Month: May 2022

2022 Plumas Sierra County Fair

By John Steffanic

QUINCY – Sometime in our past, there was a big event called the county fair. It was a place where people from across the county came to gather, see old friends and show off their animals, preserved foods, hay and a drawing or photo. They ate food that you couldn’t get at the local diner and drank beer that WAS available at the local bar, but it tasted better at the fair. They were entertained by musicians and magicians and acrobats and puppets and each other. They could put all that food and drink at risk by riding machines that spun them around and flipped them upside down. It was a simpler time. It was the BEST time. Will we ever feel that way again?

Darn straight! We are pretty sure we remember how to do this and we’re giving it our best shot! The 2022 Plumas Sierra County Fair comes alive again this July 28-31 in Quincy, California. It’s been a long time since the young and old residents of Plumas and Sierra Counties have walked through the front gates to the sounds and sights of the fair. Let us remind you how it all works.

You come to the fairgrounds and park out front. It costs $3 per car, and we mainly use that as a fund raiser, so thanks for kicking in. Admission to the fair is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors/students (13-17 & 62+), and $4 for kids (6-12 years). You can buy cheaper, weekly passes if you are planning on going at least two days. Once you get into the fairgrounds, you will see a good selection of food vendors, offering everything from mini donuts to funnel cakes, Thai BBQ to corn dogs. There’s entertainment from the moment you pass through the gates – steel drums, a mind reader, marionettes, Cisco Jim’s Cowboy Camp, and more. You will find the Imagination Gallery in the Mineral Building where you can play giant games, like Simon on a device taller than most fairgoers. A new presentation comes in the form of Powerhouse; high energy tap dancing and clogging act featuring professional dancers that have competed on national television. Probably one of the most popular acts to ever perform at the Plumas Sierra County Fair is Street Drum Corp, and they’re coming back. These guys have won national competitions and love Plumas County. Another “never before seen” show in Plumas County is the Pee Wee Stampede. They’ve been at the Texas State Fair for over 17 years and are rolling into Quincy for Fair Week. This highly entertaining show is a “hands on” method of instilling the cowboy ways to kids 3 to 6 years old. It’s a kid’s rodeo with music, stick horses and bulls, cowboy hats, chaps, rodeo back numbers, trophies and ribbons. Yeehaw!

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Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

Solar Flares and Sunspots

Image Credit: David Pinsky

A while back I wrote about the cycles of our Sun, so let’s spend a bit more time on two major aspects of the Sun – sunspots and solar flares.

A sunspot is a cooler part of the Sun’s surface. With average surface temps of 10,000 F, the 6,700 F sunspots seem dark by comparison. They form when bends in the magnetic field lines dip into the sun, deflecting the rising hot plasma to the side. Similar to placing a small pot of water into a large boiling pot, displacing the rising hot water.

Solar flares also follow magnetic field lines that arc above the Sun. These rising bands of plasma can be many tens of times larger than the Earth. If the field lines snap, a blast of plasma is sent out into space, called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). This is the stuff that can cause blackouts and auroras on Earth.

As the sun continues into its active cycle, look for more images like this of our closest star.

Keep lookin’ up!

The Cowboy Connection to White Sulphur Springs Ranch

By John Lullo

He is a frequent visitor at the Mohawk Community Resource Center (MCRC) in Blairsden. He enjoys using the library, and some of the other conveniences. As it is for so many residents of Eastern Plumas County the resource center is a familiar and important place. In the course of his many visits he got to know the MCRC coordinator, Holly Johnson. After a while, and many conversations later, Holly realized that this guy had an important story to tell. He’s a senior citizen, a long time resident of Plumas County, and a part of the history of White Sulphur Springs Ranch.

His name is Paul Bianco. Holly arranged for Paul to tell his story to a couple of Mohawk Valley Stewardship Council (MVSC) volunteers. The MVSC are the stewards of White Sulphur Springs Ranch and Paul’s history took on a special meaning for these people and their organization.

Paul’s grandfather came to Ellis Island from Italy in 1917, probably to escape the world war that was destroying Europe. Paul’s father was a World War II naval veteran and Paul was born in San Francisco in 1946. The very definition of a baby boomer. He was in his late 30’s, on a long horseback ride on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1985, when he stopped for a while in Graeagle. In his words he was “overwhelmed” by the appearance and the ambiance of the community. He saw an impressive looking gent that was striding through the park. The guy stopped to pick up a piece of trash and put it in his pocket. Paul decided then that he wanted to be a part of this community. He found out later that the impressive stranger he saw was Harvey West. Being an experienced horseman, Paul stopped at the Graeagle Stables to ask for a job. Both the horses and the grounds were in terrible shape. He offered to work at the stables in order to improve the conditions and establish himself in the community, knowing that he would someday own this business. After less than two years working as a wrangler he made the right offer to buy and became the new owner.

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Supervisors Meet in Loyalton

By Carl Butz

LOYALTON – This past Tuesday, May 17, the sky was cloudless when the Sierra County Board of Supervisors assembled for an amiable meeting at the Social Hall in Loyalton. The weather outside may have brightened their mood, but Supervisor LeBlanc’s report on the very successful return of Timberfest to Loyalton over the weekend definitely set a positive tone for the session.

Yes, Timberfest brought out a good, loud crowd who enjoyed the traditional truck parade, the competitive events, and the food available at the event. Being a big success, LeBlanc said plans are already at work to expand Timberfest into a two-day function next year.

As for the regular US Forest Service reports on activities affecting Sierra County, Rachel Hutchinson, Acting Sierraville District Ranger, pleased the Supervisors when reporting the problems with opening campgrounds at Jackson Meadows this summer have been ironed out with the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and these facilities should be available to the public by mid-June.

The Board also was happy to support the drafting of a letter to the USFS by Tim Beals concerning Sierra County’s priorities for the use of new fire fuel reduction funding coming to the federal agency this year. Tim Beals listed five “shovel ready” projects to include in the letter: 1) completion of the North Yuba Project; 2) implementation of the 1,200 acre Greene Acres Project; 3) realization of the long-standing, but dormant Forest City Management Plan; 4) partnering with the “dubious” Caltrans Fire Fuel Treatment project along state highway corridors snaking through the county; and 5) treating fuel build-ups along most Sierra County roads, an effort he estimated would cost between $400K and $750K. Supervisor Roen added a sixth priority: addressing the overgrown wildland-urban-interfaces (WUIs) surrounding every single community on the westside of Sierra County.

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Katie’s Sightings

By Katie O’Hara Kelly

Neighborhood News!

Black Bear – Ursus americanus

On one of my morning wanders this week, I ran into my friends Jack and Linda on the road. They had JUST photographed a Black Bear in our neighborhood! So, naturally I hot-footed it to the location where they had seen it, and luckily it was still there! Yahoo! I didn’t want to disturb the bear, so I kept my distance, and zoomed in with my camera. It was foraging in a small grassy area, mainly eating clover! It didn’t appear to be much interested in me, and only looked at me from time to time while it foraged! It was a medium-sized, very healthy looking bear! After just a few minutes I left the bear to himself. I very rarely see Black Bears during the day. What a thrill it was to watch this one foraging on plants!

Black Bears average 3′-3’5” in height, 4’6″-6’2″ in length, and 203 lbs. – 587 lbs. in weight. Despite their large size, they are not usually predators. They mainly eat insects, grubs, fruit, berries, twigs, bugs, leaves, nuts, roots, the cambium layer of trees, honey, and fish. Occasionally they will eat small to medium-sized mammals and carrion. They are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk), but can be seen at any time of the day. Their range is typically 8-10 square miles, and occasionally up to 15 square miles. Males and females are solitary except briefly during mating. However, offspring will stay with their mother for up to 17 months. I wonder if the three cubs I saw last September, are still with their mother. Maybe this bear is one of those cubs!

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