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Sutter well aware that it must serve ‘public benefit’

As Del Norte County learns of the report to the Hospital Board of Directors by the Camden Group, it is well worth considering the implications of the next steps, as well as recent events.

The Steering Committee for the Camden Group, about which much has been written, finished its part of the work last week, and the report has been made ready for review by the Hospital Board as of Tuesday.

The members of the Steering Committee initially opted for confidentiality, but at the last meeting of the committee those present unanimously voted to allow their participation to be made public.  Three of those members are physicians — Sandy Saunders, Nikki Schwartz and myself — and between us we have over 35 years of experience working in this community.  All three of us have been officers for the medical staff of the hospital, and two of us have been chief of staff.

I think it is safe to say we three have a front-line view of the operation of Sutter Coast, under both the current conditions, as well as past decades.

Over the past two years our community has had intense discussions of the issues concerning Sutter Coast hospital, some of which are very real and some of which have turned out to be unfounded.

Dr. Greg Duncan, our current chief of staff, has, with the vocal assistance of several other physicians, waged a very effective campaign to bring the issues to public attention. The result of that campaign has been replacement of the CEO of Sutter Coast, a hold on the decision to join the West Bay Region of Sutter Health, and the creation of the strategic options study by the Camden Group.


Coastal Voices: The ratepayers don’t have endless pockets

Why do we have to hear and read City Council members not tell the whole truth?

I am ‘on the record’ (i.e. recorded) at a city council meeting insisting that Councilmen Ron Gastineau and Richard Holley provide their constituents a public apology.

Why? As I stated then, and is still true, both of their articles published as Coastal Voices in this paper (Oct. 4 and Oct. 7, respectively) are incomplete, I believe misleading, and possibly deceptive.  

As adults we know we can not survive without water.  We know we want it delivered reliably, immediately, inexpensively and clean.   

The water rate-payers served by the Crescent City Water department, whether city or county residents, have paid their bills to assure they get this service. 

For the future, the city would like to adjust the inexpensive idea.  In both councilmen’s articles they have presented the rate increase as 60 percent.

Reality is, the 60 percent is increase one of five!  Most water rates will approximately double by July 2015. That is 100 percent in 19 months!

Therefore, I believe the councilmen’s statements are at best, incomplete and misleading. If you agree and are a property owner served by city water, please protest today!


Coastal Voices: State election system tinkering not over yet

Picture this happening in 2016, when California holds its next presidential primary election:

The Democrats have already determined their candidate for the White House before the campaign arrives in the Golden State, but the Republicans have not. Now imagine that Democrats can vote for any presidential candidate they like, regardless of party. So millions of them vote in the GOP primary, selecting the candidate they think will be easiest to beat in November.

Because the state GOP gives all its national convention delegates to whoever gets the most votes here, that means the candidate Democrats believe weakest now could get the single largest pot of convention delegates and become the prohibitive favorite to be the fall candidate.

Sound unlikely? Well, it could happen if an initiative now in the works qualifies for next fall’s ballot and passes.

Yes, it’s not quite two years since the first widespread trial of California’s “top-two” primary election system that sees the two leading candidates in any first-round election make the runoff, even if they belong to the same political party. It’s also not even two years since the initial crop of legislators and members of Congress were chosen from districts drawn for the first time by a nonpartisan citizens commission.

But the tinkering with California’s election system goes on. The latest proposal is for a “blanket” presidential primary listing all candidates together, regardless of party, with voters of all parties – or no party – able to vote for whomever they like.


Grace Lutheran hosts Harvest Festival

A lot of those pretty yellow leaves on the maple trees are starting to drift across the yard the past few days. And it’s definitely colder. Not my cup of tea, and partly why I moved back to Crescent City.

The last couple winters have seemed colder to me, but maybe that’s just old age creeping in. At least I’m not someplace where the next thing to expect is snow!

As I’ve said before, I’d welcome a couple inches of the stuff on Christmas morning — as long as it was gone by the next day. Of course, I have no say in the matter, and have to bear with whatever we get. And it all has its proper place, orchestrated by someone who knows much better than me.

This time of year, things start getting busier, and we have lots more to tell you about this week.

It all starts Sunday.

• Redwoods Family Worship Center invites you to attend a one-day conference with Rev. Sherlock Bally, evangelist and end-times teacher. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Prophecy is definitely an interesting topic these days, especially when you view the current news through the lens of Biblical scripture — like, for example, Isaiah 17:1 about Damascus!

• Friday, Nov. 1, Temple Beth Shalom will hold sabbath services at 7 p.m. at the Curry Coastal Pilot building in Brookings, led by Rabbi Les Scharnberg. Then the class on the 613 commandments will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Temple Beth Shalom in Crescent City.


Coastal Voices: Obama treated like king, not president

We are $17 trillion in debt.

It no longer matters how much of that debt was “inherited.” This president has managed to raise it almost $7 trillion in 5 years!

Regarding his Oct. 17 letter to the editor (“Congress puts own goals ahead of nation’s welfare”), I don’t know how old Craig Johnson is, or where he went to school, but I was taught all about the U.S. Constitution, the whys and wherefores of the writers.

I was taught how the three branches of our government, legislative, executive, and judicial work, and it does not work when you elevate the executive one-third to some level just short of majesty.  The legislative one-third has two sections, the House and the Senate.

The House, not the Senate and especially not the executive branch, is responsible for the “purse strings.” It passes the bills, to pay the bills, and forwards them to the Senate, where they are supposed to be debated, amended if deemed necessary, and sent back to the House for further consideration, working with the Senate for the good of the country.  Or if the Senate agrees, sent to the president for his signature or veto.

Harry Reed has “tabled” almost every bill recently sent to the Senate for discussion. Refusing to even let the Senate read them, much less discuss them. Bills were sent to fund everything necessary for the common good, before they were shut down by the president.

Just as with sequestering, he or his minions decided where to hurt the public the most. Whose idea was it to deny WWII vets access to their own monument? The National Mall is usually wide open 24/7. Whose idea was it to allow an  alien amnesty rally, with its stage, speakers, and music on the same grounds that were denied to the vets?


Church Notebook: Bethel Christian welcomes back senior pastors

 It looks like it’s actually going to make it!  I was doubtful at first, but that gloxinia now has at least three buds and apparently will bloom soon.

Different things in our lives can be like that, too. We make wonderful plans for our lives, and sure enough, something comes along and disrupts them. Sometimes, it really turns things upside down.

My plans, early on, were to become a doctor. I just needed to be accepted for premed, and win that scholarship. Got the college acceptance — but my best friend won the scholarship.

I became a wife and mother of six instead — and went to nursing school when No. 6 went to kindergarten.

So I still ended up caring for people, just in a different capacity. One never knows — and now I volunteer at the hospital, and write this column. You just never can be sure how it will all shake out!

But through all those changes, one thing was the same — my faith. Oh, at times it was stretched pretty thin, until I realized that I had to really hang onto it good and tight. Then, no matter how frustrating things can get, it still goes better!

• Bethel Christian Center will welcome back senior pastors Santos and Alice from Las Vegas for a special day of ministry Sunday.


California Focus: New law could threaten vote-counting reliability

Suddenly this fall, a potential threat has emerged to the vote-counting reliability Californians have enjoyed for the last six years.

This comes from a new law just signed without hoopla by Gov. Jerry Brown, who listed it among 30 signings and five vetoes in a press release.

Here’s the possible threat: This measure will allow the California secretary of state to approve new electronic voting systems that have received no certification at all for use in actual elections. It also ends a long-standing requirement that all electronic voting systems be certified at the federal level before they’re used here and allows counties to develop their own voting systems.

This bill cried out for a veto from Brown, considering the problems encountered by electronic voting systems during much of the last decade. Comprehensive testing demonstrated that many could be hacked, with the possibility that programming might be inserted so that – for one example – when a voter touched a screen favoring one candidate, the vote actually went to someone else.

No one ever proved that such hacking occurred in a real election, but the machines’ hardware and software could make this kind of cheating virtually undetectable. Some Democrats have long believed cheating of that kind occurred in Ohio in 2004. They note that the head of a firm called Diebold Election Systems co-chaired the Ohio campaign of Republican President George W. Bush and promised he would never allow 2004 Democratic challenger John Kerry to take that state.


House Calls: Infection prevention and you

House Calls runs monthly. Today’s column is written by Deanna Russell, ICU supervisor and “Infection Preventionist” at Sutter Coast Hospital.

October is “National Infection Prevention” month and the kickoff for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Flu Vaccination season (October 2013–March 2014).

It is a perfect time to learn techniques to help you stay healthy at home, in a health-care setting, local schools and everywhere. 

These healthy prevention tips come from the National Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC) http://consumers.site.apic.org/infection-prevention-in/everywhere-else/. 

Staying healthy at home

Don’t bring infections home to your family. Follow these steps to ensure you create and maintain a healthy and infection-free environment:

• Wash or sanitize your hands after you come home from public places. Wash hands before preparing food, before eating, between handling uncooked fruit and vegetables and raw meats, and after toilet use.

• Use safe-cooking practices. Foodborne illnesses frequently arise from poor food preparation and dining habits.

 


Church Notebook: ‘Outreach in Park’ donations sought

Seventh-day Adventist Church putting on vegetarian cooking class

Ghosts and goblins, black cats and bats — we have no difficulty in recognizing the next “holiday” on the calendar.

But this is one fraught with controversy, because some churches put thumbs down on this one, while others have parties to keep the kids off the streets.

Whatever your view on this one, it’s sure to be challenged in the next couple of weeks.

We do celebrate that day at my house, but for a different reason — it’s my birthday.

It’s another of those times, however, that we need to be more cautious driving, and to keep our ears tuned for trouble.

Kids are excited and running from house to house to collect treats. They don’t look where they are going, and oftentimes those cute costumes they’re wearing obscure their vision — so it’s up to us to keep them safe.

The other negative aspect, sadly, is that these days predators are a concern, and events like we see on Halloween can make youngsters more vulnerable. Even if we don’t personally have kids out there making the rounds, other people do, and I think we should all want to keep them safe.


E & P: A new appreciation for DNHS coaches

Today’s the first day on the job for the Triplicate’s new sports editor, Michael Zogg, who just arrived from Iowa.

That’s good news for readers who follow the Warriors and have perhaps noticed that the coverage has been a bit spare in the past month as various news staffers have filled in here and there. Three different people have covered football games, for example. Fortunately, whatever the sport, the words have still been accompanied by Bryant Anderson’s fine photos when Del Norte plays at home.

I’ve been part of the makeshift arrangement, and one thing I’ll take from it is a stronger appreciation of the dedicated coaches who lead our young athletes. I’ve interviewed several of them by phone after a contest, and whether they were celebrating victory or looking for the positives in a defeat, their knowledge of the sport and their empathy for their players was obvious.

We’re lucky to have them, and these conversations have reinforced my belief that the athletic opportunities afforded to our kids — from youth sports to high school varsity competition — are an important part of what makes this a good place to live.

Have fun with them, Michael.

Covering the prison

Once again, reporters came from far and wide to tour Pelican Bay State Prison last week in the wake of a hunger strike protesting the indeterminate terms many inmates serve in Security Housing Units.


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