Archive for November, 2011

Local Author Reads and Writes for Children

Posted in Feature Articles on November 26, 2011 by
Photo by Joe McGarity

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This week’s Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by Majestic Limousine.  Ride in Royal Style.
On the Eve of Thanksgiving, the Fantom Penguin caught Linda Boyden entertaining a group of youngsters at the Redding Barnes & Noble.  He asked her what was going on.
“Well, Storytime is a half-hour presentation of stories, songs and finger-plays for the pre-school set.  Barnes & Noble does it every Wednesday at 10:00.  Redding Library does a number of them.  The one I go to is Tuesdays at 10:30.”
When she was accused of being a published author of children’s books, she did not attempt to deny it.
“And a recovering school teacher.  I taught primary grades for about thirty years and then one day my husband came home and said, ‘We’re moving to Maui,’ and I went, ‘No, we’re not,’ but we did and at that point I said, you know I’m not going to teach any more.  I’ve always wanted to write.  I’ve got loads of written stuff.  Let’s see if I can do it.  So, it took a number of years but I sold my first book in 2002.”
How difficult is it to sell one’s first book?
“It’s kind of like this:  The publishers are not accepting any submissions that are unsolicited and what that means is they only want submissions from agents.  I do not have an agent.  I’m like the majority of writers who don’t have agents.  So the agents then say, ‘We don’t want you unless you’ve proven your marketability,’ in other words, sold a lot of books.  So, it’s Catch 22.  But it hasn’t really stopped me.  I mean, there are ways.  I belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which is an international organization that has conferences all over the world and so I go to them and I learn how to hone my craft.  I learn how to present and what is selling.  So, I’ve been really, really lucky to sell three books since 2002.”
Boyden’s first book is called Blue Roses.
“That book is about a little girl and her grandfather who share a love of gardening, but then when he dies in the middle of the book it’s the lessons that she’s learned that help her to heal.  So, it’s done quite well in the sense that I get a lot of fan mail from parents who say, you know, we’ve used your book as a tool to help children either understand about losing someone you love or after someone has left.  And so it helps kids to heal.”
Isn’t that a little heavy for kids?
“Yeah, I’m gonna write a picture book.  It’s about death.  But you know, that aside it is a very needed topic.  And a lot of parents don’t know how to talk about it with their little kids and then all of a sudden a grandparent dies or even in some cases the loss of a pet.  They have said, ‘We’ve read your book because, you know, our dog died’ or what have you.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s still the same kind of grief.  My book ends on a bit of hope, a little touch of fantasy which I think seals it for the kids.  It gives kids hope.  And it was based on a dream I had in 1978 when my own grandfather died and I couldn’t go to his funeral.  He came to me and he was in a beautiful garden, not of blue roses but of all beautiful colors and his face was smooth, not wrinkled.  I mean, think about it.  My grandchildren will never know what I look like without wrinkles.  You know, it’s just how it is.  But in this he was glowing he was so happy and he told me to stop crying, that he was happy and then I woke up and I thought, ‘Well that’s a really nice message for kids,’ so that one was published in 2002.”
“Here in Redding, there is an organization called Writers’ Forum.  I’ve belonged since 2004 and we meet from September to June every second Saturday of the month and there’s a website.  I urge people who are interested in writing or learning more about writing to hook up with us.  Every month except June and December there is a speaker of some sort.  For example in January we’re going to have some San Francisco agents come and give a full-day workshop.  So, all that information is on the website.”

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Marijuana Causes Paranoia in Some

Posted in Feature Articles on November 19, 2011 by
Photo by Joe McGarity
Medical marijuana has been the topic of discussion for our local politicians and public servants these past two weeks, first at the Shasta County Planning Committee and then at the Redding City Council.  Signs and slogans on both sides of the issue illustrate a deeply divided community.  What is a concerned and interested citizen to make of all the shouting?  The Fantom Penguin spoke first to Robin Gosney, a local drug and alcohol counselor.  He asked her how the collectives have affected the work that she does.
“Probably what we’ve seen as much as anything is an increased relaxed attitude toward the use of marijuana.  I mean, everybody’s seen that and we’ve certainly seen more temptation for those who are actually dealing with very real drug and alcohol addiction problems to dabble with marijuana use, even more temptation to dabble with that which then oftentimes leads to problems for the true addict, the true alcoholic.”
“To dabble with marijuana can trigger the onset of your use of your primary drug of choice just because your thinking’s cloudy.  That’s one of the bigger problems that we’ve seen in the drug and alcohol field.  I’m not here to represent drug and alcohol counselors as a whole or any particular drug and alcohol facility in town, but I’m here more to speak just in general as to what I’ve seen and what my concerns and my worries are when it comes to what seems to be an increased cavalier attitude toward marijuana use.”
Gosney expressed to the Fantom Penguin her view of the situation.
“As much as anything I’m not hearing balance on either side.  You’ve either got those who are just, you know, ‘It’s the devil.  It’s evil.  The only people who use marijuana are lazy people who don’t want to get a job,’ and you know, the extreme attitudes.  Or the other extreme attitude which is:  ‘There’s nothing wrong with marijuana smoking at all.  It’s never harmful.  There’s no problems with driving under the influence of marijuana.  It should be a non-issue.  It should be on every shelf in every store that we walk into.’  I hear a lot of the extreme attitudes.  I don’t know if it’s just what I’m subjected to in the field that I work in or not, but even as the news that I watch lately, local news channels, I’m hearing both, both extremes quite a bit.  I think that as much as anything what I would want people to think about is what their personal truth is about marijuana use.  I think that there’s probably an appropriate medical use for it.  That’s my personal opinion.  I don’t think that all drug and alcohol counselors look at it the way that I do, but I think that’s there’s probably an appropriate medical use of marijuana.  I’ve personally seen people who’ve had extreme reactions to, for instance chemotherapy, be really, really aided by the use of marijuana.  I think that there are extreme medical situations where perhaps marijuana is a drug that can be useful or it might even be more useful than some other kind of drug therapy.  But the problem is, as I see it, is that it’s now just become a free-for-all.  Just about anybody can go get a 215 card.  Are you getting the 215 card truthfully because you have a medical issue that requires that or are you getting the 215 card so that you legally can get stoned and that’s what it’s about for you?  And that’s what I hope that people look at is what their personal truth is.”
The Fantom Penguin also talked to Gina Munday, Senior Director of the Green Heart Collective in Anderson.  The Fantom Penguin asked her what was going on.
“Just a lot of conflict between the laws right now versus State versus Federal, so the conflict is between State and Federal.  Us patents that live in the state, of course we want to follow state rules and state guidelines.”
“A lot of the stereotypes just think that we’re just pot houses and we makes lots of money, to the contrary, us collectives of people that do grow for our patients . . .  We don’t grow for every patient, but we do grow for some of our patients that don’t have access or ability to grow for their medicine therefore we come into play.  We grow their medicine.  We keep a portion of it and then we give them a portion.  What they do is they have to contribute either time or money, which we have them come and donate time.  We don’t ever take any money from our patients, as far as being our collective patients.  We ask that they come and donate time at the store, which is labeling, doing things around here, but the most of our help is needed is at harvest time and so that’s when the patients that we do grow for, we do have them come out and donate some of their time in order to receive their medicine and then in turn they get their medicine for free.”
Asked if the impending changes have caused a sort of a run on the banks, with clients scrambling to get pot while they still can, she surprised the Penguin by saying no.
“Especially right now, at this time, it is harvest time.  For the patients that did choose to grow their own medicine, they’re harvesting.  They already have an abundancy of their medicine.  It’s for the patients that don’t belong to a collective, that don’t have access to grow their medicine or there’s a lot of patients out there that don’t want to smoke it.  They want to do edibles.  They want to try capsules.  They want to try the topicals.  Unfortunately the people that are trying to regulate us and put us out of business, they don’t want to spend any time educating themselves.  As far as talking to any patients, we focus on really rich CBD strains.  We’ve also created a topical ointment to help you with your arthritis, your deep chronic pains for the people that don’t want to smoke it because there’s a lot of patients out there that don’t want to smoke it, but yet they want to get the benefits and the relief from the cannabis.”
CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which like THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a substance made by the plant that has an effect on the human body when consumed.
“A lot of people who don’t want to educate themselves think that you just put the plant in the ground, you grow it, you sell it and you make all this money but there’s a lot more work and detail into growing your own medicine.”
Munday was hesitant to speculate about the future of the industry.
“I try not to think about it too much.  I just keep thinking is that I don’t understand why anybody would want to close down businesses, put people out of work especially in today’s economy.  And I’m not saying that just because today’s economy is so bad that we should allow marijuana so everybody can make money.  But it’s not really like that.  I mean, the people that are doing it for the right reasons, we’re just like any other business people.  We are a non-profit.  I don’t take any bonus checks.  I don’t get any dividends or anything.  I get a bi-weekly paycheck.  That’s all that I ever wanted.  As long as the Green Heart can grow and help patients and help patients want to better themselves and go natural . . .  I hear a lot of complaints about people and their Norcoes, their pain-killers, their side effects.  It’s destroying their organs on their inside.  They want to go a more natural way.  It is a natural way.  It’s 100% natural.  Why not?  We have the choice.  I have the choice either to try cannabis or to go get a sleeping pill or to go get a pain-killer.  I have that choice and we should all have those choices, which we do, but now that the cities and counties are getting involved, that they’re saying that we can’t do this and we can’t do this because we’re making all this money and all this.  But yet, nobody wants to sit down and talk to us.  Come in and see the daily operations of a collective.  See the patients that come in.  See the people that come in for their edibles or their tinctures or their capsules.  See the patients that don’t want to take the pharmaceutical drugs that are wreaking havoc on their body versus trying a natural herbal clean way to go.”


Posted in Feature Articles on November 12, 2011 by
Graphic by Joe McGarity

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Orange.  Green.  Blue.  White.  Purple.  Yellow.  Black.  Red.  Brown.  Orange.  Green.  Blue.  White.  Purple.  Yellow.  Black.  Red.  Brown.  Orange.  Green.  Blue.  White.  Purple.  Yellow.  Black.  Red.  Brown.  Orange.  Green.  Blue.  White.  Purple.  Yellow.  Black.  Red.  Brown. 

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Occupy Redding Plans Big Surprise for Monday

Posted in Feature Articles on November 5, 2011 by
Photo by Joe McGarity
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread quickly to nearly every city in the nation and even abroad.   Redding has not been an exception, even if its number of protesters has been small.  Although officially a “leaderless” movement, Joshua Jansen seemed to have everything under control this Thursday when the Fantom Penguin stopped by Sculpture Park.  He hinted at something big in the near future.
“Hey, everybody!  We’re down here at Occupy Redding.  We are right off to the side of City Hall in Sculpture Park.  I’m wanting everyone to come out on Monday.  It is our one-week anniversary.  We’ve got a very, very big surprise that’s going to be coming out here and we welcome everybody and that is children to the elderly.  I want everybody that can come out to come out and see all the wonderful things that’s going to be happening on Monday.”
“The Occupy Movement is really to get all corporate greed out.  We don’t need corporate greed in our government.  You look at how many different government officials used to work as big bankers.  That is really, really scary to us and we want all of those people out of there and we want normal Americans in our government.”
“Well, what’s happening here locally is we’ve actually been working with the city and also the police department for peaceful resolutions to our Occupy Redding camp.  Currently we are on a ‘day camp’ schedule.  That’s not to say that we’re not going to have a 24-hour camp here in the near future.  If you would like, please get onto  There’s tons of information there.  You can also sign up for times to come out and pledge time or make donations or anything else that you would like to do.  Learn a little bit more about Occupy as a whole.  Another good one for you guys would be to get onto New York’s general assembly website.  Just throw that in, in Google.  Click on the first page that pops up.  There will be tons of information on Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the World for you.”
The big surprise, the nature of which was not revealed to the Fantom Penguin, takes place Monday, November 7, 2011 in Sculpture Park next to Redding City Hall “around noon”.