Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Draft Reports Calls for Supes to Repeal Emergency Ordinance

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM

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A new draft report from the Human Rights Commission calls for the county to repeal its emergency ordinance, which restricted demonstrating in front of the County Courthouse in response to Occupy protests last year.

The report, completed this week by a Human Rights Commission subcommittee assigned to focus on the ordinance, recommends that the Board of Supervisors also adopt a policy affirming the county’s commitment to the First Amendment. The draft report also calls for 24-hour access to restrooms at the courthouse.

Enacted in March, 2012, Ordinance 2477 limited the hours of protesting on the county courthouse from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., among other restrictions on signs and tables. A subsequent ordinance modified the law, reducing some of the restrictions but keeping in place the ban on staking or hanging signs overnight and setting up temporary shelter.

The subcommittee assigned to review the ordinances found that the emergency rules “dealt with issues largely covered by existing laws.”

From the draft report:

Ongoing public input has led the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission to the conclusion that Humboldt County needs to have a policy statement related to the protection of the First Amendment constitutional rights of the public, while at the same time protecting the rights of all people to a safe and healthy environment. 

The subcommittee proposed a statement, which included the following statement:

It is reasonable to expect that members of the public may regularly use the Courthouse grounds, and other county controlled properties, to address their elected officials through public displays, protests or other expressions of free speech. This has historically been the case, usually without incident.

The Human Rights Commission will review the report on Thursday at 5 p.m. in conference room A in the Humboldt County Courthouse. It needs approval from the entire Human Rights Commission before it can be presented to the Board of Supervisors.

A PDF of the report can be read  here .
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'Defend Humboldt' With AK-47, Suggests a T-Shirt

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 12:49 PM

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Saw a guy wearing this T-shirt at The Local beer bar in Eureka last night. The man, whose name is Kevin Williford, said he bought it at the Little Red Lion cocktail lounge on Fifth Street. "They had piles of 'em," he said.
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Breastfeeding Event Planned at Farmers Market

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 5:18 PM

This Saturday, mothers throughout the community are invited to come to the Arcata Farmers Market at 10:30 a.m. and breastfeed their babies on the southeast corner of the plaza. Talk about milking it.

The Big Latch On is an international event happening as a part of World Breastfeeding Week. The goals of the Big Latch On are to “raise awareness of breastfeeding support and knowledge available in communities,” according to the event’s website, and to break the record for the most women breastfeeding their children simultaneously (8,862 women in 2012, because I know you’re curious).

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Ferndale Enterprise Wins National Awards for Editorial Writing

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Enterprise Publisher and Editor Caroline Titus - RYAN BURNS/JOURNAL FILE PHOTO
  • Ryan Burns/Journal file photo
  • Enterprise Publisher and Editor Caroline Titus
The Victorian Village's scrappy weekly, the Ferndale Enterprise, was informed last week that it nabbed two awards for best editorial writing in the National Newspaper Association's annual Better Newspaper Contest.

The 135-year-old paper is more or less a one-woman-show these days, with Caroline Titus (wife of Ferndale Mayor Stuart Titus) acting as publisher, editor, reporter, page designer -- even occasional distributor. (See the Journal's February profile of the Tituses and the paper here.)

The NNA honored the Enterprise for a pair of editorials penned by Caroline Titus -- a first place (among non-dailies with circulation less than 3,000) for her May 17, 2012 critique of the Humboldt County Fair Board and a third place for her Dec. 20, 2012 piece about the widespread bullying and intimidation of a high school student. You can read both editorials over at the Enterprise.

Congrats to Titus and the paper.
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NPR on Pelican Bay Hunger Strike

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

A "pod" of cells in Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit. - ANDREW GOFF/NCJ FILE PHOTO
  • Andrew Goff/NCJ file photo
  • A "pod" of cells in Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit.

In case you missed it, yesterday's Morning Edition on NPR included a report from Michael Montgomery of KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting, who sat down and spoke with a few inmates who'd recently been released from Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit back into a general prison population. A hunger strike protesting the terms and conditions of long-term solitary confinement is now in its third week.

Listen to Montgomery's report below: 


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Monday, July 29, 2013

Humboldt's Farm Bureau Turns 100

Posted By on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM

A crowd of dairy people – including a princess! -- spent a fine afternoon in the old mill lot and field behind the Samoa Cookhouse last Saturday, celebrating the Humboldt County Farm Bureau's 100th anniversary. In fact, Humboldt's farm bureau was the first formed in the state (back in 1913, of course), and the second in the nation.

There was a pie contest – the winning one a tart-sweet, heavenly-pastried peach pie baked by Sandre Dale, who was awarded 100 bucks.

Lots of winning pies. - HEIDI WALTERS
  • Heidi Walters
  • Lots of winning pies.

There was melon catapulting by two teams operating towering trebuchets (one more towering than the other, and both sadly a bit far off to the right in this photo):

Waiting for the melons to fly. - HEIDI WALTERS
  • Heidi Walters
  • Waiting for the melons to fly.

And more fun, including a competition of barn pictures strung along the walls of the cookhouse's entryway; train car tours and speeder rides; ice cream served up by 2013 Dairy Princess Andrea Guggenbickler and two of her princess alternates, Emily Dale and Paxton Woodward;

2013 Dairy Princess Andrea Guggenbickler and her second alternate, Paxton Woodward, serving up some ice cream at the Farm Bureau party. - HEIDI WALTERS
  • Heidi Walters
  • 2013 Dairy Princess Andrea Guggenbickler and her second alternate, Paxton Woodward, serving up some ice cream at the Farm Bureau party.

and displays of some venerable (and some newer)  Humboldt farm families:

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A Magical Elk Moment on the Beach

Posted By on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM

This was the sight we woke up to a couple of mornings ago, off the beaten track in Mendocino County: 


My video shows the five-strong bachelor group of Roosevelt elk at dawn last Thursday on Usal Beach, in the Sinkyone Wilderness, south of Shelter Cove. In a couple of months,  they'll be putting their attack skills to serious use during the rutting season, when combat sometimes results in injury (or even death) as they complete for mating privileges.

The comeback of Roosevelt elk is a conservation success story. Herds once roamed between San Francisco Bay and Vancouver Island, but they were down to a few hundred in the 1920s, when protection from hunting was initiated. There are now well over 1,000 in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

School Board Responds to Johnson's Plagiarism Apology

Posted By on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

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After one of its trustees bitterly apologized for committing plagiarism, the Northern Humboldt Union High School District board released a statement today, promising to inform future trustees that plagiarism is wrong.

If you've somehow missed the hubbub to this point, here's a brief recap: During a speech at Arcata High School's June 13 commencement ceremony, local construction magnate/school board trustee Dan Johnson was caught cribbing a well-known graduation address by Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr. Following weeks of outrage and numerous calls for his resignation, Johnson prepared a statement, which was presented this morning to the district's board of trustees.

In his statement, which you can read in full below, Johnson says he''s "a just local businessman" and "a sentimental dad" who enjoys giving back to the community, and he apologizes for not crediting McCullough. But he immediately undermines those sentiments with this seething kiss-off:

I understand that for some in our community – the self-appointed referees of good and evil – no explanation or apology I can offer is good enough. But I’m comfortable in the knowledge that their intolerance, so readily on display, is a far more profound flaw than mine.

This afternoon, the school board released a statement of its own, saying Johnson's apology was appreciated, if a bit tardy. Johnson didn't offer to resign, and the board didn't ask him to. Instead it's proposing to explain "approved academic and ethical standards" in its bylaws and develop a handbook for board members. The board also says it will reconsider the format for graduation ceremonies, "including Board member participation."

In closing, the board conveys its sincere hope that people will now "move forward."

Read both statements in full below.

Here's Johnson's statement:

“I want to address an issue that has been made of my comments at the Arcata High graduation last month.

“As a sentimental dad who did not go to college myself, I just wanted to use my speaking opportunity to do something special for my daughter, who has graduated with a 4.04 GPA and is headed off to Santa Clara University.

“Like so many others, I was inspired by the 2012 Wellesley High School commencement speech of David McCollough Jr. It was a blunt, but ultimately inspiring, message to the graduates. My speech prep skills are lacking, and when I had heard the speech on the radio and liked the message, it gave me ideas for the speech I delivered at graduation.

“What I prepared to deliver at the graduation ceremony was a personalized version of McCollough’s message directed to my daughter. I thought all in attendance might appreciate it.

“My mistake, as community members, HSU professors and Arcata High faculty, much smarter than I, have informed me, was not simply crediting McCollough for his words and I'm sorry for that. I appreciate the constructive criticism and education I've received.

“I'm not an educator, journalist or author. I'm a just local businessman. I enjoy giving back to my community through Rotary, Casa, HSU athletics, non-profit board involvement, youth activities and service on this board, etc...

“The message I wanted to deliver is that I am proud of my daughter and want her to remember as McCullough spoke, ‘You’re not special, because EVERYONE is.’ And in my words, that ‘achievement is based on results, and results are what is most valued.’

“I understand that for some in our community – the self-appointed referees of good and evil – no explanation or apology I can offer is good enough. But I’m comfortable in the knowledge that their intolerance, so readily on display, is a far more profound flaw than mine.”

And here's  the statement from the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Board of Trustees:

NHUHSD_Trustees_statement.pdf
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Goodbye to the Albee Stadium Eucs

Posted By on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

The last of about eight stately eucalyptus trees flanking the Del Norte Street edge of Eureka High's Albee Stadium came down earlier today. Mid-morning, as rare warm sunshine streamed down, a tree cutter dangled high among the boughs of the final tree, sawing carefully then repositioning to saw again.

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Each separated  limb dropped with a resounding clunk onto the coned-off sidewalk. The air smelled like menthol, and alongside the track the rest of the felled giants lay side by side. 
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Bruce Young, the City of Eureka's public works director, says that Eureka High's maintenance director had alerted the city that the trees would be coming down.
"The trees had reached a maturity level where they are at a high risk of failure," Young said by phone this afternoon. "A couple of big branches fell during football games. So the school determined they should take the trees down."
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Win a Chance to Name the Baby Red Panda

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 3:47 PM

The baby red panda at 10 days old. - PROVIDED BY SEQUOIA PARK ZOO
  • Provided by Sequoia Park Zoo
  • The baby red panda at 10 days old.
The Sequoia Park Zoo is offering up the chance to name its baby red panda in a drawing. At five weeks old, it's about time we start calling her something besides "the baby red panda." The second place winner will get to feed mom and dad red panda, and the third prize will be a birthday party at the zoo.

And before you go getting any ideas, you should know that zoo management has to approve the name you pick.

See full press release below:

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