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Portola , California
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October 9, 2013     Portola Reporter
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October 9, 2013
 

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Vol, 86, No, 24 * Feather Publishing Co,, Inc, g Portola and Surrounding Areas 530-832-4646 Wednesday, Oct, 9, 2013 5O Board appoints interim mental health director Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com During its Oct. 1 meeting, the Plumas Board of Supervisors appointed Peter Livingston, a 13-year employee of the mental health department, to serve as that department's interim director. Livingston will succeed Michael Gunter, who was named interim director following the dismissal of Mental Health Director Kimball Pier on Sept. 18. Human Resources Director Gayla Trumbo said that Gunter had been named interim director because he was next in the line of succession at the department, but it wasn't designed to be the long-term solution. Livingston's appointment came after an hour-long closed session. In making the announcement, County Counsel Craig Settlemire said the appointment could be for a number of weeks or up to a year, while the supervisors "take time to evaluate the department and see what's best." "This is a situation where we need to hit the skids and serve the immediate needs of the clients we are already serving and those who are on the waiting list," Supervisor Jon Kennedy said during an interview Oct. 3. "Hiring another director right away won't solve that problem." Kennedy said he is confident that the department's staff is weU-qualified and that with some redistribution of the caseload, current clients could be accommodated. "But we need to staff up for those who are on the waiting list." As for selecting Livingston, Kennedy said, "I'm very confident that Peter can handle it. He has experience and he really, really cares." When asked to comment about his new role, Livingston, who has been working as a mental health therapist II, said that it would be premature to discuss his plans for the department, but that he was busy acclimating himself to the position of director. A little advice John Sebold, who served as Plumas County's mental health director for 12 years before retiring in June 2012, said during an interview prior to Livingston's appointment that he would advise the supervisors to find a retired mental health director to fill an interim appointment. See Director, page 5A II1[1[!![1! III1! !lJ !!!11! To subscribe to the Reporter, call 530-832-4646 Time for Fall From left, Aubrey Funk, Anna Blair, Pearl Davis and Justine Rapacilo hold up their intricately decorated pumpkins at the Portola Business Association Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 5. The festival offered pumpkin-decorating contests, chili cook-offs and face painting for all Portola residents ready to greet the fall. Photos by Carolyn Carter Could blomass boiler heat up Portola? Laura Beaton Staff Writer Ibeaton@plu masnews.com With a seemingly unending surplus of biomass produced as a byproduct of logging and fire-safe clearing, a biomass-fired boiler could save Plumas customers tens of thousands of dollars a year. Wisewood Inc., developer of state-of-the-art biomass energy projects, estimated a $50,000 - $60,000 savings for Portola Junior-Senior High School's heating costs ifa biomass-fired boiler is employed. The school board said at its Oct. 3 meeting that it is interested in learning more See Boiler, page 4A Supervisors blast Congress over shutdown Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com Supervisors Lori Simpson and Jon Kennedy shared their sentiments regarding the federal government shutdown during the Plumas Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 1. "I want to go on record as saying I'm ashamed of our Congressi" Supervisor Simpson said of the shutdown. "They're paid to solve problems. That's b.s." Supervisor Kennedy read a statement that he had made during a radio interview earlier that morning: "Both parties should be ashamed. "They should shed their Armani suits, don a Pendleton and work boots, and get to work." Jon Kennedy . District S Supervisor They should be ashamed to look into the mirror. "Instead of worrying so much about press conferences, dressing to the 'nines' and talk about how the 'other party' should have done better.., they should shed their Armani suits, don a Pendleton and work boots, and get to work. "Actually, even better... keep their pajamas on, stay home and let their staff work it out. These knuckleheads really have no clue anyway:" Both supervisors' remarks came following an update provided by Plumas National Forest spokeswoman Lee Anne Schramel. "I'm going to be essential for another hour and 45 minutes," Schramel said, before, she too, who is classified as "nonessential," would be on furlough. She assured the board that the shutdown would not affect essential services within the Forest Service such as firefighting and salvage timber sales that were the result of an emergency declaration. Schramel said that people can still recreate in the forests, but campgrounds operated by concessionaires will be closed. People can still cut firewood with a permit, but those who had not yet obtained a permit will be unable to do so. And, she reminded the board, law enforcement is considered an essential service, so a permit will be needed. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ROUNDUP Out and about Supervisors Kevin Goss, Jon Kennedy and Terry Swofford discussed their attendance at the Rural County Representatives of California conference in South Lake Tahoe on See Blast, page 5A Found! Owner almost gave up hope Carolyn Carter Staff Writer ccarter@plumasnews.com When many owners lose their cats, they might eventually accept that the independent animal has decided to make its way in the world without them. When Cassie McNamara's ocicat, Oscar, escaped from his pet sitter in Portola, there was no negotiating with the call of the wild -- she was going to get him back. After 26 days roaming the streets of Portola, Oscar :: found his way back into the arms of his grateful owner. Oscar has been a part of the McNamara family for about four years. McNamara said she got him at Pet Smart when he was 1-1/2 years old. Being an ocicat, he has distinct markings of light and dark gray, similar to wild cats, and McNamara said when she saw him she knew ,she had to have him. McNamara says Oscar enjoys playing with cloth balls, sitting in laps and sneaking trips outside. But Oscar's amazing Oscar, a 5-year-old ocicat, rubs against his owner, Cassie McNamara, a couple weeks after being reunited with her. He was missing for 26 days. Photo by Carolyn Carter adventure didn't really start until Cassie and her husband, David, left for Europe for a two-week vacation in September. Oscar was then transferred from his big comfy house at Whitehawk Ranch to a friend's house in Portola. A day after residing in his temporary home, he was gone. See Cat, page 5A Wife had reported victim as missing A Portola man who had been reported missing was found dead Wednesday, Oct. 2, after apparently suffering fatal injuries in a single-vehicle accident. Lynn Duane Jones, 67, was found in his 1999 Jeep after someone reported seeing a vehicle over an embankment Wednesday morning on Lower Bonita Ridge Road. According to the California Highway Patrol, the caller said the male driver was unresponsive. Emergency personnel arrived on the scene and pronounced Jones dead. Jones, who was the only person in the vehicle, was reporting missing by his wife Oct. 1. Furlough Friday ends County employees back to work Oct. 12 Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com It will be business as usual for county departments this week, as Furlough Friday officially ends Oct. 12. Many county employees had been working four nine-hour days, with most offices closed to the public on Fridays. But that era came to an end as the Plumas County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2013-14 budget Oct. 1 and restored county employees to full time in the process. The furloughs helped result in $1 million less in expenditures during the past fiscal year. The total 2013-14 county budget comes in at $78,626,821, with the general fund accounting for $28,053,384 of expenditures. The budget contains 363.658 allocated positions, though not all positions are filled. The county has a balanced budget, a $2 million reserve, and $450,000 in its contingency fund. During the Oct. 1 meeting, the supervisors added $100,000 to the contingency fund to consider hiring a code compliance officer. The Oct. 1 meeting was a continuation of the Sept. 18 public hearing, during See Fridays, page 5A