Greenville Rising Aug. 10: Some thoughts on crime, trash and redemption

By Meg Upton

     This morning’s cool weather was a welcomed surprise. Hopeful that there will be fall weather soon to balance out the heat of the summer. I’m praying that we have an actual fall and not just a week before we freeze for six months.

     It was an interesting week in my neighborhood. What was once quiet hasn’t been serene for awhile—there are less trees and more noise from the highway. It’s nothing to complain about given the rest of Greenville but still, it’s a change.

     At night sometimes I am awakened by people screaming on the highway—and before you question my sanity or dreamworld, yes, other people have heard it too. Tweakers, perhaps? There are certainly more people I don’t recognize walking along the highway these days late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. It is unsettling.

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     We realized just this morning that a tire had been stolen from in front of the garage, reminding me of my tiny house being broken into back in November. I hear stories continually of how when people returned to their lots things that did not burn were stolen. Quartz stones that residents had or other stones. Stoves that hadn’t burned were taken. Sin verguenza! As we say in Spanish—shameless people. This was once a place where we did not lock our doors. Now I always lock them.

     Coupled with these odd occurrences was dealing with Waste Management this week. The mere mention of “Waste Management” has nearly everyone in Plumas County groaning.

     Our trash day was Fridays and on Thursday, July 28 my neighborhood received emails that our July 29 pick up wouldn’t happen; it would be picked up on August 5 instead. Then August 5 rolled around and nothing was picked up and no one could get a hold of Waste Management on the phone. I tried the Internet to get a hold of them and that didn’t work either.

     My neighbors have a communication group on Facebook and I learned that many had called or emailed Waste Management before I ever had a chance to on the group chat. Many of our attempts went unanswered. Supervisor Greg Hagwood contacted Waste Management after I contacted him and we finally saw pickup on Tuesday, August 9, early in the morning. Thanks! Many of us had already taken our own trash to the dump. Many of us had bears pay us a visit. Some of us got our trash picked up on Tuesday. And now we are told Tuesday is our new trash day now.

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     The excuse for Waste Management negligence is always something along the lines of ‘staff shortages.’ I remember when I lived in San Francisco that garbage truck drivers were paid better than teachers. I’m betting that’s not true anymore. Or maybe now they are paid as little as teachers. If you pay more, you get people wanting to work for you. It’s pretty simple, really. We were told that there are only three truck drivers for the whole county now. That is pretty extreme given the vast area that they have to drive. But as a customer that makes me no less angry about the lack of communication, the bears getting into neighbors’ trash cans because we can’t even guess as to what hour pick up is anymore (one time it was at 7:30 p.m.). I wonder if this means we should start thinking about starting some sort of co-operative trash pick up. Clearly, Waste Management’s monopoly is not helpful to its customers. I’m more than a bit peeved that suddenly we’re subjected to a $6.15 “invoice” charge on our bills with no explanation of what this surcharge is suddenly needed for. Does it cost $6.15 for them to open up the envelopes suddenly?

      To date, our household has not seen compensation or an adjustment of our bill for all the weeks in the last year that Waste Management missed pickup. It feels like an Internet scam actually, except it’s in person and personal.

     My husband took our garbage and recycling to the dump last Sunday. We couldn’t wait any longer so they technically didn’t pick up for us on Tuesday either.  Here’s hoping they don’t start a surcharge for us not putting the can out. But back to my neighbors.

     I’m thankful that our neighbors look out for one another, especially in times where people feel free to walk up to your house and steal what’s in front of the garage, taking stones from lots, screaming bloody murder at 4 a.m., et cetera.

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     I welcome more patrolling in our neighborhood. I welcome more trash pick up on Tuesdays. I’m holding Waste Management to their promise to do so. I hope that the people stealing things return them. I hope that the people screaming things in the wee hours of the morning get help.

     But I will keep watch and diligent and I hope you all do too. Keep safe and take care. Shout out to the sheriff’s office, which assures us some beefed-up patrolling.

     I don’t want to leave the column like this though. I’d rather leave it with words from Dan Kearns from his response to the memorial events of the past weekend.

     “I feel that it is very important to honor this time – to reflect on our feelings and honor the processes we are all going through. Last weekend’s events gave many the chance to come together and do just that. It was a chance to express hope, anger, frustration, resilience, strength, community and to honor the Earth and offer healing to her as well.”

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     The following are events coming up in the community that you might be interested in. As usual if you have something to share with the community, please email to [email protected].

Poetry Reading 

     My alter ego, Margaret Elysia Garcia is giving a poetry reading of excerpts from her new book Burn Scars from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Quincy Public Library’s conference room tomorrow. Levi Mullen will play some tunes at the beginning. There might be her famous chocolate chip cookies. Admission is free. Garcia will be teaching a poetry publishing class on Tuesdays on Zoom this fall through the non-profit Community Literary Initiative. Ask her about it.

Community Connections Survivors Groups 

     California Hope and Northern Valley Catholic Social Service and Plumas Rural Services is sponsoring survivor groups. On Tuesdays at the Quincy Library from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the PRS, Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center, Unit 2, in Crescent Mills. For those seeking individual appointments, call (530) 247-3341.

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Community Picnic 

     The next Greenville Country Picnic is this Sunday, August 14, beginning at 3 p.m. till dark. For more information call Dan Kearns at (949) 395-3694 or Ken Donnell at (530) 566-2561.

Grand Opening of The Spot 

     The Spot at 205 Pine Street is having its official Grand Opening Celebration August 19 through 20 beginning at noon the first day. Here’s what Cassie Barr and Alicia Hammerich of Indian Head Properties have to say about their brainchild:

“The Spot will be a place for our community to gather, reunite and become one while we rebuild.

“Our vision consists of a little village of food, beverage trucks and businesses – a pop up town of sorts. A place where friends can laugh, listen to music and grab a bite to eat on a Saturday afternoon. A place you can grab a cup of coffee, and a baked good on your way to hurry up and wait in traffic control.

“If you or someone you know is interested in joining us at “The Spot” please give us a call, we would love to hear from you. Let’s build back together, help the community become one!”

Soccer Signups

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      Karisa Joseph posted in Rebuild Greenville that soccer registration ends on Sunday, August 21. Indian Valley needs signups for the CPRPD Youth Soccer League and volunteer coaches and officials are needed as well. Call (530) 283-3278 for more information.

Plumas Arts

     Sara Gray and Joanne Burgueno’s excerpts from the Dixie Fire Stories Project will be on display at Plumas Arts until the end of the month.  Check out the photographs and excerpts of the stories of your friends and neighbors. Plumas Arts is open Wednesdays through Fridays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.