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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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Coastal Voices: Better solutions than clinic

I cannot express my disappointment when I read that the School Board had voted to place a teen clinic at Two Trees behind the high school.

The article in the Saturday paper stated that the comments made at the School Board meeting were evenly split between the two sides but it failed to mention that the majority of people who spoke for the clinic were the people who worked there or with other publicly funded programs in the community. I only remember two parents who spoke in favor of this clinic being placed on district grounds.  Almost all of the people who spoke against it were parents of high school teens or soon to be.

There was also a lot of weight put on the fact that the teenagers want this and a couple of teenagers even spoke at the meeting. I know for a fact that many of the students would love beer on tap in the cafeteria, they would also like many other products and services on school grounds that are not beneficial for their futures.

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Editor's Note: Hooks, slices and other notes

I don’t know why it took me three-plus years to get out to Del Norte Golf Course.

Well, yes I do. I’m a hack golfer, sometimes willing to go years between outings to spare myself embarrassment. My standard line of self-deprecation: Only if the mistakes that cause a slice and the mistakes that cause a hook are in balance do I hit my shots straight.

And before you go telling me that I could cure all that with practice, consider this phenomenon: The more I golf, the worse I get. The first couple of holes always constitute the highlights. The lowlights spread out over the rest of the round, manifesting themselves in so many incompetent ways, from worm-burner, Mulligan-inspiring tee shots to errant trajectories off irons that threaten fellow players in my party and adjacent fairways.

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Coastal Voices: Park labyrinth proposed

I believe that creating a labyrinth in Front Street (Beachfront) Park would be a wonderful community project, resulting in a peaceful, healing and inspiring area in which others can gather for special (or everyday) events.

Several labyrinths exist in our extended area (see labyrinthlocator.com as a means to search) and serve their communities and clientele (some have been created in gardens at hospitals because of their healing properties), but wouldn’t a labyrinth in Front Street Park, perhaps with some sheltering bushes and benches encircling it, be a wonderful and natural addition to our beautiful community?

As a relatively new member of our town, I have been wondering this for a while now, and in talking to others have discovered that they, too, think a public labyrinth would be an asset to our community.

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Coastal Voices: Time to look under hood

Mr. Obama has a new vocabulary: “We need to invest in America,” “Time to hire and invest in America” and “Win the future.”

While I personally applaud the words, I am skeptical about the substance in these nifty new buzz words. Since 2009, our national deficit has exploded by $1.3 trillion dollars thanks to a “progressive” Democrat-controlled Congress and a willing “progressive” president. Our national debt is $14 trillion and counting.

If you had money to invest, would you seriously take investment advice from a guy who spends trillions more than he has?  Didn’t Wall Street’s Bernard Madoff, who swindled billions from investors, just get his butt thrown in jail for this same kind of misconduct?

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Our View: Eyes-wide-open approach

Welcome to the unification movement, Mayor Slert.

Right now, Crescent City isn’t really Crescent City. It’s one contiguous area of residential and commercial development, but most of its inhabitants are residents of unincorporated Del Norte County.

One community, two agencies of law enforcement. One community, two sets of land-use regulations and planning commissions. One community, two chief administrators. One community, two governing boards.

Obviously not the most efficient way to run things at a time when every iota of efficiency is needed at all government levels, from Washington, D.C., to Del Norte.

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