Friday, February 29, 2008

Where's My Agenda!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 6:52 PM

The County of Humboldt, drunk with power and out for a heavy-metal joyride, today seems hell-bent on pushing the envelope of the Brown Act to its very limits. Here it is 4:30 p.m. Friday, and no agenda posted for the Tuesday morning meet. Where's my agenda?

Meanwhile, the City of Eureka is up and at 'em. What do we have over there? Check the agenda PDF and tell me if I miss anything major.

1. The city's still trying to move the Hill Street Pump Station, a piece of property over by the old Mall 101 area (now better known as the home of Harley-Davidson). There's a closed-session item on it. City Manager Dave Tyson is apparently deep in negotiations with "Nelson," one name. Who is this "Nelson"? Some over-the-hill '90s boy band pop celebrity who moved to Eureka to open his own pump station?

2. There's a public hearing on an amendment to the city's Local Coastal Program for what looks like a parcel on the foot of C Street. Are we talking about the Buhne Building? Fisherman's Terminal? Help me out, I'm a little bit behind on matters Eureka right now.

Basically, it looks like they want to introduce an ordinance that would change the use of the parcel to allow "commercial uses incidental to the primary coastal dependent industrial use." Makes sense, because strict coastal dependent industrial is about the last thing the city would want on that area of the waterfront, and coastal-dependent industrial real estate isn't exactly a hot commodity around Humboldt Bay these days.

3. An ordinance that would amend the rules for street trees. This whets my curiosity, but the council does not put up its packets on the web, alas, and the planner has gone home for the day.

4. A $1 million program with a big title -- the "101 Corridor Traffic Light Synchronization Program Project." If approved, this program or project or program project will authorize city staff to seek a $640,000 grant and to set aside $380,000 from next year's budget. The money would then be spent to further the cause of Traffic Light Synchronization.

5. And there'll be a mid-year city budget update.

Ten 'til five, and the county's agenda still isn't up. I'm outta here. You'll be hearing from my attorneys. There is a meeting, we know that much. It'll be at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Board of Supervisors Chambers in the county courthouse, 825 Fifth St., Eureka.

The Eureka City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Eureka City Hall, 531 K St., Eureka.

UPDATE, SATURDAY MORNING: So the county's agenda is up, and there's just about nothing there. Seriously, apart from closed session it looks like a five-minute meeting. Gotta say, though, that I dig the new department-by-department format for agenda items. They must have been working out the kinks.

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King's pretty new map

Posted By on Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 6:26 PM

Tim Daniels, of the Bigfoot Bicycle Club, just sent out a note on the club's message board that the BLM-Whitethorn office has uploaded a map of its emerging mountain bike trail in the Paradise Ridge region of the King Range National Conservation Area. The trail won't be completed until this fall, but there are some stretches that can be ridden now.

We wrote about the trail a couple Novembers ago.

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Rhody's On

Posted By on Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Well glory Betty be, the Rhody Parade is on after all. Just when my landlady's rhodies were beginning to relax. Well, think again, dear shrubs, the parade is on and the plucking shall ensue. The town has rallied. Here's the news release:

----- Original Message -----

From: Justin Bowser
To: 'Betty'
Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 3:20 PM
Subject: Rhododendron Parade is on for 2008
For Immediate Release: "STRIKE UP THE BAND"
February 29, 2008

The Rhododendron Parade is a go! Two weeks ago Betty Burton, Choir Director at Christ Episcopal Church, began inquiries with Eureka Chamber Executive Director about taking on the task of facilitating the continuation of the Rhododendron Parade. The Church has been involved as a part of the weekend activities for 25 years by presenting a musical concert featuring the organ, instrumental music and choral works. Burton did not want to see this community event stopped. This past week has brought in many offers of help from clubs and organizations. The Eureka Old Town Rotary Club has done much of the parade set-up for the past 20 years. Long time member Stan Smith has helped keep the parade going. The club has stepped up to continue their organizational participation and to help coordinate the other tasks involved in putting on the parade.

The Rotary Club wants this to be a County wide effort with all community clubs, organizations, businesses and individuals involved. This is the opportunity to bring new life into an event that can focus on the beauty of our area and the generosity of its citizens. Sometimes we almost have to lose something to realize the importance it brings to our lives.

The theme of the Parade this year is Celebration. It's time to play the music, groom the horses and make the floats. Let the fun begin.

A news conference will come next week where all will have an opportunity to ask questions. Time and date to follow.

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Dramatic New Palco Plan

Posted By on Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Judge Richard S. Schmidt only alluded to it briefly in Thursday's hearing, but a new player has entered the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy proceedings. This party brings an audacious, out-of-the-box plan for the future of the 150-year-old Humboldt County timber company to the table.

Rio Dell resident and Humboldt County blogospherian Steve Lewis has officially entered his Heartlands Project proposal into the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy file. (It's docket number 2255, and a PDF of it can be downloaded here.)

The incredible scope of the plan makes it difficult to summarize. Let's just say that if even if you've read all 2,304 blog comments Lewis has posted about the Heartlands Project here and there, you still only know maybe 10 percent of the proposal.

You have to read the whole thing to get real sense of this remarkably ambitious plan, but here are some of the lesser-known highlights:


  • International Satellite Lottery System: High-tech, smartphone-based lottery. "This lottery system requires no ticket outlets ... making this new vastly simpler Satellite-Tribal Land Processing Center System much less expensive to set up and maintain."

  • CorpoLotto: Another lottery that corporations would enter, with super-mega-jackpots.

  • Heartlands Research and Development: Sustainability think-tank made up of Humboldt State, College of the Redwoods, "Chinese" and "local talented people."

  • Cardboard: A major play into the lucrative cardboard market, including cardboard surfboards and cardboard automobiles.

  • Palco Emporium: Locally owned, tribally operated big box store on the site of the old Fortuna Mill. "In a 'tribal-communitarian' partnership with either Bear River or Table Bluff Wiyot Tribes, Palco would use tribal sovereignty rights and Chinese capital to compete with volume-discount stores like Wal-Mart."

  • Palcovilles: Planned-unit communitarian developments. A hundred Scotias bloom.

  • Scotia Studios: Scotia Mill A would become a sound stage. The company would produce Steve Lewis' unproduced film scripts.

  • Palco Toys: Would make toys based on Steve Lewis' designs.

  • Palco Publishing Inc.: Would publish local books, starting with Steve Lewis' four unpublished manuscripts.

  • Palco-Soft: Educational software.


The Heartlands prospectus also includes a brief synopsis of the various nefarious players who have stymied this miraculous proposal from bearing fruit hitherto. For instance, Lewis writes that he was deep in months of discussion with Evergreen Pulp about possible partnership opportunities back in 2005, and he believes they were on the verge of reaching accord. Alas, along came "environmentalists" to protest the mill's air quality emissions, yet again scuttling the Heartlands Project's chances.

Early in Thursday's bankruptcy court hearings, Judge Schmidt and the attorneys in the case ran down all the items that would be dealt with on that day's calendar. When the lawyers got to the end of their lists, Schmidt said, "and there's that submission from the Indian Tribe." Everyone concurred. But that was the last anything was said about it.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life, live!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 7:10 PM

localimage.jpg


Cafeteria roenbergensis photo by Tamara Clark, CreativeCommons

Have you been to the Encyclopedia of Life site yet? Yes, of course you have -- you and hordes of others, causing the new "ecosystem of websites," as they're calling it, to crash. But it seems to be back up, so in case you haven't been there, check it out.

Eventually, say its creators, anything you want to know about any life form on Earth will be there, pretty pictures and taxonomic standing and all. For now, however, they're still building the databases -- and they want you to contribute. Or, you with the science cred, anyway.

Sorry, someone's already lovingly placed the entry for Cafeteria roenbergensis . Mmm. But the Sequoia sempervirens entry is blank! And there is no Bigfoot entry (except for a salamander and a clover). Sheesh. Go, fill in the pages of life!

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Scotia For Sale

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 6:25 PM

scotia.jpg


Sharp-eyed Blogthing reader "Lou" -- who wins instant promotion to our MVP Reader Team -- noticed yesterday that nine commercial properties in downtown Scotia have been listed for sale on the Humboldt County Multiple Listing Service . (No direct links, unfortunately. Search for Scotia properties.) The buildings in question include the Pacific Lumber HQ, the town museum, the commercial center housing Hoby's Market and other small businesses, the Post Office and the Winema Theatre, among others. They're listed at a combined total of $11.5 million.


How can this be, given that the company is in bankruptcy and the properties in question have all been borrowed against? After listening in on the bankruptcy court conference call this morning (more about which anon), our first thought was that the sale of the property was some sort of hare-brained quick money scheme. Pacific Lumber is out of cash. They've got 24 million board feet of timber in the year, but no one to sell it to. They've got a total of $1.5 million in the bank. They're going to be seeking additional loans just to get through the next five weeks.


So, are they sneaking some properties out the back door just to stay afloat? Not at all, said Pacific Lumber spokesperson Heather Muller today. In fact, she said, the sale of the properties has been underway for some time.


"My understanding is that we filed a Town Plan with the court approximately eight months ago that anticipated the sale of commercial buildings in Scotia," she said. "A few have recently have appeared on the MLS due only to the efforts of the agents engaged to sell them."

Muller added that any sale of property would have to be approved by the bankruptcy court, and that nearly all proceeds would go to the creditor who held liens against it -- in this case, Marathon Capital Group.

Then why proceed with the sale at all? Muller said that it was her understanding that the sale was part of the company's fiduciary duty to Marathon its estate. The company owes Marathon money; it's trying to pay it. A bit odd considering that Marathon has proposed its own plan for the future of the company, which would presumably include the properties in question. But as of right now, everything appears to be above board.

The Scotia commercial properties were listed through Pacific Partners/Coldwell Banker . Listing agent Dave Wells didn't return a call seeking comment.

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Enter Vevoda

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Looks like there's going to be a real election in each of the three supervisorial districts up for grabs this time around. In the Arcata-centered Third District, you've got the four-way progressive mishmash coalescing around Paul Pitino, Mike Wilson, Mark Lovelace and Elizabeth Conner. Down in the Fortuna/SoHum Second District, it's incumbent Roger Rodoni v. Fortuna apple man Clif Clendenen and former KMUD news director Estelle Fennell.

And now comes word that Ferndale dairyman John Vevoda has filed papers to challenge incumbent Jimmy Smith in the First District. Vevoda, who could not be immediately reached for comment, is a 55-year-old Republican who has been active with the Farm Bureau. He's also been very involved with the drive to unclog the Salt River, which has at times backed up onto his fields.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Redwood in NYC

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Well, poor Johnny Redwood is gone, but one of his dreams, "Redwood Adventures TV," is going straight to the top -- New York -- as a finalist in the TV pilot category at the NY International Independent Film and Video Festival, which starts this Friday. In case you're there.

More about it here.

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Virtual Candidacies

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Most everyone up here in the Third Supervisorial district is keeping coy. You've got activist Mark Lovelace, Bay District Commissioner Mike Wilson and former Arcata City Councilmember Elizabeth Conner each saying that they are currently "seriously considering" a run for the Board of Supervisors seat being vacated by John Woolley. Only current Arcata City Councilmember Paul Pitino has verified that he's definitely charging ahead.

Behind the scenes, of course, things are already in motion. As we pointed out a couple of weeks ago, Wilson's people have snapped up two Internet domain names: mikeforsupervisor.org and wilsonforsupervisor.com. Now, the Blogthing's personal DNS troll, a member of our MVP Reader Team, notes that Conner got into the game shortly after we posted the item above.

Here's the record:

domain: elizabethforsupervisor.com
created: 13-Feb-2008
last-changed: 13-Feb-2008
registration-expiration: 13-Feb-2009

registrant-firstname: John
registrant-lastname: Graves
registrant-organization: J.Garland Communications
registrant-street1: 2649 Terrace AVE
registrant-pcode: 95521
registrant-state: CA
registrant-city: Arcata


What does this information tell us, except for the obvious fact that Conner has wooed veteran Arcata campaignmaster John Graves into her corner? Well, click on through to elizabethforsupervisor.com. What do you see? That's right: Whereas mikeforsupervisor.org is hosted by the eco-groovy company Sustainable Hosting, Conner's is up at the big bad Wal-Mart of the web world, 1&1 Internet.

Round one: Wilson.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'Bloodhounds' Requested

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 6:08 PM

dog-blood-bank.jpg

The University of California at Davis has launched a dog blood-donor program . That's dog-to-dog of course. Some die-hard owners would no doubt be willing to open a vein for their favorite pet, but that service isn't available yet.

And if you're wondering, according to the UC Davis press release, dogs, unlike humans, have 13 blood types, the preferred donor type being dog erythrocyte antigen 1.1 negative. I guess you'd have to drive to Davis to find out whether or not your pet is a universal donor.

Unfortunately, if you're interested in having your pooch donate blood, you're out of luck. Davis might be in the same congressional district as we are, but the blood bank is only looking for dogs within a one hundred mile radius of the vet school. You'll have to wait until they establish a mobile blood bank, which -- by the way -- is already being considered.

photo from The Age (Australia)

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