Distillery tasting rooms coming to foothills?

From the blog of SierraFoodWineArt:
New legislation, signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year, the Taste California Act (AB 933) allows manufacturers of distilled spirits and brandy to provide tastings on terms similar to breweries and wineries starting Jan. 1, 2014.

Before AB 933, distilleries could provide complementary samples but, unlike breweries and wineries, could not charge. About 32 distilleries in the state will benefit from changes to tied-house laws. California was among only four states that prohibited distillery tasting rooms.

“This is an exciting time for artisan distillers, as this long-overdue change allows them to market and promote their unique products to the public,” said Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, who introduced the legislation. “And I’m happy to toast to the growth of artisan distillers here in California.”

“We welcome more comprehensive changes to outdated alcohol and beverage control laws, so that California can become the leader of the distillery industry,” said Cris Steller, CADG Executive Director and partner in Dry Diggings Distillery, based in El Dorado Hills (5050 Robert J. Mathews Pkwy, El Dorado Hills, 95762). Products under development are vodka, whiskey and other liquors/eaux de vie that will be produced from locally grown products.

The rest of the article is here.

Diaz announces he will seek re-election

Editor’s note: I received this email. I contributed $500 to Greg’s election the first time around, mainly because the race had become such a ‘mudpit.’ I won’t be contributing to his campaign or any others this time around, but I wish him the best of luck.

Gregory J. Diaz, incumbent Clerk-Recorder of Nevada County, announced today that he will seek reelection for a second full term next June.

“My campaign will have three prominent co-chairs: Robert Bergman of Nevada City; Maia Schneider of Truckee, and Linda Stevens of Grass Valley,” Diaz said in a letter to more than 400 people who supported his campaign four years ago.

“All have been mayors of their cities,” he noted. “I’m fortunate to have them volunteer to head my campaign, and for their continuing support.”

Diaz also told his supporters that he has “the same core committee that conducted my previous, very successful campaign. There’s a lot of difficult, complicated work required in complying with all election laws and I’m so lucky to have this capable group back in my corner — and already at work.”

In the letter, Diaz told his supporters: “My campaign theme will be simple: I will ask voters to trust me again to comply with all of the guiding principles that govern both the spirit and letter of our California election laws.

“And I will continue to conduct the operations of the office of Clerk-Recorder in the manner to which you have been accustomed since I was first entrusted to hold this position six years ago — and elected with a wide majority four years ago.”

The Diaz campaign again will make extensive use of Facebook and has a new Web site: TrustDiaz.com.

The county board of supervisors unanimously appointed Diaz to replace a series of inexperienced Clerk-Recorders in 2007. In 2010, Diaz won election for a full term in the post.

Stanford and Michigan State in the Rose Bowl

What a good matchup. When I went to Northwestern University in ’82, I watched Michigan State play Northwestern at Ryan Field. The two teams had the longest losing streaks in Division 1A football. Sports Illustrated wrote an article about it.

Tonight’s Ohio State-Michigan State game was a good one. Ohio State was overrated with a weak schedule.

I never liked Ohio State going back to the days of Woody Hayes and his temper tantrums. They do have a good vet school, though.

Winter Wonderland

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:
About 1 1/2 to 2 feet of new snow blanketed Truckee-Tahoe ski resorts on Friday, creating the best skiing conditions of the season and a winter wonderland.

Resorts that reported major snowfall included, Boreal, Sugar Bowl (opening today with powder conditions), Northstar California, Squaw (Squaw Creek lift is expected to open today), Heavenly, Kirkwood, Sierra at Tahoe, Mt. Rose and others. Most of the other ski areas, including Alpine Meadows, Homewood and Diamond Peak.

“Deep in it for a great opening ‘POW’ day,” Sugar Bowl reported.

Another six inches of snow could fall today. Cold temperatures through Tuesday will be ideal for snowmaking, adding more base to the slopes ahead of the Christmas break.

Last winter’s recovery from the difficult 2011-12 season has led to many millions of dollars in capital improvements at the ski resorts, including a new Crow’s Peak chairlift at Sugar Bowl. New perks are being added too, including food trucks with fresh, local sustainable menus at Squaw.


The foothills also received enough snowfall to create snowy scenes that were postcard perfect. One example: snowfall at Grass Valley’s Cornish Christmas for the first time in many years. Downtown Nevada City was blanketed in snow.

The rest of the article is here.

A new Christmas tree in town

Robinson Plaza in historic Nevada City has a new tradition: A colorful Christmas tree.

The tree was donated anonymously, and it was cut down, put in place and decorated by Nevada City Chamber volunteers.

“The Chamber wanted to create a Christmas atmosphere in the Plaza,” a small-town version of a “Rockefeller Center tree,” where people could gather in wonderment, Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Chamber, said with a smile.

It has become an instant attraction for the community. At Victorian Christmas this week, numerous people stopped and photographed the tree — by itself or with their group standing in front of it.

The rest of the article is here.

Nelson Mandela is dead

“Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and an enduring icon of the struggle against racial oppression, died on Thursday, the government announced, leaving the nation without its moral center at a time of growing dissatisfaction with the country’s leaders,” as the New York Times is reporting.

‘”Our nation has lost its greatest son,’ President Jacob Zuma said in a televised address on Thursday night, adding that Mr. Mandela had died at 8:50 p.m. local time. ‘His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love.’

“Mr. Zuma called Mr. Mandela’s death ‘the moment of our greatest sorrow,’ and said that South Africa’s thoughts were now with the former president’s family. ‘They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free,’ he said.”

The rest of the article is here.

Fighting over cold shelters

Living here can be like a broken record: We like to fight a lot, especially for such a small, supposedly easy-going place. We like to fight over the same issues.

And the people doing the fighting always say the same thing. The personalities involved usually are the same too — year after year.

Finding a cold shelter in Nevada City is the latest example. My issue as a citizen and taxpayer is real simple: When I get up at 5 a.m. and go downstairs to work in my office, I fire up the pellet stove to warm up the room.

When I look out the window and see my truck and the yard covered with ice, I’d like to know that I live in a city where people are working together to make sure our homeless have a warm place to sleep when it’s freezing outside.

I’d like to know that the hurdles — ranging from NIMBY’ism to a failure to execute on a plan for cold shelter (beds, insurance and so on) — don’t get in the way.

It should be pretty simple — and easily attainable — to ensure that homeless people don’t freeze to death in a town of 3,000 people. But we always seem to make it pretty complicated. It’s unfortunate, to say the least.

Western Gateway Park board to seek tax measure

Some of the Penn Valley folks are among the most staunch hard-right political activists or ideologues in our community, supporting the tea-party mantra of limited government and “no new taxes.”

They’re closely aligned with rigid views of politicos such as Tom McClintock, who has managed to alienate even moderate GOPers throughout the foothills with his “my way or the highway approach.” (I heard it again this week over in Auburn).

Well, guess what? Now some of the staunch conservatives are pondering a tax measure to help revive Western Gateway Park.

It’s an old saw: The Park — a real gem — has long been in need of some help. Budgetary issues have been ongoing. In the past, some residents have questioned the park’s stewardship as well.

Yubanet reported this story last month. A press release referred to the tax increase as “increased service-related revenue.” LOL.

What’s happening now is a good example of the “square peg” of ideology not fitting in the “round hole” of reality. It happens all the time in American politics and is one reason why the tea party is not very popular. Sometimes you have to cut costs — and raise taxes.

“Based on the response to the survey, the Park District Board of Directors will move forward with a broad-based community outreach campaign to educate area residents on the recreational opportunities available at the park as well as the budgetary issues it faces,” Barry Pruett, one of the board members, wrote in a statement to The Union.

“If we seek a tax measure, the amount is not as important as including an inflation provision to match inflation so that we never have to do it again,” he said.

I like that rhetoric: “The amount is not as important as” an inflation provision. “Never again.”

BTW, if I lived near Western Gateway Park, I’d vote for the tax measure in a heartbeat, along with real board accountability.

I’d ensure that enough people were passionate about the park that there would be regular elections to the board. I’d ensure that people who were elected were savvy businesspeople, who knew how to cut costs and raise revenue. Stewardship on our nonprofit and governmental boards is essential.

Then again, when it comes to supporting tax measures, these same folks like to call people like me a “lefty.” In fact, I’m a moderate — and a pragmatist. Most of us are “in the middle,” which is why the tax measure will easily pass.