Wednesday, April 19, 2017

HSU Athletics May Tie University to Pepsi Contract

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 8:55 AM

The athletics department gets about $58,000 in sponsorship funds from HSU's contract with PepsiCo, which give the multi-billion-dollar company "pouring rights" on campus.
  • The athletics department gets about $58,000 in sponsorship funds from HSU's contract with PepsiCo, which give the multi-billion-dollar company "pouring rights" on campus.
Meredeth Garrott walked up to the front of the room. All administrators, students and community member’s eyes fell on the environmental science major as she read aloud the Humboldt State University graduation pledge. She said if the students are held to the pledge, then the institution that teaches them should be, as well, and partnering with PepsiCo is a violation of that pledge.

“I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work,” she read.

For the first time, HSU had a public meeting about its contract with PepsiCo which is up for renewal on June 30. If university administration renews the contract with the multi-billion-dollar company, it will be the third five-year contract in a row.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

HSU Students Take on Pepsi

Posted By on Sun, Apr 16, 2017 at 4:46 PM

Pepsi currently holds rights to 80 percent of the retail shelf space on the HSU campus. Some students are looking to change that. - FILE
  • File
  • Pepsi currently holds rights to 80 percent of the retail shelf space on the HSU campus. Some students are looking to change that.
Humboldt State University students are fighting administrators plans to sign another contract with PepsiCo, Pepsi soda’s parent company. The current five-year contract ends June 30, which will be the third contract in the last 15 years.

On Monday, there will be a public meeting — attended by students, administration and the PepsiCo task force — at 3:15 p.m. in the University Center Banquet Room, where they will discuss a student resolution to end contracts with PepsiCo.

Tessa Lance has been spearheading the student movement in what has been an almost year-long battle. She said it originally started as a student green movement in order to cut down on plastics and get closer to the university’s zero-waste goal.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

HSU Student Fatally Stabbed Amid House Party Fist Fight

Posted By on Sat, Apr 15, 2017 at 1:30 PM

  • File
A stabbing in Arcata early this morning left a 19-year-old Humboldt State University student dead.

Details are scant at this point, but the university issued a press release this morning reporting that the stabbing occurred off campus and is being investigated by the Arcata Police Department, which has a suspect in custody but is still actively investigating.

According to APD Chief Tom Chapman, the stabbing occurred at about 3 a.m. during a fist fight that broke out at a house party. Chapman said in a text message to the Journal that the suspect is not an HSU student but stressed that detectives are still working to track down and interview witnesses.

The victim's name is being withheld until his or her family can be notified and Chapman said APD isn't releasing the suspect's name until additional witnesses can be interviewed.

The university is providing counseling and support services to grieving students (more info, including phone numbers, in the press release copied below). HSU President Lisa Rossbacher also sent out a campuswide email notifying students, faculty and staff of the killing.

“I have no words to adequately describe the sorrow of this loss,” she wrote. “This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us, and most especially the family and friends of the victim. Our thoughts are with them and we extend our condolences.”

The killing is Humboldt County's fourth homicide of 2017. The county tallied a record 22 last year.

From APD:

On April 15th, 2017 at approximately 3:00 am, officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to the 1100 Block of Spear Ave on the report of a stabbing.

When officers arrived, they found a male victim bleeding from multiple stab wounds. Officers immediately began life saving efforts. The man was eventually transported to Mad River Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The assault occurred as the result of an argument at the party.

The identity of the deceased, a 19-year-old male HSU student, will not be released until appropriate notifications have been made.

A 23 year old McKinleyville resident, has been taken into custody related to the incident.

The APD is actively investigating and asks for anyone with information about this incident to call the Arcata Police Department at 822-2428.

From HSU:

A 19-year-old Humboldt State University student was stabbed and killed last night, and Arcata Police have detained a suspect.

The name of the student is being withheld while family is being notified.

The incident occurred at an off-campus location. The investigation is being led by Arcata Police Department, with support from the University Police Department.

HSU officials are reaching out to the family of the student, and will be offering counseling and other support for friends, faculty, and others on campus who knew him.

Students who are in need of support during this time are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students office at 707.826.3504 or visit that office in Siemens Hall 211. For assistance any time, students can contact Counseling & Psychological services at 707.826.3236. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.

Letter from Rossbacher:

Dear University Community:

I am deeply saddened to share news with you that one of our students has died after a stabbing last night. I have no words to adequately describe the sorrow of this loss. This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us, and most especially the family and friends of the victim. Our thoughts are with them and we extend our condolences.

We are reaching out to provide support and counseling to members of our University community. We will also be in contact and offering support to family members.

The student’s name is currently confidential while his family is being notified. Because the incident occurred off campus, the investigation is being led by the Arcata Police Department with significant assistance from University Police.

For assistance any time, students can contact Counseling & Psychological Services at 707.826.3236. Staff or faculty seeking additional support may utilize the Employee Assistance Program at 707.443.7358.

Lisa A. Rossbacher, Ph.D.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

TL;DR: Adventures on the Coral Sea

Posted By on Sun, Apr 2, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Couldn’t read the cover story this week? Don’t sweat it. But if you want the Journal to take you on a voyage of undercover drug operations, diving dogs and shipwrecked treasure aboard the Coral Sea research vessel you should click here.

This week we took a deep dive into the rich history of Humboldt State University’s research vessel, uncovering an exciting past of treasure hunters and cocaine smugglers. Here's a glimpse into the Coral Sea's past in four bullet points.

Air Traffic Control

  • Aren Fikes

Ronald Markowski, the owner of the Coral Sea in the early 1980s, used the vessel as a floating headquarters to radio instructions to his pilots, who were smuggling large amounts of cocaine and marijuana into the United States. The airplanes were filled with cocaine supplied by some of the most wanted drug rings in the world connected to Pablo Escabar's Medellian Cartel.

The operation wound up in the crosshairs of the DEA's "Operation Skycaine" investigation, which culminated in the convictions of 42 smugglers. "Mastermind of Skycaine Narcotics Ring Found Guilty," read a 1984 headline of a Chicago Tribune story about Ronald Markowski's guilty pleas, which would later see him sentenced to 45 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

After the vessel was seized, it was wired for video and sound by Florida’s DEA to spy on well known drug rings. They caught on to a smuggling operation involving a albatross sea plane and 6,600 pounds of cocaine, thus coined the operation’s name “The Albotross Sting.”

A Captain Character

Glenn Miller sitting with Suzie the seal he rescued and nursed back to full health. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Glenn Miller sitting with Suzie the seal he rescued and nursed back to full health.

Glenn Miller yelled “seal” and his trusted first mate Mac the Diving Dog ran off the back of the Coral Sea and leapt into the cold pacific ocean. Glenn Miller, a sea-salty captain, built the ship exactly to his liking.

Miller was a local celebrity in his home city of Santa Barbara and the Coral Sea was well known as a $3 million chartered diving vessel. Charters came with a Glenn Miller experience which involved his charismatic animals and his attitude of doing what he wanted whenever he wanted.

Miller positioned a helicopter that sat boldly toward the back of the vessel, but mostly just used it to fly back and forth to Santa Barbara to see rodeos. One time, Miller found an injured seal which he brought home and named Suzie the Seal. He had to let her go after a brief lawsuit, but only after Suzie became best friends with Mac the Diving Dog.

Treasure Quest

The Coral Sea sitting next to a U.S. submarine that resurfaced in need of hull repairs. Glenn Miller was quick to aid them and recieved an award from the US navy for his help. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The Coral Sea sitting next to a U.S. submarine that resurfaced in need of hull repairs. Glenn Miller was quick to aid them and recieved an award from the US navy for his help.

According to Miller, the Coral Sea was completely decked out for treasure hunting. "Half the shit on this boat is just for treasure hunting," Miller once said, according to a book written about the boat's treasure-hunting past..

After the Coral Sea was outfitted for adventure, Miller and a strong crew set out in search of 300-year-old treasure from a spanish galleon shipwreck named the Maravilla. They had just made it to the other side of the Panama Canal when they were held at gunpoint by the Colombian Navy.

Miller’s close connections to newspapers and his congressmen helped in a negotiation between the Colombian government and the United States to let the vessel go. It was eally just a bump in the road for Miller and his crew in the year long adventure.

They eventually found treasure, at least enough to break even from the trip and repay investors. The crew parted ways and Miller left to film the movie Deadly Encounters, where he was killed in a helicopter accident over the Grand Canyon.

Sailing into Retirement

The Coral Sea was renamed the Hernan Cortez II by Florida Department of Natural Recourses and shipped to Louisana to be cut in half and extended in the middle. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The Coral Sea was renamed the Hernan Cortez II by Florida Department of Natural Recourses and shipped to Louisana to be cut in half and extended in the middle.

After the Coral Sea's role in the war on drugs in Florida, the ship sat dormant until the Florida Department of Natural Resourses took an interest in the vessel. The agency's previous research vessel, the Hernan Cortez, was on its way out, so the agency purchased the Coral Sea at auction and sent it to Louisiana, where the one-time luxury yacht was cut in half, extended 15 feet in the middle and reborn as a research vessel.

The department would soon cancel most of its research projects and found little use for the now 90-foot boat. It went up for auction in November of 1996.

HSU purchased it a couple of years later for $418,000. Fuller, the current ship's engineer, said most students are unaware of the vessel's history. Today, the vessel is used by a number of organizations including the National Weather Service and even the Navy to research the changing tides of the pacific.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

TL;DR: The Innovate Business Challenge

Posted By on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Anna at her stand in 2014. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Anna at her stand in 2014.

Happy Sunday! Too busy to read all of this week’s story about Humboldt County Office of Education’s Innovate Business Challenge? We get it. Here’s the elevator pitch: Since 2010, local high school students have been competing to win up to $8,000 in cash and prizes for their small business plans. They are mentored along the way by successful local entrepreneurs, who help craft their ideas around costs and marketing before the final five competitors go before a Shark Tank-style panel of judges. Past winning ideas include a pencil eraser that doubles as a stylus, a 3D printing program, cruelty-free veal and a clothing company. Check out the full article here, or just enjoy this bonus interview with one past winner, Ferndale High School graduate Anna Gomes.

North Coast Journal: So, Anna, what are you doing these days?

Anna Gomes: I’m getting adjusted to my new classes, I’m in my third year at U.C. Davis, majoring in agricultural and environmental education.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Kids are More Than Alright

Posted By on Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 2:04 PM

The Humboldt State University Department of Journalism and Mass Communication just found out a story its investigative reporting students authored for the Journal placed in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards for Region 11, meaning it was one of the best pieces of student journalism published in California, Hawaii, Arizona and Nevada last year.

The piece, “Homeless State University,” was the JournaI’s Dec. 9 cover story and the culmination of a semester’s worth of work for department chair and NCJ columnist Marcy Burstiner’s investigative reporting class. It explored how Humboldt’s housing crunch impacts students, leaving some homeless while trying to get their education.

If we do say so ourselves, the piece was fantastic and worthy of some regional — and national — recognition. If you haven’t read it already, we encourage you to go back and read the piece and wish the students well. If they finish first in the April regionals in San Diego, they’ll move on to nationals.

No matter how they finish, we’ll take this opportunity to again thank Burstiner and students Sam Armanino (our current rockstar editorial intern), Alexander Badger, Andrew Butler, Brian Cohen, Jessica Ernst, Sarah Fasi, Jonathan Gomez, Ashley Groze, Caitlyn Kaifer, Jen Kelly, Christian Lara, Roxana Moreno, Geneva Peppars, Vanessa Rodriguez and Esther Trevizo for their outstanding work.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Building a More Inclusive University

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 2:29 PM

  • File
Richard Boone walked back and fourth in front of a group of campus community members who gathered in Humboldt State University’s Goodwin Forum on Thursday. Behind Boone, the university’s dean of natural resources and sciences, was a large projection screen that read, “Campus wide discussions: Inequalities, justice and inclusion.”

Boone, who was recently appointed to his post in July of 2016, led the discussion on creating a more inclusive and safer campus community. All students, staff, faculty and administrators were invited to have a dialogue on how the school can be more inclusive to undocumented students, people of color and the LGBTQ community.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

What to Read on Holocaust Memorial Day

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 4:43 PM

Concentration camp, Munich, Germany. - THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
  • Concentration camp, Munich, Germany.

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, an opportunity for citizens of the world to stop and reflect on what the National Holocaust Museum describes as "the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators." It's a time to remember the devastating consequences of allowing xenophobia, scapegoating, religious, racial and ethnic persecution, homophobia and prejudice against the disabled to take root in government and civil society.

And since the Nazis were so fond of burning books, it's also a good time to pick one up. Our local booksellers and the Humboldt County Library have volunteered their recommendations for learning more about the Holocaust. Read and remember.

From Eureka Books: Chasing Portraits: A Great Granddaughter's Quest for Her Lost Art Legacy by Elizabeth Rynecki ($28). An inspiring story of rigorous research and discovery as Rynecki regains pieces of her family's cultural heritage that were displaced during WWII.

From Tin Can Mailman: Maus by Spiegelman ($8.50). It's a graphic novel story of a cartoonist telling the story of his father who was a Holocaust survivor.

From Booklegger: Night, by Elie Wiesel ($5). An account of the author's time in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration capmps — a must-read from the era, and a beautiful and devastating literary accomplishment.

From Rain All Day Books: Shalom, Salaam, Peace: Reflections on Interfaith Peacemaking by Reverend Allison Stokes ($4). From the jacket: "Her comparisons of the Abrahamic faiths serve to move us from ignorance to understanding and from fear to respect."

From Blake's Books: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman ($15.95). The story of how the keepers at the Warsaw Zoo saved more than 300 people from the Nazis.

From Northtown Books: Not to Hate But to Love, That is What I Am Here For by Heinrich F. Liebrecht  ($19.99). A memoir of a Holocaust survivor's path to reconciliation, translated by Ursula Osborne, a friend of Liebrecht's and an Arcata resident.

And from the Humboldt County Library: Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt with illustrations by Johanna Kang, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti. It tells the story of Helen and her best friend Lydia who are separated due to mass arrests and relocations of France’s Jewish population. It’s an excellent starting point for discussing the Holocaust with younger school-aged children grades 2 through 5.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Communication Failure Leaves School in Lurch Following Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 3:46 PM

A shooting in Southern Humboldt last week has left a school district and the sheriff’s office both looking for better lines of communication.

The shooting occurred in Redway shortly before 2 p.m. on Dec. 13, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene to a report of a gunshot victim lying along Whitmore Avenue (the victim survived). By the time they arrived, the suspects had fled the scene in a gray pickup truck. A search of the area came up empty.

The problem is that Redway Elementary School, just a few blocks away, didn’t receive word of the shooting until students were boarding school buses to head home and alarmed parents were calling the office. The apparent lack of communication was a concern for district parents, some of whom called the school in the ensuing hours to criticize administrators for not putting the campus on lockdown or doing more to protect children.

The issue bubbled up so quickly that Southern Humboldt Unified School District Superintendent Catherine Scott penned a letter the following day to all district parents and guardians, offering a timeline detailing the afternoon from the school’s perspective. The timeline notes that school officials were never contacted by the Sheriff’s Office, despite trying diligently to get more information after learning of the shooting nearby. It would be more than an hour — filled with decisions about whether to allow students to walk home, whether to cancel basketball practice, whether to lockdown the afterschool program and whether to allow junior high and high school students to unload from their buses in Redway — before a district official finally got someone from the Sheriff’s Office on the phone.

Reached a few days after the incident, Scott said she was working on setting up a meeting with the sheriff or the undersheriff to discuss the district’s frustrations. She said the incident is an example of a larger problem but underscores the need for better communication.

“It’s really just a symptom of the inadequate services the sheriff is able to offer Southern Humboldt and that’s an ongoing issue,” she said. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for law enforcement and I’m not trying to criticize them, but I have a responsibility to make sure my schools are safe. So if we need to improve communication, we need to improve communication.”

Scott made clear she wants to hear about any violent incident near one of her campuses that could pose a threat to student safety, and quickly. “I would rather be safe than sorry. Always,” she said.

Reached on Monday, Sheriff Mike Downey agreed that communication could have and should have been better. But Downey said dispatchers did try to call the school office numerous times within 20 or so minutes of the shooting, but repeatedly got a busy signal. Further, he said the fact that deputies were confident the suspects had fled the area in a vehicle meant a more robust school response wasn’t necessary.

“If we feel someone’s in danger, or a school district especially, we’ll go in there and tell them they need to lock down,” he said. “But in this case, based on the information we had, there was no danger to the school at that point.”

Moving forward, Downey said his department we’ll look at putting together a master list of points of contact for each school in Humboldt County so if a critical incident occurs nearby, dispatchers aren’t forced to simply call a school’s main office, which are often understaffed and receive high call volumes at certain times of the day.

See the full text of Scott’s letter by clicking here.
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Saturday, December 17, 2016

UPDATED: One Time at Band Camp

Posted By on Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 2:05 PM

None of this for a while. - FILE
  • FILE
  • None of this for a while.

The Humboldt State Lumberjack's only learned the allegations that led to the band's suspension through a university press release, according to a statement issued Friday.

The Lumberjacks claim university "representatives" have failed to respond to requests from band leadership for details regarding the allegations facing the band, which include boozing it up, graffiti and "inappropriate printed materials and photographs" in the on-campus band room.

"The band is growing increasingly frustrated with the university's lack of official communication," the Lumberjacks say in the statement. See the full release copied below.

Cue a sad trombone sound. The rollicking, helmeted Marching Lumberjacks have been benched. Humboldt State University sent out notice that it's investigating policy violations regarding booze, graffiti and "inappropriate printed materials and photographs" at the band's on-campus digs. For now, the band kids are on suspension. HSU reps had no further comment beyond the statement below.

From Humboldt State University:

Humboldt State University has placed the Marching Lumberjacks Band on suspension while it investigates possible violations of University policies. The investigation may extend well into the spring semester.

During the suspension, the band will not be allowed to represent the University locally or outside the region, and it will not have access to campus services that are available for recognized student organizations.

The suspension follows the discovery in the band’s on-campus space of inappropriate printed materials and photographs, graffiti, open containers of alcohol, and numerous safety and building code violations. The space has been locked and secured, and the University has begun the process of returning personal belongings to club members.

In the California State University system, if student organizations or individual students are found responsible for policy violations, they face disciplinary action ranging from a warning to expulsion. In order to protect the rights and privacy of both students and employees, the University will only be able to provide general information on the investigation.
From the band:

The Marching Lumberjacks are aware of the press release from Humboldt State University
on December 14, 2016, regarding our organization’s suspension.
To date, University representatives have not responded to requests from the band’s student
leadership for details regarding the specifics of the alleged violations.
The band is growing increasingly frustrated with the University’s lack of official

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