Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sneaker Waves: A Public Service Announcement

Posted By on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM


Local artist Rick St. Charles -- artist? I guess you could call him an artist -- would like to remind local beachgoers about the danger of sneaker waves along our shores.

And this is how he goes and does it.

For a somewhat more sober but far less memorable take, DeAnza College has a good write-up.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Music! at Arts! Arcata

Posted By on Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 3:20 PM

The streets were alive with music last night as Arcata celebrated its monthly arts night.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

In the Ocean, For the Oceans

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM


Margo Pellegrino is a 43-year old mother who wants to draw attention to the plight of the world's oceans by making long-distance paddles down the coastline of the U.S., calling out to communities on the way to highlight critical ocean concerns. These include the impact of dumping sewage, fertilizers and plastics; of overfishing; and the acidification of our oceans.

Having paddled the East Coast and much of the southern Gulf Coast, the West Coast remained this year's "far tougher" challenge. She overnighted in Eureka after paddling from Crescent City to Trinidad in "near-perfect conditions" on Sunday, Aug. 8, and making the shorter Trinidad to Eureka leg on Monday. She left on Tuesday for the mouth of the Mattole River.

She's paddling a high-tech outrigger canoe, 21-feet long and weighing just 20 pounds, not including her navigational, communication and emergency equipment. Her one-person land crew, June Barnard, keeps in constant touch with her, while her position is updated automatically by GPS every few minutes. You can follow her progress at miami2maine.com.

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A.M. Fire at Quality Inn in Eureka

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM

The Eureka Fire Department responded to a fire at the Quality Inn located at 1209 4th St. in Eureka Friday morning. Flames were said to be visible coming out of a second story room upon the arrival of rescue workers, but were extinguished. At this time, the cause of the blaze is unknown. No one is believed to have been injured.





UPDATE: The Eureka Fire Dept. issued the following press release:

At 0732 hrs this morning the Eureka Fire Department and Humboldt Fire District #1 responded to a reported structure fire at the Quality Inn, 1209 4th Street, Eureka.

On arrival, the responding units found three second floor rooms fully involved and fire extending down the breezeway. Firefighters advanced hose lines up the stairs and extinguished the fire.

The three rooms were heavily damaged and there was- damage to two additional rooms. There was minor extension of the fire into the attic.

One subject was evaluated by ambulance personnel after breathing smoke but was not transported to the hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Additional information to follow by approximately 2:00 PM today

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Former Eureka Priest Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 4:16 PM

A story in today's San Francisco Chronicle reveals that Patrick Joseph McCabe, a former Catholic priest who led Eureka's St. Joseph Parish in the early 1980s, has been charged with sexually assaulting boys in his native Ireland.

McCabe, now 74, was assigned to the Eureka church in 1983 by now-deceased Bishop Mark Hurley of Santa Rosa, despite having been diagnosed the previous year as a pedophile. According to the Chronicle, McCabe's transfer to the U.S. may have been motivated by allegations that he abused young boys in Dublin, Ireland, from 1973 to 1981.

According to an Irish court report on priest abuse, McCabe was removed from St. Joseph Parish after "stories of inappropriate conduct began to emerge." The context leaves it unclear whether these "stories" concerned McCabe's past or involved new allegations.

McCabe is charged with nine counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted indecent assault. He's currently being held in an Alameda jail awaiting extradition to Ireland.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here's Our Water, Take It

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 4:34 PM

For an uneasy time, we consumers of the water purveyed by the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District have dogpaddled around in a massive glut of 60 million gallons a day -- slowly sinking under weightier rates to pay for it, all the while snapping at would-be water-thieves.

You know: We have the rights to more water than we currently have uses for, but we don't want Mr. Plainview to suck it away from us without so much as a how-do or by-your-leave.

A task force -- appointed by the water district and absorbing the advice and ideas from 400 stakeholders -- wrastled with this dilemma all last year, and at long last is ready to throw us four options to grab onto. Says the news release sent by the water district today:

Task force report recommends to HBMWD ‘immediate pursuit' of local water sales; out-of-area sale and transport; district expansion; and in-stream flows for environmental benefit.

Hmm, local water sales, that rings a bell...

The district is already moving on one of the recommendations. [HBWMW General Manager Carol] Rische said there is a "framework" in place with the Freshwater Tissue Co. to use 15 million gallons per day once the mill re-opens.

The task force will present its 130-page report on these and less-immediate options to the HBMWD Board at 3 p.m. tomorrow Thursday, Aug. 12, at the district office, 828 Seventh St. in Eureka.

Read the release:



Date: August 9, 2010 (for immediate release)

From: Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District

Contact: Carol Rische, General Manager; 443-5018 or gm@hbmwd.com

RE: Community report recommends immediate pursuit of local sales, out-of-area transport; district expansion and in-stream flows for environmental benefit

Bill Thorington, president of Humboldt Watershed Council, believes the report to be presented to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District board Aug. 12 will give legitimacy to future water use decisions. "The report has so much public input," he said. "It wasn't created by a lobbyist or consultant paid to do the work for the board."

Task force report recommends to HBMWD ‘immediate pursuit' of local water sales, out-of-area sale and transport; district expansion; and in-stream flows for environmental benefit

HBMWD board to get results of year-long civic engagement process on Aug. 12

The expansion of district boundaries, sale and transport of water to another municipality, continued pursuit of water intensive businesses here, and releasing water for environmental enhancement are four options recommended for immediate pursuit in a report to be delivered Aug. 12 to the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Board of Directors.

The 130-page report outlines 10 options developed over the last year by a group of nearly 400 diverse stakeholders and citizens working at the behest of the board and reporting through a 14-person Water Resource Planning Advisory Committee.

The four options targeted for immediate pursuit represent options supported by the public and able to be advanced at this time with little capital expense by the district, the report states.

"Our job was to listen extensively to the public and translate their wishes and ideas into things technically feasible and legally allowable," said Bill Thorington, president of Humboldt Watershed Council and member of the WRPAC. "It was a public process and a public result and it will lend credence to where the district goes from here."

The committee's charge: to identify community values, options and preferences for long term use of a plentiful resource delivered from the Mad River to 80,000 customers in Humboldt County.

At stake: the water rights to 60 million gallons a day of untreated water currently permitted to HBMWD, which is unable to put the resource to beneficial use as required by state law. Water is in demand throughout the state, putting pressure on the board to put the resource to use or risk losing it and the revenue it could generate.

"There is no silver bullet; not any one thing that will fix this problem," Thorington said.

Thorington a fisheries biologist and environmental engineer Sheri Woo are the lead authors of the report on behalf of the Advisory Committee, which is available online at hbmwd.com.

The report contains the pros and cons for each option in addition to background about the district's challenges, the public input process and key factors to be considered.

"The board needs to be acknowledged for their willingness to put this project out there and to put together a group that was so diverse and open-minded,' Thorington said. "I must have heard 50 times a counterpart saying that we may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but we all see the value of what we are doing here."

The board receives the report a 3 p.m. at its monthly meeting on August 12 at the district office at 828 Seventh St. in Eureka.

"Some options could be done sooner than others, but if it all comes to pass, we hope to contain and possibly lower rates in the future by finding additional revenue-paying customers to contribute to our base costs and infrastructure," said Carol Rische, general manager of HBMWD. "The report sets the foundation and the first step is to put it in the board's hands. The directors will need a little time to digest it, weigh the policy considerations and suite of options they want to pursue."

The district is already moving on one of the recommendations. Rische said there is a "framework" in place with the Freshwater Tissue Co. to use 15 million gallons per day once the mill re-opens.

The report identified six options for passive pursuit. Among them: develop a lake in Blue Lake; develop an aquaculture industry for appropriate fish species or with special attention focused on algae and its uses in biomass, fuel and decreasing greenhouse gases; divert water to the Mad River Fish Hatchery; sell untreated water to a private entity; and explore energy production via micro-hydropower within the Mad River channel.

The report defines passive pursuit as options that can begin soon, but require partners, participants, or entrepreneurs in addition to permits, research and funding.

The report acknowledges a tenth option that could solve the problem - selling all of the untreated water to a municipality in Mendocino or Sonoma counties through a pipeline along the railroad right-of-way. The report acknowledges the Advisory Committee's views varied widely on this option and a final recommendation as to whether to pursue was not rendered.

The board has until 2029 - the year the current permit expires - to develop and explore long-term options to maintain local control of the water.

"All the other options will use much smaller increments of water," Thorington said. "Ultimately, if we end up using many of them, we'll be able to protect most of our water."

Division 4 Director Bruce Rupp was one of two directors tasked to the WRPAC.

"The amount of constructive participation and agreement among the divergent stakeholders and interested parties has been very, very impressive throughout," Rupp said. "There are still areas of concern for everyone, but everybody understands the most critical aspect: there are tradeoffs in every decision we make."

Rische said the board is not expected to take action on the report Aug. 12, but that doesn't diminish Thorington's excitement about being on-hand to deliver it.

"I lobbied hard to get appointed to this and felt passionately that we need to get involved," he said.

Thorington said Humboldt Watershed Council was one of several stakeholders to post data on its Web site throughout a "new process of civic engagement."

"Our site attracted hundreds and hundreds of hits," he said. "No telling how many followed the planning process on the Web, but I got a lot of comments from people who couldn't make the meetings but were following it via the Web."

Thorington said "there's no doubt the process of engaging the public helped the Advisory Committee accomplish its task" and predicted future projects would likely be facilitated in ways that break participants into small groups of three to five people.

"People were able to get information and learn, and they appreciated being able to talk one on one in that format," he said.

Eureka's Erika Guevara is one of those. The 31-year-old biologist and new mother to a 10-month-old joined the process in the spring during the final phase of the public meetings.

"I love to talk but I get intimidated in a public venue," she said.

Guevara works for Algorithms, a start-up firm that makes fertilizer from algae. Thorington said her excitement and experience with algae prompted it to become an aquaculture focus in the report.

"Everyone was inquisitive, curious and so supportive," she said. "It was really nice to walk out on the floor and develop creative ways of going about it. It's been a fabulous experience. I don't even know how to put into words what I got out of it."

Thorington has no illusions that the process will eliminate public controversy over whatever the board decides to do.

"Some people will show up and never see anything but the negative," he said. "We have to listen to criticism in case we overlooked something, but every idea in that report came from the public."


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Another Oxycontin Tweaker Holds Up Eureka Pharmacy

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Yet another case in this year's spate of Oxycontin robberies. Maybe it's interesting to note that Limas Pharmacy, the scene of the crime, is just down from the recently shuttered Hummingbird Healing Center, a medical marijuana dispensary that the county obtained a judicial order to close.

How many marijuana dispensaries have been knocked over recently? None. How many pharmacies have been held up for Oxycontin? So many that some local outlets now refuse to carry the product. Once again, the hippies take the rap for drug mayhem inspired by meth and Oxy -- drugs of choice for redneck youth.

On Aug. 10, at approximately 10:10 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office received a call of an armed robbery, which just occurred at 2057 Harrison Avenue, Eureka, also known as Limas Pharmacy. The suspect had entered the pharmacy, brandished a handgun, and demanded Oxycotin. Deputies arrived at Limas within minutes of the call and canvassed the area looking for the suspect, who was last seen southbound on foot on Harrison Avenue, Eureka.

Deputies were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect is described as a WMA, wearing a black baseball cap with a "White Jordan" logo on it, black colored sweatshirt, dark jeans. The suspect had covered up his face with a white material during the robbery.

The Sheriffs Office is requesting that anyone with information regarding this crime to contact the Sheriffs Office at 445-7251.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer CAMP

Posted By on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 2:20 PM

The Shadow knowsIt ain't legal yet, goddammit.

That could well be the subtext of a press release today from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, in which they announced the end of week one of the 2010 Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) season.

The multi-agency law-enforcement effort yielded more than 33,500 marijuana plants in just four days, according to the release. These were not your small-time, back-to-the-land hippy operations:

Monday teams eradicate[d] 17,500 plants from 12 gardens near Groves Prairie (near Willow Creek).

Tuesday 5,100 plants were eradicated and a loaded AK-47 rifle was recovered at a garden near Friday Ridge Road.

Near Red Cap Road in Hoopa, teams eradicated 8,149 plants Wednesday. Of those plants, 5,000 were found on tribal land.

Finally, Thursday the teams found 2,766 plants from seven gardens near Slate Creek, Orleans.

With the exception of that nab on tribal land, these grows were all on U.S. Forest Service property, according to the release, which ends thusly: "The CAMP effort is expected to continue."

You've been warned.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pennisi Resigns From Planning Committee

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Trinidad Planning Commissioner Sam Pennisi has submitted his resignation to that body in the wake of controversy and outrage that followed the illegal tree and brush clearing of sensitive tribal land that blocked the view from his property. 

The succinct letter reads as follows:

Dear Councilmembers;

Please accept this letter as my resignation from the Planning Commission. I wish the Council and the Commission well in their future endeavors.


Sam Pennisi

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8 Overturned, Rally Planned

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Federal Judge Vaughn Walker today overturned the narrowly voter-approved Proposition 8, finding that the anti-gay marriage ballot measure was unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses. The ruling is expected to be appealed and will likely end up in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The local chapter of PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will hold a rally at 5:30 p.m. at the county courthouse.

Judge Walker's ruling can be read in its entirety here.

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