Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jim Wood Introduces Bill to Strengthen Skilled Nursing Protections

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 1:34 PM

Assemblyman Jim Wood. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Assemblyman Jim Wood.
North Coast Assemblymember Jim Wood's announced today that he has introduced a bill to protect residents of skilled nursing facilities should a facility "have a change in license status or operation, such as closure." The legislation comes in response to last year's struggle to help patients in three local skilled nursing facilities owned by Brius Healthcare Services after the company threatened to close and transfer its patients out of the area.

The crisis, which would have displaced hundreds of Humboldt County's most vulnerable residents, lasted close to four months as Wood and other politicians negotiated with the company to avert the proposed closures, which appear to have been a bargaining ploy to increase reimbursement rates from the region's MediCal provider, Partnership Health Plan. The company eventually backed down and only closed one facility, but Wood refers to the four-month period of uncertainty as a "roller coaster ride of anxiety" for patients and families.

Assembly Bill 275, introduced this morning, includes several provisions that would potentially smooth out the twists and turns for future roller coaster rides, including:

- Requiring facilities to provide 90 days' notice to residents about closures and potential transfers. (Currently, only 30 days notice is required.)

- More stringent assessment of patients before they are transferred, including input from a physician and mental health professional. (Assessments of patients prior to transfer are already required.)

- Whenever two or more facilities propose to close on the same date, the facilities must be required to prepare a comprehensive community impact report.

That last provision is in direct response to Brius' outsized impact on rural Humboldt County, where it has a virtual monopoly on skilled nursing. (The press release, included below, refers to Rockport as the owner of the facilities, but Rockport is actually the administrative branch that operates the facilities locally.)

Suzi Fregeau, program coordinator for the Area 1 Agency on Aging's Long Term Care Omsbudsman program, said the legislation is welcome but echoes already-existing rules that have failed to protect residents from the whims of privately owned businesses like Brius.

"I would rather have licensing held accountable for enforcing rules that are already in place," said Fregeau.

From the office of Assemblymember Jim Wood:

Today, Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), introduced AB 275 that would provide additional protections to residents of skilled nursing facilities when those facilities have a change in license status or operation, such as closure. “Residents of skilled nursing facilities are among our most vulnerable citizens and they must be protected,” said Wood.

Last year, Rockport Healthcare Services, the owner of the only skilled nursing facilities in the Eureka area, announced that it was closing three of its five facilities. More than 100 residents were going to be displaced and moved far from their families. Despite an outpouring of support for the residents from the community, and many meetings with stakeholders, including the Department of Public Health, Partnership Health Plan, and Asm. Wood and Senator Mike McGuire, Rockport did not change its plans. “It’s very likely, however, that the community’s efforts, the media coverage and the many meetings held may have caused them to reconsider as they subsequently decided to close only one facility,” said Wood.

“During those many months,” said Wood, “residents and their families were on a roller coaster ride of anxiety. It became obvious to me that new protections would have to be put in place to prevent this trauma from happening to other residents in the future.”

This bill requires facilities to provide 90 days’ notice to residents and if resident’s concerns cannot be appropriately addressed, the Department of Public Health can add another 90 days. It requires a patient assessment by both a physician and mental health professional and gives the department the authority to require a patient transfer plan to assure that patients’ needs have been considered. And finally, another provision was included so that whenever two or more facilities propose to close on the same date, the facilities will be required to prepare a comprehensive community impact report.

“Although this was an issue that affected a rural community I represent, this situation could occur in more densely populated areas where beds are limited or similar ownership situations exist,” said Wood.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Three Candidates Look to Fill Empty Harbor Seat

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 5:27 PM

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District board will look at selecting one of three candidates to fill a vacant seat at a meeting on Thursday. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District board will look at selecting one of three candidates to fill a vacant seat at a meeting on Thursday.
A special meeting of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District board is scheduled Thursday to select a replacement for former District 3 Commissioner Mike Wilson, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in June.

Three candidates have submitted their names for consideration: Wiyot Tribe Natural Resources Director Stephen Kullmann, Blue Lake Rancheria tribal government employee and Humboldt State University adjunct engineering professor David Narum and avid outdoorsman and retired AT&T Contract Administrator and Construction Manager Casey Allen.

The 6 p.m. meeting is set to take place in Arcata’s D Street Community Center (1301 D St.) to accommodate what is expected to be a large crowd, according to harbor district Executive Director Jack Crider.

Crider said commission members are expected to fill the vacancy at the meeting. District 3 includes Arcata, Bayside, Kneeland, Freshwater and Manila.

The harbor district oversees port development and other maritime projects, including channel dredging, along the Humboldt Bay shoreline. For more information on the candidates, click here to view the district's meeting agenda.

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Arcata Introduces Online Crime Tracking

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 4:04 PM

A screenshot of the Citizen RIMS program. - CITY OF ARCATA WEBSITE
  • City of Arcata website
  • A screenshot of the Citizen RIMS program.
Information on everything from missing person cases and recent police responses to crime stats for the city of Arcata are now available with the click of a mouse using a new mapping system that tracks incidents.

“Having an informed and involved community will help the Arcata Police Department be proactive in our attempt to reduce crime,” Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said in a release today announcing the Citizen RIMS program. “I am excited to launch this program to help the citizens of Arcata have a better understanding of what is occurring in their neighborhoods.”

As well as looking up calls for service and reported crimes, residents and others can also sign up for alerts, view arrest logs or check out a list of vehicles that have been reported stolen.

Read the full Arcata Police Department news release below:

Arcata Police Department introduces Citizen RIMS, an online crime reporting tool providing near-real time information on crimes and arrests in Arcata. The program allows you to track crime trends and keep up with enforcement efforts in your neighborhood.
The Citizen RIMS software is developed by Sun Ridge Systems and is integrated with APD’s computer aided dispatch system. Citizens are now able to see active calls for service happening right now, what’s happened in the past 24 hours, maps of incidents over a certain time period, maps of specific crime types, arrest logs for the past 30 days, recently stolen vehicle lists, missing persons lists, and most wanted lists.
Website visitors can also subscribe to a free email service and receive new incident and crime data on a daily or weekly basis. “Having an informed and involved community will help the Arcata Police Department be proactive in our attempt to reduce crime,” says Arcata Chief of Police Tom Chapman. “I am excited to launch this program to help the citizens of Arcata have a better understanding of what is occurring in their neighborhoods.”
Find out more about Citizen RIMS at www.cityofarcata.org/206/Police, or by calling the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2428.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Next Generation March on Wells Fargo: 'Divest' the DAPL

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 10:50 AM

Four protesters brought a large white bucket filled with molasses, which mimicked the look of oil as they let it drip down their arms in protest of Wells Fargo. - SAM ARMANINO
  • Sam Armanino
  • Four protesters brought a large white bucket filled with molasses, which mimicked the look of oil as they let it drip down their arms in protest of Wells Fargo.
A group of seven young protesters gripped a long white banner reading, “Divest,” which stretched across G Street in Arcata. As the youth leaders marched north, they yelled, “Water is what?” “Water is life,” the fellow protesters responded.

The protesters marched from the Arcata Plaza to Wells Fargo on Saturday, led by Indigenous youth from the Karuk, Hoopa and Yurok tribes. After gathering, the group of more than 100 marched to the local branch of one of the largest banks financing the North Dakota Access Pipeline.

Hoopa Valley tribal member Nah-Tes Jackson was the first to speak to the crowd of 100 or so protesters on the Arcata Plaza on Saturday. - SAM ARMANINO
  • Sam Armanino
  • Hoopa Valley tribal member Nah-Tes Jackson was the first to speak to the crowd of 100 or so protesters on the Arcata Plaza on Saturday.
“We are all connected in the same journey,” Nah-Tes Jackson, a Hoopa tribal member, said after he shared his own experience of protesting in Standing Rock for four months. The protest and march came three days after President Donald Trump inked an executive order to rekindle the pipeline project, as well as the Keystone XL.

On the plaza prior to the march, three native youths stepped nervously in front of the crowd as it continued to expand. Kis-dyan-te’ Joseph, a 16 year old from the Hoopa Shoshone Piute and Karuk tribes, lead a Brush Dance song she discovered while protesting in Standing Rock.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

HumBug: The Devil's Coach Horse

Posted By on Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 3:07 PM

Almost certain this is the Devil's coach horse beetle. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Almost certain this is the Devil's coach horse beetle.

It is a rare event that I go out looking for a particular species of insect and find it. Well, for once I succeeded.
A week ago on one of those sunny-ish days I took a walk down the Van Duzen River and noted dozens of tiny flying insects. I chased a couple down and grabbed them right out of the air. As I opened my hand expecting to see an unidentifiable smear, I found a perfectly healthy, tiny rove beetle. For the most part you can identify them by the fact that their elytra (wing covers), don't cover much of their abdomen, but they are usually good flyers. Although they are harmless, when stressed they often raise their tail over their backs like a threatening scorpion. Some species might emit insect sized doses of something unpleasant, which is totally insignificant on our scale.
Tiny rove beetle caught out of the air (probably making me look like a loon to any onlookers). You can tell how small it is relative to my fingerprint ridges. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Tiny rove beetle caught out of the air (probably making me look like a loon to any onlookers). You can tell how small it is relative to my fingerprint ridges.

A little research told me they are the largest family of beetles in North America, estimates from my sources varying between 2,900 and 3,100 species. Although common, they are seldom noticed since most of them live lives of seclusion in leaf litter or under rocks. Many species are attracted to carrion but usually just to feed on the other insects that dine on it. Some eat fungi or decaying leaf litter.
The hairy rove beetle resembles a bumblebee in flight. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The hairy rove beetle resembles a bumblebee in flight.
A few years ago I took some photos of one I thought was a bumblebee, due to its flight pattern and coloration. It turned out to be a “Hairy Rove Beetle.”
The devil's coach horse is nearly an inch long (bold lines are 10 millimeters apart. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The devil's coach horse is nearly an inch long (bold lines are 10 millimeters apart.
I had to catch the one I was after today to get a photo because as soon as I lifted the board it was under it tried to dig into the soil and get away. I had no chance of getting a good shot in natural conditions so I caught it and took it inside for a photo shoot. (It was returned to the wild unharmed.) I wanted to share this particular species because of its neat name. I can't be 100 percent certain since none of my references take this family down to individual species but it certainly looks like the “Devil's coach horse.”




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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Huff on Fire: Congressman Facebook Vents About Trump's 'Hearsay and Hooey'

Posted By on Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 2:18 PM

We're not sure what Huffman looked like while Facebooking, but we like to imagine it was something like this. - FILE
  • File
  • We're not sure what Huffman looked like while Facebooking, but we like to imagine it was something like this.
Though still in its infancy, the presidency of Donald J. Trump has turned North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman’s Facebook page into straight fire.

The Huff, who is entering his third congressional term riding high after taking 76 percent of the vote in November, has unleashed a scathing post daily since Thursday.

First, Huffman shared an op-ed in the Washington Post written by one of the lawyers representing a liberal nonprofit that recently brought suit against Trump, alleging he is in violation of the emolument clause in the U.S. Constitution, which bars federal elected officials from taking gifts or payments from foreign governments. In his post, Huffman, a lawyer himself, says the suit could “shed light on what seems like an obvious constitutional violation by Pres. Trump. But regardless of litigation, Congress must use its oversight authority to get to the bottom of this — and disclosure of Trump’s tax returns is essential to that.”

“Mr. Trump is hiding something that could be grounds for impeachment,” Huffman continued. “Congress must not let him get away with it.”

The linked op-ed is an interesting read for its history lesson alone. For his part, Trump said the emolument lawsuit is "without merit."

Then, Friday morning, Huffman again took to Facebook to vent on “Trump’s latest whopper,” linking to a bizarre story about a German golfer and the president's unfounded claim that millions of fraudulently cast ballots cost him the popular vote. Huff says Trump’s illegal vote allegations — and I’m pretty sure these are both legal terms — are based “entirely on hearsay and hooey.”

“POTUS saying something this fantastical, and then hinting at a ‘major investigation’ on the subject, can only mean: 1) he’s once again trying to distract the press and the public; or 2) he’s getting ready to launch a major voter suppression initiative with Suppressor-in-Chief Jeff Sessions and will use this as a pretext. Either way, it’s shameful.”

Sessions, of course, is Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Justice Department as the nation’s next attorney general, and a man whose nomination for a federal judgeship in 1986 was torpedoed by allegations of racism and voter suppression, which caused the Senate Judiciary Committee — then chaired by Strom Thurmond — to reject his nomination.

On Friday evening, Huffman again took aim at the president, saying his "cynical sabotaging of insurance coverage for real people, under current law, is not OK," and urging folks to spread the word that Covered California — the state's health insurance exchange under Obamacare — has an open enrollment period that runs through the end of today.

That's a lot of fire for one week, but the Huff wasn't done, as he weighed in this morning, lamenting that "it seems each day brings a new outrageous executive order from Pres. Trump" and reassuring his constituents that he will be doing all he can to oppose "many of these overreaching, arbitrary and probably unconstitutional actions," specifically noting Trump's order barring the admission of refugees and immigrants from some Muslim countries into the United States.

"If these actions can be stopped in Congress, I'll fight to do that," Huffman continued. "If they can be stopped in the courts, I'll support and even join litigation to do that."

While the merits of Trump's first week on the job are certainly up for debate, there's no question it has made one North Coast congressman's Facebook page a more dynamic read.
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Friday, January 27, 2017

What to Read on Holocaust Memorial Day

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 4:43 PM

Concentration camp, Munich, Germany. - THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
  • Concentration camp, Munich, Germany.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, an opportunity for citizens of the world to stop and reflect on what the National Holocaust Museum describes as "the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators." It's a time to remember the devastating consequences of allowing xenophobia, scapegoating, religious, racial and ethnic persecution, homophobia and prejudice against the disabled to take root in government and civil society.

And since the Nazis were so fond of burning books, it's also a good time to pick one up. Our local booksellers and the Humboldt County Library have volunteered their recommendations for learning more about the Holocaust. Read and remember.

From Eureka Books: Chasing Portraits: A Great Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy by Elizabeth Rynecki ($28). An inspiring story of rigorous research and discovery as Rynecki regains pieces of her family's cultural heritage that were displaced during WWII.

From Tin Can Mailman: Maus by Spiegelman ($8.50). It's a graphic novel story of a cartoonist telling the story of his father who was a Holocaust survivor.

From Booklegger: Night, by Elie Wiesel ($5). An account of the author's time in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration capmps — a must-read from the era, and a beautiful and devastating literary accomplishment.

From Rain All Day Books: Shalom, Salaam, Peace: Reflections on Interfaith Peacemaking by Reverend Allison Stokes ($4). From the jacket: "Her comparisons of the Abrahamic faiths serve to move us from ignorance to understanding and from fear to respect."

From Blake's Books: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman ($15.95). The story of how the keepers at the Warsaw Zoo saved more than 300 people from the Nazis.

From Northtown Books: Not to Hate But to Love, That is What I Am Here For by Heinrich F. Liebrecht  ($19.99). A memoir of a Holocaust survivor's path to reconciliation, translated by Ursula Osborne, a friend of Liebrecht's and an Arcata resident.

And from the Humboldt County Library: Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt with illustrations by Johanna Kang, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti. It tells the story of Helen and her best friend Lydia who are separated due to mass arrests and relocations of France’s Jewish population. It’s an excellent starting point for discussing the Holocaust with younger school-aged children grades 2 through 5.
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Scenes from the D.C. Women's March

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 1:45 PM

The Women's March on Washington D.C. was huge. - R. ARROYO
  • R. Arroyo
  • The Women's March on Washington D.C. was huge.
Local photographer R. Arroyo was in Washington D.C. last Saturday, Jan. 21, when Women's March protesters filled the streets with signs, songs and pink "pussy ear" hats to voice their opposition to newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. The crowd (because crowd size is evidently everything) has been estimated at 470,000 people, according to the New York Times. On the same day, Eureka held a "sister" Women's March with some 5,000 attendees according to the Eureka Police Department.

Flip through the slideshow below for a look at what it was like in the historic throng in the nation's capital. You can also find an account of three generations of Humboldt women marching in D.C. here.

Slideshow
Women's March on Washington, D.C.
Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C. Women's March on Washington, D.C.

Women's March on Washington, D.C.


Click to View 12 slides


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Thursday, January 26, 2017

County's Attempt to Depublish Scathing Legal Rebuke Denied

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 2:08 PM

Dick and Judy Magney around the time they met in 1992 - PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDY MAGNEY
  • Photo courtesy of Judy Magney
  • Dick and Judy Magney around the time they met in 1992
The California Supreme Court has rejected without comment Humboldt County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck's bid to have a scathing appellate opinion about his office’s conduct depublished.

The case centers on the county’s legal fight against Carlotta couple Judy and Dick Magney, who successfully challenged attempts by Adult Protective Services and the Public Guardian’s Office to override Dick Magney's legally binding advance directive in order to force medical treatment (“Profoundly Disturbing,” Jan. 12).


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pink Tide Rising

Posted By and on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 5:10 PM

The Eureka Women's March gathering at C Street. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The Eureka Women's March gathering at C Street.

On Jan. 21 an estimated 5,000 women, men and children (not to mention a few pets) joined the Eureka Women's March, winding through Old Town in solidarity with the Washington D.C. Women's March in protest of newly inaugurated President Donald Trump. There were plenty of pink "pussy-ear hats" in the crowd, as well as homemade signs. Photographer Mark McKenna was on the scene capturing the faces, signs and stories at what is being called the largest such march in the city's history. Click the slideshow below for highlights from the day.

Slideshow
Eureka Women's March
Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March Eureka Women's March

Eureka Women's March

By Mark McKenna

Click to View 14 slides


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