Someplace with Hope

Some Place With Hope 041011


The other day I was talking with an old local boy about the situation in the county.  The population, particularly of young families, is down.  There’s a baby born in the county once in awhile, but it’s so rare when it happens everyone's so happy, no one even asks who the daddy is. 


I said, “I don’t know what to do.”


The old boy looked down at the ground and said, “get out, go some place with hope.”


Hope, as I’ve mentioned before, is a kind of denial.  Still, it’s a hard drug to live without in life for a person, or for a community.


Is there no hope in Sierra County?


On the West, Lee Adams and a handful of others work tirelessly to bring the Yuba District of the Forest Service back to Downieville, even though a lot of folks curse the Forest Service at every turn.  There is always high hopes for tourism, as though the failing economy here wasn’t failing everywhere and people still had tourist dollars to spend.  Gold is at $1400 an ounce, but very few people are pulling gold out of the Gold Country because it’s hard, uncertain work fraught with possible EPA violations, and because the Fish and Game have been ordered to halt dredging.


For the East, hope is even slimmer still.  The Sierra Pacific Cogen Plant is a barely warm ember of a possibly bright industry, but any negotiations which might result in it converting wood to electricity are covert, so it’s hard to have much hope there.  With its most recent history it’s unlikely most businesses would rely on it to situate a business.  You can ask the Board of Old Boys and they’ll wink and nod knowingly and assure you something is in the works.  They put off more steam than the cogen plant does.


The Prospect put out the call for someone to step forward and bring biomass together in the county, but no Kathy Norris or Mike Filipini has appeared to work a miracle. 


There are businesses alive and well in Loyalton, but none of them are looking to tear down a wall to add stock.  Others look thin from winter, and hope that the summer sun, and the business it brings down 49, will warm things up.


While unemployment is high everywhere, it’s been awhile since anyone came to the county to look for work.  Locally, if word gets out that someone’s in the hospital the most common questions now are, “how is he?” and “what qualifications do you need to do his job?”


I guess we can hope all the kayakers at Independence Lake will suddenly want to take an armload of biomass back to the Bay Area.  I suppose we could hope Charlie Sheen will build a rehab center in Loyalton, it kind of has the right feel.  Beyond something like that, I can’t imagine what is going to swoop in and save the county.


Maybe the old boy was right.  I’m not sure where hope is, I guess keep traveling west until you see someone building something.

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