House committee to discuss agricultural immigration bill


On Capitol Hill Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider an agricultural immigration bill. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 would improve agricultural visa programs and accommodate immigrant agricultural employees already in the United States. The California Farm Bureau Federation  announced support for the bill last month, and more than 300 groups and companies wrote to House leaders this week, urging a vote on the measure.


Agreement boosts rice sales to South Korea


Rice farmers and marketers welcomed announcement of improved access to the South Korean market. Trump administration officials announced Tuesday an agreement they said would give the U.S. a record volume of guaranteed rice sales in Korea. The California Rice Commission described South Korea as one of the state's top overseas customers, and said the agreement will provide greater access to Korean consumers.  


Songbirds provide natural pest control on farms


Planting native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers near farmland can attract songbirds, which in turn can help farmers control insect pests. A University of California study says songbirds can reduce insect pests by up to 46%. The researchers say planting habitat along the borders of fields benefits songbirds and provides natural pest control, because those bird species eat insects and don't damage crops.  


Grant aids nutrition incentives at farmers markets


Access to fresh produce for food-assistance recipients will benefit from a grant provided to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The $7 million federal grant will help the state offer nutrition incentives to shoppers who use CalFresh benefits at farmers markets and small retail outlets. For every benefit dollar spent, the program provides an additional dollar to spend on California-grown fruits and vegetables.

Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., and Joe Alwyn

Rated: PG-13 

Runtime: 2 Hour 5 Minutes



            Minty, a young slave leaves her family behind to seek freedom. She makes her way to freedom and in Philadelphia, she takes on the free name of Harriet Tubman. There she takes on the mantel of conductor in the Underground Railroad and leads people out of bondage and into liberty.


            Harriet, earns five out of five, Liberty or Death Monkeys. The writing is perfect and tells a rousing story of the spirit of liberty and, that, spirit resides in the breast of all people and when it is denied us, its true value burns through until we either surrender to oppression or sacrifice everything to live in Freedom. The acting is amazing and the production value is very good.


            I have a new Hero in, Harriet Tubman. She is an inspiration to us all and her bravery and conviction to be free and to free others is a burning brand that lights the heart and prods one to strain against the chains of oppression that are layered upon us with every stroke of the legislators pen. Go and see this movie and take a friend or three. Buy it when it is released on video.

By Boots Johnson


The best fishing at this time is in the San Francisco Bay area. Rockfish are being taken on a regular basis with limits common at this time. The best area for these feisty fish is the Farallon Islands with a few lingcod for good measure caught in the mix.


Now is the time to get ready for sturgeon fishing? These monsters usually come up rivers after the rains muddy up the water but we have reports of some fish being caught at this time. Look for a good year for sturgeon when winter finally comes.


 In regards to the weather we asked our weather guy for a prediction. He advised to expect rain by midweek in the valley and foothills with snow above three thousand feet. He said the snow will be light in the foothills with more in the high country above five thousand feet in elevation. In regard to the rain he predicts heavy rain at times with a possibility of two inches of rain. We asked him about the temperature and he said to get ready for a daytime drop in temperature of over 20 degrees with night time temps possibly dropping into the high twenties and middle thirties.

We hear the Department of fish and Wildlife dumped a bunch of trout into Scotts Flat Reservoir last week. This water is located above Nevada City. Turn right off of State Route 20 from Nevada City at the Five Mile House to the recreation area.


Local anglers are in the spotlight. Congratulations goes out to Marysville’s Michael Brown on his 8 ½ pound rainbow trout which was caught at Collins Lake near the dam fishing with night crawlers and to Yuba City angler Jerry Kendrick’s on his 58.5 pound sturgeon. Jerry was fishing at the Sacramento/Delta when the fish hit his salmon roe. Kudos also goes out to Chandler Chan, who lives in Grass Valley. Chandler landed a 7.25 pound rainbow trout while fishing at Collins Lake near the power lines.


Closing thought: “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business cards and how you leave others feeling after they meet you is your trademark.”


Regardless of the massive inconvenience caused by the widespread power outages, it is a real cost to consumers and businesses alike.


The power company responsible for instigating the blackouts could suffer from a bad reputation and consumer ire true, but real economic damage is caused when consumers stay home while the businesses they may have utilized were shuttered due to the lack of electrical power.


It’s hard to put a figure on just how much revenue may have gone by the wayside as the main streets of many towns and cities sat idle without power. Indeed my home town looked like a ghost town when the power was out and it wasn’t hard to conclude business revenue was at a standstill.


Michael Ware of the Stanford Woods Institute estimates the potential losses in California reached a staggering 2.5 billion at small businesses and homes with at home endeavors. Mr. Ware excluded large businesses in the figure stating many have back up plans and systems for just such an event. No telling just how much these conglomerates lost but one can only imagine the hardship felt by small mom and pop stores that run on a shoestring budget. Missing entire days of revenue, it’s a foregone conclusion many now find themselves in dire straits as their monthly budgets turned red as the lights went black. For those businesses handling perishables, the damage was likely multiplied as the lack of refrigeration sent their wares into the garbage can out back which may have been a total loss and one not normally covered by insurance.


In my local town, some small businesses are reaching out on social media to get customers back in their establishments and rumors of hurting proprietors swirl around in conversation circles.


No doubt a handful of business running their finances close to the surface may find themselves facing bankruptcy due to their inability to make up the losses.  An unfortunate statistic and a hard lesson to be learned about the need for financial cushioning when establishing business budgets for what-ifs.


Simply put some businesses barely turn a profit and any hole in the revenue stream can start a vicious downward financial spiral. Never being able to make up lost revenue, the fixed costs to operations don’t miorror the deficit in income. Simply put, many business costs cannot be avoided regardless of whether the doors are open or not.

Those business owners with health balance sheets might be ok but others can’t take a 5% hit to revenue, their profit margins are that thin. Case in point for turning a healthy profit and being a prudent business owner that watches costs and squirrels away funds for such occurrences as unforeseen power outages.


On the flip side those with generators did a landmine business. A testament to being prepared. For someone’s loss can be someone else’s gain. Although few anticipated massive power outages in their budgets, for those that did have power back up systems or those nimble enough to obtain such, the increase in business from desperate home owners looking for supplies likely more than paid for those generator systems and some.


Needless to say those selling and servicing back up power systems also saw a lot of new business. An odd and likely welcome surprise from an otherwise unfortunate situation. From speaking with many in this industry, most were exhausted from non-stop calls from desperate homeowners looking to get electricity to power at least a minimal of household appliances.


The question now becomes should a small business and indeed homeowners spend the money on a backup power system. Depending on individual power requirements, the cost could run from a few hundred for a small portable generator to many thousands of dollars for a larger system to power high square footage establishments.


No doubt there is likely at least a temporary shortage of available generators due to the sudden spike in demand and luckily the worst of fire threats may be over because of the turning of the seasons but the situation will likely be on us next year when the summer heat and seasonal weather patterns once again bring the threat of widespread area fires.

This article expresses the opinions of Marc Cuniberti and are opinions only and should not be construed or acted upon as individual investment advice. Mr. Cuniberti is an Investment Advisor Representative through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Marc can be contacted at SMC Wealth Management, 164 Maple St #1, Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 559-1214. SMC and Cambridge are not affiliated. His website is California Insurance License # OL34249

A special Thank You note came from the group that organized Farmer's Market this past summer. They appreciated the effort made by the several volunteers that organized activities for kids. It is so nice to be thanked. We hope Farmer's Market goes as well next year. Consider getting involved in this community effort.


            Books & More and the Brownsville Mercantile are planning a special tamale lunch and yard sale for Nov. 30. You will be able to get a full tamale lunch or purchase individual tamales to go. It would be great if we had other people involved. How about a plant swap,  bake sale, crafters or other vendors. Come join in.


            The FVFDA Thrift Store, Books & More and Brownsville Mercantile will be closed Thanksgiving day. We hope the Thrift Store did well on their Christmas Bazaar. All of it helps support the Foothill Volunteer Fire Department.


            Don’t forget to pack up the clan and head to Hometown Christmas in Forbestown on Saturday, November 30th. Crafters, food vendors, people dressed in period clothing, Father Christmas, carolers and so much more will be happening in the museum / replica gold mining town, located on New York Flat Rd., from 10 am to 6 pm. A family fun day to start the Christmas Cheer.


            Look Back in Time – In 1927 a radio set was installed in the Forbestown residence of Mr. and Mrs. Cooney (like our tower coming into range for cell phone reception).


            We wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!


            Hope you come to Brownsville soon.    Christine and Yvonne

Some of our readers have come by Books & More on Saturday mornings and joined a art/craft group. Usually people enjoyed the project as well as the camaraderie. A new workshop is being added to the mix. Every two weeks Jani Beckwith is leading a workshop called Art From the Heart and has more to do with graphic design, color choices and having a personal message than actual drawing or painting. Her first workshop will be held on Nov. 23 starting at 10 am. Come by and check it out.


            Hometown Christmas is Saturday, November 30 from 10 am to 6 pm. Yuba Feather Museum’s Gold Rush Town will be filled with shops and tents full of crafts and an array of Christmas shopping items. Come stroll along the boardwalks and enjoy the spiced cider, Christmas carolers and Father Christmas. There will be elegant ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finery and fur trappers. The Gold Rush Town is located at 19096 New York Flat Rd. in Forbestown.


            Country Christmas Faire is held at the fair grounds in Grass Valley and is an event you should not miss. It will take place on November 29, 30 & December 1 from 10 am to 5 pm. Each building is filled with crafters, artisans, and vendors all offering a wide array of Christmas gifts. There is music, Holiday themed characters roam the grounds, food and much, much more.


        Look Back in Time – In 1898 Mrs.Spiers of Gridley displayed the latest fall and winter millinery to the ladies of Dobbins Hotel parlor (probably some beautiful dressy hats).


            Hope to see you in Brownsville soon.    Christine and Yvonne

By Boots Johnson


Several Striped Bass reports surprised many anglers in the Sacramento Area. Last week larger

Stripers were being caught in the deep channel area of the Sacramento River as well as in the vicinity of Lupe’s Bend. In addition, fish were reported moving up in the Feather River from the Verona Area. The reports were spread out over large areas. 


Steelheads are in local rivers and are responding to lures, spinners, bait and roe. The Yuba River in under strict regulations and it would be a good idea to check on this if you decide to go on the Yuba.


Some anglers are putting the boat away for the winter. We suggest you also disconnect the battery, check fluid levels and clean up if necessary. It would be good also to pull the plug to allow any water in the bilge to run off. If your boat is to be stored outside in the elements a cover is mandatory. It would also be a good idea to wash down the hull and clean out the inside prior to storage. While you are at it clean and check your tackle boxes and service the outboard or kicker motor. If you have an electric trolling motor do the same.  A trickle charger will also benefit your batteries by prolonging the service of same.


The bass at Clear Lake are still getting angles excited at this time. With the cooler weather here the bigger bass are available. Live bait is the ticket for big bass with lures coming in second. Catfish are also being taken on live jumbo minnows with some cats being weighed in at ten pounds. The Crappie bite is on and the fish can be found under docks or in deep water. We are told there is lots of boat traffic here.


Congratulations go out to Yuba City Angler Brad Bryan. Brad landed a 9½ pound rainbow trout while fishing Collins Lake recently. He was fishing near the bridge when the “big one” hit his lure.


Closing thought: “A flat tire is like a bad attitude… will never get anywhere until you change it. “

Starring: Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo, and Mike Colter

Rated: R

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes


                        A young war veteran returns to her home town in order to serve as a police officer, in as attempt to affect positive change. She runs into a few snags when she comes across corrupt police officers and hard headed citizens that fear the risk of doing the right thing.


            Black and Blue, earns four out of five, Body Cam Monkeys. The writing of the film is very well done. It starts with racial tension and quickly turns the characters into humans rather than representatives of racial and authoritarian divides. The acting is very well done and the action is fierce and brutal in places. All in all this is a good movie that leaves you with a bit of hope in humanity and shows that we have problems in our society that we can overcome when we remember that we are all human and more alike than we are different.



The Cal Fair insurance plan is the last resort in fire insurance for many homeowners. Cal Fair is not a government agency. It is much like the assigned risk program for problem drivers. Cal Fair is made up all of the insurers that are licensed to do business in the state of California. Yes, it is made up of the very same companies that may have cancelled you. How much each company participates is in direct proportion to the percentage of business they do in California. They share in the profits and losses. That said, one could say they are financially adequate being all the companies are in it and backing it together versus just being just one company.


Cal Fair is basic coverage only. They cover fire, lightning, internal explosion and some optional coverages. From Google: The FAIR Plan provides basic fire insurance coverage for residential and commercial structures, as well as personal property coverage for residential and business occupancies. There are also optional coverages available for both residential and commercial properties.


Cal Fair does not estimate or warranty coverage will be adequate. That is left up to person applying for the coverage. They will pay up the limit specified given the conditions have been met for a covered peril (a peril is the cause of loss such as fire).


There are standard coverages in homeowner’s policies as it pertains to what is covered. They include the dwelling (the structure and all things “attached to it”), personal property (your stuff), fair rental value (your new “rent” in case you have to leave), other structures (structures not “attached) ordinance of law (cost to bring you house up to the new codes if any), debris removal (haul your burnt out stuff away) and other coverages you can add such as fences, plants and more.


You will still need a separate policy called a “wrap” or “difference in conditions” (DIC) to cover the other perils besides fire.


There are many factors and descriptions that homeowners should review with their agent as you discuss how to proceed and with how much coverage.


Costs will likely increase over current premiums but in most cases insurance can be had, contrary to what some may have heard. Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not and how much is covered. An experience agent can discuss this with you. Agents are plentiful. If you’re not getting the service you require, try another agent. As in all things business, there are good ones and not so good ones.


Marc Cuniberti hosts “Money Matters” on KVMR FM aired on 66 radio stations nationwide. He is a financial columnist for a variety of publications. Marc holds a BA in Economics from SDU with honors 1979. His website is and he can be reached at (530) 559-1214. Visit him on Facebook (FB) under Marc Cuniberti and also on the "Money Matters” and “Money Matters Investing in Community" FB pages and You Tube. The views expressed are opinions only.  Mr. Cuniberti is a licensed insurance agent. California Insurance License #0L34249.

Fire Insurance.


The very mention strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners. With the recent catastrophic wildfires wiping clean whole neighborhoods, an unprecedented situation has arisen not only in the scope of the destruction by those affected, but in the environment that California homeowners find themselves in obtaining fire insurance to protect their residences and businesses.


Facing skyrocketing claims at saturation levels seldom witnessed, insurance companies are pulling back their exposure to high fire prone areas by cancelling in masse’ homeowner policies.

Nevada County’s beauty comes from being surrounded by trees and brush and its the very reason for cause of its insurance problem.


Home and business owners are finding cancellation notices arriving in their mailboxes. Regardless of loyalty or claims history with a company, the notices keep coming with seemingly no consideration for any other factors. Basically if you live here and home happens to be in a designated brush area, expect a cold hearted sounding letter to arrive in your mailbox.


Few have been spared. Regardless of the amount of tree work you’ve done, or open space that surrounds your house, if you’re on a specific spot on the map (and there are many such spots) you’re probably going to be scrambling for a fire insurance policy.


With such wide spread problems, there is likely to be misinformation, wild claims and exaggerations, some name calling and a host of upset homeowners.

And there are.

The basic question now being asked is where can I find fire insurance and how much will it cost?

The answer can be distilled down to a simple answer for most.  You will be able to find a policy somewhere and yes, it’s probably going to cost you more. In some cases a lot more.


As in any screwy situation like what exists currently in the homeowner’s insurance arena, there is no steadfast rule as to what to expect. As a licensed insurance agent, and one deeply entrenched in social and news conduits, I have seen little that resembles normalcy. I can say the stories run from ridiculous to unbelievable to situations that almost appear almost like little has changed.


Some claim they can’t get any insurance at all (usually untrue) to claims they actually paid the same or even less than before (usually untrue as well). 


From recent my experience, and probably like almost all agents in Nevada County and California for that matter, the intensity of the situation is as new to us as it is to you. The phones are ringing nonstop as consumers scramble for coverages.


Experienced agents know coverage is possible for most but that coverage is also going to cost more. In many cases, I see costs rising from 200-250% of previous premiums. Those claiming their premiums stayed the same or went even down may not have looked at their coverages closely.


It’s a rapidly changing environment. The common belief is the insurance companies are immersed in a Frankenstein-like confusion of an untenable situation. Some say it’s all one big grand experiment in what has to be done and what will be done forced upon all of us by necessity caused by the workings of Mother Nature.

The questions being when you get a policy (usually not if), how much will it cost and what sort of coverage will I get. If God forbid my house is obliterated in a catastrophic fire like the ones witnessed in recent years, will the insurance companies be able to handle the onslaught of claims in a timely and efficient manner. These are questions that are difficult to answer.


Lord knows the insurance companies, much like the agents, are bombed with fire policies applications. They are also bombed with claims. Having to settle hundreds of homeowner claims as whole communities get incinerated is no easy task, and likely not a cheap one for the insurers. Hence the cancellations.


Remember insurance companies, like most companies, exist to provide a service and make a profit in doing so. If the profits burn up in a wildfire along with the homes they insure, they are within their rights to pull back from the market. In other words cancel you.


The good news is there is an entity called Cal Fair.  From Google: “The FAIR Plan is an association located in Los Angeles comprised of all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California

In other words, Cal Fair is made up of many of the same companies that cancelled you but assembled in conjunction with the Department of Insurance to provide insurance that otherwise is not available. Much like the assigned risk program for problem drivers, you could say Cal Fair is for problem home policies, and in this case the problem is wild fires.


I’ll cover how Cal Fair works and the subsequent coverage issues in future articles. Just know for now, you will likely have little problem in getting a fire policy. Contact a licensed insurance agency for assistance and yes, they are busy. If you find you’re not getting a call back, try another agency. There are a host of reputable agencies and agents in Nevada County that can help.


This article expresses the opinions of Marc Cuniberti and should not be construed or acted upon as individual investment advice. Mr. Cuniberti is an Investment Advisor Representative through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Marc can be contacted at SMC Wealth Management, 164 Maple St #1, Auburn, CA 95603 (530) 559-1214. SMC and Cambridge are not affiliated. His website is Mr. Cuniberti is a licensed insurance agent. California Insurance License # OL34249

By Boots Johnson


Do not put away your salmon gear yet. Salmon are still being caught on the Feather River at this time. Striped bass are also hungry. Fishing is light which means fewer boats on the water. However, keep in mind that most of these fish will be on the dark side.


With the opening of Dungeness crab season we hear there is a health warning out for two coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean. The warning has been issued by the California Department of Public Health. The agency advises not to consume any part of the guts of the crab due to Domoic acid being found. This is a natural thing but can cause a human to be sick which includes nausea, diarrhea and dizziness.


Just about everyone has the same thought….when is it going to rain? We are told by our weather source to be patient because it is on the way and according to him Mother Nature will produce some big storms.

We have a report from Lake Almanor at Chester. The fish who swim in this reservoir (yes, it is a reservoir which is sitting right on top what used to be an Indian village) are finally cooperating with some limits being taken. Now is the time to go if you want good action and beautiful fish.


Donner Lake got another trout plant last week. The Department of Fish and Wildlife dumped a bunch of rainbow trout in the lake.


Closing Thought: “The happiest people are the givers…….not the takers.”


Starring: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mackenzie Davis

Rated: R 

Runtime: 2 Hours 8

Minutes  4/5


            This is the sixth rising of the machines. Sarah Connor, is pulled back into the time loop as several timestreams merge on 2019 earth. Skynet is crushed and a new human defense system rises in its place. The defense system gets frustrated when it can’t hook up to a printer and decides to wipe out all of humanity. (That last sentence is complete speculation on my part, but I can relate.) New fighters rise to meet the challenge of saving humanity from their own creation.


            Terminator: Dark Fate, earns four out of five, Drape Hanging Monkeys. The story has many of the elements of the other five Terminator movies, by default. However, the story is saved by adding more depth to the future and tying in new elements of the present.  The real treat is in the character development and unique traits that they have. The acting is very well done and the special effects are off the hook.

Wildfires damage crops, pastures, buildings


Nearly 200 acres of avocados and lemons have been damaged or destroyed in Ventura County, after wildfires that broke out last week. The county agricultural commissioner's office says it hasn't yet had a chance to assess all the farming areas affected by the fires. In Sonoma County, farmers and ranchers say the Kincade Fire destroyed pastures, barns and winery facilities. The fire also hit grapevines, which often acted as firebreaks.


Power shutoffs lead to agricultural losses


The frequency and duration of public safety power shutoffs led to hardships for farmers and ranchers, especially small-scale operations that lost products during the blackouts. One Mendocino County farmer who runs a goat dairy said she had to milk her goats by hand and discard the milk, because she couldn't use her milking equipment or cold storage. Other farmers said the shutoffs interrupted irrigation schedules and in some cases forced them to abandon crops.


USDA releases new red spinach


In a development a plant breeder says will "bring excitement to the spinach market," the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released what it calls the world's first true red spinach. Known as USDA Red, the new spinach variety was developed at the department's facility in Salinas. Other types of spinach have had red veins, but the new variety has red leaves--and also boasts higher antioxidant levels than other spinach varieties.


Revenues from agricultural tourism increase


Agricultural tourism continues to grow, according to the latest U.S. Census of Agriculture. Figures show agritourism revenues more than tripled between 2002 and 2017. A government study says commodities such as grapes, fruit and nut trees, and specialty livestock had a positive impact on tourism revenues. The report says agritourism could offer a strategy that helps small and mid-sized farms in particular to bring in additional revenue.

        Don't forget the Thrift Store Bazaar, it will be held on Nov. 22 – 23. This is a good chance to open the holiday season buying a few baked goods and checking out their gift selections and Christmas decoration items. In addition, of course, it helps support Foothill Volunteer Fire Department.


            Watching the Gold Eagle Market go up is exciting! Are there any guesses as to when the opening day will be? It sure has been missed.


            Look Back in Time – In 1914 Challenge Hotel, owned by by Dr. J. Van Male, burned to the ground in the early morning hours, a great loss for the town and travelers (fires are still one of our most feared disasters).


            Hope to see you in Brownsville soon.   


            Christine and Yvonne

The general meeting of Yuba Feather Community Services will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12. This group organizes the use of Ponderosa Park and Community Center. The public is welcomed to get involved in the various activities, helping bring our communities together on various projects. The meeting will start at 7 pm downstairs at the community center.


            Monday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. We should always keep our veteran’s and current military personnel in our thoughts and prayers, but Veteran’s Day is a great time to make an extra effort to show our appreciation for their sacrifices with a handshake or hug. Without them all, we would not be able to live our life of freedom.


            Books & More has craft sessions each Saturday from 10 am to about noon. The knitting group has become quite popular. Call Books & More at 530-675-3275 for the list of crafts being offered and to sign up.    


            Look Back in Time – In 1900 stage driver C. A. Smith was driving a flashy, newly painted coach, done by the local artist C. F. Harvey of Sharon Valley (love a flashy paint job on pickups).


            Hope to see you in Brownsville soon.            Christine and Yvonne

By Boots Johnson


As we predicted there have been some nice sized trout taken in reservoirs and lakes in the north state. This time of year the big boys as well as the smaller fish go on a feeding frenzy getting ready for winter. It is not uncommon to find brown trout cruising the shallows next to shore as they gorge themselves preparing for the cold months to follow along with snow and ice in some areas.


The Mackinaw lake trout up at Lake Tahoe have gone into the spawning mode. The fish have been holding at between 140 and 200 feet down and are cooperating with anglers fishing minnows.


The Department of Fish and Wildlife have announced they will stop the planting of trout in rivers, streams and reservoirs soon. As of now trout have been planted in Little Grass Valley Reservoir and Jackson Meadows along with other areas. The planted trout program will be back next spring.


A report from Clear Lake tells us if you love bass fishing now is the time to go. Bigger bass are being taken at this time, some in the six and seven pound range.  Best bet is to use jigs with crank baits and deep diving lures coming in second.


It is getting cold, real cold up in the high country with Lake Almanor and Eagle Lake showing a little colder at this time. Eagle Lake temperature has been 65 degrees daytime and 34 degrees nighttime and dropping. Quincy, which is close to Little Grass Valley Reservoir has been holding at around 69 or 70 degrees in the daytime, but dropping down to 27 at night. Expect these reading to continue to drop as we continue into November.


The trout fishing at Collins Lake continues to be good after the recent plant. Catfish are still being taken on a regular basis. Expect this reservoir to be a good bet for trout throughout the winter due to the continued planting program for rainbow trout.


Closing thought: “Work for a cause, not for APPLAUSE and live to EXPRESS not to IMPRESS.”


I’ve done many media pieces on running a restaurant but apparently although many readers and fans of Money Matters are reading them, few restaurant owners apparently are. That said, we all want better service in our local eateries so let’s put out our peeves (suggestions) once again.


There are cardinal sins, forgivable oversights and outright stupidity when it comes to how to run a restaurant.

Have I ever run one?


Nope, but my father in law had one of the most successful restaurants in the second largest city in the world, Sao Paulo, Brazil. I learned some from him of course, but most of the suggestions border on some obvious do’s and don’ts and frankly I am surprised I keep seeing at least a few of these mistakes more often than not when I dine out.


The cardinal sins are so obvious but seldom is a restaurant error free. I can think of one or two eateries that just have it down, then there’s the rest. I eat out a lot and although I am not a food connoisseur by trade (whatever that is) I know good food when I taste it and good service when I see it. And vice versa.


I am also not one of those who give glowing reviews on every restaurant I eat at under the guise “they’re trying and I am nice person and don’t want to burn any bridges”.


Hey, I don’t like burning bridges either but what good is a review if every restaurant I review is positive?

On the contrary, giving honest reviews is no jab against an owner. It’s an honest evaluation on how to improve and therefore get more business. So what’s wrong with that? Also for every one person that complains there are likely ten more that don’t. That’s the Pareto rule of eateries.


So here we go. Make these mistakes and you’ll find empty tables at primetime if not at all times.

How many of these do you recognize or are guilty of?


A customer should never have to ask for silverware or napkins, salt or pepper.  I mean really. That’s kind of a no brainer but it happens more often than you would think. Owners: prepare your tables, and that include making sure they are clean, as in very. Also nothing is more unappetizing then left over food on the floor. Sweep up! Thoroughly and often. Check after every table is vacated.


Immediately upon sitting get their drinks! Don’t make them wait. Getting drinks right away makes customers more patient and if you serve alcohol, do it immediately. Like within 3 minutes. They’ll order more food, be happier, likely also order more drinks (a high profit item) and you‘ll make more money both on food and drink. Practice this one diligently and owners can increase check totals by up to 20%.  Remember alcohol stimulates appetite, loosens up the pocket book, trashes common sense (good for the restaurant) and patrons have a better time. Tell that talkative bartender to zip it and get on his horse and quickly mix drinks! This one is the easiest way restaurants to make more money (a lot more money) yet many just leave patrons sit for 5, 10 or 15 minutes before their drinks are served. Stupid. Let’s fix that right now!


Don’t be a show off and memorize orders. Write it down. Nothing makes a patron more nervous than a showoff server memorizing 4 orders with sides and specials. They will be looking for mistakes and its nerve wracking. Drinks maybe, but not complete food orders. Use a pad Einstein.


Serving cold food. I once had a waitress tell me after I told her the food was cold she would talk to the cook. Think about that one. The cook had to use HEAT to cook it. Cold food meant it sat. That is the servers fault period.


Serve all dishes at the same time. Nothing spells disorganization more than dishes arriving at different times. An amateurish mistake and shows a disorganized cooking staff. And don’t forget the toast! And if you do, get it immediately.


Don’t forget the ________ (fill in the blanks). Salad, toast, cream ,sugar, a spoon, drinks, sides. Whatever. Make sure they get what they ordered and at the right time and correctly.


Don’t serve brown or wilted salad or fruit. Fresh is fresh. Serving ugly or old greens mean it made it by the cook AND the waitress. Note very good quality control. Each person in the restaurant should have the authority to stop food from going out and asking for a correction.


Don’t bring dirty dishes or the wash tub to an occupied table. Yuch. And don’t leave the dirty dishes out for customers to see. I once was invited to the fanciest steak house in Portland and they had the dirty dish cart full of dishes in the entry way. I kid you not.


Know what the soup of the day is. I can’t tell you how many times I ask the waitress what the soup of the day is and they answer “let me go find out”. Really? Check at the start of every day!  And make sure its HOT!

Don’t ever say “I’ll get your waitress” for simple things like water or coffee.  Every worker should have the authority to serve coffee or get something for a customer. Every customer is everyone’s responsibility.

Don’t ask how the food is when you see patrons eating and talking. They’re obviously happy. Don’t bother them. Walk by and take a peek instead. If they need something they’ll stop you. Be subliminally available, always looking but never interrupt them with full mouths or while they’re obviously doing fine without you.

Don’t clear plates before all customers are eating and done. So many restaurant staffer and owners alike think clearing dirty plates from patrons quickly is good service. It’s not. It’s rude and make patrons feel rushed and some like to pick. Fancy restaurants that know what they’re doing never do this. Don’t clear plates or offer to until all patrons are completely done.


Ask patrons if they desire dessert. Better yet, tell them the desserts in detail without them asking. If it sounds good enough they might just split one, or better yet order a few. Suggestive selling works and it’s why the smart fast food behemoths do it. Even a breakfast or lunch can be topped off with that homemade pie. Yumm. More coffee with that sir?


Don’t make people ask for their check. Another amateurish mistake. After telling them about and/or serving dessert, ask them if they are ready for the check. Don’t make them ask and don’t just plunk it down like a wet fish. Be polite and gentle. It’s the money part, be nice about it.


Finally make sure your servers are nice and friendly. If they’re rude, have an agenda, are snobby or are the ‘b” word, get rid of them. They are your FACE to the customer. A rude waiter or waitress can make a customer not come back. Then they will tell ten friends. Word of mouth can make or break you.


And if you’re opening a restaurant, be ready on day one! Many will only give you one chance. Blow the open and say goodbye to your investment. It’s very difficult to recover. First impressions in the restaurant business are SO IMPORTANT. Don’t make excuses like “we just opened”.  If you’re not completely ready, DON’T OPEN. Then take the extra time to TRAIN your staff well. On all the above. And make it known anyone not onboard with this kind of knowledge and service will be shown the door.


9 out of every 10 new businesses fail. In the restaurant business, 14 out of 15 don’t make it pass the first two years. If you currently own a restaurant, review all your practices and make sure you’re not overlooking some of these no-brainers. Ignore at your own peril.


Marc Cuniberti hosts “Money Matters” on KVMR FM aired on 66 radio stations nationwide. He is a financial columnist for a variety of publications. Marc holds a BA in Economics from SDU with honors 1979.


His website is and he can be reached at (530) 559-1214. Visit him on Facebook (FB) under Marc Cuniberti and also on the "Money Matters” and “Money Matters Investing in Community" FB pages and You Tube. The views expressed are opinions only.

 Kincade Fire sweeps through farming region


Assessing agricultural damage from the Kincade Fire will take some time, once the fire has been contained. Flames have destroyed or damaged wineries, barns and other structures in Sonoma County. A 107-year-old cattle ranch lost nearly all of its buildings. Reports indicate between 10 and 20% of the region's winegrapes remain on the vines. The county Farm Bureau has helped relocate evacuated farm animals and organized a hay drive. (on-air reading time :23)


California almond, walnut crops to be smaller


Rainy spring weather that reduced California almond and walnut crops will lead to ripple effects on world markets. A government report says world almond production will be down 3% this year, mainly due to a smaller California crop though production will also be down in Europe. However, world walnut production will rise 6%, despite a reduced California harvest, because better weather in China allowed its production to rise sharply. (reading time :24)


Drought-tolerant plants could result from research


In work that could help plants resist drought, a research team at the University of California, Riverside, says it has developed a chemical to help plants retain water. Known as O.P., the chemical mimics a natural hormone plants produce in reaction to drought. Researchers say the O.P. chemical could ultimately allow farmers to treat plants that would otherwise wilt from lack of water. The treatment slows a plant's growth, so it won't consume more water than available. (reading time :24)


Pumpkin crop looks healthy


It may be obvious from looking at jack-o'-lanterns on front porches around the state, but California has produced a "healthy" pumpkin crop this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. California ranks third in the nation in tonnage of pumpkin production, behind Illinois and Texas, but ranks No. 1 in crop value, because nearly all the state's crop is sold in the ornamental market. San Joaquin County leads the state in pumpkin production. (reading time :23)  

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone

Rated: R

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes


            A cadre of apocalypse survivors travel to Washington DC to make the Whitehouse their home. Soon, discord arises that necessitates a road trip.


            Zombieland: Double Tap, earns two out of five: Hook Hanging Monkeys. The story is shallow and well designed for cheap entertainment for a quick dollar. The acting is good and the action and cinematography are very well done.


            This isn’t a horrible movie. It is just not a great movie. The jokes and gags were easy and grew tiresome as the body count rose. My suggestion is to stay home and wait for it to hit free streaming.

            Stop by Books & More on Saturday, November 5 to purchase one of the delicious soups being offered by Loretta’s More than Soup. All soups are frozen so you can warm and enjoy at your pleasure. She will be set up from 9 am to about noon so get there early.


            Thursday is Halloween and Brownsville, Forbestown and Loma Rica all have Trunks with Treats events happening. Bring the little goblins out for an evening of games, food, trick or treating, haunted house, bounce house, and much more. Brownsville and Forbestown event will be 5:00 – 8:00 and Loma Rica will be 6:30 – 7:30. Brownsville: Foothill Fire parking lot on Willow Glen Rd, Forbestown: New York Flat Rd., Loma Rica: Foothill Lions Club, Fruitland Rd. All three events will be Spooktacular!


            Well, here we go again, changing the time! Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 3rd so don’t forget to set your clocks back before you go to bed on Saturday. This whole changing the time back and forth twice a year is irritating and ridiculous! There, I’ve had my rant.


            Don't forget the Brownville Thrift store's Bazaar happening on Friday Nov. 22 and Saturday Nov. 23. Great bargains await you and lots of desserts to tempt you. This event makes money for our Foothill Volunteer Fire Department.


            Look Back in Time – In 1914 Challenge Hotel, owned by Dr. J. Van Male, burned to the ground in the early morning hours, a great loss to Challenge residents and to travelers (wonder if it was his fireplace that started the fire).


            Hope to see you in Brownsville soon.    Christine and Yvonne