Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Opinion

This year we had a long and beautiful fall. The colder days and nights now bring us to the winter season.

Winter is a time for slowing down. Nature has moved from the leaves changing colors and falling and the gift of releasing and letting go, to now receive the time of Winter, the most Yin time of year. A time of rest, stillness, and replenishment.

A time for the seed underground to grow strong roots, storing up and conserving energy, to support growth in the coming Spring.

Because we are also a part of nature, winter is also our time to restore our resources and conserve energy. It is a time to connect with our deepest wisdom, and potential energy that energizes us to realize anything is possible if we simply follow our true nature.

In Chinese Medicine the winter season is the water element.

Water is about our ability to flow and overcome obstacles.

Water is transformative.

As the most yin of all the seasons and the elements, it is a time for stepping back from the outside world and instead, turn inward, to reconnect with ourselves.

When we take quiet time to go inward, and ‘be', we connect with our deepest essence and allow an internal, intuitive process to be heard.

The body/physical gift of water element is rest, solitude, re-balancing, and replenishment. When we have enough reserves, we have enough strength, drive and ambition. In the winter we need to manage our physical energy by not overdoing it or we can become tired and exhausted.

The mind/emotional gift of water is courage, faith, and trust. It is the renewed sense that we can count on our essence and the 'blueprint' for our lives. What happens if we become out of balance? We can feel anxiety, fear, and stress from not being able to live our fullest lives.

The spirit gift of water is the will, the capacity to persevere, listen to our intuition, and tap into our internal energy, so we can grow ‘roots’ that anchor us in who we are.

Keys to staying balanced in the winter season.

Allow yourself to be quiet and listen to your deepest self-essence.

Stay warm, reduce outward activity to conserve energy in the colder, darker months.

Take a quiet walk outside in the fresh air, listen to relaxing music, read books or listen to books on tape.

Take time for extra self-care: get a massage, take a soothing bath, or a hot foot soak. Get an acupuncture treatment to stay balanced!

The winter season is a good time to discover more about yourself through reflection, keeping a journal, paying attention to your dreams, and the practice of meditation.

Do more moderate exercise like Chi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates.

Daily vitamins can help to keep your immune system strong: try taking multi- vitamins and multiminerals, B vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Drink lots of warm herbal teas, like chamomile, ginger tea, Bengal Spice and Good Earth tea. Eat warm foods, like soups, plenty of steamed vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. Have meals with whole grains, squashes, beans and peas, and dark leafy greens like swiss chard, kale, and bok choy.

Avoid too many cold foods and drinks. Although it is hard over the holidays, now try to have less sugar and dairy, as they can deplete your immune system.

Drink plenty of good quality water. Drink half your body weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water per day.

Stay warm, cover the back of your neck to protect against the cold wind. According to Chinese Medicine the wind can cause colds and flus. Also cover your low back area, to protect your kidneys, and your reserves of energy.

Follow the wisdom of water.

Be effortless in your response to its environment, adapting to change, yielding yet persevering, with the courage to stay the course, and staying rooted to one’s essence. Find the quiet contentment that comes with resting and waiting, being in the space of hibernation as you replenish your reserves.

Spring always follows winter. We don’t know what the spring will look like, yet if we have followed nature’s way and allowed ourselves to be immersed in winter’s gift of rest and replenishment, we will emerge in spring with renewed, vibrant energy, rooted in a clearer vision, and a deeper sense of how we want to show up and manifest our life.

Wendy Weiss is a licensed acupuncturist based in Lower Lake, California, telephone 707-277-0891. Visit her website at www.wendyweissacupuncture.com.

My name is Ray Buenaventura. I am your newly appointed chief public defender. I was appointed by the Lake County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 19, and began serving Oct. 16.

My background includes over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, with more than 100 jury trials, ranging from minor infractions to murder cases with special circumstances (i.e. death penalty-eligible cases). I am a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and have taught evidence, election law and legal research and writing. I also created the first Youth Court Program in Santa Clara County. I am additionally on the Board of Trustees of the California State Bar Association, and have served on the Criminal Law Advisory Commission and the Attorney Discipline Committee.

As your public defender, it is my responsibility to establish a premier indigent defense program in Lake County. My goal is to ensure every Lake County defendant receives a professional and appropriate defense. I will devote my energy to promoting the public interest through innovative programs that can truly make a difference. I will work to build an effective and transformative Public Defender Office everyone can rely on.

I cannot do it alone. Community-focused, holistic public defense matters, and I want to work with you.

People should get the services they need to be successful; when they do, they are less likely to offend in the future. Building relationships, promoting engagement from every Lake County community, is essential to effectively supporting people that become involved with the criminal justice system.

I write this letter to extend an invitation to anyone and everyone willing to meet with me.

I am particularly interested in meeting people involved in rehabilitation programs, mental and behavioral health-focused organizations, youth groups, veterans, Lake County’s seven sovereign tribal nations, seniors, homeless shelters, food distribution centers, mentorship groups and vocational training programs.

Please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 707- 263-0133.

Working together, we can change the course of people’s lives. Will you join me?

Ray Buenaventura is the chief public defender of Lake County, California, and the mayor of Daly City, California.

Assemblymember James C. Ramos. Courtesy photo.


Struggle to meet sacred duty to reclaim nearly 700,000 looted, desecrated human remains and cultural objects stored in forgotten or lost boxes is new battlefront in fighting centuries-old dehumanizing of First People

This year, on Sept. 6, after the Labor Day holiday, tribal leaders will travel to the State Capitol to address the legislature about the recent audit of the California State University system’s failure to repatriate nearly 700,000 Native American human remains and artifacts. These remains are stored in boxes on shelves.

The bill, AB 389, will require monitoring campus efforts to review their collections and completion of repatriation activities by December 2025, implementing protocols for handling and identifying remains and cultural items and issuing a system wide Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act policy establishing consistent repatriation processes and training requirements.

Sponsors supporting this important trust building measure include the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Redding Rancheria, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, Tule River Indian Tribe of California, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Tachi Yokut Tribe.

Too many Californians — when they think of the state’s tribes — imagine a single mass speaking in one language, practicing one faith and the same customs. Too many also believe that the state’s Native Americans no longer face a lack of access to health care, education, equal protections in the areas of public safety, children’s foster care or inclusion when decisions are made that impact them.

Far too many Californians believe the state’s First People are raking in cash from the 76 casinos and five mini casinos operating in California. It is true that these casino-owning, federally recognized tribes have become economic powerhouses with revenues of approximately $9 billion annually. But not even all the federally recognized tribes own casinos, and the much greater number of tribes that are non-recognized struggle to ensure the security and well-being of their members.

The reality is that California has more than 100 tribes and several more that are unrecognized because of the shameful history of broken treaties, displacement and other maltreatment.

Four years ago, in June 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an apology to the state’s Native Americans for the violence and other wrongs committed against them. Five months prior to that apology, I was elected to the state legislature. My election was 169 years after California was admitted to the Union!

Since then, I have attempted to make my election count, not just for the 45th Assembly District which covers much of San Bernardino County, but also to create a voice and representation for the larger Native American community.

Gov. Newsom’s apology signaled his willingness to write a new chapter in the state’s relationship with its tribes. In 2021, then-Speaker Anthony Rendon authorized me to create the California Native American Legislative Caucus. Legislators from both houses and both parties joined the Caucus. Together, we began the challenging work of removing obstacles to the services and rights that others in the state take for granted.

More than 25 bills dealing with Native American education, foster youth, mental health access and other issues affecting basic civil rights and health and welfare have been signed and will make a difference in the daily lives of the state’s First People.

They include:

• AB 3099 signed in 2020 to increase communication and coordination among state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to combat the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.

• AB 873 signed in 2021 to assist tribal courts protect tribal foster youth.

• AB 855 signed in 2021 to create the First Native American paid holiday for California’s state and local court employees.

• AB 945 signed in 2021 reinforced Native American rights to wear tribal regalia at high school graduation ceremonies.

• AB 923 signed in 2022 to encourage the state and its agencies to consult on a government-to-government basis with the tribes.

• AB 1703 signed in 2022 to create the American Indian Education Act to encourage school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to engage with their local tribes to build more complete and accurate versions of Native American classrooms.

• AB 44, current legislation, to grant tribal governments and tribal courts access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System to increase public safety on reservations.

• AB 2022 signed in 2022 prohibits the use of the word “s****”, a slur for female Native Americans, as a name for geographic features and places within the state of California.

So much more work needs to be accomplished to ensure equity in all areas of Native American lives including achieving one of the most fundamental of human rights — the respectful reburial of our ancestors.

Assemblymember James C. Ramos proudly represents the 45th Assembly district which includes the Cities of Fontana, Highland, Mentone, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature. Ramos chairs the Assembly Committees on Rules.

Dr. Nicki Thomas. Courtesy photo.

As the holiday season approaches, excitement and anticipation are in the air. Festive decorations fill the streets and stores. We’re bombarded with images of beautifully wrapped gifts, freshly baked cookies, and advertisements for every new gadget under the sun.

But for some, rather than a time of joy and celebration, the holidays can bring up complex emotions like grief, loneliness, financial stress, and unmet expectations. These not-so-cheery aspects of the holidays are hard for adults, but even more so for kids, who may not have the experience and skills to handle hard situations.

Curious children not only compare gifts, but traditions and celebrations as well. In our community Winter Break is often synonymous with Christmas Break — but it’s important to remember it’s not the only holiday celebrated.

Isolation

A big part of school is finding your crowd — the people who make you feel like you belong. The holidays can put a wedge between people, making them feel lonely or inferior. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Wedge. Not everyone can afford the newest tech or fashion. Wedge. Not everyone is excited to spend time at home. Wedge.

And, anytime there’s a break from school, some students will lose more than just classroom instruction — they’ll miss the free meals that keep them fed, the social interactions that bring them joy, and the care of trusted adults at school who make them feel safe and seen.

There’s just no getting around it–the holidays can magnify stress, which feels so much worse with holiday carols playing in the background. Here are some issues to consider with ideas on how you might reduce the emotional challenges that can accompany this time of year.

Grief

One of the most difficult aspects of the holidays is navigating loss. Whether the absence of a loved one is due to death, divorce, or simply a change in circumstances, the holidays can make that loss feel especially painful.

Although it’s hard, it’s important for parents to acknowledge these feelings in themselves and to encourage their children to express their grief rather than bottle it up. If you’re a parent of a Kelseville student and you believe your student needs extra support right now, please reach out to your school’s counselor to discuss options.

One idea to help reduce the pain of an absent loved one is to give yourself permission to create new traditions. Rather than trying to keep things the way they’ve always been, change things up.

Financial stress

Financial stress can also make the holidays harder. Not only are there higher expenses, there are also higher expectations. Between childcare, food, activities, and gifts, it can be hard to keep up. Then, when children come home asking for unaffordable gifts, parents can feel doubly sad.

Locally, Toys for Tots can provide assistance for families who are struggling financially. And if your child attends Kelseyville Elementary School or Mountain Vista Middle School, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s school counselor to request that your child be put on the staff gift tree. Every year Kelseyville Unified employees contribute to holiday gifts for students to make their season a little brighter.

Other options

The holidays come with many challenges, but there’s still so much joy to be experienced and memories to be made. So what can we do to make this season more enjoyable for parents and children?

It can be helpful to focus on experiences rather than “things,” such as spending quality time together playing games, volunteering, or going outdoors. Go for a walk or hike, play in the snow (if we get any), or come up with a scavenger hunt. If you’re having trouble thinking of new ideas, Google “free activities with kids” and pages of ideas will appear.

Here’s one I found: www.verywellfamily.com/absolutely-free-activities-for-kids-2997490.

Family activities can create precious memories without the need for extravagant spending.

One activity that is scientifically proven to improve people’s mental health is practicing gratitude.

Consider asking everyone in your family to make a list of the things they are most thankful for — right now and throughout the year.

Are your kids thankful for the way the family dog greets them each morning? Are they thankful for playing at the park? All those little things add up.

While the holidays can pose some challenges, they also offer an opportunity to teach kids resilience and how to find joy in everyday experiences.

Dr. Nicki Thomas is superintendent for the Kelseyville Unified School District.

Konocti Unified School District Superintendent Becky Salato. Courtesy photo.

LOWER LAKE, Calif. — In many ways, the beginning of this school year looks like the beginning of every other one.

Teachers are presenting creative lessons in newly decorated classrooms, students are reconnecting with classmates and establishing new friends, clubs are forming, sports teams are looking for new recruits, and we’re all watching the weather in hopes of avoiding another wildfire.

For me, however, this year is a little different, not because of what’s going on here at the district, but because of what’s going on personally.

I’m supporting multiple family members with serious medical issues. On the outside, I look the same (maybe a few extra bags under my eyes); but on the inside, I am feeling emotionally fragile and constantly frustrated that I cannot be in two places at once. I want to be in New York with my ailing mom, and I want to be in my office supporting our wonderful staff as they kick off the school year.

Although the details of my situation are unique, my emotions and the way they distract me are not.

Many of our students and employees face challenges and distractions of their own. Health challenges are one of countless examples people face. When distractions are minor or short-term, we can often manage without much difficulty. But when they are significant or chronic, it’s almost impossible to focus on daily life and do our best work.

On any given day, children in our community struggle in ways we often know nothing about. They face food insecurity and their hunger makes it hard to concentrate. They witness or experience violence or are exposed to confusing and upsetting ideas. They worry about their immediate safety and security because their parents are incarcerated or struggling with drugs.

Can you blame them for showing a lack of discipline and focus in school?

As a school district, Konocti Unified is dedicated to delivering the academic preparation our students need to pursue the college or career path of their choice. When students are struggling with challenges outside of school, it’s much harder to achieve this goal.

This is why you constantly hear me talking about social and emotional wellness. I know that for students to achieve at their highest potential, they need to be able to focus on their studies.

When a student isn’t performing well academically or is behaving in an unacceptable manner, our response must encompass both academic and psychological elements: Does the student need more academic support or is there something else going on? One of the most important things we can do in our schools is to support students so they can learn to manage themselves and their situations.

We know that when students have one trusted adult in their lives it can make a huge difference. At school, that can be a teacher, counselor, administrator, coach, librarian, secretary, janitor, playground supervisor or any number of others. We have social-emotional counselors at every school.

One way to help your student succeed is to start each day in a calm and positive way. Small changes to routines can make a big difference, like having kids lay out the next day’s outfit the night before and/or waking up 15 minutes earlier.

When you, as a parent, feel frustrated, you can reduce morning stress for yourself and everyone else by taking a deep breath and using a tone of voice that doesn’t involve yelling. As parents, our emotional state can’t help but affect our kids.

Before dropping off your child for school, you might consider asking them what they are most looking forward to that day — who they want to see, what they want to do. This helps them focus on the positive.

When your child comes home from school, you might ask them what good things that happened today and who helped make it possible.

Gratitude is a powerful force. Let’s work together to provide our students with the support they need to focus so they can thrive.

Becky Salato is superintendent for the Konocti Unified School District.

Dr. Shouan Pan. Courtesy photo.

With much pride and excitement, I assumed the role as the new chancellor of Yuba Community College District on June 15.

Knowing that my appointment by the Yuba College District Board of Trustees in April this year came after almost two years of search, I feel even more intensely the honor as well as the weight of the position.

I thank the members of the board and the broad communities for their trust and confidence in me to lead an expansive rural district that comes with a unique set of opportunities and challenges.

I was attracted to this leadership opportunity at YCCD because it has a long history of supporting and improving educational attainment and economic development of its diverse communities. I am inspired by the commitment to educational excellence, collaborative problem solving, and innovation from the faculty and staff.

Those are values that resonate deeply with those of mine, and I am inspired to lead, in the coming months and years, by inclusive and equitable leadership, intentional collaboration, and shared commitment to excellence in every aspect of YCCD’s operations.

In joining the YCCD and the north Central California communities, I bring a diverse set of administrative experiences, track records, and skills from having held leadership positions at six different community college districts, both rural and urban.

The common thread across all these institutions has been my deep and lasting passion for advocating and ensuring student success. In an era of accelerating changes, YCCD has an obligation to ensure that equitable access and affordability to quality higher education always remain front and center across our communities within the eight counties it serves.

Under the direction of our seven elected trustees, in partnership with our talented and dedicated faculty and staff, my leadership team and I will remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work; we will seek opportunities to strengthen existing and foster new partnerships with business, educational, governmental, and civic organizations; we will develop niche educational and workforce training programs that are responsive and relevant to the needs of local economy.

YCCD is founded to serve the communities. The quality and reputation of its education and training is built not only by those who teach, learn, and contribute daily on our college campuses, but also by the support of friends, supporters, and community partners year after year. Together, we can and will make YCCD more student ready, community ready, and future ready. We all have a stake in its future.

I am thrilled to join YCCD and the communities it serves. In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to meeting and establishing meaningful connections with both faculty, staff, and students on college campuses but also with friends and stakeholders in the community. I look forward to launching YCCD to new heights with all of you.

Dr. Shouan Pan was hired as chancellor of Yuba Community College District in April 2023.

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