Food, Wine & Art economics

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:
In the introduction to our Fall 2012 issue, we wrote about we we called “Food, Wine & Art economics.”

“Food, wine and art (which go hand-in-hand) are becoming a potent force in economic development in the Gold Country and Sierra,” we wrote. “They are providing economic diversity and growth.”

Now others are weighing in. “Rural tourism is a critical economic engine,” reads the latest article in PublicCEO.com, quoting the same study that we did.

“California’s natural wonders and landscapes — from Yosemite’s El Capitan to the rugged coastline in Big Sur – allow visitors to fulfill their dreams of hiking, rock climbing, wine tasting, camping and discovering charming towns and communities along the way. The global allure of these California experiences help to attract more than 200 million travelers to the Golden State each year, injecting more than $106 billion annually into our state’s economy.

“This is significant when you consider that tourism fills a critical role in diversifying and stabilizing rural economies. Rural areas in California are typically more vulnerable to economic pressures, so the influx of tourism dollars often is a significant source of revenue to support local businesses and jobs.

“The one-two punch of the Rim Fire and federal government shutdown created an extreme situation; nevertheless, the impacts to Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties show how important the travel and tourism industry – and the businesses that depend on it – is to ensure economic stability.”

The rest of the article is here.

(photo: Corey Rich)

Sheriffs refuse to enforce gun-control laws

“When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he ‘maybe’ obtained afterward,” as the New York Times is reporting.

“’How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?’ he asks.

“Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.

“Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.

The rest of the article is here.

Oregon’s fast-aging rural population hinders economic growth

Editor’s note: This sounds like our County, and the same can be said for the fate of newspapers, such as Swift-owned newspapers in Grass Valley and Oregon, that largely cater to this demographic:

“Oregon’s fast-aging rural population hinders economic growth and could lead to a long-term downward spiral of labor and job shortages in rural areas, the state economist said Wednesday,” as the Portland Oregonian is reporting.

“Rural Oregon counties boast a sizable number of working-age households for now, but birth and death statistics show that could drastically change in the future, state economist Mark McMullen said at the Human Services Coalition of Oregon’s annual meeting Wednesday.

“Deaths outnumbered births in 13 of Oregon’s 36 counties in 2010. All 13 of those counties were rural, with Curry, Grant and Lake counties having the lowest ratios of births to deaths, data from the Office of Economic Analysis indicated.

“The demographic shift presents yet another hurdle as rural Oregon counties slowly rebound from a recession that hit them faster, harder and longer than the Portland metropolitan area. Rural Oregon’s aging population has far-reaching implications on the types of jobs available, the wages earned, and the ability of rural communities to lure young families and companies.

“‘Rural Oregon is aging incredibly fast, much more so than the rest of the state, who are able to continue to attract these young, working-age households,’ McMullen said. ‘Once you start losing the work force, it’s hard to talk firms into setting up shop in your rural area. With no jobs, you’re not going to get any young migrant families. With no workers, you get no jobs, and this becomes a very negative cycle.'”

The rest of the article is here.

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Center-right battle shaping up among GOPers challenging Bera

“Congressional challenger Igor Birman continued his rightward assault on fellow Republican Doug Ose on Friday, urging the former congressman to publicly sever ties with a centrist organization that accepted money from organized labor,” as the Sacramento Bee is reporting.

“‘If Doug wants to have any credibility whatsoever with Republicans, he needs to denounce the Main Street Partnership and pledge not to take any support from them,’ said Birman, a former aide to conservative GOP Rep. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove, in a prepared release.”

“Ose has been a member of the Main Street Partnership and served on its board.

“With less than 10 donors from within the district, Birman’s campaign is solely dependent on Washington-based interest groups,’ said Marko Mlikotin, a spokesperson for Ose. “Rather than attack fellow Republicans, Birman should be more concerned with creating jobs and repealing Obamacare.”

The rest of the article is here.

Angry birds

We’re deep into the holiday spirit. We’re working hard but still enjoying the season. We live in such a beautiful area, compared with the bustle of “the Coast.”

Having said that, I sense a lot of “angry birds” out there. Whatever the issue – our tiny-town politics, Obamacare, homelessness and the like — I sense a lot of polarization, hunkering down with like-minded individuals, intolerance, bunker mentality and outright anger.

Part of it is seasonal (the stress of the holidays, even football rivalries), but I also sense a systemic change in our community, brought about by the “Great Reset” of our economy. We’re quietly struggling.

It’s sad, and hopefully it will pass in coming years.

Commercial Street Boardwalk wins a Chamber of Commerce award

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:
The Commercial Street Boardwalk in Nevada City — featured on page 5 of our current issue — was chosen as the recipient of the W. Lon Cooper New Construction Award, the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce announced.

The Boardwalk is a hub for the city’s First Friday Artwalk and the community farm-to-table dinner.

The online article “Fresh, local food year-round in the Sierra Foothills” is here.

(photo: Hojji Firemaker)

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Here’s another image of the Boardwalk we ran in our magazine (below):
Commercial Street Boardwalk

(photo: Lisa Redfern)