August 31, 2000
"I'm sitting down eating dinner at my campsite one weekend. When I looked up, there was a ranger less than 20 feet away hiding behind a redwood aiming his rifle at another campsite where there is a family and a dog."
Eurekan Loretta Eckenrode said she watched in alarm July 22 as the ranger shot the dog once with his rifle then proceeded to walk to the body and shoot it three more times at close range with a service pistol -- all within the boundaries of Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Southern Humboldt and in front of numerous campers.
When Eckenrode confronted the ranger, she was told that killing feral dogs was an unfortunate but necessary part of park reality.
Ken Wilbur, chief ranger for the North Coast Redwoods district of the California State Parks, said for several weeks prior to the incident, park staff and animal control had attempted and failed to trap the dog that was often seen begging for food. But when the dog was observed attacking a deer in the campground, "That warranted removal of the dog," Wilbur said.
Eckenrode met with Wilbur at the district office in Eureka to gave him her own written report of the incident. Those complaints and others have resulted in some changes in park policy.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park recently acquired a humane dog trap. And when Eckenrode recently returned to the park for another weekend campout, she noted that rangers have begun passing out information about the campground's regulations concerning dogs and the problem of feral animals.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors took a non-binding straw vote last week to suggest that at least a portion of its tobacco settlement money be used for anti-drug efforts. The Human Services Cabinet proposal would direct $215,000 to combat alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
"I think this is a reasonable request given the county's financial circumstances," said Karen Suiker, assistant county administrative officer.
According to the terms of the tobacco settlement, negotiated by a panel of state attorneys general and the major tobacco companies, the counties were to use the funds -- more than $3 million for Humboldt County this year alone -- for health and anti-tobacco education purposes. Instead, county officials plan to use most of the money to cover 2000-2001 budget shortfalls.
Some anti-tobacco activists aren't happy with $215,000, saying much more -- or all -- of the funds from the settlement should be used for health programs, to increase treatment capacity for tobacco and other drug programs, to fund anti-tobacco programs in schools and to reimburse law enforcement personnel who accrue overtime while enforcing smoking laws.
Supervisors began budget hearings Aug. 28 and must have a budget by the end of September. No decisions about how much to spend on what will be final until then.
Humboldt State University President Alistair W. McCrone received a 6.5 percent raise this summer -- from $186,948 to $199,104.
The salary hike, plus a yearly $23,004 housing allowance, is necessary in order to remain competitive as an employer, according to a report by the CSU Committee on University and Faculty Personnel.
CSU presidents are sought after as "competent and visionary leaders" and CSU needs to pay salaries that are in line with those paid at comparable institutions, the report says.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Tuesday filled two key leadership positions in the Department of Health and Human Services. The new department is the result of merging the departments of Social Services, Mental Health and Public Health.
Phillip Crandall, formerly the director of the Department of Social Services, was named director of the new department. Linda Hartmann, former director of the Department of Mental Health, will serve as assistant director. And former Public Health Director Jeff Arnold has been assigned the title of public health programs manager.
Arnold, who had been upset at being left out the planning process that resulted in the merger, said he was "comfortable" with his new position.
Skateboarding, Humboldt County's most regulated sport, got a little bit more regulated last week. County supervisors passed a revised anti-skateboarding ordinance providing penalties for people caught skating on county property.
The law is mostly aimed at two properties within Eureka -- the Humboldt County Courthouse and the Clark complex at 3033 H St.
Eureka already has its own skateboarding ordinance prohibiting the activity in Old Town but city police had declined to enforce the county ordinance within the city limits until the supervisors voted on enforcement and penalty procedures.
The recent national recall of some 6.5 million tires by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has left many tire retailers short of replacement tires. In the Bay Area, some tire stores have waiting lists with hundreds of names on them. Not so in Humboldt County, said Bob Coyle, manager of Les Schwab Tire Center in Eureka.
Coyle reported that the dealer, with stores in Fortuna, Eureka and McKinleyville, still had "a pretty good supply" of tires with which to replace the recalled Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II. The Eureka store has already replaced about 400 tires and Coyle said he foresees no difficulty continuing to service those models named in the recall action -- unless the recall is widened, that is. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering recalling a broader group of 47 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness brand tires, and that, said Coyle, "could be a huge increase."
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