Letters to the editor
Heart of the Redwoods gives thanks
I am writing this letter of thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Heart of the Redwoods Community Hospice, Board of Directors and staff. On Saturday, February 25, we threw our annual gala; this year we celebrated Mardi Gras in high fashion at our very own Cecil’s New Orleans Bistro in downtown Garberville. Many thanks to Krista & Gary Mason, owners of the restaurant and to Cecil and his crew for the delicious delectable buffet they created for this event — they made it seem effortless — thank you for allowing us to redecorate and take over your fine establishment.
Thumbs up to the gals who had the idea and organized this fun event, thanks Mary Neufeld and Heather Kornberg (also board members) and to Julie Peacock who has been an amazing supporter, volunteer and creator of posters, sponsor organizer and for bringing many of the little specialty touches and libations that make the Gala special. Thanks also to the staff and other board members for rolling up your sleeves and jumping in to lend a hand and to our most valuable volunteers that continue to join us to ensure that it all runs smooth, we could not do any of these events without your amazing loyal and fun energy.
We had some wonderful music to get us all in the mood, Skyline Swing started the evening off with some snappy swing tunes, then we were delighted to have Sarah Ross and Chris Manspeaker take the stage for a few great jazzy tunes, joined in by Tito Ross to add to the fun. Next up were the Bayou Swamis who had everyone on their feet, so much joy in one room.
That’s not all the fun and festivities; on the mezzanine we were treated by Snap It Photo Booth taking some really great photos with New Orleans backdrops to add to the feel. We also want to thank the amazing Erin Peterson, face painter extraordinaire, who created works of art on many faces. Also thanks to Julia Ralston who was our tarot reader for the evening. Thanks to all of the businesses and individuals that donated to our silent auction and to those that bid on the items.
Last but never least, a huge THANK YOU, to our community that keeps on giving, allowing our doors to remain open, our nurses in the homes of those facing end of life, and our bereavement support team ready to help.
It means so much to us that you value the work that we do.
Reader supports Measure W
As you all well know we have a vast number of health disparities in our small community. A health disparity is linked to social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantages and adversely affect groups of people, such as, those living in poverty or low-income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Humboldt County individuals living below poverty level is at an estimated 21.4%, compared to California’s percentage of 16.3%. Many of these disparities are multifaceted and require strategies that involve things that are out of our hands.
One environmental health disparity that we have control over is helping our community to build a new hospital by voting Yes on Measure W.
California Hospital Safety Seismic Law, SB 1953, requires specific retrofitting and/or rebuilding of California hospitals by 2030. This is because “hospitals must remain standing and functional during and after an earthquake for the safety of patients and staff AND to provide medical assistance to earthquake victims” (OSHPD CA). Jerold Phelps Community Hospital cannot be retrofitted to meet these standards and for this community to have a local hospital a new facility must be built.
Often, we only think of ourselves and how things effect OUR life. Let’s take a moment and think about our neighbor instead.
Reliable transportation is required in a rural environment; without this our neighbor cannot drive to the next closest hospital over an hour away in Fortuna. Often getting into town is difficult enough and requires walking, hitchhiking, or the mercy of a friend. Once in town the Redwood Transit System is available; however, it only operates Monday thru Friday, at specific time intervals. Imagine being in pain or having difficulty breathing or routinely trying to hitchhike or ride a bus to Fortuna to receive necessary medical care. According to California Center for Rural Policy, Research Brief 4 (2009), “transportation is one of the many factors impacting health and access to healthcare in our rural communities.” Why would we want to make this more difficult for our neighbors and ourselves?
When looking for employment many medical professionals typically only consider facilities with the latest technology and look, which JPCH lacks due to limitations related to the age and design of the current facility. Recruitment and retention is difficult. I believe as a community we deserve a facility with the latest technology to diagnose and treat our health issues.
As a medical professional I want ease of healthcare access so that my patients can have the best chances for recovery. Wouldn’t we be damaging our community by limiting available services, essentially stating that we are not worthy of optimal local medical care?
A Yes vote on Measure W supports a stronger and healthier community; it shows we value where we live and we care about those who matter to us. Help point us toward a better future for Southern Humboldt.
“Heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” Jodi Picoult, Second Glance
Southern Humboldt Family Nurse Practitioner Student
Foster care article wins praise
Thank you Redwood Times and writer Ruth Schneider for headlining the League of Women Voter’s panel discussion on the state of foster care in Humboldt County published last February 21, 2017. Our local governments have been silent on the numerous crises facing Humboldt County families, a primary cause of record numbers of distressed children.
According to Humboldt County’s “Trends Report” nearly every category of human suffering, including unemployed youths, child abuse, infant mortality, major illnesses, suicide and fatal overdoses exceed state averages by 200 to 300 percent. Making matters worse, children-at-risk have become the responsibility of law enforcement officers who are not required to be certified in Critical Intervention Training for children. According to the 2013-14 Humboldt County Grand Jury Report, (“How Do We Deal With Children In Crisis?”), a Mobile Response Team of two trained professionals could spare children from the additional trauma and high cost of being repeatedly and publicly “arrested”, handcuffed, and incarcerated, enabling law enforcement, courts and jails to return to dealing with serious crime.
With young children being acclimated to “arrest” and incarceration, it should be no surprise that the same February 21, 2017 edition of Redwood Times also headlined 688 car thefts occurring in Humboldt County in 2016. “Most of the thefts are committed by….juveniles…for the purpose of joy riding”.
Foster-home failure rates and other crises associated with distressed children in Humboldt County could be immediately mitigated with the initiation of a centralized emancipation program for the teens that desperately need it. Through the efforts of our supervisors, (with the cooperation of local Chambers of Commerce, the Workforce Investment Board, Prosperity Center, unions, Humboldt State University, College of the Redwoods, Redwood Community Action Agency, Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Non-Governmental Organizations serving at-risk youths, our community churches, schools, volunteer and political organizations, with funding from the Humboldt Area Foundation, Headwaters Fund, and local donations), many local youths could be qualified each year to receive wage-subsidies or to provide tax-incentives for local businesses that hire participating youths, while also providing the counseling needed in completing applications for food stamps, Medi-Cal, and university financial aid. A monthly stipend for shelter and transportation costs could be awarded to qualifying teens that remain in college half-time while employed half-time.
Contrary to the old canard about “lazy teens”, the 2015 Trends Report documents 900 Humboldt County youths that sought employment assistance over a three-year period, yet, only 80 found work! Subsequent reports document little change.
Another immediate action with positive long-term impacts would address the chronic deficits in county inventories of affordable and subsidized housing that have left local families bankrupt, foreclosed and torn-apart in the wake of every collapsed “housing bubble”. Our county supervisors could immediately initiate modest county fees per square foot of every new development, every rental unit, and a ballot measure for a property tax assessment to raise the funds required to qualify for state and federal grants that finally begin addressing shortages in affordable and subsidized housing. “Paying upfront to avoid paying dearly later-on” is one of the oldest conservative economic principles. At the very least, local government must stop approving and subsidizing large home subdivisions miles from downtown that have enriched an entrenched privileged class of developers and speculators poised once again to receive their “public entitlements” to unfunded infrastructure and emergency services in the next looming housing disaster, marking the third time since the 1980’s that our homes are used as “casino chips” in Wall Street’s bailed-out gambling debts.
Persistent and vociferous demands by Humboldt County residents are required to reestablish some balance to local public policies. Families and individuals require balanced inventories of housing for all classes of residents, and a centralized emancipation center for teens will begin to balance the spiraling costs of a new $20 million juvenile hall and millions more to fund admissions into emergency rooms, drug rehab, and mental health facilities.
Providing an essential ladder of hope, opportunity and the dignity and motivation of independence for working families and distressed youths offers a cheaper, safer and more humane alternative to desperation.