Opinion, Analysis, Discussion

Clay Schmidt: Call 811 before you dig

April 20, 2015 — 

It may seem hard to believe that an underground utility line — such as a gas pipe or a water line — is damaged every six minutes in America because someone didn’t take the time to call 8-1-1. Last year, there were 83 instances of such damage to PG&E facilities throughout the Sierra Division, which includes El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sierra, Yuba and Sutter counties. And with spring well upon us and green thumbs around the Sierra Foothills mapping out their flower beds, we want to remind our customers of the importance of safe-digging and calling 8-1-1 before you start your project.

A simple, toll-free call to the Underground Service Alert (USA) program, will notify local utility companies of your intention to dig and utilities, like PG&E, will locate and mark underground lines and pipes. Planting a tree? Installing a fence? Trenching? Utility lines and pipes need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

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Richard Bell: 'Fair tax' not fair

April 20, 2015 — 

Before campaigning for a supposed “fair tax” (the 17 percent flat variety), Fran Freedle (Other Voices, April 13) needs a better understanding of what she’s proposing, of the difference between simpler and fairer, and of who would benefit from such a change.

How, for example, would Freedle’s proposed 17 percent flat tax affect 2014 joint filers with a taxable income of $70,000 (taxable, that is, after subtracting for the standard deduction — $12,400 — and personal exemptions of $3,950 each)?

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Michelle Newbon: Embezzling? You'll get caught eventually

April 20, 2015 — 

Regarding the several embezzlement convictions lately, including Waste Management and two involving school funds ... for those embezzling now — just give it up already, it’s clear you’ll get caught eventually, the gig is up.

Think about it — is it really worth it? From what’s been said about these cases, it’s not about putting food on the table or being in dire need (not that that condones it), the stealing in these cases has been about greed — having “more money” and buying stuff. Don’t throw your life away; and more importantly have some respect for the hard work other people have done to earn that money. Try it sometimes, otherwise prison will be the place you figure it out.

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Arline Kenney: Vintage Fashion Show a success

April 20, 2015 — 

Thank you to the many who attended the educational and humorous Vintage Fashion Show and Luncheon on Saturday, April 11, sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 130. Thank you to those who joined the Auxiliary in making it an enjoyable event, including commentator and models of “Fashion Memories,” members of Post 130 and Legion Riders, Chef Ross and his all-veteran crew, the young women of the Friendship Club and their leader Denise, the Nevada Union Interact Club and their president, Girls State Citizen Eden Baker, The Union, KNCO and KVMR.

Because of your participation, Frank Gallino Unit 130 will be able to fund the Girls State program, scholarships, children and youth program, community service program, local veterans, and boxes for our deployed military.

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George Boardman; Only McClintock can make LaMalfa look like a bleeding-heart liberal

April 20, 2015 — 

If anybody can make Rep. Doug LaMalfa look like a bleeding-heart liberal by comparison, it’s Nevada County’s other congressman, Rep. Tom McClintock.

Both congressmen are conservatives in good standing, but they parted ways last month on a bipartisan (you read that right) Congressional effort to finally fix the system used to pay doctors who treat Medicare patients. That’s no small matter in a county where 22.5 percent of the population is 65 or older.

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Fran Cole: Outdoor Event Ordinance and the importance of thoughtful regulation

April 18, 2015 — 

Several important principles of good regulation appear to be missing in the saga of Nevada County’s Outdoor Event Ordinance.

The first principle is that governmental action through regulations, especially regulations affecting business and property rights, should be drafted narrowly enough to address the stated problems without spilling over and negatively impacting others. The ordinance swept up legitimate businesses into its net, because it was not precisely fine-tuned to target only the problem. What was never explained to the public was why the then-existing enforcement tools were inadequate, and that should have been the starting point for the discussion.

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Bill Neville: Is there a connection here?

April 18, 2015 — 

Is there a connection between Nevada City bed and breakfast permits and a fire station brown-out? As I understand the April 9 story regarding NC Council actions, the council has adopted ordinances/policies:

• Prohibiting any future establishment and perhaps closing existing bed and breakfast facilities.

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Kathie Beckham: More questions than answers on Newmont passive water treatment

April 18, 2015 — 

As a longtime resident of Grass Valley, I too am concerned about this Newmont Mine Passive Water Treatment proposal.

At first I was really happy that they were going to clean up the water, but upon further research into the background of Newmont Mining I became concerned about a few things.

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Melissa Hawk: Fight for your child's education

April 18, 2015 — 

Common Core testing begins soon and I, a parent of three children in the Nevada City School District, am ever so frustrated with the over complicated math and one-sided history and science curriculum, that so obviously pushes the liberal agenda.

Our many parental concerns and meetings were glossed over and now we bend over backwards to help our children learn something we ourselves can’t hardly grasp. The fight is happening across the country. Parents and entire schools are opting out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing. While this won’t solve our Common Core dilemma, it will certainly make our fight against the standards known.

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It takes a village idiot

April 18, 2015 — 

R.L. Crabb

Cartoonist

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Elizabeth Appell: Which do we need more: bullet train or water?

April 18, 2015 — 

Why are we wasting our time and money, $98 billion, on a bullet train that will accommodate only a small portion of California residents when we desperately need water to accommodate all the people living and working in our beautiful state?

To help solve our water problems, why not consider scrapping this project, which is already costing billions and going nowhere, and concentrate on a water pipeline network from Washington, through Oregon, and ending in Northern California? This is a project worthy of completion and one that is long overdue. If you don’t think a pipeline is the answer than maybe you would consider building desalination plants up and down the coast of California. Either one of these solutions could solve our future issues with drought. It will not go away just because we wish it so.

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Our View: Real need for urgency is actual leadership on cannabis in our community

April 18, 2015 — 

Stop us if you have heard this before, but a group of local residents are asking the Nevada County Board of Supervisors for an “urgency ordinance” to deal with what they perceive to be an immediate threat to our community.

That might sound familiar because you read Wednesday morning’s edition of The Union, which reported a local chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana is asking supervisors to consider an “urgency ordinance” to establish more restrictive outdoor marijuana growing regulations in Nevada County.

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Charles Shawcross: Young pianist to perform at Holbrooke Hotel

April 17, 2015 — 

On July 21, 2011, you printed an article on your front page about a young pianist James Pavel Shawcross after he had won a national title in Las Vegas.

When he was 8, he played at the Sacramento Ragtime Society as well as the Sacramento Jazz Society (tailgate room). In the four years that have followed, he has gained international attention through Internet sites like Fandalism, which is like YouTube for musicians.

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Miriam Martin: Who really needs a semiautomatic weapon?

April 17, 2015 — 

A recent issue of The Union had an advertising insert from Cabela’s that advertised a semiautomatic rifle and other high powered rifles. It just offends me and hopefully others. We read daily about shootings of a police officer or innocent bystander or child.

It sickens me that we don’t have more gun laws in the USA but the NRA has such power over most people. They feel their rights are taken away, but what about the lives that are taken away with the gun that shot them?

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Terry Armor: Thank you, Drew!

April 17, 2015 — 

Drew, you were a knight in snowy armor on Tuesday, when you came out of your warm safe truck to rescue a stalled car on the Ridge Road hill! You took charge of the situation and the safety of the players, creating a safe haven during a stressful few hours of weather, and making it a memorable event to reflect on. You are so appreciated; any mother would be proud! Looking forward to enjoying your organic fare this summer at the Nevada City and Rood Center farmers markets!

Terry Armor

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Jim Hemig: To protect and serve

April 17, 2015 — 

I had a first-person experience with our community’s homeless issue last Tuesday.

During that impressive April snowstorm, an obviously homeless woman came into The Union’s lobby with all her worldly belongings. She was soaked head to toe. The cold weather, falling sleet and snow, and her proximity to the newspaper’s office, brought her into our warm and dry little world.

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Manny Montes: Progressive campaign mantra is 'we know what's best'

April 17, 2015 — 

Beyond protecting individual rights, and providing for the national defense, our government inexorably becomes a usurping beast. Recall Lord Acton’s observation, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Our government beast feeds on an exclusive diet, power. Its hunger is never satiated. The beast forever cries, “feed me.” The inverse relationship between the beast’s growing power and the diminution of individual liberty is as certain as two plus two equals four. Progressives’ campaign mantra is, at bottom, give me more power; we know what’s best. They have successfully weaponized terms and phrases like “compassion,” “for the children,” “fair share” and “invest.” This last is a disingenuous way of saying “spend.” All financial indicators are flashing red, and the beast persists on wanting to spend more. Nancy Eubanks’ March 7 article calls for a litany of initiatives all of which are government directives, and calls for more spending. When is enough, enough? Never.

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Lee Hicks: Court system needs to seek truth in child pornography cases

April 16, 2015 — 

The April 7 issue of The Union features two Nevada County criminal cases involving child pornography.

In one, two children of a convicted child pornographer chastise the court for shortening the sentence of their father, their molester. This father of eight children, six of them adopted, was convicted of 16 charges of molesting and filming children ages 1 to 3. Nicholas Ponce, his father’s victim, describes his own young life as ruined. The reduction of the sentence of Luis Ponce based on a technicality has revictimized the victims of this pornographer. His son warns of the potential of his father to reoffend.

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Robert Ingram: Environmentalists blowing smoke

April 16, 2015 — 

Do environmentalists like Chad Hanson and his newest disciple, Christy Sherr, care about our environment? Obsessively so. Are they honest in their attempts to “save” the Sierra? Absolutely not.

Hanson, as high priest to the cause, deems all commercial logging of federal lands a crime against nature and will do or say anything to stop it. His latest humorous attempt, authored by Christy Sherr in The Union on April 1, borders on fantasy. Hanson and Sherr’s contention that a “Snag forest, or ‘complex early seral forest (CESF)’ created by high intensity fire (75 to 100 percent mortality) is the most ecologically diverse and wildlife rich forest habitat type in the Sierra Nevada.” Really? No, not really. Below are a few glaring gaps in their half-truths and faulty logic that just doesn’t pass the smoldering forest smell test.

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Joyce Hoffman: Who needs enemies with a friend like this?

April 16, 2015 — 

In his Other Voices column, Steve Enos alluded to The Vatican, Elvis and John Steinbeck. He did so to distract from any negative intentions he had in submitting his anonymous letter, which led to the investigation of Terry Lamphier.

The Vatican is a beautiful city with some of the finest Italian Renaissance art. Elvis still has a lot of fans who love him. Steinbeck was one of our greatest authors. I am insulted that he would use them to add levity and sarcasm to what is, in my opinion, a tragedy.

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Reinette Senum: Nevada City's inaugural 'Spring Madness' a success

April 16, 2015 — 

Last week Nevada City successfully launched its first spring-cleaning called “Spring Madness Hits Nevada City.” The three-day event proved to be an empowering exercise in community.

The need for the citywide cleaning arose out of an ad hoc community group that includes Nevada City merchants, the Nevada City Police Department, the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and homeless and community advocates, including myself. The group has been meeting for over a year so as to address issues we see throughout Nevada City, such as vandalism, homelessness, and general activity on the streets.

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John Carr: Carrtoon

April 15, 2015 — 

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Donald Ringen: Don't take away the Stretch IRA

April 15, 2015 — 

President Obama’s budget proposals for the 2016 fiscal year once again called for the elimination of the Stretch IRA.

Why would President Obama want to take away one of the few retirement vehicles that helps the middle class in retirement?

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Mike Hauser: Lunchtime automotive event an educational experience

April 15, 2015 — 

Thanks for your recent story on the Nevada Union Automotive team competition. It was the Roamin’ Angels’ intent by staging a lunchtime event to highlight their accomplishments.

We brought in several race cars and the experts that build and race them, including NU Alumni. Everyone was welcome to climb in, take pictures and in the end celebrate the noise when we lit them up. It was also important to our members that the crowd of kids and staff visiting our displays understood the importance of what they study and teach. Math, art, science even history and English are what we apply to our passions, those vehicles and our hobby.

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Chris Kane: One problem for letter writer

April 15, 2015 — 

Mr. Tope’s recent letter to the editor states that because of not enrolling in the Affordable Care Act, he has lost a portion of his tax refund despite having kept his Medicare, kept his supplemental insurance, and kept his doctor. One problem — he also kept his accountant.

Chris Kane

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Bev Warnecke: A good ACA experience

April 15, 2015 — 

My daughter in San Francisco was ecstatic when I prepared her 2014 tax return. After putting info into Turbo Tax from her 1095A Health Insurance Market Place Statement, up popped a credit of almost $1,500. Seems she paid too much health care premiums based on her self-employment income. Much of the problem people seem to be having this year is in the reporting of their health care.

In order to avoid the penalty, you do not have to purchase health insurance on the California Marketplace. Your health insurance can be purchased from any source. And while we are limited to health insurance providers in Nevada County, my insurance agent found me a very good Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plan F that is just at $90 a quarter for age 79.

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Linda McQueen: Excessive use of water by agriculture? Think again

April 15, 2015 — 

Last week the governor of California mandated an unprecedented reduction of 25 percent of water use due to our severe drought condition. Certain media — national and local — have focused and spun agriculture as an abuser of water without similar restrictions. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss California agriculture in a more complete perspective.

California GDP is over $2 trillion and represents the largest GDP of any state in the U.S. — even ranking eighth in the world. Agriculture is one of the vital elements of the state’s economy. California leads the nation in the production of fruit, vegetables, wine, nuts and dairy. It is true that direct production ag is only 2 percent of the California economy; but government, followed by health care and social assistance are the largest. Agriculture is a major contributor to the economy valued at $43 billion, plus more than $100 billion in related economic activities. Ag is not only important to California, but also to the U.S. Per CDFA, California ag sales exceeded twice the size of any other state’s agriculture industry.

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Jim Firth: When the well runs dry

April 15, 2015 — 

When my wife and I moved to Grass Valley six-plus years ago, we immediately began improvements on our property. Landscaping was part of the improvement package and along with a freshly planted front-scape, we chose to put a relatively small lawn (about 1,200 square feet) in the back area off the deck.

This work required removing rock, various pipes, moving the “red” dirt so prolific around here, and bringing in soil and sod.

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Jody Hanson: Let your dog ride up front

April 14, 2015 — 

I would like to comment on the April 3 photo in The Union of a dog in the bed of a truck going down the highway. This could very well be the last day of that dog’s life. We’ve all seen dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks as the trucks fly down the highway.

The dogs look to be having fun, but by being in the back of a truck they risk injury from flying objects. Eye injuries are common, but there is an even greater danger. According to a California state legislator, approximately 100,000 dogs a year nationwide are killed because they jump or are thrown from a pickup.

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Steve Zager: Putting out the fire of trauma

April 14, 2015 — 

My friend John almost lost his life in a house fire in Grass Valley.

For the next few months he became unemployed, homeless, depressed and anxious. He had trouble sleeping.

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