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Editor's Note: When political satire goes bad

Whenever someone mentions the comic strip Doonesbury to me — and that’s not very often — it seems to come in the form of a complaint.

Some folks feel political satire has no place on the comics page, especially if it’s satire they disagree with.

I frankly have no strong feelings about it one way or the other. The viewpoints of the comic strips we publish are pretty diverse, and I see no reason why the spectrum can’t include political satire. Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau elicits a chuckle now and then, and that’s the best I hope for from a comic strip. Plus, Doonesbury is something of a well-established tradition on comics pages around the country, as are the other strips you see in the Triplicate.

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Our View: False economy threatens coast

When congressional Republicans proposed cutting tsunami safety programs just before the tidal waves of March 2011, they were guilty of false economy and bad timing. The Obama administration’s more-recent budget-cutting proposal — after the experience of a year ago — is downright ludicrous.

The proposed savings are miniscule, but their possible cost, in terms of lives and livelihoods, is significant.

The tsunami-safety programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are examples of the good that government can do at relatively low cost.

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Editor's Note: Vignettes from a Northwest tour

“Grand Tour of the Northwest.” That’s how I describe a recent road trip north. It was designed with family visits in mind, but provided some surprises.

First to the scenery out car windows. It doesn’t matter how long the journey, if it starts out at the western terminus of U.S. Highway 199, the first five miles are the best. There’s just nothing to compare with that serpentine weave through old-growth redwoods and walls of ferns.

Beyond that, the city skylines were most memorable: Portland’s watery glitter from the Marquam Bridge in the morning darkness, even-taller Seattle in 360-degree glory from a water tower atop Volunteer Park, and Spokane’s urban compactness (it makes a great snow globe) from nearby Riverfront Park.

To the surprises:

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Coastal Voices: Autism — Hopes and challenges

Another year and we are no closer to figuring out autism.

It seems the politicians are jumping on board to figure out where the money should be spent: research, prevention or cure.

As the politicians battle it out at the state and federal level thousands of autistic children are growing up in a world that still isn’t ready for them.

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Coastal Voices: Great people define Del Norte

By now you’ve probably heard that our community made the pages of the Sacramento Bee last weekend.

There were several things that I found disturbing about the article, starting with the description of Del Norte County. It said that Del Norte County is known for “illicit drugs, salmon fishing and the feared Pelican Bay State Prison.”

Really? Is that the top three? I can understand the fishing and prison references, but the illicit drugs? I am not naïve to think that illicit drugs aren’t a problem here, but is that really how we define our community?

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Coastal Voices: Visitor Center vs. Bureau

Our Chamber of Commerce-run Visitor Center serves a very important role in our community, as does the Visitor Bureau! Let’s talk about the difference between the two.

The Visitor Center is located within our Chamber of Commerce offices at 1001 Front St. above the Cultural Center. We serve over 18,000 people who actually walk through our doors with questions about what to do and see in our community. People want to know where to eat, where to stay, and what are some of our best hiking trails and of course, where is the tallest redwood tree.  Along with people coming into the center, our phones ring continually throughout the day with people asking everything from what is today’s weather to where to find bigfoot.

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Editor's Note: What’s in your gas tank?

The Los Angeles Times on Friday printed a story lamenting the arrival of $4 per gallon gasoline in the Southland.

Welcome to Del Norte’s world. Up here in the Northland, regular was selling for $4.19 at brand-name stations in Crescent City on Monday — one was actually asking $4.29.

The Times story was based on those daily AAA surveys, which have lately been giving the North Coast a dubious distinction: home of the most expensive gasoline in the continental United States.

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Coastal Voices: Student’s view on food, PE and excercise

I’ve decided to write to you about something that is rampant in the United States and in Del Norte County: Childhood obesity.

Everyone thinks they’re going to fix it with nutrition programs state testing and everyday physical education. I mean they might help, but I don’t believe so. I am a student in Del Norte County and I want to share my opinions of what I think would help kids become less obese in this town.

First of all, at lunchtime, Pizza Hut Pizza or salad bar? Tater tots or cantaloupe? We all know that most students are going for the worse choices. Also, with this health nutrition program at the high school, some of the recipes are really good but most are just plain nasty.

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Editor's Note: Change is the only constant

“Great Mystery.” That’s how Inez Castor refers to life’s hidden forces and general unpredictability. This week the winds of “Great Mystery” bring the departure of two Triplicate standard-bearers.

On Friday night, Sports Editor Bill Choy will design his final sports page and put a wrap on a half-decade of reporting the Del Norte sports scene.

Warrior athletics is the great unifier in a community with just one mainstream high school, and Bill covered it all, season by season, team by team. He endeavored to report the result of every varsity contest, and he didn’t stop there. He occasionally noted the exploits of the JV and freshman teams and the middle school squads. And he tracked top Warrior athletes after they graduated and moved on to college and pro sports.

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Coastal Voices: Make DN sales tax-free zone

Last week, friends asked my wife and me to join them in Brookings and do some shopping. As the perpetual cheerleader for Crescent City, I asked them what’s up there in Brookings that we don’t have in Crescent City.

“Roger, I go up there every week, fill up my gas tank at Fred Meyer and do a little shopping.  There’s no sales tax!”

I suspect there are many in our community who regularly travel to Oregon for the very same reason. Anybody with a vehicle knows one can drive the 20-plus miles to save up to 60 cents a gallon. It bothers me California is so grossly uncompetitive with the zero-sales tax state of Oregon. Gasoline or diesel fuel sold in Del Norte and Humboldt counties is the highest-priced petroleum in the lower 48.

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