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House Calls: Breast-fed babies get head start

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Jeannine Williams-Barnard
House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Jeannine Williams-Barnard, a registered nurse in the Obstetrics Department at Sutter coast Hospital.

The results are in and the outcome is clear: When it comes to feeding your baby, breast is best.

Scientists and medical researchers have been looking closely at this question for years now, and the findings indicate that breast-fed babies enjoy many health advantages.

They are healthier and need fewer doctor visits. They suffer fewer allergies, ear infections, gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, and have fewer hospital stays. Studies have found that they also score slightly higher on IQ tests.

Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for babies. Human milk is uniquely suited for human babies, and has not been duplicated in formulas. 

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that babies be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months. Exclusive breast-feeding means no water supplements, no juices and no foods be added to the baby’s diet. The AAP also recommends that babies continue to receive breast milk for at least the first 12 months, along with the introduction of foods, and longer if the mother and baby are willing.

Breast-feeding is healthier for moms as well. Research has shown that women who have breast-fed a child have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers, and often experience a more rapid return to their pre-pregnant weight.


Coastal Voices: The real story about tsunami-swept steer

We recently read in the Triplicate about the passing of Harold Del Ponte (“Longtime leader dies at age of 96”). We were sorry to hear of his death. However, in reading the story regarding his life, there were discrepancies about the steer who survived the flood.

I have known Harold for over 75 years and my wife has known him since we were married nearly 56
years ago. We bought the Angus cross bull (at that time) from Harold for
$2.50 when the animal was 2 or 3 days old. We took him home to the Glen, where we raised him on a bottle. He became a steer in his early days. 

He was 2 ½ years old when the flood took our home and our animals, leaving us with the clothes we had on and thank God our three little children who were safe. 

The steer that we had named Bahamas survived the flood and came into the harbor in Crescent City. He was rescued by some men there and was very ill from his ordeal. When my wife went to the fishing shack to see if possibly it could be our steer, he stood up for the first time and came to her. 

We were willing to give him to the city of Crescent City so that he would
have a place to live for the rest of his life. However, before that could be done, the rescuers had hired an attorney so that they might keep him. After a lot of controversy over who Bahamas belonged to, Lyle Corliss, the local brand inspector, determined he was in fact our steer.

If it had not been for the help and efforts of Colin Henninger, George and Millie Merriman, Wally Griffin and others at the local papers, we would not have been able to get him back as a principle of the matter. We got him back after paying the rescue fees, vet bills, upkeep and attorney fees (again with Colin’s help).

Later in the process, the rescue fee was returned when the one person who led the rescue was going to receive an award from the National Humane Society.


Reel Deal: Heady times on the rivers

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Noel Shumway of Larkspur landed this hatchery steelhead. Courtesy of Andy Martin / Wild Rivers Fishing
A blast of rain on Thursday brought more chrome steelhead into the Smith River and other North Coast rivers, which is predicted to keep steelhead fishing hot into next week.

The Smith and Chetco are the best local bets, both producing three to six numbers per day, with several 20-plus- pounders being pulled from the Smith.

Smith River

Last week, fishing guides were putting up good numbers with up to five or six per boat on the Smith River, including some large 20-plus-pound steelhead that the jade-colored river is known to produce.

Most guides are continuing to use roe, yarn and fish pills, but fishing guide Jim Mitchell also found plugs last week.

After peaking at nearly 9 feet on Thursday night, the Smith is expected to drop down to 8 feet Sunday night. 

Eel River

If you can make the trip for killer double-digit per boat steelhead fishing, head to the Eel River, which is having a fantastic year, according to Sepulveda.


Church Notebook: Local church activities are plentiful

The other day, someone asked me about “that plant you wrote about last year that you thought was dead.”

 And it dawned on me — it’s February — time for it to start showing again if it has survived those dormant months once  more.

When I got home, I brought the pot out from its resting place to the sunny kitchen window it obviously likes — and sure enough, there were seven tiny leaves peeking up out of the soil. So here we go again.

This little white Gloxinia has been a faithful performer for several years now, and I’ve become very fond of it. Flowers are often given as a symbol of love — and they don’t always have to be bouquets of roses. The Gloxinia was not a gift, but a rescue, a sad specimen that was going to be discarded as unsalable, but given to me for the token price of 50 cents.

Next Thursday is Valentine’s Day — a day dedicated to love. But what is love? A four-letter word with many definitions.

The most important love of all is that which God shows to us. And when I think of how that little flower makes me happy each year, I have to wonder if we are dependable enough to make God happy.

When all is going well, we so often put our faith on the back burner — until some difficulty crops up that we can’t handle, and then we’re ready to exercise faith again. I think there are many times that God is probably pretty disappointed in us.

The Easter season, depending on your denomination, may start as early as this coming Wednesday — known as Ash Wednesday — the day before Valentine’s Day. Between the two, we have a number of things coming up, starting today.


Coastal Voices: Finding Del Norte, my 'forever home'

My husband and I moved to Del Norte County a year and a half ago from San Jose.  I had previously worked as a deputy district attorney both in San Joaquin County and San Benito County, and budget cuts seemed to follow me wherever I went. We came to Del Norte County because I was offered the chance to continue my career as a deputy district attorney. 

We were not sure what to expect moving to a rural city, so far north from everyone we knew. We need not have worried, for Del Norte County embraced us with open arms. Through my work and community service, I truly learned what it meant to live in a small town.

People may say there is nothing to do in a small town, but I disagree. In a small community there is everything to do. I became a board member for the North Coast Marine Mammal Center and worked on several of its fundraising events.

In addition, I became a member of Sunrise Rotary, and just last month was elected to the Board of Directors.  Through Rotary, I became a volunteer for the Schools of Hope. As a volunteer for the Schools of Hope, I dedicate my lunch hour once a week to helping two first grade students learn how to read. The two students always manage to put a smile on my face, and I look forward every week to seeing their progress.

Through Rotary, I met wonderful leaders in our community who serve in many difference capacities. I started attending public meetings. In attending the City Council meetings and Harbor Commission meetings, I saw elected members and volunteers of the community dedicate their time to make Del Norte County a wonderful place to live in.


Vista Point: Pondering our fates at the four-way stop

Let’s talk, you and me, about other drivers. I feel sorry for them. I really do. They’re so much dumber than us.

They can’t remember to use the turn signal because they’re too busy trying to remember where they were supposed to go. 

They think the “three-second rule” refers not to following distance but to how much time it takes to fish a french fry out of their crotch before it leaves a grease spot.

Not even counting themselves, other drivers have to deal with a lot of mental challenges on the road.

One of the worst is clearly the stop sign, which compels the more observant among them to look up from their text messages.

Every time you meet other drivers at an intersection, you can see them struggle with its permutations:

“Hmm. Pedestrians. If they don’t get out of my way, is there a height requirement for the ones I can run over?”

“How far over the stop line do I have to go before I can stop?”

“I know what the Go pedal does, but I’m not sure what the other one’s for.”


California Focus: Immigration: Political landscape has changed

Elections matter, one reason for the immigration reform proposals coming from President Obama and a bipartisan panel of U.S. senators.

Here are a few facts behind those moves: Republican Mitt Romney won among white voters, rich and poor, male and female, by an overall 59-39 percent last November. Because Obama had far larger margins among Latinos, blacks and Asian-Americans, Romney’s strong showing among whites wasn't enough.

Meanwhile, voting by Latinos is on an upswing in many currently safe GOP states like Texas and Georgia, causing freshman Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to observe that unless the GOP does something to win them over, Texas will become Democratic in a decade.

But that’s only part of the picture. It turns out the strong anti-illegal immigrant feeling behind GOP platforms, state and federal, for most of the last 20 years was on the wane long before the fall election.

Before the spring of 2012, legislative action in Arizona and Utah, two states whose governments are firmly controlled by Republicans, saw an uninterrupted flow of precedent-setting moves against illegal immigrants.

Police in Arizona now must stop anyone they so much as suspect of being in this country illegally, and demand documents. All employers there are required to use the national E-Verify system to determine whether any new hire was undocumented.

The results for Arizona have been decidedly mixed so far. The state lost a few conventions to boycotts by liberal-leaning organizations. Thousands of illegal immigrants moved to other states, including an estimated 20,000 coming to California.


Coastal Voices: Things to consider about jetty access

I was very disappointed to see the results of the Triplicate’s online poll regarding whether or not walking onto the jetty should be illegal.

As of this writing, over 60 percent of the voters believe that being out on the jetty should be legal. That being said, I realize that many are unlikely to agree with my opinion. However, I feel that there are aspects of our community’s well-being and safety of which many are unaware.

Let me preface my statement by saying that I think all people should be able to enjoy the beauty that our area has to offer. However, I would ask Crescent City residents to consider the lives of people that have been lost or those who have been injured as a result of being swept off the jetty before you make up your mind as to whether it is worth the risk to continue to lose members of our community to the dangerous conditions (sometimes foreseeable, sometimes not) that occur on the jetty.

Another point to consider is that it is not only the lives of those who walk out onto the jetty that are at risk. We must also consider the lives of those who respond to try to save people once they have been swept into the rough waters. The boating safety deputies and civilian volunteers, the Search and Rescue volunteers, Fire Department volunteers, Coast Guard rescue swimmers and helicopter pilots also put their own lives at risk every time they respond to these types of incidents.

We also have to think about the city and county resources that are used to deploy police officers, deputies, fire rescue resources, and paramedics to the scene.

As a part-time dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Department, I am able to observe that these incidents do not occur within a bubble. They are happening at the same time that your mother is having difficulty breathing, your son gets in a car accident, or your house gets burglarized.

Many times, the resources that would ordinarily be dispatched immediately in such circumstances are delayed due to the fact that our dispatch center (staffed by one person) is trying to dispatch Search and Rescue, boating safety, etc., at the same time that we are trying to answer your 911 call for assistance.


Secret sister identities revealed today

The national news just keeps getting worse — every day, there seems to be another shooting, too often with  children as the victims.

If ever there was a time to embrace our faith, it is now.  Throughout our history, we have had memorable preachers and musicians who focused on our need for faith to sustain us in hard times. Those folks back in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote some of the most wonderful  hymns, and each one has a story.

Here’s another  of one of my favorites, one that I can never sing enough, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

The words were written by Civilla D. Martin, a Canadian music schoolteacher who married an evangelist. They were inspired by a visit to an older couple in upstate New York, in 1905.

The couple were both handicapped, but managed to present a happy outlook despite their situation. Civilla asked them how they were able to do so, and was told by the wife, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.”

Those words became the seed for the song, and after completing the words, she sent them to famous Gospel composer Charles Gabriel, who set them to music. Not only are the words inspiring, but the melody is just beautiful. Take a look in your church hymnal — you just might find it — and then sing it!

• This morning, the ladies of New Life Community Church will include a Secret Sister revealing party with their 9 a.m. monthly meeting. They will learn who their sisters have been for the past year, and draw the name of their new sister for the coming year. Small gifts and encouragement given anonymously, once a month, and attempts to guess the identity of the giver throughout the year make for fun and fellowship.


House Calls: The family that cooks together...

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Amira Long and her girls.
House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Amira Long.

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend afternoon with my daughters is cooking.

I really feel that little ones need to learn how to do things when they’re interested and not when they’re “old enough,” so Helena, 5, was learning the same things as Sophie, 7, right next to her at the counter. There is a lot of learning to be had in cooking.

One of the first things they start to learn, without even realizing they are learning, is math. We measure things all the time. I always ask them to help me find measurements on the side of our measuring cup. Helena only recognizes whole numbers right now, so I ask her to find “1, 2” if I want ½, for instance.

We also do a lot of counting when we add ingredients — whether it’s three cups, two eggs, or “one big spoon and one little spoon” of vanilla. We count pieces of carrot as we put them into the pot. We talk about time and watch our kitchen timer count down the minutes until our rolls will be ready to come out of the oven.

In addition to learning math, they’re also learning science. Some of their questions knock my socks off. “Why did the dough get big?” (After we let our pizza dough rise.) “What made it turn brown?” (When we pulled muffins from the oven.)  “How hot does the water have to get before it makes steam?” 

All very good questions that I tried to give very simple answers to. “The yeast is like little guys. They ate the sugar and had to burp. See all of the burp bubbles in this dough that weren’t there before?” 

And, “Remember the butter and eggs we put into the batter? They have something called proteins. When proteins get very hot, like in our oven, they turn brown. If we kept letting them cook, they would burn and turn black.”


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