Plumas County will have a new sheriff on Jan. 1 — Patrol Commander Todd Johns. Johns was the Board of Supervisors’ top pick after it interviewed three candidates in open session last week. The vote was 3-0. One seat is vacant and Supervisor Lori Simpson declined to participate in the roll call vote. She neither voted “no” nor did she abstain; she declined to vote because she thought the supervisors should take more time to appoint an individual who will hold the position for more than three years due to the election cycle.
We tend to agree with Supervisor Simpson. Johns might be the ideal choice, but it seems that for such an important official, the board would want a chance for their interview responses to percolate for a while and also to hear from constituents since this is an elected position. The board could have called for a special election, but opted to appoint instead. Sheriff Greg Hagwood also cautioned the board members to take their time in selecting his successor. Hagwood is retiring at the end of the year and is running to succeed Lori Simpson as District 4 supervisor. It will be interesting to see him take his place alongside Kevin Goss, Jeff Engel and Sherrie Thrall if he is elected. Goss is also facing challengers — fellow Indian Valley resident Phil Shannon and Greenhorn resident Greg Cameron.
Don’t forget to vote
Speaking of elections, don’t forget to cast your ballot by Tuesday, Nov. 5. At the top of the ballot is the race for Assembly District 1 with a choice between Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt and Republican Megan Dahle. There are two local races also to be decided: the Beckwourth Fire Protection District and the Chester Utility District boards of directors.
Power outages continue
Yes, for the most part, Plumas County has been spared the public safety power outages endured by millions in the north state. La Porte, Bucks Lake and portions of the Canyon have not fared as well, but the major population centers have continued to enjoy electricity. (That was accurate until 11 p.m. Sunday night when Chester, Greenville and Quincy experienced an outage due to an issue with the Caribou transmission line. Power was restored Monday morning but it was a good reminder that we all need to be prepared at any time, with or without a planned power outage.) As a public service, we are once again printing a list of businesses and organizations that can remain open during a prolonged outage. (See page 7B of this newspaper.)
Last week a reader inquired about what people with water wells should do in an outage. Most on municipal systems continue to enjoy uninterrupted water service because community-supplied water providers have large storage tanks and generators.
Environmental Health Director Jerry Sipe said it would be important for individuals to identify and quantify water needs (potable and non potable), and see if there were ways to safely store water in advance of an outage. This should be part of personal preparedness activities not only for Public Safety Power Shutoffs, but for winter outages as well. Individuals could identify family, friends or neighbors who might have water during a prolonged outage, such as people with generators, or those on community water supplies.
In the event of a prolonged outage the county’s Office of Emergency Services, with input from Environmental Health, Public Health, Social Services and others, would determine whether a community resource center is needed. Resource centers would typically have community-supplied water where people could fill their own containers. OES could also declare a local emergency and secure bottled water for those that could not afford it.
Water is but one component of how we must prepare to care for ourselves and our families during a power outage or other emergency situation. It’s an important reminder that we all must do what we can to be prepared no matter the circumstances.