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About that free time


There are a lot of comedians out there. Ever since I announced two weeks ago that I've split my editor/publisher duties and hired an editor, everyone wants to know what I'm going to do with all my free time.

First -- and most importantly -- I will stay very much involved in the editorial side of the paper, especially in the next six months of transition. We are recruiting another staff writer. (See Help Wanted in this week's issue.) Arno Holschuh, who wrote last week's "DeMark and DeMark" cover story and has been with us for two years, is leaving to climb a few mountains before he heads to Germany on a Fulbright scholarship. We will also be reviewing and making some changes in the editorial content of the paper, basically asking how the Journal can better serve the community.

You can help. Let us know what types of news stories, features and columns you like to read -- and which are irrelevant. Are there columnists from the past you miss and would like to see back occasionally? How about story ideas you want to see in print? If you are a free-lance writer and have time for an extra story, let us hear from you. We are also looking for column ideas and opinion writers.

I've been thinking about my column content as well. It has been suggested more than once that Humboldt County could use a Herb Caen-style gossip column. Caen's San Francisco Chronicle column wasn't really about gossip in the sense of being malicious or personal, but it was very much about people and sometimes, just high quality rumors. Caen was basically a good reporter and what he did best -- with helpful input from his readers -- was collecting short, punchy news items. ("Items? Who's got items?")

On the subject of rumors ... I've written before in this column how often they turn out to be true. It happened again last week. I had heard a month ago that Humboldt Bank, the last bank in the county that can claim to be locally owned, was moving to Sacramento. Not true -- exactly -- but the kernel of a story was there. When I first asked Humboldt Bank President Paul Ziegler, he looked a little uncomfortable and denied it. Then he called last week to explain. Technically, Humboldt Bank will remain, but the bank's parent corporation, Humboldt Bancorp, and its top execs are moving to Sacramento, a banking market with room to grow. Those moving execs include Robert Daugherty, who is replacing Ted Mason as Bancorp CEO this month, and Pat Rusnak, chief financial officer. Ziegler says 265 of its 275 Humboldt Bank employees, including about 120 in its merchant bankcard service division, will remain in Eureka.

News items crossing my desk this last week include: Humboldt State University's major coup in luring Debbie Goodwin away from the Humboldt Arts Council for a top fund-raising post. (It's part of HSU's effort to rebuild after the disastrous John Sterns embezzlement scandal that broke last year.) Goodwin was HAC's executive director during that organization's growth spurt of the past few years that was fueled in part by money from the Lila Wallace (Reader's Digest) Foundation and in part by Goodwin's grant-writing expertise. She wrote 80 grants during her tenure, reeled in about half, for about $2.9 million. Her interim replacement will likely be Guy Joy, who recently came on board as HAC's operations manager.

In Humboldt media news -- which brings up the question of why does the media so seldom report on itself? -- On May 3 Jane Rogers is leaving KIEM Channel 3 after five years as anchor. She has been teaching journalism classes at HSU and is working toward a master's degree via a distance learning program. ... Charles Winkler is returning once again to the Times-Standard, this time as editor. (Winkler had been a reporter in the early 1990s and city editor from 1995-97.) ... Radio station KNCR 1090 AM has been sold to the owners of The Party, KWPT 100.3 FM. The new station is the North Coast's first Hispanic station with a satellite feed from Guadalajara, Mexico. ... And finally, the tongue-in-cheek, often poetic police log of the Arcata Eye, prepared each week by editor Kevin Hoover, was the subject of a story in Monday's edition of the San Diego Union Tribune. Hoover wasn't the first to take a humorous slant on the normally serious subject. The police log of the defunct Arcata Union often had such items, including one Hoover credits as his inspiration. The Union log had a report of vandals sticking cheese sticks up the nose of the McKinley statue that was reprinted in The New Yorker.

Items? Send them in. I'm interested. Reach me by e-mail.

Complaints? Keep in mind I'm not editor anymore. You can reach Keith Easthouse by e-mail.



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