Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Firefighters: No child left behind in holiday toy drive

Thanksgiving may still be a week away, but the Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department is getting a head start on Christmas.

Firefighters were out at the new Walmart Supercenter on Wednesday encouraging shoppers to pick up an extra toy for a needy child as part of their Spark of Love toy drive. The fire department will be at Walmart and Walgreens between now and Christmas collecting toys for Santa's Workshop, said Fire Captain Dana Reno.

Santa's Workshop is operated by Rural Human Services and hands out presents to Del Norte County children whose names are on gift wish tags shaped as paper mittens that people obtain from local Giving Trees. But sometimes those tags get lost, Reno said, so the firefighters are stepping up to the plate to make sure those kids don't go without a present on Christmas Day.

"Last year Ron (Phillips) said 60 kids didn't get toys," Reno said, referring to Santa's Workshop director. "(We need) more community involvement to make sure kids don't get left behind."

This is the first-ever Spark of Love toy drive, but it's something Reno has tried to put together for a few years, said firefighter Blaine Hurley.

The fire department will be at Walmart on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fire department will be holding its toy drive at Walgreens from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25, Dec. 1, Dec. 9 and Dec. 15.

- Jessica Cejnar

Hospital grows a wing

A new 100,000-square-foot wing was opened at St. Joseph's Hospital in Eureka on Sunday.

Thirty-two progressive care patients and two intensive care patients were moved safely to their new rooms in the state-of-the-art North East Wing the day the wing opened.

The $145 million facility has a pre-operative department, post-anesthesia care unit, surgical suite with eight operating rooms, catheterization lab, intensive care unit, progressive care unit, expanded emergency department, diagnostic imaging, sterile processing, expanded lobby and a family lounge.

"St. Joseph Hospital has been caring for the North Coast for almost a century. The opening of the NE Wing is a momentous occasion for our patients, our staff and our community," said Laurie Watson Stone, the hospital's Vice President of Ancillary and Support Services, in a press release."We are so thankful to our amazing staff and caring community that really made this possible."

The project was prompted by an unfunded state mandate requiring hospitals to comply with updated state seismic laws by 2013.

-Adam Spencer

Fond farewell

For the first time in a year, my desk is clean.

Mountains of newsprint vanished, Rolodexes shuffled elsewhere, scores of little white notebooks all packed away.

And oh no, here they come, tears turning the naked dust to grime.

I'm glad no one is likely to notice a few sneaky teardrops, shed from behind an enormous computer monitor before the end of my last day as a Triplicate reporter.

It would just embarrass me.

Looking around, everyone is thankfully hard at work. As usual, nothing to see here but a whole office of dedicated, dimly compensated people, making a newspaper like they mean it, over and over, come hell or high water.

Thanks for making newspapers like they used to, Triplicate.

It's been a pleasure to be part of the team.

-Emily Jo Cureton