Empire Mine, South Yuba SP face closure!

Cottage-05No word in the local media yet, but Empire Mine State Park, Malakoff Diggins and South Yuba River State Park are among the 220 state parks slated to close under The Terminator’s latest budget cut proposal.

Popular parks at Lake Tahoe, including Donner Memorial SP, D.L. Bliss, Sugar Pine Point and Emerald Bay SP, also are on the list.

All the parks provide a boon to Sierra and Sierra foothills tourism in the summer months.

All told, the governor is proposing to eliminate funding for 220 of the state’s 227 parks.

The state parks department called the list a worst-case scenario but emphasized this is the present proposal.

A group called the California State Parks Foundation is fighting to keep the parks open.

It argues that the parks attract more than 80 million visitors annually. In addition, for every dollar that funds the parks, $2.35 is returned to the state’s general fund through economic activities.

The full list is here.

The most hated Web ad techniques

The roll-down ads running on www.sacbee.com are extremely annoying to me.

Until you learn to navigate around them, they roll-down and block your reading. “We lower 6,000 prices every week,” it shouts at you, advertising Raley’s and other grocery store chains. OK. Enough already. I shop at Raley’s sometimes.

This is back to the future for me: At CNET nearly 15 years ago, we dealt with the tricky issue of placing banner ads on a Web site.

It’s a balancing act: You want to provide a compelling ad that people will read without annoying them.

Ad people need to learn to gently push back on advertisers, reminding them that annoying Web ads aren’t persuasive because they, well, annoy the customer.

A typical response is here.

A list of “the most hated advertising techniques” is here. It’s written by Jakob Nielsen, a well-known Web site designer whom we used to interview at CNET.

Lazy Dog, Way Yum in GV Farmer’s Market

Here’s a small-town scooplet from this morning: Lazy Dog ice cream and Way Yum sushi are going to get to participate in the Thursday night Farmers Market in Grass Valley after all.

The decision came after a lengthly discussion at a meeting of the Grass Valley Downtown Association on Thursday.

The dispute, first reported here, arose because the management of the Downtown Association wanted to give preference for brick-and-mortar stores in the downtown. Neither Lazy Dog nor Way Yum have downtown stores.

Both business are highly popular with the locals, however, and proposing to ban them caused an uproar.

The proposal to change the food vendor policy was tabled and will be discussed next year.

Congratulations on “doing the right thing.” “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” in the middle of a deep recession. We need to unite, not divide.

Avanguardia expected to go to S. Starr’s GV space

Here’s some more good news: Avanguardia is expected to relocate into Sierra Starr’s old space for a wine tasting room — at 209 West Main in Grass Valley. They had been the leading candidate.

As I wrote back on May 15, Sierra Starr is relocating to a more visible space at 124 West Main, where El Dorado Savings bank used to be located.

The wine tasting musical chairs is good for the visibility of our town as the summer tourist season approaches.

Goomba’s in GV opens next week

Goomba’s Italian restaurant on Colfax Avenue opens next week.

The new restaurant has been under construction for a long time. It received a $165,000 loan from the city to help open its doors.

I hear from business owners that the city’s community development department is working extra hard to get long-proposed projects like this up and running.

It couldn’t come sooner. What a difference a recession makes.

Whole Foods strikes deal with hometown business

Here’s an economic bright spot and small-town scooplet: El Dorado Chocolates in GV has struck a deal with Whole Foods to distribute some of its products.

How cool is that?

As I’ve written before, El Dorado makes a great product, “gets” the Web, has a brick-and-mortar business and has opened a second store in Reno.

I’m going to start my own contest called “local company of the year,” and it will be my first nominee.