Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Pot Club in Eureka

Posted on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM

New Pot Club in Eureka: Hummingbird Healing Center, a medical marijuana dispensary, just opened its doors right across Harrison Avenue from St. Joseph Hospital. Here's a review that was posted yesterday. They got the goods, it would seem.

Interesting to note that the club is right over the city line, which runs down the middle of Harrison. So it's technically a "county" pot club, though its location in the heart of Eureka's medical district is certainly a canny move. We have a call into the owner, who was kind enough to drop us a line to inform us of the club's grand opening.

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Lamer Indeed

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 1:06 PM

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Just in from the Sheriff's Dept.:

Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a McKinleyville man late Monday night after finding him driving through town with nearly 100 pounds of marijuana in his car. At about 10:15 p.m. a deputy was stopped at an intersection when a vehicle turned at the same intersection. The deputy smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, a GMC Yukon, and followed the vehicle for a short distance. As the deputy was behind the vehicle, the smell of marijuana was constant and strong.

The vehicle suddenly pulled into the driveway of a residence on the 1100 block of Bates Road in McKinleyville and stopped. The driver of the vehicle told the deputy he was at the residence to see a friend. The deputy knew the residents at that address and asked the driver, Ross C. Lamer, 26, who he was there to see. Lamer could not name anyone at the residence.

As the deputy was speaking to Lamer the deputy saw harvested marijuana plants in the cargo area of the Yukon. The deputy saw the cargo area was approximately three-fourths full of marijuana. The deputy ran Lamer for warrants and learned he had a suspended license and he was on probation. The deputy arrested lamer for driving on a suspended license and violation of his probation.

Sheriff's Deputies, with the assistance from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, obtained a search warrant for Lamer's residence on the 2600 block of Bolier Avenue in McKinleyville. Inside Lamer's house, deputies found a loaded handgun, $27,000 in cash, and 47 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from two feet to three feet tall. The marijuana in the Yukon weighed 98 pounds.

Lamer was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF). He was booked for the transportation of marijuana for sales, possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, driving on a suspended license, and a probation violation. Additionally, Lamer was enrolled in (technically, one is "booked into") the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program (SWAP) at the time of his arrest. He was to be serving sentences on SWAP for convictions for evading a peace officer, driving under the influence, and a probation violation. After being transported to the HCCF, those charges were added and he will serve the remainder of those sentences in custody.

Lamer is expected to be arraigned by Thursday. He is not eligible to post bail as he is sentenced on separate cases.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The MLPA Protest

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 7:20 PM

Oddly, the protest outside the Red Lion Inn today -- fishermen objecting to Northern California's implementation of the Marine Life Protection Ac t -- resembled nothing so much as the protest outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's hearings at the same venue three years ago . Stranger still, today's protest happened on the same day that an agreement on the removal of the Klamath hydropower dams was announced. Many of the people at today's action, which was occassioned by a workshop on the MLPA implementation being held inside the hotel today and tomorrow, were also at the last one.

Please excuse the ridiculously shoddy camerwork -- I'm still getting used to this particular device -- but here's Vivian Helliwell talking to Ryan Burns and I about why fishermen were out to protest Marine Protected Areas:

And here's Dennis Mayo rallying the troops:

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Klamath Dam Deal Announced, Opposed

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Negotiators representing various interest groups on the Klamath River today reached a landmark agreement with PacifiCorp, the hydropower company that owns four dams on the river. If consummated, the agreement will result in the largest dam removal project in history.

This is very big news, and we'll have much more about it in next week's issue. However, it should be noted that several environmental groups are opposing the deal, as well as an earlier agreement -- known as the "Klamath Settlement Agreement" -- that seeks to establish a new arrangement for the distribution of the basin's water.

The following is a press release from Oregon Wild, an environmental group opposing both the dam deal and the earlier settlement agreement:

Klamath Dam Deal Announced, But What's on Deck?
Dam removal still linked to settlement scheme harmful to fish and wildlife

Portland, Ore- Negotiators from Oregon, California, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the utility company PacifiCorp released a final draft today of a plan to remove four aging dams on the Klamath River. The draft dam removal deal has yet to be signed by a broader group of stakeholders, and negotiations continue on an unbalanced water settlement linked to the dam removal proposal. The combined agreements will eventually require Congressional action to go into effect.

"For years now, there has been a growing consensus that removing Klamath River dams is key to salmon recovery and overall Klamath Basin health," said Ani Kame'enui with the conservation group Oregon Wild. "Sadly, this proposal still saddles dam removal efforts with unrelated special interest giveaways."

The Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement (KHSA) anticipates dam removal to begin at an unspecified future date with a feasibility study to be conducted before a 2012 deadline. Independent analyses have already documented much of the economic and ecological rationale behind dam removal, making the added studies and delayed timeline worrisome. Furthermore, under the terms of the KHSA, PacifiCorp can continue to profit from dam operations with minimal interim conditions to fix poor water quality and aid struggling salmon.

Even more controversial is the linkage between the KHSA and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), a nearly $1 billion water deal drafted over the last six years and heavily influenced by former Bush administration officials. KBRA negotiations have proceeded in secret since a draft document was released to the public in January of 2008. The settlement scheme would guarantee water for commercial agriculture in the Bureau of Reclamation's Klamath Irrigation Project without providing a similar guarantee to threatened fish species. The KBRA would also lock in damaging commercial agriculture on 22,000 acres of land inside the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges.

"The dam deal announced today isn't perfect, but the true test is still to come," added Steve Pedery, conservation director with Oregon Wild and a veteran Klamath advocate. "When the water deal gets packaged with this dam deal, are river advocates going to be able to live with the fish and wildlife sacrifices made in the final settlement. We all want dam removal, but we shouldn't have to trade salmon and bald eagles for broken concrete."

Today's dam removal proposal comes nearly a year after PacifiCorp first agreed to consider the potential of breaching the dams. In the interim, negotiators missed two self-imposed deadlines to reach a final agreement. Iron Gate, Copco I, Copco II, and J.C. Boyle dams continue to operate on annual licenses with minimal interim conditions required to improve habitat for fish. The furthest downstream dam on the river, Iron Gate, was constructed in 1962 without fish passage and has blocked over 300 miles of salmon spawning habitat ever since. The decline in salmon population health on the Klamath reached its low point in 2002 when approximately 70,000 adult salmon died due to water quality and quantity issues created in part by the dams.

"The last thing that anyone wants to see is another devastating fish kill on the Klamath," concluded Kame'enui. "If the dam deal and the water deal aren't significantly changed for the better, we may not be able to avoid that fate."

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Tripping Through Our Triangle

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Atlantic correspondent Christina Davidson, who's been on a "Recession Road Trip" and posting essays along the way, veers through Eureka and picks up a prospector named Pie-Dog....

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Anti-Vaccine Vandals Strike

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:43 PM

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The vandalized Six Rivers Medical Center in Willow Creek. Photo by Ken Malcomson

Some time between 6 o'clock last night and early this morning, somebody (or bodies) journeyed between Willow Creek and Burnt Ranch spraying blood-red opposition to vaccinations on school buildings, medical clinics, sidewalks and the k-rails -- concrete barriers -- lining the highway.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Department is investigating but as of midday today had no leads, said Sheriff's Department spokesperson Brenda Godsey.

Terry Bray, administrative assistant to the principal at Trinity Valley Elementary School, arrived at work at 7:30 this morning to see "SV40" and "VAX waiver" spray painted in red on the school's outside cafeteria wall, and a skull and crossbones spray painted on the school's new office sign in front. She said a bus driver told her he'd noticed the graffiti when he got in at 6:15 a.m. Bray filed a report with the Sheriff's Department, and the school's maintenance person got to work.

"We've already gotten it off, though," she said this morning. "And we repainted the cafeteria, so the kids really didn't even have to see it."

Behind the elementary school, which is on State Highway 96 in Willow Creek, the word "autism" was spray painted on the preschool.

Not far away, at the Willow Creek Community Health Center, on Highway 299, workers arrived at work at 8 a.m. to see "VAX" and a skull with Xs for eyes spray painted on the front of the building, and "SV40" and "autism" spray painted on one side and the back of the building, all in two- to three-foot high letters, said receptionist and medical records clerk Kelly Earls.

"It was a surprise," she said, adding they'd had no hint or threats that this was coming.

The clinic had to hire a painter, and was waiting for him to arrive at about midday today and so had not yet figured the cost of repainting.

Meanwhile, at Six Rivers Medical Center, on Highway 96 in Willow Creek, "cancer," "VAX," "SV40" and a skull were spray painted on the front of the building, and "autism" was painted on the sidewalk in front of it.

"This was a total surprise," said clinic manager Debbie Mitchell.

Burnt Ranch Elementary School, about 15 miles up the road in Trinity County, similarly was vandalized with "VAX," the skull and "VAX waiver." By 5 p.m. today, the school was still working on removing the graffiti, said Superintendent Sarah Supahan. Ironically, today also was the day the school held its first "celebration of character" assembly of the year.

"We emphasize a different character trait each month," Supahan said. "And this month was ‘trustworthiness.' So the teacher in charge was asking, ‘What does it mean to be trustworthy?' And the students were giving different examples. And then one student said, ‘It means not spray painting your school.'"

Supahan said they're stumped as to who did it. "We haven't had complaints," she said. "There's been no parent concern about vaccinating. Our parents are aware we have a waiver."

The Sheriff's Department's Godsey said Deputy Greg Barry, on his way to investigate the vandalism in Burnt Ranch, discovered the spray painted k-rails along the way.

"So obviously whoever did this is mobile," Godsey said.

Bray, at Trinity Valley Elementary School, said she figured the graffiti was done by an adult or adults "because they spelled everything right."

Bray said she Googled "SV40" to find out what it means. "SV40" stands for "Simian Virus 40" and refers to a tumor-causing virus that was found in monkey kidney cells that were used to create the first polio vaccine. The cells' use was eliminated by 1963, according to the SV40 Cancer Foundation, but "it has been alleged that there have been SV40-contaminated batches of oral polio vaccine administered to some children until the end of the 1990's," says the foundation's Web site.

As for the word "autism," Bray said she's aware that some people believe that vaccines can cause autism.

But Bray and others said they didn't know why they'd been targeted. School kids have to get vaccinated for a number of things -- including polio, mumps, measles and rubella -- unless their parents sign a waiver, said Bray. But the school hasn't been pushing the vaccines, she said.

At the Willow Creek Community Health Center, RN Clinic Coordinator Erica Dykehouse said her first thought when she saw the graffiti this morning was that perhaps it had been done by the parent or relative of someone who has been diagnosed with autism.

Dykehouse said there is no known cause of autism. But, she said, about 12 years ago the medical journal The Lancet published an article linking the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine to cases of autism. "But every study that I've read [since then] has shown that the article was based on data that had been altered to show a link between autism and the preservative that was used in vaccinations at the time, called thimerosal," said Dykehouse.

Regardless, thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines, she said, and her clinic administers thimerosal-free vaccinations.

"I wondered why we got hit," Dykehouse said. "We don't force parents to vaccinate their children, and we do explain to them the risks of it, and we do explain to them that even though there's no link between thimerosal and autism, they went ahead and just took it out of vaccines in 2002."

Even so, she said she can sympathize with worried parents. "Just looking at it from a parent's perspective, you are responsible for this other being, and every decision you make on their behalf you're wondering, what are the consequences going to be? So, if there's any doubt whether to give your child an immunization, and you're really worried about autism ... and you made that decision [to immunize], and it turned out there was a link, discovered later down the line, I can see where parents would be reluctant to give immunizations. But then when you look at small pox, or whooping cough -- which does go around quite frequently -- or polio, you have to weigh that against the risk of being vaccinated. And there is such a large pocket of children around here who are not vaccinated ... that we don't have insulation [against those preventable diseases]. And then, you have people who travel overseas to areas where the disease is prevalent, and then come back here with the disease and pass it on to children who aren't vaccinated."

She said people who haven't seen what a case of measles or polio or some other preventable and perhaps debilitating disease looks like, they might not have a sense of "how terrible it is" and not understand the risk.

"But if they would actually see a case of measles, or actually see a case of polio, people might think differently about it," she said.

Bray, at Trinity Elementary, said even if you're vehemently anti-vaccines, "this is not the way to get your point across."

"Schools are in financial crisis as we speak and we just really don't have the money or the time to have to deal with something like this," Bray said. "I know our maintenance person has been working on it all morning."

As a side note, the character trait for next month's assembly at Burnt Ranch Elementary School is "Respect."

 

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Friday, September 25, 2009

State Parks: Safe

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 3:13 PM

hospital."State Parks: Safe: Back when the last budget go-round was just getting started, Gov. Schwarzenegger floated the idea of closing a whole bunch of state parks to help balance the budget. Many people -- the Journal included -- viewed it as a ridiculous bluff, a bit of shock and awe as an opening gambit.

But after the proposal stayed on the table for a while, it was suddenly starting to seem a little more real. Then it went away completely. Then, a couple of weeks ago, it came back. Now, reports the Chron, Schwarzenegger is announcing that all 279 California state parks will remain open. The state parks budget will be reduced to save a ludicrously paltry $14
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Local hospital fined $25k

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Local hospital fined $25k: From the L.A. Times today in a story titled, "Eleven California hospitals cited for violations leading to death, serious injury." "Redwood Memorial Hospital, Fortuna, Humboldt County. The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policy and procedure. This resulted in a patient having to undergo a second surgery to remove a retained foreign object. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hauser Anti-Endorsed

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 11:09 PM

To the Editor:

This letter is written at the request of City of Arcata OE3 Union members. We are extremely disappointed that those of us with the most recent day-to-day work place interactions with Mr. Hauser were not heeded when fellow Union representatives decided to endorse Dan Hauser for Humboldt Bay Harbor District Commissioner.

City of Arcata members of Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 Public Employee Division voted unanimously, with one abstention, AGAINST an endorsement of Mr. Hauser. The Arcata member's lack of support is based on his five year tenure as Arcata's city manager. During the 2002 contract negotiations, OE3 members were told there was no money available for salary increases while management received huge raises. As City Manager Mr. Hauser was also retaliatory and manipulative to the point several OE3 members feared for their jobs. 

City of Arcata OE3 members are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to the residents and businesses of Arcata. City of Arcata OE3 members urge the Arcata community not to support Mr. Hauser for Harbor District.

Sincerely,

City of Arcata -OE3 Public Employee Division Stewards

Loretta Arbuckle, Dennis Houghton, Scott Lackey, Julie Neander, Dutch Sullivan

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A Hobbit Con?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Oh dear, we missed Bilbo and Frodo's birthday! That was two days ago. Nobody around here went barefoot. Nobody spent too long in the bathroom reading. But, intuitively, at least one of us did have a second breakfast!

Sure as heck didn't go and re-read "The Hobbit" like some guy named Stephen, who in a post on Boing Boing is quoted as saying that Thorin Oakenshield resembles a Nigerian sharpie:

In re-reading the Hobbit, I realized that the opening chapters made it sound like Thorin was running a con. From there, I wondered what Thorin's pitch would look like if it were a modern con, which resulted in me writing a Nigerian 419 fraud letter for the Hobbit."

    Dear MR BAGGINS, Fellow Conspirator,

    I am Thorin Oakenshield, descendant of Thrain the Old and grandson of Thror who was King under the Mountain. I am writing you to discuss our plans, our ways, means, policy and devices for rescuing our treasure from the dragon Smaug. ...

Check out the rest of the Hobbit advance payment fraud letter.

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