Sutter’s Fort to Present “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea”

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-02-16

Continuing a series of popular, interactive and fun “Hands on History” activities offered each month, Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP) will present a special “Hands on History: By Land and By Sea” event on Saturday, February 18, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fort visitors will be delighted to see the recently completed restoration of the historic walls, gates and blacksmith shop plus have the opportunity to step back in time to the 1840s to understand the two different ways emigrants originally came to California -- by land or by sea -- while sharing the unique challenges they faced and what daily life was like during their journeys. In fact, Sutter’s Fort was once home to sailors who “jumped ship,” trappers who became overland trail guides because of the failing fur trade, wagon train parties looking for a new life, and soldiers who served in the Mexican-American War and whose services were terminated in California – 3,000 miles from their homes in the east.

Fort guests will hear the amazing tales of adventure and survival these nomads experienced on the journeys and enjoy participating in daily activities of the different skills and trades they used in their new California home. A few of the special hands-on activities awaiting Fort visitors include helping to pack a wagon while making choices about what to bring along for their journey of a lifetime, determining latitude with a sailing sextant, hoisting a laden barrel, weaving rope, learning simple knots, creating maps with available resources, joining the Navy and receiving pay in Stonington Bank $2 bills, and even marching around the Fort with the NY Volunteer fife and drum corps. And, of course, popular demonstrations of black powder weaponry in action will take place including the crowd-favorite firing of Sutter’s cannon.

Admission to Sutter’s Fort SHP costs $7 per adult (18 and older), $5 per youth (ages 6 to 17) and is free for children 5 and under.  For more information, call 916-445-4422 or visit

Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at Subscribe to California State Parks News via e-mail at or via RSS feed.

Auto Museum Gears Up for Beer Week Early with “Zero to 60s: A Mad Men Office Party”

Source: T-Rock Communications  |  2017-02-16

Thirsty for some fun? Spirits and brew enthusiasts are invited to attend a very special cocktail party presented by the California Automobile Museum titled “Zero to 60s: A Mad Men Office Party” on Friday evening, February 24, 2017 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Swinging 60s is the theme for the Museum’s annual fundraising event. Adult guests are encouraged to dress the part in sharp suits with skinny ties, or a chic cocktail dress and bouffant hairdo! The Museum will provide party games and the conga line.

Approximately 25 of today’s popular microbreweries – such as Alaskan Brewing, Dry Diggings Distillery, New Helvetia and Wildcide Cider -- will be on-site for sampling along with a variety of locally produced wines, cocktails and alcohol-free “mocktails.”  Guests will also be treated to music and dancing, photo ops with classic cars from the Museum’s impressive collection, and tasty food (for purchase) available from popular food trucks set-up on-site including Chando’s Tacos, Culinerdy Cruzer and Sweet Spot, to name a few. In addition, a relaxing VIP lounge will be set-up with exclusive drinks and cocktail demonstrations for those who desire an extra special sampling experience.

Guests must be 21 years or older. Tickets cost $45 (general admission) or $65 (VIP) per adult through February 19 or $55 (general admission) or $75 (VIP) per adult beginning February 20 and at the door. For more information about the “Zero to 60s: A Mad Men Office Party” or the California Automobile Museum in general, please call 916-442-6802 or visit

Since opening in 1987, the California Automobile Museum tells the story of over 130 years of automotive culture and history.  Exhibiting makes and models of all kinds, the Museum strives to preserve, exhibit, teach and tell the stories of the automobile and its influence on our lives. For more, visit or call 916-442-6802.

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Governor Brown Announces Recent Appointments

Source: The Office of Governor Brown   |  2017-02-16

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. recently announced the following appointments:

Cindy Messer, 48, of Sacramento, has been appointed chief deputy director at the California Department of Water Resources, where she has served as assistant chief deputy director since 2016. She was deputy director of the Planning, Performance and Technology Division at the Delta Stewardship Council from 2012 to 2016 and assistant executive officer at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy from 2010 to 2012. Messer served in several positions in the Division of Environmental Services at the California Department of Water Resources from 1999 to 2010 including senior environmental scientist, environmental program manager, section chief and environmental scientist. She earned a Master of Science degree in conservation biology from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $162,948. Messer is a Democrat.

John Mann, 50, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of legislation at the California Department of Technology. Mann has served as communications director in the Office of California State Senator Tony Mendoza since 2014. He was communications director at the Alex Padilla for Secretary of State campaign from 2013 to 2014 and in the Office of California State Senator Alex Padilla from 2011 to 2014, at the Pedro Nava for Attorney General campaign from 2009 to 2010 and in the Office of California State Assemblymember Pedro Nava from 2006 to 2010. Mann was a consultant for the California State Senate Democratic Caucus from 1999 to 2005 and in the Office of California State Senator Jack O’Connell from 1995 to 1998. He served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Niger from 1988 to 1991. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $102,000. Mann is a Democrat.

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Open Letter to Northern Californians From Senator Jim Nielsen

By Jim Nielsen  |  2017-02-16

On Sunday, North State residents were alarmed by the alert from the Department of Water Resources about the potential failure of the auxiliary spillway at Lake Oroville.

Within hours, the great people of the North State, from Plumas Lake to Oroville, peacefully evacuated their homes due to the damaged spillways at Lake Oroville. Nearly 200,000 people loaded their most valuable possessions, pets and essential needs into vehicles and headed on to crammed highways.

In heavy traffic, North State residents - fearing the unknown and dealing with anxiety, no doubt - evacuated without incident.

Law enforcement officials and social workers helped steer citizens to where they needed to go. Hundreds of first responders assisted and transported those who were most vulnerable. Residents of neighboring regions opened their homes to strangers.

Construction crews filled bags of rocks overnight so helicopters could drop them into the spillway at first sunlight. Workers continue to watch water levels around the clock.

In this time of high stress and unease, the citizens of our region held their heads up high and behaved admirably.

These are amazing actions of kindness, cooperation and patience.

The world’s eyes are upon us. Thank you for showing the world how great Americans are.


Jim Nielsen

Senator, Fourth District

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NASA Report: San Joaquin Valley Land Continues to Sink

Sources: NASA and DWR  |  2017-02-16

Approximate location of maximum measured subsidence (9m) in the San Joaquin Valley, Ca. (1925-1977) attributed to aquifer-system compaction caused by groundwater abstraction. Signs on pole are positioned at approximate former elevations of land surface. Pictured is Dr. J.F. Poland. 
--Photo by R.L. Ireland, USGS, ca. 1977

New NASA radar satellite maps prepared for the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) show that land continues to sink rapidly in certain areas of the San Joaquin Valley, putting state and federal aqueducts and flood control structures at risk of damage.

“The rates of San Joaquin Valley subsidence documented since 2014 by NASA are troubling and unsustainable,” said DWR Director William Croyle. “Subsidence has long plagued certain regions of California. But the current rates jeopardize infrastructure serving millions of people. Groundwater pumping now puts at risk the very system that brings water to the San Joaquin Valley. The situation is untenable.”

A prior August 2015 NASA report prepared for DWR documented record rates of subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley, particularly near Chowchilla and Corcoran, as farmers pumped groundwater in the midst of historic drought. The report released recently shows that two main subsidence bowls covering hundreds of square miles grew wider and deeper between spring 2015 and fall 2016. Subsidence also intensified at a third area, near Tranquillity in Fresno County, where the land surface has settled up to 20 inches in an area that extends seven miles.

Additional aircraft-based NASA radar mapping was focused on the California Aqueduct, the main artery of the State Water Project, which supplies 25 million Californians and nearly 1 million acres of farmland. The report shows that subsidence caused by groundwater pumping near Avenal in Kings County has caused the Aqueduct to drop more than two feet. As a result of the sinking, the Aqueduct at this stretch can carry a flow of only 6,650 cubic feet per second (cfs) – 20 percent less than its design capacity of 8,350 cfs. To avoid overtopping the concrete banks of the Aqueduct in those sections that have sunk due to subsidence, water project operators must reduce flows.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR), which operates the State Water Project, is analyzing whether the subsidence-created dip in the Aqueduct will affect deliveries to Kern County and Southern California water districts. If the State Water Project allocation is 85 percent or greater, delivery may be impaired this year due to the cumulative impacts of subsidence in the Avenal-Kettleman City area.

The NASA analysis also found subsidence of up to 22 inches along the Delta-Mendota Canal, a major artery of the Central Valley Project (CVP), operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The CVP supplies water to approximately three million acres of farmland and more than two million Californians.

Also of concern is the Eastside Bypass, a system designed to carry flood flow off the San Joaquin River in Fresno County. The Bypass runs through an area of subsidence where the land surface has fallen between 16 inches and 20 inches since May 2015 – on top of several feet of subsidence measured between 2008 and 2012. DWR is working with local water districts to analyze whether surface deformation may interfere with flood-fighting efforts, particularly as a heavy Sierra snowpack melts this spring. A five-mile reach of the Eastside Bypass was raised in 2000 because of subsidence, and DWR estimates that it may cost in the range of $250 million to acquire flowage easements and levee improvements to restore the design capacity of the subsided area.

There are thousands of groundwater wells near state infrastructure that could be contributing to the subsidence recorded by NASA.

In response to the new findings, and as part of an ongoing effort to respond to the effects of California’s historic drought, state officials said they will investigate any legal options available to protect state infrastructure. DWR also will investigate measures for reducing subsidence risk to infrastructure, including groundwater pumping curtailment, creation of groundwater management zones near critical infrastructure, and county ordinance requirements.

DWR is conducting its own study of the effects of subsidence along the 444-mile-long California Aqueduct and other State Water Project features and in coming months will identify potential actions to remediate damage. A comprehensive rehabilitation to restore the full California Aqueduct to its original design capacity would likely cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars. A focused triage to address conveyance losses in the most affected portions of the canal may cost tens of millions of dollars per location.

In addition, DWR will work with local water managers to identify specific actions to reduce long-term subsidence risk and consider whether to incorporate further emphasis on reduction of subsidence risk into the ongoing implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

An historic package of laws enacted by the Governor in September 2014, SGMA requires local governments to form sustainable groundwater agencies that will regulate pumping and recharge to better manage groundwater supplies. The Act requires groundwater-dependent regions to halt overdraft and bring basins into sustainable levels of pumping and recharge by the early 2040s. Groundwater supplies between 30 percent and 60 percent of the water Californians use in any year. Bringing basins into balance will eliminate the worst effects of over-pumping, including subsidence and the dewatering of streams.

San Joaquin Valley land subsidence due to groundwater extraction was observed as early as the 1920s. The most extensive monitoring and research related to subsidence in the Valley was carried out in the 1950s through the 1970s because of concerns about subsidence-related damage to the state and federal water projects. The SWP’s 444-mile-long California Aqueduct was designed to take into account subsidence risk. Since the 1960s, subsidence has required repairs such as the raising of canal linings, bridges, and water control structures on the Aqueduct and on the CVP’s Delta-Mendota and Friant-Kern canals.

Besides aqueducts, the increased subsidence rates have the potential to damage levees, bridges, and roads.

Long-term subsidence already has destroyed thousands of public and private groundwater well casings in the San Joaquin Valley. Over time, subsidence can permanently reduce the underground aquifer’s water storage capacity.

There has been no comprehensive estimation of damage costs associated with subsidence. Due to the gradual nature of the impacts, costs will often be covered as part of normal operations and maintenance. Subsidence-related repairs have cost the SWP and CVP an estimated $100 million since the 1960s.

Read NASA’s latest report, “Subsidence in California, March 2015-September 2016.” Sources: NASA and DWR

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Scam: “Can You Hear Me?"

Source: Better Business Bureau Media  |  2017-02-16

Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about an old scam with a new twist. The “Can You Hear Me?” scam has long been used to coerce businesses into purchasing office supplies and directory ads they never actually ordered, but now it’s targeting individual consumers, as well.

In the last few days of January, more than half of the reports to BBB Scam Tracker have been about this one scam. Consumers say the calls are about vacation packages, cruises, warranties, and other big ticket items. So far, none have reported money loss, but it’s unclear how the scams will play out over time, or if the targets will be victimized at a later date.

Here’s how it works: You get a call from someone who almost immediately asks “Can you hear me?” Their goal is to get you to answer “Yes,” which most people would do instinctively in that situation. There may be some fumbling around; the person may even say something like “I’m having trouble with my headset.” But in fact, the “person” may just be a robocall recording your conversation… and that “Yes” answer you gave can later be edited to make it sound like you authorized a major purchase.

BBB is offering consumers the following advice:

  • Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.
  • If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?”, do NOT answer “yes.” Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “yes” answer.
  • Make a note of the number and report it to to help warn others. BBB also shares Scam Tracker information with government and law enforcement agencies, so every piece of information is helpful in tracking down scammers.
  • Consider joining the Do Not Call Registry ( to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. This may not help with scammers since they don’t bother to pay attention to the law, but you’ll get fewer calls overall. That may help you more quickly notice the ones that could be fraudulent.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good idea to check your telephone and cell phone bills, as well. Scammers may be using the “Yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.

Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker (

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. BBB Serving Northeast California, founded in 1928 and serving 24 counties, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. For reports on businesses and for information about BBB services, please visit our website at or call (916) 443-6843.

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Walsh Family Scholarship Due March 31 for Sierra College Students with STEM Career Plans

Source: Sierra College  |  2017-02-15

Nathan Barton, recipient of the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship, shown with the table he made at Sierra College.
--Photo courtesy of Jonathan Schwartz.

Sierra College student, Nathan Barton, an Auburn resident, says that receiving the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship from the Placer Community Foundation (PCF) was incredibly encouraging and is enabling him explore his career interests in manufacturing engineering at Sierra College. “The scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies during the semester because it covers most of my tuition costs,” said Barton who is taking welding, mechatronics and engineering drafting courses this semester at Sierra College.

Up to 13 John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarships are awarded annually to students residing in the Auburn area who are studying mechatronics, engineering, welding, drafting engineering support, and construction and energy technology at Sierra College, according to Veronica Blake, CEO, PCF. “Students may be awarded up to $1000 per year for two years,” said Blake. “Applications for the 2017-2018 semesters are available online and are due March 31, 2017.

Barton learned about the Walsh Family Scholarship while attending Colfax High School. “I took four years of metal fabrication and three years of pre-engineering classes in high school,” said Barton. “I knew that I loved to tinker and make cool stuff but I wasn’t sure about my career plans.”

“What I’ve discovered at Sierra College is that while the subjects are different, I am encountering the same concepts across my coursework,” said Barton. “The practical experience of welding makes it easier to design a project in my head and then draw it using Computer Aided Design (CAD) for the engineering drafting course.”

Barton demonstrated his eagerness to gain new experiences and use new technology in the Introduction to Construction and Woodworking class in fall 2016 taught by Jonathan Schwartz, Adjunct Faculty, Construction Energy Technology, Sierra College. “We started a new wood CNC program at Sierra College and Nathan helped me get the new CNC router up and running, in addition to completing all his projects,” said Schwartz. “Nathan is the perfect blend of academics and hands-on skills. He can design and build just about anything. He will be successful in anything he undertakes.”

Through an internship with Harris & Bruno International in Roseville during the summer and during his first semester at Sierra College, Barton further explored career options. “I started out helping in the shop but once they saw that I knew how to operate a mill and lathe as a result of what I had learned at Colfax High School, I was given more responsibility,” said Barton. “I became good at methodically reading the drawings so I could accurately make the part specified.”

Leandra Wilson, Director of Strategic Operations & HR, Harris & Bruno International, indicated that Barton quickly adapted to the work environment as an intern. “I met Nathan at Colfax High School and suggested that he apply for an internship,” said Wilson. “He caught on quickly, had a great work ethic and was eager to take on more responsibility.”

“I would encourage students to seek out internships so they can see how the skills they learned in school are applied in the workplace,” said Wilson. “Internships expose students to a wide variety of career options and often motivate them to stay in school because they gain a better idea of what they are headed toward.”

Barton indicated that the internship was an eye-opener for him. “Originally my career plan was to become a machinist,” said Barton. “But now I am considering manufacturing engineering.”

With the Walsh Family Scholarship, Barton has been able to take a full load and explore different aspects of manufacturing engineering. “I want to get certified in welding so that as an engineer, I would understand what I was asking the welder to do,” said Barton. “You have to try things in order to know if it is right for you. I’m really enjoying the CAD class right now, and found out how naturally I can think of things in 3D in my head. It is just as important to figure out what you don’t like as well.”

Blake indicated that the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship was designed for students who are creative and like making things with their hands. “Employers are seeking innovative employees who can use technology to develop products, construct buildings, design electronic systems, install solar arrays and use their engineering skills to make the world a better place,” said Blake. “Nathan Barton is utilizing the scholarship to explore his options at college while simultaneously seeking out experiences to apply what he is learning. He is exactly the type of student who benefits the most from this scholarship.”

To learn about Placer Community Foundation Scholarships click here and to apply for John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship, go here

About the Walsh Legacy and Placer Community Foundation
Marian Vade Walsh was the fourth generation of her family to live in Auburn CA and she established the John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship Fund in honor of her parents to provide scholarships for local students. Placer Community Foundation (PCF) grows local giving to strengthen our community by connecting donors who care with causes that matter. To learn more, visit

About Sierra College CACT
Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) is focused on Advanced Manufacturing and is funded through the Workforce and Economic Development program of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Learn more at

About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills.  Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at

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Armored Combat Event on February 25 Brings Real Knights to Placer County Fairgrounds

Source: Amy Looney, Placer Valley Tourism  |  2017-02-15

The Battle of the Roses Will Showcase Fighters in True Medieval Fashion

The Armored Combat League and Placer Valley Tourism are joining forces to bring the Battle of the Roses to the Placer County Fairgrounds on Saturday, February 25. This exciting live event will be structured just as a true medieval tournament would have been with real knights wielding real steel weapons going full speed with full contact.

The Battle of Roses, which pays homage to the host city Roseville, is a one-day event that pits fighters against each other in many different scenarios and will prepare the fighters for the last national tournament of the year that is being held in Arizona on March 25-26. Fighters from throughout California will be participating with many coming from the Sacramento and Los Angeles chapters.

“There will be individual technical fights that include single duels in longsword, sword and shield, and polearm,” explained Armored Combat League’s Pacific Region Commander Erik Saari. “But the melee is where the fighters really shine - this is team against team; its brutal and fascinating all at the same time and its historically accurate with no choreography and no pretend!”

Gates open at 10 a.m. and the first fights will begin at 11 a.m. General admission is $10 and children ages 5-12, police, fire and military are only $5. Wounded Warriors are free. There will be opportunities to meet the fighters plus food and merchandise will be available to purchase. Step back in time and come check out these knights as they fight for their honor! The fairgrounds are located at 800 All American City Blvd. in Roseville.

About Placer Valley Tourism
Placer Valley Tourism (PVT) is made up for the 23 hotels in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, California. PVT recruits and supports hundreds of annual events with grants, marketing, volunteers and other services as needed. To learn more about how PVT can help bring your event here, visit or call 916-773-5400.

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Placer County Fairgrounds Opens to Oroville Spillway Evacuees

Source: Chris Gray-Garcia, County of Placer  |  2017-02-14

The Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville has opened to accommodate those who are impacted by the dangers of a possible failure of the Oroville Dam emergency spillway. With more than 100,000 people under some form of evacuation, many shelters in Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties are at capacity. No areas of Placer County have been evacuated.

The shelter is located at 800 All American City Boulevard, at the fairgrounds exhibition halls. Staff from Placer County and the City of Roseville are still working to bring in and set up beds and other amenities. It can accommodate up to 1,500 people, offers restrooms and showers, and has plenty of parking, including for RVs.

Shelter seekers with pets can bring them to the Placer County Animal Services Center in Auburn at 11232 B Avenue. A limited number of pets can be accommodated at the fairgrounds, but it is not equipped with kennels or cages.

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Are We There Yet?

By Paul V. Scholl  |  2017-02-10

Measurements indicate the water content of the northern Sierra snowpack is 26 inches, 144 percent of the multi-decade average for the date. 
--Stock photo

With the many recent storms and an above average rainfall saturating the state, lawmakers are calling for an end to Governor Brown’s drought restrictions on Californians.

We now see that with more rain and snow in the forecast that there are trillions of gallons of water rapidly flushing on to the ocean never to be harnessed again.

Senator Jim Nielsen recently stated in a release, “Californians dutifully conserved water during the drought. We took out our lawns and substituted drought tolerant plants. We took shorter showers. We used more efficient watering systems on our gardens and farms. Perhaps most painfully, we fallowed our land and sold off our livestock out-of-state.”

In a special report dated November 30th, 2016 from the Department of Water Resources titled “State Plan Seeks To Make Water Conservation A Way of Life” California Department of Water Resources Director Mark W. Cowin. said “Californians rose to the challenge during this historic drought and recognized that conservation is critical in the face of an uncertain future. This plan (The Governor’s Water Action Plan) is about harnessing the creativity and innovation that Californians have shown during the driest years in state history and making water conservation a way of life in the years ahead. This plan will help make permanent changes to water use so California is better prepared for whatever the future brings.”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) manual snow survey recently reported “a snow water equivalence of 28.1 inches, a significant increase since the January 3 survey, when just 6 inches was found there. On average, the snowpack supplies about 30 percent of California’s water needs as it melts in the spring and early summer.

More telling than a survey at a single location, however, are DWR’s electronic readings from 101 stations scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada. Statewide, the snowpack holds 31 inches of water equivalent, or 173 percent of the February 2 average (18.1 inches). On January 1 before a series of January storms, the snow water equivalent (SWE) of the statewide snowpack was 6.5 inches, just 64 percent of the New Year’s Day average.”

The report concluded, “Measurements indicate the water content of the northern Sierra snowpack is 26 inches, 144 percent of the multi-decade average for the date. The central and southern Sierra readings are 32 inches (173 percent of average) and 32 inches (200 percent of average) respectively.”

In his published statement to Governor Brown, Senator Nielsen commented, “Californians are now more mindful and aware of the scarcity of our water. You asked us to do our part to save. We dutifully complied. In fact, conservation had become widely practiced, particularly in agriculture, even before this most recent devastating and prolonged drought. Californians have done their part. Let’s do our part and end the drought.”

“Perhaps we could use all that cement planned for a Bullet Train to Nowhere on new innovation and creating a few more storage facilities for the rainfall when we actually get it?” said no one.

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