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Updated 3:10pm - Apr 16, 2014
Updated 3:46pm - Apr 15, 2014

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California Focus: Rejected spending and the prisoner release crisis

For every action, goes the law of both physics and politics, there is a reaction, a consequence.

Now it seems more and more that a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown may have led directly to new demands for convict releases he calls a public danger, demands now backed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brown’s aides say he will continue pursuing an appeal of the order by three federal judges demanding the state’s prison population be cut by at least 9,600 inmates before year’s end. The idea is to to bring prisons down to 137 percent of the system’s designed capacity. Given the glacial pace of court actions, it's almost certain some prisoners will be let go – or else Brown will be held in contempt of court, with a constitutional crisis possibly ensuing.

Brown warns that the more than 24,000-prisoner reduction already made via his “realignment” program used up much of the pool of “harmless” convicts, so cutting more inmates may lead to many new crimes.

He lays any responsibility for that at the feet of the judges, saying the state moved mountains to relieve the overcrowding top courts find unconstitutional. Yet, prisoners now bunk in jammed gymnasiums and other open spaces, lack adequate room for exercise and get inferior medical care, the judges found repeatedly.

But Brown says there’s been considerable improvement, citing the recent opening of an almost $1 billion Central Valley medical facility as one sign of progress.

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Our View: Ad is another example of simplistic advocacy

Elsewhere in today’s Triplicate is a half-page advertisement purchased by advocates of inmates seeking almost a total abolishment of the Security Housing Units used at Pelican Bay and other state prisons.

It’s jarring in its description of SHU residency as “torture.” It’s also an illustration of the American right of free speech playing out in the pages of your local newspaper, agree or disagree (it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday).

So here’s some more free speech. The advertisement is an example of the tendency of inmate advocates, including some state legislators, to ignore the problem SHUs were created to help solve:

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Church Notebook: First Baptist Church to host ‘Passion Talk’ series over 3 weeks

Once again, one of those green and growing things around me has turned nature’s schedule upside down.

We’ve gotten used to the apple tree that has taken to having an extra blooming in December every year. Of course, no apples result, though it does bloom again and produce at the proper time. There are about six to eight apples on it now, which is typical for this little tree.

It’s a “single stem” apple, from a nursery in Canandaigua, N.Y. No branches, it has 4-inch “spurs” along its 6-foot trunk. I have two of them, one a MacIntosh, the other, Golden Delicious. As you can see, I like unusual things. Now, if we can just beat the raccoons to them.

This year the surprise comes from that Gloxinia I’ve told you about in the past.

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Pages of History: Club plans to spruce up old cemetery

From the pages of the Del Norte Triplicate, August 1949.

The historic old cemetery north of the city on the beach road is to be cleaned up and a plaque located there. The Kiwanis Club adopted this as a new project at its last meeting, Dr. H.A. Stover announced.

Dr. Stover said that the cemetery is a historic landmark containing the remains of victims from the Brother Jonathan shipwreck of 1865. The history of the cemetery itself dates from the 1850s and in recent years has been allowed to deteriorate and suffer from desecration and vandalism.

The aim of the Kiwanis Club, Dr. Stover said, is to clean it up and establish a plaque in honor of the Jonathan survivors and other old-time residents buried there. He asks residents here who have information of value historically on persons buried there to contact the Kiwanis club.

Trees of Mystery beautified

The Trees of Mystery park entrance will soon have a new look, as landscaping operations get under way directed by Raymond Marks, of the Crescent City Nursery. According to Marks, the park will soon sport a huge sign with the words, “Trees of Mystery” spelled out in letters formed by flowers on the bank in full view of the highway.

Dwarf French marigolds are being planted to form the sign temporarily, and they will be replaced in the fall by thrift plants, said Marks. 

9-year-old girl wins boat

Joan Moore, 9  daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Miller, Crescent City, prefers terra firma to aquatic transportation. After hoping and dreaming for weeks that she would win the Shriner’s pony and saddle at the county fair, Joan was bitterly disappointed as the winner was revealed to be someone else. 

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Letters to the Editor Aug. 29, 2013

Leaders ignorant of DA's failings is embarrassing

The Tripicate’s recent article regarding suspended  District Attorney Jon Alexander’s trying to regain his job even though he cannot currently practice law is absolutely laughable. Let me see if I understand this correctly, Mr. Alexander is claiming that the Board of Supervisors violated his due process rights, and the Brown Act? And, to further the injury, Mr. Alexander is requesting back pay and to be reinstated.

Alexander abused his prosecutorial power by speaking with a criminal defendant about her case without her lawyer present; and after learning from her that she, not her co-defendant, owned the illegal drugs found during their arrest, failed to give that exculpatory evidence to the other defendant’s lawyer; then lied to an assistant DA by saying he had not spoken with the defendant (who had recorded the conversation). This statement came directly from the judge’s opinion. 

At an eight-day Bar hearing last October, witnesses including judges, lawyers, mayors, community leaders, politicians, law enforcement officers, social workers and others testified, some of them to Alexander’s good character.

Who was the mayor at that time? Katherine Murray? I would question the integrity of these character witnesses. And finally who were the community leaders, so I and others can protect ourselves from their lack of understanding of what integrity means.

Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz wrote that “they invariably dismissed respondent’s misconduct as either insignificant or not at all unethical. Many did not comprehend its egregiousness.”

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Letters to the Editor Aug. 27, 2013

Failed stores can't blame Walmart

All things considered, the times and economy had much more to do with grocery store failures than Walmart.

Having shopped at both failed Ray’s Food Places for many years, both stores were excellent, well run, good selections and great employees. But those factors cannot compensate for 10 to 20 percent higher prices.

Driving distance and convenience are also in the equation. For those of us in the north county, fuel costs and having several other Brookings/Harbor stores to choose from for all needs made going north a logical and economical choice.

Buy local? Ninety percent of new items coming on the market are not available locally ... or six months after release, if at all.

Medford then becomes a logical choice, at any cost, when combined with other shopping needs.

Failed stores and restaurants cannot blame Walmart for the economy or inefficiencies in current business. Shoppers always have and always will choose costs and convenience over loyalties.

Bob Douglas, Smith River

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Coastal Voices: Awkward proceedings enlightening to observe

When all is said and done there is little we as community members whose health care needs are serviced by Sutter Coast Hospital can do to prevent the total takeover of the hospital we rely on and its ultimate evisceration.

The story line is old by now and most who care and follow it know the theme well. While it is true that the Board of Supervisors cannot, by itself, change the outcome of this situation, it is the voice of the people and if all members will put aside all personal and political mind sets in this singular and extremely important aspect of our lives for the good of all we can make the difference.

Unfortunately, such is not the case it appears.

Fast-forward to a 10-minute special meeting of the Board  of Supervisors on Aug. 15 (on USTREAM, Board of Supervisors) on your computer, as they attempt to appoint a member to a steering committee studying the hospital’s future.

What you will observe more closely resembles an old-fashioned three-legged sack race featuring Team  Sullivan and Hemmingsen as they try to hobble toward the finish line on three legs between them.

They  nominate  and second a replacement (David Finigan) for the discredited Martha McClure. Meanwhile, a third member of the board (Roger Gitlin) sits sidelined twiddling his thumbs as the Hemming and hawing between the two “in-charge” members moves slipshod toward a vote and a confirmation of Supervisor Finigan as the board’s newest offering to the so-called steering committee.

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Lyndon Abarr a 3-sport star for Warriors

It is always fun to look at the old red and white Warrior blanket that hung on the wall in the old high school gym. 

I look at the names of former Warriors who have had their names put on this piece of history and feel honored that I have known most all of them personally, even though I only got to see a very few perform as Warriors. 

There is one 1947 graduate that I only had the privilege of watching during his senior year. Lyndon Abarr was a three-sport Warrior in football, basketball and track. 

He played football in his senior year under coach Phil Crawford. The 1946 team was in the second year of the return of 11-man football, which was dropped during World War II. It played a limited five-game schedule and went 1-4, beating Ferndale 14-0.

Track was Lyndon’s best sport. He was a three-year varsity letterman and his performance in the sport resulted in his name being placed on the blanket.

Lyndon’s talents went far beyond the athletic arena. During his entire high school career, Lyndon was on the academic honor roll. He was also a member of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF); he served as vice-president of that organization during his sophomore year. It was interesting that, during Lyndon’s senior year, CSF had nine girls and only three boys, but all three boys were Warrior athletes — Lyndon, Dick Moen and Gordon Miller.

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House Calls: Limit the time in sunshine

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Barbara Woodcock
House Calls runs monthly. Today’s column is written by Barbara Woodcock, a physical therapy assistant in the Rehabilitation Department at Sutter Coast Hospital.

Living on the coast there aren’t many days that the temperature gets too hot.  However, it is common for people on the coast to go “up river” to enjoy some fun in the sun.

While exercise and sun exposure can be good things, too much time in the sun can actually lead to quite a bit of trouble for youngsters. Some things you need to remember is to apply sunscreen to children prior to exposure to the sun. Even this may not be enough protection at times.

Babies and toddlers often get “heat rash” or “prickly heat.” It is advised to dress your child comfortably for the temperatures of the day.  Heat rash can occur whether the child is over-dressed or under-dressed. If heat rash appears in spite of your efforts, treat the rash with calamine lotion to keep the child from scratching the affected area.

Sun poisoning is a sign of too much sun. This can be an allergic reaction or the first signs of a severe sunburn. If this occurs, remove the child from sun exposure. Make sure the child is getting plenty of water or sports drinks. A cool bath followed by an application of aloe cream to affected areas can be helpful as well.

Often children and teens are busy and may not recognize the signs of a heat-related illness. Some that can occur are heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.

Heat stroke can occur quickly. The most common sign of a child suffering heat stroke is red-flushed skin without the presence of sweating, along with a rapid rise in body temperature and nausea. Children progress to being aggravated and/or disoriented with signs of difficulty breathing and a rapid pulse. With further progression a child may get a severe headache, then lose consciousness.  Then it has become a  life-threatening situation that will require  medical care.

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Letters to the Editor Aug. 24, 2013

Last Chance Grade must be fixed without delay

Rarely have I been so moved by the written words of any commentary as when I read the Coastal Voices piece by Kurt Stremberg on finding a new route around Last Chance Grade (“Find new route before economy devastated,” Aug. 22).

His personal tragedy of losing both his parents at Last Chance on Highway 101 in 1972 was sobering. Kurt’s message calling for the immediate replacement of a road around the problematic Last Chance Grade was riveting.

After reading the column, I asked myself, is this our last chance for Last Chance Grade? Usually, there are two sides to any subject; not in this case. U.S. 101 at Last Chance is going to collapse and when that happens, all bets are off.

Caltrans will build an alternate route through the park and there will no discussion about fauna or flora. Even a fast-track road will take 18–36 months; all the while Del Norte County will languish and suffer, and in that process will slowly, painfully succumb.

I deferred to my senior colleague on the Board of Supervisors,  District 5 Supervisor David Finigan, whose district situates within Last Chance Grade. Dave’s knowledge on Last Chance is extensive and his insight to resolve the problem is imperative.

Last Chance needs to be resolved now! In 2003, Caltrans performed a full-blown study on Last Chance and decided the best way to fix the problem is to have all the equipment and materials on site to patch up the road.  For the last decade, those supplies have been stored at Wilson Creek Road.

In my opinion, that choice was regrettable. Caltrans needs to go back to that study, dust it off, and re-examine the already selected alternate route and build it!

I observed the route earlier this month. Kurt, former Supervisor Chuck Blackburn and I  were escorted by the Green Diamond team. The entire detour would involve less than three miles of roads and impact the state parks by about 2 acres.

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