George Boardman: EPA statement won’t change the minds of the chemtrail believers |

George Boardman: EPA statement won’t change the minds of the chemtrail believers

Observations from the center stripe: Dragnet edition

PEOPLE SHOULD be pleased that the sheriff now has an MRAP in case the high crime rate in Nevada City can’t be contained within the city limits ... IF THE supervisors have time to hear from the State of Jefferson secessionists, how about the anti-vaxxers, people who are suspicious of Smart Meters, and the chemtrail crowd? … NOW THAT the position is open, Nevada Union should try something novel for this area and hire a woman to coach the girls basketball team … WHILE THE ERC talks about enticing one of the area’s colleges or universities to open a campus in Nevada County, El Dorado County is actually doing something about it. The supervisors are considering a proposal to pursue a satellite or branch campus of UC Davis … A SURVEY showed that 62 percent of consumers cited the quality and taste of the meat as a primary factor in their burger-buying decision. Apparently 38 percent don’t care what the burger tastes like … IF YOUR NCAA tournament bracket has been busted, you’re not alone. A DePaul University math professor calculated that you have a better change of winning the MegaMillions jackpot twice in a row than picking all the winners …

Our local tin foil hat contingent took a hit recently when the Environmental Protection Agency debunked the idea of chemtrails, but don’t expect anybody to change their thinking.

After all, this is the devious United States government we’re talking about.

Anybody who bothers to look up will occasionally notice white streaks across the sky. Scientists call these contrails, condensation trails of frozen water that’s part of the exhaust from aircraft engines, a harmless byproduct of flight.

But some people think these are really chemtrails, chemical or biological agents sprayed from above for secret or even sinister purposes, such as changing the weather or controlling population. Let your imagination run wild, as some people have.

Just to be clear about the subject, the EPA declared recently that it “is not aware of any deliberate actions to release chemical or biological agents into the atmosphere.”

But in a county where we don’t vaccinate our kids, alternative forms of medicine thrive, and some people are afraid of smart meters, the statement won’t change anybody’s mind.

After all, we’re in close proximity to Beale AFB. We know they fly spy planes out of there; planes that can determine from 80,000 feet up the last time I cut my lawn. There’s no telling what “classified” work is going on there we don’t know about.

If you think I’m kidding, just check out The Black Vault, a website dedicated to “exposing government secrets one page at a time,” and a recent chemtrail encounter reported by a man identified as Joe of Nevada County.

Joe, who apparently lives someplace between Beale and Alta Sierra south of Highway 20, reported seeing two chemtrails and then, several hours later, white crystalline drops all over his property that turned to powder when crushed.

There are two possibilities here: A secret raid from Beale, or fall-out from the Dollar General controversy in Alta Sierra. I’ll let Nevada County Scooper, the hard-hitting investigative website, figure it out.

Better burgers

When it comes to eating and drinking, western Nevada County can be as trendy as any foodie mecca you care to name. We jumped on the all-natural, farm-to-fork train early and have become a dynamic outpost of the craft beer movement. Our local wineries continue to grow.

Infused with this and redolent of that, our local dining industry can compete with anybody when it comes to upscale dining and credit card bills that make a company controller spill his coffee (fair trade coffee, of course).

But we do have a scarcity of “better burger” chains that turn up their spatulas at the basic burger in favor of higher-quality meals produced quickly, generally called fast casual. While Pine Street Burgers of Grass Valley has become a four-star favorite at Yelp, it never hurts to have a little competition and more choices.

Like the beer business, the hamburger market has flat-lined at about $77 billion a year. Also like the beer business, the smaller, higher quality operators are growing by taking market share from the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King.

It seems that even people who eat hamburgers want hormone-free, better quality ingredients, and are willing to pay for them, prompting entrepreneurs to jump on this trend. The California Restaurant Association reports that 268 upscale burger places have opened in the last five years, compared to 56 fast-food openings.

Unfortunately, none of the better quality chains has landed any closer than Auburn, where an In-N-Out Burger is creating traffic jams. In-N-Out and another California chain, The Habit Burger Grill, were ranked the two best hamburger chains in America in a 2014 survey by Consumer Reports.

But Grass Valley can boast four of the five worst burger joints in that survey. I won’t mention their names, but all are within a two-block stretch of Nevada City Highway.

We have plenty of establishments to satisfy people who want a basic burger experience. What we need is more upscale burger choices in Western Nevada County. If we can’t have a Trader Joe’s, we can at least have that.

Out front

The county Board of Supervisors has decided to complain to the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District about an action it hasn’t taken, and may not take. Consider it an admonition.

Consolidated Fire has been trying to clean up its act and change its image after a couple of years of turmoil has made it look more like a clown college than a professionally run government agency.

Part of that makeover is a proposal to change its name to “Nevada County Fire District.” How this would improve Consolidated’s image is not clear, but it did raise an objection from Board of Supervisors Chair Ed Scofield, who drafted a letter of protest he asked his fellow supes to approve.

Scofield wrote that the name change would be “inaccurate and inappropriate because it suggests that the district serves all or even a majority of territory within the county. In fact, the district only serves a small fraction of the county area.”

Scofield was also concerned that people might think the fire district, accused in the past of profligate spending, is actually an agency run by the county, known for its tight-fisted approach to spending public dollars.

When asked about the letter by The Union, Consolidated Chair Tom Carrington suggested the supes are getting way ahead of themselves. “It was only a discussion item at a (Feb. 21) district workshop,” he said. “We have to look at the cost — if it’s too expensive, we won’t do it.”

Carrington said the issue could have been clarified if Scofield had bothered to call him. “How hard is that?” he asked.

But the supervisors decided to send the letter anyway when they approved the consent portion of their agenda March 10. For once, they seem determined to get ahead of an issue.

George Boardman lives at Lake of the Pines. His column is published Mondays in The Union.

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