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   These are the stories we are working on for this week's newspaper:
  • Quick fix: A plumbing problem is forcing the Plumas Unified School District to move its headquarters to the former probation building.
  • Lesser charges: A former Chester Public Utility District general manager pleaded guilty to reduced charges last month in connection with unauthorized use of a district credit card at a Reno strip club.

Two groups pool efforts to promote the county

  There are nearly a dozen groups with websites that promote Plumas County, but now two are working more closely together — Graeagle Plumas Alliance and the Plumas County Tourism Recreation & Hospitality Council.

  The former was developed to market Eastern Plumas County by promoting tourism and economic development, while the latter was formed in the aftermath of the demise of the Plumas County Visitors Bureau to run the popular website plumascounty.org.

  The Graeagle Plumas Alliance also has a website: graeagleplumas.com.

  Representatives of the two groups have been meeting for months to discuss how they could coordinate efforts.

  Rather than merging, the two groups have decided to “form a loose relationship.”

  The decision is due partly to structure: one is a nonprofit organization with a board of directors (Graeagle Plumas Alliance) and the other is a volunteer group.

  The other difference is scope: the alliance is focused on the eastern portion of Plumas, while the tourism council promotes the entire county.

  During a meeting July 30, Jack Bridge, president of the Graeagle Plumas Alliance, and Valerie Nellor and Karen Moritz, representing the tourism council, met in Graeagle.

  “We want to show how two groups can work together,” Bridge said.

  One area of discussion was the difference between promoting and packaging. It’s one thing to provide information on a website, it’s another to provide service.

  The example that they cited was of a birdwatcher who might discover that the Sierra Valley is a good place to view birds, but not know where to go for lunch. What if a picnic could be provided?

  “Long-term, I would like to see a concierge type of service,” Bridge said.

  Those gathered at the table agreed that they didn’t have the resources to provide such service, but partnering with merchants could make that possible.

  Both groups provide lists of local lodging providers, restaurants, retailers and other businesses, and the tourism council also provides links to those websites if there is one available. The alliance will supply a link if the business is a member.

  Though the tourism council has no paid staff, Moritz returns phone calls and requests for information. Her cellphone number is listed as a resource on the website.

  Moritz used to work for the visitors bureau and tries to provide similar service.

  “A lot of people didn’t realize the services provided by the tourism bureau,” she said. She said that the bureau tried to move people around the county, since it wasn’t dedicated to one particular area.

  Nellor, who owns Ada’s Place in Quincy, said she directs people to other areas of the county as much as possible. She cited as an example an upcoming stargazing event at Lassen Volcanic National Park, where she provided information for the St. Bernard Lodge.

  Both groups rely on their websites to provide information and their representatives said that site navigation, direct links and interesting pages are important to a successful site, and they are focusing on improving the links between their respective sites.

  They will continue to attend each other’s meetings. The tourism council meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. at Moon’s in Quincy.

  The alliance usually meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month at Longboards though times and dates can vary.

Going mobile

  The tourism council received three contributions that allowed it to make plumascounty.org mobile friendly: Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and The Common Good Community Foundation provided the funding.

  In June, the site received 10,000 visits from people using mobile devices.


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