Laura Lavelle: Some thoughts to chew on |

Laura Lavelle: Some thoughts to chew on

For the past two weeks, a llama named Amarillo has been grazing in the pasture that lies directly across from the entrance to Lake of the Pines. She has been placed there with 150 goats from Goat Brushers of Nevada County. Her job is to guard the smaller animals from predators, primarily coyotes or dogs that may penetrate the electric fence that surrounds the 7 to 8 acres of property owned by the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Why goats? The school district decided that this year they would utilize a greener method of clearing the dry grass in the field adjacent to Bear River High School, and no chemicals or fuel is being used to get the job done.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the goats are more effective in removing the troublesome star thistle that has taken over the hillside in past years. Along with lessening the fire danger, the primary reason for this operation, a clear hillside is more aesthetic for the community.

This will be the final week that the goats will reside in the field. According to Goat Brushers owner Tony Fairchild, the final step in clearing the brush will be to drop food pellets for the animals, forcing them to “tear up” the remaining vegetation as they search for the food.

Tony said that the goats used for this purpose are mainly of the meat variety, rather than dairy, and can be as heavy as 220 lbs.

Tony also informed me that his farm will rent goats for smaller jobs as well. He has a project where only eight of his animals are being employed. For more information on Goat Brushers, visit the company Web site

While the goats are battling star thistle, LOP members are taking on another prickly issue – the sewer rate increase. LOP homeowners need to express their viewpoints at a special meeting at the clubhouse tonight at 7 p.m. The Sanitation District of Nevada County has proposed an increase of $110 per year.

Bill Hagin, write-in candidate on this year’s board member ballot, thinks this is an important LOP concern, but it did not make his top-two list of priority issues for the lake.

“Coming to grips with the need to repair or replace facilities, and dealing with the diminishing member support for Food and Beverage,” top Bill’s priority list for LOP board concerns.

Regardless of the outcome of this election, write-in candidate Bill Hagin pledges to “continue to support the association, on or off the board.” He has served tirelessly on many committees, and, like many of our member volunteers, is a full participant of the process. Those of you who know Bill also know that he is not shy about sharing his age – he will be 90 in October.

Bill Hagin, Derrald Pick and Max Kane are all write-in candidates for the June election. Once again, if you have not mailed in your ballot, RUN, don’t walk to the Post Office! Your ballot needs to arrive in Escondido by Thursday, June 26.

If we do not receive a quorum, then LOP will need to redo the election in September, and spend thousands of the homeowners’ dollars to administer the new election. If you lost your ballot, stop by LOP Administration and pick up a new one today!

Laura Lavelle lives at Lake of the Pines, and her column is for Lake of the Pines area residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at or leave a phone message with the city editor at 477-4230.

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