Letters to the Editor

OPINION

Long-needed facility for homeless

As reported in the Oct. 1 edition of the Star, I am so happy for this long-needed facility to house those in need in our community.

Thank you so much for all who are involved in making this happen. One thing I didn’t see in your article is how to volunteer and ways to donate. This is a great beginning, but definitely will need services expanded.

If Oakhurst area can be so generous to raise so much money for our future animal shelter, think of what we can do towards assisting our needy human neighbors, giving them a hand up and ways to overcome their present circumstances.

If there is no room at the facility, the laundry and shower facilities will be a great help. A long awaited welcome to Turning Point. Will look forward to Sierra Star keeping us updated, and a website to follow progress, and ways to help.

Joy Kraetsch, Oakhurst

Thank you

The past couple of weeks have been amazing with the collaborative effort made by friends, family, strangers, our church and most importantly the unending support by our mountain schools which have generously helped our son Logan's campaign to pay it forward (and back) to Make-A-Wish Central California. When the schools decided to participate, it was then that this became more than just about raising the money, it became what it truly is about, compassion, understanding, and love.

The moment Logan’s Wish was granted (to be able to get to the ocean, via a sand wheelchair), we knew we wanted to make sure another child’s wish came true. With the generosity of our mountain community, a wish will be granted to one of our own right here in our community, possibly and probably to more than one child. For these kids who deal with life-threatening illnesses, today does matter.

Thank you all for donating so freely. To help with the campaign, site.wish.org/goto/LoganSesto.

The Sestos - Michael, Lisa, Gabriel and Logan, Coarsegold

Shooting in Oregon

I want to take a moment to speak to the recent shooting at Umpqua College in Oregon. First, my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I can’t imagine the grief they are going through. No doubt the survivors will have a long and difficult time dealing with such a traumatic experience.

It is not uncommon when these strategic incidents happen that we want to know all the “whys” it happened and who or what to blame. Some want to blame the easy access to guns and some point to mental illness. It’s probably so complex that you can’t point to one simple explanation.

When we associate these shootings with mental illness, it perpetuates stereotypes around mental illness leading to stigma and discrimination. In fact, it’s the stigma surrounding mental illness that may prevent people from seeking help.

It’s a fact that people with mental illness are far more likely to be victims, not the perpetrators of violence. About one in four people will experience some form of mental illness in their lives. For those people who do have mental health challenges, recovery is not only possible, but probable.

Be part of the solution. Visit EachMindMatters.org to make a personal commitment to learn more, speak up, and reach out to ensure our loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues, students and classmates know help for mental health challenges is effective and available.

Prevention works, treatment is effective, and recovery happens everyday.

Dennis P. Koch, MPA, Director, Madera County Behavioral Health Services

Disappointed with the governor

I am extremely disappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on the doctor-aided assisted suicide bill this week. After almost three solid weeks of overwhelming opposition from Californians, including his own church, Gov. Brown decided to indulge the Hemlock Society and pro-death special interests.

What’s even more disappointing is that the Governor acknowledged the moral awfulness of this new law and still signed it. He wrote in his own statement that “any deliberate shortening of one’s life in sinful.” That means he is willingly putting his own decision higher than God’s? I just have to shake my head in shame.

I hope that this serves as a jolt to the Catholic Church, whom the Governor claims to be a member of, and to the entire faith community. We’ve really lost our way as a state. You can bet I will be supporting any effort to repeal this law. I hope the community will be ready when that effort comes.

Rick Farinelli, District 3 Madera County Supervisor

Planned Parenthood

I would like to respond to Sean M. Cox’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 1 edition in regards to the Planned Parenthood article. Abortion has always been and likely will always be a moral issue to many people and I respect that but your morals do not and should not govern others.

You claim our nation was “Built on God's law,” that is simply not true. Our country was partially founded on religious freedom. Religious freedom means free to worship who or what you choose, and live by those guidelines, but this goes both ways Mr. Cox. This also ensures that your religious beliefs, which are different from mine, do not change my quality of life and I am not forced to accept your views.

Our forefathers created the separation of church and state specifically so that one religion did not impede on the liberties of anyone. When you use your Bible in an attempt to make laws that is impeding on my rights.

When you attempt to re-classify the beginning of human life based on your religious morals, you are impeding my rights. This to me, and many others, has much in common with Sharia Law. While they are different religions they both insist others live in accordance with their religious beliefs.

Sandi Draper, North Fork

A dialysis clinic

I’m sure nobody enjoys making the trip to Fresno - especially three days a week for dialysis. Yet there are several of us in Oakhurst and the surrounding Mountain Area who do just that. We need a dialysis clinic in Oakhurst – even a small one to accommodate all of the ill and elderly who need the three-times-a-week treatment and would prefer not to make that drive.

DaVita Dialysis Centers (Fred Horn) of Fresno are thinking about opening a clinic in Oakhurst, as is Fresenius Clinic (John Owen). We need to phone them and encourage them to do so – sooner rather than later. Mr. Horn’s number is (559) 432-5278. and Mr. Owen’s number is (559) 324-1070.

The more of us who do this, the better our chances are of getting Oakhurst something we really need.

Robert Bradford, Oakhurst

Who benefits from recycling?

I read with interest, two articles in the Oct. 8 edition of the Sierra Star. J.R. Froelich’s column about recycling and Emadco. I could not agree with him more. They are “helping us out in the mountain community” by charging us $6 more in our trash pickup and we have to haul those heavy containers up to the road for them to pick them up.

Who thought up this idea? Many of us are senior citizens and moving those trash cans around is not easy. Who benefits from this recycling? Certainly not the general public. Another way to get more money out of us in the mountains.

Secondly, I applaud Todd Miller on his efforts to keep the “Madera Czars” honest. The elected supervisors that we have do nothing to help us in the mountains and are only in it for their own gain – think rock quarry, recycling, etc. etc. Way to go Todd. Keep pressuring these guys and make them accountable for their decisions. So far, none of them are helping us.

Sandi Forsberg, Coarsegold

Join the national monument movement

The Yosemite Area Audubon society supports the movement to create a national monument between Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings National Parks because we believe that it is the right thing to do. If we look back in our nation’s history, particularly in the Sierra Nevada, we find many people who did great things for future generations. Abraham Lincoln, John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt are just three examples.

It is because of them that we have the national parks, and because of those parks, we have a tourism economy - which provides 6,000 jobs in Mariposa County and many more jobs in Madera and Fresno counties. But the reasons that they worked to preserve beautiful places was not for the economy. Rather, it was because landscapes like the ones found in the Sierra Nevada are special. People come from all over the world to marvel at the majesty of our mountains. And we, as local people, visit and enjoy them to renew our spirits, to refresh ourselves and to wonder at the mystery of it all. I know I do.

The forgotten land between Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon needs to be protected. What’s left of our beautiful forests needs a special status. By making a national monument out of the federal land between the parks, we protect the environment, enhance and improve our water supply, bolster our economy, and further increase our recreational opportunities.

More than 100 local businesses and organizations already support the idea. It’s a step in the right direction. But we need to go farther. The time has come to renew this great American tradition, by creating one grand Sierra National Monument.

Join the movement and get involved. To learn more or get involved, contact me or director@sierranationalmonument.org.

Lowell J. Young, president, Yosemite Area Audubon Society, Mariposa

Appreciative of Patti Law

My wife Stella and I want area residents to know how much we appreciate what Patti Law is doing for the children in our community.

Each year we attend the annual fundraiser melodrama for our Marine Corps League’s scholarship fund. This year’s event, held last Saturday, was outstanding. The students’ performance exemplified her tremendous patience, skills and magnificent teaching ability that touched the lives of those precious children as they gave so much of themselves in showcasing what they had learned from Ms. Law.

For many years, Patti has blessed our community with this tremendous service to its children. She has touched the hearts of all of us who are fortunate to experience the performances. We’d like to thank her for all that she does, and all that she is.

Angelo Pizelo, Oakhurst

Sierra Meadows Golf Course

The closing of the 18-hole Sierra Meadows Golf Course as of Oct. 31, leaves players with only one place to play, the nine-hole River Creek Golf Course on Road 600. I am sorry but there is no comparison in between these two courses. It's like comparing a Cadillac with a Yugo.

The new owners at Sierra Meadows were never going to keep the course open. That was very apparent when we met with them in July. The owners do not play golf and had no experience in running a golf course. They plan on doing retreats, concerts, hiking, maybe horseback riding, and maybe vineyards and orchards - basically they do not know what they want to do, except no golf. The community will really miss this course, lots of fundraisers were held here on the course over the years.

I still think the community could have saved the course if the owners had made a stronger effort to recruit old members and new members.

Eric Evenson, Ahwahnee

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