News for the week of August 28, 2014
City splash . . .
CITY OF ALTURAS officials joined the ALS Ice-Bucket challenge this week and challenged all County Elected Officials to do the same. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone's head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations for research. According to recent report, the phenomenon has raised nearly $90 million. City officials who donated and braved the ice bucket were, left to right: Public Works Director Joe Picotte, City Councilwoman Cheryl Nelson, City Councilman Mark Steffek (who got a double shot), Alturas Chief of Police Ken Barnes, Mayor John Dederick, Treasurer Heather MacDonnell, Councilman Jim Ervin and Clerk Cary Baker.
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Modoc awarded $4.3 million in geothermal grants
Modoc County and the Modoc Joint Unified School District were notified that their applications for the California Energy Commission’s Geothermal Grant and Loan Program were approved.
Not only were they approved, but were judged the top two out of 13 applications statewide, and of the $5.8 million available, Modoc was awarded $4,285,378. Both grants were awarded at the funding level they requested.
The County’s application for geothermal exploration, economic feasibility and market analysis and distributed energy resource demonstration involving Surprise Valley Hot Springs was judged the top application and was awarded $1,129,619 while the MJUSD project for heating Alturas Schools and the swimming pool was judged number two and was awarded $3,155,759.
The County grant has a match of $369,588 and the MJUSD grant has a match of $800,000.
Money for new jail is question
While Modoc County may be looking at a swinging Piñata containing $6.5 million, it may turn up empty.
The State Board of State and Community Corrections Department has notified small counties that Tehama County will return $6,526,000 in small county set aside funds from Senate Bill 1022, Adult Local Criminal Justice Facilities. That money could be available to counties who were not funded in the grant rounds last year to build a new jail.
Modoc is on the list, but since it only applied for about 7.5 million last year to build a new facility, it has the chance to move up the ladder.
Last week, it looked like the county ahead of Modoc, Merced, wasn’t interested in the funds, but that might have changed on Tuesday. The better option for Modoc could be waiting to apply for the next full round of funding from the state.
In addition, Modoc Chief Administrative Officer Chester Robertson said he was told the state Department of Finance might not allow Tehama to return the funds.
New Students, Staff, and Programs at MJUSD
Schools in the Modoc Joint Unified School District welcomed students this week, and Superintendent Tom O’Malley sees some positives from the start.
As of August 25, District enrollment had increased by 12, on the heels of an increase of 14 last year. Prior to that, the District was on a downward enrollment trend, losing over 50 students at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.
“The fact that we are holding steady in enrollment, even increasing slightly, is a great sign for the community,” said O’Malley. “Hopefully, this is an indicator that economically we are beginning an upswing.”
The District also welcomed new teachers, three classified workers and reinstated the Modoc Middle School Principal position. “We are now able to focus on what matters – student learning,” O’Malley said. “After several years of cuts, it is nice to be able to bring employees on in order to better serve our students.”
The hirings came from recommendations during the formation of the District’s LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) which included over ten meetings with staff, parents, students and other stakeholders.
MNF stresses fire safety for Labor Day
Modoc National Forest offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in observance of the Labor Day holiday and will reopen at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2.
As the Labor Day weekend approaches, forest officials remind the public that the following fire restrictions remain in effect within the Modoc National Forest until fire season ends:
· No campfires except in the South Warner Wilderness with a valid California Campfire Permit or in designated recreation sites.
· No smoking except within enclosed vehicles or buildings, in designated recreation sites or in the South Warner Wilderness.
· Fireworks are always prohibited on National Forest Land.
Richard Alphonza Lee Blizzeard, Jr. of Alturas, California, died on August 12, 2014. He was born on January 7, 1938 to Richard A. Blizzeard, Sr. and Thelma Waters in Hertford County, North Carolina.
Graveside services will be held September 16, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the National Cemetery, 11800 Gas Point Rd., Igo, CA 96047.
Condolences may be directed to the Blizzeard family at P.O. Box 1733, Alturas, CA 96101.
Fred Alonzo Valenzuela, a longtime resident of Likely, CA, was born September 16, 1920 in Los Angeles, CA to Alonzo and Meradith Virginia (Gagnon).
Fred passed away August 8, 2014 at Warnerview Convalescent Hospital in Alturas. He was laid to rest in the Likely Cemetery Monday, August 25, beside his wife Audrey, who preceded him in death.
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