Exodus from western Nevada County, CA

What do Cindy Maple, Jim Hemig, Kimala and Stephen De Sena, Jerri and Bill Glover, among others, all have in common?

They are moving, or have moved, from western Nevada County CA. The latest population figures for our western County are not encouraging either.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

16 thoughts on “Exodus from western Nevada County, CA”

  1. Hi Tony,
    They show flat to declining in the western county, and a slight increase in the Truckee area.
    The Union publisher was chosen as the “master of ceremonies” at the Nevada County Economic Development Summit, geared toward attracting and retaining people, largely in the western county. It is on April 7. Yet he is leaving our community. It’s ironic, to say the least.

  2. In speaking with members of the NU class of 2015 during the holidays and recent Spring Break (about 15 kids), I asked if any of them had any ideas of returning to Nevada County. It was a nice round number!

    1. The following paragraph was part of a reply to a blog entry here on January 31, 2016. “Last point, I participated in a presentation to government students at Nevada Union High School recently. When I asked the students (about 100 were in attendance that period) how many planned to go to college, almost every hand went up. When I asked how many planned to come back to Nevada County after college, two hands went up. That’s the challenge being faced by Nevada County.”

      One very possible job growth area is what the ERC promotes. As the Nevada County digital media employment opportunities expand, people with skill in that industry will have more reason to stay or return to our county after college graduation.

      But that’s not the only growth opportunity industry that can expand in Nevada County. The organic agricultural industry is well positioned to grow exponentially. The “Farm-to-Table” movement that serves an ever-increasing number of people looking for quality products may find a supportive community in Nevada County.

      As travel beyond California becomes more tedious for Californians looking to spend a week or two or more on quality vacation time, Nevada County offers year-round opportunities for young people, families and seniors to visit, explore, and support our local economy. We can continue to welcome visitors to Nevada County.

      I believe that encouraging our local leadership to promote our positives while correcting our negatives is a recipe for economic success. We should not reject a new and changing economic future, just as we need to let go of an old and unworkable economic model. Change happens.

      1. ” let go of an old and unworkable economic model. Change happens”
        8.875% sales tax is on the table. To save he only fire station they have. What kind of economic engine do you see that would ever make up for this constant cloud of tax increases? Organic tomatoes? Never ever happen. There really is only one crop that is enough of an engine to get and keep taxes from going up, and they are about to ban it because some wing ding from Alta Sierra has a phone bank of “ooh—- I hate the smell, so our neighborhoods are going to hell. .

    2. Good Morning Chris,
      That was the same attitude of HS grads in the 1930’s according to Gage McKinney book.

      1. Hi Niel,
        I understand what you are saying. It is the adolescent mind that wants to expand its wings and “get out of this podunk hole I grew up in.” If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have Broadway or Hollywood. On a personal note, I never intended to come back here. People ask me why I did………I got a job. I had applied and interviewed all over the state and just so happened that NU offered me a job. I’ve been there since 1989.

        The conversation differs in that, I think many of these kids would consider living here. When I hear, “come back to what?” That is the issue. This place is very attractive for the reasons we all agree.

        The point is, our community is changing. All communities change. In 2000, NU had 2900 students and Bear River had 1400. Today, we are in the 1600’s and Bear River is the size of a Middle School. Communities that are growing and thriving have young families and expanding schools. Other communities are shrinking. Perhaps it’s unavoidable evolution. But, I see which direction we’re going.

  3. The only totally round number is zero. Both of my children said the same thing upon graduation from NU. Both went away to school, studied abroad for a semester, lived in southern CA for a while, and then moved back and put down roots. Local politics aside, this is a very nice place to live. And yes, decent employment is hard to find especially for college educated young people starting families who don’t want a service job, but where there is a will there is a way. My advice to young folks is that this is your home too, and your future. Don’t let the good ole boys chase you off. Change isn’t something that is given up readily by those in power and if young people don’t stay and fight for change it won’t happen.

    1. Who knows what opportunities will be available in a few years. I wasn’t going to mention it, but the local politics are not lost on these kids. They had guest speakers in an election year in their A.P. classes.

  4. Ironically, when high school scholarships are given out, they go mostly to students who are studying away from here. No incentive(s) to come back. We’ve then shipped some of our brightest students to another area. No easy solutions here.

    1. Uummm……Sorry Ann, I’m not following. What are our brightest students going to study here?? My 18 year old is taking Vector Calculus and Linear Geometry this quarter. They don’t offer that here. When my son was born, I honestly thought he’d go to Sierra College and transfer as I and my siblings did; my dad did. With A.P. classes and awesome teachers, there is nothing at Sierra College he could take; he’s past all that.

      On another vein, many students receive scholarships for vocational training. However, we have none of that either. So, those students have to go out of town for that training.

      There is no incentive to come back because, as they ask of me, “come back to what?” Perhaps what Jim F says will come to fruition. All I know is, “they’re not holding their breath.”

      1. Chris,
        Thanks for the realist’s view — as a dad and teacher. You have nailed it all along. Is anybody listening?

      2. Right, but how do we attract them back. Why continue to see our children relocate away from the nuclear family. Do we really want them gone? Many students do not receive very many vocational scholarships at least through NU or BR. Sat through both of them in recent years. We offer little in the way of bonafide vocational training, unless its all through ROP. Thank goodness for the FFA program for some who get some great hands on skills, etc. Otherwise we don’t offer much. So you’re right, what are the incentives. Thus the problem/challenge.

    2. Jim Firth is listening. Sadly, I’m afraid no one else is. Check out this video that was shared by NU teachers.

      This is the “Elephant in the Room” for Nevada County. We are not “little Marin”. Nevada County schools are not educating 40-50% of our citizens. We need to educate the community we are….not the fantasy we “want to be”. It’s not just our schools. Schools are just microcosms of the community; it’s our civic boards, it’s our Chamber of Commerce, it’s our Board or Realtors, just to name a few. Until we are realistic as to what our community is made of and what we can actually achieve, we will continue to decline.

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