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.

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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Preliminary Primary Election Results Are In!

By Duncan A. Kennedy

Tuesday’s statewide direct blanket primary elections have taken place all across California for state, local and federal offices. While results will continue to fluctuate for the next week, as ballots postmarked on Election Day and received up to seven days later will still be counted in the final results, the results of most races seem to have shaken out and The Mountain Messenger can project what most of the one-on-one races in November will look like.


Incumbent Governor Gavin Newsom (D-San Francisco) cruised through the primary as expected; in November, he will face State Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who finished a distant second. Newsom’s Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis (D-Sacramento), faced token Democratic primary opposition and will likely face Deputy Mayor Angela Underwood Jacobs (R-Lancaster). The Attorney General race is still up in the air, but it seems most likely the appointed incumbent Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) will face former Assistant Attorney General Nathan Hochman (R-Los Angeles) to win a full term.

The State Controller race saw Hoover Institute Fellow Lanhee Chen (R-Palo Alto) qualify for the top two as the lone Republican; his opponent will most likely be Board of Equalization Chairwoman Malia Cohen (D-San Francisco). Appointed incumbent Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D-La Mesa) cruised to the general; her opponent will likely be Chief Financial Officer Rob Bernosky (R-Hollister). Incumbent Treasurer Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) easily shook off sexual misconduct allegations to win a spot in the general; the battle for runner-up is contentious, but it seems likely that city councilman Jack Guerrero (R-Cuadhy) will defeat controversy-riddled Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Garden Grove) for that position.

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