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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
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December 21, 2011     Chester Progressive
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December 21, 2011
 

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I1 Serving the Chester & Lake Almanor Areas Vol. 65, No. 25 Feather Publishing Co., Inc. 530-258-3115 www.plumasnews.com Wednesday, Dec. 21,20] ] 50 High-wattage holiday cheer There is no doubt about the Christmas spirit radiating around the cul-de-sac on Red Cedar Court in Chester. Brightly seen even from Watson Road, the brilliant colors and high wattage of the lights can't help but draw those passing by to take a tour of the neighborhood. In addition to the masterfully decorated homes, the residents have extended the lighting to backyard trees, fences and even a panorama of action on the vacant lot in between the homes. Light displays include candy canes, trees, reindeer and trains. The community is encouraged to drive by and enjoy this absolutely dazzling light show. A treat for children of all ages, Red Cedar Court is a located just one block to the right off Watson Road. Photo by M. Kate West Chamber adopts budget Jason Theobald Staff Writer jtheobald@p[umasnews.com The Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau held its regu- lar board meeting Wednes- day, Dec. 14, at noon at the visitors center in Chester. Up first tbr the meeting.was a discussion of the chamber's fiscal health, including the proposed budget for the upcoming year. The chamber currently has, between its savings and checking accounts, $59,510 in total funds. Of that total, $18,000 has been set aside for next year's fireworks display. Per the treasurer's report, the chamber's current expenses are under budget by approximately $11,000 for 2011. Reductions in rent, advertising, promotions and wages were sited as reasons for the lower numbers. School closure process begins Chester lacks enough nominees for committee Delaine Fragrloli Managing Editor dfragnoli@plumasnews.com The Plumas Unified School District governing board for- mally launched the school closure process at its meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13. The board created three school consoli- dation committees and ap- pointed members. The board also adopted a timeline for fa- cility review, considered best practices for school consolida- tion and heard recommenda- tions from an advisory com- mittee. The district is looking at closing or consolidating schools to reduce expenses in the face of declining en- rollment and budget cuts. The latest budget numbers put PUSD's enrollment at close to 2,000 students, sprin- kled among 10 facilities. The district's current budget includes nearly $4 million in deficit spending. According to the adopted timeline, the consolidation committees are expected to present their final reports and recommendations to the board at its March:meeting. The board is due to an- nounce its decision in mid- April. Closures could go into effect by the 2012-13 school year. Board member Bob Tuerck acknowledged that the time- line was "tight" and the board was not giving itself much time. "I'd rather give the time to the committees," board member Bret Cook said. The board added a progress letter, to go out to parents after the January board meet- ing, to the proposed timeline. Tuerck expressed concern that parents not "panic" and that the letters not disrupt the process. "We don't want participation to die off because people think (closures) are already decided." Cook and board member Brad Baker pushed for as early notification as possible. Baker said notifications should go out sooner rather than later and letters should be "properly phrased" to avoid giving the impression that decisions had already been made. Superintendent Glenn Harris said he would bring a draft letter to the board in January. Appointments The board then turned its attention to appointing members to the consolida- tion advisory committees, often referred to as 7-11 committees because they have to have a minimum of seven members but no more than 11. Board members discussed whether they should serve on the committees. Harris said at least one board mem- ber, but no more than two, should serve on each com- mittee. Cook pointed out that the California Department of Education's best practices, which Harris earlier pro- vided to the board, recom- mended that board members not serve on the committees. "I think you should have a member," said Harris. "That's my recommenda- tion." The board decided that one member would serve on each committee in a non-voting "observatory" role. "We don't want our vote to influence the committee," Cook said. "We would be voting twice (once on the committee and once at the board level)." Tuerck agreed, and Baker said that was "fine by me." Tuerck said he felt a little reluctance about district employees serving on the committees, although their knowledge "might be beneficial." Cook noted that the best practices recommended a cross-section of members, including teachers and administrators. Board member Sonja Anderson said she wanted to see people who "could see the forest for the trees" and who "did not have their own agenda." Chester had just two appli- cants so the board could not form a committee for that area. Chester High School principal Scott Cory vowed to the board that he would be back next month with a full roster of candidates. Indian Valley had the most applicants at 16, all of whom Cook said were "excellent" candidates. He said he was See Closure, page 4A The proposed budget for 2012 projects a much leaner year, in terms of income, when compared to 2011. That having been said, the projected 2012 budget also calls for a $20,000 reduction in spending for the upcoming year. The projected income for 2012, which stands at $78,015, falls short of the current year's projected income by $38,785. It should be noted, however, that $26,000 of the income for 2011 derived from a Community Chamber grant that was not included in the proposed income for 2012. In order to cope with the lighter projected income, many line items on the budget were reduced when compared to 2011. Advertising, salaries and wages, office expenses, and printing and reproduc- tion costs were reduced for the upcoming Year. Funds for professional development and trade shows were cut entirely, as were funds for computer and PA systems. Even with the reduced pro- jected income, the chamber is See Chamber, page 4A ,III[IlJ!I0tI!III!!!!!LLL0 To subscribe to the Progressive, call 530-258-3115 Utility district stumped by water well stoppage M. Kate West Chester Editor chesternews@plumasnews.com Construction was the pri- mary topic of the meeting when the Chester Public Utility District (CPUD) board of directors met Tuesday, Dec. 13. CPUD General Manager Bill Turner offered' updates on the progress of Maggiora Brothers drilling of Well: No. 5 and the expansion of the district's settling ponds by Womack Construction Company. "Until yesterday afternoon I thought everything was pro- gressing well on the drilling," Turner said. He then said he had re- ceived a telephone call Dec. 12 from the construction company and learned about a potential problem with the installed pipe. "We don't know what the problem is and the company has called for a special camera to view the well pipe," Turner added. Responding to director questions, Turner said the drilling equipment is still on site. Continuing his update, he told board members the well hole has been drilled down to the contracted depth of 300 feet and that the 12-inch casing has been installed along with the surrounding 26-inch pipe. Gravel has been filled around the pipes to the 165-foot level. In the next project phase, Maggiora Brothers added 140 feet of one-fourth-inch cement to encircle the sam- tary seal. That the well had devel- oped a probIem was discov- ered when the construction company went to swab out the 12-inch steel pipe casing with 12-inch swabbing equip- ment and the equipment couldn't pass through t the bottom of the well. "The well is open when they inserted a 2-inch pipe it went to the full depth. We just don't know what the problem is," Turner said. Board president Tonu Plakk asked if this was going to add to the cost of the con- tract. Turner responded, "It's still on them; the district hasn't paid them a dime." Turner said he was antici- pating the arrival of the camera company in the days following the board meeting. The purpose of drilling the new well is to augment the district's water system and allow CPUD to keep two wells running during peak summer usage. Maggiora Brothers Con- struction came in with the low bid of $172,167 and was awarded the contract for Well No. 5 during the July 12 district meeting. In the final constructiori' update Turner reported on the settling pond project. "The project is done and it's working. We had water flowing in last week," Turner said. He said the pond is 3.7 acres in size and that district engineer Ed Anderson had surveyed the pond size prior to the district paying the bill. Womack Construction completed the district set- tling pond expansion project after winning the job with a $53,OOO bid. Also on the agenda was the re-swearing of new terms for the two long-standing board members, Dick Withrow and Plakk. The CPUD board meets on See Well, page 4A Recreation district elects new officers M. Kate West Chester Editor chesternews@plumasnews.com The No. 1 action item on the Almanor Recreation and Park District business list Dec. 12 was the election of officers for 2012. Senior board member and district treasurer Wes Maston assumed the responsibility of explaining the officer posi- tions in the absence of district president Ruth Broussard. At this time the board is composed of Maston, Karl Delacour and new members Kirk Wetzel and Jie Rohrs. Broussard, whose term of office will expire effective the end of December, was not eligible for the nomination process. Once sure that the board members understood the responsibility for each officer slot, Maston opened the elec- tion process by nominating Wetzel for the office of secretary. Maston also said, "I would like to see an additional duty added to the position: webmaster, l would like to see ARPD develop a Web page with a link to the Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce." Wetzel accepted the nomi- nation and said he would be pleased [o develop the district's website. Rohrs nominated Maston for the position of district president. While he eventually acquiesced, it was obvmus Maston was reluctant to accept the position. He said he only did so because of his longevity and understanding about the district. Delacour will again serve m the position of assistant secretary-treasurer. Broussard's term expira- tion and Maston's change of responsibilities leaves the position of treasurer open and the board one member short. Maston said he would continue to perform the treasurer's functions until one is appointed. To that end, Maston said he is actively talking to mem- bers of the community about serving on the district board. "If you think you know of anyone who might have an interest in serving on the board, have them call the district office at 258-2562 and leave a message for me. I return all calls," he said. St. Bernard Lodge owner See Officers, page 4A