Letters to the Editor from May 1

May 01, 2007 12:00 am

Add lock to walk-in gate

for safety of boarded horses

I have two horses boarded at the fairgrounds that are cared for by my daughter and granddaughter, and I have had many reports of the things that have been going on ("Homeless shouldn't be allowed to sleep in fairground barns," April 27).

I understand that a locked gate has been installed so that only those with the keycard can drive in. Yet, I hear the walk-in gate is left open 24/7. It seems to me that security is only good when it is covered on all fronts.

It might not be the transients that are causing the horses to be put in jeopardy; it may be just common citizens with nothing better to do with their time than to interfere with the livelihood of others. Either way, if you put in a locked gate for those who drive, then at least put a lock on the walk-in gate to keep everyone out who has no right to be there.

I understand that the homeless problem is bad and getting worse as time goes by. However, it is a problem that should be addressed and addressed immediately for the safety of the horses as well as the safety of the people that go down to care for and ride their horses.

I know that if I should ever go to check on my horses and find anyone sleeping with or even touching my horses, I will take the matter up with the authorities and if necessary handle the problem myself.

Here in Texas, we take the transients to the county line, notify the next county and they handle matters from there.

So come on Crescent City, let's solve this problem and make it safer for all concerned.

Laurie Elder

Childress, Texas

Rescued man appreciates

all who helped to save him

I am the man who was rescued from my car in the Smith River on April 18 ("Dramatic Rescue," April 19). I want to express my appreciation and admiration to all those who participated in a rather amazing experience.

I lost control of the vehicle when braking for a curve on a wet U.S. Hwy. 199 and plunged (backwards, I think) into the river. The car was tumbled downstream for a hundred feet or so. During a good part of that part of the ride, I was underwater. Once the car came to its final resting place, nose down at the head of a frightening rapids, an air space appeared, and I was somehow able to climb up and out through a busted-out rear window. I perched on the small corner of the vehicle exposed above water for an hour and a half.

I can only thank those I know were involved in the rescue effort, knowing that there are likely some of whom I'm unaware: a nearby Caltrans crew who evidently saw me go over and called in the accident, and what seemed to be dozens of volunteers trained in search and rescue who arrived in an amazingly short time. While others stationed themselves downstream to try and grab me should the car tumble again, one large man with a large voice was able to get close enough to me so that we were able to hear a few of each other's words, and he was able to understand and pass on the information that I that I was relatively unhurt and mobile. The same man was good with a rope and managed to get a life jacket, and eventually, a blanket out to me. It was he who informed me once a Coast Guard helicopter had been called in from McKinleyville.

The helicopter rescuers were amazing, functioning like champion athletes in a tight spot. Pilot Lt. Stephen Baxter maneuvered his craft down into a narrow canyon that must have had some tricky winds and lowered Petty Officer Shawn Lesko on to a very small target right behind me. Although I was in considerable pain, Lesko strapped me into a harness so deftly that I was hardly aware of it. Within minutes I was safe in the helicopter and wrapped in warm blankets.

The nurses and doctors at Sutter Hospital were equally adept. Within a couple of hours they had my temperature up to something like normal and had my vital signs stabilized.

I also wish to apologize to your beautiful river for leaving a piece of junk leaking fuels into some of the cleanest water in California. I hope that it will be removed soon.

Freeman House

Petrolia