November 15, 2001
The number of voters that made their way to the polls Nov. 6 was small: Only 14,501 of Humboldt County's 74,146 registered voters -- a little less than 20 percent -- cast votes.
While participation varied widely across the county, no precinct was able to involve more than half the electorate. The contest with the highest rate of turnout was that for the Mattole Unified School District, where 39.9 percent of registered voters participated.
Those who did vote reinforced the political status quo: In almost all races in the county, incumbents seeking another term were reinstated. Harbor Commissioner Ron Fritzsche, who had faced an enthusiastic campaign by challenger Pete Oringer, won by a slim 4 percent. Fritzsche's fellow incumbent Ronnie Pellegrini won re-election handily.
Three challengers running as a slate in the Arcata school board election were apparently defeated by two incumbents and a write-in candidate. Mary Wells and David Narum were re-elected along with Erin Taylor, the write-in candidate who was endorsed by the incumbents, although results are unoffical pending counting of all ballots.
A few incumbents lost their bids for re-election. In the Jacoby Creek School Board race, Harvey Kelsey and Howard Stauffer were ousted by David Collentine, Ethan Heifetz and Susan Brater, who ran together as a slate. In Rohnerville, incumbents Kevin Steele and Kevin Toler lost out to Greg Dale, Mike Benbow and Leonard Whitchurch.
One of the more dramatic election stories was in a contest without any candidates: The Peninsula Union School District finally passed a $600,000 bond measure to repair the school after failing in two previous elections.
This year's bond measure passed with 61 percent of the vote. Until last year, that would not have been enough. Before the 2000 passage of Proposition 39, a two-thirds majority was required to pass school bond measures.
The money will be used for seismic retrofitting, asbestos abatement, a new library and a meeting room.
The Humboldt Crabs will leave home base for the first time since 1996 next year.
The semiprofessional baseball team is including away games in its schedule. They will travel to Portland, Ore., to participate in the All-American Tournament.
"Having a tournament in the schedule keeps morale up and gives the players something to look forward to," said Gail Gourley, spokesperson for the Crabs. "It'll really add spark to the season."
Fans worrying about missing games can take heart: Not only is the team extending its schedule to make up the lost games, it is also looking into providing chartered transportation to Portland.
The 2000 National Bench Press Champion and Eureka resident Tammi Callahan has qualified for the world weightlifting championships in New Zealand in early December.
Callahan, who placed second in the bench press at the 2001 National Championships in Cleveland Sept. 23, will fly to Christchurch to compete with the national team Dec. 7.
The hardest part of making it there may not be the weights. Callahan, an amateur athlete who earns her living as a construction worker, has to raise all her funds herself. She's even responsible for buying her own uniform.
"Airfare alone is $1,500," said Maggie Kraft, who has been handling Callahan's fund-raising efforts.
People interested in making a tax-deductible donation to Callahan's championship hopes can call Kraft at 445-5974.
The Humboldt County Public Health Branch's annual mussel quarantine was lifted on schedule Oct. 31. The ban on mussel harvesting is imposed every year due to toxins that build up in the shellfish during the summer.
Routine testing shows that the mussels are again safe for human consumption. Call 445-6125 for more information.
The Federal Aviation Administration reopened the airspace surrounding the Humboldt Bay Nuclear Power Plant Nov. 6.
The airspace closure, which extended for 10 miles around the plant, came in reaction to threats of possible terrorist activity along the West Coast. Rohnerville, Murray Field and Eureka Municipal Airports were affected.
Community leaders with the desire to expand their capabilities may get a chance in January as students at the fourth annual Cascadia Leadership Training Program.
Cascadia is designed for individuals "who have been involved with community and organizational improvement efforts, who have a commitment to their communities and who have the potential to grow as leaders," said program director Julie Fulkerson.
Applicants from any background are welcome, from businesses to non-profit groups. The deadline for applications is Dec. 10. Call 442-2993 for more information.
After almost 70 years in business, the Humboldt Community Concert Association found itself in a bind last year. Revenues were down, performers' fees were up, and the organization itself was getting old.
"The volunteers who had been behind the organization were going on to whatever we go onto after this life. Our audience looked like a sea of grey hair," said Leon Berliner, president of the association.
Luckily for Eureka's classical music aficionados, the organization got a shot in the arm. The association is now officially considered a "presenter" by the California Arts Council -- and is eligible to receive grants to help pay for performers' fees. The association is also trying to keep pace with the times by renting smaller venues, Berliner said.
The association's first show under the new arrangement will feature the same performer as its last show prior to receiving presenter status: violinist Linda Wang, Jan. 11. Call 444-2378 for more information.
Shoppers perusing the Bayshore Mall this holiday season will have a chance to see more than sales and special deals. Thanks to an innovative approach to education, they'll see hands-on learning as well at a store run entirely by high school students.
Called Humboldt USA, the store is planned, staffed and managed by students from Arcata, McKinleyville, Fortuna and Eureka high schools and sponsored by the Humboldt County Office of Education.
The store serves two functions, according to EHS senior Stacy Toner. Only Humboldt County products are sold, helping to boost the local economy. And it will serve as a means to introduce students to an environment many will face as workers.
"We're learning how to put together a whole store," Toner said.
The products will be organized into theme baskets. For the culinary connoisseur, there's a basket with Lazio tuna and the Larrupin' Cafe's mustard dill sauce. The more adventurous may want to try something a little more spicy: the Humboldt Hot Stuff basket, with pepper paste, jalapeño jam and Smokin' Moses sauce.
Even if you don't find the perfect gift at Humboldt USA, Toner said she thinks she may have found her vocation.
"I like this," she said. "It's a great opportunity."
The National Forests of Coastal California are about to get a new boss.
Jack Blackwell, a 30-year veteran of the Forest Service, has taken over as regional forester for the Pacific Southwest region -- including Six Rivers National Forest.
"This guy will have a lot of say on local issues," said Tim McKay. Those who have a problem with National Forest policy, for instance, they have to appeal that policy to the regional forester before taking the case to court.
Blackwell formerly was regional forester for the Intermountain Region, which covers Nevada, Utah, Southern Idaho, Western Wyoming and some acreage in California and Colorado.
It may not sound like a very drastic move, but it's representative of a major change in how things get done in county government.
Jeff Arnold, former director of the Humboldt County Department of Public Health, was appointed to be the deputy director of the Public Health Branch Nov. 5. It's just one of the many changes taking place as part of the county's consolidation of three departments into one super-department with three branches.
When the Board of Supervisors voted last year to consolidate the departments of Mental Health, Public Health and Social Services into a Department of Health and Human Services, it was hoped that the integration would make more funding for specific programs available.
That is already happening, said Phil Crandall, director of the new department, as the integration has allowed county government to divert funding to those that need it most.
As an example, Crandall pointed to the Healthy Moms program. A drug and alcohol treatment program for mothers, Healthy Moms was underfunded to the point where it could not to provide the level of service needed.
"But by mapping which target populations different programs have in common, we found that many of the people in Healthy Moms were also in CalWorks [employment training]," Crandell said. "Now we're able to use the allocation for CalWorks to enhance the Healthy Moms program."
Crandall said that as the integration process continues, such "creative funding packages" are likely to become more common. The integration is scheduled to be completed by 2003.
Arcata has come up with an ordinance that will limit the number of national chain restaurants by going after one of their essential qualities: That all their branches look identical.
The city's Committee on Democracy and Corporations has released its proposed ordinance on "pattern" restaurants, those food service companies that have more than 12 branches similar in operation and appearance.
The ordinance would limit such establishments to their present number, nine. Five of those are concentrated in the Valley West neighborhood north of Arcata.
At issue is more than aesthetics: Chain restaurants are thought to draw income out of the community. But ordinances that specifically aim to curb the growth of chain restaurants have been struck down in court. Ordinances that aim to preserve the diverse aesthetic nature of a town, on the other hand, have succeeded in other California cities.
The ordinance has not yet been taken up by the City Council.
The Leonid Meteor shower happens Nov. 16 or 17 every year, as the Tempel-Tuttle comet's trail passes through the atmosphere and pieces of cosmic debris burn up in the atmosphere. This year, said Humboldt State University physics professor David Kornreich, will be something special.
"There isn't going to be any Moon this year, and the comet is passing especially close to the earth, so we should see a lot more meteors," he said.
HSU's Fickle Hill observatory will be open for the meteor shower, Kornreich said -- weather permitting.
"The forecast is partly cloudy, but who knows?" he said.
Call 826-4002 for more information.
The Nov. 7 deadline for filing to run in next March's 1st State Assembly District race has passed, defining the field of candidates trying to replace Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin.
Strom-Martin cannot run for re-election due to term limits, leaving a seat open in a heavily Democratic district. That has drawn four Democrats into the field for the March 5 primary: Cloverdale Mayor Bob Jehn, Lake County Supervisor Ed Robey, former Ukiah Mayor Jim Mastin and from Humboldt County, Patty Berg, former executive director of the Area Agency on Aging.
Three Republicans have also entered the contest: Clay Romero of Willits, Robert Brown of Kelseyville and Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Timothy Stoen.
Three Republicans have also declared their candidacy for the 2nd state Senate seat. Peggy Redfearn of Nice, Dennis Purificacion of Vallejo and Benecia's Stuart Posselt are all competing for the chance to run against incumbent Wesley Chesbro.
The date of the public meeting on Humboldt County' proposed beach ordinance was incorrect in last week's edition. The meeting will take place Nov. 19 from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. in the county supervisor's chambers.
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© Copyright 2001, North Coast Journal, Inc.