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Letters (Mar 30, 2016)

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Spencer Brewer and Ed Reinhart are incredible performers. They wowed us with great playing and a fun repartee between songs. These two have known one another for 30 odd years and have done stage plays on piano playing. The first play was "Don't shoot the Piano Player" written by Lanny Cotler. Spencer is a gifted composer. His music is very diverse and intriguing. Ed is a remarkable boogie woogie man, a strong singer and a lively pokey entertainer. They delivered 2 hours of enchantment ending on a duet of Great Balls of Fire. Yow!

On another note: We watched a great biography on Vincent Van Gogh on KQED. I did not realize that Vincent was bipolar. We have this malady in our family but it appears in range from mild to strong. I get the depression part once in a while per vitamin deficiency and have learn to do a multi to get those Vitamin Bs that are precursors to the brain chemicals involved. The response to taking the vitamins is quick but the feeling of lackluster depression is nasty.

To those of us who have this, the depression component is very serious. The tendency to self-destruction stole Vincent at 37 years of age is not uncommon. Depression is very disconcerting. It leaves a person extremely dysfunctional and frustrated. Vincent was clearly a very driven artist, and had to contend with the lack of drive that depression creates. Imagine being so depressed you cannot motivate yourself to do what you love.

That is a big facet in the devastation of depression. Then there is the impact on loved ones. In our house, it was one parent severely challenged. Children do not understand why their parent cries or locks themselves away.

Depression creates more victims. It creates secondary misunderstandings. After several years of this, and lots of treatment, a psychologist tried Lithium with my parent and it worked. Our beloved parent was back, content!

I suppose the bottomline here is simple: Understand that these disorders are biochemical, genetic malfunctions that can be treated. The impacted person wants to be functional and that is the crux of their destructive tendencies. You have to get the victim in for diagnosis and treatment. By the way, check out that film interpretation of the life of Van Gogh. He was a remarkable artist and the film interpretation does a great job of showing the whole Vincent.

Greg Krouse


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Hello AVA:

Wishing you well on this Monday a.m. I'm wondering what you would think of my offering to do a weekly column on the merits and means of personal peacefulness reflecting outwardly? I'd call it Instruments of Peace (Manifesting Outwardly). If you think it's worth pursuing I could send along a sample of some of the secular writings I did for the Dalai Lama Foundation, and/or some I'd propose to do for the AVA. By the way, thanks for printing the materials I sent advertising the two groups. They went well. Also the Grange is willing to sponsor/support our ongoing meetings as is River's Bend. I'm hoping the Vets and the Clinic will do the same. Give my regards to the fam.

Gregory (Sims)


ED NOTE:We try to discourage the grosser expressions of solipsism. Spiritual matters are, or should be, private, between you and the narcissist looking back at you out of the mirror.

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I do agree with your last week's Off The Record secondary advice to Thom Hartman to consider "liberal dialogue, maybe an invite to join him on air to explain why he feels free to lob lungers on white passersby." But I find your knee jerk initial reaction to "knock (the offending black man) on his racist ass" as quite Donald Trumpian.

From my perspective, being a somewhat pink white guy who has walked myriad times past homeless black congregants without being spit on, it was the $400 jacket that took the hit and that makes it an economic issue. If I was without roof or bed and relegated to clothe myself from the free box with stained and tattered goods I might be inclined in a knee jerk moment to spit on the haughty maybe arrogant guy sashaying past in a $400 jacket with pants, shoes and watch to match. Certainly disgusting bad manners are not to be condoned but dialogue is always better advice than fists.

David Severn


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Recently, Ukiah Daily Journal reporter Justine Frederiksen wrote an article titled, “Does Ukiah need an upscale hotel downtown?” About like we need a hole in the head. Hampton Inn is owned by Hilton. Don’t you think their marketing people would have been here long ago if there was such a need? Now someone wants to spend $30,000 to do another study. At the same time they want to raise the sales tax rate to repair Observatory, Washington and Luce streets and all the while they are worried about building a roundabout on Low Gap.

I have done a lot of driving in England and roundabouts are wonderful in intersections with really heavy traffic. There may be a little traffic when school is letting out but otherwise that intersection needs a roundabout like we need an upscale hotel.

I thought we cleaned house on the City Council at the last election but maybe we need to have another look. We still don’t have a Costco and Palace Hotel is still rotting in place. I don’t know where the Council’s heads are, but wherever it is, it sure must be dark.

Roger Stange


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Fire and emergency first responder medical aid are critical elements for our communities. The future of local volunteer Fire Agencies and their ability to provide public safety services is in jeopardy. An alliance of the 22 agencies in Mendocino County has formed to represent their shared interests to the Board of Supervisors and public. This group (Mendocino County Association of Fire Districts) is composed of unpaid representatives from local agency Boards and is working together to halt and reverse the decline in local fire agency capabilities. Anderson Valley CSD is an active participant in MCAFD's efforts. Attached is an open letter to County residents. Our hope is that you will publish it in a public forum for your readers. We feel its a very important topic and message. Please let me know if you have questions, or need further information. Thank you for your consideration.

Ben MacMillan, Elk

Mendocino County Association of Fire Districts

707-877-1776 (h)

ATTACHED: Mendocino County - 911 Emergency Fire Response

According to our State Constitution, “The protection of the public safety is the first responsibility of local government and local officials have an obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public safety services.” Police and emergency Fire protection, including first responder medical aid, are the two most pressing public safety demands in Mendocino County. Yet since 1993, our Board of Supervisors has denied voter-approved funding to Fire agencies from Prop 172. The Board is negligent by failing to prioritize and provide for emergency Fire response. Repeated requests for financial assistance have been made by local Fire agencies, Fire Chiefs, Grand Jury recommendations, and outside consultant findings. All have all been ignored or denied for nearly 23 years.

While “Fire” conjures up visions of bright red trucks, hoses, flames, and firefighters in protective gear, Fire’s primary role is emergency medical. In 2015, 70% of Mendocino County’s emergency 911 “Fire” calls were EMT medical responses. To meet these demands, dollars are desperately needed for recruitment, training, equipment, insurance, facilities, and operating costs. Annual chicken barbecues can’t fill the fiscal voids. Lacking sufficient funding, our volunteer Fire agencies are beginning to fail. Significant areas of the County are now under-served, and increasingly complex requirements cannot be met. Issues resulting from funding shortages have compounded over the years and must be addressed to protect the public from further risk. Insurance companies have taken note, raised premiums and denied coverage. These hidden costs amplify the need for proper funding.

In late 2015, public and media focus on fire funding shortfalls caused the Board to create a sub-committee tasked with researching the 22 local Fire Agency’s needs and developing recommendations to address them. An initial public hearing on March 14, 2016, unveiled a suggested plan to reverse the policy of denial and allow for funding assistance. Recommended funding allocations, however, appear grossly inadequate to meet long-ignored shortfalls. Token assistance will not halt the atrophy that is occurring. It is crucial that the Board adopt a new policy of assistance and cooperation. It must then provide meaningful funding NOW to avoid the collapse of our Fire and emergency response groups. Additionally, the Board must recognize the immediate and urgent necessity to work with local Fire agencies to restore their viability and sustainability. Fire organizations must be given a seat at the table to enable communication of critical public safety awareness and needs to the Board. Fire must be given the priority it clearly deserves. Painful now? Yes. But what’s the price of the lives and property now in jeopardy? What will you do when no one responds to a 911 emergency Fire call?

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to act on Fire agency policy and funding at their April 5, 2016 public meeting. Please become informed and learn more at Lend your support and contact your County Supervisor to have your voice heard. Attend the meeting.

Ben MacMillan, Elk

on behalf of the Mendocino County Association of Fire Districts.

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