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Updated 1:56pm - May 26, 2015

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Coastal Voices: Also honor those who protect freedoms here

 Sometimes the muse calls from different places — the channel markers and sea lions, your back pages or in this case, an old song by some men I met long ago in East Los Angeles, a community and people that seem so familiar this evening. Penned by David Hidalgo and Louis Perez, two-fifths of Los Lobos, I listened to words that seemed so poignant:


Coastal Voices: Fairgrounds vote shows how we help each other

Del Norte County is nothing if not diverse.

Our community features an incredible array of individuals: from farmers, fishermen, correctional officers and officer workers to retirees and young people just starting out in the world. All call Del Norte County home. They bring different backgrounds, different cultures and different trains of thought to our community every day.


Coastal Voices: Citizen's Dock: Civic lightning

As a contributor to the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, I was given the opportunity to write this article to illustrate how the people of Del Norte and Curry counties have worked together to get things done. I read about many such instances at the Del Norte Historical Society Museum, but the wonderful stories about “Citizens Dock” made me so excited and enthusiastic about being a member of this community that I had to share the story with you.


Coastal Voices: Who cares? It's only your money

Here we are almost three years since since it was discovered that $25,732.15 went mysteriously missing from the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority safe creating a whodunit worthy of an Angela Lansbury mystery. Just to recap the events, here is the timeline of what we know.

Coastal Voices: Keep vital safety net for students

I was moved to tears at the last School Board meeting when the students and their parents spoke about just how much the current academic intervention program had influenced and changed their lives. Redwood and Mary Peacock students who from kindergarten on up have struggled with everything from reading to math pleaded to keep this program. 


Yes We Can: It's time for community to rally for good of all

Hi, Del Norte. 

I have been given an opportunity by the “Trip” to put together articles for the Opinion section on sharing thoughts and ideas on where we are going in this community in the years to come. I hope you will board this train with me to see if we can move this town to new heights economically and to unify our efforts to make this an even better place to live. 

My dad brought me to the Klamath in 1949 as a 13-year-old boy. It didn’t take me long to have the experiences of learning to run a boat or run up and down the river with a river sled powered by an old Johnson “10.” I loved learning to read the water under the tutelage of my dad, Wes. A few trips to the mouth of the river fishing with Shorty Conner and Dad for the almight chinook excited me and headed me in later years to be a seasonal guide. 


Coastal Voices: Sutter Health does not play nicely in sandbox

“Who’s going to protect the people of Del Norte County?”

Those words of Kevin Caldwell, M.D., reverberate loudly. It was Dr. Caldwell who first dared to stand up to the multi-billion-dollar goliath Sutter Health by opposing Sutter’s decision to move hospital ownership out of Del Norte County to the Bay Area and lower the 49-bed Acute Care hospital to a 24-bed Critical Access facility. Dr. Caldwell was the first local physician to see Sutter’s malfeasance. As hospital chief of staff, he identified Sutter’s repeated implementation of patient care policies without physician input. Sutter Health was telling doctors how to practice medicine, in violation of California law. With great effort, Dr. Caldwell was able to unwind Sutter’s illegal policies. Later, after Sutter Health executives advised the local hospital Board to dissolve itself and transfer hospital ownership to the Bay Area, Dr. Caldwell asked the hospital board chair for a guarantee Sutter would not close the obstetrics service. Dr. Caldwell could not get that guarantee. He stood alone in defense of our community. Dr. Caldwell joins medical colleagues Mark Davis, M.D., Manfred Ritter, M.D., and Gregory Duncan, M.D., all of whom have experienced the pain of a revengeful, insatiable bully, Sutter Health Corporation. Sutter Health, parent of Sutter Coast Hospital, does not play nicely in the Del Norte sandbox. 

 


Coastal Voices: Enforce, set limits on PWC use

Within the past two years, a handful of people have begun riding their personal watercraft (PWC) at South Beach in and among swimmers and surfers — often at high speeds while using the waves as ramps to jump into the air. While this might be exciting to watch from shore, it can be unnerving and leave you concerned for your safety if you are in the water and within close proximity to them. 

One would never imagine someone riding an ATV through the Kid Town or Brother Johnathan playgrounds. But that is essentially what I watched last October as four operators launched their personal watercraft (PWC) at South Beach while my wife and I played with our two children in the surf. Not only did they launch their craft within 10 feet of us, they left their hand trailer floating in the water, forcing my family and I to move down the beach to avoid the trailer that was floating unattended. My wife and I observed for the next hour the four operators of the PWCs zip around in the surf zone that was also being used by swimmers and surfers. The PWCs kept coming back and forth from the surf zone to the shore every 10 minutes to take a break on shore, each time launching around swimmers and surfers and zipping out to open water. When it became clear that the PWCs were not going to be leaving us alone to enjoy the water with our family without worrying about being run over by the constant launching and re-launching from shore, we packed our family up and went home.


Coastal Voices: Jet Ski riders will respect community

I write this letter to provide you with some information in regard to having Jet Ski recreational riders and competitors at Crescent City. I am the promoter and creator of one of the premier Jet Ski competitions in the nation, called the Grayland Open, that is held annually in Grayland, Wash., near the fishing community of Westport, Wash. The town is very similar to Crescent City in many ways. I started the competition in 2009 as a small competition between friends. Fast forward to 2015 and this event has grown to become one of the largest competitions of its kind in the western United States and brings riders and spectators from all parts of the world. One of the main reasons that this event has grown over the years is due to a community that embraces the sport and the wonderful people that are involved in the sport. Freeriders are respectful and do not want to cause problems amongst other people. We go where we are welcomed and that’s where we spend our money. I know it can be difficult to understand the impact that you can have by just welcoming this community of riders into your community. Let me give you some examples of what one Jet Ski event in Grayland has done for the community. 

 


Coastal Voices: Close achievement gap according to local voices

When we really define the academic achievement gap locally, one glaring gap that continues to need attention is the disproportionate graduation rates for American Indian students in Del Norte County, including Yurok students, within the county. The three-year cohort graduation rate in Del Norte for all students is 77.3 percent. For American Indians in Del Norte the three-year cohort graduation rate is 66.3 percent. This is an 11-point difference (or a 15 percent gap in achievement) over the previous three-year cohort graduation rates, according to the DataQuest system at the California Department of Education. Surely the graduation rates for the American Indian student group can be one of the measurements considered in the current Local Control Funding Formula debate occurring this spring in Del Norte’s County’s school district, especially since graduation is one of the primary goals for the K–12 school system.  


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