Friday, February 28, 2014

Safe Haven Rescues Horses

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity


What happens to large animals if they are abused or neglected?  If someone has their horse taken away by Animal Control, where does it go?  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Linda Richards of Safe Haven Horse Rescue in Cottonwood.

So, how long have you been running this operation here?

“Twenty years, this year, this month.”

Twenty years this month?  Well, happy anniversary.

“Well, thank you.  Twenty years since I started Safe Haven.  So yeah, we’ve helped lots and lots of horses.”

How many horses do you have currently?

“Forty-five”

Wow!

“That’s actually low.  My all-time high was seventy-three.  It just never ends.  They come and go.  We just got two skinny, emaciated ones that we need to take pictures of.”



Photo by Joe McGarity
Volunteer Claudia Hartley told us more.

“A lot of people will know Linda’s website.  They’ll contact her either through the website or call her and tell her of a situation or they’ll take pictures of and show them what’s going on.  There’s one in front when you first came in in the round pit that is skin and bones.”

Buddy.

“No, Buddy’s fine now.  This one just came in yesterday.  She was rescued because some neighbors called and said, ‘This horse is gonna died,’ so Linda went and got ‘em.”

Well, let’s back up to the beginning.

(Loud Whinnying)

“Sorry!”

Somebody’s upset!

“No, no.  They’re playing.  That’s Smokey.”

They’re horsing around.

“Well, we’re working on their pens right now, so all of them are kind of locked together.”

Because today is the volunteer work day.

“Today’s volunteer work day, yes.”

And you’re working on mud and drainage issues today.

Photo by Joe McGarity
“We’re working.  We’re putting a lot of sand underneath mats where their food is, so that when it does rain a lot their mats don’t move around and they have a dry place when the weather gets bad, yeah.”

If you had to tell somebody what Safe Haven Horse Rescue is and they had no idea, had never heard of the place, how would you describe it to them?

“It’s a place where horses go that have been abused, neglected, tortured in some cases and they come here and we give them all kinds of Love, the right nourishment and we find good homes for them so that they’ll never be hurt again.  And everybody that comes out here and volunteers absolutely loves these horses.  Some of them become permanent residents because they’ve been through so much that Linda won’t let them go.  They’re going to stay here for the rest of their lives.”

And how is all this paid for?
Photo by Joe McGarity

“This is solely donations, volunteers.  She’s a non-profit.  A lot of us network and try and get money.  People come out here and see them or they see Buddy’s story on the website and they donate.  And you can set it up through PayPal and you can donate as little as $25 a month and it goes for all the horses, but you can also sponsor one horse in particular but that money is used to take care of all of them.”

Linda Richards again:

“We are a volunteer based, donation supported, no-kill rescue and sanctuary.  We don’t euthanize horses to make room for more.  We only put them to sleep when there’s no quality of life left.  We have the adoption fees go back into feed and vet care.  The sponsorship fee’s $65 a month and that’s for people that don’t have a horse, have never had a horse, don’t have a place for a horse, can’t afford a horse.  They can come out to Safe Haven and have one of our horses out here.  And they can learn how to take care of it; learn how to ride.  We’ll have riding lessons in the summer and the spring and it’s just another way . . . another fundraiser.”
Photo by Joe McGarity

You have a Facebook page.  You have a website too?

“Yes, SafeHavenHorseRescue.org is the website and then you can click on the Facebook link to go to Safe Haven’s Facebook or just go to ‘Safe Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary’ on Facebook.”

So if people either want to come out here to learn about horses or to volunteer or if they want to donate, they can find all of that there?

“They sure can.  And we’re trying to really stress if anybody wants to mail anything to Safe Haven to mail it to:

Safe Haven Horse Rescue
P. O. Box 1788
Cottonwood, CA  96022”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Electric Utility Complaints Ignored

Redding City Council, February 18, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met at 6:00 pm at City Hall on Cypress Avenue in Redding.  All five council members were present.  A brief summary of each agenda item follows:

The first substantial item following the Pledge of Allegiance, Invocation, Roll Call and the Introduction of Council Meeting participants was item 2A, a presentation of a donation in the amount of $2800 to the Redding Recreation Fee Assistance Program by Brandon Benting of Bar Associates.  Benting told the council he and his friends wished to create a community service project that represented the restaurant industry.  They chose to raise money to help children of low income families access many of the recreational activities for which one would normally pay a fee.  Councilwoman Francie Sullivan thanked him, mentioning that she sits on the board of One Safe Place (formerly called Women’s Refuge), an organization which receives some of the funds raised.  Mayor Rick Bosetti noted that although the amount in question may seem low, it would make a significant difference.  He asked Community Services Director Kim Niemer how many kids would benefit from the donation.  She told him that costs of activities generally range from $25 – 50, so this could help 70 – 100 kids afford a swim lesson or other sports activity offered by Parks and Recreation.

The next item on the agenda was the Public Comment Period for non-agendized matters.  A total of nine speakers addressed the council about Redding Electric Utilities policies, many (but not all) of them identifying themselves as affiliated with the Western Service Workers Association.  James Castro spoke first, asking the council to rescind the electric rate increases of the past three years which he said totaled 55%.  He said the city can no longer rely on rate increases and excessive late fees to cover the cost of power.  He told them that seniors in our community often have to choose between food and medicine or power.  He also called for a moratorium on utility shutoffs during the winter and summer months.  Several other speakers echoed his comments some adding additional suggestions such as canceling Enterprises Zones which offer tax breaks to businesses in certain areas.  One speaker who identified himself as a delegate from the Shasta County Workers Benefit Council suggested five steps:  1) Roll back rates to 2011 levels, 2) End red tag evictions, 3) Waive late and reconnect fees, 4) Impose a moratorium on shutoffs during the winter and summer months and 5) Allow reasonable payment plans.  He said he had 1500 signatures to back up these suggestions.  Other speakers read prepared statements from organizations like the Sikh Center and the NAACP supporting the idea of electric rate reform and noting the burden on poor families and individuals.

A few speakers spoke on other topics.  George Clarke mentioned that City Manager Kurt Starman’s contract will be up within the next two years.  He suggested that Starman would attempt to get a pro-union council elected in that time.  He suggested that REU could save money in its budget by considering outsourcing some jobs which Clarke says they have refused to do in the past.  He concluded by saying that it was time for the council to take care of those paying their salaries rather than just their employees.  He began to repeat the claim he had made in council before that Council Member Sullivan had accepted $15,000 from unions and his belief that she had likely received ten times that amount under the table, but his time expired and he was cut off and not allowed to finish.

Tina Nelson addressed the council about traffic on Shasta View Drive.  She has addressed the council on this issue before.  She said that there have been four more accidents at the intersection in question near her home that were reported to the police and five additional accidents that went unreported.  “How many accidents will it take?” she asked.  She asked for a “turnaround with river rock” noting they were “not asking for anything fancy.”

One man addressed the council concerning two issues.  The first issue he brought up had to do with state and federal recommendations concerning bear attacks.  Government literature suggests hikers carry pepper spray to defend themselves in the case of a bear attack.  The gentleman told the council he had been the victim of a bear attack and had used pepper spray on the animal with no effect and was lucky to escape with his life.  He also spoke of court-ordered Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom as AA is a religion-based program.  He said that court-ordered AA meetings have not helped reduce drunk driving incidents and that more severe drunk driving laws were the answer.

John Livingston told the council that the city should show strong leadership concerning the current drought.  He said that they should require all department heads to submit a written plan detailing how that department plans to use less water and that these plans should be available to the public.  He further suggested that fountain in front of City Hall and another behind it remain unused, city vehicles should remain unwashed and that grass fields not used for recreation be allowed to dry up.

Photo by Joe McGarity
The next item on the agenda was the Consent Calendar.  The consent calendar item is for routine non-controversial items expected to pass without discussion.  Item 4.11(c) was pulled from the Consent Calendar by the Public Works Director.  This item would have authorized construction of a new restroom at City of Redding Softball Field.  The rest of the Consent Calendar was passed unanimously with no additional changes.

Item 7.1 appoints David Pezonlla to the Redding Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners as the Resident Advisory Board Member.  His term expires December 31, 2017.  This passed 5 – 0.

9.2(a) The council received a report from Deputy City Manager Greg Clark concerning what is now being called the “Woodlands Apartments”.  The issue before the council was whether to approve a loan in the amount of $750,000 to assist in the development of the project which will provide about 75 apartments for low-income households. 

One speaker request was received on this subject from Dave Zumwalt.  He said that based upon the total project cost of $17,600,000 divided by 75 units would make the cost of each unit $234,666.  This, he noted, is more in line with the cost of a home.

Mayor Bosetti responded that the total cost was $16.5 million, that there is a lot of infrastructure in a project of this nature and that the costs include various amenities adjacent to the residences, classrooms, recreation facilities and so on.  He asked Mr. Clark if the funds would revert back to the city if the project does not go through for any reason to which Clark replied, “Yes.”  The mayor noted that the project has already been able to acquire more funding based upon the lease agreement for the land that had been previously passed by council.

Councilwoman Sullivan made note of the needs of the low income residents in the community and thanked Northern Valley Catholic Social Services and PC Redding Apartments for pursuing the project.  Councilwoman Missy McArthur agreed calling the project, “worthwhile.”  Councilman Patrick Jones noted that he considered the cost a concern suggesting a price range of $130,000 – 140,000 per unit would be more appropriate.  Nevertheless he said he would “reluctantly” support it because the money would be in the form of a loan and would be repaid to the city by the project developers.  Councilman Gary Cadd noted that he had always been in favor of the project.  The vote was 5 – 0 in favor.

9.5(a) The Council received the monthly financial report for the Redding Electric Utility for December 2013 presented by Assistant City Manager Barry Tippin who also serves as Director of Redding Electric Utility.  He reported that due to the drought, REU received no power at all from Western Power Administration.  Mayor Bosetti interjected at this point that that means no power is coming from Shasta Dam.  According to City Manager Kurt Starman, the most important point is that this deal requires the city to pay for power at a fixed rate which is not dependent upon the amount of power delivered.  The city usually profits from this arrangement by re-selling power on the open market but is currently losing money on the deal.  Tippin continued his report announcing forthcoming regulations expected to be enacted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency which could further increase costs.  The anticipated regulations would impose “Source Performance Standards” which would limit new coal-fired power plants to 1000 lbs. CO2  / Megawatt Hour of power generation.  Tippin expressed the opinion that no new coal plants would likely be built if these regulations are enacted on a national level noting that similar restrictions are already in place within California.  He qualified his remarks saying he was not commenting on the environmental merits of the policies, either good or bad, just noting the potential costs to the utility in the future.  Mayor Bosetti asked about a power plant in New Mexico which city had purchased an interest in.  Tippin replied that Redding receives 50 Megawatts / day during the summer months from that source, but that plant will likely shut down, but not due to this regulation being discussed but because of a another similar regulation.  The Mayor pointed out that the city will continue to pay on that bond until 2022.  Council Member Sullivan pointed out that Redding has the 7th lowest utility rates in the state adding that they are also rated #1 for reliability.  She said it was their responsibility to keep rates low and be mindful of managing power for everyone in the city.  She asked Tippin about natural gas prices which he said had spiked but they had avoided the need to pay for any natural gas while it was at an all time high by planning carefully.  Sullivan also mentioned the costs associated with security for power generation and transmission, noting that another California city had experienced vandalism.  The council accepted the financial report unanimously.

Item 9.5(c) was an informational item only, a report on the Redding Regional Science Bowl which will be held March 1, 2014 at Redding Christian School in Palo Cedro.  Twenty-seven teams from twelve schools in Shasta, Lassen, Trinity and Butte Counties will attend.  The winning team will compete for the national title in Washington D.C. in April.  The event is hosted by Redding Electric Utility with help from the federal Department of Energy.

9.10(a) The council received a Mid-Year Review of the city’s budget presented by Finance Director Dennice Maxwell.  She reviewed the major income sources and expenditures of the city.  City Manager Starman added that the city had expected an increase in health insurance costs as the Affordable Care Act went into effect and had budgeted for higher premiums but instead saw costs fall by 2%.  Councilman Cadd asked Maxwell if sales tax revenue from automobile sales was still the largest economic sector.  “Yes it is,” she told him.  She mentioned a few expenditures that would affect the general fund, including $40,000 to the Parks Department for repairs to the Redding Aquatic Center and $22,000 to the Fire Department for thermal imaging camera equipment among others.  When she got to the section concerning fleet maintenance, the Mayor told those assembled that representatives from the California Air Resources Board had met with him and the manager of the city’s solid waste fleet.  CARB’s representatives were presented with information on the cost of fitting City of Redding garbage trucks with new filters now required on diesel vehicles.  The mayor said they were able to see “first hand” the results of their policies mentioning high failure rates of the filters.  Council Member McArthur questioned the $47,000 price tag associated with the creation of a new website for the city.  Starman told her that while there was a significant upfront cost, the new system would allow each department to update their own information allowing the city’s information technology personnel to concentrate on more important issues than website content updates.  In the long run the system would be more efficient and provide greater service to the public.

Photo by Joe McGarity
Agenda Item 9.11(g) began with a report from Assistant Director of Public Works Jon McClain about the city’s drought plan.  He told the council that the Public Works Department had received a letter from the federal Bureau of Reclamation informing them that the amount of water the City of Redding would be allowed to draw from the Sacramento River would be cut by 60%.  McClain told the council that the Sacramento River Contract was one of two contracts with the Bureau of Reclamation that supply water to Redding.  The other contract is called the Buckeye Contract and serves primarily the northern part of the city but it is also expected to be drastically cut by the Bureau.  City Manager Starman interjected at this point that he would be participating in a conference call on this subject the following day (February 19) and that the situation continues to evolve.  The city is preparing to enlist the aid of an outside attorney specifically for this matter if the need to contest the Bureau’s legal right to cut the water supply by such a large degree has to be decided in the courts.  Starman suggested that we want to be team players but need to be prepared to defend our rights if necessary.

McClain continued his presentation noting that the issue before the council was whether to enact “Stage 1” drought protocols which call for a voluntary 15% reduction in usage.  Stages 2 - 4 would involve mandatory reductions if enacted of up to 50% at the highest stage, Stage 4.

Council Member Cadd noted that the City of Redding itself is the largest user of water in the city.  He asked what the city planned to do to reduce its own usage.  Community Services Director Kim Niemer returned to the podium to address his question.  She told the council that the Parks Department was installing “smart irrigation controllers” with moisture sensors that only activate when the air is sufficiently dry.  She indicated that this was being done as the old manual controllers wore out and had to be replaced anyway, not as a large replacement project.  She told them that this system seems to work better than manual controllers which are subject to human error and staffing shortages.  She told the council that the department was always careful of water use even in good years and that grassy fields not used for sports were always allowed to turn a little brown in the summertime in order to conserve water.

Two members of the public wished to speak on this item.  The first was Charles Alexander.  He told the council he believed there were two important things that required their attention.  The first, he said, was to enact some type of protection for homeowners from neighborhood associations which can sometimes level fines against individuals who do not maintain their property.  Homeowners who allow their lawns to turn brown during a drought should be protected from these fines.  Secondly he said the council should prepare a vigorous legal defense to protect its water rights.  He noted the council seemed to be doing this and encouraged it.

George Clarke addressed the council again.  He asked that if by conserving water now would he be setting a benchmark for the future when mandatory cutbacks are instituted?  What are the fees, he asked, if I go over?  He also expressed his concern that a slush fund could be created in an election year.  “We can’t afford to have unions control the council for another four years.”  The mayor suggested that this was off-topic.  Whatever the fees would be for going over one’s water allotment would have to “come back to the council,” the mayor told him.

Jones addressed Clarke’s other question about whether or not conserving water in the short term would set a baseline for later reductions.  After admissions by many present that they did not know the answer, Jon McClain produced it.  The baseline for what constitutes a 25% or a 50% reduction would be based upon an average of the monthly usage over the past four years counting only the winter months.  Cutting back water usage right away will not put one in an unfavorable position later should water be rationed.

Council voted 5 – 0 to enact stage one drought protocols calling for a voluntary 15% reduction in water usage.

After the council travel reports came item 11, suggestions by council members for future agendas.  Gary Cadd mentioned that he was the liaison to the League of California Cities.  He said the league wanted to encourage elected officials to participate in local city council meetings occasionally to discuss important topics.  State and federal legislators would appear at a city council meeting and make a presentation and be available for questions and answers.  Cadd mentioned State Assemblyman Dahle, State Senator Gaines and Congressman LaMalfa as potential guests.  All council members seemed agreeable to this.

Cadd also had another suggestion, that the matter so many individuals had spoken to during public comment, that a way be found to soften some of Redding Electric Utility’s policies regarding shutoffs.  Missy McArthur suggested that the Western Service Workers Association had been “orchestrated” in the past and suggested a council member may have been behind their appearance tonight.  Cadd denied that it was him.  Jones said that these are real issues affecting real people and council should listen.  Sullivan said it’s no small thing to have the power shut off.  “But,” she said, “the fact that it’s hard to pay for groceries doesn’t mean that Raley’s or Safeway or anyone else will give you a break on groceries and the fact that gasoline is expensive and you need a car to get to your job doesn’t mean the gas station will say, ‘You know I’m really terribly sorry.  We’ll just everybody else a little bit more for their gasoline so that you can fuel your car.’”  City Attorney Rick Duvernay stopped the discussion concerned about the Brown Act.  He told the council they needed to make a decision about whether to agendize the item.  The mayor said, “I don’t see hashing it all over again because nothing’s changed here.  We don’t have any newer programs.”

“This will not come back on the agenda.”

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Soapbox

February 17, 2014


It’s absolutely impossible to produce news without creating a conflict of interest if your intention is to make a profit.

My intention is to make a profit.

The problem is that when somebody gives me money, I don’t want to make that person upset because I want more money.  So I decided that I can’t take money from political campaigns or causes because then I might be tempted to lean in favor of one or another.  I accept donations, though I know it might skew my objectivity if a donor becomes involved in a news story.  Advertising seems like a socially accepted norm in the newspaper business, but I began to wonder if I would be able to accurately report on a story involving an advertiser if the story didn’t paint that business in a favorable light.  At that point I realized that as long as anybody was giving me money, I would be in a conflict of interest because anybody can become a part of a news event.  It occurred to me that the only way to remain completely objective was to refuse to accept any money from anyone.

I never even considered that for one second.

I haven’t worked out exactly how to solve this conundrum short of a vow of poverty.  Tip jars remain the most anonymous way to pay for the Fantom Penguin.  We will, of course, continue to accept the support of local mom and pop businesses like the fine folks at Palo Cedro Printing who make this Penguin come alive each issue and Mr. Deazmond’s De’Ja Vu – A Fluxx Concept Salon on East Center Street in Anderson, Beverly Hills Junk & Thrift on West Center Street in Anderson and the National Colon Health Center (this is not a joke, folks; this is a real place – although I admit the punch lines flow easily), these folks provide an alternative to major surgery for some people with bowel issues related to a spinal cord injury or condition and it’s covered by Medi-Cal.  Call them at 241-1500 for info.  We welcome our newest advertiser, Susan Bradfield, who offers Psychic Readings and Guided Meditation as well as being a Certified Massage Therapist.


Also this week the Fantom Penguin kicks off the Music Beat section with photos and interviews of the Memorials show that took place at Bombay’s on Saturday, February 8, 2014.  The newest member of our flock, Music Beat editor, Elizabeth Sealey debuts her amazing concert photographs in this issue showing anybody who missed it how the Memorials tore it up that night backed up by acts like Six Mile Station, Belda Beast, Hollow Ln and Monk Warrior.  If you were there, look for the back of your own head in the crowd.  Also debuting this week, turning his homework in just before Elizabeth making him the second-newest member of the flock, new Columnist Trenton Hauptman discusses government control of the Internet.  There’s getting to be so many Penguins around here, why are we always out of ice?


Friday, February 14, 2014

This Just In

Press Releases

Publicity Photo
The Following Press Releases were received by the Fantom Penguin:

NEWS RELEASE


Ed Asner, the Emmy-award winning actor and social activist, will speak to the annual meeting of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Saturday, March 22.

The public is invited to this free event, which is being held at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2850 Foothill Blvd., in Redding.  It will be from 1-4 p.m.  Donations will be accepted to help the local ACLU chapter sponsor future programs.

During a career that has spanned more than six decades, Asner has won seven Emmys (more than any male actor) and he is perhaps best known for his work on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and as the main character on "Lou Grant."  Asner has the distinction of being the only actor to win television's highest honor for playing the same character in a situation comedy and a drama.

He also has an extensive voice acting career and is a recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.  He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2003.

Asner has been active in a variety of causes and has consistently served and committed himself to the rights of the working performer in addition to advocating for human rights, world peace, environmental preservation and political freedom. 

For additional information, phone 410-8761.

--------------------------------------

PRESS RELEASE

It takes a village to raise a child and it will take a village to bring them home!!

Nor-Cal Alliance for the Missing is a local non-profit founded locally in Shasta County to assist the families of our local missing persons.

Nor Cal would like to encourage the Press to cover this very important event and also invite the Public to join us along with the families of our local missing persons for “A Day of Hope and Awareness Vigil

The event will be held on:  Saturday, February, 22, 2014 from 1 pm to 3 pm

At:  Statue Park at City Hall 777 Cypress Avenue, Redding CA


There is a 75 person limit to our space.

If you have any questions you can call Executive Director Trudy Nickens at 530-776-7174 or email us at: info@nor-calallienceforthemissing.org




Shasta County Board of Supervisors, February 11, 2014

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at the County Administration Building on Court Street in Redding for a Special Meeting.  All five supervisors were in attendance. 

The special meeting was called to address a serious situation.  Sheriff Tom Bosenko presented a report to the board about his department’s ongoing investigation into a residence wherein a large amount of explosive material had been discovered.

Reports of an explosion on February 6 prompted an investigation by the Sheriff’s Department into the residence at 9021 Chaparral Drive, which is off of Placer and outside the Redding city limits.  The resident, who was taken to Mercy Medical Center for injuries caused by the explosion including a severed hand, admitted to attempting to make rocket fuel.

Sheriff Bosenko reported that over forty pounds of explosive material and “precursor” materials were found at the site, but that due to the condition of the house they were unable to deploy a remote control “bomb robot” inside.  Neither were investigators able to fully search the house as it was deemed too dangerous.  The Sheriff noted the cooperation of several federal, state and local agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Office of Emergency Services, Shasta County Fire Department and CalFire.

The issue before the board was whether to ratify the declaration of a local emergency by the Sheriff in his capacity as Shasta County Director of Emergency Services.  When asked about timetables by Supervisor David Kehoe, the Sheriff was only able to say that it could be an “extended time period of several weeks.”  Chairman Les Baugh asked the Sheriff how many families were affected.  The Sheriff said that approximately 28 residences were affected by an evacuation order.  The Chairman asked if this action would result in greater resources being made available.  The Sheriff told him that depends upon the governor’s office.  Baugh asked County Council Rubin Cruse, “Does this encompass everything that is possible for this board to do to give the Sheriff the authority to move ahead?” to which the county’s lawyer replied, “Yes, at this time this is the appropriate action to take.”

This passed 5 – 0.

The special meeting was adjourned and the board reconvened after a short recess for the regular meeting.

Chairman Baugh announced a change in the board’s procedure.  He told those assembled that the public comment period would be consolidated into a single event.  Previously, board meetings would begin with an “open time” period for matters not on the agenda and comments addressing a particular agenda item are made at the time that item is discussed.  The new procedure would move all comments to the beginning of the meeting.  Supervisor Kehoe commented that he was “somewhat concerned and disappointed” in the change and asked for this subject to be placed on the agenda of a future meeting so that it could be discussed and voted upon.  Staff was directed to do so.

Item R1 on the Regular Calendar was the adoption of a resolution recognizing Courtney Williams, Child Support Specialist II, Department of Child Support Services as the February, 2014 Shasta County Employee of the Month.  This passed unanimously.

Item R2 was a presentation received by the board by the Lassen Park Foundation.  Executive Director, Kristen Grey explained the Youth Camping Program at Crags Youth Camp.  The Lassen Park Foundation provides $1000 grants to campers participating in a program designed to expose at-risk and under-served youth to the outdoors.  She told the board that many of the kids in the program are from urban backgrounds and have never been camping nor had any significant outdoor experiences.  For information on how to make a donation to this program, visit www.LassenParkFoundation.org.

Next on the agenda was the newly combined public comment period.  No speaker requests were received this day.  After that the Consent Calendar was considered and passed unanimously with no changes.  Consent Calendar items are considered routine and non-controversial and are usually passed as one item.  Any board member or interested member of the public may ask for a Consent Calendar item to be moved to the Regular Calendar for complete discussion but that did not happen at this meeting.

Lastly, the supervisors presented their travel reports.  Supervisor Pam Giacomini brought State Bill 848, a water bond proposal, to the attention of the board.  She said she was contacted by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy with their concerns about the bill.  She said that after looking at it, she had additional concerns and asked County Executive Officer Larry Lees to direct county staff to look over the bill and identify potential impacts to Shasta County.  She also told them that Shasta County Agriculture Commissioner Mary Pfeiffer had been contacted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.  They will be presenting a workshop on drought related issues at Junction School on February 18, 2014.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Breastfeeding in the Courtroom

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

Click Here to Watch the Video


A group of breastfeeding mothers held a nurse-in on the steps of the Shasta County Court House on February 10, 2014 to protest the removal of a young lady who was asked to leave the courtroom for nursing her child the prior week.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Ariel Ruggles.

“Well, I went to court to go support my brother and I was there all my family members.  We just went to go support him.  I was in there for maybe ten, fifteen minutes.  She was perfectly content just sitting like this.  Nobody asked me to leave.  Nothing happened until I put a nursing cover on and I just started breastfeeding.  The marshal told me that I had to get up and go to the lobby and nurse her, which . . .  I was just, you know, very shaken up.  It was shocking.  No one’s ever told me that.  So I asked for my dad who was in the very back section to come forward with me to sit with me.  So he sat with me until I calmed down and was able to finish breastfeeding her.  And afterwards we immediately went to a superior and asked if that was okay and I talked to two lawyers and two other bailiffs and they all said that it was illegal for him to do that.  So everyone agreed with me.  It was just him that asked me to leave.”

And you were covered?

“Yes, covered.”

You were not naked in court?

“No!  And the cover that I have is meant to be for nursing so you wouldn’t even know if I was nursing her of if I was putting her to sleep.  So for him to just take that judgment was out of line.”

But so far the rest of the system seems to agree with you that he was out of line.  Have they told you . . . ?  Is anything gonna happen?

“The only thing that they’ve told me was through the media.  They did not personally call me.  They said to the media that they apologize which I didn’t know until I watched my own news story.  So I haven’t even received a phone call from them.  They have both my personal phone numbers, so . . .

So they didn’t apologize to you.

“No, just through the media that I know of which I am really angry about because that is not a sincere apology at all.”


Organizers of the event wanted the Fantom Penguin and the public to know that nursing mothers are under no obligation to cover themselves.  California law allows nursing mothers to breastfeed their children in any location where it is legal for them to be.

Click Here to Watch the Video