Carla Ritter, left, and Carlene "CC" Schultz, both of Fieldbrook, hold a banner supporting the decriminalization of sleeping in public. Schultz says she spent a year houseless in Humboldt County before getting a home. She said she had also been a "street mom" for eight to 10 years helping kids on the street and others when she had an RV.
If you drove by the Humboldt County Courthouse on Saturday and had flashbacks of Occupy, it's understandable.
A few dozen people turned out Saturday for World Homeless Day, an international day of demonstration aimed at highlighting the needs of those living without homes, with some protesters pitching tents and hammocks to help make their point. In a press release announcing the demonstration, local activist Janelle Egger said the event was about raising awareness and urging the community to find a better answer to dealing with homeless people and their impacts than law enforcement.
Friday, Sept. 4. That was the last day I rode my bike. As of this writing, 38 days have passed – in fact, the poor, neglected piece of machinery still sits locked to an inside bike rack in an office building in which I no longer work. I really do need to pick it up.
The reasons I’ve failed with regards to commuting-via-bike for the past five-plus weeks are varied more than usual.
No one needs to tell us 2015 has been a dry year so far. Brown lawns, crops under stress, wild fire dangers all reveal our lack of recent rainfall. There is another group of organisms under stress as well. Although probably not high on any homeowner’s endangered species list, termites are facing a problem. Throughout a good year, a colony of termites grows in numbers and diversity. Birthing sterile workers and soldiers, the population builds. If the family is successful, late in the year it will produce fertile males and females. You can tell them by their dark bodies and wings. Every year for the last 250 million years or so they have awaited the autumn rains. When the ground is soft enough to dig into and establish a new colony they fly by the millions, select mates, shed their wings and dig in to establish a new colony.
Termites are a big deal. Some studies suggest that processing of wood by termites produces more greenhouse gasses than humankind. The insects themselves cannot actually digest cellulose. That task is performed by symbiotic organisms in their guts. Which is why the white workers shun sunlight. It kills those protozoans and bacteria, and quickly kills the host. While we homeowners may see them as a pernicious and destructive pests the rest of the world doesn't.
Like cubicle-bound employees, the pale termite workers shun the light.
Their annual emigration has another implication. There are a great many species which harvest this areal bounty. Termites are the Thanksgiving feast of the insectivore clan. I would guess that our local swallows and bats receive a good portion of the fat stores that see them through the winter from this single energy rich source. You can see spider's webs festooned with the dusky winged carcasses. Finally, they feed their ancient enemies the ants. Ants and termites are no more closely related than a human and blue whale. (Ants are related to bees and wasps, while termites are most closely related to cockroaches.) Which is interesting since they have both arrived independently at a strikingly similar social structure — a classic example of parallel evolution. (Termites were here long before the ants showed up 90 million years ago.)
One final factoid: The longest lived insect known to man is the termite queen, at least one of which has been recorded to reach 50 years old. Even in the insect world, it's good to be the queen!
Efforts to repeal California’s new mandatory vaccination law have failed.
Signed into law in June by Gov. Jerry Brown, the new law requires that all children be vaccinated for a variety of infectious diseases before attending school, closing a long-standing exemption for families that opted not to vaccinate due to religious or personal beliefs. The law has faced a fierce backlash from a parents who fear vaccinating imperils their children’s health or is against their religion, and saw the law as an infringement on their rights. A repeal effort spawned almost immediately.
Local tribes, environmentalists and fishing groups are applauding a bill signed today by Gov. Jerry Brown that will require recreational gold miners to obtain Clean Water Act permits before using dredges and other techniques to search for the precious metal in California rivers.
There's been a moratorium on suction dredge mining since 2009, though loopholes have kept miners operating on North Coast rivers. Dredgers have been facing challenges for even longer.
The trio, introduced by State Sen. Mike McGuire and assemblymen Jim Wood and Rob Bonta — and then tinkered with by staff from the offices of many other lawmakers and Brown himself — introduce wide-ranging regulations to the state's multi-billion medical marijuana industry.
EPD officer contacts a homeless man camped in greenbelt.
The city of Eureka has been approved for $400,000 in Measure Z funding to address homelessness, as part of a project titled "Operation Restore Hope." The majority of the money, $242,000, will go toward funding positions for two police officers to work with the county's Mobile Intervention and Services Team. MIST is a collaboration between the Eureka Police Department and the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. Its team members work to stabilize and support the homeless and mentally ill. Eureka Police Department Chief Andy Mills confirmed the department has rehired two annuitants, saying that their contribution will be "broader than the MIST team."
Just weeks after the board of supervisors agreed to take on the creation of an outdoor medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, county staff has released a detailed draft ordinance that would create a strict permitting plan for the county's cannabis cultivators.
It’s a remarkably fast turnaround for a staff that shared concerns that it would be able to get a law on the books by next year when California Cannabis Voice Humboldt handed its draft ordinance over to the county on Sept. 15. During that board meeting, CCVH treasurer Luke Bruner urged the county to take action to regulate outdoor cannabis grows, while saying his organization would relinquish its year-long, multi-draft attempt to create a law — which at one point CCVH said it would put before voters if the county didn’t approve it.
Local doctor Michael Fratkin, who began the palliative care program ResolutionCare featured in the Journal here, emailed the following response to the news that Gov. Brown had signed the bill.
Gov. Brown has signed in to law the 'End of Life Options' bill. That's quite something and reflects an electrified social conversation that is transforming healthcare.
I expect that the people of California will demand the highest possible quality of care and support for people with serious illness facing the completion of their lives, as well as their families and caregivers. This means greater access to palliative care services, especially for rural Californians.
I have always felt that the only one qualified to determine their path and destiny is the person themselves. I trust people to know themselves when they are seen & heard, as well a deeply informed and empowered. As the future arrives, we will approach our own path with the sobriety and humility called for by the respect and love we feel for the people that come to us for help.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office will soon be posting crime reports for all of Humboldt County. Lt. Kevin Miller of the McKinleyville substation spearheaded the idea of adopting the county-wide use of the website crimereports.com, which the Eureka Police Department has been using since 2009.
"I looked at their site and said 'Wow, this is something the county could really use.'" said Miller, adding that he is excited that citizens will be able to see the "big picture" of crime in Humboldt County.