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If you miss me, I’m over at the fair

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 —  “It’s so easy to fall in love,” Buddy Holly crooned way back in 1958, and that’s exactly how I feel about the Lassen County Fair. I especially love the fair food and the excitement of all the live entertainment.

Working for different newspapers, I’ve covered several different county fairs, and I’d like to share one of my craziest fair experiences with you.

I worked at a newspaper in a small central California town and county seat in the 1990s. I enjoyed lots of freedom there. Actually, I could pretty much do whatever I wanted. I’d just finished reading Hunter S. Thompson book about the Hell’s Angels, and I thought the fair would provide the prefect setting for a little first-time gonzo journalism exploration.

Let the sheriff conduct the investigation

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 — Many rumors have swirled through the county since the body of Dr. Richard Meinert was discovered June 23 at his Thompson Peak Veterinary Clinic near Janesville.

As is the case with most incidents that generate such multiple rumors, they tend to cancel each other out because they all can’t be true at once.

We know the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Meinert’s death as a possible homicide, but the sheriff hasn’t released many details of the investigation.

Founding Fathers were right to separate church and state

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — For days now I’ve watched the talk shows that pretend to be news shows, and I’ve listened to the partisan gibberish from the talking heads on both the left and the right as they shout and pound ad nauseam about the recent United States Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Unfortunately, I think the pundits on both sides have completely missed the point — this case is not about abortion, Obamacare, politics, the struggle between the left and the right, the alleged personage of corporations or any expression of religious freedom. This is simply a horrible decision in which religious beliefs have been thrust upon the state and all the rest of us.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court’s ruling grants a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because the corporation’s owners object to some forms of contraception the law allows. That statement itself points out the grievous error of this decision — that one’s religious beliefs have the power to negate the law of the land.

We need to support our local county fair

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Once again, the recently passed California state budget failed to fund county fairs across the Golden State, including our Lassen County Fair held next week in Susanville.

The California Fairs Alliance reports $32 million dollars a year was eliminated from the state budget as a result of recession-related cuts in 2011. That funding was not restored despite support from many lawmakers and a healthier general fund.

According to the Western Fairs Association, more than 30 million people will visit a California fairground sometime during 2014 and not just at fair time. Fairgrounds drive local economies and provide a venue for a wide range of activities and essential services, especially during natural disasters when they serve as evacuation centers for residents and staging areas for emergency workers.

Happy birthday, America

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — This week we celebrate the founding of our nation — the Declaration of Independence.

All across this great land of ours, most of us will celebrate America’s birthday Friday with fireworks, barbecues and a fine summer day and evening with family and friends free from the toil of our labors. But we also should remember the reason for the holiday.

While the Declaration of Independence, mostly credited to Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president, recites a lengthy catalog of grievances against the British crown and government and provides the colonists’ justification so the rest of the world might understand their decision to “dissolve the political bands” between the colonies and England, it is the second paragraph’s opening words that have become the underlying principle of this great land of ours — even though they have no real legal standing and were not included in the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.


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