North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

May 30, 2002

Ranch protected

Builder honored

Amended proposal

A new building

Ranch protected

In a move billed as good for both ranchers and the environment, state Sen. Wesley Chesbro announced last week that Howe Creek Ranch near Rio Dell has been approved for a conservation easement grant from the State Wildlife Board. The $921,500 grant will protect more than 3,640 acres of the ranch's 4,000-acre spread.

"This is a great project because it keeps ranchers on the land and the land on the tax rolls, while at the same time it protects open space and upland wildlife habitat," Chesbro said in a news release.

The Pacific Forest Trust, a Santa Rosa-based conservation outfit, will have responsibility for ensuring that the land is properly protected, managing director Connie Best said Tuesday. The group is dedicated to protecting private forest lands while at the same time allowing some logging.

Best said another state agency, the California Coastal Conservancy, is expected to announce the provision of an additional grant of $1.2 million at a meeting in Eureka in June, bringing the total coming from the state to $2.1 million -- still well short of the easement's appraised value of $3.3 million. Best said the Hackett family is willing to sell the land for less than its appraised value. In return, they get a tax deduction, she said.

The Hackett family has managed the land for five generations.

Best said that in addition to growing timber and cattle on the land, the Hacketts have been good land stewards. "That land produces a lot of salmon and spotted owls and a host of other resources of public value."

She said the land contains the three westernmost salmon spawning tributaries on the Eel River -- including Howe Creek, the most productive salmon stream in the whole Eel River system.

Builder honored

In 1986 Dan Johnson built his first construction project -- a car wash -- and Danco Builders took off from there.

The company has completed more than 120 commercial and residential projects including the Northcoast Surgery Center and Timber Ridge, an assisted living center which he owns and operates. In 2000 Johnson and his wife, Kendra, and a second couple bought the entire company town of Samoa from Simpson Timber Co., property that included industrial land, 90 houses and the historic Samoa Cookhouse. An $85 million master plan to renovate and develop a large portion of the peninsula is underway.

Johnson will be honored Friday, May 31, by the Humboldt Builders' Exchange as its "Construction Person of the Year."

Johnson is the son of Don and Carolyn Johnson and the grandson of Carl Johnson of the Carl Johnson Co. where he worked before launching his own company.

The Builders Exchange is a nonprofit association of licensed contractors.

Amended proposal

The Sequoia Humane Society offered an alternative to its contract proposal at Tuesday's Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Executive Director Kathleen Kistler proposed that the additional $14,013 a month the society is asking for in a renewed contract to build a new animal shelter would instead be used to fund and expand the shelter's ongoing spay/neuter voucher program.

She also proposed that instead of the original 10-year contract term the society was asking for, the length should be shortened to five years to evaluate the effectiveness of focusing on the spay/neuter program.

If the contract is not renewed in some form, the county will have to provide its own animal control services beginning this fall. Such services include euthanizing about a dozen stray dogs a week.

The board took no action on Kistler's proposal.


A new building

The Humboldt Area Foundation will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a community open house Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Included in the celebration is the dedication of the foundation's new Community Center building, on the corner of Indianola Road and the Indianola cut-off.

The new building will house the Rooney Resource Library and will include a training room that can hold 25 people and a conference room with space for 65. The meeting rooms will be open after business hours.

"The conference rooms are free for non-profit groups to meet in," said Deborah Sabin, communications coordinator for the foundation.



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