A look back: The Union Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez selects his top photos of the year
It’s never easy picking my top photos each year.
Over the span of a year I can shoot through thousands of frames on my camera and spend hundreds of hours more editing and weeding through the excess photos that don’t make the cut.
Being the go-to photographer for The Union is a labor of love that comes with its challenges, to say the least.
Whether it be trying to gain access to a wildfire or natural disaster, or keeping cool when protesters get in your face, it’s a job that bears witness to the “highs” and the “lows” that occur in our community.
While this year feels like there may have been more “lows” due to the coronavirus and social unrest, there hasn’t been a lack of bright spots to take in along the way.
Nevada City Film Festival Drive-In
One of my favorite fun nights to photograph this year was during the Nevada City Film Festival’s drive-in film showings that it set up in a parking lot of the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
It felt good to be back on the fairgrounds’ property since it had been closed since March, even if it was just in the parking lot, but I didn’t know quite what to expect.
Aside from the challenges that photographing on a tripod at night provide, I knew the vehicles would also make for some difficulties in trying to convey what’s going on.
What I didn’t expect was that the children (and some parents) would be sitting on the roofs of their vehicles casting silhouettes toward my camera as they watched the children’s films.
I took hundreds of images that night with the moment chosen when the character on screen seemed to be winking back at this one boy sitting alone on top of an SUV.
Smoke from the Bear Fire/North Complex
Every time I see this image of the smoke from the Bear Fire/North Complex, it stops me dead in my tracks.
I was working on editing photos for an article regarding the PG&E Public Safety Power Shut-offs when all of a sudden the room I was working in went dark.
I had been keeping an eye on the smoke from this particular fire, but a flare up of the conflagration sent a nasty black plume of smoke over Grass Valley.
In the coming days the smoke would begin to settle over much of Northern California, causing hazardous and unhealthy breathing conditions.
The Jones Fire at night
The Jones Fire, which started the morning of Aug. 17 by a lightning strike, quickly burned up a canyon of the South Yuba River, taking with it a number of homes and outbuildings before firefighters could stop its progress.
As destructive and unfortunate as fires are, they are still one of my favorite assignments to cover. The ability to get information out to people during a crisis is one reason why many journalists join the cause. Being in the canyon of the South Yuba River, I was unable to provide the type of live broadcasts that I’ve done in the past, but I was able to capture some images that I thought portrayed the destructive force of this fire and the dangers it posed to the community and firefighters.
The image was taken, handheld at 1/13th of second with a 200mm lens at f2.8.
In the details you can see the LED headlamps of firefighters working all through the night to control this flank of the fire.
Bear River High School graduation
2020 was filled with surreal scenes unlike any other due to folks having to deal with the devastating effects of COVID-19.
Graduation day in May at Bear River High School was unlike any other.
The stands were bare, and the cheers were non-existent.
Pomp and circumstance played on repeat to the point that administrators there probably never want to hear that song again.
But the seniors continued to smile, even as they posed with their cardboard classmates set up in the field where they would have sat during a normal graduation ceremony.
Fire in Smartsville
I’ve heard many times from other photojournalists along the way, that there’s nothing like strapping on the wide angle lens when reporting on wildfires.
This fire that started in Smartsville proper on July 9 proved that point.
I strive to be as safe and quick about my wits while in the thick of a wildfire, but there’s always some sort of unknown that you have to be prepared for.
By the time I arrived on scene it appeared that the fire was getting under control.
I positioned myself near a Cal Fire engine near the Smartsville Post Office, which had just been saved on one side from the encroaching fire.
However, with a quick change in the wind, the fire was once again threatening the post office and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to capture this shot.
To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email [email protected] or call 530-477-4230.
A chronological look back at the images of western Nevada County in 2020 as captured by The Union reporter Elias Funez
Folks decorated themselves in all different types of manners before taking the icy plunge into Scotts Flat for the polar bear plunge Jan 1 2020. Photo: Elias Funez
About fifty brave souls took to the chilly waters of Scotts Flat Lake for the annual Polar Plunge which is becoming a regular tradition for some area residents for New Year’s Day. Photo: Elias Funez
Sierra Foothills Construction superintendent Ken Porter (right) helps address some ducting issues with workers in January at the historic Holbrooke Hotel which has been restored and re-opened in downtown Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
Law enforcement personnel continue their investigation into the fatal officer involved shooting that occurred New Year’s Day at Oak Street and Walker Drive. Photo: Elias Funez
Low snow snarled traffic in and around Grass Valley and western Nevada County Jan. 16. Vehicle collisions and spinouts occurred along most major thoroughfares. Photo: Elias Funez
Camilla Makinson holds on tight to the popular zip line swing Jan. 20 at recently renovated Minnie Park in Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
The mangled wings, fuselage, and landing gear of a single engine airplane lies scattered among a grove of oak trees near Dry Creek Road and Haines Road near the city of Auburn’s municipal airport Jan. 24. Two of the three occupants died as a result of the wreck. Photo: Elias Funez
Forest Lake Christian’s Ellie Wood (21) goes up for a lay-up against Valley Christian during a section title game at the Golden 1 Center in February. Photo: Elias Funez
The home cheering crowd for the Lady Falcons made a good show of support during Thursday’s championship game at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Photo: Elias Funez
The Lady Falcons and coaches answer questions from the media following their D-6 championship win at the Golden 1 Center. Photo: Elias Funez
The halls were full of members of the community for the Community Asian Theatre’s Chinese Lunar New Year Festival at the Miners Foundry. Photo: Elias Funez
A 300 foot section of narrow gauge rail is laid down by the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum volunteers along Sacramento Street. A display car has since been placed on the track. Photo: Elias Funez
All incoming product to be tested is photographed and labeled upon intake at the cannabis testing lab THC Analytical Lab, which opened in Nevada city in February. Photo: Elias Funez
Peter and Deyra look for the perfect movies from the shelf Friday afternoon at Grass Valley’s Video Library. After publishing that the store was in the process of closing, interest in purchasing the store and keeping it open has surfaced from interested parties. The video store has since closed. Photo: Elias Funez
The South Yuba River gently meanders under the historic Highway 49 bridge looking a lot like a summer day in mid February in an area that usually has more water during this time of year. The Northern Sierra Nevada Precipitation index was at 58% of normal. Photo: Elias Funez
Amanda Wilcox smiles as she leaves the State Capital’s Assembly floor in early February before she and husband Nick Wilcox were recognized for their years of lobbying for gun control. The Wilcoxes have decided to step back from active lobbying in Sacramento. Photo: Elias Funez
Dalrymple MacAlpin plays the harp as part of the advanced group of learners during a harp workshop held in early March led by Christina Tourin. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks enjoy the Foothill Lions Club’s 10th annual all you can eat Cioppino and Pasta feed held in early March at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Photo: Elias Funez
Raindrop laden poppies await rays of the sun along the Buttermilk Bend Trail at the South Yuba River State Park. The main parking lots near the popular springtime trail were closed mid March in order to encourage smaller groups of users at the park. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks mingle about the 791 square feet Granucci Gallery space located inside of the newly re-opened The Center For the Arts in downtown Grass Valley. Artist Nancy Mintz christened the gallery with her show “Strata” though the building would soon close to the public due to the mid March Covid-19 shutdown. Photo: Elias Funez
This sign could be seen posted outside of the Bret Harte Retirement Inn in downtown Grass Valley in mid March as the coronavirus became more apparent in Nevada County. Photo: Elias Funez
Maria’s Restaurant server Taylor Edmondson hands off a to-go order from the take out window in downtown Grass Valley on March 18. Eateries such as Maria’s say they’re staying open to help benefit the community as people are staying home to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: Elias Funez
A Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital nurse in full protective gear, places a potential COVID-19 sample into a vial to be tested during a March 18 drive-thru coronavirus testing outside of the hospital. Photo: Elias Funez
Deer Creek Elementary School first grade teacher John Carr hands an eight day supply of education for students to take home as Nevada City School District began their rollout of Distance Learning and included the distribution of Chrome Books Mar. 25. Photo: Elias Funez
Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center’s Reverend Jerry Farrell stands among pictures of his congregation, placed on the seats of the Cambridge Court center Thursday afternoon. Farrell is utilizing Zoom and FaceTime to connect with folks and will be utilizing the sanctuary for a wall of remembrance to help those grieving their loved ones during this time. Photo: Elias Funez
Hills Flat Lumber assistant store manager Steve Waldron shows the only two masks left on the shelves of the Grass Valley hardware store Mar. 24. All N100 and N95 masks fly off of the shelves when shipments come in. Waldron says masks are on back order until April. Photo: Elias Funez
Downtown Nevada City was devoid of much traffic aside from the post office at the base of Coyote Street during an otherwise beautiful day in the Sierra Nevada Mar. 21. Photo: Elias Funez
Restoration of the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge continued this year despite the coronavirus. Photo: Elias Funez
Industrial off of Broad Street in downtown Nevada City is just one western Nevada County business that has closed its doors for good during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Photo: Elias Funez
While other area stores began floundering in April, business was steady at area grocery stores so far during the COVID-19 pandemic in western Nevada County. Photo: Elias Funez
About 75 to 100 members of the hospital, Nevada County, local EMS, and Hospice of the Foothills took part in a high surge COVID drill to test their ability to handle the potential of a surge in coronavirus cases. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks keep socially distant as they place and pick up their curbside to-go orders at The Golden Era Lounge in downtown Nevada City April 19. Photo: Elias Funez
Sparrow Circle residents have been making a morning tradition of greeting each other from a distance during their walks and checking on those at their homes when possible April 7. Photo: Elias Funez
Downtown Grass Valley looked like a ghost town April 1 with businesses shuttered due to the coronavirus stay at home orders. Photo: Elias Funez
A locked chain link fence is accompanied with a sign instructing people how to get a hold of fairgrounds staff. Photo: Elias Funez
A Food Bank of Nevada County worker checks in a line of folks waiting to receive food assistance during one of distribution days at Seventh Day Adventist Church in Grass Valley. Their drive-thru model was studied and replicated by other organizations in the county. Photo: Elias Funez
Nevada County Disaster Service Workers help load up a vehicle with food Thursday afternoon at the Grizzly Hill School drive-thru distribution site on the San Juan Ridge. Photo: Elias Funez
Grass Valley Grocery Outlet checker Sharon Lolli works from behind a plexiglass screen recently installed at checkout aisles to better help protect workers April 1. Photo: Elias Funez
Front lead at Grocery Outlet Kasandra Berry, wears an N95 mask while helping to bag groceries early April in Grass Valley. While face coverings weren’t required early on in the pandemic in the U.S., folks began voluntarily wearing them after noting mask wearing countries were fighting the coronavirus better. Photo: Elias Funez
Toilet paper is re-stocked on the shelves at SPD Market in Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
A handful of passersby stopped to take in the live jam session of The Elderly Brothers and friends April 3 in Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
The Independence Trail also remains open despite concrete barriers put in place to deter folks from parking in the area nearest the trailhead. Trail hikers have instead been parking in lots across the highway and further down the road as seen April 11. Photo: Elias Funez
An electronic sign at Empire Mine State Historic Park in Grass Valley tells people to stay home April 11. Photo: Elias Funez
Cal Fire and City of Grass Valley firefighters work to contain an escaped burn pile off of the 12,000 block of Gold Starr Lane in rural Grass Valley mid April. The fire was quickly knocked down and kept to less than 1/4 of an acre. Photo: Elias Funez
A family takes a stroll through Condon Park April 27 when the park officially re-opened after initial Covid-19 closures. Photo: Elias Funez
Wildflowers in full display along the Buttermilk Bend Trail the South Yuba River State Park. Though parking lots at most river access points were closed in April, the parks and trails remained open, though proper social distancing and the wearing of masks on single track trails is encouraged. Photo: Elias Funez
Classes are suspended at Nevada Union High School for the rest of the school year, but the gold miner statue in front of the school still has a message for folks passing by, “stay home”. Photo: Elias Funez
Downtown Grass Valley’s City Hall parking lot sits empty after the initial Covid-19 shutdowns in March. Photo: Elias Funez
A large boulder was pulled from the middle of commercial street in Nevada City which was causing trouble for workers replacing sewer mains March 13. Photo: Elias Funez
Aside from being required to wear masks, Hospice of the Foothills Gift and Thrift store employees check everyone’s temperature and ask them to use a provided hand sanitizer upon entering after the store re-opened May 20. Photo: Elias Funez
Weeds and tall grass take to the outfield in front of the Al Murray Memorial Scoreboard in Nevada City’s Pioneer Park where Nevada City Little Leaguers would normally be playing this time of year in May. Photo: Elias Funez
New California Nevada County chairman of the board Pam Custer holds a sign at the corner of Sutton Way and Brunswick Road Wednesday afternoon. Custer and a pair of other New California state advocates were protesting the state’s closures due to Covid-19 and want the state to re-open. Photo: Elias Funez
Bear River’s graduation of the class of 2020 is one that students and administrators won’t soon forget as a drive-thru commencement began May 19 for graduating students and their families. Photo: Elias Funez
Nevada Union High School held the first of its two days of drive-thru graduations May 27 at Grass Valley’s Hooper Stadium. Vehicles packed with family friends and graduates gathered at the high school during their allotted time before driving to the stadium where students, such as twins Amber and Austin Fackrell, walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. Photo: Elias Funez
A Nevada Union High School graduate hands his name off to be read aloud to an empty Hooper Stadium during Wednesday’s drive-thru ceremony. Photo: Elias Funez
Signs made by school staff adorned the Nevada Union High School campus during their drive-thru graduation ceremony. Photo: Elias Funez
The Grass Valley Farmer’s Market has returned to its new location in the K-Mart parking lot Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. After many years at the Northstar House organizers chose the change to McKnight Crossing due to its visibility and ease of access as well as the fact that the North Star House has been closed due to Covid-19 concerns. Photo: Elias Funez
Though posted signage encourages social distancing, unbridled flows of farmer’s market shoppers make it nearly impossible to keep a six foot distance May 17 at the K-Mart parking lot. Face coverings are starting to catch on in Nevada County, though widespread usage awaits to be seen. Photo: Elias Funez
These Tall Pines youngsters get a better view of the horses during the drive-thru tour of West Coast Equine Sports Therapy in Penn Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks gather on the boardwalk in front of Treats in Nevada City during a pleasant day in late May. Treats is also open after being closed due to the coronavirus shutdowns. Photo: Elias Funez
Members of the Heaton family await a pick up order May 24 along Commercial Street in Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
About two dozen members of the community took part in a May Day protest in light of May Day and the millions of Americans who’ve lost jobs and families suffering the effects of the pandemic. Photo: Elias Funez
Protesters young and old took to the streets across the nation over the weekend, including in Grass Valley where about 100 people with signs gathered at the intersection of Brunswick and Sutton Way May 30. The nation wide demonstrations were sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Photo: Elias Funez
Multiple signs at Memorial Park’s Les Eva Field remind those that it is not safe to enter due to Covid-19 in Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
ReOpen Nevada County organizers and protesters gathered in downtown Grass Valley May 22 to promote the full reopening of the county. Photo: Elias Funez
Rise Gold CEO Benjamin Mossman holds a section of core sample containing chunks of gold. The sample was taken during exploratory drilling last year from a section of Union Hill Mine off of East Bennett Road. The company is moving forward with plans to reopen the Idaho Maryland Mine. Photo: Elias Funez
Thunderstorm clouds make their way towards Grass Valley May 30 when .97 inch of rain fell in downtown over a 24 hour period. Photo: Elias Funez
About a dozen folks gathered to show their support of law enforcement and their disdain of other communities’ calls to defund the police June 24 at the Sutton and Brunswick intersection in Grass Valley. The group has continued to hold Back the Blue rallies that have since come out to support President Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Photo: Elias Funez
A homeless encampment on Sugarloaf Mountain is revealed after climbing through a maze of trails through thick brush. Nevada County initially opted for some area homeless, such as those on Sugarloaf, to shelter in place during the pandemic. Now, county officials are doing their best to get roofs over the heads of Sugarloaf homeless. Photo: Elias Funez
Sierra Theaters owners, husband and wife Azriel and Michael LaMarca, utilized down time due to Covid-19, to deep clean the Del Oro Theater and ready for re-opening June 28. The opening would be short lived as Covid-19 mandates would shutter the business again. Photo: Elias Funez
A family purchases their tickets from the Del Oro Theater box office for a show in late June. Photo: Elias Funez
Protesters gathered Saturday morning at corner of Neal and South Auburn Street, to object to the cancelling of the Nevada County Fair and the shuttering of other remaining businesses that have yet to be allowed to re-open June 13. Photo: Elias Funez
Protesters hold signs and listen to a selection of presenters during Saturday morning’s rally in favor of having the 2020 Nevada County Fair. Photo: Elias Funez
Tahoe Helitack crew 514 was returning to base at White Cloud from the Sunrise Fire in Bangor, when they saw the fire and were some of the first firefighters on scene near Lake Wildwood June 29. Photo: Elias Funez
Firefighters from multiple agencies were quick to attack a vegetation fire that started near the Penn Valley community of Lake Wildwood June 29. The fire was kept to less than 10 acres with no structural losses. Photo: Elias Funez
Members of the Zimmerman family kept cool in the back of a pickup truck turned into a pool filled with water balloons during Thursdays Ready Springs Elementary School drive-thru graduation ceremony. Photo: Elias Funez
A Ready Springs Elementary School student gets elbow bumps from administrators during Thursday’s 8th grade promotion ceremony. Photo: Elias Funez
A single microphone placed at the back of the room, sits among a nearly empty Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting June 23, the first publicly held meeting since March. Seating was limited to a fraction of the usually available seats to aid in social distancing. Photo: Elias Funez
Nevada County Supervisor Dan Miller pulls his mask down below his nose during a June 23 Board of Supervisors meeting, the first publicly held meeting since the coronavirus shutdowns mid March.
The evening sun backlights the outdoor dining spaces set up in front of Calla Lily Crepes in Nevada City where more outdoor dining options are becoming available to help ease concerns with Covid-19. Photo: Elias Funez
Chicago Park’s Camile Plumadore raises her fist as chants ensue from the hundreds of people who took part in a large showing of support for George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement in Nevada County June 6 in front of the Grass Valley Police Department. Photo: Elias Funez
Peaceful protesters begin marching along South Auburn Street June 6 in downtown Grass Valley as nationwide police reform protests continue to happen. Photo: Elias Funez
A sign on the door at the Nevada Club in downtown Grass Valley states that they will be reopening during the week of June 11. While many drinking establishments have been able to remain open with their food menus, bars such as the Nevada Club have remained closed since the coronavirus shutdowns were implemented mid March. Photo: Elias Funez
High temperatures reached the mid 90s June 24 in the Yuba River canyon where folks from near and far used the waters of the South Yuba River to escape the midday heat. Photo: Elias Funez
Free Nevada County organizer Eric Christen stands among a group of protesters awaiting outside the Nevada County Board of Supervisor’s meeting that was closed to the public July 28. The group was there to protest a proposed ordinance that would deliver fines of up to $10,000 for businesses and $500 for individuals that choose to defy the state’s coronavirus guidelines. Photo: Elias Funez
A sign posted to the front doors of Friar Tuck’s in Nevada City lets folks know that they plan for in-house dining Wednesday evening despite coronavirus guideline restrictions. Photo: Elias Funez
Members of the Barber Family enjoy a bag of Onyx Theater popcorn while waiting for Saturday night’s movie to start. Movies start at sunset and guests are asked to arrive no later that 8:30 p.m. Photo: Elias Funez
Cal Fire Air Tactical Ground Support Captain Sean Ryan and Battalion Chief David Krussow walk towards the Cal Fire Beechcraft King Air airplane that they have been training in for the past two weeks at the Grass Valley Interagency Air Attack Base. Photo: Elias Funez
Grass Valley’s stay at home fireworks show, held in place of the display usually held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, went off Saturday evening from the Dorsey overpass allowing residents in the Glenbrook Basin and some Nevada City residents to be able to see. Photo: Elias Funez
A group of concerned downtown Grass Valley business owners meets with Grass Valley City Manager Tim Kiser and Community Development Director Tom Last the morning of July 18 to discuss the changes being made to Mill Street. Photo: Elias Funez
Rotary of Nevada City members were out in force July 14 helping to distribute free masks in front of Dave’s Auto Repair in Nevada City. During the first giveaway, vehicles could be seen lined down Zion Street to take part in the free giveaway. Photo: Elias Funez
California Congressman Doug La Malfa stands in front of a gathering of Nevada County business owners and community members upset with the recent set backs to the state’s reopening plan July 14 in front of Old Town Cafe in downtown Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez.
A man holds a sign stating that there is no pandemic, during a Protect Nevada County Students press conference July 30 at Bear River High School. Photo: Elias Funez
A firefighter works swiftly to protect the Smartsville Post Office and other structures threatened during the Smartsville Fire which burned approximately 12 acres July 9.
Bag after bag full of refuse pulled from the Sugarloaf Mountain homeless encampments is rolled down the trail until they can be put into garbage dumpsters July 1. Photo: Elias Funez
Comet Neowise leaves its cosmic tails of dust and ionized gasses in the night sky as it makes its 6,766 year orbit of the sun as viewed from the Jefferson Creek Scenic Overlook off of Highway 20 July 19. The comet was be closest to Earth on July 23 at 64 million miles away. Photo: Elias Funez
Vehicle traffic makes its way along Highway 20 east of Nevada City while the comet Neowise makes its way along the northwestern skyline as viewed from the Jefferson Creek Scenic Overlook. Photo: Elias Funez
Customers and employees at Valentina’s Organic Bistro & Bakery in Grass Valley’s Glenbrook Basin, go about their daily business without face coverings Friday morning despite an order from the Nevada County Environmental Health Department. Photo: Elias Funez
San Francisco’s Kristen Struckmeyer (from left), Allie Epstein and Mac Malone enjoyed a relaxing day on the South Yuba River at the Highway 49 bridge July1. Photo: Elias Funez
Grass Valley’s Bella Holland and Dylan Simmons swim through a rock tunnel of the South Yuba River near the Highway 49 bridge Tuesday. Only people familiar with the underwater hazards of the Yuba should attempt to swim in the tunnels. Photo: Elias Funez
Only charred metal and ash remain where the Cooke’s home once sat in the Newtown community of Nevada County after the Jones Fire burned through in August. Photo: Elias Funez
Cal Fire firefighters watch over the Jones Fire from Highway 49 near Rush Creek, after initiating a firing procedure early in the morning Tuesday Aug. 18. The procedure helped reduce fire fuels before a full day of fighting the fire lay ahead. Photo: Elias Funez
A Cal Fire firefighter initiates a firing procedure where fire fuel is ignited to back burn vegetation down the Yuba River Canyon towards the flames of the Jones Fire Tuesday morning. Photo: Elias Funez
Smoke from the Jones Fire wafts as the fire smolders after burning nearly 500 acres on day one of the incident Monday Aug. 17. Photo: Elias Funez
The flames from the Jones Fire consume vegetation throughout the first night of the fire Monday. 500 acres burned Monday including a handful of homes and outbuildings. Photo: Elias Funez
The wooden flume structure of the Independence Trail can be seen burning from the Jones Fire as seen from Highway 49 Aug 17. Photo: Elias Funez
Cal Fire firefighters initiate a firing procedure to back burn fire fuel to the front lines of the Jones Fire Tuesday morning along Highway 49. Photo: Elias Funez
Flames from the Jones Fire burn near a bench along the Independence Trail Aug 19. Photo: Elias Funez
Deer Creek Elementary kindergarten teacher Vanessa Lackey prepares her classroom for the first day of classes Aug. 13 in Nevada City. The school is offering in class and distance education options. About 30 percent of the students are taking part solely in distance learning from Deer Creek Elementary. Photo: Elias Funez
The doors of Reliance Hose Co. No. 3 were opened during the traditional bell ringing ceremony held Aug. 30 to honor the passing of former Grass Valley Chief John Straka, who was chief from 1981 to 1985 and helped pave the way for the Grass Valley Fire Department. Photo: Elias Funez
Community Relations Coordinator Jamal Walker and Chief Alex Gammelgard share a few words as they walk along Mill Street Friday morning Aug 29.
A vehicle sits on the side of Highway 49, severed in half after a vehicle collision Aug. 4. The driver survived this wreck. Photo: Elias Funez
Vehicle traffic along the Golden Center Freeway can be seen driving into a shroud of smoke Saturday Sept. 13 between Grass Valley and Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
Staff Sgt. Cody Rice is shown his new adaptive home in Penn Valley, given to him through the Homes for Our Troops program. Photo: Elias Funez
WWII Veteran and USS Arizona survivor Lou Conter was given a hero’s birthday salute Saturday morning Sept. 12 in front of his home at Grass Valley’s Eskaton Village. The 99 year old Conter was greeted by hundreds that drove by in their vehicles to wish the hero happy birthday. Photo: Elias Funez
About 60 protesters gathered along Brunswick Road in front of Rise Gold’s access to the Idaho Maryland Mine Sept. 17 to show their opposition to the corporation’s plans to re-open the gold mine. Photo: Elias Funez
Downtown Grass Valley’s latest mural takes shape alongside Sourdough and Co. at 121 Neal Street. Artist Ursula Young says that her mural depicting Lola Montez and a Sierra-scape with old Grass Valley buildings, is slated to be completed later that day Sept. 24. Photo: Elias Funez
A pair of drive-in movie goers take in Tuesday night’s family and children’s film shorts atop a vehicle at the Nevada County Fairgrounds Sept. 2. Photo: Elias Funez
Pastor Cathy Love started at Grass Valley United Methodist Church in March when indoor services were suspended and has yet to perform a service in the church’s sanctuary. Photo: Elias Funez
Misti Wood (center) with mother Robin Wood, are approached by members of the American Legion Post 130 following Saturday’s Remembrance Day ceremony Sept. 28. Wood held a service flag in memory of father/husband Dale Wood, who was a Navy Seabee that died in May and had yet to have a memorial service due to Covid-19. Photo: Elias Funez
Tree sitters peacefully protest PG&E’s decision to cut down a Nevada City heritage tree Sept. 18. Many joined in the fight to protect more than 200 trees in Nevada City slated to be cut down by PG&E. The heritage tree was eventually cut down though the group was able to save part of one tree. Photo: Elias Funez
Hundreds of people showed up Saturday evening Sept. 28 to Nevada City’s Robinson Plaza where a vigil was held to honor black lives lost since the death of George Floyd, including Breonna Taylor. Photo: Elias Funez
An attendee of the Black lives lost vigil wears a mask depicting Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville Kentucky March 13.
Nevada City Police Officers were close at hand during Saturday’s Black lives lost vigil, to be able to diffuse any potential issues with counter protesters. Photo: Elias Funez
Nevada City Police officers were on hand to diffuse any potential altercations between peaceful protesters and potential counter protesters Sept. 28 at the Black lives lost vigil in Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
Hundreds of community members showed up to Robinson Plaza in Nevada City for Saturday evening’s vigil to honor black lives lost. Photo: Elias Funez
A live interactive dance party courtesy the band Pop Rocks, is streamed from the stage at the Center for the Arts’ Virtual Gala Saturday Sept. 21 where $75,000 worth of items were auctioned off to help purchase equipment for the center. Winners of the night’s final prize won attendance to the live streamed performance for $2,500. Photo: Elias Funez
Nevada City comedian Jori Phillips headlines a mid October local standup comic show at the Miner’s Foundry’s outdoor Deer Creek Stage set up in the back parking lot. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks don their face masks while seated at their tables for added precaution. The outdoor and socially distant events at the Miners Foundry ask folks to wear their masks when up from their tables, going inside to order drinks, or using the restroom. Photo: Elias Funez
Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning 9th grader Ella Lock, works on her science work from one of about 30 socially distant work spaces inside of the Main Street Center Building of the Nevada County Fairgrounds Oct.28. Photo: Elias Funez
Student Ella Lock works on her science work Wednesday from the new student work space set up inside of the main building at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Photo: Elias Funez
Grass Valley’s Lisa Malsam drops her ballot off in the lobby of the Eric Rood Administrative Center Friday morning Oct. 16. Photo: Elias Funez
Used and broken electronics fill up a portion of the Mt. St. Mary’s School parking lot during an e-waste recycling event Oct. 10.
Nevada City’s Diane Cross gets her free drive-thru flu shot with the help of nurse Elise Zink Oct. 20 at Chapa-De Indian Health clinic in Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
By this time each year, former Nevada City Mayor and Councilwoman Evans Phelps’ Pine Street home is adorned with every different kind of ghost, ghoul, and goblin decoration imaginable. This year, Phelps’ yard will sit vacant and dark, with only a sign stating “Covid killed Halloween Boohoo” in front of her house. Photo: Elias Funez
Random Acts of Kindness volunteers helped load over 100 truck loads of firewood that will help 160 seniors stay warm through Gold Country Senior Services senior firewood program Oct. 4. Photo: Elias Funez
A Mountain F. Enterprises tree climber uses a chainsaw to cut a portion of a limb from “Bella” the blue Atlas cedar that was cut down at the request of PG&E Thursday Oct. 22 at Broad and Bennett Streets in Nevada City. Photo: Elias Funez
Whats left of “Bella” the beloved blue Atlas cedar, is cut and toppled by PG&E workers Oct. 22 at the corner of Bennet and Broad Streets in Nevada City. An arborist had determined that there was a cavity within the tree and that it was not worth saving. Photo: Elias Funez
A tree sitter referred to as Tarzan, peacefully protests PG&E’s decision to cut this tree and others in Nevada City’s Pioneer Cemetery Oct. 30 as police and PG&E workers gather below. Photo: Elias Funez
Tess Athena and Iskandar Sexto pay their respects to the 160 year old Blue Atlas Cedar at the corner of Broad and Bennett Street in Nevada City Oct. 21. Photo: Elias Funez
Deciduous trees along Spring Hill Drive in Grass Valley have begun to show signs of the changing season as temperatures begin to drop this week and feel more like fall. Photo: Elias Funez
Sunlight breaks through the trees along Broad Street to illuminate vines that have begun to turn red for fall. Photo: Elias Funez
The front end of a Grass Valley Police Department cruiser sits smashed in the southbound Highway 49 lanes near McKnight Way Oct. 8, after a wrong way stolen Hansen Bros. vehicle collided with it. Photo: Elias Funez
The suspect involved in a four hour manhunt in the La Barr Meadows Road area is taken into custody off of Allison Ranch Road Thursday afternoon Oct. 8. Photo: Elias Funez
Trick and treat givers along Broad Street came up with this ingenious way to keep socially distant yet still provide candy to passersby on Halloween Saturday evening Oct. 31. Photo: Elias Funez
About a dozen Trump supporters gathered along the corner of Neal Street and South Auburn Streets Nov. 4 to hold a Trump 2020 post election rally for America. Photo: Elias Funez
First time voter, Grass Valley’s Kiave Codianne, works on filling out her ballot Nov. 1 at the vote center set up at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Photo: Elias Funez
Folks craving some of their favorite Nevada County Fair food were able to get their fix from concessions offered by Butler Entertainment during the first weekend of November Photo: Elias Funez
Food Bank of Nevada County Executive Director Nicole McNeely dons a festive hat while helping to fill vehicles with food for the Thanksgiving holiday during Thursday’s weekly drive-thru distribution at Grass Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church. About 1,200 families were served Nov. 19 according to McNeely. Photo: Elias Funez
A young trick-or-treater stands patiently waiting for a piece of candy to come down the chute during Halloween festivities along Broad Street in downtown Nevada City, which was a lot quieter than previous years due to the pandemic. Photo: Elias Funez
A custom made seating arrangement is one of the many personalized pieces of the Holbrooke Hotel which re-opened to the public in early November. Photo: Elias Funez
The main dining hall is available for reservations and private parties at the Holbrooke Hotel. Events, including weddings, have already begun booking for 2021. Photo: Elias Funez
Skyler Monahan-Tonti waves to members of the community that turned up to wish him a happy birthday from in front of his Butler Street home in Grass Valley. Monahan-Tonti turned 33 Thursday Nov. 19. Photo: Elias Funez
Josie Andrews gets her nostrils swabbed by a nurse administering Covid-19 tests at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building Nov. 27. Photo: Elias Funez
Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s Dr. Dawn Harris smiles from under her mask as she gets the first Covid-19 vaccination Tuesday evening Dec. 22 in Grass Valley, one of the first to receive the inoculation in Nevada County. Photo: Elias Funez
Snow from a pair of snow machines installed above Stucki Jewelers along Mill Street help to bring a little holiday cheer to the downtown shopping scene Nov 29. Photo: Elias Funez
Watershed at the Owl’s Erick DaMota, Jackie Smith, and Nicole Thornsbrough, take a break under their outdoor heated pop up tent set up along Mill Street Saturday evening Nov 29. Photo: Elias Funez
Five year old Harte Spiller takes a moment to admire the snowflakes falling in front of Stucki Jewelers in downtown Grass Valley Saturday. Photo: Elias Funez
Stop the steal protesters for President Trump join Back the Blue Nevada County as they march along Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley Nov. 29 prompting a police presence to keep an eye on the event. Photo: Elias Funez
Fall colors have hit the South Yuba River as seen from the Highway 49 bridge over the weekend where a lone cottonwood tree sticks out with its yellowed leaves.
Folks peruse through the many different vendor booths during Saturday’s first Winter Market of the cold weather farmers market season Dec. 6. Photo: Elias Funez
United States Coast Guard retired, Claude Hessel salutes the flag during the playing of taps at the Wreaths Across America ceremony held Dec. 20 at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Grass Valley. Photo: Elias Funez
U.S. Air Force Chaplian, Captain Patrick Bracken active duty, and U.S. Coast Guard Claude Hessel retired, say the names of Phelan and Bankus as they place wreaths and salute the graves following the Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 20. Photo: Elias Funez