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Pro-choice demonstrators rally in Grass valley

About 80 protestors packed each side of the road at the Brunswick Road and Sutton Way intersection Tuesday afternoon, joining thousands of #StopTheBans supporters nationwide who rallied for abortion rights.

The demonstrators were responding to legislation recently approved in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi that would restrict access to abortions in those states.

The protestors in Grass Valley waved signs and held coat hangers to highlight the dangers of making abortion illegal.

Some, like 69-year-old Adella Albiani, remember the days before Roe v. Wade.

“I’ve been doing this since I became a voter at 18,” said Albiani, reminiscing about how excited she was when abortion finally became legal. “I never thought I would have to do this again.”

Sarah Nesbit said she was “so proud” sons Adrian, 21, and Paiton, 16, came with her to support women’s rights.

“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt because of the (abortion) bans, or … not be able to have freedom of choice,” Nesbit said. “I see the value of having rights — and options.”

Across the street, a group of Nevada Union High School students encouraged honking, sang and engaged in an impromptu can-can line. Claire Fraser, 16, said they were there to defend their rights.

“What if we told them what they can do with their bodies?” Fraser asked. “It’s not cool.”

Three counter-demonstrators were on hand to express their views as well.

“I believe abortion is used too often for birth control,” said a woman who identified herself only as Diane, as she held a “Choose life” sign. “I believe strongly in this. Somebody’s got to stand up for the babies.”

Lauren Rice held a sign that proclaimed she was adopted, and that provided a number of contacts for adoption referrals.

“I know my biological mom,” Rice said. “She was considering abortion at first, but she reached out for help and was put in contact with an adoptive family. There are services available that can and will help you.”

Counter-protestor Jeff Sporny was far more confrontational, waving his sign in front of demonstrators and calling women who have abortions “murderers.” At one point, Sporny and protester Kimberly Pepe got into a lengthy discussion after she confronted him over what she considered his bullying.

“I told him I will listen to you, I will hear your story, but you have to stop yelling at my sisters,” Pepe said.

Pepe was at the rally because, she said, she believes Americans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies.

“It’s not just a women’s issue,” she said. “It’s about freedom from government interference.”

More than 450 events had been organized to take place Tuesday in all 50 states, sponsored in part by the ACLU and NARAL Pro-Choice America. A number of Democratic presidential contenders joined the protests, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Washington.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

History lesson: The artist of a series of Nisenan paintings explains the whirling logs symbol to the public

In February, Jenny Hale presented her art work of the Nisenan tribe, and displayed it outside the Camelot Gallery on Broad Street.

The art was conducted in collaboration with tribal spokesperson Shelly Covert.

Since then, her art work has been removed from the building’s facade, but one piece from her series called “Guardians of the Dance” was placed outside Asylum Down and California Gold.

As part of Nevada City’s Village Market Day on Sunday, Hale explained her work to a small group of pedestrians. The artist said she wanted to explain the whirling logs symbol, a swastika, which was later co-opted by the Third Reich and used in promotion of Nazi Germany.

“I’m just happy to explain it and bring it back to what it was,” she said. “We’re reclaiming it.”

Hale said the whirling logs symbol is one of the oldest examples of Native American culture. First discovered as an artifact around 350 B.C. in Hopewell Mound, Ohio, it has been used on dance belts, beadwork, basketry pottery and more for many tribes including the Iroquois, Sioux, Comanche, Apache, Navajo and Nisenan. The symbol has also historically been used in association with a few different religions in India.

The owner of California Gold and Asylum Down, Peggy Peterson, said since the art work was placed on display in early March it has fielded good reception.

“We’ve really felt that we’ve had more positive response than negative,” said Peterson.

Employee Cay Fisher agreed.

“In the time it’s been here, I’ve only had one person come in and voice distress about it,” she said.

While drawing the art work, Hale said the symbol evolved so much in her mind she forgot about it’s appropriated past and had re-contextualized to its original state.

“I haven’t gotten a lot of push back,” said Hale, who noted the only people who find it discomforting are some of her Jewish friends.

When this piece is removed from outside Asylum Down, Hale is considering publicly placing her other Nisenan art work around the county with the permission of the tribe.

She hopes her work continues to manifest itself the way it did this past February: as a doorway into the natural world.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

Amador County becomes 12th county to adopt Voter’s Choice Act for 2020 elections

AMADOR COUNTY — The Amador County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the Voter’s Choice Act for the 2020 elections.

Under this modern election model, every registered voter will automatically receive their ballot by mail and have options for how to return their ballot: by mail, to any ballot drop box in the county, or at any vote center in the county convenient to them. Twelve counties, including Nevada County, representing half of the state’s registered voters, will use the Voter’s Choice Act in 2020.

“In 2020, voters in Amador County will have more options for when, where, and how they can cast their ballots,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “By adopting the Voter’s Choice Act, counties throughout California will be moving to a more voter centric, community driven model of conducting elections. When voters have expanded access to voting, more citizens are empowered to participate in our democracy.”

The 12 counties implementing the Voter’s Choice Act for 2020 are: Amador, El Dorado, Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sacramento, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. These counties are home to 49.51 percent of the state’s voters.

The Voters Choice Act (SB 450), sponsored by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, is a landmark election reform measure signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. Five California counties—Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo—implemented this new model of conducting elections for the first time in 2018. All five counties exceeded the November 2018 statewide turnout rate of 64.5 percent.

Source: Secretary of State Office

Obituary of Kenneth W. Jones

On May 13, 2019, Grass Valley resident, Kenneth W. Jones passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. He was born in the Midwest, but his love of the Sierra’s drew him to work and settle in Nevada County, California. He loved Grass Valley and the surrounding area, it’s trees, lakes and rivers. He was laid to rest amongst the tall pines in a private family ceremony. He was 85 years old at the time of his passing and is survived by his two children and four step children.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hooper and Weaver Mortuary.

Obituary of Howard Wayne Young

Howard Wayne Young passed away on May 16, 2019 at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital from

complications from age. He was 93. He was born July 7, 1925 on the family farm in Garden Grove, IA to

parents Edgar and Lois Young. He and his two sisters were raised in a loving household where they

enjoyed the freedom of farm life and the occasional company of cousins and grandparents. At age ten,

he moved with his family to the Mojave desert in southern California.

He graduated from San Jacinto High School, and in 1943, he joined the navy and became an aerographer’s mate stationed in Alaska.

When he was discharged, Howard earned a BS in geology from UC Berkeley using the GI Bill. While

earning his degree, he met his future wife, Germaine “Geri” Barnes of Minneapolis working a summer

job at Yellowstone National Park. Howard had a long career working as an engineer for Caltrans. After

retiring, he worked for FEMA, helping with recovery from natural disasters both at home and in


Howard enjoyed an active and adventurous life. In retirement, Howard and Geri enjoyed gem

and mineral collecting and supported various environmental and animal care organizations. He was an

avid photographer up to the time of his death, traveling with friends on many photography expeditions

and on his own trips to Costa Rica, Alaska, Montana and Arizona. At age 90, he embarked on a guided

fishing trip to Mongolia. Howard will be missed by the many friends he made in Grass Valley.

He is survived by his sister, Eleanor Weidman of Kalispell, MT and seven nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Geri and his sister Margaret Smith. He had a life lived well.

Bear Yuba Land Trust kicks off Celebration of Trails

Bear Yuba Land Trust is hosting a Celebration of Trails Kick Off event at 5 p.m. today at Grass Valley Brewing Company.

The event is for the community to learn more about Celebration of Trails, Nevada County’s largest showcase of local community trails happening May 31 and June 1, to register participants for the 2nd Annual Hike-A-Thon and/or have a pint to support local trails.

Celebration of Trails is an annual event that occurs the first weekend of June. It brings together outdoor enthusiasts with local organizations such as the land trust, Gold Country Trails Council, Forest Trails Alliance, Yuba Trails Stewardship, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Tahoe National Forest and South Yuba River Park Association, among others, to celebrate one of community’s greatest assets — trails.

Ales for Trails

The festivities begin May 31 with the Ales to Trails fundraiser at the ol’ Republic Taproom from 5-8 p.m. Here attendees can enjoy award-winning beer, music from KVMRx, meet fellow trail lovers, learn more about the local trail system and register for the Hike-A-Thon.


The following day the Bear Yuba Land Trust will host its 2nd annual Hike-A-Thon along the future Pines-to-Mines Trail off Highway 20. This proposed 72-mile multi-use trail links the towns of Nevada City and Truckee by using existing trail systems.

Participants will hike five easy-to-moderate miles along the trail, starting just south of White Cloud Campground off Highway 20 and finishing at ol’ Republic Brewery’s new Roadhouse (old 5 Mile House), raising money for trails with each step.

The Hike-A-Thon is not a race. It’s a family-friendly event for people of all ages and a fun way to get outdoors and support a cause that is healthy for everyone. Everyone who participates is encouraged to help fundraise by donating a minimum of $25. A number of prizes are available to Hike-A-Thon participants, including the top two fundraisers. This year’s goal is $10,000 for building and maintaining Nevada County trails. Pre-registration is required to participate.

Yuba Bus is once again partnering with the trust to provide morning shuttles from the Nevada County Government Center to the Hike-A-Thon starting point. Shuttles will take hikers back to their cars that afternoon.

The day wraps with the Celebration of Trails Festival at the ol’ Republic Roadhouse with craft beer, music, a festival village, and family-friendly activities until 5 p.m.

Why Trails?

In Nevada County, there is no county parks or a recreation department, though city districts provide ball fields and swimming pools. Community support and volunteer efforts are vital in the development and maintenance of the recreational trails we all value. On trails, people ride bikes, go for walks and runs, talk to neighbors, observe birds and other wildlife, identify native plants, play with children and connect with the land.

The trust, along with a committed group of volunteers, have built and maintained more than 30 miles of local trails in Nevada County such as Hirschman Trail, Deer Creek Tribute Trail, Independence Trail, Yuba Drop Trail (Yuba River access for experienced hikers), and Litton Trail near Sierra College. A number of trail projects are currently in the works including Sugarloaf Mountain Trail (Nevada City), Wolf Creek Trail (in Grass Valley), and Pines to Mines.

Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust

Double the benefit for event at Friar Tuck’s in Nevada City

The community is invited to Friar Tuck’s Restaurant & Bar today for a special open house that celebrates local heritage while benefiting two longtime, local nonprofits.

“The Paige family is thrilled to have the opportunity to carry on the Friar Tuck’s heritage in Nevada City,” said Ken Paige, the restaurant’s new owner. “Come join us as we celebrate many more good times together. Join us for free food and drinks and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a dinner-for-four.”

As part of the open house, the Paige family is giving 100% of beer and wine donations to support the Hospitality House and The Friendship Club.

“We are excited to partner with Hospitality House and Friar Tuck’s to help expand services in our community,” said Jennifer Singer, executive director of The Friendship Club.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Nancy Baglietto, executive director of Hospitality House. “We partner with The Friendship Club on shared initiatives and this opportunity from Friar Tuck’s will directly help lives in Nevada County.”

This special event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. today at Friar Tuck’s, located at 111 N Pine Street in Nevada City.

Source: Hospitality House

Obituary of Wesley B. Prather

Wesley B. Prather passed away at the Golden Empire Nursing and Rehab Center on Saturday, May 11, 2019. He was 97. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 24, 2019 at Sierra Memorial Lawn in Nevada City. Reception to follow the service.

Wesley was born on October 27, 1921 in San Mateo, CA to Byron and Luella Prather. He graduated from Lowell High School in San Francisco and later attended San Francisco Junior College while flying in the Army’s Civilian Pilot Training program. He entered the military in October of 1941 and was in air gunnery school in Tallahassee, Florida, training on P38’s, when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese.

He shipped out to New Guinea on April 1, 1942. He flew over 70 missions in 31 days against the superior forces of Imperial Japan in support of British and Australian forces after the fall of the British Colony of Singapore. Outnumbered and insufficiently trained, his squadron suffered 80% casualties in the first ten days. He took command of the squadron after his own commander was killed on the second day. He survived being shot down once himself, spending three days and two nights in a raft at sea before being rescued. On another occasion, he barely escaped with his life when an engine failed on takeoff and he crashed into the jungle. His injuries required prolonged hospitalization and rehabilitation for the remainder of the war.

After the war he returned to San Francisco. He was a new car salesman for nearly 30 years in the Bay Area. He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman. In 1968 he married Gladys Lunn French to whom he was married for 47 years. They retired to Grass Valley in 1986.

He is survived by his sons, Jeffrey B. Prather of Diamond Springs, CA, and Mark T. Prather of Hampton, VI, and their respective families; as well as grandchildren. He is his preceded in death by his stepsons, Daniel French and Steven French.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hooper and Weaver Mortuary.

Second time is a charm for Sierra commencement speaker

Chris Jones, 52, was headed for a career as a English teacher when a modeling agent thought otherwise and sent him to Munich, Germany to be discovered.

Thirty-two years later Jones is back on track at Sierra College, as the Nevada County resident will give the college commencement address on Thursday.

His address will focus on finishing a commitment which many make to themselves. In the case of Jones, he is finishing Sierra College with a 3.6 GPA. He’s headed to Sonoma State in the fall to pursue a degree in creative writing and then enter the teaching profession — possibly returning to Sierra College to teach writing.

“It’s been a long road,” said Jones who in his early 20’s headed to Munich and then Milan, Italy, after shooting a Beck’s Beer commercial which put enough money in his pocket to continue his modeling career. For the next four years, Jones traveled throughout Europe pursuing modeling until he yearned for a return to his native California.

Upon returning, Chris continued modeling, acting in community theatre and independent films but his quest to finish college still nagged him.

“My dad is a contractor and I just couldn’t see myself doing that,” said Jones who married his longtime sweetheart, Melissa, and moved to Nevada County for its high quality of life.

“I went up to Sierra College to meet with a school counselor,” said Jones, who learned what previous college credits were transferable and what his path toward a degree would look like.

“From the beginning, the Sierra College staff was extremely helpful and … laid out a plan,” said Jones. The college arranged some student financing so he could work part-time and also afford to attend school.

Jones started in the summer of 2017 and “kept my nose to the grindstone,” taking around six units per semester. He will enter Sonoma State as a junior and hopes to complete his bachelor’s degree in a few years.

“We have this little jewel in our community,” Jones notes of Sierra College’s Nevada County campus.

Terry McAteer is the former Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and a current member of The Union’s Editorial Board.

Nevada County unveils its newest historical landmark: The Historic Rough and Ready Cemetery

The Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission announced the designation of the County’s newest historical landmark, the Rough and Ready Cemetery, located at 14472 Stagecoach Way in Rough and Ready.

Established in 1850, it has been in continuous use, and contains approximately 400 burials, including the town’s founder, Captain A.A. Townshend, who named it “Old Rough and Ready” in honor of General Zachery Taylor, the 12th President of the United States. The site includes an unusual amount of well-preserved grave monuments and cast-iron fencing.

The cemetery will be featured in the next edition of the commission’s interactive map and e-guide. The e-guide is an electronic book cataloging all the over 200 historical landmarks in the County, and is available for any smartphone or tablet from Apple or Amazon. Go to You Bet Press (youbetpress.com) to find clickable links.

For more information, go to www.nevadacountylandmarks.com or call 415-264-7230.

Source: Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission