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December 23, 1999


'Butterfly,' the media star

Unemployment < 6%

Oh, what a count!

HSU in compliance

The race(s) are on

Take the bus -- it's free

City Garbage contract ok'd

`Butterfly,' the media star

Julia "Butterfly" Hill ended her two-year tree-sit in a 600-year-old redwood tree Saturday and flew to New York for appearances on the "Today" show, David Letterman and "Good Morning America."

The agreement ending her 738-day vigil was in two parts. Hill and Pacific Lumber Co. President John Campbell signed a 28-page document package that includes maps and a preservation agreement stating the terms of her voluntary descent. Hill agreed never to trespass on PL land again and to pay $50,000 to the timber company. PL agreed to preserve the tree, named Luna, and a 1.9-acre buffer zone surrounding it in perpetuity. The public will not have access to the tree. However, Hill will be allowed visitation rights so long as she gives company officials 48 hours notice.

The $50,000 will be donated by PL to Humboldt State University for scholarships for the children of PL employees who study forestry.

A second document, signed by Campbell and Sanctuary Forest founder Rondall Snodgrass, is a covenant agreement -- part of the a legal package filed in the Humboldt County recorder's office last Friday. That document details allowances for protection of the tree and removal of previously logged timber in the surrounding buffer zone and Sanctuary Forest's monitoring role.

"Apparently, after many months of negotiations, they felt they need a third party -- a trustee they both would trust," Snodgrass told the Journal Tuesday.

It was erroneously reported that Sanctuary Forest, a Whitethorne-based land trust formed to protect the Mattole watershed, was Hill's partner and would pay the $50,000.

"We will just be performing the role of making sure the parties are holding to their agreement and we will be monitoring the property," Snodgrass said. The money actually is coming from the Circle of Life foundation and other Hill supporters.

The agreement contained statements from both Hill and Campbell. Hill said, "The Pacific Lumber Co. has taken an unprecedented courageous step toward ending the timber wars. Their initiative in this agreement and covenant symbolizes the hope that a new era of peace and cooperation has begun between the timber industry and environmentalists. stands to beautifully symbolize this hope."

Pacific Lumber's statement reads, "Pacific Lumber believes that the controversy surrounding timber companies and environmentalists on the North Coast must stop, and that it is imperative that common ground be forged. "

Hill climbed up the tree two weeks before Christmas in 1997, intending to stay two weeks to protest old-growth harvesting. She stayed two years, eclipsing the previous record of 42 days.

Now that her occupation has ended, she will work on a book, "The Legacy of Luna," for which she has received an advance from HarperCollins. She said she will use the proceeds from the sale for environmental outreach and education.

Hill also told reporters she will return to live in Humboldt County.

Unemployment <6%

Economic growth in Humboldt County continued to slow in November, but unemployment remained under 6 percent with 5.2 percent jobless.

That's part of the report of the Index of Economic Activity compiled each month by HSU Professor Steven Hackett, aided by Deborah Keeth.

Other highlights from the December report:

Help wanted advertising was up 19.6 percent over October and 43.2 percent up over October 1998.

Unemployment claims were up 19.5 percent over October. It is believed this increase represents the normal cyclical downturns in winter. However, new claims were down 14.3 percent from November 1998.

Manufacturing orders were down 10.2 percent from October.

The sale of 115 homes in November was an increase of 30.5 percent over the previous month and up 17.6 percent over November 1998, and 84.9 percent over November 1997.

Oh, what a count!

The Dec. 18 Arcata bird count was the second best ever in terms of number of species since it began in 1984.

"I'm sure the nice weather helped," said Ron LeValley of the Redwood Region Audubon Society. "Our record was 182 different species. This year we did 180."

Among the highlights were the sightings of three species of Vireo which are usually in middle America by now, LeValley said. The blue-headed Vireo is native to the East, Casin's Vireo is often found in central U.S. and Plumbeous Vireo in the Southwest.

Also recorded in the count, which is not yet official, were a Tropical Kingbird and a Least Flycatcher.

"Those are some fun ones," LeValley said.

About 50 people participated in the Arcata count -- one of five held in late December and early January. Each site is a 15-mile circle where participants count all species within a 24-hour period. The data represent a 16-year unbroken record on bird populations, range and migration on the North Coast.

Del Norte completed its count Dec. 18 and Willow Creek is scheduled for the day after Christmas. (Call Garry Lester, 443-8326, for information.)

The Trinity County count will be held Dec. 28 and the final count is scheduled for Jan. 2 at Centerville Beach in Ferndale. (Call Stan Harris, 822-3802.)

HSU in compliance

The number of women participating in intercollegiate sports at Humboldt State University is within legal guidelines, according to Athletic Director Mike Swan.

A federal appellate court ruled Dec. 15 that universities receiving federal funds must provide a chance for women to participate in sports in proportion to their numbers on campus. Their "relative levels of interest" is not relevant, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said.

The ruling also said that campuses that can't come up with the funding for the needed women's teams must shrink the men's teams.

Based on 1998-99 academic year enrollment, HSU athletes were within 5 percent of each gender enrolled, Sports Information Director Dan Pambianco said. That complies with a consent decree agreed to more than six years ago.

Here are HSU's numbers for 1998-99:

Sports sponsored include seven for women and five for men.

There were 6,535 students enrolled, with 3,429 or 52.4 percent undergraduate women. There were 3,106 or 47.6 percent men enrolled.

There were 291 student athletes. Of that number 148 or 49.2 percent were women; 143 or 50.8 percent were men.

The appellate decision reverses a Fresno federal judge's ruling in a case involving male wrestlers at California State University, Bakersfield. That campus put a lid on recruitment for its men's teams.

The decision apparently means that if the number of women enrolled grows, the participation of women athletes also must increase. It means that as the number of women increases, more opportunities for athletic participation must be created.

Swan said complying with the court ruling is not a problem for HSU. "The campus policy was to increase the number of women who participate rather than decrease the number of men," the Montana native said.

Swan, who became A.D. Sept. 1, noted that HSU was the first CSU campus to comply and that the manner in which it complied came from the top of campus

The race(s) are on

Another candidate has announced her intention to run for Stan Dixon's 1st District supervisor position.

Ginger Olsen, 62, filed to run just hours before the Dec. 15 deadline. A resident of Humboldt County for 20 years and co-owner of MyTime Dairy, Olsen said the late start was partly due to fund-raising quandaries.

"I'm doing this with absolutely no money," she said, adding that her campaign will rely heavily on door-to-door campaigning as well as by personal appearances. The key issue for her platform, she said, is the decentralization of county agencies.

"County programs should rely on private businesses, which are often better prepared to handle the needs of local residents," Olsen said. "The county should act as a regulatory body, not an administrative one."

Olsen has never held public office, but that didn't stop her from joining a crowded field of hopefuls that includes Carlos Benemann, Chris Crawford, John Fullerton, Walt Giacomini, Lawrence Lazio and Jimmy Smith.

Olsen sees herself as a professional problem solver, something she relates to her experience as a registered nurse.

"My biggest qualification is that I talk to everyone," she said. "I would gather information from every person and every agency involved before making a decision that would affect them."

Should Olsen win, she will be the first female supervisor for the district, which includes Ferndale, Loleta, Petrolia and south Eureka. If no one candidate receives the necessary majority in the March 7 election, a run-off will take place between the two top candidates in the general election on Nov. 7.

Dixon's seat isn't the only one up for grabs next year. Roger Rodoni, District 2 supervisor and newly seated board chair, is being challenged by Redway resident Dan Fortson.Also up for bid is John Woolley's District 3 seat. However, no one had filed against him by the Dec. 10 deadline.

While the filing deadline has passed, there remains an option for those seeking public office: the filing period for write-in candidates is between Jan. 10 - Feb. 22. The names of write-in candidates don't appear on the ballot.

Take the bus -- it's free

Looking for a designated driver for New Year's Eve? Take the bus. It's free.

In an attempt to make the highways a little safer, the Humboldt Transit Authority is once again providing free bus service from 8 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. from Fortuna to McKinleyville.

"We have 15 stops scheduled. It's not our regular run. We mainly go by the clubs --where people congregate," said Nell Fregoso, HTA operations manager.

"It's hard to schedule because it's a weekday. We're still running all our regular buses," Fregoso said.

Four bus drivers have been drafted for the evening shift of ferrying revelers. Stops include the McKinleyville Shopping Center, School Road and Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville; the Arcata Transit Center and Humboldt Brewery in Arcata; the Highway 101 corridor in Eureka to the Bayshore Mall; the River Lodge, Eel River Brewery, Redwood Village and 11th and N streets in Fortuna.

"The drivers will also be stopping at many of the regular Eureka stops just because people are used to it," she said.

City Garbage contract ok'd

In an agreement with the Humboldt Waste Management Authority, City Garbage Co. received a 10-year extension to continue services to residents in unincorporated areas approved by the Board of Supervisors Dec. 14. It is one of five contracts the company seeks to extend with the county.

There are four other extensions under consideration. Three will be reviewed by supervisors next month -- for Garberville, Holmes and Redcrest, and one for the area of Fieldbrook and Blue Lake. The fourth contract, for collection services within the city of Eureka, may be reviewed by the Eureka City Council as early as next month.

Liz Citrino, internal waste manager for Humboldt County, said the board was looking for certain conditions in approving the extension.

"Basically it had to do with the price and quality of services being provided to customers," Citrino said. "If the company is providing adequate service at a price comparable with that of services in neighboring areas, then the prospect of an extension is considered."

Citrino said that in reviewing the services provided by City Garbage she found nothing out of line when compared with other agencies in near-by areas.

"We found some aspects that we were quite pleased with," Citrino added, citing the company's occasional use provision as one example. Under the provision, customers who don't generate an entire can of waste each week can pay lesser rates by the bag instead.

"It allows you to pay for the service by what you actually use, rather than what the company feels you need," she said.

City Garbage also received praise for supplying debris boxes in unincorporated areas, something Citrino said contributes to neighborhood clean-up efforts for those in outlying areas.

The original contract with City Garbage Co. was drafted in 1985. Citrino said the recent review of the company's agreement was necessary to address the current needs of the communities being served.

"As we all know, things such as recycling and composting have come a long way since '85," Citrino said, adding that those advancements needed to be reflected in the language of the contracts.

Should City Garbage receive extensions for the other four contracts, the Humboldt Waste Management Authority would come away a big winner. Currently the authority is trying to complete a $3.5 million purchase of City Garbage's transfer facility. The deal is contingent on whether or not City Garbage receives extensions on its other four collection contracts.

Should those extensions be granted, the authority would receive the transfer station as well as City Garbage's landfill site on Cummings Road.

According to Mike Leggins, general manager of City Garbage, approval of the extensions is almost guaranteed.

"I see them completed by the end of next month," Leggins said, adding that the approved extension

"creates 10 years of security for employees of City Garbage."

Although the deals won't directly affect rates for customers, that's not to say that the agreement won't have some benefit for residents served by the county.

"As we acquire the landfill and transfer station, we will be able to achieve better economics," said Citrino, adding that the self-haul waste program will come under control of the authority. With the added revenue brought in from self-haul waste customers, Citrino said that, despite the lost revenues from Fortuna, the county would still come out ahead. Fortuna is no longer participating in the joint powers agreement.

-- reported by Howard Seemann, Judy Hodgson & Erik Willingham

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