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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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Our View: Look beyond political labels

Three spots apiece on the county Board of Supervisors, City Council and Harbor Commission. Two on the School Board. A state Assembly post and a brand-new congressional representative.

It’s not all about the presidential election or the governor’s initiative to generate more revenue through higher taxes this year. Del Norte voters have work to do at the local and regional level as well.

And while those national and statewide elections can be polarizing, here’s hoping the closer-to-home decisions can be based on issues and candidate qualifications instead of labels.

Editor's Note: A morning in the courtroom

At 8:30 a.m. Monday, 40 people trudge up the courthouse stairs into Courtroom No. 1, waiting in line to hand over their jury summonses like boarding passes.

I’m afraid to ask how many more summoned Del Norters didn’t show up to fulfill their legal obligation to the American justice system. In sparsely populated areas such as these, jury duty is a common distraction — I’ve been called four times in four years.

Still, in the end only 12 plus one alternate will be needed — if that. We take our seats in the audience portion of the courtroom and wait. And wait. Some last-minute plea bargaining is going on, in all likelihood. There’s nothing like a deadline for motivation.

Coastal Voices: Local boards distrustful of the public

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on the meetings of a few of Del Norte County’s many boards. Mind you, many of them only came into existence recently in the nearly 40 years I have lived in this county.

During the course of my attendance, several interesting behaviors were on display as I witnessed the progress of each meeting. The first and perhaps the most disturbing, was that there was a complete lack of trust on the part of many of the respective board members in the abilities of the general public.

This lack of faith for the public to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, the disposal of trash, has exploded into a complex process, often aided by governments and boards at yet loftier levels, into an expensive monster all at the expense of the people that those representatives claim to be looking out for.

Coastal Voices: On bringing ‘Monologues’ to Del Norte

Fifteen years ago, Eve Ensler, then a moderately successful New York playwright, opened the play she had been writing for two years, “The Vagina Monologues.”

Drawing on interviews she had done with more than 200 women, the resulting monologues — delivered, over the years, by actors including Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Oprah Winfrey — told of women’s experiences: sexuality, abuse, love and birth. This became a worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls called V-Day. For more information about V-Day go to vday.org.

The “Vagina Monologues” have always been dear to me. I have had the opportunity to see the monologues performed in Humboldt County. Several years ago, while working with the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, I had the honor of meeting Eve Ensler.  Eve is a vagina warrior! 

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Crescent City, CA 95531

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