Monday, January 9, 2017

UPDATE: Crab Strike Over

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 8:35 AM

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UPDATE:

Ken Bates, Vice President of the Humboldt Fishermen's Marketing Association, reports that as of 4 p.m. on Jan. 6, Oregon fishermen and processors negotiated a price for Dungeness crabs at $2.875 a pound, an even split of the $2.75 processors offered, and the original price of $3.00 paid since Nov. 15, 2016.

In his press release, Bates added "Pacific Seafood Group ... could find that it might take a significant amount of time to regain the status lost in the fishing community by their actions to lower the crab price. Only time will tell."

District 7 boats are waiting out the weekend's storm to untie, according to Bates.

Previously:

As crab boats remain tied to docks from Alaska to Mexico, fishermen are feeling the pinch of a delayed season. West Coast crabbers have gone on strike in solidarity after Pacific Seafoods, one of the largest buyers of seafood in the region, dropped its per-pound buying price from $3 to $2.75 for Humboldt County fishermen just as District 7 boats were set to begin the season.

Brandt Brockschmidt-Apiki, pictured above, recently moved to California after working in Alaska fisheries for eight years. He took to the corner of Fourth and F streets this afternoon to protest the price cuts, saying they affect not just fishermen, but small businesses such as canneries and dive boats.

"Crab fishermen have had to put up with a lot," said Brockschmidt-Apiki, referring to last year's aborted season due to a domoic acid scare. "There's a lot of anticipation that's built up. Despite what's arisen, the unity is important."

Currently the only boats fishing on the West Coast belong to tribal groups, but at least one of those groups has joined the strike, according to a press release from the Humboldt Fishermen's Marketing Association. Reached for comment this morning, HFMA spokesperson Ken Bates confirmed the Quinault Indian Nation has joined in solidarity with West Coast fishermen. Negotiations were ongoing in Oregon this morning in an attempt to break the stalemate.

Brockschmidt-Apiki said reception to his one-man protest has been very warm and that he has counted 250 honks and an occasional "Hell Yeah!" from his corner since he posted up around noon.

"We [fishermen] tend to be more independent...this is something that has broken that trend," he said, referring to the strike.

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From the Humboldt Fishermen's Marketing Association:

January 4, 2017
Press Release from Humboldt Fishermen's Marketing Association

First Nation Fishermen Join West Coast Crab Strike

First Nation tribal fishermen from Washington State have joined the West Coast crab fleet “tie-up” for the re-instatement of the $3.00 per pound price for fresh Dungeness crabs. West Coast crab fishermen had been receiving $3.00 per pound from all West Coast fish buyers, since November 15, 2016. On Monday, December 26, 2016,one large west coast fishing industry processor instructed its subsidiary in Eureka, California to reduce the price paid to fishermen in California’s District 7, just as those fishermen were ready to go to work.

What was perceived by fishermen and other fish buyers as an attempt to cause a cascade of lower crab prices coast wide, has instead caused the largest tie-up of fishermen in the history of the west coast Dungeness crab fishery. Crab fishermen, up and down the coast, have held port meetings each day and are resolved to stay tied up until the buyer that created this mess, realizes their mistake, and pays the original $3.00 price.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

HumBug: Great Beginnings

Posted By on Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 5:13 PM

Side view of the blister beetle. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Side view of the blister beetle.

A great way to start the New Year! Astronomically, meterologically and biologically, winter solstice marks the end/beginning of our annual cycle. My year is starting off most auspiciously. About 1 a.m. on December 21st I counted eight glow work rms in the little grove, a record for the year.
Variegated Meadowhawk on a rock. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Variegated Meadowhawk on a rock.
The day started sunny and bright so I took a walk along the Van Duzen River and counted a dozen variegated meadowhawks, the little dragonflies I have reported overwintering every year for the last five in my area. This was unheard of before I started reporting it, so I guess it's my claim to fame, and this is a record number for me sighting them in this area.
Variegated Meadowhawk on alder leaf. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Variegated Meadowhawk on alder leaf.
A couple of large Caddisfly larvae were making tracks in the mud along the river margin.
Caddisfly larva making tracks. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Caddisfly larva making tracks.
Caddisfly larva dragging its cylindrical "house" with it.  Kind of like a hermit crab. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Caddisfly larva dragging its cylindrical "house" with it. Kind of like a hermit crab.

Finally, getting ready to go to a Solstice Party I noted a large black beetle on the garage floor. I have seen one of these in the same place every year for as long as I can remember. I have no idea why. I knew it was an “oil beetle” of the genus Meloe, family Meloidae, or blister beetles. So I took extra care collecting it to photograph later. Like their infamous relation the Spanish fly, their bodies contain the blistering agent cantharidin and can be seriously toxic to cattle who ingest them. This species has tiny useless wings which do not cover it's distended looking abdomen. Its larvae have a sort of parasitic relationship with bees.
Blister beetle on a centimeter/millimeter grid. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Blister beetle on a centimeter/millimeter grid.
So hooray, the omens are good, we can look forward to to seeing interesting insects in record numbers in 2017! Don't everybody cheer at once.


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Duck!

Posted By on Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 11:21 AM

ROB FOWLER
  • Rob Fowler
Humboldt County's latest visiting celebrity has a red head, greyish back and pale saddle on its bill. Birders from across the country have been visiting to snap pictures of the common pochard, first spotted Dec. 20 in Freshwater Lagoon, near Orick.

The pochard, which is native to Europe and Asia, rarely makes its way to our continent. This is only the fourth time one has been spotted in the lower 48 states, according to local birder and tour leader Rob Fowler.

"All these sightings have occurred in California, the last one was in 1992 or 1993," said Fowler, referring to a spotting of the pochard in San Bernadino County, where birders saw a member of the species return over several winters. Very few people actually saw and recorded the duck at that time, but this pochard appears settled into its visit, mixing and mingling with other species at the lagoon, to the delight of birders who have flown in from as far away as Boston and Chicago.

Fowler calls it a "pretty good deal," adding that it doesn't appear as though the extra attention is disturbing the common pochard, which can be seen from the Old State Highway.

"There has been some concern expressed about hunters potentially taking the bird," said Fowler, echoing the fears of some birders voiced on social media. "Either accidentally or potentially hunters might come up specifically looking for the bird. Hunting is only allowed on the east side of the lagoon so I don’t really think it would be shot there, with the amount of other ducks it’s hanging out with."

Fowler said he and his clients have enjoyed looking for the bird, which is in Humboldt County for the first time.

"It’s kind of funny how these chases go sometimes," he said. "Seeing something that had to fly across the whole Pacific to get here. It’s always exciting to share these sightings with people."


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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Huffman to Skip Trump's Inauguration

Posted By on Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 3:34 PM

Huffman
  • Huffman
The Huff has decided to sit this one out.

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman announced on his Facebook page this afternoon that after much consideration, he’s going to break with precedent and spend inauguration day in his district volunteering.

“Ordinarily, on Inauguration Day, I would take my place above the west steps of the Capitol and join colleagues and dignitaries in honoring a great and solemn American tradition: the peaceful transfer of power which must always transcend partisan differences,” Huffman wrote. “However, there is nothing ordinary about this inauguration or the man that will be sworn-in as our next president. I do accept the election results and support the peaceful transfer of power, but it is abundantly clear to me that with Donald Trump as our president, the United States is entering a dark and very dangerous political chapter. … I will not sit passively and politely applaud as it begins."

Instead, Huffman has decided to spend Jan. 20 in his Second Congressional District doing yet-to-be specified “positive things,” including some volunteer efforts that constituents can join him in.

Huffman's decision has thus far proved popular with his constituents. Within a couple of hours, the post had garnered more than 160 comments, almost all of which were positive and supportive. Stay tuned to Huffman’s Facebook page to get more details as they’re announced and check out his full post copied below.

The full post from Huffman’s Facebook page:

I have struggled with the issue of whether to attend the Presidential Inauguration on January 20th and here is my decision.
Ordinarily, on Inauguration Day I would take my place above the west steps of the Capitol and join colleagues and dignitaries in honoring a great and solemn American tradition: the peaceful transfer of power which must always transcend partisan differences.
Ordinarily, I would do that without hesitation for any President, regardless of their politics or personality, as a show of respect for the institution and the will of the voters — and as a gesture of goodwill to foster reconciliation and collaboration as we put the election behind us and prepare to work with the new administration.
However, there is nothing ordinary about this inauguration or the man that will be sworn-in as our next President. I do accept the election results and support the peaceful transfer of power, but it is abundantly clear to me that with Donald Trump as our President, the United States is entering a dark and very dangerous political chapter. I will do everything I can to limit the damage and the duration of this chapter, and I believe we can get through it. But I will not sit passively and politely applaud as it begins.
As much as we all hope for the best, we should be clear-eyed about the warning signs of exactly who Donald Trump is and what he will attempt to do as our President. We know, or at least should know, what is coming. The question is, what to do about it?
I believe the antidote to Donald Trump is kindness, thoughtfulness, tolerance and inclusion — and the way to defeat his dark political agenda is not to sit around complaining and criticizing; it is through active citizenship, principled resistance and positive counteraction.
Toward that end, I'll be spending Inauguration Day here in my district doing positive things. I invite you to join me. I will announce my specific plans and agenda in a few days, including some volunteer activities that you can participate in if you wish. Stay tuned for the details, and thanks for reading all the way to the end of this long Facebook post!


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Friday, January 6, 2017

A SoHum State Park Road Set to Close for Weeks in Summer

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Potholes, beware! - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Potholes, beware!
After decades of disrepair, California State Parks has pulled together the funding to patch a 5.25-mile section of heavily-touristed pavement in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The bumpy, narrow route, pitted with potholes, has been the bane of locals and big tree gawkers alike for years . According to Brian Merrill, a senior geologist with California State Parks, the organization had been awaiting some funding help from the county of Humboldt to resurface the road, but with the county’s ongoing infrastructure woes, this collaboration never came to fruition. So when a key bit of state funding – requested for years – came through, the park decided to get going. The lone hitch: A potentially major inconvenience for those hoping to use that stretch of Mattole Road, which goes from U.S. Highway 101 west to the Grasshopper Road intersection, connecting the remote Mattole Valley with the highway. Paving is set to begin in mid-July, and exactly how long it will last — well — Merrill wants to hear how you feel about that.

The extremely narrow nature of the road, which is squeezed on either side by old-growth redwoods, means the whole stretch must be closed as the pavement is applied and allowed to cool. If public input leans towards a “rip off the band aid” approach, the road may be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for six consecutive days (emergency vehicles will be allowed through). Alternatively, the park could close for one or two days a week for a longer period of time –  up to eight weeks – as crews patch 37 different spots on the road. Along with providing access to hamlets in the Mattole Valley, this route also connects to the Cuneo Creek and Albee Creek Campgrounds and some favorite tourist destinations, including the Rockefeller/Bull Creek Flats loop and the Giant and Flatiron Trees.

Merrill added that the road would not be closed on weekends, and that public input about the timing and length of closures is welcome. Public meetings are expected to be held in late February or early March. The regional state parks office can be reached at (707) 445-5344.

Editor's note: This blog originally contained incorrect information about the extended closure option, stating it would close for a few hours rather than a full day. It has been updated to correct that misstatement. The Journal regrets the error.



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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Huffman Urges Obama to Ban New West Coast Drilling

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Huffman
  • Huffman
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman today brought back legislation that would ban new gas or  oil drilling leases off the West Coast in a move his office said would help permanently protect the environment, jobs and coastal economies.

Huffman was joined by 14 other lawmakers in reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act on the first day of the 115th Congress while Sen. Dianne Feinstein was joined by her colleagues from California, Oregon and Washington in doing the same in the Senate.

According to a release from Huffman's office, the legislation would "amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in federal waters off the coast of the continental U.S., from Mexico to Canada."

"A true ‘America first’ energy policy keeps oil off our beaches and invests in home-grown renewable sources of power," Huffman states in the release. "I urge President Obama to take action now, while he still has the authority to do so, to permanently protect our oceans from oil and gas drilling.”

Read the full release from Huffman's office below:

Washington, D.C.- On the first day of the 115th Congress, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) led 14 coastal lawmakers in reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, a bill to permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts from the dangers of offshore drilling, safeguarding the $44 billion coastal economies of the region that support nearly 650,000 jobs. The bill was introduced today in the United States Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with all six California, Oregon, and Washington Senators.

While President Obama recently used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect areas in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from oil and gas drilling, he has yet to protect key areas of the Pacific Ocean. The new legislation, H.R. 169, would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in federal waters off the coast of the continental U.S., from Mexico to Canada.

“On the West Coast, our coastal communities, local economies, and fragile ocean ecosystems cannot afford another disastrous oil spill,” said Rep. Huffman. “Californians witnessed years of environmental and economic damage caused by the horrific 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and we cannot allow Big Oil to perpetuate their negligent drilling spree in our precious and spectacular waters. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect our pristine coastlines for future generations and ensure their interests are put above the short-term profits of Big Oil. With his pick of the Exxon C.E.O as Secretary of State, as well as his personal financial stakes in the oil and gas industry, President-elect Trump proved his true priorities will lie with further lining the pockets of industry executives and not with the people who would be affected by an oil spill. A true ‘America first’ energy policy keeps oil off our beaches and invests in home-grown renewable sources of power. I urge President Obama to take action now, while he still has the authority to do so, to permanently protect our oceans from oil and gas drilling.”

Congressman Huffman has long been a leader in the fight against offshore drilling and to expand renewable energy and create clean energy jobs.

Huffman authored the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act to prohibit new or renewed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas. That legislation would stop new leasing for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean and not allow for any renewal of existing leases.

He is also the lead House sponsor of the Keep It In The Ground Act, which would reduce carbon emissions and our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels by permanently barring new fossil fuel leases on all federal public lands and in federal waters.

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act is cosponsored by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).


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Return of the Great Gray Owl

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 1:43 PM

The rare great gray owl returns for the second year in a row. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The rare great gray owl returns for the second year in a row.

Prior to last winter, it had been 30 years since the last sighting of a great gray owl locally (both times in Redwood National Park). And now we have another one here to make it two winters in a row. Seeing the owl was quite a gift in between continual snow/rain showers on Monday, Jan. 2 near Alder Grove Road in Arcata.
On a fence on private property in Arcata. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • On a fence on private property in Arcata.
Members of a family living nearby said the owl appeared in their back yard just after Christmas, feeding on voles and gophers on their property. They reported their grade-school age son has been collecting video and photos and and intends to do a project about the owl for an upcoming science fair.
The great gray owl is the longest owl in the world. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • The great gray owl is the longest owl in the world.
Owl-watching advice for this location: Unlike the easy access and parking availability in Redwood National Park, this is all private property on both sides of the narrow road with limited parking. This owl appeared more sensitive to the presence of humans and noise than the one in the park last year. Get more advice from local bird-watching experts here.
This is only the fifth recorded sighting of a great gray in our area. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • This is only the fifth recorded sighting of a great gray in our area.
I watched the great gray owl (Strix nebulosa) move frequently from perches on nearby fences and on tree branches, listening for distant voles to reveal themselves. The world's largest owl (by length), it has remarkable hearing partly due to it having the largest facial disc of any raptor. Also called Phantom of the North, cinereous owl, spectral owl, Lapland owl, spruce owl, bearded owl and sooty owl, this is only the fifth sighting on record locally. Fewer than 100 are found in the Sierra Nevada (the southernmost population of the species' range) and they are listed Endangered under California's Endangered Species Act.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Final Numbers for County Cannabis Applications Show Late Push

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 5:35 PM

Three generations of growers, Rain on the Earth with her nephews Mark Switzer (far right) and grand-nephew Myles Moscato (center) pose with Wall as Moscato proudly holds the receipt for his application, the first submitted in the county. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Three generations of growers, Rain on the Earth with her nephews Mark Switzer (far right) and grand-nephew Myles Moscato (center) pose with Wall as Moscato proudly holds the receipt for his application, the first submitted in the county.
Almost one-third of the total commercial cannabis permit applications filed with the County of Humboldt in 2016 were filed on deadline day, according to numbers from the cannabis services division of the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department. As of the Dec. 30 deadline, a total of 2,334 applications had been filed. Eight hundred and eighteen of those arrived after the Journal checked in with county planner Steve Lazar last Tuesday morning.

“Many are very incomplete,” said Lazar, adding that it could take “several years” to process all of the applications, which they hope to get ready for processing before the state’s new marijuana laws take effect in 2018.

“Some will go quicker than others,” he added. “Some are grossly incomplete, with people just trying to get it in before the deadline.”

Just prior to deadline, Lazar said county staff were busy but “hanging in there,” and that consultants were scrambling to help their clients get in before the deadline.

Megan Azevedo, an environmental planner with Green Road Consulting, said the firm’s staff had been “pretty darn busy” for the last three weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of last minute clients who want to get in the door,” said Azevedo in a phone interview today. “Two weeks ago we were swamped.”

Green Road helped about 200 clients fill out their application forms, complete “plot plans” of their cultivation areas and sign acknowledgement and indemnification agreements as well as navigate the county’s regulation guidelines.

Azevedo said many of the clients were surprised by the strict zoning regulations and the sudden increase in application fees, which hiked about a month ago.

She added that Green Road’s staff expected to be pretty busy over the next six months assisting with applications that had been turned in incomplete.

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First Fatal Car Crash of Year Suspected to Be DUI

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 3:08 PM

chp-patch.gif
A 52-year old Eureka man was Humboldt's first road death of 2017. The California Highway Patrol reports that at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 1 the man, who has not been named, rolled a GMC Sierra off Mountain View Road near Kneeland. He was ejected and fatally injured; his passenger, also injured, walked several miles for help. Cal Fire, the Kneeland Fire Department, Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance all responded to the call. CHP reports that alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the incident.

Heavy rains are expected for the next week, with possible snowfall down to 1,500 feet. Both the CHP and Cal Fire remind folks to drive carefully, be prepared and wear seatbelts.  Also never, ever drink and drive.


Continue reading »

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Update: All Hands at Last Night's Waterfront Fire

Posted By on Sat, Dec 31, 2016 at 10:54 AM

An overhead view of the remains of the commercial building. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • An overhead view of the remains of the commercial building.

UPDATE WITH PHOTOS: Humboldt Bay Fire is still investigating the cause of last night's Eureka waterfront fire. This afternoon, firefighters were still on site dealing with the aftermath. Photographer Mark McKenna shot the scene from the ground and above. Scroll down for the slideshow at the bottom following the official press release.

Humboldt Bay Fire called in help from Arcata, Samoa-Peninsula, Blue Lake, Fortuna, Loleta and Cal Fire, including off-duty firefighters, to battle a blaze just before midnight last night on the Eureka Waterfront. The fire, at 12 W. Waterfront Drive, the location of an ice and cold storage facility, took three hours to get under control and left one firefighter with minor injuries. Humboldt Bay Fire is investigating the cause of the fire.

Read the full press release below.

On 12/30/16 at approximately 2345hrs, Humboldt Bay Fire responded with 3 engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 Squad and 2 Chief Officers to a reported Commercial Structure Fire @ 12 W. Waterfront Dr. First arriving units reported smoke was visible from the building and access was made through locked gates onto the property and fire was visible to the rear of the building. Defensive operations were initiated utilizing elevated master streams and large diameter hose lines. A 2nd and 3rd alarm was requested and the Humboldt Bay Harbor District fire boat was also requested to the scene. Off duty Humboldt Bay Fire personnel responded in addition to units from Arcata, Samoa-Peninsula, Blue Lake, Fortuna, Loleta and Cal Fire. The fire was controlled in approximately 3 hours and one firefighter sustained a minor injury and was treated on scene. Humboldt Bay Fire will remain on scene throughout the day extinguishing hot spots and a damage estimate is unknown at this time. The cause of the fire is under investigation and Humboldt Bay Fire will release further information when it becomes available.
Slideshow
Waterfront Fire
New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow New Slideshow

Waterfront Fire

By Mark McKenna

Click to View 10 slides


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