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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. 

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Coastal Voices: A city worth expanding

It’s a new year and the cycle of the winds of change has been set in motion once again. This past Nov. 15, our City Council selected me as your new mayor. I am honored to have the Council’s confidence and to have the opportunity to serve you and our city.

Although our local newspaper hasn’t chosen to conduct an interview with me, to date, regarding my goals and objectives, our local National Public Radio station conducted a mini-interview with me back in early December. Moreover, NBC Channel 3 News out of Eureka has conducted three interviews with our City Manager Rod Butler and I about our current Crescent City renaissance and my goals and objectives. I have a relatively aggressive agenda for our city in 2011, therefore I am writing because I wanted to share my vision with you.

Editor's Note: About those ‘regulars’

Regular readers of The Triplicate’s Opinion page know that there is another type of “regular.” As in prolific contributor.

While some people are rarely or never moved to write a letter to the editor or a longer Coastal Voices piece, there are others who always seem to have a missive in the works.

Fearful of letting the latter take over the page, the newspaper had adopted an informal policy before my arrival three years ago of publishing only one letter a month from any one individual. I must admit I have bent that rule a few times for various reasons. Sometimes an opinion prompts a critical response to which the original writer deserves a chance for an immediate counter-response. Other times, there is dearth of contributions and it makes no sense to hold back on a new letter from someone who had one published a couple of weeks earlier.

Coastal Voices: Shooting used to boost Obama

Even as acrid gunsmoke hung in the winter Arizona air, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dopenik's bulldog countenance was thrust onto TV screens across America as he inveighed upon what he termed the “vitriolic climate” of America’s political scene.

He cited Arizona as the mecca of America’s acrimonious political warfare. He was, of course, referring largely to the recent passage of the anti-illegal alien law in Arizona. He was so absorbed in his self-appointed role of moral pontificator that he had no apparent interest in the role he was being paid to perform. He was out to lambast the passions of a segment of the Tucson community who oppose the invasion of Arizona lands by illegal aliens.

As if on cue the lights went on like a Christmas tree across media land. Chris Matthews excoriated talk show host Michael Savage as a raving commentator that begins his show in anger and ends it on the same tone. It would seem that Mr. Matthews is ultra-sensitive to vocalizations as when he experienced the “tingle” up his leg when Obama spoke in one of his campaign speeches. Other media attacks were focused on Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh as the hacks ramped up the very rhetoric they were decrying. One blogger even described Laura Ingraham as the “high priestess of hate.” The common thread among these disparate commentaries was the blame being placed on the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin and AM radio personalities for the Tucson shootings. The actuality of the event couldn’t be further from the truth.

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