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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday Weekly Round: School Board Field Set

School Board Field Set

The filing period officially closed on August 15, 2007. There are four candidates running for two spots. The Vanguard will be attempting to interview each candidate and will be the source for information about the vital school board campaign.

The four candidates are Susan Lovenburg who has been very active both on the PTA and in general as a volunteer. Richard Harris a columnist with the Davis Enterprise and former District Director with Congressman Vic Fazio. Bob Schelen, a Researcher/Consultant for Majority Services for the Democratic Party in the State Assembly, and Joseph Spector who a former school psychologist.

I do not know much about Mr. Spector and I am not certain how strong a campaign he is going to run. My early handicapping of this race is that Ms. Lovenburg as the only female running has a tremendous advantage and I would say is likely to win one of the seats. That would leave the three men to vie for the second seat. Harris has already raised a lot of money for this race. Schelen needs to become the alternative to Harris with an emphasis on his support for keeping Valley Oak open and helping disadvantaged kids.

Superintendent Search Nearly Over

We may know as soon as next week who the new superintendent will be. Stay tuned to the Vanguard where we will bring you the news first.

More on West Nile Mosquito Spraying

An opinion piece in the Sacramento News and Review this week, argues that spraying is unproven in terms of effectiveness and untested in terms of long term health risks.

A few key quotes:
  • "In recent weeks, the district fast-tracked unproven and unsafe pesticides that were sprayed over 375,000 residents to kill adult mosquitoes."

  • "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that it is illegal to call these pesticides safe. "

  • "Short-term symptoms of mosquito pesticide poisoning include rashes, nausea and dizziness. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the long-term or cumulative effects because they are untested."

  • "Common sense tells us that we should use the safest possible mosquito controls. For decades, the SYMVCD has used effective non-chemical controls to stop the spread of infected mosquito larvae. Scientific literature has done little to support the case for large-scale spraying. Aerial spraying is just a Band-Aid solution."
In the lively discussion that occurred last week after the article in the Vanguard, one clear thing remained unanswered--whether the health risks of not spraying given the rather low infection and mortality rates of WNV in the local area outweighed the health risks that are untested of spraying. As it stands right now, you are much more likely to get killed in a car accident or even by other health threats than by West Nile Virus. That should not be taken as a minimization of the suffering some have experienced, but rather a suggestion that we take a totalistic view of health policies before we rush in.

The other question that should be answered is whether if the mosquito population goes unchecked--the spread of WNV will increase from its current low levels. Moreover, the question remains as to the best way to slow the spread of WNV--perhaps it is at the personal level by using insect repellent rather than in the environmental level by spraying.

Update on Vanguard's Fundraising for Yolo Crisis Nursery

Thanks to the generous support of Vanguard readers, the Vanguard's event has now raised $1550 for the Yolo Crisis Nursery.

The Nursery is still in need of both direct contributions as well as item donations.

To see their current wish-list, please click here

To go to the Yolo Crisis Nursery's website, please click here.

The Vanguard would also like to promote a benefit coming up in October in Vacaville that will be raising money for Tuberous Schlerosis Complex...

5K RUN and 2 mile Fun Run/Walkathon

(From Press Release) VACAVILLE, CA — On Saturday, OCTOBER 13, 2007 volunteers in the Northern California area will be gathering to participate in the Step Forward to Cure TSC 5K Run and 2 Mile Fun Run/Walk. It will take place at Lagoon Valley Park, rain or shine. There will be family activities, a raffle, silent auction and music. Prizes will be awarded to the top three individual fundraisers! For the certified 5K course: Age group division top 3 finishers and top 3 overall finishers will be awarded prizes.

REGISTRATION: 8 am at the event OR pre-registration mail-in/ drop-off at Fleet Feet, 354 Merchant Street: Vacaville, CA 95688. Registration flyers available at Fleet Feet, or contact Dena Mitchell at 707-451-1559. Online registration:

START TIME: 5K Run 9:00 a.m. 2 Mile Fun Run/Walk: 9:15 a.m.

FEE: 2 mile Walk: no registration fee. 5K event is $15 pre-registration or $20 on event day.

MAJOR SPONSORS: Fleet Feet Sports of Vacaville and Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Other sponsors include Alza Corporation. Plus many other local companies are involved.

Getting friends and family to sponsor (donate) to participants is encouraged to raise awareness of Tuberous Sclerosis. Raise at least $100 in donations will receive a Step Forward t-shirt.

All proceeds benefit the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TS Alliance). Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis, a national fund-raising campaign, was created to raise awareness of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a devastating genetic disorder, while generating the funds critical to identifying effective treatments and an eventual cure.

TSC affects in 1 in 6000 children. It is estimated to affect 50,000 people in the U.S. and more than one million worldwide. Although it can be transmitted through genetic inheritance, about two-thirds of TSC cases are believed to be a spontaneous mutation. TSC is a multi-system disorder, due to the growth of tumors in vital organs, such as the brain, heart, kidney, lungs and skin. People with TSC commonly have epilepsy, behavioral disorders (such as attention deficit disorder-ADD), autistic spectrum disorder, skin tumors and other symptoms. Currently there is no cure.

For 30 years, the TS Alliance has been the main source of information and resources to help individuals and families optimize care for those affected by tuberous sclerosis complex. For further information about the TS Alliance or TSC, go online at or contact the organization toll-free at (800) 225-6872.

Story about Matthew

Matthew has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC). He was diagnosed when he was 2 days old. He was scheduled for a heart surgery at birth for a coarctation of the aorta repair, which is a non-related condition. During pre-op screening for surgery, a brain ultrasound revealed sub cortical brain tumors. These tumors, along with a tumor in his heart, lead to the diagnosis of TSC. His heart surgery was performed at 5 days old without complications, thankfully. Yet this is the least of our concerns today. We are left with the more daunting realization that he has Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a lifelong medical condition with unpredictable outcomes. And he will be advised not to have children, since there is a 50% chance of passing it on.

He is one of the fortunate 15% who are not severely affected by TSC, yet his future is unknown. His brain and recently diagnosed kidney tumors continue to grow. He also has mild sensory problems. He will continue to need testing in cardiology, neurology, developmental and behavioral specialties, renal, and optometry for years to come. As well as related surgical procedures if the tumors continue to grow. Not only is this an emotional stressor to a child and future adult, but also a financial stress on the health care system.

Research on TSC is having a significant impact on our understanding of epilepsy, autism, cancer, learning and behavioral disabilities, and diabetes. Progress IS being made. This research has the potential to be applied to the treatment and possible cures in all of these diagnoses’. See for more on research progress.

Support the Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis Complex 5K Run and 2 mile Fun Run/Walk on October 13, 2007 at Lagoon Valley in Vacaville, CA.

Donate, register, or sponsor Matthew Mitchell online.

For more info or to volunteer: Dena Webb Mitchell 707-451-1559. Registration brochures also available at Fleet Feet of Vacaville, throughout the community, or call Dena. See website for more details about TSC.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting