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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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Direct your browser to to catch up on the latest news in California and Placer County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!

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Placer County Genealogical Society works to promote genealogy through education by way of speakers, informational material, and accessible research facilities locally as well as on the internet.

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From Our Media Allies

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

Auburn Journal logo Auburn Police Department Reports More Cases Cleared, Chronic Homelessness Down

Auburn PD's 2023 report also notes a 45-percent increase in DUI arrests

Auburn Journal logo Colfax Approves Downtown Connectivity, Improvement Plan

The plan identifies and develops concepts for a revitalized downtown, including improvements to visibility and wayfinding as well as using underutilized pavement space to improve cyclist and pedestrian facilities and beautifying downtown Colfax.

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.

Placer Herald logo Loomis Moves Forward on Train Depot Trees

The Town of Loomis is moving forward with a cost-saving combination of oak trees and shade sails for more sun protection at the downtown Train Depot.

Placer Herald logo Transportation Planning Discusses Sales Tax

A half-cent sales tax that would generate $1.58 billion over 30 year was discussed at the Roseville City Council meeting March 20 as a possibility in the future.

Placer Herald logo Granite Bay Walmart Store to Close April 12

The Granite Bay Walmart at 4080 Douglas Blvd. is shutting its doors due to falling revenue after 12 years of serving the community, according to the company.

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.

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.

Auburn Journal logo City of Auburn Seeks Feedback From General Plan Survey

The city of Auburn is going through a General Plan update and the team behind the work has spent the past several weeks collecting input from the community through workshops and stakeholder meetings. The team is now looking toward the …

Loomis News logo Placer County Voters Shift Voting Behavior With First Voters Choice Act Election

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Auburn Journal logo Longtime Auburn Resident Emi Hamasaki Turns 100

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Recent Statewide News

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• Salmon Populations Are Struggling, Bringing Economic Woes for California's Fishing Fleet

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(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

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(03/27/2024) → CalMatters

• 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

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(03/25/2024) → Los Angeles Times

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

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Government Announcements

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Image of City of Colfax seal. City of Colfax   (03/30/2024)

Request for Qualifications for Construction Management and Inspection Services

The City of Colfax is seeking a written statement of qualifications for Construction Management and Inspection services related to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Road Rehabilitation Project in the City of Colfax, California. Interested firm / individuals (Proposer(s)) may pick-up a copy of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the City of Colfax Purchasing Department, at 33 Main Street, …
Image of City of Colfax seal. City of Colfax   (03/30/2024)

Request for Qualifications for Materials and Compaction Testing Services

The City of Colfax is seeking written statement of qualifications for Materials and Compaction Testing (MCT) services related to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Road Rehabilitation Project in the City of Colfax, California. Interested firm / individuals (Proposer(s)) may pick-up a copy of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from the City of Colfax Purchasing Department.... The post Request for …
Image of City of Colfax seal. City of Colfax   (03/30/2024)

Request for Qualifications for City Engineer Services

The City of Colfax is seeking written statement of qualifications from consultants to perform a variety of Professional Engineering and Construction management/ Inspection Services, other engineering services and to serve as the City Engineer for the following general assistance program areas on an as-needed basis including but not limited to project inspection, materials testing, and construction management services in the …
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/29/2024)

Lidl Voluntarily Recalls Deluxe Branded Macarons Party Edition Due to Undeclared Allergens

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Tropicale Foods Recalls Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack Because of Possible Health Risk

Tropicale Foods of Modesto, CA is voluntarily recalling 5,224 units of Helados Mexico Mini Cream Variety Pack with best by date of "MO Best By 10/11/2025", because the mango bars in the variety pack have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and someti
Image of Town of Loomis seal. Town of Loomis   (03/28/2024)

Stay Connected with the Town!

Lets stay connected! Get notified of Town news and events through 1 (or all 3) of the ways below: Subscribe to our email list at Follow us on Facebook or Instagram (IG: @exploreloomis) Text notifications (scan the QR code below to join our first reminder list for our annual Spring and ... Continued The post Stay Connected with the …
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/28/2024)

Shawnee Milling Company Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Milk and Egg in "5lb. Food Club All Purpose Flour"

Shawnee Milling Company of Shawnee, Oklahoma is recalling 5 lb.Food Club brand All Purpose Flour with Best if Used by date 03/07/2025, because it may contain undeclared milk and egg. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs or milk run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic
Image of United States seal. United States   (03/27/2024)

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Egg, Wheat, and Milk in Sushi Product

Geisslers Supermarket Inc. of East Windsor CT has issued a recall of all Sushi products produced by EZnoble Sushi for Geisslers Supermarket Inc. produced or purchased on 3/26/2024, and 3/27/2024, with a sell by date of 3/27/2024, and 3/28/2024. They may contain undeclared egg, wheat and milk. Custom
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (03/27/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
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Senator Dahle Sheds Light on Democrats Dark Solar Scheme SREPweb Wed, 03/27/2024 - 11:21
Image of County of Placer seal. County of Placer   (03/26/2024)

Child Abuse Prevention Month activities will support and educate Placer families throughout April

The Board of Supervisors approved a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Placer County, kicking off a month-long series of activities and events that will culminate with the countys annual Child and Family Resource Fair.