The Coastal Post - December, 1998

Community News

By Submission

Buddhist Retreat

Spirit Rock is proud to announce a mind-expanding workshop, "Magic, Mystery and the Dharma," featuring teachers Stephen Mitchell, Sylvia Boorstein and Jack Kornfield, three of the most renown Buddhist pioneers in the West.

This one-day workshop will be held Sunday, December 6, from 9:30 to 4:30 at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, 5000 Sir Francis Drake, Woodacre. The cost is $85 at the door. For pre-registration or more information, call 488-0164 ext. 335.

The teachers will explore topics such as mystical experiences and psychic phenomena, passion and desire, and their relationship to traditional Buddhist teachings.

"All truths should be used to cross over; they should not be held onto once you have arrived. You should let go of even the most profound insight or the most wholesome teaching; all the more so, unwholesome teachings." -The Buddha

Students' Quilt

Students from Ms. Laura Dax Honda's second grade class constructed a handmade quilt and raffled it off, raising $650 to help restore the threatened steelhead and coho of San Geronimo Creek. The class raised steelhead in the classroom through a program sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Game. Thirty eggs were hatched in a specially-designed refrigerated aquarium. They were released at Warm Springs Hatchery on the Russian River, the site where the eggs originated.

Honda is a member of SPAWN, a program dedicated to the protection and restoration of coho and the Lagunitas watershed. SPAWN will be conducting creek hikes for the public to observe spawning fish beginning in December. Call 488-1090.

Prostate Patients And Medicare

An unprecedented change in Medicare policy would eliminate the rights of prostate cancer patients to choose their own medical treatment. According to a special report released by the Education Center for Prostate Cancer Patients (ECPCP), this "Least Costly Alternative" (LCA) policy forces prostate cancer patients and their physicians to base medical decisions on the cheapest available treatment.

National Heritage Insurance Company, the local Medicare contractor for Northern California, is accepting public comments on the proposed policy only until December 13. California is one of the latest states to adopt the "Least Costly Alternative" policy, which is being implemented on a state-by-state basis.

There is no existing policy that specifically gives Medicare the right to disallow full reimbursement for an FDA-approved drug. This new policy is rooted in a Medicare provision specifically written to deal with the cost of durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of American men. More than 11 million men in the United States suffer from some form of prostate cancer.

For more information, contact the ECPCP at 888-545-8396.

Audubon Elects New President

Leslie Flint has been elected president of Audubon Canyon Ranch's (ACR) Board of Directors through the year 2000.

Flint is a human resources consultant and avid bird watcher. She has served on the ACR Board as a representative of Sequoia Audubon since 1994. She also is an active ranch guide and was originally trained as a docent for Bolinas Lagoon Preserve in the Class of 1973-74.

Eight new trustees also have been elected to two-year terms: Gordon Bennett, founding shareholder and president of Westbrae Natural foods; Donna Bley, a teacher with Sonoma Valley School District; Mary Engebreth, regional director of 4-H and long-time Bouverie Preserve docent; Tony Gilbert, an attorney with Cooley Godward (San Francisco); Jean Holzman, a long-time registered nurse; Alan Margolis, professor emeritus of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, UCSF; Alan Pabst, senior vice president and treasurer of Wells Fargo Co. (retired); and Otis Parrish, curator and educational program development specialist for the California Indian Museum (Presidio).

Audubon Canyon Ranch preserves, protects and manages properties as sanctuaries for native plants and animals; provides education for children and adults about the natural environment and the need to protect it; and supports research and conservation efforts that enhance the natural resources of ACR's Bolinas Lagoon Preserve (Stinson Beach), Bouverie Preserve (Valley of the Moon) and Cypress Grove Preserve (Tomales Bay).

Homestead's Holiday Fair

The Homestead Holiday Crafts Fair will be held at Homestead Valley Community Center, 315 Montford Avenue, Mill Valley, on Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the crafts people participating this year are Titia Heynnemann with Hindeloopen painting, a traditional style of Dutch hand-painted items, named after the small fishing village in Northern Holland; Patti Collins, who offers a large selection of handmade canvas bags; and Karen Sin makes beautiful multicolor glaze stoneware cats, plates and ornaments.

Admission is free, prices reasonable and tasty refreshment are available throughout the day.

Call 388-9916 for more information.

Pottery Sale

The West California Pottery will hold its annual Holiday Sale on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at 1115 West California Avenue in Mill Valley. Functional stoneware, as well as primitive, pit-fired pieces, will be offered. Refreshments will be served. Call 381-2695 for more information.

Buyouts For Landslide Victims

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to provide $3,367 million in federal funds to buy out 44 homes throughout Sonoma County. This marks the first time that the federal government has agreed to a significant buyout of victims of landslides.

Woolsey brought Vice President Al Gore and FEMA Director James Lee Witt to the area, sponsored a meeting with state, federal and local officials to pursue buyout options, and lobbied FEMA and Governor Wilson to provide relief. She also supported increased spending for disaster relief. FEMA officials have said that Woolsey's efforts have been instrumental in developing the new landslide policy.

Bikeways Committee Seeks Volunteers

The Marin County Parks, Open Space and Cultural Commission is seeking applications for citizen membership to the County Bikeways Committee. Three position are available, each serving a two-year term beginning January.

The Committee reviews county bicycle plans, assist in the development of bikeway policy, and reviews potential bikeway development; it does not examine off-road mountain bicycle policies.

Persons applying for member positions should have a broad interest and understanding of bikeway-related issues, including a demonstrated leadership role in bikeways activities. Applicants should be prepared to commit at least three or four hours per month to study and meetings conducted on the second Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Contact the Marilyn Hooper, Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Service, Room 415, Civic Center. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 11.

White Sharks

Are white shark numbers on the rise in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary? Listen and watch as Emmy award-winning white shark researcher Scot Anderson shows slides and recounts first-hand experiences with the hunters of the deep at a presentation sponsored by the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association at San Francisco State University, Thornton Hall, Room 329, on Wednesday, December 2 from 7:00-8:30 p.m; $5 donation requested. Please RSVP to 561-6625.

Terwilliger Nature Guides Sought

WildCare is seeking volunteers to lead school field trips to outstanding natural sites in Marin County. Volunteers will learn the famous multi-sensory interactive teaching techniques developed by noted Marin naturalist Elizabeth Terwilliger. Mrs. T's techniques have enchanted children for over 40 years.

Four Saturday classes will include Marin's natural history, habitat explorations and environmental education teaching strategies. Several weekday observations of school trips will give participants an opportunity to learn from experienced Terwilliger Nature Guides. A one-time fee of $75 includes WildCare membership and the training manual.

Terwilliger Nature Guides volunteer six hours a month to help kindergarten through fifth graders learn about and appreciate nature. As Elizabeth Terwilliger says, "Teach children to love nature. People take care of what they love."

Contact Julie Malet at 453-1000.

Buchen Of Belvedere Honored

The League of Women Voters of Marin County honored longtime Marin volunteer Wendy Buchen of Belvedere with its ninth annual Bunny Lucheta Memorial Award for outstanding public service at its fall kickoff meeting on September 15.

Mrs. Buchen has been active in an wide-range of public service organizations in Marin for decades. She has worked with the Family Service Agency, Ecumenical Association for Housing, the Marin Council on Aging, the Citizen's Budget Process Committee, Marin County Health Council, Audubon Canyon Ranch and Marin Country Day School.

The award is given annually to an outstanding Marin resident in memory of Bunny Lucheta, who was a community activist and a long-term legislative aide to state senators Peter Behr and Barry Keene.

Health Fund For MGH

At its special meeting September 17, the Marin Healthcare District Board voted to accept the offer by the Marin Health Fund to make up to $500,000 available to the District to support its effort to restore local control of Marin General Hospital.

George Stratigos, Sausalito City Councilman and Executive Director of the Marin Health Fund, made the offer. "The District Board has documented that quality of care at MGH and particularly emergency care has deteriorated," Stratigos stated. "To restore health care worthy of our trust, the Marin Health Fund Board of Directors has come to believe that returning public control of the hospital is crucial."

Upon resolution of the dispute, the funds are to be repaid, which will then allow the Fund to support other health policy needs in Marin County.

The District Board focused on Marin County's draft trauma plan. Ardeth Hamilton, Program Administrator of Marin Emergency Medical Services, and Mike Williams, President of the Abaris Consulting group of Walnut Creek and author of the trauma plan, presented the plan to the Board. The plan proposes that a coordinated system be developed in the county for the care of trauma patients.

If adopted, the plan would preclude the creation of a Level II Trauma Center at MGH as advocated by the District Board. Many of those in attendance expressed concern that implementation of the plan would result in an even greater number of patients (estimated by MGH Corp. to be 250 per year) being transferred to hospitals outside of Marin County and that would further reduce MGH's emergency services. Further, it was noted that trauma experts, including the American College of Surgeons, recognize that a decrease in trauma patients being taken care of at local hospitals will result in the de-skilling of trauma care.

Food Program Seeks Help

The West Marin Food Exchange is a non-profit group now sponsored by the Bolinas Community Center. We are approaching our 9th year of distributing day-old, mostly organic produce to households of need in West Marin. We believe it is a basic right that all have access to low-cost organic foods. In the process, we are building community, a network of sharing skills and resources.

We welcome all donations and offers of service. We are funded by donations and volunteers. We are looking for monthly or bi-monthly donors as well as one-time pledges. Our most crucial need immediately is for financial assistance in building our food storage shed and service area. We are hoping this winter we may finally have a roof for our participants. We are also seeking to fund a staff person to pack and deliver weekly food bags to local shut-ins, mostly elderly or frail women, and women with small children. Call 868-1359.

El Nino Road Damage

California's extended winter of El Nino storms resulted in at least $550 million damage to the state and local roadway systems. The Road Information Program (TRIP), a national research group, worked with the California State Association of Counties and public works directors to survey statewide road and bridge needs. On a statewide basis, counties can pay for only 12 percent of their needed road resurfacing and 4 percent of need construction. Hardest hit were the state's rural coastal counties.

Steven Szalay, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, said, "California counties have discovered that much of the road deterioration that resulted from the El Nino storms is not eligible for federal or state aid."

In 1990, voters approved a massive transportation package, the Transportation Blueprint for the 21st Century, which raised the gasoline tax by nine cents and authorized the letting of bonds to pay for transit projects.

Because of changes in the economy, driving patterns, the failure of transit and other transportation funding bonds, and increases in fuel efficiency this decade, funding for roads and bridges has been only 70 percent of the level intended under the 1990 plan.

Despite an apparent abundance of funds in state and highway transportation accounts, significant funds have been withheld at the federal level to create the appearance of a lower national debt. With the recent passage of new federal legislation, California stands to receive a 45 percent increase in federal funding each year for the next six years.

Pac Bell Sued For Misuse of Customer Records

The US District Court in San Francisco ordered SBC/Pac Bell to pay more than $1.5 million for illegally using customer billing records in a promotional campaign. The ruling follows one earlier this year in which the court issued a restraining order forcing the giant phone monopoly to stop the practice.

The $1.5 million penalty caps off a month in which SBC/Pac Bell and its business practices have been under attack from employees, a group of small business customers and the California Public Utilities Commission.

"This is a classic case of SBC/Pacific Bell exploiting its monopoly power to mislead customers and continue to thwart competition in California," David Condit, an AT&T; vice president was quoted as saying in the San Diego Union Tribune. "SBC/Pacific Bell's actions underscore the fact that its continued monopoly of the local telephone market in California is a bad deal for California and consumers and a bad deal for fair competition," Condit said.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that "lawyers for the two sides continue to butt heads and point fingers, [but] Pac Bell remains the only choice for local phone service in most of its service territory."

The reward was granted to three long-distance companies that had filed suit against SBC/Pac Bell for illegally using their billing information for its own promotional program.

Marin City's Field of Dreams

Marin City residents dedicated their new ballfield on October 10. Marin City Project and Friends of Marin City Recreation took the lead in rallying community support and organizing construction of the field. Contributions came from the Walter Shorenstein Family Foundation ($200,000), a community development block grant ($60,000), Broderbund Foundation ($50,000), Barry Bonds ($25,000), United Way of the Bay Area ($20,000), the Bothin Foundation ($10,000), and individual contributors ($25,000).

Property Tax

Marin County's 1998-99 property tax bills were mailed on October 9. Property owners, especially those who have recently purchased real estate, who have not received a tax bill, should call the Marin County Tax Collector's Office.

The first installment is due November 1 and must be postmarked on or before December 10 or delivered to the Tax Collector's office by 5:00 p.m. to avoid a 10% penalty. The second installment must be paid by the following April 10.

The tax office, Room 202 at the Civic Center, (499-6133) is open 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the hours will be extended to 5:00 p.m. on December 10.

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