North Coast Journal WeeklyIn the News

October 18, 2001

Flu vaccines -- on time this year?

Cal/OSHA finds dairies
unsafe for workers

Watershed analysis
may alter THPs

'Gypsy' Chain lawsuit settled

CR lands Presidio contract

Stewart honored by Democrats

Farmers drop mediation

Potawot Health Village opens

Preparing for fine wine

Teacher of year named

Hobart out of Kinetic lead

Race on for school chief

Flu vaccines -- on time this year?

Health care providers are gearing up for the seasonal flu vaccine clinic campaign and they have good news: The vaccine may actually be here on time.

Last year significant delays in the development of the vaccine -- which must be redesigned every year -- caused disruption among health care providers and cancelled clinics.

While a few shipments of vaccine have already arrived, one local health care provider is being cautious about scheduling clinics until its supply in is hand -- St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. Clinics will be announced soon.

The Humboldt County Public Health Department has announced clinics available only to those 65 years or older. They will be Oct. 29 at Redwood Acres in Eureka, Oct. 31 at Rohner Park in Fortuna and Nov. 1 at the McKinleyville Kmart. All clinics are from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Mad River Community Hospital is offering shots without restriction. Staff will give flu shots while supplies last at the Oct. 27 Community Health Fair in McKinleyville's Pierson Park from 8 a.m. until noon.

Two pharmacies in Eureka are providing another avenue for people under 65 who want the vaccine: the Myrtletown and Henderson Center pharmacies. Flu shots are also available through many private physicians.

The Sutter Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of Humboldt begins a series of clinics this week. The first clinic is being reserved for high-risk patients, including individuals over 50 and those with weakened immune systems or asthma. Those clinics include:

Lima's Pharmacy, McKinleyville and Eureka, are offering the vaccine for $15 a dose from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday while supplies last. Call 839-8500.

Longs Drugs Store on Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, Oct. 19, 2-6 p.m.

Longs Drugs Store, Bayshore Mall, Eureka, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Longs Drugs Store, Arcata, Oct. 21, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

KMart, McKinleyville, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Longs Drugs Store, Bayshore Mall, Eureka, Nov. 16, 2-6 p.m.

Longs Drugs Store on Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Kmart, McKinleyville, Nov. 29, noon-4 p.m.

Longs Drugs Store, Arcata, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Medicare recipients may receive shots free of cost and Sutter will bill Medicare. Call 524-8311 for more information.

Cal/OSHA finds dairies unsafe for workers

Agriculture is an industry with a lot of injuries and very little reporting, said Susan Gard, spokesperson for the California Occupational Safety and Health Agency. That's why her agency performed what's called a "sweep" on local dairy farms in August.

State inspectors visited 14 dairies recently and found 13 of them had safety violations. The estimated penalties are more than $116,000.

The most widespread problem was tractor safety, which Gard called "a serious hazard." Some problems were minor -- an insufficient first aid kit, for instance. Other were potentially fatal, like leaving a manure pit open. Gases from manure pits can cause people to suffocate and have caused deaths.

Dairy farms are coming under increased scrutiny following a series of fatalities in the Modesto area in March.

"That's what caused us to place an emphasis on dairies," Gard said. The inspection sweeps are going on statewide.

Last year, Cal/OSHA performed just 5 dairy inspections in the entire state. This year there have been more than 100. Humboldt County was chosen as a target because of the high concentration of dairy farms here.

There was a silver lining in the inspectors' reports, Gard said: Humboldt County dairies are watching out for the environment.

"What we are seeing is a big emphasis on environmental safety." If dairies could put that same effort toward worker safety, Gard said, they could avoid citations, injuries and fines.

Watershed analysis may replace THPs

The timber harvest plan process has been made more accessible to the public, but it may not matter. A new regulatory process for logging is in the works.

Approved unanimously by the Board of Forestry earlier this month, the new system would focus on the health of an entire watershed rather than smaller timber harvest plans. Under the plan, a landowner would have the option of choosing to look at how to maintain the health of a large area -- skipping the rigorous timber harvest review process for individual plots.

The alternative review process will be in place for a year. If successful, the board hopes to make it permanent in 2003.

The logging industry, which proposed the plan, applauded the plan's passage. The wood products industry has long complained that the THP review process was too time-consuming and inflexible. The new process would allow them to get large swaths of land approved for harvest at once.

Others were less exuberant. The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, for example, has objected to the lack of monitoring provisions to assess watershed health.

At the same time, the traditional timber harvest approval process has been revamped to increase public comment. A law authored by Sen. Wesley Chesbro and signed by Gov. Davis Oct. 9 doubles the public comment period on THPs.

Under current law, parties have 15 days to enter comments; that period is now 30 days.

Chesbro said in a written statement that a longer public comment period was necessitated by the increasing complexity of harvest plans. Simple or small timber harvest plans will continue to have 15-day public comment periods.

"This bill will help the public, local governments and community groups play a more active part in the logging decisions that affect our communities," Chesbro said.

The new watershed analysis process would alter, but not replace, the current timber harvest plan approval process.


'Gypsy' Chain lawsuit settled

The lawsuit stemming from the 1998 death of logging protester David Nathan Chain was settled out of court last week.

Chain, known to fellow Earth First activists as "Gypsy," was protesting logging on Pacific Lumber Co. land near Grizzly Creek Sept. 17, 1998. A 135-foot tree felled by PL logger A.E. Ammons struck and crushed Chain. Ammons said he did not know Chain or other protesters were in the area. Other Earth First protesters said he did.

No criminal charges were filed against Ammons. However, Chain's family filed suit against PL and Maxxam, its Houston-based parent company.

That lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial Oct. 15 in Oakland, but a settlement was announced Oct. 11. The amount of compensation received by the family is undisclosed, but other provisions include a memorial, protection of the grove immediately surrounding the tree that killed Chain, and a community forum.

That forum -- made up of Chain's mother, Cindy Allsbrooks of Texas, a PL representative and a representative of the environmental community -- will discuss the dangers of logging protests. Humboldt County law enforcement has also been invited.

Logging protests flared up again this spring in the remote Mattole watershed, where PL was harvesting old-growth Douglas fir [see "Standoff in the Mattole," May 31].

CR lands Presidio contract

A team of College of the Redwoods instructors who specialize in historical preservation are working on a first-of-its-kind contract with the U.S. Park Service to begin restoring the Presidio in San Francisco.

Bill Hole, director of the College of the Redwoods Historic Preservation and Restoration Technology program, said the one-year agreement calls for Hole and fellow instructors Dane Cowan and Jill Macdonald to take turns teaching a practical field techniques course in historic preservation and restoration to more than 200 of the Presidio's national park employees.

"We'll take a couple of their historic buildings and use them as a hands-on lab," said Hole. "The Presidio Trust wants its employees to become sensitized to historic preservation. We will teach through doing."

He said this was the type of program expansion he envisioned when the program was started five years ago.

"From conception, I saw this program as having a global interest. We designed it to work with this region, the state, nationally and beyond. It relates to sustainability and preserving what we have," Hole said.

"We think that the Historic Preservation and Restoration Technology program is exactly what a community college program should be," said CR President Casey Crabill, who travelled to Sacramento with Hole two weeks ago to accept a Governor's Historical Preservation Award for the program.

"Community colleges have always been said to build communities," Crabill said. "This restores them as well."

Stewart honored by Democrats

Arcata Mayor Connie Stewart will be honored as Democrat of the Year Thursday at a dinner at the Eureka Inn. The 17th annual event, sponsored by the Democratic Central Committee, begins at 6 p.m.

Stewart is the office manager for the Northcoast Environmental Center. Tickets to the fund-raiser are $50. For information, call 445-3366.

Farmers drop mediation

Klamath Basin farmers announced last week they are pulling out of federal mediation that was intended to balance competing demands from fish, wildlife and crops.

The mediation was begun after a court ruled against the farmers' claims that the Bureau of Reclamation failed to follow environmental laws in shutting off water to farms.

The board of the Klamath Water Users Association, representing 1,000 farms, may choose to file a new lawsuit. Farmers claim losses of more than $200 million from the shutoff of irrigation water.

Potawot Health Village opens

After 10 years and $18 million, the United Indian Health Service's new health and wellness clinic has opened. But clinic isn't quite the word. With a vegetable garden and orchard, and acres of restored wetlands, the Potawot Health Village is one part health center, one part park.

The medical center itself offers not only standard ambulatory medical care but nutrition counseling, vision, dental care, a diabetes clinic and a pharmacy.

The new center replaces the Tsurai Health Center in Trinidad. UIHS serves approximately 16,000 Native Americans in the region.

Preparing for fine wine

Can't tell a merlot from Madeira? Help is on the way.

A nationally recognized wine expert is coming to town to tutor would-be connoisseurs for the annual College of the Redwoods Autumn Vintage Wine Auction Gala.

Evan Goldstein, one of fewer than 50 accredited master wine tasters in the United States, writes for Santé magazine and appears regularly on radio shows in San Francisco. He will teach a comprehensive course on varietal wine tasting Oct. 18 at the Red Lion Inn.

The class is a prelude to CR's fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 20, called the Autumn Vintage Wine Auction Gala. Travel packages, gourmet dinners and unique wines from across California and the Northwest will be on the auction block.

Proceeds will go to the new Hospitality Institute at CR. It's a natural match, as one of the fields for which the institute will train individuals is food and beverage service. Last year's auction raised $125,000 for the college.

To register for the wine-tasting class, call 476-4136. For more information on the Wine Gala, call 476-4357.

Teacher of year named

A teacher at Dow's Prairie Elementary in McKinleyville has been named Humboldt County's teacher of the year.

Sandra Henry, who teaches the third grade, has been at the school since 1986. She has helped children with after school programs and developed monthly math nights, during which both parents and children get involved in math curricula.

Henry, who has already been honored by both the Humboldt County Office of Education and the McKinleyville School District several times, is now in the running for the California Teacher of the Year.

Hobart out of Kinetic lead

Hobart Brown is finally giving up the lead in the Kinetic Sculpture Race.

The 67-year old Ferndale resident founded the World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race 30 years ago. He is turning control of the race over to an association of nonprofit organizations that will stage the annual race as a benefit. The transaction included assumption of $87,000 in accumulated debt.

Hobart, who is a sculptor and runs a gallery in Ferndale, was not available for comment. Representatives said he just left for Australia, where he will enjoy a Southern Hemisphere summer until March of next year.

Race on for school chief

Louis Bucher, Humboldt County's superintendent of schools for the past 19 years, announced last week that he will not seek another term.

Bucher, whose term runs out in December 2002, said in written statement, "I'm not retiring or stepping down." He is "stepping aside" to make room for new leadership. He intends to continue part-time teaching.

Candidates will receive their first real shot at the seat in two decades; Bucher has run unopposed in his last four races. First to announce was Carl Del Grande, who served as director of curriculum and instructional services at the Humboldt Office of Education for many years and more recently as interim superintendent of Ferndale Unified School District.

Del Grande taught at St. Bernard and Fortuna high schools and had been principal at Eureka High School before his county schools post.

The election for Bucher's seat will be held in March. Candidates have until early December to file for the ballot.



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