Friday, May 16, 2008

Humboldt Auction Yard, Fortuna

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2008 at 1:08 PM

From his rustic lectern, Lee Mora, auctioneer and owner of the Humboldt Auction Yard, presides over his cowboy-hat-and-cowboy-boot-clad flock of local ranchers. Ascending prices cascade off his tongue. Cows low and spin in the central corral. The cool air in the windowless interior of the auction yard is a fragrant mix of cow shit and mulch, with sweet undertones of grain feed.

This past Wednesday afternoon, cow and calf pairs were selling for about $1000. Mora was too busy to talk on auction day (there's one auction a week, every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.), but I managed to reach him by phone this morning at 7:30 -- the only time (I was told when I called the auction yard yesterday) he had a moment to spare.

"There is a dramatic change going on in the market that I’ve never seen before," Mora told me. People in the business are asking themselves whether cows are a viable option anymore due to the rising cost of corn -- caused largely by a misguided ethanol boom in the United States -- and diesel fuel, which is hovering around $5 per galon. The traditional market for the past 25 years, Mora said, has been for California calves going to Midwest feedlots. With the feed and fuel prices so high, cattle prices are being pushed down and the producers -- local cattlemen -- are being hit hard.

Mora's is the only livestock auction on the North Coast, and it's been in operation since 1948. His family purchased it 1968, and Mora started working there in the late '70s. Perhaps that explains Mora's convivial style and the rapport he obviously has with the buyers in the stands.

"Thank you guys," he said, when a group of cows and calves left the small corral. "We know the feed's tough." Mora understands that without buyers he'd be out of a job, but more importantly, it's about a way of life that's being threatened. "We were very appreciative of the buyers that sat in and participated in our sale," he told me Friday. Let's hope they keep coming back.

(Other auction yards around the country have shut down recently: Read this April article from the New York Times and this May piece from Desert News.)

Listen to Mora in action and see more pictures from Wednesday's auction here.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Aiy-yu-kwee Mobile Home Park Update

Posted By on Tue, May 13, 2008 at 11:07 AM

In January the Journal wrote about the residents of the Aiy-yu-kwee Mobile Home Park in Blue Lake who were being evicted from their homes. One of those residents, Hellen Studdert, has written an update about the situation.

Well, it looks like it's too late to save our homes, but thanks to the community for their donations. They have helped some of us who need it to move. I received help to put my things in storage and for gas to move. I had a meeting with Arla and she told me, if I could be out of my trailer before April 30, have my storage shed gone by May 15th, and my trailer put into someone else's name, she would give me $5000. She would give me some pallets to put in my yard to put things on so I could have the yard sale the first weekend of May. So I gave my 36-year old trailer to some folks from Weichipec and moved my things into storage. By the way, my trailer, Space #17, was appraised for $19,500. Now I'm living with my daughter. Yes, I did get $5000, and my shed will be gone before May 15th.

Yes, Mandi [Lewis, author of April 26th "My Word" column in the Times-Standard ], we did retain an attorney to find out what we could do and what our rights could be, and to at least get what our homes would be worth. California trailer park laws say we should have gotten a year's notice the park was closing and that we would have gotten money for our homes and relocations funds. That didn't happen.

The fund-raiser June 7th is to help us relocate--Bob and I to Willow Creek when school is out. We still have a granddaughter that lives with us.

#14, the first trailer that was to leave the park, was Mitchell's. They were out one day, and the next day the Rancheria moved Earl into it, because his trailer was being moved out. I really don't think Earl still understands what is happening. He will get one of the four new trailers that are being put on the Rancheria. I understand they will be one-bedrooms with a year lease. So will three other older men, #18 and #7, but they still have to sell their trailers. I'm not sure who the fourth man is.

#12 trailer left-Barbara and Oscar have moved to Willow Creek, as did Linda.
The #6 people have moved to Humboldt Hill but still haven't sold their trailer. I'm not sure what #10 trailer is going to do-moving into a family home I think. Another lady and her family are moving to Manila. The family that lives in the house hasn't really talked to us so I'm not sure what they have to do. #15 is Joe, and he can't find a place to go and has no money.

#7 trailer, Mike and Bonnie Sue George, still haven't found anyone to buy their trailer and no place to go. Bea and Sid Nix are moving their trailer. I'm not sure where yet. Mr. Mayo will be moving his trailer soon and putting it in storage so he doesn't lose it. It's a nice double wide.

The # 3 people are still looking for a place before school starts and, yes, they would like to stay in Blue Lake where their two children go, and no, no one to buy their trailer as yet, a nice 4 bedroom.

#16, Sid, is trying to get a place to move to, maybe a senior park where he won't have to move again. He has been real sick over all this having to move. He's been here 27 years. Most all of us have been here in the park over 20 years.

Sorry, Mandi, but there are more than four people in this mess. When the Rancheria or Arla Ramsey chose to close this trailer park, none of us had anywhere to go and some still don't. Most of us have no money to move with. Everyone in the park is taking a big loss on our homes. I know I have, and the sad thing is we still don't know why.

By the way, Mandi, do you and your family have to move? And if you do, do you know where?

June 7th, 2008, from Noon to 7 PM, we will have a party at Perigot Park in Blue Lake. A fund raiser, a benefit to help all of us. My personal friends, Glen and Wanda Victors of the Roadmasters have said they will play for us to help. I've know Glen and Wanda since before they were the Roadmasters, so we go way back. I'm just so glad they can help us. And to everyone else that has been willing to help, from all our family and our community and, yes, from Rancheria tribal members as well, thank you.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Bomb Threats at HSU

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Finals week ...

Art Building CLOSED
Monday, May 12, 2008 09:26 a.m.

The Art Building area of campus has been CLOSED to all persons until further notice.

The University Police Department is investigating a second bomb threat on campus. The Science B Complex area has also received a threat. The University has closed both areas as a precaution.

Persons in the area of the campus should be cautious of anyone or anything suspicious. Anyone in the area should evacuate if it appears safe to do so.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Bomb Technicians are currently assisting in the investigation.

Science B Complex Area of Campus has been evacuated for the time being.

More information will be posted on and on 826-INFO as it becomes available.

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Letter from Johanna Rodoni

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2008 at 10:39 AM

Dear Editor,

I wish to thank everyone for the overwhelming support my family and I have received these past few weeks over the sudden and tragic loss of my husband Roger. The amount of love and prayers sent our way has been a comfort to us all.

Losing Roger does not mean we have to lose the ideals and values Roger stood for – honesty, integrity, a champion for the rights of his constituency and a common sense approach to government. Even though I still grieve, I am writing this letter to you today to urge you to continue his vision by voting for Roger in the June 3rd election.

As you probably know by now I’ve been appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to finish out Roger’s term. I am honored to be in the position to take up where Roger left off in his role of being a strong "straight forward" voice on the Board of Supervisors and to carry on his vision in honor of his memory. Roger and I were partners in his political career. Along with being his advisor and confidant, I shared his goals and aspirations. Our 30 year partnership will make my transition from Roger’s partner to Roger’s replacement on the Board of Supervisors a seamless one.

Roger is still a candidate on the June 3rd ballot and I want to encourage voters to Vote for Roger to ensure his vision for the future of Humboldt County.


Johanna Rodoni

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Changing Technology and the Election

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2008 at 2:07 PM

Kimberlie Davis, a senior at McKinleyville High School, won the Redwood Technology Consortium’s Don Wolski Memorial Scholarship for this essay. She will receive her $1,500 award tonight (May 8, 5:30 p.m.) at the consortium's meeting at the Humboldt Area Foundation. She plans to attend Humboldt State University.

Changing Technology and the Election

YouTube. MySpace. Facebook. Internet fundraising. What do these all have in common? These four technologies have had a huge effect on the 2008 presidential election, and will continue to have an effect on future elections. From giving the people a voice to making it easier for people to contribute, these technologies have allowed the American people to be directly involved in the political process.

For the first time, in the 2008 presidential election, YouTube was used for the presidential debates. Americans of all ages recorded videos of themselves asking a question, and if chosen, the video would then be played at the debates and the presidential candidates would answer the question.

Jeff Jarvis on stated that "The YouTube debates could fundamentally change the dynamics of politics in America, giving a voice to the people, letting us be heard by the powerful and the public, enabling us to coalesce around our interests and needs, and even teaching reporters who are supposed to ask questions in our stead how they should really do it."

As Jarvis stated, the YouTube debates changed the political process. YouTube allowed the American people to be heard, the questions the people wanted asked were answered, and the people decided what issues were important. The reporters were no longer the ones deciding what issues were important or what questions should be asked, the people were. In 2008, YouTube gave the American people a voice.

Like YouTube, blogs have given the American people a voice. Thousands of blogs all over the Internet share the American people’s opinion of each candidate. Sometimes supporting, other times putting down a candidate, the American people read these blogs and start shaping their own opinions of each candidate. Blogs have also provided a new way for people to get information on the issues in the campaign. As the people read the blogs, they are reading other’s opinion on the issues, and use the information they read to shape their own opinions on the issues.

In the past few years, social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook have become increasingly popular. Micah Sifry, in an interview with, stated that people with a Myspace or a Facebook page "…can demand that their candidates come to their town using Eventful, an online events planner. Or they can take a video camera out and capture a candidate in some real-live human interaction that sheds more light on whether that candidate is fit to be president."

The Presidential candidates each have their own MySpace and Facebook pages, and thousands of voters can add their favorite candidate as a friend and post videos and information on the candidates on their own pages. The candidates can advertise themselves on their MySpace and Facebook pages, reaching the younger generation.

In the 2008 presidential election, the Internet has been a huge source of fundraising for the candidates. As the election day draws near, the candidates need more money for advertising and other expenses. Thousands have donated to their favorite candidate over the Internet. Candidates have started using websites to give the voters information on their views, allow voters to check campaign schedules, download podcasts, and donate money. The Internet has only been around for a few years and is only starting to be used as a tool in elections but will continue to be used in future elections.

All of these new technologies have given the Presidential candidates a new playing field and a new way to reach people. They no longer are just seen speaking or shaking a few hands on TV, or heard speaking over the radio. The American people no longer have to go through reporters to get information on the candidates, but can go straight to them. Whether it is adding them as a friend on a social network or personally asking them a question through YouTube, these new technologies have changed America’s political process by giving the American people more access to the information they want and more of a voice in the election.

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Supe Candies on KHUM starting next week

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2008 at 12:30 PM

This just in from the KHUM studios:

KHUM 104.3/104.7 FM's morning personality Cliff Berkowitz is interviewing district supervisor candidates throughout the month of May. The interview style will not be a debate, but a one on one conversation between each candidate and Berkowitz. "Lawn signs and quick sound bites aren't enough to really get to know the candidates," Berkowitz said. "When you sit down one-on one-with all the candidates, you really get to know who they are and what they stand for."

The first interview takes place Monday, May 12 at 8:30 a.m. with Third District candidate Brian Bryan Plumley, followed by John Vevoda, Tuesday, May 13 at 7:30 a.m., Jimmy Smith, Wednesday, May 14 at 8:30 a.m., Mark Lovelace, Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 a.m. followed by Paul Pitino at 8:30, Clif Clendenen, Monday, May 19 at 8:30 a.m. and Estelle Fennell, Wednesday, May 21 at 8:30 a.m.

Each candidate will have the opportunity to talk about what they hope to accomplish as district supervisor. Cliff wants to educate the public to enable them to select the candidate they feel is best."These aren't debates ― just a chance to see what's important to each of the candidates, why they're running and how they'll implement their ideas," Berkowitz said. Listeners can also hear the candidate interviews via KHUM's webstream and archives at

Expect at least some talk about trails, one of Cliff's favorite topics.

(Note: Links are included above for candidate websites, but we could not find one for John Vevoda. Does he have an official campaign webpage?)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Schwarzenegger Appoints Johanna Rodoni

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2008 at 6:13 PM

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Johanna Rodoni to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, representing District II.

"Johanna is deeply rooted in Humboldt County and has been an active member of the local community for years," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "She is a dedicated public servant and I am confident that she will continue to build on the extraordinary contributions made by her late husband, former Supervisor Roger Rodoni."

Read on ...

Since 2003, Rodoni has served as executive director of The Buckeye Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving the ecologic and economic sustainability of natural resources in the North Coast Region of California. Additionally, she has co-owned and managed a family-owned cattle ranch, Rodoni Ranch, since 1980.

Rodoni currently is a member of the Humboldt County Fair Board of Directors, California Cattlemen’s Association, Humboldt County CattleWomen’s Association, Humboldt County Farm Bureau and The Redcrest Grange. In 1996, she joined the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of directors from 2004 to 2007. From 1998 to 2006, Rodoni served as chair for the Humboldt County Fish and Game Advisory Commission and, from 1991 to 1993, served as president for the Humboldt County CattleWomen’s Association.

"I am honored to be in a position to take up where Roger left off," said Johanna Rodoni. "I will use my years of service within the community to address important issues facing Humboldt County and I look forward to serving with the same honest character as my husband."

Rodoni, 59, of Scotia, was awarded Humboldt County Cattlewoman of the Year in 1993. Additionally, she and her late husband Roger Rodoni received a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for outstanding contributions to the nation’s fish and wildlife resources in 2007. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $69,665. Rodoni is a Republican.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is the elected body representing the people of Humboldt County. There are five districts that elect the five-person board of supervisors. District II represents the cities of Fortuna and Rio Dell as well as the unincorporated areas of Garberville, Phillipsville and Miranda.

Pursuant to California Government Code § 25060, the Governor has the appointing authority to fill a vacancy on a county board of supervisors until the next general election cycle. The appointee of the Governor must be an elector of the district which he/she will represent for 30 days immediately preceding the appointment and reside in the district during his/her incumbency. The appointee will hold office until the election and qualification of a successor with such election to be held at the next general election unless the term would expire in January following such general election. When a vacancy continues from the failure of the person elected to succeed the appointee to qualify for office, the Governor’s appointee holds for the unexpired term.

The District II seat of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors currently has a vacancy due to the passing of Supervisor Roger Rodoni on April 24, 2008.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Simmons Out at Eureka Reporter

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Eureka Reporter publisher Judi Pollace confirmed this afternoon that Managing Editor Glenn Franco Simmons resigned from the paper today. Pollace said that the resignation was for personal reasons, and declined to elaborate.

"We wish him all the luck in the world," Pollace said.

Pollace said that she was in the process of writing an ad to seek a replacement for Simmons when the Journal called.

Simmons had helmed the paper, owned by Eureka businessman Rob Arkley, since it was founded as an Internet-only publication in the summer of 2003.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Harvard wants Humboldt redwoods (update)

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 7:14 PM

from the AP wire service via Forbes online:

Harvard endowment wants to take over bankrupt Pacific Lumber

Harvard University's endowment said Thursday it's interested in buying more than 200,000 acres of timberlands in California as part of a plan to take over logging company Pacific Lumber Co. and bring it out of bankruptcy.

An attorney for the university endowment, the country's largest, said it's ready to offer a bankruptcy plan for Pacific Lumber. He said the offer would top the price offered by hedge fund Marathon Asset Management, although the plan would otherwise be similar to Marathon's.

"Harvard is a serious institution. It has $5 billion invested in forestry right now," Harvard lawyer Steven Hoort told Judge Richard Schmidt of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The rest of the story is here>>>

thanks to Greg King of the NEC for the tip...

A quick thought, isn't it kind of late for them to be jumping into the game? But, I guess being from Harvard and all they must know that sort of thing.


As suggested by an anonymous commenter, we looked at reporter Mike Geniella's take on the story in the Press Demo: a surprise move Thursday morning, attorneys for holders of the $714 million bonded indebtedness announced that legendary California timberman Archie "Red" Emmerson may join with Texas banker Andrew Beal and Harvard’s endowment fund to make an even higher offer.

As envisioned under that plan Emmerson’s Sierra Pacific Industries, California’s single largest landowner, would take over the Scotia mill complex operation in partnership with Harvard and Beal. Beal has said he’s willing to put up $603 million cash for Pacific Lumber’s assets.

There's no mention of Rob Arkley, (as suggested by the anon), but Geniella does quote Forbes (not from the story above) on the billionaire status of Emmerson and Beal:
Forbes says Red Emmerson, a Humboldt County native who still wears blue jeans and drives a Chevy pick-up, is worth slightly more: $1.5 billion [Forbes actually says $2.1 billion]. Emmerson’s family owned Sierra Pacific is believed to be the nation’s third largest private landowner, with 1.8 million acres of timberlands.

Dallas banker Beal’s worth also is an estimated $1.5 billion. And in Texas, Beal’s passion for poker is widely known. He’s sat down to some of the highest-stakes private games ever played, according to the 2005 book The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King

Over at the Community Forest Team blog, David Simpson has touched on Beal's poker style strategy, but he has not yet discussed the Harvard/Emmerson entry into what David calls The Beal Deal.

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Oops: Local Power Plant Belches Black Smoke

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 3:15 PM

A Loleta resident called the Journal today to tell us she had seen black smoke "belching" from the stacks of the PG&E power plant early yesterday afternoon. About an hour later she called the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District to file a complaint -- the NCUAQMD told her they weren't aware of a recent emission, so they sent a field officer to the power plant to check things out.

It turns out that PG&E was testing their backup fuel for Units I and II. Normally the power plant runs off of natural gas, but in the case of a gas shortage the plant is capable of running off of fuel oil. Periodically they test that capability.

PG&E spokesperson Jana Morris explained that the opacity test, designed to check for particulate in the plant's backup oil, is routine and required by the air quality board. The test began on Tuesday with Unit I. What happened yesterday was an "operation error," Morris said, a valve was out of position in Unit II. There were two emissions of black smoke from the plant, according to Morris -- one in the early morning and one in the afternoon. The second occurred when tuning was taking place on the out-of-position valve, she said.

Lloyd Green, a field officer with the NCUAQMD, said that the air quality management district was aware of both emissions. The first occurred at 6:19 a.m. and lasted three minutes. The second started at 12:19 and lasted two minutes. According to Green PG&E is allowed up to three minutes of similar emission every hour, but the black smoke that could be seen yesterday was not a normal occurrence. "It threw a bit more particulate out there than was normal," Green said, "but for the short term I wouldn’t be worrying about it."

Image from . (It's not the Eureka plant.)

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