AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“We have utilized Always Best Care for about 10 months . We wanted the best care possible for my dad. We met Lisa when she was sent to my parents home, and we knew instantly she was a perfect fit. She is outstanding and always takes excellent care of my dad. It is truly a blessing to have her. Thank you Lisa and Always Beat Care for being there when we needed it the most”

Rose F.

“I have worked for Always Best Care since 2022. It is an amazing company with high quality services for seniors.”

Rouzbeh M.

“What a great and mind easing experience. Carrie was very informative and was able to answer all my questions and give us direction on our Dad. I highly recommend Always Best and of course Carrie! Thank you!”

Chad R.

“Always Best care has provided me with a kind, musical and caring person. She does an exceptional job! I am very thankful for her being a part of my daily care. Thank you Irene Dinkins and thank you Always Best Care”

Walter J.

“My caregiver Andrea Salido I believe is one of the best worker they have! Great services.”

William B.

“Fantastic staff and care provider, Tiffany Gardner goes above and beyond, works really hard and a great cook too!!thank you abc and Tiffany!!!”

Angel K.

“A great company and dependable. All the workers are very pleasant and works well. Shelly is my regular person and is a great person to be around. She's very efficient and easy going which is good. I might mention I'm not the easiest person to get along with. Tell her to keep up the good work.”

Dennis C.

“I am a very happy client with Always best care for many years. Don't know what I would do without my caregiver, Kara, she has been with me for about 3years now and she is so wonderful in every way! Joann pope”

Kara H.

“We have been using Always Best Care Senior Services for 4 years for my Mom's in home care. The staff are caring and helpful, and take great care in providing for her needs. Minda Geir has been instrumental in keeping the scheduling department working, despite the changes that are needed when doctors appointments and other changes are needed. It is not an easy job and we appreciate the efforts she takes to communicate with us. Minda has been a gem! I also want to recommend working with Kathee Grgich. She is in a different department at Always Best Care. She is helping us find a future assisted living facility for my Mom as she may want to move this year. Kathee has spent many hours looking for different places and even going with us on tours of these places. Her recommendations have been invaluable, saving us time and giving us incites we would never have known otherwise. This service is provided free of charge, and I cannot express how important Kathee's help has been. Always Best Care provides other valuable senior services, and I would highly recommend considering their services.”

Nina A.

“I work here currently. I LOVE Katie the scheduler. She is always on top of her job and gets things handled.”

Amber K.

“This post is from my brother Charles…I look forward to Alex Isley‘s weekly visits! We are relaxed around each other; he is very willing to help me with many things to make my life easier. He encourages me to go outside for fresh air and activities but reminds me to sit down and rest when I need to. It is a pleasure to have him in my home. Thank you Alex!”

Janet H.

“I highly recommend always best care , I work with them for many years and I’m very pleased with their service , if you or your loved one needs help do not hesitate to reach out to Allways best care”

Miha J.

“Rinah has been very carrying and supportive.”

Lyle S.

“My wife love the way she cleaned but one that sold her on using her was her name Isabel.”

Gary C.

“Tori Burke has been great. She's doing a awesome job helping my mother with all her needs. Tori has a very special personality that makes my mom feel very comfortable. Thank you for sending Tori to us.”

Mary L.

“Nina Thao was my Fathers caregiver and she always went above and beyond. We were so blessed to have such a hard working, empathetic, and dependable person who helped my Father live as comfortably as possible past 100 years old! I would Highly recommend Nina Thao from Always Best Care to help your family when in need. Sincerely, Cynthia Coopee”

Cynthia C.

“I am writing to praise the caregiving and support that Shristi provides to my brother, Sgt Michael Iwanaga for the last year. Shristi is always friendly, has a great attitude, is extremely helpful and always willing to go the “extra mile”. My brother could not be happier with the care and companionship that Shristi has provided to him. He was initially reluctant to have a care giver but since having Shristi’s care and support he does not know how he would be able to do without her. He would be extremely bereft should Shristi no longer be able to provide him with the care. I would also like to commend your administrative staff for their responsiveness, support and positive attitude. We could not be happier with the care that your organization has been able to provide to my brother. In fact, I have referred your organization to my cousin, Lucille Irby for assistance due to the excellent care and responsiveness of your organization. Please feel free to use my name as a reference. With appreciation, Tami Pereira”

Tami P.

“We have been with Always Best Care for 2 years. My dad is 91 and has enjoyed all of the caregivers. Victoria is his favorite. They get along beautifully. They work with the veterans and are somewhat flexible with scheduling. I would recommend Always Best Care for your caregiving needs.”

Mary L.

“Sandra Benton is terrific, kind, professional and takes such good care of us!”

Semmy M.

“Kirsten Hellar has been my care-giver for over 2 years She has always helped me in the shower and drying me off and helping me to get dressed. I feel very comfortable with her taking care of me on mon wed & Friday.”

Kirsten H.

“Jaquay has been a wonderful helper.”

Danelle G.

“I think that Jhanai B. Is great, she is a very pleasant person to be with, she does everything I ask and makes me smile and also helps me up and down, such an amazing company.”

Eilene G.

“Jennifer! Hope you are doing great! John and I are so thankful for all the help from the wonderful team at Always Best Care! We are fortunate to know such talented and compassionate people! Please share our appreciation with everyone!”

Debee G.
 In-Home Care Grass Valley, CA

How does In-home Senior Care in Grass Valley, CA work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Grass Valley, CA

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Grass Valley, CA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Grass Valley, CA gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Grass Valley, CA

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Grass Valley,CA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Grass Valley, CA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Grass Valley, CA

Grass Valley could soon reopen its Idaho-Maryland Mine. Here’s why some want to stop it

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. —In the years since the Grass Valley area bustled with gold mining activity, the community, as it's known today, has taken shape.That’s why a grassroots effort has formed in Grass Valley to prevent gold mining from making a comeback.| WATCH | Those interested in watching the public hearing can view online here“The downtown itself has become a cultu...


In the years since the Grass Valley area bustled with gold mining activity, the community, as it's known today, has taken shape.

That’s why a grassroots effort has formed in Grass Valley to prevent gold mining from making a comeback.

| WATCH | Those interested in watching the public hearing can view online here

“The downtown itself has become a cultural and scenic destination," said Traci Sheehan, coordinator with the MineWatch campaign. “People flock to Grass Valley to experience the quaint downtown and the wineries.”

Sheehan and others from her organization, which is composed of local, state and federal groups, plan to attend a special public meeting of the Nevada County Planning Commission Wednesday morning to express their opposition to the reopening of the old Idaho-Maryland mine — a site that hasn't been up-and-running since the mid-1950s.

“There's a lot of community opposition across the board. Across the political spectrum,” Sheehan said. “We're concerned on how it will impact our quality of life, our local economy, air and water. There are many issues.”

According to Nevada County, planners for the Idaho-Maryland Mine project first submitted an application for the project in November 2019.

Since that time, it has proceeded through various steps.


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“The county is being asked to consider if we want to approve or deny the Grass Valley underground mine project,” said Nevada County public information officer Taylor Wolfe.

In a statement to KCRA 3 regarding Wednesday’s meeting, Jarryd Gonzales, a spokesperson for project planners Rise Gold said:

“We are pleased the Planning Commission Staff Report unequivocally recommends the Planning Commission certify the Environmental Impact Report. Reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine has always been about more than creating hundreds of good-paying jobs; it's about building an environmentally conscious mine, and the staff's recommendation to certify the EIR is a validation of our project vision. We appreciate the planning staff's hard work and look forward to the Planning Commission hearing.”

Wednesday’s planning commission hearing, where public comment is being accepted, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m.

For those who can’t attend in person, instructions for how to submit a public comment and live-stream the hearing can be found on Nevada County’s website at this link.

Once the planning commission makes its recommendations on the final environmental impact report, it will go to the county board of supervisors (no earlier than August). At that time, more public comments will be accepted. The board will then make a decision about whether the Idaho-Maryland Mine project will go forward.

Many in the community have said that they are ready to express their opinions about the proposed project to county leadership and to the company that wants to see Grass Valley return to its gold mining roots.

“Many of us feel that mining is our past, not our future. We need to invest in our existing businesses,” said Sheehan. “We're going to implore them to reject the mine and reject the environmental impact report.”

Grass Valley: Music, History, and Magic

When Grammy-nominated singer Molly Tuttle wrote the song “Grass Valley,” she was reliving a pivotal childhood experience when she used to accompany her dad to the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in the Nevada County town. “People playing 'neath the pines&md...

When Grammy-nominated singer Molly Tuttle wrote the song “Grass Valley,” she was reliving a pivotal childhood experience when she used to accompany her dad to the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in the Nevada County town. “People playing 'neath the pines—heard the music floating from the stage,” goes the song. “Pitched our tent and walked around, my heart opened to the sound.”

In the latest episode of the California Now Podcast, Tuttle talks with host Soterios Johnson about her ongoing love for Grass Valley, a little town surrounded by pine trees in the Sierra foothills. Johnson also welcomes two Grass Valley locals who share more about this Gold Country gem, located about an hour north of Sacramento, and 90 minutes east of Lake Tahoe.

California Now Podcast

Exploring Grass Valley




The episode begins with Tuttle, whose bluegrass album Crooked Tree has helped earn her a 2023 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. Tuttle grew up in Palo Alto and found early musical inspiration from her father, a bluegrass guitarist, and the festivals they attended—the kind where many fans bring their own instruments for campground jam sessions. “It's such a nostalgic place for me,” Tuttle says of Grass Valley, noting that “there are a few other festivals throughout the year at that same campgrounds—like the Strawberry Music Festival, and now Hangtown, and California WorldFest. Every time I'm there, no matter what festival, you'll see a lot of the same people, same kind of vendors, and it just it brings back a lot of good memories.”

California in general is an under-the-radar bluegrass hotspot, Tuttle notes, pointing to artists such as David Grisman, Tony Rice, “and of course Jerry Garcia. Palo Alto is where Jerry Garcia is from. He used to play the banjo and had a bluegrass band there, and I think the Grateful Dead has had such a big impact on a lot of the folk music and the bluegrass jams that you find [here].”

Music is only the beginning of Grass Valley’s quirky charms, says the podcast’s next guest, Sonya Krimsky, the events manager at the Holbrooke Hotel. The Grass Valley local uses words such as “adorable,” “quaint” and “idiosyncratic” when describing her adopted home town, but also admits with a laugh that she has also called it “a cross between Twin Peaks and Schitt's Creek. Everyone has their personalities—the town crier, the town gossip—that you only find in a small town.”

The Holbrooke Hotel, she says, is another one of the town’s personalities, which is closely tied to Grass Valley’s Gold Rush origins (the Empire Mine State Historic Park sits right outside town). The hotel is “the most prominent building in the downtown,” she says, thanks in part to its central location and also due to the fact that in Grass Valley, “nothing is taller than four stories.” Grass Valley and neighboring Nevada City both have a lot of “old Gold Rush buildings,” she says, and the hotel’s style is “almost Edwardian or Victorian, but it's unique to the Motherlode area, and so we call it Motherlode architecture.”

The hotel’s recent makeover, she says, has created more open spaces and added updated décor, but also involved restoring the building’s original mahogany, as well as the copper walls of the Golden Gate Saloon. The bar is extra special, she says since the hotel “was founded first as a saloon for all those gold miners. It's the oldest and longest running saloon in California history.”

Once it also became a hotel in 1853, Krimsky adds, another fascinating chapter began in the building’s history. Back then, “getting here was arduous,” she says. “You couldn't cross the Sierra Nevada easily or safely—and so these weren't just one night or weekend stays. You would stay for months.” The hotel had several famous guests back in those days, she says, including writers Jack London, Brett Harte, and Mark Twain, who tried prospecting for gold himself. “Mark Twain supposedly stayed in what's now room 2, the corner suite,” she says. “It has this beautiful balcony access, and he would sit out there with his bourbon or his whiskey and heckle people as they rode by.”

Today you can still feel some of that colorful history when staying at the hotel, from The Iron Door bar (rumored to have been a brothel and speakeasy in earlier days) or the hotel’s “Haunted by History” tour. “I've never actually seen a ghost,” Krimsky says, “but sometimes I get that feeling that if these walls could talk, there are some stories still playing out.”

Also in this episode, Grass Valley local Patrick Millar gives his answers to the California Questionnaire. The owner of Gold Vibe Kombuchary, Northern California’s first hard kombucha taproom, weighs in on his ultimate California culinary experience, the best boutiques in Grass Valley, and his vision for a perfect day. “I’d be a tourist in my own town,” he says. “Bop around town, go down to the Yuba River and hang out with friends. The Yuba River has big white granite boulders, turquoise water, and there are things about that river that are in my mind better than going to the beach. It's just fantastic.”

Flags, freedom, fireworks and fun at the Grass Valley 4th of July celebration

Nevada County is the place to be for the 4th of July, Independence Day celebrations.Grass Valley activities begin at 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. with the annual Family Pancake Breakfast on West Main Street between the clock tower and the Holbrooke Hotel.The Twins Cities Church in Grass Valley will be hosting breakfast and carnival games for children under a large shaded tent for the cost of $5.Between the pancakes and the parade, the Nevada County Concert Band will set up and play on the patio of Sergio’s Caffe’ at ...

Nevada County is the place to be for the 4th of July, Independence Day celebrations.

Grass Valley activities begin at 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. with the annual Family Pancake Breakfast on West Main Street between the clock tower and the Holbrooke Hotel.

The Twins Cities Church in Grass Valley will be hosting breakfast and carnival games for children under a large shaded tent for the cost of $5.

Between the pancakes and the parade, the Nevada County Concert Band will set up and play on the patio of Sergio’s Caffe’ at 109 Mill Street from 9 - 10 a.m.

“Throughout the parade, the band will play intermittently if there's a lull in activity,” Mary Ann Boyer from the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and Grass Valley Downtown Association said.

At 10 a.m. the parade will begin on W. Main Street and Mill Street, turning right on Neal Street and continuing on S. Church Street ending at Condon Park, according to Boyer.

The reviewing stand is on Mill Street where Nevada County Supervisor Ed Scofield and his wife, Carol, will announce and introduce each community group or decorated float.

“We have about 55 entries to the parade,” Boyer said.

When the parade ends, probably around 12:30 p.m., W. Main and Mill Street will transition for evening events from 5 - 9 p.m.

The Mill Street independence Day party will include entertainment, food vendors and refreshments available for purchase.

On one stage Rewind Press Play is scheduled, playing rock music ranging from the 1950’s to modern hits with guest appearances from Jim Meyers as Elvis Presley.

Perfect Stranger, a second band will be in front of Gary’s Place at 158 Mill Street.

Tony Siquig and his all star band Perfect Stranger play classic rock, blues, Santana and more, according to the band’s Facebook.

The GVCC operates the beverage booth. Beer from BrewBilt Brewery, wine from Sierra Starr Vineyard & Winery and cider from Ponderosa Cider Company will be available.

Satellite Spirits, which is the Southfork Vodka Company, will have a pop-up booth selling specialty drinks named a ‘Southfork Sparkler.”

Budget Blinds of Grass Valley, featuring indoor and outdoor window coverings, is another sponsor who named a specialty Independence Day drink called ‘Shades of Freedom.”

A conglomerate from McKnight Crossing Shopping Center, Mesa Management in association with Levendi, a Napa Valley winery, will be providing mood-changing cups that turn red or blue when cold liquid is poured inside them.

The owners of Chevron McKnight and Main Street Chevron, the family of Kabul Singh, are also title sponsors providing free battery operated fans for participants, according to Boyer.

A free fireworks show will begin at 9:30 p.m. at the interchange of Dorsey Drive and can be viewed from various locations around Grass Valley.

Other sponsors include Mike Bratton from State Farm and Grass Valley Provisions along with 14 other businesses in Nevada County.

I don’t think I am alone in saying that, for every good friend, there’s a good nickname. If you think about it, how many people in your life do you refer to by some moniker that isn’t what’s on their birth certificate?

Nicknames run from the mundane to the obvious. Some are lifelong tags while others fizzle out like the flavor of the day. But those keepers? Boy, are they keepers.

My dad as a log truck driver used so many nicknames that it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I realized “Woodrat” wasn’t really his name. Not only that but he’s a talented violinist; would you ever deduce that from the name “Woodrat?” Of course they all had their CB handles, including my pops who will, without question, answer to “Shotgun.” Some of their handles bordered on ludicrous, but they all meant something. Joe Honey was “Sourdough,” while Randy Ayer was “Moonbeam.”

As they’d check out, they’d advise each other: take ‘er easy.

And think about all the people around town who we know solely by their nickname. Immediately I think of “Sparky” Parker, aka David Parker. There’s Buzzy Presser and for years Babe Childers eschewed his given name, Hobart. My parents remember Sharky Holbrooke, BabyDoll and Mama Sigourney, Buzz Kopp, and of course Jonesy (as do I).

Then there were the friends/strangers from high school to whom my friends and I all gave names. They don’t know it but there are people out there who we secretly called “The Woman,” The Judge,” and my favorite: “The Founder of the Clinic on the Hill.” (That was one of our weirder ones, and was named after a lyric from a Steely Dan song.)Don’t ask me why but we as teenagers—and younger—felt the need to assign people with names they knew nothing about. Further, we knew nothing about them either; we just had fun making up names.

There was also “Two Tone Crop Top” which is what we called our friend Shawn who was blonde on top and brown on his shaved underlayers. And don’t forget about “Davey Wonka” which our friend Dave Sindorf called himself in our high school yearbook. Our football buddy we called “Ray Finkle” after the misfortune kicker in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” even though Ryan Fellers (same initials) was a remarkable quarterback.

In my own family alone, we’ve had a MeaMa, a Gami, a Sooze, a Bubba, a Big Hunk, a Mutt, and a Big Al. Apparently my grandpa Harold Nobles was called “Geez” by family members and “Fuzzy” by others. One guy even called him Charlie.

This is where I admit that I have at least three solid nicknames: one my dad calls me (Babe), one select friends and I call me (Moondog), and then “the one”—the one that has stuck with me since I was nine. Anyone close to me knows my nickname which I am not going to share, simply because it is a little private to me. I know it’s anticlimactic, but some things shall remain private. (At least for me. My poor mom.) Even though so many I know use it, I want to keep it safe to me. It has been read multiple times on national television, but there’s that anonymity of relaying of it without anyone seeing my likeness. (And no, it wasn’t “America’s Most Wanted.”)

And if you think as a redhead I didn’t have involuntary nicknames growing up, you’re sorely mistaken, although in retrospect I think they were more jabs than nicknames. I can’t tell you how many times Jeff Hansen called me “Shortcake.” Or how many times Matt Struck called me “Copper Top.”

What is your nickname? How did you get it? I am genuinely curious, so feel free to write in and share your story.

Meanwhile, this week’s Very Important Pup is Jessie. I am confident she has a litany of nicknames. Don’t we all come up with the most ridiculous, inexplicable versions of our pets’ names? I mean, how do you go from Thelma to Vern? There’s really no sense in it at all.

Anyway, Jessie is a super important friend I met at the Madelyn Helling Library. Jessie has been a therapy dog for about six years and was on her way into the library so kids learning to read could read to her without judgment or fear; Jessie will always lend an ear. To say this dog is sweet is an understatement.

Jessie is nine years old and she has been visiting the library for about four years. She is a yellow lab, and her humans got her when she was just a pup.

“She is our only child dog,” her human mama said. “For her age she is really healthy, knock on wood. She’s getting a little white. The therapy dog program is really well organized here now. She likes people better than the dogs.”

And this week there is a bonus: welcome the first Very Important Puss. This is Tiger Booty. He is a very sweet cat who likes to roam around a little bit. Sometimes if I have my door open I will be working and something will catch my attention out of the corner of my eye. My heart has nearly stopped when I see old Tiger Booty walking in like he owns the place. Once he jumped on my lap and nearly deleted a huge story I had been working on. I never lure him in, never feed him, he is not allowed on my furniture, and I do have his mom’s number in case of an emergency. He’s just a sweet kitty with six toes, checking out the world.

As you read this, yesterday was my birthday. I turned 45. Halfway to 90! I am having a Dolly Parton themed birthday party. Like many, Dolly is my hero and I owe her a special debt of gratitude for the song “Jolene.”

Growing up a redhead, as aforementioned, I was mercilessly teased. When Dolly wrote and performed a song about being jealous of another woman with “flaming locks of auburn hair” I knew I must not be that bad off. Plus her commitment to childhood literacy through her Imagination Library is astounding; her organization has donated over 200 million books around the world. What an admirable lady, and one that deserves to be embossed on the cocktail napkins and plates I bought for the party (that I can hopefully avoid using). I think she and Jessie would make good friends.

Aloha, Nevada County. Enjoy this amazing weather while you can! I feel like these warm temps are the universe’s birthday gift to me; one last swim and we’ll call her a day. Be well, and take ‘er easy.

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‘Beautiful but terrible’: historic mountain towns buckle under weight of California snow

Blake Heauser’s chainsaw slowly rumbled quiet. Sounds of tall trees splintering and crashing under the weight of the freshly fallen snow cut through the stillness, as the latest round of winter weather bore down on the town, tucked into the foothills in northern California. He had cleared a path through the wooded debris for now but with more storms in the forecast it might not last...

Blake Heauser’s chainsaw slowly rumbled quiet. Sounds of tall trees splintering and crashing under the weight of the freshly fallen snow cut through the stillness, as the latest round of winter weather bore down on the town, tucked into the foothills in northern California. He had cleared a path through the wooded debris for now but with more storms in the forecast it might not last.

Heauser had spent days trying to remove fallen trees from the roads that snaked through the hillsides in his community in Grass Valley, even as those roads disappeared under the heavy snow. He and others worked around the clock to ensure vulnerable neighbors could either evacuate or were able to safely remain in their buried homes, while grappling with the effects of prolonged and widespread power outages that left some without heat or pumped well water.

“This is the craziest storm I know of,” Heauser said. “It was relentless – it just kept snowing and snowing and snowing.”

Tucked amid a sea of conifers that slope into the Sierra Nevada range, the beautiful and rugged terrain has always posed elements of danger for those who live there. But conditions are intensifying, adding new fears over what the future holds for California’s picturesque and historic mountain towns.

Even as locals grapple with the effects of this very wet winter, the threats from wildfires linger just months away. The extremes have tested key infrastructure across the seasons, adding hazards for even the most resilient and prepared residents. They are also inextricably linked.

Drought-weakened trees, unable to withstand the heavy snow loading their branches and the howling winds that tore through these slopes and canyons, thrashed against homes and fences. Branches ripped through power lines and littered thoroughfares before being buried in snow, hindering both emergency access and escape.

Severe storms have caused calamity across the state, coating even balmy parts of California – from the San Francisco Bay area to the Hollywood hills – in a dusting of white. Higher elevations, meanwhile, were buried.

The toll is still being tallied as communities begin to dig out from the aftermath. Buildings have crumpled under the weight of accumulating snow and more than a dozen deaths from a snowed-in area of southern California may be linked to the storms.

Yosemite national park has announced it will remain closed through 17 March – a “best-case scenario” as a result of “significant snowfall” while the Central Sierra Snow Lab, housed against the Sierra near Donner Pass, reported more than 50 ft of snowfall already this season.

The San Bernardino county mountains were among the hardest hit, leaving residents and visitors trapped for weeks without the ability to secure food or emergency supplies as widespread power outages left neighborhoods dark and cold. At least five people were found dead in their homes as the snow-stricken area began to return to normal.

California Governor Gavin Newsom activated the state California guard and proclaimed a state of emergency in 13 counties to assist during the height of the storms. But the widespread effects choked off resources as impacted areas across the state called for more help.

Nevada county, which stretches from the lower lying areas north of Sacramento, over to Tahoe national forest and to the eastern edge of northern California, has borne the brunt of power outages for the past week, leaving thousands of households without light and heat for days while rain and snow continue to fill the forecast without reprieve.

Energy provider Pacific Gas & Electric has scrambled to repair downed poles and lines left scattered by the storms, but the lack of ability to get equipment into the rugged and frost-laden terrain has proven difficult and inhibited progress.

Meanwhile, dozens of displaced residents have sought refuge in overnight warming centers or in Nevada City’s historic hotels that typically house tourists during this time of year. All through last weekend as the snow fell in flurries, neighbors congregated in coffee shops swapping snow-shoveling stories and cold escapes from their mountainside homes. Many though, weren’t able to leave.

Record numbers of calls have come in to emergency response lines as desperate friends, relatives, and employers sought help for those who could not be reached for days.

“We have been to countless streets that have absolutely nothing left of their regular infrastructure,” said Conrad Ball, deputy sheriff with the Nevada county sheriff’s office mobile crisis team. Ball and his partner, social worker clinician Stacy Green, are one of several teams trying to get to each and every person flagged for welfare checks. But the list is long, and growing.

On a frigid Friday evening, the team spent more than 12 hours visiting residents, careening over narrow berms and chewed-through terrain. High in the hills, the smell of crisp pine is cut by wood smoke and gasoline, the remnants of last-resort heating in darkened neighborhoods. Mailboxes and trash cans have all but disappeared under thick mounds of snow as car-shaped lumps signal where vehicles have been abandoned. The occasional sign signals an obscured driveway, while others plead for plowing help.

There is 560 miles of roadway through these mountains, much of which is now buried in snow. Even an all-terrain vehicle slides and struggles to churn through the thick frost, bumping over the fallen power lines that snake across the roads.

Ball and Green have been able to assist dozens of families, either by ensuring loved ones are ready to weather the rest of the storm, providing essential supplies, or aiding in evacuations. Often though, Ball said, calamity was avoided because residents nearby were able to get there sooner. “That is a common thing with these storms,” he said. “Everyone sets their differences aside and really help each other out.” It’s essential part of life in these remote areas.

“If you don’t have others to help you out,” Ball added, “it is not survivable.”

Stuart Baker, the executive director for the chamber of commerce in Nevada City, a historic district and tourist town that houses the seat of the county, said it’s not an uncommon sentiment. Even with strong assistance and support it’s not been easy.

Baker is one of many displaced by the storms, as snow piled high on his home covered vents that enabled him to use a furnace safely. His power has been out for a week. This isn’t the first time – but it is the worst, he said.

“We had snowmageddon and it felt like it was a once-in-a-century storm,” he said, referring to a previous weather event the community named after it blew through last year. “And it wasn’t as bad as this one. So we don’t have a word for this,” he added, laughing with a grimace. “We already used the best word we had.”

Nevada City resident Visa Uksina, who could only reach his home by snowshoes this week, agreed. “It is getting more and more intense,” he said, now safely out of his home and catching his breath in the more accessible downtown area where shops and restaurants provided warm refuge for those still without power. “It’s beautiful and terrible at the same time.”

It’s a feeling that hits hard for Heauser, too. Born and raised in this area, he returned with his wife to raise his own family in Nevada county. With a two-year-old daughter and another on the way, there’s a precarious balance between building a life on the land that feels like home and ensuring they stay safe as the threats mount.

As a corporate pilot who has to spend stretches of time away, he said he worries that his family will have to evacuate without him during the summers or lose power and heat in the winters. There’s only one way in and one way out, and “it is constantly in the back of your mind”, he said. But the storm has been enough of a distraction for now.

“It has all been a blur,” he said of the last week, when the family lost their power. Soon after, their generator shorted out, frying some electronics as it went down, including their hot water heater. With his toddler pitching tantrums, they retreated to his parent’s house nearby. Even there, toppling trees are a threat, already claiming a fence and a shed.

Heauser has spent most of the days since out in the elements helping others.

There was an older couple who were without power and heat and relied on oxygen machines. Some folks needed paths shoveled so they could leave their homes. And, Heauser of course has been out with his chainsaw, clearing the fallen trees. It’s been a team effort, he said.

“We have all been ping-ponging around and seeing where we can help,” Heauser said. “If we are tired they will tap in.” Along with the pristine natural beauty, that’s what keeps his family here, making the added worry worth it. For Heauser, it comes down to the people.

“If neighbors need a hand, we will dig ’em out,” he said. “Our neighborhood is situated well. As long as the trees quit falling – we will be OK.”

Nevada County Sheriff & K9 Vito Apprehend Grass Valley Man After Pursuit on Multiple Charges, Including Vehicle Theft

May 20, 2023 – Rough and Ready, CA – Nevada County Sheriff's Office officials report that on Friday, May 19, 2023, at approximately 5:20 a.m. a vehicle was reported stolen from Harper Lane off Spenceville Road in Penn Valley. California Highway Patrol responded to the victim’s residence to take the theft report, while our dispatchers from the Nevada County Regional Dispatch Center put out the description of the vehicle to patrol units. Deputy Taylor King and his K9 partner “Vito” were in the area and spotted the...

May 20, 2023 – Rough and Ready, CA – Nevada County Sheriff's Office officials report that on Friday, May 19, 2023, at approximately 5:20 a.m. a vehicle was reported stolen from Harper Lane off Spenceville Road in Penn Valley. California Highway Patrol responded to the victim’s residence to take the theft report, while our dispatchers from the Nevada County Regional Dispatch Center put out the description of the vehicle to patrol units. Deputy Taylor King and his K9 partner “Vito” were in the area and spotted the stolen vehicle on Rough and Ready Highway and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle failed to yield, and a pursuit was initiated westbound into Rough and Ready.

After a short pursuit, the suspect exited the vehicle and ran from Deputy King and Vito, who together chased the suspect on foot. After the suspect refused to stop despite announcements that the K9 would be deployed, “Vito” was commanded to apprehend the fleeing suspect. The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Michael Loy Gordon of Grass Valley, was taken into custody and booked into the Wayne Brown Correctional Facility for Vehicle Theft, Resisting Arrest, Evading, Vandalism, and Receiving Stolen Property.

Just this week, Sheriff Shannan Moon along with several other California Sheriffs, met with Governor Gavin Newsom at the Capitol (pictured below) to discuss their perspectives on several pending bills before the state Legislature in the 2023 session. Sheriff Moon shared her opposition to many of the bills that restrict or ban tools that allow law enforcement to provide services that keep our communities and law enforcement officers safe. One such bill that is high on her list to oppose, is AB 742 (Jackson) – a bill that would prohibit the use of K9’s in a patrol capacity. The Sheriff has been working with our Nevada County Board of Supervisors to submit a letter of opposition from the County, which will be presented at the upcoming board meeting next Tuesday, May 23, 2023, as brought forth by Supervisor Sue Hoek and Supervisor Lisa Swarthout. We thank the Board for their support in this action.

Sheriff Moon re-authorized the K9 Program at NCSO in 2020. We have seen firsthand the success of our K9 program in helping to keep our community and our deputies safe. If AB 742 were to pass, arrests like this one could be much more difficult to achieve in the safe manner in which this occurred today. Patrol K9’s are a valuable de-escalation tool and less lethal force option. If K9 units are eliminated as a force option for law enforcement, California peace officers will lose a specialized and extremely effective de-escalation tool in use of force situations.

Nevada County Deputy Taylor King and his K9 partner “Vito”

Sheriff Shannan Moon with several California Sheriffs, met with Governor Gavin Newsom at the Capitol

Source & photos: Nevada County Sheriff's Office


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