Jane Braxton Little, a freelance writer, covers science, natural resources and rural Northern California from Plumas County. Reach her at jblittle@dyerpress.com.

Northern exposure: Covering issues of Northern California

Published: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 - 12:00 am

Last honors for Civil War veteran

Edwin Ware went out in style: A horse-drawn hearse, taps and a prayer by Sons of the Union in vintage uniforms.

All it took was 89 years and a persistent great-granddaughter.

Ware, a Civil War veteran, was born in 1845 to a wealthy family that settled the area now known as Paradise. Gold lured him to the Feather River region, where he married Mariah Williams, a Maidu Indian, and was promptly disowned by his family.

The couple settled in Caribou, a remote community on the Feather River, where he mined and operated a stamp mill. After 36 happy years together, Ware fell ill. He was sent to a veteran’s hospital near Petaluma, where he died in 1924 and was unceremoniously buried in a pauper’s grave. Mariah lived another six years never knowing the whereabouts of her husband’s remains. She was buried in a Native American cemetery near Caribou.

Fast-forward six decades, when Sandra Ellis became curious about her great-grandfather. She eventually found his unkempt grave and successfully petitioned to have his remains moved. Ellis planned to rebury Ware alongside his wife, but that cemetery is now off limits on U.S. Forest Service land. So Ellis found Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, designated in 2010 for veterans.

Although she meticulously planned the details of the Dec. 30 ceremony, even Ellis was surprised when 75 people showed up. Among them were two of Ware’s granddaughters, both babies when he died. Now 90 and 91, the women were the only ones at the service who had ever met the man they were honoring at what could be the last funeral for a Civil War veteran.

With Ware finally resting in peace, the family has found peace, too, Ellis said: “We always felt something was undone. Now we feel satisfied deep in our bones.”

Truckers fear results of emission rules

North-state truckers are fuming over new diesel emission standards they say will suffocate an already ailing economy.

The new regulations are forcing hundreds of truck and bus operators to make retrofits costing as much as $20,000 per vehicle, said Pat Cramer, whose Anderson-based company insures 350 trucks in Northern California. With as many as one in every 10 local jobs truck-related, “this will devastate the economy of Northern California,” she said.

California Air Resources Board officials say diesel particulate matter represents 70 percent of the cancer risk posed by toxic air contaminants. The emissions reductions will decrease premature cancer deaths by 2,700 annually, said Beth White, who oversees implementation of the air agency’s truck and bus regulation.

Cramer said she doesn’t question the need for cleaner air: “I do question the numbers they use to scare people to death.”

The Air Resources Board may have gotten the truckers’ message because it has proposed additional flexibility in changes expected to be considered in April. Along with extending compliance deadlines, it may expand the area exempt from requirements to replace older engines. Truckers who made an effort to comply by Jan. 1 received additional extensions, White said.

That has not pacified the Alliance for California Business, a 300-member coalition of commercial and agricultural truckers. Its lawsuit against ARB challenges the legality of the new diesel emission standards for trucks and buses.

One step further for secessionists

Anything-but-California proponents launched 2014 with a flurry of secessionist activity and a counter to the nascent breakaway movement.

Glenn County supervisors voted unanimously to join Siskiyou and Modoc in supporting withdrawal from California and formation of a state of Jefferson. “This is sending notice to the state that we’re tired of being their victim,” said Mike Murray, Glenn County board chairman.

Del Norte County opted for a financial analysis before declaring mutiny, while Tehama County decided in December to place the issue before voters in June.

Meanwhile in Siskiyou County, where supervisors have already voted to create a 51st state, supervisors faced an alternative to secession: a citizen-driven ballot initiative asking voters to approve creation of Republic of Jefferson Territory. Apparently at cross purposes with their Jefferson counterparts, territory backers say this geographic designation is easier than establishing a new state, which requires a vote of the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress.

Voters will decide in June, but just how the territory would function is vague, said Siskiyou County Administrative Officer Tom Odom: “We’re all a little confused, too.”

But the message behind both campaigns is clear: Rural Northern California is tired of urban-oriented state laws that regulate air quality and guns, and impose fees for water rights and state-provided fire protection.

After their vote to approve the territorial measure for a June ballot, Siskiyou supervisors heard a design review for a new county courthouse, to be built with $40 million in state funds.

Jane Braxton Little covers issues affecting Northern Californians.


Jane Braxton Little, a freelance writer, covers science, natural resources and rural Northern California from Plumas County. Reach her at jblittle@dyerpress.com.



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