No Friday night prep football scores in The Union’s Saturday print edition

I was surprised to notice that the Saturday edition of The Union newspaper does not have the sports scores from either the Nevada Union or Bear River High School football games on Friday night.

This is a big departure from the past and a real hole in the print coverage. High-school sports are a big draw in our community. In the past, the results of the Friday night games often were reported on the front page of the newspaper the next morning. It kept the news desk working into the night.

There is no notice in The Union this morning, but I wonder if this stems from outsourcing the printing of the newspaper from The Union’s offices in Grass Valley “off the hill” to the Sacramento Bee as a cost-cutting move earlier this year.

It has led to earlier deadlines for printing “breaking news” at night, because the Bee also has to print its own, much larger circulation newspaper on its presses.

The scores are available online and on other news websites — for free. Nevada Union lost to Placer by a score of 43-7, and Bear River beat Pacheco by a score of 40-20.

So I guess this is the strategy: Charge people for The Union’s print edition, and run the news (in this case the scores for local high-school football games) for free online.  Podunk.

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Economic development: We are the “middle earth” between Los Gatos and Amarillo, TX

We had a great summer vacation, including spending a week in Los Gatos, where we visited with friends and sent our son to a computer camp at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. (The class was full).

The commute from where we were staying to the Tech Museum was a bear and a reminder of my 1 hour commute from San Rafael to San Francisco in the ’90s. But it was a good learning experience for our son. We also visited the Intel Museum in Santa Clara and Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

Silicon Valley is an old “stomping ground”: I spent some of my high school years in Silicon Valley (AKA Santa Clara County, circa ’70s) and later was a longtime technology reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, chronicling the Google, Netscape and Yahoo public offerings, return of Steve Jobs to Apple, “Wintel” portmanteau, rise of Cisco, and more.

Later, at CNET, I helped arrange for our staff to meet with Jobs as he outlined a vision for the computer maker to become a consumer electronics giant — now “common knowledge.” Thinking back on it, he hit a “home run.”

During our trip to Los Gatos this summer (now home of high-tech highflier Netflix) , we heard firsthand that funding for startups in Silicon Valley (AKA “unicorns”) is on fire — confirming what you read about for the likes of Uber and Airbnb. We also heard how the cities such as Los Gatos were benefiting from the spike in tax revenue.

But it’s not all golden. The expenses for startups are huge: largely for rent in Silicon Valley and the salaries for engineering/computer science school graduates. It has given rise to concerns about “overvalued” startups and justifiably so.

“Is this the way to Amarillo”?

Meanwhile, about 1,300 miles away, in Amarillo, Texas, I’ve been following the adventures of former Grass Valley resident Jerri Glover and her husband, Bill, who returned to their hometown and are launching an Internet startup.

I appreciated Bill’s intellect at AJA Video Systems and Jerri’s verve for community participation, including a run for City Council. I was sorry to see them go.

“This is where Bill and I live and work now,” Jerri writes on her Facebook page, pointing to a page for Amarillo economic development. “You can see a few of the reasons we chose to move here. Figure in with these family and you get an even more complete picture.

“We have been fortunate to land at the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center and that is providing us with even more unique support and opportunities.”

Who can blame them? The costs are so much lower than in California for a startup and just plain living.

Having said that, the costs in Grass Valley and Nevada City are far lower than for the “unicorn” startups in Silicon Valley.

We should be able to market ourselves as the “happy medium” between Silicon Valley and Texas. We have amazing attributes, including outdoor recreation, and arts and culture. All of this will help attract “millennials” if we market our community to them (not just retirees).

This is a mantra of our quarterly magazine, and we’re getting real traction.

I’m hopeful that we can “brand” our community as a “soft landing” from Silicon Valley without having to go all the way to Texas (where it’s a little flatter).

This is not new. When you think about the history of our core video-tech industry, Charlie Litton and Donald Hare were drawn to our community for its rural attributes from coastal California.

History can repeat itself — if we just put our minds to it.

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Woman sees Trump’s face in her tub of butter

i8rcidyt8tjsejkujxq2“A woman wrote to a TV station in Missouri this weekend that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to her — in butter, according to KSDK,” as is reporting.

“Jan Castellano of Wildwood, Missouri, told the TV station that she saw the ‘image’ of Trump in her tub of Earth Origins Organic Spread.

“Take a look at the photo and make your own judgements.”

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A new world order emerging in Nevada City politics

A new world order is emerging in Nevada City politics. After more than 2 1/2 hours:

1. The City Council voted 3-2 to disband the parks and recreation committee, because the majority felt it was time for a change. The committee’s members had included Laurie O., who had fought against opening Sugarloaf Mountain as a trail.

The Council also felt some committee members had been “disrespectful” to staff members, to use their words. Mayor Jennifer Ray and Terri Andersen were the losing dissenters. Ray spoke out that Laurie O. had “resigned” from the committee, but it was “too little, too late.” The vote went the other way.

2. The Council also voted 3-2 to approve a yearlong trial of the Terrazzo lights on Commercial St., another topic that the City’s “old guard” had fought against. Once again, Ray and Anderson were the losing dissenters. Anderson claimed the lights looked like a “used car lot.”

3. After an inquisition directed at Council Member Duane Strawser, the Council voted unanimously to approve some city funding for the Amgen Tour of California. I cringed to think that Amgen Tour of California race organizers were watching the same meeting on their computers that I was.

I admire many of the things that Laurie O. and the “old guard” has done for our town. But in the end, it is no different than the rants of the right-wingnut political activist Todd Juvinall, once a county supervisor and an entitled old-timer. Control freaks.

The people “in the middle” are gaining more influence in our local politics, because they are the “economic engines” in our towns. They are growing weary of the behind-the-scenes political puppet masters, and they are building alliances. Stay tuned for more of this.

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Why shopping local is awesome

Here’s a hand-written note we received with the bill in the mail after emailing our son’s ‘back to school’ list to Williams Stationary in downtown Grass Valley. Besides the personal thanks, we got what we needed at a reasonable price, and it was delivered to our door:

“Dear Shannon, Jeff and Mitchell,

“Thank you again as always for your support at ‘back to school’ time and throughout the year.

“It’s a pleasure helping with your office supply and ‘B.T.S’ needs.

“Mitchell, have a great year!


“Dave Williams”

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Donald Trump epitomizes the “race to the bottom” in American politics

No one better epitomizes the “race to the bottom” in American politics than Donald Trump.

It is redolent of some of our local political races — Barry Pruett when he ran for clerk-recorder against Greg Diaz, and the recent District 1 Supervisor race. Or our hard-right political activist blogs.

This week alone, Trump has kicked a Hispanic anchor out of a press conference, and answered questions from NBC’s Matt Lauer if he secretly has a “crush” on the journalist whom he attacks the most: Fox Anchor Megyn Kelly.

Republicans could have avoided the whole Trump disaster. “In a piece entitled, ‘Can the Republican Party survive Donald Trump?’ Molly Ball reports that GOP donors and strategists are fretting that Trump has exposed the GOP’s ‘fault lines’ on immigration in ways that could do the party untold damage in 2016.”

“In a recent interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, presidential hopeful Donald Trump totally showed his ass when asked for his stances on trade, gay marriage, global warning, and global politics,” as one media outlet reported.

And he’s the Republican Party’s frontrunner. What would “Ike” think?

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Our “nest egg” economy

The sharp decline in the stock market this month is a reminder that our economy is highly dependent on the “nest eggs” of our disproportionate number of retirees.

The good news is that the retirees can be an “economic engine” in our community — and the stock market has been climbing steadily for years.

The bad news is that sharp declines in the stock market — including during the past week — can have a ripple effect throughout our community. This can impact merchants, restaurants and nonprofits.

The recent stock market decline should be a reminder of the need to diversify our economy, attract a younger workforce and create more high-paying jobs.

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