Trump at UN: He calls North Korean leader “Rocket Man”

(Photo: Daily Star)

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New report: Lessons from Oroville Dam disaster

(Photo: Sacramento Bee)

“California’s existing dam and flood infrastructure needs to be fixed now. Oroville Dam gained worldwide attention in February 2017 when crumbling spillways at the nation’s tallest dam triggered one of the largest evacuations in California history. This near catastrophe was a wake-up call to improve the state’s existing dam infrastructure and flood management,” according to a new report released by Friends of the River, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the South Yuba River Citizens League, and American Whitewater.

“The Oroville Dam 2017 Spillway Incident: Lessons from the Feather River Basin calls for more action at this and thousands of other high-hazard dams to keep water moving and people safe in the era of super storms and climate chaos. The report makes dozens of recommendations for bringing waterworks into the 21st Century in a comprehensive review of California dams, flood manuals, floodplains, and regulatory delay.

“DWR still needs to build a complete emergency spillway at Oroville which would have prevented the near catastrophe. Despite all that’s happened, there is still no plan to build the complete emergency spillway that our groups called for more than twelve years ago. The beneficiaries of the Oroville project have a responsibility to ensure funding and construction of a spillway that will prevent erosion and undercutting of the structure that threatens downstream communities and the Feather River.

“In addition to calling for investments in existing dam infrastructure, our report includes dozens of recommendations for operating dams more safely, implementing flood management projects that protect communities, and requiring regulators to update dam safety requirements. It also calls for water managers to develop relationships with local communities that are founded on equality, fairness and respect.”

More details from the report are here.

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The wrath of Hurricane Irma, and Maria is next

Myett’s and a string of small “mom and pop” hotels and beach bars on Cane Garden Bay on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands was a place my friends and I used to visit in the ’80s, when I lived in Fort Lauderdale and worked at the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

The island is renowned for its sailing, scuba diving, and fresh seafood, and Myett’s and the others were gathering spots. The video below gives you an idea of the place.

Hurricane Irma obliterated the place. Now Hurricane Maria is bearing down on the islands.

Here’s some before and after photos in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The photos are from Myett’s Facebook page:


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What a hoot! Google rankings when users search for “George Boardman” and “The Union”

Now that’s embarrassing!

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S.F. Chronicle: “Cook like a caveman”

Truk Jantz, founder of Conscious Course, shows how he builds his oven and kitchen on the flat rocks near Lake Spaulding in Nevada County. (Photo: The Chronicle)

A wonderful writeup on our oldest nephew in San Francisco Chronicle this morning.

“This summer, Jantz, who’s 29 with a mountain-man beard, began offering an experience he thinks will resonate: guided backpacking trips centered on eating fresh, locally raised food and understanding food’s connection to the land. He calls it Conscious Course.”

“Jantz is no stranger to creative cooking: For six years, he worked as a cook at Nevada City’s New Moon Cafe, arguably the nicest restaurant in a town full of nice restaurants.”

When I worked at The Chronicle in the ’90s, the nephews would come down and we’d take them out to dinner at the Buckeye Roadhouse. “I’ll have the filet mignon from the adult menu,” Truk would tell the waiter. And his two brothers joined with the same order (now $35.50 per plate and in the $20s then). It was a big bill. lol.

Now Truk, an alum of New Moon Cafe, is cooking gourmet meals on rocks! I love watching our nephews and nieces grow up. All different paths: Our oldest niece is a CPA for startups in S.F.

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SYRCL names Melinda Booth as its executive director


Nevada County resident Melinda Booth has been selected as the next Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) following a nationwide search, SYRCL Board Vice President Shana Maziarz announced today. Melinda will be formally introduced as the new Executive Director this Saturday, which is the 20th anniversary of SYRCL’s annual Yuba River Cleanup.

“We are thrilled to promote Melinda to serve as SYRCL’s next Executive Director. For the past six years, Melinda has directed the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and she brings an insider’s knowledge to SYRCL’s work. Her expertise in environmental advocacy, development, program leadership, events, and outreach makes Melinda the ideal person to lead SYRCL’s efforts to unite the community to protect and restore the Yuba River,” Maziarz said.

Booth will be succeeding Caleb Dardick who is stepping down after six years to return to the Bay Area. “I couldn’t be happier about this announcement. Melinda and I have worked side by side and I know that she will be a strong and effective leader combining her passion for protecting the Yuba River watershed with her deep experience in environmental advocacy and dedication to SYRCL’s roots in the community,” said Dardick.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity and thankful for the Board’s confidence in me to take on this monumental task.  I am ready to step up to the challenge to lead SYRCL’s diverse work to repair mountain meadows, restore salmon habitat, protect water quality, and ensure that the Yuba River remains the safe, clean and treasured heart of our community,” said Melinda Booth. “This position will allow me to resume my first love of advocacy and campaign work for environmental issues and I am ready to lead the opposition to Centennial Dam on the Bear River.”

Melinda joined SYRCL in 2011 as the Director of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Under her leadership, the festival has grown into a major five-day event in Nevada County attended by more than 7,500 people. Thanks to her vision, Wild & Scenic films travel to over 165 communities and reach more than 45,000 people globally.

Prior to joining SYRCL, Melinda had 16 years of experience working with and leading environmental nonprofits. Starting her career at Defenders of Wildlife, she led campaigns to keep bears alive and wild in the Tahoe basin and helped on the reintroduction of the California Condor back into the wild. As Development Manager at the California Wolf Center, Melinda led education, conservation and research on the North American gray wolf, and specifically the reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest. Her passion for wildlife drew her next to the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation where she served as Development Director, securing millions of dollars for new red panda habitat and an award winning Native Predator exhibit featuring river otter, bald eagle, and salmon.

Melinda received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology & Management from UC Davis, and her Master of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.

Booth is married to Alex Merkle, who works locally providing healthcare to the underserved and is an Officer in the military reserves and volunteers with the Sheriff’s Department.

“On a personal note, the Yuba River is central to my everyday life.  Seven years ago, my husband and I purchased land overlooking the South Yuba just downstream of Jones Bar. Not only am I professionally motivated to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed, I am personally invested as a Yuba River homeowner to do all I can as well,” Melinda said.

Maziarz noted that the next few years will mark significant milestones for the organization, which has 3,500 annual members and over 1,000 active volunteers and enjoys widespread support throughout the community. “Melinda is the right leader for this moment in the watershed. 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the River Cleanup and 2018 marks SYRCL’s 35th anniversary of its founding in 1983,” she said.

Come help clean up the Yuba River and meet SYRCL’s new Executive Director, Melinda Booth, at SYRCL’s 20thannual Yuba River Cleanup on Saturday, September 16th.  Melinda’s first day as Executive Director of SYRCL is September 24, 2017. For more information, visit

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Local politicos Jordan and Royal each running campaigns for Sheriff

Bill Smethers, a 20-year veteran of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, announced his candidacy for Nevada County Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator, according to a press release from Jeanette Royal, Sheriff Keith Royal’s spouse.

This assures that Sheriff Royal, popular in the South County, will be endorsing Smithers.

Jeanette, a real estate agent, has helped run the campaigns of other local politicians, such as Supervisor Ed Scofield. She is well connected in our community.

Smethers will run against former Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster and Sheriff’s Capt. Shannan Moon.

Foster’s campaign manager is longtime local political consultant Joey Jordan. “If you don’t bring to the table the highest degree of ethical standard, qualification, education and experience, please don’t run for local elected office. If you do, please contact me to run your campaign,” Jordan writes on the Alignable website.

Jordan was David Alkire’s campaign manager when he ran against incumbent Cliff Newell for DA in 2014. Royal supported Newell. Newell won.

Let the Sheriff’s race begin!

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