Friday, August 29, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: A team effort helped save Winters from flames

From page A10 | July 11, 2014 |

We offer our cheers and jeers for local newsmakers as we look back over the previous week:

CHEERS to CalFire crews and the thousands of reinforcements sent from local fire agencies who protected Winters and its environs from the Monticello Fire. The thick, brittle brush, incredibly dry conditions, high heat and gusty winds could have been a recipe for disaster. But no homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.

And CHEERS to the Yolo County Animal Services personnel and local residents who worked through the night after celebrating the Fourth of July to bring dozens of animals to safety. Rural folks typically have an emergency plan in place and those sure came in handy this week.

JEERS to a tragedy that didn’t need to happen. Before Aquelin Talamantes drowned her 5-year-old daughter Tatiana last September in her sister’s Glide Drive home, there had been plenty of warning signs that she needed help.

Indeed, she had received psychiatric care just months before at the Sacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center, but drug and alcohol abuse fueled her paranoia following her discharge. On the day of Tatiana’s death, Talamantes apparently believed police were going to come and cut off the little girl’s head.

It’s easy to look back and criticize, but this case is just one more example of how important mental health services are and how accessible they must be. Yolo County has taken an important step with the Board of Supervisors’ recent decision to fully fund “Laura’s Law.”

The law allows courts to order involuntary outpatient treatment for individuals with a serious mental illness, a recent history of hospitalization or violent behavior, as well as noncompliance with a voluntary treatment plan indicating a likelihood of becoming dangerous to themselves or others.

If only Talamantes’ family had taken advantage of that law, perhaps Tatiana would be alive today.

CHEERS to 23 teenagers from Davis and beyond who spent two weeks learning the ins and outs of law enforcement at the Davis Police Department Youth Academy. The assignments were rigorous — pushing a two-ton patrol car up and down the street outside the Davis police station, for example — and emphasized teamwork.

The 13- to 16-year-olds also learned about defensive tactics, crime-scene investigations, narcotics and gang intervention — important knowledge for future police cadets and sworn officers alike.

It takes courage for teens to enroll in challenging program like this, and we honor their guts. We also thank the Davis Police Department for doing its part to train those who one day will protect and serve us.

And CHEERS to the city of Davis and the countless volunteers with the Davis Bike Club, Davis Little League, Kiwanis Club of Davis, Davis Live Music Collective and Davis Human Relations Commission for giving us such a bang-up Fourth of July celebration! The Independence Day festivities always help bring us together as a community and we thank those who made them happen once again.


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