Union Democrat staff

A salute to author Ray Bradbury

To the Editor,

In one of your recent issues we were informed of the death of Ray Bradbury.

I met the man on one occasion. It turned out to be a memorable one for me. He was doing a signing of one of his just released books in San Jose.

I had a first edition of his first book. I grabbed it off its place of honor and hurried down to the bookstore.

He was patiently engrossed in talking to a large throng of Bradbury admirers. He managed to spend time with each one who requested he sign their purchase.

I watched him for some time. A father of five brought eight or nine of Mr. Bradbury's books for his signature. A sign stating "one signed book only" was patiently passed over and with a smile he signed each of the books.

I inserted myself in the line. Finally, face to face, he saw his first book and me.

"My first book," he said. "Did you know that I designed the dust jacket myself?" I didn't. I got his signature and memories of a patient, gentle, and a special man.

What an author. What a man!

Karl Kleman


Healthcare for all

To the Editor,

Employers. Employees. Unions. What's missing here is the health insurance companies.

Why are they not addressed in this picture?

Being for or against Unions is not the issue.

Employees not represented by a union, as well as employers, face the same problems - rising benefit costs, increased co-pays, reduction in take-home pay and reduced reimbursements to hospitals and physicians.

The health insurance companies are the culprits here, allowing exorbitant CEO salaries (no reduction there).

We are paying the insurance companies' salaries and allowing them to make demands of us - and we go along, doing nothing.

That's where the fight should be, not against the working people, unions or even employers.

Are there alternatives? Self-funding; negotiating with other health insurance companies; refusing to pay the high costs; or maybe, healthcare for all.

Nancy Torchia


Community grants improve Calaveras

To the Editor,

On behalf of the Mind Matters Clinic, I would like to personally thank the Calaveras Community Foundation for all that they do to improve the quality of life in our county.

At our clinic, we are using a grant awarded us by the CCF last year to help seven children take part in our Social Thinking program. These young people range in age from eight to 12 and come from Angels Camp, Mokelumne Hill, Murphys and Valley Springs.

The ability to understand and interact with other people, whether at family gatherings, at school, or in the workplace, is taken for granted by most people.

However, this is foreign territory for those who are autistic and for many who suffer from attention deficit disorder.

As a result, they are seen as misbehaving and people wonder why the parents can't control them.

Social Thinking addresses these issues in a supportive, non-judgmental environment with a highly trained clinician.

In small groups, these young people develop the ability to interact positively, making them a much more welcome person at home, in school and in other social situations.

So this is an example of how a CCF grant can have a direct positive effect on families in our area. The foundation deserves our support.

Ryan Thompson, M.D.