Monthly Archives: July 2017

Local Musicians at the Pit River Casino

Jeff McNiel singing heartfelt western ballad.

Four local musicians livened up the River Rock Bar and Grill at the monthly open mic at Pit River Casino on Thursday night June 27.

The open mic was hosted by Hal Johnson and the Deschutes Music Club. Hal Johnson came up from Redding to setup the sound system and  emcee. He also performed several songs during the evening.

Performers included a country singer named John, Ron Kim, Jeff McNiel, and Alex Colvin.

John began the evening with a set of country music. He’s got a great voice and a good beat and sang quite a few Merle Haggard songs.

Then Hal sang some songs, followed by Alex Colvin who did an original, and two covers including “City of New Orleans.” Next Jeff McNiel sang a series of western ballads and country songs. Jeff has a deep soulful voice that really moves the heart when he sings a love song. Ron Kim brought up his electric guitar and did a mixture of songs including his version of “Please Come to Boston.”

Alex Colvin sings “I Love Going Crazy With You.”

As the evening proceeded the spirit picked up. Usually the open mic ends at 9 p.m., but Hal and the singers didn’t want to stop so John, Alex, and Jeff each came up to sing some more and then Hal closed it out after 10 p.m. with a talking blues accompanied by Alex on the harmonica.

The audience enjoyed the variety of style, song selection and tempo. People enjoyed eating, drinking, chatting with friends and making new friends as the show went on.

Hal Johnson also has a regular column covering “Live Music in the North State” at

The open mic is held on the last Thursday of every month. All local musicians, singers, and songwriters are welcome. Sign up begins at 6 p.m.

The next one will be held on August 31.

Pictures courtesy of Chris Farber

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Filed under Burney, Music, Pit River Casino

Mayers Memorial Hospital District receives ACHD certification

Mayers Memorial Hospital District (MMHD) has met all of the criteria to be one of only 17 healthcare district’s in the state to be a Certified Healthcare District.

The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) Chief Executive Officer Ken Cohen presented MMHD with their certificate at the July 26 MMHD Board meeting.

Association of California Healthcare District CEO Ken Cohen, Valery Lakey and Louis Ward at the July 26th MMHD Board meeting.

California Healthcare Districts respond to the specialized health needs of California communities. Voters have created 79 Healthcare Districts to fill distinct gaps in local health care services – from wellness and prevention to emergency rooms and long-term care. 54 of these Districts serve the state’s rural areas. Mayers Memorial Hospital District became a district in 1969.

As Public Entities, Healthcare Districts have well defined obligations for conducting business in a manner that is open and transparent.  To assist members in demonstrating compliance with these obligations, the Governance Committee of the Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) has developed a core set of standards referred to as Best Practices in Governance.  Healthcare Districts that demonstrate compliance with these practices receive the designation of ACHD Certified Healthcare District.

When notified in March that MMHD had achieved this designation, MMHD Chief Executive Officer Louis Ward said,

Earning the designation of a Certified Healthcare District by ACHD is an honor and a proactive step in maintaining the confidence of the people we serve. The certification assures our community that we are committed to the responsibilities we have as a District. We will always work with the best interest of the residents of the Intermountain area in mind; to provide essential quality care and access to health care in our rural setting.

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Burney Mountain Guest Ranch an oasis for PCT hikers

The Burney Mountain Guest Ranch is becoming a favorite stop for many Pacific Crest Trail hikers.

Main Lodge

The ranch is located just one fourth of a mile off the PCT at mile 1407.2 on the trail. It’s a great place to rest, resupply, and charge up the cell phone. Wi-Fi is available. There are laundry facilities and showers. Because it is so close to the trail, hikers can rise early, have a good breakfast and get off to an early start on their day’s hike.

Mike and Linda Morse bought the ranch in 2014. They did a lot of work renovating the lodge and cabins and installing shower and laundry facilities.

Mike and Linda Morse

Their timing was good. In December 2014, the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon came out. The movie is based on the 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

After the release of the movie, traffic on the PCT increased more than three times from 3000-4000 hikers to as high as 14,000 hikers each year.

“The world comes to us at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch,” owner Mike Morse said.

Packs on the porch

Two weeks ago, I had given three hikers a ride out to the ranch. Today, my wife Linda and I decided to drive out to learn more about it. When we arrived we saw packs on the porch.

Three friendly hikers were resting and chatting outside: Uncle Jesse from San Francisco, Sheagol from France, and Radio from Roseburg, Oregon.

Uncle Jesse from San Francisco

All three were thru-hikers who had hiked all the way from Campo, near the Mexican border, through the desert, over the Sierras, down into the Pit River Basin.

Sheagol and Radio had begun their hikes at the same time and had seen each other early on. Radio said he hikes about 25 miles a day and had taken about 10 zeros on the way. Sheagol likes to pace herself at 30 miles a day but had taken between 20 and 30 zeros. How interesting that after more than 2 months and 1400 miles hiking they ended up sitting together on the same bench at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch.

Sheagol from France and Radio from Roseburg, Oregon

Radio works for a winery. He had time before the harvest and life was at an impasse. He had never done long distance hiking before, but he decided that he would give the PCT a try.

He said that the experience was both an exciting adventure, meeting the challenges of the trail and seeing new things every day, but also a chance to think about his life. He said that one of the ways in which the hike affected him was that he felt more comfortable meeting people in new situations.

This prompted a discussion about anxiety and fear. Many people are plagued by anxieties and fears which are groundless. When one faces them, one finds that there is “nothing to fear.”

Then Sheagol pointed out the difference between this kind of angst and healthy fear that one feels when there is a clear and present danger or a life-threatening situation. Sheagol is an adventurous young woman who exudes a sense of confidence. She has worked numerous different jobs in France. and she flew over from France to hike the trail by herself.

Hiking the PCT there are lots of times one experiences fear resulting from clear and present danger. They said that while hiking the 600 mile stretch through the high Sierras in late June and early July, about 150 miles of it were still packed with snow. Streams and rivers were high and raging with the waters of the melting snow. In many places the trail is precipitous.

Radio told the story of one girl who was frozen with fear as she was crossing an icy fast moving creek. She came to a point where she could not move. Panic had paralyzed her. Her legs would not move. She just fell down on all fours and was in danger of being swept downstream.

Fortunately, Radio and several other hikers were there to help her to the other side where after a period of time she was able to calm down and regain her composure.

I went inside the lodge and met Mike and Linda Morse. There is a beautiful dining area, a piano, a delightful lounge area. The ranch serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Outside, there is a nice pool on the veranda with a lovely view.

Hot Coffee from Finland in the dining area

Linda and Mike talked about the operation of the ranch.

“It’s half trail angel and half business,” she said.

Supplementing the amenities at the ranch, they are also trying to develop a network of trail angels to assist the hikers in various ways such as providing rides when needed.

Linda told of a young Irish hiker who had a severe tooth ache. She arranged a dental appointment with a local dentist and gave him a ride into town to see the dentist. The young man had a root infection. The dentist was able to prescribe needed medication. Linda later received a letter from the boy’s mother in Ireland saying, “Thank you for taking care of my son.”

In addition to providing services for PCT hikers, they also cater to fly fishermen and other vacationers. They offer a variety of family-friendly activities for guests, including games, horseshoes, a pool table, and a swimming pool.

Pool area with a lovely view

After chatting for a bit, Mike showed us the store they had built for the hikers. The shelves were stocked with goods that had been suggested and requested by hikers.

Store stocked with trail supples

As well as providing supplies, the store also has postal services. Hikers can have resupply packages sent to the store for them to pick up when they arrive, or they can ship packages.

Then Linda took us on a tour of the grounds and cabins. There is plenty of room for camping.

Plenty of camping area

There is a small building with laundry facilities and showers for the hikers.

As we walked, Linda explained  that the guest ranch is not for everyone. Alcoholic beverages and drugs are not allowed. She said that she has nothing against people partying but this is not the place for it. Their mission and passion is to provide guests with a welcoming, inspiring experience. There are several quiet areas set aside for reflection.

Mike and Linda are also starting a non-profit organization called Rapha Healing. Rapha is the Hebrew word for healing. Linda has a background in counseling and the mission of the organization will be to host leadership seminars and retreats for women’s groups, men’s groups, churches, and other organizations. She wants to have programs for veterans. Already they have hosted one group from Warrior Expeditions, an organization that provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran.

One of the cabins

She showed us two cabins, each of which have one bunk bed room

One of the bunk rooms

and one very nice private room.

One of the private rooms

So hikers have a choice of simply camping outside overnight, sleeping in a bunk, or having a nice sleep in a big bed. Rates vary and the ranch offers several PCT specials that include a meal, laundry, pool use along with whatever lodging they choose.

After the tour, my wife and I enjoyed a delicious hamburger. While I ate I had a chance to talk with Hot Coffee, a hiker from Finland. Hot Coffee had hiked the mountains in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Wanting to try a longer hike, he chose the PCT.

Beginning in the south, he hiked through the desert and then took a four day break to fly back to Finland because there was a special occasion to celebrate with his 15 year old son.

When he returned he went to Dunsmuir and hiked to Ashland, then went back to Dunsmuir and hiked south through Burney Falls Park and then to the guest ranch. He planned to continue south over Hat Creek Ridge and Lassen.

He wasn’t planning to hike the Sierras yet. His whole family was coming over to the US to visit for 10-12 days and they were going together to Washington state, where he hoped to hike in the Cascades for 2 or 3 days with his son.

When his family returned to Finland, he would continue hiking in Washington and then if he had time, return south to hike the Sierras.

Hot Coffee began his PCT adventure on April 12. He was planning to continue hiking until he had to return home on October 31.

After we finished lunch, we went out to say goodbye to the hikers on the porch and met one more hiker from Denver named Snoop.

Snoop from Denver

Friendliness, hospitality, peace and serenity in a beautiful scenic setting. The Burney Mountain Guest Ranch is indeed an inspiring oasis on the trail of life.

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Filed under Burney, Cassell, Fishing, Hiking, Pacific Crest Trail

Redding Rancheria Community Fund Awards $100,000 to Regional Organizations

Press Release from Redding Rancheria and Shasta Regional Community Foundation:

The Redding Rancheria Community Fund, a fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, is pleased to announce grant awards totaling $100,000 to organizations in Shasta and Trinity Counties. “The tremendous partnership between the Redding Rancheria and Shasta Regional Community Foundation has allowed us to serve so many of our friends, neighbors, and their families through the work of local nonprofits and public entities,” says Amanda Hutchings, Program Officer at Shasta Regional Community Foundation. With these broad impact awards, the total grants from the RRCF since the fund was established at the Community Foundation is now $2,900,000.

The following 42 organizations recently received funds from the Spring 2017 cycle:

Organization Name Amount Requested Purpose
Anderson Middle School Band Booster Club $500 Percussion instruments
Burney Elementary School $2,099 Water bottle filling stations and fountain
Burney Elementary School $1,500 Lego Mindstorm kits
Burney Water District $1,100 Equipment for the Intermountain Swim Club
Connecting to Care $7,400 5 iPads
Dream Quest $3,500 Desktop computers
Fall River Elementary $1,100 Water bottle filling station
Fall River Junior Senior High School $4,486 Sound system for the gymnasium
Family Dynamics Resource Center $3,000 Scholarships and materials/camping equipment for Native American children to attend Camp HOPE
Girls Incorporated of the Northern Sacramento Valley $500 Support the Sporting Chance Program
Halcumb Cemetery District $6,300 Furniture and flooring in Chapel building
HALO (Horses Assist Lives Organization) $2,800 Arena improvements, safety equipment, instructional aids and curriculum
Independent Living Services of Northern CA $1,700 Cleaning materials to process donated equipment
KIXE-TV $3,125 Outreach materials and costumes
Lakehead Lions Club Foundation $1,500 Steel door and panic bar
Lassen Park Foundation $2,000 Youth Camping Program at Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lewiston Sparkies $1,600 Fire safety school kits for children and first aid kits /safety information for residents
Mercy Foundation North $790 Therapeutic Music Program at Golden Umbrella
Northern California Veterans Museum and Heritage Center $2,000 Emergency financial, educational, and nutritional assistance to surviving Veteran’s Spouses
Northern Valley Catholic Social Service $2,000 Food and backpacks for partnership with Cottonwood Drugs
One SAFE Place $1,300 Camera and accessories
Ready for Life $1,700 Equipment for daycare room
Redding School of the Arts $3,000 Instruments for band
Roderick Hayfork Senior Nutrition Center $5,500 Air conditioning/cooling unit
Shasta Builders’ Exchange $2,500 National Electric Code Classroom Materials
Shasta County Arts Council $500 To support Redding Fashion Alliance
Shasta Family YMCA $3,000 First Grade Learn to Swim program
Shasta Library Foundation $500 Raising a Reader Program in partnership with Shasta Early Literacy Partnership
Shasta Living Streets $1,000 Valet bike racks, strider bikes, and helmets
Shasta Trinity Fly Fishers $7,600 TV monitors, equipment, and sound system for education center
Spring Rivers Foundation $2,500 Shasta County Outdoor Workshop and Symposium Program
Stage 44 Players $900 Lunches for children
The Watershed Research and Training Center $1,000 Indian Valley Summer Camp activities for children
Trinity Alps Unified School District $500 Marching band uniforms
Trinity High School Weightlifting Program $500 Weightlifting equipment
Trinity Players Inc. $1,500 Stage lights
Turtle Bay Exploration Park $10,000 Material Culture Exhibit
United Way of Northern California $2,500 TV, hardware, and installation for Community Room
Weaverville Boy Scout Troop #15 $500 Mess kits and camping stoves for outdoor education program
Western Shasta Resource Conservation District $1,000 Greenhouse project
Women’s Health Specialists $500 Outreach materials
Youth Sports Programs $3,000 Concession stand at Bonnyview Elementary School

For more information regarding the Redding Rancheria Community Fund please contact Amanda Hutchings at the Shasta Regional Community Foundation at 530-244-1219.

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Filed under Shasta Regional Community Fountadion

Solid Rock Foursquare church preparing “The House” for the homeless

Reverend Sheadon Crabtree just posted the following on facebook:

Solid Rock Foursquare church in Burney, Ca is preparing “The House” for the homeless in our community. Two seniors, as part of their “Senior Project”, will be putting in two bathrooms and a commercial washer and dryer for those who need to get clean.

The overall goal of this project is to; 1) Provide a place where the homeless can feel human again and 2) Be an organization that champions compassion to those less fortunate in our community.

Thank you to all the hard workers that have helped so far.

We will be having a grand opening in 2018

See his post on Facebook for pictures

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Burney Water Board Passes Preliminary Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018

The Burney Water Board unanimously passed the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at its regular board meeting on July 20. The final budget will be voted on at it’s next regular meeting on August 17. Board members Jim Hamlin, Britta Rogers, and Fred Ryness were present for the meeting.

There is no proposed rate hike for this fiscal year. There may be a need for rate hikes in the future but District Manager Willie Rodriguez said that before any such rate hike were proposed he would like to educate the public more on the work that the Burney Water District is doing and to addresss any concerns that Burney Water District customers may have.

The budget is divided into three areas: water, sewage and the community pool. The Board went over 8 pages examining revenues, labor expenses, and general expenses. Line by line, they compared last year’s budget to last years actual expenses in relation to this year’s proposed budget.

The budget is available for the public to review at the Burney Water District office.

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Washburn Park in need of repair and maintenance

Lola Harris called attention to the deteriorating state of Washburn Park at the Burney Water Board at their regular monthly meeting on July 2o at the Burney Water Board Building in Burney. The grass needs mowing and watering, the sprinkler system and other infrastructure need to be fixed.

Ms. Harris said that certain parts of the park where the grass is overgrown are becoming a “fire hazard.”

Board members Jim Hamlin, Britta Rogers, and Fred Ryness and District Manager Willie Rodriguez discussed the issue for over and hour.

The Burney Water District owns Washburn Park on Park Avenue and Civic Park on Hwy 299. Civic Park is also called Lions Park. The Burney Lions have been maintaining Lions Park. The Water Board has an agreement with the Little League for them to use and maintain Washburn Park.

Washburn Park has been a popular site for Little League games and softball tournaments, but in the past few years has been little used and has fallen into disrepair. If a solution is not found the park may have to be closed.

The board took no action because they want broader community feedback to determine the level of community support for the parks and to see how the Burney Community at large would like to address the problem. Rodriguez said that he would do an assessment of how much work was needed and what the estimated cost would be.

Rodriguez said that he would talk with Jen Luck, Office Manager at the Burney Chamber of Commerce to discuss the possibility of holding a community meeting at the Veterans Hall to determine the future of the parks in Burney.

There is one other park in Burney, Bailey Park that is owned by Tri Counties Network. The purpose of a community meeting on parks would be to discuss the future use, improvement, and regular maintenance of all three parks.

Burney Water District also owns and operates the Raymond H. Berry Community Pool which is well managed and financially viable. Lola Harris who is a member of Friends of the Pool, said that she would not be in favor of a Parks and Recreation District that would include the pool because that might threaten the financial viability of the pool. .

See also:

Burney Water Board Discusses Future of Civic and Washburn Parks


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