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House Calls: How much is too much for a child’s backpack?

House Calls runs every other Thursday. Today’s column is written by Sharryn Jones, a physical therapist at Sutter Coast Hospital.

The time has come for school to start again here in Crescent City after the Labor Day holiday. 

As some school districts consider swapping heavy textbooks for e-reader tablets, local health experts understand the impact an overloaded backpack can have on a child — aching back and shoulders, tingling arms, stooped posture and weakened muscles. But parents can help prevent these possible pains in a few simple ways.

According to experts within the Sutter Health System, parents are often surprised at how much their child’s backpack actually weigh.  As a general rule, to prevent injury, your child’s full backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of his or her body weight.

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Editor's Note: Hitting the ‘reply’ button

I don’t often respond in print to letters to the editor criticizing some aspect of our news product. The critics deserve their say, of course, and Tuesday’s edition featured missives from two of them. This time I am responding but hey, at least I waited a day.

Roger Gitlin took offense at my writing in a Saturday Editor’s Note column (“Tea Party surveys fairgoers”) that some county fairgoers probably stayed away from the Tea Party booth because they didn’t support that organization’s political philosophy. The implication was that I was singling out the Tea Party, when some fairgoers were no doubt choosing not to visit other booths as well.

Lost in that analysis is the fact that my whole column was singling out the Tea Party, because that was the organization that conducted a public opinion survey at the fair. Mary Wilson was kind enough to loan me the survey results, which I felt provided insight into the attitudes and concerns of local residents.

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Coastal Voices: Basic services at risk

Del Norte County will lose critical federal funding to keep our schools open and roads paved unless the federal government reauthorizes its decades-long commitment to communities with federal forest land.

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act may be little known, but it is a key fixture in our county’s ability to provide the most basic services to those that work and live in our area. You can get involved now by contacting Congress and urging it to support this vital program for America’s rural communities. 

When the federal government created the national forest systems in the early 20th century, millions of acres of forested land were brought into federal ownership.  While there were conservation benefits to this historic act, communities like our own must grapple with more limited economic development opportunities. We can’t build houses or businesses in the national forest.

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Editor's Note: Tea Party surveys fairgoers

Perhaps it was the rather authentic-looking million-, billion- and zillion-dollar bills it was handing out.

The Del Norte County Tea Party managed to get 254 people to fill out opinion surveys during the county fair. And while the results are far from scientific, they do offer some insight into the current attitudes and concerns of North Coast residents.

The Tea Party, of course, generally represents the right-hand side of the political spectrum, so it’s only reasonable to expect the survey results to lean heavily conservative. Many people of other persuasions probably chose not to even stop at the Tea Party booth, even if they had been willing to take a few minutes out of their fair day to fill out a form.

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Pages of History: Just where is the mouth of the Klamath?

From the pages of the Del Norte Triplicate, August 1963.

Supervisors considered this week a request from the Klamath game warden for a determination of the mouth of the Klamath River.

Its precise location has never been established and fishermen, who are considered by the Fish and Game Department to be taking fish illegally in the ocean, believe themselves to be taking fish in the mouth of the river.

Eugene Whallon was instructed to determine the spot at which the river meets the high water mark of the Pacific Ocean.

 

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Del Norte People: Growing up in Del Norte: tying flies, hooking fish

Editor’s note: Longtime Del Norte County resident Chuck Blackburn’s column appears every fourth Thursday.

As a boy of 13, I was introduced to the Klamath River by my father, Wes.

We stayed at Shorty’s Camp on the south bank of the river about a half-mile below the old bridge that was wiped out in the 1964 flood.

We were going to camp only a few days as our real destination was Canada. Dad was a structural steel worker and professional welder. He would take the whole summer off so that we could experience new adventures.

As we settled into this comfortable camp, we got to know Shorty Connor, an old Irishman who wore a rounded derby hat and a scarf around his neck. His son, Paul, had just come home from the Korean War and was helping Shorty run the camp and drove a school bus for Del Norte High School during the school year.

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Coastal Voices: Why inmates are fed up

Regarding the many objectors and angry people against the inmate hunger strike, such individuals are partly why the prison system is dysfunctional and violating human and constitutional rights.

Linda Sutter’s July 2 letter (“No sympathy for well-fed inmates at Pelican Bay”) vented much anger toward inmates. Imagine her then with those feelings working at Pelican Bay State Prison; you can see how CDCR got into its correct predicament and the conditions that inmates are complaining about. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Mike Stern’s July 5 letter (“Has no sympathy for prisoners that take part in hunger strike”) said, “Try to find someone else who has some sympathy for you.” He seems to think everyone in prison (the Secure Housing Unit) has killed someone to get there! Oddly enough, killing someone only amounts to no more than four years in the SHU, while being accused of gang activity with no factual proof will give you at least six years in the SHU.

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Editor's Note: The house was rockin’

“The show ended two minutes ago; from here on out we’re going to jam.”

So said Curtis Salgado before launching into some of the best harmonica-playing to ever blow through the North Coast. He played one-handed, the other holding close a special microphone that lent a sound both haunting and overpowering.

If this was jamming, to hell with the planned stuff.

Salgado and his bluesy band absolutely rocked a full house at the new Tolowa Events Center on Saturday night. It was an auspicious coming-out party for the Smith River concert venue. Great music at a reasonable price — what’s not to like about that?

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Our View: Can we keep Mike Thompson?

It seems only logical that impartial citizens, not vested public officials, should be responsible for redistricting, the once-a-decade redrawing of political district boundaries.

Politically motivated redistricting is what gave us the term “gerrymandering” — the creation of often contorted districts designed to ensure the success of certain parties or candidates, often guaranteeing the re-election of incumbents. It’s inherently fairer to let independent citizens draw the lines, and that’s the process voters chose when they approved the Voters First Act in 2008.

Still, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission hasn’t exactly done Del Norte County any favors. If its proposed new maps stand, a Republican-leaning county will find itself in Democratic-leaning legislative districts. We’ll lose GOP state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, a frequent visitor to the North Coast who has made a real effort to understand our issues.

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Del Norte Gardening: Time to act if you want a fall harvest

Now that August is upon us, it finally feels like summertime.

 Our tomatoes are just starting to turn red, onions are sizing up and the overall bountiful harvest has returned. This is a very busy time of year for us at Ocean Air Farms, and it is also the hardest time to stay focused on the future.

Why do we struggle so much in August? Because, we are always caught up in the moment: Harvesting, weeding, harvesting, weeding, river.  With all this excitement going on, we often lose track of the fact that we have only two more months of active plant growth.

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