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The Board of Supervisors on this Tuesday acted to protect a $24 million industry. At the request of Supervisor Pam Giacomini, the Board approved a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture concerning the recently established Emergency Conservation Program. The program is designed to provide drought relief to livestock producers who need to supplement water in order to maintain their herds. The Shasta County Farm Services Agency is short-staffed due to retirements, and there is concern that the single staff person will not be able to administer the program to ranchers in Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties by the deadline of March 27. The Board’s letter requested additional staff or an extended deadline. This action is in pursuit of support for an industry that was valued at more than $24 million in 2012.
The Board received a presentation from Superintendent Darlene Koontz from Lassen Volcanic National Park. Superintendent Koontz solicited continued public input to the Park’s Wilderness and Backcountry Stewardship Plan development. Those wishing more information on this issue can go to go.nps.gov/LAVOWSB_planning. The web site encourages comment on park issues. This includes such things as the trail system, climbing opportunities and the night sky. The Park is planning possible prescribed burns in some areas and has already accomplished some pile burns in areas affected by recent fires. In the wilderness part of the park mechanical thinning is the only approved option. Fire is the obvious concern as the park has received precipitation at less than one-third a normal year. The Park is undertaking forest restoration including thinning in the area of the northwest gateway and in the Manzanita Campground area where beetles threaten older trees. The Superintendent reminded the Board of the tourist impact of the Park in our region. One-third of visitors travel through Redding to get to the Park. The Park will host a variety of special events in 2014, including a photo contest, trail challenge, dark sky festival and migratory bird banding. Go to their web site to find the dates for these events.
Supervisor David Kehoe pulled an item from the consent calendar that granted relief to department budgets for more than $8,000 in fraudulent checks against the county’s funds. The purpose of pulling the item was to be sure that the purpose of the item was clear and that steps have been taken to avoid fraud, if possible, in the future. The $8,000 included three large checks that resulted from what was essentially identity theft. The first check was apparently part of an international scam and the county is unlikely to recover the funds. The other two were local and a suspect has been apprehended. Victim restitution (in this case the county is the victim) will be sought. The county has since established a fraud detection program with banks that hopefully will eliminate similar losses. The Auditor Controller, however, notes that in this electronic age scams are sophisticated and rapidly changing.
A Consent Calendar item was adopted that submitted program plans and budgets to the state Department of Health Care Services. The programs include (1) the Child Health and Disability Program that provides preventive medical services to low income children, including case management for children with more serious conditions discovered in the preventive examinations; (2) the Health Care Program for Children in Foster Care that provides oversight of health care for foster children in concert with local medical providers; and (3) California Children’s Services that provides health care services to low income children with birth defects, chronic illnesses, malignancies, some serious injuries and physical disabilities. The three programs result in nearly $2 million in funds, including state funds, Medi-Cal reimbursement, and federal financial participation.
The Board also accepted a Consent Calendar item that budgeted a $20,000 donation from Dignity Health (Mercy Medical Center). The funds are to be used by the Healthy Shasta collaborative in its efforts to reduce childhood obesity.
Catherine Camp is currently retired. During her career, she worked as a policy and budget analyst for the California Assembly and California Senate, in health and human services fields. She worked as a policy analyst and advocate for California’s public mental health system. Early in her career, she worked in the Community Action and Head Start programs in Shasta County.