Friday, June 22, 2012

T-S Outsourcing?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

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Rumor is that the Times-Standard is letting some folks go and outsourcing ad production jobs.

One source at the 158-year-old newspaper said two people are leaving but declined to say who or what they do at the paper. Others contacted at the paper said to talk to publisher Dave Kuta, group advertising director Shonnie Bradbury and Display Advertising Director Zach Harrington -- none of whom have returned our calls.

However, Express KCS Inc., "the largest independent provider of newspaper advertisement production outsourcing" according to its website, announced on June 19 that it has expanded its contract with MediaNews Group and added more California papers to the 40-some for whom it already does some ad production work:

"The new agreement which runs until 2016, consists of five additional California based newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Chico Enterprise Record, The Eureka Times Standard, The Paradise Post, and the Red Bluff Daily News."

This is the sort of news, though just one more paragraph in a growing-old story, that gives newspaper people the willies -- well, except for those flush folks at KCS. Their outfit, which also does work for other U.S. Newspaper chains -- McClatchy, Lee Enterprises -- and a slew of papers in the UK, is growing. Their other news release headlines tell it:

"18th June, 2012  Express KCS wins contract to supply advertisement production to Penna plc."

"9th May, 2012 Express KCS unveils new brand identity"

"24th November, 2011 Press Association and Express KCS collaborate to bring outsourced advertisement production to UK newspapers"

"16th September, 2011 Express KCS expands again: Express KCS expands into second India production facility."

That last one notes that Express KCS's main production facility in Gurgaon, India, is busting at the seams with 400 employees, so it's built another ad and design studio in Pune, Maharashtra, and is building yet another. Said the company's CEO, Robert Berkeley:

"The market's appetite for outsourcing graphic arts production is bigger than ever."

So, good for them. But sucks for the local folks. Outsourcing isn't new, and the poor T-S is obviously doing what it can to stay alive. But at what point will all that belt-tugging shut off circulation? Already the company shut down one local paper - the Humboldt Beacon, born in 1901 and died in December 2011 -- and this January ceased putting out a Monday print edition of the Times-Standard. Its staff has noticeably shrunk -- just a few years ago, there were seven news writers, for instance. Recently we've only seen three bylines in the news section.

And MediaNews itself is now owned by a bank: It went Chapter 11 in January 2010 and by March its lenders -- chief among them Bank of America -- were in charge.

In a T-S announcement of those changes, back in November 2011, Kuta said the decisions to cut the Beacon and curtail the Monday edition of the T-S were locally made, not directed by MediaNews -- although, he was told to "cut expenses."

In that report, he was bleak about the paper's profit margin: "We're not where we should be, otherwise we wouldn't be making these changes."

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Guest Post: The Burned House

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Ami Brusca lives in Sunny Brae, where she is raising her 7-year-old son and trying to start a community supported herbal farm. She blogs at redwoodcottage.wordpress.com. She writes:

The wailing I heard in the neighborhood on Sunday morning was the kind of cry that wrenches your gut and tells you in an instant that things are just not right.

I peeked through the mini blinds and saw her there, across the street, alone on the driveway, obviously upset. Since she was alone, I got up to investigate, but by the time I got to the front door, her brother was outside, motioning toward her, and I figured he'd got it covered.

Seconds passed, and now he was yelling too.

I looked out the front door to see that the entire right corner of the house across the street was engulfed in flames, and for several moments I forgot to breathe. I went ahead and did what everyone else was doing and called 911, but they already knew, and so we all just stood, sort of bewildered, in our pajamas, on the front lawn.

As I stood outside of my home, thankful that the wind was blowing away from us, so many thoughts passed through my mind. Musings about how the fire started, thankfulness that everyone was OK, feeling grateful it wasn't my own house, etc. Then fear crept in, and I realized that that house is exactly like mine. They are all the same in Sunny Brae. Would the house I live in go up that fast?

What ensued is what you can imagine, and have maybe already heard about -- the house burned down. As they boarded up the remnants of what was a family home, only hours before, the onlookers dissipated.

What happen afterward surprised me. Neighbors I'd never seen went out of their way to walk by. Cars came by and slowed or halted. Occasionally the onlookers would talk with each other. One day as I unloaded my groceries I saw a woman standing on the sidewalk in front of the charred house, sobbing ... alone. I thought for a moment to approach her, but recognized that this place had become a little bit of a sacred space. A modern day altar, standing to remind us of something. The preciousness or precariousness of life, perhaps. Who could guess why she was crying, exactly? That burned, ruined home -- the way it stands there now, naked and ready for anyone to view. It's a testament to how easy it is to lose everything.

Apparently, the community outpouring of support has been great. But as I was mowing the lawn the other day, several pieces of charred newspaper scattered on the grass, and I thought about the family I didn't know, who wouldn't be living there anymore. I realized how lonely we all are, when after living across the street for almost a year, I'd never even met them before. We both have kids, and yet they'd never played together. And what about all the other neighbors I've never met. Would it take their house burning down for me to give thought to them, to their lives? What about all the other people who were moved to donate time and goods to this family? We all rush to help one another in the face of trauma, yet rarely take the time to make the connections before the tragedies.

I can't get past my own disregard for my neighbors -- that is, until their house caught fire. I'm trying to learn from this fire. I want to be more connected and aware of my immediate community. I've realized that isolating myself in my own square footage actually serves to isolate us all -- and that it isn't right that I didn't know that family more.

No, it isn't right.

 

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Case of the Missing Hondas

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM

If you have a 1990s Honda and like to spend time in central Arcata, it might be a good idea to make sure your locks are in really, really good shape.

Someone, probably someone with a few altered keys, has been taking aging Hondas, driving them around for a day or two, and then leaving them, usually undamaged, in one of the remoter corners of the city.

The motive?

"Transportation," said Detective Sgt. Todd Dokweiler of the Arcata Police Department.

Since April, more than a dozen cars have gone missing this way, he said, which pretty much makes it a major crime wave compared to Arcata's usual rate of auto thefts.

The thief or thieves will sometimes take appealing goodies from inside the car -- cell phones or other electronics -- but police theorize that the culprits are taking these cars mainly to use them, possibly to commit other crimes overnight. And they don't have to bother hot-wiring them. A well-altered key will not just open an aging Honda, but start it up just fine, Dokweiler said. (Who knew? Well, OK, somebody knew.)

Police have gotten some fingerprints from the recovered cars, but haven't made any arrests yet.

A few of the thefts have occurred in residential neighborhoods, but most have been in a central area roughly bordered by Samoa Boulevard, 17th Street, K Street and Highway 101, he said.

Along with making sure locks are in good shape, he said, owners of vulnerable cars should park in visible spots and consider getting a club or other steering wheel locking device.

 

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Final Votes In; No Big Surprises

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Well, no one managed an electoral-death-defying reversal in those late ballots that the county elections office has been dutifully counting for the past two weeks. Estelle Fennell is still in, with 52.59 percent of the vote, Clif Clendenen is still out, with 46.94 percent, and nothing's looking good in Humboldt for Norman Soloman's congressional bid, according to final vote tallies released by the county Tuesday.

Other tidbits in county tally: In the battle for the soul of Humboldt's Democratic party -- or at least the four seats representing the 4th District on the Democratic Central Committee -- that soul appears to be a conflicted one. The four-person ticket assembled by Richard Marks to steer the party right (or center, depending on who you ask), got only one of its candidates on the board -- County Supervisor Virginia Bass. She won with 1,237 votes, or 16.85 percent of those cast. Fellow travelers Marks, Eureka Councilwoman Marian Brady and Eureka resident Chuck Ellsworth didn't get enough support to take one of the other three seats. Those went to Linda Atkins, with 1,286 votes (17.52 percent), Pam Service 1,013 votes (13.80 percent) and Bob Service with 939 votes (12.79 percent).

 

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Center Arts 2012/13 Sched: Costello, Krauss, Izzard, CSN comin' to HumCo

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

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Did you get your shiny new Center Arts 2012/2013 season schedule in the mail yet? We did. And it ain't too shabby (if you don't mind droppin' some significant moolah.)

So, without further ado, here's who's Humboldt-bound this year. Dibs on Eddie!:

8/28 - Brandi Carlile - $35/$17
8/29 - k.d. lang - $65/$35
9/6 - Ziggy Marley - $55/$25
9/15 - Dan Zanes & Friends - $25/$10
9/17 - Crosby Stills & Nash - $86/$76
9/23 - Tower of Power - $45/$15
9/26 - Elvis Costello - $75/$65
9/28 - Alison Krauss & Union Station - $85/$75
9/29 - Richard Thompson - $35/$15
10/4 - Rufus Wainwright - $45/$22
10/9 - Acoustic Africa - $35/$15
10/11 - Shaolin Warriors - $45/$15
10/14 - Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas - $25/$5
10/20 - Eddie Izzard - $55/$15
10/26 - Joyce Yang - $45/$22
11/1 - HSU's Dept. of Theatre, Film and Dance - $5
11/4 - A Chorus Line - $65/$35
11/8 - Ballet Folklórico de México - $45/$15
11/11 - Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London Hamlet - $55/$15
11/15 - Royal Dancers & Drumers of Burundi - $45/$15
11/27 - Ahmad Jamal - $55/$25
12/11 - Charlie Hunter - $25/$5
1/9 - Blues Harmonica Blowout - 1/9 - $35/$15
1/22 - Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats Cirque Ziva - $35/$15
1/26 - Calder Quartet - $45/$22
1/27 - Joe Lovano Us Five - $35/$15
1/29 - Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo - $25/$10
1/31 - Tommy Emmanuel - $35/$15
2/5 - Hubbard Street Dance Chicago - $45/$15
2/6 - Whose Live Anyway? - $55/$25
2/13 - Afro-Cuban Allstars - $45/$15
2/20 - Stephen Hough - $45/$22
3/5 - African Children’s Choir - $35/$15
3/6 - Masters of Irish Tradition - $35/$15
3/7 - Los Lonely Boys Acoustic - $35/$15
3/11 - China National Symphony Orchestra - $65/$25
3/22 - Les 7 Doigts de la Main Circus Traces - $55/$15
4/24 - Arlo Guthrie - $35/$15
5/7 - Paul Taylor Dance Company - $45/$15
5/12 - Tomáš Kubínek - $25/$10
5/16 - Leo Kottke - $35/$15

For more, go here.

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Fortuna PD: 21-Year-Old Man Arrested For Allegedly Photographing 4-Year-Old

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Press release from the Fortuna Police Department:

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The Fortuna Police Department received a report of a male subject taking photographs of a four year old female near an apartment complex located in the 1000 block of Loni Drive (Fortuna). Officers responded and contacted the four year old as well as the possible suspect, who both reside in the area.

With the assistance of the Humboldt County Child Abuse Services Team (CAST), the department developed probable cause for the arrest of subject, Phoenix Runningwolf (21) of Fortuna.

On June 18, 2012, officers obtained a search warrant for a residence located in the 1000 block of Loni Drive (Fortuna).

At about 8:00 pm, Officers with the Fortuna Police Department and an investigator from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office responded and executed the warrant.

While on scene, officers took Runningwolf into custody. Runningwolf was then booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges: Communicate with minor for purpose of committing a sex crime; Meet with minor for purpose of having child expose genitals; Annoy or molest a minor.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EPD: High Speed Car Chase Ends With Meth Discovery

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM

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Press release from the Eureka Police Department:

On 6/16/12, around 8:51 AM, a Eureka Police Department (EPD) officer on patrol observed a black 1997 Nissan Altima in the vicinity of ‘V” and 6th Streets.  The officer recognized the Nissan’s driver, Jonas Randall Semore (age 39 of Eureka), from prior police contacts. (Semore is on Post Release Community Supervision for possession of a controlled substance.  He is also a documented member of a local criminal street gang).

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When the officer made a u-turn to investigate, he discovered Semore had already accelerated quickly away in an obvious attempt to avoid contact with law enforcement.  The officer spotted Semore driving north over the Slough Bridge on Highway 101 and drove after him.  As the officer came over the Slough Bridge, he could no longer see Semore’s vehicle anywhere.

The officer then noticed a large cloud of dark smoke and dust in the air to his right.  It appeared Semore had made an abrupt high speed turn onto Cole Avenue from Highway 101.  The officer was hailed by construction workers in the vicinity, who pointed him northbound on Jacobs Avenue.  A short time later the officer observed the Nissan pulling into the Lazy J Trailer Park.  The officer responded to the trailer park and located the now abandoned Nissan stopped in the park’s driveway.

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Responding officers checked the vicinity for Semore and his three passengers.  Female passenger Rachel Lynn Squire (AKA Rachel Hardy, age 20 of Eureka) was located and detained near the trailer park’s laundry room.  Semore and his male passenger, Aaron Joseph Aubrey (age 20 of Eureka), fled from officers on foot.

Officers searched for Semore and Aubrey with the assistance of helpful citizens, who pointed out their direction of travel.  Semore and Aubrey ran and jumped a fence into The Farm Store property.  Aubrey was located and detained by officers at gunpoint on the east side of the business.

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Semore had continued running across Highway 101 toward Humboldt Bay.  Helpful customers at The Farm Store pointed officers in the right direction.  Other responding officers saw Semore running along the railroad tracks.  Semore was taken into custody at gunpoint a short time later. A small baggy of methamphetamine was located on his person.

Semore’s fourth passenger, Laura Irene Triplett (age 24 of Eureka), was located walking northbound along Highway 101.  Triplett was detained and transported back to the Semore’s vehicle with the others.

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During a search of Nissan, officers located a plastic baggie containing approximately 3.5 grams (1/8th ounce) of crystal methamphetamine under the passengers’ side seat.

Aubrey is also a documented member of a local criminal street gang and he was on parole for possession of a controlled substance and on probation for resisting/obstructing a peace officer.
All four suspects were arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for booking.

Jonas Semore was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, resisting/obstructing/delaying officers, probation violation, parole violation, criminal conspiracy, and participation/furtherance of a criminal street gang.  Semore’s driver’s license was also determined to be suspended and he was additionally booked for driving on a suspended license.

Aaron Aubrey was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, resisting/obstructing/delaying officers, probation violation, criminal conspiracy, and participation/furtherance of a criminal street gang.

Laura Triplett was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, and criminal conspiracy.

Rachel Squires was arrested and booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, and criminal conspiracy.

Additionally, correctional officers located a plastic bag containing approximately 159 more grams (5 ½ ounces or over ¼ lbs.) of crystal methamphetamine concealed in Squires’ underwear.

The Eureka Police Department would like to extend its appreciation to those citizens who assisted officers in locating and apprehending these suspects.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

About Those Bohn Mailers...

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

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Background: Shortly before Election Day we reported on a series of slate mailers that had recently appeared in local mailboxes. Of the various endorsements printed on these mailers, the name of Rex Bohn was about the only constant. 

One flier looked über-lefty; another looked gun-nut conservative; and there appeared no rhyme or reason to the suggestions on ballot measures. Was this a deliberate attempt from Bohn to mislead voters?

We tried and failed to get an informed response from him before Election Day. (In case you missed it, the Eureka businessman  community organizer/dirt scout wound up winning the 1st District seat on the county's board of supervisors by a comfortable margin.)

In the meantime, we (okay, I) learned a bit more about the for-profit companies that put out these mailers. Bottom line: They're not to be trusted. The Chronicle explains that these mailers "may be nothing more than a collection of endorsements sold to the highest bidder and packaged to look as if they represent a particular political philosophy."

Several political historians reminded us in our comments section that Bohn certainly wasn't the first local candidate to employ these suckers. (We're looking at you, District Attorney Gallegos.)

The latest: When we finally connected with Bohn this afternoon he said that it took him a while to track down just what we were asking about but that, yes, his campaign paid to be listed on the mailers. He said the companies behind them offered a pitch: For two-and-a-half to three cents per word, they'd spread the message of his choice (up to 25 words) to both Democrats and Republicans in his district. Upon request they listed the names of previous candidates who'd used their services, and they gave their FPPC bona fides.

"It sounded like a very economical way to get my message across," Bohn said, adding that he has yet to see any of these mailers himself. (Note: In our original post, the mailer that read "Republicans are voting for Rex" was not a slate mailer; that one was produced by Bohn's campaign.)

Bohn said he didn't know what messages would appear beside his own and he apologized if anyone was confused by them (a prospect he found doubtful, since no one but the Journal has mentioned the mailers to him, he added).

At any rate, he said, "I hope it was more successful than confusing."

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Tree-sitters Declare McKay Victory

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

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Remember the McKay Tract tree-sitters? The straggle of folks who began ascending redwoods on Green Diamond Resource Company's forested property near Cutten four years ago to save them from being harvested?

No? Refresh your memory here -- don't worry, it's not just a logging tale, it's a development story, a conservation story, a horse story, a what-do-we-do-with-our-backyard story.

Well, today, June 18, Earth First! Humboldt, is claiming to have prevailed over the timber beast because Green Diamond recently sent a letter to CalFire, the timber harvest overseer, saying it was closing its harvest plan for that area.

Says EF! Humboldter Jeremy Jensen in the release:

"These trees would have been logged in 2009 if we hadn't gone up there, and the threat remained until now."

The tree-sitters' release notes that Green Diamond "is close to signing a deal to sell roughly 2,000 acres of the western McKay Tract to the Trust for Public Land."

Well, that's true: The Trust and Green Diamond have been talking for some years now about what to do with some of that forest. The Trust wants to manage it as a community forest -- a function it already serves for numerous merrily trespassing, and sometimes permission-bearing, neighbors.

We emailed Gary Rynearson with Green Diamond asking him if it's true the tree-sitters saved the trees -- because, the timber harvest remained in place during the negotiations with the Trust -- and he replied:

"We have been working with the Trust for Public Land and the County to develop a peaceful solution for the future of the McKay Tract. We are currently working on a four year option agreement ... that will include the opportunity for a county-owned community forest on the western side of the tract, and a conservation easement that would preclude future development on the eastern side of the property. The trees that have been occupied by the tree sitters are included in the area that would be included in the potential community forest. We therefore decided it made sense to close the out the timber harvesting plan without further harvesting activity. We informed the tree sitters of our decision last week."

So there you have it. A peaceful solution.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

"O" My! Oyster Fest 2012 Sights and Winners

Posted By on Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

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Well, that was awesome! The 2012 "o"dition of Arcata Main Street's Oyster Festival is in the books and, as always, was a grand shuckin' time! The Journal was there chompin' and gluggin' all day, but we did find a few moments to use our greasy fingers to snap some shots.

Wanna see? Head on over to the NCJ's Facebook page and "like" 'em up.

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If you weren't there -- man, you really romanced the canine on that one -- we'll be kind enough to pass on the important info.

2012 OYSTER FESTIVAL WINNERS:

Best of the O-Fest: Sushi Spot - Goose Point oyster with ponzu reduction, fresh lime, Japanese mint and masago.

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Best Raw Oyster: Plaza Grill - Fanny Bay oyster with champagne-honeydew sorbet and golden white fish caviar.

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Best Cooked Oyster: Bear River Casino - Applewood Smoked Oyster on Belgin Endive with Candied Bacon and pickeled habenero.

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Best Non-Oyster Dish (a KHUM Award): Kyoto - Kobe beef skewers with spicy Thai sauce.

Oh, and not like there was any doubt going into it ... yes, swallower Conor Eckholm and shucker Aiden Semingsen won KWPT's Shuck and Swallow Contest for the 837th year in a row. Duh.

Now go look at our pictures.

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