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By Eric Johnson
Published Apr 01, 2024

Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' Prop 1 includes funding that will build institutions to treat mental illness and addiction—hopefully nothing like what Randle Patrick McMurphy encountered in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'

Sandhill Cranes, Foster Kids, and Coercive Compassion

This week’s Newsletter takes me back to the very beginnings of my journalism career in California, and then jumps forward to a story I wrote last week. One story offers what might be a surprising perspective on the recently passed Proposition 1, and the other is about an organization working to help young people forced to navigate our complicated court systems through no fault of their own.

The stories are connected because they both deal with the consequences of untreated mental illness and addiction disorders.

But first: I am writing this on Easter Sunday, and as is traditional in my family, I am thinking about resurrection, renewal, and that kind of stuff. In that spirit, here is the second edition of One Good Thing.

Life After Death

Sandhill Cranes are magical creatures. In the marshes where they hunt with their spear-beaks, they stand four to five feet tall. Their wings can span six and a half feet. Their trumpeting calls and mating dances are hypnotic. By the middle of the 20th century they had been slaughtered to near-extinction. But they're back.

The Return of Sandhill Cranes

A magnificent Sandhill Crane in flight.
After being reduced to three or four nesting pairs in all of California in 1944, Sandhill Cranes have come back from the brink and are returning to Lake Tahoe.

Coercive Compassion

My position on Prop 1, and my thoughts about the benign neglect of our homeless neighbors suffering from mental illness or addiction disorders, are informed by a story I edited the week I returned to California, in March of 1997. That article was about the impending closure of a state hospital that treated Californians with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness. At the time, as you will see, many questioned the wisdom of emptying the hospitals and sending patients to live in halfway houses—which, as it turned out, were never adequately funded.

I understand if you are among those who struggle with the idea of coercive care, and I want to share a quote from Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), a supporter of Prop 1 who is also a PhD-packing clinical social worker.

“There is nothing compassionate about leaving suffering human beings on the street untreated or waiting until they have committed a crime and treating them in prison; rather than intervening to get them the help they desperately need.”

Newsom’s Prop 1: Revolution or Return to Reason?

An assembly hall at Agnews Developmental Center in Santa Clara. Agnews was one of five hospitals that served California residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness, all of which were emptied in the misguided move toward “community care."
Prop 1 was designed to help unhoused people get off the streets by forcing them into treatment. That’s one reason it took two weeks of vote-counting to pass.

Helping Young People Whose Parents Are Struggling

The very best thing about doing community journalism is that I get to help some remarkable people tell their inspiring stories. That happened last week when I met Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa. CASA Sacramento is the only organization in the region that offers help to kids who have been removed from their parents care due to neglact or abuse. Often, the grownups involved are stuggling with addiction, and the families can be reuinted once they've gotten treatment. That has become increasingly difficult, so the need for help is great. 

There are CASAs in most California counties, and you can find them under Families and Children in our Community Groups and Nonprofits database.

A Court Appointed Special Advocate Can Change a Child’s Life

Danielle Dace and Matthew Romsa of CASA Sacramento
A conversation with two committed professionals who help CASA Sacramento match trained volunteers with children in the foster care system.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Spring! cookbook.

This springtime carrot cake has a difference

Carrots and chocolate -- how perfect for Easter or any other spring occasion.
Chocolate glaze especially appropriate for a holiday dessert

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Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus logo Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus

Supporting local singers by building, promoting, and nurturing vocal music programs, the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus hosts two annual concert series that feature music from a range of genres, such as classical, Broadway, and contemporary hits.

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Sierra Sun logo Truckee Donner Soroptimist Grants $26,000 to Local Women for Education, Training

Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner honored 14 women and two girls at their Celebrating the Best for Women event on March 21 at the Glenshire Club House.

Sierra Sun logo Nevada County Economic Development Action Plan to Focus on Sustainable Job, Business Growth

Increased economic activity, tax revenue and business retention and expansion are some of the goals of Nevada County's new two-year Economic Development Action Plan.

Sierra Sun logo Women’s History Month: Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council Managing Director Nettie Pardue on Being a Female Leader

In honor of March being Women's History month, Tahoe Daily Tribune has chosen to spotlight Tahoe Destination Stewardship Council Managing Director Nettie Pardue.

Sierra Sun logo Pines to Mines Trail Unites Community, Expands Accessibility, Drives Economic Growth in Nevada County

About a decade ago, former Nevada County Supervisor Richard Anderson spearheaded a project that united trail advocates from across the county to explore ways of creating an interconnected trail network.

Sierra Sun logo Bear Box Grant Program Now Available for Tahoe Basin Property Owners, Receive Up to $2,200

Placer County property owners in the Tahoe Basin can receive up to $2,200 to install a bear-resistant garbage can, also known as a bear box.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Help Restore Historic Fire Engine

The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District is seeking community members to help restore an antique fire engine the district recently reacquired.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo The Remarkable Return of Sandhill Cranes

As spring returns to Lake Tahoe, a story of resilience and resurgence is also unfolding. It's the migration of the Sandhill Cranes – magnificent birds that once upon a time had all but vanished from the Tahoe region.

Sierra Sun logo Sierra Community House: Uniting for a Holistic Approach to Combat Domestic, Sexual Violence

Five years ago, the decision to merge four local core service organizations was unprecedented and initially met with skepticism.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Lake Tahoe Unified School District Expresses Optimism Amid Budget Cuts, Layoffs

Despite facing several hurdles and setbacks, Lake Tahoe Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Todd Cutler expressed optimism for the future during the State of the District address on Wednesday, March 20.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Expanding Options for Accessory Dwelling Units in South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe City Council made multiple actions regarding Accessory Dwelling Units at their meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

Sierra Sun logo Nevada County Approves $250,000 Contract With Community Foundation

The Board of Supervisors approved a three-year contract today with the new Community Foundation of Nevada County to help with emergency preparedness and further other county priorities.

Sierra Sun logo Truckee Town Council Moves Forward With Findings From Biomass, Bioenergy Study

The Truckee Town Council met on Tuesday, March 26, to discuss Wildephor Consulting's Biomass/Bioenergy study involving the use of an Air Curtain Burner (ACB) to manage woody biomass.

Tahoe Guide logo Spring in Tahoe | Bears, Bottle Bans & Festivals Galore

Our annual Spring Music, Events & Festivals Guide is featured in this edition chocked full of hundreds of ski races and events, spring shenanigans at pond skims and dummy downhills, music festivals, theater and dance performances, film showings, stargazing tours …

Sierra Sun logo Quality Automotive Servicing Partners With Truckee High School on ‘Adulting’ Class

Quality Automotive Servicing in Truckee recently hosted a group of Juniors and Seniors from Truckee High School who are enrolled in the new "Adulting" class. They visited the shop to learn essential car safety and maintenance skills.

San Jose Inside logo California Extends Student Financial Aid Deadline to May 2

Responding to a federal financial aid glitch, Caliifornia legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom within two weeks gave students an additional month to apply for state aid.

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Recent Local News

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• CHIRP Trail Progresses

Trail building and fuel reduction on the 32-acre property along Deer Creek.

(04/01/2024) → YubaNet

• NID Customers Asked to Reduce Water Usage

Nevada Irrigation District is requesting customers reduce water usage as PG&E continues emergency repairs at the Spaulding 1 facility which are expected to be completed in June.

(03/29/2024) → The Union

• Nevada County Launches Fuel Break Project

The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is implementing Phase 1 of the Woodpecker Ravine Shaded Fuel Break Project on 410 acres of private property.

(03/29/2024) → YubaNet

• Volunteer for Annual Nevada City Clean-Up

Sign up to volunteer for the Nevada City annual Beautification Day to be held on Thursday, April 4 from 8:00AM to 12:00PM.

(03/28/2024) → The Union

• Water Releases Set For South Yuba River

PG&E announced the dam at Spaulding Reservoir will begin spilling water between April 3 and 8, increasing flows on the South Yuba River, urging those recreating in and near the river to exercise caution.

(03/28/2024) → YubaNet

• Nevada County Library and Health Services Partner to Provide Services

The Nevada County Library and Nevada County Health and Human Service Agency announced a partnership to increase community access to essential agency services at participating library branches.

(03/28/2024) → YubaNet

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Hospice of the Foothills announced a generous estate gift from the Templeton Family Trust.

(03/27/2024) → YubaNet

• High Potency Cannabis Product Tax to be Revised

The Grass Valley City Council approved increasing a temporary moratorium on taxes for certain cannabis products from two to five years following a request from the new Grass Valley Provisions dispensary.

(03/27/2024) → The Union
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• Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet

Captains of fishing boats on the California coast are bracing for salmon fishing to be severely restricted — or possibly canceled for a second year.

(03/30/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• CA Fast Food Workers Get Higher Wages, but Which Ones?

According to emails obtained by CalMatters Capitol reporter Jeanne Kuang in response to a public records request, a range of employers have been trying to figure out if they must pay $20 ever since the law was signed late last September.

(03/29/2024) → CalMatters

• Your Doctor or Your Insurer? Little-Known Rules May Ease the Choice in Medicare Advantage

Disputes between insurers and providers can lead to entire hospital systems suddenly leaving the plans.

(03/28/2024) → California Healthline

• Homeless Infants and Toddlers Largely Unenrolled in Early Ed Programs

Evictions have exacerbated homelessness nationwide, increasing the rate of homeless infants and toddlers. Most of those children are not enrolled in early education programs.

(03/28/2024) → EdSource

• California’s Disabled Students Left Behind During Emergencies: ‘They Just Weren’t Ready for Someone Like Me’

After bringing his story all the way to the University of California Board of Regents, a disabled UC Berkeley student has prompted the UC to ensure emergency evacuation chairs are in every multi-storied building in the 10-university system.

(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• RFK Jr. Picks VP, but Still Isn’t on California Ballot

Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. chose Oakland to announce his vice presidential pick on Tuesday, so it wasn’t too much of a shocker that his pick was Nicole Shanahan, a Bay Area tech attorney and philanthropist.

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• Feds Propose Killing Nearly 500,000 'Invasive' Owls to Save Calif. Native Owls

The goal is to eliminate habitat competition between "invasive" owls and native owls.

(03/27/2024) → SF Gate

• Reps. Gaetz and Greene Lawsuit Against Cities Where Political Rally Was Canceled Can Move Forward

A judge ruled GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene can move forward with their lawsuit against two California cities where rallies were canceled.

(03/25/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• At Stake in Mifepristone Case: Abortion, FDA’s Authority, and Return to 1873 Obscenity Law

Lawyers from the conservative Christian group that won the case to overturn Roe v. Wade are returning to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in pursuit of an urgent priority: shutting down access to abortion pills for women across the country.

(03/25/2024) → KFF Health News
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Government Announcements

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Image of State of California seal. State of California   (03/27/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
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WASHINGTON, March. 21, 2024 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for imported frozen Siluriformes products that were illegally...
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Wenders LLC Recalls Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews Because of Possible Health Risk

Wenders LLC of Dublin, CA is recalling specific production lots of Trader Joes Nuts - 50% Less Sodium Roasted & Salted Whole Cashews - (SKU Number - 37884) Lot# T12139, T12140, T12141, and T12142 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious
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Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
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Taylor Farms Pacific Recalls Kroger Brand Ready-To-Eat Apple Walnut With Chicken Salad Bowl Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen

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John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Coconut and Milk in Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews 8.25 Oz

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc (JBSS) announced today it is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of 8.25 oz Great Value Honey Roasted Cashews, because it may contain undeclared coconut and milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to coconut or milk run the risk of serious or life-thre
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Jen's Breakfast Burritos, LLC, Recalls Ready to Eat Breakfast Burrito Products Due to Possible Listeria Contamination

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Image of United States seal. United States   (03/07/2024)

Wesco, Inc. Issues Voluntary Recall and Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanut in Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites

Wesco, Inc. of Muskegon, MI is recalling 750 units of Wesco Mint No Bake Cookie Bites, because it may contain undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The affected Wesc
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Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
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Update from Senator Dahle - 03.07.2024 SREPweb Thu, 03/07/2024 - 14:19