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Updated 4:21pm - Jul 26, 2016

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Coastal Voices: Gitlin takes out the trash, leads fight for Last Chance

We’d like to thank Del Norte County District 1 Supervisor Roger Gitlin for his immediate response to our request that the trash on U.S. 101 North be removed ASAP.

 Last summer, we had watched litter accumulate through the entire tourist season. Both sides of the freeway and the median were just covered. It seriously looked like a third world country. Right in the middle of it was an ‘Adopt a Highway’ sign that read “Highway maintained by Redwood National Park employees.”

I called RNP several times but to no avail. Then, I called Roger Gitlin as I had seen him and a group of volunteers picking up litter in the area from the breakwall and B Street pier to the harbor beaches. I also saw the trashed area from the Washington St. off ramp to the Wal Mart parking lot flushed out and cleaned up.


Coastal Voices: Tolowa Dunes a blind spot for cops, politicians

Yes, Tolowa Dunes State Park is being trashed south of the parking lots (Triplicate, April 2) and this has been going on for a long, long time.

A besieged neighborhood, parking lot break-ins, poaching, extreme environmental damage and volleys of gunfire and constant ATV marauding are the norm, and these major problems have historically been ignored by “don’t care” law enforcement agencies and politicians.

I’m an amatuer naturalist, one of a loose group of people who hike the area, and I began keeping a daily log of dunes damage on Jan. 7, motivated by the poaching of a buck whose backstraps alone were taken. I also wrote a letter to Supervisor Martha McClure in which I outlined some of the problems and requested help.


Another View: Reason can't explain everything

Last Sunday, 2.2 billion people around the globe celebrated the greatest miracle in history, an event the average, rational, sane person would classify as an utter impossibility — a dead man coming back to life after being sealed in a tomb for three days.

I didn’t believe in miracles until I witnessed one that couldn’t be explained away. My mother was 72 years old and had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. A malignant, egg-sized tumor was lodged in the airway between her lungs. Her doctor said it was inoperable and she’d be lucky to last six months. In the 1940s, she’d been a nurse on a TB ward. Tuberculosis had damaged her lungs, as had her years of heavy smoking.

My husband, kids and I were staying at her house in south Texas at the time, on the Mexican border, where the population was about 99 percent Mexican and Mexican-American. We were attending a church of around 200 where we were one of the few gringo families. There were tambourines available for everyone in the congregation who wanted to do something besides sing and clap hands during the praise and worship time. Musical accompaniment was provided by a large mariachi band that included trombones, trumpets, standing base fiddles, drums, violins, violas and guitars. The sound produced by the musicians, singers and tambourine pounders was so exuberant, I sometimes felt sure it would blow the roof off.


Coastal Voices: Fantastic treatment received at Sutter

I was a guest of Sutter Coast Hospital for several days last week. I am an 84-year-old woman and it appears I will be around to celebrate my 85th birthday thanks to the excellent treatment I received there.

I was transported by Del Norte Ambulance to the hospital emergency room. On arrival I was told by Julia, a registered nurse, that I would be seeing a young, very smart doctor named Dr. Torrey. She was right. Dr. Torrey had me admitted to the hospital.

After four days stay I have a long list of people to thank and no complaints. I can’t mention everyone’s name as there isn’t enough room on this page but I haven’t forgotten any of your smiling faces.


Coastal Voices: How the community stopped Sutter Health's attempt to grab ownership

It’s been five years since Sutter Health first tried to transfer ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital out of Del Norte County. Now, Sutter’s biggest lies are finally unraveling.

This is the story of how our community stood up to the 800 pound gorilla known as Sutter Health, and won. Today, thanks to grassroots community opposition, Sutter Health has failed to complete its plans to take ownership and downsize our locally owned hospital.

Remember the big lie about Sutter Coast needing to downsize to Critical Access in order to be profitable? Sutter Coast spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a carefully crafted PR campaign to convince our community that Critical Access was a financial necessity.


Another View: There is more to Easter than candy, eggs

When I was a kid, Easter was all about sweets — chocolate bunnies and marshmallow eggs, peeps and jelly beans. But now I find it bittersweet.

Death lends some bitterness to it. If Jesus hadn’t died and risen from the dead, there would be nothing to celebrate.

Though pagan fertility symbols like eggs and rabbits may be bitterly reviled by some Christians, I think they’re sweet. Eggs and rabbits, after all, bring forth abundant life through chicks and baby bunnies, just as Jesus brings forth abundant life through his resurrection.


Another View: Letís make homelessness a felony

While writing about homelessness a few years ago, I decided to try living homeless, for accuracy’s sake. I chose a city 100 miles away and left everything behind except my trusty old Honda, a half tank of gas, and the clothes on my back. My days were spent panhandling — a deeply humiliating exercise — and visiting underfunded social service agencies, churches and charities. Sleeping in the backseat of my car was so cold and cramped, I caught very few winks. 

Sleep deprivation and the lack of a home base severely disoriented me. I felt confused, forgetful, frightened and utterly low. I hadn’t realized it was possible to feel so discombobulated. After a hellish week that seemed like a year, I gave up and drove back home to avoid further mental disintegration.


Coastal Voices: People of Curry stand with Del Norters in health care fight

Hello from the other side…

We number over 14,000. We are the majority of the Curry County population. We are old and young. We are wealthy and poor. We have Medicare and insurance. A large number are veterans, and a significant percentage are Native American.


Coastal Voices: They say itís your (65th)birthday

One of the many positive things about turning 65 is the realization that you can start receiving Medicare benefits. Some people celebrate their 65th for that reason alone. Knowing that you will have a greater share of your medical insurance financially taken care of is definitely something to feel good about. 

However, what many people don’t know is that you have to apply for Medicare in order to get it if you are not already receiving Social Security benefits. If you don’t, there can be a penalty.


Community stops Sutter's downsizing plan, for now

This article tells a success story — how our community halted Sutter Health’s plan to downsize Sutter Coast Hospital to a Critical Access hospital — and how the Del Norte Healthcare District seeks your input on how we can continue to improve local health care.  

You may recall that the Sutter Coast Hospital board of directors voted in 2013 to downsize Sutter Coast to Critical Access status. Thousands of residents opposed the plan because it would greatly increase Sutter’s charges to our local Medicare patients, force more patients to be transferred elsewhere for hospital care, limit the number of days patients could stay at Sutter Coast, and cut the number of acute care hospital beds in half.

In addition, it is a fact that Critical Access hospitals have higher mortality rates.


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