The Sled Dog Relay That Inspired the Iditarod

March 10, 2014

 In 1925, a daring sled dog relay through the savage Alaskan winter delivered life-saving medicine to the remote village of Nome, an event commemorated each March by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Although the furious dash involved 20 drivers and more than 150 dogs, the “Great Race of Mercy” made a superstar out of one particular canine—Balto.

The children of Nome were dying in January 1925. Infected with diphtheria, they wheezed and gasped for air, and every day brought a new case of the lethal respiratory disease. Nome’s lone physician, Dr. Curtis Welch, feared an epidemic that could put the entire village of 1,400 at risk. He ordered a quarantine but knew that only an antitoxin serum could ward off the fast-spreading disease.

The nearest batch of the life-saving medicine, however, rested more than 1,000 miles away in Anchorage. Nome’s ice-choked harbor made sea transport impossible, and open-cockpit airplanes could not fly in Alaska’s subzero temperatures. With the nearest train station nearly 700 miles away in Nenana, canine power offered Nome its best hope for a speedy delivery.

Sled dogs regularly beat Alaska’s snowy trails to deliver mail, and the territory’s governor, Scott C. Bone, recruited the best drivers and dog teams to stage a round-the-clock relay to transport the serum from Nenana to Nome. On the night of January 27, 1925, a train whistle pierced Nenana’s stillness as it arrived with the precious cargo—a 20-pound package of serum wrapped in protective fur. Musher “Wild Bill” Shannon tied the parcel to his sled. As he gave the signal, the paws of Shannon’s nine malamutes pounded the snow-packed trail on the first steps of a 674-mile “Great Race of Mercy” through rugged wilderness, across frozen waterways and over treeless tundra.

Even by Alaskan standards, this winter night packed extra bite, with temperatures plummeting to 60 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Although every second was precious as the number of confirmed cases in Nome mounted, Shannon knew he needed to control his speed. If his dogs ran too fast and breathed too deeply in such frigid conditions, they could frost their lungs and die of exposure. Although Shannon ran next to the sled to raise his own body temperature, he still developed hypothermia and frostbite on the 52-mile leg to Tolovana before handing off the serum to the second dog team.

With moonlight and even the northern lights illuminating the dark Alaskan winter days, the relay raced at an average speed of six miles per hour. While each leg averaged 30 miles, the country’s most famous musher, Norwegian-born Leonhard Seppala, departed Shaktoolik on January 31 on an epic 91-mile leg. Having already rushed 170 miles from Nome to intercept the relay, Seppala decided on a risky shortcut over the frozen Norton Sound in the teeth of a gale that dropped wind chills to 85 degrees below zero. Seppala’s lead dog, 12-year-old Siberian Husky Togo, had logged tens of thousands of miles, but none as important as these. Togo and his 19 fellow dogs struggled for traction on Norton Sound’s glassy skin, and the fierce winds threatened to break apart the ice and send the team adrift to sea. The team made it safely to the coastline only hours before the ice cracked. Gusts continued to batter the team as it hugged the coastline before meeting the next musher, Charlie Olson, who after 25 miles handed off the serum to Gunnar Kaasen for the scheduled second-to-last leg of the relay.

Statue of Balto in New York's Central Park (Credit: Getty Images)Statue of Balto in New York’s Central Park (Credit: Getty Images)

As Kaasen set off into a blizzard, the pelting snow grew so fierce that his squinting eyes could not see any of his team, let alone his trusted lead dog, Balto. On loan from Seppala’s kennel, Balto relied on scent, rather than sight, to lead the 13-dog team over the beaten trail as ice began to crust the long hairs of his brown coat. Suddenly, a massive gust upwards of 80 miles per hour flipped the sled and launched the antidote into a snow bank. Panic coursed through Kaasen’s frostbitten body as he tore off his mitts and rummaged through the snow with his numb hands before locating the serum.

Kaasen arrived in Port Safety in the early morning hours of February 2, but when the next team was not ready to leave, the driver decided to forge on to Nome himself. After covering 53 miles, Balto was the first sign of Nome’s salvation as the sled dogs yipped and yapped down Front Street at 5:30 A.M. to deliver the valuable package to Dr. Welch.

The relay had taken five-and-a-half days, cutting the previous speed record nearly in half. Four dogs died from exposure, giving their lives so that others could live. Three weeks after injecting the residents of Nome, Dr. Crosby lifted the quarantine.

Although more than 150 dogs and 20 drivers participated in the relay, it was the canine that led the final miles that became a media superstar. Within weeks, Balto was inked to a Hollywood contract to star in a 30-minute film, “Balto’s Race to Nome.” After a nine-month vaudeville tour, Balto was present in December 1925 as a bronze statue of his likeness was unveiled in New York’s Central Park.

Seppala and his Siberians also toured the country and even appeared in an advertising campaign for Lucky Strike cigarettes, but the famous driver resented the glory lavished on Balto at the expense of Togo, who had guided the relay’s longest and most arduous stretch. “It was almost more than I could bear when the ‘newspaper dog’ Balto received a statue for his ‘glorious achievements,’” Seppala remarked.

The serum run was Togo’s last long-distance feat. He died in 1929, and his preserved body is on view at the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska. After the limelight faded, Balto lived out his final days at the Cleveland Zoo, and his body is on display at the Cleveland Natural History Museum. Since 1973, the memory of the serum run has lived on in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which is held each March and is run on some of the same trails beaten by Balto, Togo and dozens of other sled dogs in a furious race against time nearly 90 years ago.

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Liz Writes Life 3-14-17

March 14, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

During the last two weeks, I have mentioned that Western Rivers Conservancy is considering purchasing the Timbervest properties on the west and south edges of Scott Valley. I learned from Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, and then Peter Colby, who is the spokesman for the conservancy, that the only properties the conservancy is interested in are at the south end of Scott Valley. They are specifically the Bouvier property located in the South Fork of the Scott River–Cecilville Road area and an eastern piece on Scott Mountain.

I had forgotten that Timbervest is willing to sell parcels of land. Apparently, it isn’t an all-in-one-lump land sale. I believe a few properties have been purchased in the northern end of the valley — not by a conservancy. Ray said that no bidders were successful in the first go-round in the area below Big Meadows. I am sorry for any confusion.


Last week, we decided to pull-up the five onions and found they were bunching onions. These must have grown from seed that I planted last year. They made it through the cold winter without having extra mulch put on them for protection. So that is good to know. Jack decided to dig up the last three feet of carrots. About half of them were in good shape, so he washed them up and brought them in the house. Some were too large and pithy, so he chopped those up with the shovel and left them for mulch.

The daffys are starting to bloom and actually needed a sip of water yesterday, because of our warm weather. I also gave some water to the violets and blue and pink lungwort that is starting to bloom.

Still didn’t get the lettuces or spinach planted. Maybe this week!

Snow survey

The U.S. Forest Service employees conducted the March 1st snowpack survey and found the snow was well above average in the mountains to the south and west of Scott Valley. More good news is that the snowpack is even denser than it was Feb. 1st.

I’ll mention the highest ones: Middle Boulder 3, established in 1948 at the 6,200 foot elevation, saw 84.5 inches of snow with an average of 60 inches making an historic average of 141 percent.

Boasting the highest percentage at 148 of historic average was Scott Mt. at 75.5 inches, where the average is 51.1 inches at the 5,900 foot elevation.

Swampy John, above Etna on Salmon Mt., is holding well at 126 percent of historical average with 89.5 inches over the average of 71 inches.

At the state level, California snow surveyors in the Sierra Nevada say the snowpack is close to setting records. Snow measured extremely high at 185 percent of the historical average. Hum, hopefully Gov. Jerry Brown will declare the five-year drought is over!


Ray Haupt, and Lisa Nixon, Dist. 1 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, recently attended a meeting with a number of other rural county supervisors as part of the Sustainable Forest Action Coalition. The coalition is impressive as it is focusing on social-economic problems (and solutions) caused by the loss of our major rural resource industry – timber harvest. The website is worth checking out:

I know Ray is a huge supporter of active forest management to improve forest health, so I asked Lisa what she thought of the meeting. She said the group is currently assembling data relating to the socio-economic effects of forest management plans and projects; and vigorously advocating the development and implementation of forest management work.

Lisa said the data on forest-dependent communities is staggering. Rural livelihoods that relied on timber harvest were demolished. She also mentioned that recreation and eco-tourism has not even begun to fill the economic void. I agree as I heard this mantra throughout the 1990s and it never materialized. I also agree with Lisa that “humankind is, after all, part of the food chain, and I believe we are at the top. We deserve at least some consideration.” Way to go, Lisa!

Sounds like involvement in this coalition is a really good thing. Thank you Lisa and Ray for advocating for socio-economic justice for rural communities.


Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou Co. Natural Resources Specialist, will be speaking at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting on Thurs., March 23, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m. Elizabeth is up-to-her-neck in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, called SGMA, that was signed into CA. law in 2014. It requires groundwater resources to be managed by local agencies throughout California. The local agencies are to develop and implement Groundwater Sustainability Plans by 2022, but the first deadline for a study plan is June of this year. Yep, Elizabeth is hustling.

She told me there are four groundwater basins in Siskiyou County that are subject to SGMA, the Shasta, Scott and Butte Valley Basins, and the Tule Lake Subbasin. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and Flood Control District have taken active roles to meet the requirements of SGMA and ensure that these four groundwater basins are managed on a local level with input and support from the citizens of Siskiyou County, who depend on this vital resource.

To really get a good understanding of SGMA and how it will affect you, please attend the Protect Our Water meeting. Ray will be there to answer SGMA questions and will also discuss the Scott Valley Plan pertaining to JH Guest Ranch expansion and the Timbervest and (possible) conservancy purchase.


Guess what? Five FBI agents are being investigated for lying and covering-up about the LaVoy Finicum shooting. There were additional bullets fired that were not included in the original reported count. Oops! The saga continues.

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is underway. Check it out at: Alaska Dispatch or Pie N

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou Co. and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 3-7-17

March 7, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Snow covered the blooming purple violas this weekend, several times, and something has eaten, at least one of the primroses. We decided to plant snow peas last week, before this round of storms hit, and I also made a good-sized 4 x 4 foot seedbed for lettuces and spinach. Spinach will take up the bulk of the space as just a quarter of that will grow lots of lettuce for May and June.

Wolf kill

The threat from wolves is getting closer as the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the death of a calf on private property in neighboring Jackson County. On Feb. 25, 2017, ODFW confirmed the attack was from a wolf as the internal organs and entrails were ripped out and bite puncture wounds creating deep tissue damage were found at the armpit of the calf. This is follows the typical attack from a wolf. Plus there were wolf tracks around the dead calf and no other predator animal tracks.

It just breaks my heart to think of our livestock being threatened and killed by yet another predator. There are already enough bears, mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats in California. Actually, back in the late 1990s, game wardens in the CA. Dept. of Fish and Game (it was Game back then) told me they were not pushing for the introduction of wolves into California simply because California had too many predators.

Timbervest property

I thought there would be more info on the Western Rivers Conservancy purchasing the vast amount of Timbervest property on the west to south sides of Scott Valley. I haven’t learned much more, except Peter Colby is continuing to pressure the county and other groups to support its bid. If the conservancy purchases the property, water right holders will need to pay close attention to the possibility of losing some availability of their water allotment.

JH Ranch

The saga does continue for the Friends of French Creek, who will be asking the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors to hold strong in enforcing the current permit that JH Ranch Mountain Resort is operating under. JH Ranch has been trying to expand its operation with a new permit application, which would increase the number of clients they can house at one time. Friends of French Creek believe the current level of 387 clients is taxing the environment and invading neighbors privacy. They have been actively opposing JH’s expansion plans.

Cal Fire also has to approve JH’s expansion permit because of fire and emergency access requirements. In a nutshell, French Creek or Miner Creek Roads are not wide enough for fire engines to pass each other on certain narrow areas of the road; and that would put everyone in the French Creek area in grave jeopardy if there was a forest fire. It would be extremely difficult to safely evacuate 387 occupants at JH, plus the surrounding neighbors. As a result, last year, Cal Fire did not approve the expansion of JH’s permit.

So, it appears JH does not like Cal Fire’s objection and is now suing Cal Fire. Cal Fire has held firm saying JH must abide by the same fire and emergency requirements as everyone else.

At the same time, JH has continued to obtain more housing permits for 15 single family residences, 12 dormitories and nine tents providing beds for 172 employees. Wow! Previously, JH obtained an Employee Housing permit for seven units allowing for seven beds in 2015. So, it looks like JH is dead-set on continuing its expansion no matter what.

Hage saga

Attention ranchers and property rights supporters: The Wayne Hage battle received a blow last week, when a federal judge ordered Wayne N. Hage to pay $587,000 and remove his livestock from federally-managed Nevada lands. Hage was given 30 days to pay penalties, fines and grazing fees racked up from Nov. 2004 to June 2011. His deadline is March 31, 2017.

More than 25 years ago, federal agencies and courts began doing battle against Hage’s father, Wayne Hage, who butted heads with the U.S. Forest Service over his water rights for his Nevada ranch. The original Wayne Hage died in 2006. Soon after, the Hage family finally won his case in court. But that didn’t last. Eventually, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Hage family.

The younger Hage is working on an appeal against this recent decision, where Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, in Las Vegas, ruled the federal grazing permits held by Wayne Hage did not transfer to his estate or to his son — an extremely detrimental decision for ranch owners. The federal judge also banned the Hage family from grazing livestock on any public land administered by USFS or BLM. Hage said he does not have any cattle on public lands.

This does not bode well for ranchers that have water rights or grazing permits on public lands. Sorry for the bad news.


March 2nd, wrapped up the second week of testimony of government witnesses in the first Bundy Ranch stand-off trial being held in Las Vegas. The surprise for me is that the federal agents were told to stand-down on April 11, 2014 – the day before the tension-filled stand-off occurred on April 12, 2014. Three government agents testified they maintained their position, throughout the night, fully anticipating a bloody gunfight the next day.

None of the three officers, on the stand explained, why they were ordered to engage the protestors after being told at least twice to stand down, abandon their efforts to round up private cattle on federal land and leave.

April 12th was the climax where several hundred armed federal agents came face-to-face with over 100 Bundy Ranch armed supporters. This should be good for the defense as the government certainly escalated the situation. Check out Pie N for more.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 2-28-17

Feb. 28, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Two days after I reported, in last week’s column, that the local Timbervest properties were not going to be purchased by a non-profit group, Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor, Ray Haupt, received an email saying the non-profit was indeed going ahead with purchasing the properties – without the support of the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors. Ray told me that Peter Colby, the spokesman for the Western Rivers Conservancy, told him the non-profit would aggressively pursue the properties that range from Fort Jones on the west side of Scott Valley around and into the Callahan area.

Ray was not happy with the news and said Western Rivers Conservancy “is in for a fight” from Siskiyou County as Colby has bluntly told the county supervisors its intention is to take the water rights allotments and shepherd that water down the Scott River just for fish. Under California Water Law, when a water right user does not use his water (usually for irrigation), it can then be utilized by the water right holders below.  Hum, this does not sound very neighborly!

Colby’s is not the first non-profit to challenge state water law in this manner. The Nature Conservancy is doing the same thing in Shasta Valley. It actually gave or sold the water rights, to a ranch it purchased, to CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Yes, DFW is trying to shepherd the water the same way. Guess these non-profits think they can color the water – maybe red – to keep it from being utilized by other water right owners!

But, the saga doesn’t stop there. Earlier last Thursday, Shirley Gilmore called me to tell me that a man called her last fall about the Callahan Water District’s water rights. Callahan residents’ only water source is from East Boulder Creek. The man talking to Shirley said he was representing a group that was planning on buying the Timbervest properties and would then take the water rights away from the Callahan Water District. Talk about threatening!

After communicating with Shirley, Ray said he and Michael Kobseff, who is chairman of the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors Board, were already talking to our county CAO and counsel about the situation.

Stay tuned, I think there will be more on this saga next week!

Native Daughters

A wonderful Tea Party was held by the Native Daughters of the Golden West last Saturday at the Etna High School multi-purpose room. It was filled with beautifully decorated tea sets, scrumptious sandwiches, cookies and 100 smiling women. Three Etna FFA young ladies worked as servers.

The theme for this year’s event was one-room school houses in Scott Valley. Believe it or not, more than a dozen raised their hands when asked who had attended a one-room school house.

Historical pictures, and several ladies, shared stories of attending one-room school houses. Melanie Fowle and Carol Maplesden attended a school house at the south end of the valley — about 15 years apart. Both rode a horse to school and tucked their dresses inside their jeans during the ride or changed at school into the mandatory dress.

Of course, our last operating one-room, turned into a two-room, school was Quartz Valley, which closed just a few years ago.

Mike Adams

Remember, a memorial will be held this Sunday, March 5, 2017 for Mike Adams at the Fort Jones Community Center at 2 p.m. Mike died unexpectedly last October and was serving as president of Scott Valley Protect Our Water and on the Yreka Tea Party Patriots steering committee. Please bring a dessert to share.

Scott Valley Protect Our Water will hold its next meeting on Thur. March 23, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center at 7 p.m. Andrew Hurlimann is now the president.


Early in February we were out of potatoes, so Jack was able to locate where a plant had been. He scraped off the several inches of mulch and dug up six pounds of really big Russet potatoes. Only one had a sorta-soft spot from freezing. About a week later, during one of those really warm days – when it wasn’t raining – he used the push-plow and worked-up half of the garden to discourage weeds.

A week ago, we went out and raked up a bunch of pine needles and I found a whole bunch of my Jessie Hammond daffodils along side of the house. They are about eight-inches tall and will likely be blooming by mid-March. This year, Easter is late on April 16. I hope they will still have flowers. It was so warm that we worked in our t-shirts, but only for that one day. Jack also pruned back the two hardy rose bushes.

The rhubarb is just starting to peek through the soil and Jack dug some carrots last week. They are still pretty good although several were tangled and pithy and got tossed in the compost pile.

Last month, the three-inch tall garlic stems had some yellow on them. I guess from the snow and cold, but now they are about seven-inches tall and green. And I see the red-flowered bee balm that my brother and his wife gave us is coming back.

A spring fling hit me, when I stopped by the feed store — I bought three blooming primroses. Took nearly a week to get them planted and they have already been snowed on twice. That got me in the mood for more flowers, so I grabbed my favorite grubbing hoe and started digging out the bunch grass and weeds under the pine tree. Only about three-quarters got dug up and my good intentions have not mustered enough gumption to get the other six-feet worked up. I must say the soil was perfect for grubbing – not too wet and not too hard. My goal is to plant more four o’clocks, cosmos and transplant coreopsis into that flower bed.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 2-21-17

Feb. 21, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA.

The U.S. Forest Service held its first snow survey on Feb. 1st in the mountains surrounding the Scott Valley. Guess what? Yep, measurements were over 130 percent higher than historic averages. Unfortunately, last week’s warm temps and rain have likely lowered that percentage, but here is a quick rundown of the first 2017 results.

Middle Boulder #1 had 61.5 inches of snow — average of 50 inches. Middle Boulder #3 was at 69 inches — average of 49.2 inches. Both of those stations are over 6,000 feet in elevation. Dynamite Meadow at 5,700 elevation feet measured 47.5 inches — average of 38.3 inches. Swampy John above Etna was 80 inches — average of 57.4 inches (5,500 feet elevation) and Scott Mt. at 5,900 feet elevation was 67.5 inches — average of 41 inches.

Once again, we have witnessed the flooding waters creating Scott Valley Lake near Fort Jones as Kidder Creek and Scott River overflowed their banks. Sure do hope the Oroville dam overflow spillway holds. Flooding is causing problems throughout the rest of the state. It is frustrating that our weather can’t even itself out instead of famine-or-feast in the rain/snow department.

There really should be many more dams and reservoirs catching this rain. Yep, the State of California has really messed up in a variety of ways, including not reinforcing the spillway at Oroville dam with rebar. Ugh!

Tea Party

The Yreka Tea Party will hold its next meeting in Fort Jones at the Community Center on Feb. 28, 2017. Time is 6:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. James Roseman, executive director of the Siskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis Center will speak on “Erin’s Law.” There will be a short video titled: “Ending the Nightmare.” It is about child abuse, specifically exposing and working to end child sexual abuse in the U.S. The statistics are daunting with one in four girls and one in six boys being sexually assaulted before the age of 18. And it is usually by someone they trust in their family, friends, neighbors or coaches. Erin’s Law teaches children how to protect themselves. For more information, call Louise Giatto at 530-842-5443.


A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 5, 2017 for Mike Adams, who passed away last October. It will be held at the Fort Jones Community Center at 2 p.m. Please bring a dessert to share.

When he died, unexpectedly of heart problems, Mike was serving as president of Scott Valley Protect Our Water and was on the steering committee for the Yreka Tea Party Patriots.


Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Supervisor of Dist 5, and Preston Harris, who is project coordinator for Siskiyou RCD, spoke at the last meeting about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act that was passed into law in 2014. Preston said 11 years of local studies show Scott River is not the primary source of the aquifer – it is supplemental. That is good news for agricultural irrigation. He added, “We are a snowmelt driven system. We are not a groundwater dependent system.”

The Scott River Groundwater Advisory Committee measures 35 wells each month as part of its groundwater study. Preston said the aquifer had recharged significantly, even before all this winter snow and rain. He added the work with Dr. Thomas Harter and U.C. Davis is a landowner-driven process and ties-in well with the California’s SGMA.

Ray said the county is on-track to meet the first step demanded by the state’s new groundwater management act, which is in June. The actual management plan must be written by 2020. The state wants to know how much water comes in and how much goes out in the sub-basin.

The next step is to form sub-basin subcommittees of landowners that will participate in developing the plan. This is huge folks. We do not want state agency bureaucrats telling us how we can use our groundwater. This process undertaken by the Siskiyou Co. Natural Resources Dept. will keep groundwater management under local control.

Ray also shared that the CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife spoke to the county supervisors regarding the dreaded 1602 Permit that is needed to move gravel to obtain legal water right allotments. “Vague” describes the presentation. Several farmers asked for clarification on quickness for when emergency permits should be issued. With the high waters this year, excess gravel and debris will be a problem at headgates.

It was suggested for DFW to hold several Town Hall-type of meetings, so they could specifically answer questions from irrigators, which was taken under advisement. We shall see.

The Marijuana Ordinance is back in the news. Because California’s complicated new law was passed in the November election, the county will now need to modify its ordinance to agree with state law. Crazy as it sounds, the county allowed 12 plants to be grown by those who had prescriptions. The new state law reduces that number to just six plants — if you do not have a commercial license. Oh, and the California commercial license is not yet available.

About 25 marijuana growers attended the supervisors’ meeting and complained that they can’t get by with growing just six plants.

Forest sale

Good news! The sale of Timbervest forest properties surrounding Scott Valley from Fort Jones to Callahan did not go through. The non-profit group expected the county supervisors to support the purchase. Ray said the supervisors did not support the non-profit, because it was planning to strip the water rights and give them to California DFW, which would herd that water for fish – away from agriculture.


Biggest news is in regards to BLM Supervisor Daniel P. Love, who is being investigated for deletion of 100s of documents before a congressional investigative committee issued a subpoena, obstruction of a congressional investigation and witness tampering. This should bode well for Bundy defense.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 2-14-17

Feb. 14, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA.

A devastating flood disaster along the Klamath River was avoided last weekend — and it was because Siskiyou Co. Supervisors, officials and employees instantly jumped into high-gear.

Siskiyou Co. Natural Resources Specialist Elizabeth Nielsen quickly relayed a Press Release that she found on the county’s Office of Emergency Services website last Friday morning. It was from the Bureau of Reclamation and stated that BOR had lost a lawsuit and was immediately releasing a gigantic pulse of water into the Klamath River. What?

The pulse was to be released at noon on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 with an increase from the 4,000 cfs to 9,600 cfs over a four day period. This would be on top of an already flooding Klamath River that had closed Hwy 96 above Happy Camp. There was over a foot-and-a-half of water over the highway at Granite Point on Friday morning.

Elizabeth immediately contacted our five county supervisors and CAO, who then started burning up the cell phone lines. Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Supervisor, admitted to me that he was pretty upset. His constituents were in the direct line of this potential disaster. He contacted PacifiCorp to see if they would actually allow the huge water increase on top of a flood stage. He was told it was out of their hands as BOR decrees the flows. Ray’s next phone call was to Erin Ryan, office staff for Congressman Doug LaMalfa. Erin immediately contacted LaMalfa’s Washington D.C. staff, who went to work calling federal officials with the BOR.

Ray told me that Michael Kopseff, Chairman of the Siskiyou Supervisors, first calls were to Assemblyman Brian Dahle and State Senator Ted Gaines offices for help. Terry Barber, Siskiyou Co. CAO, began alerting county departments and started the legal process to shut-down BOR’s pulse flow.

Ray kicked his fire knowledge into gear knowing that fire-type folks are year-round emergency personnel. Tom Mopas, Seiad Valley Fire Chief, provided Ray with on-the-ground info of the raging Klamath River and let him know that high waters were within six-inches of flooding homes on Walker Creek. Ray was able to relay that our congressman and his staff were at a dead run contacting the decision-making BOR officials.

According to the BOR officials in Klamath Falls, the pulse of water had already been released from Upper Klamath Lake. But, Ray believed it could be slowed through the use of the dams between Klamath Falls and Iron Gate dam near Hornbrook. The phone calls continued. Ray talked with his contacts in Cal-Fire. Cal-Trans booted-up even more and CHP officers were part of the emergency alerting process to river residents.

Ray finally received a response from California State Regional BOR Director late in the afternoon. He was told that BOR would not increase the river flow above flood stage with their pulses. Nature also helped out. Rain had stopped, freezing temps slowed the runoff Friday night and sunshine brightened Saturday’s morning. Catastrophic disaster was averted.

Ray said it is “unconscionable” the county was not notified by BOR — through the county CAO’s office. Neither was Humboldt County notified, well other than Ray, who asked the Siskiyou Cal-Fire chief to contact the Humboldt Cal-Fire chief.

Ray has found the lawsuit and read where the judge’s order gave complete discretion of pulse release timing to BOR!

So, who in their right mind would order a doubling of the release of water from the Klamath dams on top of a flood event? Who wouldn’t follow a basic protocol to contact officials in Siskiyou and Humboldt Counties? It is not just unconscionable, it is outrageous!

What is more outrageous is that after writing the above information on Sunday night, I learned of a news article in the Herald and News in Klamath Falls dated Feb. 9, 2017 – one day before Friday. It reported that BOR would be ramping-up the water release on Feb. 10, 2017, because the judge issued the lawsuit order on Feb. 8, 2017. And this was to “take advantage” of the increased flow event of rain-on-snow conditions.

The article also stated: “United States District Judge William H. Orrick ordered Reclamation to implement “winter-spring flushing flows designed to dislodge and flush out polychaete worms that host C. Shasta”. The increased flow event was planned in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes, Klamath Project water users, state and other fisheries experts, and PacifiCorp.”

I would think that at least one person in these groups would be smart enough to suggest the pulse could wait a few weeks, so homes and highways would not be flooded and damaged. This lapse of judgment boggles the mind.

The positive note from this situation is the teamwork and instant hustle of our county governing officials, CAO and county staff. It is truly comforting to know this group of people really does have a high-level of concern for the welfare of its citizens. Thank you to Ray and supervisors, county department heads, fire fighters, law enforcement and all emergency services. Thank you!

For those of you who think I am laying it on a little thick – it wasn’t very many years ago that I didn’t believe there was enough concern or teamwork or hustle or connections to federal and state officials to have stopped this catastrophic disaster. (Doug LaMalfa played a major roll with his influence on BOR.) There has been a good change in much of our county’s governing and attitude and I truly appreciate it.

The Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting was well attended last week. I’ve run out of room to discuss it in this week’s column. Let’s just say the groundwater levels are doing well and the water studies will certainly aid local control of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan. I will share the good news next week.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan, CA. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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3 Questions That Changed My Marriage

by | Feb. 09, 2017

Mormon Life

The following was written by Carrian Cheney, who runs the popular cooking blog and brand “Oh, Sweet Basil” with her husband Cade.

A few years ago, we posted an amazing Reese’s peanut butter marshmallow cookie pie recipe on our blog. In the post, I talked about three questions that changed our marriage. Well, the recipe did awesome (hooray for you all loving that combo as much as us), but the part that totally shocked us was that—in our getting personal—we got gobs of emails about how couples, families. and even singles were adopting these questions into their personal lives and their relationships were being strengthened.

I. Love. That.

Whenever Cade gets home from work, I’ve found myself in the habit of asking, “How was your day?” to which he replies, “Good. How was yours?” or “Pretty good. How about you?” or there’s always, “Meh, kinda long.”

Well, that was a lame-o exchange. Why do we even ask each other just the same ol’ thing? I started to feel like it was a little silly, and then I noticed that my daughter and I do it after school too! Where’s the love? Where’s the real conversation and sharing?!

So, I decided to try an experiment. And then I forgot. Because that’s what happens to moms sometimes. We get a really good idea, generally in the shower because that’s where the best thinking happens, and then we get out and forget it.

But two weeks later I finally remembered and put the idea into action. Within one week, we were having the best week ever and this experiment has totally changed our marriage and family.

I started asking my husband and children three questions every day and it has changed our lives. Remember, these things are going to take time for your family to adjust to, but it will happen!

1. What do you have going on today and how can I help?

My husband and I always talk about the week and what’s coming up and we do this with our kids too, but as the week goes on we forget things or new things come up.

By asking this question daily, we all know exactly what kind of load everyone is carrying and what to expect from everyone. It also gives us more opportunities to serve each other. If the family knows Cade has an important meeting and I have a few recipes to photograph, it’s amazing how quickly they take charge of other things to help out. Plus, we can be mindful of each other. A child may be acting out after school, but when we realize it’s probably because she had that big test and is just worn out, it’s much easier to handle the situation.

2. When did you feel worried, stressed, or scared today?

I clued in pretty quickly in my marriage that my husband is willing to carry the world on his shoulders and not burden anyone, aka ask for help or talk about it. He doesn’t mean to; he’s just always done his own thing and carried his own feelings so that no one has to know they are hurting him or stressing him out.

My daughter, on the other hand, needs to talk things out and be heard. What Cade didn’t realize was that he needed to as well. So when things weren’t going well, I started asking the above question, and it’s interesting how most days involve a moment of stress or worry and that acknowledging it and letting someone else listen really lifts the load. It opens up communication and bonding. Now, we ask every day and we try to be very honest.

3.  When did you feel loved today?

This one can be awkward! I know it totally shouldn’t, but go ahead and ask and the response from your spouse may be a little goofy or passive, “Uh, when you kissed me?” Don’t worry. Keep asking and give it time.

Everyone needs to feel loved, and if they aren’t they need someone to step up and do the job. Here’s the perfect example. Cade was a bit grouchy the other night—kind of snippety with the kids and impatient. I could have snapped back. But instead, when he went upstairs to change, I followed, slipped in front of him while he was picking out a shirt, and asked, looking him in the eyes with my arms around him, “When did you feel loved today?” He immediately said, “Right now. I’ve just been so stressed about such and such and it’s been a long day. ” The rest of the evening was so peaceful, fun, and we all felt a little more love for one another.

Often we can take out underlying issues on others around us, almost always those we love most and wouldn’t want to hurt if we were really thinking through things. Why do we sometimes treat friends better than our spouse? Why do we treat strangers better than our spouse? I believe it’s because we stop asking the real questions and don’t wait to hear the answers.

These three little questions have strengthened our family and marriage. They are so simple but they make a world of a difference. Sometimes, we just need our spouse to see us again.

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Liz Writes Life 2-7-17

Feb. 7, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Find out what’s going on with California’s Sustainability Groundwater Management Act at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting this Thursday night. Siskiyou County is in a major push to make sure local landowners and the county is in control of the issue and not California bureaucrats. Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Siskiyou Supervisor, and Preston Harris, who is with the Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee will share information at this meeting.

Erin Ryan, field rep for Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Richard Marshall, president of Siskiyou Water Users and Mark Baird with State of Jefferson updates will also be there. Time is 7 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center. Please bring a dessert to share. Yes, this is not the regular meeting date, which was canceled on Jan. 26 due to the California Water Control Board’s meeting held Jan. 26th in Yreka. The following meeting will be March 23rd.

Wow, there is so much going on I hardly know where to start. But here goes!

Doug LaMalfa

This is great news — Congressman LaMalfa was appointed chairman of the House committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. This is his first chairmanship and should bode well for the Shasta Tribe here in Siskiyou County.


Finally, the California Cattlemen Assoc. and the California Farm Bureau Federation have brought a lawsuit against the State of California on the ESA-listing of the gray wolf. Pacific Legal Foundation is the lead. The major reason for the lawsuit is the fact that the gray wolf is not native to California. The state regulation for listing species under the California Endangered Species Act states that the animal must be a native to California. These wolves now migrating into California are Canadian gray wolves and are much bigger than the claimed California wolves.

Tea Party

The Yreka Tea Party Patriots have changed their meeting dates to twice a month – the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. The meetings are held at the Covenant Chapel Church, 200 Greenhorn Rd in Yreka. Starting time is 6:30 p.m.

Supreme Court

Not only did U.S. President Donald Trump nominate a strong conservative, Neil Gorsuch, for the open seat in the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump, his two eldest sons, Vice President Mike Pence with his wife, Karen, Reince Priebus – Trump’s chief of staff – Justice Antonin Scalia’s widow, Maureen, and son, Fr. Paul Scalia, took time to pray publically with Gorsuch and his wife, Marie Louise. This is certainly a “wow” moment that should warm the hearts of Christians – our President Trump openly praying for our country! I hope that we will also continue to ask God’s blessing on our USA and its people.


Several reporters for Redoubt News and Freedom Outpost continue to stay on top of the Bundy situation and I will share their info. The picking of a federal jury was expected to begin yesterday, Feb. 6, 2017, for the trial of seven men including Cliven Bundy and four of his adult sons that include Ryan and Ammon Bundy, who were acquitted in last fall’s Oregon Malheur Refuge trial. All the men were denied bail and have been in jail detention.

Through a local source, I learned that a release hearing was held for Ryan Bundy last week. Ryan defended himself, but is being aided by Dan Bailey who is a para-legal and spoke at a Protect Our Water meeting a year or so ago. The judge allowed Ryan to say a prayer at the beginning of the hearing and read from the U.S. Constitution – both have not been allowed in previous hearings or the Oregon Trial. Federal prosecutors pulled a fast one adding 10 legal actions for Ryan to address, but it looks like Ryan may get out of jail this week. Remember, he still has an unaccounted-for bullet in his arm from the government assault on LaVoy Finicum by Oregon State Police, FBI and Federal Marshals.

There is some more good news. It looks like the BLM’s Special Agent In Charge, Daniel P. Love is under scrutiny for misconduct. A scathing report recently released by the Office Of The Inspector General found Love committed ethical violations during the 2015 Burning Man event held in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Love was also in charge of BLM’s situation with the Bundy ranch in April of 2014, where there are significant allegations against him.

During his pre-trial release hearing last week, Ryan Bundy explained that at least 200 federal gunmen were involved in the April 12th protest and that he and many of the Bundy supporters could hear the BLM and other agents laughing and choosing the protestors they wanted to kill, including horses and dogs. These federal gunmen were under the command of BLM agent Love.

Something that I didn’t realize is that the Clark County sheriff had negotiated a stand-down where the federal agents were to release Bundy’s cows and abandon the cattle roundup. But, the federal BLM agent gunmen didn’t follow through.

Then you just gotta appreciate former Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who participated at the Bundy Ranch April 2014 stand-off. Fiore’s opinion of Agent Love is pretty low, stating: “This guy actually disobeyed the direct order of our State Attorney General and beat people up and arrested them when he had no authority to do so. … I’m telling you all right now, Daniel P. Love disrespected the authority of our Nevada State Attorney General and Local Law Enforcement, and almost caused a terrible tragedy.  There was no damn conspiracy – We all went down into that wash to set cattle free because the Sheriff said the “operation” had ceased and the BLM was leaving – We were almost killed by that raging lunatic;  It’s just that simple.”

I certainly hope Michele gets called to the witness stand!

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 1-31-17

Jan. 31, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

The State Water Resources Control Board meeting was well attended. Nearly 200 people showed up at the Miner’s Inn last Thursday night. Thank you to the many local folks who did indeed give comment on the clean water aspect of the Environmental Impact Report needed for the application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to relicense four hydro-electric Klamath dams from PacifiCorp to the new non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation. A super majority of the comments were heartfelt and truthful statements about the devestation that will occur to water quality and the environment from the huge amount of sediment that will pollute and impact the Klamath River if the dams are removed.

Right out the chute, the Shasta Tribe gave the Water Board an ultimatum invoking the state’s statutory obligation to address their concerns regarding any California Environmental Quality Act process – of which the relicensing of the dams will need. The Shasta Tribe was recognized by the Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors, last November, as the correct Native American Tribe indigenous to most of the Siskiyou County area including the Klamath River.

Michael Kobseff, chairman of the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors’ Board, read a four-page document citing significant violations by the Water Board, including the fact the state board staff did not contact the county about the new date of this meeting after the first meeting was canceled earlier in January. Oops, I wonder why the state agency would do that?

Also Michael brought up the procedural problems regarding the state using a bogus tax roll that was created for the economic analysis and ultimately claimed the removal of the dams wouldn’t economically affect the county. What a dastardly deed by the state!

Ray Haupt, our Dist. 5 Siskiyou Supervisor, challenged the Water Board staff claiming it is in violation of a Supreme Court Ruling, which identified the Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA as the agency of jurisdiction over the Clean Water Act on navigatable waters that affect two states. Oops, the state may be out of its jurisdiction?

Ray told me he was impressed so many people were well-prepared in their comments citing specific issues. He said it is important to get the specific issues of concern into the “record”; as that will make the agency have to address them in its resulting document. If the issues raised are not fully addressed — that is when a lawsuit is worth the time and effort.


Because it canceled its meeting in January, Scott Valley Protect Our Water will hold its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 at the Fort Jones Community Center at 7 p.m. Water will be a main discussion item as Supervisor Haupt will be there to explain about the FERC relicensing of the four Klamath hydro-electric dams issue.

Also, Preston Harris will talk about the Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee, levels of groundwater in 2016 and becoming complaint with the California Stainable Groundwater Management Act. Ray will explain the situation at the county level.

Erin Ryan, field rep for Congressman Doug LaMalfa, will also be in attendance. She told me some good news. Our congressman met with Ryan Zinke, a congressman from Montana, who has been tapped by President Donald Trump for Secretary of the Interior. He has yet to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, but the good news is that Zinke said, “We don’t tear down dams, we build dams.” That is a huge change from the previous destroy-the-environment attitudes of Sally Jewell and many Interior bureaucrats.

Erin will likely have more great info from Congressman LaMalfa, so get your New Year started right by attending the Feb. 9, 2017 meeting.


The meeting with LaVoy Finicum that never happened went off without a hitch in John Day Oregon Saturday night. Shari Dovale reported, on Redoubt, about 900 patriots from throughout the West showed up to the Grant Co. Fairgrounds. LaVoy, a rancher from Nevada, was shot and killed in an ambush roadblock by FBI and Federal Marshals on Jan. 26, 2016, when he was driving to a meeting in Grant Co. Oregon.

During the Jan. 28, 2017 meeting, LaVoy’s wife, Jeanette, attended to discuss the wrongful death civil lawsuit the family is putting forward. Several of LaVoy’s grown children, grandchildren, his parents and siblings were also in attendance.

Kate Dalley, a radio personality, spoke on Truth in Media. This topic was appropriate as the Bundy and LaVoy situations have literally been blackballed from national news. Last January, I heard Lou Dobbs on Fox News strongly question the federal agencies on the LaVoy and Bundy situation. He commented on two days and then the following week there was nothing. I believe Lou was told to hush it up.

I was surprised to learn that Malheur Refuge defendants Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, Kenneth Medenbach and Neil Wampler were present sharing information and asking for prayers for the next round of defendants preparing for trial in Nevada. I thought they had remained in custody even though they were found non-guilty in the Oregon trial, this past fall, along with Ryan and Ammon Bundy, who continue to be incarcerated — now in Nevada.

 The Keynote speaker was KrisAnn Hall, a Constitutional Attorney and teacher. She spoke here in Siskiyou County several years ago.

One fundraiser held during the evening tugged at my heartstrings. It is to raise money for 7th and 8th grade students from John Day to travel to Washington D.C. and present President Donald Trump with a letter requesting the pardon of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. I sure hope this occurs. What a great way to bring attention to the travesty dealt the Hammonds, especially when they had already served an outrageous original sentence.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Liz Writes Life 1-24-17

Jan. 24, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA


The meeting for the Scott Valley Protect Our Water this Thursday has been canceled. Instead, POW leaders are encouraging supporters to attend the State Water Board meeting on the Environmental Impact Report on the Klamath dams that will be held Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center. Time is 5 to 7 p.m. The meeting is specifically for public comment on the clean water aspect of relicensing the Klamath hydro-dams, so please attend the meeting and share your comments.


Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 is also the first anniversary of the death of LaVoy Finicum, when the FBI, U.S. Marshals and other police officers set up a roadblock and put snipers in the trees on the highway in Eastern Oregon, where LaVoy was shot and killed.

LaVoy’s wife, Jeanette Finicum, is holding a meeting in John Day, Oregon called –the meeting with LaVoy Finicum that never happened. Last week, I said I would try to find a phone number to call to buy your $15 ticket, but I haven’t been successful. The only way I can find to purchase tickets is to Google the title of the meeting on the web and it comes up on and you order them through Eventbrite.

Bundy trial

In trying to find info on the upcoming trial of the five Bundy men and 14 supporters, who are sitting in a federal jail facility, I couldn’t find a start date. It had been set for this month, but hasn’t happened. I did learn that the Review Journal newspaper in Las Vegas, just asked a federal appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that is blocking public access to evidence.

The Review Journal contends it is effectively locked out of reporting on the case. Lawyers for the Review Journal said the public’s right to inspect certain criminal court records is protected by the First Amendment.

The federal government and courts continue to be stinkers as Ammon Bundy’s attorney had a frustrating day in court this month. Marcus Mumford was one of Ammon’s defense lawyers in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Oregon trial that prevailed in favor of the Bundys. Ammon, his brother Ryan, and five others were found not guilty by the jury last Oct. 27, 2016.

Mumford demanded the release of Ammon and was then met with physical force by deputy U.S. marshals. He was tackled to the floor by at least six deputies, stunned with a Taser and handcuffed. Three misdemeanor charges have been brought against Mumford. This was an unprecedented move by deputies to restrain and stop a trial lawyer from defending his client.

Mumford’s attorney is vigorously challenging the misdemeanor charges and has filed a motion requesting the personnel files of all the marshals involved in the incident. The next hearing on the case is set for Feb. 15, 2017.

Lead ammo

Just before leaving office, Obama ordered a new ammunition ban for certain federal lands. The ban eliminates the use of lead-based ammo in national parks, wildlife refuges and any other lands managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. I guess this does not include USFS lands.

Gun rights groups are outraged as the ban will have major impacts on hunting. California has also banned lead ammo. I don’t know if it will do any good, but the National Shooting Sports Foundation immediately called for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s new director to rescind the order.

I also don’t know what the consequences of being caught with lead ammo will be. Surely, the federal bureaucracy knows that hunters’ closets are full of lead ammo. Hum, I wonder if we can still target practice with it as part of the claimed reasoning behind the lead ban is to protect the environment. Oh, doesn’t lead come from the environment?

Also on the eve of his departure, Obama also had the 3-way light bulb banned by the Energy Dept. Gee whiz!


Up to a few weeks ago, California state agencies were still not willing to admit the drought had ended. In my way of thinking, the bureaucrats did not want to give up any power over water that they had obtained through the drought. Anyway, major newspapers are finally using the word “flooding” in their headlines and most everyone has to admit the drought is over.

Reservoirs are filling up and levees in the Sacramento Delta are stressed. This month can now claim fourth in the highest amount of rainfall in the Sacramento area.

Snowfall has been significant. The Boreal Mountain Ski Resort in the Sierras is reporting nearly 20 feet. Here in Siskiyou Co., I think our Mt. Shasta City residents are feeling pretty trapped by the white stuff. It sounds like there is four feet or more that has fallen in the city.


This winter, we have certainly had our fill of the passing-on of family and neighbors. It is certainly sad to see our loved ones go. I didn’t want to leave anyone out and had not planned on mentioning names, but a prime example is the recent death of George Thackeray. He was a good man, who served Siskiyou County as our Dist. 5 Supervisor in the 1980s and 1990s. His goal was to serve the people. One example that I recall was when the State of California mandated the closing of the garbage dumps and to do environmental analysis on future sites. George was extremely frustrated the state gave a mandate with no funding for the county to do the state’s bidding. It was a change most of us didn’t like – we liked our open dumps. Great treasures were sometimes found there! Now, continued mandates by state agencies are the normal – without funding to do the job! George, and others like him, will be missed.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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