being pleasant and making friends.

As rancher and farmer he always worked hard, in whatever weather and as long as it took.

It mattered little to him when f he was thrown off a horse. He’d was back in the saddle long before any of the rest of us would have wanted to look at the saddle, never mind the horse.

My friend may not physically be the friend I remember, but when I look in the mirror, I’m not the man I remember either.

He may be having trouble remembering but there are a whole lot of folks like me who will do that for him.

In the meantime he’s loved, taken care of and not hurting.

That says a lot.

There is just something about Fall River High School that is different. It must be in the water.

Jeanne Utterback is one of a string of unusually good principals who spent most of their careers at Fall River High School making a difference or moving on up the ladder after making a difference at Fall River.

Jeanne stands out even more because she was a good, involved student at Fall River before she took on her career in education.

In addition to Jeanne you have Superintendent Greg Hawkins, Superintendent Larry Snelling, Superintendent Ivan Keys and principals Don Sandberg and Chuck McKelvie.

I’ll kick myself in the fanny because I’m sure I will have missed someone. - If I did, it wasn’t intentional.

Jeanne graduated in 1976, the same year Donna and I moved back to the area, so I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing her grow up.

Like so many other Fall River stand outs, she was involved in FFA and sports.

She was Salutatorian for her class.

But, what I’ve noticed about Jeanne is that she is always there, cheer leading, guiding, using the proverbial cattle prodder as needed.

She gets along well with teachers, other administrators, staff, students and the community as a whole.

She knows what it is like to be a substitute teacher, an elementary and high school teacher, a coach. She has experienced a number of schools in a number of districts and as a coach she can handle them all, even those who have premia madonna parents.

In other words she knows what she’s doing. She knows how to do it and does it.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who will miss her when she retires.

However, I’m willing to bet we’ll still see a lot of her in her Bulldog sweatshirt at games cheering her teams on. Good Luck Jeanne!


I’ve been reading the Sheriff’s log - that becomes a habit when you cover the news.

I couldn’t help but notice that over the past few months there has been a rash of break-ins, vandalism and theft of mail from the cluster mail boxes in the area.

That comes from the human trash the state of California lets wander the streets freely at night. Some have even been brazen enough to break into boxes in broad daylight.

I checked into it. The Sheriff’s Department is working on it. but they need pieces of loose mail found around the area and the crimes reported.

The Postal Service is also replacing the cluster boxes that are burglarized with ones designed to be harder to break into. So if you have to go in and get new keys, it is because they are protecting you.

I reviewed the new gun and ammo laws and the so-called reasoning behind them and alternately found myself trying to pry my fingernails out of the ceiling or batting my head against the wall.

The legislators who vote for things like that are doing nothing more than pandering to hysteria and milking the empty headed frustrated bleeding hearts that can’t come up with a workable solution

Criminals don’t care about obeying laws especially in this day and age.

They can go to jail, out of the rain, cold or heat depending on the time of the year. They get fed three regular meals a day. They have a gym, television, computers, phone and visiting privileges.

Violent criminals or those who have little or no control over their emotions don’t care if they hurt, kill or fight with a gun or guns.

If they are mad enough they’ll pick up a knife, ax, baseball bat, gun or whatever is handy and they’ll use it without worrying about the consequences.

Even if the “law abiding majority” of citizens actually followed all the stupid laws and somehow escape the consequences felt by the Jews and others who were hurt so badly when they were disarmed by their governments in the past, it won’t stop the unbalanced, disgruntled, or just flat nut that decides he just found his excuse to create murder and mayhem.

The idiots in government who buy their constituency at our expense instead of working to find a real, sane, wellthought- out solution should be locked up with a few of these nuts while the rest of the guards take an afternoon off.

Do I have a solution? You're damned right I do.

1. Reopen institutions for those folks who have no business being on the streets.

2. Turn prisons back into institutions of punishment, doing away with quasi low class hotels.

3. Instead of taking money away from the cops, give them more so they can hire more law enforcement.

4. Realize that society kills rabid dogs and apply the same thing to rabid people.

5. Arm the innocent. Yes, educate them in the use of a weapon.

Stop trying to control the honest citizen while coddling, condoning, enabling and encouraging the criminals.

Make it nasty enough on a criminal that the criminal will think about the consequences and if they don’t then start to make it unpleasant enough for them that they will think twice about doing something.

Lawmakers need to ask themselves about whether a murderer, rapist, or other killer cared if they hurt someone while they tortured their victim. If a few of these jerks rolled around the floor for a few hours with a bullet in the gut after using a gun, we might not need the feel-good laws - there might not be any reason to have them.

There certainly weren’t any grenches at the Bill Baldwin amrican Legion Ham Dinner last weekend.

Donna and I won a cord of Cedar. However, we bought the winning raffle ticket and will definitely make good use of the wood as it will finish covering us for the rest of the winter.

Any time we can hear Elizabeth Luck sing and see Bill Baldwin be honored for all the things he does, it is a night well spent.

It is my guess that the hungry crowd was not only obviously hungry, but a record crowd on top of it.

The money goes to a number of good causes, most associated with the Post’s youth activities such as Boys and Girls State.

There’s so much going on this time of year that it is hard to keep up with. It really helps when we are able to get the help taking pictures that we do. We really appreciate it!

Santa Claus is going to make a major appearance on the 21st, giving his reindeer a rest while he visits with folks at Mayers Memorial Hospital, gets an exciting ride on the SEMSA medical helicopter before riding around Burney and Johnson Park in a fire truck getting to visit with kids, picking up last minute Christmas Lists and handing out more presents.

It’s a great holiday season in a great area.

It is wonderful to be able to enjoy it and see ohers enjoying it.


It has been 69 or 70 years since I last sat on Santa’s knee.

I don’t usually try to remember that far back but I’m in a reflective mood this Sunday afternoon and Santa is so much more delightful to reflect on than politics or crime and that stuff.

I don’t really remember Santa, I only got to meet him once a year for a very few years. But I do remember my Dad and Mom taking my brother and myself !

When I was five or six my dad was always huge. Always dressed in blue Jean blue bib overalls with a braided leather watch fob dangling from the bib pocket in front, gray striped Engineer’s hat with a Santa Fe Railroad emblem in the center on top of his saltand- pepper hair and a red or blue bandanna in his hip pocket.

My mom was larger than life also. Yes, she would have had a tough time topping out at 5’ but to me she was the center of my life, kissing my scrapes and cuts, taking me and my little brother someplace with our black puppy following, his little legs pumping as fast as they could and his black tail a-wagging.

Yes, I remember going to see Santa with them at Sears & Roebuck in Glendale. I don’t remember what I asked for. I’m sure Santa delivered whatever it was because either my Mom or Dad helped me into his lap and listened to my wish list as they pretended they weren’t, kinda like Donna and I did when we took Arnie to the Eastridge Mall in San Jose to see him.

Ah, those are the days worth remembering.

Mountain Echo has a column we run weekly entitled “The Intermountain Area as it was in the 1980’s.”

 Some of it is fun, some of it is serious. It brings up things and people often long forgotten.

This week there’s a tidbit that I would be researching if I lived on Bailey Street in Burney. “The board of supervisors approved County Service Assessment District 7, which involves 103 parcels in southwest Burney covering approximately 80 acres. Parcel owners will now pay approximately $43 per parcel on their property tax bills to fund the new Service District, which will maintain the flood wall and storm sewer.”

That flood wall was in major disrepair a couple of years ago and as I recall, the area is considered a flood plain and has major restrictions on what can and can’t be done because of that designation.

If I remember right, the County says it doesn’t have any money to repair the wall.

1. Are you paying that $43 assessment annually?

2. Is the Assessment zone still in effect?

3. If it is and you are, where is that money going and why isn’t the wall in good repair?

The children are nestled all snug in their beds, stuffed, content and oblivious. How wonderful it is.

All through the house everyone’s full. Its Thanksgiving after all, the day of goodwill.

With visions of yams, dark meat and light, Mamma and I settled after eating too much.

Our blessings are many, our wants just a few.

We turned off the TV, its grinches and goo andenjoyed good friends and hug those so dear.

What a wonderful respite from the rest of the year.

The turkey had gobbled, and fanned feathers so bright. Then was plucked, filled with stuffing and cooked just right.

Around the table we sat in the scent of dinner this night.

No room for politics, religion or fear, just a mellow good time that comes once a year.

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Mountain Echo staff

I’d love to have been able to attend and cover every one of the Veterans Day ceremonies, preparations, lunches and the good will that went with all. But there is only one of me and even if I’d been able to actually be everywhere at once I’d be so fat by not that I wouldn’t be able to move.

The Soroptimists served a wonderful lunch in Burney and I know the Cattlemen and Women had an outstanding one in Adin.

The and esprit De corps of the veterans and patriotism and love of the communities was very moving.

As a veteran I was very moved. Thank You!

Now all we have to do is get ready for Thanksgiving and all the food and goodwill that will come from it.

Love the Intermountain Area and folks in it.

Whew!! Ron is back and on the job! That’s one tough dude!

I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everyone when I say WELCOME BACK RON - WE MISSED YOU!

I personally want to thank the group of folks who stepped up and so graciously helped me: Jennifer Leighton, April Thompson, Trish Mostoufi, Debbie Maier, Bill Brown, Jed Tate, the Kraig Strauch’s, and other coaches and school staffs who were so helpful. I couldn’t have done it without you!!

Halloween went off nicely. With all the candy handed out I’ll bet the dentists are going to be kept busy.

I was seriously impressed. Halloween is supposed to be fun and this has to be one of, if not the, best celebration in the history of the Intermountain Area - numerous businesses and organizations as well as churches and schools got involved and everyone had a great time!

It has been a long time since I have seen that many little kids and their parents out and about and it was really nice.

I’ll admit that I boycotted the citizen’s meeting in Burney discussing the homeless and drug problems.

I’ve had a standing policy that I will try my best to report fairly and evenly and with very few exceptions I have been able to do that.

However, I have some very conservative feelings when it comes to those particular subjects and, after the first meeting, when the Sheriff threw the towel in instead of trying to find solutions, I knew I couldn’t report fairly. Therefore I sent Alex Colvin and he did an outstanding job.

I now understand a lot more than I did. I may not have a whole lot of sympathy for people who rob, steal, trespass, vandalize, leave fires unattended and wander around the streets because they are on drugs and I may want them locked up in whatever the appropriate institution is, but at least I undersand a little more on the subject.

Thanks Alex

Public access to public information has been a major problem when it comes to Mountain Echo getting information from the Sheriff’s Department in a timely fashion.

Granted, like it or not, I’m probably getting or am able to get it all.

I know I cannot have juvenile names - we live in the wrong state - I could in North Carolina.

I know I can’t get names of female victims or juvenile victims of sex crimes - nor should I be able to - wouldn’t print them even if I could.

The ones that bother me are the bookings.

Bookings are a matter of public record.

And yes, the public record is available two ways. I can go to Redding and view it (probably at the jail), or I can call the substation and ask the deputy or sergeant, or maybe, if he’s even there, the commander, and as long as I know the date and time, it shouldn’t be a problem. That means I either have to call up, find someone with the authority to talk to me when I call, and have that person look it up for me each time someone is booked, but the name isn’t included in the log.

It is a real pain in the -well you know.

It would be so much easier for everyone if either the deputy or deputies involved in the arrest gave the SHASCOM dispatcher the information or the SHASCOM dispatcher would remember to write it down on the log.

Then the Sheriff wonders why I’m a touch onrey when I deal with them.

Got an update on Ron, He is still in Mercy Medical Center in Redding and they have him in the intensive care unit.

Just got an update from Lori. The nurse says he’s showing signs of improvement and doing much better this (Monday) morning . The nurse says he needs rest and shouldn’t get phone calls - Remember folks in the ICU need prayers!

I’m absolutely amazed at 1. How much real work goes into being the sports editor. 2. What a great community we have!

Like Ron, our days of covering three home football games in the same night -starting out in Big Valley and ending up in Burney with good pictures and information are over. We’re too darned old. We can’t see all that well, hear all that well, move all that well or pay traffic fines making it between games.

This community has stepped up and supplied me with a wonderful variety of pictures. The coaches have given me their information and while I’m still in the process of learning it, MaxPreps is becoming a Godsend.

I don’t have Ron’s wit, charm or knowledge and I’ll never pretend I can do the same kind of job he does, but with you folk’s help I won’t let him down!

You are all wonderful and I love you all and appreciate you all, just Like Ron always has!

Say a prayer for him, Please.

District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert said some very nice things about Donna and I in her column this week.

I’m flattered, but all I did was recognize an outstanding photograph featuring a very pretty, talented young woman doing what she always did in the presence of the flag of the United States - pay the proper respect.

The photo came, unknown to Cyanna, at a critical period in our national history in which those who have, up until a few months ago, been our role models and the role models of our youth, turned on the United States, the flag, and all that it stands for.

All I did was recognize what a wonderful picture, lovely young woman and how it demonstrated just how we in the Intermountain Area feel about our flag and our country.

Also, in the rush to get the paper out, I failed to get the name of the photographer. Mary found out who took it and let me know.

Ruth Woolery, that is one of the best, if not the best, photograph I’ve seen and I’m jealous, I wish I could say I took it. Thank You.

I also understand that Big Valley High School presented the flag with a lap around the track on horseback at the home game last week. I’d love to have a copy of that picture along with the name of the rider, date, who the Cardinals were playing and who the photographer was and e-mail it to me at mtecho@ I’ll get it in the paper also.

It is so nice to be able to demonstrate to the world that while millionaire athletes are busy destroying a majority of their fan’s enjoyment of the game by demonstrating a total lack of upbringing, loyalty to their country and those who made this country great, that WE IN THE INTERMOUNTAIN AREA DO GIVE A DAMN. We aren’t going to destroy what so many worked so hard for, and died for, simply to gain notoriety.
Donna loves to read legal notices in the papers, even if it is all in fine print and when I look over and see steam coming out her ears or a perplexed look on her face I know instinctively that I’m about to start on a new story.

The one this week isn’t so much what’s happening now, or if it is bad or good, but for good or bad its a move forward,

The property on the south side of Highway 299 between Johnson Park and Burney belonged to Fruit Growers Supply Company for years after we moved here.

Then, during the period when the lumber market began to really suffer, Fruit Growers took on plans to turn the property from the Gas Compressor Rd to Burney into a major housing development complete with emergency services and commercial property.

I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I seem to remember the county getting involved.

Historically, when it comes to Eastern Shasta County The county planning department does not appear to be here to help us.

Anyway if I remember right the company threw up its hands and sold it to another company.

That company has now sold it to another company.

This latest move creates a move forward. Now, if the Planning Department can’t figure out some way to stop progress there’s always the slight chance that the county will actually work out details that will help us as people come forward with legitimate plans to properly use that land. They might just allow facilities and infrastructure to be built that will bring some yet unknown industry, service or utility to the area that will give our young people a real opportunity for careers .Those businesses might even allow and create a need for ancillary or community businesses and jobs that will stabilize the economy and allow us to reach a point where people who want to can raise their families here.

I hope I’m still alive to see it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Hero’s come in all sizes, sexes, economic groups and colors. Young men and women serve and served their Country since it was in the process of being formed. Many died because of it. More of them were permanently maimed mentally and physically because of their loyalty.

Victims of abuse, the economy, their race, religion or education have risen above their problems and succeeded in spite of the challenges they faced.

Many have died because of their political, or religious views or their race or sex when they could have avoided it by bending to ideology they felt strongly enough about to die for.

Rich individuals like Bill Gates, who give and give and give to those who can’t help themselves and to those who are willing to rise above their problems and help themselves are my heroes.

Athletes, movie stars, and others who find it fashionable to disrespect our flag and the people who have fought and died for the flag and the ideals behind it should be ashamed of themselves..

Find a positive way to help those who want to be helped or who truly can’t care for themselves. You aren’t going to change people who aren’t willing to change any more than you can people who are using their concern, either real or imagined just to make a name for themselves. Rioting, criminals, “Taking a knee,” and whimpering about “look at poor little me,” doesn’t hold water.

There are far more black, brown, oriental, and poor white folk who have risen out of poverty, stayed away from drugs, alcohol abuse and jail. They have gotten an education, they have gotten jobs, overcome the various obstacles in their paths and are contributing members of society.

To those who refuse to be productive or want to make a spectacle of themselves — SHAME ON YOU!
There are times when discretion is the better part of “valor.”

This is one of them. I want to weigh in on the Supes and the Library folks, but I’m afraid that my comments might possibly do a lot more harm than good - so I’ll move on to other topics.

First, it was an extremely busy news week. In fact it became a real chore to find room to get everything in. Unfortunately, I couldn’t cut those stories I already had or received, or the pictures, so the pages are somewhat crowded. Additionally I had to hold the Sheriff’s log and 30 years ago which normally would be in this issue and move the Sudoku to this page.

It is strange how things work out.

The news in this week’s issue reflects really what small rural towns like ours are all about.

Businesses and individuals from teens to very mature adults giving generously, time and/or money to help others in the community and beyond.

It reflects our thoughts and prayers, the legislation, emergencies and honors bestowed.

Even though this issue misses a couple of items I’d loved to have included.

I’m proud of it and the communities and people who did what they do and made it possible to record it so those in our future can see what we did in our time.

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.

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?

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.
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.
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.
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!

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!

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.
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.

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!
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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.

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.
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.

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.


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.

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 and see what our updated page looks like.

We hope you like it.

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!

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.

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 and see what our updated page looks like.

We hope you like it.


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!

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!






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