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June 2, 2005
FUEL ROD REPORT: The Pacific Gas
and Electric Company announced Tuesday that it had issued a final
report on nuclear fuel missing from its defunct Humboldt Bay
Power Plant just south of Eureka. According to a company press
release, the company is fairly sure that three missing fuel rod
segments are still located in the plant's used-fuel pool. During
the company's investigation, it came across several broken, shard-like
bits of fuel rod in the pool; subsequent research led the company
to believe that those shards were once the three missing segments.
However, as nearly 40 years have passed since the segments were
place in the pool, precise identification remains difficult,
the company said. The company added that it is still possible
that the missing segments may have been shipped off to a nuclear
reprocessing center sometime in the late '60 or early `70s.
BUFFETT LOOKING AT KLAMATH
DAMS: It was widely reported last
week that Berkshire Hathaway, legendary investor Warren Buffett's
principal company, had struck a deal to buy PacifiCorps, a power
company that owns several electricity-generating dams on the
Klamath River, for $9.4 billion. The decision angered representatives
of the Hoopa and Yurok tribes, among others, who had been lobbying
the company's current parent, the U.K.-based ScottishPower, to
remove its Klamath dams instead of going though an upcoming fight
to get new operating licenses for them from the federal government.
Tribal representatives traveled to Scotland last year to make
their case, and received what they believed was a fair hearing.
Now, in a statement released to the British press last week,
the Hoopa and Yurok, along with the upstream Karuk and Klamath
tribes, accuse ScottishPower of "selling them down the river."
The tribes believe that removing the dams would likely go a long
way toward improving the Klamath's water quality, and hence its
ability to support large salmon runs.
THOMPSON SEEKS RELIEF
FOR FLEET: Meanwhile, Rep. Mike
Thompson (D-St. Helena) and 36 other members of the House of
Representatives' Democratic Caucus are pushing the federal government
to declare this summer's salmon fishery a federal disaster, paving
the way for economic assistance to local commercial fishermen.
The request follows "unprecedented" restrictions on
the commercial catch which were enacted by the Pacific Fishery
Management Council last month.
ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL
TO ASSEMBLY FLOOR: Assemblymember
Patty Berg's "California Compassionate Choices Act"
-- a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide for
the terminally ill under controlled circumstances -- cleared
its final committee hurdle last week, after the Assembly Appropriations
Committee on a vote of 11-6. The bill, which is modeled on legislation
passed in Oregon in 1997, will be put to a vote of the full Assembly.
If it passes, it will go to the state Senate and, if approved,
to the governor's office. The appropriations committee's passage
of the bill made national news last week. The CBS Evening
News ran it as its lead story Wednesday, interviewing Berg
and other advocates as well as opponents of the bill. "Californians
want this right," Berg was quoted as saying in a companion
story on the CBS website. "And whether of not there's the
political will or the political courage to make it a right is
yet to be seen."
THE TWO-MINUTE MANAGER:
"Maxxam Inc.'s annual shareholders
meetings aren't what they used to be," wrote an anonymous
reporter for the Reuters news service last week. According to
the reporter the annual meeting of the Pacific Lumber Co.'s Houston-based
parent corporation Wednesday lasted less than two minutes. When
no one in the audience had any questions, Maxxam CEO abruptly
adjourned the meeting, saying "I think everyone here knows
what the company is all about," according to the reporter,
who went on to reminisce over the days that protestors routinely
interrupted the annual event.
GET READY TO RUMBLE: No biting, no eye-gouging, no fish-hooking, no
groin attacks and no hair pulling. Other than that, pretty much
anything goes when 24 or more men, and maybe two women (so far
only one woman has signed up), fight in a mixed martial arts
style at the Hoopa Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, June 11. Billed
as "Humboldt's first cage fight," the Humboldt Rumble,
promoted by Samurai Fighting Arts LLC out of Medford, Ore., features
a team of four local fighters, including Damien Norton (1-0)
and Jason Georgianna (6-1), who will spar outdoors in an octagonal
chain-linked cage. Norton, 21, a boxer and wrestler will also
box at the Elk Valley Casino in Crescent City this weekend. Gates
open at 6 p.m., fights start at 7:30 p.m. $25/$20 presale. $35-$55
special seating. Tickets available at Ray's Food Place in Hoopa,
Eureka and McKinleyville. [Note: Event times have been corrected
from the print edition, which had them incorrect.]
CRABS' SEASON OPENER
SATURDAY: The Humboldt Crabs, our
beloved semi-pro baseball team, take to the field at the Arcata
Ball Park this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. for the opening game of
their 61st season. Team managers are predicting another dominating
year for the Crabbies, as if anyone could imagine otherwise.
But please, Crabs fans, spare a thought for the Crabs' first
opponents, the lamely named Fairfield Indians. A recent column
in the Fairfield Daily Republic lamented the fact that
the Indians' home games draw only about 50 spectators, most of
them the players' wives and girlfriends (and may the two never
meet). Indians Catcher Mike Hussey contrasted the scene with
a typical Crabs game. "That's a totally different atmosphere,"
he told the Daily Republic's columnist. "There are
like 1,500 people out there -- it's so fun. They heckle us just
like pro baseball players." Be careful what you wish for,
Hussey. The Crabs play the Indians at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday
and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. (See humboldtcrabs.com)
out Mattole watershed plans
Company scientists get
warm but wary reception at the Mattole Grange
DESPITE THE ATTRACTIVE FRUIT
BASKETS and complimentary cookies, the tension level hovered
at the brink of discomfort last week at a public meeting to discuss
the Pacific Lumber Co.'s upcoming watershed analyses for Bear
River and the Lower Mattole.
More than 60 people attended
the meeting at the Mattole Grange in Petrolia last Thursday to
hear a presentation of Palco's environmental objectives in the
two watersheds, and to respond to the company's call for community
input into a study of the area's river systems.
Mike Miles, Palco program manager
for watershed analysis, assured the audience that Palco is committed
to the protection of fish habitat, as well as taking the public's
"You're going to be heard
in our process, I can assure you of that," Miles said. "I'm
going to try to deliver to you a very honest watershed analysis."
Under the terms of the company's
Habitat Conservation Plan, an environmental rider to the Headwaters
Agreement, Palco must write a watershed analysis for each of
the areas in which it operates, with an eye toward developing
site-specific plans to maintain or improve aquatic habitat. The
plan requires the company to hold public meetings to solicit
information that could be useful in developing an analysis of
each watershed. In past months, the company has held such meetings
in the Elk River and Freshwater areas.
The Mattole region has a long
been a locus of resistance to Pacific Lumber operations, including
tree sits, dozens of lawsuits and a high level of monitoring
of Palco activity. Many residents are trained in forest management,
habitat restoration, geology and other related scientific fields.
Groups like the Mattole Restoration Council, the Mattole Salmon
Group and Sanctuary Forest have been working since the `70s and
`80s for preservation and restoration of the Mattole.
In his opening presentation,
Miles promised that many of the issues identified as serious
problems in the rivers -- including erosion, sedimentation, poor
water quality and high temperatures -- would receive serious
consideration in the study of the two watersheds.
However, more than a dozen people
raised concerns during the public comment period that followed,
including herbicide use, old growth retention, removal of riparian
vegetation, the interaction between roads and livestock and a
history of past Palco watershed analyses that drifted further
and further from the public eye as they continued.
Maureen Roche, a volunteer and
former employee of the Mattole Salmon Group, challenged the accuracy
of the North Coast Watershed Assessment Program (NCWAP), one
of the main documents Palco announced it would use to assess
the watershed. She said that the study contained misleading calculations
of water temperature and omitted to take into account several
important river tributaries. [This item has been
corrected from the error in the print edition.]
"NCWAP was totally wrong,"
Roche said. "A lot of what they did was back-asswards."
Despite such disagreements,
according to some the Mattole meeting was a welcome change from
previous public meetings for the Freshwater and Elk River watershed
analyses. Richard Gienger, a restoration specialist with the
Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Coalition, described a previous
meeting as "an angry adversary scenario."
"Everything was contentious,"
Gienger said. "It was nasty."
Palco geologist Gary Simpson
acknowledged some of the problems with past analyses.
"In the past I think PL's
watershed analyses have been incredibly expensive. They've been
way too complex, they took way too long, they were way behind
schedule, and I don't think they developed public trust,"
Simpson said. He added that using local scientists is part of
Palco's conscious decision to be more transparent this time around.
The Mattole audience was receptive,
courteous and eager to believe Palco's promises of transparency,
but many remained skeptical when the meeting was through.
Ellen Taylor, member of the
Lost Coast League, has been involved in several lawsuits against
"The objective of watershed
analysis is to generate profits for Maxxam," Taylor said.
"It's our heath which is at stake when we talk about the
removal of these large forests. It's our water quality and it's
A 60-day public period of written
identification of problems and priorities began the day after
the meeting. Miles promised that a draft of the analyses, which
covers some 78,000 acres in the two watersheds, would be available
to the public as soon as it is finished.
A dozen scientists from state
and federal resource agencies including the California Department
of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries and the North Coast Regional
Water Quality Control Board were also present, and were also
invited to take part in the process.
by STILSON SNOW
JORDAN BAUMAN WORKS INTENTLY ON A PIECE
OF leather in the art classroom at Arcata High School. Corrie
O'Barr and several other young women steadily, if anxiously,
cut fabric. Anne Bown-Crawford, Arcata Arts Institute director,
looks on as Lara Cox, a mentor for the students, helps them create
apparel. They are on a tight deadline: The first-ever Arcata
Arts Institute Fashion Design Student Show is coming up, and
When the show
starts, a year of effort by students in a unique program will
come together in an extravaganza reminiscent of the fashion shows
of France. It will feature a fall collection from three nascent
designers -- Corrie O'Barr, Raechel Koepke and Becky Robles --
complete with runway and red carpet. There also will be student-designed
jewelry and accessories. Sophisticated hors d'ouvres designed
by chef Nick Crawford of Sunset Restaurant, who trained at the
Cordon Bleu school in Paris, will accompany the art.
Design Show is just one of the year-end events being produced
by the Arcata Arts Institute, which will soon be completing its
first year. The concept began three years ago, when Arcata High
applied for a grant to be used for an advanced arts program.
The competition was rigorous -- 30 grants statewide were available.
Then funding was halved. Arcata came out one of the final 15.
The result is
AAI, a school within a school. "It's unique because it's
inside of a comprehensive high school," says Bown-Crawford.
"It's not isolated -- a small charter school that's not
big enough to have its own volleyball team, track team or AP
Bio class. I have kids who came in from smaller schools or who
were on their way out to smaller schools. We get to have the
best of both worlds here."
Each of the
68 students, some of whom transferred in from as far away as
San Francisco, has an advisory team composed of an Arcata High
teacher, a college level arts educator and, crucially, a practicing
artist to mentor them in their field of interest and prepare
them for the professional world.
of the grant was that all courses developed for AAI meet the
academic standards of the University of California system. It's
important to note, says Bown-Crawford, the students were involved
in the planning process.
them from the beginning that the design of the school was as
much theirs as it is mine; that they have to be in the mix. It
took them a long time to believe that, because they're rarely
handed this type of opportunity in a public school setting."
collaboration of educational institutions, artists, parents and
students, creates AAI and is, as Bown-Crawford puts it, "a
community school in the best sense of the word."
offers media arts, musical arts, theater arts and visual arts.
Each track presents a year-end event. So, where does fashion
design come from? Bown-Crawford observes, "We had a bunch
of visual arts students and they were doing some really cool
illustrations and they were all kind of fashion-esque and we
came to discover they really wanted to do fashion design."
Curriculum is shaped by student interests.
Key to the program is each
mentor selected to work with the kids. Bown-Crawford worked with
the Ink People, many of whose 600 artist-members have teaching
credentials or experience with students. She also tapped her
extensive knowledge of creative people in the community. "I
try and create our stable of mentors based on what the kids'
needs are . A group of girls came in interested in fashion design.
I asked them if they could sew. Not one of them could sew."
brought in Lara Cox, former owner of the retail fashion store
Lola to teach them sewing basics. Design came later. Heather
Ross of Munki Munki, a children's clothing manufacturer, joined
the project, bringing her own sewing and design experience.
they faced was that the grant did not completely cover materials
or equipment. Bown-Crawford tracked down 13 sewing machines that
were left over after the Arcata High home economics department
was shut down. "[At first] we didn't have an iron, no scissors,
no cutters," Ross says. "We were using each other as
live mannequins. Everyone has little dots on their shoulders
from being stuck with the pins." Ingenuity and community
generosity came through.
flower inspires the mentors. One of many moments that Ross remembers
is Corrie O'Barr's epiphany. "She was making a tweed jacket
a pretty complicated pattern." The only mirror was in a
cabinet and it could only be seen when the doors were open. Corrie
put on her coat and opened the door. It was the first time she'd
seen it. "She just freaked out. She couldn't believe that
she'd actually constructed a sleeve that fit really well, based
on math and a sketch," Ross said.
learn other skills. Jordan Bauman, producer of the show, is learning
event management. She's also photographing, mentored by the Ferndale
photographer Robin Robin, who has shot Prêt à Porter
(the "Ready to Wear" show) in Paris. Additionally,
her handbag designs, including a banana bag, will be featured.
"I tend to bite off more than I can chew," Jordan says,
her eyes big and restless.
Just as the
larger community collaborates to make AAI possible, the students
will collaborate to create the signature event. Lights, camera,
food and finery will come together. Corrie's face lights up,
"Seeing the models with the clothes on It's really happening!"
Design Student Show. Friday, June 3, 8 p.m. at the DanCenter
(in the Old Creamery Building), 824 L St., Arcata. Tickets $15
for adults, $10 for students and youth under 12. Children under
6, free. Available at Arcata High School, Heart Bead (on the
Plaza in Arcata) and at the door. Information 825-2400 or
Top: Photo by Stilson Snow.
2nd: Designer Corrie O'Barr models one of her creations. photo
by Robin Robin
3rd: Becky Robles. Photo by Robin Robin.
Bottom: Jessica Lilly. Photo by Robin Robin.
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