Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wiyot Still In For Gambling Win

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 4:47 PM

What's this? Gov. Brown is announcing the signing of a gaming compact with the Wiyot Tribe? When said compact was signed first by Gov. Schwarzenegger in April 2008, after a nine-year's-long slog toward said agreement, according to the tribe's announcement at the time on its website? (See our coverage from back then.)

What it is, is evidence of yet more slogging toward gambling-rewards heaven.

According to the 2008 compact, the Wiyot Tribe relinquishes any right to build a casino on its Humboldt Bay lands -- that it is, it agrees to not be a "gaming tribe." Instead, the 800-member Wiyot Tribe will be given some of the revenues generated by the 1,900-member North Fork Rancheria Tribe's proposed casino -- around $3-5 million a year might go to the Wiyot out of the estimated $100 million generated a year by the casino.

The North Fork Rancheria Tribe, in the Sierra foothills of Madera County, in its related compact to have land taken into trust by the federal government to build the casino upon, also agrees not to build gambling digs on other, environmentally sensitive lands. And, according to that tribe's website, it will be sharing gambling revenues not just with the Wiyot, but with other non-gaming tribes in the state.

The details appear to be much the same in today's newly re-signed compact, if what's written on the North Fork Rancheria's website is any indication. Brian Mead, Wiyot tribal administrator, when reached by phone today said he couldn't say anything about it without permission from the tribal council or chairman.

What's new, it seems, is that the latest governor has concurred with federal findings that the casino promises more benefits than ills to all involved, according to the North Fork Rancheria:

"The new compact replaces the earlier compact negotiated and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger ... . The compact also includes provisions to mitigate the potential
economic impacts of the North Fork project on the Chukchansi Indian Tribe."

More steps remain: The Department of Interior has to finish the process of taking the land into trust for the rancheria, and both the state legislature and the Secretary of the Interior have to ratify the new state tribal gaming compact.

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Getting Around In Rio Dell

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

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That's not getting around Rio Dell -- please, the city would like you to visit. It's getting around in Rio Dell.

The City of Rio Dell Planning Commission will meet next Wednesday -- March 27 -- at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers to talk about the draft "cirulation element" of the city's general plan. What is this? Quoth the city's news release:

The Circulation Element identifies the Goals, Policies and Implementation Measures for moving people and goods within the City and identifies the infrastructure necessary to assure that the transportation network will serve the City at General Plan build-out.

The Circulation Element also identifies alternative travel modes, such as walking, bicycles, and bus transit. The alternative transportation modes are important to reduce pressure on roads, conserve energy, improve the public health through exercise and enhance the quality of life for the City's residents.

You can perambulate, drive, bicycle, skateboard (we think, anyway ... ?), hop, or otherwise get a ride over to city hall, 675 Wildwood Ave., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the weekdays to peruse the document.

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Cart Patrol

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

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The Eureka Police Department has made another one of its routine "special operation" sweeps of the city to round up errant shopping carts, says a release from the department today:

... numerous subjects were contacted and over 100 shopping carts were recovered. Four subjects were cited and released for misappropriation of property and one subject was arrested for an outstanding warrant for drug related charges. The estimated value of the recovered shopping carts was $18,000.00.

These roundups happen after the police department gets complaints from business owners. And the business owners are right to be miffed at the theft of their property. As for those who nab the carts, wheel them off into illicit duty as personal-stuff haulers and fort fortifiers and such, no doubt they deserve the sharp words and citations the police throw at them when they're caught.

But that doesn't mean they don't need some sort of help. Remember the outdoor hoarder of a couple years back, who seemed to specialize in shopping cart repurposing? Dozens and dozens of carts trundled into the bushes and swamps of Eureka's behind-buildings lands. That poor fellow seemed cart-addicted.

The release:

 NEWS RELEASE

On 3-20-2013, officers of the Eureka Police Department conducted a citywide special operation focusing on recovering shopping carts that have been stolen from various businesses throughout the city. This operation was prompted by complaints received from business owners regarding these ongoing thefts. 

As a result of this operation, numerous subjects were contacted and over 100 shopping carts were recovered. Four subjects were cited and released for misappropriation of property and one subject was arrested for an outstanding warrant for drug related charges. The estimated value of the recovered shopping carts was $18,000.00.

The Eureka Police Department would like to remind citizens that the shopping carts are provided by the business for their customers use. These carts should not be taken off the private property of the business without the management's consent.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Give Us $300

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Citizen, if someone purporting to be "Homeland Security" pops up on your computer screen and says "Gimme $300," don't do it.

It will threaten you, of course:

"The work of your computer has been suspended on the grounds of the violation of the law of the United States of America."

And it will block your computer. Tell you how to pay that $300 fine in order to get unblocked (using what's called a MoneyPak code through a major retailer such as Kmart or Wal-Mart).

Resist. Think back to the early days of the Patriot Act when you strode righteously into the county library and checked out every book you thought might be deemed subversive, or when you drew nuclear power plant cooling towers on cocktail napkins then tried to claim they were just bawdy doodles. (H/T H.S.!) Harness that disobedience, drive it forth.

Plus, also, this is a scam.

It "appears to be a form of malware/virus known as 'ransomware,'" says the Eureka Police Department in a news release, and it's been hitting on locals recently. Notes the release:

Alternate versions of this same scam may use the FBI's logo. Anyone receiving this message should not enter a MoneyPak code or any other payment method into the screen.

If you get the virus, go into safe mode (reboot your computer into it; but dive under your desk, also, if you think that'll help), and clean it out. And the EPD suggests you file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). And those folks suggest you get professional help to remove the malware.

Also, right now, back up your computer. And update your anti-badstuff software.

Here's the release:

EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
604 C Street
Eureka, CA  95501
Phone:  (707) 441-4060
FAX:  (707) 441-4334
Date:  3/20/13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Subject:  EPD Issues Public Service Advisory Concerning Ransomware Computer Virus Scam

Contact:  Sergeant Steve Watson
    Front Desk  (707) 441-4060
    Office  (707) 441-4081
    Work Cell  (707) 601-5464

Prepared by:  Sergeant Watson
________________________________________
On 3/20/13, the Eureka Police Department received a report of a computer-related scam now affecting some local residents.  Victims report a pop-up message will appear on their personal computer.  The message is purportedly from the "Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Division."  The message, which appears to be a form of malware/virus known as "ransomware," states: "The work of your computer has been suspended on the grounds of the violation of the law of the United States of America."  It further declares, "This computer has been blocked."  
The message remains locked in the front of one's screen and the user is unable to close it or access other programs.  It essentially freezes the computer. The message instructs the user that to "unlock" the computer they are "obliged to pay a fine of $300.00."  It further states they must pay this fine through "MoneyPak" within 48 hours (Green Dot MoneyPak is available through Walmart, Kmart, Rite Aid and other major retailers).  If the fine has not been paid, it threatens the user will become the subject of criminal prosecution without the right to pay the fine.  The warning asserts once you pay the "fine" your computer will be unblocked. The "fine" is paid by entering your $300.00 MoneyPak code into a box on the pop-up warning screen and clicking ok.

The warning screen is very convincing with logos from Homeland Security as well as major retailers such as Walmart.  Walmart and the other retailersare not associated with this scam.  Alternate versions of this same scam may use the FBI's logo  
Anyone receiving this message should not enter a MoneyPak code or any other payment method into the screen.  Users should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.  The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).
Additional information concerning this scam may be found at the following internet links.  
http://corporate.walmart.com/privacy-security/fraud-alerts/green-dot-moneypak-scam
http://www.ic3.gov/media/2012/121130.aspx

###

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Your Civic Duty Calls

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Your friends are tired of hearing you grouse about a) "those weird metal contraptions the city calls 'public art'"; b) the peeled-paint, falling down houses in your neighborhood; c) the parking-ticket lady and your long, sad walk from the all-day parking lots; and d) the architectural hodgepodge cluttering up your street.

Your friends think you're off your rocker (what's wrong with the metal contraptions?!). Heck with 'em. You know what you must do: Apply to be on one of those city bodies that advise the city decision-makers, so you can throw the weight of your body around a little more officially.

Right now, the City of Eureka is looking to fill these vacancies, according to a news release:

Eureka Art and Culture -- one vacancy
Housing Advisory Committee -- one vacancy
Parking Place Commission -- two vacancies
Planning Commission -- one vacancy

Get your application by phone: 441-4144; in person at the mayor's office: 531 K St; or online: http://www.ci.eureka.ca.gov/.

You must be a registered voter residing within the city limits, the Humboldt Community Services District or Humboldt County Service Area No. 3 -- or own a business in Eureka.

These positions are unpaid. And you can't work for the city.

Your compensation? Those arch looks you'll be able to toss at your besmirching friends.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Sport Mussels Cleared For Eatin'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

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You've gotta be careful with those wiley bivalve mollusks. Sometimes the tasty filter feeders are packed with enough toxins to -- worst cases -- make you tingle, burn, talk funny, choke, fall over and even die.

That's why the California Department of Public Health routinely sets quarantines on sport-harvested bivalve shelfish such as clams, scallops and mussels, during times when they carry heavy levels of toxins. For mussels, the quarantine generally runs May 1 through Oct. 31. (The quarantine does not apply to commercially harvested shellfish, which are subject to mandatory testing.) And when the toxin levels have decreased to non-dangerous levels, the quarantines are lifted and the public health warnings dropped.

Well, it's been a long, long wait for recreational shellfish afficionados -- last year, Public Health extended the mussel quarantine and added clams and scallops to the avoid-list. Now, at long last, the quarantine has been lifted in Humboldt County and Del Norte County, says a news release from Public Health:

Recent testing shows levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have declined to safe or undetectable levels.

But note: Marin County bivalves are still not safe, and the quarantine remains in place for them there.

The news release:

SACRAMENTO - The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is lifting the November 6, 2012, health advisory warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish (such as clams and scallops) from Del Norte County. CDPH is also lifting the October 31, 2012, extension of the annual mussel quarantine for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Recent testing shows levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have declined to safe or undetectable levels.

The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. There have been no reports of human poisoning from PSP in California during this event.

The health advisory for all sport-harvested bivalve shellfish in Marin County remains in effect. Dangerous levels of the PSP toxins continue to be detected in shellfish samples from this region.

This health advisory does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters from approved sources. State law only permits state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing.

This season's conditions highlight the importance of being aware of current restrictions that may be in effect. The CDPH Biotoxin Information Line (1-800-553-4133) provides updates on current quarantines and health advisories throughout the year.

CDPH's ability to protect the public from dangerous PSP toxins is due in large part to the numerous organizations and volunteers that collected shellfish samples for testing. Those who are interested in taking part in this important monitoring program should email RedTide@cdph.ca.gov or call 1-800-553-4133. CDPH can provide the necessary training and equipment for collecting and shipping samples.

 

www.cdph.ca.gov

 

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pelican Bay Isolation Case In Court

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 10:48 AM

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Oral arguments begin at 2 p.m. today in U.S. District Court in Oakland in the Pelican Bay State Prison solitary confinement case.

Ruiz v. Brown, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights last year on behalf of prisoners, alleges that long-term confinement of prisoners inside "secure housing units" (SHU) "is inhumane and debilitating" and psychologically damaging.

Some prisoners have been held nearly three decades in these small, windowless cells, where according to the Center they are alone about 23 hours a day -- and sometimes 24 hours a day -- are denied phonecalls and contact visits, and are served spoiled food and infrequent medical care. According to a previous news release from the Center:

More than 500 Pelican Bay SHU prisoners have been isolated under these conditions for over 10 years, more than 200 of them for over 15 years; and 78 have been isolated in the SHU for more than 20 years.

The suit also alleges the use of inadequate, unfair criteria for imposing solitary confinement upon a prisoner (gang membership seems to figure high on the list).

The abuses and torture alleged by prisoners and their advocates became national news in 2011 when prisoners at Pelican Bay staged a hunger strike. Soon, prisoners elsewhere in the state and country began hunger striking. See previous Journal coverage about the strike here, and about the lawsuit here. You can read the second amended complaint here.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Eureka SciFi Writer In L. Ron Contest

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 4:42 PM

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Stephen Sottong, who lives in Eureka, will be whooping it up this April with other winners in the 29th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Writers & Illustrators Of The Future Contest's big ceremony in Hollywood.

No, he does not have to join the Scientologists to be honored, Sottong said by phone today.

"They do try and create a firewall between the contest and Scientology," he said. Whew.

It is, in fact, a most prestigious contest, he said, that has made some people's careers. The ceremony draws bigshots, according to a news release shot out today announcing the ceremony in April "at the famed Wilshire Ebell Theatre":

"Participating in the ceremony will be best-selling authors Kevin J. Anderson (Dune prequels), Larry Niven (Ringworld), Jerry Pournelle (A Mote in God's Eye), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides, which Pirates of the Caribbean IV was based on) and Robert Sawyer, referred to as Canada's Dean of Science Fiction; as well as award winning artists Cliff Nielsen (Narnia book covers), Larry Elmore (Dungeons & Dragons book covers), Steven Hickman (over 400 book covers), who will all serve as presenters."

Sottong writes science fiction -- has been doing so since he was a kid soaking up the tales of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin and the like. But he was an engineer first, and then an engineering librarian at Cal State Los Angeles for 10 years. Ten years ago, he and his wife, Joy Thomas -- a libriarian at Cal State Long Beach -- retired and moved to Eureka. Thomas is a beekeeper. Sottong helps, and in fact was on the cover of the Times-Standard March 8 dealing with a swarm (the paper spelled his name wrong). He also has a blog.

Sottong's stories have appeared in local publications, including Humboldt State's Toyon. And he's entered L. Ron's contest before, but this is the first time he's won. The way the contest works, each quarter three winners are chosen -- first, second and third each in writing and illustration. Sottong won third place in the first quarter of 2012. The first place winners will all compete for a grand prize. But third place ain't bad -- Sottong was awarded $500 and his story will be published in the 29th volume of winners, out this April.

His winning story is a 15,000-word novelette set "far, far in the future."

"It's basically a buddy fiction story," he said. "It's about two guys who are doing the initial explorations of planets. It's about the difficulties of exploring unknown planets and the problems they get into, and it goes through various planets and various scenarios."

There's an interplanetary government system in place. The two main characters - 40-ish Aiden and 20-something Lester -- explore eight unnamed planets. They work for an outfit called Planetary Scouts. Aiden's breaking new-recruit Lester in.

"It's an adventure story," said Sottong.

Here's that news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STEPHEN SOTTONG OF EUREKA TO BE HONORED

AS WINNER OF WORLDWIDE WRITING CONTEST

Celebrities, Best-Selling Authors, Famous Illustrators Along with JPL Scientists to Fete Newcomers at Festive Gala in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD - Twelve winning writers and twelve illustrators from around the globe-including Stephen Sottong of Eureka-will be honored during the 29th Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards at the famed Wilshire Ebell Theatre, on Sunday, April 14th, 2013 beginning at 6:30 pm.

Stephen Sottong was born and raised in the rust-belt town of Kokomo, Indiana. He was introduced to science fiction by his brother and sister. The first book he checked out of public library was Ben Bova's Star Conquerors. From there, he made his way through as much of the library's sci-fi collection as possible, reading the classic novels of the '50s and '60s from Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Brunner, Le Guin and others. He started writing at ten and continued sporadically throughout his working career but never did so in earnest until retirement. In the interim, Stephen repaired radios in the Navy and afterward in civilian life until he decided to upgrade his education.

After ten years of engineering and another stint in college, he became an engineering librarian for the rest of his working career. As an academic librarian, he wrote numerous dull, scholarly articles published in library journals. The possibility of early retirement offered him the opportunity to return to his first love and write fiction full time. His short stories have been published in regional magazines but Writers of the Future is his first national publication.

The highlight of the ceremony will be the announcement of the year's two Grand Prize winners who will each receive $5,000. Quarterly winners also receive cash prizes from $1,000 to $500. Their winning stories and illustrations will appear in the annual anthology L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers and Illustrators of the Future, Volume 29 (Galaxy Press, 2013).

Participating in the ceremony will be best-selling authors Kevin J. Anderson (Dune prequels), Larry Niven (Ringworld), Jerry Pournelle (A Mote in God's Eye), Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides, which Pirates of the Caribbean IV was based on) and Robert Sawyer, referred to as Canada's Dean of Science Fiction; as well as award winning artists Cliff Nielsen (Narnia book covers), Larry Elmore (Dungeons & Dragons book covers), Steven Hickman (over 400 book covers), who will all serve as presenters.

Throughout the Contests' 29-year history, over 650 writers and illustrators have been recognized as winners. "What's amazing to me is that a good 60 to 70% of winners go on to successful careers," says New York Times' best-selling author Anderson (Dune prequels, Seven Suns series). "You could call it ‘The American Idol' for writers-long before there ever was such a show."

The Writers of the Future writing contest (www.writersofthefuture.com) was initiated by L. Ron Hubbard in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers to get that much-needed break. Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful. Past winners of the Writing Contest have published over 750 novels, 3,500 short stories and winners of the Illustrating Contest have had their art published in more than 500 books and magazines, with 4,500 illustrations, 350 comics and over 1.3 million art prints.

"The Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests have proven to be the most effective means for contestants to make their break in the publishing industry, an industry renowned for being closed to the newcomer," said Joni Labaqui, director of the contests. "Well over six million fiction and non-fiction manuscripts make the rounds annually to find a publishing home, yet only 2,500 new science fiction and fantasy titles are published each year, and many of these are from already established authors.

"That's why these Contests were created - because it's so hard to get published and there are so many talented people who give up on their dreams to see their works in print."

 

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Paying More Can Pay Off

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Here's one that might be of interest to Eureka voters: Costco has managed to increase profits at the very same time that its top executive is calling for a higher minimum wage, the Huffington Post is reporting.

Paying good money and offering benefits like health insurance can reduce turnover and build strong businesses, CEO Craig Jelinek was quoted saying. There's more on the Huffington Post website, and we suppose we should send you there, even thought HuffPo itself has repeatedly tangled with writers over the concept of fair pay -- or any pay -- for their work.

 

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

$5,000 To Catch Cable Vandal

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Suddenlink is offering a $5,000 reward to whoever brings in the loathesome creature(s) cutting fiber optic lines up and down Humboldt.

Press release:

Suddenlink Offers $5,000 Reward Vandals Cut Fiber Lines Three Times in Last Five Days   EUREKA, Calif. (March 12, 2013) - Suddenlink announced today that it is offering a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for vandalizing the company's local network. 

Anyone with information that might help local law enforcement officials apprehend the responsible parties should contact the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at 707-445-7251 or that office's crime tip line at 707-268-2539. Fiber lines within Suddenlink's local network have been cut by vandals three times in the last five days. The most recent incident occurred shortly after 11 p.m. Monday, March 11, disrupting service to approximately 1,000 homes in Scotia and Rio Dell. 

Suddenlink crews repaired that damage and restored service to affected customers early this morning, March 12. The two earlier acts of vandalism occurred Friday, March 8, between 12:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., disrupting service for nearly 2,000 customers in Big Lagoon, Trinidad, Scotia, Ferndale, and parts of McKinleyville and Rio Dell. Suddenlink crews were able to restore service to most of those customers by early afternoon, March 8, and to the remainder by early evening that day.

"We applaud the Humboldt County Sheriff's office for its diligent efforts to investigate these acts of vandalism," said Suddenlink Director of Operations Wendy Purnell, who is based in Eureka.  "We hope this reward will encourage the sharing of information that helps identify the people responsible for these crimes and prevents them from further inconveniencing our customers."

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