West Point, Ca — The USDA has awarded a grant of $96,500 to the non-profit organization (CHIPS) Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions.
CHIPS was established in 2005, and its mission is to create jobs, provide training, and address the threat of wild land fires in northwestern Calaveras County.
According to CHIPS Coordinator Virginia Landreth, the area has become increasingly economically depressed over the past several years due to the closure of many local lumber mills. The subsequent displacement of community members who worked in the mills and related forest industries has led to high unemployment.
Landreth says that added to that problem, is the extreme fire hazard from forest overgrowth of small trees and brush. She says this is especially noticeable in the canyons that surround the area´s communities.
The USDA funding will be used to buy equipment and develop an on the job vegetation control chipping crew training program. The program is designed to teach the skills needed to qualify for jobs in the vegetation control industry, or establish a private business.
Congressman Dan Lungren and USDA State Director Ben Higgins will present the USDA check to CHIPS´ representatives, July 2nd, at 1pm, at the West Point Community Hall.
Written by BJ Hansen