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A look back at 2019 in Quincy

Jan. 16

It came as no surprise when American Valley Community Services District President Denny Churchill was asked to serve for another year.

Director Mike Beatty began the election of officers at the meeting Jan. 10 by stating he thought Churchill should serve as president another year.

Churchill served as chair of the former Quincy Community Services District, and then as interim president as that district and East Quincy Services District consolidated. He was then asked to become president of the AVCSD beginning in July 2018.

Kathy Felker will continue to serve as vice president for another year. She too has been vice president during the consolidation process.

It’s a new year for the Plumas Hospital District with a new chief executive officer, JoDee Tittle, and a new board member, Andy Ryback.

During its monthly meeting held Jan. 3, the hospital district’s board of directors welcomed Ryback to his first meeting. Ryback is no stranger to the district as he has served on the Measure A Oversight committee, reviewing how those monies are spent.

For Tittle, it was her second meeting at the helm.

Valerie Flanigan will serve another year as board chairman and Bill Wickman will continue in his role as secretary. Dr. Mark Satterfield and John Kimmel make up the remainder of the board.

Jan. 30

Despite years of delays residents of the Feather River Canyon hamlet of Tobin can finally get a source of water.

“A long series of delays ensued because the engineering department of Union Pacific Railroad did not accept the portion of the fireline pipeline plans calling for a 4-inch waterline crossing the railroad bridge at Tobin,” explained Roger Diefendorf, Plumas County Community Development Commission (PCCDC) executive director.

Diefendorf was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 22, requesting $82,700 from the county’s general fund to solve the ongoing problem. “We don’t have any choice at this point,” said Supervisor Lori Simpson about the decision.

Feb. 13

Down by the courthouse, it was a dark and stormy day and then, luck of lucks, blue skies began to peek out in between the rain Feb. 2.

Right on schedule, the “Fish Tacos” musical ensemble struck up the band and the Quincy Chamber of Commerce opened its seventh annual Groundhog Fever Festival to a welcoming audience.

Honorary Mayor of Quincy Dave Reynolds was in high spirits as he passed the town key for the office to his 2019 successor, Michelle Fulton.

With much fanfare, Chuck made his debut and … drum roll please … saw his shadow.

“Oh boy,” James Wilson told the crowd. “Looks like six more weeks of winter and only three more weeks of government!”

Feb. 20

It’s been a lengthy process, but a new facility for the Quincy Area California Highway Patrol is entering the design phase.

That’s the word from CHP Commander Erik Egide. In just a few short years, officers and staff will see the end of the existing 3,606-square-foot structure and see a new 26,000 square-foot-structure in East Quincy — that is if “it moves along like it should,” Egide said last week.

This is the culmination of years when the state has passed over Quincy in favor of other areas.

A unique community partnership of local businesses, schools and nonprofits came together this month to provide free training and materials to produce a bevy of brand new bird-box homes for our feathered neighbors throughout the county.

Wait, do bats have feathers? No. More on that in a moment.

With a goal to create as many homes for wild birds and bats as possible in a short time, instructors Chris Murray and Jim Webster volunteered their time to teach a birdhouse build-a-thon class at Feather River College on March 10-11.

April 3

Author, biographer and Quincy native Wendy Webster Williams received hearty applause, a great many hugs and plenty of laughter when she returned to town March 28 for a benefit book signing and special screening of a documentary about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in “RBG.”

Williams also appears in the film, which was nominated in the 2019 Oscars contest.

April 10

A grassroots movement is gaining traction in its efforts to battle climate change.

Members of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby covered a number of topics related to climate change — including the link to an increased severity of wildland fires — during a presentation at the Quincy Library on March 28. It was their seventh stop in a 10-city tour that included meeting with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle.

April 24

Plans for offering specialty coffees at Feather River College are on the back burner.

While FRC President Kevin Trutna poured out the details of his fact-finding mission to trustees Thursday, April 18, it became apparent there are few grounds for brewing up a coffee shop.

“We’ve done quite a bit of research,” Trutna said.

He interviewed 118 students about whether they already purchase specialty coffees off campus and if they would buy it on campus. Forty-seven percent said they would buy coffee on campus at $5 a cup if it were available.

While that might be encouraging, the rest of the information wasn’t promising.

May 8

All living things come to an end.

Over a 12-year span, three arborists have given expert opinions on the health of Dame Shirley Plaza’s nine elms. The plaza is located across the street from the Plumas County courthouse.

“It is my opinion that all of the elms in Dame Shirley Plaza area should be removed,” said Robert A. Kelly, a certified arborist. Kelly’s comments were contained in a letter to Facility Services Director Kevin Correira in late April 2019.

At this time the public will be given the opportunity to help decide not just the fate of the Dame Shirley Plaza elms, but help select replacement trees.

May 29

The ambulance doors opened and its occupant, Steve Tolen, looked out at the view. “You brought me to my lake,” he said.

And though he would die the next morning, that trip was actually the beginning of his dream becoming a reality.

Tolen, a longtime area paramedic who died Oct. 6, 2017, had worked to establish a Sentimental Journey program in Quincy, but encountered many roadblocks.

Thanks to the efforts of local paramedic Sam Blesse and the Care Flight organization, Tolen’s vision is now a reality.

June 5

“Biking is just something I love to do,” says Dana Ludington, a science teacher at Quincy Junior-Senior High School. “It’s fun!”

Ludington is right at home as an outdoor enthusiast here and her words are underscored by a big smile. Thanks to the teacher’s efforts, Plumas County now has its own bicycling team specifically geared for middle- and high-schoolers — the Lost Sierra Composite Mountain Bike Team — whose 22 members attend sixth- through 10th-grades at local schools in the Plumas Unified School District, at Plumas Charter School and some are home schooled.

June 12

A resounding cheer went up in the Plumas County Board of Supervisors’ meeting room as a vote on an urgency industrial hemp growing moratorium was narrowly defeated Tuesday, June 4.

The proposed temporary moratorium required Supervisors to conduct a roll call four-fifths vote to pass or fail. Supervisors Lori Simpson and Kevin Goss voted against it. Although Supervisors Sherrie Thrall, Jeff Engel and Michael Sanchez are in favor of the temporary moratorium, the four-fifths vote was not realized.

Emotions were high as industrial hemp growers, attorneys, educators and others against the ban out-numbered those supporting it.

June 19

“I think I’m still in shock that it happened,” said longtime services district board member Kim Kraul about the need for a boil water advisory.

All but one director of the American Valley Community Services District board gathered around a table inside the Plumas County Library meeting room for what was not business as usual Thursday, June 13. Director Doug Eli was absent.

Foremost on everyone’s mind was recent vandalism to a spring line pipe that resulted in a state-mandated boil water advisory.

They were also focused on the results of test results that would tell them if the state would release the boil water advisory or whether it would continue. The advisory was for the West Zone of Quincy and not the East Zone.

The Quincy Jr./Sr. High School band, led by Director Siobhan Markee, played into the early summer evening Friday, June 14, as 33 graduating seniors began their processional march in red and white caps and gowns on the football field at Feather River College.

Across the stage, a large banner proclaimed “QHS Just Did It!” and Senior Class President Sydney Addison Gott stepped up to assume her duties as master of ceremonies. She welcomed the crowd and introduced the 2019 QJSHS valedictorian, classmate Sylvia Ann Wood, who played the national anthem flawlessly on flute.

July 17

Pioneer Park’s community pool is a popular summer destination for hot days and cool, splashy fun, and the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District wants to keep it available for many years to come.

The recreation district launched a new fundraising campaign called “Save the Pool.” The effort is designed to gather $250,000 in donations over the next few years to revitalize and maintain the facility.

“The District has been seeing signs of deterioration for a few years now and is planning ahead to be raising money over the next several years for when the time comes to replace its community pool,” explained CPRPD’s General Manager James Shipp.

Aug. 14

Indian tacos, funnel cakes, flowers and the 4-H kids.

Fred Surber is quick to respond when asked about his favorite food and exhibits at the annual Plumas-Sierra County Fair.

Surber, who is the 2019 Fair Parade grand marshal, has had plenty of time to form an opinion.

Professionally, and in retirement, he has spent nearly five decades working in some capacity with the fair.

Aug. 21

The bright, airy spaces and brand new air conditioning provided welcome relief from Plumas County’s soaring temperatures Aug. 15 when dozens of guests came to see the restored 1905 Historic Quincy Schoolhouse downtown.

Before the guided tours set off, every seat was taken and it was standing room only in the large new meeting room that served as one of the original classrooms for the 50 Church Street school.

The high ceilings have all been restored, energy efficient replica windows installed and the original Douglas fir folding doors still stand tall. Even the large county wall map showing all the locations of the original Plumas County schools was preserved. Elsewhere throughout the building, glass, paint, fresh drywall and recessed lighting give the old school a clean, cheerful modern appeal.

Sept. 11

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the election process for the March 3 Primary when candidates can begin collecting in-lieu signatures, allowing them to offset filing fees.

The first candidate to declare his candidacy is Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood.

“I will resign my position at the end of December,” said Hagwood, “and run for supervisor to represent District 4.” District 4 is roughly most of Quincy, Meadow Valley and Bucks Lake.

Lori Simpson represents the district now, but announced earlier this year that she would not seek another term.

Hagwood, 53, has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for the past 31 years, the last 10 as sheriff. He has been through three elections, though the last two he ran unopposed.

Sept. 18

It’s like the movie “Back to the Future.”

That’s what a visitor might be reminded of when stepping into the newly renovated Plumas County Library.

Plumas County Museum Director Scott Lawson, members of the Law Library Association and builders wanted visitors and users to get a glimpse of how the law office of J.D. Goodwin might have looked in 1860 or there about. That was just 10 years after the county officially began.

Visitors won’t find the cast with Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd or an exotic DeLorean DMC-12 inside or near the structure on Jackson Street.

What they will find are computers and electric lighting.

That’s where the future, or rather the present, comes in. And the computers are why the law library has been re-opened. The historical significance of the structure is important not only to Quincy and Plumas County, but to the state.

Plumas District Hospital celebrated the culmination of five years of work with a staff barbecue Sept. 11 to recognize its affiliation with U.C. Davis Health as a Rural Center of Excellence.

It is only the second entity to receive such a distinction —Tahoe Forest in Truckee being the other.

“You guys did such a great job and were recognized by a lot of people besides us,” said Dr. Tom Nesbitt prior to the celebration, referencing PDH’s recognition by the Joint Commission and other entities.

He and colleagues from U.C. Davis were gathered around a picnic table talking to key personnel from PDH who were instrumental in making this affiliation happen.

Nesbitt sat across from Dr. Jeff Kepple, the former CEO of PDH, who made it one of his goals when he took on the leadership role in 2014.

Sept. 25

The boil water notice that went into effect last Friday afternoon, Sept. 20, for American Valley Community Services District water customers in west Quincy remains in effect due to the discovery of E. coli bacteria.

Services district employees, along with a state inspector and personnel from Plumas County Environmental Health, searched for the source of contamination Monday, but didn’t find it. It’s estimated that the soonest the boil notice could be lifted would be this Thursday. The district scheduled an emergency meeting Monday afternoon to discuss the issue and agreed to disburse bottled water to its customers through its office at 900 Spanish Creek Road by the airport.

Plumas County Environmental Health Director Jerry Sipe said that his office worked with local restaurants, schools and hospitals to assist them through the boil notification process.

It was a day of smiles and hugs and warm weather and a bright blue sky. Rainbow flags were flown all over downtown Quincy in support of LGBTQ community members being able to live their lives freely.

Plumas County’s first ever LGBTQ Pride event took place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21 — two days filled with love and acceptance.

Organizers counted 250-300 people in attendance at the all-ages block party on Friday night in Grover Alley behind the library, with Quircus, a family friendly drag show, a dj dance, and food outside The Drunk Brush and The Knook.

Oct. 2

There’s nothing like a bright new jersey to help Plumas County kids play sports with a bigger smile on their faces. Thanks to several local businesses, Indian Valley and Quincy players in the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District’s youth soccer program are looking good out on the field.

Beatty Construction, Cal-Sierra Title Company, Les Schwab Tires and Mountain Graphic Design are team-uniform heroes, according to CPRPD Recreation Supervisor Kyle Stone.

“We are so thankful for these local businesses for stepping up and sponsoring the new jerseys for our youth soccer program,” Stone said last week. “We live in a small community where our local businesses already support so many different things. To sponsor the new jerseys is really a huge gesture that we appreciate incredibly.”

Oct. 23

Although it may have taken nearly a year to coordinate the install of the newest upgrade to Sierra Pacific Industries’ Quincy Sawmill, the estimated $2 million investment and project is complete. “The new fully-computerized wood sawing system will produce a significantly higher yield from every log we process,” said plant manager Matthew Taborski.

He is referring to the company’s latest improvement to the small log mill operation, the Real Performance Machinery Gang Profiler. It analyzes and measures every log and calculates the optimum sizes for each particular cut. It also provides a direct path to a byproduct conveyor for the chips and sawdust byproduct used to fuel the company’s biomass co-generation power plant.

This unique saw box is only the second of its kind in the nation built by RPM in South Carolina. It was specifically designed to integrate with the existing equipment and production flow at the Quincy plant. “We’ll be able to reduce the bottleneck that often occurs at the edger,” Taborski explained.

Nov. 20

Damaged, dead and brittle trees will be trimmed and removed Dec. 10 from the Dame Shirley Plaza in Quincy, Facilities Services Director Kevin Correira announced recently.

During a public meeting held back in May at the Plumas County Planning and Building Department, some residents were appalled that some shade trees were in jeopardy, while others understood the safety need for the proposed project.

Nov. 27

Efforts to mitigate the potential for deadly catastrophic fires and address insurance issues are proceeding on the local, state and national levels.

The Quincy Volunteer Fire Department is stepping up to offer critical advice toward making public and commercial buildings more fire resistant. The efforts also make facilities safer for employees and others. “We want to make sure everyone gets out alive,” said Quincy Fire Chief Robbie Cassou.

Steve Fowler, a retired CalFire representative in the Quincy area, is adding his wealth of knowledge in assisting QFD in meeting with business people and others.

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