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With ’12 in mirror, still a beautiful world

I just took my nightly ride along Pebble Beach up to Point St. George and back, the muse now calling once again.

The Christmas season never fails to open up certain literary portals, this year being no different. Ubiquitously,  Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar arrived, along with O’Henry’s young newlyweds, among them, Bedsworth with his inimitable talent of converting life’s sourest lemons into lemonade.

Somewhere in the pitch dark and gale winds, just south of Fran and Terry McNamara’s cattle grate, I find myself thinking of another lawyer, weary and longing to leave something akin to Sandburg’s footprints in the sand. I think of this man named Max,  scrawling in pen, on a rainy night in Terre Haute, Ind., in 1927.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Which brings to mind a story about a young man just up the road apiece, 70 or so miles north of Brookings. Jake, I’ll call him, was just home from serving in Afghanistan and working at the family gas station and convenience store. A  young couple in a packed-up, ’71 Dodge Tradesman van pulled in.  Jake, ever friendly, struck up a conversation, asking where they were headed.

The man, near Jake’s age, said they were headed south, looking for a new place to live, saying good riddance to the town in their rear view mirror.

When Jake asked what their town was like, the young man and his wife intermittently scowled, saying the police were always hassling them to turn down their stereo  or tone down the  cussing and fighting. There was no night life. There was no place to shop and no jobs worth taking. When the driver finally tired and asked Jake what his town  was like, Jake just shook his head, shrugged and said, “Pretty much the same.”

A couple hours later, a fifth wheel with a shiny Airstream pulled up. A husband and wife, senior citizens. Jake asked them where they were going. The lady said they were retired and had just sold their home back up the road and had decided to see America while they “were young.”

Waiting for the tanks to fill, Jake asked what their hometown had been like.  The man replied, “Well, it was kinda quiet, not much to do at night, but we had good friends we kept up with, we had the ocean and the rivers for fishing and camping and  Lord, raising four kids — between helping with their homework, carting them to their school games and scouting events — heck, by day’s end we were tired enough.”

As the pump stopped, Darlene asked Jake what his hometown here was like.  Jake smiled and replied, “Pretty much the same, ma’am.”

Which brings me back to Bedsworth and what he taught me almost 30 years ago and again this year, about how most things in this life are kinda like Rohrschach tests, lemons if you will, that can end up sour as all get-out — or lemonade if you just take the time to make it.


Church Notebook: New Year’s Eve service on tap

The year is almost over.

For the longest time, it seemed to drag — probably because winter and then spring lasted so long we hardly had any summer.

But with the cold months also come those holidays that, while they chill the body, they warm the heart with family gatherings and friendly get-togethers.

I used to dread the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays because my family was so far away that we could not be together. But over the past few years, one of my daughters, and the son of another daughter, have moved to Crescent City. It is so nice not to be living here alone anymore.

Of course, it was my own fault. I fell in love with Crescent City the first time we lived here, 30 some years ago. Ten years ago, the pull was just too much, and I came back. Of the four states and many towns I’ve lived in, only one other comes close in my heart, and that is Abilene, Texas. Some of my family still live there, including my newest great-grandson Josiah.

Holidays, especially the more family-oriented ones like these, often result in depression for folks who have lost loved ones. That absence hits all the harder during Christmas. People often feel that no one else understands, and feel more and more alone.

• At the Crescent City United Methodist Church, Pastor Carol provides a grief support meeting on Wednesday evenings. All in need are welcome to attend.

• The Seventh-day Adventist Church on Northcrest is again presenting the seminar, “Depression — The Way Out.”

The public is invited to the free introductory DVD presentation at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8. This session will be an overview of the nine-week program (meeting once weekly), so you can decide if this might be something you would find helpful. The initial session will provide a lot of helpful information.


Coastal Voices: KRECR responds to serious fiscal challenges

School to close its Klamath campus 

As chairman of the Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods (KRECR) School Council, I’m writing to explain our serious financial situation, our response to it, and to highlight our commitment to educational excellence.

KRECR is a small charter school. For the past six years, we have served around 40 students a year. Knowing there was broader interest in our educational model, this year we opened a larger campus in Crescent City. Many families enrolled their children, boosting our enrollment to 126. 

We have learned through experience-won knowledge that the four components to a thriving school are community, social/emotional, teaching/learning and administration/financial. We now recognize that we have focused our talent and energy on building a positive school environment that meets students’ needs to the detriment of our financial operations.

This year, I’m happy to say we have straightened out our books. With clarity comes reality. We discovered we had made a serious accounting error and mixed restricted and unrestricted funds in response to cash flow challenges.

Accountability and sustainability are integral components of cash flow. Cash flow challenges are indicative of every school, especially in these dire financial times. This error failed to accurately reveal our operating shortfall. As such, KRECR is facing a deficit of $163,380 this school year. This may seem daunting, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to students, parents and/or guardians and are taking decisive action to address this serious fiscal challenge. We do have the ability to respond to this concern.


House Calls: The risk of pneumonia, flu going up

 

House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Doron Andrews, a respiratory therapist at Sutter Coast Hospital.

Now that winter has come upon us and the rain has finally stormed its way in, many of us are considering staying inside to avoid the weather.

While most of us stock up for the cold season with hand sanitizer and vitamin C, there are other things we should stay aware of.  This time of the year is also known as flu and pneumonia season.

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season. Most people are ill with the flu for only a few days, but some get much sicker and require hospitalization. Imagine all off a sudden you start to feel exhausted, dehydrated, and unable to take in a full breath of air without feeling pain. If this sounds somewhat familiar, it’s no longer the flu or cold you’re fighting against, you have pneumonia.  Today I’ll remind you of the signs, symptoms and some preventative measures you can take for both the flu and pneumonia.     

 

 


Faith: Time to celebrate our faith and hope

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Father Adam Kotas
 Christmas season brings reminder that there is always a place to find hope 

The following was written by Father Adam Kotas of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Crescent City.

Right before Christmas for the past few years a group of atheists puts up billboards in many states that read in part, “why are you celebrating Christmas, don’t you know it is all just a myth?”

My response to these self-proclaimed atheists is, “try living without the Christmas message of hope in times of trouble, in times of trial, in times of sickness, in times of death, in times of suffering!”

I feel sadness for the people behind these billboards for I know firsthand the results of atheism in the life of a person, a country, and the destruction it causes in the life of a family. I know this because I grew up under an atheistic system in my native Poland that strove to remove God from people’s lives.

 


Coastal Voices: A look at what the city accomplished

As your outgoing mayor for 2011/2012, I want to thank the community and my fellow City Council members for the honor bestowed upon me and highlight some of the projects we have achieved together:

Last year’s Christmas celebration started off the season with Santa landing in a helicopter dazzling kids of all ages thanks to the Business Improvement District efforts.

Former Mayor Charles Slert unexpectedly resigned, bringing us Rick Holley in an appointment to the City Council.

The city became more involved with the California League of Cities Redwood Empire Division, and I was appointed to the Legislative Committee, Richard Enea continued his appointment to the Public Safety Committee and we attended the quarterly conferences in Lakeport, Eureka and hosted the meeting here in July offering us an opportunity to showcase the city with tours of the area and facilities in addition to becoming involved with the Coastal Cities group in an effort to work in a more homogeneous nature with the California Coastal Commission and the amendments to our Local Coastal Plan.


Vista Point: DN place to be after apocalypse

Beware of nukes. Beware of zombies. Beware of too much of a good thing, and beware of the consequences of not enough.

About 10 years ago, an in-law relative of mine bought a small second home in extreme southeast Idaho. It was, he figured, the safest spot within reasonable driving distance of his home to be in the event of a nuclear bombardment of the United States.

Personally, I’m not losing any sleep over thermonuclear war, but I confess to a certain kind of what-if doomsday thinking of my own. 


Artisan Cuisine: Keep warm with French onion soup

When I owned a cafe in Brookings, the No. 1 item requested and served was French onion soup.

I started the day before slicing onions into thin rings, as thin as I could get them with my mandolin. You can get thin slices with a good knife too. Either way, be careful and take precautions not to slice your fingers.

Since I was making a lot of them I would caramelize my onions in the oven. This makes it easy to do a huge panful and you don’t have to babysit it and keep stirring it constantly.


Hey Ranger: SPECTATOR SPORT: SALMON SPAWNING

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Del Norte Triplicate file / Bryant Anderson A spawning salmon in Mill Creek thrashes in the water as one of its final acts before expring after a journey from the sea.
The “Hey Ranger” column written by employees of the Redwood National and State Parks is published monthly. Today’s column is by Park Ranger Susan Davis.

There! Right by that mossy rock, where that white stick is twitching in the current! Wait … well, I thought I saw it … maybe not.

The dark mass shifts ever so slightly, teasing with a brief flash that one doesn’t quite see; the shadow moves, then morphs into a different shape, then shifts again. And you’re still wondering in the quiet if something is really there. Suddenly the water explodes in a tumult of splashing as writhing forms tear against the current and you can see one, two, no — three —huge fish in improbably shallow water thrash their way up to the next deep sheltering pool.


House Calls: Getting the facts about heart failure

House Calls runs every other Saturday. Today’s column is written by Trish Walker, a registered nurse with Sutter Coast Home Care. It is the first in a series addressing heat failure, also known as congestive heart failure (CHF).

Heart failure (HF) is the fastest-growing diagnosis in the world today. It affects nearly 6 million adults. There are approximately 450,000 new cases diagnosed annually, and 20 percent of those diagnosed will die within the first year, 50 percent within five years.

HF is also the most frequent cause of hospitalization in adults over 65. The numbers are staggering. There are approximately 900,000 people hospitalized with HF annually, and of those, 250,000 die.  The costs amount to roughly $40 billion annually, with emergency room costs at around $15 billion.


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