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Have you thought about water conservation lately?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — While visiting my parents a few weeks ago I became keenly aware of the impact of the drought in California. They live in the foothills of rural El Dorado County and draw water from a well that has sufficiently met their needs for decades, but these last two years they have had to self-ration to keep from running out of water.

They no longer water lawns in the summer and water gardens sparingly. A bucket next to the shower catches water as it warms up and once you are in the shower allotted time is short. While it is easy to understand why they would monitor their water supply at home, I realized their conservation efforts extend beyond their property lines.

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New fire chief achieves his dream

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — It’s always a little bit awkward and disconcerting to watch the tears well up in a grown man’s eyes, even when they’re tears of joy. At the same time, it’s impossible not to share that joy when the same man wipes his eyes and announces to the world he’s finally reached the goal he’s been striving to achieve his entire life.

So it was with James Moore, the city of Susanville’s 15th fire chief, as he took the oath of office in an emotional ceremony in the Susanville City Council Chambers on Wednesday, April 1.

After his wife pinned his new badge on his new white shirt, Moore told the city councilmembers, firefighters, law enforcement officers and the community members present he’s dreamed of assuming that responsibility and accepting that position since he joined the local explorer post at age 14, 28 years ago, way back in 1987.

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Celebrating the Basque roots in my family tree

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 — I suspect my family’s history, like that of many Americans, contains a rich mixture from a variety of different cultures.

My maternal great-grandfather came from Germany in the 1880s and settled in a town called Azel a few miles outside Ft. Worth, Texas. I’ve tried to trace the family line back through the Fatherland, but my great-grandfather came from Dresden, a city mostly destroyed and burned to the ground by 1,300 British and American bombers that rained nearly 4,000 tons of bombs and incendiaries on the city during a three-day period in February 1945. I’ve been told the city’s genealogical records are hard to come by, although some Germans say I might be able to find more information if I traveled to Dresden myself.

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Myths and metaphors: From Irish snakes to divine hanky-panky

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — Recently, I was discussing St. Patrick’s Day and how the holiday got started with a friend.

That got me thinking about some of the more ridiculous myths behind metaphors, when taken literally, and the need to debunk some of these age-old and damaging fabrications.

A metaphor is a symbolic, conceptual image that suggests something else. It’s not really the way things went down — if they went down at all.

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A shout out to a new generation of musicians

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 — Anybody who knows me can tell you music plays a big role in my life. I guess that’s one of the characteristics of being a musician. Frankly, I can’t even imagine my life without music — it’s that important to me.

Last Tuesday evening I attended the Susanville Symphony Society’s Academy of Music Spring Recital at the United Methodist Church for an hour-long concert by young and old players alike who are new to their instruments.

From one musician to another, let me welcome you to a wonderful world of discovery and enjoyment. You’ve already taken that first giant step, and I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your decision to learn to play an instrument. Well done.

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