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August 30, 2016

Masons Donate Back Packs

by Alex Colvin
contributing writer
On Wednesday morning July 23, Master Mason Larry Hawthorne and Senior Warden Jim Crockett from the Fort Crook Masonic Lodge gave new backpacks filled with school supplies to 93 children at Fall River and Burney elementary schools.

Each backpack contained a ruler, notebook paper, pencils, crayons, and erasers. The school supplies were donated by Patty Williams, owner of Intermountain Floors and past Honorary Mayor of Barney.

Hawthorne and Crockett handed out 40 backpacks in Fall River Mills and 53 in Burney. This is the 15th year that Fort Crook Lodge 250 has done this program. The Lodge gives backpacks to all second-grade students from Burney to Alturas.

Lodge secretary Bob Boyce said that 3 years ago when much of Weed was destroyed by fire, the young students in Alturas asked that their packs be donated to the children in Weed.
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Power Plant Fate Still in Limbo Friday
By Walt Caldwell
Mountain Echo editor
BURNEY — The fate of Burney Forest Power and of Shasta Green were being kept secret as of last Friday afternoon.

State Assemblyman Brian Dahle’s office said that the Assemblyman was not in a position to make any statement as to progress in negotiations at that time.

Dianne Franklin, CEO Shasta Green and Franklin- Trucking and Franklin Logging says the power plant hasn’t been keeping her informed but she hopes their negotiations with PG&E are going well.

Paul Moreno, Public Affairs officer for PG&E gave a history of the situation.

He says the utility and Burney Forest Power had entered into a 30 year agreement in 1990 regarding what PG&E would pay for power from Burney Forest Power. The agreement is set to totally expire in 2020.

A price amendment was negotiated that gave Burney Forest Power a couple of options they could exercise.

Last year, Burney Forest Power exercised one of those options giving them the rate they needed at that time. That option expired yesterday (Monday).
Rumor Mill is Wrong
Facebook posts and the rumor mill in Burney immediately started, insinuating that Perry Thompson was capitalizing on Burney Forest Power’s problems for his own gain and that he had enlisted the help of his aunt, the Shasta County Supervisor for the area.

Supervisor Pam Giacomini says she was not contacted. However it is not uncommon for applicants seeking approval of projects going before the Planning Commission to contact their supervisor to make them aware of the project so if it has to go before the board of supervisors, the supervisor in question is familiar with it.

The fact is that the Shasta County Planning Department ran a legal notice advertising the request for a use permit, soliciting comments and setting a public hearing for August 11 in the Mountain Echo. That notice ran in the paper’s legal section of the July 12, 2016 issue. Mountain Echoalso was the first to break the story of Burney Forest Product’s problems in the August 2, 2016 issue. 20 days after the Planning Department announced Thompson’s request and an unknown amount of time forming its limited liability corporation, researching such a project’s feasibility, potential location, cost and preparing the documentation required before its staff review and posting to go before the commission.

The law, SB1122, has different requirements and rules than the law Burney Forest Power operates under.

In comparing the projects, Burney Forest Power’s facility produces 30 Megawatts of Power, while TLT Enterprises, LLC requested the okay for a facility that will produce 3 Megawatts of Power. Burney Forest Power’s facility generates ten times the amount TLT requested.

Borney Forest Power generates power to sell PG&E in a quantity that makes sense for a large commercial operation. Thompson’s request is more in line with supplying the various enterprises at his site with power. They are two entirely different types of projects.
Lakey Testifies at Hearing
SACRAMENTO — Mayers Memorial Hospital District (MMHD) was represented at the first oversight hearing of the Little Hoover Commission pertaining to Special Districts. The Commission met for the first hearing August 25th at the State Capitol in Sacramento. MMHD’s Director of Public Relations, Valerie Lakey was asked by The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) to present several talking points related to Healthcare Districts. Lakey representing MMHD and Ramona Faith representing Petaluma Healthcare District were the only speakers representing hospitals.

ACHD’s Senior Legislative Advocate Amber King provided oral testimony and responded to Commission questions on behalf of the Association and the healthcare districts ACHD represents. Other presenters included representatives from the California Special Districts Association, the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, CaliforniaCityFinance. com, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
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Crowd Had Many Questions
by Alex Colvin
contributing writer
The Fall River Lions Club’s facility was packed for last Wednesday’s meeting on why Mayers Memorial Hospital ended its obstetrics program.

Mayers CEO Louis Ward said the decision to end OB services was a management decision fully supported by the Board. It was not a decision arrived at quickly or easily.

The California Department of Healthcare Services mandates all California Hospitals that provide obstetrical service do so 24 hour a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year active service. Such service requires a doctor on call, nurses trained in OB delivery, and anesthetics.

The hospital has struggled for years to adequately meet these requirements. It has become increasingly difficult to recruit experienced trained OB nurses largely due to the fact that Mayers delivers the least number of babies of any hospital in the state of California. Last year the OB department only delivered 54 babies.

It was pointed out that no one nurse could be on duty 24/7, so to fully staff the facility each nurse wouldonly deliver a small number of babies each year. The management at Mayers has tried many strategies to recruit experienced OB nurses. They have offered above market-rate pay and financial incentives, but still have been unable to due so. It has also been difficult to recruit OB/GYNs & Family Practice Physicians.
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Program Closure and Computer Glitch Among the
Items Discussed by Mayers Board
By Walt Caldwell
Mountain Echo editor
Regarding the closure of the Obstetrics’ program announced in July, the subject of a public meeting (see above), prompted a response from Board Chairman Abe Hathaway who summed up the situation saying, “This decision is based on liability and staffing, there is not a financial piece. As a board we are concerned about patient safety, quality and care and being able to provide the service we advertise. The Board has made this decision based on keeping the hospital viable. We are in a liability disadvantage. We cannot advertise something we cannot provide. The board has the best interest of the whole community at heart.”

Staff explained the lack of financial statements explaining that the district had been exposed to a major computer problem that lasted several days during the period normally covered by the current financial statements. The computers were back up and running, and an additional backup system that will allow data transfer between the Fall River and Burney locations in the case of future problems is now in place but the transactions normally entered into the system by computers had been done by hand and as of the date of the board meeting, had not been completely entered into the computers so they weren’t available to the board.

A daughter of an elderly resident in Mayers’ Long-Term Care told the board that her elderly mother had been callously mishandled by a member of the Mayers staff and in the process the lady had received a severe cut on her leg. Additionally the staff member had ignored the situation and was seen on a surveillance camera texting someone while not paying attention to her elderly charge or her injury. The daughter said she had filed a complaint with the State.

In an interview after the meeting, Mayers Director of Nursing Sherry Wilson said Mayers was well aware of the incident. She said she didn’t know if the family had filed a complaint with the State, but that the minute Mayers became aware of the situation they had, as was normal operating procedure, reported the incident to the state.

Wilson said that after reviewing the tape, the hospital’s understanding of what had transpired was a little different than the family’s. They did a thorough investigation and taken the appropriate disciplinary action.

She said the State investigation, including a review of the security tape, had resulted in the State determining that it was an accident. However, the hospital was cited for a deficiency.

Wilson said the employee involved had been reprimanded and received additional training.

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