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Portola Reporter
Portola , California
March 4, 2015     Portola Reporter
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March 4, 2015

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-8B Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter DITORIAL AND PINION EDITORIAL r / I inues The six-week effort to save Quincy Nursing & Rehabilitation revealed local strengths and national flaws. With an untenably strict timeline, health care and community leaders spearheaded the effort to allow Plumas District Hospital to take over the struggling facility before 36 patients were,displaced and 60 employees lost their jobs. Challenge after challenge emerged and was met thanks to the Herculean efforts of hospital CEO Dr. Jeff Kepple and Plumas County Public Health Director Mimi Hall. The two administrators rode a roller coaster of "Yes, it can work" to "No, it can't," until last week. During a public meeting so somber that it felt like a funeral, the pair shared some of the behind-the-scenes work that led to the decision that a takeover of the nursing home could jeopardize the fmancial viability of the hospital. At the conclusion of their presentation, the crowd, which 20 days earlier had strongly argued for the preservation of the facility, glumly accepted the harsh reality. Kepple and Hall are to be commended for their dogged tenacity in seeking out every option and successfully convincing Cambridge Health, the nursing home's management, to donate $750,000 of its $950,000 asking price for the building and its equipment. Neither had to step up -- but both have a vision for what their entities can contribute to the overall heath of the community. But they didn't act alone. The hospital staff and board of directors joined Kepple in trying to preserve something beyond their normal purview, and Hall enlisted the help of state and federal agencies and elected officials. The facility's closure will have immediate and far-reaching impacts. Of first concern are the patients who selected the Quincy facility to stay close to family and friends. Because of the limited number of in-county alternatives, many will be placed a good distance away. Both Seneca in Chester and Eastern Plumas in Portola have opened their doors to accept as many patients as they can, and that is commendable. In addition to concern for the residents, the facility employed 60, but that number is dwindling. When officials learned Jan. 14 the facility would close, there were 36 residents. Last week there were 28 and by week's end, 21. As patients leave, the facility reduces staff. Facility administrator Denise Huggins describes the employees as "like a family" and said she has been impressed with how they are handling the layoffs, giving priority to younger workerswith children: : ..... !i ............................ Through this difficult time; Huggins and her staff are to be commended for continuing to deliver a high level of care. What the aging facility lacked in amenities it made up for in the compassion of its workers, as noted by one of the consultants hired by the hospital to study the situation. Now these employees will be looking for jobs, many with skills that can't be absorbed easily into the community, and there will be an economic ripple effect. The closure also impacts Feather River College and its nursing program-- the facility served not only as a training ground, but provided jobs for many graduates. Though the facility is closing, all involved have pledged to fmd a long-term solution. The area needs a place to care for its elderly and the hospital needs a place to transfer those who need rehabilitation. Kepple said there are options that he's not ready to publicly share, but they appear to be viable. Hospital board president Bill Wickman has pledged to make skilled nursing part of the hospital's strategic plan. Given the tenacity and out-of-the-box thinking demonstrated during the last month and a haft, there's reason for optimism. While all involved have fought to save the nursing home, it closed and will remain closed for one primary reason-- reimbursement rates for patients don't cover costs. Cambridge posted a loss of $1.2 million in 2014, and consultants estimated that PDH would lose $1 million annually unless it could become a "distinct part" of the hospital -- but even then it would operate at a loss. As America ages, the need for skilled nursing facilities will increase. If something is not done on the state and federal level to increase reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal and Medicare patients, more and more facilities will close. Our local representatives helped out during the immediate crisis, but we encourage themto make the issue an ongoing priority. Feat Pubhshmg gwspaper For breaking news, go to Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Dan McDonald ......... Managing Editor Jenny Lee ................. Photo Editor Ingrid Burke ................ Copy Editor Staff writers: Miriam Cody Debra Moore Michael Condon Maddie Musante Makenzie Davis Ann Powers Ruth Ellis~ M. Kate West Will Farris Aura Whittaker Susan Cort Johnson Sam Williams Greg Knight James Wilson It's time to focus on economic development Ha4ing lived in Plumas County off and on for the better part of the past 30 years, it breaks my heart every time I drive through Greenville and other areas of Indian Valley these days -- I remember a town and Valley that boasted a population of more than 2,000 souls, three gas stations, two grocery stores, four thrift shops (including Clara's Second Time Around, my favorite place on earth), a semi-thriving Main Street and a high school that could muster a championship ll-man football team most years. Spinning the tape of time forward to 2015, all that is left is, in my humble vision, a shadow of the existence that folks who grew up in and called Indian Valley home will remember. Houses and cabins are empty; the population has dwindled to just more than a thousand people and the much-loved Evergreen Market is all that is left for groceries. Papenhausen's Mohawk Trading Co. and Nellz Towne Pump are the only gas in town. The Indians now play eight-man football and the mood, to me, is cheerless drear whether on Main Street or out in the flats of Setzer Road. Maybe I long too strenuously for a time bygone.., a time when jobs were more aplenty in the county, costs were down, governmental regulation was not creeping into every aspect of our lives and a man or woman, with a little elbow grease, could squeak out a living in God's Country, i.e., Indian Valley. MY TURN GREG KNIGHT Staff Writer ff you have followed any of my previous editorials you will know that I am about as anti-government as they come, though there should be a caveat to my ideology: I am against nearly all government above the local or county level. To put it more bluntly, and to borrow the words of the late speaker of the U.S. House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, "All politics is local" and, to that end, all I am left to do is question what the hell the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, especially in District 2, has been up to for the past two decades when it comes to economic development. From what I can tell, courtesy of data from the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce, the only new businesses to open in the past year are Lupines, Flying Monkeys Motorcycle and Jessica Papenhausen selling beads and jewelry out of the Mohawk Gas station. The largest area This week's special days NOT JUST March 7 1876 -- Alexander Graham Bell is granted e AN ORDINARY the patent for his invention of the - DAY telephone. COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI 1985 --The multiperformer rendition of the song "We Are the World," co-written Not just an ordinary day....a sampling weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. March 4 1791 -- Vermont, "The Green Mountain State," becomes the 14th state. The state tree is the sugar maple and the state flower is the red clover. by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, is of released internationally. March 8 Spring ahead! -- Set your clocks ahead; Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. 1917-- The New York Stock Exchange is founded. 1837-- The city of Chicago, Illinois, is incorporated. 1974 -- People Magazine is published for the first time as People Weekly ...... March 5 1965-- The song "My Girl" by the Temptations is Billboard's No. 1 single. 1974 -- The renamed Charles DeGaulle Airport, originally named Paris North Airport, opens in Paris, France. March 9 ,:: ,Happy birthday, Ba bie! The Barbie doll .... turns 56 today, making its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City in 1959 by the Mattel Co. March 6 1899 -- Bayer registers the name "aspirin" as a trademark. 1912 -- The Oreo cookie is introduced by Nabisco. 1981 -- After 19 years presenting the CBS television evening news, Walter Cronkite signs off the air for the last time. March 10 1862 -- The United States federal government issues the first paper money in denominations of $5, $10 and $20 bills. 1940-- Today is the birth date of Chuck Norris, martial artist, actor, screenwriter and part-time Chester resident. He is also a regular Feather Publishing contributor with his C-Force Health and Fitness column. Happy 75th birthday, friend! employers, not counting the Plumas Unified School District, U.S. Forest Service and Greenville Rancheria, are Evergreen Market, Stoy Logging Co. and Pew Logging Co., though the latter two don't have as large of an operation any more. while new retail operations are fme and dandy, they don't hold the economic punch that industrial or professional services hold for a community and its financial security. In my time away from Plumas County it was my privilege to witness and report on truly crooked and downright criminal state, county and local government bodies operating in states like Tennessee, Alaska and Utah and other mayors and supervisors in the Golden State. Places where nepotism rules supreme, votes are pandered on the basis of the good.old-boy network and scandal routinely sells newspapers. In no way am I saying the government in Plumas County is crooked or doing anything nefarious -- I'm just saying I don't think they have a clue when it comes to being forward thinkers on an economic development basis. There are also municipalities in California that, while not "progressive" in the vein of the left-wing, social justice handout movement, are taking the reins of government at the county and municipal level to make a difference economically in these toughest of times in America and California. Now that I am back, and had a chance to see the world outside Plumas County, I am l thoroughly appalled at what the supervisors are not doing to create the conditions conducive to economic growth in the area. How many parcels of commercial or industrial zoned land are available in Indian Valley for a business-government partnership that offers tax and other incentives to manufacturers or other businesses that may want to build, move or grow here? ff those businesses are moving here, why not hold them to a requirement to offer hiring preference to locals or, if appi:opriate, offer tribal and Native American preference to members of the Greenville Rancheria or other natives? Instead, the BOS has spent, in my mind, an inordinate amount of time and the taxpayer's dime hashing out issues such as the intricacies of why the state of Jefferson is a swell idea. For those that don't know, both Siskiyou and Shasta counties have stellar economic and community development programs that are working for the benefit of private sector employers and workers. After Plumas Coun ty's_inost recent low unemployment rate of 4.8 peFcent, ba.qk,in September 2008, the jobl s' /mber ch' if ff to 10.4 percent in December, as reported bY the California Employment Development Department. while there may be just more than i in 10 out of work in Plumas County currently, it is still nowhere near as bad as the 22.3 percent rate we experienced in early 2010. One in 10 is too much for my blood... wouldn't you agree? Then again, anyone in government who thinks that I in 10 out of work in 2014, as opposed to I in 5 in 2010, might just be miraculous, is leading from the rear and needs to examine what he or she is doing keeping the supervisor's chair warm at $46,110 a year. ' R_EMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI ' Historian 100 YEARS AGO ..... 1918 A printing press has been ordered for Plumas County High School. The press will print two pages, each measuring 7 X 10 inches. It is planned to make use of this machine in getting out high school correspondence courses for those who are ready for high school but for various reasons are not able to attend school in 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1965 Some 100 persons attended the luncheon given last week by courthouse officials and employees to honor the retirement of Plumas County Clerk Lois Kehrer. Mrs. Raynelle Slaten became clerk on Monday. Two proposed subdivisions were approved by the Plumas County Board of Supervisors this week: residential and multiple zoning for Mohawk Vista Subdivision located near Blairsden and residential zoning for Warner Valley Subdivision located near Chester. 25 YEARs AGO ..... 1990 person. California Congressman Norm Shumway announced that he will not seek re-election to a seventh term. Democrat challenger Pat Malberg and Republican State Senator John Doolittle continue to campaign for the position. 10 YEARS AGO ..... 2005 The Plumas County Probation Department has moved from the Plumas County courthouse into the old Plumas County Health Department building on Main Street in East Quincy. The Plumas County Health Department has moved into the newly constructed courthouse annex building located north of Quincy near Feather River College. Canyon power surges can create dangerous damages For whatever reason, power surges in the Feather River Canyon are more intense than elsewhere. On Feb. 6, falling trees created a power surge that wiped out power to Plumas and parts of Sierra counties. While businesses were forced to close because electronic cash registers were disabled, Bill and Rosie Harrigan experienced a much more dangerous event. They had four smartmeters for house, shop and office; all were fried. But even more disturbing was what happened to the guesthouse they had been renovating for the past five years. Bill had just f'mished wiring the place, and when he went up to check it out after the surge he discovered that the walls were hot, and a small fire had started. He moved a generator and a water pump to the structure and began pumping water from his holding tank to the guesthouse. A small fire started in the surrounding vegetation but fire crews were quickly on the scene and extinguished that. Most of us in the Twain area had a number of blown circuit breakers and fried surge protectors but damage was minor. Nine days later another huge power surge hit the Twain area. Once again circuit breakers were flipped, but this time damage was more severe. Keith Mahan had a new water pump i MY TURN WILL FARRIS Staff Writer installed a couple of years ago. Instead of using the tried-and-true pressure switch for the pump house, the provider put in a high-tech electronic circuit board-- no more water. I lost my entire entertainment system and the fancy new washing machine that was but a year old. The story behind all this mayhem is the electronics involved. After a couple of years living in the Canyon residents learn that surge protectors are a must for all electronic appliances, but surge protectors have limitations. It's all about the joules. Industry recommendations suggest that a 1,000-joule rated protector will take care of most household applications, unless you live in an area that is prone to large power surges -- then go big. The most critical bit of knowledge I picked up is that all surge protectors are not equal, and they should be replaced after every event. Circuit breakers are not fast enough to prevent surges from reaching you equipIbent, even after they blow. But the main bit of info is that the joules rating of your protector decreases after each event. If you have a 1,000-joule protector and a 200-volt surge comes down the line, you now have an 800-joule protector. If you have a l,O00-volt surge your protector becomes a gang switch with no protection. This is what happened to my entertainment system. It survived the first surge of Feb. 6, but the subsequent power event Feb. 15 went through the surge protector like it didn't exist; which was the case. It had become nothing more than an unprotected power strip. Some of the cheaper protectors actually blow up, but some voltage does get through. How much determines the damage to your equipment. It is time that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. provided more protection to their lines in surge-prevalent areas. I guess you can all figure out that protector replacement is the cheapest way to keep your appliances from becoming scrap after a power event.