Letters to the Editor

Small-town heroes show up with big bats, big dreams

July 10, 2014 — 

My family and I unfolded our chairs in what seemed to be the best seats in the house.

Coincidentally, there was a gentleman just below us in the “Press Only” section with a big camera and a small notebook. As he started taking pictures of the players, he glanced over his shoulder and asked us, “Is Sierra Foothills Little League in the Colfax area?” I thought it kinda funny since Colfax is such a short distance from Nevada City, yet he wasn’t familiar with our Little League. Then I realized that Sierra Foothills hardly ever makes it past the first couple of rounds of the yearly All Star Tournament sponsored by Little League International.

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Kudos to two Nevada County employees

July 10, 2014 — 

I’d like to offer my congratulations to two Nevada County employees, Assistant County Executive Alison Lehman and Principal Civil Engineer Joshua Pac,k who recently became fellows through the CSAC Institute for Excellence in County Government.

They are among just 28 county supervisors or senior executives who have earned that title. County Executive Rick Haffey and CIO Stephen Monaghan earned their fellowships last year. The benefits of continuing education are well recognized in many professions, including attorneys, physicians and educators. The CSAC institute applies the same concept to leaders at the county level, offering a variety of courses on management, communications, budgeting, problem solving, negotiations and other skills that make for more effective local government leaders. Fellows must complete at least 60 hours of course work at the institute just to become eligible for the program.

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Put the Overturn Citizens United Act on ballot

July 10, 2014 — 

We need to get all outside money out of politics and mandate that all candidates only use public funding for their campaigns. The media should be required to give equal, unbiased coverage on all election viable candidates and issues. The buying of our government by the corporations, secret special interests and the elite should be banned.

Robert Bowman

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Grand jury, open your eyes and your heart

July 9, 2014 — 

As a guest of the Hospitality House shelter, I would like to say that after recent heart surgery and a long stay in the hospital, I lost everything.

Hospitality House has given me some hope that things will be better soon. Since my stay here, I have seen the good that they have done for those in need. We have current guests that have been school teachers for many years; guests who have worked with disabled children and many other professions who are simply having a difficult time in our current economy.

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Critics wrong on Obamacare

July 9, 2014 — 

It’s so hard to take cynics of Obamacare like Byron York seriously.

York complains that poor individuals who previously could not afford health insurance are now being covered — with taxpayer subsidies. He ignores the fact that taxpayers were already subsidizing the cost of health care for the poor, because even they were entitled to free treatment in an emergency room. Since providers could not charge for these services, they were passed along in the form of higher charges and outrageous premiums. Giving the poor subsidized care thus decreases the cost of health care for the rest of us.

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They are just people

July 8, 2014 — 

There has been a lot of talk lately about homeless people. I have been a volunteer at Hospitality House/Utah’s Place since October of 2005. I have seen many homeless people come and go. I have also volunteered with the biennial homeless count and interviewed homeless people who do not use the shelter.

The main thing I have learned over the years is that they are just people. I bet many of you have even encountered homeless people waiting on you at a restaurant, helping you at the local drug store, working hard at the local grocery store and fixing your cars. I know these people, and they are good people. It is so annoying to see others just lump humans into categories. You can’t say all homeless people are this or that. Sure, there are bad seeds, but there are bad seeds in all “groups” of humans. It isn’t the homeless as a group you don’t like, it is the behaviors of some homeless people. The same behaviors can be found in your neighbors, politicians, churches, friends, family and anywhere. It’s like saying that all people who carry a gun will kill or all young men wearing a hoodie will mug you. It’s insane.

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Grand Jury report oversimplified

July 8, 2014 — 

The recent Grand Jury’s report on the status of the homeless members of our community leaves me feeling embarrassed.

I find it difficult to believe that our Grand Jury could publish such a compilation of unsupported, bigoted opinion. The GJ members who wrote the report obviously interviewed a list of people selected specifically to mirror their own prejudices and to exclude any of the many community members who have been working hard for years to provide pathways back into society for our homeless population. Every conclusion reached by this report is suspect because not one of them is supported by empirical evidence. There is evidence extant that the GJ ignored. This information shows their conclusions to be false or at least oversimplified.

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Rodeo a community event

July 6, 2014 — 

The June 17 edition of The Union carried a “thank you ad” on page A9. In it, the Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association printed the names of 132 businesses and 186 individuals who contributed time or money to the production of the 2014 Penn Valley Rodeo. I am always in awe of the support given by so many in western Nevada County. It was a huge success, as it has been the last several years! In addition to funding two college scholarships, the rodeo generates significant revenue for The Penn Valley Chamber, Ready Springs School, Penn Valley Little League, Kare Crisis Nursery, 4-H and Mount St. Mary’s Academy. The rodeo provides an evening of fun with thrills and spills for family entertainment at a very low cost. We deeply appreciate those who attended and those who supported the event!

Bob Winters, president

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Don’t bury crime on back pages

July 6, 2014 — 

I have seen a lot of letters concerning mug shots and crime reporting on the front page. I am very sorry to tell you that Grass Valley today is not the one you grew up in, it is not even the one I moved to 15 years ago.

We once read the police blotter for fun and a laugh about the quirkiness of small town living. But it has gotten dark and violent in the past few years. To only print crime on the back pages is to hide it and pretend that it does not exist.

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Restore the America of our founders

July 5, 2014 — 

Michele Spencer’s response to my article, “Enough of Progressive Ideology” characterized it as “mean-spirited distortions and misrepresentations.”

I wish to respond to the points made in her piece.

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Terrazzo means terrace

July 5, 2014 — 

In response to San French’s search for the meaning of terrazzo lighting, terrazzo means terrace in Italian. Hence, terrace lighting. Not carnival lighting but lovely lights to illuminate outside activities when fireflies and stars can’t quite do the job.

It’s also interesting to note that they have been used in the past in Nevada City. They were strung across Broad Street probably before either of us was born.

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Proud of our schools

July 5, 2014 — 

All nine of our children have graduated from Nevada Union High School. We enjoyed three commencement exercises this year.

Ellie, who just graduated will be attending BYUH. Natalie received her bachelor’s degree in Phycology at BYUHl and Danny his Ph.D in Molecular Biochemistry at U.C. Santa Barbara.

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Maintaining my manhood

July 5, 2014 — 

I don’t understand the appeal of these new electric Harley-Davidsons. I mean, without a large gasoline engine, how can I scream up city streets and highways to prove my manhood and machismo?

Ken Sebastian

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A thoughtful citizen

July 5, 2014 — 

On Saturday morning, I walked up to the mailbox to get the paper and was greeted by a huge mess from a neighbor’s trash container that had been tipped over, widely scattered up and down the road.

There was someone in the road cleaning it up — not the owner of the trash and not someone from the neighborhood, but oddly, a total stranger.

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Taking down America

July 3, 2014 — 

The failed leadership of the scandalous Obama regime is wrecking and endangering our great nation and with shameful support by the Obama Senate. Obama is taking down our America. God help us.

Lee Blakemore

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District deserves better than LaMalfa

July 3, 2014 — 

The Democratic Central Committee of Shasta County is organizing a candidate forum for 3 p.m., Sept. 6, at the UPEC building on Park Marina Dive.

We are sorry to report to the constituents of Congressional District 1 that our Congressman, Doug LaMalfa, has refused his invitation. During the phone call from LaMalfa’s staffer, it was explained that the Democratic Central Committee was only hosting the forum and that it would be moderated by a neutral party or even a Republican radio personality.

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Jewels in the desert

July 1, 2014 — 

Recently I’ve had occasion to fly in and out of various Southern California airports six times, e.g. three flights to the East.

From each flight looking out, I saw what could be imagined as pieces of turquoise or blue-green tourmaline tossed out over an area of ticky-tacky housing sprawl. These were, of course, numerous swimming pools.

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Congress not supporting our veterans

July 1, 2014 — 

Over the years, I have watched Congress cut the budget of the Veterans Administration while demanding superior performance. Of course, when the budget gets cut service eventually suffers.

It’s a game that they play; cut funding to certain programs and then blame the administrators when things fall apart.

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Government control of defense industry a threat

June 29, 2014 — 

Throughout my adult life I have advised those who would listen that there are two ways to throw the country into a dictatorship. One is government control of the defense industries. The Civil Rights Bill of 1964 is a step toward government control of the defense industries as are other civil rights laws, environmental laws and labor laws passed since then.

Now the president is taking further steps in the form of executive orders. It makes you wonder how much control the government needs before we, the private sector, are no longer able to effectively cut off the military. When this happens, we may find ourselves being governed by the bayonet and the rifle butt.

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A proud grandma

June 29, 2014 — 

I am the grandmother of the Penn Valley Little League Brewer’s pitcher (a team of 12 to 13 year olds). I attended his last game of the season. He pitched great, but that is not why I am writing.

One of his teammates, Carson, has a younger brother, Cole, who is afflicted with a bone disease and is wheelchair bound. My grandson, Matthew Zeman, promised to make a home run for him during this game. In the third inning, Matthew hit it just shy of the fence, getting a double. However, in the last inning, Matt looked at Cole, gave a thumbs up, and “first pitch” hit it out of the park!

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Got my spuds back

June 29, 2014 — 

We shopped at the Grocery Outlet this afternoon and spent over $100. When we got home we had no potatoes — darn, I left them on the bottom rack of the cart.

We called the store, and — would you believe — someone returned them? If you read the police blotter, you wouldn’t think there any honest people left in the county. To that person, a great big “thank you.”

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Since when is bench-sitting a crime?

June 29, 2014 — 

Last week as I was riding on the wonderful bus called the Gold Country Lift, the driver told me that the benches that used to be in front of Staples and the Grocery Outlet in the Brunswick shopping center had been removed.

Since I had some business at Staples, I checked it out, and sure enough, it was true. I tried to find out what the reason might be for this and learned from clerks of Staples and Grocery Outlet that it was done by the company who owns the shopping center, apparently after some complaint about homeless persons sitting on those benches, or noisy youngsters. I am appalled at such callousness.

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InConcert Sierra concerts a memorable experience

June 27, 2014 — 

Your community should be very proud. I was the bass soloist for the two InConcert Sierra concerts featuring the Sierra Master Chorale and orchestra on May 15 and 18. I want to thank InConcert Sierra for the experience. In addition to tackling some very challenging music, I had the best time making music that I’ve had in a VERY long time!

It was a combination of things, of course … a superb chorus and orchestra with whom I’d work again in a heartbeat, a creative and always-interesting program and a beautiful venue in which to perform. Although I know “it takes a village” to mount a production as ambitious as this one was, one could never tell by interacting with Ken and Julie Hardin (artistic and executive directors) that this work (and it is work!) was anything but a joy for them! I think they made all the difference.

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Fiddlers’ concert strikes a chord

June 27, 2014 — 

Accolades to Music In The Mountains for starting off the summer concert series with the fiddlers’ concert Saturday evening. It was an uplifting experience to witness the joyful participants numbering over 100 playing violins, violas, banjos,cellos, a harp and string bases, as well as singers and dancers. The stage was jam-packed with kids as young as 6 or 7 to adults, all having a great time.

The fiddlers’ music camp should be commended for instilling the joy of music in everyone participating. It was evident in the performers’ faces.

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Student project brings new computers

June 27, 2014 — 

This year, we were assigned a 20-percent project at Seven Hills Middle School. We were supposed to find a way to help someone other than ourselves. We noticed that our school had a huge need for computers in the classroom so we decided to raise money for Chromebooks for classrooms at Seven Hills.

With student support and extremely generous community donors, we purchased a total of seven computers for our school!

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Treasures at the WOW Reshop

June 26, 2014 — 

Recently I started working at the Women of Worth ReShop on Grass Valley Avenue by the Nevada County Airport. Little did I know what an amazing experience I was in for!

I work with mostly volunteers, all fun, energetic, imaginative, wonderful individuals. The customers who shop there are as varied as the merchandise we have. Treasure hunters, antique collectors, dealers and people who by either nature or need have to stretch each dollar.

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A fine man, indeed

June 26, 2014 — 

Thanks to Gary Brown for his celebratory article on the life of our neighbor of 25 plus years, Paul Finch. All five families on our road appreciated and loved Paul for his positive attitude and sly wit.

We brought him his San Francisco Chronicle every morning; other neighbors did much more, with outings to IHOP for breakfast, errands in town and loving care during his last days. His party for his 90th birthday was held at IHOP, of course, and his gift of a Marine Corps jacket brought him to tears.

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Better left to the private sector

June 26, 2014 — 

Today I stopped on the way home to get my USPS mail from a bank of mail boxes on Banner Lava Cap Road.

The bank of mail boxes (12 boxes or so) next to mine was unlocked so that anyone could have taken all the mail. There were no signs of forced entry, and all the mail appeared untouched. I called the 800 number for the Nevada City Post Office. I heard a “due to high call volumes you may experience a longer wait time than normal.” I hung up and found the local (530 area code) number for the Nevada City Post Office. I called. No one answered so I was transferred to “the receptionist.” Again, no answer, and I was told that I could not leave a message because “the voice mail box for this person (the receptionist) was full.” However, I could be transferred to the receptionist!

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Vets invest in student’s future

June 26, 2014 — 

Many thanks to the seven local veterinarians who contributed to this year’s Western Nevada County Veterinary Scholarship (Mother Lode; Pine Creek; animal clinics of Rough and Ready and Penn Valley; Brighton Greens; Scott McIntosh, DVM; and Jon Peek, DVM). I had the pleasure of presenting the $1,000 award to Jewell Wadkins, graduate of Silver Springs High School.

We wish Jewell the best in her future education!

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Teachers have legitimate concerns

June 25, 2014 — 

With the end of the school year, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the teachers, administrators and entire staff of Deer Creek Elementary School.

Everyone at the school — from maintenance staff to principal Monica Daugherty — deserves huge kudos (and a long summer break) for successfully creating a safe, welcoming and stimulating place of learning. Our special appreciation and thanks go to our daughter’s teacher, Vanessa Lackey, for her boundless energy, enthusiasm and selfless dedication to her students. Words can’t express our admiration for her and the rest of the Deer Creek family. Deer Creek is a model for what an elementary school can and should be!

Our happiness is tempered, however, by the conflict between the school’s faculty and Superintendent Roxanne Gilpatric (“Teachers vote no confidence for Gilpatric,” May 28). Last week, dozens of teachers — working without a contract, and without a pay raise since 2007 — presented the Nevada City school board a vote of no confidence in Gilpatric, citing her adversarial management style that has left them feeling disrespected and intimidated. According to their petition, teachers have been denied retirement pay, personal time and other promised benefits.

We appreciate that there are two sides to this issue; Gilpatric and school board face numerous difficult and unenviable decisions and nothing is simple when it comes to education funding and policy. But it is unacceptable that teachers feel alienated and disrespected by district leadership, and it’s inconceivable to us that teachers last received a pay raise before our daughter was born.

We urge the superintendent and school board to hear our teachers’ legitimate concerns. We hope both sides can come together, improve communication and build trust to make the best decisions for our school district. We trust teachers with our children; supporting them is the best way to support our kids and their futures.

John and Sarah Regan

Nevada City

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