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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Reporter's Notebook published Jan. 12, 2013

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Reporter's Notebook published Jan. 12, 2013

A not-so-consenting agenda for Board of Supervisors

Roger Gitlin kicked off his first meeting as a Del Norte County supervisor Tuesday by pulling an item off the consent agenda that would otherwise have been voted on without discussion.

The item in question was the renewal of a $3,000 contract between the county and the Del Norte County Child Care Council to provide child care for clients in the county’s drug and alcohol perinatal treatment program.

The program allows mothers fighting drug and alcohol addiction to get treatment without giving up their child up to the foster care system, said Gary Blatnick, director of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services. The perinatal program is currently funded through state and federal dollars, and 10 women are in the program.

Gitlin said he was concerned the public wasn’t getting its money’s worth since just one child was being taken care of. He asked Blatnick if there were other family members who could provide child care.

“When I took an oath I said I was going to be the guardian of the public trust and it disturbs me that the state is funding up to $3,000 for what appears to be one child right now,” Gitlin said.

Blatnick said there was no relative available to provide child care, and he added that if the mother lost her child to the foster care system, “those public costs far exceed the small investment being made in this child getting the licensed child care and the mother getting treatment. If we didn’t pay for child care we don’t know where that child would be.”

Supervisors voted 3-1 to approve the contract renewal, with Gitlin dissenting and David Finigan absent.

— Jessica Cejnar

It’s now ‘wildlife,’ not ‘game’

The California Department of Fish and Game became the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Jan. 1, as mandated by legislation passed last year.

“The name of the department was changed to better reflect our evolving responsibilities,” said Department Director Charlton H. Bonham. “As our role has grown to meet 21st century expectations, we remain committed to our traditional responsibilities and to honoring our deep roots in California’s natural resources legacy.”

Traditionally known as game wardens, the department’s law enforcement staff will now be called wildlife officers.

Californians will notice new Internet (www.wildlife.ca.gov) and e-mail addresses for department employees. The old URL and email addresses will continue to work indefinitely.

The mission of the department continues to be “to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.”

— Adam Spencer

Discouraging jetty walking

City officials have begun pursuing an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would enable them to cite people who venture onto the north jetty.

After emergency officials were called to the jetty twice last week, once to rescue a man who was swept into the harbor, City Manager Eugene Palazzo, Search and Rescue Coordinator Terry McNamera, Police Chief Doug Plack and Fire Chief Steve Wakefield met.

“Terry’s concern was safety issues with his crews when they’re out doing rescues,” Palazzo said, adding that McNamera is going to contact the Army Corps of Engineers. “He’s going to research that and make that communication with them.”

Despite being the ones to respond to distress calls when people get in over their heads, the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office are unable to cite or fine those who ignore the warning signs because the jetty is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

To be able to issue citations to people who walk out onto the jetty, local authorities would have to request a concurrent jurisdiction agreement with the Corps of Engineers, spokesman Brandon Beach recently said. 

— Jessica Cejnar 

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