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Consult with your health care provider regarding immunizations

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 — The outbreak of measles that began at Disneyland in December should serve as a wakeup call to all of us to weigh the benefits and the dangers of immunizations and then make our own individual choices responsibly.

We disagree with those state and federal lawmakers who say immunization for diseases such as measles should be mandatory. All actions potentially have consequences, but health care decisions should be made by each individual or their family and not forced upon the populace by government.

Of course, we should remember the idea behind using vaccines for immunization is to prevent the disease before it occurs. To most of us, that’s a good thing. And the number of diseases vaccines can prevent is astonishing. These include anthrax, cervical cancer,

Read more: Consult with your health care provider regarding immunizations

Choral society shines in three-quarter time

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 — Anybody who knows me knows I’m a staunch, born-again guitar player, and I will make no apology for my obvious musical preferences. I’m a proud, native-born American who toddled my way across central Texas, so I’ve always enjoyed Americana music with its guitar-driven folk, blues and country influences. Hey, I can even handle a little dash of pop now and then. Since I hear confession is good for the soul, I should also acknowledge my immense appreciation for some British Invasion stuff, and my uncompromising, undying and uncontrollable fetish for the heavily compressed jangly noises that erupt from a Rickenbacker 12-string. Think of the Byrds or Tom Petty — that’s the ear candy I’m mumbling about.

Read more: Choral society shines in three-quarter time

Missing groundhog shows up in the nick of time

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 — “Should we actually attach a mustache to him, or have him holding up one of the paper ones we have left over as props from our wedding?”

  This is the kind of absurd question I found myself asking as one of the organizers for the Groundhog Fever Festival last year.

  My wife and I were two of a group of eight who started the festival two years ago. The event, much to everyone’s surprise, was a hit.

  Way more people than we expected showed up to the festival the first year, and we were a little unprepared. The second year, we had a better idea of what to expect and tweaked the layout and format of it to better suit a larger crowd.

Read more: Missing groundhog shows up in the nick of time

Effort to create a new state is a waste of time

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 — In principle, the movement to make Northern California its own state makes sense. Our voices are but a whisper when compared to those in the urban south. Our lack of representation in matters that affect us is very similar to the injustices that prompted our forefathers to declare independence from England.

But the reality is much different. No matter how many small northern counties endorse the creation of a new state, it’s not going to happen in our lifetime.

While many of us might find it appealing to carve out a 51st state from the crags, buttresses and mountains many “Jeffersonians” call home, there are a bevy of factors those supporters are not taking into account.

Read more: Effort to create a new state is a waste of time

Tom’s story: From Midway Island to a rare affliction

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 — On world maps it is merely a dot that’s located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles west of the Hawaiian Islands. During World War II it was the site of a pivotal battle between the Japanese and American fleets, in which the Japanese fleet was mortally crippled. Midway Island was subject to heavy bombing from the Japanese before they withdrew from the battle.

  Actually it isn’t an island; it’s an atoll, which is defined as a bit of land and lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. During the war it was a Navy base that provided a refueling depot for aircraft and a refueling and refitting base for U.S. submarines operating in the western Pacific Ocean. The atoll was a bleak, desolate piece of land, which could be circumnavigated by foot in about an hour.

Read more: Tom’s story: From Midway Island to a rare affliction

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