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Imagine our children without the joy of music

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — Most regular readers of this column already know I’m a great supporter of music programs in our schools and in the community.

I can’t begin to tell you the role music plays in my life. At times it’s totally consumed me. When I quit doing gigs and went to college in 1980 — more than half a lifetime ago — I thought I’d left that behind me for good, and for a while I didn’t play very much at all. I even lamely announced I’d retired from the music business at the ripe old age of 30 when people asked me why I wasn’t playing in the bars anymore.

But then one of my daughters wondered what the band I played in before she was born sounded like. So I tried to recreate that noise as best I could for her on a four-track cassette recorder, and I gave the tape to her as a birthday present. Strangely some friends of mine count those demos among the best of my recorded work. I don’t know, maybe the love showed through.

Honoring my dad this Father’s Day

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — My father has been an amazing, influential person in my life.

He pushed me to get the best grades possible, he dedicated many nights to unsuccessfully get me to appreciate the talents of John Wayne, and he strived to ensure I was capable of balancing a checkbook.

Now, my father is not my biological dad; he is my stepfather. However, despite the noticeable lack of a blood relationship, I am utterly grateful for the presence he has been in my life.

Nearly 9 years ago, my mom married Bill, my stepdad. At first I was angry, I hated the man who was causing me to uproot in the first few months of high school and move to the little town of Quincy.

Fire season has arrived

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — Red Flag warnings last week should arouse concern for all Lassen County homeowners as the danger of catastrophic wildfire rears its ugly head again this summer. The continuing severe drought conditions we’re experiencing make the situation even worse.

While homeowners can’t do much to change the conditions created by Mother Nature, they can take steps to reduce the threat of wildfire around their homes and in their communities. The steps homeowners take to reduce the ignition risks at their homes can make a great deal of difference should a wildfire come their way.

According to fire experts, there are three ways wildfires threaten homes — flying embers, contact by flames and radiated heat. Perhaps the most important step in protecting your property is by creating 100 feet of defensible space around your home.

Requesting record, replacement medals

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — Military personnel records can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.

Most veterans and their next of kin can obtain free copies of their DD 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records from the National Personnel Records Center. The Standard Form SF-180 is recommended for requesting all replacement records and medals. Your request must contain certain basic information in order to locate your records.

This information includes the veteran's complete name used while in service, service number, social security number, branch of service, dates of service and date and place of birth (especially if the service number is not known).

Congratulations and our best wishes to the Class of 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 — Take action.

  Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.

  Emmy Award-winning actor Bradley Whitford said those words during his commencement speech for the University of Wisconsin in 2004. Whitford isn’t known for his sage advice. He’s probably best known as the fictional White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman in the former NBC drama “West Wing.” But his words of advice can apply to all of us — especially young people about to embark on their adult journey.


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