North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

July 26, 2001

Dell' Arte to examine casino

The end of a fishery?

Hospitality helper

Walgreens on its way

Fortuna police talks stalled

State may list coho, too

Dry weather test period open

Dell'Arte to examine casino

The Dell'Arte Co. received word last week that it was successful in a bid for an $80,000 grant from the Americans for the Arts' Animating Democracy Initiative, a program funded by the Ford Foundation. The application from the Blue Lake-based theater company was chosen over 39 other proposals.

The grant will fund The Dentalium Project, a multi-component undertaking that will "explore what happens when you add a Native American casino to a small town community," said Michael Fields, the Dell'Arte artistic director.

"The project will include a series of community dialogues/forums that explore the traditional practice of Native American gambling as well as the community response to living with a casino in its midst," said Brenda Bishop, Dell'Arte development director.

The forums examining the economic, political and cultural conflicts arising from the construction of the Blue Lake Rancheria's casino will be run by Dell'Arte in association with the Cascadia Leadership Center, a conflict management group headed by former 3rd District Supervisor Julie Fulkerson.

A second component of the project is a video documentary spearheaded by Jan Kraepelien of KEET-TV that will follow five residents of Blue Lake from the onset of construction to the operation of the gambling facility.

The culmination of The Dentalium Project will be a Dell'Arte-style theater production planned for next summer's Mad River Festival.

For more information about the Dell'Arte see To learn more about the Ford Foundation's Animating Democracy program see

The end of a fishery?

Some areas off the North Coast may become off-limits to rockfish harvesting, and fishermen are getting angry.

"Where they've marked off is exactly where we fish," said Larry Williams, owner of King Salmon Sportfishing and skipper of the Coral Isle.

"We may as well throw our rods away," he said.

Williams said that the proposed "marine reserves," where only severely curtailed fishing would be allowed, will put him and others out of business.

The proposed regulations are supposed to help several species recover from overfishing, said Patrick Collier, a marine biologist with the Department of Fish and Game. Collier said that after the salmon fishery collapsed, fishermen focused their attention on rockfish, a broad class of long-lived fish that use rocks on the ocean floor for habitat.

He said the proposed marine reserves are small, but would at least give the state an idea of what the effects of marine reserves are.

But those small areas are rockfishe's' only habitat, Williams said, and cutting them off doesn't leave him room to survive. The small boats that would be affected by the reserves aren't causing the fishery much damage, he said.

"We don't have nets, we don't have longlines, and we've had four or five days this whole year we could have fished for them," he said.

Fish and Game will hold a public meeting July 31 at 7 p.m. in the Wharfinger building to discuss the marine reserves proposal.

Hospitality helper

It's hard to find good help -- but that may not be the case for long.

College of the Redwoods is initiating a program that will train workers for the hospitality and tourism industries. With classes covering customer service and management, the new program will produce the kind of workers that hotels and restaurants in Humboldt County need -- skilled professionals.

"Anyone who has a restaurant in the county should be stoked," said Mark Carter, owner of the Carter House Hotel and Restaurant 301.

The new classes fill an important hole in the college's curriculum, said Paul DeMark, spokesperson for CR.

Start-up costs for the new program will be covered by the proceeds from this year's Autumn Vintage wine auction in October. Last year's event raised $125,000.

While the program will not initially be for credit, DeMark said the long-term plan is to award graduates either a certificate or a two-year degree.

Walgreens on its way

The good news is that Eureka and Humboldt County's governments have responded to citizens' concerns about the impact of a new Walgreen's drug store on the corner of Harris Street and Harrison Avenue. The bad news is that they are doing so very late in the game.

The city of Eureka had asked county government to reopen public comment to include more of the concerns over traffic, lighting, landscaping and signs voiced by people living next to the site. The proposed site sits just outside the city, in the county's jurisdiction, so Eureka officials had asked if the county would allow more public input, but that request came too late.

"We found out they had gone through the required processes and were at the administrative stage of the process," said Eureka City Manager Dave Tyson.

Luckily, Walgreens has agreed to allow more public comments to be heard.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted July 23 to create a subcommittee made up of representatives of county government, the city of Eureka, Walgreens and neighbors.

Tyson said he hopes the groups can come to an agreement that "meets the needs of the neighborhood while recognizing the developer has some vested rights." He said the city had already talked to the developing company, Village Properties, about mitigating the impacts of the planned building, and it had "tentatively agreed to scale down the sign and reduce its height, adjust the landscaping and reduce the lighting."

Fortuna police talks stalled

It is almost never a good idea to argue with a policeman, but Fortuna City Manager Dale Nieman isn't backing down from this fight. Nieman, who represents the city in stalled negotiations over salary and benefits for the police, said the two sides have "reached the point of impasse."

A state mediator was called in to help break the deadlock, but issues on the sidelines have prevented progress. After meeting with the mediator July 11, the two sides agreed to postpone further face-to-face until the city had figured out how much a new health insurance plan will cost.

Nieman said much of the fight is over the form salary increases would take. Officers want a flat raise, while the city is offering a program that rewards officers for taking part in training and committing themselves to the force. Nieman said incentives for people who decide to stay in Fortuna are necessary, because many officers use the city as a proving ground before moving on.

"We hire a lot of officers out of the academy who only stay here one or two years," he said.

The two sides meet next in August.

State may list coho, too

California is considering listing the coho salmon as endangered, a move that would dramatically affect what timber companies and other land owners can do on their property.

"A reasonable interpretation based on what we now know is that it will be listed," said Mark Stopher, habitat conservation manager with the Department of Fish and Game, in a telephone interview from Redding. The department announced at the beginning of July that it had received and was considering a request to list the fish and has started to perform extensive fieldwork on which it will base a decision.

The coho is already listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and enjoys protection from fishing and the impacts of land use. But listing the fish under California law would still have a dramatic impact, Stopher said.

That's because the Department of Fish and Game, which would be responsible for the fish's survival, has a larger stake in some regulatory proceedings than its federal counterpart. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which is responsible for carrying out federal protections for coho, isn't a statutory member of the timber harvest plan review team, but Fish and Game is.

"We have a place at the table to say, `This has an effect,'" Stopher said. Any human activity in a stream that supports coho -- and much that happens adjacent to that stream -- would require a permit from the department.

A listing would probably help motivate timber companies to complete a habitat conservation plan, Stopher added. Such a plan addresses the well-being of coho across a landowner's holdings. HCPs will become attractive because procuring permits for individual projects will prove too time-consuming and expensive, he said.

One Humboldt County timber company already has such a plan -- Pacific Lumber Co. of Scotia. Stoffer said that while implementation of PL's HCP "has been a bit bumpy," the company is submitting better timber harvest plans now than before. If a state listing forced other companies to follow suit it would "level the playing field on coho protection."

The department will probably decide by next May whether or not to list the fish.

Dry weather test period open

The Humboldt County Department of Public health has announced that the dry weather test period is open.

Individuals wishing to develop or subdivide land located within the coastal zone need to show they can develop 400 gallons a day during the dry season to supply their land. A qualified consultant should perform the test.

The test period will remain open until Sept. 30 or until the first major rainfall. Call 445-6215 for more information.



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