Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Opinion

We have great firefighters in Lake County and we are all genuinely thankful and grateful for them and the people who provide support to them.

It is almost impossible to go anywhere in Lake County without seeing signs that say “Thank Our Firefighters.” And we mean it.

But there is another way to thank them. Actions speak louder than words. We can make sure they have a safe place to work when they have to come to our area. There are several ways to do this. Here are some suggestions:

1. Create defensible space around structures on our properties. Clear dead and dying brush, trees and plants. Also remove debris.

2. Fire safe landscaping. Make sure plants are not next to the house and do not create “fire ladders.”

3. Park vehicles where they won’t interfere with firefighting.

4. Make driveways and gates wide enough and high enough for fire trucks to enter the property, 14 feet wide and 14 feet high.

5. Help neighbors with their spaces. Making one place safer makes everyone safer.

6. And, most importantly, when we are told it's time to go, GO!

These are just a few ways we can let our fire people know we appreciate them. We want them to be able to do their job and go home safely. There are many other things that can be done as well. We are very fortunate to have lots of resources available to help with these ideas and others.

Readyforwildfire.org is one website that was prepared by Cal Fire. It has lots of information about making your home fire-safe, preparing for wildfires and what to do when one happens in your area.

The South Lake Fire Safe Council has a website and Facebook page with lots of information. There is a home risk assessment tab on the website that is very helpful and lets you know what you can do to make your home less vulnerable to fire. The website is www.southlakefiresafecouncil.org. The Lake County Fire Safe Council also has a website, www.firesafelake.org.

Firefighters put on about 45 pounds of protective gear in sometimes 100-plus degree weather and rush into fires to protect our residences. That takes pretty special and unique people who are sincerely committed to our community. They deserve the best and safest environment that we can provide.

The bottom line here is that if we do our job to maintain our property, we reduce wildfire risks. This will enable our firefighters to respond more quickly and safely. They protect us and we can protect them. Please do your part and keep your properties defensible.

Thank you very much to all our firefighters and the people who support them in their efforts to keep all of us safe.

Marty Englander is secretary/treasurer for the South Lake Fire Safe Council, based in Middletown, California.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – This has been a very stressful time for nearly everyone. Our already busy and challenging lives have been tested to the limit. We are worn down from coping and the demands of trying to maintain some form of ‘normal’ life.

You may have experienced difficulties in any number of ways: in maintaining your health, or getting sick, or financially, or in relationships, family, and friends, or boredom or loneliness. All of this can take a cumulative toll on our health and well-being.

Stress can be very draining and demanding on our energy. Over time if the stress is not resolved it builds up and creates symptoms that show up in a variety of ways, at the physical, mental/emotional, or spirit level.

Stress affects each person’s energy differently, depending on their energetic make-up. It can bring up symptoms in the area where we are most vulnerable. If we have low back pain it can get worse. If we have headaches or anxiety, they can become more pronounced. It can also create a new and different symptom, as an organ’s energy becomes more depleted.

Stress is like any other symptom. It is a call for help, that something is out of balance and needs support. The most important thing about stress is that it is a real issue to acknowledge and address, however it shows up. Stress is often related to another issue or situation. When we only focus on that issue, the effects of stress may go unnoticed.

Stress can be very overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start. The first step is to bring to consciousness everything you are thinking or feeling about it.

Take some time to identify the most major issue you are struggling with. Start to see all the aspects of it and how it is affecting you on different levels – for example on the practical, mental/emotional, physical level, and spirit level.

Write down everything that comes up for you. By writing them down, you are already moving your own energy and creating a healing space to understand and address the stress. There may be small practical steps you can take. You can begin to see what you really need to feel more balanced, more whole.

Things may be out of our control. Yet by getting in touch with how stress affects us we can begin to control how we respond to it. We can take steps to lessen its impact. And like any symptom, it can become a teacher for what we really need for our well-being.

Stress has an emotional component that relates to our energy flow.

Here are some ways that may help you to move your energy to release stress.

If you are feeling fear and anxiety, the energy is often building up in the head and not getting to the feet to ground you. Find a quiet place and do breathing exercises to quiet the mind. Give yourself a foot massage to bring the energy down to your feet.

If you are feeling angry or frustrated acknowledge that and forgive yourself for not being as productive as you’d like to be. Find something creative to do to engage your energy. Think of a small practical step you can take.

If you are feeling sad or lonely know you are not alone. Reach out to connect with a friend or loved one. They’ll be glad you did.

If you are feeling ungrounded or unsupported be sure you are eating well to nourish yourself. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask for support and receive the nourishment of those who love you.

If you are feeling lost and miss your friends and family, go outside in the fresh air, breathe deeply and take in the inspiration of nature. Acceptance is a way to release loss. Come up with new ways to connect to friends and family. If you are drained from many demands take time to yourself, to be alone to restore your tranquility and balance.

In these ways, we can stay in touch with Nature and our energy. Although we cannot control certain realities right now, we can learn what our internal energy needs, and take steps to feel more balanced.

My hope is that we all learn from this time and are able to live more connected to ourselves and each other, and to make the future a more meaningful one for all of us.

Wendy Weiss has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for 29 years. She can be reached for more information on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at 707-277-0891.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Winter is a time for slowing down. Like the seed underground, we also need time for storing up and conserving energy.

We have moved from the fall, of leaves falling and the season of release and letting go, to receiving the time of winter, the most Yin time of year, a time of rest, stillness, and replenishment of our deepest resources.

It is the time for the roots to grow deeper underground, to support growth for the coming spring.

In Chinese Medicine the Winter Season is the phase of the Water Element.

Water is about our ability to flow and to overcome obstacles. To understand the attributes of water in ourselves think of the many ways water presents itself in nature. Our water energy can resemble a mighty river or a trickling stream, the waves of the ocean, a frozen lake, a gentle rain.

Water is a transformative substance. When we take the time to be quiet and internal, and ‘be’ in our Water energy, we allow a transformative process to occur.

The body/physical gift of Water Element is rest, solitude, to re-balance and replenish our reserves. When we have enough reserves, we have strength, drive and ambition to reach our fullest potential.

We can manage our physical energy in a balanced way, not overdoing or being fearful of taking risks and trying new things.

The mind/emotional gift of water is trust, faith, courage, and the renewal of our self-essence and blueprint for our lives. What if we are out of balance? We can feel fear, anxiety, and stress from not being able to live our fullest lives.

The spirit gift of water is the will, to persevere and adapt, to nurture our intuition, and tap into our creative, internal energy to manifest who we are. The Water Element grants us the capacity to more deeply discover the essence of our self, and to grow ‘roots’ that anchor ourselves 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 your 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 care of yourself, take a soothing bath or a hot foot soak. If you can, get a massage or an Acupuncture treatment to stay balanced.

Discover more about yourself through reflection, being more aware of your senses, paying attention to your dreams. The winter season is an especially good time to begin 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 multi-minerals, B vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

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

Avoid too many cold foods and drinks. Although it is hard this time of year, try to have less sugar and dairy, as they will deplete your immune system.

Drink plenty of good quality water.

Stay warm, cover the back of your neck to not let the cold wind enter your body, as this is what can cause colds and flus. Cover your low back area, to protect your kidneys and your reserves of energy.

We are especially reminded during this COVID-19 pandemic to practice preventative health measures to maintain our strength and resilience, and to keep our immune system strong.

This is the wisdom of water: the effortless response to its environment, adapting to change, yielding yet persevering, the courage to stay the course, staying rooted to one’s essence.

Spring always follows winter. We don’t know what that 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 restored, vibrant energy, a clear vision and a more rooted sense of purpose in our life.

Wendy Weiss has been practicing acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for 29 years. She can be reached for more information on acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at 707-277-0891.

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

A year into the pandemic, it feels like we’ve walked about a thousand miles.

For most people, this year has been somewhere between inconvenient and devastating.

For our students and staff, it certainly hasn’t been the year we hoped for, but I truly believe things are on the verge of getting better.

We’ve just received word from Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace that our elementary schools are allowed to open using a hybrid model.

At Kelseyville Unified, we will welcome K-5 students back on school campuses the week of March 8 via the hybrid model. This means students will log in for online classes Monday, March 8, and will attend classes on campus Tuesday, March 9, according to each school’s hybrid schedule.

When Lake County reaches the red tier, we will be allowed to open our secondary schools, grades 6 to 12. The exact date will be determined once we hit the red tier.

In our county, the COVID case rate is dropping and the number of people getting vaccinated is rising, both of which help improve the health of our community and speed our progress toward fully reopening schools. You can review the details at www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy and www.health.co.lake.ca.us/Coronavirus/COVID-19_Data.htm.

I know some people are nervous about our bringing students back on campus, and I understand that, but I believe we can provide a high degree of safety.

Part of keeping students and staff safe includes vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We were able to offer the vaccine to all Kelseyville Unified employees, most of whom opted in. They will get their second doses between Feb. 18 and March 3.

Even those who are vaccinated will continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks. We will also maintain rigorous cleaning and disinfecting for all Kelseyville Unified School District facilities, and we will require students to adhere to safety measures for their own protection and the protection of their peers and Kelseyville Unified staff.

Part of our goal in bringing students back to the classroom is related to their academic success. Although we’ve seen some truly excellent online teaching, we know the best place for students to learn is in the classroom with their teacher and peers.

Another reason we want to bring students back to campus is related to their social development and emotional health. At school, young people learn to interact with others their age; school is a place where students learn to give and receive social and emotional support.

They also have the opportunity to engage in sports, the arts, clubs, and other hobbies where they can connect with others who enjoy the same activities they do.

According to the California Interscholastic Federation and North Coast Sections, the organizations that govern school sports, as of Feb. 1, when we’re in the purple tier student-athletes at Kelseyville High School may begin practicing for the following spring sports: cross country, tennis, swimming, golf, track and field, plus cross country. Once we reach the red tier, we can start baseball and softball.

We’re holding off on sports at Mountain Vista Middle School until we move from the hybrid model to regular school, which may not happen until next year.

I recognize that not everyone is ready to send students back to the classroom, so we will continue to offer a distance learning option for families who prefer to wait.

If you would like to learn more about how Kelseyville Unified is preparing to welcome students back to the classroom, visit our website at www.kvusd.org.

Dave McQueen is superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – With COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out locally, nationally and globally, I think we’re seeing a light at the end of this very long pandemic tunnel.

Ironically, when the end is in sight it can be even harder to hold on, to keep wearing masks and social distancing, but we need to for however long it takes until it is safe.

I know a lot of folks really want their kids back in school, both because that’s where students learn best and because when kids are in school, parents can return to work.

Every educator I know agrees that students would be better served with in-person instruction, but we have to do so safely.

To that end, the California Department of Public Health, or CDPH, released updated guidance to let schools know when and how we can reopen on Jan. 14.

Visit the California Safe Schools for All website and download the “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework & Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California,
2020-2021 School Year” here.

Otherwise, here’s what you need to know for Kelseyville schools.

Adjusted case rate

You may be familiar with the COVID risk tiers (yellow, orange, red and purple), but now there’s another threshold. When counties have an adjusted case rate (a rolling seven-day average) of more than 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, schools are not allowed to reopen, even with a waiver.

Lake County has been sitting around 46 cases per 100,000, so we’ve got work to do if we want to reopen our schools.

You can track Lake County’s adjusted case rate online at www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy, then scroll down to the map and click on our county to see where we stand.

Safety

When the pandemic first hit, we didn’t know how the virus spread. Schools disinfected high-touch areas several times a day, hoping to decrease the risk of infection.

Overuse of disinfection can pose a health risk to children due to the chemicals used and has proven to have limited to no impact on COVID19 transmission, so the state recommends we focus on the following safety measures:

– Face coverings;
– Stable groups;
– Physical distancing;
– Adequate ventilation;
– Hand hygiene.

Symptom and close contact exposure screening, with exclusion from school for staff or students with symptoms or with confirmed close contact

Surveillance or screening testing

When we return to in-person instruction, we’ll use a phased or “hybrid” approach at the beginning, so we have fewer students on campus at any given time. Distance learning will be available to all students who want to continue in that educational model.

COVID vaccines and testing

Two important ways to get us back into the classroom and to keep us safe once we’re there are vaccination and testing.

At Kelseyville Unified, we continue to work closely with the Lake County Public Health Department to provide the vaccine to all school staff who want it, prioritizing those who work directly with students and those who are at higher risk for serious complications from a COVID-19 infection.

All Kelseyville Unified employees who elected to receive the vaccine will be vaccinated within the next four weeks.

Once we’re back in the classroom, COVID testing for staff will take place based on Lake County’s COVID tier.

When we first return to in-person instruction, if we have an adjusted case rate higher than 14 cases per 100,000, the governor wants us to do weekly surveillance testing in addition to symptomatic and response testing.

Otherwise, when we’re in the purple and red tiers, the governor recommends surveillance testing every two weeks in addition to symptomatic and response testing.

Once we’re in the orange and yellow tiers, we’d move to only symptomatic and response testing.

Reopening

According to CDPH and the governor’s guidelines, the first hurdle to reopening schools is submitting our COVID-19 safety plans to the state and county Public Health departments.

Then, once Lake County drops below a COVID positivity rate of 25 cases per 100,000 and our safety plans are approved, the first schools to be allowed to open will be our elementary schools in a hybrid model.

Once the county reaches the red tier, we will move to reopen schools for all grades in a hybrid model. Hopefully, through staff vaccinations, low positivity rates in the county, and following our safety plans, we will be able to open soon.

Some good news

As you can imagine, reopening schools safely is expensive. President Biden and Gov. Newsom have proposed additional funding for education that could help us a lot.

All in all, I think things are finally moving in the right direction.

Dave McQueen is superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – On Dec. 14, three new Kelseyville Unified School District Board members will be sworn in.

Please join me in welcoming Natalie Higley, Gilbert Rangel and Mary Beth Mosko. I will miss our previous board members, Taja Odom, Gary Olson and Beniakim Cromwell. Thanks to all of you for your service.

The role of a school board member is to help set the vision for the school district as well as providing financial oversight of taxpayer dollars.

The five core responsibilities of the Kelseyville Unified school board are to: 1.) Set overall direction; 2.) Ensure we have an effective and efficient structure; 3.) Provide support; 4.) Ensure accountability; and 5.) Advocate for children, the district and public schools when interacting with the public.

Because authority is granted to the board as a whole, not each member individually, board members fulfill these responsibilities by working together as a governance team with the superintendent to make decisions that will best serve all the students in the community.

Natalie Higley

Natalie Higley is a proud graduate of Kelseyville Unified schools, having graduated in 2011 from Kelseyville High School.

After graduation, she became civically involved both locally and statewide; she has served two terms as an Assembly District 4 delegate to the California Democratic Party representing Lake County. Natalie later became actively involved in the Lake County Democratic Central Committee, as well as multiple statewide organizations representing rural and progressive values.

She is currently employed as the political director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 551 and serves as a delegate to the North Bay Central Labor Council.

As a single mother, she believes she understands how challenging educational delivery can be for both school districts and parents during a pandemic.

Natalie hopes to bring both a compassionate and a science-based perspective to the Kelseyville Unified board and looks forward to working with her colleagues to move the district forward.

Gilbert Rangel

Gilbert Rangel has spent 20 years of his career in education, youth development and community service in both the nonprofit and government sectors. He brings a unique perspective, having been educated in both Mexico and the United States.

He attended elementary and middle school in Mexico, high school here in the US, and then studied business at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. He is bilingual and bicultural, and he feels his background provides him with meaningful insight into the importance of universal access to education and equal opportunity for students of all walks of life.

He currently serves as the director for the Lake County AmeriCorps program which focuses on empowering students in achieving a successful education. Other community service experience includes having served under the administrations of Gov. Schwarzenegger and Gov. Brown to develop AmeriCorps community programming across different California communities.

Mary Beth Mosko

As the mother of a freshman at Kelseyville High School, Mary Beth Mosko says she is motivated to work with board members, administrators, teachers and members of the community to provide children with a quality education. She believes excellent schools not only benefit students but the entire community.

She said, “Great schools provide Kelseyville with the skilled workforce, business leaders, and entrepreneurs necessary to thrive as a community.”

Having double-majored in psychology and sociology at Roanoke College, she appreciates the value of a quality education and she has put that appreciation to work, as evidenced by her volunteer work as a tutor for military veterans returning to school after deployment.

She says she hopes to engage and inspire our community to support our schools and provide an excellent education for all. Some areas of particular interest include seeking additional funding streams, promoting summer programs in math and reading, providing for disadvantaged students, and increasing parent engagement.

As a reminder, board meetings are public and everyone is invited. For more information, visit our website at www.kvusd.org and click on the District menu to find the Board of Education page.

Dave McQueen is the superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

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Upcoming Calendar

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12.01.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
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Clearlake City Council
3Dec
12.03.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Weekly writing workshop
6Dec
12.06.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
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8Dec
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Adult Literacy Program in-person tutor training
9Dec
12.09.2022 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Hometown Christmas in Lower Lake
10Dec
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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10Dec
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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