Monday, February 25, 2013

Tax Deductible Donations Needed for Habitat for Humanity

Habitat For Humanity
172 California Street – San Andreas, CA
Fridays & Saturdays 9:30am-4:00pm

Aldo Leopold documentary to screen at the Sutter Creek Theater - Sun Mar 24

Aldo Leopold documentary to screen at the Sutter Creek Theater
Green Fire connects legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold with modern conservation projects

On Sunday, March 24, the Foothill Conservancy will host a screening of Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, an Emmy Award-winning documentary film. The screening will be held at the historic 1919 Sutter Creek Theater at 4 p.m.  Green Fire explores legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the 20th century and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied around the world. Director Steve Dunsky will introduce the film in Sutter Creek and discuss it with the audience afterward.

Green Fire shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the 20th century and still inspires people today. Although best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate. The film was recently honored with an Emmy Award for Best Historical Documentary at the 54th annual Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“We’re really looking forward to sharing Green Fire with the community,” said Foothill Conservancy Executive Director Cecily Smith. “Local landowners and the native people before them have a long tradition of caring for the land. We think this film will resonate with them as well as anyone concerned about the natural world and our relationship with it.”

 “Aldo Leopold’s legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world,” said Aldo Leopold Foundation Executive Director Buddy Huffaker. “What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold; it also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it today by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined.”

Green Fire illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. They’ll learn about ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts. They’ll meet wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered wildlife— from cranes to Mexican wolves—to the landscapes where they once thrived. Green Fire portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land—his call for a land ethic—ties all of these modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

Green Fire is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation’s mission is to inspire an ethical relationship between people and land through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. You can learn more about the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Green Fire movie at

Admission to the film is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show. Tickets are available online at the Sutter Creek Theater website, and in Sutter Creek from Heart and Soul, 42 Main St., and the Andis Winery Tasting Room, 45 Main St.

For more information on Green Fire, see For more information on the event, contact Randy at the Foothill Conservancy, 209-205-4900 or

Webinar: how MAP-21 Affects Rural Communities - Tues Feb 27th

Webinar: How MAP-21 Affects Rural Communities
Transportation for America is hosting a webinar on February 27th at 10 a.m. (PST) to discuss how MAP-21 transportation affects rural communities. The webinar will cover a variety of transportation options, including public transportation, vanpooling, bicycling, walking and safe roads and bridges, and participants will learn how to use MAP-21 to fund rural transportation priorities. Read more.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Progressive Women's Committee - Thurs Mar 7

 The Progressive Women's Committee will meet on Thursday, March 7, 2013, 11:30 a.m.

at Thomi's Banquet Room in Jackson.

 Last month Amador County Sheriff Martin Ryan had to cancel, but he will be with us on March 7th.  

This is an open meeting and all interested persons are invited to attend.  Reservations are required.  

Please respond to Sally at no later than Monday, March 4th.  The buffet 

luncheon is $15.00  You can pay at the door. Cash or personal  check only. If you make a 

reservation and cannot attend please call 267-0177, to cancel,  by Wednesday, March 6th at noon.

Support letters requested for SCA 7

As you know, the Amador County Library does not have the funds needed to expand and meet the growing demand for library services. Past efforts to raise funds for a new library have failed to receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass. However, there is currently a bill in the state legislature that would seek a constitutional measure to reduce the local vote threshold for local special taxes and construction bonds from the current two-thirds vote to 55%.  
State Senator Wolk, the bill’s author, is looking for letters of support for her proposed amendment. If you are interested in supporting this bill, we have attached a memo (below) that explains how you can register your support.
Janie Brown, President
FACL Board of Directors


Lois Wolk (D-Davis) has introduced SCA 7, a constitutional measure which seeks to reduce the local
vote threshold for local special taxes and construction bonds from the current two-thirds vote to 55%.
The local special taxes would be dedicated to the funding of local library operations and the bonds would
allow for the renovation, rehabilitation, or new construction of library facilities.

In order for SCA 7 to become a reality, it will need to pass both houses of the legislature (by a 2/3rds vote
in each house) and be signed by Governor Brown. It would then, most likely, be placed on the November
2014 statewide ballot, where it would need to be passed by a majority of the statewide electorate. If
successful, all cities, counties and special districts would have the authority to place a special tax for
library operations and/or a library construction bond on their local ballot. Local voters would have to
approve the special tax or the construction bond by 55% in order for it to take effect.

Senator Wolk has been a long-standing champion for public libraries and public library funding during her
time in the Assembly, and now the Senate. She sat for a short time on the Library Construction Bond
Board (created when voters approved Proposition 14 in 2000), was a co-chair of the 2006 Library Bond
campaign, and has authored several National Library Week resolutions for CLA.

Senator Wolk’s office would like to start collecting letters of support from cities, counties, special districts,
library directors, library and literacy support groups, etc. for her
SCA 7. The bill has not yet been
set for hearing, but it is helpful for an author to be able to indicate early support in response to media
requests, inquiries from other legislative offices, and eventually be noted on the legislative policy and
fiscal committee analysis.

Please send your letters of support for SCA 7-Wolk to:

The Honorable Lois Wolk
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA. 95814
Or via fax at (916) 323-2304


Monday, February 18, 2013

Newman Ridge fight, Sacramento Bee Article, Opinion Editorials ASAP
The Sac Bee article is good in today's Sunday Bee but we really need Opinion Editorials to go to the Bee as soon as possible. Some key points (among all the other great ones you and the group will have) that the article leaves untouched:
  • Jobs overblown - the county knows the 170 jobs to be created is completely false. 8-10 is industry standard
  • CA Native Rare plants never discussed or investigated in EIR - so we couldn't object
  • Promise of revenues with no business plan - smoke and mirrors, the history in Amador of approving environmentally destructive projects, revenue never comes
  • Suppressing information to the public: no one at Castle Oaks knew, the Prison did not know, no town halls in Ione etc...
  • No market for the aggregate or asphalt - they keep referring to the defunct Ione bypass as justification
  • the Newman Ridge Area is untouched (not pocked by mines) and would be perfect for open space hiking etc...and is in the conservation plan as a key area
  • Clay mines are not the same as aggregate mines or asphalt plant
  • The species mitigation offered is laughable - If the see a nesting raptor they will stop blasting? Their are two pairs of Bald Eagles at the reservoir year round. How will that work? Or netting gates for salamanders? FEIR was so skued since they wrote it.
  • Ione has a severe air quality and wasterwater issue, which the project proponents have ignored. How will this be handled?
  • Many tons of new particulate matters created
  • No market need, current quarries and nearby asphalt plants (outside the county) operating at 25%
  • Ione, prison, ranches, schools, farms directly downwind from both the quarry and planned asphalt plant  - asphalt plant alone emits very high number of known cancer causing toxins along with several hundred tons of contaminants that lead directly to Greenhouse gases
 I could go on and on, but just my first thoughts...and yours and the group will have very valuable new ideas.
Here is my contact who will be sympathetic to all Op Eds:
Dan Morain
Senior Editor - Opinion
Sacramento Bee
916 201 6281 - cell
Twitter @danielmorain
If you can, please email Dan as soon as possible (Sr. Editor of the Opinion Editorial) and get the word count etc...and let him know you have an opinion coming?
best regards,
Sondra West-Moore
office: 818 508-4744
cell: 818 681-4182

No Casino In Plymouth NCIP 2013 Update

In an attempt to keep our supporters informed of the latest developments related to NCIP's lawsuit challenging the Department of Interior's Record of Decision to take land into trust for the proposed Plymouth casino, NCIP plans to send updates via email as developments occur. We will also make the updates available on the NCIP Blog at However, if at any time you have a question do not hesitate to contact us at or call 209 245 4588.
We expect things to move slowly with few,if any, developments or news until March 23rd when the Department of Interior is scheduled to deliver the    administrative record for their May 2012 Record of Decision. There is, however, some news related to the proposed casino to report for January.
You may have heard that Ron Matulich sold his 137 acre parcel that is one of the twelve parcels included in the Ione Band's fee to trust application. A check of records at the Amador County Recorders Office shows the property has been sold to Bonus Gaming in December. To date ten of the twelve parcels included in the fee to trust application have been purchased by either Bonus Gaming or Valley View Packing as agreed in various option to buy agreements with the property owners. Contrary to what you may have heard, the Ione Band does not own any of the twelve parcels included in their 2006 fee to trust application. The purchase of these properties by Bonus Gaming and Valley View Packing have no effect on NCIP's lawsuit.
Recently we were informed by our attorney that the lawsuits filed in the Washington D.C. District Federal Court challenging the fee to trust applications for casinos by the North Fork and Enterprise Bands have been transferred to the Federal District Court in Sacramento. Serious consideration is now being given to transferring the lawsuit filed by members of the Ione Band challenging the Ione Band's Fee to Trust in the Washington D.C. District Federal Court to the Federal District Court in Sacramento.
What impact, if any, these transfers might have on our lawsuit remains to be seen but our attorney is closely monitoring the status of the these cases and to which Judge they will be assigned.
Lastly, a reminder to purchase tickets to NCIP's March 23rd Dinner Dance as seating is limited to ~200. Tickets can be purchased at the True Value Hardware in Plymouth and at Hein's Bookstore in Jackson or by calling 209 245 4588

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sutter Creek Announces 41% Garbage Rate Increase

On January 29, 2013, the City of Sutter Creek notified residents of a 41% increase in garbage rates. The first of six increases is scheduled for April 1, then 5 more will follow each July 1, from 2013 through 2017. The City Council has not discussed the rate increases in public, and the notice is the first time Sutter Creek residents have heard about these increases.

The city’s franchise agreement with ACES Waste has a procedure for determining fair rates, which includes a guaranteed 12.5% profit for ACES, based on a detailed review of actual costs every three years. However, the City Council has circumvented the franchise agreement by notifying residents all at once of six increases over the next 4.5 years, with no review of actual costs.
In 2009, ACES Waste underbid Amador Disposal (offering smaller cans and reducing cleanup days from 4 down to 1) to win the contract for the City of Sutter Creek’s solid waste disposal. The contract allows for cost index increases for two years, followed by a detailed review in the third year that is supposed to calculate rates based on actual expenses. The first detailed review was supposed to be done in 2012, but ACES did not ask for an increase, and no detailed review was done. Now the City is doing away with the detailed reviews entirely.

In 2011, ACES claimed that it needed a 50% rate increase to meet its costs. Therefore, it appears that ACES bid substantially below its cost to secure the contract in 2009. Now the City is raising rates to levels much higher than the previous hauler’s rates.

ACES Waste now has a monopoly on solid waste disposal in Amador County. There are no other companies performing residential or transfer station disposal in our county. In December 2012, ACES sent out a notice to some customers claiming that its costs were decreasing “due to efficiencies that ACES Waste Services has achieved with the acquisition of an Amador County area previously serviced by a large national solid waste company. To put it simply, ACES costs have decreased because we are able to spread our costs over a larger number of customers as well as create more routing efficiencies.”

If that statement and ACES’ claims are all true, the acquisition of the Sutter Creek franchise at substantially below cost lowered county rates while now raising Sutter Creek rates by an average of 8% per year. Supposedly the index increases are to compensate for inflation, but inflation has been far less than the current increases.

Sutter Creek residents do not have to put up with this. Proposition 218 amended the State Constitution to allow ratepayers to protest rate increases. If you live in the city of Sutter Creek and want accountability for the rates you pay, fill out a protest form and send it to RPA. We will deliver the protests to the City Council on the hearing date. If a majority of customers return protests by March 18, the rate increases will not go into effect. Then the City Council will have to consider ACES' actual costs and make sure that ACES really needs more of your money.


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