FROM THE PUBLISHER

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that “we are not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.” It has warned us “fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus and is just as dangerous.” The dangers to us are about the casualty of truth and trust, disha…

COLUMNISTS

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While most people are at staying close to home due to shelter -in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitation workers are still out in the field providing essential services such as garbage, recycling and organics pick-up. All curbside collection services in Sonoma County c…

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I am grateful the governor has pushed back in-school openings. And, I am grateful schools are examining alternative forms of learning. But, in the many plans and proposals I have read about how to return children to the classroom, I have yet to see any mention of increasing teacher or school…

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Summer is here, a time of harvest and abundance, and Sonoma County truly shines during this season. Go to any open-air farmers market, and beautiful fruits and vegetables abound, in all their color, freshness and glory. 

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One day, when I lived in Poland in the early 90s, I was detained by a police officer who pulled me over in the Tatra Mountains for some minor traffic violation. In getting my driver’s license and registration, he decided I needed to be breath tested at the police station. Puzzled, I went alo…

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Editor's Note: This column is from one of the Times' sister publications, Sonoma West Times & News. We thought our readers would be interested in columnist Bob Jones' recollection of the events in Montgomery. 

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Summer is upon us. If you’ve kept a garden or maintained a landscape here in Sonoma County, you know just how thirsty plants can get in the dry season. Luckily, many of the guiding principles for having a water-wise garden in our climate have the co-benefit of being fire-smart. Many folks ar…

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Few things speak levity like Champagne or sparkling wine. How better to raise ones spirits than with a glass of effervescence? Since we are all in need a lift right now, let’s talk bubbles.

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Maybe it was irresponsible. But I was recently within earshot of the following comments at an outdoor event at which I was the only one wearing a mask an hour after reading in the morning paper that COVID-19 cases were spiking in several states, including California, and several counties, in…

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I was standing in line in one of those stores with lots of checkout lines but few cashiers. As I stood there, even with social distancing, I couldn’t help but hear this loud speaking woman address her companion, “The problem with those people is that they are all brainwashed.”

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Growing a garden may seem mysterious to some, however by implementing a few tricks of the trade, you can grow the garden of your dreams. Here are six simple tips that will guide you along the way to success.

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Public safety and policing in Windsor and Sonoma County will be a topic we must wrestle with. The need to delineate specific defining features of our local policing policy is now a concern of significant proportions. I would like to comment for the record to our town leaders specific element…

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Peach season has begun. Our 20th season. Hard to believe. When we bought the farm, Patrick was a baby and now he’s 21. Eusebio, our invaluable farm manager, has been with us from the start, and we are forever grateful. Brian and I, well, we both have a few more grey hairs or maybe less hair …

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I am sure we are all tired of this “’rona” stuff, the isolation, the scarcity of grocery products, now the mask wearing. We all know about hand-washing, social distancing and have become experts at disinfecting. I am also sure we are definitely tired of all the information and misinformation…

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The term “rain garden” may bring to mind images of tropical forests or elaborate garden water features. In reality, they are one of the easiest ways to improve your yard while protecting our creeks, streams and Russian River. They are also a great excuse to play in the garden.

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When the town has a voter mandated competitive bidding process for our garbage collection, green waste and recycling and we enter into a contract pursuant to that mandate, can the town change the terms of the contract prior to the contract expiration?

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If you’ve been paying attention to the front page these past few weeks, you know this is the last print edition of The Windsor Times for the foreseeable future. This is a decision that has not been made lightly, not should it come as a surprise — our publisher has been warning of the increas…

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For years our beautiful and majestic dogwood tree stood silent. When we first bought the farm 20 years ago, it was like clockwork, and every spring our dogwood would bloom gorgeous white flowers, right in the front of the house. Cars stopped on Yoakim Bridge to photograph it. I think it is t…

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Mattie Washburn has been extremely busy training staff on Google Classroom, getting the devices in the hands of our students, making phone calls to assist families with logging on and implementing Google Classroom and Zoom meetings successfully for the past few weeks.  

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It is 5 p.m. during a pandemic. On these warm spring evenings, I pour myself a glass of crisp Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and head outside to join my sheltering in place companion, nature. Admiring an outdoor water feature, structured after Andy Goldsworthy’s hand-to-earth art, I wa…

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Media workers are considered essential, but since the shelter-in-place order we here at Sonoma West Publishers have been largely working from home. Each of the members of our editorial staff is sharing their work at home space with our readers as we navigate doing all of our work remotely. I…

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On April 22, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the planet’s largest civic event by focusing on the environment, learning more about conservation, being out in nature and promoting a healthy, sustainable environment.

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These are strange times. Isn’t this weird? Wow, never experienced this before. Just about everyone I’ve met recently has started the conversation with something similar. It’s understandable, no one really knows what to say because none of us really knows what to expect.

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I’ve been home for about 10 days, minus a few “essential” moments at work. I haven’t minded, honestly, because I’m an introvert Gen X’er who likes being at home. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a few things in the last week. 

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Artichokes, asparagus, fava greens, fresh green onions, and so much more begin growing this time of year. Those vegetables scream of a bold appetizer plate or maybe a meal of greens. How healthy. They are examples of bright, beautiful and in-season greens happening here and now.

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Some people have a big reaction to certain birthdays – the “big” ones, usually ending in a zero, for instance. I’ve never really minded, because I never feel whatever age I am on according to my driver’s license. (And possibly because I have a hard time remembering how old I am and often hav…

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Singing Bowl Meditation • Wednesday, March 18 • 4 to 5 p.m. • FREE

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“Before I discuss a treatment plan with my patients, I check their chart to see what insurance they have,” said Toni Ramirez, a family practice physician speaking at a forum called “Getting to Health Care for All”, at the Windsor Democratic Club meeting on Feb. 27.

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When I graduated from high school, I went to Nanny College. While I attended classes, I lived with a family and helped take care of their little girl, and then their new baby. The sprawling ranch-style home was in a small, country-like neighborhood, sort of tucked into the bigger, more city-…

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We at SMART ask that you don’t be misled by what is now a privately funded $1.7m campaign against our fledgling train. Facts are constantly being distorted by No on Measure I, as they’ve been doing since before the train was even on the tracks.  

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On Thursday, Feb. 27, from 7 to 9 pm, at Windsor Round Table Pizza, two local health professionals, members of HPEACE (Health Professionals for Equality And Community Empowerment) will present “Getting to Healthcare for All” to the Windsor Democratic Club.

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In 2008, the folks behind SMART told us that if voters approved the quarter-percent 20 year sales tax they would build 71 miles of train and a 71-mile bike path and that annual operating costs would be $16.5 million per year. They also claimed SMART would alleviate traffic on 101 and help fi…

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My son likes to watch preschool programming, which means we still endure programs like "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Dora the Explorer." They are sort of nostalgic and comforting, I find them predictable and familiar. However, he has now discovered the closed captioning feature, which would seem lik…

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Homemade Craft Fair & Bake Sale, Saturday, Feb. 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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COMMENTARY

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This newspaper publisher has long been predisposed to remind his readers that there is no such thing as a free press. It takes money, lots of it, to hire dedicated journalists and buy newsprint, ink and computers to produce news. It cost Sonoma West Publishers just over $1.2 million last yea…

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Our lengthening public health crisis will not end until a vaccine is developed and made available to the masses and our pandemic-caused economic recession will not be curtailed without trillions of federal funding for state and local governments, unemployed workers and for small businesses. …

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There are many victims of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 — locally, across our nation and globally as well. Just in Sonoma County, there are several kinds of victims, and not all are humans. First, we have had 20 COVID-19 fatalities and over 2,000 positive infections. Thousands of local wo…

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One way to distract ourselves from the threats of the coronavirus pandemic would be to focus on all the unfinished work we started 244 years ago to form “a more perfect union.” This was the imposing goal laid out in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It included the ideals of jus…

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This newspaper is not worth saving. Forget whether you are reading this online or on a real piece of paper. The business model that has supported local news for 150 years is now dead. It’s deader than dead, so it’s time to move on.

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Without a pandemic or a severely hobbled economy, Sonoma County is still a wonderful place to live. Let’s pray that all that wonderfulness soon blooms in full once again. But we cannot go back in time, even if we wanted to, and we know our Sonoma County is being permanently changed in unknow…

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that “we are not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.” It has warned us “fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus and is just as dangerous.” The dangers to us are about the casualty of truth and trust, disha…

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Do black lives matter? Of course they do. But the more relevant question to those of you reading this and for everyone else who lives in Sonoma County is, “Do brown lives matter?” That’s because less than 2% of our county’s 500,000 population is black, while 28% of us are Latino and another …

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To many of us, especially to those now marching in our streets in protest over police brutality, this feels like a moment of inflection, when our community and entire nation makes a decisive change of direction and policy. These are very rare and hard-won moments. They often disappoint us. T…

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The students of the Class of 2020 will be marked and followed through history (their future) in forever terms, like the previous American generations of The Great Depression, World War II and the counterculture of the 1960s.

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This is the Memorial Day that will not be happening. But most of what Memorial Day is about is words: words that are spoken at gravesites and written words read from time-honored tributes to America’s fallen heroes. For this year, in lieu of graveside gatherings, flag foldings and gun salute…

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I was on the newspaper team that created The Windsor Times in 1987. I could claim to be one of its parents. My parental instincts are kicking in pretty hard right now, as we must make forced decisions about this newspaper’s fate. If you are among those who believe it takes a village to raise…

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We are beginning to “open” our local economy and bring some normalcy back to our daily lives while we remain very vigilant with our physical distancing, protective masks and extreme hand washing to decrease the spread of the novel coronavirus. Patience and good manners will be our finest virtues.

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Even though it feels and looks like it, it is incorrect to say our economy has been shut down. Cars are still going up and down Highway 101. All the grocery stores are busy. The list of essential services just got a little bigger this week, and somebody is keeping UPS and FedEx busy with all…

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Mankind has had a very long association with masks, probably dating to the Stone Age some 200,000 years ago. Masks have been a part of ritual, religion and play. But through all those epochs of time, it’s been very rare that a civilization donned masks to save their lives while shopping at a…

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom says we are now living in a pandemic-caused economic recession that may crater into a full depression before it ends. Already, after just four weeks of sweeping business shutdowns and worker layoffs in Sonoma County, we are seeing the vulnerabilities, imbalances …

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Most of us are of an age where our parents or grandparents grew up as children of the Great Depression, 90 years ago. They learned to be frugal and self-reliant. They hated debt and hardly ever had to deal with leftovers. They were good cooks, with good appetites. In turn, they tried to teac…

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Our “shelter in place” and declared public health emergency started here the day after all of Ireland canceled St. Patrick’s Day festivities on March 17. That cultural shock alone was enough to let us know this virus pandemic and economic disaster would be bringing permanent life-changes to …

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Our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This is what it’s like: we’re all in this together, six feet apart or “sheltered in place.” Half the time it feels like we are living inside a science fiction movie, and other times it all seems even more surreal than that. We know this will…

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There is so much we do not know about this COVID-19 pandemic and how it will continue to impact our health, work and community. We don’t know how long our lives in Sonoma County will be interrupted, if we will still have jobs and we don’t know how many lives will be lost. But we already have…

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A few years ago when I was speaking to a local Rotary Club about newspapers, I was asked what we would do if there was ever a week when there was no news to report. I jokingly answered that, “We’d just have to make something up.” Well, here we are with no meetings, no events, no gatherings, …

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Next week (March 15-21) is National Sunshine Week, led by the American Society of News Editors to remind everyone about the essential role newspapers play in preserving our democracy at thousands of local city halls, school board chambers, state houses and under the dome of the U.S. Capitol. 

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If you are reading this newspaper in its original paper and ink version, then you’re on the right track. But, if you’re reading it on a phone or computer screen, then you’re already missing out on something big. Over different 24-hour periods this week, millions of people will be celebrating…

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The beginning of this story about this local newspaper has only been told to a few people. In 1995, the Walnut Creek-based corporation that owned this and three other local newspapers decided to shut them all down after failing to find a new corporate buyer. But, instead of abandoning the pa…

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The Measure I SMART train question on the March 3 Primary Election ballot is important enough for voters to think for themselves and not be duped by all the slick and colorful mailers and the rest of the $2.3 million vitriolic and bombastic pro and con campaigns, now filling mailboxes and so…

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Oscar night red carpets were rolled out last Sunday around Sonoma County, including at Sebastopol’s Rialto Theater and at the Alexander Valley Film Festival’s (AVFF) Red Carpet Evening at Trentadue Winery. For those not already in the know, Sonoma County has a long relationship with Oscar-wi…

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We expected this new year of 2020 to be a very full 12 months of news, it being a presidential election year, a Leap Year, the start of a new decade and the continuation of an age of digital disruption. But we didn’t also expect so much news about homelessness, endless tax questions on our e…

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Various elected officials and area firefighting administrators have been trying for several decades to better coordinate and add more efficiencies to all of Sonoma County’s firefighting services, personnel and tax structure. It has been a history of turf battles, bookshelf studies (you know,…

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Last week 99 U.S. senators took an oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.” (Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe was absent due to a family medical emergency but will be sworn in on another day). 

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We are now 47 days away from Super Tuesday. If you think that has something to do with the NFL’s Super Bowl, you need a lot of voter education. (The Super Bowl is Feb. 2.) March 3 is Super Tuesday when California and 12 other states will hold primary elections, including party voting for U.S…

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Our economy in 2019 did very well. It made lots of money, piled up big corporate profits and created billions in new wealth. Historic stock market levels were recorded on Wall Street, the Gross National Product kept increasing, now for 124 months in a row, and the low level of unemployment k…

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Just as the last refrains of “Auld Lang Syne” are sung each New Year’s Eve, a bevy of new laws descend upon us like a balloon drop from above. Some years the new laws seem to outnumber the balloons. This year it’s another close competition.

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This will not be the first Christmas where many U.S. soldiers will be stationed and on guard at military bases far from their homes and family. It was the case in 1776 at the Battle of Trenton, at Valley Forge the very next year and, right up to now, where 170,000 American military men and w…

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By the quirk of this season’s holiday calendar, we recently made a visit to Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, while visiting family and friends in nearby Maryland. The visit offered us a chance to affirm that our Republic, in all its manifestations of power, laws and democratic institu…

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While we are all doing our holiday gift shopping around town and other places, there’s a reminder we should add to the bottom of our lists. Once upon a time, when we were little children, only Santa Claus knew if we’d been good or bad, or if we picked up all our toys and always played nice. …

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We like all our local elected officials and find them to be upstanding and dedicated individuals, without exception.

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Thanksgiving and other holidays that are centered around a table full of family, friends and festive foods are a most welcome time for sociable conversations. And, boy, could we all use plenty of that right now. We have lots of catching up to do with post-fire and post-outage and pre-holiday…

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What links the outcomes of recent news stories about schoolteacher pay and strikes, SMART train expansion, mental health services, Kincade Fire recovery, expanded fire protection services, future Highway 101 improvements and happier holidays? Would you believe local shopping dollars?

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It almost had us. The Kincade Fire came unbelievably close to consuming the town of Windsor. More and more residents are realizing we are under chronic threat. So what is to be done?

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Our shared disdain for PG&E turning the lights out on us while we were running from the threat of the Kincade wildfire is not the only thing that should be uniting us right now. This time there was no loss of life. This time we “only” lost 141 homes in Sonoma County, nothing close to the…

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Out of the smoldering ashes of the Kincade wildfire and after the days of darkness from the massive PG&E power shut-offs, an all-embracing “war plan” about how we manage our power utilities, avoid wildfires, harden our telecommunications systems and avoid unnecessary costs must be establ…

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There are two looming events on our calendars that may further confirm the difference between compulsory law and bendable customs.

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As most of us continue to deal with our anger and anxiety over being left in the dark — both figuratively and literally — by PG&E’s massive public safety power shutoff (PSPS), we need to take a breather and remind ourselves this “new normal” is not about electricity or PG&E. Our “new…

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This week marks the second anniversary of our 2017 wildfires that destroyed 5,600 homes and claimed the lives of 44 people.

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The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution spells out five rights of every American against which the government may not construct any laws to restrict, alter or eliminate. These are the freedom of speech, of religion, a free press and the right to assembly and to petition the government w…

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We are anxious for our next generation to get here and take over what’s left of this world. Some of us older folks are trying to reverse our global climate emergency and we are trying to get our elected leaders and giant corporations to pay attention to us. But we are mostly failing. As memb…

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The crowds that have been playing all summer along our Russian River are now dwindling which makes room for this weekend’s crowd of river workers and volunteers who will be bagging beach garbage, hauling flood debris and checking on the condition of our primary waterway and watershed.

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When we first investigated and reported in April about the rising use of electronic cigarettes by local teens we came away astonished by the set of facts that pointed to a public health crisis that was impacting thousands of unwitting local students. Since that time, the horrors of “vaping” …

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National Public Radio has a popular program called “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” During part of the show, celebrity guests tell far-fetched stories and try to fool listeners who have to guess which stories are true and which are false. Wanna play? Let’s. Here is a series of “breaking news re…

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