Monday, October 3, 2016

Flash Fiction: No, The Title Doesn't Count

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 9:37 AM

The Tooth Ferret. - JOEL MIELKE
  • Joel Mielke
  • The Tooth Ferret.
Dust off those plot twists … the North Coast Journal Flash Fiction Contest is back! Send your original story of 99 words or fewer to our judges for a chance at publication and a prize.

Email your entries to between now and 9 a.m. on Oct. 24. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number on your entry (contact info won’t be printed). Send all the stories you want, but save the poems for another competition, please.

Size up past winners here. And if you’re wondering just how long 99 words is, it’s exactly this long.

For inspirational purposes, find a few past winners copied below:

The 2015 overall winner:

By Lauri Rose, Bridgeville
A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you might take someone else's girlfriend for a secret kiss. Samuel didn't come for that. Samuel came to add another bird to his life list. But, sometimes a morning on the marsh can shift like mud beneath your feet and a man with binoculars might see more than he wants to see. A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you can toss a gun away and it will never be found.
Our fondness for the marsh aside, this one was up to something from the first sentence, then, like that shifting mud, things took a turn. Instead of a trick ending we're left with a little danger. All that with 11 words to spare. This was one of JoAnn Bauer's picks, too. She remarked, "This seemed to me like the beginning paragraph of a great detective story and I would definitely want to read it. It really stimulated my curiosity and imagination about what would happen next."

The 2014 overall winner:

By Peter Mehren, Toronto, Canada
"Let's get one thing straight," she said, as we sat chatting over coffees. "If we ever kiss, which I doubt will happen, but if we ever do, noses to the right."
I looked from her eyes to her nose and back again. "Meaning?"
"Meaning I don't want clumsy, amateurish bumping of noses and foreheads and chins. We're not beginners. If I ever decide you can kiss me, which — "
"I know: you doubt."
"Yes. It won't be a sneak attack, so don't think about doing that. No, just like deciding on which side of the road to drive: noses right."

Another 2014 favorite:

The Tooth Ferret
By Steve Brackenbury, Fortuna
They told him if he put his tooth under the pillow he would find money waiting for him in the morning.
"Dumb ferret," he muttered as he got under the covers; for you see, he had heard it all wrong. "Ferrets ain't got no pockets to keep things in and they're mean and dirty. I hate ferrets."
Midnight came. His eyes were shut but he was wide-awake. The bedroom door slowly opened. He tightened his grip on the handle of the sharp knife he had taken from the kitchen drawer. He was ready for that stupid old ferret.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Sunday Scenes in Sunny Blue Lake

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Allen Mann, of Fieldbrook (second from left), entered his 1960 Chevrolet Impala in the 12th annual Bill Nessler Car Show that followed the Annie & Mary Day parade in Blue Lake on Sunday. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Allen Mann, of Fieldbrook (second from left), entered his 1960 Chevrolet Impala in the 12th annual Bill Nessler Car Show that followed the Annie & Mary Day parade in Blue Lake on Sunday.

Hot rides, tunes and even a wookiee: Blue Lake had it all Sunday. Between the Annie & Mary Day Parade, the 12th annual Bill Nessler Car Show and the Folk Life Festival, there were plenty of sites. Luckily, local photographer Mark Larson was there to capture some of the fun. Check out his slideshow below.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Want to Win a Night at the Benbow Inn (Plus Wine and Chocolate)?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 2:53 PM

You could be here. - FILE
  • File
  • You could be here.
Did you blow Valentine’s Day? Are you sitting in your cubicle right now wondering why that chocolate rose and repurposed post card didn’t do the trick? Or maybe you’re at your desk, contemplating a lifetime of loneliness because you showed your partner the door after he/she showed up with a heart shaped pizza, a bottle of André and a VHS copy of Point Break? No matter the depths of your despair, we’re here to help you turn those wrongs into a right.

Remember the photo contest we announced last week, the quest for the perfect shot to capture winter in Humboldt County? Well, we’re announcing today that the winner of said contest — whoever shoots the majestic photo ultimately selected by Journal staff as the best of the bunch — will receive a night’s stay at the historic Benbow Inn, a bottle of vino and some Dick Taylor chocolate on us. That ought to be enough to get you back on some solid footing with your partner or to get you on the good foot with someone new. Or, at the very least, it seems like a pretty damn classy way to be miserable.

If you need to brush up on the entry guidelines, check out our original post here. Good luck.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Photo Contest!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 1:02 PM

  • Grant Scott-Goforth

It’s been a wet winter, and I don’t think we’re alone in saying we’d kind of forgotten what that felt like. But now that back-to-back months of double digit rainfall totals have jolted us back into winter life in Humboldt, we’d like to preserve what that looks like. You know, in case it doesn’t come back for a while. That’s where you come in. We’d like to see your best photos from this winter, which started Dec. 21.

They can be drippy, flooded landscapes or snow-kissed nature shots. But what we’d really like to see is the slice of life stuff, both the fun and the mundane. That means the puddle splashing, snow sledding and fire warming, right along with the flooded cars, sock-drenching walks and line of umbrellas at the school bus stop. Get us your best photos by midnight on Feb. 21 to be entered in the contest, which will see the top photo (as selected by Journal staff) nab a prize and get published in an upcoming issue. Photos should be taken during this winter — no flashbacks to that day it snowed in Fortuna in 2013. No Photoshop and no filters; they need to be the real deal. Entries can be emailed to

Now get to shootin’. And if you need rain for a little inspiration, fret not, there’s some in the forecast for Friday. 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Let's Parklet!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Jessica Cenotti sips on a coffee in the parklet outside Ramone's on a rare sunny February afternoon. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Jessica Cenotti sips on a coffee in the parklet outside Ramone's on a rare sunny February afternoon.
Old Town Eureka's first parklet is prime for the sitting — well, uh, after this afternoon's rains stop. After a slower-than-expected permitting process and rain-delayed construction, the one-parking-spot space in front of Ramone's  is ready for beverage sipping and general relaxation. Enjoy accordingly. 

Continue reading »

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Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Quotables

Posted By on Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 8:15 AM

You tell 'em.
  • You tell 'em.
Humboldt County is chock full of colorful folks saying poignant, intelligent, crazy, insightful and just plain hilarious things. With the new year upon us, we take a look back at some of our favorite quotes from 2015. And, in case you missed it, check out our Top 10 stories of 2015 for a rundown of the year's biggest stories.

“I’m not too proud to say, ‘I dug this fine black dress shirt out of a Dumpster.’”
— Former Arcata Mayor Bob Ornelas talking about his thrift wardrobe.

“It is, basically, a crap storm out there. … I think were going to be sitting hear a year from now going, ‘Jesus, what happened?’ And it’s going to be terrible.”
— Humboldt County First District Supervisor Rex Bohn talking in January about the impacts of Proposition 47.

“We’re arresting the same guys for public intoxication over and over again, and there’s nothing there for them. They need to go to a facility. They don’t need to go to a jail, but that’s what we have.”
— Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman.

“There was just a difference of opinion that caused some discomfort on that board.”
— Former Humboldt County Harbor Commissioner Aaron Newman, explaining his decision to resign from the Northcoast Regional Land Trust Board of Directors.

“I would have voted to remove him.”
— Clif Clendenen, noting that it was the fact that the board had been readying to vote to remove Newman from office that prompted the commissioner’s resignation, which came a few months after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor poaching charges.

“To say this crime is senseless is an understatement.”
— A probation report for Vincent Sanchez, who pleaded guilty to murdering his half-brother, Lance Delbert Henry, and Richard “Rick” Storre on March 24, 2014. A motive for the killings was never determined.

“The last thing people want is to get semen on their very expensive fur suit.”
— Kylani, explaining one of the reasons she doesn’t connect sexuality with being a furry.

“The legal experience did cost me quite a bit and I would like to pay off my bills. So if you have a favorite photo, please order one from me! Many thanks to you all for the support I received while I was on ‘sabbatical.'"
— Ron LeValley, the biologist who pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe, in an email to supporters after serving nine and a half months in a federal prison.

“We are equals in society and we ask to be treated as such.”
— Luke Bruner, of California Cannabis Voice Humboldt, addressing the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on behalf of the country’s marijuana growers.

“My reputation is golden. I’m the guy who brings in the fucking loot.”
— Kevin Jodrey, owner of Wonderland Nursery, explaining how he came to be involved in efforts to craft a local land use ordinance regulating marijuana cultivation.

"When presented with a steaming heap of bullshit, I'm the most likely guy in the room to say, 'Hey, this is a steaming heap of bullshit.’”
— Friends of the Eel River Director Scott Greacen explaining why he wasn’t invited to participate in California Cannabis Voice Humboldt’s workshops to help create marijuana cultivation ordinance.

“It’s not like we like living down here — I hate it.”
— Trish, who declined to give her last name, on living in the PalCo Marsh behind the Bayshore Mall.

“You don’t fall into a hole unless you’ve done something wrong.”
— Attorney Patrik Griego, explaining the lawsuit that led to his client, Kathy Anderson, receiving a $400,000 settlement from the city of Eureka.

“Innocent people don’t want attorneys.”
— Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Wayne Hanson to murder suspect Robert Lee, whose subsequent confession was ruled inadmissible by a federal judge, leading to a plea deal that saw Lee sentenced to seven years after initially facing life in prison.

“Where are you going to get your volunteers if all your folks are retirees? It’s hard to be picky but you have to be able to climb a ladder.”
— Trinidad Volunteer Fire Chief Tom Marquette on the challenges of staffing his department.

“The defendant hired illegal immigrants to work on his grow in the belief that they were expendable, not in a position to complain and that they might not be missed if they disappeared forever into the woods of Humboldt County.”
— The U.S. Attorney’s Office in a pre-sentencing memorandum for Mikal Wilde, who’s currently serving a life sentence for murder and attempted murder.

“We’re committed to ending homelessness in Eureka. It’s not an easy task.”
— Eureka Community Development Director Rob Holmlund.

“You can’t blame him for coming in [Ramone’s], it smells so good in there.”
— Eureka Police Animal Control Officer Rob Patton on the raccoon found under a Ramone’s pastry counter in June.

“They’re essentially saying, ‘Give us what we want, or we’ll take our bat and ball and go home.”
— Suzi Fregeau, program manager and long-term care ombudsman at the Area 1 Agency on Aging, about local skilled nursing facilities’ refusal to take new patients due to a Medi-Cal reimbursement dispute.

“I’m desperate.”
— Geoff Spenceley, 93, on trying to get his wife, Queenie, into one of the facilities.

"You have nothing to lose but your chains and your shame."
— Luke Bruner, inviting marijuana growers into the open as CCVH released its draft medical marijuana ordinance.

“Man, I'm never trusting anyone again.”
— Yurok Tribal Councilperson Mindy Natt after the revelation that a 70-year-old Georgian known as “Duke” had allegedly swindled the tribe out of $250,000.

“On the one hand, Mr. Stonebarger may get out of custody immediately. On the other hand, he may never get out of custody for the rest of his life … I am aware of the seriousness of this matter and the seriousness of this ruling. But I have to follow the law, as I expect everyone else to.”
— Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna, ordering a man prosecutors believed to be a sexually violent predator be released from custody due to a prosecutor’s paperwork error.

“I don’t want to say the roads are dangerous. But I think some of the people driving them are.”
— Eureka Police Officer Gary Whitmer, explaining Humboldt County’s high vehicle fatality rates.

“Old hippies are not our problem. Old hippies are some of the best land stewards.”
— Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman at a September environmental law conference, discussing his concerns about the ecological damage from marijuana growers. He went on, “I’ve even said rich white guys are as bad as the cartel members.”

“It’s across the board. It doesn’t matter which race, religion, way of life. Humboldt County is being overrun with illicit drugs, and it’s getting worse in all facets.”
— Humboldt County Chief Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart on the addictions that are killing off Humboldt residents.

“The reality is, that smell is also economic development.”
— Eureka Main Street Director Charlotte McDonald, discussing a putrid fish odor that permeated Old Town for stretches over the summer.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
— California Gov. Jerry Brown on why he signed the state’s first right-to-die bill, allowing terminally ill patients the right to terminate their own life.

“Fortunately, he’d been duck hunting, so he chased [the burglar] down the street and fired a round at him. And bully for him.”
— Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, discussing a rash of firearm thefts locally.

“People have a right to bear arms but that’s just the point — to bear arms. Not to leave them lying around unprotected. It has nothing to do with, ‘When someone goes to bed at night, can they have a gun on their nightstand?’ Of course they can. This is America."
— Mills, outlining his proposed ordinance that would require business and home owners to lock up firearms when they weren’t on the premises. Mills later shelved his proposal in the face of a pro-gun backlash.

“Someone in the crowd stated, ‘It’s urine.’ But I could tell that it wasn’t as some got in my eyes and there was no stinging or odor.”
— Former Eureka Police Chief Murl Harpham in a report detailing a 2013 arrest.

"It's a great foundation. But foundations can be used to build a happy home or a prison." Mendocino medical marijuana farmer Casey O'Neill on new state medical marijuana regulations.

"At least since 2008, we've been freakin' kicking ourselves in the freakin' lower parts."
— Former district attorney Paul Gallegos on law enforcement activities that dissuaded medical marijuana businesses from coming into compliance.

“Forgive us our trespasses; here are our press passes.”
— Late Humboldt State University professor Maclyn McClary, who died in October at the age of 78, in a frequent refrain to students.

“Jesus that was a lot of reading, I’ll tell you.” 
— An unidentified Humboldt County planning commissioner, moments before the video feed of the commission's first meeting to discuss a marijuana land use ordinance went off.

“I don’t think it’s an emergency, but I think I just saw the panda that everyone’s looking for.”
— Loretta Hancock, relaying what she told a police dispatcher after stumbling upon Masala, the Sequoia Park Zoo’s missing red panda.

“It’s kind of like if my kids were trying to share candy and I yelled at them and told them sharing isn’t allowed and one of them has to beat up the other and take all the candy — that’s kind of what I feel Congress has done to us.”
— Karuk Tribe Natural Resources Policy Advocate Craig Tucker on Congress’ failure to pass legislation to enact the landmark Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, leading to its dissolution.

"Please have hot coffee and a unicorn available at load in. Immediately following load in the unicorn is to be slaughtered and cooked to perfection. This will serve as our sound check snack. Please make sure the unicorn is cage free and grass fed. A horse with a party hat on will not be accepted as a substitute.”
— The Devil Makes Three’s contract rider for a show at HSU’s Center Arts.
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas: Here are the Center Arts Riders from the Last Two Seasons

Posted By on Fri, Dec 25, 2015 at 11:21 AM

  • Illustration by Sharon Ruchte
In this week's cover story, we read through nearly 100 contracts between Center Arts, which brings big-name music, dance and theater acts every year, and the performers who grace HSU stages. 

Those contracts contain the riders — documents that detail an artist's technical and "hospitality" needs, in other words the food, drinks and comforts they request while on tour. There are some gems in there, ranging from cringe-worthy to charming, and we urge you to go look at our favorites. 

But if you share with Journal staff an undying curiosity, we've posted all 96 riders that Center Arts released per our public records request. Click on the names below to view them in PDF format. Have at it, and let us know what we missed in the comments section. 

Continue reading »

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Make Money off Your Problems

Posted By on Sat, Dec 5, 2015 at 2:31 PM

Did your booboo leave you and take the dehumidifier you went 50-50 on? Want to get your deposit back from Floyd Squires? Fugly haircut got you down? Take your problems to Southern California, to court and to the bank.

Okay, it's not going to be an actual court, with an actual judge. It's going to be a TV courtroom with an as-yet-to-be-named celebrity judge, and the USA network has put the call out to humble Humboldt county residents to come down and squabble on daytime TV.

Here's the blurb they sent us:

From the Executive Producer of WIPEOUT comes a new court television show like you've never seen before! Because in our courtroom, you argue your case to a . . . A CELEBRITY JUDGE! 

Bringing your problems to a CELEBRITY JUDGE? Sounds great! And it gets better! They will fly you down to Los Angeles (thus paving the way for a future case against the perenially-delayed airlines at the California Redwood Coast - Humboldt County Airport), put you up for the night, pay out if you win the case, pay out if you lose the case, and pay you a "substantial" amount as an appearance fee.

According to casting assistant Tashina Diaz, almost any kind of "lighthearted dispute" will be considered for the show, even someone not paying for dinner like they said they would. All civil claims below $5,000 will be considered. 

The downsides? Well, there's that whole not actually being a legal court thing, so any judgement made on television won't hold up for future litigation. Also, television tends to bring out the stupid in people, so maybe hide this announcement from your more naive friends/roommates/college students. 

Diaz refused to give us any hints as to who the CELEBRITY JUDGE might be, but fingers crossed for Guy Fieri making "This is Triple-D de jure!" his new catchphrase.

If you're interested, Diaz can be reached at
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Humboldt Revs up the Style

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 11:58 AM

Looking dapper, very dapper. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Looking dapper, very dapper.
If you think Humboldt’s all Carhartt and hoodies, and bikers are all leather, all the time, well, you should have caught the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Sunday. If you had seen the dozens of dapper folk on motorcycles weaving their way through Eureka, the Samoa Peninsula and out to Blue Lake, you’d know Humboldt’s got cravats and pin stripes to spare and that bikers can rock a vest and matching pocket hanky with the best of them.

The ride is a global affair, with more than 20,000 people participating in 257 cities spread across 58 countries last year to raise awareness and help fund a cure for prostate cancer. In 2014, the event raised more than $1.5 million.

The local jaunt was the brain child of Will Bagnall, whose father was recently diagnosed with the disease, and Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe owner Jeff Hesseltine. More than 39 bikers participated in the inaugural ride, raising more than $6,000 in the process. Local photographer Mark McKenna dappered up and tagged along for the cause, sharing the following photos.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Humboldt's Got Style

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 2:45 PM

Our county’s residents boast a variety of styles, but when it comes to looking your Humboldt-est, we don’t think anyone does it better than Eureka's Traci and Barney Barnwell, as photographed by Jay Cowden. This year, they put on their Fourth of July best and enlisted their chicken friend Buffy the Bug Slayer to pose with them. Good job Traci and Barney (and Buffy) — you make Humboldt look good!

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