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As visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore approach the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm sign on their way to the lighthouse, they have reached the crossroads of a controversy. The agreement permitting this mariculture operation within a national park is set to expire in 2012. DBOF owners Kevin and Nancy Lunny, as well as their supporters, would like to extend it. Others, including the National Park Service itself, favor letting the agreement expire. Among issues raised: local agriculture and historical precedent versus wilderness protection.
The Citizen has both reported on the controversy and acted as a community forum. This work-in-progress page links some of what has appeared on our pages, as well as some of the source material behind our reporting. We hope you’ll find it a valuable resource.
Joel Hack, Publisher, Jim Kravets, Editor
Coast Guard training exercise at the mouth of Tomales Bay - photo by Gregg Schnitzer
Healthcare Coalition West Marin medical campus considered
By Ellen Shehadeh
While the rest of the country is fiercely debating healthcare legislation, West Marin is dealing calmly and strategically with its own health care issues.The tenuous nature of healthcare in West came to the fore with the departure of primary care doctor Molly Bourne from the West Marin Medical Center in 2007, after eight years of service. Hundreds of patients, including many who were frail and elderly, were left without a primary doctor. Existing medical institutions such as the Coastal Health Alliance scrambled to fill the void. Several West Marin citizens including Suzanne Speh, Michael Mery and others stepped in to establish a bridge loan that would sustain Dr. Witt’s practice, and provide funds to hire another primary care doctor. Dr. Eileen Gleeber arrived on the scene several months later to join Dr. Witt’s practice. She has been providing primary care to Dr. Bourne’s patients and others ever since. Now creative West Marin minds have conceived of a plan which might provide local residents with stable and convenient healthcare; a medical center that could house health care providers on one “campus” and would promote financial savings for providers by giving them the opportunity to join forces for internet providers, bookkeeping, waiting rooms and other maintenance necessities. Said Mike Durrie, one of the prime movers on this project, “Right now each provider is re-inventing the wheel”This concept has been tried successfully in other rural areas, such as the El Camino Healthcare District in Sunnyvale, Durrie said. Of course funding is the main challenge in such a project. One option might be to create a Special District with the power to tax homeowners, just as the Inverness Public Utility Districts does now.Another possibility might be to hold an annual major fundraiser, currently being done in Napa and Mendocino counties, which could attract donors from outside our small West Marin pond. Other funding sources and collaborators are also being explored such as the Marin Community Foundation and Kaiser. Suzanne Speh and Mike Durrie met with Steve Kinsey and Liza Crosse on Wednesday. Kinsey was very supportive of the concept and had many good suggestionsJohn Severson, Executive Director of the Coastal Health Alliance, says that healthcare providers in West Marin face a “dual challenge.” Everyone is outgrowing existing spaces and no one is well financed to build new facilities. He also sees the possibility of “co-housing” healthcare providers as a way “to make it easier on patients, such as the increasing elderly population of West Marin” while providing financial economy for everyone involved.“We are just getting to a feasibility study,” said Severson. He explained that a consultant is required to look at legal issues of housing profit and non-profit under one roof, site and parking requirements, range of costs and kinds of financing available. “This is a project of enough public good” that large foundations and the county would be inclined to participate. With the availability of funds the project could move faster, and conceivably be a reality in five years.One possible site mentioned is the open space behind Toby’s currently owned by the county. Other options are also being explored. The plan will be presented to the West Marin community from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, Sept. 24, in the church space of the Dance Palace. Representatives of the Coastal Health Alliance, West Marin Medical Center, West Marin Physical Therapy, West Marin Pharmacy, West Marin Senior Services, Marin County Health and Human Services, Rhea’s Home Care, Hospice by the Bay and Senior Access will also be on hand to update the community on their services.Also on the agenda:Updated information on medical airlifting insurance and information about a “take back” program to recycle medications. Attendees are invited to bring expired medications for safe disposal. In addition West Marin will now have four ongoing collection sites:
– Point Reyes Community Health Center, 3 6th Street
– Bolinas community Health Center, 88 Mesa Road
– Stinson Beach Community Health Center, 3419 Hwy 1
– West Marin Pharmacy Pt Reyes Station, 11 4th Street
The community healthcare meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, Sept. 24, in the church space of the Dance Palace.
September 17, 2010
Jake Velloza's Hearse tops the hill in San Rafael May 13, 2009
Gregg Schnitzer/Dillon Beach Photography/West Marin Citizen
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Begun July 5, 2007, The West Marin Citizen covers local news of the people of West Marin.
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Click here for photos by Galen Leeds of the Radio Fantastique New Year's Eve Party at Toby's Feed Barn
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The Citizen and the Point Reyes Light will not merge at this time. Long anticipated, the merger talks ended when a group of West Marin citizens and the publisher of the PR Light could not agree on a price.
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The staff of the West Marin Citizen
Reader's companions 2008 published 1/1/2009
Poetry is the companion of a homeless man who has sometimes lived in a van named Nomad in the Bolinas area. This picture on Bolinas beach.
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