The Shasta County Connection—7-12-19

Burney Basin Days was another huge success.  I attended a couple of the events and enjoyed the 4th of July celebration.  It is the high point in Burney of every year to commemorate the birthday of the United States of America.  It is especially important for our youth to instill a sense of patriotism in them.  The weather was outstanding and everyone really enjoyed the fireworks and other special events.

I attended a viewing of the documentary at the Cascade Theater titled Seattle is Dying.  This documentary, from Eric Johnson, covered the enormous problem with the homeless in Seattle and the subsequent substance use, overwhelming abundance of trash and needles in the streets, and the presence of untreated mental illness.  It is a powerful documentary and I would encourage everyone to take an hour of your time and watch this online.  Perhaps some of the most valuable information disseminated was a talk by Dr. Greg Greenberg, a Redding ER physician, and what he sees in his Emergency Room on a daily basis.  I very much appreciated his very simplistic explanation of drug addiction and how powerful and relentless it can be.  Dr. Greenberg has assisted with creating local services to address addiction and his mission is to expand more services in our greater community.  Our District Attorney, Stephanie Bridgett, gave a good overview of our criminal justice system and how recent laws passed in California have limited the ability of the criminal justice system to hold people accountable for their crimes.  We have all experienced the results of these new laws and, as citizens, and have had to become more vigilant and proactive on our own property.

My number was up and I was called for Jury Duty.  It was encouraging to see so many young people show up in the jury room.  We all have a civic duty to serve at one time or another.  The case I was assigned to was postponed because the defendant failed to appear for trial.  This is a frequent problem for the criminal justice system and a big waste of taxpayer dollars.  When we complete the additional jail beds in the next couple of years, we will have expanded to what the state has designated is roughly the appropriate number of beds in Shasta County.  My hope is that more offenders can be incarcerated until they go to trial, so we don’t have the “failure to appear” behavior continue.

I drove to Los Molinos to Crain Orchards for our recent Northern California Water Association Meeting (NCWA).  I always enjoy these meetings and find out what is the latest information on water issues in the state of California.  A high priority for this administration is safe drinking water and funding has been established for grants to improve small water districts throughout the state. Hopefully, we will see some of those dollars being used in Shasta County in the future.

As the Board of Supervisor’s liaison to the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board (MHADAB), I attended the July 10th meeting.  There is always a tremendous amount of information shared at these meetings.  We had a presentation on opioids and the statistics for Shasta County in relation to overdoses and hospital visits.  As expected, Shasta County has one of the highest percentage rates of opioid use in California.  We have seen a decline in deaths (the high point being in 2015), partly attributable to more treatment services and Naloxone, a medication used to block the effect of opioids.  This drug can work within two minutes and does save lives.  There was also an update on providing Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) in jail, a service I have been encouraging during my term as a supervisor.  If we don’t treat the addiction, we will continue to have the cycle of catch and release and the person will re-offend over and over again.  Another exciting bit of news is that in the near future, there will be an expansion of the Methadone Clinic in Redding as a full-service clinic.  This will mean patients will not have to travel to Chico for follow up counseling in the future.  All services for someone in treatment will be available in Redding.

I have been in discussions with local leaders to continue working on forums surrounding substance use and the detrimental effects it has on everyone’s quality of life.  We need to educate our youth how powerful drug addiction can be and how devastating the consequences are when one becomes addicted.

We have been fortunate with the mild weather so far this summer.  Let’s hope and pray that we escape any serious fire events.  Be safe and vigilant.  I carry a fire extinguisher in my car, a good idea just in case you see a situation that warrants the use of a fire extinguisher on your daily travels.

If any of you have a question, please contact me at mrickert@co.shasta.ca.us.

Mary Rickert

District 3, Shasta County Supervisor