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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Don't mix alcohol and pregnancy: H'00hy take a chance? WHERE I STAND PLUMAS RURAL SERVICE weeks when the iregnancy has not even been discovered. The cognitive deficits and behavioral problems resulting from prenatal alcohol expo- sure are lifelong. Fortunately, alcohol-related birth defects are totally preventable. What is FASD? FASD is not a clinical diag- nosis but a term to describe a range of effects that can occur in a child whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral and learning disabilities, with possible lifelong effects. It refers to conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome, al- cohol-related neurodevelop- ment disorder and alcohol-re- lated birth defects. FASD occurs in about 10 per 1,000 live births, or about 40,000 babies per year in the U.S. Most children who have an FASD have never received an assessment or services, and they reach the system after a long fall through the cracks. It is not an easy task to get a Studies show school-aged and college students who par- ty and binge drink are more likely to give birth to a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder effects. However, FASD effects are not limited to • just young people who tend to - drink heavily. In.fact, educated women have often been misled into thinking a glass of wine a day will not harm their unborn ba- by. However, healthcare offi- cials now know any alcohol consumption during pregnan- cy increases the risks of alco- hol-related birth defects, in- cluding facial abnormalities, growth deficiencies, mental retardation, central nervous system impairment, behav- ioral disorders and learning disabilities. No amount of alcohol con- sumption may be considered safe; it may damage a fetus at any stage of pregnancy, in- cluding the very earliest child referred for an FAS as- sessment, especially if you live in a rural area where transportation, specialized as- sessments, tight budgets and medical insurance are issues. What are the challenges? FASD's effects on the brain can result in cognitive or be- havioral problems. Young peo- ple who are affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are also at increased risk for invqlvement with the juvenile justice system, oftentimes car- rying into the adult prison system. People with FASD typically are impulsive and have trou- ble predicting the conse- quences of their actions. They may have a poor sense of per- sonal boundaries. Many are very susceptible to peer pressure and can be easily led. Their judgment is often poor and they struggle throughout school. Problem areas in school in- clude developmental delays, visual and auditory process- ing difficulties, poor social skills, detentions, suspensions and expulsions, difficulty or- ganizing themselves and their personal items, inability to follow through with simple step-by-step instructions, un- productive use of time, dimin- ished capacity (unable to know right from wrong), hy- peractivity and inattentive- ness, problems with school au- thority, excitability and over- stimulation. These are just some of the many identified problems FASD children struggle with often throughout their lives. As a FASD child grows into adulthood, she often has diffi- culty maintaining a steady job, managing hermoney, tending to household chores, problems with interpersonal relationships, increased chance of substance abuse, in- volvement in domestic vio- lence situations, inappropri- ate civic and sexual behav- iors, and a greater chance of repeating the cycle by having a FASD child herself. There is hope. We can change how teacLers, lawyers, clients, police officers, judges, probation officers, social workers and family members work with FASD clients. To help youth with FASD, it is important to be specific with directions, avoid general- izations, provide structure at home and in the classroom, eliminate distractions while learning, and build their day around repetition, routine and consistency. For more concrete tips on how to help children with FASD be successful in school, at home and in their commu- nity, visit plumasruralser- vices.org/Family Empower- ment Center. This year on the ninth minute, of the ninth hour, of the ninth month, Sept. 9, known as FASDAY, bells will toll throughout the world to begin a minute of reflection by parents, caregivers and pro- fessiOnals who remind others that women should not drink alcohol during their nine months of pregnancy, The Bell Concordance start- ed Sept. 9, 1999, and has con- tinued throughout the world ever since. Bells are used be- cause they were once associat- ed with warnings and alarms, as well as happiness, marking important moments, and com- municating and connecting with local communities. The Plumas Rural Services Family Empowerment Center will recognize the 2010 FASD Awareness Day by facilitating a local survey in the commu- nity to ask people what they know about fetal alcohol spec- trum disorders. Asking that question provides an opportunity to build aware- ness and understanding of FASD here in Plumas County. The survey answers will be submitted to the FASD Center in Tuscan, Ariz., and included in its international studies. For more information on suspected disabilities, behav- ior concerns and special edu- cation options, contact Vikki Tuck, Program Coordinator, Family Empowerment Center Plumas-Sierra County, Plumas Rural Services, 283- 1136, ext. *829. Tax increases are comin S unless Consress takes action WHERE I STAND KEN THEOBALD CPA Normally, one would think that Congress would have to take some action to increase taxes. However, it is quite the opposite for 2010 and 2011. If Congress fails to take action, there will be a tax increase af- fecting just about everyone in every tax category. In order to skirt a Senate rule that re- quires 60 votes to pass a bill that increases the deficit be- yond a 10-year window, Con- gress passed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 with most provisions desined to sunset this year. Despite President Obama's vow of no new taxes for indi- viduals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000, stopping these tax increases from tak- ing place will require Con- gressional action. However, not only are we in an election year -- when most of our politicians tend to steer away from tax-related discussions before voting day Congress is looking for ways to make up some of the budget deficit, and many legislators consider ex- tending the current laws to be too costly. So, we may not see any action on tax increases or extensions until late in No- vefnber, if then. To put this all in perspec- tive, the following is a list of some of the automatic tax changes that have already tak- en place in 2010 or will take place in 2011 and subsequent years as a result of expiring or new tax laws. Those affecting 2010: • Non-itemizers real proper- ty tax deduction - The $500 ($1,000) for joint tilers) proper- ty tax deduction for non-item- izers expired after 2009. This most likely will impact lower- income taxpayers, or those whose homes are mortgage free and have no home inter- est expense, and who are un- able to itemize their deduc- tion. For taxpayers in the 15 percent tax bracket, this equates to a $75 tax increase (or $150 for joint tilers). • Farm losses - For tax years beginning after 2009 thePar Act limits the farming loss 6f a taxpayer, other than a C cor- poration, for any tax year in which any applicable subsides are received. The losses are limited to the greater of (a) $300,000 ($150,000 for a mar- ried person filing separately), or (b) the taxpayer's total net farm income for the prior five tax years. • Alternative minimum tax - (Flat Tax) Way back in 2001, Congress increased the AMT exemption to keep middle- class taxpayers from being caught up in this punitive tax and have been inflation ad- justing and extending it on an annual basis in recent years. However, they seem reluctant to adjust it for 2010. If they do not, the exemption will return to $45,000forjoiningflters - (down from $70,950 in 2009) and $33,750 (down $46,700 in 2009) for unmarried individu- als. This will generally snare middle-income taxpayers, and the tax bite can range upward to several thousand dollars. *Teacher's classroom sup- plies deduction- The $250 above-the-line deduction for teacher classroom supplies ex- pired after 2009. ,Above-the-line education deduction - The up-to-S4,000 above-the-line deduction for education for education e- penses (tuition and fees) ex- pired after 2009. Those affecting 2011: .Tax rates - As part of the Bush era tax cuts, the margin- al tax rates (they increase with taxable income) were re- tt6d t6 10, 15, 25, 28 and 33 .... percent..These rates are set to return to their original levels of 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 per- cent. The 10 percent and 15 percent brackets will be placed with a single 15 percent bracket. This results in an in- crease for everyone. Those in the previously lowest bracket (10 percent) will see a tax in- crease of approximately 5 per- cent, while others will see in- creases ranging approximate- ly from 2 percent to 6 percent. In addition, an expanded 15 percent bracket for a married couple filing a joint return has applied for several years as re- lief for the "marriage penal- ty." This will not apply as of 2011. Instead the top of the 15 percent bracket for.joint re- turns will be about 167 percent of the end point for single re- turns rather than the 200 per- cent it has been. See Tax, page 12B LETTERS EDITOR Wonderful welcome Thank you to everyone who was involved in Feather River College night in downtown Quincy. Everything I heard from the students I spoke with and the merchants I visited was positive. It seems that a good time was had by all! It was a wonderful, welcoming, community-oriented way to start the school year. To the many merchants who took the time to stay open late, decorate their stores, pass out snacks, and provide coupons and discounts to the incoming students, thank you all. I know that the FRC stu- dents were made to feel very welcome to Quincy and that they will all feel much more a part of our community during their time here as a result of this event. Bruce Baldwin Quincy Get connected I picked up the phone, need- ing someone to stack my wood. Within 24 hours a young man was at my door to help. I turned on my computer to check my e-mail. Someone else needed help organizing her basement. I called and arranged to assist her the next day. In these two transactions no money changed hands --just time and skills, matched by a local organization that is available for all to access. This organization is called Community Connections, housed by Plumas Rural Ser- vices. We have an incredible com- munity of skills and re- sources. With an uncertain economic future, this fact be- comes even more important. One hundred thirty individ- uals have joined the Communi- ty Connection network, trad- ing time for services in what is referred to as "time banking." One friend has been volunteer- ing at the Community Supper, cat sitting, stuffing envelopes to accumulate hours in her ac- count. She plans to use these hours after a surgery when she'll need extra help manag- ing her household during re- covery. People have always helped one another, especially in a smaller community. Communi- ty Connection goes beyond neighbor helping neighbor, be- cause it matches skills to the specific needs of the individ- ual. It takes our request out of the realm of imposing on a friend's good will. A person can bank or spend his/her time- shares in an organized way. I've found that it's also a wonderful way to meet new people, all of whom are screened and given back- ground checks. Organizations can also sponsor Community Connec- tions, thus tapping into poten- tially hundreds of volunteer hours for their events or orga- nization. Everyone has something to give shopping for an elder, helping with a mailing, clean- ing, organizing, raking and weeding are just a few of the more than 200 skills many of us can offer. As we walk into a future where sustainability and local resilience will become more important, we may not always be able to depend upon our federal or state government to come to our aid. But, we can count on one another. To be- come connected, call Commu- nity Connections at 283-3611 and ask for Leslie Wall. Pamela Noel Quincy Disgrace I have been thinking about Ms. France's commentary re- garding new regulations con- cerning breaks for workers when the ambient tempera- ture reaches over 85 degrees. I was thinking that her words might have more value if she had actually had a job that required her to work, you know, outside. And by working outside I don't mean whatever her- culean effort it might take her to get from her mini-van in the parking lot to the front door of the air-conditioned Walmart. Oh, and thank her for giv- ing us the standard neo-con vision of "wimpy liberals" who "tend to see the good in others." She might want to talk to Harry Bridges about that ... or some of my dead union brothers gunned down in San Francisco by corporate hired Pinkerton (and police) thugs on Bloody Thursday. But they are dead now. And we are all better for their toughness and refusal to cave in to armed bullies and thugs and greedy corporate inter- ests. Let it not go unsaid that big business never got to be "big" by giving away any- thing to anyone. If you believe otherwise? You are nothing more than a mark for the rich. Please give her my best and if it gets too hot in her office, she knows how to turn up the AC. I never write to papers; however, this was one of the most shameful things I have read anywhere. She is a dis. grace to the office which she has been given. If it were ,me? I'd write an apology to workers every- where. But, she's not me. I won't be holding my breath. Chris Gibbs Chester Hysteric venom Once again, hysteric venom overwhelmed quiet reason. Rush, Glen and Sarah are proud. I trust that all the "Cap The Taxers" will take their medical needs and emergen- cies to Reno or Chico or Shin- gle Springs in order to place no burden upon our local hos- pital. Win Youens Meadow Valley Early renewal On August 20, I received the renewal notice for one of my vehicles from the DMV for $290. It isn't even due until Nov. 20. That's three months. Now, why would they send it so early? My first guess is that they are desperate for money because of their rampant spending (vote them all out). However, if I don't pay it right away, 1 might forget about it. They inform me in the same letter that if I forget about it until Dec. 20, I now owe them $423. They suck. Jim Battagin Butterfly Valley Defensive driving I don't know who the young lady was or where she lives or whether she even reads the letters to the editor, but I wish to apologize to her and thank her profusely for avoiding an accident on Lawrence Street in Quincy on the 24th of Au- gust. I was driving along in the right-hand lane of Lawrence when I had decided to moe to the left lane. The young lady's colorful very late-model car was in the left lane and in my blind spot, and I did not see her at first. I began to make my move and suddenly I was aware that there was a car just inches away from me. She slammed on her brakes and swerved to the left while at the same time I slammed on my brakes. Her quick action avoided what might have been a serious accident. I guess it is silly of me to air this in public, but my con- science would not let me alone. I hope she reads this and knows that I am extreme- ly grateful for her defensive driving. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Wrong road I think this country is barrel- ing down the wrong road. The stimulus and TARP -- granted, from the previous administra- tion, with help from an opposi- tion Congress -- wasted bil- lions and shored up the eco- nomic villains and was paid for by the fiscally responsible. Then the healthcare bill that we had to "pass so we can see what's in it." It was and still is opposed by the vast ma- jority in this country. It was rammed through anyway. Cap and trade passed the House of Representatives, even though "it would necessarily cause electricity prices to skyrocket. It was opposed by a majority of folks. Card check and a value added tax, wildly unpopular ideas with the people and wildly popular with the ma- jority in Congress, are waiting in the wings. The only thing keeping them in the wings is a looming election and the knowledge that voters would be furious. After the election, they will be front and center with the support of the majori- ty in Congress and a willing president, unless ... When politicians get re- elected, they think: well, I must be doing it right. What do you think? If you don't like the way things are going, you need to take away their per- ceived mandate. If we don't shut down this runaway, we will have cap and trade fees and a value added tax on top of all other taxes. These two will hit at the retail level and will be regressive, meaning the less well off will be dispro- portionatelJ˘ burdened. We musf let the politicians supporting these measures know that they don't have our blessing to continue. We need to encourage our friends to register and then make sure they vote. RepudiaTion is something that the elected who are too important_o listen to us will understanq. When they are on the street, maybe the: wilI get it. Gary Vogt Quincy Shame on you It is inappropriate behavior for any city council member, who has been elected by the people of this city to run down and complain publicly about the city staff/workers and the volunteers of an organization who are working very hard helping the community and its businesses to survive. Es- pecially during a recession. The people of Portola deserve a council member that sup- ports those efforts not one that does not. Mr. Weaver, more often than not you are more than ready, willing and able to run down, chastise and reject the volunteer efforts of the people who live in our fine city and even those that do not. Shame on you.. Also on more than one occasion I have heard that you run down our city work- ers/staff. Shame on you. Did you not pay attention to "if can't say something nice then say nothing at all?" Shame on you, for bringing any one of the residents of Portola to a point to speak out against your actions or deeds. In the future, remember you are an elected official, so get involved with your communi- ty in a positive way and "bite your tongue." Live your life in a way that promotes the city and the committees that work diligently to better our com- munity, If this is too much for you to follow then, in my opin- ion, step down. If you are not for the betterment, then you are against it. At this point, I would like to say thank you to our hard- working city staff/workers and the Railroad Days Com- mittee, for all your efforts to support our little city, its resi- dences, businesses and its events. Portola is the little city that could ... and did. Jodi McBride Portola ........  T i"I ' " " .......... ' F"I];J] l '[  '= - IT =" '