Opinion Columns

Indict Big Pharma, not Bigelsen

September 30, 2014 — 

Dr. Harvey Bigelsen is an important pioneer of nutritional medicine that I cite several times in my book “Indicted! Nutritional Healing vs. The Pharmaceutical Suppression of Symptoms.”

He resurrected Dr. Antoine Bechamp’s 19th century work on the origin of disease and further expounded it. Dr. Bechamp was a Professor of Medicine on the Medical Faculty at the University of Montpellier in France (1816-1908). He redefined and revolutionized the concept of disease.

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Lang: The end of frontier medicine in California

September 30, 2014 — 

Thirty-eight years ago, a young nurse practitioner, who was a veteran of the Air Force and the Army, moved his family from Denver to Downieville, Calif., the Sierra County seat, to volunteer for the National Health Service Corps.

The village was founded during the Gold Rush — in 1851, its population peaked at 5,000 — but by the time we arrived, there were only about 500 residents in Downieville and 1,200 in the immediate surrounding area.

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Our students deserve the best public schools

September 29, 2014 — 

As the daughter of teachers, I know the importance of a strong education to the success of children in today’s economy. My parents instilled that value in me from a young age. Their dedication to teaching taught me that education is the key that unlocks opportunity for all, and that great schools and great teachers can change lives.

I am running for Congress to ensure that all children have access to the best schools. Whether they live in cities or on farms, whether they are wealthy or their families are on food stamps, every child deserves the same educational opportunity.

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I am Jim Firth — get to know me

September 26, 2014 — 

Last month a local business owner submitted an Other Voices piece attempting to define who I am. The author never met me, never spoke to me on the phone, and never spoke to the people he was offering to you as proof of guilt by association.

As I noted on these pages previously, it’s no wonder so many people are turned off by elections when there’s so much negativity and innuendo spread around during campaigns at every level.

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From an environmental perspective, Measure S makes no sense

September 27, 2014 — 

I know that many readers think there’s already been more than enough discussion on Measure S, but I feel compelled to talk about an area of the debate that isn’t getting the focus it should. That is the potentially devastating impact Measure S could have on our local environment.

If Measure S is passed, it will allow cultivators to significantly increase the amount of land used to cultivate pot. Marijuana is a tropical plant but the ecology of Nevada County is most definitely not tropical.

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September is Adult Literacy Awareness Month

September 26, 2014 — 

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors, and the councils of City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City, and Town of Truckee have all issued resolutions designating September 2014 as “Adult Literacy Awareness Month.”

Similar actions, and events of celebration and recognition, are being taken by cities, counties, state officials and libraries all over California.

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Hemig: Can a newspaper subscription actually save you money?

September 25, 2014 — 

I was 13 years old when I started delivering the San Jose Mercury News.

I remember the giant Sunday paper and how my bike was so heavy I could barely pedal up the hills near my parents’ house.

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The Bitney philosophy

September 25, 2014 — 

Bitney College Prep is a small charter high school with a colorful history. And if you’ve ever seen the murals that adorn Bitney’s walls, you would know that I mean “colorful” in a very literal sense.

We opened on Bitney Springs Road in 1999 when charter schools were a new idea. Parents, frustrated with the mass-market system of large public institutions, sought a different environment for their students — a smaller, more intimate setting where students would know their teachers, and, more importantly, where teachers would be able to know their students.

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Dollar General building a blight on our community

September 24, 2014 — 

The Dollar General Barn going up in the Glenbrook Basin across the street from Save Mart is monstrous.

I live in the “Basin.” I’ve never thought, “What we need here to spruce up this place is a giant corrugated steel barn.” Everyone I’ve talked to about this hideous building thinks it’s a blight on our community. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to find out how this barn design could be approved. After considerable research, I’ve concluded that we’ve had a total failure of the system that’s supposed to protect us from new ugly buildings.

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Carrtoon: Sept. 24, 2014

September 24, 2014 — 

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Special interest folks want it their way

September 23, 2014 — 

When we talk among ourselves it appears the “pursuit of happiness” lines have been blurred.

Some folks say that “we” as a country have peaked. I don’t believe for a moment that statement is true. Instead, those people who think those thoughts may have peaked, but our nation by far is the strongest nation in the world and will continue to be so.

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Get involved in your child’s education

September 23, 2014 — 

Back in August of 2010 the California State Board of Education first adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and immediately began the process of their implementation for all California schools. CCSS is a set of standards for the English Language Arts and mathematics curriculum based on the best practices of schools and organizations around the world.

Over these past few years many individuals and organizations have stepped forward with deep concern around this decision, and in some cases efforts have been made to have this decision reversed.

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An inhospitable atmosphere

September 21, 2014 — 

My husband and I were running errands at the shopping center in Brunswick. We planned our strategy to shop separate stores and we’d meet at the bench near Ben Franklin. He discovered that there are no benches to sit on.

Then I remembered having learned in a letter to the editor in The Union written by a woman who explained that she found out the benches were removed because of complaints that homeless people sat on them.

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Seelmeyer: Oh, the memories of my days with The Union

September 20, 2014 — 

That time I was listening to an avowed Marxist — at the time, possibly the last remaining Marxist on the face of the earth — as he joyfully explained to me the intricacies of the Nevada Union football team’s offense.

All those letters to the editor we got after that guy suggested that senior citizens shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

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Ackerman: The whole point to ‘the daily miracle’ is to ‘give a damn’

September 20, 2014 — 

There’s a newspaper in Nevada that boasts it is, “The Only Paper That Gives A Damn About Yerington.”

Try as I might, I couldn’t find anyone to refute that. There wasn’t a single other paper that really gave a damn about Yerington and … believe me … I checked with most all of them during my stay in the Silver State newspaper business.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

September 20, 2014 — 

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Hemig: You are invited to our party!

September 19, 2014 — 

The Union turns 150 this year! 

To celebrate, we are holding a big 150th anniversary open house party next Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at The Union.

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Crabb: It takes a village idiot

September 19, 2014 — 

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Former chief chooses to ‘shoots the messenger’

September 18, 2014 — 

The most vital characteristic that a journalist must possess, whether he or she be reporting on a local, national or global level is the ability to speak truth to power. As any journalist will tell you, when you dare to confront the powerful with their inadequacies they will most often resort to casting aspersions on the speaker — the tried and true “shoot the messenger” technique.

While the tactic is all too common in this business what is striking about former Penn Valley Chief Gene Vander Plaats’ latest attempt (“In fact, all is well in Penn Valley Fire Protection District” The Union, Sept. 17) to employ this strategy is how riddled it is with utter falsehood.

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Carrtoon: Sept. 18, 2014

September 18, 2014 — 

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Hemig: Breakfast with the publisher

September 17, 2014 — 

Want a good breakfast? Want to learn more about your local newspaper? Have a burning question you’ve wanted to ask The Union’s publisher?

Do you have an opinion about the paper, or a specific article? Would you like to support Nevada Union’s High School culinary program?

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In fact, all is well in Penn Valley Fire Protection District

September 17, 2014 — 

On Oct. 3, 2013, The Union published an article written by staff writer Matthew Renda regarding the Penn Valley Fire District chief and the board of directors. The bold headline presented on the front page, above the fold was titled “Residents castigate Penn Valley chief, board.”

The article, in the first paragraph, stated “All is not well in the Penn Valley Fire Protection District.” Included in the article were several quotes and accusations made by a resident of the district, Bill Gassaway, described as “a former volunteer with the district.” Renda attended the Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 1, 2013 and witnessed the comments made by Mr. Gassaway. Mr. Renda made contact with me after the meeting and asked for a response to the accusations. I did attempt to provide accurate information and gave Mr. Renda the names and contact information for several people who had direct knowledge of the topics of discussion. It would have been easy for the reporter to obtain the facts on each of the charges Mr. Gassaway made by simply asking the right people the right questions. Mr. Renda apparently chose not to hear facts but to go with Mr. Gassaway’s comments.

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Liberal Nat Hentoff lays the “I” word on Obama

September 15, 2014 — 

It is just over one year since Nat Hentoff, long a mainstay of the super-liberal Village Voice, in addition to a PBS fixture and revered doyen of what might be called the coherent Left — and, more recently, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute — mooted the idea of impeaching the current president (“Bringing civics classes back to schools: Obama impeachment?” The Jewish World Review, May 29, 2013)

The problem, as Hentoff sees it, is Obama’s blatant disregard for the Constitution. In his JWR piece, Hentoff urges all of us, conservative and liberal alike, to please, for the love of Pete, sit up and pay attention. There is deeply troubling stuff being done on this president’s watch, possibly even on his orders, says this long-time icon of the Left. Stuff that matters.

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We’re Americans. Aren’t we smarter than that?

September 14, 2014 — 

Growing up in the ’50s, our economy was in full gear and life was good, but my parents remembered the hard times of their youth and taught us the importance of not wasting resources.

Now we consume without thought, sucking natural resources from our environment until Mother Nature screams that there isn’t enough to sustain all. So what do we do? The only thing that an animal as arrogant and shortsighted as a human would do. Don’t fix the problem, just put a pink flowered band-aid on it. That looks better, go home and don’t worry your little head, because all is OK for now.

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Are you a fed up Californian with lots of questions?

September 13, 2014 — 

Well, I, and many thousands of others, especially small business owners, are fed up and we’re asking many questions!

Why do we have such oppressive energy mandates? Why are so many individuals and businesses leaving California (5 percent in 2013 alone)? Why are many cattle ranchers’ hands tied to do what is necessary to keep predators (coyotes from the northern states that have protected status in California) from killing their livestock — their livelihood? Why have our legislators not fought for farmers in the Central Valley to get water to their crops so they and their family’s business could survive, rather than protect a fish? Why is it an either or situation in the first place? Is it really about the fish ... or just more partisan politics on the backs of “we the people?”

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Special interest folks want it their way

September 13, 2014 — 

When we talk among ourselves it appears the “pursuit of happiness” lines have been blurred.

Some folks say that “we” as a country have peaked. I don’t believe for a moment that statement is true. Instead, those people who think those thoughts may have peaked, but our nation by far is the strongest nation in the world and will continue to be so.

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In honor of Women’s Equality Day

September 13, 2014 — 

August 26 was the 94th anniversary of the Constitutional Amendment that granted women the right to vote. The League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County is marking this historic occasion through its ongoing work to engage and empower all potential voters to participate this year.

League members in our community are committed to ensuring that voters have the information they need to participate in elections. The League has scheduled four Candidate Forums for this general election coming on Nov. 4, 2014.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

September 13, 2014 — 

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Proposing county authority over public land is ludicrous

September 12, 2014 — 

After reading Mr. Sauer’s Other Voices piece in the Sept. 6 edition of The Union, “A plan to save our forests,” I thought the correct title should be, “A right-wing plan to takeover local national forests,” or maybe, “Norm Sauer’s plan for a Nevada County coup d’état of the Tahoe National Forest.”

It’s really sad! And, as a friend pointed out, “to people who think like Norm does, ‘law’ is just an inconvenience to be used as either a distraction or skirted at the convenience of ideology. It is ironic for people who claim to be Constitutionalists.” Good point!

Mr. Sauer’s answer for dealing with potential catastrophic wildfire is a new land-use plan created by the county, and with the county taking over the legal authority of federal lands. Clearly, the liability issue alone was not even thought about by Sauer, not to mention the costs, but the nuts and bolts is to get more mining, logging, OHV use, opening up all the closed roads, and of course, cattle grazing.

Yes sir, get those cows chomping riparian vegetation – that sure helps to maintain summer stream flows to our reservoirs and the water quality. And higher OHV use? Why, because they are great for soil stabilization and never cause fires in forests? As far as logging, do we need logging that includes overstory removal and opening up the forest floor to being dried out which results in the growth of more highly flammable understory, or do we need thinning the understory?

To say the least, Sauer’s proposal is ludicrous. It really seemed odd how he skipped all details regarding forestry with his plan to seize control of national forests. If those are his answers to dealing with fire threat on public lands, he sure missed the question!

With regards to opening up roads, that is stunning seeing how national forests all over the Western U.S. are seriously over-roaded and the maintenance costs and watershed degradation costs have been, and continue to be, budget burdens and serious watershed problems. On national forests, road building and clear cutting, along with fire suppression, have created the conditions the forests are in today. Now we have climate change on top of all that. How many people really think local county governments can take on the challenges we face on our public lands today? My guess is not many, except a few politically driven extremists who don’t really think issues through.

What Norm Sauer advocates for solutions are the exact things that have caused many of the current forest problems, along with too much fire suppression. In the Sierra, fire frequency was higher in some forest types and infrequent but stand replacing in other forest types. From what I’ve seen, the Sierra forests can be a real mixed bag of forest types depending on annual precipitation, elevation, slope, aspect and soil productivity.

U.S. Forest Service Region 5 has some pretty good GIS spatial data for mapping that dials in what is out on the ground. My guess is, they could probably have even better vegetation analysis and fire modeling if they had funding for LIDAR. The Remote Sensing Lab would be the ones to agree, or not, on LIDAR. Region 5 has lots of experience with roads and road maintenance costs. What they might need is for the current do-nothing congressmen to get increased funding, targeted only for thinning and fuel reduction projects. Make those goals a requirement and not allow the money to be diverted.

Getting funding would require local congressmen to actually get something done. The congressmen we have now don’t seem interested in doing anything for their districts. Wouldn’t it be great if the BOS could help with lobbying our congressmen?

If Nevada County wants to deal with local fire threat, start with the areas in the county on private lands. The lands for which they were the governing agency that approved parcel split after parcel split without doing road improvements in areas of high fire threat. God help, more likely Cal Fire, help those folks who may need to evacuate quickly in areas of Nevada County with narrow, winding roads and overgrown highly flammable brush if there is a wind driven wildfire. It wasn’t the Tahoe National Forest that approved all those parcel splits and development, it was the county! That is where the county should focus first.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t get led down some crazy road local extremists seem fixated on. It’s complete rubbish!

Steve Willer lives in Grass Valley.

Do not forget

September 11, 2014 — 

Today, on Sept. 11, 2014, two years have elapsed since Islamic militants attacked the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, murdering four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed while on duty since 1979.

What most locals do not know is that Christopher Stevens was born in Grass Valley and is buried right here in his family’s ancestral plot.

John Christopher Stevens grew up in Northern California, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley, taught English in the Peace Corps in Morocco, where he learned Arabic, and graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Hastings School of the Law. He practiced as an international trade lawyer based in Washington, D.C., before he joined the Foreign Service in 1992.

He served as a Middle East specialist to Israel and Arab countries before being appointed by President Obama as U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

Christopher Stevens spent his career dedicated to serving his country as a communicator and diplomat in the Foreign Service. He died a martyr, but also a true hero and “citizen of the world”.

His granite marker reads: John Christopher Stevens; 1960–2012; U.S. Ambassador to Libya 2012, and bears the official symbol of the U.S. Foreign Service.

I hope that U.S. Congressional Representative Trey Gowdy, leading the Benghazi Select Committee, is successful in his investigation. Our country needs to bring to justice those responsible for this attack and anyone who failed to protect or rescue our personnel.

We need to resolve this issue so that Ambassador Stevens along with Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who died for their country in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, can rest in peace.

Cynthia Hren lives in Nevada City.

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