7-15 Letters to the Editor

New Fire Station in DV?

Last month the Downieville Volunteer Fire Department (DVFD) announced the need for a new fire station in Downieville. Thank you to all who responded to the article with comments, suggestions and donations. To date we have raised $22,600. We have set a Community Goal of $250,000 with the plan we will be able to qualify for Grants with matching funds. We have adjusted the budget based on suggestions to $1,000,000. A Community
Thermometer tracking the progress on our goal will be displayed at the Community Hall Fire Bay. Again, NO new taxes or assessments are planned for this project.

We are pleased to announce that a discussion has begun with the US Forest Service to develop a shared new Fire Station on the US Forest Service Campus in Downieville. Contributions for financial support to this worthwhile cause can be made through the Downieville Volunteer Firefighters Association a qualified 501(c)3, at PO Box 173, Downieville CA 95936. Please designate a donation for DFPD Fire Station.

Anyone interested in donating time or other resources can contact DVFD Chief Marty Creel or any member of the DFPD at 530 289-3333 or dvillefire@gmail.com.

Frank J. Lang, NP, JD
Deputy Medical Director
Downieville Ambulance & Urgent Care
Downieville, CA 95936

Unprofessional Behavior

I am writing this about an incident occurring on a recent Sunday night in Sierraville about 9:30 pm. At that time I was getting ready to go to bed when I noticed an abundance of red and blue flashing lights out my window. I went to see what was occurring and I saw my son being arrested. However, this is not about the arrest, it’s about what occurred when I approached the officer. I don’t know his name but he had stripes on his sleeve. Was he a PFC, a CPRL or a SGT? Who knows the rank structure in the SCSO? Does the sheriff wear 4 stars on his collar like Patton or Schwarzkopf.

Anyway, as I approached I was met with loud shouts of “Stay There, Do Not Come Near,” I showed my hands were empty and said, “I am not a threat. What is going on?” Still loud and aggressive shouts of “get back, you are in my space, get back.” To me these actions and body language were over the top, aggressive and out of control. I was the only person standing there. I thought police officers were trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation of potentially bad situations. He could have been professional and spoken in a calm manner instead of the angry
aggressive posture he exhibited.

I believe that remedial conflict resolution, anger management training should be mandatory, and a
reassessment of this officer’s professionalism be made. He was loud, aggressive, out of control, and obviously on an adrenaline or cafefine high. Totally unprofessional! Now that I have stated my feelings, I am sure I am downrange with cross hairs on my back.

Wesley E Fowler

Time to Suspend Wildlife Services Contract?

Throughout Plumas County, third grade students are taught that it’s “cool to be kind” to animals. This very worthy program fosters empathy and kindness toward animals and each other. Are we adults living up to these basic codes of decency? Are we adults setting a good example of kindness for our county’s children?

According to our FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request, over 4000 wild animals—4,248 to be exact— bears, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, muskrats, skunks, mountain lions, and others were killed
over the last decade in Plumas and Sierra Counties. It is not kind to shoot a mother coyote just because she’s hungry and we’ve placed cows into her habitat—which are a tempting meal for any predator. It is not kind to kill her, leaving her pups alone, defenseless, and starving. It is not kind to kill beavers, a keystone species essential to river health and river habitat, because we think we know better than they, though they provide us their flood control and fish habitat services for free. It is not kind to trap a fox and leave him for days in his own feces until he slowly and painfully dies of dehydration.

We know according to science that fencing, guard dogs and llamas, and other deterrents can successfully defend livestock from most predation. Killing predators when these effective alternatives exist is simply unethical and unkind. State courts have ruled that renewal of a wildlife killing contract is subject to environmental review, and Plumas and Sierra have no such review in place. Without an environmental review, significant harm is likely, including the inadvertent killing of wolves who are repopulating our wild areas, and remain protected in California.

Now is the perfect time for Plumas and Sierra Counties to suspend their Wildlife Services contract and to adopt more effective non- lethal alternatives used successfully for decades, often with the cooperation and support of ranchers who have installed fencing, guard dogs and llamas, to forestall predation. Marin, Humboldt and
Mendocino counties are also shifting to non-lethal programs and Plumas and Sierra County Supervisors should follow suit. Plumas Board can be e-mailed at: public@countyofplumas.com Sierra Board can be contacted at: hfoster@sierracounty.ca.gov

Josh Hart, Spokesperson
Feather River Action!
Portola, CA

Digging Up Dirt—And Maybe More Ore

By H.A. Silliman

Part 7, Where Two Rivers Meet: A Matter of the Mother Lode

Recovering editor Mack Boyd became, de facto, The Golden Gables’ first guest. The afternoon he arrived, he hobbled in on a cane with help from Sally. We settled him into a makeshift bedroom on the first floor of the main house.

“Much appreciate this,” he said, weakly. “I won’t stay too long.” He had lost 20 pounds. His yellow skin hung loosely on his face.

The boyish demeanor of “Coach’s Kid” had dissipated. Clearly middle-aged now, he was frail at that. Sally handed over a bag of medication with the instructions. She would stop in every day to check on him and bring food.

“Naturally, I couldn’t visit the golf course,” Sally said, “but we’ll go soon.” With that she dashed off, promising to return with a cheesecake for dessert.

By then, the children were in from school and excited to have another visitor. They fussed over him, brought towels, puffed up pillows and found magazines from Rennie’s library. Richie pitched in, too, and gave him the latest Ledger. So, just like that, another troubled soul blended into our routine and life went on.

Over my first cup of coffee with Mack, he asked for the latest gossip. I told him I’d didn’t know much.

“Any word on who inherits Rennie’s company?”

The subject of the Two Rivers Telephone and Telegraph Co. had, indeed, been on folks’ minds since Renwick died. In all the years I worked for Rennie, and though we’d been close, he hadn’t talked much about business affairs.

“The last thing I heard, Attorney Paul Bartley was working on it,” I said.

Babe also visited, checking in about newspaper business. Mack asked me to temporarily help keep the subscription list up-to-date. I converted the pantry into the inn back-office, set up my computer
there and also began organizing for The Golden Gables business. One evening, Judge Fergulia and Deputy Jack stopped by and asked to speak with Richie. They went upstairs to his room. When they left, they didn’t say a word to me! Later, the boy came downstairs and rummaged in the kitchen.

“I’m making hot chocolate,” he said. “Would you like a cup?”

I was at the dining room table and soon he brought in the mugs, sat down. “That was weird—those guys visiting,” he began. “They asked me if I’d ever seen any of Dad’s gold. He showed me a few small pieces. The rest he said he was in a safe deposit box in a bank. They asked me which one, and I said probably here.”

“Have you ever found gold?”

“Not by myself. I was with Dad some nights when he picked some rocks he said were gold out of the creek. I mainly dug dirt.”

Here, I thought, I could open a conversation about his mother, so asked, “What did your mom think about the gold?

“I don’t know. She went looking in the creek one time. Didn’t find any. Mom asked to see the nuggets, but Dad said they were already in the bank—or maybe sold—I forget.”

He shook his head, eyes watering. “When I think about this stuff, my stomach hurts. So I don’t. It’s better that way. I don’t care about the gold. I just want my old life back.”

I wondered if he really knew exactly what his old life had been—father a secret drinker, mother maybe having an affair. The boy rose then and walked over to the little fireplace in the kitchen. On the mantle were photos of the kids, my late husband and Rennie. He picked up the photo of Rennie, which showed him in his usual spot on the company patio. “Who’s this? Your grandfather?”

“No, that’s the man who owned the telephone business in town. Mr. Selleck. This was his house. You remember him?”

Richie said he didn’t, and I wasn’t surprised, since the Wyders lived out of town. “There’s some odd about him,” Richie said, studying the photo closely. “He’s looks familiar, somehow, like I’ve seen this face be-

The next day, Sally stopped by to check on Mack and then joined me for coffee. “He’s doing better already,” she said. “Would you know, Deputy Jack paid a visit at the deli. Wants me to chat up Mack about his digging in the graveyard. They know he found coins. Some were scattered around the hole. Anyway, they want the gold. Says it belongs to town since The Church of Peter and Paul is the town property.” I told her about Jack and the judge’s visit the night before—and what I’d found out then from Richie.

“Look at us—a real pair of sleuths. Grown-up Nancy Drews we are! That’s country living for you, keeping tabs on the neighbors,” Sally exclaimed, and then whispered, “So, do you think Barbara is really missing?”

We chewed on that for a bit—wondered if credit card or phone records had been checked for recent activity. Taking the initiative, I called Deputy Jack right then and put him on speaker phone so Sally could hear. He said that they hadn’t searched the Wyder home yet, but planned to soon.

“Greg Halsam at the bank says Don Wyder didn’t have a safety deposit box,” Deputy Jack added. “Maybe there’s one in Nevada City or somewhere else. The thing is, where’s all the gold that Donny-boy was talking about?”

“You think Barbara took it?” I asked.

“Don’t know. It would be better if she had––then that means she’s alive. The gold is the key. If there’s no gold, why was Don digging?” He left that thought hanging and hung up.

Weighing that idea, we sat silently, and then Sally said, “After the kids leave for school tomorrow, let’s go to Red Eagle. Barbara Wyder spent more time golfing then at home. Someone there must know something!”

Writer H.A. Silliman grew up in the Gold Rush country and now lives in California’s Outback on a small ranch with a dog named Bodie. Copyright © 2021. The people, places, and events portrayed in The Two Rivers Anthology are fictional or fictionally portrayed.

Ferries, Diners and General Dynamics

By Lenny Ackerman

It is July and my monthly trip to camp in Maine unfolds. This time Patti and I decided to break up the long drive north at the halfway point with a three-week stay in Kennebunk, home of the summer residence of President Bush. I thought we should alert the Bush family that we were coming but given that I have never met them Patti wisely talked me out of it. Maybe we’ll bump into them.

The gossip about the Hamptons being overrun by post-pandemic traffic proved true. The trip from home in East Hampton to the cross-sound ferry on the North Fork at Orient Point usually takes less than an hour. The lines were so backed up for the ferry at Shelter Island it added an extra hour to the trip.

The New London ferry was packed with vacationers, so we made our way to the upper deck to escape the unmasked crowds. We found a vacant bench and took in the water views, serene but for the noisy stream of dogs and youngsters running around the perimeter of the deck and up and down the stairs. The brisk winds kept me
from opening the New York Times, as did the heaving of the ship in rough waters. At least there was no traffic.

As we moved closer to shore, we could see the shipyards of General Dynamics with submarines in the process of completion. Pretty cool how they manufacture a submarine. They start above water then submerge the hull while they work the interiors. As the ferry pulled into port, we navigated the crowds back down to our car, finally making our way off the New London ship, into the New London traffic. The busy roads were a clear indication that people
are traveling post-pandemic.

Patti said perhaps next year they will drive to Europe. She is so observant. So far, it was a four-hour trip that should have taken less than three hours. Oh well–it’s vacation, not work, I guess. Now I had lunch to look forward to which for me is as important as getting to the rental house in Kennebunk. But then things took an unexpected turn. On Rte 490 near Worcester, Mass., we heard the sudden and unpleasant sound of metal dragging beneath the car. Could it have something to do with my backing up the car this morning, turning around in the driveway and feeling a bump? Whatever it was we had to pull over. I spied an exit with a sign for a body shop and headed for it.

We parked and I went in nonchalantly, pretending I needed a restroom—which I desperately did. A young man pointed toward a door in the back among the shelves of tools and car parts. “By the way,” I asked, “do you have a minute to look at my car? We ran over something in the road, and it damaged something underneath. I’m concerned it may cause an accident.” He agreed to take a look, but we would have to wait–and so would lunch. Seems something pretty large got caught under the tailpipe and tore it clean off. Well, an hour and a half and $100 dollars later–and a piece of the bumper in my hands–the car was repaired and, most importantly, we had directions to a diner up the road.

The best part of the trip so far was beginning. The diner was a throwback from the 1950s. Not a replica but the real thing. Six wooden booths and a dozen vinyl-covered stools at a counter. Behind the counter was a small grill used for everything from breakfast to dinner. It was the kind of place I recall from my youth in upstate New York

The counter at the diner.

and during the 1960s in the Hamptons. All are gone now, replaced by either fast food or fancy gourmet restaurants. Whatever happened to the great American diner? The crowd in this one was diverse and lively. The woman behind the counter represented the third generation of the same family of owners. Patti’s hamburger and my omelet were delicious and lunch for two was an exorbitant $25.

Before leaving I took some photos around the place and the owner didn’t seem to mind. We left Worcester satisfied. Patti was now talking to me after I damaged her car and my stomach was full. Oh––and I can’t forget to mention the French fries. They were the old-fashioned kind-hot and not greasy. These days what you usually get is oily and room temperature.

Anyway, the rest of the ride was uneventful and by the time we got to our house on the shore of Kennebunk, I was ready for a nap. As we unpacked, I noticed the tide was out. I took a deep breath of sea air and it was grand.