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Church Notebook: Methodist Church sets the dates for its annual Holiday Bazaar

I’ve been writing this column for over 10 years now. But, could I write anything longer?

For the past few years I’ve had an idea for a book about Mary Magdalene. Lately, it’s become more than an idea. And, no, if I do, it won’t be anything like that other book out there — the one that made her out to be Jesus’ wife.

So, we’ll see. If I can get beyond a couple chapters, perhaps ...

But away from ideas of fiction and on to the real stuff for the next week or so. There are some good things coming up. With the holidays approaching, it’s time for those holiday bazaars, with their interesting sale items and delicious edible offerings.

• We’ll start the week off Sunday with an inspiring journey into the past at the Crescent City United Methodist Church. During pioneer days, the gospel was spread via camp meeting revivals. In many places, there were no established churches, and circuit riders traveled about carrying God’s word and mountain gospel music. That music isn’t heard many places anymore — but it is on occasion, here at the Methodist Church.

And it will be Sunday! Once again, the Jefferson State Boondock Band will be a lively addition to the Sunday morning service. The music will start at 10:15 a.m., and the regular worship service at 10:30. If you’ve never experienced this, it’s worth going! I’ve heard them, and they are absolutely delightful.

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Coastal Voices: Keep this in mind as Sutter study is released

This coming week, Sutter Health will release its long awaited “independent” study on Sutter Coast Hospital.

I am writing this update on the future of Sutter Coast Hospital because the hospital Board of Directors, of which my husband Dr. Greg Duncan is a member, voted to censure Greg for allegedly releasing confidential information outside the board room. Sutter Health and the hospital Board refuse to provide any written specific charges or evidence to support their allegations.

Sutter Health is now beginning its final push to take ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital. As Sutter’s public relations blitz begins, please remember these facts:

1) Sutter Coast Hospital is now owned and governed locally.  Regionalization is a change in ownership and governance.  If we regionalize, local ownership and governance will be lost, and all future hospital decisions will be made by a Sutter-appointed board in San Francisco.

2) Under Critical Access Hospital designation, 24 of our 49 inpatient beds would be closed. If Critical Access is implemented here, people will be transferred elsewhere as a result of the restriction in hospital bed count.

3) The Healthcare District lawsuit had nothing to do with hospital ownership — it was an effort to hold Sutter Health accountable to its promises to provide expanded care and maintain a local hospital Board, in exchange for the monopoly privilege of operating the only hospital in the county. The lawsuit was settled when the cost became prohibitive for the district’s small budget. What the settlement did prove is which side had more money.

But the lawsuit bought our community precious time to become educated on these issues.

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Church Notebook: Pastor Ed’s last Sunday at Northside Baptist

Happy events seem to have been on the schedule for me lately. Both my family and my plants have been full of surprises.

Two years ago, my Sanseveria (snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue) blossomed. Like several others of my plants, I’d had it for several years. It had never bloomed, and I had never even heard of one doing so, nor had anyone else I talked to.

And, of course, there’s that Gloxinia I keep telling you about — the one that decided on an extra season this fall — it now has three beautiful blossoms, and shows no signs of going into its normal dormancy for this time of year.

And it hasn’t stopped there. My grandson called my attention to another plant in bloom this morning — still another one I’ve had for years, never blossoming, and have never ever seen one  in bloom. It’s my Creeping Charlie — I think some folks call it Swedish ivy — and it has a spike of tiny pale blue flowers that look almost like miniature orchids.

Life is full of surprises,  and it’s so nice every once in a while for those events to be happy ones!

Like my “early birthday gift.” My birthday was Thursday, but I started getting texts and pictures on my cell phone Tuesday morning — the best surprise of all — great-granddaughter No. 4 had arrived in Abilene. Big brother Josiah, 2, is completely enthralled with her. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make that trip next summer!

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House Calls: Dealing with eye injuries

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Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Know when to go to ER, when to call a doctor, and when you can handle this yourself

House Calls runs monthly. Today’s column is written by Doris Fitch, a registered nurse at Sutter Coast Hospital and trainer at College of the Redwoods.

Some eye injuries cause so much pain and abrupt changes in vision that going to the ER is a no-brainer. But other injuries may not be as obvious, even though they might still cause permanent damage or vision loss.

Most eye symptoms, whether caused by injury or something unknown, should be evaluated by a medical professional. It is difficult to determine which symptoms could result in a permanent loss of vision versus symptoms that will heal without difficulty.

The bottom line is that you are better off seeking medical attention whether you have acute or chronic symptoms. Changes in vision can be gradual or sudden; both will need to be evaluated by a medical professional.

For eye irritation due to an unknown cause, make an appointment with your eye doctor or care provider. Bloodshot eyes can be a very frightening symptom, but not always a serious condition.

The spot of blood that is visible at the surface of the eye is due to a condition called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. In this condition a small blood vessel leaks blood under the surface of the eye. It looks worse than it is and it will usually resolve on its own. Even so it is a good idea to see or call your physician.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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