It’s a good time to search out the wildflower blooms

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 —The last week of May I walked through the woods near my home in Westwood and saw that Indian Paintbrush are in bloom. When I see them each spring, I am reminded of my grandmother who would often display small bouquets of wildflowers in a juice glass or vase.

During her visits to Latrobe in the foothills of El Dorado County where I was raised, we would explore the countryside each spring to see what was in bloom. She would ask us to name the wildflowers, which we would identify as scrambled eggs, popcorn, itchy-britches, etc. She liked to hear the local names for the flowers, which often were in reference to what the plants looked like or what resulted when you came in contact with them … such as itching.

I did a quick Internet search to learn a little more about the Indian Paintbrush and found its correct name is Castilleja, which honors Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo. It grows throughout western North America from April to September and is a hemiparasite, which means it needs a host plant to survive. The species must penetrate the root system of its host to get nutrients and water.

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Don’t forget to vote in today’s election

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 — Today’s election may be one of the most significant elections in recent memory in terms of the choices and change it may bring to the ranks of our elected officials.

Kenneth Bunch, Lassen County’s veteran assessor, announced his retirement. Daniel F. Schlueter, who runs unopposed, will be elected to that office.

Karen Fouch, Lassen County’s veteran auditor, also announced her retirement. Voters will choose between Diana Wemple, the county’s assistant auditor, and Jim Chapman, the county’s district 2 supervisor. One of them will be elected.

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Creating a survivor’s file

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — Whether your marriage was in the early days of military service or long after retirement, one of the most difficult situations you’ll face is dealing with the death of your retired military spouse. Nothing can make this mission easy, but being prepared can help ensure you do what you need to when the time comes. A file with all the veteran’s important papers won’t help if it’s in an unlabeled file drawer or on a computer protected with a password you don’t have. Similarly, funeral wishes can’t be followed if the cemetery selected has since closed to new burials.

Survivor’s files at a minimum will need your Social Security number and copy of your DD-214. Make sure your survivor’s file includes information on any VA payment or claim you’ve filed with the VA. Include a copy of your latest Retiree Account Statement and highlight the section that shows if you did or did not enroll in a Survivors Benefit Plan and, if you did enroll, what category of beneficiary you enrolled (for example, spouse or former spouse).

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Credence uncertainty should not stop the pool’s progress

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — According to some city and county leaders, a community swimming pool is the top priority for Susanville and Lassen County residents. That statement may overreach a bit, but many, including hundreds of local children who have collected Pennies for the Pool for years, believe a community swimming pool is an absolute necessity.

Lassen County Supervisor Jim Chapman and Susanville City Councilmember Brian Wilson came up with a plan to create the Honey Lake Valley Recreation Authority — with a board comprised of two members of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors, two members from the Susanville City Council and a fifth appointed public member. The supervisors and the city council both agreed to fund the newly formed recreation authority with up to $200,000 every year for the next 15 years. At the authority’s direction, Jared Hancock, the authority’s executive director, and other county and city staff members created an ambitious plan to bring a swimming pool to our community as quickly as possible.

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Lounging for a couple of days at Camp Layman

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 — My girlfriend, Cindie, and I celebrated our 15th anniversary together with a romantic weekend stay at Camp Layman in Plumas County.

While the camp of 13 rustic cabins lies near the base of an entire mountainside washed away by hydraulic gold miners — I’m guessing in the 1880s — it was built to house railroad workers in the 1920s. It’s kind of sad to see a mountainside blasted and washed clean of soil right down to the bedrock. In more than 100 years not much has taken root on the barren hillside. I wonder how many more generations it will take for the mountain to recover, if ever. Obviously, the days of green thought were far off in the future back then, and sometimes I wonder if we’re doing any better today. But I guess that’s a topic for another My Turn at some future date.

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