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Help is available even when all hope is gone

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 — Like most of you readers, I also found myself shocked and stunned by Robin Williams’ apparent suicide last week. My first thoughts were how could a rich, famous and talented person with absolutely everything the world has to offer easily within his grasp make that fateful decision to take his own life? But once the reality of it all sank a little deeper into my brain a few seconds later, I realized the situation can’t be quite that simple. Despite his great wealth, fame and public acclaim, in the end Williams was a human being just like the rest of us, subject to the same human frailties to which we all suffer from time to time. Unfortunately, in his case, the feelings beneath those frailties must have finally overwhelmed him.

I’d be willing to bet if we are really honest about this subject nearly all of us, if not every single one of us, has entertained the idea of ending our life by our own hand at one time or another. I know I have.

A reminder to use caution when driving around school zones

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 — For many local youngsters and teenagers, those long, lazy days of summer have finally come to an end, and it’s time to start lugging those heavy backpacks to class as another school year begins.

During the summer vacation, drivers need not worry about students on their way to or from class, but summer vacation has ended. We encourage drivers to slow down and remember the speed limit in school zones is always 25-miles-per-hour when children are present. Drivers should pay particular attention to student pedestrians on foot or on bicycles or skateboards — especially in the morning when students arrive at school and in the afternoon when they head back home.

Take the time to know the candidates before voting

Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 — The deadline for filing to run for an elected office in Lassen County has passed and voters will now have until Tuesday, Nov. 4, to determine which candidates to support. Although learning about candidates can be difficult, I encourage everyone who is a registered voter to take time to learn as much about a candidate as possible before the election, whether the elected position is a member of a local board or a director of an agency or public utility.

Also, I encourage candidates to interact with voters as often as possible so questions about policy, point of view, experience and knowledge on issues can be addressed.

In June campaign posters were everywhere — in the windows of businesses; in lots along the roadways; in the front yards of supporters. A friend commented voters gained little more than name recognition and that was not the best way to pick a candidate.

Lassen County’s Grand Jury explores citizens’ complaints

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 — The 2013-2014 Lassen County Grand Jury Report is included as a special insert in this week’s issue of the Lassen County Times and the Westwood PinePress.

Each year the presiding judge of the Lassen County Superior Court receives the report from the grand jury — a panel of local citizens who are free to investigate complaints from citizens and continue inquires left incomplete by previous grand juries. Some members may serve more than one term on the grand jury.

Let’s not let Brady’s death end our gun-control efforts

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 — Ah, once again I get to show my age. I’m old enough to remember that March morning in 1981 when John Hinkley, Jr. tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and in the process severely injured his press secretary, James Brady, who died last week.

I never was a Reagan fan, and my opinion hasn’t changed in the several decades since, but despite our differences, I would never want to see a president of the United States gunned down, even one I didn’t like. Unfortunately, Brady suffered a head wound that ended his career, but he retained the title of press secretary throughout Reagan’s terms in office. I guess I have to admit Reagan must have done at least one thing right.


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