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Coastal Voices: A tsunami-ready community

So where is the good news among all the property damage we are witnessing at the harbor?  The good news is that there was only one life lost and that was because he did not have the advantage of living in our area and being exposed to the extensive tsunami education that we as a community have had.

Yes, it could have been worse, a lot worse.  When you compare the tsunami of 1964 to this event, a lot has changed. On Good Friday, March 27, 1964, there were just a few outlets for local information: the two local radio stations, KPOD and KPLY, and the two newspapers, The Triplicate and the Crescent City American. The two radio stations received their information from the outside world via the Associated Press phone lines into the station.

Editor's Note:Evacuating from, then reporting on, Friday’s disaster

I’ve been in this business 32 years, through earthquakes and firestorms, and I’ve never been run out of my own newsroom.

Until Friday.

Nothing like waking up to a tsunami siren. Then, within an hour, seeing the lights of so many boats on the dark horizon and feeling tardy upon my 5:45 a.m. arrival to The Triplicate office as colleagues finished loading up computer equipment. I grabbed some Rolodexes and lifted bound volumes of old editions from the floor to a table, figuring a few feet might count in the potential inundation zone. We’d been told to leave by 6.

Coastal Voices: Harbor renaissance begins

Outstanding! The Triplicate newspaper team should be extremely proud of its Saturday edition and the commitment to photojournalism.  Over time this will prove to be an important part of our local heritage.

As mayor, along with our City Council, I'm honored to have shared in the in-person rapid North Coast and local representatives response to our tsunami event/local marine, harbor devastation from the numerous surges.

We were privileged to have the presence of our Congressman Mike Thompson, a representative from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s office, state Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, state Sen. Doug LaMalfa, along with representatives from the Governor’s Office, Cal-EMA, Fish and Game, Coast Guard, Del Norte Count Board of Supervisors, the Crescent City City Council, local Police Department, fire departments and Sheriff’s Office, Office of Emergency Services, et al. Collectively, this was a show of solidarity for the immediate emergency and very real local losses.

Coastal Voices: Wellness Center’s smoking ban

At its Feb. 15 meeting, the Del Norte Healthcare District, on a unanimous vote, decided to proceed with a non-smoking campus at the Del Norte Community Wellness Center.

The decision followed complaints from providers, clients, visitors and employees of the agencies that occupy the Wellness Center campus. Complaints centered on the secondhand smoke drifting into the building, small fires created when cigarettes were not put out appropriately, clients with respiratory and other diseases being subjected to secondhand smoke and that the Wellness Center should be an example of healthy lifestyle choices.

In December 2010, after receiving a petition signed by a large majority of employees working at the Wellness Center, I was appointed to further investigate the appropriate steps needed to create a non-smoking campus at the Wellness Center.

Coastal Voices: Don’t blame public workers

I’m sure Karen Brooks is sincere in her desire to lower her taxes and those of others in the community (“Taxing us into serfdom,” Feb. 25). Taking it out

on public workers seems a bad idea.

In Del Norte County, 35 percent of those who work are government employees. This includes California state workers at Pelican Bay State Prison, and at the local Caltrans and Highway Patrol. There are also U.S. Government workers in the National Park Service and Social Security offices, and then local police and fire departments. School teachers and administrators are public employees.

Coastal Voices: Why the bird festival is over

The time has come for the California Redwoods Bird and Nature Festival, formerly the Aleutian Goose Festival, to say goodbye.

We faced unexpected challenges this year that led to this hard decision:

We lost our festival organizer due to medical issues and a couple of major sponsors had to withdraw their support. The festival has always depended on local donations as well as the revenue generated by registrant fees.

Registration had declined with the global economic downturn, which has impacted many other small town festivals causing them to die away. All of these challenges in combination proved too much.

Our View: About those vacant buildings

Is it just irony, or is it appropriate that Tsunami Landing could once again become a symbol of hope for downtown Crescent City?

After the sudden devastation of 1964, the construction of a covered walkway linking downtown properties and bearing the name of the disaster that inspired it seemed the perfect icon for “Comeback Town, USA.”

Nearly a half-century later, its demolition could — make that should — be the catalyst for positive change in the city’s core area.

That it outlived its usefulness is beyond debate. It has rotted into an eyesore that will eventually crumble to the ground with or without assistance. The City Council quite properly voted this week to pursue its removal at an anticipated cost of about $150,000 — probably far less than paying off a single liability claim if part of the landing were to land on somebody.

Coastal Voices: Taxing us into serfdom

“Taxed Enough Already!” is the rallying-cry of the Tea Party movement, and rightly so.

Tea Party Patriots protest not only wasteful spending at all levels of government but the increasing debt that must be paid with interest.  Making matters worse is the continued growth of government jobs during the Great Recession. 

We have two Americas, the government and the taxpayers who pay for government with no say in how tax dollars are spent and no way to stop the ever-increasing theft of our labor (prosperity). Ask a small business or family who they really work for and the answer is a bloated government. Our founding fathers gave their blood for freedom, not serfdom.

California is the perfect example of serfdom through taxation. For decades the Legislature’s spending problems have been hidden by elaborate shell games.  Move the debt around while they enact revenue schemes of ever-increasing fees, taxes, fines, licenses, permits, penalties and surcharges.  Sadly, 33 million people aren’t a large enough tax base as the Legislature, and bureaucracies, can’t tax us fast enough.

Coastal Voices: Character-building in schools

In her Feb. 15 Coastal Voices piece, “ Better solutions than clinic,” Mary Martinez calls for our schools to use curriculum “infused with character-building traits such as self-control, putting others first, self respect, respect for others, saying no, not taking the easy way and working hard to be happy in the long run, and not looking for immediate gratification.” 

We could not agree more with Martinez. With our curriculum approved for us at the state level, we rely on our own local efforts to bring character-building curriculum into the routines of our schools.

We have introduced quality character concepts into daily activities within our classrooms, and teachers are encouraged to reinforce these lessons throughout the day.  We use a mix of Character Counts, Project Wisdom, and Second Step in our elementary and middle schools, with awards assemblies focused not just on academic achievement but also on demonstrations of high quality character development among our students. 

Coastal Voices: Musings on Chuck’s final calls

It was a long day, starting with Sunrise Rotary, court, budget meetings, case reviews, arraignments, trial prep for next week and an after-work meeting with the Sheriff's Office Association.

Around 6 p.m. on the drive home, I remembered I’d been invited to the Smith River Neighborhood Watch meeting. I look at what the Bertsch Tract and Dundas Watch groups and the folks in Smith River are doing to take back their neighborhoods, and the fatigue faded as I realized the blessing of that invitation.

As I listened to the 20-plus people who gave up their dinner and family time to make a difference, the pages turned back, as they do at times, to the winter of 2005, when I’d traded in my room at the Royal Roman Motel on Front Street for a smaller room  with a kitchen sink at the old Brookings Hotel in Smith River. I still recall that first night, looking across the street around closing time and thinking, “Damn, the banks stay open late in this town.”

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