More trout being planted in local waters

More Sierra and Sierra foothills lakes and streams will be stocked with trout than previously planned, the Department of Fish and Game said Friday.

Twenty-one lakes and streams were added to the list, including the Blair Pond, Meadow Lake, Paradise Lake, Toll House Lake and White Rock Lake in Nevada County, after the agency studied further data.

The ban of stocking fish in some areas is the result of a November 2008 court order. It could dampen tourism this summer, providing a double whammy with the recession.

A court order stemming from the lawsuit will prevent fish from being stocked in many lakes and rivers, including Scotts Flat, Bowman Reservoir, Spaulding Reservoir, Rollins Reservoir, Donner Lake, the North Fork of the Yuba and the Truckee River, among other places.

The updated list of waters that will and will not be stocked is here.

A group called Pacific Rivers Council sued Fish and Game over stocking programs, arguing no environmental impact report had occurred for the programs. A superior court judge ordered the agency to complete a report, which won’t be finished until January 2010.

More background on the ban on stocking trout are here and here.

Trader Joe’s to fill empty car lot space here?

imagesNow all three new car and truck dealerships have waived goodbye to our area: Ford, GM and Chrysler.

It’s a big blow to our sales tax coffers, as well as our business stature: A used car lot is not the same as a new car dealership.

On the bright side, could this clear the way for a long-hoped-for Trader Joe’s supermarket? This is one chain store that our community would embrace. TJ’s has a cult following with Web sites such as “Tracking Trader Joe’s.

What’s more, vacant car dealerships can easily be converted into TJ’s. It’s happening in Los Angeles: A La Brea car dealership building under renovation has been leased by the supermarket chain.

“They have signed a lease for the new space, which will greatly enhance floor space and also offer the added benefit of plentiful rooftop parking,” according to Curbed LA.

Alas, it’s doubtful this would ever happen in our community, however. Our population is just too small — in fact, it’s shrinking. This is the fallout from not diversifying your economy beyond retirees and tourism.

The L.A. car dealership on La Brea is near one of TJ’s highest grossing outlets.

There’s a TJ’s in Chico (estimated population of 87,000) and Redding (estimated pop. of more than 100,000). As reported, a TJ’s is planned for the fast-growing North Auburn corridor, but the recession is hampering business expansion.

Fresh & Easy, an up-and-coming grocery chain, had been looking at the vacant Ford dealership in Grass Valley for a store. But the UK-chain owned by Tesco has postponed its California launch, citing the poor economy.

We’re going to need to work a lot harder when it comes to economic development for area.

We’re going to have to put our turf battles aside. The “anti-green” mindset by some people in our community, as well as arguing how many county supervisors will sit on the Economic Resource Council board, astounds me.

Instead, we’ll have to work together to figure out a way to fill the growing amount of commercial vacant space in our community.

Weaver Truck and Auto, once a state-of-the-art GM dealership, is becoming a “de facto” skateboard park.

Scooplet: GV Center for Arts to get new head

Here’s a small-town scooplet: Julie Baker is expected to step up as executive director of Center for the Arts in Grass Valley next month, my sources say.

Julie will replace interim executive director Pam Comstock, longtime ED at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital foundation.

Julie’s spouse is Richard, who currently serves on the nonprofit art group’s board as president.

Julie Baker Fine Art is well known. Her Web site is here.

The Center for the Arts may do a full search for a permanent ED in the fall.

The Center for the Arts has a cool Web site going now, with YouTube videos of performers and all. Check it out here.

Has ‘The Onion’ co-opted Steele and Rebane?

Ever since our beloved right-wing bloggers Russ Steele and George Rebane, as well as The Union, announced they would all be working together to make the paper’s Web site more interactive and even offer the two a monthly column, I’ve noticed that the “caped crusaders” *more than four-year-long* drumbeat of criticism about the paper has stopped.

Not one peep of criticism from “NC Media Watch” nowadays. Has the watchdog become a lapdog?

Going all the way back to 2005 — practically before I moved here — Rebane and Steele had a site called “NC Media Watch.” Its mission: “A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.”

One example from a December 2005 post: Scolding the paper for getting the date wrong for an Economic Resources (sic) Council meeting in the Hauser Room of the county superintendent of schools office. “The meeting was at 7:30 AM this morning!” it read. OMG.

The drumbeat has continued for years: Though the two now have their own blogs, one or the other (or both) have referred to the beloved “Onion,” (a satire newspaper, not our local paper) as well as chastized Publisher/Editor Jeff Ackerman for “rambling” about the homeless problem.

They also have carried on about the “death of newspapers” and so on. The attacks have been relentless at times.

Now, however, I haven’t heard a single peep of criticism about The Onion, I mean The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper, among the oldest around. (That’s a good track record to survive all those economic cycles; no blogger can boast of that).

Perhaps it’s time to rename “NC Media Watch” something more appropriate.

Rainy Blue Cloud: Make us a wireless world!

s738316326_5118I blogged earlier about a new Facebook group to highlight strange items from the Nevada County police blotter, the idea of Rainy Blue Cloud from our area.

Brilliant, readers said. I agree. The group continues to grow.

Rainy’s Facebook photo also reminded my wife and I of a television advertisement for wireless. It shows a woman with a chainsaw getting out of her car on a rural highway to cut a land line, promoting wireless.

“I can actually run a chainsaw like nobody’s business,” Rainy told me Thursday.

Rainy, who is a professional with a serious side, also reminds me of the cool nature of Facebook: It lets people show their sense of humor.

List of Chrysler dealerships planned for closing

Thirty-one Chrysler dealerships in California are slated to close, including Liberty Motors Dodge Chrysler in Grass Valley.

Dealerships in Chico, Oroville and Sonora also are on the list. A Carson City dealer also is slated to close.

The full list of dealers is here.

The closings are part of bankruptcy court proceedings and would require court approval. Bankruptcy courts typically go along with such proposals, however.

In the end, Grass Valley could wind up with no new car dealerships, compared with as many as three last year. This could be more bad news for city sales tax revenue.

Liberty also sells used cars. Its GEM electric cars are made by Chrysler.

Layoff fears keep many from vacationing

National Lampoon's 'Vacation'
National Lampoon's 'Vacation'
A growing number of workers are afraid to take summer vacations, because they don’t want to risk losing their jobs, CNN reports.

“It’s going to be an interesting summer,” a Miami Herald business columnist told CNN. “The people who still have a job are really feeling overwhelmed and overworked. They’re afraid to take vacations, but at the same time, they need them more than ever.”

About 34 percent of Americans don’t take all the vacation time they earn each year, according to a recent survey by Expedia.

Even when Americans take vacations, they keep working via technology such as an iPhone or BlackBerry.

Companies suffer from the lack of vacations, because some workers are too tired or ill to be productive, as CNN points out.