Truckee snowboarder Mike Basich’s tiny home

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“A professional snowboarder in California figured out a genius way to get closer to the slopes. Mike Basich built this tiny 225-square-foot home in the middle of his 40-acre property near Truckee, Calif. He told Laura Ling from “Going off the Grid” about how he built his new digs by hand. “It took me five years — two and half years to do all the rock work. I think I moved about 175 ton of rock.”

“Not only is the little house off the beaten path, it’s also off the grid. That means no Internet, no indoor plumbing, and no traditional electricity. Luckily for anyone wanting to take a shower or wash their hands, the property has two creeks that provide water for the home. The best part for Basich is the location. Not only can he snowboard on private trails, but the property even has its own chair lift that Basich built with the help of some friends. If you think this style of living is crazy, Basich is one of 180,000 Americans choosing to live off the grid. He says of the home, “I like to think of it as getting back to the basics of humanity. I like feeling connected to the earth more than I could with a 4,000-square-foot house.”

(Source: Yahoo!News)

Singer-songwriter Randy Newman performing in Grass Valley on June 26, 2015

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Music in the Mountains is going to present popular singer-songwriter Randy Newman on Friday, June 26 ”under the stars” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. It marks Newman’s first performance ever in the Sacramento region.

Newman has won three Emmys, six Grammy Awards and two Academy Awards. He has been nominated for 20 Academy Awards. Newman also has his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“An Evening with Randy Newman” is part of MIM’s SummerFest — from June 16 to July 5. “We want to take festival-goers on a sonic journey where they will not only be entertained, but will experience true musical excellence,” explains Cristine Kelly, executive director of Music in the Mountains. “Randy Newman was the perfect artist to headline this year’s festival. He is a master musician and storyteller who is known for his incredible body of work.”

With songs that run the gamut from heartbreaking to satirical and a host of unforgettable film scores, Newman has used his many talents to create musical masterpieces. Often referred to as a “musician’s musician,” many of the world’s most notable singers have covered his songs including Alan Price, Van Dyke Parks, Judy Collins, Cass Elliot, Art Garfunkel, the Everly Brothers, Dusty Springfield, Nina Simon, Wilson Pickett, Pat Boone and Peggy Lee, to name just a few.

After starting his songwriting career as a teenager, Newman launched into recording as a singer and pianist in 1968 with his self-titled album Randy Newman.

Throughout the 1970s he released several other acclaimed albums such as: 12 Songs, Sail Away, and Good Old Boys. In addition to his solo recordings and regular international touring, Newman began composing and scoring for films in the 1980s.

The list of movies he has worked on since then includes The Natural, Awakenings, Ragtime, all three Toy Story pictures, Seabiscuit, James and the Giant Peach, A Bug’s Life and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc.

Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Tickets are $85 premium for a “meet and greet” the artist; $55 premium; $37.50 general admission; $85 for a family pass (two adults and two children); and $15 for youth under 18. The performance begins at 8 p.m.; gates open at 6:30 p.m.

Watch a Newman video here:

Tickets for MIM’s SummerFest — the region’s top classical musical festival — go on sale April 1 unless otherwise noted:

Tuesday, June 16: Young Composers I, Peace Lutheran Church, Grass Valley, show at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, June 17: Young Composers II, Peace Lutheran Church, 7:30pm

Friday, June 19: Wet Ink featuring the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Peace Lutheran Church, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 20: Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time, Peace Lutheran Church, 2 p.m.

Wednesday, June 24: The Glory of Russian Ballet, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Friday, June 26: Randy Newman, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 27: Cirque de la Symphonie, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 28: The Mozart Requiem, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 3 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Wednesday, July 1: Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m. Tickets on sale now through season subscription only.

Thursday, July 2: Conrad Tao, In Recital, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Amaral Center, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 3: Happy Birthday USA, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 5: Storm Large of Pink Martini and the Crazy Arc of Love, Nevada County Fairgrounds, outdoor main stage, 7:30 p.m.

(Source: Sierra FoodWineArt; Photo at top: Pamela Springsteen)

Officials and stakeholders gather for opening dedication of Rice’s Crossing Preserve

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Friday, May 20, 2015, local, state and national officials gathered in a quiet meadow overlooking the Middle and North Forks of the Yuba River during a dedication ceremony of Bear Yuba Land Trust’s (BYLT) 2,707-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve.

“This is one of those remarkable projects. This is special,” said Northern California Director of Trust for Public Land Dave Sutton. “It is people, it is individuals, who make this work happen.”

Sutton was joined by Program Manager for Trust for Public Land Markley Bavinger who worked tirelessly for many years with many stakeholders to secure the deal.

The $3.25 million acquisition was funded by Proposition 84 funds through the California Natural Resources Agency’s River Parkways Program ($1.9 million) and Sierra Nevada Conservancy ($1 million) in addition to funding from the CalTrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program ($350,000).

BYLT acquired Rice’s Crossing Preserve in June of 2014, the largest landholding in the Land Trust’s 25 year history. A community success story, the preserve helped BYLT to grow its conservation footprint from 6,000 to 9,000 acres. BYLT’s stewardship team will monitor the property ensuring that habitat for threatened and endangered species will be protected and restored. BYLT will work closely with South Yuba River Citizens League to develop a monitoring plan for this section of the river.

“It’s all based on the Yuba River, the life of the community… The river has always been and continues to be a way that brings us all together,” said Projects Manager for Yuba County Water Agency Geoff Rabone.

Rice’s Crossing links over 8,500 acres of public open space and will provide unprecedented access to the river in the form of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing.

Nevada County District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston sees Rice’s Crossing as a key recreation landholding that will drive tourism and help the local economy.

“This will last for generations. This will be the trail system, the connection system, the economy booster,” said Weston, who someday sees himself walking from Bullards Bar to the new covered bridge at Bridgeport.

The acquisition of Rice’s Crossing was initiated in 2007 by a group of conservationists including Shawn Garvey and Janet Cohen who, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, applied for initial funding. The Trust for Public Land played a critical role supporting the project, partnering with BYLT in 2011, and providing the expertise to complete the acquisition. The Sierra Fund has also remained a key project supporter and fiscal agent from beginning to end.

Other speakers on Friday included: Polly Escovedo from California Natural Resources Agency; Bob Kingman from Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Izzy Martin from The Sierra Fund, South Yuba River Citizens League’s Board President Barbara Getz and Bear Yuba Land Trust Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt and BYLT Board President Andy Cassano.
A preliminary management plan for Rice’s Crossing Preserve has been created and Bear Yuba Land Trust is just beginning to seek community input on the project.

“What does the community want us to build and where?” asked Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt.

After an overview of the property and recognition of key players in the project, participants walked the still rough first 2.5 mile section of the new Yuba Rim Trail. Led by BYLT’s trails team and built with the help of 17 committed volunteers who worked 187 hours since January, the new trail winds through the shelter of a mixed conifer forest before opening up to views of the Yuba River canyon. A grand opening of the trail for the general public will be held during BYLT’s annual event, Walk on the Wild Side on April 18.

Learn more at BYLT.org.

(Source: Laura Peterson, Bear Yuba Land Trust)

Amit Peled performs this weekend on Pablo Casals’ centuries-old cello

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The remarkable cellist, Amit Peled returns with a program that celebrates the great cellist Pablo Casals – playing on Pablo Casals’ cello! After playing for Mrs. Marta Casals Istomin last summer, Amit received the magnificent 1733 Goffriller cello, which was acquired in 1913 by Pablo Casals. 2013 marked its 100th year in Casals’s service.

The concert is presented by InConcert Sierra on Sunday, March 15 at 2 p.m. He will perform an “Homage to Pablo Casals,” on Pablo Casal’s c1700 Gofriller cello. His program includes gorgeous works by Handel, Schumann, Beethoven, J.S. Bach and Popper. Noreen Palera accompanies on the piano. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit InConcertSierra.org.

Watch Amit Peled’s interview on how he first came to play on Casals’ cello and listen to this remarkable cello here:

(Source: InConcert Sierra)

Expert team will joint Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach sustainable trail building

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International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) Subaru / IMBA Trail Care Crew is coming to Grass Valley and teaming up with Bear Yuba Land Trust to teach people proper trail building technique during a free two day training session in April.

The visit, scheduled for Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4, is one of about 40 stops on the 2015 schedule open to anyone interested in trail building.

The award-winning Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program includes two full-time professional teams of trail experts who travel North America year-round, leading IMBA Trail building Schools, meeting with government officials and land managers and working with IMBA-affiliated groups to improve local mountain biking opportunities. IMBA’s crews have led more than 1,000 trail projects since the program debuted in 1997.

The event will kick off with an evening presentation, “Better Living Through Trails” held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3 at the historic North Star House, 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley.

The presentation will explore the positive relationships between communities and their trail systems. As community assets, trails can improve quality of life and attract significant tourism dollars. Participants will learn how to effectively market quality trails and turn them into visitor destinations.

Key topics of the discussion will include: Case studies; the economic, health and wellness benefits trails bring to an area; the value of single track trails; economics of single track trails; and the fundamentals of building community and destination trails. The following day, IMBA will lead a trail building school from 9 a.m. to noon (lunch included) at the North Star House. Students will learn about trail building theory, essential elements of sustainable trails, how to design and construct a trail and how to re-route and reclaim a trail.

In the afternoon, participants will venture to Upper Miner’s Trail off Highway 20 for trail work from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants must attend the morning classroom session to participate in the field project. Wear pants, closed-toe shoes, a hat, gloves and bring water.

The Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew program has inspired volunteer trail work across the U.S. and abroad helping government agencies and land managers with limited funding to build trails and keep them maintained. As a direct result, there are now thousands of new and improved trails in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and several European countries.

The Trail Care Crews teach “sustainable” trail building resulting in trails that last with minimal maintenance. This helps reduce trail damage, protects the environment and enhances visitor enjoyment for years to come.

All are welcome to join the Subaru/ IMBA Trail Care Crew leaders when they come to town. For more information and to register for the IMBA Trail building School:
www.bylt.org; shaun@bylt.org; 272-5994 x201.

About the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, cooperation among trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.

IMBA’s worldwide network includes 35,000 individual members, more than 100 chapters, 750 bicycle clubs, more than 160 corporate partners and about 600 retailer shops. IMBA’s members live in all 50 U.S. states, most Canadian provinces and in 30 other countries. For more information visit www.IMBA.com.

About Bear Yuba Land Trust

Bear Yuba Land Trust is a community-supported nonprofit group that saves land, builds trails and offers programs to get people outdoors and appreciate nature in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Volunteers are the heart of BYLT’s success. To date, BYLT has built and maintains 19 trails, extending 35 miles. The first segment of the Yuba Rim Trail on Rice’s Crossing Preserve will be opened to the public on April 18. Learn more at: www.bylt.org.

Watch an interesting video about the Bear Yuba Land Trust, here:

(Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust; Video: Timothy and Christopher Gee)

2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series announced

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The 2015 Nevada City Dirt Classic Series has announced the dates for this year’s Dirt Classic Series and Miners Dirt Series. The Nevada City Dirt Classic Series is on X-C ride for all ages held on three Saturdays, May 2, May 9 and May 30. The Miners Dirt Series is held on three Fridays, May 1, May8 and May 22, and is for kids 10 to 14 years old.

Registration is required for all rides and each will conclude with music, food and raffle prizes including a new bike. The bike raffle will be held on May 30 at the conclusion of Race 3. To learn more about the series and to register, visit YBONC.org.

Enjoy all of Nevada County bike trails year-round; see a listing of the trails here.

If you’re in town for Race 2 of the Nevada City Dirt Classic race on May 9, be sure to stay overnight and catch the start of Stage 2 of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California in Nevada City on Monday, May 11. Read more about the Amgen Tour here.

(Photos: Nevada City Dirt Classic, Amgen Tour of California; Video: Great Basin Bicycles of Reno)

2015 Nevada County Fair poster introduced

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The 2015 Nevada County Fair poster was introduced today with the theme “Catch the Fair Bug!” Local artist Juli Marks of Grass Valley created the artwork which was selected to be the official poster for this year’s fair which runs August 12 – 16, 2015.

Watch a video from previous Nevada County Fairs, here:

One Fine Day held Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Miners Foundry

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Inspired by today’s non-traditional brides looking for unique and modern wedding ideas, One Fine Day is an interactive, playful party that showcases many of Northern California’s finest wedding purveyors and professionals and features on trend wedding ideas and concepts. One Fine Day will be held Sunday, March 8 at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City. From visionary wedding planners and unique, one-of-a-kind photo booths (one is in a vintage VW bug) and photographers to florists specializing in seasonal and local flowers and caterers known for their delicious and inventive farm-to-table menus, wedding couples will find everything they need to ensure they stand out from the crowd on their special day. The event also features pop-up workshops where attendees can learn how to create their own elaborate wedding hairstyles and floral arrangements, along with live music from the Pine Street Ramblers and DJs Shocks and Struts spinning vinyl, plus a full-bar serving signature cocktails.

“The bohemian festival vibe is definitely the prevailing trend in weddings today,” explains Erin Lewis, producer of One Fine Day and owner of Gold Dust Collective, a boutique wedding and event planner who has organized and styled special events for over twenty years. “But people who get married in Nevada County don’t necessarily follow the trends; they are looking for something a little more unique.”

Kat Kress, the booking coordinator at the Miners Foundry agrees, wedding rentals of the historic building have steadily increased over the last year with nearly fifty-one weddings planned for 2015. Many of the brides are traveling as far as the Bay Area and Southern California in search of a venue and town that can offer not only the bride and groom, but their guests, an unforgettable weekend. The Foundry with its beautiful stone walls and hand hewn timber beams is the perfect blank slate to create the popular rustic chic weddings that are in such high demand. And Nevada City with its historic charm and easy access to the beautiful natural landscape is the perfect weekend getaway. The press is taking notice as well, weddings at the Miners Foundry have been featured on MarthaStewartWeddings.com and in Real Weddings Magazine.

One Fine Day creates a fun cocktail party environment, where a bride and entourage, can learn hair and makeup tips and tricks, meet and engage with vendors, sample food and drink, and above all gather inspiration to throw a party of a lifetime.

(Photo: Nicole Dianne Photography)

Nevada City Chinese Lunar New Year Festival and Parade Sunday, March 8, 2015

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The Nevada City Chinese Lunar New Year Festival and Parade welcomes the Year of the Sheep 4713, on Sunday, March 8 in Nevada City, from 12 – 3 p.m. (Note: it’s the first day of Daylight Savings. Remember to set your clocks one hour ahead!) The Festival began three years ago when a group of like-minded individual came together to create “fond memories of their childhood.” The magnitude of the Festival has gradually grown in stature.

As part of its Cultural Enrichment Series, the Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra (CATS) is proud to present a festival that is unique and speaks to the Sierra’s roots. During the Gold Rush, the Chinese numbered over 3,300 here, a significant population. Today, it is 1.4%, or roughly 1,350, of the county-wide population of 98,000, according to the 2013 U.S. Census. The aim of the Festival, therefore, is to honor these early pioneers who helped build our local economy through gold mining and the building of the Central Pacific Railroad.

The Festival’s mini parade will begin at noon at the Chinese Monument on Commercial Street (the old Chinese Quarter). It will be led by ceremonial Lion Dancers from Eastern Ways Martial Arts of Sacramento. The entourage will make its way down Commercial Street and end at the Robinson Plaza and Union Street where the Lion Dancers will spearhead an afternoon of Asian culture and entertainment.

CATS is please to honor Cathy Whittlesey, Executive Director of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, as its Grand Marshal. CATS thanks her for her guidance in ensuring that the Festival would be a success. She will ride in a rickshaw pulled by Richard Yue of the Auburn Joss House.

Exhibitors will line Union Street, along with food for sale by the Old Five Mile House and desserts for sale by the Xiao Mao (Little CATS) Culture Club.

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Cantonese) or Gung Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin)!

Watch a video of the 2013 Chinese New Year Lion Dance in Nevada City here:

(Source: CATS; Poster & Photos: Melanie Sullivan, David Wong, Grass Valley Taiko; Video: Gold Country TV)

New York Times Travel promotes Truckee restaurants, Boreal Mountain Resort and Donner Memorial State Park

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The New York Times Travel regular 36 Hours feature is promoting Truckee restaurants, Boreal Mountain Resort and the Donner Memorial State Park today.

36 Hours | What to Do in Lake Tahoe

“Straddling the Nevada-California border, Lake Tahoe’s immense cobalt blue oval — unfrozen thanks to the lake’s depth — stands out against the snow-covered mountains like a colossal eye staring into heaven. This May, Tahoe’s wilderness will be even more accessible with JetBlue beginning daily direct flights between J.F.K. and Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The lake’s vastness can be absorbed only by being there — or better yet, skiing the dozen resorts surrounding it, their trails like frozen white waterfalls cutting through the fir-lined mountains. Lake Tahoe has two distinctive areas: the north side, where cowboy-chic cabins and semi-isolated shops and cafes overlook a quiet shoreline; and South Tahoe, which glitters with casinos, clubs and a slew of new upscale boutique hotels hovering above the lake. Skiing both sides in one weekend is an ambitious undertaking, but the lake’s wilderness spirit and surprising contrasts are compelling enough to pull you into its adventurous orbit.

“Friday

“1. History Lesson | 3 p.m.

“Winter is a dramatic time to visit Donner Memorial State Park ($8 entry per vehicle) for a bracing insight into the travails of the 87 members of the Donner Party who were snowed in here during the winter of 1846-47 and resorted to cannibalism to survive. The Visitor’s Center gives a grim but inspiring overview of what Donner & Co. went though in their drive to overcome the High Sierras. It’s an especially touching and surreal experience to stand by the boulder that formed the wall of one of the party’s cabins with the nearby roar of Highway 80 drivers clearing the once-daunting Donner Pass in minutes.

“2. Trampolines and Tubing | 4:30 p.m.

“Beloved by the local younger set for its intimate slopes, night skiing and Camp Woodward year-round indoor training facility (trampolines! foam pits!), Boreal, perched on a scenic stretch of Donner Pass, is now celebrating its 50th year. Because of its five terrain parks, including the newly opened pirate-themed Neffland, Boreal is especially attractive to snowboarders, having hosted the United States Snowboarding Grand Prix in 2009. Boreal lights up its mile-long runs for night skiing, 3:30 to 9 p.m. Take the lift to 7,300 feet and wait for the stars to emerge above while carving through the fir trees back to the valley. You can also take the hills closer to ground on the dedicated snow-tubing park next to the parking lot (night lift ticket $29 or two-hour tubing session $34). Night skiers also have another great opportunity on Saturday when Squaw Valley, half an hour’s drive south on the Lake, illuminates its long runs with a new high contrast lighting system. (3 to 7 p.m. Lift tickets, $49)

“3. Truckin’ the North Shore | 7:30 p.m.

“The old railroad town of Truckee, with its upscale hippie vibe, is the cultural and night-life nexus of the North Shore. For a rustic overview of this colorful town, tuck into Cottonwood Restaurant, a cozy spot perched cliffside above the Truckee River. The restaurant’s giant garlic romaine Caesar salad has become a local institution. Dinner for two around $65. For true epicures, there’s Trokay restaurant on Truckee’s main drag where the chef, John Weatherson, has found his haven from the Michelin-starred Restaurant Daniel in New York. For the last four years he and his wife, Nyna, have pioneered French-inspired, locally sourced cuisine such as venison with sunchoke, or green apple granita with celery, pomegranate and, yes, snow. A prix fixe dinner with wine pairing starts at $125. Still awake? Wander a block north into the cross hairs of Truckee night life: Moody’s Bistro Bar and Beats, in a cozy niche of the Victorian-era Truckee Hotel. The hotel is a creaky-planked affair that incongruously adjoins the sleek, hip, jazzy bar that could just as well be in Paris. Belly up for the smooth barrel-aged Negroni ($14) or hot-buttered rum from house-made ingredients ($9) to go with the colorful whatever-happens-happens local musical acts — Paul McCartney, a regular vacationer to Tahoe, has joined in a couple of times.”

To read the full article, click here.

(Source: Finn-Olaf Jones, New York Times Travel)