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September 20, 2013
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Week In Review: ERC announces Trent out as executive director

The Nevada County Economic Resource Council elected to part ways with Robert Trent, its executive director, approximately seven months after hiring him.

Robert Bergman, chairman of the ERC Executive Committee, issued a press release Thursday morning announcing Trent would not continue as the director but declined to provide the rationale for the decision.

“I’m not going to elaborate beyond the press release,” Bergman said.

The ERC, which is charged with spurring economic development in western Nevada County, managing the county’s $240,000 tourism enhancement contract as well as acting as a resource for existing and prospective businesses, will soon begin the search for its fourth executive director since January 2012 and fifth in the past three years.

Bergman downplayed the impact of the frequent turnover at ERC’s leadership position.

“No, au contraire,” Bergman responded when asked if the turnover impairs the organization’s mission. “I think that it has strengthened it. It started at the time that (former executive director Jon Blinder) elected to go … It required more of us. The whole team has to step up for us to do as well or better.”

Trent, who helped host a large community event for Sierra Commons Thursday night, said he preferred to move forward but did say he was proud of his accomplishments during his stint.

“When I was hired as executive director, I was chosen from a large pool of candidates. I know that who I am and what I do and my qualifications are no secret,” Trent said. “I have been public about what I believe.”

Trent asserted he met every single stipulation of the independent contracting agreement he signed with the ERC.

“I believe I have (met the requirements) in flying colors, and I am proud of my accomplishments at the ERC,” Trent said, adding that he was hired on a four-and-a-half-month contract and received a three-month extension subsequent to being hired. ... I completed the scope of the work that was required and moved the organization forward significantly.”.

In the Thursday press release, Bergman appeared to agree with Trent’s self-assessment.

“Robert Trent assisted the ERC in important ways,” Bergman stated. “The tasks Robert took on and the challenges he met along the way were not easy ones to address, and we all appreciate the energy and focus he put into his work.”

Two mountain lion attacks reported

Two separate mountain lion attacks Monday reportedly left a 2-year-old colt seriously injured and a pair of pet rabbits dead.

The first attack, of a palomino paint gelding, occurred at about 4 a.m. in the 12000 block of La Barr Meadows Road.

“I’m devastated,” said the horse’s owner, Christine Beatty. “I was just breaking him to ride.”

Beatty said she heard what she described as a loud cat cry, followed by her dogs “going nuts.”

“They were raising Cain,” said her husband, David.

Initially, the Beattys said, they couldn’t tell what happened because it was still dark — but they soon discovered the colt and its mother covered in blood.

The colt was “slashed,” Christine said, adding that the lacerations could not have been caused by the one strand of barbed wire in the fence.

“The claw marks were from a mountain lion, for sure,” said David, adding that the vet concurred after treating the injured colt — to the tune of 180 stitches.

A mountain lion is also the suspect in the death of two rabbits on Banner Quaker Hill Road Monday afternoon.

Ted Johnson, who lives in the 14000 block, said he was gone from his residence for a four-hour period and returned at about 2 p.m. to find the rabbits — which had been in a dog kennel protected by a 6-foot cyclone fence — gone.

“There was no sign of them,” he said.

The Mountain Lion Foundation notes that lions roam large territories, and a lion seen in the area after 10 days may not be the same one that caused the damage. The foundation recommends protecting vulnerable animals, keeping animals in fully enclosed structures or using guard animals; the website notes a mountain lion can jump 15 feet vertically.

County leads California in whooping cough cases

Nearly nine months after an outbreak was first reported, pertussis, also known as whooping cough, continues to plague western Nevada County, which tops the California list in case proportions, county officials declared Wednesday.

“We still have the highest case rates for counties per 100,000 population,” said Ken Cutler, Nevada County’s health officer.

A total of 72 people have been diagnosed with whooping cough since the first month of the year, and 54 of them have been school-aged, according to the Nevada County Public Health Department in a memo to parents of area school children Wednesday.

But Cutler said a promising indicator has developed.

“We’ve now gone more than three weeks without a report of a new case. It’s not clear exactly why that is,” Cutler said, noting the significance of the time frame coinciding with the start of the school year. However, Cutler is reluctant to declare the outbreak contained.

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The Union Updated Sep 20, 2013 08:49PM Published Sep 20, 2013 07:22PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.