August 16, 2001
check bounty hunters
For business owners and local
law enforcement, hunting down someone who has passed a bad check
may take so long that it isn't worthwhile.
But now they can call Henry
Craighead instead. Craighead runs a program in conjunction with
the Humboldt County district attorney that locates the writers
of bad checks, collects the money and returns it to the business
Craighead is paid when he collects
a $35 fee from the writer of the bad check. And the person who
wrote the bad check has a strong incentive to pay -- avoiding
a criminal record.
"It's a totally free, no-cost
program for the victim of the bad check and the taxpayer,"
he said in a telephone interview from Sacramento.
Does he have a special investigative
"We just keep hound-dogging
it until we find them," he said.
For more information, call 1-800-454-NSFR.
lifeline at center
Visitors from around the world
come to Humboldt County to see the redwoods, mountains and beaches.
When they have questions, they often turn to Arcata's Welcome
Center -- and soon, the center will be able to answer in their
The Language Line service, available
at the center within a year, allows foreign-language speakers
to access an interpreter over the telephone.
Most international tourists
in Humboldt County can speak at least a little English, said
Bill May, president of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce.
"If they've made it this
far, they know how to ask where the bathroom is," he said.
The service would probably be
used by visitors "who don't speak English very well to ask
better questions," May said.
help for seniors
"There are still a lot
of people who heat with wood in Humboldt County," said Susan
She should know. As the person
in charge of the Humboldt Senior Resource Center's firewood sales,
she has overseen the subsidized sale of almost 400 cords of wood
to low-income seniors. The wood costs eligible seniors between
$30 and $60 a cord, depending on their income level.
The program provides individuals
60 or older with a monthly income of $2,000 or less with firewood
provided by the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program. Nonviolent
offenders cut and split the wood into stove-ready pieces.
Call 443-9747 for more information
on how to purchase the wood.
Calling themselves the "Truth
Squad," KHUM morning host Cliff Berkowitz and KSLG DJ John
Matthews have been encouraging passing motorists on Broadway
in Eureka to KHUM office manager Derek Masten said, "Everyone's
honking" in agreement. Eureka prices are averaging $1.87
per gallon this week while gas in Orick is selling for $1.62,
in Marin County, $1.51, and in nearby Weaverville, just $1.26.
for art available
Artistic youth in the 95540
and 95551 zip codes have money available to them for community
art grants. All that's required is an application.
The North Coast Cultural Trust
Arts Grants have a total of $13,750 available for programming
in the arts for youth. Grants range in size from $500 to $13,750,
depending on the project and the amount of community collaboration.
Call the Humboldt Arts Council
at 442-1692 for more information.
no longer a threat
A fuel spill off the Oregon
coast that seemed bound for North Coast beaches is no longer
The Tristan was on its way to
Tacoma with a load of automobiles Aug. 8 when the spill occurred.
Approximately 12,000 gallons of bunker oil, a heavy fuel, were
The spill initially moved southeast,
toward the beaches of Humboldt or Del Norte counties. It has
now dispersed off the coast of Oregon, according to Gary Votaw,
a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Votaw said the fuel solidifies
in ocean conditions. "The longer it remains in the sea water,
the harder it gets. What's left has coagulated into tarballs
now," he said.
The spill follows one just five
days earlier near the mouth of the Mattole River where 700 gallons
of diesel were spilled.
Neither spill is expected to
have significant impacts on Humboldt County beaches.
Village for First & C
Glenn Goldan's Seaport Village
and Square development was chosen by the Eureka City Council
for its property on the corner of First and C streets Aug. 6.
Goldan proposes a mixed-use
building at the 1.8-acre site, which is bordered by C Street
to the west, D Street to the east, First Street to the south
and Humboldt bay to the north. A public square, apartments, retail
stores and a restaurant would share the space.
He won out over two other proposals.
One, submitted by John Ash and Dolores Vellutini, would have
turned the property into parking for their adjacent development.
Lawrence Lazio suggested a combined
fish cannery, cocktail lounge and restaurant. The council did
not deem his application complete, but directed staff to look
at developing other sites.
The Seaport could be completed
as soon as 2004.
Hospital ER closes
St. Joseph Hospital announced
Aug. 7 that it will no longer be operating the emergency room
on its General Hospital campus.
The change, effective Aug. 20,
reflects the hospital's attempt to consolidate the offerings
of the two hospitals. Last October St. Joseph purchased General
Hospital, its biggest competitor, forming one hospital with two
The former emergency facility
at General will be used for an Urgent Care Center, according
to a St. Joseph press release. The Urgent Care Center will handle
problems like coughs, colds, flu, minor strains, sprains, cuts
and bruises, leaving the emergency room on the St. Joseph campus
free to handle life-threatening emergencies.
next big headache?
They're brown, furry and possibly
about to become the timber industry's next big headache: The
Pacific fisher, a member of the weasel family, may well be the
next animal inhabitant of the North Coast's forests to be listed
under the federal Endangered Species Act.
A coalition of four conservation
groups is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its refusal
to list the fisher. A petition was filed last December to get
the animal onto the endangered list. Fish and Wildlife has yet
Petitions to list the fisher
have been rejected twice -- in 1990 and in 1994 -- but momentum
is building behind this petition. The state of Washington put
the animal on its endangered species list in 1997, and it was
recently added to a list of sensitive species in Oregon.
But beyond the question of whether
or not the fisher eventually gets listed hides a deeper debate
over how endangered species are managed. Neither the timber industry
nor the environmental movement is happy with the current land
use restrictions, and both foresee increasing rancor in the fight
over what species need to survive.
"What the listing of the
fisher should do is create stronger protections for old-growth
forests and forests that have characteristics of old-growth,"
said Peter Golvin, conservation biologist with the Center Biological
Golvin and other environmentalists
maintain the fisher lives exclusively in old-growth and is being
driven to extinction by the continuing harvest of such forests
by timber companies. Such forests should have been essentially
closed to large-scale harvesting with the listing of the Northern
spotted owl in 1990, Golvin said in a telephone interview from
Southern California, "but neither the owl nor the [marbled]
murrelet have had that effect."
The problem is that the agencies
charged with ensuring the continued existence of these species
are not vigilant enough, he charged.
"The California Department
of Forestry, the state Department of Fish and Game, Fish and
Wildlife Service -- they are not great champions of wildlife,"
"They have tried to go
forward with business as usual. The amount of restriction that
has occurred is relatively minor," Golvin said.
Don't tell that to Bob Barnum.
The owner of Barnum Timber said timber harvesting practices "were
so widely restricted now that there's not a great deal more restriction
they could put on" lumber companies.
And there is a growing suspicion
that the restriction already in place may not be addressing the
problem. Independent forester Jim Able said, "Our industrious
agencies seem to just come up with lots of regulations that may
or may not be helpful."
When species are threatened
agencies put restrictions on land use. If the species doesn't
bounce back, the only tool agencies use is further restriction,
"That seems to be the name
of the game: If it didn't work, let's put more restrictions on."
Those restrictions may be misguided.
Able pointed to a Department of Fish and Game policy from the
'70s that stated large woody debris should be removed from streams
because it impeded salmon migration. Years later it was found
that the debris had actually provided necessary salmon habitat.
One large Humboldt County timberland
owner that doesn't have to worry about the listing of the fisher
is Pacific Lumber.
When PL agreed to a Habitat
Conservation Plan as part of its 1999 Headwaters deal, it looked
not just at species that were then protected, like the coho or
the murrelet. The habitat requirements of species likely to be
listed in the future were also taken into consideration -- and
one of those species was the fisher.
"Based on our HCP, if the
fisher were to be listed there would be no additional requirements
placed on us," said Jim Branham, director of government
relations for PL. It is unclear how much of an advantage that
gives PL, because "it is hard to anticipate what exactly
would be required in on-the-ground protections pursuant to a
Golvin said those protections
are where the real fight happens.
"After the fisher gets
listed the question becomes, `Are the agencies meeting their
commitments to protect the fisher as a listed species?'"
Of one thing Golvin is sure:
"The battle will not end with the listing of the fisher."
Medical seeks space
Humboldt's medical clinic on
wheels is experiencing growing pains.
"We've run out of wallspace,
floorspace, airspace -- everything," said Helen Renee Gale,
administrator of the office.
The office provides health care
to the homeless, low-income rural residents and other underserved
populations through its mobile medical clinic, housed in a customized
RV. In the last year, there has been a 50 percent increase in
the number of patients they served, and a corresponding increase
in staff at the home base in Blue Lake.
"We have four staff members
in one room and two in another, and we're sharing all of that
with medical supplies. We're tripping over each other,"
The search for a new home is
on, Gale said. Candidate buildings must have at least 2,000 square
feet of space for administrative records and a secure parking
area for the mobile unit. Call 668-1795 with suggestions.
feds over Klamath
The fight over Klamath water
resources took another turn last week as the Northcoast Environmental
Center sued the federal government over its failure to provide
water to wildlife refuges in the lower basin.
Water is needed to sustain the
waterfowl that use the Klamath Basin as a stopover on their annual
migrations, said Tim McKay, executive director of the center.
Those waterfowl are in turn food for endangered bald eagles --
so drying out the waterfowl habitat amounts to starving the eagles,
The NEC is trying to get a temporary
restraining order to keep the Bureau of Reclamation from allocating
any extra water to farmers that could be used for the wildlife
refuges. The Interior Department controls the Klamath Project
-- and with it much of the water in the basin -- through the
Bureau of Reclamation, its subsidiary.
McKay said tried to broker a
deal with farmers, tribal interests and other environmental groups
that would have provided water to the eagles but was blocked
by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.
"There were farmers in
the basin that were willing to forego their water and give it
to the refuge," but were prohibited from doing so, he said.
Others wanted to allow the refuge to have water that was left
over from irrigation and were also stopped.
Ironically, a healthy wildlife
refuge could help not just the eagles but also the local economy.
McKay said that sport duck hunting "was an important part
of the economy up there" -- and one that is in peril.
The decision about a restraining
order could come as early as this week.
With wildfires raging across
the West, the Forest Service has stopped a logging project that
it says would help prevent forest fires from damaging nearby
The trees that were being logged
are in the part of the Six Rivers National Forest burned the
1999 Megram fire near the Trinity Alps. The Forest Service contends
that clearing out trees and brush will help slow the spread of
Earlier this year, the Forest
Service determined the logging project should be handled as an
emergency. That determination allowed the service to forego the
usual 45-day appeal process. Logging began immediately.
The service was then sued by
a group of seven environmental organizations, including the Environmental
Protection Information Center in Garberville. EPIC's Anthony
Ambrose said the plan violates the Endangered Species Act, National
Environmental Policy Act and other laws.
The groups sought -- and won
-- a temporary restraining order from Chief Judge Marilyn Patel
of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco July 12.
After the restraining order
had been granted, the service not only stopped logging -- it
withdrew the determination that the plan should be handled as
EPIC withdrew its suit, and
the plan is being appealed along normal channels, said Ambrose.
He maintained the logging won't prevent and could even foster
Even more importantly, Ambrose
said, the service isn't fulfilling its obligations to study the
environmental impact of the logging.
"We certainly don't feel
the Forest Service has complied with the legal requirements,"
a union shop
The Arcata store of the North
Coast Co-Op is now officially union-run following an election
The vote was 82 to 61, said
John Corbett, general manager of the grocery store.
The election covered bakery
workers, employees of the Spoons deli and cashiers. The employees
are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union
Local 101. Negotiations over benefits will begin next week, Corbett
"It's really great we live
in America, where these things are decided by the ballot box,"
he said. "We intend to honor it."
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