Marijuana, Inc. , the CNBC documentary about the weed economy in and around the North Coast, got a lot of attention when it first aired a couple of weeks back. Reviews were generally positive.
Tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., John Matthews of KSLG radio (94.1 FM) will interview Trish Regan, the CNBC correspondent who reported the film.
Marijuana, Inc. is in the rotation at CNBC. It'll run again this Saturday at 7 p.m.
Larry Trask's "Creamgate" ends with a narrow plurality over second-place "Buttergate." The latter may have had an extra touch of alliterative zazz, but voters seem to have seen through its technical shortcomings: The Creamery does not make its own butter.
Congratulations, Larry, and God help us all.
I'll be David Cobb's guest on KHSU's Thursday Night Talk tonight. According to David, we'll be talking about "big picture stuff" Humboldt County stuff -- culture, politics and economy -- as well as the rapidly changing newspaper and media landscape, both nationally and locally. Callers are welcome to throw whatever else they've got into the mix.
The show happens from 7:30 pm. to 8:30 p.m. on KHSU -- 90.5 FM around Humboldt Bay and at various frequencies up and down the dial elsewhere in Northern California.
(fancy graphic by Ryan Burns)
Drug cops! Big busts! These events took place in just 24 hours!
For shame, you other California counties: A team of Humboldt County drug cops yesterday busted out more live pot in one day than you all could ever hope to find in a year.
Well, maybe Sheriff Gary Philp didn't mean to sound boastful in the news release he flashed out this afternoon about the 2,020 growing marijuana plants scooped from two properties out in Ettersburg and Shelter Cove yesterday. And yet:
"This amount is higher than the amount of indoor marijuana plants seized by many counties in California in a year."
The cops served three warrants. The lowdown, from the release:
BUST 1: 1400 block of Blue Slide Creek Rd, Ettersburg
396 growing marijuana plants
45-KW diesel generator, plus abandoned ones
Arrested: Peter Mathias Gray "for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sales of marijuana, and being armed with a firearm in the commission of a felony."
Gray posted $25,000 bail. Court date is March 12.
The news release says there might have been diesel spills here, and the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health is investigating.
BUST 2: 1400 block of Blue Slide Creek Rd, Ettersburg
1,624 growing marijuana plants
two-story structure, about 15X80 feet
80 1,000-watt grow lights
70 KW diesel generator
several hundred gallon fuel tank
three large generators stored on site
BUST 3: 8900 block of Shelter Cove Rd, Shelter Cove
a small amount of processed marijuana
evidence of the sales of marijuana
Arrested: Carmine James Barbati, 41 ,"for cultivation and possession for sales of marijuana and providing a place for the cultivation of marijuana." He posted $30,000 bail. Court date on March 11. Lisa Ann Deloury, 37 ,"for possession of a concealed firearm, possession of marijuana and a parole hold." She's still in custody.
The release notes:
Both of these grow sites were located near tributaries to Blue Slide Creek, which feeds into the Mattole River.
There seems to be some disagreement about what to call the Rich Ghilarducci scandal that has so roiled the local business community. Let's settle this, please.
Word comes from the Kinetic world that longtime Kinetic Racer Dale "Grandpa" Olsen has passed away.
Kinetic Mother Christine writes saying:
Our Most Infamous Kinetic Family Member is in his Flying Machine...
Joining Hobart in Finishing The Race Before Us...
he will Live On In Infamy...
as One Of The Most Colorful Characters In Life.
There will be a celebration in his Beloved Ferndale...
where he was born
and lived all his life
more information as it becomes known [Services will be held at the Ferndale Veterans Building on Main Street, Ferndale on Saturday February 28, 2009, at 1:00 P.M.]
See T-S obit for more on Grandpa.
Grandpa aka Dale Olsen has been a dear friend for as many years as I have known him...
He, like Our Glorious Founder... is not Gone... just Passed On...
and... well.. Different...
as only he
You all know how much he Loved The Race
and I hope we can share some of the many stories
to share in The Kinetic Hall Of Fame place
I send Lot of Love
and a huge Kinetic Hug
Kinetic Mother - C
Rutabaga Queen Foxy Biloxi (aka Harmony Groves) writes:
Oh Grandpa! He will be remembered this year in our historic 40th Anniversary Race. Perhaps a tribute to Grandpa during Crab Park and our awards ceremony is in order? How many years did Grandpa Race?
Racer Duane Flatmo adds:
I was just thinking about Grandpa a few days ago and thought, "I should find out how he's doing." I knew he was not well. It's very sad to see him go. He was a big part of this Kinetic Family. I sure loved that guy. Always a good spirit. A natural honest rough and tumble guy. I've been racing 28 years and I know he must have been doing it for at least 34 years.
I remember the first time I was in the middle of the bay and seeing him standing in knee deep water on top of a sandbar. It was like we were in some dream out walking on the water in the middle of Humboldt Bay, his machine all twisted up with silver duct tape and a kite that wasn't working for him -- I wondered "Who's that crazy old guy?"
When we finally got across the bay and we were standing in the MASH tent to get warm, I asked him who he was.....with a big smile, and a gravely voice he said, "I'm Grandpa." I don't even think I knew he had the name Dale for the first few years I knew him — He was Grandpa!
He will be missed....I know that all the people who raced on his team and that he touched on this earth are very lucky to have known and loved him.
Let's keep him in our thoughts this year and dedicate this year's race in his memory......
More troubling news in newspaper-land: The San Francisco Chronicle may be at death's door , judging from a memo sent to employees this morning, which reads in part,
Despite all of our best efforts as an organization, The Chronicle continues to show staggering losses each week.
The organization's new plan of attack? Better efforts, including "a significant reduction in force across all areas of our operation," i.e. more layoffs.
If we are unable to accomplish these reductions in the immediate future, Hearst Corporation, which owns The Chronicle, has informed us that it will offer the newspaper for sale or close it altogether.
The 144-year-old Chronicle currently has a news staff of around 275. A Bay Area blog (grumble, grumble) speculates that Hearst could be at least partially bluffing in an attempt to "strong-arm the union."
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Ask anyone who's tried to bring redundant and last-mile broadband service to Humboldt County -- the major stumbling block has not been shortcomings in technology or consumer demand; it's been financing. How do you develop a feasible funding model? That is, how can the project be made profitable? With help from the gub'ment, that's how.
Until recently, the state and local governments have taken a dripple-down approach to broadband stimuli. But lately, looking to nourish to the country's adolescent high-speed infrastructure, both President Obama and the California Public Utilites Commission have exposed curiously bloated public teats to the high-speed Internet sector, leaving companies like Broadband Associates, Inc. to fight for nipple access.
As mentioned in this space yesterday, BA, Inc., a Sacramento-area tech company that builds fiber-optic networks for schools and government agencies, last week received CPUC approval for $7.8 million -- 40 percent of the company's price tag for providing a high-speed safety (Inter)net for the North Coast, plus broadband access to at least 16 rural communities along Highway 299. More on the plan here.
Today in a phone interview, BA founder and CEO Michael Brinskele said that while the CPUC funding (which comes from a temporary pile of money called the California Advance Services Fund) is indeed good news, the project is by no means a done deal. For one thing, BA still hasn't lined up the other $11.7 million necessary for completion. Earlier this month, Brinskele said the company was close to that mark. "We're still close," he said this morning, "but we haven't gotten all the way."
Then there's the environmental impact studies required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). "We're not even allowed to pick up a shovel until CEQA is done," Brinskele said. By partnering with Weaverville-based Velocity Technology, BA is hoping to build 16 or more wireless towers which would provide broadband access to such communities as Salyer, Burnt Ranch and Junction City. Also, they'd bury a fiber-optic line along Highway 299 utilizing Caltrans rights-of-way.
Brinskele said he doesn't know how long the environmental impact studies will take, but he's still hoping to begin construction this summer and finish by the first fiscal quarter of 2010. He's also hoping for more government money. "We believe part or all of [this project] qualifies for Obama's rural broadband stimulus allocation," Brinskele said. "We're in weekly discussions with the Department of Agriculture, finding out the rules and how to apply for the money at this stage."
"What do we got?" said Len Mayer, interim CEO of the Humboldt Creamery a few moments ago. "We have a 22-year-employee, the CEO, resigning immediately. We can't get hold of him, we can't contact him. And he says there's something wrong with the finances."
Today has been a busy day for Mayer and for the entire Humboldt Creamery today -- the first business day following former CEO Rich Ghilarducci's mysterious and abrupt resignation. According to Mayer, and according to a press release which the Journal has not yet received, due to technical difficulties, Ghilarducci sent his resignation via his attorney, and with it a warning about the company's finances. The former CEO was on a business trip when the letter arrived at the offices of the Creamery's attorney; he has not been heard from by anyone there since.
Ghilarducci's attorney-delivered warning apparently stated that the company's financial statements are inaccurate, and warned the company not to sell any more shares of a certain class of stock. Mayer said that neither he, nor the company's chief financial officer, nor anyone at the Creamery yet had any idea what the discrepancy could be.
"How could something be happening that we're not aware of?" Mayer said. "That's what we're trying to figure out."
Mayer said that the company -- widely hailed, recently, as an unqualified bright spot in an otherwise bleak Humboldt County economy -- would be holding meetings with stakeholders over the coming weeks and days. He said that forensic accountants were being brought in to rake over the Creamery's books. He pledged that the company would be completely open with the public and all interested parties.
Ghilarducci is being represented by the San Francisco firm of Keker & Van Nest, which maintains, among other specialties, a high-profile practice in defending white-collar crime cases. Former clients include Enron principal Andrew Fastow, Richard Scruggs and Hmong warlord Vang Pao.
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