Grand Jury questions nixing NC finance group

The Nevada County Grand Jury has released a report questioning the Nevada City Council’s decision to abolish their Finance and Administration Committee.

It came after the jury received a citizen complaint regarding the Council’s decision earlier this spring. A Finance Committee has been in the city’s government in one form or another for at least 15 years, the report said.

“The Finance Committee provided a valuable oversight function between the city council and staff, in addition to providing citizen involvement and transparency,” the report said.

It recommended that the City Council consider a reconstituted oversight group, with written and well-defined duties, the report said.

The report is here.

A blog post on the initial decision is here.

Future Nevada City bike races in jeopardy?

As a Nevada City resident walking down Broad Street on Tuesday, I was interviewed by one of the Sacra-tomato TV stations about Lance Armstrong coming here for this weekend’s bike race in Nevada City.

“Come join the fun,” I said.

It will mark Armstrong’s first return here in nine years.

But there’s a flip side to the hoopla that many people don’t know about: Behind the scenes, some appointed “powers that be” — including ones who don’t even live in incorporated 95959 — are lobbying to end the annual bike race.

They don’t think it provides enough “juice.”

They also want to cancel the Mardi Gras parade as part of a restructuring of the city’s Chamber of Commerce — reported here but nowhere else. This sentiment has been going on for a year.

I never understood the desire to end the Nevada City Classic: Downieville has built a major summer event from its bike race, and we should be promoting our great outdoors, as well as shopping and other activities.

A bike race also helps attract younger people.

I’m not a big fan of the Mardi Gras parade, but I understand the need to have some winter-time event here.

Let’s hope calmer heads prevail when it comes to the annual bike race.

Lots of Cougars around here

Demi Moore as a Cougar
Demi Moore as a Cougar
Most of the more interesting aspects of our small towns are the unspoken ones.

One that strikes me is all the “cougars.” Not the mountain lions but the woman who are married or dating men who are much less than their age.

Examples abound — the first, second — or third — time around. Just look around. I could offer enough examples to make your head spin.

It’s OK. I just wonder why it seems so commonplace around here.

A site dedicated to this trend is here. Another site called “Date a Cougar” is here. The first one is from Carson City, not far from our neck of the woods.

What’s up with this trend in our foothills?

News coverage of Nevada City in spotlight

No word still in the local media about the biggest hard news story in Nevada City: Tonight’s meeting at City Hall to further discuss the merger of the Downtown Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

It’s a thorny one, to be sure, and will spark controversy. You read about it in this blog first.

I did, however, notice not one but two glowing feature articles of downtown Nevada City businesses in this morning’s issue of The Union.

That’s great, but I couldn’t help but remind myself that Nevada City will soon get a competing newspaper — a weekly that comes out on Fridays.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Major Emgold investor selling shares

A major investor in Emgold, which is trying to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine, has sold a significant stake, according to regulatory filings.

RAB Special Situations, of the Cayman Islands, no less, holds a nearly 23 percent stake in Emgold.

But it recently just sold sold shares that reduced its holdings by 4.5 percent, according to a Canadian regulatory filing.

“Since the last report, there is a net decrease in Special Situations’ holdings of 7 million common shares of the issuer representing a net decrease of 4.5 percent in Special Situations’ securityholding percentage for that class of the Issuer’s securities,” according to the filing.

It said the Cayman Islands firm disposed of the securities “for investment purposes only.” RAB’s Web site is here.

The document appeared on Emgold’s Web site late last week. It is emgold.

As previously reported, the draft environmental impact report for re-opening the mine will require further revisions. This could further delay the process for approving or rejecting the mine’s application.

Russ and Bill Steele are cousins

I was interested to read on Russ Steele’s blog on Sunday that he and Bill Steele of North San Juan are “distant cousins.”

Bill Steele’s calls to The Union’s newsroom, circulation department and newsroom were infamous. Just ask anyone.

One that stuck in my mind: Bill would repeatedly call to complain that our city editor’s voice mail message also was in Spanish. It was just a friendly greeting. Her husband is from Mexico, and this is — after all — 2009.

The tone of Bill’s messages was disruptive to say the least. I received several complaints from staffers about them.

Now Bill’s distant cousin is a regular columnist of The Union. My how times change when the economy goes south. Oops, I don’t mean south of the border.

All this has got to be book fodder.

Scooplet: Big merger in Nevada City

It ain’t exactly a merger of Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG), but my sources tell me that the city’s Chamber and Downtown Association are discussing a merger.

It is long overdue since the two step on each other’s toes more often than teenagers learning to dance at Cotillion. (Do they still have that?)

My advice is to start over, creating an organization that collectively meets the needs of downtown, Seven Hills and the Tech Center.

Good luck! We’re supporting you.

BTW, the first week of the NC Farmers Market was fabulous. Hope you make it soon.