Communities Rising December 29: A New Year on the Horizon

   Last night was beautifully long and glorious. I parked at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles — one of my all time favorite buildings, all decked out for the holidays. I Ubered over to the Music Center to meet up with an old friend for our after Christmas present to us: dinner and a show. We had upscale Filipino food at Abernethy’s and walked across the plaza to the Ahmanson Theatre to see Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. It was phenomenal. Then I picked up my son at Union Station as he was coming in on a late night Amtrak from Chico and headed to my newish home. And the air was fresh, damp, and clean; the sky earlier in the day was bright blue and dotted with white clouds. On the drive home I remembered how beautiful southern California can be. I remembered how much I belong in this community as well. In my mind, the entire state has always been my community. I was born in Los Angeles, and early army brat life outside of the state really had me reflect on how much of a Californian I am. And I’m totally fine with that.

   In many ways this week is about me adjusting to new life. After 20 years in the mountains, Plumas County will now be where I return to visit friends and vacation, but it won’t be where I or any of my family live anymore. I accepted a full-time writing position in Orange County. I’m not sure of the final date for this column or who from the communities affected by the fire will take it up. But  I know that time is coming soon.

   It has been a great privilege and responsibility to write this column and to serve my community of 20 years. Feather Publishing and in particular Cobey Brown and Debra Moore have been wonderful to work for and I’ve been blessed with a great small but mighty crew over there on Lawrence Street. I’ve always sought to leave a place while still a little bit in love with it. And I’m doing that now with Greenville and Plumas County.

   One thing I’d like to address as I prepare for departure and as we head into 2023 is wages and housing in Plumas County. I’ve seen dumps listed for rent for two-thirds the average monthly income up here lately  — all the while most employers are paying the same wage as the Susanville McDonald’s. We must get serious about paying people living wages in Plumas County. When one is hit with a PG&E bill and a propane bill combined of a thousand bucks in one month, the myth of the cheaper cost of living up here busts wide open. People can’t really save for a rainy day up here or for retirement. An acknowledgment of this really needs to happen. Solutions need to be forthcoming.

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   It’s my hope for 2023 that Indian Valley and the rest of the communities affected by the Dixie Fire keep coming together to build and rebuild community. It’s my hope that we acknowledge the collective traumas eating away at our youth. That we protect our children and that we give them better coping skills and futures (teen pregnancy and early marriage is again on the rise as well as domestic violence and school suspensions). My other hope is for settlements to be settled so people can move on with their lives.

   I look forward to 2023 in my new/old homeland and to one day becoming a snowbird in retirement. May your 2023 be full of renewal, warmth, and out of the limbo of the aftermath of the Dixie Fire.

   Not as many announcements this week as we move into New Year’s. As usual, if you have something you want out there in the universe from Indian Valley, Indian Falls, Canyon Dam, Warner Valley, North Arm, or any of the fire affected areas, please shoot me an email at [email protected].

New Year’s Eve Party

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  If you’re in town, the fire pits will be blazing and perhaps some of the residents will be lit as well. Welcome to NYE Indian Valley recovery style! Down at the Spot on Pine Street there will be vendors from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., karaoke, the Way Baby will be serving up drinks and late night snacks. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be ‘family fun entertainment’ with movies and popcorn and fireworks at 9:30 p.m., along with some axe throwing contests because, why not? The non-stop fun ends at about 12:30 p.m. Say goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023 Indian Valley style.

Book Giveaway at the Library 

  The Plumas County Library is running a book giveaway from December 5 to 30 from babies to teenagers during open hours. Kids can pick up an activity sheet, complete it, and return to pick out a free book which are also available on the website www.plumascounty.us/593. The Greenville Temporary Branch site is at Greenville High School Room 402. Call (530) 283-6310.

Zone Captains

  We will keep posting this until all the zone captains are filled. In order to be a Firewise community we need ‘zone captains.’ If you have some time and would like to volunteer, please send Marsha Roby an email at [email protected]. I know she’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about it and let you know if your neighborhood still needs one.

Dixie Fire Resource Center

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   The Dixie Fire Resource Center (DFRC) is updating its hours of operation. Effective as of January 1, 2023, and will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The DFRC will also be open the third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We encourage the community to visit us during these hours to use our wireless internet and computer access, connect with the Disaster Case Management Program, and access the wide variety of community and fire recovery resources we have available (food, clothing, heating assistance, referrals for employment support, and more).

   Plumas Rural Services (PRS) is pleased to announce that Dan Litchfield, the Disaster Case Management Program’s Construction Cost Analyst, will be holding office hours at the DFRC Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. effective immediately. During office hours, those working to rebuild may receive support in understanding the permitting process, reviewing the checklist outlining the permit process, finding a contractor, reviewing contractor bids, etc. Litchfield will also conduct site visits to better answer project specific questions. He will also meet with those needing his assistance by appointment. Survivors can make an appointment with Litchfield by calling (530) 283-2735, ext. 834 or emailing [email protected]

   Up-to-date information about the DFRC can be found online at www.plumasruralservices.org/DFRC or by calling (530) 283-2735, ext. 22