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On Syrian refugees: Avoid past missteps

California Gov. Jerry Brown is in the minority among the nation’s governors for saying Syrian refugees are welcome here.

Guest opinion: Health rankings ignore margin of error

The Union Democrat published an article on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, titled, “Report: Tuolumne County has good health.” In some ways, and for some populations, that statement is true. The report cited is from County Health Rankings, produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The full 2015 county health rankings were released in March. This month, the organization released a short report summarizing previously released data focusing on attempts to identify gaps and suggest areas for improvements. The Union Democrat article cites the quality of life ranking for Tuolumne County as 2nd in the state, behind only Marin County. What the article failed to mention was the margin of error on those data points. 

Guest opinion: Wealth gap linked to demise of labor unions

This is a rebuttal to an editorial piece that was written by neo-conservative Linda Chavez. Her words show us that Ms. Chavez is a bitter person, seeking her revenge against unions and the American worker for her not being confirmed as Secretary of Labor in 2001. 

Counseling lack shortchanges students

While it is shocking to learn a group of teenagers at a local high school were planning to shoot their teachers and fellow students, there is a greater takeaway from the situation.

As Union Democrat reporter Sean Carson’s well-researched story showed, students in Tuolumne County public schools who need psychological, behavioral and emotional counseling are not getting the help they need.

Guest opinion: Opioid abuse and heroin linked, on the rise

Today’s heroin and opiate epidemic is rooted in both the illicit use of drugs and legally prescribed narcotics. This epidemic affects individuals of every age, gender, race and background. The increased use of heroin, which often has roots in the abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, can be attributed to the difficulty of obtaining prescribed narcotics and the relatively low price of heroin. Heroin, which has the same effect on the body, is cheap and plentiful in comparison to most prescribed narcotics. The Mother Lode is not immune to this epidemic. Since 2012, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office has investigated more than 200 cases involving the use or possession of opiates of some degree, and has seen an increase in the use of heroin.

Guest opinion: County faces prescription opioids epidemic

Saturday, Sept. 26, is the Drug Enforcement Agency’s 10th Annual National Drug Take Back Day. Anyone will be able to dispose of medications anonymously from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at The Junction shopping center in East Sonora. Last year more than 3,000 pounds of medications were collected. While there are multiple ways to safely dispose of the majority of medicines year round, some medicines are dangerous if not disposed of correctly. You can learn more about safe drug disposal from the Federal Drug Agency and the Drug Enforcement Agency websites. Both agencies will inform you that prescription painkillers such as opioids, should not be disposed of like other medications.

Guest opinion: Boot camp prepares SHS students for bright future

Twenty seven incoming freshmen attended this summer’s Sonora High School High Sierra Academic Boot Camp at historic Baker Station near Kennedy Meadows last week (Aug. 3-6).

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