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Reflections on the joy of the season

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 —On Christmas Eve there is an atmosphere of anticipation. It is stirred by the joy that fills our hearts when the date of the birth of a baby draws near. It is stirred by packages tucked under the tree that will soon be opened. It is stirred by the thought of Santa Claus eating the cookies left for him next to the stockings hung on the fireplace.

On Christmas Eve there is a feeling of expectation. We expect to interact with loved ones either in person or by telephone. We expect to be awakened by young children before dawn. We expect to receive gifts, at least one. We expect a special Christmas dinner.

Oh my, Christmas time is here again!

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 — Christmas is still 10 days away as I write this, but for all you Lassen County Times’ readers, the great holiday will arrive in only two days when this story publishes. Wow. Just two days until Christmas. Wow, and wow again.

One of my daughters may be coming to Susanville for the holiday, but we don’t have definite confirmation of that yet. We’ll just have to wait and see. Kids. The Christmas shopping is already done. And our presents, cards and nut breads are already in the mail, so that big stressor is behind us for this year, too. Whew.

Be prepared for winter storm hazards

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 — Last week’s winter storm that rocked Northeastern California — what USA Today calls the “fiercest storm in five years,” — should serve as a wake-up call for our readers. The Pineapple Express, a river of warm, moisture-laden air that originates near Hawaii in the Southern Pacific Ocean pumped lots of moisture toward the West Coast with wind, rain and snow.

While Susanville got rain and a just a light dusting of snow last Sunday, Quincy residents were blanketed in eight inches of the white stuff. Flooding concerns were raised along creeks and rivers, especially in areas recently ravaged by fires and in the area around Lassen Volcanic National Park. High winds closed Highway 395 near Susanville for high profile vehicles, and many local residents expressed concerns about possible power outages.

Substance abuse does not justify bad behavior

Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 — Two years ago William “Billy” Altes broke into our home in the wee hours of the morning. Today Altes sits in jail, accused of murdering a woman exactly my same age.

If we had a dollar for every person who told us “if it were my house, he would have been a dead man,” we’d be rich.

But consider the circumstances. A gun, locked and loaded, stays right next to the side of my bed. I know how to use it.

Altes broke into our bedroom, and later told police he even lay on our bed. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) we weren’t in it. We were sleeping in another room because we were in the middle of painting the master bedroom.

We were lucky: This time it was just a lot of corn

The recent derailment of 11 railcars in the Feather River Canyon probably won’t garner the kind of attention it should. That’s because nobody got hurt and the cargo that spilled into the river was just corn. It was a lot of corn, but still, just corn.

If the railcars were carrying volatile Bakken oil, this would be an entirely different story.


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