News for the week of December 12, 2013
A BICYCLIST braves the snow and cold for his commute in Alturas.
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Deep freeze looks to lessen
The deep freeze Modoc has been in for the past eight days appears to be heading out by tomorrow. But don’t get too excited, it’s only going to get into the low 40s for the next few days.
Alturas has not had a daytime high above freezing since December 4 and it has had lows below zero each of those nights. The coldest was Dec. 8 when the mercury shivered down to minus 27 degrees. That was not the record low for December, however. That occurred Dec. 9, 1972 at 34 degrees below zero.
The highs and lows for the week are as follows: Dec. 4, 25 (-1); Dec. 5, 27 (-10); Dec. 6., 31 (-1); Dec. 7, 21 (-11); Dec. 8, 10 (-27); Dec. 9, 19 (-22); Dec. 10, 21 (-11); Dec. 11, 35 (-5).
Plumbers, electricians and trades people have been incredibly busy for the past week dealing with frozen pipes and repairing heaters or stoves. Hardware stores had a run on space heaters, and in some cases hair driers to thaw pipes.
In addition, there have been several instances where diesel-powered farm equipment has been idled.
But look on the bright side, the forecast for Sunday calls for clear with a high of 47 and a low of 20 . . . balmy by anyone’s standards.
Recall proponents scrape up just enough valid signatures
The proponents of the Recall of District Four Supervisor Jim Wills had just over the required amount of valid signatures on their recall petitions, even though they took all of the allotted 60 days to collect the names.
According to County Clerk/Registrar of Voters Darcy Locken, the number of unverified signatures filed was 353, and those found to be valid numbered 269, just 10 over the required number of 259. There were 84 signatures found to be invalid.
Locken presented her certification of the initiative to Supervisors Tuesday with a request to set a recall election. She said the election could be set March 18, March 25, April 1, April 8 or April 15. That decision is in the Board’s hands.
That election has to be scheduled not less than 88 days nor more than 125 days. The cost of that election will be paid by the County, estimated at between $5,000 to $10,000.
Wills won the Modoc County District IV Supervisor seat vacated by Shorty Crabtree in a close election last November with 392 votes (51.58 percent) to Pam Owens’ 368 votes (48.42 percent).
He just took his seat in January. The reason for the recall still remains unclear and the charges brought up by the recall committee have been proven false.
False information creates false issue
Proof that false information can lead to false crisis was apparent Tuesday at the Modoc County Board of Supervisors meeting.
On the agenda was an item for the Board to “remove the ex-officio position of Registrar of Voters from the Office of the County Clerk, effective January 1, 2015, pursuant to California Government Codes . . . as authorized by AB 254 (Dahle) and signed by Governor Brown 2013.”
The agenda item caused an eruption in some of the Supervisor Jim Wills recall proponents and prompted a questionable, if not false, radio ad to air. What that ad said, in part, was: “Citizens of Modoc County, are you aware of the power grab by County Administrative Officer Chester Robertson, backed by the Board of Supervisors, Geri Byrne, and Jim Wills? The plan is to remove responsibility from the duly elected Registrar of Voters Darcy Locken and delegate it to someone to be appointed by the board . . . So, why does the board want to remove responsibility from a duly elected official to someone they choose? This does not pass the ‘smell test!’ We need to recall Jim Wills and concentrate on Geri Byrne and Dave Allan in June 2014!”
Several people arrived at the Board meeting to voice their opposition to the change in the Registrar of Voters. Most of the comments centered around the need of an elected official to be in that position and removing the elected official would violate the speakers’ Democratic rights or voting rights. Just how that would happen was not detailed. Several of the speakers were part of the recall effort.
Chairperson of the Board Geri Byrne told those in attendance that the ad was full of misinformation and tried to explain what had brought the issue to the table this week.
First off, she explained that this was not a “power grab” by the Board and it had been in the works since December 2008.
DA will not file charges in wire fraud case
Modoc County District Attorney Jordan Funk told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that he would not be filing any charges against the Administrative Office concerning an alleged wire fraud.
Funk received a complaint following a Modoc County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the issue, which was initiated by Modoc County Treasurer Cheryl Knoch and Auditor Darcy Locken.
They claimed that on November 7, 2013 two unauthorized payments were submitted to the EDD for payment of taxes owed for Second Quarter 2013 (April 1-June 30, 2013) amount: $12,253.80 and Third Quarter 2013 (July1 – September 30, 2013) amount: $13,757.00
“These amounts were unauthorized because they were initiated by Emily Ramos in the Administration office, who I believe was instructed to do so by her supervisors Pam Randall and Chester Robertson,” Knoch wrote in a memo to the Board of Supervisors at the time. “Any and all payments disbursed from the Modoc County Treasury shall be distributed only on county warrants, checks, or electronic fund transfers issued by the county auditor.”
Knoch tried to get the payments reversed, but could not and was told she and Locken would have to have a police report. So they contacted the Sheriff’s office for that action.
Funk told the Board Tuesday that he had received the investigative report from the SO regarding “criminal transfer of funds” to EDD and had investigated the issue himself.
He concluded there was no evidence of embezzlement or attempt to defraud by the CAO’s office. Instead, they were paying bills to EDD that were owed by the county
Billy Lee Yates
Billy Lee Yates, born November 25, 1978 in Fall River Mills, CA, passed away December 3, 2013 in a single vehicle accident in Alturas, CA.
A wake for Billy will begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 at XL Ranch, Alturas. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16 at XL Ranch. Mr. Yates’ obituary will be published in a future issue. Arrangements with Kerr Mortuary, Alturas.
Beverly Jean Lindahl
Beverly Jean Lindahl, of Alturas, passed away November 29, 2013 at the age of 73, due to ongoing complications with emphysema.
Beverly was born on November 23 in Los Angeles, CA to Laurence and Lorraine Hansen. Beverly moved to the Alturas area to retire with her husband Roland Lindahl and her sons Scott and Todd Foster in 1982.
There will be a memorial service scheduled some time in the future for those who would like to attend. Please allow the family some time to coordinate a time so that all can attend.
William D. Houseman
William Dean Houseman of Alturas, passed away in Alturas, CA on December 9, 2013. Mr. Houseman was born February 26, 1931 in Flint, Michigan. He was 82. A memorial service will be held in the Spring of 2014. His obituary will follow in a future issue. Arrangements with Kerr Mortuary, Alturas.
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