Letters to the Editor June 1, 2013

By Del Norte Triplicate Readers June 03, 2013 05:13 pm

McClure watching out to keep area beautiful

In his letter May 28 letter, “Gitlin says McClure is blocking vet monument,” Leroy Bieber says he believes Supervisor Martha McClure places the importance of birds over humans. Nobody can help what Mr. Bieber believes, but the issue appears to be that of bird sanctuary versus annoying light.

But speaking of people, there are motels facing the proposed memorial site. Having a bright light outside their window all night isn’t exactly a pleasant thing to offer visitors. Thank goodness we have people like Martha McClure looking out for the natural beauty and diversity that make this area the unique jewel it is!

Diane Blackberry, Crescent City

Coast Guard needs to explain refusal to help

My wife and I listened intently to the cryptic messages of the Search and Rescue Team on our scanner Saturday evening, May 25, as an injured woman was removed from the rocks where she had fallen (Nickel Creek area) to a higher refuge by a fireman seeking to keep her from a surging tide.

The woman who had fallen from a 20-foot embankment suffered multiple injuries including fractures and a concussion.

The SAR team was on location of rescue within 15 minutes of notification while SAR Coordinator McNamara had dispatch contact the Coast Guard air station in Arcata requesting an airlift. The initial reaction from the Coast Guard was to decline. Only after Team Coordinator McNamara placed a phone call to a higher authority was a helicopter dispatched.

A later attempt to cover the refusal was made by a  Coast Guard spokesman stating that the call had been considered advisory.

It must have been a bad night at the Arcata Air Station as “the ball was dropped” a second time. We were astounded as we patched the scenario together; the helicopter that had deposited the injured party and her less-injured companion at the Crescent City airport to a waiting ambulance was ordered to return to Arcata.

One official was heard to say “unbelievable” on the scanner as he struggled to understand why the Coast Guard authorities left the rescuers abandoned on a prominence at the beach surrounded by surging tidewaters.

A later explanation stated that the rescuers were in a good state of health, plus the situation was risky. Apparently a sheriff’s helicopter dispatched on the 2½-hour flight from Sonoma County 250 miles or so away did not find the setting too challenging, as the crew hoisted the abandoned SAR team to safety on a dangling 100-foot line in the dark. Great job Henry One!

Had we not been well acquainted with six “Coasties” over the years, three of which are past commanders of the cutter Dorado, we might have come to the conclusion the Coast Guard is not what it is purported to be on The Weather Channel or movies like “The Guardian.”

Could the answer to why the abandonment of our local heroes lie in a newly promoted rescue officer who was overwhelmed by the responsibility of the operation?

An official explanation is required, along with a statement that a similar scenario will not be repeated.

Dale Bohling, Crescent City

Thanks to Apperson, other rescue personnel

Some readers may remember the article on April 30 about police Sgt. Erik Apperson’s rescue of an injured woman on Enderts Beach on April 28 (“Strolling the beach, he saved a life”). We wanted the entire community to know just how grateful we are for his actions and those of the entire nine-person Search and Rescue Team that day.

Gail had fallen more than 4 feet on the way out of the cave that connects to the small beach just south of Enderts beach. It turned out she had three fractures, two in her pelvis and one in her sacrum. At the time, we didn’t know what her injuries really were and we didn’t have our cell phones.

Eric was just terrific both in getting Gail to the beach and in calming us down. And he had a cell phone. He didn’t need to stay with us while we waited for the Search and Rescue Team — but he did.

And your volunteer community Search and Rescue team arrived in less than 30 minutes — all nine of them! They carried Gail up the mile-long trail to the parking lot where an ambulance was waiting. She was in the Emergency Room about 75 minutes after she fell.

It simply couldn’t have happened any faster or been handled more professionally. Thanks as well to the ambulance team and to Ann in the ER. We’ve always liked Del Norte County a lot, but we’ll never forget what happened that day. We think Crescent City is very fortunate to have such great people.

Jeff Kilbreth and Gail Eierweiss, Richmond, Calif.

Study will find exactly what Sutter wants it to

I see by Adam Spencer’s May 25 article (“Consulting firm chosen for Sutter Coast study,” that a consulting firm has been selected to study “strategic options” for the Sutter Coast Hospital Board Of Directors.

I suspect, along with many others (see Dr. Greg Duncan’s full page ad in the same edition) that this “study,” bought and paid for by Sutter Health, will find exactly what Sutter Health wants it to find and will be of no benefit to our community at all. 

I am proud of our county Board of Supervisors for recognizing this study for what it appears to be and for having the courage to refuse to lend its support to Sutter Health’s attempt to mislead low-information citizens.

Clif Shephard, Crescent City

Highway expansion will diminish safety 

The public has been handed a pack of lies from Caltrans. First, it calls its Highway 199/197 project a “safe” STAA project, but really it is just a scheme to put bigger trucks on 199/197, and exempt itself from safety standards.

Come on, a 1-foot margin of error on a triple turn, when the safety manual says 4 feet is the standard for STAA trucks — how safe do you think that is going to be in the rain and at night?

Then Caltrans’ response to everyone concerned about safety and hazardous truck spills is not to worry because there aren’t going to be very many more trucks on the road — but it doesn’t even bother to figure out how many trucks will be coming from I-5? 

Wow, go back to school — you forgot to count the most obvious source of big trucks, I-5. How well to you think more traffic, including toxic loads, is going to mix with 70 driveways on Highway 197 and school bus stops and mail stops and bicyclists? How consistent with STAA law is that?

And, finally, Caltrans tell us that it has absolutely no funding to fix the road unless we allow big trucks. Come on, give me a break — that’s called extortion in my book. You should have fixed the tight turns on 199 a long time ago, for safety’s sake, and please leave 197 intact.

The safety benefits from this STAA project will be negated by many big STAA trucks on the road. This agency’s pack of lies could cost our community many more accidents, deaths, injuries, and the best thing our economy has going for it — the pristine, beautiful Smith River and our clean drinking water.

Call the Governor’s Office and complain.

Eileen Cooper, Crescent City