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Must preserve our little piece of heaven

Editor’s note: Once in a while a submission comes in that can’t be pigeonholed into a category — it’s not a letter to the editor; it’s not a Where I Stand. Such was the case with the following piece authored by Susan Lake. We think it’s an opinion that many can relate to and reflects sentiments that we share at this newspaper. She’s right; Plumas County is a beautiful place to live. We are very fortunate to have a college here; it impacts us in ways that we probably don’t fully appreciate. And we, along with many residents in this county, want to preserve the unique lifestyle we enjoy.

A little over 15 years ago, my husband and I moved to a small town up in the Sierra Mountains. Our youngest daughter was a senior in high school and she came home one day all excited about something she just couldn’t wait to tell us.

There had been yet another group of representatives at her high school, sharing what their college could offer them if they were to consider coming to their college after graduation. She had all sorts of handouts and she wanted to know if we would go up and take a look. Someone went to a lot of work to put that “special packet” together because it got our attention.

My husband and I told her let us talk about it; you know the look you get when you say that to your child she put everything down and went back to her room. Jack and I started looking at all the information she brought home. We had never heard of Quincy, California, and to be honest seeing this small town had a college was pretty impressive. She had already marked a couple of classes she wanted to take. They had something to do with forestry. We knew Reno but we never took “the back roads” and that was how we describe Highway 70 to our friends when we got back home.

I look back now and have to smile because the directions they had printed up on how to get here for the “Valley People” was to take Highway 80 to Truckee turn on 89 and follow it to 70 and we would end up in the town of Quincy.

Well, she got her wish we told her we would go up for the Family Day activities and see what they were about.

Like I said this packet was pretty special. They made sure there were all the motels listed. One caught my eye so I called, and since I knew we wanted to arrive a day earlier, that would have put us in Quincy after dark. We left Vacaville after I got off work on Friday. When I called, this would be the first of many special people we would meet over that weekend that made Quincy pretty special to us. The person I talked to took my information, told me the room number and then said they would “leave the key” on a hook outside the office. They knew pretty much how long the drive would be so they would be in bed; that was The Pine Hill Motel.

We were late getting there because on Highway 70 we had to wait for a very large number of deer to cross the road and that alone made this adventure special.

We three enjoyed that weekend. From all that Feather River College had to offer to all the stores that we went into that greeted us as if they had known us for years. To the places you could eat at.

When we headed home on Sunday we decided to follow Highway 70 and see where it came out. It was beautiful; the river was running, there were waterfalls everywhere, and as my husband would say the road was fun. We fell in love with the area and we started to look at property — after all, one day we wanted to retire and this really seemed like the right place to do just that.

We ended up buying a lot at a place called Greenhorn Ranch and when we were ready to put a home on it we bought a modular that had siding like a log cabin. One of my co-workers said to me as we were doing all of this, “Susan do you realize you and Jack are living the American Dream. Everyone wants a log cabin in the mountains.”

This is what I am getting to: A lot of you have lived here all your lives, you just took it all for granted, it was home. Those that had a dream of opening a business did. You didn’t worry about your kids being out and about. I am figuring that your children knew the hills and all the best places to go when they wanted to cool off. You didn’t lock your doors at night.

Then there were those, like Jack and I; as parents we wanted to give our girls all the opportunities we could for them to follow their dreams and if that meant letting them go to a college that was away up in the mountains we needed to feel comfortable with it and that is exactly what happened.

My point to all of what I am sharing is this: I know that a town needs money to stay afloat. I know businesses need customers to pay their bills and I don’t have a magic wand to make it all happen. BUT what I do know allowing cannabis to be sold isn’t the answer. It’s a drug plain and simple. Just read the paper each week at the activity that takes place right here and now. Are you going to sit there and tell me: “Your town hasn’t changed?” I have watched it and I find it really sad. Our Sheriff and the men and women that work with him have shared that time and time again.

This Little Piece of Heaven will disappear because the individuals who say it will bring money to our towns are willing to sacrifice the lifestyle that made Plumas County what it is today. The only ones who will profit from the sales aren’t going to care if our children get hooked on it. They won’t care if our child was driving under the influence. They don’t care if our children steal to get the money so they can buy some more. All the taxes collected from the sales will never be enough to cover the cost.

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