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Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
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November 6, 2007     Lassen County Times
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November 6, 2007
 

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Lassen County Times, Westwood P inePress Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 3B Anthony E. Larson Staff Writer anthonyelarson@starband.net County schools face anoth- er year of budgetary anxiety due to ambivalence in Washington D.C according to the county superintendent of schools, Bob Owens. What concerns him is the payment-to-states program under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self- Determination act ,of 1999 (SRS)" Set tO end last year, the funding for this year was renewed late in June and only after a prolonged political and budgetary struggle that left local school districts in a financial pinch. The unthinkable happene: the SRS payments had not been approved when school budgeting time rolled around, leaving the districts no choice but to cut back. This had a ripple effect throughout the local schools. Staff and ser- vices'had to be cut to meet the expected shortfall. Although the funding was ultimately restored, it came far to late, leaving the budget- ing process in chaos. Owens fears a similar out- come this year. "School district superinten- dents and business managers have been forced to plan pro- grams without this funding and, for years, have been forced to adopt a "do more with less attitude," said Owens He concerned that Lassen County schools may be forced to do some serious belt-tightening. "If the SRS legislation goes away, so does this funding," said Owens, pointing out that this will result in the loss of $3 million to county schools and roads. If the funding is not approved by February, 2008 school administrators will be forced to consider layoff notices for some employees, along with equal cutbacks.in all the other budgeting areas. "Unless SRS is reautho. rized again," said Owens, "Lassen County school dis- tricts and the County of Lassen will be faced with tough budgetary decisions and those decisions will ulti- mately effect children and programs." Even though the funding was eventually restored for one year, the disruption has been significant due to the timing, and Owens is anxious not to see a repeat perfor- mance from Congress. "Lassen County schools receive approximately 1.5 million per year, but districts have previously taken mea- sures to adjust, including the issuance of lay off notices before the March 15 dead- line." The origins of this problem trace back almost a century When the National Forest System was established in 1907, Congress required 25 percent of revenues derived from national forests be shared with the counties where those forests are situat- ed to offset the 10ss of rev- enue to those counties from taking the forests off their tax roles. In the last two decades, reduced timber sales have decreased those payments dramatically' seriously impacting educational pro- grams, road maintenance, and other services in the affected counties. So in 2000, Congress passed the SRS legislation to provide annual payments to affected counties to partially replace the tax revenues lost by local governments and help fund rural schools, roads, and other services. Funding from Local volunteers are col- lecting simple shoe box gifts personally packed by chil- dren, families, and individu- als here in Susanville. From here, the shoe box gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means neces- sary sea containers, trucks, buses, trains, air- planes, helicopters, boats, camels, even dog sleds to reach suffering children around the world. "Operation Christmas Child is a great way to get families, youth groups, and the entire community involved in a short - term mission project," said Sheri ne r c Hagen, relay center coordir a- tot. "I am humbled to think that I can be part of a project that has a global impact, that I can be a part of something much bigger than the small community I live in. God uses people to reach out with His love to others haft a world away." Local collection sites: Community Evangelical Free Church, 110 North Gay St Susanville, you can call (800) 383-6402. Hours of operation: 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday" Nov. 12 9:30- 4 p.m. Tuesday' Nov. n 13 9:30 - 4 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 14 9:30 -: 4 p.m. Thursday" Nov. 15 9:30- 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 Saturday, Nov. 17, by appointment only ,Sunday, Nov. 18, by appointment only Monday, Nov. 19, not col- lecting For more drop-off locations and hours in the Susanville area please visit samar - tanspurse.org. Right now you can join the effort to help the world's largest Christmas project hand-deliver more than 8 mil- Operation Christmas Child participants packed shoeboxes with a variety of items, including soap, toothbrushes, toys and candy. One box contains items for a young boy and the other box has items for a young girl. Photo by Ruth Ellis lion personalized gift-filled shoe boxes to children in some 9O countries Suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine, and Poverty. What you can do to get involved: Prepare Enlist families, churches, scout troops, om- munity groups, and business- es to take part m Creating shoe box gifts for needy chil- dren worldwide. Pack Fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, candy, and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available fit samaritanspurse.0rg. Process -- Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at collection sites in Susanville as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoe box gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, has delivered more than 54 million gift-filledshoe boxes to needy children in some 120 countries. For mor.e information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (714) 432-7030 or visit samaritauspurse.org. National Collection Week is Nov. 12-19. SIDING & WINDOWS . We do vinyl, aluminum, wood and fiber cement siding. We do energy efficient double paned vinyl framed windows. CA Lic. #745303 OR Lic. #134703 for FREE ESTIMATES call Rick Kimball (530) 842-4772 Now Taking Dr. Tharp is excited to be opening an office in Chester to serve you and your family's needs. Don L. Tharp D.C. "Serving Lake A/manor since 1989" Family Chiropractic Sport Performance~Injuries Acupressure Advanced Treatment Options Now located upstairs at 131 Main Street Call for appointment (530) 51.8-8052 I State Farm" has reduced auto rates in At State Farm, you'll get more than a great rate, You'll also get an agent dedicated to helping you get the right coverage backed by the: nation's largest claims network. Call my office today and discover why State Farm is trusted by more drivers than any other car insurance company. BiffMuttera, Agent, CLU Insurance Lic #0728779 2910 Riverside Dr. $usanville CA 96130-47665 Bus: 530-257-4041 Serving Susanville, Chester & Lake Almanor 'LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR~STATE FARM IS THERE.O Providing Insurance and Financial Services P050052 2/05 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company(not in N J) State Farm Indemnity Company {N J) 81oomington, IL PO Box S0,9 ~t~b, CA 96104 (S30) 279-2O40 Toil Free 877-927-6426 www,surpdsevalley h0t~tngs.u~n villasDurin Wcc ,! Week,days Only (Sunday, Thursday) Must Mention This Ad At The Time of Reservation will waive deliver char m ls clelive ed This offer is pod November 1st through December 3Ist, 9,007 O~er t~ nlid w~ ~i.~ rnt'm~ ~ ~ ~d~ SRS has been used to support rural schools and tO help maintain county road sys- tems, as well as fund local projects through allocations of funds to each county's Resource Advisory Committee. "The passageof the SRS act was aminor miracle in 2000," said Owens, referring to the needs of school districts in counties across the West, like LasSen, who were losing their funding as receipts from for- est sales plummeted. "SRS may have been designed as a stopgap measure, but 780 foi'- est counties, 4400 rural school districts, and 9 million school children will be negatively effected by the loss of these funds." However, those annual pay- ments provided by the SRS legislation were meant to offer only transitional assis- tance to rural counties affect- ed by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on fed- eral lands They were not intended to be a permanent program, according to James R. Lyons, the agriculture undersecretary for natural resources and environment during the Clinton adminis- tration, who said these pay- ments .were meant to wean local governments off the fed- eral dole by severing the link between timber sales and educational funding. Apparently this is the same position taken by the Bush administration. Advocates for permanent funding argue the 1907 agree- ment requires the federal government to make good on its promise to provide rev- enue to .counties that lost rev- enue due to the establishment of national forests. They con- Lend a graduated cut in forest reserve payments over sever- al years will be detrimental to the mission of schools in pro- viding a high quality educa- tional, program into the future for their students, slowly strangling those dis- tricts. Owens has an even better idea: return to the original system where the forest receipts provided the needed money. "Wha I find personally dis- turbing -- and I consider" myseff a conservationist is the lack of common sense in managing our nat ional forests," said Owens, infer- ring that proper manage- ment, without outside inter- ference, might once again see forest receipts climb. This renewed income would auto- matically accrue to the coun- ties, making subsidies from Washington unnecessary "I do not personally under- stand the hands-off approach that ultimately leads to our valleys filled with smoke each summer and our pre- cious national forests reduced to ash. Rather than scientifically managing and selective harvesting with proper practices, the national forests are currently over- grown. The net result ends in catastrophic fires," he said, continuing. "Even after catastrophic fires have occurred, salvage and re-planting seem to be delayed in litigation to the point that even the burned logs are of little value and years of delay only add to the negative impact on the envi- ronment." As for reauthorization, Owens seems ambivalent. ' kll we can do is to ,contin- ueto fight the battle for ade- quate funding for rural schools and communities," he said. "Despite the level of support and co-sponsors in both the House and Senate, funding has not been identi- fied to support reauthoriza- tion." Lunch Sandwiches Soups Salads Open Tues ~Fri 10:30am~4 :OOpm Honey Lake Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony Purchase a "light" in memory of a loved one. Join us at the Banner Lassen Medical Center to "Light Up A Life" m Saturday, November at 6:30pro this heartwarming event takes outdoors (please dress warmly) and includes many special features followed by an indoor reception with refreshments. Community members who would like to honor loved ones may purchase a "light" and have the loved one's name inscribed on a dove, and placed on our hospice tree. "Lights" may be purchased at Margie's Book Nook, Plumas Bank, or from any Honey Lake Hospice volunteer. $10 per "light" $100 per perpetual "light" Call Honey Lake Hospice for more information 257-3137 J