North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

May 31, 2001

State keeps pot, centers closed

High school scams

Plaza cameras coming

BSS building delayed

New child development center

State keeps pot, centers closed

The most contentious ounce of pot in Humboldt County history will remain in government possession pursuant to a May 23 decision by U.S. Disrict Court Judge Charles Legge.

Legge ruled that Sheriff Dennis Lewis must give an ounce of pot that has been the subject of litigation to the state justice department. Lawyers for registered medical marijuana patient Chris Robert Giaque sited Proposition 215 in an effort to have the seized cannabis returned .

Giaque won the first round of court battles in January when Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson ruled Lewis had to return the marijuana. Legge's ruling sends the marijuana to the state justice department without specifically ruling on the appeal to Watson's ruling.

In related news, both of Humboldt County's medical marijuana distribution centers have shut down pursuant to a May 14 Supreme Court ruling that distribution of medical marijuana conflicts with federal law. The court ruled that claims of medical necessity on patients' parts do not outweigh explicit prohibitions on the distribution of marijuana.

As of press time, both the Humboldt Medical Cannabis Center and the Humboldt Patient Resource Center were closed. The court ruling did not specifically address medical marijuana usage, so individual patients are not yet liable for prosecution.

High school scams

Two scams involving high school sports surfaced last week.

Arcata businesses were contacted by a company called the Sports Promotion Network, which was selling footballs inscribed with the business's names.

The footballs were ostensibly for distribution at Arcata High School sporting events but somebody forgot to tell the school. AHS representatives said they had nothing to do with the promotion and advised that businesses should call the school at 825-2400 before taking part in any fund-raising offer.

In Eureka, telemarketers have peddling advertising for Eureka High School's Sports Calendar. The only problem is that no such calendar exists, said Sheldon Reber, director of public relations for Eureka City Schools.

"Eureka High School's athletic department does not solicit donations by phone and does not support or endorse the calendar," he said in a press release.

Reber suggested anyone with questions call EHS at 441-2508.

Plaza cameras coming

Arcata Plaza users and abusers will enjoy a new level of public exposure this summer as three cameras are mounted to oversee the public space.

Two of the cameras, which will cost a total of $30,000, will survey the Plaza. A third will be aimed directly at the intersection of Ninth and H streets, where many of the transient who occupy the Plaza collect.

The Plaza has been the subject of much debate and two city ordinances over the last year (see Who Are the Plaza People, Feb. 15). The cameras are the latest in a series of attempts to address concerns of businesses and residents about uncivil behavior.

The Arcata Police Department has said that the cameras are less for constant scrutiny than to discourage crime and create a record. The idea is that if people know they are on camera they will not commit a crime. If they should happen to, then the tape will provide proof of their transgressions and identity.

BSS Building delayed

Humboldt State University's controversial plans to build a 95-foot tall Behavioral and Social Sciences

Building on Union Street have been derailed at least temporarily.

Construction on the building had been scheduled to start this summer, but the bids the university received from contractors were all over the HSU's cost estimates. The lowest bid received was $21.9 million; the project had been budgeted for $17.5 million.

Since university officially rejected the bids last week, funds for the building's construction will revert to the CSU administration.

Some Arcata residents and government officials will breath a sigh of relief at the news. Both the building's would-be neighbors and the Arcata City Council had expressed opposition to the project, which they claimed would have significant impact on traffic and the neighborhood's quiet character.

The fight probably isn't over yet, however. A bond measure which would give the CSU system the funds HSU needs to go through with the building could be placed on the ballot as soon as 2002. The university has signalled its intention of pursuing construction.

New child development center

Children of College of the Redwoods students have reason to celebrate this summer as the college broke ground May 29 on a Child Development Center.

The $5.2 million center will provide six large classrooms with built-in play areas. But the center is more than day care: Each of the classrooms is also equipped with an observation room where early childhood education students can study and learn from the childcare in progress.

"We're delighted to take this first step toward providing a modern, accessible and multiuse Child Development Center," CR President Casey Crabill said in a press release.

Construction is scheduled for completion in late summer 2002.


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