Friday, January 29, 2010

Blue Lake Doubles Down on LCCI

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 11:39 AM

As part of Lost Coast Communication's deal to buy radio station KXGO (reported here yesterday), the Blue Lake Rancheria will take a large stake in the company, according to an ownership report filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

According to the report and LCCI Chairman Patrick Cleary, the rancheria -- owner of the Blue Lake Casino -- will end up with a 43 percent ownership stake upon the close of the KXGO deal. Currently, Cleary said today, the rancheria owns 20 percent of LCCI, which runs three FM stations in Humboldt County -- KHUM, KSLG and The Point.

The ownership question is bound to be awkward for Cleary, who recently announced his candidacy for the Board of Supervisors representing Humboldt County's Fifth District, where the rancheria is located. In the past, the Rancheria has donates tens of thousands of dollars to candidates for the board, including Bonnie Neely and Clif Clendenen, probably making it the largest single donor to countywide races.

Reached a few moments ago, Cleary said that the upcoming stock shuffle will not threaten his independence as an elected official. In the first place, he said, he will recuse himself on all matters pertaining to the tribe that might come before the board. Also, he noted that he and his mother control a larger share of LCCI stock than the rancheria will (though not an outright majority.)

It's all in a day's work, concluded Cleary, who has for many years also served as the chair of the county's Headwaters Fund Board. "I'm used to walking a fine line between special interests, and I think I've always handled it appropriately."

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lost Coast Communications buys KXGO

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM

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Big news in the local radio world: Lost Coast Communications is buying KXGO from Redwood Broadcasting. This brings the Ferndale-based radio group up to four stations, the others being the KHUM flagship, the "new rock" station KSLG and KWPT, The Point. 

LCC CEO Patrick Cleary confirmed the purchase. "It's a great station. It's a real opportunity for us," he said, noting that, "It's the second most powerful signal in the county." 

He said he does not plan on changing the nature of the classic rock station. "It does really well in the ratings and has a good audience." And he's hoping to keep KXGO's DJs, including morning man Cosmic Charlie.

The major change will be moving  KXGO to Ferndale. "We're trying to figure out whose office to take over," he said with a laugh.

Cleary would not say what he paid -- seller Pat Christensen of Redwood Broadcasting asked him not to -- but that information will be public as soon as the FCC posting goes online.

The purchase comes just as Cleary is leaving the interim general manager position at Humboldt State's public radio station KHSU -- a new general manager, Ed Subkis, takes over Feb. 1 . (Cleary will stay on briefly to help with the transition.)

It also comes about a week into Cleary's campaign for 5th District Supervisor. The fact that he now owns four radio stations might seem a major advantage in the coming race, but Cleary says it isn't really, since media use is "heavily regulated" by the FCC, which means he'll have to buy ads on his own station. Cleary has occasionally filled in on the air -- that will not be allowed, nor will he be allowed to do voice work on commercials on any of LCC's stations.

Cleary said the station looked into the electioneering rules when KHUM's afternoon DJ, Larry Trask was considering running for mayor in Ferndale. Trask decided  against it when they learned that they'd have to give equal time to all candidates.

[Correction] Trask tells me that he did in fact run for mayor as a write-in candidate. "But I didn't talk about it on the air and I didn't go out and campaign," thus the equal time rules did not apply. The mayoral election had only write in candidates. Trask came in second out of three.

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Photos Released in Arson Investigation

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 1:36 PM

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The Humboldt County Arson Task Force released these fuzzy security camera stills that show a suspicous pedestrian strolling through South Bay Elementary School Tuesday night before a fire erupted , causing half a million dollars in damage.
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The task force has determined that the fire was indeed caused by arson, though no arrests have been made, according to the latest press release.

The individual appears to be wearing a backpack and carrying a baseball bat -- at least that's how the task force sees it. Frankly, it's hard to make much out. Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Brenda Godsey said this is the highest resolution available for the photos.

The same school was the victim of another suspicious fire on the night of Nov. 24, 2008. No arrests have been made in that case either. Authorities have not determined whether or not the two are connected.

For comparison's sake, security camera stills from the night of the 2008 arson were also released. (Click "More" to have a look.)

Tuesday's fire was started sometime before 11 p.m. Anyone with information about either case should call the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at (707) 445-7251.

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Mr. Bohner in the WSJ

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Steve Bohner Beautifully bearded rock god /green handiman/all-around nice guy Steve Bohner makes a surprise appearance in today's Wall Street Journal , giving expert testimony on the solar hot-water systems industry. Bohner, who owns Arcata's Alchemy Construction Inc., even throws down some righteous rock 'n' roll attitude on those Wall Street fat cats:

He bristles a bit when customers focus too much on payback time of [solar] panels. "What's the payback time of your granite countertop?" Mr. Bohner asks.

Snap!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Could L.A. Weed Ruling Hurt Local Economy?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 3:58 PM

dispensary weed Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that will limit the number of licensed marijuana dispensaries in the city to 70. Currently they have about 1,000 of 'em, according to Reuters . The measure also will prohibit dispensaries from locating less than 1,000 feet from schools, public parks, libraries or churches or across the street from residences.

With a population of more than 3.8 million that equates to about one dispensary per 55,000 people (more than Arcata and Eureka combined). Setting aside the possibility of this action setting a precedent, could the law in LaLa hurt our local green economy?

Reuters alludes to this very question:

In northern California towns like Arcata and Eureka, where marijuana has long been part of the social fabric and local economy, illicit growers have reportedly stepped up production to meet rising demand generated by the spread of clinics around the state.

So how 'bout it, growers? Will this hurt your bottom line?

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Bomb Scare in Arcata

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Update, 4:49 p.m. -- Interim Chief Tom Chapman clarifies the city's role in suspending photography at the scene.

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The parking lot behind Arcata City Hall by the library, as well as the nearest sidewalk to the lot, was closed all morning as investigators examined a suspicious device.

APD officers were directing people away from the sidewalk nearest the parking lot and not letting anyone enter the parking lot. Investigators at a Humboldt County Sheriff's trailer parked near the lot viewed the device remotely.

Around noon, APD Sgt. Jaynie Goodwin, at the scene with other APD and Sheriff's personnel, came across the street to answer some questions from the Journal . She said the police department had received the report of the suspicious device from a city employee at 9:03 a.m.

"He was working in the HealthSport area and found it strapped to a pole," Goodwin said.

The city employee, whose name she didn't know, put the device in the back of the city truck and drove it over to the library parking lot -- and Goodwin noted that's not quite the protocol for dealing with a suspicious device. Instead, leave it where it is and report it.

The device was about the size of a softball. Goodwin said she didn't know more about it. Moments later, as I was taking photographs, she came across the street again and told me to stop taking photographs. "They're saying no cell phones, no cameras," she said, referring to the investigators over by the bomb squad trailer.

City Hall was not closed and business went on as usual at the front desk, but city workers were told not to go into the back half of the building near the parking lot. "We were told to take a long lunch," said one employee inside City Hall, who'd just returned from said lunch and decided to work on a laptop in the lobby.

A little after 1 p.m. the caution tape was being wadded up and most of the police squad had rolled away. An APD spokesman inside City Hall said they'd be "sending out a little news release" soon.

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UPDATE:

Hank,

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me on the phone.  As we discussed, APD recognizes the issue of public spaces and access either through photographing or watching, etc.  At the time this occurred there was a bit of confusion.  The request came from the Sheriff’s Deputies through the APD on-scene supervisor that no photographs be taken of the robot.  With only partial information our supervisor requested that Heidi not take photos. It was a cordial conversation between Heidi and our officer.  Unfortunately our supervisor did not have all the information and was unable to adequately explain to Heidi why she was making the request. We found out later the Sheriff’s Deputies were trying to protect the security of the bomb robot by not having photos taken while it was deployed and in-service.

I sincerely apologize that our supervisor’s request was interpreted as interfering with a reporter.  After speaking with the supervisor I am confident she fully understands the right to access by both the media and the public.  Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any questions or concerns.

Take care,

Tom Chapman, Interim Chief of Police

Arcata Police Department

736 F Street

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Titus And Her Tweet Quake

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 10:17 AM

PoynterOnline's Julie Moos interviewed Caroline Titus, editor and publisher of The Ferndale Enterprise, about her leap into the Twitterverse on Jan. 9, after the 6.5 quake in Humboldt. Titus recalls how, once she'd made sure her family and a neighbor were OK, she went to town to do the usual reporterly thing of "chronicling the damage and gathering quotes." But then:


After about 45 minutes of gathering, it dawned on me for the first time in my 27 years as a journalist, what do I do now? While I've always done phone interviews with major news outlets from out of the area during floods, earthquakes, wildfires, it wasn't until I called my 20-year-old daughter that I kicked into gear.

She is a managing editor of news for The Stanford Daily (she's a junior at Stanford University) and she quickly instructed me to begin "tweeting." I'll be honest, up until then I thought Twitter was for twits.


She says she had 11 twitter followers before the quake, and 209 after.

There's other good stuff in the interview, such as ... did you know Titus once worked with Rush Limbaugh?

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Eureka, Haiti Victims of 'Earthquake Weapon'?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Hugo Chavez The U.S. government can't reduce the deficit or pass health care reform, but when it comes to weaponry, you better recognize! Within reason, that is: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez apparently believes that Eureka's 6.5 temblor and Haiti's devastating 7.0 quake were caused by a top-secret Pentagon shockwave weapon -- a sort of disaster-blaster that can also cause floods, droughts and hurricanes, according to a press release from el presidente's state media outlet .

Venezuela's Big Poppa has evidently bought into conspiracy theories surrounding the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), an atmospheric research facility in Alaska.

Chavez has said that our government's ultimate goal is to wipe out Iran with our massive God Gun. Left unexplained: why Uncle Sam pointed the thing at the North Coast.

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Sundberg Is In

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 5:07 PM

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At a meeting in the North Coast Journal offices a few moments ago, lifelong McKinleyville resident Ryan Sundberg ended the speculation -- he confirmed that he will, in fact, join the throng seeking the seat of outgoing Fifth District Supervisor Jill Duffy in the upcoming election.

Sundberg, 34, is a member of the Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Council (an elected position) and an agent for Farmers Insurance. So far, Bay District Commissioner Pat Higgins and Lost Coast Communications CEO Patrick Cleary have also announced for the Fifth.

Sundberg's campaign is still very much in the early stages. He said that he still had a lot of research to do on the specifics, and said that more fully fleshed-out position statements would come once he speaks with members of the community. "What do the people want?" he asked. "You have to be able to get out there and talk with them, to find out."

Nevertheless, Sundberg said that there were three broad issues that compelled him to run: jobs, affordable housing and quality of life. As regards job creation, he listed two specific projects that he would like to focus on -- increased broadband penetration into the county, and improvements to goods movement in and out of the area. He said that he already has worked on the broadband issue in his capacity as a tribal council member, and believes that he and the group that is working with the rancheria will be able to announce significant progress on that front soon.

Sundberg said that the principal distinction between he and his competitors, in sum, is that he has lived in the district his entire life, and his campaign will stand on his long record of service to the community.

The Sundberg campaign's kickoff party will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 3-6 p.m. at McKinleyville's Azalea Hall. Sundberg emphasized that it will be a family-friendly event, with refreshments and kids' activities free to the public.

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Humboldt County Promo Videos

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Remeber those promotional YouTube videos the county spent a pile of money on a while back ?

This isn't those.

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