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Coastal voices: Sticking up for the pledge

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Did you ever think those 31 words would be so reviled by many in our country?

Recently in Eugene, Ore., the City Council and Mayor Kitty Piercy declared the pledge to be divisive and voted down a proposal to recite the Pledge before each City Council meeting, deciding instead to have it recited at the four meetings closest to the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Flag Day.

Editor's Note: School reform on the horizon

You’ll be hearing a lot in the coming months about efforts to reform Del Norte schools. Meetings have been held, visits have been made to other school districts that might serve as models, and more meetings are on the horizon.

Upcoming articles will focus on where our schools and students stand in comparison to the rest of California, what types of reforms we may be looking at and the timeline for adopting and implementing them.

The newspaper’s on-line poll at triplicate.com recently sought opinions on Del Norte schools. A little over half the respondents, 353 (66.9 percent), said the schools are not doing well enough and need to be improved. The other 174 (33.1 percent) agreed with the statement that the schools are “generally doing a good job of educating our children.”

The majority of students responding to a recent survey of their own said they’d like tougher coursework and more advice regarding their vocational futures. You can read more about that in the first installment of our upcoming report on Del Norte education.

Gopher Gulch: Gratitude is good stuff for what ails you

If you pay much attention to the news, you might find it difficult to be properly thankful this year.

Our community is full of tweakers that are ripping off the rest of us while the Board of Supervisors  worries about marijuana dispensaries. People who served at the community dinner last Thanksgiving may well be homeless this year, and far too many people are unemployed. On the national level ... we don’t want to go there, do we?

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday. That could have something to do with the news sources I subscribe to. The Del Norte Triplicate and one weekly news magazine are my only sources of what passes for news these days.

Our View: Enjoy that turkey and gravy, but...

In Del Norte, there are traditions to keep, and habits to break.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and most of us will settle down to a feast of turkey and all the trimmings. It’s a holiday in which we count our blessings, and it’s only natural that it be built around food. Sustenance is the stuff of life. If we overdo the celebration a bit, oh well …

The problem is that overeating is hardly a special occasion for many of us. If adults made Thursday the exception rather than the rule, they’d set a good example for their kids and we’d all have something to be thankful for.

Del Norte got put on the map in an unfortunate way by a recent statewide report that found nearly half our children to be overweight or obese. In fact, from 2005 to 2010, our county had the highest percentage increase in overweight kids in all of California.

Coastal Voices: Progress seen in restoration of our harbor

Exactly eight months ago today as your mayor, I wrote a Coastal Voices article where I pledged my and our City Council and City’s support in working together with the Crescent City Harbor District to assist in the recovery of our harbor so that we could be fully operational (more or less) for the state of crab season start.

I challenged the people of the North Coast to come together for our broken harbor and much-deserving local fishing community.

Here we are eight very quick, demanding and challenging months latter and against many odds and layers of bureaucracy, we as a community are at the threshold of the 2011-12 crabbing season and although it’s not perfect, we are operational.

House Calls: Menopause: There is help, and it is safe

House Calls runs every other Thursday. Today’s column is written by Christopher B. Cutter, a physician at Sutter Coast Community Clinic.

Few things are as certain as the eventual onset of menopause in a middle-aged woman.

At the average age of 51.2 years, the quarter million primordial eggs that she was born with will be gone. As a result of that, she will abruptly stop producing estradiol and progesterone, whose waxing and waning presence had been in her life since just prior to puberty.

If she is lucky, she may feel just fine. Otherwise, she may join the millions of women who start to suffer with prolonged hot flashes and other body changes that often become a real challenge.

Editor's Note: Telling you where those bad guys are

Somewhere in today’s newspaper are the weekly excerpts from the call logs of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department.

You can read them as a litany of community dysfunction, or as informative hints as to where the bad guys operate.

Actually, they’re both.

Go anywhere and read a list of the calls for help and you’ll wonder a bit about the underpinnings of civilization. Domestic violence. Vandalism. Neighborhood disputes. Shoplifters. Out-in-the-open drug sales and use. Indecent exposure. Fights. Break-ins.

Coastal Voices: Coastal Voices: Farmers Market brightens community

Congratulations to our community! It is because of you and your continued support of the Crescent City Farmers market that this year has been the most successful in our history.

You may not realize it, but as you shop our local vendors every week, you have been supporting up to 50 local small businesses. Your hard-earned dollars go to a local family, which in turn spends its hard-earned dollars locally.

This year also saw the expansion of our EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) program.  This program allows participants in the “Cal Fresh” food program to scan their cards and receive market tokens.

Editor's Note: Uncovering the founding fathers

I’ve been spending my reading time with George Washington of late, or rather with Ron Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the Father of our Country (newly released in col­ossal paperback).

Chernow and before him David McCullough with his biography of John Adams render a service to all Americans with eyes-wide-open assessments of our founding fathers.

This is not the stuff of legends, but painstakingly researched reconstruction of lives as they were really led. Frankly, the accomplishments can be better appreciated when the men behind them are viewed as fully as possible, warts and all.

Coastal Voices: Heroes — There are more than you may realize

What is a hero?

It is an American trait to have heroes. Sports heroes, movie heroes, natural disaster heroes, military heroes and personal heroes.

Unfortunately, some heroes fade away and new heroes rise to take their place.

Since we are so close to Veterans Day, our thoughts turn to our military heroes. The definition of hero is often given only to those who have a chest full of medals for outstanding bravery. However, heroes come in many other sizes and shapes.

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