If your house was among the many that sprouted cracks and leaks (or worse) in Earth's recent tectonic North Coast smackdown, or if it suffered flood damage from the near-Biblical storm that's saturating our very pores, well... Humboldt County to the rescue!
Low-interest, deferred loans are now available for low-ish income residents to conduct home repairs or even energy efficiency upgrades, according to a press release from the county's economic development division. Read on...
Here's the fine print:
You must own and occupy your home as your primary residence in order to qualify.
The paycheck cutoff is 80 percent or less of the county's median income. That means a family of two can make no more than $35,700 per year; a family of four -- $44,650.
This is indeed a loan -- not a grant -- but monthly payments will not be required. In fact, you don't even have to pay it back until you sell the place or move out.
This is not a green light to pimp your pad: "The program stipulates that the home may not be valued over $299,250 after [the] work has been completed," the release states.
Rehab projects can include health and safety code items, roofs, foundations, paint, plumbing, electrical and septic systems as well as efficiency upgrades.
The money's coming from a grant courtesy of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
For more info you can call the County Economic Development Division at 445-7745.
Two bombshells from the Northcoast Environmental Center this afternoon:
1) Eureka City Councilman Larry Glass has replaced Pete Nichols as president of the NEC board.
2) The organization's drastic economic downsizing over the past year or so has been effective: The NEC is now debt-free, according to both Nichols and Glass.
Glass said the power transition took place last night. It will be his third stint as president of the board for the Arcata environmental institution but his first since being elected to Eureka City Council. Glass said he doesn't foresee any conflicts of interest arising from his dual roles, especially since the NEC dropped out of a lawsuit challenging the environmental impact report for the proposed Balloon Track project on Eureka's waterfront.
"I informed the NEC board before they elected me that I have sworn an oath to the Eureka City Council, and that takes priority," Glass said Thursday afternoon. He also advised the city attorney of his position at the NEC, he said. "The [NEC] board realizes they won't be tangling with the City of Eureka on anything substantial," Glass said. Asked if that might hamstring the agency, Glass said no. "We've got other fish to fry."
Nichols, who serves as Executive Director of another environmental watchdog group, Humboldt Baykeeper, will remain on the NEC board, Glass said.
As for the second bit of news, Glass said pulling the agency out of debt took some drastic measures, many of which weren't especially popular with members and supporters. Last year the group downsized significantly, laying off its executive director and cutting back on production of EcoNews, its monthly newsletter. The group also moved offices after it was forced to sell its Arcata headquarters building .
"We adopted a more businesslike attitude," Glass said. "When times are good, nonprofits can get away with livin' large. But times are tough. You have to run a nonprofit just like a business, otherwise it will go away. And I wasn't about to sit around and see the NEC go away. And neither was Pete."
It looks as if the Humboldt County building worst damaged in Jan. 9 earthquake is gonna be saved after all.
Three days after the earthquake, the Eureka City Council met in emergency session to permit the destruction of the former Old Town Bar and Grill building, which sits on Second Street in between D and E. City staff feared that the building was in imminent danger of collapse, especially given the possibility of serious aftershocks in the days following the quake. At the meeting, several citizens spoke fondly of the historic structure, and held out hope for its rescue.
Today, Eureka developer and all-around land man Kurt Kramer told the Journal that he has been in talks to purchase and rehab the building, and expects escrow to close today. Currently, title to the building is held by a branch of Rob Arkley's Security National company, which acquired it in foreclosure.
Kramer told the Journal that he has had engineering teams in the building in the past week, and they have determined that it will be possible to shore up and retrofit the entire structure, as Kramer did with Eureka's Professional Building -- another old brick structure -- several years ago.
Kramer estimated that it will take about two weeks to shore up the damaged building, and another 12-18 months to retrofit it according to modern seismic standards. "We're looking forward to a project that, according to the economy, will either go at the projected pace or a faster pace," he said.
Right now, there's no way to know what will go into the rehabbed structure, Kramer said -- that will follow after a thorough examination of the building's qualities and how they might have to adapt to meet disability access standards and other applicable law. But he said that he was excited to put people back to work in a down economy, and that he expected the building to jibe well with his other Eureka commercial holdings.
UPDATE: Escrow has closed, says Security National's Randy Gans.
“We are very excited that Kramer Properties and Statewide Bank representatives could put together a sale of the building in its current condition that will not only protect the interests of Statewide Bank’s depositors but also allow Kramer Properties the ability to quickly secure and restore this unique and historical part of Eureka’s history” said Randy Gans, Vice President of Security National Properties, which facilitated the negotiation and sale of the building between the parties."
Eureka California is Dead: The Flagpole, our sister paper in Athens, Ga., reports that the local (to Athens) powerpunk band Eureka California has just dropped a new album -- Eureka California is Dead. Check out the band's MySpace page.
You know a place is tiny when it doesn't even show up on Google maps . Residents of Ettersburg and other itty-bitty SoHum towns, like Whitehorn and Honeydew, were starting to wonder last year if they were also invisible to Verizon, their land-line phone service provider. It took a community uprising over dismal service (and customer service) last fall for the phone company to promise these backwoodsers a full network upgrade, starting in the first quarter of 2010 (even though Verizon never admitted there was a problem).
Well, we're not even through January yet, and Verizon has finished the job! Company spokesman Jon Davies today told the Journal via e-mail that the upgrades are complete. Verizon will be hosting a community meeting next week in Garberville to explain what-all they did and answer any questions the community may have.
Letters were reportedly sent to all the customers in the area, but if by some random chance you a) missed the letter, b) live in one of those micro-burbs, and c) happened to stumble across this here blog post, the pertinent information is as follows:
What: Verizon's phones-is-fixed meeting
Where: VFW Hall, 483 Congers St., Garberville
When: 5 p.m., Wednesday Jan. 27
Horses will return once again to the Humboldt County Fairgrounds this year, marking the 114th season of racing at the Ferndale track. This was hardly a sure thing. On Friday, the California Horse Racing Board narrowly approved a summer season racing schedule that allows Ferndale five days of non-overlapped racing (Aug. 18-22) and four days overlapped with Santa Rosa (Aug. 12-15).
Three of the seven board members, including Bo Derek (yes, that Bo Derek), opposed the schedule specifically because of the allowances it makes for "the struggling Humboldt County Fair" in "the extreme northwest portion of the state." (Ya hear that? We're extreme !)
With declining revenues, increased costs and logistical challenges, horse racing at small tracks like Ferndale has been in ever-increasing jeopardy in recent years (see Bob Doran's "Eight Days at the Races" from last summer). Trainer and owner groups didn't want to give Ferndale the week without competition because of the expense of shipping up here and our relatively low purse levels. In fact, a representative of the California Thoroughbred Trainers in Northern California called it "a recipe for disaster."
But CHRB Chairman John Harris had our back, citing Ferndale's wonderful fan following. But the bottom line appears to be this: If we want to keep the horses coming back, we better get out there this summer and lose some money.
The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts did not fare too badly in the earthquake, but the interior suffered some superficial damage -- some plaster fell here and there. Theater staff reports that "minor repairs and cleanup" are still underway, and a result they've decided to reschedule the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show originally planned for this Sunday Jan. 17. Instead the Big Bad boys will be at the Arkley Center on May 13.
The Tuesday Night Music Café on Jan. 19 (at 5 p.m.) will take place as planned. Same with the Robert Cray Band show coming up on Friday Jan. 22. Tickets to see Cray are still available, but it might be good to act soon - the main floor is sold out and only balcony seats remain.
If you're keeping score, this makes it Patrick Cleary and Pat Higgins in the Fifth District, with at least a few more fence-sitters likely to follow.
Please join Cat and me at Azalea Hall in McKinleyville on Wednesday January 20th at 12:30pm when I will announce my candidacy for County Supervisor for 5th District. Come at noon for an opportunity to say hi while live music is provided by Ken and Maria Jorgenson and friends.
Azalea Hall is at 1620 Picket Avenue just off of Central Avenue on McKinleyville. Please tell your friends and anyone you feel would have an interest in being there. Also, please also forward this e-mail to anyone you think would be interested. I would be thrilled to have a big crowd there.
We hope to see you Wednesday.
all my best,
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