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Progress. The landscape is rapidly changing yet again in Indian Valley. Photo by Meg Upton

Greenville Rising May 26

     It’s 6 a.m. in Indian Valley on a warm spring morning. The birds are chirping. The roosters are crowing. The mosquitoes are beginning their daily swirl. And the chainsaws. Yes, the chainsaws are have been busy since dawn.

     No rest for the weary. Some of us can already hear the cars and trucks idling in their 10 to 15 minute wait on the grade. There is no city as noisy as a mountain town in spring.

     Our numbers are improving! Of the 679 lots in the state debris removal program, debris has been removed from 634 sites with 395 now returned to their owners. In the alternative program of 114 property lots, debris removal has occurred on 82 with 59 now returned.

     In years past, this upcoming weekend would be the kick-off of Indian Valley’s tourist season: the Century Bike Ride. One hopes some day to see such things return. There’s still much beauty to see here and the full bloom of spring growth makes the burn that much starker. We can see everything far more clearly now.

     My mind still isn’t sure how to process the clear-cutting, and looking at swaths of our Indian Valley mountains now denuded of burnt trees, its stumps reminiscent of three day beard growth or leg hair—but that’s what it looks like now. But if you sometimes stand in just the right spot, you can see pockets of lush green growth—and that remains hopeful to us all.

     Congratulations are in order to the Dixie Fire Stories Project, which received grant funding to continue their work collecting stories from the Dixie Fire. Collaborators Sara Gray and Joanne Burgueno will be putting a book together of both the photography and stories told that so many of us saw and read on their Facebook page.

     Good luck to our high school seniors this week, flung across the county and beyond as many wrap up senior projects and presentations. Whether it is through theatre or 4-H, many of our seniors have some solid public speaking skills from years of representing themselves or playing characters at functions large and small. This is my annual plea to parents to involve their children in theater arts and public speaking.

     Speaking of children, most Plumas Unified School District schools this year had ready access to onsite school counselors for mental health. Not so for Greenville Elementary School—the one school in the district literally in the shadow of the trauma of the Dixie Fire. It is my hope for the 2022—2023 school year that this lack of in-person (not Zoom—whew don’t get me started on how much children do not respond well to Zoom classes or counseling) that Greenville Elementary School will have a designated site counselor equipped to deal with trauma—especially as the anniversary of the fire and their displacement approaches.

     Your press releases may have bounced back this week as my email account recovers from a storage issue. Please resend to [email protected] if you have an item for the column. Thank you and have a great weekend. Hopefully there are less chainsaws where you are at 6 a.m.

     Here are some of the things happening this week.

Dixie Fire Collaborative    

     The DFC posted a need for a few people to volunteer to serve on an oversight committee regarding recovery funds. Budget experience is helpful and the candidates must be willing to work—collaboratively. Contact Sue Weber at [email protected].

Memorial Weekend 

     The local American Legion and Rotary Club of Greenville have teamed up for Memorial Day celebrations. The festivities start at 10 a.m. at Greenville Cemetery, followed by 10:30 a.m. at the Gorbet Cemetery, 11 a.m. at the Crescent Mills Cemetery, 11:30 a.m. at the Taylorsville Cemetery, and finally 12 p.m. at Chico Jims Cemetery. At 12:30 p.m. at the site of the former American Legion post on Main Street there will be a luncheon with local food vendors on hand. The public is asked to bring chairs “for your comfort.”  At 2 p.m. Greenville Rotary Club will announce the 2021 Community Member of the Year.

A familiar site now in the valley: a magical green carpet below our burned landscape. Photo by Meg Upton

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