Liz Writes Life 9-19-17

September 19, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

It was nice to enjoy the beginnings of autumn, last week, with the mornings turning cooler. Several folks reported frost or 30 degrees here in the valley, but 36 degrees was the lowest at our place. The actual fall equinox is this Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. The light drizzle on Monday morning and more predicted rains this week will, hopefully, continue to cool the fires. The numbers of firefighters have already been reduced by nearly half in our local Salmon-August Complex.

Now is the iffy time for our gardens. The chance of frost increases after a drizzle or rain. Then warmer daytime temps are forecast for the next week. So it comes down to what we want to protect or may continue to pump out goodies for us. Our concord grapes are ripe and have more flavor after September cold nights. Some nice-sized pumpkins have turned orange and the sunflowers look like they are mature. The end-of-garden-season is upon us.

I counted the 2015 and 2016 jars of tomatoes and decided I must use those up and won’t can tomatoes this year. I do need to get three more batches of Green Tomato Sweet Relish made this week. We ate the last of the second crop of corn. It was pretty light, but I did freeze three more pint bags for winter enjoyment.

I ran into Jeanette Harris at Mean Gene’s last week and we chatted garden. Her pickup was filled with pumpkins (I noticed a watermelon or two as well). She was going to set up their pumpkin wagon – making it officially fall. Jeanette said the strawberries didn’t produce very well this year or else something was eating them. We have both noticed fewer bees this year. I know some beekeepers lost their hives last winter and that isn’t good.

Then Jeanette said the raspberries at their U-Pick or We Pick Berries (at their California Heritage Farms on Eastside Road) were still producing. I love raspberries and hadn’t gotten over there in August, so I decided to go pick berries on Saturday and ended up with four pounds. Not bad. Oh, it seems to be an off-year for blackberries as they are small and not plentiful.

POW

Scott Valley Protect Our Water will hold its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m. Bring a dessert to share, if you can.

FlixxFest

The Jefferson Stat FlixxFest begins this Thursday, Sept. 21 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. It is hosted by The REC in Fort Jones and a whole bunch of films will be shown. On Sunday, the venue moves to the Avery Memorial Theater in downtown Etna for several hours of children’s films. For more info and to purchase tickets call 530-468-2888.

The real bias

Sure was great to hear that the last part of the biased civil lawsuits brought against Siskiyou Co. Clerk Colleen Setzer and Sheriff Jon Lopey were dropped. The last few cases of action were actually thrown-out by the judge “with prejudice,” which means the same complaints can’t be brought again.

A big thank you goes to our county supervisors, who stayed the course in fighting this intimidating and evil civil suit.

It was brought by 10 Hmong residents, pushed by ACLU, who recently bought unincorporated land in Siskiyou County. The lawsuit named Jesse Vang and nine co-plaintiffs, who claimed they were subjected to election improprieties and discrimination. Pier 5 is a law firm in San Francisco that pled their case. Pier 5 specializes in legal action in behalf of cannabis producers. Yep, you get the picture of the real bias.

The suit was brought last September 2016 after the Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office asked Sheriff Lopey to provide protection to his investigators, when they began checking residents’ addresses on the voter fraud issue. County Clerk Setzer had noticed an unusual number of new voters were using addresses from unincorporated areas where there were no homes or even infrastructure to build homes. Following state election code mandates, she reported her concerns to the CA. Sec. of State’s office, which then handles these situations. The really sad part was that Sec. Padilla acted as if Siskiyou acted on its own. It had not. His office was the lead agency investigating voter fraud.

Numerous news articles by state-wide and national newspapers slammed Siskiyou County for racism and bias against the Hmong. To make matters worse, the Hmong suggested Siskiyou Sheriff Lopey only targeted them when taking out illegal marijuana grows. That was not the case as there are other ethnic and, even, white people that are busted.

I asked Sheriff Lopey how he felt – being exonerated. This is what he said:

It is very satisfying to know we have a federal court and judges that still uphold the rule of law and support a local jurisdiction’s right and obligation to protect its citizenry. Judge Mendez looked at the facts and evidence and rejected the lies, emotions, and suppositions of illegal drug traffickers.

When this lawsuit started (alone with the SAM lawsuit that followed) there were well-financed groups that literally attempted to stop us from enforcing the law and they further wanted to harm the county fiscally by filing these lawsuits, banking on the supposition that the huge profits from illegal drug trafficking could be leveraged to corrupt us or influence a lack of action.

The big winners are the county leaders, whose courage and determination to fight this illegal drug trade prevailed, but more importantly the greatest recipients of this decision are the great citizens of Siskiyou County harmed the most from this illicit drug trade.  Additionally, our environment, water, and other natural resources will be better protected and our children better safeguarded from the proliferation of illegal cannabis.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Live 9-12-17

September 12, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Why do all the garden vegetables get ripe at the same time? In two days, I picked nine cantaloupes, two buckets of lemon cucumbers and the three watermelon are ready. There is no way we can eat all of this, so we give some away. When I checked the second crop of corn, it is past the early stage – which when I like the best. Guess I will pick corn tonight, cook it and we will cut it off, bag it and freeze it.

Sure was a nice rain we had one morning last week. And it is fabulous that it really did help the fire fighters get a head of the fires behind Etna, Patterson and Kidder Creeks. It was just getting way too close.

The forests have become an over-grown mess. Lawsuits from the Greenies and government bureaucrats have joined forces creating legislative and policy gridlock. Prevention of the fires must take place and we are lucky to have county supervisors and our Congressman Doug LaMalfa who are in the battle. They participate in high-level organizations working to change land-use policies and legislation. Much more is going on behind the scenes than we realize. Unfortunately, the battle is simply with insanity. You can’t save every tree to have a healthy forest. They must be thinned.

POW

Brandon Criss, Siskiyou Co. Supervisor for Dist. 1, spoke at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting on Aug. 30th. He told us the county is working on the budget and that his philosophy is “if you have the money doesn’t mean you have to spend it.” He said the priorities are the new jail, marijuana and code enforcement and employees. The county has reduced the number of employees from 900 in 2009 to about 700. Brandon believes there is local talent in Siskiyou that can and should be utilized and hired by the county.

A huge concern will be paying the expansion of state CalPERS retirement benefit costs, which will go from $7.9 million to $15 million in six years. The county supervisors know it will be a “hit”, but are planning on the situation, he said.

Brandon praised our “good” congressman, Doug LaMalfa, who in 2014 led the Natural Resources Committee in not funding the cost of the Klamath dams removal. “He has had our back the whole time,” Brandon said, “and we are aggressively working with him, and our lawyers, to save the Klamath dams.”

Water

David Smith, editor of this newspaper, wrote a very good comprehensive news article regarding The Nature Conservancy ranch, near Big Springs, in last Thursday’s edition. Tim Louie, whose great-grandfather settled the ranch in 1859, called me last week concerned because California Dept. Fish and Wildlife was about to breach two earthen dams that will affect over 100 acres of wet lands and dry up lakes created by the irrigation headgates.

I do have a few comments to make about the situation.

First, where we stood for the meeting with about 40 farmers and ranchers overlooked a dry marshland. This area once boasted 1,000s of geese, ducks, sandhill cranes (an Endanger Species Act listed bird) and was home to a wide variety of wildlife; and it covered over 850 acres. It was a wetland. This wildlife area has been dried-up because CDFW turned its legally-owned irrigation water into the Shasta River claiming the water will help juvenile coho salmon – which are also listed with the CA. ESA.

The Nature Conservancy sold its water right to CDFW for $10 million and TNC no longer has any say over how the water right is used. Because CDFW claims it recently found juvenile coho in Little Springs drainage, it now wants to send the water that creates the last remaining wetlands and lakes down the creek for the coho.

It so disgusting that one species listed with the ESA can trump another. It is also frustrating that opinions and policy on a single species can so greatly affect and displace such a vast amount of other species. I didn’t see any geese, ducks or hardly any wildlife in the dried-up area. Historical facts show that agricultural irrigation provides huge wildlife benefits and now nearly all the agricultural irrigation has been destroyed on that ranch.

CDFW has been quite unresponsive to Siskiyou County. Jennifer Bull, a leading employee of CDFW in Siskiyou Co., was invited by Tim Louie to the Wednesday meeting. She did not show up. I do give credit to Chris Babcock, with TNC, for showing up. He did receive criticism, but he also provided interesting information regarding the current situation.

Michael Kobseff, who is chairman of our Siskiyou Board of Supervisors, is adamant the last two earthen dams should not be removed. Because the county now pays $70,000 a year in taxes on the property (due to the loss of the state-sponsored Williamson Act, which the county took over) Michael said the county must have a say in property management. TNC pays $26,000 in property taxes each year.

It has been more than a decade since CDFW has paid its Payment in Lieu of Taxes to Siskiyou. This will be another loss for Siskiyou’s tax base.

But one of the strangest things regarding the situation is this: Where is the Army Corp of Engineers? If a private property owner wanted to dry-up his wetlands, the federal Army Corp would cite and fine him tens of thousands of dollars. It was looking like the Corp was in agreement with DFW, but Michael and the county has demanded to see the federal permits and I was told CDFW has yet to produce them.

As of Monday morning, CDFW had not destroyed the dams although Tim Louie was told by Jennifer, CDFW would do it last week. Maybe the right people are seeing the light!

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 9-5-17

Sept. 5, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Sometimes, smoke is so thick, it seems like you could cut it with a knife! Ugh! This is bad. Reminds me of the long-siege of inversion-layer during the massive 1987 fires that were started by over 1,400 dry lightning strikes on Aug. 30th  here in the Klamath National Forest.

On Monday morning, (yesterday) Ray Haupt, our county supervisor, reported the newest updates after being briefed at the Etna Incident Command Center. Yes, Sawyers Bar Road is now closed from Etna Summit down past Forks of Salmon along with an Evacuation Order. I believe the Etna High School will be a shelter-in-place for displaced folks. On Sunday night, there were 16 engines on the Salmon River protecting homes – up the hill from Sawyers Bar town.

Unfortunately, the fire is headed south and down into Mill Creek several miles above Etna. Structure assessment on the Etna side of Salmon Mt. is being done. Mill Creek is the first bridge after the snow gate on Sawyers Bar Rd. at the bottom of the mountain.

Ray had some good news: The north end of the Wallow Fire is being slowed as fire fighters are making good progress building fire line from Crystal Creek through to Kidder Creek protecting homes in the Patterson Ck., Kellems and Kidder Creek areas. Yay!

Ray urges folks to pay attention to fire and police officers and evacuation orders. Be sure to move vehicles and other items out of the way, so fire engines and crews can get access to your property to protect your structures and go on through to protect areas around you. He said CalFire has a good tutorial, on the internet, on how to prepare for evacuation. It is called: Ready For Wildfire.org. Because he lives in the path of the Wallow Fire, Ray spent his weekend organizing and preparing his property, including moving his camper and boat to a friend’s place.

“Get prepared,” he said.

Today, Tuesday, the USFS is sending an I.C. leadership to update the entire Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting. Remember that three years ago our county supervisors put a Catastrophic Wildland Fire and Fuels Declaration in place and has been actively advocating for fuels reduction.

Logging would do much less damage to the environment and wildlife than these horrific fires. Government agencies and bureaucrats need to stand against the lawsuits of the Enviros as the forests must be managed and thinned for environmental health as well as health and safety for us humans!

A bit more fire info: The Helena Fire, out of Weaverville, has Highway 299 closed. It’s burned 140 structures with 80 of them homes. So very sad! Ray added that due to so many fires throughout the West, and the huge rescue for Hurricane Harvey victims in the Texas Gulf Coast, every Incident Command Team in the nation is engaged. Wow. Too much water and too much fire!

I realize our terrain couldn’t stand more than an inch or two, but it sure would be nice if the continuing rain from Hurricane Harvey in the Texas Gulf Coast could be shared all over the West as fires are raging from L.A. through Montana. Yea, I know – if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Gardening

I was driving by Tyler Farrington’s place two weeks ago and slowed down to look at his garden. He saw me and invited me to see it. Tyler is using raised beds with plastic tubes curved over them. He had clear plastic sheeting covering them this spring, which gave him a good jump on the season. He showed me the most gorgeous purple tomato! And then purple peppers. His wife likes the color purple, so he is hoping to be able to make a purple salsa!

Tyler gave me beets, carrots and several kinds of peppers. One was long, skinny and red, but wasn’t hot at all. It is called a Jimmy Nardello and would be good for mild salsa, which is what I prefer. He had giant purple egg plant, gorgeous Swiss chard, watermelon, cucumbers other things I am forgetting; and onions hanging on posts drying. Nice garden.

So, I finally got the bug to make salsa this week. First batch was mild and so good, but the second was a bit hot. Jack liked it. I think I put in too many minced garlic cloves! Jack may have picked our last batch of green beans on Sunday, when he also dug red potatoes so I could make a potato salad for a family get-together.

POW

Brandon Criss, Dist. 1 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, spoke at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting last Thursday. He had just learned and then shared with us that the FBI had arrested two people for trying to bribe our Siskiyou Co. Sheriff. Chi Meng Yang, of Montague, and his sister, Gaosheng Laitinen, of Mt. Shasta Vista, were charged for conspiring to commit bribery of a public official, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana.

The complaint said that back in May, Yang met with Sheriff Jon Lopey and offered $1 million to the sheriff in exchange for his assistance with an interstate marijuana distribution business that Yang was organizing. Sheriff Lopey contacted FBI and DEA and subsequent meetings with Yang were audio and video recorded by the FBI.

I know that Sheriff Lopey is dead against the illegal marijuana and drug businesses. Sheriff Lopey, thank you for your integrity! Sure do hope the charges stick!

And remember, when the media claims that Siskiyou Co. is “racist” – let people know that Siskiyou elected the first black sheriff in the State of California. It was Charlie Byrd, in 1986, and he was re-elected three more times. Just gripes me no end, when we are accused of being racist.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 8-29-17

Aug. 29, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

This just in: Talked to Ray Haupt, our Dist. 5 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, yesterday morning before my deadline. He is in direct contact with the fire incident command at least twice a day. Ray said CalFire has now taken a major role and our local Siskiyou CalFire leaders, including Ron Bravo, are in leadership positions. This is great especially since the fire blew over into the Etna Mills drainage Sunday. Understanding our terrain is paramount to hitting the fire at the right places. Salmon River and Klamath River Hot Shots crews are working their butts-off up-high building fire line. Old logging roads have been opened up for access. Ray said they are aggressively hitting the fire as humanly possible.

We have gone from the dog days of summer to the — very thick and smoky — dog days of summer. Ugh. Fire camp is still growing at Horn Lane with 1,400 personnel. Mel Fechter has been sharing his fabulous photos of fire fighting; and Sunday evening he sent out photos of the big Sikorsky Skycrane sucking up over 3,000 gallons of retardant in 45 seconds. He said it was an amazing amount of wind power to withstand.

I do appreciate all those who are working to stop the fires. Thank you!

My comment: Sure do wish we were saving the forest by managing the trees through timber harvest, instead of seeing them burn up – including the wild animals – because they are too thick. An economy based on timber harvest is much more productive and beneficial to forests, wildlife and communities than this devastation from lightning-caused fires turning the green environment black.

Garden

Bummer! I thought a Crimson Red watermelon was ripe. The little long, narrow leaf at the first vine joint was dried-up as was the curly tendril. Usually, my watermelon and cantaloupe don’t get ripe until Sept., but I was hopeful. Nope. It was juicy, but not sweet enough and the flesh was a pale pink.

I gave you a pretty full report on the garden last week, but forgot a few things. The flat head cabbage is growing. Some are 10-inches high, so we will see if they start making a head before the shorter days and cooler nights of September hit. Harvested two red cabbages. One was hit by aphids in July and I sprayed it with the diluted vinegar/soapy water. It looked terrible, but after peeling away a few layers and washing it well – it looks good.

The second crop of corn is setting on ears; the purple morning glories are fabulous on two fences and solar-yellow cosmos are finally blooming with the four o’clocks.

Lawsuit

State of Jefferson supporters were frustrated last week, when a court hearing was canceled – at the last minute or rather the day before, which was after many folks had made motel reservations in Sacramento. The hearing was scheduled for Aug. 25, 2017 at 10 a.m. on the matter of Citizens for Fair Representation v Alex Padilla, the California Secretary of State.

The lawsuit brought by the CFR claims there are not enough elected state legislators in the rural counties compared to the high-density populations in the state. On Thursday, Aug. 24th, a minute order was issued by a court deputy for the District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. It stated: Upon consideration of the parties’ filings relating to the question of whether a three judge court need be convened to resolve defendant’s pending motion to dismiss and plaintiffs’ pending motion to amend, the court has determined that it is premature to request the convening of such a court prior to this court’s threshold determination of jurisdiction and justiciability.

Yep, that is a lot of court talk, but apparently the plaintiffs, who are CFR, want to amend its case and the defendant, which is the State of California, wants the court to dismiss the case altogether. Jefferson spokesman, Mark Baird, has asked supporters to write letters of complaint to Judge Mueller. Court cases are pretty darned frustrating and I don’t think the state or the court will be friendly to this lawsuit.

Bundy

It was a nice surprise last week, when a federal jury acquitted two men involved in the 2014 Bundy ranch stand-off and delivered not-guilty findings on most charges against two others. This was the second trial for Ricky Lovelien, Steven Stewart, Scott Drexler and Eric Parker.

Carol Bundy, the Bundy ranch family matriarch, said: “They’ve been tried twice and found not guilty. We the people are not guilty.”

Those who have watched all three trials — of just a few of the 19 that were arrested because of participation in the April 2014 Bundy ranch stand-off with federal agencies led by BLM or the Malheur Refuge occupation in January 2016, — have been shocked. The federal judges in all three court cases have strictly limited what the defendants’ attorneys can present and prosecutors attorneys have ran roughshod.

Shari Dovale, who has watched the trials and reported on them, said the defendants were not allowed to call witnesses on their own behalf. They were not allowed to talk about why they went to Nevada. They were not allowed to mention the bad acts from the BLM or FBI agents.

In this latest case, the jury deliberated four days after 20 days of testimony and none of the defendants were found guilty of a key conspiracy charge alleging they plotted with the Bundy family.

Because they were allowed so little defense, all four defense attorneys declined to make closing arguments and stood mute. Apparently, the jury realized it was not getting all the information it needed to find guilty verdicts.

POW

Scott Valley Protect Our Water will meet this Thursday, August 31, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 8-22-17

Aug. 22, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Garden musings in the dog days of summer —

The green beans have been producing well. I blanched enough for four pint-sized plastic bags that went into the freezer. We’ve been eating or giving the rest away, but have enough left from last Friday’s picking to blanch several more pints today.

Gotta admit that I don’t use the vegetables that go in the freezer as well as those that I can, so I’ve decided not to freeze as much and try to use them all up each winter. (Famous last words!) You see, last weekend, I tossed quite a few bags of broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, peaches and two gallon bags of bell peppers. Most had some freezer-burn. One bag of peaches dated 2009! I don’t cook much with bell peppers – so why freeze them? There were several bags of black berries and one of strawberries that are still good and can be used for jam or cobbler.

Rhubarb is doing well – both the old plant and the new one. Can’t believe how much the old one has grown. It is huge again – enough for a third cutting. Don’t think I’ve ever gotten a third cutting. Only thing I can think of is that we have poured the water to it.

The potato plants are falling over and more potatoes are skimming the top of the soil. Need to get some mulch on them. Canned my 10th quart of dill pickles and the lemon cucs are in their prime. Four watermelon look close to ready and we are enjoying ripe tomatoes. The basil and parsley have re-grown after harvesting them earlier in the month.

Speaking of herbs, my extra bedroom is full of paper bags and boxes of herbs that have dried and need to be de-stemmed and packaged. I’ve de-stemmed the first batch of mint, but it needs to be packaged. I harvested a second mint batch, which along with lemon balm, oregano, basil and parsley are now dry and need attention. For some reason, I tend to put this part off.

There are lots of cantaloupe, but they won’t get ripe until Sept. Bell peppers are getting big and the onions have dried that I pulled in late July. Looks like I have all the makings for the Green Tomato Sweet Relish as there are lots of green tomatoes. I do like to add ground-up red bell pepper. It gives the green color a kick, but I usually purchase those at our local grocery stores.

Interestingly, the zucchini are not over-producing. Some of the zucchinis will still start to rot at about four inches in length, but more are making it to eight to nine inches and that is when I cut them. Usually, there are several that have been missed by now and are huge. I will definitely be looking for organic non-GMO seeds next year even though it is nice not to be trying to find folks that want zucchini in late August – almost impossible to find them (gotta just leave the zucchini on their car seat or front porch)!

Sure enjoyed Pastor Drew’s column spotlighting sunflowers last week. I hadn’t planted any for years, but did this year. I left three that are growing about 14 inches apart in a circle and have given them extra water. Their big leaves tend to look pretty sad during the hottest heat in the afternoons. We didn’t get the windy thunderstorms that some of you experienced in other areas of Scott Valley, so they are still standing! They certainly would not make it, without support like Drew’s fence, if we had a strong wind as they are amazingly over nine-feet tall.

I am really pleased with my flowers this year, but no matter what I do they just don’t seem to fill-out until August. Finally, the impatiens tripled in size, the amaranthus have put on large maroon heads, the pink anemones are blooming well along with the annual zinnias, glads, cosmos and four o ’clocks. I love the jungle of greens and colors under the pine tree.

Last fall, I decided to expand the perennial side of the wildflower garden. After 16 summers here and the four-year drought, I’ve decided it is prudent to grow plants that don’t mind our not-so-good soil. Coreopsis and cone flowers survived with little water outside the fence in an area that I wanted to expand several years ago — but no longer have the energy for. Using the grubbing hoe, I dug holes last summer, re-dug and added some manure in May and finally transplanted a bunch of coreopsis, tansy and cone flowers. Most have survived. Yay!

I keep saying I will not add more flowers, but the few gladioli that are blooming are so exquisite. Sure would like to prepare the ground for a few more in the wildflower garden and maybe a spot by the red bee balm in the garden, where the soil wouldn’t be difficult to improve.

Jack finished raising the fence around my wildflower garden and the deer have not gotten into either of the gardens. Another yay!

Quick hummingbird story: There are two females out sipping on flowers every morning with one, being dominate, chasing the other. On this morning, Tiger cat was laying on the deck behind the wrought-iron railing flicking the tip of his tail, when one hummer flew over to about three-feet away and floated there in mid-air (at least 10 seconds) teasing him. I told her that wasn’t very smart to do. She ignored me. Luckily, she guessed he couldn’t snag her through those bars. Still …?

POW

The Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 8-15-17

Aug. 15, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Two Early Girl tomato plants, outside of the cold frame, made a liar out of me as they have each produced more than a handful of ripe tomatoes this week. They are fairly small, but tasty. It is so nice to enjoy ripe tomatoes in early August!

The sumpter cucs slowed down and I didn’t make any dill pickles. I blame the previous week of over 100-degree heat. So, when I made a closer check this weekend, I found lots – about 10 pounds worth. I took them to church for giveaways and still came home with six.

Ate our first corn on Friday. Yum!

Ran into Denny Fleck at the fair, who bragged on his Medford tomatoes that have been putting out ripe ones for a few weeks. Medfords used to be quite popular here, but now the variety is hard to find, which is why he saves the seed for planting. They are an early 80-day heirloom variety developed at Oregon State University.

Denny said he had a terrible earwig problem. They were devouring young vegetable plants. He solved it by putting out empty tuna cans with vegetable cooking oil and soy sauce. Earwigs like the soy sauce, but the oil makes their body slippery and they can’t climb out of the can. Yep, they die in there. Now that is tricky.

I appreciate learning about your successes. Sure wish someone would come up with a cure-all for aphids!

It was a nice Siskiyou Golden Fair. Congrats to Lynne Bryan for her Best of Show flower display. We do need to keep entering our agriculture, vegetables, crafts, flowers, cooking, quilts and sewing projects as it gives the fair a local flavor.

Gotta brag a bit and say “thank you!” My grandson, Bryce Bowen, won Grand Champion Market Turkey. The tom weighed 43 pounds. Bryce walked it and practiced showing for weeks before the fair. His trophy was a belt buckle. Oh, he is proud of it and put it on his belt to wear. Thank you to those who decided that a gorgeous belt buckle was a great prize.

It seemed a little odd when he sold his turkey at the Jr. Livestock Auction as his turkey sold the lowest of all the turkeys at $20 a pound. (That is quite a lot for a turkey, don’t get me wrong.) But, when it was noticed that the grand champion sold so low, a good fair supporter decided Bryce should get at least as much as the Reserve Champion Turkey — and added another whopping $20 per pound! What a kind thing to do. Wow! I would like to thank his two buyers and all of the supporters of the many junior market animals. It is appreciated! These are good life lessons for our kids: some are good and some not-so-good just like life.

Etna

A group of concerned citizens, from outside city limits, attended the Etna City Council meeting last week. The council discussed the cannabis ordinance that must be updated by Dec. 31, 2017 or the city will have to abide by the new state cannabis laws. Mayor Erik Ryberg did not start out in a happy mood. Recently, he had been yelled at by Etna residents who think he may be pushing for commercial grows and for dispensaries. He said he is not and was trying to be neutral.

In my opening comment, I offered to send the council members the extensive researched report that the county Planning Dept. did on the subject. The county supervisors voted 5-0 not to allow commercial growing or dispensaries in county areas. I teased the council asking if they had a Planning Dept. They were “it” was their answer. I didn’t want them to have to re-invent the wheel doing research.

Mayor Erik Ryberg permitted a lot of discussion from the audience. No one yelled. Two council members are against commercial grows and dispensaries. One is possibly for it, because of taxes and one I don’t know. But the mayor told the audience commercial grows or dispensaries will probably not be allowed.

The situation, then, comes down to how to meet the state’s new decree that allows six plants to be grown — in a residence or outside? A significant number who spoke said the smell of maturing plants from their neighbors’ properties, even with a tall fence, is over-powering. So the decision for the Etna Council will be if the six plants should be grown indoors or allowed outside.

Representation

Herve Leconte finished up his 510 mile run on Wed. Aug. 9, 2017 in Yreka. He began his trek 12 days earlier down in El Dorado County and ran through 15 counties finishing in Siskiyou, because we were the first county to begin this latest push for the State of Jefferson. Herve’s wife, Julie, drove his pilot car.

I got to talk to Herve several times and found him, and his wife, to be great fun. Oh, did I mention that Herve is 57 years old? Yep. This was to raise awareness and fundraise for the lawsuit Citizens for Fair Representation have brought against the State of California. It claims rural counties do not have enough elected officials to give them fair representation in the state legislature.

Herve ran 35 to 45 miles per day in that terrible heat. It was quite the adventure and many people did stop to ask about his State of Jefferson flag, which he was happy to explain.

Gaines

It was great to see our California Senator Ted Gaines visited Siskiyou County. He met with several county supervisors over the Klamath dams issue, then cattlemen and farmers about difficulties from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife over water rights and permits. Thank you Senator Gaines for listening and helping us.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 8-8-17

August 8, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Garden

Started picking green beans last week and made four more quarts of dill pickles. The two pumpkin plants are spreading out and trying to cover up the new spring-planted rhubarb, so I am pounding in wooden stakes to protect them.

The tomato plant in the cold frame produced a handful of small ripe ones this week, so I think it is two to three weeks ahead of the other tomatoes. All are Early Girl. Several bell peppers are nearly ready to pick.

Aphids are horrible on the broccoli and the heads are not maturing evenly, so I decided to pull up these six plants. Several red cabbages could be harvested and the one that I put the homemade spray on still has aphids, but doesn’t look quite so sad.

More POW

At the July 29th Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting, Louise Gliatto said the threat of Smart Meters is back! She talked with a technician at Pacific Power and he admitted the company plans on replacing the old analog electricity meters on homes in Siskiyou County with new “Radio Frequency Meters”. They are wireless, digital and contain a Radio Frequency Chip that allows them to be read and controlled remotely. Meter readers will lose their jobs.

Home owners with the new RFC have reported their electric bill actually went up or even doubled. Apparently, the electric company will know when you use your appliances and those that are used during peak hours will be charged more. Might need to start doing your wash at midnight and using oil lanterns!

Many folks object to the radio frequency in homes and the monitoring by the electric company. Numerous health issues have been reported from the pulsed RF radiation into the home every 3-6 seconds. Pace makers are affected by the RF, but mostly there are complaints of more headaches, dizziness, nausea, earaches and insomnia after the RFCs are installed.

You can opt out by doing two things: Placing a sign on your electric box that says you do not want the Smart Meter and sending a certified letter to Pacific Power headquarters saying the same thing. There is a law that you don’t have to have it, but you must tell them ahead of time or it will cost you. I’ll share more later.

Ray Haupt, our Dist. 5 Siskiyou Supervisor, said The Nature Conservancy now wants to sell the ranch it purchased several years ago to the CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. TNC claimed it acquired the ranch to show how cattle could be raised without water! – allowing its water right to be left in the Shasta River for the coho salmon. Yep, it didn’t work. Ray said the ranch is now a giant weed patch.

In 2009, TNC purchased the Buske Ranch near Big Springs in Shasta Valley for $14.2 million. In 2011, TNC sold its water right to DFW obtaining $10.3 million from the state. So now, TNC believes their land is only worth about $2 million, which is likely true as the value of the land is greatly reduced without any water rights. Anyway, the county will receive fewer taxes and there will be significant loss of ranch-type revenue and work for locals.

Currently, Ray said California owes Siskiyou Co. over $500,000 for Payment in Lieu of Taxes. This is for the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery, Shasta Fish Hatchery and 1,000s of acres of land that is now in refuge-type or deer management. Unfortunately, I don’t expect Gov. Jerry Brown to turn over a new leaf and pay the rural counties what is owed them. Ugh!

Also, I believe this is a scam that TNC and other conservancy non-profits have perpetuated for several decades. It is definitely changing the idea, availability and viability of “private property” as state and federal governments are certainly ending up with more land that is no longer available to the private sector.

Michael Kobseff, who is chairman of the Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors, and Ray met with Assemblyman Brian Dahle, last month, to explain the problems with conservation easements, TNC and issues with DFW. A local farmer tried to get an emergency permit from DFW to stop erosion during the high-water from Moffett Creek last February. That has been a nightmare as eventually the Regional Manager, Neil Manji, finally gave the go-ahead yet the local game wardens have still been difficult. The farmer followed the “rules” and is still being hindered. So frustrating.

Assemblyman Dahle was also shown the fish barrier that DFW created in the Scott River at the diversion for the Farmer’s Ditch near Callahan. It was pointed out that the fish barrier is in violation of the CA. Endangered Species Act, since it harasses coho salmon that may be trying to swim upstream. A farmer wouldn’t be able to do that! (DFW is not looked upon favorably here in Siskiyou Co.)

Ray also mentioned that he took the CA. Water Quality Control Board member, lawyers and staff to task at the July 11th county supervisors’ meeting. He had received a letter from the Control Board saying he should not attend meetings the state agency holds with the Shasta Nation. Betty Hall, one of the Shasta leaders, asked Ray to attend a meeting where the agency was consulting with the Shasta on removal of the four Klamath dams.

In a quiet, but frank manner, Ray told the control board and staff that he will be at those consultation meetings, if the Shasta invite him, because they are his constituents. Oh, that was fun!

Erin Ryan, staff for Congressman Doug LaMalfa, explained that things are complicated regarding the Heath Care bill. The House Spending bill has money for the border wall and that it was sent to the U.S. Senate.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 8-1-17

Aug. 1. 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Finally, the zucchini are starting to grow more than four-inches long. The plants look good, but I decided to give one plant a shot of Miracle Gro to see if it made a difference. Yep, it did as we just picked a 10-inch zucchini. I am thinking our soil just doesn’t have the oomph it used to and some plants need another shot of fertilizer about the time they are putting on fruit.

I decided to pull the rest of the onions as the tops were falling over and it is one less batch of plants to keep irrigated. The lemon cucumbers are really pumping out and I found enough pickling cucumbers to made two quarts of dill pickles. Luckily, the dill plants were starting to put on heads and I used the new garlic that has been drying.

The second crop of corn really took off. It also got a shot of Miracle Gro. I harvested mint and it is drying in big paper bags. The basil was starting to bloom, so I harvested it as well.

Aphids have attacked the broccoli and one red cabbage. Ugh! The broccoli is weird this year and is trying to make big heads, but they are not maturing evenly. I made a spray of one/sixth vinegar, a squirt of Ivory dish soap and two cups of water and sprayed the aphids. I hope it does the trick. Aphids are yucky!

The sunflowers are over six feet tall and have just started making heads. We should have our second ripe tomato this week. Sure hope this week’s hot temps bring on more red ones. “Ugh” on the heat that is expected this week!

Siskiyou County Supervisors Lisa Nixon, Dist. 4, and Brandon Criss, Dist. 1, attended the Siskiyou Co. Republican Central Committee meeting this month. They were asked to speak about serving on the cannabis ad-hoc committee. I need to correct my statement from last week, the county supervisors voted 5-0 to ban commercial grows in Siskiyou Co. I had claimed it was 4-1, which was wrong.

Lisa said their job, as a committee, was to present all options and the two supervisors were asked to facilitate the meetings. Commercial and medicinal growers served on the committee as well as those who were against any growing.

Both supervisors said they have taken a lot of heat from all sides, including the public-at-large. Brandon clarified that he and other farmers in Butte Valley like raising strawberry plants and that their area is “golden” when it comes to growing the healthiest plants, which are sent all over the world. He did not appreciate the gossip that claimed he was changing from strawberries to grow pot. That is a lie. It was quite an informative discussion.

Now, the Yreka City Council is holding a meeting this Thursday night about their cannabis ordinance – if commercial growing should be banned in the city and if dispensaries should also be banned. That meeting will be held at the Yreka Community Theater at 6:30 p.m. Concerned voters should show up and ask questions. Voice your opinion.

Fire Tax

The Howard Jarvis Tax Association recently announced its huge disappointment in the political “deal” that was struck to extend California’s “cap and trade” law. The state legislature passed AB 398, which will increase our gas taxes in California. The trade-off is that the State Responsibility SRA fire (tax) fee will be suspended. This is the fire tax many of us in rural areas have been paying to Cal-Fire and was touted to be a prevention fee, but we learned that the funds went into Cal-Fire’s general fund.

So, the good news is that the annual fee/tax is going away and Howard Jarvis is continuing its lawsuit against the state and actually hoping for a decision by the end of the year. This would return the monies paid by rural folks, who sent in a protest/redetermination petition. Sure would be nice to get those funds back, but I am not holding my breath.

The bad news is that our gas prices will be increased up to 71 cents per gallon. Don’t know how fast that will happen, but now the state is “taxing” everyone on their so-called carbon footprint.

POW

Dist. 5 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor Ray Haupt said the state approved the county to serve as the manager for the Groundwater Sustainability Act. This is good news, because the county can be flexible in dealing with the groundwater basins and their individual issues compared to the state, which typically does one-size-fits-all approach and regulations.

Ray also attended the Scott River Groundwater Advisory Committee meeting on July 24, 2017. Thomas Harter, Ph.D. was in attendance. He has directed the groundwater study on the Scott River and found scientific facts that disprove Greenie myths. Last year, CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife funded a project that flooded east side fields in early spring with a finding that indeed early flooding does significantly increase flow in the Scott River in the summer.

Unfortunately, this year the DFW did not approve the funding to continue the study.

Felice Pace, a long-time agriculture-antagonist sent a letter to DFW complaining that the study helps farmers. Unfortunately, DFW officials sided with Felice and pulled the funding — using six of the eight bullet-points Felice cited. Well, isn’t that just great. A project that is showing an agriculture practice actually benefits the fish. And the Greenie and state agency shut it down!

Dr. Harter believes the study needs to continue. The committee will be reapplying for funding, so the program can be reinstated next year for 4,000 acres. Now that the county is the GSA manager, it will likely weigh-in as well. Sure do hope DFW sees the light and approves the funding.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 7-25-17

July 25, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

She was sitting on the highest wire of the new deer-fence extension that Jack built. Knowing she might be skittish, I began talking in a soft voice asking how life was treating a hummingbird in our dry area. She had been sipping from the red bee balm flitting from one to another. Now she was checking me out. Instead of wearing my typical turquoise t-shirt, I had chosen a pink-patterned one this morning.

When I finally stopped talking, she took up the chatter. Chirp chirp gurgle gurgle chirp. It was a very long response. When she stopped, I asked more questions: How are your babies doing? Where is your nest? Again, she responded with a pretty long story. We conversed like that for several minutes. Honest, we did! Then she took flight and flew towards me hovering about two feet away and then decided I was not a giant flower. Sure wish I could have understood her. Two days later, we had another, though, shorter visit. Life is sweet in unexpected ways.

Jack picked our first small ripe tomato. It was getting bottom-rot, so he cut off the bottom and divided the top in half. Just enough for us each a nice bite and it was delicious, but too-short lived!

On Friday, I irrigated twice as long as we have been and the plants sure needed it. I spent time making new furrows in the corn and re-hoeing the irrigation-bowls for the cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini and sunflowers. The giant bottom leaves on the cabbage were interfering with their watering, so I broke those off and re-did their irrigation bowls too. While I gave the potatoes extra water, I saw the tops of red ones, so I hand-dug a handful. This week we will have fried-red potatoes. Yum!

One evening, I transplanted the one to two inch-tall flat-head cabbages, pre-soaking the soil really well. They looked good the next morning and should be ok.

Oh, something ate another whole big onion and chewed on another. Maybe it is the possum that started coming at night eating the cat’s left-over food. I make sure there is no food left-over now. Anyway, I decided to pull the onions as most were quite large — got about 30. I left 19 smaller ones in the ground. Had planned to lay them out under the pine tree to dry, like I did the garlic last month, but I figured some would likely get eaten. So I put them in two plastic tubs in the garage up about five-feet high.

PCT

I’ve talked with the nicest folks and foreigners that are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, when they come down to Etna. Last week, I chatted with a man from the Netherlands and this week one from Scotland. Yes, he started at the bottom of California and is pretty much on schedule, but the still-deep snow in the Sierras slowed him down. He figured the snow was 12 to 15 meters high and the tops of trees stuck-up looking like short Christmas trees!

I looked it up and a meter is 3.2 feet. So, even at his lowest estimate, the snow is 36 feet deep. Amazing!

J-H update

Friends of French Creek continue their concern of alleged unpermitted activities at the J-H Guest Ranch. Apparently, the new bigger-top tent also has a new and improved sound system affecting neighbors throughout the day and into the night. Friends said that when J-H is confronted with the fact they are doing unpermitted construction, like the recent new neighboring houses, the leaders claim they are working on a solution – yet they just keep on.

A major concern by those opposed to the proposed expansion of J-H Guests is the very real threat of fire and the campers being trapped. The recent Fay Fire on S. Hwy 3 forced an evacuation notice for French and Miners Creek Roads, including J-H Ranch. Cal-Fire stated the narrow dirt road into J-H on French Creek cannot accommodate fire engines that would be needed to fight fire and opposes any expansion from the 387 guests. J-H has sued the state agency over the issue.

Friends of French Creek also said an Etna business owner was recently harassed for having a “Stop J-H Expansion” sign and was told they would no longer patronize the store if the sign was up. It was taken down. Several other signs have gone missing and a game camera actually caught one thief on video.

The Friends will attend the Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. to update the board of these concerns and more. I am for businesses in our valley, but the expansion of J-H guests from 387 persons does not fit the Scott Valley Zoning Plan, is unsafe for various reasons and adds tremendous traffic and noise for those living on French Creek Road. For more info on the Friends concerns, attend the board meeting.

Water meeting

The Siskiyou Water Users Assoc. will hold its annual meeting on Monday, July 31 at the Guild (was Greenhorn Grange) at 300 Ranch Lane in Yreka. Time is 6 p.m. Board members will be elected and there will be updates on the Klamath dam destruction issue. Bring a dessert to share. President Richard Marshal and board members Rex Cozzalio and Bob Rice addressed the Siskiyou Supervisors at the July 11, 2017 meeting regarding the California Water Quality Control Board and its Water Quality Certification process and bias for Klamath dams removal. More will be discussed at the meeting.

POW

Scott Valley Protect Our Water will meet this Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m. Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt will provide info on a variety of issues.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 7-18-17

July 18, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Yep, I shouldn’t try to predict the weather. I just checked accu weather and NOAA – both show it will cool down a bit this week and heating back up to 97 or so for the weekend; then cooling down again. As long as we get some reprieve from so many hot days in a row that will be great.

Gotta admit that I am jealous. Three different people told me they are eating red tomatoes out of their garden! Ours are about a month off. Ugh! So I asked their secrets and here is what I could get out of them. One uses a small green house of plastic over a raised bed — next to a south-facing solid fence that radiates heat  –to start growing early and no over-head irrigation. Another said to back off on the watering at the right time. And the other puts them in the ground in April with a wall-o-water around them. She trims them back to just a few vines and also cuts off the tops when the vines start to get too tall.

Typically, I do this last suggestion, but had not done it, cuz it was so nice to see the tomato plants finally take off. But, I whacked off the tops to about four feet.

We did eat our first cucumber and the first crop of corn is over five feet tall.

The bright yellow yarrow and blue thistles are blooming together and a coneflower just opened up. The doe got in and ate the purple phlox that were blooming and an amaranth. So far, she hasn’t eaten the Alberta Skillen double tiger lilies that are about to bloom. Sure hope she ignores them.

Supervisors

I went to the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors meeting last week. Long day, but I liked the decisions they made. First the State Water Resources Control Board’s Vice President Steven Moore and staff, including lawyers, gave a presentation on the Water Quality Certification process the state agency must follow in order to remove the Klamath dams. It is the WQCB’s responsibility to address all environmental, economic and other impacts that would result from the destruction of the four Klamath hydro-electric dams. Under the law, the WQCB is also required to consider alternatives to dam removal, which it has not done.

First, Supervisor Chairman Michael Kobseff took the WQCB staff to task asking why the County of Siskiyou was not listed in the presentation as a coordination entity. WQCB staff admitted it was an error. He also said local landowner groups must be included and added the new draft Environmental Impact Report must be updated and include new information.

Supervisor Dist. 1 Brandon Criss asked where the needed number of salmon – currently produced by the Iron Gate Fish Hatchery — and cold water supply will be found if the dams are removed? He said ocean conditions are a major factor related to the returning number of salmon and Siskiyou cannot be blamed for problems occurring in the ocean.

Supervisor Dist. 4 Lisa Nixon said the WQCB must develop alternatives to dam removal and referred to the tremendous environmental mess that will occur if the dams are destroyed.

Supervisor Dist. 5 Ray Haupt wanted to know who will be the ultimate decision maker on dam removal. In previous meetings, including with the Shasta Nation, the WQCB insinuated it was the lead. Ray questioned their authority. He also stated that decisions were being made without the necessary analysis required under National Environmental Policy Act and a NEPA decision has not been published creating what looks like prejudice. At that point, some of the WQCB staff looked a bit uncomfortable.

Under the previous 2012 Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydro-electric Settlement Agreement, a decision had been authorized allowing for the “take” of ESA species, such as the sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake and coho salmon in Klamath River. Ray said that entire analysis is now unusable, because the KBRA is defunct. But, it sounded like those 2012 mitigations were being forwarded into the new WQCB Water Quality Certification, which is not acceptable to the new 2017 document.

Ultimately, WQCB staff admitted NEPA will be completed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will then publish the decision regarding dam removal.

Finally! The tightly-held secretive process is no longer a secret and the county will know who and why to sue, if NEPA is not legally followed.

Marijuana

There was discussion on the county cannabis ad-hoc committee’s report suggesting the possibility of a limited pilot program for Commercial Medical Cannabis Cultivation. A mother and son from the Green Box cannabis group spoke with frustration that Sheriff Jon Lopey’s dept. had raided their 198 plants just 10 days earlier. Supervisor Nixon strongly rebutted the verbal attack. She said in the ad-hoc meetings the Green Box group had held themselves as commercial industry leaders, who followed the law, but were now “openly violating the letter and spirit of the current ordinance.” Oops, guess they couldn’t wait to start a commercial grow.

Discussion quickly moved to the explosion of the Black Market pot industry within the county. Nixon mentioned stats from the State of Colorado showed that even with legal commercial grows, the Black Market industry still skyrocketed.

Sheriff Lopey said there are more than 2,000 illegal grows in the county. He does not have the resources to bust them all. Likewise, Chairman Kobseff said the county does not have the resources or staff to create an entire sub-department dedicated to administering commercial cultivation with permits, fees, fines and enforcement. The supervisors voted 4-1 not to pursue commercial cultivation.

POW

The Scott Valley Protect Our Water will meet Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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