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Letters (Sep 24, 2014)

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The Point Arena School Board Meeting was like a really bad reality show!

Petra Schulte from Fort Bragg Unified Schools gave a presentation regarding the importance of students having a healthy diet and exercise. During the presentation Superintendant Cross fiddled with her computer looking completely bored. At the end Trustee DeWilder stated, “I prefer a McDonald's hamburger, fries and a coke, it just tastes better.”

A teacher discussed concerns regarding how the drug testing took place (not performed with any privacy) and the unfavorable effect it had on some students. She believed it was not in accordance with the policy the board set. The student representative to the board re-emphasized the demeaning treatment of students which had some in tears.

The elementary principal informed the community regarding a new teacher hire and DeWilder asked if she was a good teacher because at this late in the game she could be a "bottom feeder." Trustee Shimon interrupted him because his statement was uncalled for. DeWilder then went into using four letter words. First of all, the superintendent does ALL teacher/staff hiring with board APPROVAL and secondly, DeWilder should remember the rules regarding decorum of board members!

Finally, under discussion there was an agreement between Point Arena Schools and Holly Rawlins, Counselor to provide counseling services to Special Education Students at $450 a day.

Trustee Robinson gave an excellent informative presentation regarding the agreement with valid concerns in light of the economic status of the district and cutting back many positions. Superintendant Cross and President Mills began whispering almost immediately which continued throughout the presentation. Board decorum?

This agreement didn't include mileage charges. Now I wonder if her health insurance will be paid for by the district which was also not in the agreement? Why were some of these things hidden and not put up front? This agreement, however, was going to pass even with clear logical objections because it was consummated on September 7th between Cross and Rawlins!

Truthfully, we don't really need a board because we have a superintendent making the decisions and the majority of minions just falling in line! Heaven forbid if they should have real reasons to believe what is being done is not in the best interest of the students!

Cross excused things failling through the cracks due to the "many hats" she now wears (superintendent/principal) but NO ONE forced her into the position. She is the one who wanted to be a Superwoman!


Suzanne Rush


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Hi Bruce,

Thanks for mentioning the death of Steve Neuroth. In Off the Record, Sept 10th you reported that he was found dead in his cell at the County Jail.  Steve worked for me as a laborer 20 years ago and was well known in Ukiah. He also had friends and family in the Laytonville area. Steve came around to various contractors' job sites and often got to make a bit of money doing clean up and other chores. Steve loved music and I believe played some guitar himself. Steve was a gentle soul trying to make his way as best he could.

I was in contact with Steve just prior to his death as he came by my job site looking for a little work. He was in good spirits and, while he looked a bit thin, he appeared healthy. I last saw him on the Thursday before he died, standing at the bus stop on State Street by Safeway.

I am very interested in the autopsy results as in my contacts with him he never appeared under the influence of drugs or alcohol or of being severely depressed. So when the newspaper reported he was picked up for being under the influence, something didn’t seem right.

Thank you again for keeping the circumstances of Steve’s death at least on the table.

Please keep asking the question. There are a lot of us who want to know what happened.

Hugh McAvoy


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Dear Editor:

The sordid stories that keep coming out about NFL players charged with physical abuse of women and children is alarming and disgusting. The problem goes beyond the abusers as there is also the issue of "hitmen" who play to injure and take out the other team's players and particularly the quarterback. When that happens the reaction of the crowd reminds me of the Romans in the Colosseum when one gladiator killed another gladiator or Christians were thrown to the lions.

The blame lies with the owners as well as the coaches who condone the bad behavior on and off the field of their players. Money talks and there is a lot of money in professional football. Our country is and always has been a violent country and such a violent sport has a lot of appeal to its fans.

In peace,

Jim Updegraff


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Esteemed Editor:

Please print this note of great thanks to the AVAS crew salvaging me from the broken wrist and torn hand farm accident five weeks ago.

Within half an hour of my emergency phone call a crack crew and equipment arrived at my door and delivered me to the Ukiah Emergency Room door an hour and a half later. The team included Judy and Garth Long, Art Hatcher, Kyle Clark, Roy Laird, Keevan Lynch, Sarah McCarter, Andres Avila, Angela DeWitt, Del Beuerlein.

A Reminder to us all: The Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, along with the Fire Department, is there for us all, 24 hours a day, they are skilled, but they are volunteers dependent on our local informal tax system called contributions, to perform their craft and keep their schedule commitment. As the year end arrives remember with a check the AVAS's value to the whole community.

Brad Wiley


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Hello Friends,

I am not taking any endorsements in my race for a seat on the Fort Bragg City Council. I want to represent you the people, not any specific group who has an agenda they will expect me to uphold. I will not be beholden to anybody except the citizens of Fort Bragg. I will not take any money from any large corporations for this exact same reason. I do not believe corporations are people and I was disappointed in the McCutcheon Supreme Court decision. All my donations are from individuals and all but two of them have been $99 or less. Do not rely on others to tell you how to vote or what I stand for. Please do me the courtesy of approaching me yourself! I am a lifelong Democrat and not ashamed to say so. There seems to be a polarization forming in our city and I believe I am the best candidate to bring us all together. Isn't it exciting to have a hard fought election again in Fort Bragg?

Jessie mentioned in her email to you all that it is a shame only a small percentage of the voters get to vote. Had I not entered this election NONE of you would have been able to vote because there would not have been an election.

3 candidates + 3 seats = 0 election.

Go to my Facebook page, Lindy Peters for Fort Bragg, CA. City Council. If you have a group of people who would like me to make an appearance, please let me know. Let me address your questions. Let me explain my positions. Let me define my candidacy. Don't depend on others to do this for you. That is all I ask. And no matter who you support, please vote on November 4th!

Lindy Peters, Candidate,

Fort Bragg City Council

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To the Editor:

I would like to Thank Mr. Finley Williams for his response letter to the editor, and also express my appreciation to all 19 members of the Mendocino County Grand Jury. I have worked for the Mendocino County Office of Education for over 20 years and their report brought out the issues at hand. I was personally affected by the decisions that were made by upper management. I believe there could have been a different approach and timing to the way things were done. I feel that the Grand Jury did not receive the respect and recognition that they so deserve. I would hope that the general public knows that their reports should be taken seriously. I can remember the time when Jack Ward, former Superintendent of MCOE came under fire with a Grand Jury Report which ultimately led to his demise and prosecution. A perfect example of the importance of the Grand Jury.

My colleagues and I at MCOE are now focusing on the change and hopes of the future.

In closing I would like to sum up with this quote from Abraham Lincoln that speaks to the questionable leadership identified by the Grand Jury Report.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" ~Abraham Lincoln.

Julie Simental

Redwood Valley

Ed note: In fact, it took years of newspaper agitation reinforced by then-trustees Colfax and Lipmanson to finally get Ward prosecuted and packed off to jail.

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We are slowly but surely getting ourselves involved in Islamic wars again. After two decades of being in Islamic wars you would think we would have learned something, which is that there is no way that there can be peace over there. When one part of the religion gets control it’s only for a while until one of the other parts of the religion get strong enough to take over. It’s civil wars that never end.

We don’t seem to know who the friend is and who the enemy is. Then because of the recent beheading of two journalists, we sent in some 100 airstrikes against the Islamic state. This means we killed at least 100 people and maybe as many as 500 of their army or civilians. Does Mr. Obama think they are going to say, Thank you? They will strike back any way they can.

Wars are fought any way they can to win. It’s not a game. This is not an endorsement of any side, just facts. The only difference between a terrorist and a patriot is the side one is on. When we went into Iraq with the lies of our government that they had weapons of mass destruction it was untrue. They never found these weapons before or after we invaded. No one was ever held accountable for the billions of dollars on nothing, and the most tragic part was the thousands and thousands of our service people and the even higher count of Iraqi people who lost their lives.

I would wonder who killed the two reporters, as why would the Islamic state want to get the US more involved in the war? The story of Osama Bin Laden being killed and his body dumped in the Ocean was all too fishy and our government is not adverse to lying when it fits their purpose which is often, I’m sorry to say.

I hear from some of our leaders that if we don’t get involved someone in that war is going to come over here. I would like to know how come Russia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, most of Europe, for what matter most of the world, is not worried there is another Hitler who wants to conquer the world in that Islamic war.

Emil Rossi


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Dear AVA,

I am active supporter of the Anderson Valley Health Center and I am actively staying tuned to the evolving ‘events’ surrounding the Health Center. I consider myself to be an interested observer and will remain anonymous as this ‘dialogue’ unfortunately has become personal. I hope that we may begin to find solutions to support the AVHC and that we move forward together.

I am responding to last week’s AVA Sept. 10. I will refer to the statement made to the AVHC Board made by Micheal Nissenburg that the “criticisms (of Apfel) comes from the consultants who want your money, want your building, your grants.” This implies that they (the consultants) are competitors for the same pot of grant money and patient clients as well, thus posing a conflict of interest.

This is just simply not true. I have talked to various people in the Rural Health Clinic field and here is what I understand to be true. The Anderson Valley Health Center is the only Health Center in its service area. There is no competition of funds.

The AVHC has an extremely high mortgage (new building, dental clinic etc) and this challenges the financial viability of AVHC.

Rural Health Clinics work together to try and provide services in their geographical area. When AVHC was about to foreclose many years ago, the Mendocino County rural clinics all agreed to help find solutions to keep AVHC doors open.  Judith Dolan worked very hard to get these federal funds. We received the Shared Management Grant worth (roughly) $650,000 each year for three years. The idea of the shared management, a major component of this grant, was that AVHC would use the resources of these consultants instead of hiring our own CEO, Administrative Director, and Operations Manager. This is all about money folks, AVHC got in over their head and every measure made, whether skillfully or not, was about the survival of this clinic. I do not know whether the shared administration is a good model or not, but this was what we needed to work with.

These consultants came in 1 day a week. AVHC reimbursed. Their job was to get the AVHC federally compliant. This was not an easy job, there was a lot of work to do. They played a very important role. Thankfully, before they left, they secured another 3 year federal grant for $950,000 each year for 3 years, starting now. They are continuing to finish their commitment with the AVHC, without pay, during this 6 month transition time.

My Humble Opinion is this.

We are all thankful for Mark Apfel. He is an amazing and dedicated doctor. Our community owes a lot of thanks to Mark Apfel and many other very dedicated staff. But, I do believe we have lost a valuable asset through the consultants. We lost them before the new Medical Director came on and I believe this could have been avoided through better communication. I wish that Apfel could have helped to facilitate this communication. It should never have gotten to an “Us vs. Them” situation. There were some mistakes made and they should have been dealt with early on. We do need the Feds Money to keep this clinic alive, whether we want it or not. I would like to see Mark be our doctor and I would like to see the new Medical Director keep the records straight and keep us in compliance. I would like to see the Board become very transparent through this process and beyond. And most importantly, can we please move forward together? We are an incredible community with a lot to give, let’s heal this up and move on.

From a concerned community member.

Name Withheld

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Thank you I not enough to describe our gratitude to everyone who participated in the Mendocino County Apple Fair this year. The time and energy that goes into making this great annual historical event happen is both generous and at times super-human.

As co-coordinators of June Hall, Robyn and I want to especially thank all of those who worked so hard exhibiting flowers, plants and gardens. It’s always an amazing and delightful outcome. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you next year.

The “Visitor’s Choice” award is awarded once the fair is closed (for obvious reasons). Thank you to everyone who voted for your favorite garden installation. The winner is Pop Warner Football and Cheerleading.

Taunia Green & Robyn Harper


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