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California Focus: Rejected spending and the prisoner release crisis

For every action, goes the law of both physics and politics, there is a reaction, a consequence.

Now it seems more and more that a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown may have led directly to new demands for convict releases he calls a public danger, demands now backed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brown’s aides say he will continue pursuing an appeal of the order by three federal judges demanding the state’s prison population be cut by at least 9,600 inmates before year’s end. The idea is to to bring prisons down to 137 percent of the system’s designed capacity. Given the glacial pace of court actions, it's almost certain some prisoners will be let go – or else Brown will be held in contempt of court, with a constitutional crisis possibly ensuing.

Brown warns that the more than 24,000-prisoner reduction already made via his “realignment” program used up much of the pool of “harmless” convicts, so cutting more inmates may lead to many new crimes.

He lays any responsibility for that at the feet of the judges, saying the state moved mountains to relieve the overcrowding top courts find unconstitutional. Yet, prisoners now bunk in jammed gymnasiums and other open spaces, lack adequate room for exercise and get inferior medical care, the judges found repeatedly.

But Brown says there’s been considerable improvement, citing the recent opening of an almost $1 billion Central Valley medical facility as one sign of progress.

Church Notebook: First Baptist Church to host ‘Passion Talk’ series over 3 weeks

Once again, one of those green and growing things around me has turned nature’s schedule upside down.

We’ve gotten used to the apple tree that has taken to having an extra blooming in December every year. Of course, no apples result, though it does bloom again and produce at the proper time. There are about six to eight apples on it now, which is typical for this little tree.

It’s a “single stem” apple, from a nursery in Canandaigua, N.Y. No branches, it has 4-inch “spurs” along its 6-foot trunk. I have two of them, one a MacIntosh, the other, Golden Delicious. As you can see, I like unusual things. Now, if we can just beat the raccoons to them.

This year the surprise comes from that Gloxinia I’ve told you about in the past.

Coastal Voices: Awkward proceedings enlightening to observe

When all is said and done there is little we as community members whose health care needs are serviced by Sutter Coast Hospital can do to prevent the total takeover of the hospital we rely on and its ultimate evisceration.

The story line is old by now and most who care and follow it know the theme well. While it is true that the Board of Supervisors cannot, by itself, change the outcome of this situation, it is the voice of the people and if all members will put aside all personal and political mind sets in this singular and extremely important aspect of our lives for the good of all we can make the difference.

Unfortunately, such is not the case it appears.

Fast-forward to a 10-minute special meeting of the Board  of Supervisors on Aug. 15 (on USTREAM, Board of Supervisors) on your computer, as they attempt to appoint a member to a steering committee studying the hospital’s future.

What you will observe more closely resembles an old-fashioned three-legged sack race featuring Team  Sullivan and Hemmingsen as they try to hobble toward the finish line on three legs between them.

They  nominate  and second a replacement (David Finigan) for the discredited Martha McClure. Meanwhile, a third member of the board (Roger Gitlin) sits sidelined twiddling his thumbs as the Hemming and hawing between the two “in-charge” members moves slipshod toward a vote and a confirmation of Supervisor Finigan as the board’s newest offering to the so-called steering committee.

House Calls: Limit the time in sunshine

Barbara Woodcock
House Calls runs monthly. Today’s column is written by Barbara Woodcock, a physical therapy assistant in the Rehabilitation Department at Sutter Coast Hospital.

Living on the coast there aren’t many days that the temperature gets too hot.  However, it is common for people on the coast to go “up river” to enjoy some fun in the sun.

While exercise and sun exposure can be good things, too much time in the sun can actually lead to quite a bit of trouble for youngsters. Some things you need to remember is to apply sunscreen to children prior to exposure to the sun. Even this may not be enough protection at times.

Babies and toddlers often get “heat rash” or “prickly heat.” It is advised to dress your child comfortably for the temperatures of the day.  Heat rash can occur whether the child is over-dressed or under-dressed. If heat rash appears in spite of your efforts, treat the rash with calamine lotion to keep the child from scratching the affected area.

Sun poisoning is a sign of too much sun. This can be an allergic reaction or the first signs of a severe sunburn. If this occurs, remove the child from sun exposure. Make sure the child is getting plenty of water or sports drinks. A cool bath followed by an application of aloe cream to affected areas can be helpful as well.

Often children and teens are busy and may not recognize the signs of a heat-related illness. Some that can occur are heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

Heat stroke can occur quickly. The most common sign of a child suffering heat stroke is red-flushed skin without the presence of sweating, along with a rapid rise in body temperature and nausea. Children progress to being aggravated and/or disoriented with signs of difficulty breathing and a rapid pulse. With further progression a child may get a severe headache, then lose consciousness.  Then it has become a  life-threatening situation that will require  medical care.

Coastal Voices: Youths work hard to curb alcohol abuse

Editor’s note: The following was submitted by members of the Coastal Connections Youth Organizing Project and Redwood Voice.

On behalf of the Coastal Connections Youth Organizing Project (CCYOP) and Redwood Voice, we would like to thank the Triplicate for its Aug. 15 article “Youth talk about theft of alcohol by minors” on the meeting hosted Aug. 14. We’d like to share with those who weren’t able to attend some of the important details we felt were missing from the coverage.

CCYOP and Redwood Voice are programs with the objective of empowering youth and giving us voices in our community. We recognize the importance of ensuring that we are not only heard, but listened to.

Redwood Voice is a group of 10 young adults with the goal of amplifying the voices of youth in the community through media. Redwood Voice and CCYOP made the decision to collaborate on this article.

We believe it’s important for the community to know who hosted the meeting and who we represent. CCYOP is an organizing committee composed of local youth from diverse backgrounds who have come together to explore issues relevant to youth and organize for policy change. We represent the more than 200 local youth who are affiliated with Coastal Connections, a program of Del Norte Mental Health Services serving all transitional-aged youth in Crescent City.

Our work is part of a regional organizing network, where families, elders and youth, united by common values, are using a relationship-based method of organizing that supports community leaders in conducting research and creating policy solutions with decision-makers to achieve dignity and equity for all people. Our work is funded by Building Healthy Communities.

Church Notebook: Grace Lutheran welcomes temporary pastor

Conference focusing on fatherhood is scheduled next weekend in Hiouchi

One of the differences in the various denominations of our churches is in the way pastors are selected.

Some are assigned by the ranking heads of their various denominations, and others are called and selected simply by their members. This is usually the case with churches like mine, which is non-denominational and has had the same pastor for the last 15 years. Other denominations may prefer to limit a given pastor to a specific period of time.

In the 10 years I’ve been writing this column, I have listed a lot of pastoral changes, and this week, we have another one.

Grace Lutheran Church on Cooper has been without a permanent pastor for some time. On Sunday, it welcomes a new “vacancy pastor,” who will stay until a permanent pastor is found.

Pastor Marty Tyler will preach at the 8:30 and 11 a.m. services. The congregation will welcome him at 2 p.m. at a family potluck at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

The Tylers are originally from Vancouver, Wash., and come to Crescent City now from Morgan Hill, Calif. Wife Debbie is a PA with the department of Corrections in Soledad. They have five grown children and have fostered a number of others.

Pastor Tyler pursued a number of occupations until feeling the call to the ministry in earnest in 1999, attending seminary in St. Louis and graduating in 2004.

He has provided pastoral care for shut-ins and held worship services in retirement centers.

Welcome, Pastor Tyler!

Was enemy set to invade Del Norte?

From the pages of the Del Norte Triplicate, August 1942.

Kilsoo K. Haan, Washington representative for the Sino-
Korean People’s League, reports in the following story that the Japanese have huge submarines capable of carrying up to four airplanes and Japanese war plans even included an early capture of Crescent City as the first step on the invasion of the West Coast:

The indicated sneak Japanese “test” bombing of heavily forested Mt. Emily in Oregon may be considered a prelude to further hit-and-run attacks from the air along the Pacific coast, according to our information on the enemy’s war plans. 

These plans call for the use of Crescent City as an operational base for fanning Japanese troops out along the coast. Japanese agents made a very thorough survey of harbor and railroad facilities along the coast and then left for home early in 1941.

Crescent City was then chosen, on the basis of these studies, as a base for operations, not only because of its centralized location, but because of the abundance of raw material in the vicinity.

While the area possesses numerous natural barriers to an attack, the Japanese believe they could seize it by a sneak commando raid and the shoe would then be on the other foot. Lake Earl was planned as a seaplane base.

With abundant water supply, the area was found by the Japanese to possess billions of feet of good lumber, one of the world’s greatest copper ore deposits, immense quantities of limestone for cement, more than half of the known U. S. chrome, besides almost inexhaustible supplies of manganese, pyrites, marble and even coal. 

Coastal Voices: Find new route before economy devastated

Last March at the Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit, an audience member asked Del Norte County Local Transportation Director Tamera Leighton about an alternate route around the precarious Last Chance Grade on Highway 101.

I have a great deal of respect for the LTC’s executive director, so I was naturally stunned by her response when she said, “ ... there will never, never, never be a road around Last Chance Grade.”

Did Tamera know something of which I was unaware? Why couldn’t there be a route built around this dangerous, unstable part of U.S. 101?

Recently, Supervisor Roger Gitlin announced at a Board of Supervisors meeting that he was forming a committee to put on fast-forward the recommendation to Caltrans for the study, decision and construction of a highway around Last Chance Grade.

Former Supervisor Chuck Blackburn and I are co-chairing this committee. Trees of Mystery owners John and Debbie Thompson have also signed on as ardent supporters, as has Dale Miller, chairman of Elk Valley Rancheria.

Chuck’s knowledge of the history of Last Chance is vast and deep. My experience is a sad one, which I would hope would never beset any family. My parents plunged to their deaths in the Pacific after dropping me off in Klamath as I was on my way to Europe with a friend after graduating from Sonoma State University and working locally.

My parents were heading back home when the summit of Last Chance Grade collapsed and disappeared into the ocean, taking them with it in 1972. It still brings back haunting memories four decades later.

Chuck and I head a growing list of Del Norters who want to see a permanent fix. I expect there will be a great deal of popular support to find an alternate highway around Last Chance Grade.

Coastal Voices: It's time to reconsider the state of Jefferson

It’s time we asked the question, “When is enough enough?”

It should be evident by now that the big foot of state government controlled by Los Angeles and San Francisco has embarked on a war against the rural counties of Northern California.

Even if you were living under a rock and were not paying attention, the illegal fire tax should have gotten your attention. It is only being paid by those living in rural areas even if they are already paying a separate tax for local fire protection. That state tax alone will cost you a minimum of $1,100 over the next 10 years.  

But wait, there’s more, a lot more.  Back in May I pointed out in this newspaper that the California war on rural areas was being extended to our kids with the introduction of a bill that would mandate that children who identified themselves as members of the opposite sex could use all of the facilities of that sex.

In other words, if a boy identifies himself as a girl even though he has male parts, he is allowed to play with the girls on their athletic teams, other competitions and use the facilities consistent with his gender identity. Yes, it means he can also use the girls bathroom, locker room and shower facilities.

I predicted that If this were ever to become law, it would put an end to public schools.  No parent that I know would ever send their child to a school that would abide by this law. Well, guess what? That bill with the backing of Los Angeles and San Francisco and our own assemblyman has passed and was signed by the governor and is now the law, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.

It’s time we asked a lot of questions like: Do we really need almost 6,000 state agencies to govern every aspect of our lives?

Despite trend, many families these days still intact

How intact is your family?

When I see families that still have good relationships, and couples who are still married after many years, I just have to think, “How wonderful!”

Our prisons are overflowing, drug abuse abounds and so very many people simply have no respect for themselves or any one else; it’s no wonder things are so crazy.

Sometimes I think it would be great if we could  return to the way things were when we seniors were growing up in the ’40s and ’50’s.  We came home from school, did our homework, and went outside to play until supper.

We climbed trees, rode bicycles, roller-skated and played tag and hide ’n’ seek. For much of that time, TV hadn’t made an appearance yet. I’d often curl up in my grandfather’s old Morris chair, listening intently to the radio — to those scary old mystery stories like The Green Hornet and others.

But things have changed, and way too many of our families have crumbled. Marriages falling apart, fathers simply walking away — and children left with no direction.

Thank God many families are still intact.

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