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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
September 8, 2010     Indian Valley Record
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September 8, 2010

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il Voters tell PDH: Cap the tax Delaine Fragnoli Managing Editor dfr agnoli@plumasn Voters said, "Cap the tax," by voting in favor of Measure B by 52.39 percent in last Tuesday's special mail ballot. Out of 2,905 ballots cast, 1,522 were Yes votes and 1,383, or 47.61 percent, were No votes. Voter turnout was high: 64.8 percent. The elections of- fice received walk-in traffic of a dozen people an hour throughout the day and into the evening said Plumas. County Clerk Recorder Kathy Williams. She said the Quincy post of- fice pulled and held election ballots it received, rather than sending them the usual route to Reno, Nev., and back, or they would have arrived too late to be counted. Williams called the election "absolutely the most intense local election" of her career. Skip Alexander, one of the proponents of the measure responded to the win. "I hope the hospitalreally rethinks and considers all the options that are available and listens better than they did. They thought they had a mandate with Measure A." Alexander said he "wasn't gloating. I just don't think you can tax people in an unlimited fashion. It's just not OK." About 20 opponents Of the measure gathered at the elections office in the county courthouse to hear the results. Friendly chatter turned to silence as the re- sults were announced shortly after 8 p.m. Plumas District Hospital directors Fred Thon, John Kimmel and Valerie Flanigan were there, as was Chief Executive Officer Richard Hathaway. See Cap, page 5A To subscribe to the Record, call 530-283-0800 Vol. 80, No. 42 Feather Publishing Co., Inc. 530-284-7800 i i md all of the Indian Valley Area Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 5O H brk in progress This completed portion of Greenville's mural, with all the individual bricks and shingles to delineate required me.ticulous attention from artist Mykal Sidenstritker. For the story behind his work and more pictures, see page 16B. Photo by Alida Knadler Water plant up, running -- no leaks Alicia Knadler Indian Valley Editor The new membrane filtra- tion system for Greenville domestic water is up and running. The work it took to get it that way was featured last month in the California Water Journal, a publication by the California Rural Water Association. The article begins with a short history of the drinking water supply, created in 1865, with construction of the first manmade lake in Plumas County. Association author John Wendele quoted Indian Valley Community Services District General Manager Leanna Moore and others extensively. They explained the renovation for the author. Moore described how the old plant was not compliant with state standards, and how boil water notices were not uncommon. Wendele also described the long and convoluted path to fund the project, from state SeeWater, page 5A ('ollege to ask for $5 million 'advance" Linda Satchwell Because the state has not Staff Writer passed a budget in a timely manner, FRC is struggling to ....... joalp the shortfall ......... Faced with a cash'flow hole According to Chief Finan- of $1 million and growing, Feather River College is taking the unprecedented step of asking the county for an advance on its tax revenues. At a special meeting of the Feather River College board of trustees Thursday, Sept. 2, college president Dr. Ron Taylor said he has looked into the legality of going to the county for financial assis- tance. According to Taylor, under the California Educa- tion Code and the state constitution, the district "can ask the county treasurer for an advance of funds against anticipated taxes in order to meet cash flow needs." cial Officer Jim Scoubes, the state apportionment the college receives is $500,000 per month. The state has al- ready missed two payments, leaving FRC short $1 million in cash. Taylor said the college could make it through September; after that, he's concerned about meeting payroll and other basic expenses. Further, he's heard the state may not pass a budget until the election in Novem- ber or, worse, that Governor Schwarzenegger won't sign off on the budget unless it meets his requirements -- no budget would be passed until he leaves office in January. The college is also looking into loans from local and regionaLhanks. It is drawing on its line of credit from Umpqua Bank for the first time. It arranged the credit line to help with cash flow during construction of its new library building. The college has just about run through its Tax Revenue and Anticipation Notes loan. The TRANs has allowed 52 community college districts to borrow more than $2 bil-, lion in short-term financing through the program since 2005. By the end of September, however, FRC will have depleted its $1.9 million in TRANs funds, as well as any cash on hand. There is also a "legal inter-' action" between the TRANs loan and the county money that FRC is requesting. Scoubes explained the TRANs agreement mandates  that the college ;,rill not bor- row any other money from the county. The money requested of the county, therefore, is termed a "transfer of funds" in the FRC resolution. Whether Plumas County Counsel Craig Settlemire or TRANs bondholders see it as a "transfer" or a "loan" remains to be seen. "Technically (the agree- ment) says we can't borrow any other funds from the county. That's our obstacle. We're working on how we can do that," said Scoubes, Further complicating things is the upfront money needed to keep construction moving on the new Learning Resource Center. While the state reimburses FRC from a fund not tied to the budget process, it re- quires proof the college has already paid a bill before it pays the college. Scoubes said he had hoped to finish the LRC project with the Umpqua line of credit. Now, the concern is that Scoubes would have no money to write that check, which will mean he won't get reimbursed. In turn, that would mean he'd have to "bring the project to a screeching halt" until the college once again had cash. He's drawn on the Umpqua line of credit for the past two months to keep the project going. See FRC, page 4A Hospital looking for answer to pager problem Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plu masnews.corn Plumas District Hospital is currently looking for a way to replace its pager service, previously provided by USA Mobility. The communications com- pany pulled out of the eastern part of the county in Jan- uary. A company spokes- person said, "It had cost us more to provide service to the area than the revenue we received for providing the service." Several customers, like Eastern Plumas District Hospital and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, reported they got no warning from the company that their emergency communications systems would no longer work. Perhaps the company learned from the backlash that experience caused, as PDH Safety Officer Steve Tolen reported the company was in close contact with his agency's information technology unit in the time leading up to a similar end to service in the Quincy area. He said it seemed the company had been "better to us than the people on the east side of the county." Tolen said Quincy pager coverage went down in July and he has been working with another company that expressed interest in provid- ing the service. Tolen said the hospital usu- ally has around 50 pagers in use at any one time. He said PDH preferred pagers to cell phones because its employees live all over the place and the pager service used to allow people to roam down the Canyon or as far as Cromberg without worrying about missing an emergency notification. The Plumas County Mental Health Department stopped using pagers after the Eastern Plumas coverage went away and has adapted to using cell phones. Director John Sebold said the current situation was working but he would prefer to have pager service back "because it lends for flexibility for people in their lives." By all accounts, the pre- vious pager system covered many more areas than even the best cell phone providers, which allowed on-call or emergency workers to travel throughout the county will little concern about missing an important call. Organizations such as the mental health department, the East Quincy Service District, and the Quincy Community Service District are intrigued by the idea of reinstating pager service, but only use one or two pagers in their agencies. They don't have an incentive to put a lot of resources into the effort and won't bring a large customer base to a provider. Other agencies moved on from the pagers before these recent events and haven't looked back. Plumas County Sheriff's Office Deputy Mike Grant, the department's resident communications expert, con- firmed that he's been talking with Tolen about the issue, as they work together on various emergency commu- nication topics. The sheriff's office has administered various com- munication grants and programs over the years, many of which were multi- agency collaborations with the county health depart- ment, fire departments, hos- pitals and 0thers. : Grant said his agency moved away from pagers for several reasons. He said if a User;isses a page, it's gone; whereas a cell phone text message will be delivered to his phone when he gets into service. It doesn't disappear if he's out of range when it's sent. He said another benefit was the ability to receive a text message out of the county or state. Grant said he's been driving home from Reno or Chico, received a text message and responded to an incident. The deputy said most of the people in his department lived within coverage of a See Pager, page 4A Phoney baloney: Telep qones back online -- for tr00e moment Alicia Knadler Indian Valley Editor aknadler@plu Many Indian Valley resi- dents Were without long- distance landline telephone service two weeks ago, and some have been frustrated for the past two months by continual problems. "Impossible to run a busi- ness around here with these phones always screwing up," Taylorsville resident Merri Schramel said. The long-distance issue i was mostly, if temporarily, fixed by Thursday, Aug. 26, according to Stephanie Beasley, Frontier Communi- cations spokeswoman. Through unofficial chan- nels, this reporter first learned of the overburdened phone lines at the Wednes- day, Aug. 8, meeting of the 'Indian Valley Community Services District, when Frontier Communications Engineering Planner el Garringer asked for an ease- ment on the Genesee Fire Station property, where his company plans to install some new equipment. The equipment would improve and expand service into that area he said, Greenville is also sched- uled for some communica- tions upgrades, with AT&T plans for 3G cellular service by early 2011, according to John Britton, director of corporate communications. "AT&T does have 3G ser- vice in Susanville," he said, and it will be expanding that See Phones, page 4A