Opinion Columns

Resolve to make 2015 falls free

December 22, 2014 — 

Making New Year’s resolutions that focus on reducing our risk of falling may not be on most people’s list, but resolving to take action to prevent falls could be the most important thing we seniors do in 2015. That’s because falls are the leading cause of trips to the ER, injury hospitalization and injury death for people 65 years and older.

The Falls Prevention Coalition of Nevada County wants to challenge seniors to resolve to do something in 2015 that would reduce the risk of falling … to make the effort to change. We’ve been working to lower the rate of falls in our community since 2006 and we’ve learned a lot about risk reduction. Falls, we know, are not an inevitable part of aging.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

December 20, 2014 — 

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Let’s progress with solutions to the problems that plague us

December 20, 2014 — 

December in the United States is a month of giving and understanding. Christians celebrate Christmas, Jewish persons celebrate Hanukkah; Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day (Enlightenment Day); Muslims celebrate Ramadan, Atheists celebrate Human Light — touting human potential and peace; and most everyone is traditionally thankful for what they have or hope to achieve.

As humans we are reminded of our similarities as well as our differences. We try to coexist, and we try to accept how to live in harmony. It’s not always easy. In grammar school in the 1950s, I had white, Asian, and black friends. In high school I also had friends of all races and religious backgrounds, even though there was racial tension in the early 1960s. When I worked for a large store in the Bay Area in the 1970s, one of my male coworkers had shoulder length hair. The store manager said he had to cut his hair so customers would not be distracted while shopping in the store. Our union stood by my coworker and eventually he, and all store employees were able to wear whatever hairstyle they felt was appropriate.

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Season greetings and a wishlist from the Hangout

December 20, 2014 — 

During this holiday season, and as the first half of the Hangout’s fifth season draws to a close, it’s time (again) for reflection, acknowledgment and a “wish list.”

The Hangout is a Grass Valley after-school program for high ­school students. It’s open during the school year from 2:30­ to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Giving back

December 20, 2014 — 

Too often the news is filled with what is the wrong and bad in our schools. Problems make headlines, and much that is good is neglected. This a good time of year to take stock of the overwhelming good that our students and schools are doing for our community. Winter and the holidays bring joy, but also great needs, and service to others is happening in ours schools every day.

Bear River High School has a culture of active service; it’s common for students to participate in several groups, so they regularly help seniors, the homeless, the environment, and children.

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Smartsville should be proud of its fire department

December 19, 2014 — 

In early August, as the Eiler and Day Fires were blowing up, I was asked to coach an under 10 soccer team that my son was on.

It was a difficult decision because I had already committed to being an assistant coach for my older son’s team. I needed help.

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Hemig: Finding a fact is like searching for the Holy Grail

December 19, 2014 — 

What is a fact anyway? Wikipedia says: “A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is, whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts. Scientific facts are verified by repeatable experiments.”

A week doesn’t go by at The Union where I don’t get a call or an email from someone saying a written opinion submission isn’t factual.

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Goodman: Obama and the beginning of the end of the Cuban embargo

December 18, 2014 — 

The failed United States policy against Cuba, which has for more than half a century stifled relations between these neighboring countries and inflicted generations of harm upon the Cuban people, may finally be collapsing.

On Wednesday morning, we learned that Alan Gross, a U.S. government contractor convicted in Cuba for spying, had been released after five years in prison. Another person, an unnamed Cuban imprisoned in Cuba for 20 years for spying for the U.S., was also released. This has made global headlines. Less well explained in the U.S. media are the three Cubans released from U.S. prisons. They are the three remaining jailed members of the Cuban Five. The Cuban Five were arrested in the late 1990s on espionage charges. But they were not spying on the United States government. They were in Miami, infiltrating Cuban-American paramilitary groups based there that were dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Cuban government.

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York: Obama opens fraud-ridden benefits program to illegal immigrants

December 18, 2014 — 

President Obama’s unilateral executive action on immigration will make hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, illegal immigrants eligible for federal transfer payments. That will be done primarily through two widely used programs — the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC.

As it turns out, those two programs are already among the most corrupt and fraud-ridden in the entire federal government.

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Carrtoon: Dec. 17, 2014

December 17, 2014 — 

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How about discussing real problems, instead of ‘same old’ rhetoric?

December 17, 2014 — 

After reading Editorial Board member Norm Sauer’s recent worries about the supposed dangers of “extra-legal, supra-legal, and absolute” federal government power in our country — and seeing at the end that he is a retired attorney — I marvel again about the variation in the human psyche.

I, too, am a retired attorney, and I have often wondered in my career just how it is that well-educated, undoubtedly well-meaning, and bright minds can reach such oddball positions.

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Planned micro housing a bad idea

December 17, 2014 — 

I was a recent visitor to your town, where I saw friends, toured widely, ate well and enjoyed the sustained restorations of Nevada City. Your citizens’ work and planning have made it a fine community. I have visited Nevada City several times since the 1950s. It has turned itself from a mining town into a beautiful residential and tourist mecca.

Congratulations.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

December 16, 2014 — 

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A medical crisis in western Sierra County

December 16, 2014 — 

Western Sierra Medical Clinic (WSMC) opened its new center in Grass Valley on Dec. 15. While the Grass Valley Clinic (formerly Miners Clinic) celebrates its expansion, another part of WSMC is not celebrating.

On Jan. 1, 2015, the residents of and visitors to western Sierra County will lose the services provided to them during the past 40 years in Downieville.

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What a difference a year makes

December 15, 2014 — 

Some locals may remember that last year, The Union ran a story on a Nevada City house that had been a constant source of problems for the neighborhood in which it’s located. For almost a decade, the person owning the house had rented to clients with horrible addiction and untreated mental-health issues and neighbors were forced to live with the resulting drama/chaos always associated with those sorts of places.

As the years went by, calls to the police became so common that eventually the accumulated police file regarding the place looked to be the size of a small phone book. Eventually, the neighbors decided to draw a line in the sand and ask Nevada City’s city manager to close the place down permanently. The city manager began the process.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

December 13, 2014 — 

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Despite protest of its ‘friends’, Nevada City needs more rooms at its inns

December 13, 2014 — 

I want to thank The Union for printing the response letter by Justin Gross to the editorial written about the threat to Nevada City neighborhoods by the reopening of a bed and breakfast inn.

First, Don Joy had a few facts wrong in his argument. He said 170 rooms exist now and with the new campground, that will bring accommodation up to 240. This is blatantly wrong.

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Clarification regarding NSJ Fire Protection District

December 13, 2014 — 

The Dec. 2 article, “Threats to Nevada County Food Bank staff trigger possible changes” has resulted in a great deal of confusion and even some ill feelings on the Ridge, largely because the reporter accepted assertions made by an individual associated with the Food Bank having to do with the NSJ Fire Protection District that had little or no basis in fact.

In particular, contrary to assertions in the article, there have been no discussions about moving food distribution to the Fire District’s Community Hall, there is no particular reason why such a move would offer more security than the current location, and the fire department has no more authority to remove people from their facilities than does anyone else.

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Memories brought back on World War II

December 13, 2014 — 

Memories brought back on World War II

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Bed-and-breakfast inns an important asset for Nevada City

December 12, 2014 — 

On Nov. 29, I read an opinion written by Don Joy regarding his perceived threat of B&Bs and vacation rentals to the residential neighborhoods of Nevada City.

I was taken aback by the lack of accuracy and balance in his piece and I would like to clear up these inaccuracies and add some relevant information.

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Goodman:

December 11, 2014 — 

Lima, the capital of Peru, has become a city of gustatory renown, attracting foodies from the world over to sample dishes from its famous ceviche to favorites from the Andean highlands.

So it is an appropriate place, perhaps, for what has become a genuine movable feast, the world-roving series of summits organized by the United Nations to tackle the crisis of climate change.

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York: Obama’s dangerous legacy for Democrats

December 11, 2014 — 

Now that the 2014 elections are over and national politics is all about 2016, Democrats have good reason to worry that, for all his success at the polls, President Obama will leave his party with a toxic legacy.

The Obama damage is two-fold. First, his success relied on a coalition that likely will not survive, or at least survive at full strength, without Obama himself on the ticket.

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Carrtoon: Dec. 10, 2014

December 10, 2014 — 

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Ted Gaines: How can we make California CA-boom! again?

December 10, 2014 — 

Ebola, landslide elections, immigration and Ferguson have dominated the holiday season news, and those massive stories have obscured a host of other events that augur poorly for the future of California unless we act to change the way we govern this state. It’s the problems related in these stories that inspired me to write “CA-Boom! California’s Amazing Past, Troubled Present and Unlimited Future.”

These stories lost among the mega-events are not new — they are continuations of troubling California trends — and I tackle them all in my book and address how they can make or break our state moving forward. Here’s a sampling:

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Helm: Encouraging a girl’s interest in engineering

December 10, 2014 — 

Back in September, this paper reported a new computer engineering lab had been established at Nevada Union High School. I was thrilled to read about the new lab. I spent much of my professional life as a software engineer. I loved it and I love to see programs that encourage our up and coming generation to go into engineering.

I was dismayed however, to read that of the initial 28 students to join the new program, only two of the students were girls.

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Hemig: Welcome to The Union Version 4.0

December 9, 2014 — 

What a great year! The Union celebrated its 150th anniversary in style. The Union staff shared stories and photos from the last 150 years of western Nevada County’s history, wrapped around special monthly editions. We hosted a huge community open house birthday party. We produced a gloss-covered magazine featuring historical articles. We participated in the Grass Valley Downtown “Gold Rush Days.” We even made a documentary movie featuring community long-timers and their special stories.

The feedback we received was amazing. It was apparent that our readers and the community had a blast walking down memory lane with us.

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Crabb: It Takes a Village Idiot

December 9, 2014 — 

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Heart-warming to see so many willing to give

December 8, 2014 — 

Often good news is overshadowed by the negative events in our community, nation and world.

Recently, here in Grass Valley, I witnessed the opposite: people serving people. Several of our local dentists, their staffs and other volunteers gave of their time, talents and energy to provide free dental services to those in need within our own community. A total of 106 people here in Nevada County were given first rate dental care to the tune of almost $22,000 in services.

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An open letter to a Beale Air Force Base commander

December 8, 2014 — 

(The following are excerpts from a letter I wrote to Beale Air Force Base Commander Lee on the occasion of my arrest for federal trespass onto base property on Nov. 25):

My husband Michael Pike died in September of Agent Orange related cancer. My husband was Special Forces in Vietnam and came to regret his role in the war and what the U.S. government did. I am here today in loving memory of that fine man to ask you to stop your role in the kill chain which uses the Northrup Grumman Global Hawk drone to identify human targets for extrajudicial execution. This is neither lawful (international and higher law) nor moral and you must know that. Horrible acts, like drone strikes, lead to the atrocities we see now. Inhumanity engenders inhumanity.

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Stepping down the right thing

December 8, 2014 — 

I wish I could write to Elizabeth Lauten, communications direction for Rep. Fincher of Tennessee, but not having her email address, I’ll do it here.

I feel touched by your heartfelt apology. I thought it was brave of you to do the internal searching and seeking spiritual guidance into your own behavior. Even though I was saddened at your vicious attack of the Obamas, including their girls, I realize that to come to terms with your own judgmental behavior gave me hope. I wish more people would follow your example.

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