Saving Energy Isn’t A Trivial Pursuit


I received an announcement the other day from the California Energy Commission about a new website that, the commission promised, would provide “industry professionals, fleet managers and consumers with information about greener transportation choices for the 21st century.”

I ignored the state’s publicity pitch until, out of curiosity, I started poking around on the new “Drive” website. I soon found that the Energy Commission had greatly undersold its new website, which goes far beyond environmentally friendly transportation options.

Yes, you can find tips about alternative transportation and get green vehicle guides. But you can also get the details about various grant and loan programs designed to reduce energy usage by consumers, business and government agencies. You can learn all about power plant licensing, tie into the state’s Climate Change Research Center, read up about green construction methods and Title 24 building standards, tap into various databases and, well, find enough information to complete your master’s thesis.

Of course, you can also locate trivia that’s sure to impress your friends at the next summer pool party. Yes, Cliff Clavin, it’s a little known fact that, in 2004, 42 percent of the oil we used in California came from in-state sources. However, only about 13 percent of natural gas Californians use comes from in-state sources.

Whether you are serious about this stuff, curious or simply killing time on the Internet instead of doing real work (who, me?), I commend the CEC’s Drive website to you.

On today’s A La Carte menu:

Veterans assistance … Representatives of the Shasta County Veterans Services Office are scheduled to make a presentation and answer questions from the spouses of veterans from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, at Redding VFW Post 1934, 1251 Oregon Street, in Redding. Experts will be available to field questions about service-related disabilities benefits for veterans and their spouses, and about death benefits for spouses.

Whiskeytown road closure … Here’s one more reminder that Peltier Valley Road, between Paige Bar Road and Clear Creek at Whiskeytown, is scheduled to be closed for periods on weekdays through August 12. In addition, Peltier Bridge campground will also be closed on weekdays. The closures are intended to accommodate trucks that will be hauling gravel to Clear Creek to improve spawning grounds for chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Bike Big Weekend gets bigger … The American Motorcycle Association has put Redding’s Big Bike Weekend on the AMA’s annual Gypsy Tour, which also visits Sturgis, S.D., Las Vegas, New Mexico and New Hampshire this year. Big Bike Weekend is scheduled for October 7 through 9.

A bridge to somewhere … The city of Redding’s Cypress Avenue Bridge was named a project of the year by the American Public Work’s Association’s Sacramento chapter. The award “recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in management, administration, design, construction and community relations,” according to the association. The award came in the category for transportation projects costing $50 million to $100 million.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is a freelance journalist based in Western Shasta County, CA. He may be reached at

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment.

Paul Shigley

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.