Community Meeting on Crime and Homelessness

The Veterans Hall was full on July 11, as hundreds turned out for the community meeting organized by Jen Luck and Mary Rickert. People came not only from Burney but also from Fall River Valley and Montgomery Creek in hope of finding positive solutions to problems of crime and the increase of homelessness in the area.

Jen Luck, Office Manager of the Burney Chamber of Commerce, began the meeting promptly at 6 p.m. and introduced County Supervisor Mary Rickert.

Community meeting on crime and homelessness

Supervisor Rickert gave brief opening remarks. She has been attending similar town meetings throughout our district in the county. She said that the subject is complex and that crime has deep underlying root causes. She said that where there has been the most success dealing with the problem is when people in the community work together and form local groups such as Neighborhood Watch where they monitor their neighborhood and address issues on the local level as they arise.

Mary Rickert addresses the audience

She also mentioned a community-building program called Meet The Neighbors. Meet the Neighbors does not focus only on crime. It’s mission is to give “you and your neighbors powerful tools to communicate, meet, organize, get important local stuff done…”

After sharing her opening remarks, members of the panel introduced themselves. Officials attending included Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, Lieutenant Tyler Thompson from the Burney Sheriff’s station, Lieutenant Scott Frederick from California Highway Patrol, Nick Truax from Cal Fire, Monte Keady from Burney Fire Protection District, and Rod Armstrong from the Burney Citizen Volunteer Patrol.

The first and main speaker of the evening was Sheriff Bosenko. He spoke for a half hour about the effect of several public safety bills and propositions.  Because the US Supreme Court mandated a reduction in California’s overcrowded prisons, Assembly Bill 109 on Public Safety Realignment was passed in 2011. According to Bosenko, this resulted in the release of 30,000 inmates.

In addition, Proposition 47 reduced penalties for certain crimes and Proposition 57 altered sentencing rules. Many crimes have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. As the state prison population has decreased the county jails have filled up. With shorter sentences, recidivism has increased.

Sherriff Tom Bosenko addresses the crowd

Bosenko said that the problems have been compounded by limited resources to maintain facilities and manpower. Officers have to prioritize calls and they are limited as to what they can do by state regulation.

At the same time, Sheriff Bosenko cited statistics indicating that crime is down overall for the Burney, Fall River, and Montgomery Creek area.

He said that panhandling is not against the law, but that if business owners post “no soliciting” or “no trespassing” signs then they can be asked to move on or be prosecuted for trespassing if they don’t comply.

Concerning homelessness, Bosenko said, “All homeless people are not criminals and all criminals are not homeless.”

If people are camped or squatting on private land, they can not be removed unless it is posted “No trespassing.”

He then opened the floor to questions, of which there were many.

Generally speaking the questions and comments fell into three categories: 1) people who wanted to know what the Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement could do to deal with burglaries, squatting, trash in the woods. etc. 2) People asking what they themselves could do, and 3) people recounting personal stories of problems they had encountered with theft, unruly, or indecent behavior.

One man said, “I came here to find out what you can do for me!”

Another said, “Are you telling us that Sacramento has handcuffed you?” To which Bosenko answered in the affirmative.

There was some advice in regard to burglary and suspicious behavior concerning getting license plate numbers and descriptions, but a lot of the responses concerned regulations and lack of manpower and resources that impeded action.

Cal Fire and Burney Fire Department advised people to notify them if there were any fires in the woods.

The representative from CHP said that their work was mainly in the area of traffic law enforcement and safety, but that they and other law enforcement agencies were also there to back up and work together with local law enforcement.

Monte Keady said that while we are facing current problems we should also be taking action that would address underlying issues and ensure a better future such as mentoring our youth.

When people asked what they could do generally, they were advised to communicate with appropriate law enforcement officers. If violations occurred on US Forest Service Land, people should contact the Forest Service and they would take action. If there were encampments or trash on private land, people should notify the landowners such as Sierra Pacific, PG&E, or United Fruit Growers.

The most sound advice seemed to be that of Mary Rickert to form community associations and work together with their neighbors in cooperation with local public services.

Someone asked about citizen’s arrests. Bosenko said that people could make arrests but they needed to be careful in apprehending people because they may be on drugs, armed or dangerous. Also, if the charges were not successfully prosecuted they could be sued for false arrest.

One lady who had military experience asked about carrying a gun. Bosenko advised her that she had a right for her and her family to walk in public areas and trails, and if they had a concealed weapons permit and felt that there was a need to protect themselves they could carry a weapon.

There were also questions and discussions regarding the Windmill Fund and the Fire Protection Tax. Cal Fire said that most of the money spent from the tax in Shasta County had been to build the fire break near Burney after the fire two years ago.

The room was hot and many left early but a lot of people stayed until the end.

When one attendee said that he felt that more town meetings were necessary not only on these issues but on other issues such as the condition of the parks in Burney, Mary Rickert committed that she would be willing to come up and host a town meeting once a month.

Rod Armstrong from Burney Citizen Patrol

One bright spot towards the end was when a request was made for specific activities volunteers could be involved in, Rickert asked Rod Armstrong from the Citizens Patrol to speak. He described the activities of the patrol and how people could get involved. Several people signed up as volunteers after the meeting. More volunteers are still needed.

There was broad representation of the meeting. Not only were many business people, homeowners and concerned parents present, but also several ministers who would like to address these problems. Tri Counties Community Network was present. Representatives of Circle of Friends also attended. They have had considerable success helping some people to get out of homelessness, and many others overcome substance abuse and addiction.

The meeting ended after 8 p.m. Many stayed until 8:45 to talk with officials and each other.

The next day, Jen Luck said that she is already working on ideas for future meetings. She has researched and joined Meet the Neighbors and hopes that others will do so to create local community groups dedicated to community improvement and practical problem solving.

Since the meeting there has been a lot of conversation on social media, amongst friends, family and neighbors and in several meetings. Some are frustrated but others are determined to find constructive ways to address the situation.

See Wikipedia article on Neighborhood Watch

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Filed under Burney, Chamber of Commerce, Fall River Mills, Johnson Park, Montgomery Creek

Five skip-hikers rendezvous in Burney

Linda and I had the opportunity to meet five delightful Pacific Crest Trail hikers on Monday, July 10 and to host them for several hours in our back yard.

Front row: Mushy, Quiz, Pinecone, and Princess Layers, Back row: Linda, Alex, Little, and Trapper

The hikers consisted of three young ladies from Australia named Quiz, Pinecone, and Princess Layers; a young adventurer from London, England named Little Spoon; and a young gentleman from North Carolina named Mushy.

The three Australian hikers are posting blog on their journey named Mental Snakes.

Pinecone and Quiz are sisters. Princess Layers has been a friend of theirs since childhood. From what I understood, they began the hike together at the southern terminus of the trail in Campo and hiked north through the desert to the Sierras. Along the way they met Little Spoon. The took a side trip to climb to the 14,505 foot summit of Mount Whitney.

Little Spoon told of how Pinecone turned blue from cold and oxygen deprivation on the Mt Whitney ascent. Pinecone told us about how her frostbitten lips burst and she had to lace them with tons of lip balm to stop the bleeding at night.

As they went further north they faced the same dilemma as thousands of other hikers this year. There was so much snow in the Sierras that most hikers decided to skip hike. This year the PCT is a melee of skip hikers and section hikers pursuing different strategies according to their whims and timetables.

This little band decided to split up. Little Spoon and Princess Layers hiked a little further up the trail and then skipped to Quincy to resume their northward trek. They also had a rest break to recuperate.

Princess Layers and Little Spoon at Burney Falls Park

Pinecone and her sister decided to skip to Ashland and then hike south. Before leaving for Ashland or on their way south, they met Mushy who began hiking together with them.

Pinecone, Mushy, and Quiz at Burney Guest Ranch

Burney is where they met for a reunion as they crossed paths.

This is where Linda and I had the pleasure of entering the story. On our way to lunch at the Senior Nutrition Center, I mentioned to Linda that I had forgotten to bring my camera in case we met any PCT hikers.

After lunch we stopped at the Dollar General Store for cat food. I waited in the car. Linda came out really excited saying that she had met two really nice hikers (Pinecone and Mushy) inside. I went in to meet them and ask them if they needed a ride. They were undecided whether to go to Burney Falls to meet friends of theirs or to go to Burney Guest Ranch for showers. Also they still needed to go into the Safeway for some more supplies.

I told them that I would go home and get my camera while they shopped and then be back to give them a ride wherever they had decided to go. I left Linda at home and headed back to the Safeway. On the way, I thought I would offer them the opportunity to cool off in our pool and shower before they went on their way.

And so I did. Pinecone told me that her friends had made it into town and were at the Post Office. She asked if it would be okay to use our back yard as a place to spend some time together for their reunion. I thought that was a wonderful idea.

On the phone, Little Spoon told them that they would need about 10 minutes to post mail. Pinecone said they still had more shopping to do. So I headed to post office and introduced myself to Little Spoon and Princess Layers and watched their packs while they took care of business. As well as posting mail, they had also received some resupply. Princess Layers had a new pair of hiking shoes and walking stick replacement.

When we arrived at the Safeway, Quiz was there too so we now had five PCT hikers and their packs to fit into the Jeep. Fortunately, we only had a few blocks to go.

When I entered the living room, I told Linda, “I think that I have picked up all of the PCT hikers in Burney.”

She was amazed as the five of them trundled through to the back yard with their packs. They were amazed when they saw the little 25 foot long twelve-foot deep pool. Nice and cool. 70 degrees. Just right for bringing the body temperature down.

Cherries, blueberries, olives and drinks emerged from their packs. Four of them transformed into swimming attire and leapt into the pool.

Then amidst the laughter, chatter, and screams of delight emanating from the pool, a friend of mine Trapper, appeared. Trapper joined in the conversation listening to their stories, asking questions, and informing them about the local fauna. Trapper has been trapping muskrats in Fall River for more that thirty years.

Trapper entertaining hikers by the pool

PCT hikers in general are a fascinating group of people. Generally, young or old, they are very positive, adventurous, well-educated, and idealistic folks. Each of the five hikers relaxing in our back yard was an outstanding person with their unique talents and tales.

Little Spoon grew up in the inner city in London. He quit school when he was 16 and became a model. His modeling career took him throughout much of Europe and even on a shoot to South Korea. By the time he was 18, he had earned enough money to take some time off and decided to go to the Andes in South America. He visited Machu Picchu. He worked for a month in an orphanage in Peru and then spent two weeks in a mountain town in Bolivia.

A friend of his spent time in a monastery in Thailand and he is thinking of going there himself.

“If you go to Thailand and go to a monastery, they will take you in,” he told me. I told him that back in the 1980’s I traveled around the world in a program called Youth Seminar on World Religions and we had a four hour meeting with the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism. When he learned that I had written my Masters thesis in the seminary on Sufism, he was fascinated and asked for a fairly detailed explanation.

He also told me that his father likes cycling and they may go cycling together in the Himalayas.

Hiking the PCT trail is his first experience hiking.

Little Spoon said, “Life on the trail is challenging but easy. Life in town is easy, but complex and stressful.”

His hiking partner, Princess Layers is studying psychology. She has attended several universities in Australia and already has three degrees. She said she is about half way through her plan of study. Her study in psychology has been diverse, embracing behavioral studies, depth psychology from both a psychoanalytic and Jungian perspective, and cognitive psychology. What she hoped to do when she finishes her studies is to develop a therapy that gets people in touch with the healing energies of the earth and nature and also  uses animals therapeutically.

Quiz is a nurse. Pinecone has worked in Australia in urban landscaping. She would like to move to the United States and do work in that field helping to design parks and urban landscape.

Mushy is a graphic designer. In addition, he is fascinated by crystals, so I gave him a small orange calcite pyramid that I had. Something not to heavy for the hike.

When Little Spoon asked me what kind of music I played, I brought out my guitar and sang two songs for them, “Hiking in the Trail of Love” and “Don’t Think About It.”

When I finished, Quiz asked if she could sing a song so I passed the guitar and she sang a love song named “By the Falls.” Then she and her sister together sang a camping song.

After we had sung, Linda brought out and showed some of her photographs of animals which everyone enjoyed. The young man North Carolina said he had a pointer very similar to the dog in one of her pictures.

It was all a lot of fun and time passed quickly. Little Spoon and Princess Layers needed to get to the park because they wanted to hike to Rock Creek Falls before dark. Pinecone, Quiz, and Mushy wanted to get to Burney Guest Ranch for the night so they could get up early and begin the hike over Hat Creek Ridge to Old Station.

I drove Little Spoon and Princess Layers out to Burney Falls Park first and then returned and took the other three to the guest ranch. When we arrived they saw another hiker they knew. Several more hikers and packs were on the porch. The owner Linda came out to welcome them.

After hiking south to Chester the trio plans to skip back to Ashland to reunite once again with Little Spoon and Princess Layers and continue their journey north to Canada together.

Happy trails!

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Filed under Burney, Pacific Crest Trail

Shasta County health leaders express concern about senate version of health bill

Val Lakey, director of public relations for Mayers Memorial Hospital, and Lynn Dorroh, director of Hill Country Wellness Center, were two amongst a number of health care leaders in Shasta County who spoke at a press conference in Redding on June 27 expressing concern about the health care bill pending in the US Senate. You can see the story with video on the Record Searchlight website Redding.com.

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MARIJUANA USE COMES WITH RULES, RISKS

The following is a press release from Shasta County Health and Human Services dated June 29:

SHASTA COUNTY – Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency wants to remind the community that marijuana use is restricted to those 21 years and older, must be done away from public view, and affects a person’s ability to drive safely.

California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) prohibits use of marijuana anywhere the public may see, including inside vehicles parked in a public place, public parks and trails. Driving with marijuana available to the driver or passengers also is against the law.

“Proposition 64 comes with rules. Those who want to use recreational marijuana need to make sure they do it legally and responsibly,” said Terri Fields-Hosler, Shasta County’s Director of the Public Health Branch, Health and Human Services Agency.

That means even though recreational marijuana use may be legal for adults, users also may be subject to employer restrictions as part of a drug-free workplace rule. The same is true of landlords, who may prohibit marijuana use in their rentals.

Recreational marijuana sales are not available until the state develops retail marijuana regulations, which are likely to be introduced in 2018. Marijuana may not be shared or sold to minors.

A local informational campaign on the new law will be rolled out this spring, along with information to education about the potential dangers of marijuana use for teens.

“Marijuana research suggests that use by those under 21 carries risk of long-term damage to the brain,” said Dr. Andrew Deckert, Shasta County’s Public Health Officer.

The campaign will also remind the motoring public that driving under the influence of marijuana is prosecuted the same as driving under the influence of alcohol, since both affect judgement and reaction time and increase fatal crash risk..

Anyone interested in more information about marijuana regulations or how to talk to their children about the risks of drugs and alcohol are encouraged to visit http://www.thinkagainshasta.com/, a website designed to help parents learn more about substance use and prevention for their children.

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“Olympic Training” Vacation Bible School for children

This is a free community event for children.

Click to enlarge

For more information call Cheri Chapman 530-410-7831

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Filed under Burney, Churches, youth

Mayers Intermountain Healthcare Foundation Awards Grants

The Mayers Intermountain Healthcare Foundation recently awarded $37,726 in grants to various Mayers Memorial Hospital District departments.

  • Mindray Vital Sign Monitor (x2)                    Acute                           6643
  • Electric Steamtable (Burney Annex)              Dietary                        2135
  • Mindray Vital Signs Monitor                         Cardiac Rehab             3322
  • Bariatric Bed                                                   Outpatient Medical       5180
  • Non Invasive Positive Pressure & BIPAP         Respiratory              14704
  • SRM Sport Rehab Versaclimber                     Physical Therapy        5295
  • Muscled Joint Model Set                                Physical Therapy         447

Services in these departments at MMHD will be enhanced by the new equipment available. For example, the Respiratory department’s purchase of a new BIPAP machine will allow the department to provide the best possible care to patients who are in the early stage of respiratory failure or respiratory compromise. This can help to improve and support their respiratory status without the need to intubate and transfer the patient.

The Acute Nursing department received two new Vital Monitors, which are used in the daily care of patients. The equipment monitors essential vital signs efficiently and effectively for burse assessment to aid in quality patient care.

The Outpatient Medical Services department received a grant to purchase a Bariatric bed, which will aid in patient safety and comfort while receiving wound care, IV infusions or other outpatient services.

These awards were available through the revenues generated by the Lucky Finds Thrifts & Gifts store, as well as the good works of the many volunteers and hours they contribute. Our volunteers at Mayers play an important role in providing quality healthcare to the communities we serve. Their gift of giving makes a valuable difference in all those who come in contact with them. For more information about volunteering, contact Barbara Spalding, Director of Volunteers & Events, 530.336.521

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Community Meeting at Veterans Hall July 11

From Jen Luck at the Chamber of Commerce:

On Tuesday, July 11 there will be a COMMUNITY MEETING held at the VFW Hall in Burney at 6 pm to discuss homelessness, encampments, crime and fire safety concerns.  There will be numerous Shasta County representatives on hand to answer questions.  Please bring your ideas, questions, and concerns.  This is an opportunity for the residents of our community to pull together.

I look forward to seeing you!  Please share this information.

Agenda for Community Meeting on July 11 at Vets Hall

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