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March 10, 2010     Chester Progressive
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March 10, 2010
 

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6B Wednesday, March 10, 2010 EDITORIAL and OPINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL Opine with facts, not rumors A small Quincy business took a number of un- necessary hits last week, as it became the unfor- tunate target of a vicious rumor fostered during a Quincy radio station's morning talk show. It seems an anonymous caller--spewing nothing more than secondhand information -- accused the owner, Julie Hatzel, of refusing to serve some members of the armed forces at her popular business, the Alley Cat Caf6. We under- stand the caller even went so far as to infer her (alleged) actions were un-American, and urged listeners to boycott her establishment. Given the fact that Hatzel is a well-respected and active member of her community, it didn't add up. So we called her to get the facts, which, frankly, in our opinion, was the very least the show's host should have done at the time given the seriousness of the topic. At best, he should have immediately postponed the discussion un- til he gathered the facts. Times are tough enough for local business owners without hav- ing to deal with unwarranted and completely unnecessary damage control. Here's her story: A group of military recruiters came into her business one morning last week and proceeded to set up their own recruiting office, occupying nearly half of the available tables in her quaint little coffee and pastry house. They were busy making cell phone calls and conducting busi- ness for nearly three and a half hours, she said. Oh, to their credit, they did manage to splurge for a cup of coffee. Hatzel said she finally realized it was just not good business to give up tha much space, not to mention the commotion, while essentially get- ting nothing monetarily in return. So, Julie said she quietly and politely asked the recruiters to wrap up their business and set up shop else- where. Actually, we think she tolerated it a lot longer than most. That's certainly not un-Amer- ican; that's just smart business! On an aside, to all you recruiters and others who think it's OK to conduct your business in restaurants for hours on end, it's not. We can't speak for everyone, but most of these establish- ments -- many of which don't have the luxury of separate banquet rooms for such things -- re- ly on turning their tables over several times just to make ends meet. There are plenty of pub- lic conference and meeting rooms that are bet- ter suited-- and m6re appropria[e for these kinds of activities, ' A  -'" Fea00ng 00N00spaper / Breaking News .... go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson ........... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Cheryl Frei Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shillito Linda Stachwell Feather River Bulletin (530) 283-0800 Lassen County Times (530) 257-53211 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Westwood PinePress (530) 256-2277 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 BE Don't sit back and let others do the talking for you. Express yourself in our LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Stud), shows risks of l00lulti-tasking MY TURN JOSHUA SEBOLD Staff Writer Jsebold@plumasnews.com I recently heard a National Public Radio program that I think would help a lot of peo- ple to better understand why texting and dri- ving is such a dangerous combination. Even if you feel the reasons for that should be fairly obvious already, I think you will find this interesting. I think many representations of the prob- lem in mediums like political cartoons or the graphics that accompany news stories miss the point when it comes to portraying how texting accidents happen. Most artists show teens staring at their lit- tle phone screens while they drive their cars, when in fact I think many teens believe tex- ting and driving isn't dangerous because they aren't looking at the screen. They know the buttons well enough to text without looking and this might give them the idea that it's not dangerous because their eyes are still on the road. I think this NPR story, which wasn't actu- ally about texting, demonstrated why the dis- traction of trying to work that keypad and thinking up what you're saying to someone are relatively serious, even if you are look- ing at the road. Just for starters I will point out some stud- ies have shown a driver's ability to drive is impaired for up to 20 minutes after having a phone conversation because you're brain is still interested in that last interaction. Other studies have shown that even the stimulation from nicotine can impair drivers to a statistically measurable degree. In other words if you smoke a cigarette be- fore getting in the car you're significantly more likely to make a mistake than if you don't, because nicotine is a stimulant. I'm just hoping they don't focus one of those studies on coffee anytime soon because the CHP officer will have to pry my mug from my dead, caffeinated hands and they should just hurry up and shoot me now. Anyways, this radio program began with a classic psychology study from the 1950s, which determined the average person could hold a sequence length of about seven char- acters in his short-term memory. This means that if I play seven musical notes, or read off seven numbers or letters while you're in the room and I don't make you do anything else, you should be able to repeat them to me in a few minutes if you're working hard to remember them. That's just the average of course; some people can remember more, some less. The NPR story indicated the Stanford School of Business, which conducts studies on marketing strategy to find out how your brain is influenced by different advertising techniques, looked further into that study Where in the world Jarrett Gibson, a student at Quincy High School, stands in front of "The Mittens" in Monument Valley, Ariz. Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the photo to smor- row@plumasnews.com. from the '50s. The new Stanford study gave people num- bers to remember, telling them they would wall down the hall and repeat those num- bers to a person in another room. The participants didn't know some people would get a two-digit number to remember and some would get a string of seven numbers. They also didn't know that when they walked down the hall a woman would be waiting for them, offering a snack. The woman asked each participant if he or she would like a piece of cake or a bowl of fruit salad and, guess what, the people with seven digits to remember were twice as like- ly to choose the cake. A science writer who was on the radio pro- gram explained the front section of the brain specializes in rational thought, while regions deeper in the brain focus on emotions and unconscious thought. He said those two areas of the brain often compete for our attention. When you see that cake, the emotional part of you might think it would taste delicious and maybe it would throw in some fond memories of eating it at a childhood birthday party. The rational part of your brain would be trying to make you think about how you'll look in those new jeans in a month or two or whether or not you'll live long enough to see your grandchildren. Unfortunately, it only takes seven digits bouncing around in the head of an average person for the rational brain to be at a signif- icant disadvantage compared to its normal functioning. Essentially, concentrating on the memo- rization task is "impairing" your brain, just like a drug or a couple of drinks. That fact is not only interesting in terms of dividing your attention while driving, but al- so applies to other aspects of our lives. In some cases, multi-tasking isn't that bad, like when I watch political news at home I sometimes play video games on my computer at the same time. That may sound completely insane, but I find in that situation dividing my attention stops me from getting too depressed or angry about the information I'm taking in. I can think to myself, "Well our state and national political systems seem to be dead- locked by idiots on both sides who have no social skills; but, hey, I just threw a touch- down pass." In most situations multi-tasking probably won't kill you, but it could still cause some problems if you're not aware of the influ- eaces it's having on you..  ....... , ..... : ,If youTe wallingthroughthe super.market , comparing some prices and you're on the phone with your boss, a potential date or someone else you might want to choose words wisely with, and the person on the oth- er end asks you a question you just might tell them how you really feel, instead of what you "think" you should say. REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO... 1930 e Advertisement: Travel the Feather River route of the Western Pacific Railroad. En- joy dining car window scenery. On your dining car table: a superb meal. Outside the window: the stunning Sierras and the beautiful Feather River. The Plumas County Board of Supervi- sors Monday granted licenses to sell soft drinks to Edward J. O'Rourke of Quincy, J.E. Cooke of Taylorsville and Sam Terzich of Portola. 50 YEARS AGO... 1960 Advertisement: St. Patrick's Day Dance at Taylorsville sponsored by Knights of the Columbus. Refreshments and prizes. $1.00 admission Advertisment: St. Patrick's Day grocery specials offered at local grocery stores this week: corned beef 39 cents a pound, potatos 10 pounds for 45 cents, carrots 9 cents a package, cabbage three pounds for 14 cents, green dill pickles 40 cents a jar. 30 YEARS AGO... 1980 Feather River College Lyndell Cheeves announced his resignation from the post last week. His resignation was based on working under conditions in which the faculty had taken a vote of non-confidence. He has been president since September of 1978. At the FRC board meeting is was an- nounced that the interim president will not be selected from the current FRC staff but brought in from one of the other Peralta districts. As a community, we need arts education MY TUKN thing: a dumber society. I'm not trying to trivialize the matter out of context either. I know it costs money to keep programs like this, and the ultimate trick is balancing what stays and what goes on a slimmed down budget, especially in such tough economic times. But that's where my opinion takes a sharp upswing. As a product of California educa- tion, I know for a fact there are holes in our ...................................................................................................................................................... school system, but it's not terrible. PATRICK SHILUTO If it were up to me, I would focus as much Staff Writer pshillito@lassennews.com I make no claims of talent. I am not a gift- ed singer, I don't know how to play a single instrument (not even the spoons) and I can't paint my way out of a room. However, many of us have to acknowledge the fact we wouldn't be who we are today without the influence of artistic expression in our culture. It may have started out as a simple finger painting class when we were in kindergarten, or forced lessons in front of a stereotypically strict piano teacher after school. The point is that without the influence of such media as music, poetry, painting and writ- ing, none of us would be what we are today. It seems like more and more music and arts programs are getting put up on the chopping block; I think as a society we need to start taking notice and doing something about it before our country's culture starts to suffer for it. I know it reads like I'm ma.d. Well, I am mad. I'm mad that having a god-given talent like playing the cello or the xylophone or the trumpet is being put on the back burner in favor of the ability to fill in a Scantron sheet or hit other kids with a dodgeball. In my opinion, a lack of arts in our schools is only going to lead to one of the state and federal budget as I could on education more than anything else; not healthcare, not the job market, not even the nation's security should be more highly funded than education. Not because I want to make our educators and school adminis- trators wealthy, but because I seriously think that we, as a community, county, state, country and people, could solve so much more of our life's problems if we just focused on making our youth smarter. Imagine for one moment this picture of Utopia: A youth in a financially strapped in- ner city school in one of the most hardcore neighborhoods in Los Angeles is given every single opportunity possible to suc- ceed. That youth, who under our current system only excelled at cutting class and get- ting away with it, instead grows up smart and strong and able to critically think his way out of a myriad of problems. He invents or creates an item or solution to some of our most diffmult problems, whether it's a piece of music that unites people and promotes cultural diversity or a potential cure for cancer. If we focused on raising a nation of poten- tial super geniuses, it would be up to them to solve the problems that have plagued us for generations. It's no secret the youth of tomorrow will inherit our problems no matter what, but if we did everything we could as culture to make our youth as smart as possible, I think the rest of the world's problems would start to fall into place. Supplanting the arts in favor of other pro- grams in our small little community may not seem like a big deal in such a big world. But looking at anything in the light of a.big enough picture can make any problem seem small. Since I doubt people are going to take to the streets and start preaching my idea of education, the only thing I can really ask of the people who read this article is to try and picture what you'd like our community, and by extension the entire planet, to be like in the years after you are dead and gone. Do you hear music in it? Again, I'm not a concert virtuoso like Su- sanville Symphony conductor Ben Wade; and I can't paint a picture that would end up on display at the Lassen County Arts Coun- cil building. However, I have done a little work with the Susanville Repertoire Compa- ny, braved the hot lights on stage in a small standup routine for the Ed Susanville Show and written an article or two for this news. paper that I can say I'm proud of. (Shameless plug: I'm going to be part of another standup show for adults with come- dy partners KC Stilwell and Kris Phillips at the National Guard Armory at 7 p.m. March 20. Pre-sale tickets are $4, $5 at the door, and are currently available at Safeway and Margie's Book Nook. Don't bring the kids). Whether you care about any of my lame exploits or not, it's because of support from friends, family and our tremendous arts community that I was even able to get this far. So do what you can to support the com- munity of starving artists out there, whatev- er their skill. At the rate we're going, they may be some of the last creative thinkers you'll ever meet. / /