Attendance numbers are still an open question for tomorrow’s Oyster Fest on the Arcata Plaza, but when it comes to community engagement, this sucker’s already a blockbuster.
Ever since the Journal's Bob Doran broke news of this year’s $10 admission fee, the community has been atwitter (and, uh, Twittering, Facebooking, etc.) with opinions, questions, concerns and rants. Now, less than 24 hours before the controversial gates open, things have reached a fever pitch.
To the giddy delight of every passing kid in Old Town (and a few grown adults, including this writer and a pair of excited female whistlers) Humboldt Bay Fire flexed a little muscle this morning.
Pulling up in their dazzling ladder tiller truck, the boys suited up for some rooftop training. The star: The 100-foot ladder they extended to the rooftops over Third Street.
After giving a close-up demonstration to one toddling onlooker, they packed up and were gone — just as the TV news crew arrived.
This video is a rare example of when watching someone descend a ladder is exciting.
Elaborating on her op-ed piece in this week's issue, Journal Publisher Judy Hodgson took to the airwaves this afternoon, telling KHUM's Mike Dronkers that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors' recent vote to replace the guiding principles in the general plan update was "one of the more blatant power grabs that I've seen in all my years watching the Board of Supervisors. ... It was absolutely outrageous, and people should be angry."
She also expressed anger over the new principles' assertion that landowners should be "honored." "Why shoud we honor landowners?" she asked. "Shouldn't renters be honored? Everybody who rents in Humboldt County should be looking around and saying 'Wait a minute, am I a second class citizen?'" As for a course of action, Hodgson had a suggestion: "We ought to find good people who are willing to run against ... [5th District Supervisor] Ryan Sundberg and [4th District Supervisor] Virginia Bass."
Here's the full interview:
Hezekiah Allen, an Arcata resident who recently announced his run for the 2nd District seat in the state Assembly, has launched a change.org petition urging the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to reconsider actions it took on June 3 — namely, swapping out a long-established and publicly vetted set of guiding principles in the county's general plan update for a brand new set developed behind closed doors and released by Supervisor Estelle Fennell less than four days earlier.
Allen was among those who spoke at the June 3 meeting. He thanked Fennell and fellow Supervisor Rex Bohn for the new list of principles, saying that they "honor diversity." But he added that, "We need to take a little more time to balance between these two lists. ... I don’t appreciate the winner-take-all political culture."
Last Saturday afternoon, up at her uncle's place in Kneeland, 8-year-old Marley Bones (pronounced "Bo-NEZ") was engaged in a favorite pastime -- trying to catch small wriggling wildlife -- when something caught her. It was brief -- a quick, sharp fang-jab on the knuckle of her right pointing finger.
"Marley's just an adventurer," said her mom, Colleen Bones, earlier today by phone. "She was lifting up all these rocks where all the lizards hide, and she was reaching for a blue-belly lizard when a snake she didn't know was there bit her."
It turned out to be a baby rattlesnake. They rushed her St. Joseph's Hospital where she was treated with anti-venom. Then the ordeal really began.
"All of a sudden her body came into a red rash, and she was having a hard time breathing," Colleen Bones said. "It was just so awful and it got so intense so fast. They realized she was allergic to the anti-venom."
Her bit hand started swelling up and her finger turned white. Colleen Bones said Marley was given something to counter the reaction. The hospital decided to fly her to U.C. Davis Children's Hospital.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on California's Prop. 8 any day now, and a group of locals — anticipating an overturn of California's 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage — is planning to party.
Eureka resident Susan McGee, a member of the Humboldt Equality Coalition, said that people will gather on the Arcata Plaza and in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka at 6 p.m. on whichever day the ruling is announced. "We’re gonna ask people to come on out, sing, dance, scream, shout, cry, wave our rainbow flag — whatever," she said.
McGee and her partner of 20 years, Dr. Karen March, were among the roughly 18,000 California couples that got married during the brief window in 2008 when it was legal. Now they're hoping to see that right extended to others.
Sohum developer Bob McKee has been ordered to pay $200,000 in fines to Humboldt County in the culmination of a costly 11-year lawsuit over McKee’s purchase and division of Tooby Ranch near Garberville.
The ruling, filed Friday by Humboldt County Judge Dale Reinholtsen, calls for McKee to pay fines for violating the Williamson Act, which offers tax benefits for ag land in active production (the Journal wrote about the lawsuit previously here). A state court previously determined McKee sold parcels of the Tooby Ranch that were under the minimum size required by the act. Over the course of the lawsuit, McKee argued that his divisions were legal, because the former owners of Tooby Ranch initially entered a Williamson Act contract with the county when smaller parcels were allowed. Despite a local ruling in McKee's favor in 2006, the appellate court determined that he had violated the act, and sent the case back to local courts to determine a resolution.
The county spent at least $3 million pursuing the court case since 2004. That figure was released by the county following a separate lawsuit.
When it comes to planning for the future, Humboldt Bay Harbor District CEO Jack Crider is focusing on achievable near-term goals while casting a skeptical eye toward the resurgence of rail service. He recently announced that the district is paying $19,500 for a financial pre-feasibility study that will analyze the potential of restoring rail service to the county. But unlike local “rah-rah rail!” boosters, Crider suspects that the math won’t pencil out.
Funding for the study, which is being conducted by consulting firm BST, will be carved from funds previously awarded the district by Caltrans for a Samoa transportation plan. Crider said the study should be finished later this month.
This very issue — the financial feasibility of maintaining a railroad — may be the most daunting challenge facing a train resurrection in the county, and yet such an analysis is conspicuously missing from the scope of work that east-west rail boosters hope to investigate with a far more expensive feasibility study.
A second person has now been hospitalized in Humboldt County with Hepatitis A from frozen berries sold at Costco. Anyone who has eaten Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend in the last two weeks is urged to get a Hepatitis A vaccination. The full press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services is below:
A fire has destroyed part of the Hoopa Valley Tribe's timber facility, including its administrative building and repair shop and some oil drums, equipment and vehicles (among them a water tender and vehicles containing diesel used to refuel bulldozers, saws and other logging equipment).
The fire started yesterday afternoon in "light, flashy fields" of dry grass alongside Marshall Lane behind Hoopa Forest Industries, said incident commander Rod Mendes, who is director of the tribe's Office of Emergency Services, by phone today. Someone called his office around 3:45 p.m. yesterday to report it. Mendes said the fire spread quickly to the timber firm's structures and equipment. Witnesses reported explosions and black sticky plumes as fuel ignited.
State, federal and tribal fire departments and local and tribal volunteer fire fighters – by ground and air – finally doused the blaze, which burned five acres. There were no injuries, and 10 homes were saved, Mendes said.
Many lives might have been lost had a 2,500-gallon diesel tanker -- caught in the fire -- exploded, added Hoopa Valley Tribe Vice Chairman Byron Nelson, Jr, on the phone along with Mendes. Luckily, he said, as the tanker heated up it vented itself, and then fire fighters moved in to cool it off with water.
Mendes said the fire's cause is under investigation. He added that "it's a big loss for the tribe" but the extent of that loss hasn't yet been calculated.
According to the tribe's website, Hoopa Forest Industries "harvests roughly 12 million board feet, net conifer volume annually; providing the Hoopa Valley Tribe approximately $4 to $6 million in revenue depending on the timber market." And it employs 35-40 tribal members.
"It's not going to shut our logging operation down," Nelson said. He said the tribe is looking for a place to relocate the administrative operations and is considering renting equipment.
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