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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
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June 11, 2014     Chester Progressive
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June 11, 2014
 

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Chester Progressive, Westw0od PinePress Wednesday, June 11, 2014 3A II "1 would rather wade into a bar fight than face down a $20 million grant application - they're pretly scary." Sheriff Greg Hagwood On the process of funding a correctional facility new "When we look at foreign affairs we need better management from the top down. During this recent prisoner exchange, we traded five of what might be called a Taliban dream team for one soldier." Doug LaMalfa Congressman "Special districts are the best form of government because they are close to those they serve." Joe Waterman Chester Public Utility District General Manager M. Kate West Staff Writer chesternews@plumasnews.com A townhall meeting was held in the Chester Memorial Hall Thursday, June 5, and hosted speakers from the local, county and federal levels of government. The speakers were Chester Public Utility District General Manager Joe Waterman, Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood and Congressman Doug LaMalfa. Waterman led off the speakers and offered the public information on the backgrounds of special districts and what they do. "I am here to talk about our district and what it does. Unless you've ignored the media and had your heads in the sand you would be aware of the troubles we have had over the past two years. "We are coming out of this, still on the curve, but coming out of it. "I believe special districts are the best form of government because they are close to those they serve," he said. He talked about public trust and said, "The public should demand that the services they are provided should be provided in a trustworthy and legal manner." He then talked about the ways in which operation of the district is funded and the types of services it provides. "Our district provides a variety of services. We are managed by a five-member, all-volunteer board of directors and I work as the general manager and fare chief," he said. In his outlined duties he said he reports to the board and then puts the policies created by the board to work. "We have three divisions we have restructured: the administrative division, essential services division and emergency services division. "I'm here to tell you we have some great people working there,,' he said. Among the services performed by CPUD are those covering water, wastewater treatment, streetlights and recycling. "Streetlights are a challenge; it costs roughly $48,000 a year to keep the lights on," he said. In offering an update about the fare division he said CPUD has six paid staff and that the district-operated ambulances are staffed around the clock with a paramedic and emergency medical technician. "We have about 20 volunteers and we could not do what we do in the community without the volunteers. "Coming from a larger fare organization in my previous life, this division is quite efficient," Waterman said. He also talked about the composition of the board of directors and said, "Somewhat because of grand jury investigation we have three new board members. Three left, as did the general manager." He said since that practices have been set in place for transparency and to make the administration of the district effective and efficient as a legal public entity. Key to the transparency was changing the monthly meeting time so more members of the public could attend. "I try not to look back too much -- but instead work to move forward," Waterman said. Sheriff Hagwood "In January, I will have been sherifffor five years; I got a head start when the previous sheriff retired early," Hagw0od said. During his presentation he talked about the various roles of public officials in local communities. "It is imperative that I, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors and the law enforcement officers in your community understand what it is you want. "You should rightfully expect and deserve a quality of service. If you have thoughts, ideas, criticisms, it doesn't matter. Daytimes, nighttimes, holidays, it doesn't matter, call me on my cellphone, 394-7809," he said. He told the meeting guests that having his cellphone number out in the public was essential. "It is essential that you be able to contact me. If you have a specific issue or a specific problem I will only be able to address it if I have a level of awareness," Hagwood added. He was very clear that he was not going to be singing the blues over the state of the county budget. "The staff we have provides a fantastic service under the financial circumstances in which we are working. "Five years ago Ian James was not your sergeant, Dean Canalia was and I have repeatedly apologized to the community for taking him away," Hagwood said. He then addressed the subject of where the Plumas County Sheriffs Office is going in the future. "Where are we going in the future? I have great plans; there is no end to the plans I have. "Financially.there are certain realities of things we cannot fund. I believe we are getting better. I am adding staff slowly and responsibly. We have three new officers in the academy, which is not a lot for a big county but we have to act responsibly," he said. He told the meeting guests that the empty storefronts in Chester break his heart. "I have been talking to Realtors and I am hearing that there is improvement. In our rural location we were among the last to be hit; still, our area is usually the last to recover," he added. In talking about his plan to build a new correctional center he said, "Building a correctional facility is not very sexy; it's sort of like building a treatment facility. "It's about risk management and reducing liability to the county. I would like to build an amusement park but that would not be very effective. I have been working hand in hand with Supervisor Sherrie Thrall." Hagwood didn't mince words about the difficulties of fmancing such a project. "I would rather wade into a bar fight than face down a $20 million grant application-- they're pretty scary," he said. Among the many reasons for building a new facility is the threat of lawsuits by inmates that then become federal consent decrees. "Correctional facilities are www.edwardJones.corn Everyone has milestones to celebrate in life. Be prepared to make the most o each one. There are things you plan for throughout yo~Jr life, and there is no better feeling than knowing you are prepared when that moment arrives. At Edward Jones, we are committed to help you make sure you are there for your loved ones at ever$; milestone. Join nearly 7 million investors that trust us with their finances and their aspirations. Cada Parsons, AAMS@ Financial Advisor 361 Main St Chester, CA 96020 530-258-3552 HEATING COOLING ELE(:TRIC" Frozen Broken Piping & Appliance Repair Water Damage Restoration Complete Home Mechanical Inspection Protect Your Investment! CA Lic. #C-36 396522 Hire a Licensed Contractor CA Lic. #C-20, C-10 963154 (530) very expensive but it is more so not to have a modern facility," said Hagwood. He further advised he is talking with a farm out of Chicago that has won four out of five project bids to build jarls in California. When questioned by a member of the public as to why he was talking with an out-of-state firm he said, "They know what they are doing. Local construction will happen with local contractors and materials. We will put people to work." A member of the public also questioned how he felt about United States Forest Service law enforcement officers. "I am going to be very candid with you. There are some members of U.S. Forest Service law enforcement that are outstanding. "They are federal officers that only have jurisdiction on federal land. They cannot work law enforcement on Plumas County roads and highways without my consent. "Five years ago they said, 'Hi, new sheriff, we love you can we have jurisdiction to operate on your roads?' "I replied, "Hi, I love you too, and, yes, you can, as soon as I am setting your policies, supervising your officers and administering discipline when needed." He did say he seriously wants all agencies to work well together, whether county, Forest Service or Cal Fire. "I am so deeply honored for the opportunities you have given to my family and me; I do not take it for granted. I will treasure it and do the best for you as long as I can," said Hagwood. Congressman Dang LaMalfa "I have been in office 18 months in the House of Representatives," said LaMaifa. "I was in Susanville earlier in the day and met with a variety of agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management about grazing." On the topic of fares and grazing he said he advoqates managing the resources ahead of the emergency. He also spoke about the issue of water rights and said, "The Forest Service believes that if water falls from the sky they own it. " He then told guests the Environmental Protection Agency is now working on regulations for the waterways of the United States. "The waterways were originally constructed to move the water away from housing areas and on ranches and farms the water is drained away and then reused for irrigation as needed," he said. Among his many topics, LaMalfa spoke strongest about the recent prisoner exchange that is sparking controversy from many directions. "When we look at foreign affairs we need better management from the top down. During this recent prisoner exchange, we traded five of what might be called a Taliban dream team for one soldier. "I just can't understand the lack of accountability at the leadership level," LaMalfa said. Going Batty? Bats in the Belfry? 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