Monday, April 29, 2013

Playing with Fire

Photo by Joe McGarity

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Some people can’t seem to resist playing with fire.  Its irresistible allure drew a large crowd to Water Works Park on a warm spring evening in April.  What’s going on?  The Fantom Penguin asked Fire Dancer Desert Flower.

New Moon Fire Festival is a fun and exciting family-friendly event in Redding.  Our goal is to unite the Fire Dancers of Northern California and to inspire Fire Art in our community.  Our festival plays host to many local vendors, artists and of course fire dancers.  We’ll be offering fire dancing workshops and fire safety courses for all ages and levels.  The workshops do not include fire but do include fire education and safe practices.  During the day there will be several performances from dancers in our community.  Once the sun sets, the night will come alive with various fire dancing art forms such as the traditional Polynesian style, Poi.  And there will also be fire fans, fire hoops, staffs, fire breathing and much more.  All experienced fire performers are welcome and encouraged to take part in our events.”

It seems like Water Works Park is a strange place to find fire.  How do they fit into this whole thing?

“I’ve been fire dancing since 2008.  I actually started fire dancing in Redding at Water Works Park.  They do many Hawaiian themed events.  We’re going to be incorporating fire dancing into some of their special events, so fire dancers from the New Moon events will be able to be booked by Water Works.  I’ve performed fire dancing for years.  I started off fire dancing at festivals.  There just weren’t very many people that were dancing here and there weren’t many places that we were able to do it, so I looked into different locations that I would be able to use.  I actually asked Water Works because I’d performed for them in the past and they said, ‘Go for it!’  They’re my close friends, so they thought that it was a wonderful idea and let us use their location for our first festival.  So, we’re really grateful for it and we’re looking forward to performing more there as well.  We’re also looking to accommodate as many artists as we can into our fire festival.  We’re looking to have sculptures, canvases, really anything.  We’re just hoping to inspire art in our community.”

“To find out more about our upcoming events or take the first step toward becoming a fire dancer, visit our

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Drones the Topic of Discussion at Redding City Council

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

Redding City Council met Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 6:00pm at City Hall.  In attendance were Mayor Rick Bosetti, Gary Cadd, Patrick H. Jones and Francie Sullivan.  Missy McArthur was absent.

The meeting was called to order after the Pledge of Allegiance and a public prayer.  This reporter participated in both.

The early part of the City Council meeting was very straightforward.  Citizens were presented with awards, volunteers recognized and a retiring city employee honored with a plaque for his years of service.   That was before the public comment period.

Although a few other issues were raised, including several citizens who called for the resignation of the City Attorney, the most frequent topic was concern about the city’s enthusiastic encouragement of the use of the Redding Airport as a recovery/refueling station for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and as a location of facilities for the further development of drone technology. 

While the issue before the council was only a consent calendar item, the approval of a letter to Ventura County also involved in the development of UAV’s, many citizens seemed determined to prevent the city from taking any action in support of drone technology.  Concerns were raised about privacy and 4th Amendment Rights.  Several people claimed to have been at an event of a political nature recently and to have observed a drone apparently surveilling them.  Although no one mentioned the specific nature of the event which took place at Anselmo Vineyards, the impression that it was a meeting of people who had had difficulties with local government was hard to miss.

After the initial public comment period, item 4.3a was removed from the consent calendar and placed on the regular agenda, opening the item for discussion by council members.

Councilman Cadd spoke in strong terms about his fears of the potential misuse of drones and received applause from the crowd.  The mayor pointed out that applause is not generally considered appropriate in such a setting.  Support Services Director Rod Dinger was asked to provide some general background on the subject.  He reported that UAV’s in this area would be limited to what he called “strict corridors” of launch and recovery.  He suggested that UAV’s could save lives right here in the Northstate if they were to be used in fighting wildfires.

Councilman Jones said that he attended the Anselmo Vineyards event where the drone was seen and witnessed it himself, although he said it didn’t bother him because he knew of the research being done locally and had confidence in the people involved.  But he did caution that in the future we will not always know who is behind the controls and more discussion is needed to win the confidence of the public, noting that trust in government is very low right now.

Councilwoman Sullivan moved that the item be delayed until a public hearing could be held, but the motion failed 2-2, a tie resulting in “not passed” according to council rules.  In the end no action was taken.

After the vote, Mayor Bosetti commented that in his opinion this work will be done one way or another.  He suggested that if Redding does not allow it to take place here that it will take place elsewhere.  He further suggested that Redding could be in the position to help shape the ethical debate and to influence whatever regulations will eventually be enacted.


United States Constitution
Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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