Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Courageous woman restores faith in DN

Just a brief note to express my admiration for the woman described in the Jan. 9 article, "Burglars flee from armed woman."

This one courageous elderly woman with her gun has restored my faith and pride in Del Norte County and has done more for the betterment of our society than the thousands of wimpy anti-gun "liberals" infesting our governments and our media. She deserves national headlines and a presidential medal, but I doubt that will happen.

Anyway, she has my sincere admiration and enthusiastic congratulations. Three cheers for the pistol packin' mama!

John Cupp,Smith River

Bad Hurdygurdy deal shows need for reform

In response to the Dec. 10 article, "Acrimony in Hurdygurdy land deal," I'm delighted that the reporting led to not one dispute of the facts of the Hurdygurdy land sale.

The facts remain simple: Smith River Alliance pays $2 million for the land, and Smith River Alliance receives $5.6 million from the federal government for the same land that even the original owner recognizes has no real value. "Acrimony" is too soft of a word to use in the headline; it should be "outrage."

I understand that the federal government has a process to appraise lands it may seek to purchase. In the case of Hurdygurdy, however, it's unfortunate that the process resulted in an overinflated appraisal of greater than 200 percent more than the actual sale price for the land. Perhaps having a staff member of the Smith River Alliance involved in the final review of the appraisal had something to do with the final value?

I understand there may be little the Forest Service can do in the short term, but my hope is Congress will look into the Forest Service's appraisal practices in hopes of reforming its practices in the future. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the purchase of relatively worthless property, all in the name of stewardship.

With regard to Mr. Kasteler's comments about the Board of Supervisors' support for the sale, or lack thereof, Smith River Alliance and his company approached the Board of Supervisors and asked for such support. We did not reach out to engage or stick our noses into his business. Meanwhile, the sale seems to be going along without our support. Yet, Del Norte County taxpayers are left with less private land that helps support our community while an out-of-state company, with the assistance of a "non-profit," benefits. Forgive me if I don't hold the door for you as you leave Del Norte County.

The federal government must recognize the significant impact its actions have on rural communities, it must adequately mitigate past and future local government financial losses, and it must correct its actions so that it avoids these impacts in the future.

Gerry Hemmingsen,Crescent City

Editor's note: Gerry Hemmingsen is a Del Norte County supervisor.

Moore, hospital study hiding truth from public

Illogical murmurings of liberal minds can result in strange allusions. For example, the Jan. 2 Coastal Voices piece featuring Del Norte's seemingly emergent health czar, Clarke Moore ("Time to face reality, work with Sutter Health").

Beginning with 11 bulleted paragraphs vaunting his 41 years of health-care involvement (and that is not to be disparaged, I appreciate his community volunteerism and paid service), the article continues by taking the reader up the South Fork to a remote off-the-grid domicile from which Dylan can be heard singing that "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

Good stuff for the Neighbors page of The Triplicate but why read about his employment record and lifestyle in an article penned regarding the Sutter Health Corporation's muscling of our Sutter Coast Hospital's governing board into a mold of jello virtually giving our hospital away?

Having tested the waters of the community and finding overt hostility to the takeover scheme, the Sutter Health bandits decided to soothe public opinion with an "independent" study to ameliorate the community's fevered minds. The Camden Group Study was launched with a $170,000 check and a predetermined factoid from which the study was to fabricate a propaganda campaign to justify Sutter Health's application for Critical Access (cutting the number of general hospital beds in half) and regionalization (governance from distant counties by Sutter-appointed board members).

To give the "study" validity, a county-wide steering committee was formed, to which most of the county organizations sent a representative (Clark was one such not elected) that would be informed as to the findings of the study group using the filtered data presented by Sutter Health.

After a presentation to the public from a variety of media (Internet being one) a tally was taken of the participating representatives and the tally was (to my best information) 100 percent in Sutter Health's favor.

With Clarke Moore's eventual presentation of reasons for community organizations' rallying behind the behemoth health-care corporation's decision to downsize Sutter Coast Hospital, one ultimately has to wonder were they privy to data withheld from the public and cloaked by the non-disclosure agreements all representatives were required to sign?

Assuredly the figures Clarke Moore cited are in the public domain. They must be by law. But those are not the same figures Sutter Coast-area citizens deserve to know.

Open your books, Sutter Health! It may well be that "the answer is blowing in the wind."

Dale L. Bohling,Crescent City

Thanks for help fixing depleted water tank

We would like to thank Craig Bradford, president of the Big Rock CSD, and all the volunteers who "came to our rescue" when the water got depleted in the tanks over the holidays.

The speed with which people were notified of the problem, the concern with getting "free" water to people, the care and consideration shown for those who were elderly and/or had medical problems and the rapidity with which the leak was fixed was without precedent.

Our Hiouchi community will forever be thankful. We consider ourselves very fortunate to live among so many good-hearted and generous people.

David and Teresa Mandel,Crescent City

Frustration with closed access to campground

Some of my most memorable times growing up in Del Norte County are lying in the back of a pickup truck staring up at the night sky camping at Chimney Flat.

Whether it be in the hot summer sun, in the fall waking up during hunting/fishing season, or even in the winter heading up there after a Del Norte High ball game with some friends where my parents knew I was safe.

I've enjoyed camping up there as a youth, high-schooler, and young man. When I returned home from college, the first thing I wanted to do was head up there and go camping. I quickly learned that it become a day-use only area.

I believe the intentions of the idea are good, to keep sensitive areas free from vehicle travel, and protect areas along the stream. I also think that all the good work that went into the Big Flat Campground looks great.

However as I go up there today, I see an area that is hardly used. You can still drive down into the Chimney Flat day use only area, but if I wanted to go camping with my friends and family the realization is that gates are closed and locked.

So I don't quite understand why someone would want to retire here full time and spend their time enjoying hiking and camping and exploring the wilderness which is closed?

As I call the Forest Service office in Gasquet, I'm told the only campground open is Panther Flat. I suppose one would blame it on budget cuts, or restraints on some agency, who knows? But obviously we can spend a bunch of money on a new campground that's going to be closed half the year and a day use only area with a bathroom and walking trails that isn't used much?

If we're going to spend money in areas like this, wouldn't you want to be able to enjoy them instead of telling your friends and family that sorry, it's closed for the season?

The older generation knew what it was like to grow up in Del Norte County yesterday, I know what it's like growing up here today, I wonder what it will be like growing up here tomorrow.

Matt Westbrook,Smith River