Tomorrow emerges from today |

Tomorrow emerges from today

The Union StaffConklin
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

I look forward to the time when our population has stabilized and a balance of age and income groups live in well-preserved rural areas and small towns. People will still complain about traffic, but congestion will have declined after we instituted Smart Traffic Co-ordination, timing comings and goings. The average person makes fewer trips due to the walkable communities created early in the century.

Not a single farm, ranch or vineyard is lost in the 21st century. Local wines are finally recognized as among the best. County support of local agricultural promotion and the right to sell right on the farm paid off with better prices and reduced shipping and middleman costs.

Forested lands will remain forested, but with fewer small trees after the chip market revives. Thinning small trees results in larger, wider-spaced and increasingly fire-resistant trees.

In my view of the future, air quality improves annually. The trend was first noticed in 2001 when open burning complaints declined dramatically. It continued with the first green waste pickup in 2002. The use of Smog Check II in the Bay Area, which we fought for in 2002, decreased ground-level ozone somewhat. After the Sacramento Valley changed to mass transit, clean technology autos and transit-oriented planning, our ozone readings declined dramatically.

Local water supply continues to be abundant and high quality. Bioremediation is removing Gold Rush contaminants such as arsenic and mercury. The Yuba River is still our central attraction and local swimming place.

Our schools continue to be among the top in the state. Credit goes to parents, but we also still have dedicated teachers and far-seeing administrators who formed partnerships with county government to promote quality public libraries and after-school recreation programs.

Although the Grass Valley Library has been expanded, local bookstores still flourish. Even universal high-speed Internet connectivity, promoted by a county-business coalition, has not reduced demand for library services. In fact, many citizens get their e-start at library classes initiated in the late 1990s.

Juvenile delinquency has disappeared. Juvenile Hall now houses continuing education for adults trying to keep up with our brilliant young people. Early childhood programs begun in 1999 are paying off by giving our students a healthy start on life.

Our teenagers are resilient and self-motivated. They still enjoy the skatepark, but now also visit the community center, a joint venture of the recreation districts, foundations and the cities. They are welcome at public meetings and fully participate in debates at City Hall and the Rood Building.

Parks and recreation are found in the county as well as the cities. The Loma Rica Park is an anchor for a whole system of parks run by regionally elected boards which co-operate with each other. This regional park features hiking trails along pristine creeks, a segment of the Nevada County Narrow Gage Railway route, and a historic interpretive center.

One park district has constructed a large facility suitable for softball, football and soccer. Another district has, with school encouragement, improved school owned fields so that they can be used by the whole community when schools are not in session.

A new clinic fills a huge need for medical services for low-income residents. Fortunately, it is located on transit lines and within walking distance of many. As the state finally recognized prevention as key to health services, the county formed a partnership with the clinic and the hospital to serve our most needy citizens.

More and more seniors are remaining in their own homes beyond the age 100. The continuity of integrated service provided by the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority, created in 2002, has improved the quality of life for many.

The county still has 5 percent reserves just as it did in 2002, but much of its debt has been repaid at the low rates negotiated in 2001. Labor and management still use interest-based bargaining instituted in 2002 instead of old-style adversarial bargaining. The old county hospital has been restored for offices, but fewer residents go to county buildings. They now bring county offices into their computers via Internet pages, forms and services.

A bright future emerges from today1s actions. But the more things change, the more they remain the same. We still have the most beautiful towns in the state. We have the best parades. The shadiest fairground. The bluest skies. The purest snowfalls. The most harmonious Cornish Choir. The most productive artists. And, yes, the most colorful letters to the editor.

Bruce Conklin

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