Liz Writes Life 4-25-17

April 25, 2017

Liz Writes Life

A fundraiser will be held at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center on May 5th for Jeanette Finicum, who is the wife of rancher LaVoy Finicum, who was killed by FBI and Oregon State Police on Jan. 26, 2016 in Eastern Oregon. Jeanette and her daughter, Thara Tenny, will speak and answer questions on the situations surrounding LaVoy’s death. The Finicum family is raising funds to support a civil action lawsuit against the federal government for wrongful death of LaVoy.

Dave Tyler is cooking his famous baby back ribs for the Cowboy Barbecue that will include chili beans, coleslaw, potato salad and corn muffins. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a no-host bar. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 each. Call Grace Leeman at 530-598-1908 to get your tickets.

There will be a dessert auction, door prizes, raffle and other auction items. One  great live auction item is from Mark Johnson, of Scott Valley. He is donating an airplane ride for up to three people and will fly them on a scenic tour of Siskiyou County in his Cesna. What at treat that would be! Another donation is by Susan and Richard Marshall. It is a “bug-out-bag” full of the same type of items that LaVoy kept in his bug-out-bag.

For those who believe we need to take a stand against tyranny, this is a chance to support court action to rectify the situation.

I believe the BLM, Bureau of Land Management, was stills smarting from the stand-off by the Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada in April 2014. LaVoy was one of the many cowboys that showed up to stop the killing and confiscation of Cliven Bundy’s cattle and destruction of legal water right infrastructure that provided life-giving water to livestock and wildlife in that desert area.

After being killed by snipers and law enforcement officers at the roadblock in Eastern Oregon during the 2016 Malheur Refuge stand-off, federal agents obtained warrants for the arrests of more than 20 individuals that stood against the feds back in 2014. Trials are underway. The first one, which was held last fall in Portland, OR, found the seven acquitted of their crimes. But, those non-guilty folks were not released from custody and were transported to Nevada to stand trial in Las Vegas.

The first tier of three more trials is now under jury deliberation. Several brave journalists have attended the trials and report extensively on them. The overriding theme is that the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, are not being followed by the judges in any of the trials.

Daniel P. Love, the lead BLM agent that did not stand down, when his superiors directed in the 2014 Bunkerville siege, was not permitted to participate in the trial – by order of the judge. The defense needed to show the many relevant issues involving agent Love like the recorded conversation where he stated none of Bundy’s cattle were being mistreated. Big lie! Defense also claims that Love supervised BLM’s destruction of water lines and water troughs that were legally part of Cliven Bundy’s water right.

Well, you get the picture of the dire situation. Please attend and support the Finicum family and property owners. I hope to see you there!

Sheriff Lopey

Siskiyou County made national headlines last week with the capture of the Tennessee school teacher, who allegedly abducted his 15 year-old female student in March. Yep, who could have thought they would end up in Cecilville, after trying to get into the Black Bear commune?

I want to give a big “thank you” to Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey and his many officers for their professional handling of the situation and bringing it to a safe and calm close. The planning had to be accomplished extremely quickly – literally over night. Looks like their dutiful training served them well. Great job!

Garden

Jack put up wire fencing for peas to climb, this week, and then decided to dig the potatoes. Some needed to be thrown away, but we ended up with about 10 pounds of firm ones. And we used the potatoes with the sprouts growing to plant eight hills. I also planted two kinds of lettuce.

Then, he decided to build a six-foot-long cold frame. Yep, it is almost too warm during the day, so I have been propping the lid up each morning and putting it down late in the day. I planted an Early Girl tomato along with several cucumber and basil seeds. It is a great protection against the light frosts we have had. The tomato plant is very happy.

This year, I decided to purchase red cabbage to grow for summer eating. Also got some broccoli plants and a hardy-looking snapdragon caught my eye. It is not blooming, which is what I prefer.

POW meeting

Several water issues will be on the agenda this week at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting April 27th. Ray Haupt has recently met with both the Regional Water Quality Control Board staff and employees of the CA. Fish and Wildlife. Last week, he spoke at a forestry-type of conference in Washington state, so he will have lots to tell us. I believe our county supervisors are trying to get the CA. Fish and Wildlife to streamline their 1600 permits.

Also, the Klamath Tribe has already “called” for control of all of its water right in the Upper Klamath region, which is a really bad deal. First there is plenty of water this year — so there is plenty of water for the fish — and second it will stop the irrigation ability of ranchers throughout the area. Looks like there will be another lawsuit fired-up.

The POW meeting will be at the Fort Jones Community Center this Thursday at 7 p.m. Please bring a dessert to share as we eat before, during and after.

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 4-18-17

April 18, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Garden

The peas are three-inches tall. This is the best germination we have had. Usually we have to replant them. This year, they are actually too close and need to be thinned. Something did chew on three of them eating off the leaves. Hum, don’t know what.

The spinach came up pretty good, but the lettuces didn’t do so well. Need to replant them. I finally decided to plant the onion starts that I purchased over a week ago. There were 90 to 100 of them, so we will need to remember to eat green onions next month to thin them down a bit.

There are a few potato hills still in the ground. We better get them out and use a few to plant as seed potatoes. The garlic is a foot-tall and the three groups of bunching onions are just as high and bunching.

Several folks reported their asparagus is doing well. Ours is way behind and is barely poking up. None are peeking up on the older group. And the rhubarb – last year at this time, I had harvested a big batch. It does look healthy and some stalks are thick, but it is only about 18-inches tall. So, I will give it a few more weeks. The Fowler lilac is budding-up. Sure do hope the couple of frosts that we had didn’t take them out. A few friends are worried they lost their apricot and other fruit crops. Siskiyou spring is always a wait-and-see?

Water

We are now into irrigation season. Most decrees state April 1st is the starting date for obtaining legal water rights, but some are for April 15th. Some decrees also allow for year-round use of water rights for domestic and or stock water. Believe it or not, there are fields where the ditch conveying water is the only available water for livestock, so those water rights are important.

Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Supervisor Dist. 5, learned that the CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (previously called DFG) began flying the Scott River last week. It was mentioned they may be looking for flood and high-water damage along with checking out diversions, but who knows. Ray said the county asked if Elizabeth Nielsen, the Natural Resource Specialist, could fly along with them and the request was denied. Oh! Why?

In the past there have been some not-so-nice situations as the CA. DFW has flown below the 500-foot level violating airspace laws and spooking livestock — sometimes looking like harassment. So Ray wants to know if any planes or helicopters are violating the 500-foot airspace regulation or intimidating livestock. Try to obtain a tail number. Ray’s phone number is 530-925-0444.

Land sales

It’s a done deal. Timbervest sold two pieces of property in the south-end of Scott Valley. They were purchased by Western Rivers Conservation group. Spokesman for the group, Peter Colby, told me that escrow closed on April 3, 2017. The group obtained a three-year loan to purchase the properties and Peter said they are actively looking for someone or group to sell the properties to. Now that is interesting – a conservancy flipping land for profit?

One of the properties is the Bouvier ranch located off the Cecilville Road outside of Callahan. The ranch includes 1,600 acres of timber and cattle grazing pasture that is irrigated through water right allotments. There is a domestic and livestock water right for year-round use on the lower ditch.

Peter said he has contacted the Scott River Water Trust asking if it is interested in purchasing the ranch. There is talk of stopping the use of the water right allotments on July 15th. I told Peter that wouldn’t work, because the rancher who has been leasing the grazing area will need to irrigate through the heat of July and August to keep the pasture growing for his cattle. But, apparently the conservancy believes fish will need the water in Scott River. It is likely to turn into a heated discussion, although Peter told me the conservancy wants to find a “good balance” for water use. Because of the high snow pack in the mountains, surface water should be plentiful this year. Yet, already “they” are trying to curtail agriculture use. Frustrating.

The other piece of property is 640 acres (square section) and was Timbervest’s most eastern track on Scott Mt. It is filled with timber and goes up to the Trinity Divide. Peter said the conservancy hopes to sell this to a timber company.

I asked Peter about the Callahan Water District and their water right from East Boulder Creek that does cross the Bouvier ranch property. He said they have no desire to interfere with the district’s water right. Good news.

The other group Peter has talked to about purchasing the Bouvier ranch property is the Siskiyou Land Trust, which is based in Mount Shasta. Several land owners in Scott Valley are working with the Siskiyou Land Trust and have put land into its conservancy. This is another divisive topic. Ray Haupt was recently interviewed on the topic of Conservation Easements by Daniel Webster. That 13-minute youtube can be found on my Liz Bowen.com site.

But we are not done yet!

Ray told me that two blocks of Timbervest are now in escrow and may be purchased by the Eco Trust Forest Management group. This track of land starts at Wildcat Creek and takes in the forested lands north to Etna and Quartz Valley under Big Meadows. Ray actually met with a spokesman of the purchasers last week and explained the need for good neighborly relations regarding range grazing allotments and actively managing the trees. This group may also be looking into resale or doing Conservation Easements.

POW

Learn more at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting April 27th at the Fort Jones Community Center. Time is 7 p.m.

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

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Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Siskiyou Co. Supervisor, explains problems with Conservation Easements

Daniel Webster, with Facebook Scott Valley News, interviewed Ray Haupt on the Conservation Easements and the problems of incumberance to property into the future and loss of tax base to support the county tax base.

Great info!!!

Worth the watch!

 https://www.facebook.com/ScottValleyNews/videos/861717600627066/

 

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Liz Writes Life 4-11-17

April 11, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Etna Rodeo

The Scott Valley Pleasure Park Rodeo will be held on Sunday, May 7, 2017. From my research into the history of the rodeo, (I served on and off the rodeo board for 25 years) several rodeos had been held previously to the one on Sunday, May 4, 1947. But, for some reason, using the first Sunday in May as the annual date stuck. It was in 1948 that a handful of men and one woman decided to form the Pleasure Park Association and actually went so far as to obtain a 501 c 7 non-profit status with the state.

Ranchers had been playing horse polo since the early-1930s in Scott Valley and in 1945 George Dillman, his son Hearst Dillman, and local druggist Gleason Balfrey purchased 12 acres from Kenneth Depew down by Etna Creek to flatten-out for polo games. It was rocky and sandy from previous floods. At times, temporary bucking chutes had been built to buck out horses – just for fun.

In 1947, three local teens asked the polo players if they could put on a rodeo. Jim Johnson, Jasper Landi and Tom Webster were those enthusiastic teens. Several sturdy bucking chutes were made and gossip flew. Local folks decided to show up and watch the teens try their hand at bucking-out horses between polo matches. The rodeo events were quick-paced compared to the polo games and, through popular opinion, it was decided to hold another rodeo the next year.

The board of directors listed on the 1948 Articles of Incorporation were: W.D. “Pinky” Mathews, Fred P. Browne, Ruth Gepford, George R. Dillman, Roy Mason, Robert A. Dillman and Frank Bryan – all of Etna. Records point to George Dillman as the president, who was quoted by the weekly “Western Sentinel” newspaper for all residents to enjoy using the Pleasure Park grounds.

An arena was built inside the huge polo field, which was still huge and horse races were run between rodeo events on the resulting track. In the early days, folks drove their cars and parked around the arena to watch. Jerry Reynolds remembers helping his grandfather build huge rough-cut lumber grandstands. The lumber certainly created a lot of splinters as it usually took my mom hours – it seemed like – to remove them from my hands, arms and legs after playing at the rodeo grounds, when I was a kid.

Those grandstands, corrals and fences were destroyed during the 1964 flood. After deliberation, the directors in 1965 decided to hold a “benefit” rodeo at the Yreka Fairgrounds. Gene Selby was the president. The next year’s board decided to take the plunge and purchase land from Jess McNames and rebuild the rodeo grounds. I recall practicing with our horse drill team in spring of 1966, while people from our community worked on building the present arena and grandstands. Loggers with big equipment helped out the ranchers and friends with the huge job.

Over the past 70 years, many folks have worked and donated their talents to making the Pleasure Park Rodeos and activities successful. What a great family tradition it has become — for all walks of life.

Entries

Secretary Jaclyn Boyce will be taking rodeo event entries from contestants on April 14 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call her at 530-340-5527. To get your kids in the Calf Riding and Mutton Bustin’, you need to call on those dates as well.

This is truly a rodeo-weekend, as the California High School Rodeo Association District #1 Finals will be held on Friday and Saturday, May 5-6 at the Pleasure Park grounds.

Rain and snow

I see where Gov. Jerry Brown has declared the “drought” is over, but is still keeping water restrictions and conservation measures in place. It was sure convenient for state agencies to take control of water use, but one-size-fits-all was the not the realistic way to deal with the drought throughout the state.

The Sierra Nevada Mts. have certainly taken on historic amounts of snow, which provide municipal and agricultural water for most of the state. As of last Saturday, the Dept. of Water Resources reported the year-to-date average sits at 205 percent above normal for the water year. Yea!

Locally, the Klamath National Forest April 1 snow surveys showed an above average snow pack in the south and west mountains bordering Scott Valley. Scott Mt. reported the highest percentage with 121 percent of average snow. Middle Boulder 3 near Mt. Bolivar at 6,200 feet elevation boasted 110 percent with 63.7 inches and Swampy John above on Salmon Mt. at 5,500 feet elevation was at 100 percent of its 66 year average of surveys.

GSA

I was not able to attend the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors meeting last week, but was happy to learn the supervisors approved the agenda item to send in an application to become a Groundwater Sustainability Agency, instead of the State of California mandating our Siskiyou groundwater.

Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Supervisor, told me that he explained to the packed room of concerned constituents that he actually didn’t like going down this path. He wants property owners to have control over their groundwater. But with the state threatening to take control of groundwater basins and his constituents asking for protection from the state, he voted for the Siskiyou Co. Flood Control and Conservation District to take the lead in working with the four subbasin groups in the county.

Finicum

Tickets are still available for the Jeanette Finicum dinner fundraiser on Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center in Yreka. Jeanette will be speaking and the funds will go to help her bring a civil lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband, Lavoy, when he was killed by FBI agents in Eastern Oregon on Jan. 26, 2016. Tickets are $25. Call Grace Leeman at 530-598-1908.

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 4-4-17

April 4, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News

Senate Bill 54 is causing a stir throughout the state. On March 29, 2017, it received its third amendment vote in the state senate committee and is headed to the senate floor for a vote. To become law, it will need to also pass the assembly and then signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Proponents want the bill to pass, which will make California a “sanctuary” state creating a showdown that will be in direct opposition to federal and state law.

Basically, existing California law says that when arresting someone who may not be a citizen of the United States, the arresting agency shall notify the appropriate agency of the United States to take charge of any deportation matters. SB 54 will repeal this and create a lack of communication among law enforcement agencies.

Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey told me the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors were “courageous” on Feb. 21, 2017, when they voted 4-1 to uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions and continue to comply with federal immigration laws. In other words, our county supervisors did not designate Siskiyou a “sanctuary” jurisdiction.

Sheriff Jon agrees. He said he has taken an oath to uphold both the U.S. and California Constitutions and is worried how county law enforcement will be able to interact with federal agencies regarding arrests of illegal aliens if SB 54 becomes law.

“When we encounter illegal aliens we are to assess that crime and we need to have that discretion – often times there are gray areas like drug trafficking or burglars or thieves that may not be considered violent, but we should be free to cooperate with federal authorities and enforce the law,” Sheriff Jon said. He is not happy that state legislators are interfering and affecting the abilities of county sheriffs.

“Currently, we have to enforce the federal, state and local laws and a sheriff should be free to make those decisions as they are public health and safety issues. We need to do the right thing and protect our citizens,” he explained.

The California State Sheriffs’ Association is also frustrated and voted to oppose SB 54. Just last week, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell voiced specific opposition, because it would limit involvement by law enforcement agencies in any federal immigration enforcement action. This creates a real problem when the county jails are housing inmates, who might be subject to deportation, according to Sheriff McDonnell.

The problem isn’t only in California as recently, Sheriff Jon attended a Western State Sheriffs’ Association meeting, where a high-priority on-going discussion is figuring out how to effectively deal with criminal illegal aliens.

And, it isn’t just sheriffs who are raising an alarm.

Last week, a group of elected officials and mayors in San Diego County announced they will organize opposition to SB 54.

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells called a press conference on March 29, 2017 and announced a new group called “Mayors for Safe Cities.” He explained that SB 54 will not prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing deportation raids, but that ICE would not have the help of local or state police. ICE agents will also be banned from entering county jails to interview inmates suspected of living in the U.S. illegally. Mayor Wells added that this will likely allow more violent illegal felons back onto the streets than protect non-violent and innocent immigrants.

State Senator Kevin De Leon authored SB 54 and represents Senate District 24, which encompasses downtown and East Los Angeles. De Leon wields power as the State Senate leader Pro Tem. SB 54 will most likely pass the senate and the question is: Will the assembly be willing to stop the bill?

Sediment

One of the biggest complaints by our county, the Siskiyou Water Users Assoc., other groups and individuals — regarding the proposed removal of the four hydro-electric Klamath dams — is the tremendous amount of sediment that will be released from behind the dams. The millions of cubic feet of sediment will affect water quality, kill fish and salmon runs and do incredible damage to the environment.

For verification of these accusations, we only need to look north to the state of Washington where two large dams were removed in 2012 and 2014 – the Elwha dam that was only five miles up the Elwha River and the Glines Canyon Dam that was 13 miles up the Elwha River. The Dept. of Interior is the lead agency, but it is the National Park Service that is being unresponsive to resulting affects by excess sediment.

The city of Port Angeles with a harbor on the Strait of Juan de Fuca is having problems with its water intake and treatment facility from too much sediment that is still flowing from the removal of both dams.

An article published in the Peninsula Daily News, last week, explains the city council has tried to obtain information about the contract with a Freedom of Information Act and during the past nine months, the Park Service has not responded. So Port Angeles is now threatening a lawsuit.

The Park Service pledged to maintain the amount and quality of water available to the city and its residents through the city’s municipal and industrial water rights under the 1992 Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act and again in the contract for dam removals. With the dramatic increase in sediment, the city has found problems with its treatment facility and an unresponsive Park Service.

The newer intake and treatment facilities were built to treat much of the estimated 3.4 million cubic yards of sediment released by dam removal, but has not been adequate.

My internet friend, Pearl Hewett, is a voice against the removals of those dams. She has seen first-hand several feet of mud-sediment flow into the National Park campgrounds and roads each winter. It doesn’t look like the environmental damage is stopping.

Yep, very interesting information indeed.

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 3-28-17

March 28, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Our peas are up about an inch high and it is time to get onion starts in the ground. Yep, after the dark snowy winter, gardening season will soon be upon us. Sure do love the bright color that spring bulbs and flowers bring.

Water

April 4, 2017 is an important day to support Siskiyou County in its application to the State of California as a Groundwater Sustainable Agency. The county needs to be in control of our groundwater and if the GSA application is not approved, the state will take over control of our groundwater — immediately. Ugh.

Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou County Natural Resources Specialist, did a thorough job explaining the new state law regarding groundwater at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting last week. This situation is a bit ominous. If the county does not create its own Groundwater Sustainable Agency and submit its application for that agency by June 30, 2017, the State Water Board will intervene to manage groundwater extraction activities in Siskiyou County. The State Water Board will have the power to assess fees for its involvement and will levy fees of $100 per well and in unmanaged areas the cost will be $10 per acre foot per year if the well is metered and $25 per year if not the well is not metered. Yep, this is scary and costly. Oh, and will start on July 1, 2017!

Our county supervisors are proposing that the Siskiyou Flood Control and Conservation District serve as the agency that will oversee the Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan. The plan must be operable by 2022 using information developed by local landowner committees in the four subbasins that are affected. Those subbasins are: Scott Valley, Shasta Valley, Butte Valley and the Tulelake area.

Actually, a sub-type of agency will be developed in each of these subbasins. The important key is that the agency members will be local landowners and groundwater users, including water districts and municipalities.

Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor, said the county hopes the citizens will support its application to the state. He wants to “seize this process” and keep control local over groundwater instead of the state’s one-size-fits-all demands. Ray said the county supervisors voiced vigorous opposition to the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. But it passed the state legislature and Gov. Brown signed it into law.

Elizabeth is asking individuals with groundwater wells to attend and express support at the April 4th hearing. She has been tasked with completing the county’s application. The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the supervisors’ chambers at the courthouse in Yreka. This is next week folks. Please attend or write-in comments of support.

For more on the GSA law and process, go to Elizabeth’s website for a power point presentation. The easiest way to find the site is to Google “Siskiyou County Natural Resources Department” and when you reach the site, scroll down and in the middle is a list with “Natural Resources – Groundwater” in it. Or give Elizabeth a call at 530-842-8012.

Scott Valley Plan

At the Protect Our Water meeting last week, Ray explained the basics of the Scott Valley Plan. It was hashed-out during the 1970s and in Nov. 1980, the county supervisors adopted the plan. Custom and culture was a major feature of the Scott Valley Plan. It is restrictive regarding zoning. The emphasis was on agriculture and open space for future land use decisions and development. The plan was developed by a self-appointed citizen’s committee that held 21 public meetings from 1978 to 1980 and also went through the dreaded CEQA process.

As a summary, Ray explained the plan’s major points: No high density development; development is only to occur near other developed areas; fire, ambulance and public services should not be over-burdened with any population increase; all uses of land should be compatible with neighboring lands; and intensive development is not to occur on the valley floor. The maximum population of Scott Valley should not be over 20,000. Control and style of growth was the major reason for placing the zoning restrictions.

I will add that the JH Guest Ranch is certainly outside the Scott Valley Plan. In my opinion, the gradual expansion of JH guests were ignored by the county back in the 1990s. Ray said the supervisors are working to see the ranch is reeled back and conforms to the zoning codes.

Wolf

Wolf-lovers are ecstatic. Young wolves from the Shasta Wolf Pack have been found across the state line in Nevada. The wolves were spotted west of Black Rock Desert in November.

This is the concern for those of us, who are not lovers of wolf population expansion. Without management of a hunting season, the wolf population will continue to grow affecting wildlife prey populations and attacks on livestock. The “plan” was to allow the Canadian Gray Wolf population to naturally expand from Idaho into Oregon and California through protection of the Endangered Species Act. Yep, it is working.

Erin’s Law

To learn more about helping children stand-up to sexual abuse, attend the Yreka Tea Party Patriots’ meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Covenant Chapel Church, 200 Greenhorn Rd. in Yreka. Siskiyou Co. Superintendent of Schools, Kermith Walters, will present the program that is being implemented in our schools.

Zinke

The Siskiyou Co. Water Users Assoc. sent a letter supporting Siskiyou County’s invitation to the newly appointed U.S. Sec. of Interior, Ryan Zinke, asking him to visit Siskiyou Co. and to oppose the destruction of the four hydro-electric dams in the Klamath River. President Richard Marshall cited the 2010 advisory vote by Siskiyou Co. where nearly 80 percent of the residents oppose dam removal and Klamath County’s vote last year where 75 percent opposed dam removal.

Wow, that would be wonderful for Sec. Zinke to visit Siskiyou and see first-hand the damage that dam removal would do to our environment.

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 3-21-17

March 21, 2017

Liz Writes Life

At age 57, Alaska’s Mitch Seavey ran the race of his life winning the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 14, 2017. Mitch shattered the previous time record to steal the title of the fastest Iditarod musher from his son, Dallas Seavey, who won the 2016 Iditarod Race at age 29.

“Old guys rule,” Mitch claimed, as he recounted the 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes race after arriving in Nome. This is his third win and he is the race’s oldest champion as well as the speediest. His win is certainly impressive as the mushers started the 1,000 mile race in 40 to 50 degree-below temperatures in Fairbanks. Ugh! When Mitch pulled into to Nome, it was a warmer minus 4 degrees. Ha.

Mitch beat his son’s 2016 winning time by eight hours and said he was surprised by his dogs, who acted like they wanted to move out. He said they seemed frustrated to go slow and he was concerned because he had never traveled that fast that far, but he “let them roll!” The team averaged around 10 mph! And Mitch took all of his mandated rests.

I am fascinated by the Iditarod race, which is now run as a modern-day challenge, I believe, to keep alive past traditions and importance of sled dogs, but also preserve the best of mankind – that of serving and sacrificing to save others.

In January of 1925, children in Nome were dying. The village was infected with diphtheria and the only physician, Dr. Curtis Welch, feared an epidemic would certainly put Nome’s population of 1,400 at risk. There was an antitoxin serum that could save lives, but it was 1,000 miles away in Anchorage. Ice choked Nome’s harbor making sea travel impossible and even the most current airplanes were open-cockpit and couldn’t fly in the subzero temps. The nearest train station was 700 miles away leaving sled dogs the fastest means of transportation.

Mushers and sled dogs were intricate to everyday life, including delivering mail and supplies, so there were significant trails between villages and towns. News of Nome’s dilemma reached Alaska Territorial Governor, Scott C. Bone, who quickly recruited the best mushers and dog teams. It was decided that a round-the-clock relay to transport the serum from Nenana to Nome would be the best way to achieve the goal. In the dark of January 27, 1915, a train arrived in Nenana with the precious package of 20-pounds of serum wrapped in protective fur. Musher Wild Bill Shannon tied the parcel to his sled, gave the signal and his nine Malamutes took off in what is called the “Great Race of Mercy”.

It was 60 degrees below zero and Shannon developed frostbite in the first leg of the relay of 52 miles, before he handed off the serum. Most mushers tallied 30 miles. One of Alaska’s most famous musher was Norwegian-born Leonhard Seppala, who departed Shaktoolic on January 31st on an epic 91-mile leg. He had already rushed 170 miles from Nome to intercept the relay. Gale-whipped winds sent temps to 85 degrees below zero, but Seppala’s lead Siberian Husky “Togo” fiercely led the 19-dog team through the Norton Sound where ice threatened to break apart.

Seppala handed off the serum to Charlie Olson, who after 25 miles met Gunnary Kaasen for the second-to-last leg of the relay. Kaasen set off into a pelting blizzard, but he trusted his lead dog, Balto. At one point, a huge gust of wind flipped the sled throwing the precious serum into a snow bank. A panicked Kaasen dug into the snow and was able to find the serum. He arrived in Port Safety early on Feb. 2nd, but the next team was not ready to leave, so Kaasen pushed on to Nome covering the last 53 miles arriving on Feb. 3, 1925.

It seemed fitting on this fine spring morning to share this harsh, freezing cold story of skill, determination and ultimate kindness. Happy spring!

Hammonds

Recently, I talked with Helen Lewis, who is a first cousin to Dwight Hammond, age 76, who is serving a second trumped-up sentence in prison. It was the situation of Dwight and his son, Steven, who were charged with starting a fire that burned from their property on to BLM-managed lands in Eastern Oregon (which was a cooperative burn with the federal agency) that brought Ammon and Ryan Bundy to the Malheur National Park Refuge in Jan. 2016. There, the Bundy’s occupied the refuge in protest of the atrocities levied on the Hammonds.

After the second unjustified trial, where Hammonds were found guilty of a terrorist activity, they were released and then were expected to report to San Pablo Prison in L.A. area. Their incarceration started in early Jan. 2016 and is for five years. They had already completed their previous prison sentences and then the “terrorist” charge was brought against them.

Several months ago, Helen and her husband, Alvin, and other family members were able to visit Dwight in an open family-type room in prison. Helen said he looks good, sounds good and is doing well under the circumstances. The judge did mandate that father and son were to room together in one cell and that is luckily the case.

Dwight grew up in Siskiyou Co. in Edgewood. When he and his wife, Susie, married they then moved to Gazelle. Then they purchased their ranch in Eastern Oregon and during the last 20 years had continual problems with federal agencies.

Finicum

A fundraiser for Jeanette Finicum will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center. Jeanette is the featured speaker. She and her family are raising funds to bring a civil lawsuit against the wrongful death of her husband, LaVoy Finicum, who was shot and killed by FBI agents and snipers on Jan. 26, 2016 on a rural highway in Eastern Oregon. Tickets are $25. Call Grace Leeman at 530-598-1908 to get your tickets.

POW

Elizabeth Nielsen, Natural Resources Specialist for Siskiyou Co., will explain the CA. Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting this Thursday, March 23rd along with our usual presenters. Time is 7 p.m. at the Fort Jones Community Center.

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

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The Sled Dog Relay That Inspired the Iditarod

History.com

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.

http://www.history.com/news/the-sled-dog-relay-that-inspired-the-iditarod

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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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.

Garden

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!

Forestry

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: sfacoaliton.com.

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.

POW

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.

Finicum

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 News.com or Pie N Politics.com

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.

Bundy

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 Politics.com for more.

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

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