Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 18, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 18, 2020 




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 

Audrey Swanson

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee

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Oy, I’m in such a fog 
I don’t know who to 
believe. Really the 
thing I am pretty sure 
about is that nobody 
is very clear on what 
it is that we should be 
doing. The President 
wants everybody 
to go back to work 
because he is certain 
that a strong economy 
is the key to his re-
election while Governor Newsom is telling 
everyone to stay at home until the threat of 
the Coronavirus is gone. So when will that 
be? The governor tells us he will let us know 
in a couple of weeks but it all depends on how 
things are going.

First, off I want to warn everybody to be 
very careful on April 20th. This is my least 
favorite day of the year and it is a terrible day 
on which major tragedies have occurred. I 
remember learning that this day was the 
date of Adolph Hitler’s Birthday in Austria. 
Strange isn’t it that he wasn’t even born in 
Germany. I remember looking that day up 
on the internet and I learned that the multiple 
horrors occurred on that date. Right now 
I am looking it up again and this is what I 

1999—Columbine High School Shooting—15 
die and 24 victims injured

1906—San Francisco Earthquake and 
Fires –700 people died and 20, 000 were 
left homeless and is described as one of the 
worst earthquakes in history. Sometimes the 
date that is given is April 18th, but be careful 

2010—The Deepwater Horizon oil rig 
explodes and led to the largest accidental 
marine oi spill in history

I hope that’s enough history to keep you on 
your guard but please remember to keep 
your guard up because in another few days 
after April 20th then comes April 26th, the 
actual date of the Chernobyl disaster which 
is considered the worst nuclear disaster in 
history. The exact date of the explosion my 
42nd birthday on April 26, 1986. Furthermore 
right next to the place of the explosion was 
the city of Tolchin where my grandfather was 
born adjacent to that is the city of Chabany, 
birthplace of my father. Both cities were 
evacuated soon after the explosion which 
dropped 400 times more radiation than the 
atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Enough already, why do I remind you of these 
dates. We are going through extraordinarily 
difficult times right now but we are still 
around today. For me it is interesting that I 
was born on one of the worst days in 20th 
Century History and yet I survived. The 
birthplaces of my father and grandfather 
were destroyed but by that time they had 
both left for America and my father did what 
was necessary in order for me to be born 
on that very day and my life is still going. I 
have slowed down a bit but I am still going. 
The question for me is where do you and I 
go from here? During this time of forced 
confinement I believe I have learned import 
things and achieved important goals without 
even being aware of it.

Numerous times I have said that it would 
be a good idea to stop wasting money by 
going out to restaurants. I have stopped and 
my wife and I have enjoyed meals together 
without being distracted and interrupted by 
the usual happenings within the restaurant. 
Our meals eaten together on our deck in 
peace without having to go somewhere or do 
something have been wonderfully enjoyable 
and have allowed us to enjoy our wonderful 
mountain views especially on the last two 
perfect days. For years I have vowed to stop 
watching sports on television and now, for 
almost the first time in my remembered life I 
have watched no sports and have not missed 
it; okay maybe a little bit. I have noticed 
that the air is cleaner and believe this has 
something to do with the fact that people are 
not polluting the air by daily long distance 
driving and I shall keep this in mind and 
make a point of driving only when necessary 
and understanding that in this way I am 
contributing to a better planet in much the 
same way that by staying home only leaving 
when necessary we are of service to ourselves 
as well as the planet. Just keep that in mind.

 Fine, but will the restrictions last forever? 
No, they will not last forever and eventually 
we will be given the all clear to leave our 
houses but the rules of living will probably 
be changed. We should follow those rules 
not just because they are rules but because 
we are doing the best thing for ourself, others 
and the planet. Remember it is of great 
importance that we notice what we are doing 
and go when we should go and stay when we 
should stay. I am forever grateful that my 
eventual existence depended upon my father 
and grandfather noticing at some prior time 
that it was absolutely necessary that they 
leave the century old home of my ancestors 
and leave the familiar area near Chernobyl 
and make their way to America. I am certain 
that part of the reason they knew when to go 
and left when they did was in order to make a 
better life for me and my sister. No, we were 
not yet conceived and would not be for years 
but there is no doubt that their coming to 
America was intended to give their children 
and grandchildren a chance for a better life. 
Sadly, I never got a chance to talk to either of 
them about their reasons for leaving but I like 
thinking they did it for me. This is the secret 
of survival I believe. No matter the situation, 
see it in the most positive way that you can. 
Note when to approach and when to avoid 
and to notice what results from your action 
or inaction. Stay aware, get out of your fog 
and recognize the wonderful and helpful 
decisions you have made even if you were 
unaware of their significance at the time. It’s 
okay to lie a little—be kind to yourself and 
give yourself credit for your wisdom that 
you may never have known you possess, if 
necessary be inventive. It is a good idea to 
know what you are doing or at least pretend 
that you knew.

Kia ora and by all means act safely







COVID-19 has 
millions working 
from home. As 
a longtime teleworker, 
let me offer 
some advice.

Working from 
home has many 
upsides: no traffic 
jams, office politics or need for business 
attire. But a month-plus into this pandemic, 
many are realizing teleworking’s 

My morning commute goes from my 
bedroom to the kitchen (for coffee) to a 
small den in the back of my house. Every 
morning, though, one rubbernecker (me) 
blocks my commute by looking longingly 
at his unmade bed – and frequently 
climbing back into it.

Maintaining focus on work is challenging 
at home. Snacks in the fridge, Netflix on 
the tube, funny videos on Facebook all 
compete for attention. I’ve been an adult 
for a while now, but send me a video of 
talking dogs and I’d hang up on the company 
CEO to watch it.

Another challenge is hardly ever seeing 
other real humans during the day.

Sure, we see clients and colleagues on 
monitors, but, being social animals, we 
long for small talk. That regrettable need 
is straining my relationship with my postal 

Me (head covered by a green wool sock 
with eye holes cut out): “I hear it’s going 
to rain tomorrow.”

Postal carrier (sitting in his vehicle by 
my mailbox): “You’re wearing a sock for 
a mask?”

Me: “How about a cup of coffee?”

Postal carrier: “But you look like Gumby.”

I used to hang up on telemarketers. Now I 
look forward to their calls.

Extended-car-warranty guy: “It’s only 
$2,000 for three years’ coverage.”

Me: “My truck’s still under the manufacturer’s 
warranty. How’s the weather where 
you are?”

Those of us able to work from home – able 
to maintain income while much of the 
country’s shuttered – are incredibly lucky.

Thanks to innovation, we have powerful 
smartphones and laptops, plus super-fast 
fiber optic lines at home.

We can collaborate with colleagues all 
over the globe, share large files and run 
complex financial reports – as if we’re in 
the office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
estimate the 1918 Spanish Flu 
killed 50 million people around the world 
and 675,000 in America, when our population 
was a third of what it is now.

Working from home wasn’t an option for 
most back then.

Though the telephone had been invented 
four decades earlier, only about a third 
of U.S. homes had one, FastCompany 
reports. Still, the telephone offered some 

People were beginning to order groceries 
by phone. Newspapers and magazines remained 
the primary forms of mass communication 
– the first radio news broadcast 
wasn’t until 1920 – but phones offered 
opportunities to share news.

However, phone calls required operators 
to manually make connections – 
operators who couldn’t practice social 

They “sat at banks of switchboards in tight 
quarters, elbow to elbow with any infected 
coworkers,” FastCompany says.

Many operators became sick and phone 
systems couldn’t keep up with demand – 
making the 1918 pandemic all the worse.

Despite many unpleasant setbacks, lots 
of positive storylines are arising from the 
current pandemic. One incredible silver 
lining is that millions of Americans can 
still work productively as it unfolds.

That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news: When all of this is 
over and the sock comes off my head, my 
postal carrier isn’t likely to accept that cup 
of coffee.

Maybe I’ll give the FedEx driver a try.

The pandemic 
has turned our 
world upside 
down. We work 
from home. 
School is cancelled 
Weddings, graduations, baptisms 
and all of the other indicia of the normal 
trajectory of a human life are suspended. 
This is what it must like to be 
in Limbo, that now defunct Catholic 
state of existence without boundary, 
but also without God. The anxiety is 
real, palpable and weighs on all of us. 
On some, though, the weight is much 

 There is a little girl who should have 
had no weights on her young shoulders. 
She should, after so many years of 
sorrow and pain, been well and happy 
and enjoying the budding spring. She 
earned her hard-bought happiness, 
through a sacrifice that no one anticipated. 
But the coronavirus stole from 
her the life she should have had.

 Charlotte Figi was a child when she 
started having terrible seizures. Nothing 
could stop them, and their violence 
and unpredictability caused her 
desperate parents to look everywhere 
for a cure, or at least some respite from 
the tremors and the terror. Her condition, 
called Dravet Syndrome, was a 
rare form of epilepsy that couldn’t be 
controlled by any known medication. 
She wasn’t expected to live past the age 
of 10.

 But her parents heard of the beneficial 
effects of medical cannabis, and moved 
to Colorado, where the drug was legal, 
to see if it might be able to help their 
little girl. And it did. Her journey was 
documented in the film “Weed,” which 
showed the ways that the non psychotropic 
drug helped her. A special 
strain of it was created, and named in 
her honor, “Charlotte’s Web.” And she 
inspired thousands of other people, 
children with seizure disorders and 
the parents who loved them, providing 
hope that there might finally be a cure 
for this debilitating condition.

 Tragically, Charlotte was unable to 
resist the devastating impact of COVID-
19. While it was not conclusively 
established that she had died of the 
virus because initial tests came back 
negative, it is likely that she became 
infected in early March and by the 
time she was tested for the condition, 
it was too late. Because of the respiratory 
problems brought on by the virus, 
Charlotte began to have seizures again, 
one of which caused her to go into cardiac 
arrest. She passed away on Tuesday. 
She was 13.

 Like Ryan White, the child who provided 
a face for the AIDS crisis a generation 
ago, Charlotte Figi humanized 
the struggle for those who sought solace 
in revolutionary and controversial 
treatments. Because of her willingness 
to go public with the illness, and because 
of her parents’ deep love, Charlotte 
was able to remove the stigma 
that had been unfairly placed on medical 
cannabis. People were finally able 
to see just how this treatment, in its 
many variations, could save lives.

 I watched a segment on CNN where 
Sanjay Gupta spoke about Charlotte, 
and could barely keep his composure. 
The doctor had been a vocal and notable 
critic of the benefits of medical cannabis, 
doubting its efficacy (although 
rarely its safety.) However, after having 
spent significant time with Charlotte, 
and telling her story, he became convinced 
of the truly therapeutic impact 
CBD could have, particularly on children 
whose immune systems are much 
more delicate.

It is particularly cruel that Charlotte 
Figi could survive and become a success 
story at such a young age, and give 
very substantial hope to other children 
who suffered from seizure disorders, 
but then would succumb to the pandemic 
that is swirling around us. In 
words that approached poetry, Charlotte’s 
mother announced her death by 
writing “Charlotte is no longer suffering. 
She is seizure-free forever.”

While there is some comfort in the 
knowledge that this warrior child is finally 
at peace, the price that she had to 
pay is far too high. This virus has stolen 
far too much, far too many moments 
of joy, far too many lives, and even the 
unappreciated pleasures of normalcy.

That Charlotte Figi was among these 
losses triggers a sadness that transcends 
normal comprehension. But 
her legacy, as that of Ryan and Alex, 
lives on in the memory of those who 
themselves will live on, because of 
their journeys, and their courage.

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