Letters to the Editor, March 27, 2019

Homer’s heart is happy

The following is taken from Personal thoughts and recollections: Humboldt State, HOMER P. BALABANIS, Faculty Emeritus:

“The development of this program (Nursing Program) in which I took a real personal interest, entailed ‘Blood, sweat, and tears,’’ for it started from nothing except for some basic science courses.

For years it was known that the local hospitals were handicapped by the lack of trained registered nurses. Students from this area would go to San Francisco for such training; but, after graduation, they would remain to work in that city. This problem was first brought to my attention in a letter from Dr. Theodore Loring, a Eureka practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, who urged us to plan a program for registered nurses at Humboldt. (circa 1958) Such a program, however, required clinical experience at a hospital accredited by the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association. Hospitals in this area were not accredited.  

In consultation with the local hospital and medical staff as well as with the accrediting agencies, we determined that the first step toward accreditation was the inauguration of a system of medical records kept for each patient entering a hospital. Such records were practically nonexistent. It took years to solve this problem and to improve other hospital conditions; but, finally the three hospitals in Eureka and the one in Arcata were accredited.” 

It would be still more years and obstacles to provide for the needs of the students and to implement the curriculum and even for students to access hospitals.  Few had access to cars and there was no public transportation!

Dr. Balabanis’ heart would be full to know that the circle is completed with the Hospitals donating back to the University and College of the Redwoods is a true partner of the nursing education path.  This is what makes us a community

Respectfully submitted,
Cindy Siemens

Not-so-grand Central

I completely agree with Robert Thoman’s letter to the Union on March 1, 2019. I live near Central Avenue and frequently ride my bike or walk both north to Clam Beach and South into McKinleyville town center. Several years ago or more the County paved the shoulder of Central Ave but stopped about 200 yds north of Hooven Excavating Co.

The shoulder of Central Avenue in both directions north of that point is horrendous. Gravel, potholes, and vegetation overgrowth causes the shoulder to be nonexistent in many places. Cracks, bulges, and complete absence of pavement can extend a yard or so into the driving lane. 

This forces a bicyclist to literally ride in the road with vehicles passing by at 50 to 60 MPH. In some locations even pedestrians must walk in the road due to the nonexistent shoulder. 

The situation is as bad as the old 101 Mad River Bridge where bicyclists rode in the lane with vehicles travelling at 65-75 mph literally inches away. 

The poor condition of Central Avenue needs to be addressed before a pedestrian or bicyclist is killed.

Martin Smukler

Appreciate the arts

I think Californians, too often, take the art around us for granted. 

I’d like to extend a thank you to every person who has donated to a Humboldt arts organization, to every person leading those arts organizations, to every person creating art, and to every patron of the arts. 

In various other states, the argument has to be made why the arts are a vital component to the economy, improve individuals’ lives, unify communities, improve health care, and drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. 

Thankfully, they rarely have to be made in California as we have a governor and representatives who are strong arts activists.

Starting this year, April will officially be Arts, Culture and Creativity Month in the State of California. To this end, I’d like to share some of the interesting new facts and data that has been reported by Americans for the Arts: 

“Attendees at non-profit arts events spend $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters — valuable commerce for local businesses.”

“The arts heal the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war for military service members and Veterans, who rank the creative arts therapies in the top four (of 40) interventions and treatments.”

“The production of all arts and cultural goods in the U.S. added $764 billion to the economy in 2015 … a larger share of the nation’s economy (4.2 percent) than transportation, tourism, and agriculture… which supports more than 4.6 million jobs.” 

I hope these statistics articulate just how important the arts are on many different levels and effect all of us. Now go see that play, hear that symphony, and study that painting. It’s a great time to get involved in the arts!

Roman Sanchez
Arcata and Blue Lake

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Sadly, teenage crashes increase this time of year. Drinking and cell phones are some problems. 

Many drivers now have their eyes glued to their phone on their lap or side of the steering wheel. Is this a “social norm”? This illegal trend must end.

Drivers are aware of the danger driving drunk poses. A drunken driver hit me when I was 16 in 1992 and was seriously injured. Surgery and therapy became my teenage life. My gait, hearing and speech are damaged.

Sending a text when driving reduces your abilities down to a drunken driver. Drunken drivers weave lanes, speed through red lights, and do not signal when turning just like a driver using a cell phone would do. 

When driving to anywhere like College of the Redwoods, ditch the phone! Have people leave messages and call when parked.

Using a phone when driving can result in a ticket or crash, if not fatal, will haunt your future driving.  

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Do not drink and drive and “X the Txt.”

Lori Martin



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