sacramento connect sacramento blogs & community news around sacramento california Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:45:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Sierra Fund’s 8th Annual Winter Legislative Reception on February 17th – you’re invited Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:45:53 +0000 TSF_WinterLegislativeReception.jpg
February 12, 2016 - Join the board of The Sierra Fund along with leaders from the Sierra Nevada and other conservationists for TSF’s 8th Annual Winter Legislative Reception on Wednesday evening, February 17th at the Citizen Hotel 7th Floor Metropolitan Terrace, 926 J Street, in down town Sacramento.

The event is shaping up with great food, special honorees, and the usual assortment of influential Sierra leaders and Sierra lovers including legislators, aides and agency officials. RSVP at

This year, The Sierra Fund is honoring three elected officials who displayed extraordinary service to the state and especially to the Sierra Nevada:

Governor Jerry Brown, for his support for reforming regulations to protect California’s water quality

Senator Ben Allen, for his leadership in authoring and leading successful passage of legislation to protect water quality

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon for his consistent support for protecting Sierra Nevada natural resources

This reception will be free to the public and will include light refreshments and a short program. The program begins at 6:00 pm, but be sure to arrive at 5:00 pm for ample opportunity to mingle with The Sierra Fund’s Board, Sierra leaders, and Capitol luminaries.

When: Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
5:00 – 8:00 pm
Program begins at 6:00 pm
Where: Citizen Hotel 7th Floor Metropolitan Terrace
926 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

This reception is made possible by the generous support of the following early sponsors including: John and Patty Brissenden, Sorensen's Resort, Michael and Alicia Funk, Teichert Materials, Nevada Irrigation District and the South Yuba River Citizens League.

Please RSVP at For more information about this event, please contact Amber Taxiera, The Sierra Fund at (530) 265-8454 x 216 or

The Sierra Fund was established in 2001 to increase and organize investment in protecting and restoring the natural resources and communities of the Sierra Nevada through advocacy, philanthropy and strategic campaigns.
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Feinstein Supports President’s Designation of California Desert National Monuments Fri, 12 Feb 2016 15:18:53 +0000
Feinstein requested the designations in an August 2015 letter.

Feinstein released the following statement:

“The effort to preserve the California desert has been a long one, and today is a major milestone. Since we passed the 1994 desert conservation bill, we’ve tried to build on its legacy.

“It hasn’t been easy, as we’ve been trying to get an additional bill enacted for more than six years. My staff and I have spent hundreds of hours working with the diverse range of stakeholders—local and state government officials, environmental groups, off-highway recreation groups, cattle ranchers, mining interests, the Department of Defense, wind and solar energy companies, the public utility companies and many others. All of them were at the table as we strived to achieve consensus. That bill has not yet passed, so the president’s declaration is all important to carry out the protection needed.

“I’m full of pride and joy knowing that future generations will be able to explore these national monuments and that the land will remain as pristine and as it is today. To a city girl like me, this expanse of desert, with its ruggedness and unique beauty, is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

“When I think of the desert, I think of the shadows as they fall across the landscape, the wildflowers in the spring, the big-horn sheep standing in the distance, and looking down at your feet and seeing a 80-year old desert tortoise. I think about visitors finding solitude, and the brilliance of the stars at night, when you can barely hear a sound. I think about the stunning mountains and valleys, the rare species and wildlife, Joshua trees, Indian petroglyphs, lava flows and fossils.

“These observations are irreplaceable, and remind me why desert protection is so vital and important. Thanks to the president, this can protection can be achieved.

“This kind of landscape is so much a part of what the West once was, and these monuments are icons of our cultural heritage. Simply put, the California desert is a national treasure. This designation only reaffirms that fact.

“I thank President Obama, the Department of the Interior and all the indefatigable advocates in the desert who helped make this a reality.


“My strong preference has always been to balance the many uses of the desert through legislation, and that remains the case today. I plan to introduce new legislation that includes provisions of the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act of 2015 the president was not able to enact through executive action. Those carefully negotiated provisions—which represent our best attempt to achieve consensus among desert stakeholders—deserve to become law.

“That legislation includes many additional conservation areas and provides permanent protection for five Off-Highway Recreation Areas covering approximately 142,000 acres. Off-roaders were a vital part of the coalition we put together, and unfortunately those lands could not be designated under executive action. Off-roaders deserve certainty about their future use of the land, just as there is now certainty for conservation purposes. Today, I renew my pledge to work closely with the off-road community.

Public input

“Public input in desert conservation is absolutely vital. The diverse views of the desert stakeholders have guided my work since I arrived in the Senate, and I’m glad to see them reflected in the monument designations.

“Last year, I was overjoyed to stand in Whitewater Canyon in blistering heat to listen to the thousand people who came out to show how important this designation is to them.

“Public input cannot stop here. As the administration develops and implements the management plan for the new national monuments, I urge all who care about the desert to continue to make your voices heard.”]]> 0
Dry and exceptionally warm weekend in store Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:42:09 +0000 0 Fritz, 18, upsets Johnson to reach Memphis quarters Fri, 12 Feb 2016 10:08:00 +0000 0 Davis Stands with Ferguson hosts weekly teach-ins in honor of Black History Month Fri, 12 Feb 2016 07:21:49 +0000 Teach-ins to address Black inequality at UC Davis Davis Stands with Ferguson (DSF), a UC Davis club that challenges racial inequality, will be holding weekly teach-ins throughout February in honor of Black History Month. Held at the Memorial Union (MU) flagpole, these teach-ins aim to intersect structural and interpersonal experiences of violence that Black students […]

The post Davis Stands with Ferguson hosts weekly teach-ins in honor of Black History Month appeared first on The Aggie.

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Dog found wrapped in carpet in Woodland Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:35:56 +0000 Deceased dog found dumped, abused on side of road earlier this year A deceased dog with indication of abuse was found wrapped in a carpet earlier this January. A man found the dog dumped on the side of Road 22 near the northbound I-5 on-ramp in Woodland. Yolo County Animal Services received the call and […]

The post Dog found wrapped in carpet in Woodland appeared first on The Aggie.

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50+ Sacramento Restaurants Opening in 2016 (Part 1 of 2) Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:24:34 +0000 0 Only two people respond to The Union publisher’s editorial page challenge Fri, 12 Feb 2016 06:03:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 Strawser launches a website and Facebook page Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05:38:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 Raspberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies Fri, 12 Feb 2016 05:09:54 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 Valentine Weekend Top 10: February 13th – 14th Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:50:17 +0000 0 State of Things: Yuba County Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:26:00 +0000 0 Yuba City mother held dying son after he was shot Fri, 12 Feb 2016 03:09:00 +0000 0 Magnolia Ranch appeals process begins Fri, 12 Feb 2016 02:55:00 +0000 0 7 displaced in Yuba City fire Fri, 12 Feb 2016 02:37:00 +0000 0 Placer County offers “suite” new place to get married Fri, 12 Feb 2016 01:21:05 +0000 0 Former employee sues Rideout over firing Fri, 12 Feb 2016 01:07:00 +0000 0 Robots help students build, adapt and problem solve Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:53:00 +0000 0 Dungeness Crab Health Advisory Lifted Along Central Coast Fri, 12 Feb 2016 00:52:18 +0000
This partial lifting comes after the December 31, 2015 announcement regarding Dungeness and rock crab caught between the Santa Barbara/Ventura County Line and Latitude 35° 40' N (near Piedras Blancas Light Station, in San Luis Obispo County).

The advisory remains in effect for Dungeness crab caught in state waters north of Latitude 38° 00' N and for rock crabs caught in state waters around Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, the San Miguel Islands and areas north of Latitude 35° 40' N (near Piedras Blancas Light Station, in San Luis Obispo County), due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid in crabs caught in those areas.

CDPH and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment concur that Dungeness crabs caught along the coast south of Latitude 38° 00' N are safe to consume. However, as a precaution, consumers are advised to not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. When whole crabs are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid. Water or broth used to cook whole crabs should be discarded and not used to prepare dishes such as sauces, broths, soups or stews (for example, cioppino or gumbo), stocks, roux, dressings or dips.

The best ways to reduce risk are:

1) Remove the crab viscera and rinse out the body cavity prior to cooking, or

2) Boil or steam whole crabs, instead of frying or broiling, and discard cooking liquids.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory (a condition known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this year’s domoic acid event.

Domoic acid accumulation in seafood is a natural occurrence that is related to a “bloom” of a particular single-celled plant. The conditions that support the growth of this plant are impossible to predict. While the bloom that occurred earlier this year has dissipated, it takes a period of time for the organisms feeding on the phytoplankton to eliminate the domoic acid from their bodies.

CDPH will continue to coordinate its efforts with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the fishing community to collect crab samples from the central and northern California coast until the domoic acid levels have dissipated.

To receive updated information about shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, visit CDPH’s Natural Marine Toxins: PSP and Domoic Acid Web page and CDPH’s Domoic Acid health information Web page.]]> 0
Nevada County Notice of Election Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:55:35 +0000
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by Gregory J. Diaz, Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Laws of the State of California, that on June 7, 2016, there will be a Presidential Primary Election.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that at the Presidential Primary Election candidates will be nominated or elected to the following offices:


President and Vice President of the United States
For qualifications and requirements visit

U.S. Senate (Barbara Boxer, Incumbent)
U.S. Representative in Congress, District 1, (Doug LaMalfa, Incumbent)
U.S. Representative in Congress, District 4, (Tom McClintock, Incumbent)

California State Assembly, District 1 (Brian Dahle, Incumbent)
California State Senate, District 1 (Ted Gaines, Incumbent)

Nevada County Supervisor, District 1, (Nate Beason, Incumbent)
Nevada County Supervisor, District 2, (Ed Scofield, Incumbent)
Nevada County Supervisor, District 5, (Richard Anderson, Incumbent)
Superior Court Judge, (Candace S. Heidelberger, Incumbent)

Nevada City, City Council (Terri Andersen, Incumbent)
Nevada City, City Council (Jennifer Ray, Incumbent)
Nevada City, City Council (Robert Bergman, Incumbent)
Nevada City, City Clerk (Niel Locke, Incumbent)

Democratic Central Committee, District 1 – District 5
Republican Central Committee, District 1 – District 5

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that official Nomination Petitions and Declarations of Candidacy for eligible candidates desiring to file for the offices listed above are available beginning February 16, 2016, from the Nevada County Elections Office at 950 Maidu Avenue, Suite 210 in Nevada City, CA 95959, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays. Candidate filing will also be available at Truckee Town Hall, 10183 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee, CA 96161. Appointments are recommended if filing with the Town of Truckee. Candidates may obtain more information by calling Nevada County Elections at 530-265-1298 or 1-888-395-1298. Candidates for the City of Nevada City must obtain and file their Nomination Petitions and Declarations of Candidacy with the City Clerk of Nevada City and may contact the Nevada City City Clerk’s office at 530-265-4452 for more information.

The Declaration of Candidacy must be filed by 5:00 p.m. March 11, 2016, at the Elections Office or Truckee Town Hall. Declarations of Candidacy will not be accepted after 5:00 p.m. on March 11, 2016, unless the incumbent does not file. In the event that the incumbent does not file, the filing deadline is extended five days to 5:00 p.m. March 16, 2016, for anyone other than the incumbent. This extension does not apply to judicial candidates, as they must file Declarations of Intention earlier and the extension applies at that time.

A “Candidate’s Handbook” detailing deadlines, candidates’ qualifications and candidate filing requirements for the June 7, 2016, Presidential Primary Election is available at the Elections Office and online at

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that at the Presidential Primary Election the following measures will be put to a vote of qualified voters in the district:


“Shall an ordinance be adopted which (a) bans outdoor cultivation, commercial cultivation and other commercial cannabis activities, (b) limits indoor cultivation to 12 plants per parcel in residential and rural areas, (c) prohibits indoor marijuana cultivation in unpermitted structures and areas used or intended for human occupancy, and (d) allows marijuana cultivation only by qualified patients and primary caregivers and only for medicinal purposes?”
Yes _____
No _____


“To facilitate initiation of customer-friendly online transactions and simplify administration while keeping rates affordable, shall the City of Nevada City simplify its 59-year-old Business License Tax which provides revenues for municipal purposes by reducing rate methodologies from more than 30 to 2 with a lower maximum annual tax of $150 on large businesses and $100 on smaller businesses, subject to annual adjustments for inflation and required independent financial audits?”
Yes _____
No _____


“Shall the recently enacted hosted short-term rental regulations resulting from adoption by the City Council of Nevada City of a prior voter initiative (effective January 8, 2016) be repealed and replaced with the more restrictive provisions of an alternative voter initiative permitting on-line type home-sharing short-term rentals of two units in a single-family residence or small guest house only if the owner occupies the main dwelling and off-street parking is provided and making related General Plan amendments?”
Yes _____

No _____

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that any person may access the full text of measures W, X and Y on the county website at the following address:

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that any written arguments for or against the measures to be submitted to the voters must be filed with the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 19, 2016. Arguments must be signed and dated by the author(s) with a Statement of Accuracy per Election Code § 9600. Arguments shall not exceed 300 words.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that when the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters has selected the direct arguments for and against said measures, the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters shall send copies of the argument in favor of said measures to the author(s) of the argument against and copies of the argument against to the author(s) of the argument in favor.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that rebuttal arguments shall not exceed 250 words and must be filed with the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters no later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 26, 2016, with a Statement of Accuracy per Elections Code § 9600.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN there will be a 10-calendar-day public examination period of proposed ordinances, measures and arguments commencing Monday, February 29, 2016, thru Thursday, March 9, 2016, during which a qualified voter of the jurisdiction may seek a writ of mandate or an injunction requiring any or all of the materials to be amended or deleted. The writ of mandate or injunction request shall be filed no later than the end of the 10-calendar-day public examination period.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the randomized alphabet drawing for Nevada County will commence on March 17, 2016, at the Nevada County Elections Office.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the last day to register to vote in the June 7, 2016, Presidential Primary is May 23, 2016.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that at the Presidential Primary Election the polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on June 7, 2016.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that after the polls close on the date of said election, ballots will be tallied at the Nevada County Elections Office and Truckee Town Hall. The voted ballots will be moved from each polling place to be stored at the Nevada County Elections Office and Truckee Town Hall.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that per Elections Code § 15104, the Registrar of Voters also hereby notifies all interested organizations that the verifying of signatures on vote-by-mail ballots cast for the Presidential Primary Election will commence on May 9, 2016, or at any time thereafter in the Nevada County Elections Office. On May 24, 2016, or at any time thereafter, the opening and processing of vote-by-mail ballots will commence. This process will continue until all election results are tabulated and the election is certified. Any member of the County Grand Jury, and any other interested organization, shall be permitted to observe and challenge the manner in which the vote-by-mail ballots are handled, from the processing of ballot return envelopes through the opening, counting and disposition of the ballots.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the canvass will commence at 8:00 a.m. on June 9, 2016, at the Nevada County Elections Office.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN, in accordance with provisions of the Election Laws of the State of California, that on June 9, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. the Nevada County Elections Office will randomly select precincts for a manual tally of one percent of the precincts casting ballots at the June 7, 2016, Presidential Primary Election. This random selection of precincts will take place at the Nevada County Elections Office and is open to the public.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that on June 13, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. the Nevada County Elections office will begin a manual tally of one percent of the precincts casting ballots at the June 7, 2016, Presidential Primary Election. This manual tally is open to the public and shall continue daily (Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays excluded unless otherwise decided by the County Registrar of Voters) until completed.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that for directions or information regarding the manual tally, interested persons may call the Nevada County Elections Office at 530-265-1298 or 1-888-395-1298. The Elections Office website can be found at

Gregory J. Diaz
Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters
February 11, 2016]]> 0
Toyota’s Avalon loses nothing in hybrid form Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:27:00 +0000 Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California­ – I’ve been a longtime fan of the Toyota Avalon, having reviewed it enough times to get that point across.

It’s a Lexus-level sedan with Toyotabadging, loaded with plentiful comfort, convenience and safety perks.

But a recent week in a 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited model was a new experience.   The good news: This hybrid version of the venerable Avalon does not diminish the model’s reputation.

If anything, it enhances it.

Over years of reviewing hybrid vehicles, I’m still stuck on old-school values.   For me, the best thing a hybrid motor vehicle does is make me forget that it’s a hybrid.   A bad-news bias?

Not at all.   Let me explain.

I’ve tested dodgy hybrids – especially first-generation models rolled out years ago – that gave well-made hybrids a bad name.  They spoiled the motoring experience with clunky transitions between electric and traditional internal-combustion power … or fuel mileage that fell far short of what was advertised … or making loud, whining noises that gave me the alarming impression that I was about to be crushed by a speeding fire engine.

The tested Avalon did none of this.   What it did was deliver peppy, reliable performance in a quiet manner.

The Avalon Hybrid was equipped with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine matched with a 105-kilowatt electric motor, what Toyotacalls a
Hybrid Synergy Drive System
.   The automaker’s engineers say the system works to provide a maximum 200 horsepower, and yes, that was more than adequate to move the tester with authority, when asked.

The big bonus of the system is 40 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The current-generation Avalon looks good, classy enough to park at the country club but sleek enough in profile to get the occasional challenge from a freeway lead foot.   As is seemingly required these days, a monster-size grille adorns the front end.

My tester sparkled in the sunlight with arguably the coolest exterior paint color name I’ve ever encountered: Parisian Night Pearl.

On the inside, luxury and customer-pleasing goodies were wall to wall.   The lineup included premium, leather-trimmed, heated/ventilated, power front seats with lumbar support; a power rear window sunshade; three-zone climate control; and a surrounding cushion of 10 air bags.

The bottom line on the tester was $43,285.   That’s a hefty price to be sure, but again, this is a Lexus-like transporter capable of delivering years of driving enjoyment, and simultaneously saving you serious coin on your annual fuel expenses.
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Skiers and snowboarders rejoice: Epic snow dump possible next winter Thu, 11 Feb 2016 23:17:53 +0000 0 Reel Flix Reviews Episode 179 – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:03:16 +0000 0 Romantic Risotto Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:14:00 +0000 0 15 Most Popular Cowtown Eats Posts of January 2016 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 20:00:00 +0000 0 Cal women rise to No. 1; Bears men stun No. 2 TCU Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:52:00 +0000 0 When Buffaloes Fly Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:30:00 +0000 0 Nevada County Camera Club presents Jerry Berry: Emergence of a Recalcitrant Artist on Feb. 22 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:35:55 +0000 Jerry_Berry_Flock_of_Cardinals2.jpeg
Flock of Cardinals by Jerry BerryGRASS VALLEY, Calif. February 11, 2016 - At the Nevada County Camera Club Meeting on Monday evening, February 22, award wining photographer, Jerry Berry will depart from past speakers by highlighting how photography can capture illusion, hidden stories, and an impressionistic style.

“At some point we ask ourselves, do I have a personal style that separates me from the rest or am I just going through the motions of perfecting the technical side of photography? I came to realize that illusion has a significant influence on my photography. I will take the group through my history as a photographer, using images and stories and explain a little about how I create my impressionistic images,” stated Berry. His photographs, filled with light, color and a sense of movement will captivate anyone who enjoys technically sound and creative images.

Largely self-taught, Berry’s photographs have won awards at the California State Fair and have been honored in competitions and galleries in the United States. In 2012, he was invited to participate in the Second International Show of Photography in Iraq, produced by the Larsa Human Rights Organization.

Standing Out by Jerry Berry
More recently, he received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Photography contest held by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe New, Mexico. He has also spent several years on the curator team of the internet photography site,, with one of his photos published each year in the site’s yearbook.

A photographer for 40 years, Berry lives in Meadow Vista.

During the second half of the meeting, camera club members will showcase their photos as Berry critiques their submissions with the goal of enhancing their skills. Categories for submitted photos include: Black and White; Color; Nature-Landscapes; Nature - Wildlife; Travel; Technical; Photojournalism; and the monthly feature, “Abstract”.

Meeting: Monday, February 22, from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center, 180 Cambridge Court, Grass Valley

Membership: The public is welcome and there is no cost for first time guests. Currently, the club has over 100 members and aims to help members refine their photography abilities.

For More Information:

Nevada County Camera Club:
Jerry Berry:
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Buy Any Beverage, Get One from Peet’s Coffee Thru Sunday Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:30:00 +0000 0 Sauer, Rebane, CABPRO and Defend Rural America — meet Eli Ilano, the new Tahoe National Forest supervisor Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:21:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 EssaySales Thesis Publishing Providers Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:58:50 +0000 0 Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein’s prediction Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:41:51 +0000 Aerial_1_small.jpg
An aerial view of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detector in Livingston, Louisiana. LIGO has two detectors: one in Livingston and the other in Hanaford, Washington. LIGO is funded by NSF; Caltech and MIT conceived, built and operate the laboratories. Credit: LIGO LaboratoryFebruary 11, 2016 - For the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window to the cosmos.

Gravitational waves carry information about their dramatic origins and about the nature of gravity that cannot be obtained from elsewhere. Physicists have concluded that the detected gravitational waves were produced during the final fraction of a second of the merger of two black holes to produce a single, more massive spinning black hole. This collision of two black holes had been predicted but never observed.

The gravitational waves were detected on Sept. 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. EDT (09:51 UTC) by both of the twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors, located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. The LIGO observatories are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and were conceived, built and are operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The discovery, accepted for publication in the journal Physical Review Letters, was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (which includes the GEO Collaboration and the Australian Consortium for Interferometric Gravitational Astronomy) and the Virgo Collaboration using data from the two LIGO detectors.

Based on the observed signals, LIGO scientists estimate that the black holes for this event were about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, and the event took place 1.3 billion years ago. About three times the mass of the sun was converted into gravitational waves in a fraction of a second -- with a peak power output about 50 times that of the whole visible universe. By looking at the time of arrival of the signals -- the detector in Livingston recorded the event 7 milliseconds before the detector in Hanford -- scientists can say that the source was located in the Southern Hemisphere.

According to general relativity, a pair of black holes orbiting around each other lose energy through the emission of gravitational waves, causing them to gradually approach each other over billions of years, and then much more quickly in the final minutes. During the final fraction of a second, the two black holes collide at nearly half the speed of light and form a single more massive black hole, converting a portion of the combined black holes' mass to energy, according to Einstein's formula E=mc2. This energy is emitted as a final strong burst of gravitational waves. These are the gravitational waves that LIGO observed.

The existence of gravitational waves was first demonstrated in the 1970s and 1980s by Joseph Taylor, Jr., and colleagues. In 1974, Taylor and Russell Hulse discovered a binary system composed of a pulsar in orbit around a neutron star. Taylor and Joel M. Weisberg in 1982 found that the orbit of the pulsar was slowly shrinking over time because of the release of energy in the form of gravitational waves. For discovering the pulsar and showing that it would make possible this particular gravitational wave measurement, Hulse and Taylor were awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The new LIGO discovery is the first observation of gravitational waves themselves, made by measuring the tiny disturbances the waves make to space and time as they pass through the earth.

"Our observation of gravitational waves accomplishes an ambitious goal set out over five decades ago to directly detect this elusive phenomenon and better understand the universe, and, fittingly, fulfills Einstein's legacy on the 100th anniversary of his general theory of relativity," says Caltech's David H. Reitze, executive director of the LIGO Laboratory.

The discovery was made possible by the enhanced capabilities of Advanced LIGO, a major upgrade that increases the sensitivity of the instruments compared to the first generation LIGO detectors, enabling a large increase in the volume of the universe probed -- and the discovery of gravitational waves during its first observation run. NSF is the lead financial supporter of Advanced LIGO. Funding organizations in Germany (Max Planck Society), the U.K. (Science and Technology Facilities Council, STFC) and Australia (Australian Research Council) also have made significant commitments to the project.

Several of the key technologies that made Advanced LIGO so much more sensitive were developed and tested by the German UK GEO collaboration. Significant computer resources were contributed by the AEI Hannover Atlas Cluster, the LIGO Laboratory, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Several universities designed, built and tested key components for Advanced LIGO: The Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Florida, Stanford University, Columbia University of the City of New York and Louisiana State University.

"In 1992, when LIGO's initial funding was approved, it represented the biggest investment NSF had ever made," says France Córdova, NSF director. "It was a big risk. But NSF is the agency that takes these kinds of risks. We support fundamental science and engineering at a point in the road to discovery where that path is anything but clear. We fund trailblazers. It's why the U.S. continues to be a global leader in advancing knowledge."

LIGO research is carried out by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), a group of more than 1,000 scientists from universities around the United States and in 14 other countries. More than 90 universities and research institutes in the LSC develop detector technology and analyze data; approximately 250 students are strong contributing members of the collaboration. The LSC detector network includes the LIGO interferometers and the GEO600 detector. The GEO team includes scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute, AEI), Leibniz Universität Hannover, along with partners at the University of Glasgow, Cardiff University, the University of Birmingham, other universities in the United Kingdom and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain.

"This detection is the beginning of a new era: The field of gravitational wave astronomy is now a reality," says Gabriela González, LSC spokesperson and professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University.

LIGO was originally proposed as a means of detecting gravitational waves in the 1980s by Rainer Weiss, professor of physics, emeritus, from MIT; Kip Thorne, Caltech's Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, emeritus; and Ronald Drever, professor of physics, emeritus, also from Caltech.

"The description of this observation is beautifully described in the Einstein theory of general relativity formulated 100 years ago and comprises the first test of the theory in strong gravitation. It would have been wonderful to watch Einstein's face had we been able to tell him," says Weiss.

"With this discovery, we humans are embarking on a marvelous new quest: the quest to explore the warped side of the universe -- objects and phenomena that are made from warped spacetime. Colliding black holes and gravitational waves are our first beautiful examples," says Thorne.

Virgo research is carried out by the Virgo Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: six from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; eight from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; two in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the Wigner RCP in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland; and the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO), the laboratory hosting the Virgo detector near Pisa in Italy.

Fulvio Ricci, Virgo spokesperson, notes that: "This is a significant milestone for physics, but more importantly merely the start of many new and exciting astrophysical discoveries to come with LIGO and Virgo."

Bruce Allen, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics adds: "Einstein thought gravitational waves were too weak to detect, and didn't believe in black holes. But I don't think he'd have minded being wrong!"

"The Advanced LIGO detectors are a tour de force of science and technology, made possible by a truly exceptional international team of technicians, engineers, and scientists," says David Shoemaker of MIT, the project leader for Advanced LIGO. "We are very proud that we finished this NSF-funded project on time and on budget."

At each observatory, the 2 1/2-mile (4-km) long, L-shaped LIGO interferometer uses laser light split into two beams that travel back and forth down the arms (four-foot diameter tubes kept under a near-perfect vacuum). The beams are used to monitor the distance between mirrors precisely positioned at the ends of the arms. According to Einstein's theory, the distance between the mirrors will change by an infinitesimal amount when a gravitational wave passes by the detector. A change in the lengths of the arms smaller than one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a proton (10-19 meter) can be detected.

"To make this fantastic milestone possible took a global collaboration of scientists -- laser and suspension technology developed for our GEO600 detector was used to help make Advanced LIGO the most sophisticated gravitational wave detector ever created," says Sheila Rowan, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Glasgow.

Independent and widely separated observatories are necessary to determine the direction of the event causing the gravitational waves, and also to verify that the signals come from space and are not from some other local phenomenon.

Toward this end, the LIGO Laboratory is working closely with scientists in India at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, and the Institute for Plasma to establish a third Advanced LIGO detector on the Indian subcontinent. Awaiting approval by the government of India, it could be operational early in the next decade. The additional detector will greatly improve the ability of the global detector network to localize gravitational-wave sources.

"Hopefully this first observation will accelerate the construction of a global network of detectors to enable accurate source location in the era of multi-messenger astronomy," says David McClelland, professor of physics and director of the Centre for Gravitational Physics at the Australian National University.
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Conservation Groups Sue Over Missing Point Reyes Management Plan Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:22:38 +0000 _52A7608.jpg
Wildlife of Point Reyes National Seashore, Photo by Karen PerrySAN FRANCISCO February 11, 2016 - The Resource Renewal Institute, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project filed a lawsuit in federal court today seeking to require the National Park Service to update its General Management Plan and prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, prior to adopting a proposed plan to extend cattle grazing leases in the Point Reyes National Seashore, in Marin County, California.

“The Point Reyes National Seashore is a national treasure,” said Huey D. Johnson, president of Resource Renewal Institute and former California Secretary of Resources. “The Park Service has delayed comprehensive planning and environmental analysis for decades, depriving the public of the right to weigh in on appropriate uses and activities within the park. This lawsuit is a last resort to try to get the Park Service to do its job.”

Under federal laws the National Park Service is obligated to ensure that wildlife and natural resources receive “maximum protection” and are left “unimpaired” for the enjoyment of future generations. The lawsuit asserts that the Park Service is violating these requirements by relying on a badly outdated management plan, adopted in 1980, which fails to address current conditions such as climate change, increasing visitation and recreational use, and threats to wildlife.

The lawsuit cites persistent drought and conflicts between cattle and native wildlife, particularly tule elk, among significant threats to park resources. Tule elk, once believed to be extinct, were successfully reestablished at the Seashore and exist in no other national park.

Over the last two decades, the Park Service repeatedly announced its intentions to update its 35-year-old management plan for the Seashore, but abandoned the planning process without explanation. It is now moving forward on a Ranch Management Plan that could extend grazing permits in the park for up to 20 years.

“The Park Service needs to take a step back and look at the impacts of commercial ranching on the park overall,” said Johnson, who in 1977 as president of the Trust for Public Land acquired more than 2,000 acres for the Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. According to Johnson, that land was intended for wildlife habitat and public recreation, but has been leased to private ranchers.

After Congress enacted legislation establishing the Point Reyes National Seashore in 1962, the federal government purchased the ranches in the park at a cost of more than $70 million in today’s dollars. Ranching was not mandated by the legislation, but rather allowed under two narrow circumstances: time-limited reservations of rights for former landowners or general leases with conditions to protect the park. Nearly all reservations and leases have expired.

The Park Service has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement on ranching at the Seashore. Nevertheless, the Park Service allows cattle grazing to continue. Fifteen ranch families currently operate on 24 lease units within the National Seashore, comprising more than 18,000 of the park’s 71,000 acres.

“The Park Service continues to authorize commercial grazing permits at the Point Reyes National Seashore without an Environmental Impact Statement on how ranching impacts the park, which is needed to ensure protection of the park’s ecosystems,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity who lives in West Marin. “We’re filing this lawsuit because we love the park and believe it’s up to everyone to make sure the national seashore is managed sustainably so that future generations can enjoy it as we have.”

“The law requires the Park Service to determine the environmental impacts at the Seashore and restrict any uses if they impair wildlife, natural resources or the public’s use and enjoyment,” said Karen Klitz, a board member at Western Watersheds Project. "Behind-the-scenes negotiations between a handful of ranchers and well-meaning conservationists is no substitute for an open and transparent planning process that includes public input."

The groups are represented in the lawsuit by San Francisco attorney Jeff Chanin of Keker & Van Nest, and lawyers with Advocates for the West, a public interest environmental law firm.
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Film Review: Michael Moore’s New Film “Where to Invade Next” Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:00:53 +0000
Moore takes us on a whirlwind world tour looking at countries that have embraced American ideologies and made them into integral parts of their own culture. Clowning around, he ’invades’ these lands and claims their great ideas to bring back to America.

Part travel and cultural documentary, part good-natured comedy with a healthy dose of hard political medicine, we have a chance to see how women’s birth control rights are progressing in Tunisia, why Americans are going to college for free in Germany and Slovenia and how French school children are taught about health and culture through four course lunches served for the same price as American cafeteria food. Moore is witty, charming, even endearing as he joshes us along into quietly seeing the harsh limitations of American culture today for the 99%.

Moore percolates many of the cultural proclivities he showcases around the American idea that had their roots. Shockingly, he discovers that in working-class Portugal, there have been no drug arrests in fifteen years. As Moore prepares to leave, Portuguese police officers express their desire to send back a message to America: No more capital punishment. This policy violates the basic principle of respect for life, an idea drawn from our constitution.

Visiting Finland and Norway, he explores the way these countries choose to exact criminal punishment and finds private space, personal rights, and education prevalent. Not only are crime rates overall lower, but also recidivism is less than half of American felons. More amazing than this, prisoners retain their voting rights... they are allowed to vote, while in prison, on parole and after their release. Moore takes a closer look at the shadowy history that put one in three African Americans in many Red states in America behind bars and permanently unable to vote.

Italians, accustomed to about eight weeks of paid vacation per year are shocked to learn that America, the place many Italians wish to visit or live, has no national policy for vacations. The expressive Florentine faces of the couple Moore interviews suggest they may revise their views. The Ducati factory balances labor demands with a culture that considers keeping workers healthy and happy is the only rational solution to profitability.

Meanwhile near Nuremberg, the Faber-Castell pencil factory notes that it has increased productivity with shorter work days and weeks. Workers shrug, oddly confused that Moore doesn’t seem to get what seems only natural to them: work is work, and when over, the important business of life commences.

Moore sits down for an extended conversation with Vigdís Finnbogadóttir the Icelandic politician who served as the fourth President of Iceland from 1980 to 1996. She is both Iceland's and Europe's first female president. A single mother with a seven-year-old daughter at the time she was elected, she is credited with beginning a strong women’s equality movement in Iceland. Moore drops in for a golf game with several prominent Icelandic women CEOs and discusses whether or not they perceive a true equal opportunity. Not only do they feel equal, but they also see no motivation to live in America. “You couldn’t pay me to live there.” is an exact quote from a savvy European executive in Reykjavik. The theme of female sensibility pervades Moore’s film.

”Where to Invade Next” premiered in California in Grass Valley on February 9th and was followed by a live telecast phone question and answer session with Michael Moore. Moore, recovering from a serious bout of pneumonia, was a personable as ever in a plaid bathrobe. In his view, men have had the baton in government and policy for about 10,000 years. He thinks its time to pass this over to women and see if perhaps something more compassionate might come forward. This being said, when quizzed about his support for Bernie Sanders, he responded that things are different today. In his view, after Obama became President, it is easy to conceive of a woman president—this barrier is no longer the stigma it once was.

Moore is excited that today, for the first time ever, a Democratic Socialist is receiving broad acceptance, signaling both hope and the potential for positive change.

“Where to Invade Next” was filmed prior to the immigrant crisis in Europe. Asked about this Moore said he was truly amazed by the way Germany has taken in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and plans to redouble efforts in the near future. In Moore’s opinion, Germany gives us great hope as we see a people truly changed and moving forward, recognizing their errors and thoughtfully making new choices.

Asked what he would like people to see about “Who to Invade Next” he quips that he would like to see on the theatre marquees “No F***ing Way!” and he asked the audience in Grass Valley if they didn’t feel that way at different moments in the film. The full house crowd roared their approval and had a healthy laugh with one of the brightest and most controversial lights in documentary films today.

Learn more

See this weekend at the Del Oro in Grass Valley.]]> 0
Behind the Apron with Mary: Lavalentine Cakes Thu, 11 Feb 2016 15:00:05 +0000 read more]]> 0 Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation to host 2016 Cioppino Feed Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:51:11 +0000
For the event, the chefs will create and serve Arnie Romanello’s special 100-year-old recipe for all to enjoy. Dinner includes antipasto, all-you-can-eat Cioppino, salad and garlic bread. A pasta dish will be available for those who do not prefer Cioppino, but want to attend the event. A no-host bar will be available, and there will be a silent dessert auction and a live auction.

Tickets are $40 per person. If you’d like to purchase a table for 8, it is $400 and includes two bottles of wine. Tickets are available by visiting the Nevada County Fairgrounds, calling the Fair Office at (530) 273-6217, or downloading an order form at

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation and its mission of supporting and improving the community’s Fairgrounds, and supporting youth in agriculture.

For more information about the Cioppino Feed or the Foundation, visit or call the (530) 273-6217.]]> 0
Penn Valley Community Rodeo Membership Drive Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:43:08 +0000 new_sign.jpg
Save the datePENN VALLEY, Calif. February 11, 2016 - Besides putting on a popular local CCPRA rodeo, the Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association (PVCRA) is a local non-profit organization that benefits many local charities and provides scholarships for high school members.

PVCRA also hosts Gymkhana, Barrel Racing, and an AMA sanctioned Mule & Donkey Show. Members may use the arena, parking lot, and trail course- as well as enjoying fellowship with others who enjoy helping Nevada County maintain its Western Heritage. Plus members are able to join CALSTAR for emergency medical flight coverage through the association at a great group price.

The goal of Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association is to honor our Western heritage by promoting the sport of rodeo in Penn Valley. PVCRA is a non profit organization, founded in 2004, to perpetuate the tradition of the annual Penn Valley Rodeo and to benefit local schools and service organizations.

General Membership fees are $10 for single members, and $20 for families (comprised of two adults and their dependents). You do not need a horse to be a member. For horse owners who wish to use the arena, an additional Horse Owner/Rider Membership fee of $50 for single members and $75 for families is required. Horse Owner/Rider fees support regular arena grooming and maintenance. Horse Owner/Rider Members receive the combination to the gate and have access to the arena and grounds in good weather. Hardship fee waivers may be granted on an individual basis after review by the Membership Committee.

PVCRA meets on the second and fourth Tuesday each month, at 6:30 PM in the Cook House at the rodeo grounds. Meetings are open to all members; attendance is not required, however, meetings are a good way to get to know the Rodeo Board and have a voice in policy. Through the year, PVCRA produces numerous events that offer members the opportunity to volunteer, meet other members, and become well known.

New members are welcome and current members are asked to renew in order to maintain member benefits. Please visit for membership information, forms, and pricing.
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Temperatures on the rise for the weekend Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:34:50 +0000 0 Petaluma slaughterhouse owner sentenced to 12 months and one day Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:33:32 +0000
Amaral, 78, of Petaluma, was indicted on August 14, 2014, in connection with two separate schemes: the first scheme involved a conspiracy to distribute adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat while the second scheme involved defrauding farmers with false invoicing.

With respect to the first scheme, Amaral was indicted along with Rancho employees Eugene Corda, 66, of Petaluma, and Felix Cabrera, 56, of Santa Rosa, with distribution of adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat, in violation of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 610(c) & 676(a), conspiracy to commit the same, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. For his part in the scheme, a fourth defendant, Robert Singleton, 79, owner of Petaluma-based Rancho Veal Corporation, was charged in a separate information on August 18, 2014, with one count of distributing adulterated, misbranded, and uninspected meat in violation of the FMIA.

Amaral pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge on February 18, 2015. In connection with his guilty plea, Amaral admitted that from 2012 through January 10, 2014, he directed Rancho employees to process cattle for human consumption that had been condemned by the USDA veterinarian. Amaral also admitted he sought to circumvent inspection procedures for certain cattle exhibiting symptoms of cancer eye and to process these cancer eye cattle for human consumption without full inspection. Cabrera, Rancho’s “kill floor” supervisor, also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge. Corda, Rancho’s yardman, pleaded guilty to one of the underlying distribution counts. Singleton pleaded guilty to the information, admitting that he participated in a scheme by which Rancho employees were instructed to carve “USDA Condemned” stamps out of cattle carcasses, to conceal from USDA inspection cows showing signs of cancer eye by switching the diseased heads with healthy heads, and to process the adulterated and uninspected carcasses for human consumption.

With respect to the second scheme, Amaral was indicted for mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349. As part of his plea agreement, Amaral admitted that he caused Rancho to submit fraudulent cattle invoices to farmers between at least 2012 and January 2014. Singleton, as part of his plea agreement, also admitted participating in this scheme.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge. In addition to the prison term, Judge Breyer sentenced Amaral to two years’ supervised release, one of which will be served in a residential re-entry facility. Judge Breyer concluded that Amaral had reached out of court settlements with nearly all of his fraud victims, and ordered restitution to the remaining two victims. Amaral was ordered to surrender by March 25, 2016, to begin serving his sentence.

The sentencing hearings for Singleton and Corda are set for March 2, 2016, and the sentencing hearing for Cabrera is set for March 23, 2016. The sentencings will be held before Judge Breyer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hartley M.K. West is prosecuting this case with the assistance of Rosario Calderon and Bridget Kilkenny. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by agents of the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, Investigations and USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit, Compliance and Investigations.]]> 0
Tesla jumps on delivery promises Thu, 11 Feb 2016 14:30:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0