Water polo

To the Editor:

Sonora High School and the greater Sonora area community are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Matthew and JulieAnn Personius so deeply involved with the youth of our community via the sport of water polo. They work tirelessly to create numerous opportunities for the student athletes. In addition to his medical practice working with senior citizens and their raising seven children, they manage to find the time to coach high school water polo, a demanding sport with numerous out of town tournaments.

Back in 2006 Matt and JulieAnn went to Sonora High with the request that the school start a water polo program. I was principal and helped them bring a proposal forward for consideration. Due to budgetary constraints the district could not fund the program at that time. However, they gave approval for the program if the funds were to be raised through outside sources. Undeterred, and with great enthusiasm, Matt and JulieAnn organized the effort to raise the funds to begin the program. Together they coached the girls and boys teams.

Fast forward 11 years later and Sonora High has a program of the highest quality. Successful both in and out of the pool, the student athletes greatly benefit through their participation. Matt and JulieAnn are outstanding coaches, superb role models and prepare their athletes for life beyond high school. I, along with countless others in our community, am grateful beyond words for their dedication, persistence and commitment to those they touch. It would be hard to find two coaches with a higher degree of integrity and excellence than these two. Congratulations on another outstanding year. Well done.

(Note: Although JulieAnn no longer coaches, she still supports the program behind the scenes.)

Terry Clark

Former Sonora High School principal, 2001-07

Why pardon a turkey?

To the Editor:

President Trump is getting his pardon pen ready as the Mueller investigation starts indicting his associates. This Wednesday, he plans to practice on two very innocent Minnesota turkeys.

The other 244 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year have not been so lucky. They were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes were clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. At 16 weeks of age, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dumped them in boiling water to remove their feathers.

Consumers pay a heavy price too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Intense prolonged cooking is required to destroy deadly pathogens lurking inside.

Now, for the good news: Per capita consumption of turkeys is down by a whopping 34 percent from a 1996 high of 303 million, as one-third of our population is actively reducing meat consumption. Our supermarkets carry a rich variety of convenient, delicious, healthful plant-based meat products, including several oven-ready roasts.

This Thanksgiving holiday, as we give thanks for life and good fortune, let’s also skip the gratuitous violence and grant our own pardon to an innocent animal.

Calvert Espinoza

San Andreas

Wake up and smell the smoke

To the Editor:

To have an intense conflagration you need all components of the fire triangle. Air, ignition and fuel.

Mother Nature controls the air and part of ignition (lightning strike.) The rest of ignition is man caused; careless smoker, power mower, down power lines, catalytic converter, etc.

Fuel is the one component we have control over. Every logging truck leaving the timber sale carries 50,000 pounds of heavy fuel. Every cow grazing the forest removes 30 pounds of flash fuels per day, 3,150 pounds per season, typical permit is 300 cows equaling 945,000 pounds of flash fuels.

Fifty years ago, all trees capable of falling on power lines were removed. No trees were allowed to grow under power lines and most had vehicle access. Best firebreaks around.

Now trees are pruned around lines and unbalanced. Intense fires are caused by environmental negligence. Take a course in Benefit Analysis 101. Save one owl by stopping timber sale but burn up 100 by not thinning the forest. Stop water from being drafted from stream to save one frog but boil 100 when the fire gets away.

Remember only man can prevent conflagration so log it, graze it or watch it burn.

Tom Gookin

USFS Firefighter 1961-1970 and 50 year grazing permitee

Climate change

To the Editor:

Trump and his Republican (rich getting richer) administration, who wants to raise taxes for the middle class and who are under investigation for collusion with a foreign country to secure Trump’s presidency, along with our Republican representatives like McClintock, are all becoming obsolete during this time when it’s obvious our weather is getting more severe, more frequently.

But since the petroleum industry is the Republican’s main funding source, Republicans stay in denial that we need to do “anything” to prepare for more intense summer heat, droughts, intense coastal rain and storm surges, and sea level rise. It almost doesn’t matter if you believe fossil fuels are the cause or not. Our vulnerability to disasters is increasing, and we need to do something to protect ourselves.

Since the National Forests of the Sierras are the main source for our fresh water, we need to be protecting ourselves from drought by capturing more rainwater into our natural underground water tables, to refill our groundwater wells — not only here in the Sierras, but in the agricultural economy of the Central Valley groundwater tables. And since California has a coastal border along the entire length of our state, with a heavy economic investment along that coastline, the Republican denial agenda on sea-level rise is counter-productive to our entire state’s economic stability.

Doris Grinn


What’s best for your family?

To the Editor:

Now is the time for us to look at those issues that you have said are most important to you. For the moment, ignore your political ideology and think about the wellbeing of your family.

Jobs — Since the Obama Administration passed its first budget in 2009, the unemployment rate has declined not only nationwide but worldwide. In Tuolumne County, our unemployment rate has fallen from 16.7 to 5.6 percent — now 5.7 percent.

Wages — Since Democrats took control of our state offices, many California workers have seen their hourly wage rise from $7.50 to $11 (plus 46 percent) an hour.

Education — We avoided a 15 percent, across the board, cut in funding due to passage of Props 30 and 55. Gov. Brown just initiated a program for high school graduates that will pay their first year tuition at community colleges.

Tax Reform — Republicans are offering to increase your taxes and our national debt. They want you to pay taxes on your taxes by eliminating your state and local tax deductions. They are looking to increase your house payment by eliminating the deduction of your mortgage interest.

Health Care — They have inserted a section in their tax reform that will most likely eliminate the health care insurance for over 11,000 Tuolumne County residents. It would also dramatically increase all our healthcare insurance premiums and reduce access.

Bottom Line — Democrats have delivered to you and your family more jobs, higher wages, greater access to good educations, universal access to affordable health care and much more. Republicans like Trump/McClintock are working on taking this all away from you and at the same time raise your taxes. When you vote, think not only about the good of your family, but for the good of us all.

Domenic Torchia