Letters for April 9, 2015

The stand-out poem

Re “Poetry 99” (Cover story, April 2):

One poem stands out: “Decisions”—Joseph, 14, Butte County Juvenile Hall.

Joseph sends a message from hell: He’s “crushed” … “gone” … “lost.” “Paralyzed mind trying to figure out who I am …” “What I did makes tears run down my face.”

If poetry is forgettable images—semi-precious stones, bored through with earnestness and strung together on sticky webs of sentiment—Joseph is no winner. But, if poetry has anything to do with a shattering of the heart, Joseph gets first prize.

How did he win? Simple courage; he said something that cost him his last safe place on Earth.

Joseph: Whatever you did, people have done worse. Redemption is an ideal for every one of us—sought, but never found. Ask the questions most adults around you are terrified to ask: What suffering am I really causing? Is this suffering really necessary? How do I cause less?

Crushed? Gone? Lost? All jewels in the hands of the awakened.

Patrick Newman

On the previous cover story

Re “Can the left and right unite” (Cover story, by Sarah van Gelder, March 26):

Thank you for publishing what may be the most important article I have seen in a Chico newspaper since I moved here 15 years ago.

Derek Sayre

Another view of AA story

Re “Exploiting the misery of alcoholics” (Guest comment, by Jaime O’Neill, April 2):

Congratulations to Jamie O’Neill for 22 years of sobriety. However, I read Gabrielle Glaser’s Atlantic Monthly article and what I found was a well-researched, pretty exhaustive investigation that chronicles the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and their process. She traveled to Finland to interview experts in the field of alcohol addiction! I counted 23 references to recognized and published scientists, medical addiction experts and major addiction studies throughout the article. For Mr. O’Neill to imply that Ms. Glaser’s article is a “string of anecdotal” information is inaccurate.

Anyone can be an AA counselor; no degree or particular training is required. So I was thinking, next time my car breaks down, I’ll go to the nearest florist for repairs.

Today, through hospital and prison records, there is now consensus in the professional addiction community that AA works for about 6 percent to 8 percent of those who join the program. From a scientific point of view, that’s hardly a statistical success rate we should count on.

So, great about Mr. O’Neill’s sobriety and for referring us to a fantastic article on AA in the April 2015 Atlantic Monthly.

But what about the more than 90 percent of AA’s failure rate? Ms. Glaser actually provides information about approaches that work.

George Gold

Three letters on Lyme

Re “When life gives you Lyme” (Healthlines, by Meredith J. Cooper, April 2):

Thank you for your story on local Lyme patient Briana Beaver. Lyme disease is the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the nation, with over 300,000 new cases every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent study of over 5,000 found that, like Briana, many patients are ill for years, seeing more than six physicians before being properly diagnosed.

The CDC “preferred” lab tests for Lyme disease miss from 35 percent to 50 percent of cases. And, the Food and Drug Administration is considering new regulations that will make it even more difficult for innovative lab tests to make it to the market. Both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health acknowledge that 10 percent to 20 percent of those infected will suffer long-term symptoms. Unfortunately, no blood test exists to prove whether infection has been eradicated or is ongoing.

Ticks carrying Lyme are right here in Butte County. So, consult your vet about proper treatment of your pets and check for ticks after a day in Bidwell Park. If you find a tick attached, save it—dead or alive—and see LymeDisease.org for tick testing laboratory information. Awareness and prevention are key, so many thanks to Briana for sharing her story.

Jo Anne Vidal
assistant director at LymeDisease.org, Chico

Thank you so much for bringing the topic of chronic Lyme to the North State. I applaud you. There are many of us in this area who have been struggling with this horrible disease for years. We need all the press we can get to help us further the cause for better testing and better treatment without bankrupting the affected patient/family, as no insurance company will cover chronic Lyme treatment.

And to Briana, there are a lot of us in the North State who wish you well in your fight. You are a true Lyme warrior and we hold positive thoughts for your recovery!

Merle Anderson
Oak Run

Thank you for this personal story about Lyme disease. The lack of knowledge about this life-stealing disease must end before actual research will find what it is and how to cure it. The group not being heard from is patients and the doctors treating them. Articles such as this will help combat ignorance, some of it willful and motivated by ego. Unfortunately, until this happens, many will continue to suffer, many will contract the illness and not be diagnosed early or treated properly, leading to unnecessary suffering and disability.

Mary Barter
Santa Cruz

‘A sound investment’

Re “Unsung industry” (Newslines, by Ken Smith, April 2):

If the arts are doing so well in Chico, why do they need any city support? In 2014, 54 participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences generated $17.7 million in the local economy. They did this despite dwindling city funding with the help of 2,696 volunteers racking up 72,659 hours (according to the 2014 Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences, Americans for the Arts).

Programming and services that many of these organizations have provided are in jeopardy as galleries, theaters, museums, etc., are barely holding on financially. You see, almost all the money generated by these volunteers and nonprofits is going out into the community, to businesses and back to the city government ($2.3 million in local and state government revenue).

City funding is used to leverage private donations, grants and public/private partnerships. We could be doing better. We could protect and build on our assets.

If we want to ensure a safe, stable and engaged community, good citizenry, a healthy general fund, and a high quality of life, we need our arts and culture. Maintaining an Arts Commission and dedicating even a small allocation to our organizations is not frivolous, but a sound investment in our future.

Muir Hughes

Notes on a killing

Re “Tragedy in Chico” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, April 2):

It is personally disturbing to me that the suspect involved, Christopher Swihart, is a three-time felon. And each sentence was four, three and six years in 1991, 2006 and 2010, respectively. I feel that repeat offenders should be taken more seriously by the law, and the sentencing be more severe for each repeated offense or necessary precaution taken for the same crime to not be repeated by the same person. It is my opinion that criminals of this sort are no different from rapists, who are motivated by power, control and anger.

I have to agree it was some great police work by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, because timing is essential in catching a criminal who has already been around the system. I believe this killing and violence of this kind can be prevented if the law takes preventative action or harsher punishment.

It seems to me that the law sometimes takes some nonviolent crimes and criminals more seriously than violent ones. The law needs to reprioritize and stop the crime and save the victim, rather than chase a suspect. At least, this may have been a deciding factor for Cass Edison.

Shemu Ariyasivam

I had the pleasure of working under Cass and Grant Branson at the North Valley Business Journal following my graduation from Chico State. Even though my journalism career didn’t go the way I had hoped, I will always be appreciative of the friendship I had with Cass.

Despite her personal problems, she always treated me very well and I got to do so many things with her, Grant and their children. I’m very saddened by what happened, yet I will always remember Cass for the many positive things she did for me and for other people in her life.

Marc Atwood

Supporting nature

The Bidwell Park Golf Course graciously hosted the Chico Grocery Outlet’s and Chico News & Review’s monthly wine tasting event on March 26, with all proceeds going to the Chico Creek Nature Center.

A packed house of friends, family and community members enjoyed last month’s selection of featured wines poured by Chico Creek Nature Center board members and chosen by our own Chico Grocery Outlet. CN&R emceed the evening, which included light snacks and a raffle. The golf course, nestled in beautiful Upper Park, has the perfect accommodations for your future events and please don’t forget to visit Chico Grocery Outlet’s extensive wine selection.

On behalf of the Chico Creek Nature Center’s board of directors, I would like to thank the Chico Grocery Outlet, Chico News & Review and Bidwell Park Golf Course for their support and recognition of the Chico Creek Nature Center. Our community has shown us time and again that they appreciate what we provide for the residents of Chico, Butte County and those who travel to visit us. Thank you.

Jason Schwenkler
vice president, Chico Creek Nature Center board of directors

Taken too early

Re “Student’s life honored” (Downstroke, April 2):

Nickolas Klein went to Sonora High School with our son. He was a year behind our Riley, but on the same cross-country team. My son is a master’s student at UC San Diego, also in mechanical engineering.

Sonora is a small community and the loss of a child is a loss for all of us. My heart goes out to Nickolas’ family. His mother was taken two years earlier with cancer. We are deeply saddened. A young life taken too early.

My son remembers him as an excellent student; he was funny and a great team player. The community of Sonora is reeling from this news. There are no words strong enough to describe the loss of this young man. He had so much hope. We will all grieve for him; he could have been any of our children.

We no longer live in Sonora, but still hold close ties to friends. The kind of friends you can never completely let go of, nor would you want to.

Deanna Yeakle

Response to Palestinian group

Re “About CPAG” (Letters, by Emily Alma, March 26):

Only in Israel do all religions live in equality and mutual respect. The BDS movement is a Hamas-directed hate group dedicated to attacking Israel and the Jewish people in Western countries. Michael Jay Rosenberg: “… the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is the end of the State of Israel itself.” If you stand with Israel’s right to exist and oppose a modern holocaust, contact me or meet us in front of the Target on the first and third Sundays between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Shlomo Phillips

A loved one’s thanks

Thank you to the Chico community in the aftermath of the passing of my brother Rick Rees. Thank you to the people on The Esplanade who tried to help him; so many people would have just walked away and left things to the authorities. Thank you for the remembrances of Rick and his contributions to the university and the Chico community at large. Thank you to Newton Bracewell Funeral Home for their caring support and to Trader Joe’s, whose checker gave me flowers to take home when I mentioned that I was visiting Chico due to the death of my brother. I have lived in Southern California a good portion of my life, but I now understand why my brother came to Chico to attend the university and never left.

Martha Rees Reinhard
Santa Ana