Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Yurok Tribe Mourns the Death of Troy Fletcher

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:48 PM

  • Courtesy of the Yurok Tribe
  • Troy Fletcher
Troy Fletcher, the longtime executive director of the Yurok Tribe and one of the initial linchpins in the original Klamath Basin Restoration Agreements, died unexpectedly Friday after suffering a heart attack. He was 53.

Fletcher was locally renowned for being a fierce advocate for the tribe and the Klamath River, but was also widely respected as a negotiator, problem-solver and leader. As the quotes below will attest, that respect often extended across issues and politics, and was held by some of Fletcher's strongest adversaries. After starting his career as a tribal fisheries manager in 1994, Fletcher went on to become the executive director and “played a prominent part in nearly every important Tribal policy decision, land acquisition, litigation and legislative effort in the last 20 years,” according to a press release.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.

Below, see a full press release from the Yurok Tribe, as well as a selection of quotes about Fletcher that the tribe has compiled.

Yurok Tribe Mourns the Loss of Visionary Leader

It is with deep despair and a heavy heart that we announce the untimely passing of Tribal luminary, Troy Fletcher.

“This is a tragic loss for the Yurok people, so tragic that words cannot express how we feel,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Troy accomplished things that many people thought were impossible. We will forever be grateful for Troy’s tremendous contribution to the Tribe. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“We are all devastated by the passing of our friend, brother and colleague,” added Susan Masten, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chair. “Troy dedicated his life and put his heart and soul into his effort to protect and restore the Klamath River. He will be greatly missed by all.”

Fletcher, a longtime Executive Director for the Yurok Tribe, passed away on Friday evening, after suffering from a heart attack. He started his career with the Yurok Tribe as the first Tribal fisheries manager in 1994.

The Yurok Tribal member and visionary leader ran the day-to-day operations of the Tribal government. He played a prominent part in nearly every important Tribal policy decision, land acquisition, litigation and legislative effort in the last 20 years.

Fletcher, a tenacious Tribal advocate, accumulated a long list of history-making accomplishments, such as sowing the seeds that started the Tribe’s natural resource protection programs, during his time working for the Tribe. While the truly humble human being would never take the credit, Fletcher was responsible for ending a generations-long conflict between many competing Klamath River-based interests, including: farmers, commercial fishers, a power company, environmental groups and other Tribes. Turning this group of fierce, former adversaries into a cooperative coalition, focused on removing four Klamath dams and creating a plan for equitable water use was just one the many achievements in his storied career.

“Troy’s integrity and innate leadership skills made him a magnet to all,” said Dave Hillemeier, the Yurok Fisheries Program Manager. “We have lost a beloved friend, father, son, husband, mentor, leader, boss and a person respected by those from all walks of life.”

The benevolent boss instilled many positive principles into his employees and empowered them to achieve greatness. He valued initiative and preparedness. Fletcher treated all of the staff fairly and with respect. He emphasized the importance of developing meaningful relationships with representatives of outside agencies. In Fletcher’s opinion, the Tribe had a right and an obligation to manage all of the lands within Yurok ancestral territory and places that affect the Tribe, such as upriver from its borders. He saw those who opposed him as an opportunity to build a bridge. Before making any decisions involving natural resources, he first asked, “Does this work for fish?”

The leading figure in the campaign to solve the Klamath water crisis also filled an irreplaceable role in the Tribe’s effort to reacquire substantial swaths of land within Yurok territory. His behind-the-scenes work paved the way for the Tribe to procure more than 35,000 acres in the Pecwan and Blue Creek watersheds. Both of these drainages, located in the Tribe’s traditional territory, are culturally invaluable and incredibly important for fish and wildlife populations.

In 1999 Fletcher transitioned to the Executive Director position. As the Fisheries Manager and then as Executive Director, he established the Tribe’s, award-winning Watershed Restoration and Environmental Programs and expanded the Fisheries Program. Today, these programs have more 70 staff that are committed to improving environmental conditions in Yurok ancestral territory.

The universally respected administrator managed more than a dozen departments and 300-plus personnel. Most recently, Fletcher was shepherding a strategy to spur the United States Congress into creating legislation that would broaden the Reservation’s boundaries to include the recent land purchases and increase the Tribe’s role in managing the lands within Yurok ancestral territory. He was also working with representatives of the federal government to release the remaining elements of the Hoopa/Yurok Settlement Act.

The distinguished director worked his way from a fisheries technician to overseeing the fast-growing Tribal government. On behalf of the Yurok people, Fletcher testified before Congress, presented to numerous state and federal regulatory committees and travelled to Washington DC many times to advocate for Tribal rights and to improve conditions on the Klamath River.

Fletcher was raised in Pecwan, which is where he spawned a life-long connection to the Klamath River. He committed his entire adult life to restoring the river, preserving Tribal culture and returning the Tribe to its rightful role in Yurok Country. He leaves behind his parents, Jacqueline and Don Winter, his sons Troy Fletcher Jr., Cody and Zachary, grandchildren Cody Jr. and Raa-yoy, as well as his wife Kari. Services will be held on Saturday, Nov., 28 at 10 a.m. at the Yurok Tribal office in Klamath. The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Aawok Troy Fletcher Memorial Fund, through the Humboldt Area Foundation. HAF’s address is 373 Indianola Rd., Bayside Ca 95524. There will be an opportunity to make a donation at the Saturday service.

Remembering Troy

 “This is a loss to more than the Yurok Tribe, “ said John Laird, the State of California’s Secretary for Natural Resources.  “This is a loss for the entire state. Troy Fletcher was a leader, a problem-solver, and an effective champion of the Yurok tribe.  He sought always to heal broken relationships.  We will miss his hard work, talent, and collaborative approach to California’s natural resource dilemmas.”
“I will miss Troy as a friend and a colleague.  He taught me a lot about courage in resolving hard problems.  Our department has lost an ally and companion in the work to restore the Klamath River Basin, and keep salmon and our ecosystems healthy for our children,” said Chuck Bonham, Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Troy’s family and the Yurok Tribe.  It is a tragic loss.”
“Troy was a true friend and forceful partner. His passing is a great loss for those of us who knew him but also for everyone who cares about the Klamath River and its people,” said Brian Johnson, Trout Unlimited’s California Director.
“Troy wasn't just a big man, he was a giant.  A visionary that has helped shape the future of Blue Creek and the Klamath River.  Thanks to Troy's guidance, one day soon Blue Creek will be a sanctuary for salmon and will once again and forever belong to the Yurok,” said Sue Doroff, President of Western Rivers Conservancy.
“All of us who care about the Klamath Basin and its resources are deeply saddened at the loss of Troy Fletcher.  Troy was a visionary who saw things as they could be instead of as they are.  A fierce negotiator but also a man of immense integrity, he could disagree without being disagreeable. No matter how difficult the issue or meeting before us, he would begin and end the meeting wrapping me in a great bear hug and asking about my children. He understood the Klamath Agreements were about not just now but the future, for his children and their children.  Troy was unapologetic about his love and protection of the river and its fishery, which were such a huge part of him.  With his passing, I have lost a dear and close friend,” according to John Bezdek, Counselor to the Deputy Secretary, Department of the Interior.
“Troy was a great communicator that was always willing to listen and able to bring interests together. Troy was the linchpin for the successful agreements between YT and Del Norte. Above all, he was a friend that will be greatly missed,” said David Finigan, Chairman of the Del Norte Board of Supervisors.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Troy. Troy was instrumental in developing and maintaining the excellent working relationship Green Diamond enjoys with the Yurok Tribe.  Troy’s can-do attitude and problem solving skills created many of the successful projects that have been in place for more than 20 years, including our fisheries monitoring and restoration work and the Blue Creek land acquisition.  He will be missed.  We offer our condolences to the Fletcher family and the Tribe,” said  Neal Ewald, Senior Vice President Green Diamond Resource Company.

Below is a Statement from Greg Addington on behalf of the Klamath Water Users Association:
Over the years, many of the irrigators in the Klamath Project not only got to know Troy, but like me, they grew respect him and like him a great deal.  Troy was one of the toughest, smartest and most tireless advocates that I have ever known.
Over the years, we worked very hard with Troy on multiple fronts and we found common ground in many areas.  Troy’s perseverance and determination taught many of us in the Upper Basin a lot about the challenges and issues that are important to the Yurok people.
Speaking for myself, Troy and I built a strong personal and professional relationship.  We obviously didn’t agree on everything, but the disagreements (which were not infrequent), were never personal and I always looked forward to seeing him again.  I will miss our time talking about work, politics, our families, and golf.
On behalf of the Klamath Water Users Association our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with Troy’s family and the Yurok people. We all lost a friend and a heck of a man.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Names Released in Recent Road Deaths, Heavy Fog a Factor

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 3:49 PM

Heavy fog is being blamed for the death of a 43-year old McKinleyville woman, Cassandra Rogers, who was crossing U.S. Highway 101 northbound on foot when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Dorvin Valgene Phillips, 80, also of McKinleyville. Rogers was wearing dark clothing and apparently went unseen by Phillips until it was too late to react.

California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Harvey said Phillips did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. A toxicology report on Rogers will not be available for several weeks. Harvey added that the area in which Rogers was struck, just north of Giuntoli Lane, is a popular crossing spot for pedestrians despite the presence of an overpass. 

"This is about the time of year we really need to start slowing down and thinking about pedestrians and wildlife," said Harvey. "Wednesday is one of the biggest travel days of the year. We have to look out for one another."

Rogers' death marks the latest in what could be a record number of road deaths for 2015. Her death is the 28th for the year. The driver in last Tuesday's big rig death was also recently identified by the county coroner's office as a 29-year old man from Stockton, Yang Nhya. Investigators do not yet know why Nhya's commercial vehicle left the road and overturned. 
From the California Highway Patrol:

Arcata, California – On the evening of Sunday, November 22, a 2009 Chevy Malibu was traveling on US-101 Northbound, north of Giuntoli Lane, when it struck a pedestrian who was walking within the traffic lanes.

Just before 9:00 p.m., CHP officers responded to a call of a pedestrian who was standing in the roadway on US-101 Northbound, north of Giuntoli Lane. Moments later, a 2009 Chevy Malibu, driven by 80 year old Dorvin Valgene Phillips of McKinleyville, collided with the pedestrian. Due to heavy fog and the pedestrian wearing dark clothing, Phillips did not have time to react and was unable to avoid a collision with the pedestrian. The right front of the Chevy struck the pedestrian. As a result of this collision, the pedestrian sustained fatal injuries. Phillips was transported by ground ambulance to Mad River Community Hospital as a precautionary. Alcohol or drugs are not suspected to be a factor in this collision. The California Highway Patrol Humboldt Area is investigating this traffic collision.

The California Highway Patrol would like to take this unfortunate opportunity to remind motorist if you’re driving in fog to keep the headlights on low beam, don’t stop on the roadway (except in emergency), move away from a stalled or disabled vehicle and watch for CHP pace vehicles which may be guiding traffic through the fog. Consider turning off the road and waiting until the fog eases.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

HumBug: Scaly Protection

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 3:00 PM

A buckeye butterfly.
  • A buckeye butterfly.

The order of butterflies and moths, Lepidoptera, gets its name from Greek words meaning “scale wings.” Like a mosaic, those scales make up each species' distinctive markings. Listed in the literature are a number of ways those minute scales contribute to the animal's well being. As a layer of insulation on their body, they help with thermo-regulation. They distribute pheromones known to be important for boys looking for girls, and I suspect one other thing. I have a hypothesis.

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Welcome to Humboldt: New DHHS Director Says She's "Excited"

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 2:15 PM

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors announced this week that it's made a hire to head the county's largest department, the much-beleaguered Department of Health and Human Services. 

Kristin Brinks, currently the deputy director of Community Services for the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, will take the reins from Phillip Crandall in January. Crandall announced his retirement nine months ago, after a 30-year career with the county.

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UPDATE: Panda Found

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 7:46 AM

Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Event and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsa Green, addresses volunteers gather at the zoo Saturday morning to look for Masala, a missing 18-month-old red panda that escaped from the zoo Thursday. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Event and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsa Green, addresses volunteers gather at the zoo Saturday morning to look for Masala, a missing 18-month-old red panda that escaped from the zoo Thursday.

UPDATE: The Eureka Police Department announced this morning that Masala, the 18-month-old red panda on the lam from the Sequoia Park Zoo since Thursday, was found last night and returned to the zoo safe and sound.

From the EPD's Facebook announcement: "Masala is home safe! From Sequoia Park Zoo Manager Gretchen Ziegler: For those who are up this late — GREAT news! Masala is safe and sound back at the zoo after an alert citizen noticed her in the neighborhood and called EPD, who alerted zoo staff. A perfect rescue from a tree ended with us all sleeping better tonight! More of the story tomorrow. Welcome back, Masala — we missed you!"

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jacks Win in First Postseason Since 1968

Posted By on Sat, Nov 21, 2015 at 7:16 PM

Wide receiver Chase Krivashei and tailback Ja'Quan Gardner celebrate a touchdown. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Wide receiver Chase Krivashei and tailback Ja'Quan Gardner celebrate a touchdown.
The Humboldt State University football team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament today after beating South Dakota’s Augustana University in a raucous game with back-and-forth offensive thrills.

Augustana returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, quieting a full house of Jacks fans, but HSU quickly answered, and the teams went into the second half tied 17-17.

Ja'Quan Gardner ran for 246 yards. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Ja'Quan Gardner ran for 246 yards.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

UPDATE: Zoo Seeks Volunteers for Panda Search Party

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 7:07 PM

Masala, the year-and-a-half-old red panda that escaped from the zoo yesterday, remains at large. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF EUREKA
  • Courtesy of the city of Eureka
  • Masala, the year-and-a-half-old red panda that escaped from the zoo yesterday, remains at large.

The Sequoia Park Zoo is looking for volunteers to join a search party that’s going to set out tomorrow to find Masala, the 18-month-old red panda that escaped from its zoo enclosure Thursday.

In a press release, the zoo asked that volunteers show up tomorrow at 8:30 or 10 a.m. at the zoo entrance to join the search. Additionally, officials are asking for the public’s help in keeping eyes open and cell phones at the ready, believing a solid tip as to the animal’s location is all that stands between her and a homecoming.

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Firefighter, Residents Injured in Suspected Hash Lab Explosion

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 4:05 PM

Firefighters rescued three people from a fire started by an alleged hash lab. - JESSICA ERNST
  • Jessica Ernst
  • Firefighters rescued three people from a fire started by an alleged hash lab.
A firefighter and two residents were injured after an alleged home hash lab exploded yesterday afternoon.

Humboldt Bay Firefighters responded to the 1200 block of Freshwater Road around 4 p.m. to find a “well-established fire” in the attic of a one-story home. Three people were rescued from the structure, and two of them were sent by ambulance to a local hospital. A firefighter sustained minor injuries in a fall and was treated and released at a local hospital.

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GMO Salmon Spawns Huffman's Ire

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Thinkstock
Congressman Jared Huffman is not having the fish. According to a press release, Huffman is "deeply concerned" about the Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically engineered salmon. He cites the engineered salmon's potential to damage wild salmon populations, ecosystems and the fishing industry, as well as the lack of labeling requirements for producers. The congressman is co-sponsoring legislation to ban GE fish.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Red Panda Escaped from the Zoo

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 5:16 PM

  • FILE

Masala, a young red panda, is missing from the Sequoia Park Zoo and thought to be in the Sequoia Park forest. City staff and the Eureka Police Department are searching for her.

Gretchen Ziegler, zoo manager, said staff got a report late this afternoon from "someone in the community that they saw a red panda in their neighborhood." At that point staff confirmed that an animal was missing from its enclosure. 

"We have no idea how she got over the fence," said Ziegler. "It's contained red pandas since it was built. Animals can do things you can't imagine. We're going to try to figure it out."

Ziegler added that there are a number of concerns about Masala's safety.

"She's only been in the panda exhibit her whole life so she's pretty naive. We'll be searching all day and all night," she said. 

More information about what to do if you see Masala is below.

From the City of Eureka:

One of the City’s Red Pandas has escaped from the Zoo and has been seen in the Sequoia Park forest behind the Zoo. The Red Panda is NOT a danger to humans. Zoo staff is concerned for the safety of the Red Panda. City staff along with EPD are searching for the panda. If anyone sees the Red Panda, please don’t try to approach or capture. Please call 499-3668 or Eureka Police Dispatch at 441-4044.

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