Local News

Plumas-Sierra County Fair Board Meets, Makes Decisions

By Duncan A. Kennedy

Last month, May 18th, saw the Plumas-Sierra County Fair Board of Directors convene for the first time since March. The Board discussed preparations for this year’s fair, budgetary concerns, and the recent “Innovation Hub” project that the fair has been working on in Indian Valley recently. Present were Board President Cindy Noble, Vice-President Chris Kennedy, and Directors Kenny Chance, Jenay Cogle, Susan Neer, Jim Griffin, and Duncan Kennedy. Absent was Director Andrea Ceresola; this was also the first meeting since Director Darlene Buckhout’s resignation in March.

Fair Manager John Steffanic gave his Manager’s Report at the start of the meeting. According to Steffanic, the effort to retrofit locks on buildings is still roadblocked since the previous locksmith’s death in 2020. The fair has acquired 100 new padded chairs for events and three new fans for the Swine Barns. Serpilio Hall’s floor will be ground down and smoothed out in August. The Plumas County Board of Supervisors has approved a supplemental budget for infrastructure maintenance on projects such as the roof of the Junior Ag Barn.

The Financial Report saw Vice-President C. Kennedy and Director D. Kennedy raise concerns regarding a $594,000 transfer out of fair accounts to Plumas County for the new county jail project. Steffanic assuaged those concerns with more details – the transfer was backing for a state bridge loan, and the transfer has already been repaid. The fair’s fiscal year ends on June 30th, and so far is mainly within budget.

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Downieville High School’s Class of 2022 Receive Diplomas and Throw Mortarboards into the Air

By Carl Butz

Left to Right: Katie Epps, Faith Dupree, Gillian Rust, Conner White, Jesse Folsom, Dylan Martinelli, and Jacob Sainsbury, members of the Downieville High School’s class of 2022, while asssembled on the veranda of the Masonic Hall at the beginning of their graduation ceremony.

In Downieville, on a beautiful late afternoon this past Saturday, a full-capacity crowd assembled at Tin Cup Diggings Park next to the Downie River to witness the graduation ceremony for Downieville High School (DHS) class of 2022.

The proceeding was opened with James Berardi, now Superintendent for the Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District and a 1982 graduate of DHS, calling for a moment of silent recognition for Mike Moore, the teacher, principal, school superintendent, and School Board Trustee who died early this month after 50 years of service to education in Sierra County. He closed his remarks by encouraging the students to venture boldly into the world, citing Albert Einstein’s famous observation, “A person who never made a mistake is a person who never tried anything new.”

Next, Jacob (Jake) Sainsbury, the class Salutatorian, addressed the audience and expressed his thanks for the wisdom, guidance, and support he had been provided by his parents, teachers, and the entire community during his years in school. Sainsbury also spoke about his classmates, extolling the group’s ability to work together, during a very unique and challenging period. He closed with a glance at his soon-to-be fellow graduates and a boisterous shout, “We did it!”

The class Valedictorian, Dylan Martinelli was the next speaker. He also thanked the community, saying their “amazing support” was a tremendous help. He also answered the question of “How do you become a valedictorian?” by saying, “Say Yes.” (In fact, having a greater than 3.5 GPA throughout his four years of high school, earning him a lifetime membership in the California Scholarship Federation, probably helped him a great deal, too.)

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Romano’s Farmers Market Open on Fridays

The weekly farmers market in Sierra Valley is now in full swing, every Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. throughout the summer until Sept. 16. Located in Beckwourth on A23 just south of Highway 70, Romano’s Farmers Market is California’s only on-farm certified farmers market. Multiple vendors offer a wide array of fresh fruit and vegetables—as well as cheese, fish, wine, honey, handcrafted items, and more. There’s a food truck to fulfill your lunch cravings and live music to enjoy. With the calendar now well into June, the vendors and their offerings will be plentiful this Friday, with two very popular booths, offering tasty baked goods and great local produce, set to be there. https://www.sierravalleyfarms.com.

Highway 70 Blocked By Rockslides

By Duncan A. Kennedy

BELDEN – The storm system that passed over Northern California and Southern Oregon this past weekend had many benefits – providing a late-season moisture boost for crops, temporarily mitigating fire danger, and cooling off what has otherwise been a very hot late spring – but it hasn’t been without its drawbacks. Heavy rains over bare ground exposed by the Dixie Fire in the North Fork of the Feather River Canyon caused several large debris flows between Caribou and Belden on Sunday, June 12, near Rock Creek Powerhouse.

State Route 70 was a direct casualty of the debris flows which crossed the road in three places and stranded a couple of motorists within knee-deep flows of ash, rock, mud and burnt tree debris.

According to Plumas News’s interview of Plumas County Search & Rescue (PCSAR) coordinator Mike Grant, both vehicles were headed westbound – a lone woman was going to Oroville, while a couple were returning from a weekend stay with friends near Chester. The California Highway Patrol transported the former to Oroville, while PCSAR took the latter to meet their friends back at the Greenville Wye.

According to Grant’s interview, the conditions were incredibly hazardous during the rescue, with driving rain and 60-70 MPH winds preventing a helicopter rescue and would have made any injury complications very difficult to evacuate. Currently, SR-70 is closed at the Greenville Wye and Jarbo Gap with no estimated time of reopening. Motorists traveling from Plumas County to the Chico-Oroville area are advised to use alternate routes such as the Oroville-Quincy Highway instead.

“Bear-i-versary” Revisited

This week marks the “10-year bear-i-versary” for the Steinwert family and the time when the following Letter to the Editor was published here, on June14th, 2012. They would like everyone to know they are still incredibly grateful to this community and “The fact we are able to have a home here now so we can surround ourselves with the people of Downieville is truly magical. Much love, Scott and Laurie.”

Bearly Doing Well


I want to express my heartfelt appreciation and admiration at the kindness and care your town has shown me this week.

Apparently my tale has been told and grown exponentially over the past few days. I was the mountain biker who met up with a bear. The bear won. Let me share my version … if you can find the bear, perhaps he’ll share his.

We arrived for a week Friday afternoon and I set out on my first ride Saturday morning. On the way to Sierra City, I made fast friends with the flag woman as we shared our love of Downieville, Oregon and the best approach to raising kids. I finally headed up the Trail of Tears to Packer Saddle. Having ridden up (no shuttle for me), I opted for the easy way down: County Road 93, thinking I might hurt myself if I risked the Downieville Downhill.

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