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Letters to the Editor Aug. 1, 2013

Article failed to get both sides, implied wrongdoing

It never ceases to amuse me that the newspaper runs a story and fails to obtain both sides, especially when this paper can include allegations that hold people in a bad light (“Ex-prosecutor Olson settles for $50K,” July 30).

I read with little surprise that a former employee who was fired, settled after six years. Whether I agree with the settlement or not, it makes perfect sense, dollar-wise.

Yet for some reason I still find myself getting disappointed when a story mentions people by name, levels or mentions some allegation and yet this paper fails to actually speak to the person whom it is writing about.

No employee would be fired for grand jury testimony since such testimony is confidential, nor could an employee be fired for political reasons. An employee could however be fired for writing off a friend’s ticket.

I guess I expect news from a paper; and yet to print an allegation, name the person whom the allegation is being leveled against in a story that highlights a monetary settlement is simply a slanted gossip piece. It is an example of how a story can be written to imply so much more than what can be factually supported.

For example, If I alleged that the editor of a paper was being sued for being a racist and then wrote an article that the paper settled the suit for $50,000 without ever speaking to the editor about the allegation, well, I would be implying that the suit had some merit; just as this paper did in its latest article. 

Mike Riese, Crescent City

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Letters to the Editor July 30, 2013

Best wishes for departing publisher

Congratulations, Michele Grgas Postal, on your coming retirement. But I will really miss your stories in the paper. They are funny, touching and informative.

I hope you have fun with your grandkids, and I hope and pray you have a good life with your husband and family.

Del Norte Triplicate readers and others will greatly miss you!

Karen Leven, Fort Dick 

Hospital still obligated to match Seaside's care

As described in the July 11 Triplicate (“District drops hospital lawsuit”) the “hospital settlement” certainly was a resounding loss for the Health Care District.

In my 30-plus years of handling disputes and settlements, I don’t think I ever saw a worse settlement. There was nothing gained by delay that is worth what was parted with. If the final draft isn’t signed, it shouldn’t be. If it has been, it should be repudiated or reformed for mistake.

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Coastal Voices: Another doctor’s viewpoint on hospital issues

In response to the July 18 Coastal Voices piece by my colleague, Dr. Greg Duncan (“Secrecy imperils locally owned, full-service hospital”), I feel compelled to offer a slightly different viewpoint from a physician who has also been in this community for a long time.

Although I have agreed with my fellow physicians on some of these issues rejecting regionalization, it is solely because I believe that it is a step that will lead rather quickly to critical access application for this hospital.  Based on what I know about the many ramifications of critical access, I would prefer that Sutter Health not take that step, at least not until it was absolutely necessary.

The main objection of the medical staff has been the process of the decision by the Board of Directors at Sutter Coast, in that we physicians as a group were excluded, and we do not understand, even at this late date, the need to take these steps. We want to understand the reasoning behind this process and we are also convinced that the public deserves similar understanding.  

If, however, critical access were not being discussed in the same breath, I might be in favor of regionalization because the potential benefits might outweigh the numerous objections that have been raised.

I do not favor the hospital Board’s decision to “go regional” without bargaining to get a permanent seat on the regional board. But even setting that aside, if Sutter Health through the West Bay Region could assure a supply of physicians to this community by virtue of the resources of the West Bay Region physician foundation, then “going regional” might be the best solution to the main chronic medical problem in this community — lack of physicians.  

In the first years I was here, in Crescent City alone, there were seven private primary care offices whose physicians had privileges at the hospital, and at their peak these offices numbered about 15 physicians between them. Now there are two such private offices in this town, with four physicians between them. I am now in my 21st year as a working physician in this community and during that time I can think of only one or two cases where physicians, after announcing their intent to leave, have actually replaced themselves, or been replaced in a timely way. All the others have retired, died, or moved away and turned their patient files over to the care of a partner or some other local office. Numerous physicians have been brought to this community to try and fill the gaps, and in most cases they left after only brief stays.   

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One for the road

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Retiring Triplicate Publisher Michele Postal with granddaughter Kayla, whom she’ll see more of. Del Norte Triplicate / Rick Postal
Instead of it being a final column, consider it a thank-you note

I was raised by strict parents aided by a bevy of nuns who made a career out of turning their charges into proper young ladies. With a stern once-over every morning the sisters checked out the starch in our blouses, the pleats in our uniform skirts and the shine from fresh polish on our white oxfords. The best you could hope for was a nod — but that was the prize and I worked to get it.

Those same good sisters put a lot of stock in “please and thank you.” One of the drills we practiced often was writing thank- you notes. After receiving gifts for a birthday or Christmas or when invited to a friend’s house for dinner or a sleepover, the proper response was, we were taught, to neatly pen a sincere, well-written thank-you note and send it promptly.

I was labeled “most likely to stay in touch” by the girls I went to school with because I enjoyed writing those thank you’s so much.

So obviously I forgot my manners and training when I tried to fade into the fog of Del Norte County after publishing my column about the birth of my second granddaughter Shayna (who is now 8 weeks old with chubby cheeks and big blue eyes). End of chapter, I thought. Next step: retirement. But one by one I heard from readers that I owed them one last column. Please, they added.

You may call this my last column, but I’m calling it a thank-you note. A thank-you note to you for reading the Triplicate and for your calls, e-mails and visits over the years — whether to set me straight or tell me we did well.

I should have retired a long time ago. Not to abandon my post at the Triplicate sooner, but to bask in the generous compliments from well wishers — friends and strangers alike — who have sought me out since I announced my intention to retire Aug. 2. I’ve been genuinely surprised, flattered and moved by the folks who say they’ll miss me. Wow. Who knew?

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Letters to the Editor July 27, 2013

Youth's ignorance about flag saddening 

I was delighted to see that so many homes in Crescent City had their flags displayed on the Fourth of July. I was equally pleased to see the excellent turnout at the Fourth of July Parade.

But did you know our children are not necessarily being taught what the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance represents?

Recently, I was made aware that in many Crescent City classrooms the American flag is not displayed, nor is the Pledge of Allegiance being recited daily.

After further investigation I found out that California Education Code 52720 requires a daily patriotic exercise, which can include the Pledge of Allegiance in all K-12 classrooms.  In addition, California Education Code 52730 requires the teaching of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I am so tired of elected officials picking and choosing which parts of their job they wish to enforce. So I challenge you to ask your children, grandchildren or family friends' and relatives' children basic information about the American flag, such as what do the 13 stripes and 50 stars represent on the flag. You will be saddened by the results.

Remember, patriotism is a way of life and needs to be taught, so become a mentor and teach every child you see so they learn to respect our flag, and make a change in our School Board come election time!

Marianne Shannon, Crescent City

Editor’s note: Del Norte School Superintendent Don Olson said students in certain grades at every school are taught about the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. He also said every classroom now has a flag.

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Coastal Voices: Solid waste: Remember all the accomplishments

On Wednesday, I retired as the director of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.

It has been apparent for some time that the Board of Commissioners and I have fundamental disagreements about the proper direction for the agency, especially regarding the possibility of dissolving this partnership between the city and county and totally privatizing solid waste in our community. For this reason, it is in the interest of both parties to negotiate a separation.  

In response to the question of “missing money” referred to in a Thursday Triplicate article, let me state unequivocally that I have done nothing illegal. Three separate auditors have investigated this issue with an indeterminate conclusion.

There is no evidence or even a suggestion of impropriety on my part. The only thing that I am being blamed for is the fact that I was the director when this problem occurred.

If I am going to be held responsible for this recent accounting issue, then I should also be given credit for my many accomplishments over the last 20 years. It is only fair that I should be evaluated on the totality of my employment here. Let me go back to the beginning.

 When I first moved here in 1993, the entire system was privately operated by Del Norte Disposal, aka Recology Del Norte. It ran the collection vehicles, operated the county-owned landfill and collected the fees at the gate. After state agencies started imposing enforcement orders and fining the county for violating anti-pollution laws, the private company was able to walk away with no cost or liability.

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Church Notebook: Game nights and Bible studies spice things up

It happens once in awhile.

And summer is the most likely time.

We have a week with no special programs to tell you about. But just because there are no special events doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on at church!

Most churches have lots of scheduled activities that occur on a regular basis. Some are well attended, some are not.

Lots of folks seem to feel that going to church on Sunday (or Saturday) morning is sufficient, electing to skip mid-week studies and things like game nights and movie nights. Some churches have various classes — sewing, crocheting, quilting — where ladies can gather and work on projects together.

Often these classes welcome the younger ladies to come and learn the various crafts. In the old days, most homes had an older aunt or grandmother to help teach young girls these skills, but as more and more women found it necessary to join the workforce, these skills dropped by the wayside.

Game night is one regular activity at my church that I thoroughly enjoy. Once a month we gather, bring snacks and our favorite games, and spend two to three hours together just having fun. It makes not only for a very enjoyable evening but allows those of us who participate the chance to get to know each other so much better.

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Boy Scout Tree largest found so far

From the pages of the Crescent City American, July 1931.

The redwood tree in Elk Valley, known as the Boy Scout Tree, is the largest yet discovered according to Fred Patterson, the man who makes Patterson’s pictures of the redwoods.

Mr. Patterson made a trip here this week from Santa Rosa, where he now resides, to take the measurements of the tree and found it to be 31 feet in diameter. It is larger than the General Sherman tree in the Mariposa group, the big tree in Bull Creek Flat in Humboldt County, or any tree yet discovered.

The big tree is 87 feet in circumference, it being of oval shape, and was probably at one time two separate trees. The trees have merged and grown together until they reach a height of 250 feet above the ground.

Mr. Patterson has searched for a long time to find the largest tree and was much delighted to find it in Del Norte County.

Oh, girls, the fleet’s in!

Uncle Sam’s U.S. Navy arrived in port yesterday and was greeted by a boarding party that piloted the two destroyers into the harbor, and as a consequence of the arrival of the two ships the city is full of fine, manly-looking, clean-cut sailors!

There are lots of pretty girls in Crescent City and plenty of amusements for all who care to be entertained so. 

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Letters to the Editor July 25, 2013

Sutter brings strife; go with Asante instead 

Having watched Sutter Health’s attempt to make our local hospital a Critical Access facility (with its loss of beds, loss of staff, and many more patient aircraft transfers to out of area hospitals), it is obvious the only solution is to get rid of Sutter Health and replace it with an honest healthcare administration company that has integrity.

Asante has publicly expressed an interest in a stronger affiliation with our region (as reported in The Del Norte Triplicate on Oct. 15, 2012), but the hospital Board has ignored the offer.  Sutter Health wants to downsize because it will make more money, period.  The health of our community does not matter to Sutter.  If you want more of the same, keep trying to work with Sutter Health.

This includes more lawsuits, more money diverted away from the community and toward legal matters, more “studies” that are rigged to get the results Sutter Health wants, more deception from Sutter Health about its true intentions, higher cost, more unethical behavior at board meetings, and more attacks on people of integrity, such as Doctors Greg Duncan and Kevin Caldwell. I am sure these two doctors could make a much longer list.

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Coastal Voices: Regionalization, critical access: setting the record straight

Spending time at a recent two-by-two meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the Del Norte Health Care District Board gives me the opportunity to address concerns I heard.

The public seems eager to get the facts and we want to offer them. As a reminder, we are in the midst of the Strategic Options Study with The Camden Group because of very real financial issues. Our No. 1 goal is to ensure this community has access to health care.

The first misconception continues to be that regionalization/centralization equals Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation. This is not true. Regionalization is strictly a governance structure. Sutter Coast Hospital will continue to have a local administrative team and input into governance matters and a local advisory board.

The regional bylaws require that the Board be representative of the communities it serves. The current West Bay Board has individuals from each of the four counties in which it has facilities. If Sutter Coast becomes part of the West Bay, I have every reason to believe there would be at least one individual from Del Norte County.

Some have speculated that if we regionalize, we impose CAH designation. We have not made that statement, or that decision. In fact, The Camden Group, as discussed in my last “Coastal Voices,” has been enlisted to guide us through the process of analysis about the best options to ensure that the hospital can meet the health care needs of our community now and in the future.

A significant focus of The Camden Group is patient safety, quality of care and the financial impact to access that care. This study is currently under way and we look forward to the evidence-based interactive process. The Steering Committee plays an active role.    

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