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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.

Our View: Chesbro right to keep focus on state parks

Kudos to state Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro for continuing to criticize the plan to close 70 state parks.

Del Norters may be paying less attention to this issue after an agreement was achieved with the National Park Service to keep much of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park open. After all, that was the only local park on the list of 70.

But remember that the state-federal pact to preserve public access to 21 miles of trails and 2,514 acres of old-growth redwoods is a one-year arrangement, with the possibility of an extension.

Coastal Voices: What’s in a food policy?

Eating well isn’t only about what you eat; it’s also about where you live.

Whether you live in fast food central or around the corner from a farmers’ market, near two grocery stores or two liquor stores, your social environment helps dictate your food options.

Over the past year, I have helped coordinate the Community Food Council for Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands. It’s our local version of a food policy council and its mission is to create a vibrant, sustainable local food system for all.

Editor's Note: No keeping up, but here’s to keeping on

A stark reminder comes along every now and then that I’m not perched on technology’s cutting edge.

Take CD players — if you try to buy one these days you’ll discover that somebody must have taken them.

I wasn’t quick to climb aboard the compact disk bandwagon in the ’80s. My music inventory was tied up in vinyl and cassettes. But it was getting to the point where the record stores (remember them?) were offering practically nothing but CDs, so I acquiesced.

Coastal Voices: A chance to honor veterans

Veterans Day 2011 allows us to once again honor the men and women who currently serve and those who have served and defended our great nation in all branches of the armed forces of the United States of America.

Their sacrifice and service wasn’t initially honored on a universal Veterans Day. 

The first remembrance events began in 1919, the year following the signing of the Armistice that ended the Great War, later called World War I. In 1938, Armistice Day became a formally observed national holiday.

Our View: Del Norte’s combination sustaining us

We’ve been enjoying “Chamber of Commerce weather” lately, and the visitors have been flocking — and floating — to Del Norte.

Consider Thursday afternoon on Pebble Beach.

Binoculars were getting a workout in the pull-off parking areas as gray whales spouted frequently. One in particular was a real show-off, keeping much of its bulky body above water even between the blasts of water and air.

Meanwhile, brown pelicans seemed engaged in some kind of Occupy Crescent City operation, mobbing close-in coastal waters by the dozens and staking out perches on the sea stacks. Local gulls, pushed away from their usual haunts by the glut of south-migrating visitors, were probably thinking, “Tourists.”

Del Norte Gardening: Last chance for some jobs before winter

Del Norte Gardening runs monthly. Paul Madeira and Julie Jo Ayer Williams own Ocean Air Farms in Fort Dick.

We have had beautiful weather this October, and we could have an equally beautiful November.

We are happy to have such a great ending to what was a cool, wet and late-starting summer. Cooler temperatures were common throughout the West this growing season, so a warmer and sunny fall was just what we needed.

Our gardens have held on longer than usual and we are just now saying goodbye to summer squash, cucumbers (not much of a year), and basil to name a few. However, on Wednesday we did feel our first frost of the season in Fort Dick. So, there it is, we could have a mild November, or like nearly every other year, it could get cold and wet real fast.

Editor's Note: Crime news, immediacy, are essential

A common plea of people made uncomfortable by coverage of criminal allegations is that the newspaper should wait until the matter has been resolved in court.

Otherwise, they say, you’re putting the defendant on trial prematurely and tainting the jury pool.

But there’s truth in the adage, “The wheels of justice move slowly.” Sometimes, cases take years to work their way through the courts. And often, they conclude with plea bargains that involve dismissal of some charges and the lowering of others. A climactic trial before a jury of one’s peers is the exception.

Our View: City solid waste move bodes well

Kudos to City Manager Eugene Palazzo for coming up with a good suggestion and to Crescent City Council members for approving it.

If county supervisors go along with it as well, any upcoming analysis of solid waste issues will likely occur where it should — in the open.

That wasn’t the case with an ad hoc committee on solid waste appointed by supervisors two years ago, and it might not have been the case with a new ad hoc committee that supervisors recently proposed.

For the most part, Del Norte’s solid waste issues have played out in the open, with opportunity for public comment every step of the way. That included the process of awarding a garbage and recycling collection contract, which was highly competitive. And it included the recent collection price increases that have some people upset now that they’ve seen their bills.

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