North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

August 23, 2001

How did your school do?

Willow Creek to 'cool down'

HSU faculty to picket

CR budget cut by Davis

No court order for PL

General ER open a little longer

Local tuna makes NY Times

Excavation at Beaver Lumber

How did your school do?

The results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program's Stanford Achievement Test administered this spring in all California schools are posted at

The numbers represent the average scores in each grade and subject by percentile. For example, if a school's second-graders scored at the 45th percentile in reading, it means that the "average" second-grade student at that school did better than 45 percent of the nation's second-graders. Schools or grade levels with 10 or fewer tested students are not listed.

Here is a chart showing how scores in Humboldt County compare to the state's average scores.


Humboldt County (left) - State (right)






Soc. Sci.
2 59 50 64 59 56 51 51 52 -- --
3 58 46 64 61 55 53 49 53 -- --
4 62 48 59 54 55 49 50 49 -- --
5 58 45 62 55 58 52 47 47 -- --
6 62 48 69 60 60 54 55 49 -- --
7 60 46 62 53 66 56 55 47 -- --
8 60 48 60 51 61 52 45 40 -- --
9 46 35 63 54 58 54 -- 55 45 56 45
10 44 33 54 47 49 47 -- 56 45 50 38
11 45 37 55 50 52 50 -- 57 45 63 57

Willow Creek to `cool down'

Thanks to some Caltrans funds earmarked for "transportation enhancement activities," work will begin soon to transform downtown Willow Creek into a cooler, lovelier place.

"We're just getting started on a $700,000-to-$800,000 project to redo Main Street," said Mark Rowley, owner of Bigfoot Rafting Co. and district manager for the Willow Creek Community Services District.

"We are going to narrow the highway to slow traffic and plant a ton of trees." Rowley said it's called the "shade project," which will be particularly welcome as summer temperatures often hit the 100-degree mark.

"There will still be single lanes in either direction and a center turn lane, but the wide parking shoulders will be redone," said Ken Omsberg of Omsberg and Co., an engineering and survey company in Eureka.

Natzler Cunningham Designs of Eureka was selected to do the landscape design.

"The whole idea is to get shade in that town," said Jo Cunningham. "We're just starting on the conceptual design next week."

There are a number of other road-related projects beginning soon after lengthy planning periods. Blue Lake expects to receive $680,000, which will likely be used to make improvements on a footbridge used by schoolchildren along Second Street. Improvements to gutters, curbs and sidewalks are also planned.

HSU faculty to picket

Humboldt State University faculty representatives met in Long Beach with a bargaining team from the CSU Chancellor's Office last week and again Wednesday over a continuing contract dispute -- but negotiations are going badly enough that faculty plan to picket a university ceremony.

"This is the third time we have faced an impasse over negotiations," said CFA Chapter President John Travis, a professor of politics and government, in a telephone call from Long Beach.

The California Faculty Association has a list of demands that include increased compensation, smaller class sizes and faster resolution of complaints against the university.

"We're pretty far away from CSU on all those issues," Travis said.

Now that an impasse has been reached, the parties will proceed to mediation. Travis said negotiations "have gotten uglier this time than in the past, so we have a serious battle here."

The CFA Chapter at HSU was planning to picket the convocation Wednesday that signals the official opening of the 2001-2002 school year.

CR budget cut by Davis

The College of the Redwoods received a nasty surprise in this year's state budget: $350,000 in funding for equipment purchases was vetoed by Gov. Davis before he signed the budget into law.

The money was to be used to buy computers, printers and other instructional equipment, said Scott Thomason, vice president of business services for the college. Another $100,000 was earmarked for a new computer lab, the future of which is now uncertain.

"This impacts the direct classroom participation of the students," Thomason said.

The effect could spread to other parts of the college's budget, Thomason said, if the administration made the decision to go forward with the purchases using other funds. "We would have to cut other areas to go forward with this," he said.

It could be worse, Thomason said. While the college has been receiving funds for purchases of equipment consistently for the past 15 years, the exact amount is unknown until the budget is passed. Because of that uncertainty, Thomason said, the funds aren't used for wages or other contractual obligations.

No court order for PL

A request for a temporary restraining order to stop logging in the Bear Creek watershed was denied by a federal judge last week.

The Environmental Protection Information Center of Garberville sought the restraining order as part of a suit which alleges the Pacific Lumber Co. has violated the federal Clean Water Act.

According to EPIC, the culverts, gullies and drainage ditches through which runoff flows when it rains are "point sources" of pollution, like the outflows of factories or wastewater treatment plants. If the court were to agree, PL would have to obtain waste discharge permits under the act.

There are four active timber harvest plans in the Bear Creek watershed and "several others" working their way through the approval process, according to a PL statement.

General ER open a little longer

The planned consolidation of emergency room services at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka is being postponed.

St. Joseph announced Aug. 7 that the two emergency rooms it operates in Eureka -- one on the St. Joseph campus and one at General Hospital, purchased by St. Joseph last year -- would be consolidated into one. The emergency room at St. Joseph will remain open while General's emergency room will be changed into an Urgent Care center.

The Urgent Care is designed to deal with health care problems that do not pose an immediate threat to the patient's life. The transformation of the emergency room into an Urgent Care center has been postponed indefinitely while licensing issues are addressed.

Local tuna makes NY Times

Everyone at Lazio Seafood Co. in Eureka knows that their tuna is the favorite of one of the world's favorite chefs, Julia Child. But since the 89-year-old Child does not endorse products, they are forbidden to mention that she always uses Lazio for her Salade Niçoise.

Last month New York Times writer John Leland visited Child's home in Boston and she promised to make him a tuna sandwich. At the end of the lengthy visit, according to a July 26 article, Child reneged on her promise of the tuna sandwich, substituting leftover lobster instead. But at the end of the visit, not wanting LeLand to leave disappointed, she pressed a can of Lazio tuna, packed in oil, in his hand.

Excavation at Beaver Lumber

Kasey Ashley doesn't know exactly what pentachlorophenol is, but she does know its most important characteristic: "It's bad."

Ashley, an associate engineering geologist with the Water Quality Control Board, also knows how to go about removing the toxic wood preservative from the groundwater. And that's what Arcata Redwoods is being ordered to do -- excavate soil from a site containing the chemical so that it doesn't end up contaminating the area's groundwater.

The site is located at the western terminus of Fifth Street, just past K Street. Beaver Lumber used the space in the '80s to remanufacture wood products, and the site still carries its name in all water board documents.

It has been used to make wooden barrels, plywood, hardwood flooring and outdoor treated lumber. It is that last product which has caused problems -- the wood preservative PCP, used by Arcata Redwood to treat glue-laminated beams, is a carcinogen.

Some remediation has already been done on the site. In 1990 soil from around the building was excavated and shipped to a hazardous waste landfill in Idaho. Wells were installed in 1993 to extract contaminated groundwater,

But those wells are no longer pulling up the contamination, Ashley said. The remaining contaminated soil is under the building that housed the lumber mill -- away from where the wells are situated.

The water quality board could order Quebecor, which as the parent company of Arcata Redwood is responsible for the cleanup, to put in new wells, Ashley said. But excavation is easier and provides "more bang for your buck," she said.

The site presents no danger to the public in its current state, she said. Because existing wells surround the building, there is no way for contaminated water to get into the drinking water supply.

"Unless," she added, "you dig a hole at Beaver Lumber and drink the water from it. And we won't let you do that."



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