Del Norte Triplicate Readers

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.

Two-year, outgoing president Lisa McKeown did a great job molding our organization into what it is today and now is handing the gavel over to another capable, well-organized lady, Linda Ging, who I am sure will keep it the well-oiled machine it is today.

Thumbs up to you, Sharyn Loughry and Jeff Parmer in your excellent jobs in keeping everyone abreast as to what was happening and when, and making sure everyone took part in their roles, both genuine people and helpers in every sense of the word, and all the well-deserving recipients.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, congrats to Fashion Blacksmith, an icon in Del Norte County, Roger and the late Dale Long. What a great history lesson Kevin Hartwick gave us about them, how they grew through the years; gave us "the rest of the story" some of us had never heard before.

And aren't we lucky in Del Norte County to be able to shop for fresh organic food and produce made right here at home? Congrats to Betty and Rick Littlefield on receiving the Del Norte Pride Award. And thank you for bringing us your Wild Rivers Market and making us prettier!

Hats off to Randy Hatfield for 25 years of working hard year-round to make our fairgrounds and fair nicer and nicer. You well deserve the Business Leader of the Year Award. My friend, thank you for all the work you have put into our fair, bringing us the best entertainers and building that great new building for the Junior Livestock auctions and barbecues. These days are harder with all the government cutbacks; the state is sending no money for our fair. If our community can't help him, I understand our fair might be gone soon. We need to keep our fair!

One more note that is on a positive side, with all the hard times we are facing lately, I have noticed that all the sales people are way more helpful in any store you go into. Wish it would have been there before, but we can see the signs of the times and it's nice to get the help.

Mimi Stephens,Hiouchi

Corporate greed driving Critical Care downsizing

The Triplicate's Jan. 21 presentation of the hospital crisis in the form of dual Coastal Voices, one by Dr. Gregory Duncan and the other by Sutter Coast Hospital's tag team, was an excellent decision. It affords the reader an easy comparison of both sides of the issue.

One is immediately struck by the tone of the Sutter Hospital piece, "Even with Critical Access, full-service hospital remains intact," in which the PR flows like honey. There is the impression of a behemoth corporation aggressively pushing its pawns forward in what is seemingly the end game.

It's unclear whether Dr. Nikki Schwartz intended to mislead by her statement that "it's more important than ever to work together as we move forward, so we can continue to provide the same full spectrum of care for our community, albeit under a different designation," or she doesn't understand the meaning of Critical Access.

Perhaps it is I who may not be sophisticated enough to understand how Sutter Coast can continue to provide the same care at the same time it is operating as a downsized institution.

On the other hand there is the wail of a lone wolf out on the tundra. Welcome back, Dr. Duncan! ("It's time to bring affordability, accountability to the hospital.") We have missed your presence in this inglorious struggle between a community and its opposing multi-million-dollar enterprise over governance of our local hospital. The act of a corporate structure using its financial power to silence and suppress your opposition is reprehensible but unfortunately an historical reality. Thank you, Dr. Duncan for bearing the brunt of the corporate ire on our behalf as you have fearlessly laid out the facts.

When greedy men develop the taste for filthy lucre there is no end to their appetite. I view the more than doubling of a CEO's salary over a five-year span as obscene and unacceptable. How can such people justify that amount of avarice?

As to the need to downsize owing to a reduced average hospital stay, it seems obvious that when potential patients are confronted with higher prices for the service, they will be driven away seeking more equitable pricing elsewhere. Now therein lies the kernel of discovery (aha!): reduced stays in the hospital, thus supplying the statistics to qualify for Critical Access. The circle has been completed.

Dale L. Bohling,Crescent City