Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year’s celebrations for young and old

The new year, 2016, is on the horizon. Thursday night is New Year’s Eve. What to do? What to do?

Happy New Year

Some years I have enjoyed going wild at various New Year’s Eve parties. Other year’s I have enjoyed a quiet evening at home. In the Unification Church, we used to count down and then start the New Year with a prayer. I liked that.

I’m not sure what I will do this New Year’s Eve. Probably at 9 p.m. I’ll watch the New Year’s celebration on the East Coast, and then perhaps, before midnight go over to the Rex Club to celebrate the beginning of the year with fellow Burneyites  (is that a word?).

Anyway, enough about me. The reason that I am writing this is to let people in the Burney area know that according to my schedule of events, there are several celebrations going on Thursday night, one for teens and two for adults.

For teens, the Power Source Youth Ministries at Word of Life Assembly of God  is hosting a free event for 7th-12th grade students in their gym on Main St. in Burney. The event is open to all students in the Intermountain area under the age of 18. There will be food, door prizes and game prizes. Activities will include Minute To Win It games, inflatable jousting, and WIPEOUT, the big red ball edition. There will be a midnight celebration!  It is a “lock-in” event from the time doors open at 8 p.m. until the event ends at 1 am. For more information call 530-335-4419.

Meanwhile, for adults, the Rex Club will host a Sock Hop New Year’s  Eve Party from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. There is no cover charge. There will be a full bar. Designated drivers will be available. The restaurant will be serving their regular menu from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, after 9 p.m. they will feature a 50’s menu. The celebration will have contests and games, including Hula Hoops, Hop Scotch and Jitter Bug Dancing, and Best Costume. Sounds like a fun way to bring in the new year.

New Year's Eve Dinner at Rim Rock Grill

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Rim Rock Grill

Also for adults, the Pit River Casino River Rock Bar and Grill at the Casino will be serving a special three-course New Year’s Eve Dinner.

The casino will also have live music from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. featuring Loose Arrow.

In addition from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. there will be hot seat drawings of $25 on the half hour and $50 on the hour.

Casino drawings and live music will continue Friday and Saturday. On New Year’s Day, they are giving away $40,000 in prizes including a new truck to start off the New Year. Good luck.

However you decide to let go of the old and bring in the new, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!


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Filed under Burney, Pit River Country Events

Did we get a White Christmas? You decide…

This year a lot of people in Pit River Country were hoping for a White Christmas. How lovely it is to experience the serene beauty of silent woods draped in snow. Somehow it complements the Christmas spirit in a very special way. The world seems to be peacefully asleep like baby Jesus in the manger. The inner joy and hope of the nativity are strengthened because the sun has passed its nadir and turned north again. The days gradually begin to brighten.

This year in particular we have been hoping for a good snow-pack to alleviate the drought.

Mt. Burney on December 5. The snow pack has continued to build since then.

Mt. Burney on December 5. Lots more snow since then.

The week before Christmas, we had  a lot of rain in Burney. I took a drive up Hatchet Mountain and down Big Bend Road. In spite of the rain, there was still a lot of snow. I could see a line of white about five hundred feet above Burney all around.

So, back to the question: Were we blessed with a White Christmas? If you live above 4000 feet the answer is definitely yes. For those of us who live in Fall River Valley, Burney Basin and around Hat Creek, I will let each person answer for themself.

One thing is certain though. On the morning of Christmas Eve day, when Linda and I woke up and looked out the window, everything was cloaked in a blanket of white.

View from our back yard in Burney

View from our back yard in Burney

Linda and I decided to drive Clark’s Creek Road from Hwy 89 through Burney Falls State Park, over Lake Britton Dam, up to Clark’s Creek Lodge and on to where the road rejoins 89 between Bartle and Four Corners.

As we drove over Burney Creek, we could see that the creek bed, which only a short time ago was dry, is now full and flowing forcefully.

Burney Creek from Clark's Creek Road

Burney Creek from Clark’s Creek Road

We proceeded on into the park.

Driving into the park on Clark Creek Road

Driving into the park on Clark Creek Road

When we came to the back entrance to the park we decided to take a little jaunt down the trail to the falls. The trees were sill laden with snow.

Trail into Burney Falls Park

Trail into Burney Falls Park

Pacific Crest Trail was covered with snow. We made our way down to the foot bridge over Burney Creek.

Burney Falls through the trees

Foot Bridge over Burney Creek above the falls

Then, awed by the winter beauty we proceeded down to a spot where we could get a picture of the falls through the trees.

Burney Falls through the trees

Burney Falls through the trees

Everything was lovely. As the temperature rose, walking under some of the large evergreens we were showered by the snow dripping off of the branches.

Linda took a picture of me

Linda took a picture of me

I took a picture of Linda.

Linda may take a picture of you

Linda may take a picture of you

We didn’t feel like hiking the whole Burney Falls loop. We wanted to continue on the road and explore more. So we got back in the Jeep, drove across the dam and headed through the winter wonderland to Clark’s Creek Lodge.

Clark's Creek Lodge

Clark’s Creek Lodge

One of the things that surprised me was that there was no longer a “for sale” sign on the lodge, just a “closed” sign. Did somebody buy it? Linda peered through the window and saw that all of the tables were laid out with nice red-checked table cloths set with plates and silverware. The salt and pepper shakers were full. Is Clark’s Creek Lodge back in business?

That would be nice. The Lodge has a rich history going back to 1921. Word has it that in the 1930’s and 40’s it was a popular hideout for gangsters on the lam. My mom used to tell me that Al Capone even stayed there at one time. Who knows?

I do know that over the decades it was a favorite place for my family to go eat. One time my mom and grandmother went, expecting to be seated at their regular table. When they got there however, it was already full. Clint Eastwood and his party had already occupied the spot. When Mr. Eastwood saw that my mom and Grandma Jay were disappointed, he rose like a gentleman and offered to move. Naturally, my kin, a bit in awe, declined.

Having fished up these and other memories, Linda and I continued on our way, rising through the oaks until we came to a place where we could shoot Lake Britton.

View of Lake Britton from Clark's Creek Road

View of Lake Britton from Clark’s Creek Road

Then we hit Hwy 89 and headed home. By sunset, the ground was still covered with snow, but the white that had graced the trees in the morning had melted away in the afternoon sun.

That evening, at a friend’s house, we discussed whether or not we could consider it a White Christmas if there were snow on the ground but not on the trees. As I said earlier, I will let you decide for yourselves.

As for Linda and me, we had our White Christmas.



Filed under Burney, Burney Falls, Hiking, Lake Britton, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River Area History, Weather

Fall River Valley Choirs lead us back to Bethlehem

About 300 people filled the Evangelical Free Church in McArthur on Sunday afternoon December 20 to enjoy an afternoon of Christmas music presented by the Fall River Valley Community Choir, the Fall River Valley Children’s Community Choir and several guest performers.

Singing to a full house

Singing to a full house

The program began at 3 p.m. Reverend Thom McKee welcomed everybody to the church. Then there was the first of several sing-alongs, with the entire congregation joining in to sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Next Alison Maki introduced the Children’s Choir who thrilled the audience with their sweet voices.

Alison Maki introducing the children's choir

Alison Maki introducing the children’s choir

The children sang “Away in a Manger,” The Friendly Beasts,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Under Beth’lem’s Star So Bright.”

The Children's Choir accompanied by guitar

The Children’s Choir accompanied by guitar

Next, everybody sang “What Child is This?” It was nice to have a large screen in the front so that everybody could easily read the words.

Following the sing-along, Stu Stoore and Virginia Dye performed a duet entitled “As Christmas,” recently composed by Mr. Stoore himself. Mr. Stoore played the guitar and sang while Virginia Dye played the violin.

"As Christmas" performed by Steve Stoore and Virginia Dye on violin

“As Christmas” performed by Stu Stoore and Virginia Dye on violin

Lead Me Back To Bethlehem by Pepper Choplin

“Lead Me Back To Bethlehem” by Pepper Choplin

The main feature of the Christmas Concert was a performance of the Christmas cantata “Lead Me Back to Bethlehem” by contemporary church composer Pepper Choplin. The work alternates narration and eight musical selections. The music and vocal arrangements combine traditional Christmas Carols, folk melodies, and original words and music into a stirring musical journey that led us through the traditional story of Christ’s birth.

Under the direction of Alison Maki, the choir performed superbly raising our hearts, minds, and souls into a realm of angelic inspiration.

The eight musical selections were “Come Emmanuel,” “Fear Not, the Lord is Come,” “Lead Me Back to Bethlehem,” “Come Down to Bethlehem,” “Treasures of the Heart,” “Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold,” “You are Lord,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

The Fall River Valley Choir leading us back to Bethlehem

The Fall River Valley Choir leading us back to Bethlehem

At the conclusion of their beautiful performance, the entire congregation joined once again in singing “Joy to the World.”

There was still more to come. We were treated to a guest performance by singer Alicia Spade who shared a soulful performance of “O Holy Night.”

Alicia Spade sings O Holy Night

Alicia Spade sings O Holy Night

Then to conclude the program, we were treated to “Silent Night” being sung in German.

Alicia Spade sings O Holy Night

Silent Night in German

The entire afternoon of music was marvelous. Special thanks to Alison Maki and the Fall River Valley Community Choir for all the work they put into preparing. Also, kudos to the Children’s Choir and their parents for their diligent preparation and performance.

Commendations and gratitude also goes to The Community United Methodist Church for providing rehearsal space and financial support, Fall River Arts and Trophy for designing and printing flyers gratis, and to The Mountain Echo for helping to promote the event.

Finally, thanks to the Reverend Thom McKee and the Intermountain Evangelical Church for hosting the event and providing the technical sound support. This was truly a holiday treat for the people of Fall River Valley and the surrounding area.

Rev. McKee said, “This is the second year that we have done this and I am so excited to see what this group has accomplished. Nothing excites me more than to see churches working together like this.”

Alison Maki said, “Through God’s glory all of this is possible.”

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Filed under Entertainment, Fall River Mills, McArthur, Music, Pit River Country Events

Candy Kane discovers the true meaning of Christmas at Grace Community Bible Church

A Candy Kane Christmas

A Candy Kane Christmas

On Saturday evening December 20, the Grace Community Bible Church put on a wonderful heart-warming Christmas play entitled “A Candy Kane Christmas.” The play is a comedy about a teen discovering the true meaning of Christmas.

The snow was falling gently as Linda and I arrived just before showtime at 6 p.m. We could feel the love of Jesus as we received a friendly greeting at the door.

The evening’s entertainment began when Betty Luck, one of the Church’s eldest members, came up to sing “Silent Night” in German.

Betty Luck sings Silent Night in German

Betty Luck sings Silent Night in German

Mrs. Luck will be 90 years old in April. She was born in Romania. She met her husband, an American soldier, in Germany just after the end of World War II and returned with him to Burney where she has lived ever since. She has been attending the church for 68 years.

After Mrs. Luck inspired people with her singing, the children’s choir came up and sang one of the play’s songs about Jesus, “Perfect for You.” The Children’s Choir was made up of Ciera, Titus, Levi, Jedediah, and Abel Niemeir; Micah and Abby Westlund; Trevor Winkelman; and Ava, Brody, and Ryah Goza. The children sang like angels.

Members of the youth shoir

Members of the youth shoir

The play began. A brief recap of the plot:

Sixteen years earlier, Walter and Kitty Kane (played by Arden and Millie Hathaway) had a baby on Christmas Day and named her Candy.

Time has passed. Candy Kane (Cassandra Niemeir) comes on stage and vents. For years, other children at school had made fun of her because of her name. On top of that, the Christmas celebration always overshadowed her birthday. Her discontent had intensified every year during the Christmas season.

Candy Kane expressing discontent with her name

Candy Kane expressing discontent with her name

Candy’s father and mother come on stage and call a family meeting to discuss the family’s Christmas plans. Candy’s two sisters, Mary (Trisha Niemeir) and Jane (Ceira Niemeir) are also there. In a well played scene combining pathos, Christmas cheer, and humor, Candy reluctantly agrees to buy a present for a boy named Jesu’s and to prepare an act for the church’s Jolly Follies talent show.

Family meeting

Family meeting

On her own, Candy decides to reinvent herself. She will bleach her hair and change her name from Candy to Candé. Her two friends, Sara (Savannah Niemeir) and Lori (Emily Winkelman) agree to help her.

Sara and Lori agree to help Candy

Sara and Lori agree to help Candy

Unfortunately, they don’t follow the directions properly when treating Candy’s hair. As a result, her hair is streaked. When her family returns, they are alarmed. She looks like a clown. Candy tells her parents that that is why she did it – so she can play a clown in the Jolly Follies. That unleashes a torrent of corny Christmas jokes.

But while the audience is in stitches, Candy is more miserable than ever until finally, when the Pastor of their church comes over for dinner, she breaks down because her “elf-esteem is so low.”

Pastor Chris Kringle stops by for a chat

Pastor Chris Kringle stops by for a chat

The day comes for Candy to present her gift to Jesu’s Lopez (Luke Niemeir). Candy thinks that Jesu’s hates Christmas because of his name. But this is not so. Jesu’s loves his name and loves Jesus, but he is upset with Christmas because it has become so commercialized and many people forget the true meaning.

Candy, Jesu’s, and Pastor Chris go to the hospital to visit Jesu’s younger brother Paco (Titus Niemeir) who is ill. At the hospital, Paco is being attended at the bedside by his brother Padro (Micah Westlund).

Paco and his brother Padro at the hospital

Paco and his brother at the hospital

While the pastor and Jesu’s step out for a moment, Candy is left to watch Paco. She questions why her life is so sad and confused and why poor little Paco is sick. As she does so Paco wakes up and says, “God didn’t make me sick!”

Even though sick, little Paco testifies to his faith and the love of God

Even though sick, little Paco testifies to his faith and the love of God

Truth cometh out of the mouths of babes. After Candy  hears little Paco’s testimony, Pastor Chris explains how Jesus came into the world and then died to redeem mankind from sin.

Candy realizes how selfish she has been and, back with her family, bursts into a beautiful rendition of “I Will Worship You.”

I Will Worship You

I Will Worship You

Tears came to my eyes and it was difficult to take pictures.

Pastor Chris discloses to Candy that he was ridiculed as a child by his peers because his last name is Kringle. He also teaches Candy a new meaning to her name. The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd’s staff. The white symbolizes Jesus’ purity and the red symbolizes His blood. The candy cane is to be broken and shared with others.

Filled with new life and inspiration Candy joins together with the entire cast and children’s choir to sing the song the play began with, “Perfect for You.” They then concluded the production with “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

Cast and children's choir sing We Wish You A Merry Christmas

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

After the play concluded, Pastor Winkelman invited any who were in need of God’s saving grace to accept Jesus into their heart.

He then presented a bouquet of flowers to the director of the play, Debra Hathaway.

This short rendering of the play does not do it full justice. All of the actors did a wonderful job. The set was wonderfully designed, decorated and divided. The action took place center and right stage. The left stage hosted the Jolly Follies, a Christmas talent show that embellished the play between scenes.

Violin solo accompanied by piano

Violin solo accompanied by piano

The music between scenes included a violin and piano duet by Trisha Niemeir and Brenda Hathaway; “Away in a Manger,” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain” by the children’s choir; and a thoroughly enjoyable barbershop quartet rendering of “Born to Die” sung by Tom Whilite, Arden Hathaway, Pastor Henry, and Tim Winkelman.

Arden Hathaway, Pastor Henry and Tim Winkelman, and Tom Whilite sing Born to Die

Arden Hathaway, Pastor Henry and Tim Winkelman, and Tom Whilite sing Born to Die

After the program, people moved to the dining hall where everyone shared joyful fellowship and delicious treats.

Pastor Henry Winkelman said, “My desire is that everyone can learn the true meaning of Christmas. That is the birth of Jesus Christ.”

Debra Hathaway, the Director, said “I love to do these plays on Christmas and Easter because it is a great way to let people know that Jesus is Lord.”

When I complemented Cassandra Niemier on her performance as Candy Kane, she said, “It is all the Lord.”

Amen. Have a Merry Christmas.

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Filed under Burney, Churches, Entertainment, Grace Community Bible Church

Campaign for New Library in Burney picking up steam

Recently the Friends of the Intermountain Library (FOIL) sent out the following notice:

As you may be aware, the building in which our Burney Library resides is outdated and unable to fulfill our community’s library needs. A larger, more modern facility would help to solve these problems. In cooperation with Shasta County, we now have the opportunity to purchase a building on Main Street that would more than double the size of the Library. This would allow us to improve our Library services to all age groups—young children, teens, and seniors—and enable the Library to be a valuable
center for educational activities, literacy programs, computer resources, and just having a “good read.”

To make this happen, FOIL and the community need to raise approximately $450,000 to match the $400,000 the Shasta County Board of Supervisors has set aside for this project. While we will gladly accept donations now, what we most need at this time is a pledge from each of you to support this project to demonstrate to the Board of Supervisors that our community will enthusiastically back this venture.

Click on the link below to get the Pledge sheet. Please return it at your earliest convenience. Additionally, please do not hesitate to encourage your family, friends, and business associates to join in this effort. We thank you in advance for your generous support!

Here’s the link for the Pledge form.

Here’s a link to the Burney Library page that gives a little bit of history and tells about the library.

Here’s a link to FOIL with more information.

I ‘m not sure who is in charge of the campaign. I don’t know presently what building on Main Street they are hoping to buy. As I get more information I will update this article or add new blogs. If you want more information, I suggest you call the Burney Library at (530) 335-4317.

It certainly would be nice to have a new, larger, improved library building on Main Street, not only for the sake of the library, but also to improve the appearance of the town by renovating one of the vacant buildings and putting it to use.

I just wanted to help get the word out and encourage people in the community to learn more, to get involved, and to support the project in whatever way they can.

For more news see Intermountain News, March 16, 2016 New Library Now! fundraising campaign begins



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Twelve Days of Star Wars at Mt. Burney Theatre

Attention Star Wars fans! Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens will be playing every day at the Mt. Burney Movie Theatre from Thursday December 17 until Monday December 28!

In the Mt Burney & Fall River Theatres’ Newsletter, Donna Sylvester announced:

“Good news STAR WARS fans.   STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS will open at the Mt. Burney Theatre. We will have an “early” show at 7pm on Thursday December 17. We will open the doors at 6pm and hopefully will get everyone in and seated by showtime. Please come early. We have 210 seats and haven’t sold out in years, but there will be a line. I will process everyone in as quickly as possible from the box office window. We will also have a 10:30 show on December 17th. Some people are dressing up as Star Wars characters. This will be very cool. Join them. Please no masks or weapon-looking props, though. These showings will be very fun.”

After the Thursday shows, the theatre will continue to have shows every day through Monday December 28. To view a schedule of times for each day see Playing at Mt. Burney Theatre.

Thank you Donna for bringing quality entertainment to Pit River Country!

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Filed under Burney, Entertainment

An interview with Kaylynn Harper, Program Coordinator for the Intermountain Youth Center

The Intermountain Teen Center hosts programs and activities for teens in two locations, Round Mountain and Burney. Kaylynn Harper is the Teen Center Program Coordinator. In the first video, she gives a brief history of the Intermountain Teen Center, a description of their activities, and shares her vision for the role the teen center can play in the communities of Burney, Round Mountain, and Montgomery Creek.

In a second short video, Ms. Harper provides a brief tour of the Burney branch of the Intermountain  Teen Center.

If you would like more information or would like to support or become involved with the activities of the teen center, you can contact Ms. Harper via Email at


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Filed under Burney, Intermountain Teen Center, Round Mountain