Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Hemig: Ringing the bell for a good cause

November 25, 2014 — 

Staffers from The Union will be ringing the bell in support of the Salvation Army Saturday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Safeway on Sutton Way in Grass Valley.

Would you like to tell me I was off base regarding my column last week? Put some change in the tin can and let me have it.

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Hospitality House magical for guests

November 24, 2014 — 

I had long thought that the magic of human kindness had washed away from this world. Then I met the staff and many volunteers of Hospitality House. What they do for people in need is indeed magic.

They give a bed, a meal, medical, jobs, housing and so much more. I cannot believe it. Volunteers come in from all over. Some teach yoga, meditation that is taught to people who have PTSD and many other ailments. They help people to become whole again. So, you tell me, is it human kindness, or is it both?

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Firth: A vote-by-mail future?

November 24, 2014 — 

The 2014 election in California and in Nevada County shows that vote-by-mail is increasingly popular. Should voting by “absentee ballot” be the only option in California and/or Nevada County?

Statistically, (and all data is pending final results) the number of people registered to vote in California is 17,803,823, and in Nevada County it’s 61,706. There are 7,120,084 registered voters who cast ballots in November 2014 in California. If half voted absentee (the current average) that would equal over 3,500,000 absentee ballots.

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Pensions critical to financial security of pensioners

November 24, 2014 — 

In his otherwise well written column on the issue of public pensions, Thomas Elias made the bizarre statement, “But his [Judge Klein’s] final ruling was based on the reality that if public employees and retirees get completely equal standing in bankruptcies, they will far outnumber other creditors and could vote down any settlement that doesn’t favor them.”

I don’t believe they would have had an opportunity to vote had the court ruled against them.

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Just the facts, mister

November 24, 2014 — 

In the Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 issue of The Union, Gary Nowak “implored” me and others who contribute to the Union not to “use fabricated, inaccurate data to make [our] points.”

Mr. Nowak, in my 40 years as a professional writer and editor, I have never fabricated a single fact. I wouldn’t have lasted long in the business if I had.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

November 24, 2014 — 

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Reversal coming for unjust PUC ruling?

November 24, 2014 — 

THOMAS ELIAS

California Focus

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BOARDMAN: More than Lamphier’s guilt or innocence at stake in this investigation

November 24, 2014 — 

The political hand grenade that implicated Grass Valley City Council candidate Terry Lamphier in a child pornography investigation threw off enough shrapnel to hit several officials in Nevada County.

The revelation less than two weeks before election day brought the conspiracy theorists out in force. People want to believe there is a simple explanation for everything so they try to look beyond the available facts to get at “the truth.”

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When comic books were currency

November 24, 2014 — 

“Wanna trade?”

Those magic words were spoken by a kid named Keith, who lived not far from my home in the 1950’s. And under his arm were dozens of comic books.

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Kudos to lookout tower volunteers

November 24, 2014 — 

A big thank you to Paul Moore, Jon Hall, Roy Frater, and Richard McWilliams for staffing the Banner Mountain Fire Lookout this fire season.

A special thanks to Jon Hall for re-painting the entire cubicle. These volunteers give freely of their time so we are kept safe. We sit in solitude at 4,000 feet, in a 7-foot by 7-foot cubicle and scan the horizon. We look high and low, near and far, hoping we do not see smoke. This is a very unusual job — looking for something we hope we do not find.

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Maybe there’s still time with climate change

November 24, 2014 — 

Because of natural temperature cycles — or because of people — or both — climate has changed: Glaciers melting. Sea levels rising. Weather acting strange and dangerous, and more coming. People in Africa with land dried out. In Asia, going underwater. To survive they’ll have to move somewhere else and compete with the natives for food and water. There’s not enough.

“Climate Refugees” a strong movie by Michael Nash, warns that the situation is beyond scenery and polar bears. Displaced people strain resources, strain social order, breed violence. Eventually national security is at risk.

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Careful what you ask for

November 24, 2014 — 

A recent letter writer told Obama to “go for it” when it came to stopping illegal deportations by executive order.

OK. When a Republican president uses an executive order to stop enforcing provisions of Obamacare or stopping the EPA from enforcing rules that harm average Americans or stopping the IRS from collecting corporate taxes or stopping the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act or ... you get the idea.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

November 22, 2014 — 

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Help preserve a Nevada County treasure

November 22, 2014 — 

In 1974 the artists Charles Woods and David Osborn purchased the Miners Foundry and christened it the American Victorian Museum. From that then defunct industrial space, they created a 9,000 square foot venue for artistic, social and cultural events and activities. Fifteen years later, the Nevada City Winery acquired the property and donated the Miners Foundry to the Miners Foundry Cultural Preservation Trust.

At that moment this grand community asset was permanently secured to serve our residents, businesses and visitors.

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Something great is going on in Grass Valley

November 22, 2014 — 

Something’s going on in Grass Valley, and it’s wonderful. I moved here three years ago, a single mom with her 6-year old twins. Luckily, someone told me about PARTNERS Family Resource Center.

At that time, I felt my children and I could use some counseling to help us through what was then a very tough time. Karen, (I call her the Resource Queen) had a form ready for me to fill out right then. My family and I got immediate and incredible services.

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Hearing offers only one side of the story

November 22, 2014 — 

I am writing in response to the article in this week’s The Union about the charges against Artemesia Lee from San Juan Ridge.

I, too, sat through the preliminary hearing. Although I agree that what Liz Kellar reported was accurate, it strikes me as misleading because only the family accusing Ms. Lee took the stand and their testimony occasionally appears as fact. We didn’t hear Ms. Lee’s side. The only bit of information I caught from her perspective was when Judge Smith referred to the police report in which Ms. Lee states that she didn’t hit anybody with her vehicle. The judge dismissed that, saying the photos of the complainant looked like he was hurt.

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Elias: Key pension question unanswered in Stockton ruling

November 22, 2014 — 

Politicians and public employees drawing pensions had high hopes they would get clarity on a key question from the federal bankruptcy judge presiding over the city of Stockton’s ongoing attempt to regain its financial health.

But it now appears that unique inland port city will emerge from more than two years of bankruptcy without any answers to the question of whether public employees deserve more long-term security than people working for private companies.

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Ebola ‘threat’ comes home to Grass Valley

November 22, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is the sixth, and final, story in a series filed by Grass Valley gemologist Louis Pearl, who travels to various countries in Africa to evaluate and sometimes source rough diamonds, on his observations on the Ebola outbreak while on a recent trip. See parts one, two, three, four and five at TheUnion.com.

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Kono, Sierra Leone: Cry me a river

November 21, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of stories filed by Grass Valley gemologist Louis Pearl, who travels to various countries in Africa to evaluate and sometimes source rough diamonds, on his observations on the Ebola outbreak while on a recent trip. See parts one, two, three and four at TheUnion.com.

Kono is the main diamond mining district in Sierra Leone. The origin of Blood Diamonds is right here. Even today, the buildings that were damaged and or destroyed during the rebel occupation and war still pockmark this small mining town.

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Too close of a call

November 21, 2014 — 

This letter is for the driver who passed me on Dog Bar Road Tuesday night.

I was driving down Dog Bar toward Alta Sierra, I put my blinker on to turn left onto Wheeler Cross Road, when you blew by and passed me on the left just before I turned. What the heck were you thinking?

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GOP elected to repeal ACA

November 21, 2014 — 

As I’m reading article after article in The Union, I’m not surprised most of the peeps “ leaning left “ drone on and on about how the Republicans need to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats now that they control Congress.

Really? Just like the Democratic Congress did in 2009 when they shoved the ACA down Americans’ throats?

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Tax dollars wasted if roundabout is ignored

November 21, 2014 — 

I’ve lived in Nevada County over 30 years (off and on) and I’ve wondered many times who is making the ultimate decisions on how to spend taxpayer dollars on construction, road improvements and county projects. I was amazed when a new Highway Patrol office was built (costing millions of dollars) when there were several empty buildings sitting vacant!

Yesterday, I exited the parking lot at Brunswick using the new roundabout painted on the street. I was behind three cars that pulled out totally ignoring the arrows. I used the arrows (even though there was no traffic), but the car behind me once again saw no reason to do so!

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Hemig: Supporting Swarthout

November 21, 2014 — 

Lisa Swarthout took quite a public beating this week and last. Seven published letters to the editor, one editorial cartoon and countless social media comments referenced Lisa’s remarks regarding the investigation of Terry Lamphier’s alleged county computer misuse prior to the election.

People wrote comments like “Hasn’t she ever heard of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights?” and “He is innocent until proven guilty.”

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Gun control facts versus politics

November 20, 2014 — 

The nation’s total violent crime rate hit an all-time high in 1991. Thereafter, it declined 18 of the next 20 years, 49 percent overall, to a 41 year low in 2011. That included a 52 percent decrease in the nation’s murder rate to a 48-year low. This according to FBI statistics.

Concurrently, the number of privately owned firearms in the United States rose by over 120 million, including about 55 million handguns, about 80 percent of which were semi-automatic. The 120 million new firearms included over 3.5 million AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and tens of millions of other firearms that gun control supporters call “assault weapons” (National Rifle Association).

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Go for it, Mr. President

November 20, 2014 — 

Go for it Mr. President! Use executive action to get immigration reform moving. It will not make any difference if you do or don’t use executive action in regards to immigration reform, because the Republicans and Tea Party will fight you tooth and nail whichever way you go.

The Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place: If they work with President Obama toward sensible immigration reform their anti-immigration base will freak out, and if the Republicans maintain their delay and deceive tactics in regards to immigration reform the American public will see exactly who is blocking and thwarting immigration reform.

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York: Dem’s path after Obamacare: Down, down, down

November 20, 2014 — 

There were 60 Democrats in the Senate on Christmas Eve 2009, when they voted in lockstep to pass the Affordable Care Act. Soon there will be 46 Democrats in the Senate, or perhaps 47, if Sen. Mary Landrieu manages to eke out a win in Louisiana. In plain numbers, the post-Obamacare trajectory has not been good for Senate Democrats.

The 46 or 47 Democrats in the next Senate are a bit different from the group that passed Obamacare. Sixteen of them took office after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. They never had to vote for it and have never had to defend voting for it.

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Goodman: Keystone, Climate Change And The Cold

November 20, 2014 — 

It was a dramatic scene in the Senate this week. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren, presiding, announced the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, a Crow Creek Sioux man from South Dakota sang out in the Senate gallery. A massive people’s climate movement against extracting some of the dirtiest oil on the planet had prevailed ... at least for now.

It was a Democrat, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, representing oil interests, who tried to push the pipeline through. She hoped its passage would help her in the Dec. 6 runoff election against her challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, who sponsored a similar bill in the House.

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Carrtoon: Nov. 19, 2014

November 19, 2014 — 

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On the Pledge of Allegiance

November 19, 2014 — 

Now 83 years old, I grew up with the Pledge as it was before the mid 1950s. I have never been able to say the words “under God” for two reasons.

First of all, it was added to the Pledge because of Sen. Joe McCarthy, who was a dreadful misguided senator who pushed for “loyalty oaths” in our universities. Secondly, in my opinion it violates our “separation of church and state” which is so basic to the foundation of our government.

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Saturday is Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

November 19, 2014 — 

This Saturday, Nov. 22, is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. As someone who has experienced not one, but two, suicides in my immediate family, I am definitely one of the survivors.

Last June, I traveled to San Francisco and participated in a documentary filmed and produced for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) about my and others’ experiences in coping with this unique type of grief. This documentary is the center-piece of 250-plus in-person Survivor Day events being held in the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, AFSP will be hosting a live online program (a Google hangout) on the same day, during which the film will be screened. Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to watch it.

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