Letters to the Editor published Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The Curry Coastal Pilot /
Nothing good about living here
Unhealthiest county in state: Well that does it, this is the straw that broke this camels back, no specialized medical care here, nothing for the kids to do, nowhere for them to socialize, education lacking, high suicide rate, highest in alcohol use, drugs, Republicans galore, adios to all of you I have met and enjoyed, you can't even get a decent pizza here. ...
Kite Festival a great, successful event
Everybody loves a success, so I guess that's why so many people and organizations are being credited with having helped stage, or being like, the 20th Anniversary Southern Oregon Kite Festival.
But despite their half-page ad in the Aug. 4 Pilot, this year's Kite Festival was not a Chamber of Commerce activity, the Chamber being unable to be a sponsor, or even a vendor, this year. Captain Curry's (Bruce Ellis') statement on August 8 that, "... you cannot go to any other festival or event anywhere without paying at least $7 to $20 ..." certainly was not meant to apply the Kite Festival, which has always been a free event. And, despite the Pilot's front-page caption on July 21, Sue Shampo wasn't able to be on the Committee this year.
First, I wish to thank all of our generous sponsors and, next, the dozens of volunteers who helped the Festival by doing the thousand and one things that must be done but that seven Committee members are not sufficient to do. Finally I would like to publicly thank the other Committee members who stayed the course and produced this Kite Festival: Steve Blasdell, Mike Macdonald, Gary MacEachern, Steve O'Brien, Marihelen Pitts-Campbell, and Al Stroh.
If anyone reading this letter is interested in helping with next year's Southern Oregon Kite Festival, please contact us through the Festival's website, www.sokf.org, and we'll reply to you once we've had a chance to relax, refresh, and regroup.
2012 SOKF secretary and treasurer
Unhealthy county story raises doubts
Reading Annette Klinefelter's story in the Pilot on Wednesday (Aug. 8) about Curry County's deaths raises doubts.
Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, summarized in his book, "Thinking Fast and Slow." We are programmed to think fast; when our ancestors heard a twig break behind them they didn't stop to identify a rabbit or a tiger. They ran.
The Law of Large Numbers says if I am sampling 1,000,000 people 500,000 of them is going to be more accurate than if I only sample 50. Kahneman has a chapter entitled The Law of Small Numbers, where 3,141 counties in the U.S. were sampled to determine the incidence of kidney cancer. The lowest rate was in mostly rural, sparsely populated, Republican states, in the Midwest, South and West.
Thinking fast we dismiss Republican politics as providing protection against kidney cancer and concentrate on the rural area andndash; clean living, no air or water pollution, fresh food.
Counties with the highest incidence of kidney cancer are mostly rural, sparsely populated, Republican states, in the Midwest, South and West. Thinking fast we dismiss the idea of Republicans causing kidney cancer and concentrate on the rural area andndash; no access to good medical care, high fat diet, too much alcohol and tobacco.
Rural lifestyles cannot explain both high and low incidence of kidney cancer. Thinking slow andndash; rural counties have low populations. There are not enough people in the samples to reach a definitive conclusion.
Ms. Klinefelter extrapolates from the 22,000 people living in Curry County to conclude our suicide rate would be 35 per 100,000, half the state rate of 15.3 per 100,000. Is she sure about us?
R. H. Morneau Jr.
Possibility of ERcare is remote
After reading the article "Unhealthiest county in Oregon," (Pilot, Aug. 8, 2012) I was confused about the logic for "establishing a free-standing emergency department (which could) be key to improving these problems."
The problems cited as resulting in Curry County being a sort of death trap were: Suicide, alcohol and drug use rates, then later in the article cancer, heart disease, strokes, respiratory diseses, and diabetes. It would appear that most of those are problems and illnesses which require the sort of treatments which emergency rooms, especially standalones, are not equipped for nor intended to administer.
Also we read that the 40-60 year olds are dying disproportionately, but that people aged 60-102 are most likely to dial 911 and largely for back pain and shortness of breath. The article did note that free standing ERs are not currently allowed in Oregon.
While stating that current ER care for Brookings residents supposedly results in the loss of large amounts of money, studies have shown that ERs actually generally lose money and are only beneficial for finances if attached to hospitals into which they funnel patients. And current law requires ERs to treat patients even when they cannot pay.
As for Brookings representation on the Curry Health District Board, it is likely that would require Brookings to join the district, and if that is so, read "property tax increase." Also, the possible annexation of Harbor to Brookings is mentioned, meaning for Harbor residents another property tax increase.
Remain engaged and involved
I may be wrong about this, but I wonder if we, the American people, haven't failed in our duty to the good men and women whom we have elected to run our cities, counties, states and nation. We elect individuals we consider competent, honorable and intelligent, then go about our daily lives ignoring the challenges we have left them.
When they can't solve these problems they try the same old tired tricks of threatening to cut our police force, our firefighters and our hard working teachers unless we bail them out by paying higher or new taxes to cover their unwillingness to make cuts in overhead, administration and services we no longer can afford. They and their predecessors have sold us out to powerful public unions whose only interest is ensuring they maintain their power and in re-electing individuals who continue to line the union's pockets at the expense of the citizenship.
This November I'm voting for anyone I think has the proper perspective, courage and integrity to make the hard decisions to balance our budget and to free up the American capitalistic system so it can thrive and put our great people back to work.
I'm going to remain engaged and involved. I'm going to be active in the process, attend public meetings to ensure I help hold these new leaders accountable, and insist they deliver our country back onto the path of individual responsibility, accountability and freedom. If the new leaders fail to listen and act, I'll keep voting them out until I find ones who will.
God Bless America and our people,
Fear is politician's prescription of choice
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
These words by our nation's 32nd president must have reverberated in the thoughts of some Pilot readers when they opened their August 8, edition. A parodist's analysis might describe the lead message as a recipe: Begin with a tombstone flavored by the epitaph "Curry County residents." Next, add a measure of mortality rates that rank Curry County highest in the state followed by a sprinkling of carefully chosen "dearths" (jobs, a living wage, affordable housing, health insurance and emergency infrastructure), and "Voilandaacute;," Political Hash!
The current presidential election clearly illustrates that fear is the politician's prescription of choice when shaping public opinion. Quality and delivery of health care in Curry County has been a battlefield of political infighting, intrigue, and corruption for many decades. The current strategy to incorporate Brookings and Harbor into a countywide health district is not new. An expanded financial and population base are plums south county residents represent in the long-standing power struggle for consolidation and control of local health care.
County Health Department officials view the health service leakage to California as a revenue issue. Local health service consumers interpret the trend being one of patients' choice, or, more to the point, an expression of "no confidence" in the quality of health care services provided from Gold Beach. For accuracy and completeness, perhaps the Manager's analysis should have included the financial consequence of Curry residents accessing basic health services in adjacent Oregon counties.
There are reasonable and cost effective alternatives to the current status of health services in Curry County but don't hold your breath that apolitical reason and common sense will ensue from the County's tripartite of Vision Councils.
Albacore Bash event an amazing success
The Second Annual BBQ Albacore Bash, a fundraiser for the St. Timothy's Outreach Clinic, was an amazing success.
This year 330 people attended the joyous feast. This outpouring of support from the community of Brookings-Harbor is truly gratifying and confirms our conviction that the all-volunteer free medical clinic is a valued and crucial community service. I would like to thank all who attended for making this evening so memorable.
I am grateful to the Pilot for terrific coverage, and I thank KURY Radio and the Insider for helping spread the word. Particular thanks go to the Rev. David Hunter and the Brookings Presbyterian Church for allowing the use of their kitchen and parish hall and for the hard work of congregants Wes and Carol King. A thank you also goes to Rudy and the A-Team for providing the wonderful musical accompaniment for the evening. Special thanks also go to the many local businesses and community members who contributed time, money and items for our raffle.
The Bash could not have happened without our corps of devoted volunteers who organized for weeks. Your selfless efforts helped raise $4,100. As a bonus this year, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans matched the first $2,000, making a grand total of $6,100. This helps ensure that the Outreach Clinic will continue to provide top quality, free medical care for the local uninsured.
Clinic services literally could not happen without our outstanding medical staff: Nancy Erb, G.N.P., Trace Kather, F.N.P., and Luther Ward, M.D. And dental services could not be provided without our dedicated dental director, Russ Montgomery.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful care providers. Together with our staff of volunteers, we have a team that humbles me to tears.
The Rev. Bernie Lindley
vicar, St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
director, St. Timothy's Outreach Clinic
U.S. health care andndash; We can do better?
Mitt says the darndest things!
While touring Israel, Mr. Romney praised the Israeli healthcare system, a national system that covers everyone in the country. Romney spoke glowingly of the system's low costs and excellent results, but has since tried to backpedal andndash; it would be embarrassing (if not downright politically deadly) for any of today's Republicans to explain WHY the Israeli system is so much better and cost-effective than ours.
Israel requires citizens to join one of four nonprofit health care plans, with funding coming from payroll and general taxation. The nation spends 8 percent of their GDP on healthcare, while we spend 18 percent andndash; yet Israel's life expectancy is better than ours by 3-4 years, and infant mortality is nearly 60 percent lower than in the U.S. Israel also has more doctors per capita and their system commands strong approval from its citizens. According to the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who has spent much of his adult life in Israel, health care is treated as a right there. He points out that the system is heavily regulated by the government, not market-based. (i)
So, after watching the British pay a grand tribute to their National Health Service at the Olympics, and then having our Republican presidential candidate praise the Israeli system, are U.S. citizens starting to suspect that maybe, just maybe, we could do better? Let's hope so!