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Teen thinks big

Steven Horner was surveying his Eagle Scout project on Monday when a 50-ton crane showed up for duty.

In about an hour, the crane moved four pieces of historic mining equipment together weighing 18,000 pounds and gently set them on concrete pads behind the North Star Mine Powerhouse Museum in Grass Valley.

This is clearly a scout who thinks big.



“It’s been a good learning experience for me,” said Horner, who belongs to Troop 24 in Nevada City. “I’ve worked on this project for about 60 hours, and there’s more to come.”

The Nevada Union student’s project is another step in the museum’s plans to create a new visitors area on the property, said Bob Shoemaker, a docent who is overseeing the work at the intersection of Allison Ranch and McCourtney roads in Grass Valley.




“I want to get some things done, and he came at the right time,” said Shoemaker, who has worked for seven years as a volunteer at the museum. “I want to clean this back lot and make it part of the museum.”

Horner got the idea for the project from scoutmaster Robert Treiberg, who was aware the museum wanted to make improvements, the Eagle Scout candidate said.

Treiberg contacted museum officials, and when they said they would welcome the help, he turned it back over to the 16-year-old.

“Eagle projects are real nice because they serve as an impetus for development in the community,” Treiberg said.

To do an Eagle Scout project, a Boy Scout first needs to earn 21 merit badges. Horner has earned merit badges for environmental science, first-aid, canoeing and, most recently, cycling, having completed a 50-mile ride Sunday.

The biggest challenge for this project was finding businesses willing to contribute to a hefty project. Hansen Bros. of Grass Valley donated and poured the concrete. Caseywood Corp. of Grass Valley donated the rebar.

Horner met with three crane companies before he found Auburn Crane, which had the horsepower to move the two cast-iron air compressors, a hoist and a tank, he said.

“We like to help the community, and I was impressed with this young man,” said Auburn Crane co-owner Sheila Drew, who estimated the company donation was worth $800.

On Thursday, Horner will return to the site with other Boy Scouts to clean and do other work. His father, Tim Horner, who was helping on Monday, said the project has been great for his son.

“This is a very good program,” the elder Horner said. “It teaches them self-reliance, and they get a good idea what it’s like to work on a community project like this.”

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail pbutler@theunion.com or call 477-4239.


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