North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

February 7, 2002

Candidates to visit HSU

The house that Orick built

Free trees

Nurses to vote on union

CR enrollment up

HSU men's basketball No. 7

Candidate forums this week

Quilters' guild grants available

See also:
School Superintendent  /  School Bonds: Measure S and Measure T

Candidates to visit HSU

The search for Humboldt State University's new president is entering its next phase, with candidates soon visiting the campus.

According to a memo from California State University Chief of Staff William Dermody, people on the short list will probably start campus visits during the last week of February.

"Each candidate will meet with constituent groups and participate in an open forum. These meetings are intended to promote an exchange of information between each candidate and members of the HSU community," the memo continues. Candidates' résumés should also be available for inspection when they arrive.

Some members of the HSU community have already had an opportunity to put in their two cents. An advisory committee of faculty, staff, alumni, student government and the Arcata business community helped define who potential candidates might be. But the final decision will not be made locally. The CSU Board of Trustees, located in Long Beach, has the power to appoint the president. According to written CSU policy, campus visits are "not to be used for formal evaluation of the candidates." Their formal purpose? "To encourage candidates to remain interested in pursuing the presidency."

In other administrative news, a search committee has been formed to seek a permanent replacement for Don Christensen, vice president for administrative services and development, who is retiring at the end of February.

John C. Hennessy, a former professor and a veteran HSU administrator, has agreed to come out of retirement as Christensen's interim replacement. According to a Feb. 4 memo from HSU President Alistair McCrone, the screening of potential candidates could begin soon after the President-elect of the university has been named in mid-March.

The house that Orick built

When Phil Nesset decided Orick needed more affordable housing, he started at the basics. The first decision would have to be what kind of houses suit Orick -- and who better to ask than the residents themselves?

Nesset, a Presbyterian minister, has begun collecting sketches, photos, floor plans, notes, ideas or pretty much anything that might help him define what he calls the "Orick House."

To help encourage the flow of creative juices, he's going to award $100 to one of the would-be architects. A drawing will be held March 15 in Orick to decide who gets the money.

Once he has an appropriate home design, Nesset said he's going to start a community group to build Orick houses, revitalizing the town's decaying housing. "Many homes here are flood-damaged and falling apart, and there isn't any money to fix them up," he said.

Orick's population has been decreasing since the early 1970s, when park expansion and mill closures forced many to seek work -- and housing -- elsewhere. But Nesset thinks the town can attract Orick's next generation of residents if it can just get the housing problem solved.

"People who telecommute or work off the Web could come here as well as anywhere, and there are actively retired people who want to live somewhere accessible without having to pay through the nose for it," he said. The construction of a new Redwood National Park office building in Orick will bring new potential homeowners as well.

And what might the Orick house look like? "This is strictly my opinion, but I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of a craftsman bungalow cottage," he said. "The idea is that it wouldn't involve a lot of tricky angles or exotic design elements."

It's as much a practical decision as an aesthetic one. Those houses happen to be the kind that "any two competent carpenters could build," he said.

Ideas about the Orick House? Send them to Orick House, P.O. Box 26, Orick, 95555-0026 or contact Nesset at

Free trees

Arcata property owners with streams on their land can get free, custom-selected trees through a city program to help promote native riparian vegetation.

Riparian zones, the strips of land on either side of a stream, are among the most sensitive and important types of land. When wellstocked with native trees, they can help to filter storm runoff and improve wildlife habitat. But without a healthy population of trees, the streamsides become home to a host of non-native weeds that trap sediment flowing downstream and contribute to stream channel infilling.

That's why the Arcata Environmental Services Department wants to give away some trees. Tell the city where you live and staff will figure out what tree species is appropriate, be it alder, redwood, cedar, spruce or maple.

"Sometimes we'll even plant the trees for them," said Mark Andre, deputy director of the department. "The only requirement is that they leave them there for 10 years."

Call 822-8184 for more information.

Nurses to vote on union

Nurses at St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial announced Jan. 30 they had filed for a union election, signalling the beginning of a more active phase in both pro- and anti-union campaigns.

In order to request an election from the National Labor Relations Board, the union had to collect signed cards from 30 percent of nurses. CNA reports indicate that the union has collected cards from around 70 percent of the registered nurses at the two hospitals, both part of the St. Joseph Health System-Humboldt County.

George Batiste, one of the leaders of the push to organize the nurses, said he expected management to step up its anti-union campaign now that an election was within sight.

"They're not going to waste time trying to change my mind, but they might try for nurses who aren't decided," Batiste said.

One especially contentious element of management's campaign against unionization is the involvement of the Burke Group. The management consulting firm has been convicted of violating the law in other campaigns against nurse unionization.

Nurses at Redwood Memorial are already crying foul. According to Mark Mowry, a registered nurse at the Fortuna hospital, pro-union literature has been removed from bulletin boards and personal mailboxes. That would constitute a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

"If that's occurred, it is not consistent with what we want to do," said Mike Purvis, president and CEO of St. Joseph. "If it's happened, it will be fixed."

Purvis said Redwood Memorial is being targeted by management, however. St. Joseph Health System-Humboldt County will try to get the two hospitals recognized as distinct bargaining units, he said.

"We do not want Redwood Memorial's nurses to be influenced by what could be an overwhelming majority [of pro-union votes] at St. Joseph's," he said.

Beth Kean, spokesperson for the CNA, said the union "wanted the nurses at Redwood to be included" but both parties were still in negotiations over the terms of the election.

Another point of contention in those negotiations is likely to be which types of nurses are eligible to unionize. If registered nurses who perform some supervisory roles can be classified as management, they become ineligible for representation.

The debate over when nurses become more management than patient-care personnel has centered on charge nurses. A group of senior nurses who help direct traffic in the units they staff, charge nurses assign patients to beds, respond to emergencies and function as a liaison to doctors.

Almost all charge nurses at St. Joseph's stepped down from their positions earlier this year, claiming hospital administrators had changed their job description to push them over the line into management.

The CNA is now claiming the nurses are eligible, but said they may be willing to budge as part of negotiation. Kean said the CNA "felt it was important for every nurse to be included," but added that the union wanted to try to avoid a lengthy fight over eligibility.

If the CNA and management can reach agreement on the terms, the election could take place in March. It will be administered on the hospital facilities by the NLRB.

CR enrollment up

After checking their numbers on the first day of classes, administrators at the College of the Redwoods had to smile -- enrollment is up 13 percent over last year.

College of the Redwoods President Casey Crabill said in a press release that there were several reasons for the increase.

"The downturn in the economy has brought new students to CR. We have increased the number of night classes, the Basic Law Enforcement Academy is filled, we're offering three classes at night on the HSU campus, and our free class schedules have all boosted enrollment."

The increase brings enrollment at CR's four sites to 7,291, the highest in a decade.

HSU men's basketball No. 7

In 1999, the Humboldt State University men's basketball team finished the season with a record of 6 wins and 20 losses. Last year, they turned that record on its head, finishing 20 and 8 and making it to the NCAA tournament. This year the team has already racked up 19 wins, just one loss and an unprecedented top-ten national ranking -- and there are still seven games to go.

"Every time a poll comes out, we've reached a new high in the standings. And this is a program that dates back to 1924," said Dan Pambianco, spokesperson for HSU athletics.

The secret to the team's success? "Depth," Pambianco said. He said every man on the team is a competent player, so when one player gets tired, another can come in and play with the same skill but fresh legs.

"We've got the Orange County player of the year coming off the bench; he doesn't even start."

It allows them to play harder than most teams, Pambianco said. "They want to push it. They play a full-court press for a lot of the game," Pambianco said.

Look for more success in the years to come. The team is not only deep but also young. Most of the best players came in together as freshmen a year ago as the result of a massive recruitment effort, and their communication and team play is only going to get better.

Some of the Humboldt State Games have been televised. Only one more will be this season: 8 p.m. Feb. 23, at home against Central Washington. The games will be available on Cox Cable's Channel 77. If you're going to that game in person, come early -- the women's team plays starting at 6 p.m. Before the women's game ends it will be standing room only in the east gym.

Candidate forums this week

As the March 5 election nears and campaigns heat up, the candidates are presenting themselves to the public in several public forums. Over the next week, there will be 13 such forums.

Feb. 7, Republican candidates for the 1st State Assembly District Tim Stoen and Clay Romero will be on KINS, 980 AM, starting at 4:10 p.m. . Candidates for 5th District County Supervisor will be at the Blue Lake Grange starting at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., catch the candidates for auditor at the Loleta Fireman's Hall.

Feb. 8, the two candidates for Humboldt County District Attorney will appear on KINS starting at 4:10 p.m. The Democratic candidates for the 1st State Assembly District have their turn on the air that evening, appearing on KHSU, 90.5 FM, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The race for County Schools Superintendent, the subject of an in-depth article this week, will be coming to the Humboldt State University Education Conference Feb. 9 at 1 p.m.

The candidates for DA will be on the air again at Feb. 11. This time it's KEET-TV, at 7 p.m.

Feb. 12, the candidates for 5th District Supervisor are in Trinidad at 7 p.m. Feb. 13, they're in Willow Creek at 7 p.m.

That same night, Feb. 13, the candidates for Humboldt County Sheriff will be on KEET-TV at 7 p.m. The two candidates for assessor are on KINS earlier in the day, starting at 4:10 p.m.

Finally, Feb. 14 sees the candidates for Auditor on KINS in the 4:10 p.m. election spot.

Quilters' guild grants available

Textile artists with a special project in mind may be eligible for some money to help them along: The Redwood Empire Quilters' Guild is accepting applications for its 2002-03 grant program.

The application need not be limited to quilt projects: Almost any textile art is eligible, including dyeing, embroidery, knitting, weaving and sewing.

Applications are available through the Humboldt Area Foundation at 442-2993. The deadline is March 15.



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