Burney Water Board passes 2018-2019 budget, discusses parks, water safety, and other issues

At their regular monthly meeting on Thursday July 19th The Burney Water District Board passed the 2018-2019 budget and discussed various local issues.

BWD members Tanya Taylor, Fred Ryness, Roger Borkey, Britta Rogers, and Jim Hamlin

Board President Fred Ryness, Vice President Jim Hamlin, and Directors Tanya Taylor, Roger Borkey, and Britta Rogers were present. District Manager Willie Rodriguez and Pool Manager Stephanie McQuade also attended.

The main item on the agenda was review and passage of the 2018-2019 budget. The budget is divided into three areas: water, sewer, and pool.

For water, total revenues are expected to be $701,000, total labor expenses $291,500, and total general expenses $518,500 for a net loss of $109,000. The deficit is due to depreciation expenses of $109,000.

For sewer, total revenues are expected to be $656,000, total labor expenses $286,500 and total general expenses $484,400, for a net loss of $114,900. Once again, the loss is due primarily to a depreciation expense of $115,000.

For pool, total revenues are expected to be $126,500, total labor expenses 58,150, and total general expenses 68,350 resulting in a balance of zero.

District Manager Rodriquez said that revenues from water fees are down due to decreased water usage by BWD residential customers. It appears that the water use restrictions imposed during the drought have affected people’s use. After the restrictions were lifted, people have not raised their watering back to prior levels.

The budget was passed unanimously. The full budget is available for the public to review at the Burney Water District office.

During the Public Speakers portion of the meeting Lola Harris commented that she was concerned that the lawns at Washburn Park were not being watered or mowed. She was concerned about fire hazard and that the grass could die. Rodriquez explained that there were sprinkler problems that would be addressed and said that watering would begin within seven days.

The Board further discussed overall issues relating to parks in Burney including Washburn, Lions, and Bailey Parks. Rodriguez said that he attended a stakeholders meeting which included owners and users of the parks. Among those included were representatives of BWD, the Fall River Joint Unified School District, Tri County Community Network, the Lions Club, and Little League. This meeting was the first of a series of proposed meetings.

The purpose of the meetings will be to discuss the situation of the parks in Burney and to explore models and strategies for long-term maintenance and increased usage. It is hoped once the specific and concrete needs of the parks – including maintenance, manpower, insurance, etc. – are assessed, there will be a general town meeting at which individuals and organizations can discuss what they want, how best to achieve that, and what they are willing to do to help.

On other topics, Fred Ryness raised two issues. The first concerned pool fees for commercial BWD customers. Rodriguez explained how the fees were assessed by meter and that commercial customers could receive pool passes in return for fee payment.

The other topic concerned low water pressure in Las Colinas Mobile Home Park. Ryness said that water pressure within the park was very low and he was concerned whether there might be a resulting public health risk. Rodriguez said that water supplied to the main meter at the park was safe and of adequate pressure. Water distribution, flow and metering within the park was the responsibility of the park itself. He said that he would do his best to check into it, but that if there were a problem within the park, that would not be under BWD jurisdiction and concerns should be reported to the health department.

During the Pool Manager’s Report, Rodriguez said that some customers had reported that rumors were going around that Burney Creek was polluted with high levels of E. coli bacteria and that BWD sewage overflows or spillage might be responsible. Rodriguez informed the board that he checked all possible locations at which overflow or spillage might occur and found no problem. As an additional precaution he had BWD water supply tested at several locations and found 0% E. coli. BWD water is safe and the sewage system is intact.

Rodriguez also said that he had heard of no reports of symptoms that may have been caused by E. coli from anyone swimming in the creek. He has no way of gauging the presence of E. coli in the water in Burney Creek and he doesn’t know the source of the rumor or their reliability. He said that he will check with other organizations such as the environmental officers of the Pit River Tribe to see if they have any information concerning the matter.

In her report, Stephanie McQuade said that pool attendance has been good this summer. There have been no major problems and what minor issues have arisen have been dealt with as they arose. Top Hat Energy has installed the solar panels, work on the interface with PG&E and necessary paperwork is progressing, so the solar electric system should be operational this August. Ms. McQuade said that the closing date for the pool this year would be August 31.


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Sierra Pacific plans to have new Burney sawmill building completed and operational by the end of November

Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) is currently constructing a new sawmill to replace the current mill at their Burney Division located on Highway 299 West of Burney. Construction is proceeding on schedule. The new mill startup is currently scheduled for late November.

Burney Mill Manager Robbie Terras, Northern Sierra Community Relations Manager Kristy Lanham, and Northern Sierra/Coastal Operations Manager Shane Young onsite as concrete is poured

Project Manager Robbie Terras said, “This is a very important project for SPI. We have a fantastic basketful of various types of timber in the Burney area. This project will help establish and maintain longevity for SPI in this community for a long time in to the future.”

The Burney sawmill processes white fir, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and sugar pine. When complete, the new facility will bring an increase in productivity of approximately 35%.

New Sawmill going up

Construction began in April when the first pilings were put in. The entire foundation is expected to be finished in 3-4 weeks. Because the new building has a 54-foot-high ceiling, it will have overhead cranes which will help in the transfer and installation of the equipment. Also, this is the first time an SPI manufacturing facility will have everything bolt-connected, which will decrease the amount of welding necessary.

Construction of the new sawmill, including electrical and underground, planer, building erection, fire systems, and sub steel and equipment setting, will be completed by early September.

Crew consulting with a CGI inspector

SPI is currently planning to shut down mill operations for a short period beginning on September 26, in order to transfer sawmill equipment from the old facility to the new. There will be no layoffs during the transfer period. Tasks have already been assigned to current crewmembers to help with the transfer and installation.

Mill Manager Robbie Terras and Northern Sierra/Coastal Operations Manager Shane Young explain details of the ongoing construction project

The Burney sawmill operation currently employs more than 170 men and women. Ten new jobs been have added to help with the sawmill upgrade. Once the new mill is completed, additional jobs in the planer will be created due to increased output. Increased production will also bring an increase in demand for logs to be brought in from local logging contractors, who harvest and deliver timber to the mill.

In addition to Burney SPI crewmembers and men and women from the Sierra Pacific Fabrication Shop in Anderson, four outside contractors will be involved in the project. Terras said there are approximately 40 contractors who have come to Burney to work. By completion, there will be more than 100 folks who have participated in the project, and by so doing have contributed to the intermountain area’s local economy.

After the new sawmill is on-line and fully operational, the existing facility will be decommissioned; all materials will be reused or recycled.

The old sawmill building will be decommissioned

SPI Northern Sierra Community Relations Manager Kristy Lanham explained that “ SPI has a very detailed and thorough process for reforestation in accordance with our 100-year Sustained Yield Plan. Our forests and mills are all third party certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). SPI’s participation in the SFI Program demonstrates its on-going commitment to actively and responsibly managing its forestlands for the future.”

Ms. Lanham also said, ““We are so very proud of our SPI crew for all their hard work and success with this project to date! We are confident that the new sawmill and planer will bring new jobs and a bright future to the Intermountain/East County Area.”

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Happy Feet and the Hissing Bear


Gargoyle, Happy Feet, Cheerie, and Whistler

Happy Feet was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail through Kings Canyon National Park. He came upon two other hikers who had stopped to eat by the side of the trail. They told him to be aware that there was a bear by the trail a little further ahead.

Sure enough there was a bear, a very big brown-colored California black bear. The bear was a safe distance off to the right of the trail and appeared to be foraging for food. After observing it for a while, Happy Feet went on his way.

Some time later, he stopped for food. He took some supplies out of his pack and enjoyed a brief meal, then repacked. Before starting on his way again, he pulled out his cell phone to see if he could check his GPS location.

As he did so, he heard a hissing sound behind him. When he turned, he saw the bear he had seen earlier moving toward him hissing loudly.

Happy Feet was startled. He jumped up, grabbed his hiking poles and started clanking them together, waving his arms and yelling at the bear.

The bear stopped. He was only about 12 feet away.

Happy Feet backed off continuing to clack his poles together and make noise.

The bear just stood there. Happy Feet continued to back off.

After he had put some distance between himself and the bear, the bear walked to where Happy Feet had eaten his snack and sniffed around to see if there were any food.

Seeing that the bear no longer seemed interested in him and did not appear to be aggressive, Happy Feet continued on his way.

According to the North American Bear Center, “Bears blow and clack their teeth with they are afraid. When this is done in response to being startled by a person, it appears to be a defensive threat, but they also do it when they scare themselves by almost falling from a tree.”

The NABC website also says, “Apprehensive expressions are forceful expulsions of air accompanied by threatening body language and sometimes deeper throaty sounds.  This explosive behavior looks and sounds very threatening but is harmless bluster from nervous bears…”

So when the bear came upon Happy Feet, he was probably just as startled as Happy Feet. Once a safe distance was established and things quieted down, both went on about their business.

I met Happy Feet at the Word of Life Assembly of God Church in Burney. He and three other hikers had slept the night before in the WOLA gym and then attended Sunday morning service. After the service, I took a picture of the four of them and Happy Feet told me his bear story.

Happy Feet’s name off the trail is Phillip Hennessy. He hails from Yorktown, Virginia and left Campo on March 14. Asked why he was hiking the trail he said, “We hike to reconnect with nature, to reconnect with people, to reconnect with ourselves and the simple values of a healthy lifestyle.”

Happy Feet has spent much of the hike together with Ben Ferguson “Gargoyle” from New Hampshire who began his hike on March 16. They usually camp together. They were surprised when I said that several other hikers I had talked with had seen no bear. They have seen four bears, most recently one near Quincy.

Happy Feet and Gargoyle were excited to hear that I had met Hardcore the day before. They had hiked with her south of the Sierras but had not seen her for some time. I told them that she had gone to Redding and they may well meet her soon coming the opposite direction because she was going to hitch to Weed and then hike south.

Gargoyle said that he was hiking the PCT “to see the world, to meet new people every day, to see the nature and the many towns, communities and cultures we pass through. Also to challenge myself physically and mentally.”

One of the other hikers was Lea Bravin “Cheerio” from the German speaking part of Switzerland. She had met Happy Feet at the beginning of her hike in Southern California and reconnected with him and Gargoyle at intervals along the trail. They just happened to meet again here in Burney.

The fourth hiker was a young gentleman named Nicholas Turney from Seattle Washington. He began his hike from Campo on May 14 so he has been hiking a bit faster pace. His trail name is “Whistler.” You may hear him in the next few days if you are in the woods near the PCT.

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Owl and Hardcore become friends in Burney

Wow! I feel terrible. I just met two delightful PCT hikers at the McDonald’s in Burney. I took a picture of them, but then I came home and accidentally deleted the picture.

I usually only post a PCT article when I have a picture but in this case I will make an exception because I told them that an article would be posted and I don’t want to disappoint them. The two ladies we met who are hiking the PCT are Alison Blair “Owl” from Brisbane, Australia and Josie Chen “Hardcore” from Taipei, Taiwan.

My wife Linda was hot and tired from doing a yard sale so we went to the air-conditioned McDonald’s for parfaits. As we were going to our seats we saw Hardcore and asked her if she were hiking the PCT. She said that she was and then we were joined by her new friend Owl.

They had just met here in Burney. Hiking the hot stretch along Hat Creek Ridge, she had been feeling a deep loneliness. Previously, she had hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and she had never felt lonely like this. She had never felt anything like it in her life.

She didn’t mind hiking alone. She would see friendly people on the trail, but the conversation generally consisted of “Hi!” Hardcore felt a longing for deeper communion. She decided to come into Burney.

Here she met a new bright and cheerful friend. Hardcore had met a woman who offered her a ride into Redding. Owl wanted to go into Redding, so they connected.

There’s an old saying, “Friends are born not made.” Some people you meet and the resonance is there. You feel that you are meant to meet. Linda and I felt the joyful bond between them.

About her PCT experience, Hardcore said, “The trail provides.”

Owl said, “It’s good to say you are strong, but to be strong and measure it once in your life is a good thing.” Owl is wise.

Linda had an uplifting short conversation with Owl as I talked with Hardcore. Hardcore pointed a finger upward and said, “Now I know why He guided me to come into this town.”

They were planning to go to Redding tonight and then Hardcore intended to hitch a ride to Weed and hike back south to Burney.

Because Hardcore had testified to her faith and gratitude, when the time came for farewells, I asked Owl if it was okay if I said a prayer. She said, “Sure!”

So I thanked God that He had brought us all together, people from three distant countries who were able to feel the love that can unite us all. I prayed that God could guide them and bless them on their journey. And we prayed for world peace, racial and religious harmony and that we could create a culture of true love where children can grow up in a good environment.

Then we hugged each other and said, “Good bye.”

Sorry I lost the image, but I hope you get the picture.

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Catching the Wellness Wave at the Good Medicine Health Fair

Hundreds of people came to “Catch the Wellness Wave” on Friday July 13 at the Good Medicine Health Fair sponsored by Pit River Health Clinics, Inc. The fair featured more than 60 booths giving out helpful information on a wide array of health issues including physical, mental, dental, financial and community health.

Good Medicine Health Fair

This was the 20th annual Good Medicine Health Fair sponsored by Pit River Health Service, Inc. The fair began at 10 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m.

Health care professionals from Sacramento, Chico, Redding and throughout the North State came to set up booths and offer information on their programs and services. Topics covered almost every conceivable mental, emotional, and physical health issue from human conception to death.

Pit River Health Clinic Medical team including Kathy Kincel P.A, Cassie Bosworth MA, Dr. Bobbie Underhill, Clinic manager, Leroy Jacoby, Marla Wolfin MA. Angelina Berba MA, Amanda Metzger MA, Yarley Contreres MA, and Lewis Furber FNP

Pit River Health Service had eight booths with information of behavioral health, dental health, blood pressure and hypertension, colon health, immunization, opioid use and addiction, the Zika West Nile Virus, AIC Screening for diabetes, Children’s car seat checks, and other services.

Pit River Health Staff Members

Pit River Health Senior Nutrition

Mountain Valleys Health Clinics and Mayer’s Memorial Hospital District were both represented as was Mercy Medical Center. Partnership HealthPlan of California that oversees Medical was present to inform people about assistance.

Mercy Medical Center

Shasta County Health and Human Services had eight booths dealing with childhood lead poisoning prevention, impaired driving, pedestrian safety, tobacco education, outreach, suicide prevention, and maternal, child and adoleescent health.

Lourdes from HHSA

Circle of Friends, a wellness program of Hill Valley Clinic funded by the Mental Health Services Act also had a booth. Stand Against Stigma, also funded by MHSA had a booth inside.

Circle of Friends

Far Northern Regional Center had helpful information about services for people with disabilities. Tegerstangs Orthotics and Prosthetics presented and array of their products. Tri Counties Bank was present to promote financial health,

Numerous Native American organizations were represented including California Indian Manpower Consortium Inc., The California Rural Indian Health Board, Indian Child Welfare Act – Pit River Tribe, Indigenous Prayer Runners, Local Indians for Education, Native American Training and Technical Assistance, and the California Tribal TANF Partnership. In addition there were several booths featuring Native American jewelry, crafts, and pine nuts.

Promoting healthy lifesyle for Native American Youth

Women’s health issues were addressed by the Women’s Healthcare Association of Redding, Every Woman Counts, Women’s Health Specialists, and NorCal Think Pink.

NorCal Think Pink

For seniors, Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) was present to provide health insurance counseling. Eagle Lake Village Senior Living was there. Mayers Intermountain Hospice had a booth to help families cope with the issues of terminal illness and grief.

Rising Sun Fitness Cliub

Healthy Shasta was present to promote healthy lifestyle choices, and Rising Sun Fitness came to feature fitness.

Fred Gideon and Susann Chism from American Red Cross

The Red Cross, Burney Fire Protection District, and US Forest Service all had booths to explain programs for safety, fire protection, and emergency response. The Burney Mosquito Abatement District was there. There was also a booth for California Telephone Access Programs offering a variety of phones for people with special needs.

Event SNIPP came to promote animal health.

To complement the array of heath service professionals, government agencies, and business the Pit River Health Clinic provided a wonderful lunch for everyone who attended.

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Kid Fit 2018 ends year with a splash in the mud

Kid Fit 2018 ended with one of the most fun events of the year.

The joy of mud

One hundred and forty-six kids came to Bailey Park on Thursday evening July 12 for a swim in the Raymond H. Berry Community Pool, an obstacle run, and a splashing dash through the mud.

Fun in the pool

Nice shot!

Hailey Shaver and Dana Hauge explain the rules

Mayor Ralph Freitas making the rounds

Leaping lizards!

Dancing through the mud

Nice smile


Three young gentlemen on a journey


What on earth have I done?

Splish splash I’m taking a mud bath

Adults have fun too

I am Queen of Mud!

After all the activities, medals were awarded to all participants and four grand prizes – two $25 gift cars and two kayaks with life preservers – were raffled off.

Shaylene and Haley awarding prizes

The Mud race and obstacle course on Bailey Avenue and family swim night were the fifth of five events for this year’s Kid Fit. Kid Fit is organized locally by Shaylene Herndon from Bright Futures, Dana Haugue from Full Fitness Spectrum, and Tri Counties Community Network. Burney High School Senior Hailey Shaver assisted Shaylene Herndon in the program for her Senior Project.

Pit River Casino donated $5000 to fund the 2018 Kid Fit program in Burney. Additional funds were also provided by Mountain Cruisers and PG&E Employees Funds.

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Appraisal for new Burney Library building underway

Efforts to buy the building owned by the Roper family located at 37116 Main Street as a new location for the Burney Branch of the Shasta County Public Library System are moving forward. An appraisal of the building, funded by Friends of the Intermountain Library (FOIL), Keith Roper, and the City of Redding is expected to be completed by July 19. A formal appraisal is the first step in opening negotiations to purchase the property.

Last September, FOIL presented the Shasta County Board of Supervisors a detailed plan for purchase and improvement of the Roper Building. On September 12, representatives from FOIL attended a Regular County Board Meeting to request the release of $400,000 which had been set aside from the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project Grant for the purchase of a new library building in Burney.

At that meeting, presentations were made by members of FOIL, as well as Peggy O’Lea, from the Shasta Library Foundation, Kimberly Ross, the chair of the Library Advisory Committee, Kim Neimer, Community Services Director for the City of Redding who oversees Shasta County Public Library contracts and works Closely with the Library Advisory Committee, and Laura Burnett, representing Library Systems and Services which provides the staff and the librarians in all three branches of the Shasta County Public Library System. All of the speakers were supportive of FOIL’s plan to obtain the new building and upgrade information services for the Intermountain Area.

After the presentations, there was some discussion and a motion was passed to make the agenda item an action item at a future board meeting.

Since that time FOIL has met with the County Auditor and County Supervisor Mary Rickert and FOIL has continued to revise and update their plan.

On June 19. FOIL President Pat Pell and Member at Large Fran Collier met with Shasta County Public Works Director Pat Minturn, Supervisor Rickert and Kim Neimer.

The appraisal was announced and discussed at that meeting as a first step toward further discussions and negotiations with the County.

The 2018 FOIL board consists of Pat Pell, President; Mary Barr, Vice President; Charla Connelley, Secretary; Linda Murray, Treasurer; and Fran Collier, Adele Boster, and Jan Fensler, Members at Large.

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