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Updated 4:21pm - Jul 26, 2016

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Our View: No teacher left behind

Del Norte County’s public schools are not as good as they can be, but educators and community members are taking important steps to change that.

The shortcomings have been well-documented, the desired improvements well-spoken and the possible models for reform well-researched.

By next fall, plans call for versions of education reform that have worked elsewhere to be implemented here. That will likely include a heavy emphasis on professional learning communities — in which instructors collaborate in a more organized fashion on what to teach and how to teach it — and some possible forays into individualized learning that blurs the lines between grade levels so that students are grouped more by ability than by age.

Editor's Note: A portal to faraway lands

I came home from work Tuesday evening and walked into the middle of a miracle.

Laura was at the computer, peeking through a portal to Colorado Springs where our 7-month-old grandson was getting a bath, in real time, right then, cooing and splashing the water.

Not only could we see the sights and hear the sounds, when we piped up with grandparental input, Aiden looked up at us!

Coastal Voices: Too late to save Golden State?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, some 40,000 new laws took effect across the 50 states Jan. 1.

California leads the nation is passing arguably the most absurd of these laws. The Assembly, State Senate and Gov. Jerry Brown defy comprehension.

Among the thousands of California laws passed in 2011, California leads the pack with its composite head in the toilet mentality. Here are a few of the inane laws which specifically address lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Californians. Disabled are also included in this group, though I am not sure why those who are physically challenged are lumped into a sexual classification.

Editor's Note: Sun was great, now let it rain

That old expression, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” doesn’t necessarily apply to the four weeks of sunshine we enjoyed on the coast while many inland areas experienced Del Norte’s more natural state: fogged up or clouded over.

Most of us instantly appreciated the rareness of the dry streak that began in late November and pretty much ran until Christmas Day. We could pretend we were getting used to it, but all that blue sky was lighting up a North Coast dependent on different weather for its lushness.

Still, this week’s return of soaking rains does make those meteorological memories all the more special. Our beaches are remote even during tourist season, but in late fall they’re downright private. Strolling the consistently sunny sand, it was hard not to muse, “If only the inlanders knew what’s going on here.”

Coastal Voices: Tsunamis, Secretariat and coming home

Christmas is many things to many people. This year, I find myself one block south and down to ground level from last, yet I still hear my muse of the channel horn barking and feel pressed to write.

The melancholy sadness I have come to associate with the “holidays” began seeping in this afternoon, with thoughts of Mom and Pop’s going across the bar, taking me back in time, many years ago, when I would be driving the 12 hours home from college in Kentucky, through the snow, to find the Christmas lights adorning my home in north New Jersey, with my family and Spike all waiting up after midnight for my arrival. All ghosts, shrouded in misty memory, so long ago, yet yesterday. Seemingly gone forever.

Editor's Note: The best party of the holidays

A Sunday afternoon telephone call brought an unexpected holiday bonus.

After learning that three local members of the California National Guard were coming home from Afghanistan on the late flight to Crescent City, Laura and I headed for an airport terminal already jammed with more than 50 greeters.

The plane had landed but the passengers were still aboard. Kids held signs up to the glass wall reading “Welcome home soldiers” and “Welcome home Daddy!”

Editor's Note: Reliving the anticipation

It happened Tuesday night as I was about to unplug the tree.

Hours earlier, Laura had spread out a few wrapped gifts there. The first tag I checked had my Mom’s name on it. Visceral emotions arrived in a rush.

It wasn’t just the reality kicking in that my father, 91, and mother, 89, are coming to our house for the holidays. I’m not sure that’s ever happened during my nomadic adulthood, although I’ve spent many a Christmas back home with them in the Willamette Valley.

Coastal Voices: Leave parks as you find them

A number of articles have recently been published concerning picking mushrooms in Redwood National and State Parks.

Several of those articles contained a significant amount of inaccurate and misleading information, which I felt the need to rectify.  However, I was prompted to respond to these articles primarily to address a larger issue of the reasons for and the basic concepts behind national and state parks.

The idea of national and state parks is truly an American concept, with the establishment of the areas around Yellowstone and Yosemite as national and state public preserves in the late 19th century being the birthplace of this idea.

Our View: Crime wave? Let’s keep perspective

When it comes to crime, Del Norte County has probably always had its share. As a rough and tumble fishing and logging town, Crescent City was no doubt a far-west embodiment of the Wild West in its early years. Even today, the populace is an eclectic mix, not just another one of those retirement communities that dot the Northwest coastline.

Throw in the fact that it’s near the juncture of two major highways with a steady stream of strangers passing through, and you’ve got a place that’s tough to police with the small-town resources afforded our local authorities.

So when those authorities warn of an increase in residential break-ins, it’s not surprising that the citizens take note. Lately they’ve done so in a big way. A couple of town hall meetings on crime prevention each brought out more than 100 people. At least one new Neighborhood Watch has been formed. The sheriff and police blotters sport far more than the usual number of calls regarding suspicious people or vehicles.

Coastal Voices: Leave the mushroom pickers alone

Thank you for reporting both the good and bad of Professor Dennis Desjardin’s experiences back home (“Mushroom man: Ex-Del Norter has become fungi expert”).

I’m one of his admirers here in the Bay Area, and was dismayed to read about his recent run-in with the law there (but not entirely shocked, having heard similar stories elsewhere). I did a little research you might be interested in.

Redwood is a hybrid National and State Park, so the federal rules apply. The part of the Code of Federal Regulations they charged him under (which says nothing about fungi, however) contains this little gem: “as otherwise provided in this chapter.” Further reading reveals that the statute gives broad leeway to (federal) land managers to set rules for the collection of forest products (and to make all kinds of exceptions).

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