State lawmakers clear way for reopening Bridgeport Bridge

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A state Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted 4-0 to support full funding for the restoration and re-opening of the Bridgeport covered bridge this morning, SYRCL announced.

Current Status

State agencies and volunteers have secured about half of the funding needed to restore the bridge.

In January, Governor Jerry Brown included $1.26 million in funding for the Bridgeport Covered Bridge Restoration Project in his 2014-15 budget proposal. The budget will go before State Legislators in June.

The State estimates it will cost $220,000 to temporarily stabilize the bridge. Funding has been secured and work is expected to be completed this year.

Nevada County Supervisors and the City Councils of Nevada City, Truckee and Grass Valley unanimously supported bridge restoration.

Important Facts

Bridgeport is the longest single-span covered wood bridge in the world

Built in 1862 by sawmill owner David Wood, considered an engineering feat of its day

Important historic toll bridge on Virginia Turnpike for people, wagons and supplies traveling between Marysville and Nevada during Gold and Silver Rush days

California Registered Landmark & National Historic Landmark

In 2011 Department of Parks and Recreation closed bridge after engineering survey found severe and unsafe structural problems

Engineers estimate it will cost $1.1 million to restore the bridge

(Photo: Michael Weissenborn and

Italian-style road race to pass through Nevada County this spring

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The 24th running of the California Mille, a motoring tribute to Italy’s most-famous open road race, the Mille Miglia (thousand mile), will begin with a free car show atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill on April 27 followed by a four-day, thousand-mile back roads adventure.

Some 77 entrants from four foreign countries and 14 U.S. states will assemble on Mason Street in front of the Fairmont Hotel where Italian Consul General Mauro Battocchi will arrive in a vintage Italian car, greet the crowd and invite any or all to join him in singing “Ill Canto degli Italiani”, the Italian National Anthem (At last year’s Mille Preview, Sig. Battocchi offered to buy anyone in the crowd a 1950s Alfa Romeo if they would join him in singing the anthem. There were no takers.)

“This year’s Mille may be the most significant compendium of classic cars we’ve ever had,” revealed co-director David Swig. “Along with some 13 Alfa Romeos, 11 Porsches, 6 Jaguars and half a dozen Ferraris — largely vintage ‘50s and ‘60s — we have a ’52 Tojeiro Roadster, a ’28 Bentley, ’57 Kurtis Kraft 500KK, and a ’38 Lancia Aprilia.”

“Perhaps the exceptional turn-out is the ‘double 24’ aspect of the two motoring milestones,” said co-director Howard Swig. “ The Italian race ran 24 times from 1927 to 1957, and this is the California Mille’s 24th running. Early registration suggests that this year may be our biggest and best drive ever.”

Up to 10,000 fans are expected to come to Nob Hill from noon to 6:00 PM on April 27to see the cars, meet the drivers, enjoy live Italian music by the Ron Borelli bandand participate in a presentation that will spotlight important cars, discuss their merits.

On Monday, April 28, the California Mille will depart at 8:30 AM, heading north to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, then motoring east to Lodi for lunch at the Wine and Roses Restaurant. That afternoon, the Mille will leave the Central Valley driving to the west shore of Lake Tahoe, with an overnight scheduled at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley.

Day 2, April 29, will see the California Mille motoring north into the picturesque and little-known Gold Lake region where drivers will avoid the temptation to fish, camp and hike (as normal tourists do), continuing instead to Nevada City for lunch at the historic Stonehouse Brewery. The afternoon drive will journey down the western slope of the Sierra with the Mille spending the night at the celebrated Citizen Hotel in Sacramento.

Day 3, April 30, the Mille classics will cruise along the banks of the Sacramento River, pass through the 19th century Chinese-designed town of Locke, then drive west to the Napa Valley wine country for lunch. Continuing westward, the Mille will amble through rarely-traveled back roads ending the day at Cavallo Point for the first of two nights at this breathtaking San Francisco Bay-front resort.

On May 1, the final day, the California Mille will climb 2500 feet to the near top of Mt. Tamalpais, the highest point in Marin County, smile for a commemorative group photo, then motor north for lunch in the village of Nicasio (population 600+/-; major attractions: Druid’s Hall, Volunteer Fire Department, Rancho Nicasio Restaurant), wander along the Pacific Coast to Occidental, then turn south for the run back to Sausalito and the final night’s awards banquet at Cavallo Point.

The California Mille was founded by Sausalito resident Martin Swig, who after driving the Mille Miglia from Brescia to Rome to Brescia, decided that northern California “Looked more like Italy than—Italy.” Thus was born, in 1990, The California Mille.

The Mille is produced by Amici americani della Mille Miglia (American Friends of the Mille Miglia), which also presents the annual New Year’s Day “Anti-Football Drive”, and will in 2015 re-stage La Carrera Nevada, its version of Mexico’s border-to-border La Carrera Panamericana.

David and Howard Swig are co-directors of these events and Dan Radowicz is the organizer.

—California Mille

Truckee Continues to Grow as a Foodie Destination

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Three new culinary outposts have opened in Truckee in time for the spring season.

Located in downtown Truckee, Marg’s Taco Bistro features menu items that reinterpret Latin cuisine by adding global flavors, inspired by Caprese salad, Korean barbecue and Philadelphia cheese steaks, to tacos and tamales. Marg’s also offers alternatives to the traditional margarita, with flavors like kiwi-jalapeno, watermelon-mint and pineapple-basil.

Truckee’s first Indian restaurant, Spice, features curries, masalas and vindaloos made with locally sourced ingredients and offers sauces, chutneys and breads for retail sale.

Tahoe Oil and Spice is a new gourmet shop that offers flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as well as spice rubs and blends; honey; tapenades; jams; and mustards, all of which are available for tasting.

(Source: Visit California, Photo: Marg’s Taco Bistro)

Truckee Legacy Trail Expansion Complete

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Truckee’s riverside Legacy Trail has completed a $4.6 million expansion project to increase the total paved trail from 2.5 to 4.75 miles and provide bikers, pedestrians and their canine friends a safe, scenic path along the Truckee River.

The Legacy Trail is part of a larger, multi-phase project to connect the two ends of Truckee via 130 miles of Class One paved pedestrian pathways. The trail connecting Historic Downtown Truckee and Truckee Regional Park to the nearby neighborhood of Glenshire is now complete and will next extend to Donner Memorial State Park.

(Source:, Photo: Town of Truckee)

Nevada City named one of the top 15 small cities in California

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Cities Journal has named Nevada City one of the top 15 small cities in California. Here’s what it wrote:

“Frommer’s calls the ‘entire town’ of Nevada City a historical landmark. They ranked the town among the nine ‘Best small towns and villages’ in California. In 1856, however, it was actually the third largest city in the state of California.

“While the name ‘Nevada City’ rings with echoes of Las Vegas glitz and glamour, the town’s foundation was a much more dangerous and high-stakes sort of gambling.

“If you’re a fan of the 49ers, this is where they get their name: Nevada City was established in 1849, when settlers moved to the Old West in search of gold and took their Victorian architecture and design aesthetics along for the ride.

“A town that was once rich with gold is now rich with preserved history, but it’s not limited to gold rush relics.

“Frommer’s notes that you can even see real-life possessions of the infamous Donner Party in Nevada City; also, that it was along the Nevada City trail that the eight-family wagon party made gruesome history. However, the environment is much more forgiving now.

“Forests and rivers surround Nevada City’s historic downtown streets. Some of these rivers were popular spots for gold panning when, according to The Great Towns of Northern California, Nevada City was a California ‘mother lode’ of gold.

“Surprisingly, you can actually participate in some gold panning of your own; in 2008, the gold market started booming again, and parts of the river are favorite spots for old-school prospectors.

“Classic saloons, welcoming and romantic bed-and-breakfasts, and old-school movie theaters share space with specialty antique shops that display artifacts from the town’s glory days as a gold hub.

“You can even spend the night in the record-setting National Hotel, which the Chamber of Commerce says has been in operation since the 1850s, longer than any hotel west of the Rocky Mountains.”

The article is here.

(Photo: James Gaither/Flickr)

Mother’s Day event at Empire Mine on May 11

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With fountains, rose gardens in bloom, and lavish, turn-of-the-century costumes, make this a Mother’s Day she’ll never forget.

She’ll enjoy chatting with docents portraying the colorful characters who shaped our local history. There are also free surprises in the gift shop and in the blacksmith shop.

Food and beverages available for purchase. Turn our golden history into a golden memory.

The event is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $7 (ages 17and up), $3 (ages 6-16), and grandmothers and children under 6 are free.

For further information contact the Visitors Center (530) 273-8522 or visit here.

—Empire Mine

Call for community showcase acts for the Nevada County Fair

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The Nevada County Fair is now accepting applications for local entertainers and community acts to perform at the 2014 Nevada County Fair, August 6 – 10.

Do you have a dance group you’d like to see perform at the Fair? Does your group have a skill they’d like to demonstrate to Fair-goers? Want to do a martial arts demonstration or a cheerleading demonstration or show off your baton twirling skills? If so, the Fairgrounds wants your application. This is a great way to share your talents with the community!

Applications are now available on the website at . To be considered, the application must be returned to the Fairgrounds by June 2. There is no paid compensation for community showcases and demonstrations.

The application is for those interested in performing on the Dance Pad (available afternoon and evening hours); The Green (available during afternoon hours); or the Tumbleweed Stage (available evening hours only).

This year’s Fair is August 6 – 10, and the theme is “Simply Fun.” For more information, visit or call (530) 273-6217.

Watch a video of the Nevada County Fair:

(Photo, video: Nevada County Fair)

57th Annual Penn Valley Rodeo

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The 57th Annual Penn Valley Rodeo is fast approaching so mark your calendars for three days of fun May 16, 17 & 18.

Festivities kick-off Friday night with a BBQ dinner at the Cook House followed by dancing with music by the James Slack Band. Saturday’s parade begins at 3 pm when the gates open followed by the Grand Entry and the start of the Rodeo at 5:30 p.m. Sunday kicks off with a 7:30 a.m. breakfast at the Old Fire House followed by a full day of activities.

Watch a video of the Penn Valley Rodeo:

Popular singer Jewel will perform in Grass Valley on July 17

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The Center for the Arts announced today that country musician Jewel will perform July 17 at the Grass Valley Veterans Building.

From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, four-time Grammy nominee Jewel, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents,” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists.

Currently, Jewel is recording her 13th studio album, a follow up to her first album “Pieces of You” due in 2015. Jewel lives on a working ranch in Stephenville, Texas with her husband, World Champion bull-riding superstar, Ty Murray and their son Kase Townes Murray.

Tickets are $58 for members of the Center, $68 for the general public and $78 for premium – reserved seating and parking. Tickets are on sale today for Encore Club members – the top annual donors for the Center and to other members May 1. Tickets will be available to the general public May 15.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the Center at 530-274-8384 ext 14 or online at www.

—The Center for the Arts’s “See Mining History in the Cliffs at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park”

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See how entire mountains were washed away during the Gold Rush.

Back in the day when gold ruled California, it was okay to wash away mountains in search of the precious metal. That kind of hydraulic mining wouldn’t be allowed in California today, yet we can still see just how powerful this method was at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, near Nevada City. Here you can get a sense of Gold Rush life in the reconstructed town of North Bloomfield, where restored buildings and exhibits paint a picture of a bygone era. See and learn how hydraulic mining worked. (The method was eventually halted here when farms were being destroyed downstream.) Also step into the mouth of a massive drainage tunnel that burrows through bedrock for over 7,000 feet.

Time your stay for the full moon, then pitch a tent in the campground and wait for a surreal landscapes and vistas to unfold under the pale moonlight.


Photo: Malakoff Diggins Park Association