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January 28, 1999


CDF: More study for new logging

Catholic bishop under fire

Hate incident at C/R

Flu hits North Coast

Wards' auto shop closes

Airline merger?

Super possibilities

Local bank expanding base

$18 million coming

CDF: More study for new logging

The California Department of Forestry determined this week that logging by the Pacific Lumber Co. has contributed to flooding and property damage along Freshwater Creek and Elk River, among other areas.

CDF officials and other state agencies are asking that all future timber harvest plans in these watershed areas, including Bear, Jordan and Stitz creeks, address flooding and public safety. They cite "an increased rate of flooding and sedimentation that corresponds with the current cycle of logging ... ," a letter to PL President John Campbell reads.

PL spokeswoman Mary Bullwinkel said she's unsure if the move would prompt any layoffs. The request does not affect the company's current plans, but least 28 of PL's 131 open plans involve logging operations in the Freshwater area.

This is a point of discontent for some Freshwater residents, who say they're unimpressed by the CDF letter to PL.

Alan Cook, a three-year Freshwater resident, said Tuesday he saw the log trucks came down the road from upstream logging operations just the day before, so the action cannot be considered even the smallest of victories.

"This is the very least of steps CDF could have or should have taken," said Cook, a Freshwater Neighborhood Association member. Cook said the call for further analysis is "restating the obvious," and the agency should be more concerned with reversing the effects of logging in his area.

Dean Lucke, CDF assistant deputy director for forest practice, the letter's author, implied the solution may involve "slowing" logging operations, but the agency hasn't ruled out other measures. CDF may even consider "modifying" current timber harvest plans, an unconventional method to applications intended to give a company the right to proceed, he admitted.

Lucke balks at the idea that PL logging practices are the only source of the erosion and stream infiltration problems in the environmentally sensitive areas.

"We don't think (PL's) forest practices now are (ultimately) causing that siltration," Lucke said. "Sure, (the logging) contributes to it."

He said the rain run-off and landscaping efforts have added to the problem. If anything, that's why the agency is asking for more watershed analysis, he said.

A year ago, Lucke said PL officials promised this special report by the early part of 1998. But Bullwinkel said PL officials never promised it at that time, as the company actually began work on it last year.

She said it's a "very technical" document that requires expertise from varying sources. The company hopes to have it completed within months, she added.

Catholic bishop under fire

The spiritual head of the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa is taking a hit for his treatment of a Ukiah priest accused of embezzlement and sexual misconduct.

Bishop Patrick Ziemann, whose 140,000-member diocese spans from Sonoma County north to the Oregon border and includes Humboldt County, was confronted by the former Ukiah police chief investigating the $10,000 theft from St. Mary's Church for hindering the prosecution.

Former Chief Fred Keplinger needed names and supporting documents to make his case, and he said Ziemann wasn't being cooperative, according to a report in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The controversy didn't end there.

Later, Keplinger discovered from Hispanic community leaders that Rev. Jorge Hume, who was removed from St. Mary's in July 1996, was also accused of inappropriate sexual behavior by four men. Hume is now a priest in Napa, Keplinger confirmed.

The chief, who recently retired from the Ukiah police force last summer, believes moving Hume was essentially a slap on the wrist for what he deems as serious charges.

"I think the bishop was doing what, at the time, he thought was the best thing for the church," Keplinger said. But the chief continued with a scathing criticism that condemns how "a priest could have carried on" after all allegations against Hume were revealed.

Keplinger asked Ziemann to bring theft charges against Hume, but the church refused. Consequently, Keplinger couldn't pursue the case without its cooperation, the chief confirmed.

This is not the first time Ziemann, who has been head of the diocese since 1992, has had to respond to criminal misconduct on the part of priests. In 1996 Father Gary Timmons, who was parish priest of St. Bernard's of Eureka and dean of St. Bernard's Elementary School until 1994, was sentenced to eight years in prison for molesting a 12-year-old Eureka boy in 1992. He had been accused of molesting an unknown number of pre-teen and teenage boys in cases dating back three decades but many of those cases were dismissed due to the statute of limitations. In December 1995, the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa settled with nine of Timmons' victims by paying $830,000 in damages.

Phone calls to Ziemann were unreturned.

Hate incident at C/R

As one of three suspects appears in a trial this week in Jasper, Texas for the dragging death of a black man last summer, this county struggles with its own hate crimes.

College of the Redwoods officials are following up on leads in their efforts to find who's responsible for the graffiti on the walls of the Eureka campus dormitory doors and laundry room. One spot showed a swastika and another posted an ethnic slur referring to black people as "niggers," CR Vice President of Student Services Delores Smith said.

"We're hoping a student (who may have seen something) will come forward," Smith said.

In the meantime, the college is healing from what seems to be a random case, Smith said. The graffiti was removed the following morning and a candlelight vigil was held that evening.

Ironically, the vandalism came one day after the observed birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and one day before the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission put on a conference to introduce training sessions for its hate crimes network.

The network issued a list of suggestions for students to follow on campus: form a mini-neighborhood watch, use a buddy system when walking to and from dormitories, be aware of those who don't belong on campus and request extra foot patrols from campus security.

Several measures were made to welcome diversity on the college campuses, including Humboldt State University. Its multi-cultural center hosts a diversity workshop weekend in March.

Last weekend, the Arcata campus staged a workshop highlighting issues for the transgender community.

In 1998, eight hate-related calls and two hate crimes, which were racially motivated, were reported to HSU authorities, the public affairs office said.

National hate crime statistics have dropped from 1996 to 1997, the FBI reports, except in one category. In 1996, 1,016 hate crime incidents involving sexual orientation were reported. A year later, 1,102 of the 8,049 incidents fell into that category. Other hate crime categories include race, ethnicity, religion and disability.

Flu hits North Coast

That dreaded bug is here, keeping in time with its routine arrival of January through March.

Moreover, the flu or its counterpart the common cold kicked off the month hitting McKinleyville High School especially hard. More than 100 students either stayed home or went home on three days this month, the school nurse reported.

Headaches, sore throats, fevers, sinus pressures and persistent coughs topped the list of symptoms, though some Humboldt County health care professionals say the sickness hasn't made for an epidemic year like the one the San Francisco Bay Area is apparently having.

Even so, many local clinics reported an increase in the number of cases of the county crud this month before it subsided somewhat.

"Something's definitely (been) going around," said Kristi Colvert, a registered nurse at Eureka Family Practice. Sometimes, it's hard to distinguish the difference between flu versus cold, viral versus bacterial, Colvert noted.

For that reason alone, a $40 half-hour test called ZstatFlu has been released, according to Associated Press reports, so doctors can reveal whether the culprit of patient complaints is actually the flu. The new test isn't available in this county yet.

Wards' auto shop closes

As part of a long-range restructuring effort, Montgomery Wards recently shut down its Auto Express shop in Eureka. This was one of 17 locations joining 39 stores nationwide targeted for closure.

The company's main store in Eureka is unaffected.

Auto Express Manager Rich Keesee said the eight employees laid off in the corporate action were given a day's notice before the Fourth Street shop closed. The 10,500-square-foot auto shop opened in 1963.

Keesee, who has spent seven years with the company, said the other seven staffers were offered jobs outside the area, but no one elected to move. He's considering a sales job offer in the appliances department where he worked earlier.

"This is my home. My family is here," he said, but "I'm weighing my options."

Keesee, who owns a home in Fortuna, said he's not bitter about the layoff and understands how the corporate system works.

The stores targeted for closure did not "meet specific performance benchmarks," Chairman Roger Goddu said in a written statement.

"We believe the remaining 252 stores have the capability of providing significant contributions to company profitability, and as such, we don't anticipate any further major announcements regarding store closings," the statement reads.

"However, we will continue to monitor and evaluate performance on an ongoing individual store basis," Goddu adds.

The store closures, due to be complete May 31, will affect about 4,000 employees.

Airline merger?

United Airlines Corp. may buy America West Airlines, the nation's ninth largest carrier, the Chicago-based company confirmed last week.

In a statement, the nation's largest carrier said "it has expressed to America West Airlines an interest in a possible acquisition..."

But industry analysts say the buyout may be difficult to pull off because their union would require the blessing of United's union work force, published reports indicate. Apparently, United pilots and machinists control a majority interest in the company with other employees, reports add.

UAL spokesman Matt Triacca declined to elaborate on specific details of the merger or effects on particular airports. The airline operates United Express commuter flights out of the Eureka-Arcata Airport in McKinleyville.

Super possibilities

Okay, so you don't watch football, and you want to make this Sunday a big day for you too. It's only a problem if you make it one, psychologists and counselors say.

One local marriage, family and child counselor, in particular, lived her friendly advice last year.

"Think of all the creative things you can do," Coast Counseling MFCC Mary Nesset said.

Nesset found the all-consuming day in the world of sports as an excellent time to go out and buy a car. The lots were empty during the big game last year, so when she walked on the lot, she received special attention from a salesman who struck her as unimpressed with the Super Bowl.

Nesset also recommends that parents who don't like football take the children out on the town. She took hers to the Eureka Inn and was treated to extraordinary desserts. A parent could also treat the children to a day of walking at the marsh, swimming or shopping, she added. She also listed getting a facial or massage as an even better treat for the mom in the crowd.

Either way, there's something for everyone when everyone agrees to do his or her own thing.

"For good communication, each can look forward to the day (individually)," Nesset said.

The idea runs awry when the mate invades the football fan's territory and shows no sign of Super Bowl etiquette, a Los Angeles psychologist contends on an on-line report. Dr. Robert R. Butterworth issued a list of tongue-in-cheek activities sure to stir a household.

Topping the list is performing household chores that require running noisy electrical appliances during the game. Also, balancing the checkbook is not advised, Nesset agrees, because the football fan will not relax.

As for what to say or not to say, don't start any conversation with, "you never talk to me..." or "how many points did you say the team gets for a touchdown." Any jealous remarks relating to the physical characteristics of the cheerleaders during the half-time festivities are also frowned upon.

Local bank expanding base

Six Rivers National Bank opened its new facility in Crescent City about two weeks ago.

Staffers moved a $173 million customer deposit base into a 3,500-square-foot building, a far cry from the branch's first 20 x 20 loan processing office in March 1992, branch Manager Susan Elliott noted.

The office became a full-service branch half a year later. In April 1994, the branch moved into a 1,400-square-foot location until moving into its current site.

"We weren't sure how we were going to do in this community," Elliott said of the chain reaction.

Six Rivers National Bank operates eight offices two in Eureka and one in McKinleyville, Ferndale, Garberville, Willits and Crescent City. The latter branch plans to host a grand opening celebration Feb. 22.

In other bank news, Shelton Francis joined the banking firm as senior vice president and chief credit officer. Francis served as the chief executive officer to banks in Massachusetts and Arizona.

And Six Rivers National Bank's bankruptcy case involving a $2 million loan default remains unresolved as of presstime, CEO Michael Martinez confirmed.

$18 million coming

Travel on North Coast highways will become "easier and safer" once $18 million in improvements are completed, says Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin, D-Duncans Mills.

Three Humboldt County projects have also been approved for funding, including a $250,000 expansion of the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and restoration of both the lower Janes Creek and the McDaniel Slough, scheduled to begin next year. A $130,000 project to create east and westbound passing lanes on Highway 299 near Salyer will begin this spring.

The district will also use $2,555,000 to rehabilitate Highway 36, from about 8.5 miles east of Carlotta to the South Fork of the Van Duzen River. This project will go up for bid in April, with construction to begin in June.

About $14 million will be used for several highway projects in Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino counties.

Caltrans Public Affairs officer Debbie Ginn said the projects should have "minimum impact on traffic slowing."

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