I read, with interest, your article entitled “Reinventing Scotia” in the Nov. 26 issue. I was born and raised in Scotia, my father being an employee of the Pacific Lumber Company until his retirement some 15 years ago. We enjoyed the benefits of living in “the company town,” which included no-cost maintenance and repairs to homes, including, but not limited to, plumbing, painting, electrical repairs and roofing. Residents also enjoyed free garbage pickup, free water and sewer services, low-cost energy, a maintained and manicured downtown area, access to a physical fitness facility at an extremely nominal fee, a beautiful picnic near the ball park and a public school built and maintained by the company. As children of employees, we also received a nice gift, or cash, at Christmas. This list contains only a few of the benefits of living in Scotia, because virtually everything was provided or taken care of by “the company.”
I point this out because I suspect that if every town had a “company” to provide for its every need, for free or low cost, all would have been like Scotia when it existed under the protection of Palco. Unfortunately, Rio Dell, like almost every other town in existence, did not have the benefits of a “company” to groom, support and constantly maintain and manicure it. Nor has it enjoyed the tax base provided by a multimillion dollar industry within its boundaries, or the almost non-existent unemployment numbers.
All of this is to say that it seems totally unrelated and unnecessary to include any comments about Rio Dell in an article about “Reinventing Scotia.” What does Rio Dell have to do with Scotia? It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
I would like to suggest that the portion of your article from “Just across the bridge ...” to “... 16.4 percent [unemployment] is the highest of any city in the county” was unnecessary and unrelated to the subject of your article. It simply added to the somewhat negative perception of Rio Dell that the city and many individuals have been working to improve. Positive things are happening in Rio Dell. One example is that though the education level of the adult residents may remain below the state average, the students attending the Rio Dell Elementary School District scored 6 points higher on our API score than the average of all 28 elementary school districts in Humboldt County. Many other positive things are happening, too.
We wish Scotia all the best as they enter into the realities of living in the “real world.”
Mary Varner, Superintendent, Rio Dell Elementary School District
*Sweet Spot: Mary Varner wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.*