Friday, August 30, 2013

Liberate Your Growler

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Freedom to enjoy your favorite beer — that's Wes Chesbro's (D — North Coast) vision of California. He's calling for Gov. Jerry Brown to end the persecution against owners of growlers — those 64-ounce beer bottles — who just want a refill. 

Growlers are an increasingly popular way to get fresh-brewed craft beer home. Even in the North Coast's burgeoning brewery market, some beermakers decline to bottle their specialty beers (or any of it), meaning the only way to enjoy it is in a glass, on the town. Resealable growlers give tipplers the ability to bring those suds home, or to the neighbor's barbecue.

Growlers have been around, but confusing alcohol laws prohibited a brewery from filling a growler unless it was permanently branded with that brewery's label. The legislation Chesbro is championing (beer, apparently, is a unifying force, as the bill was co-authored by Republican State Senator Steve Knight) would make it OK for brewers to fill any growler, as long as the now-laden vessel was properly labeled and showed no signs of its former contents.

It seems hard to imagine that the one-two political punch of calls for "beer!" and "freedom!" would fall on deaf ears in the Capitol, even if the Governor is more inclined to butterbeer.

From Chesbro:

SACRAMENTO – A bill by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D – North Coast) to give craft beer aficionados more freedom to enjoy their favorite brews awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature after it won final approval from the Legislature today. If signed, AB 647 will establish clear labeling guidelines for breweries who wish to refill consumers’ “growlers,” glass containers that typically hold four pints of beer, that were purchased elsewhere.

"Consumers would like to reuse their containers, not just at the original brewery but to sample beers from many breweries," Chesbro said. “Growlers have become an increasingly popular way for customers to buy beer from local craft breweries. This change in the law makes sense for consumer freedom of choice and the growth of the microbrew industry. I urge Gov. Brown to sign AB 647.”

AB 647 clarifies the labeling requirements for the reuse of growlers. These requirements include identification of the brewery and the name of the beer. The new label must cover all information related to other breweries or beer that was previously in the growler. AB 647 also addresses the abuse of the statutory definition of “beer manufacturer” by entities that do not possess or use facilities or equipment to actually manufacture beer and clarifies the law relating to trade show tastings.

“This bill to address labeling laws is good for both the craft brewing industry and consumers alike,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of California Craft Brewers Association, which supported the legislation. “The use of growlers to purchase craft beer from local breweries has become very popular in California. The CCBA supports this trend and is gratified the Legislature approved this bill.”

“More than half of Americans now live within ten miles of a craft brewer, and many of these local entrepreneurs want to make it easier for customers to cost-effectively bring home their beer using a growler,” said State Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), who was AB 647’s principal coauthor and presented it in the Senate. “Growlers are a wonderful, economical alternative that allows beer enthusiasts to enjoy their beer without wasting containers that only have a one-time use.”

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Un-occupy the Courthouse

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Crews from Humboldt Bay Fire evacuated the courthouse this morning when an elevator motor apparently started spewing smoke into the building.
Courthouse employees get a vitamin D break. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Courthouse employees get a vitamin D break.

A few Sheriff's Office deputies waiting outside said they smelled strong smoke on the first floor of the courthouse before the building was emptied.

Chief Ken Woods coordinates with firefighters inside the courthouse. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Chief Ken Woods coordinates with firefighters inside the courthouse.
Firefighters found the source of the smoke and were preparing to use fans and the building's exhaust system to clear the elevator shaft around 10:45 a.m.
Humboldt Bay Fire blocked a lane of Fourth Street while responding to the fire. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Humboldt Bay Fire blocked a lane of Fourth Street while responding to the fire.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

EPIC Pooh-poohs Poisons

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Documenting poisons at a grow site. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Documenting poisons at a grow site.
Following on the heels of the somewhat high-profile report this week that poison-laced hot dogs killed a fisher at a Humboldt County grow in July, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) says it's campaigning to get rat poison off of local shelves.

EPIC says it's trying to convince retailers to voluntarily ban the sale of "second generation anticoagulant rodenticides" like d-CON. County supes passed a resolution in May urging the same, to the consternation of one poison-industrial-complex rep.

Continue reading »

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Dan Rather and Jared Huffman Tour Pot Grows in a Helicopter

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Rep. Huffman (left), news legend Dan Rather and Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey chat on the tarmac. - IMAGE COURTESY REP. HUFFMAN'S OFFICE
  • Image Courtesy Rep. Huffman's office
  • Rep. Huffman (left), news legend Dan Rather and Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey chat on the tarmac.
In this week's "Week in Weed" column, we chat with our U.S. Congressman, Rep. Jared Huffman, about his latest trip to Humboldt, during which he was briefed by Sheriff Mike Downey about marijuana issues and interviewed by the one and only Dan Rather. They also went for a helicopter ride.

Pick up this week's Journal for the full story, and enjoy these pics in the meantime.

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Power Outage at College of the Redwoods

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Update: The power went back on 1:45 p.m. Classes from 2 p.m. and later will continue as scheduled. 

Original post:
Class is cancelled from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main campus of College of the Redwoods today, due to an electrical problem that occurred this morning. Power went out in several buildings, and order to correct the problem, power will have to be turned off throughout the campus. 

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Stream-sucking Grows Busted

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 11:47 AM

A pump drains Mattole Canyon Creek to water marijuana crops. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • A pump drains Mattole Canyon Creek to water marijuana crops.
Two busts east of Garberville yesterday turned up just the kind of ecological havoc that's been infuriating environmentalists and getting the attention of our Congressman.

Along with the usual guns, greenhouses and greenbacks ($198,000 at one property) Fish and Wildlife say they found pumps draining Mattole Canyon Creek, sucking up salmon and steelhead smolt, and leaking oil on the riverbed.

From the Sheriff's Office:

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Have Horse, Will Travel

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Hay stop. - JAMIE ASHDON
  • Jamie Ashdon
  • Hay stop.
Friend of the Journal Jamie Ashdon snapped this photo of two urban ungulates chillin' near Ampt Skate Shop in Arcata today.

Jamie succinctly captioned the scene on his own Facebook page: "Umm..."

Not sure how the fuel economy stacks up against Arcata's bevy of alterna-transport like buses, electric cars, bikes and skateboards — or if it's worth facing that slew of traffic on horseback (hopefully the ethos to the north extends that far south). Emissions are a whole 'nother story.

And they're not even the only hoofed animals making the rounds of that university town lately.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Dead Fisher at Grow was Poisoned

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The fisher was found 10 meters away from the marijuana garden. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • The fisher was found 10 meters away from the marijuana garden.
Insecticides killed a fisher found at a marijuana grow in late July, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office reports.

A necropsy determined the mammal — a candidate for the endangered species list — was killed by Methomyl, an insecticide, and had rodenticide in its system as well. 

From the Sheriff's Office:

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Friday, August 23, 2013

State Medical Board Disciplines Fortuna Doctor

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 4:55 PM

A Fortuna doctor is facing disciplinary action from the state medical board.

It's unclear what prompted the action against longtime family practitioner George Jutila. The medical board's order prohibits Jutila from:

Treating any patient for chronic pain;

Supervising, advising, or otherwise overseeing any physician assistant, nurse practitioner or other practitioner in the care and treatment of a patient with chronic pain; and

Possessing — except personally by valid prescription (with notification of the Board) or as stored in the locked cabinet at the medical practice — prescribing, dispensing, furnishing, administering, or otherwise distributing any Schedule II or III controlled substances.

Cassandra Hockenson, the medical board's public information officer, said Jutila voluntarily accepted the temporary suspension. An accusation from the board is expected within 15 days.

Jutila did not return calls requesting comment.

Jutila was given an award by the California Medical Association in 2009 for exemplifying "ethics and practice as a rural practitioner," the Times-Standard reported. He's been practicing medicine in Fortuna since 1964.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Update: Let the Trinity Flow, Judge Rules

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Hoopa Valley Tribal members protest the hold on a Trinity River release. - COURTESY HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE
  • Courtesy Hoopa Valley Tribe
  • Hoopa Valley Tribal members protest the hold on a Trinity River release.
Update: Both the Yurok Tribe and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority -- one of the agencies that sued to prevent the release -- released statements following the judge's decision. They can be read below.

Trinity River water will flow. The Fresno judge who issued a restraining order on extra releases from the Trinity Reservoir last week ruled this afternoon to lift the restraining order. See the lead up to the decision here.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe offered this statement:

"Judge O'Neill seemed to be pressing Tribal and Federal scientist for answers to what salmon need to survive in the Klamath River this year," said Hoopa Valley Tribal biologist Mike Orcutt. " We did our best and hoped and prayed for this decision. The fate of the fish was in the judged hands and he made the right decision"

"The Trinity River is our vessel of life and the salmon are our lifeblood. We applaud the decision to release this water to avert a fish disaster, however this lawsuit demonstrates the need for long term solutions to the fisheries crisis in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers" stated Hoopa Valley Chairwoman, Danielle Vigil-Masten.

A federal judge issued a decision lifting a restraining order holding back releases of Trinity water into the Trinity River to advert a Klamath River fish kill. The decision came after days of protests from a large group of Hoopa Valley Tribal members. Tribal members protested in Fresno, California at the Westlands Water District board meeting on Tuesday and outside the Fresno courtroom, and in Sacramento, California outside a fisheries hearing at the California State Capital building on Wednesday.

The Trinity River is the only out of basin diversion into the Central Valley Project, and is also the Klamath River’s largest tributary. Central Valley Irrigation interests, Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Mendota Water District filed a lawsuit against a government decision to release water for fish on August 7th. The Hoopa Valley Tribe and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations have intervened in the case on the side of the government.

Yurok Tribe press release:

KLAMATH, YUROK RESERVATION_ A federal court judge relied heavily on Yurok tribal science in a weighty decision to increase Klamath River flows, rather than send the water to California’s Central Valley.

The ruling, announced just after 5p.m. today, acknowledges the biological importance of supplemental flows for Klamath River salmon in a far-reaching legal case between the Bureau of Reclamation, the Yurok Tribe and others, against Central California industrial agricultural interests.

“The Yurok Tribe will always take whatever measures are necessary to protect the Klamath River, which is our lifeline,” said Yurok Chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. “We intervened in this case on behalf the salmon and our people.”

In the days to come, the Klamath River flows will increase to 2,800 cubic feet per second, which is the same rate the Yurok fisheries experts made a scientific case for in the Fresno courtroom over the past two days.

Originally, the Bureau of Reclamation, at the Yurok Tribe’s urging, made additional water available as part of an effort to avert a fish kill. The 2002 fish kill occurred on the Yurok Reservation in a year with river conditions much like this one. The water was low and an abundant run of salmon was predicted to return to the Klamath. More than 33,000 Chinook and coho salmon died prior to reaching the spawning grounds.

In early August, Westlands Water District and the San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority, both of which represent a large swath of California’s multibillion dollar agricultural industry, filed suit to stop the water from being released. On August 12, a U.S. District Court judge in Fresno, California, issued a Temporary Restraining Order, which halted the delivery of water to the Klamath. Originally, the supplemental flows were slated to begin August 13. All Klamath fish biologists are in agreement that if the water districts’ request for a preliminary injunction was successful and flows left at status quo, there would be a significant risk of another large-scale fish kill on the Klamath.

The Yurok Tribe presented key science to the court with the testimony of its two witnesses, Senior Fisheries Biologist Michael Belchik and Dr. Joshua Strange. The key to the decision was the testimony of Dr. Josh Strange, a former tribal fisheries biologist. Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill cited research completed by Dr. Josh Strange for the Yurok Tribe and noted his experience and background regarding the issues.

This year, 272,000 fall-run salmon are expected to return to the river, nearly 1.7 times the number of fish that returned in 2002. The water release will come just before the majority of the Klamath River salmon begin to migrate upriver to spawn.

“The flows, scientifically justified by written declarations and oral testimony from both of the Yurok Tribal expert witnesses, are nearly identical to those initially proposed by the federal government earlier this month,” said Yurok Fisheries Manager Dave Hillemeier.

While the chances of a fish kill are not completely eliminated, if signs of a looming kill become evident, there is a contingency plan.. If Yurok Tribal monitors, in collaboration with U.S. Fish and Wildlife fish pathologists, start to see significant numbers of diseased fish, the Tribe will seek to have flows doubled for up to seven days. The root cause of the 2002 fish kill was the combination of a low, warm river with inadequate flows and a large run. Two lethal fish diseases were passed between the cramped fish, whose health was already compromised by the overly warm water.

The Klamath River is one of three rivers that produce the majority of the sport and commercial Chinook salmon harvest on the West Coast. The abundance of Klamath fall chinook often determines salmon season along the coast of Oregon and California, as well as throughout the Klamath Basin. A large portion of the water from the Trinity River, the Klamath’s largest tributary, is already piped to the Central Valley. Humboldt County has a claim to 50,000 acre-feet of the exported water, which the Yurok Tribe would like to become available for salmon of the basin.

The Tribe is the largest federally recognized Tribe in California and is the single largest harvester of Klamath River salmon. The Yurok Reservation spans one mile on both sides of the Klamath River for 44 miles, starting at the Pacific Ocean and ending a couple miles upstream of the Klamath’s confluence with the Trinity River.

Statement from San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority Executive Director Dan Nelson:

"Today's decision by Judge O'Neill to lift the temporary restraining order which prevented the release of water from Trinity Reservoir results in a significant decrease in the harm originally expected to occur. Yesterday, the United States reduced their stated need of up to 109,000 acre-feet of water, which they claimed just last week was the amount necessary, to now only 20,000 acre-feet. Clearly the scientific justification they provided last week just couldn't hold up.

"We appreciate Judge O'Neill's understanding of the urgency and importance of this matter. We also recognize the burden he placed upon himself by setting aside his heavy case load to allow for the careful consideration of the question at hand. In his decision, Judge O'Neill stated that, "all parties have prevailed in a significant, responsible way."

"While no one knows whether or not this action will alter what would of happened in its absence, it is clear that in order to move beyond this current conflict we must all work together to develop a lawful long-term approach to managing these requests that is balanced and scientifically supportable."

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