Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Groups hail success of forest protection bill

Today, the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hailed the U.S. House of Representative Natural Resources Committee’s passage of the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. The legislation, H.R. 1526, seeks to prevent the continuation of catastrophic wildfire events by improving federal forest management. The bill, passed on a voice vote, was offered by Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and includes prescriptive measures offered by various Western congressional members whose districts are threatened by catastrophic wildfire and forest mismanagement. The committee includes the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Average July temps hotter than last year

The north state's afternoon temperatures averaged in triple-digits in July. Here are the average high temperatures in July and their comparisons to last year for Redding and other selected California cities, according to the National Weather Service:

Redding: July 2013, 102.2 degrees; July 2012, 97.2 degrees
Sacramento: 2013, 93.4 degrees; 2012, 91.2 degrees
Stockton: 2013, 94.6 degrees; 2012, 92.6 degrees
Modesto: 2013, 96.6 degrees; 2012, 94 degrees
Salinas: 2013, 70.5 degrees; 2012, 69.6 degrees
Fresno: 2013, 102.7 degrees; 2012, 98.7 degrees

Red Bluff's average high this month was 101 degrees. Watch for my August weather outlook at CapitalPress.com.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cooler temps this week in north state

From the National Weather Service in Sacramento:



The heat will return by the middle of next week, however, an NWS forecaster told me today. And it figures to stay hotter than normal over the next three months, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

The haze in the air today is from fires in western Oregon, as shown by this NWS satellite photo.

Friday, July 26, 2013

California fig harvest under way



This morning I visited Maywood Farms in Corning, which has 172 1/2 acres of organic figs and where harvest is picking up. In the photos, from the top: Lupe Reyes packs freshly picked figs into a shipping box; Arbelardo Arcos and Jose Arcos pick figs; and farm owner Bob Steinacher talks on the phone to someone in his shop. For my story on the California fig industry and this year's crop, check CapitalPress.com soon.

U.S. Cattlemen to intervene in COOL suit

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has announced its intention to intervene in the lawsuit challenging mandatory country-of-origin labeling. The USCA, which sees itself as a bridge between the extreme opposites NCBA and R-CALF, has been a vocal supporter of the labeling law. "The eight plaintiffs in this case seek to remove from us our right to differentiate our product with a USA label," director emeritus Leo McDonnell said. "NCBA and the other plaintiffs argue that 'beef is beef, whether the cattle are raised in Montana, Manitoba or Mazatlan.' Many producer groups, such as USCA, and consumer groups believe that consumers are entitled to the type of information the revised USDA regulations provide. It is important that those who believe this have their voices heard in this litigation."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Yes, cap and trade is indeed a tax

There seems to be some debate as to whether cap and trade amounts to a tax, as the Pacific Legal Foundation asserts that it does. For what it's worth, as Congress was debating the national version in 2010, the Capital Press editorial board referred to it as "a massive, job-crushing energy tax." My editors explain:
Although farmers were said to be among the potential beneficiaries of the plan, the Heritage Foundation said Waxman-Markey would have cost agriculture hundreds of millions of dollars a year in increased fuel costs and billions of dollars in farm gate revenues. To achieve the economic benefits envisioned under cap and trade, an analysis by the USDA estimated farmers would have to plant trees on some 50 million acres of farm and pasture land. [...]

The ill-conceived plan has fallen victim to political reality. With the economy only limping along, there aren't huge blocs of voters asking Congress to increase the cost of gasoline, diesel fuel and electricity - or by extension the products and services dependent upon fossil fuel.
The courts will decide if California's cap-and-trade scheme fits the legal definition of a tax. But the fact that it meets the practical definition of a tax is undeniable, regardless of what the defenders of the government juggernaut would have you believe. Like the old saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Humboldt Farm Bureau to mark 100th year

The Humboldt County Farm Bureau. the oldest Farm Bureau in California, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend. According to the CFBF's Food and Farm News, the office opened in 1913 to assure that local farmers had access to agricultural research from the new University of California farm advisor program. As such, Humboldt County became the second in the nation with a local Farm Bureau. The organization celebrates Saturday with a family festival and dinner.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Storm clouds brewing over cap and trade

Today the Pacific Legal Foundation gave a workshop on its lawsuit challenging California's cap and trade program, which attorney Tony Francois says is only the beginning in the state's quest to eliminate most fuel emissions by 2050. He said some draconian measures will be needed to obtain that goal, such as putting an end to private timberland ownership and requiring all farmers to cede conservation easements to the state. The lunchtime meeting today at the McConnell Foundation is one of many the PLF is holding around the state. Look for my story at CapitalPress.com soon.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Temps cool a bit, rain possible this week

From the National Weather Service in Sacramento:
Interior NorCal temperatures will continue to cool off today and Tuesday as clouds move in and onshore flow cools off areas near the Delta. Meanwhile, monsoonal moisture will spread into the area from the south bringing an increasing chance of thunderstorms over the mountains. There is still some uncertainty in the models, but it appears there it an outside chance some showers may occur over the Central Valley tonight into Tuesday.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Local impacts from Obamacare piling up

People seem to be getting wise to the fact that you actually may not be able to keep your doctor under Obamacare. That's particularly true in Redding, where about half the general practitioners have closed their practices, I'm told. A big reason is the requirement to move to automated health records, which can cost an office more than $300,000. Some smaller offices simply can't afford it.

Also, one of Redding's largest doctor's offices stopped accepting Medi-Cal about a week ago because it only gets about a third of the reimbursement given to walk-in clinics for the same treatment. Bear in mind that programs such as Medi-Cal are seen as a key to making Obamacare work, but good luck trying to find a doctor that will still accept it. They seem to be dwindling at a rapid rate.

The health care law is impacting the local education sector, too, as full-time teaching jobs with the Shasta County Office of Education are quickly becoming a thing of the past. As full-day programs are being replaced by half-day, some classroom employees have had their hours cut to 20 a week in anticipation of Obamacare, an insider told me recently. This is a government agency that once offered one of the best and most comprehensive health plans in the city.

I can well remember the hue and cry that emanated from some corners of this community when the county shut its mental hospital. Now that we have upheaval on a much larger scale that's impacting the community in real and tangible ways, what emanates from those corners is the sound of crickets.

LaMalfa votes for local schools bill

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa today voted in favor of the “Student Success Act” (H.R. 5), which seeks to reduce federal education mandates, increase state flexibility and allow more local school board input when determining teacher standards. H.R. 5 also reauthorizes the Charter School Program, which provides grants to support the implementation and evaluation of charter schools. The bill passed on a 221-207 vote and now moves to the Senate.

“States and local school boards have been asking for fewer federal mandates and more flexibility to address their own unique needs," LaMalfa said. "This bill gives them both, while ensuring that we maintain high standards for teachers and students. We’ve increased local school boards’ ability to determine teacher standards and given parents greater choice in their children’s education by supporting charter school start-ups.”

The bill also curtails the influence of the federal Secretary of Education in order to protect states from being forced to adopt Common Core standards, LaMalfa's office explains.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

CDFA's Ross to go to China, Vietnam

California Department of Food and Agriculture
secretary Karen Ross is leading a trade delegation to China and Vietnam in September, the agency announced today. The trip will enable California business owners to have ndividual meetings with foreign importers, briefings by U.S. agricultural officials, and visit wholesale/retail market outlets to learn about in-market distribution and sales formats. The Sept. 16-21 trade mission is funded through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Here is the state's news release. I have a call in to CDFA for more details.

LaMalfa backs delay in Obamacare mandates

The north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa voted for the resolutions authorizing the delay in Obamacare's employer and individual mandates, which passed the House by margins of 264-161 and 251-174, respectively.

“Three years later, Americans are beginning to see the devastating effects of the President’s health care takeover," the congressman said. "While the recent announcement by the Obama administration delaying the employer mandate finally recognizes the many burdens this law places on job creators and business, it is past time this law should be permanently delayed to protect hardworking Americans from the harmful consequences of this law. Americans expect and deserve access to affordable, quality health care that addresses their needs, not a law full of broken promises and higher costs. I am proud to join my colleagues in the House to pass these two fair and responsible bills to ensure all Americans receive the same relief that was given to labor unions and businesses.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Local students earn big CFBF scholarships

Lindsey Affonso and Jaxon Fitzgerald of Palo Cedro, Justine Henderson and Jessica Vazquez of Cottonwood and Bailey Bidwell of Hat Creek were among more than 70 college students statewide to earn scholarships of up to $5,000 from the California Farm Bureau Scholarship Foundation. National Beef Ambassador Katie Stroud of Adin also took one of the scholarships, which together totaled more than $225,000. Here is the full list. Watch for my story at CapitalPress.com.

County fairs being innovative to stay open

Well, most of them are. From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Every year, about 12 million people attend local fairs, but few see the efforts taking place behind the scenes to keep the events going. State funding for California fairs ended in 2011. To compensate for the loss, fair organizers have added new services and events, and have reached out to community groups for financial and volunteer support. Though some fairs remain in financial difficulty, all the fairs have managed to remain open so far.
Ag Alert has details. (Here's my story from May of 2012.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

'This whole hip-hop generation, it’s the devil'

Sports columnist Jason Whitlock is on a roll. Displaying no short supply of courage considering today's cultural and political landscape, the FoxSports.com commentator has penned a series of articles on the harm that modern hip-hop music is doing to society, and particularly to sports. Now I've always considered rap to be gangbanger music by definition, although considering my background, maybe I'm not the best judge.

Nevertheless, here's a sampling from Whitlock:
Although I believe the jury reached the only logical conclusion based on the trial, I’m highly disappointed Zimmerman was not held criminally responsible for following Martin, ignoring police instructions and shooting a 17-year-old kid after losing a fight his pursuit instigated. Zimmerman and the Sanford police force that initially bought Zimmerman’s explanation profiled Martin.

But they had an enthusiastic, unapologetic accomplice — N-word-addicted, gangsta rappers and the record companies that pay and promote them. They have branded young black boys and men within pop culture as criminal, violent and people to be feared. America is still a predominantly segregated society. We learn about each other through TV, the entertainment industry.

Thug rappers and their employers are partially to blame for Zimmerman seeing a black kid in a hoodie and immediately thinking “punk criminal.” The same group is also partially responsible for making young people think it’s cooler to pose as a wannabe thug than a wannabe scholar.
Whitlock spoke at length with Dahveed Nelson, considered one of the fathers of rap/hip-hop music. Nelson says of today's version: "This whole hip-hop generation, it’s the devil. It’s Satan. It’s hedonism. It’s the pursuit of pleasure. There’s no soul. They’ve captured our medium.”

In another column, Whitlock compares Jay-Z to Fiddler in "Roots". Ouch. That's the president's good friend he's talking about. I hope Whitlock hasn't made any mistakes on his taxes, that's for sure.

Anyway, it all makes for an interesting read.

Caltrans 'moving mountains' on Buckhorn

Longtime north state outdoors writer Frank Galusha has a comprehensive report out on the work that's being done to straighten Highway 99 over the Buckhorn Summit. He writes:
Anyone trying to drive to and from the coast has encountered some delay going over Buckhorn Summit between Redding and Weaverville. It can be annoying and uncomfortable waiting, especially in the hot sun, for your turn to drive through the “Cone Zone,” which is nearly two miles long.

On my recent trip to Lewiston Lake to report on the Pine Cove Marina “Feed the Fish” Derby, my wife and I got to see what is taking place on the grade up Buckhorn Summit. On our western leg we got lucky and were one of the last vehicles to fall into line behind the traffic control truck. The delay was only a few minutes, but on the other end we counted 64 drivers waiting their turn. On the way back, our luck was reversed. We were stopped within sight of the flagman for about 20 minutes. Both west and east-bound trips were on Saturday, July 13!

On both legs I tried to get an idea of what Caltrans was doing. Even though the project has been underway for several months it was hard to discern exactly what was being done to straighten out this treacherous stretch.
His report, including lots of nifty diagrams and aerial photos, is here. (HT: Nadine Bailey and Bruce Reynolds on Facebook.)

Workshop to discuss raising of Shasta Dam

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is hosting a workshop at 6 p.m. tonight to discuss the proposal to raise Shasta Dam, the Record Searchlight reminds us. Last year a federal study determined it would be feasible to raise the dam by 18.5 feet, which would provide another 636,000 acre-feet of storage without interfering with the Interstate 5 bridge over Shasta Lake. Such a measure would need to be funded by Congress. Tonight's workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn in the Palomino Room, 1900 Hilltop Drive in Redding.

Public lands event set for Modoc fairgrounds

A trio of cattlemen's groups will be hosting a social for the Public Lands Council, a national group that advocates for grazing on public lands, on Aug. 3 at the Modoc District Fair grounds in Cedarville. The event, co-hosted by the California, Oregon and Nevada cattlemen's associations, seeks to bring together local public lands permitees for a night of socializing and information. The program starts at 2 p.m. with a team branding contest and includes dinner. For information, visit the California Cattlemen's Association's website.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fire fee call to have more than 800 participants

Organizers of tonight's telephone town-hall meeting to discuss the controversial fire prevention fee for rural areas say they have more than 800 people signed up to join the call. The meeting is being organized by George Runner, the north state's representative on the California Board of Equalization, and will include remarks from state Sen. Jim Nielsen. “It is important for citizens to stay updated on the latest news about this illegal tax," Nielsen said today. "The collection of $150 is being used to grow the state bureaucracy and take legal action against landowners.” The call is for residents in Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta and Tehama counties. for information about how to participate, call (916) 445-3032.

Farmers welcome delay in Obamacare mandate

Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural employers expressed relief about the Obama administration's decision to delay by 12 months compliance with the employer mandate provision of Obamacare, Christine Souza reports in the latest edition of the California Farm Bureau Federation's Ag Alert. Farm employers say they now have extra time to decipher the regulations that surround the implementation of the law, which requires employers of 50 or more full-time-equivalent employees to offer health coverage or face fines. The mandate was originally scheduled to take effect next Jan. 1.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Napolitano's move to UC draws protests

Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano's planned move to lead the University of California system is drawing criticism from immigrant-rights groups and privacy advocates, the Washington Times reports. Among those that reporter Stephen Dinan spoke to were the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who did not welcome the controversial cabinet member to his home state.

“University of California students can look forward to the same authoritarian management style Secretary Napolitano brought to the Department of Homeland Security, hardly a bastion of free speech and open government,” LaMalfa told the newspaper. “While I am pleased to see her leave Homeland Security, Napolitano’s views are entirely incompatible with the UC system’s history of civil liberties and the decision to appoint her is perplexing.”

A Los Angeles-based immigrant-right advocate said Napolitano's arrival, expected in September, will be "met with protests." Given that it's the UC, that would be fitting.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Public regard for journalists reaches low

I've noticed that HBO has been promoting the crud out of its drama, "The Newsroom," but the show doesn't seem to be having its intended effect -- that is, to resuscitate the public image of a group that's increasingly seen as the de facto information ministry for a very aggressive and elitist government. From Brietbart:
A new Pew poll that examines public esteem of various institutions shows that members of the media have rapidly lost favor with the public since 2009. Four years ago, 38% of adults believed journalists contributed "a lot to society's well being." Today, that number is down to 28%. Journalists are rapidly losing favor with women; that number dropped 17 points, from 46% to 29%.
"But wait," you may be saying. "Aren't you a journalist, too?" I'm a journalist in the classical sense, not in the sense of what the word has come to mean in America today.

Farmers market flourishing in Anderson



In the photos, Karen Mills of R and K Orchards in Corning and Austin Harter of Julia's Fruit Stand in Dairyville operate booths at yesterday's farmer's market at the factory outlet mall in Anderson.

They've found a good spot to hold the market -- much better than the corner of the fairgrounds parking lot, which was where I last attended it a few years back. And yesterday's weather couldn't have been better.

I talked with Karen, Austin and others about how they got through last week's heat wave and how they'll get through the rest of the summer, which may be hotter than usual. For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Groups respond to split Farm Bill's passage

Reactions from farm groups and others to the House of Representatives' passage of an agriculture-only Farm Bill are trickling in. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's president, Scott George, says he's "pleased that cattlemen and women are one step closer toward final legislation." The Dairy Farmers of America calls it "bittersweet" because the bill didn't include a desired dairy provision. The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance is happy, too, and looks forward "to working with negotiators to advance legislation through conference committee and to the president’s desk for his signature."

As I posted earlier on Facebook, the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, voted for the bill.

“We’ve moved the ball forward toward reform of federal policies, but more work remains to be done,” he said afterward.

According to LaMalfa, the bill contains the following reforms:

· Direct Payments are eliminated and no payments are made to those who don’t farm.
· Traditional farm policy is cut by almost $23 billion – a record 36 percent reduction.
· The bill ensures a reliable food supply and stable consumer food prices for Americans without fluctuations due to federal policy.
· Crop insurance policies require farmers to have more skin in the game, and only provide assistance in the event of a natural disaster or market crash.
· Prohibits EPA from implementing the unjustified and unscientific biological opinions of the National Marine Fisheries Service until there is an unbiased, scientific peer review of those opinions.
· Requires regulatory agencies across the government to use scientifically sound information in moving forward with their regulatory initiatives.
· Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to advocate on behalf of farmers and ranchers as other agencies move forward with regulations affecting food and fiber.
· Eliminates duplicative reporting requirement for seed importers.

The Capital Press' Carol Ryan Dumas is contacting other groups and individual farmers for a reaction story, which you can look for at CapitalPress.com tomorrow.

Resolution honors Blue Star Mothers

Rep. Doug LaMalfa was part of a bipartisan group of House of Representatives members yesterday who introduced a resolution marking August as "Blue Star Mothers of America Month."

“This resolution serves as a well-deserved recognition of appreciation for the massive contributions and sacrifice of the Blue Star Mothers, an organization that has been doing great work for our troops and veterans for the past 71 years,” LaMalfa said. “At considerable personal expense, these women, in the spirit of patriotism, have provided the support and encouragement that our service members depend on as they serve to keep our country free and safe. I am proud to join colleagues from both sides of the aisle to honor these remarkable women and celebrate the contributions they have made to this great nation.”

The resolution honors the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., a non-partisan and non-political organization comprised of 11,000 members from 42 states. Blue Star Mothers are those whose children or grandchildren serve or have served in the military.

Colorado's state of Jefferson movement?

From CBS Denver:
There’s a growing effort to create a 51st state out of parts of northeast Colorado.

Ten counties, including Weld and Morgan, started talking about seceding last month. Now some people Lincoln and Cheyenne counties say they want to join a new state they’d call “North Colorado.”

Organizers of the secession effort say their interests are not being represented at the state Capitol.
Sounds vaguely familiar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nielsen, LaMalfa to host meeting on lawsuits

State Sen. Jim Nielsen and Rep. Doug LaMalfa are hosting a town-hall meeting on Friday to discuss frivolous lawsuits they say are crippling the state's economy. The 10 a.m. meeting will be held at North Valley Property Owners Association in Chico.

“Our already overburdened courts should be used to adjudicate legitimate grievances, not an endless stream of frivolous lawsuits,” Nielsen said. “Unfortunately, there are people who are abusing the system, which ultimately leads to increased costs for goods and services and fewer jobs.”

The two lawmakers will be joined by representatives from California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, an advocacy group formed in 1993.

Groups; Block Smithfield sale to Chinese firm

In preparation for today's U.S. Senate hearing on the proposal by Chinese-owned Shuanghui International Holdings, Ltd., to purchase U.S.-owned Smithfield foods, R-CALF and 16 other farm, consumer and trade groups sent a comprehensive, 12-page letter to the Obama administration urging that the sale be rejected. The groups wrote that the proposed sale "poses an unacceptable national security risk, undermines the safety and security of the U.S. food supply, threatens the environment and economy of rural communities, provides significant taxpayer-financed technology and intellectual property to foreign competitors and will raise the cost of food for American consumers." Here is the news release.

USDA remains 'confident' about COOL

While she declined to comment directly about the meat groups' lawsuit challenging country-of-origin labeling, a USDA spokeswoman maintains the agency still is "confident" with regard to the effectiveness of the law, which was revised earlier this year. “USDA remains confident that these changes will improve the overall operation of the program and also bring the mandatory COOL requirements into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations," Michelle Saghafi told me in an email this morning. Meanwhile, R-CALF is stepping up its criticism of the lawsuit. For my update story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

Hot, dry conditions diminish rangelands

While it's a boon to some crops, the hot and dry conditions that have lingered over the last week have taken their toll on range and pasture lands. Sun-scorched pastures are a common sight across California, leaving cattle ranchers concerned about their ability to maintain herds with little or no grass available, the California Farm Bureau Federation observes in its latest Food and Farm News. There is a growing concern over diminishing watering holes in the foothills of the Sierras, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Look for my report on the impact of the prolonged summer heat at CapitalPress.com soon.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Property rights talks set in Siskiyou County

A pair of property rights rallies will be held later this month in Siskiyou County. The events July 20 in Yreka and July 21 in Dorris will include discussions about wolves, water, roads and recreation. Featured speakers will include Idaho rancher Casey Anderson on the impact of wolves; Arizona rancher Danny Martinez on the U.S. Forest Service roadless plan; and Ramona Hage Morrison on water issues. Click here for more details.

California strawberries still on a roll

In the photo, strawberries are displayed at the Thursday night Market Street Fair in Redding.

Strawberry production in California is still at a record pace, having surpassed 106 million flats by the end of June, a California Strawberry Commission official told me. That's about 2.5 million flats ahead of last year's pace, according to Chris Christian, the organization's vice president of marketing.

For my story, check CapitalPress.com soon.

North staters take part in Gettysburg battle

Members of the Red Bluff-based Re-enactors of the American Civil War were among more than 10,000 history buffs who staged Pickett's Charge over the weekend in Gettysburg, Pa., the site of the fateful battle, the Willows Journal reported. The re-enactment marked the 150th anniversary of what most believe was the turning point of the war. Survivors from the battle went on to become prominent ranchers, lawyers and doctors in Northern California, and many are buried in area cemeteries, the Journal reports.

My wife and I visited the Gettysburg battlefield in 2004, and they happened to be doing a re-enactment that day. Keith Barron of Corning is right -- it is awe-inspiring.

Good news in cattle country: Beef exports up

Exports of U.S. beef moved 3 percent higher in volume in May, and a healthy 9 percent in value, while pork exports dipped 3 percent in volume and 3.6 percent in value, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation's latest report. The inability of the United States to ship beef and pork to Russia continues to put a damper on U.S. red meat exports this year, according to the organization. Excluding Russia, beef export volume for May increased 12 percent and export volume for the first five months of 2013 rose 3.5 percent instead of falling 3 percent. Each month, the USMEF compiles export statistics released by the USDA.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fire tax bills to resume July 15

Cal Fire has informed state Sen. Jim Nielsen that the agency will resume the collection of the fire tax on Monday, July 15 after a four month delay. Citing “errors and inconsistencies” following an investigation in March, Cal Fire temporarily delayed this year’s fire tax bills. Over 1,300 parcels were incorrectly identified in SRA boundaries according to news reports. Nielsen, a vocal critic of the fees who authored legislation to repeal them, used the opportunity to blast what he calls an unfair tax.

“Property owners were promised that the tax would be used to prevent wildfires,” he said. “Instead, it is being used to grow the state’s bureaucracy and take legal action against landowners.”

State of Jefferson advocate to address Tea Party

Stan Statham, a former Republican state assemblyman who is perhaps best known for being an advocate for the State of Jefferson, will address the Redding Tea Party tonight. The group meets at 6 p.m. each Monday at the Destiny Fellowship Church, 2750 South Bonnyview Rd. Pie N Politics has more details.

The blog is back

After a couple of months' hiatus while I worked on several large projects, including this one on Northern California's nut boom, the Jefferson Journal is back in business. As you can see, the format has been changed to more closely match the Capital Press website, which illustrates this blog's renewed focus on providing news, information and perspectives that are relevant to rural readers in the north state.

Look for posts to be a little shorter and quicker, with fewer pullout quotes and more links to pertinent articles and releases. You'll still find my occasional commentaries and photo galleries from events that I cover.

As some local news organizations have taken to charging extra for their articles, above and beyond what you pay for Internet service, it's become all the more important to provide alternative sources of information about what's happening in the community. As always, thanks for stopping by.

PLF to discuss state cap-and-trade lawsuit

The Pacific Legal Foundation is starting a series of briefings around California this week on its lawsuit against the state's "cap-and-trade" auction regulation, which the organization says is an illegal tax because it wasn't approved by two-thirds votes in the Legislature. A meeting in Redding will be held July 23 at 11:30 a.m. at the McConnell Foundation, 800 Shasta View Drive. RSVP by going online to www.pacificlegal.org or contact Jennifer Rohde at PLF at (916) 419-7111 or by e-mail at jlr@pacificlegal.org.

Farm Bureau gives $9,000 in scholarships

Nearly a dozen local high school and college students shared $9,000 in scholarships the Shasta County Farm Bureau handed out at its recent spring dinner. Winners of $1,000 awards were: Lane Province of Cal Poly; Kyle Van Reit of Fall River High School; Cheyenne Bernal of UC-Davis; Justine Henderson of West Valley High School; Alesha Williams of Chico State; Sheldon Overton of Fall River High; and Lindsey Affonso of Shasta College. In addition, Ethan Coe of Fall River High; Michael Maul of West Valley; and Lindee Jones and Michael Kling of Shasta College each received $500. Congratulations, all.

Meetings to address fire fee confusion

California state Board of Equalization member George Runner will hold two telephone town-hall meetings this month regarding confusion that has lingered around the controversial Fire Prevention Fee. The first meeting, on Monday, July 15 at 6 p.m., will be for residents of Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Siskiyou, Shasta, and Tehama counties. A week later, on Tuesday July 23 at 6 p.m., a second event will be held for residents of Placer, Sierra, Nevada, and Yuba counties.

“Many of my constituents have expressed concern about the fairness and cost of this new tax,” Runner said. “As their elected taxpayer advocate, it’s important for me to hear their concerns and keep them apprised of the latest developments.”

For information, visit calfirefee.com.