Lorraine’s Lowdown: The return of the Lowdown | TheUnion.com
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Lorraine’s Lowdown: The return of the Lowdown

How Can You Miss Me when I won’t stay away? Details about my unexpected return appear at the end of this column, but that must wait because of this disconcerting news…

Two Days After the Jones Fire Erupted, CAL FIRE was forced to divert air support for several hours from the Jones Fire to respond to a fire sparked at an unpermitted marijuana grow. The William Fire (off William Quirk Memorial Drive) was caused by an unpermitted generator used to pump water for the unpermitted pot grow. The shed for the generator and a laundry outbuilding were on fire when Peardale-Chicago Park units arrived, and a home was in flames. Had that fire gotten out of control, it could have been catastrophic because of its rural and rugged location near Chalk Bluff. When the smoke cleared, the home was a total loss, but firefighters extinguished spot fires in the woods and successfully prevented a potentially devastating wildland fire…

Few Repercussions So Far. “Going after fire suppression costs is a waste of time,” Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Chief Jim Bierwagen says. “People don’t pay, and then it just ends up in small claims court.” County officials are also frustrated. Despite complaints for the past year about alleged illegal marijuana grows in the area, county officials were hog-tied because current ordinances do not allow them to access potentially problem areas and investigate. “If we had more tools and resources to investigate,” says County Building Code and Cannabis Enforcement Director Craig Greisbach, “we could have prevented this from ever happening.” Craig’s department has issued a notice to abate the alleged illegalities, and eventually, the property owner may face fines. Hopeful news: county officials will consider adding teeth to local marijuana ordinances to try to hold violators accountable. But Craig warns, “We have endless instances of problems like this across our county…”



Dr. Mark Agness of NevCity continues to use his healing gifts to make the world a better place and fight the coronavirus pandemic. Mark is in Khartoum, Sudan, teaching doctors and nurses how to best care for COVID-19 patients. In a rudimentary training center, Mark teaches six days each week and shares his considerable knowledge with 35 people each day. “There is an advanced course for physicians to teach them about airway management, ventilators, high-flow oxygen technique, clotting disorders, and more,” says Mark. Originally slated for a four-week stint, Mark’s work has been extended to 10 weeks as Sudan sends more health care providers to receive Mark’s tutelage. Readers may recall Mark spent two months in Italy last spring at the height of the pandemic in that country, serving at a field hospital erected by the worthy nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse (http://www.SamaritansPurse.org)…

What Would Have Been the 40th annual Sierra Presbyterian Church Yard Sale has been Covid Canceled. The event was part treasure hunt, part community gathering, and all about the charity. The Labor Day weekend tradition raised as much as $50,000 each year, which was donated to local nonprofits. “Fueled by cold pizza, an army of church volunteers working 12-hour days for a week made the event happen,” says Melisa Agness, who was looking forward to organizing the yard sale while hubby Mark is in Sudan. “Please continue to support our local nonprofits and thrift shops. The needs remain…”



A Special Kind of Kind. Former GeeVee Mayor Jason Fouyer was feeling glum two weeks ago, disappointed in bitter arguments, shouting matches, and too many people being mean to each other. “I grew up here,” says Jason. “We’re known not just for being kind to each other, but Nevada County Kind.” So Jason started a Facebook page and is distributing smiley face stickers with that moniker: Nevada County Kind (he purchased them with his own $$). The free stickers are available at city buildings, the chamber, etc. “I want to bring people a little joy, without making anything too complex…”

Jason Laments the divisiveness created during this “Year of Fear,” which reminds him of wise advice he received from a Sierra College professor three decades ago. “He told us students, ‘Your mind is like a bad neighborhood,” Jason recalls, “and you should never go there alone…’”

No One Likes to Turn Away Goodies, and firefighters appreciate the thought. But CAL FIRE cannot accept food donations at its Incident Base, such as the one established at the fairgrounds during the Jones Fire. COVID is one reason, but there are others. “We can’t risk a firefighter falling ill from a bad bacteria or such,” says Jim Mathias, CAL FIRE North Division Chief of the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit. “We appreciate and love the fact that the public wants to support us, but our food supplies are fully self-contained.” That’s not to say law enforcement, volunteers, and others didn’t appreciate all the pizza, tacos, and other dinners delivered to the Incident Command Post by generous local businesses and individuals…

Happy 73rd Trip around the sun for Donna Roach, hard-working secretary of the nonprofit NevCo Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council. Donna’s small birthday bash was held at Maria’s Restaurant with Beth Bates and Sandy Van Etten, all three of whom have been besties since 1977. In 1982, Beth and Sandy conspired to introduce Donna to a gentleman named Bill Roach. “It was a blind date,” says Donna, “and the first of my life. Apparently it worked! We were married four months later…”

Despite the Freelance Restriction Law, AB5, that limits work produced by CA independent contractors, Lorraine’s Lowdown is back. That’s because editors at The Union asked me to become a part-time employee (thank you readers for the letters and emails!), until the law is amended. As Editor Brian Hamilton told me, “You’re a part-time employee, until the state bureaucracy frees you of our clutches…”

From Maya Angelou (1928-2014), renowned poet and civil rights activist: “Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud…”

Please send your stories of rainbows and unicorns to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.


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