Regional history series by local legend Hank Meals

Writer and publicist extraordinaire Laura Brown sent along this press release — a reminder of the wonderful educational opportunities in our area. Hank Meals is a local legend:

“The Just Enough Regional History Course, a five session audio-visual presentation by archaeologist, historian, hiking guide and author Hank Meals is coming to audiences at the Banner Guild on Feb. 13.

“Meals first presented his series to history lovers who filled the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center on the San Juan Ridge last fall. The course is designed to provide the fundamentals of historical savvy in the Yuba River region.

“Pulitzer-prize winning poet Gary Snyder attended the popular series last fall.

“’Hank Meals does it all: He walks through a place, does the best available scientific reading, checks the trouble spots and damaged sites and sections, then urges people to hike in a chosen territory and learn it more personally. All this with humor and spirit.  The wisdom and playfulness of a lifetime is in his public talks,’ said Snyder.

“The Yuba, Bear and American Rivers have played a major role in California’s history.  Personalities and incidents in this dramatic story have influenced science, industry and ethics on a world-wide scale with good and bad consequences.  With so much heritage, how can a person begin to appreciate it?

“This collection of photos, historical drawings, maps and first hand knowledge of local natural landscapes is designed to be a refreshing departure from dense, dusty and dull textbook-style history.

“’It’s just enough to make you somewhat legacy literate. So much of the commercially oriented history we’re exposed to consists of jumbled clichés, inaccuracies and cuteness – It’s simply not satisfying enough when the full stories are so engaging and illuminating. I’ve found that knowing what happened in your neighborhood makes you see a place differently, gives it extra texture and creates a sense of regional pride and ownership,’ said Meals.

“The series begins with Petroglyphs on Thursday, Feb. 13. Meals will explore the enigmatic and fascinating evidence of the first people of the region. Next up is Before the Gold Rush on Feb. 20. Meals will bring to life Spanish exploration, malaria and smallpox on the Sacramento River, Yokuts and Miwok horse trading, fur traders, Mexican land grants and more.

“‘Just Enough’ is a richly-informative and well-illustrated lecture series on Nevada County History. A consummate story-teller and scholar, Hank Meals brings more than a half-century of knowledge and understanding to his subject,’ said Tanis Thorne, a retired history professor.

“On Feb. 27, Meals will share stories of the Gold Rush including Manifest Destiny, technologies and their environmental impacts, trails and roads, water appropriation and transport, early hydraulic mining and so on.

“After The Gold Rush on March 5, Meals will talk about investors and stockholders, the Transcontinental Railroad, lumbering, the Chinese Exclusion Act, hydraulic mining and the Sawyer Decision, hard rock mining and grazing.

“During the concluding session March 12, Meals will look at the Legacy in the Local Landscape such as the lasting imprint of former land use activities and reading the landscape today.

“Each 90-minute presentation in this series is rich with unique historical and contemporary photos, maps and diagrams.  Meals will answer questions, provide references and provide enthusiasm for the topics addressed.

“’If you’ve ever wondered how this delightful place we live in came to be, listen to Hank Meals’ ‘Just Enough’ history of our area. Afterward, you’ll appreciate it even more and want to dig deeper,’ said local resident Sarah Sparks.


WHAT: The Just Enough Regional History Course

WHERE: Banner Community Guild (formerly Banner Grange)

12629 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley (530) 273-8747

WHEN: Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Feb 13  —     Petroglyphs                                          

Feb 20   —    Before the Gold Rush                        

Feb 27   —    The Gold Rush                                    

March 5  —   After the Gold Rush                            

March 12  — Legacy in the Local Landscape                  

ADMISSION: $10 at the door. (No advance tickets available)

Yuba Flume crew (submitted by Laura Brown)

Iowa caucus comes under fire amid "reporting inconsistencies"

“It’s time to dump the Iowa caucuses,” writes columnist Kevin Cooney in the Des Moines Register.

“There. I said it.

“The Iowa caucuses are the greatest PR event ever. They draw the world’s attention for the better part of a year. Images of quaint cafe chats and hay bale babble bring White House wannabes and journalism’s elite, not to mention the hundreds of staffers and volunteers all convinced their candidate is the second coming of a savior.

“The trouble is the Iowa caucuses are a sham. 

“This mockery of democracy wasn’t always a bad joke. There was a time when Iowans gathered in Mr. Hogan’s living room in Beaverdale and discussed politics, had some cookies or beer, elected a couple of delegates to the county convention and went home. They did NOT express presidential preferences. 

“After the disastrous 1968 national convention, Democrats looked to open up the process. Iowa grabbed at the chance!

“The result was a prejudicial, convoluted, secretive system of expressing a ‘presidential preference’ without actually calling it a primary, because that would upset New Hampshire, a place that actually understands the concept of ‘one person, one vote.’

The rest of the article is here.

And The New York Times: “Waiting years for this night, then hours for an Iowa winner”

“Every four years since the 1970s, the political gods have smiled upon Iowa, endowing its residents with uncommon power to set the course of national politics as the first nominating contest,” the New York Times is reporting

“For that privilege, Iowa has found itself — more this year than ever — in the position of defending its perch. Why should a state so disproportionately white take such a leading role, especially for a Democratic Party that prides itself on its diversity? Why is a hodgepodge of gatherings in school gymnasiums the pinnacle of American democracy?

“On Monday evening, as the byzantine system left results unreported well after state Democrats had predicted being able to lend some clarity, Iowa’s precarious standing appeared to take another hit.”

The rest of the article is here.

Student-run college newspapers still value print

I wrote for the Daily Californian newspaper when I went to UC Berkeley as an undergraduate in the late ’70s. It was a great experience. Now I attend some of the alumni gatherings, and I am a regular donor. I value the idea of an independent, student-run newspaper, such as the Daily Cal.

As a result, it seemed natural that I would want to donate to the Johns Hopkins University student newspaper now that our son is preparing to go there in the fall in the Class of 2024 (albeit as a STEM major, not a journalism student). He enjoys being on the staff of his high-school yearbook and has written some articles for the school newspaper.

When I received an email about donating to the JHU newspaper last week — one of the nation’s oldest student-run newspapers — I found it interesting that the newspaper’s editors still value print. They observed “there’s nothing better than the experience of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in your hand.”

Imagine that! After all, this is the iGeneration — not my generation. The JHU email directed me to a “donate” button that read:

“Since 1896 The Johns Hopkins News-Letter has reported, informed and — we hope — entertained the Hopkins and wider Baltimore community by providing a platform for student and community voices. From the sit-in at Garland Hall to the volleyball team’s historic season or the Annual Culture Show, we have showcased the diverse range of student and community experiences for the last 124 years. 

“Now, as one of the nation’s oldest weekly student-run and editorially and financially independent newspapers, we need your help. Student papers across the nation are struggling with the financial burden of print, and many have subsequently been forced into solely publishing their content online. While we acknowledge that our online readership is larger than ever, we know that right now, The News-Letter also belongs in print. 

“Our print issues allow us to guide your experience of reading the paper and help us to reach an otherwise inaccessible readership while serving as a meaningful, permanent historical record for the Hopkins community. And there’s nothing better than the experience of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in your hand. 

“Any donation helps. Whether it’s the price of that cup of coffee or donating $100 and seeing your name in print, we thank you for supporting The News-Letter.”

A video explaining the newspaper’s mission is here. The newspaper’s alumni include the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Russell Baker, among others.

(Credit: Johns Hopkins Newsletter)

The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers

“This Black History Month (in February), we’re celebrating some of #TheMostSearched moments and individuals in America,” according to Google. “To find them, we used U.S.-based Google Trends Data to identify Black American achievements that were searched more than any others between January 1, 2004 – when U.S. Search Data first became available – and July 1, 2019. Here’s to the history makers and all those they continue to inspire.”