I enjoy my relationship with the Sacramento Bee’s editors, both in the newsroom and Op-Ed pages. They do a good job of reaching out, and I also like reading the newspaper.
Over the years, we have met and exchanged emails about blogging, western Nevada County’s political culture, and journalism, among other topics. (The Bee won another Pulitzer Prize this year).
We use some of the Bee’s photos in our magazine —from a review of Restaurant Trokay in Truckee to the Amgen Tour of California bike race, for example. We also have had some more personal discussions — about our recent “adventure” in exploring high schools for our son (Ghidotti and Nevada Union High in Grass Valley and Jesuit in Sacramento), for example. I’m glad we reach out to each other.
We have been out of town, but this week I received an email from the Bee’s Editor asking if I had read the newspaper’s recent, three-part series, “The Silas project.” The Bee was proud of the in-depth reporting, and I couldn’t agree more. I also have received positive email feedback from locals pointing to it.
The Silas project begins: “The first seizure struck when he was 3. Soon, Silas Hurd was having hundreds a month. Doctors would tell his parents, Forrest and Nicole, that their son had a rare and life-threatening form of epilepsy. The diagnosis set the family on a years-long journey to find a cure, one that has tested their courage, stretched their definition of medicine and put them on the front lines of a county fighting over its marijuana use.”
Writer Peter Hecht and photographer Paul Kitagaki go on to explore the Hurd’s journey — in words and in pictures — and in a “web friendly” format.
I told the Bee’s Editor it reminded me of a similar report by The Wall Street Journal called “Trials,” which focuses on the Hempel twins Addi and Cassi, who have a rare and incurable disease. We are friends with the Hempels. Check out this report too.
In both cases, the families have found that medical marijuana can be helpful for their children. More on the Hempels is “Why I changed my mind about medical cannabis.” We do not use marijuana and are concerned about its prevalence in our high schools, but we have learned from both families’ personal experiences.
The Bee’s report also does a good job exploring our town’s pot culture, including the role of the Sheriff and anti-marijuana activists, and political and cultural intolerance. “As the Hurds continued to experiment with marijuana tinctures to calm Silas’ resurging seizures, they found themselves drawn into a deepening rift over Nevada County’s pot culture. The sheriff was pushing to sharply restrict cultivation. Forrest and Nicole feared the worst for their son.” Here’s an excerpt:
Medicine of last resort
“Nicole said she is ‘incredibly proud’ of her husband ‘for standing up for Silas. But she has found the recent spotlight searing and painful. She takes offense at the local letters to the editor and online comments that portray her and Forrest as potheads or ‘hippies,’ when they are neither – ‘just regular people trying to help our kid.’
“Nicole Hurd says she is proud of her husband for waging a political battle on their son’s behalf. But she’s found some of the online comments about her family hurtful. ‘(We’re) just regular people, trying to help our kid,’ she said.
“Other exchanges have been more antagonistic. Nicole recently walked into the clubhouse at the Lake of the Pines Association, where she works as recreation coordinator. She froze. Sheriff Royal was giving his PowerPoint presentation in support of Measure W and the cultivation ban.
“She watched as he delivered his signature line: ‘This isn’t about medicine – it’s about money. ‘Not for us,’ she said aloud, shaking, then wheeled around and walked out.
“Nicole didn’t introduce herself to the sheriff. Royal said he never knew she was there.
“Silas’ parents have found some relief in knowing their child has been happily oblivious to the political dimensions his medicinal treatments have taken on. He continues to look forward to the two days a week he spends at Ridgeline Pediatric Day Health Center, a Grass Valley facility that provides day care and skilled nursing for children with developmental challenges.”
We wish the Hurds the best, and are grateful for the Bee’s reporting on our region. As parents and residents, we found “The Silas Project” informative. Like other parents, most of us are “just trying to help our kids.” Here’s the father of Addi and Cassi Hempel on “Why I changed my mind about medicinal cannabis” in a TED talk: