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

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E&P: New wave to catch; an election to cover

This isn’t what I’d intended.

The plan was to finish my career at the Triplicate, then someday retire right here between the redwoods and the sea where the housing is affordable, the traffic almost nonexistent and the hiking trails unpopulated.

Instead, Laura and I are moving to a place where the housing is overpriced, the traffic is congested and the hiking trails are … popular.

Isn’t life strange?

 

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E & P: Special sections are due, including ’64 flashback

The birthing process is under way at the Triplicate for a couple of special sections that will be in readers’ hands by the end of the month.

The semi-annual Coast Vacation Guide will sport a new name and a new design when it appears March 29. Soon after that, Go Wild Rivers Coast will have a companion when the Triplicate and the Curry Coastal Pilot launch a mobile apps platform carrying the same name. It’ll be brimming with regional information for travelers and locals alike.

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Letters to the Editor Feb. 1, 2014

Chamber brings attention to great businesspeople

Wow, we’ve come a long way, baby!

The annual Chamber of Commerce dinner was wonderful, one of the best yet, from the perfectly prepared dinner by the chefs at the Tolowa Events Center to the entertaining host Kevin Hartwick.

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It’s OK to take time on new-state plan

What’s the rush?

If Del Norte County supporters of a breakaway state of Jefferson are serious about their proposal, why wouldn’t they want it to be thoroughly examined, as the county Board of Supervisors has suggested?

True, the concept is not new. And neither is the North Coast’s widespread dissatisfaction with state government. It’s not a news flash that the local electorate is out of step with the more populated portions of California.

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E & P: Thanks for the tributes to our WWII veterans

Kudos to the organizers of Del Norte’s Veterans Day activities for recognizing the pressing need to show appreciation to our World War II service members while we still have them around.

And while organizers stopped at naming five WWII vets as parade grand marshals, hopefully the message came through to all of our oldest veterans: Monday was about honoring U.S. military personnel in general, but this one was especially for those of you who fought in the ’40s.

I was pleased to see Frank McNamara among those grand marshals. He served at Okinawa — scene of the bloodiest of the island-hopping invasions that helped bring an end to the war against Japan. Back home, he became a veteran of a different sort, narrowly escaping the two biggest surges of the ’64 tsunami, one of which rose to mid-torso at the downtown paint store he managed, and the other of which chased him up L Street toward higher ground.

Now 92, Frank is a survivor, and Crescent City is the better for it.

Another nice touch by the organizers was adding a sixth parade grand marshal, Sua Phia Lo, a captain in the Hmong Army that fought Communist forces in the Vietnam era. He cut a striking figure as the commander of a guerrilla unit in the 1966 photo on Saturday’s Northcoast Life page. And his inclusion was an appropriate gesture of appreciation to Del Norte’s Hmong community, the eldest of which migrated to America after Laos fell to the Communists in the ’70s.

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Give us our due, until we get out

He was absolutely correct, and more than a little ironic.

As Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin was warming up the audience at a Tea Party Patriots meeting to talk about the idea of joining the movement to break away from California and form the new state of Jefferson, he offered up a little geography lesson.

San Francisco, he said, “defines itself as Northern California. San Francisco is not Northern California. San Francisco is central California … we are from Northern California.”

That, he said to applause, is the terminology we should use “from this point on.”

Sign me up. I’ve been changing Associated Press references from “Northern California” to “central California” for years. The news organization even refers to some places slightly south of the Bay Area as “Northern California.”

It’s all part of a mind-set shared by pretty much the entire planet. California consists of two spheres of influence: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Never mind that half the state, geographically, is north of the Bay Area.

Frankly, it’s a viewpoint that marginalizes the true Northern California. Most folks venturing up from the Bay Area are probably headed for the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma. If they’re ambitious, they might trek to Mendocino’s Lost Coast. The truly adventurous may even make it all the way to Humboldt. That’s the absolute edge of the abyss, right?

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Rerouting highway may be only choice

Walk the trail south toward Enderts Beach from the overlook and you’ll see evidence of the old Redwood Highway built in the 1920s as close to the continent’s edge as engineers could manage.

The old path is marred by many slides, a reminder that we human beings learned from our mistake and constructed a new stretch of highway farther inland in the 1930s.

A few miles to the south rises another section of U.S. Highway 101 built too close to the edge. Caltrans has spent $29 million since 1997 alone trying to prevent Last Chance Grade from sliding into the sea. In a few days the latest phase of the monumental maintenance project is scheduled to end after nearly a year. Two-lane traffic will resume until the summer of 2016, when work crews will begin another round of buffing up the bluff.

Unless part of it — or all of it — slides away sooner.

Keeping Last Chance Grade passable is expensive. But it would be far more costly to build an inland bypass, in dollars and possibly the loss of old-growth redwoods, depending on the route chosen.

Gradually, however, officials seem to be coming to grips with the most expensive proposition of all. If Last Chance Grade ultimately collapses, the economic and human costs of losing the ability to drive between northern and southern Del Norte County would be staggering.

If we wait for that to happen — and experts seem to agree it eventually will — we’d still have to build an inland bypass. Meanwhile, Klamath-area residents would be cut off from their jobs and schools in Crescent City. The vital trade and tourism that the coast highway brings to Del Norte would be snuffed out as passing-through drivers detour to Interstate 5.

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E & P: Publisher’s office finally open again

My column bears a new name today, and arrives with a fresh commitment to write it more regularly. The last few weeks have blown by in a whirlwind — a pretty lousy excuse for not corresponding with readers, but the best I’ve got.

With the retirement of Michele Postal in early August, I took on the dual roles of Triplicate editor and publisher. Hence the new column name.

Only this week did I move into the publisher’s office, however, after it got a bit of a makeover courtesy of my wife and Neighbors editor, Laura, a true Renaissance woman who not only painted the walls but then adorned some of them with her own oil paintings.

I’m also maintaining a desk in the newsroom, but moving into that office is an important step. Being there is a constant reminder to think like a publisher who is ultimately responsible for the entire operation of the newspaper and its printing plant.

Fortunately, I’ve got help. Last month also saw the promotion of Kyle Curtis to operations manager and the arrival of circulation director David Jeffcoat. They’re part of a management team that includes Cindy Vosburg in advertising, Stacy Pottorff in accounting and David DeLonge at the printing plant.

All of them were sitting at a conference table in the reopened publisher’s office this week. I silently marvelled at their expertise as we got down to the business of making sure we’re doing everything we can to serve our community as its primary source of local information — both news and advertising.

Meanwhile, maybe 20 feet west in the newsroom, Assistant Editor Matthew Durkee and Photography/Design Editor Bryant Anderson have stepped up to keep things rolling while their boss has been somewhat distracted.

We’re currently without a sports editor after Robert Husseman returned to his Western Oregon roots, taking a job at the McMinnville News-Register. Bear with us as we keep track of sports by committee until Robert’s replacement arrives next month.

Bottom line: Things are OK, and we’ve got the folks in place to keep it that way as the Triplicate evolves. More on that in the coming weeks.

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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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Coastal Voices: Imagining a magical time

Recently while cleaning out my jewelry box, I came across a sweater pin of an amusement park. It has a ferris wheel, a roller coaster and arcades. It immediately brought to memory the sights, sounds and smell of thick, black grease that kept the gears and cogs turning in the salty air of famed Pacific Ocean Park down in Southern California.

This was a magical place where King Neptune guarded the gate against intruders with his trusty trident, a weapon that resembles a three-tined fork, and where mermaids found shelter in their giant clamshells. I can hear the chain of the roller coaster clicking, inching its way to the top only to spill over the edge down, down as everyone screams with delight and panic as the wooden roller coaster careens over the great, blue Pacific Ocean.

It seems I was able to convince my very loving, indulgent mother to take me there at least once every week. It was, after all, a very magical place, and only 10 minutes from my childhood home of Venice. 

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