Thursday, December 31, 2009

Man From Eureka Standoff Identified

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 3:21 PM

Greg Hawkins The man who engaged in a 12-hour standoff with law enforcement last night before shooting and killing himself this morning has been identified as Greg Allen Hawkins, 48, of Peoria, Ariz. The standoff took place at Hawkins' mother's home on the 1800 block of Mesa Ave., located on the hill above the Tip Top Club south of Eureka.

Hawkins' mother escaped from the home shortly after the standoff began. An ailing man was later rescued from the home by law enforcement, according to a release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office.

Hawkins had been missing for two weeks and was considered a "person of interest" in the Dec. 21 murder of Cynthia Langrall in Glendale, Ariz. Hawkins' roommate, 55-year-old James Keefer, has been missing since Dec. 13. Keefer's car, a white 2005 Chrysler Sebring, was found with Hawkins at the scene of the standoff.

Hawkins was reportedly in communication with law enforcement negotiators throughout the night and into the morning. He shot himself around 9:20 a.m., according to the release. Detectives with the Glendale Police Department are scheduled to travel to Humboldt County today to continue their investigation.

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Grand Theft Dog

Posted By on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 at 10:46 AM

Missing Mastiffs A Humboldt County man has spent the holidays in and around Prescott, Ariz., desperately searching for his beloved Mastiffs, Brandy and Max, who were stolen from his property by a nefarious grifter, according to this story in The Daily Courier .

William "Scooter" Reed and his partner, Robin Moberg, own a non-profit alpaca farm in Loleta -- called "Eel River Ranch" -- where mentally and physically challenged kids can visit, according to their Web site .

Reed told the Ariz. paper that he allowed a woman named Shelby Allen to stay in an RV on his property after she claimed to be "fearful of someone." She apparently thanked him by absconding with his beautiful beasts in her white Ford F-350.

Allen was caught and thrown into the Camp Verde jail on Dec. 26, thanks to a warrant issued by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department, the story says. But her boyfriend reportedly still has the dogs.

Reed is quoted as saying, "I'm a big, tough guy, and here I can't even talk about it without crying."

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Movie Theater King Speaketh

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2009 at 2:49 PM


If you're gonna bitch about the state of our local theaters -- the pre-movie commercials, the dearth of foreign and indie fare, the expensive concessions... take your pick -- at least be polite. Otherwise your complaints may end up soaking in high-fructose sludge at the bottom of a theater trash can.

"We don't mind constructive criticism," says John Schweiger, owner/chairman/CEO of Ashland, Ore.-based Coming Attractions Theatres , "but we do mind the use of derogatory words." Specifically, he says, the company has received a number of comments from angry patrons of Arcata's historic Minor Theatre. Which is fine, he says. "But we tend to ignore them when they use four-letter words. It's not a lot of people, but they're very, very vocal. And we're getting tired of it."


With The Movies at the Bayshore Mall set to close forever this Thursday night, Schweiger talked to the Journal about the state of the movie industry (pretty darn good), plans for the Minor (encouraging) and the reasoning behind those five-dollar popcorn buckets and pre-film commercials. Excerpts below.

NCJ: Why close The Movies?

Schweiger: Basically, the theater is just not needed. [Closing it] is reducing our overhead. We spent over $2 million expanding the Broadway. It's a state-of-the-art facility that is overwhelmingly enjoyed by people. The mall theater is basically obsolete.

NCJ: So it's not indicative of any larger problems in the movie industry?

Schweiger: The film industry at large is having a record year. We've exceeded $10 billion in sales. Our [Coming Attraction's] business is up about 10 percent, and attendance is up six to eight percent, depending on the location. We're getting the bugs out of our system to better serve Humboldt County. We'll be installing a second 3-D projector at the Broadway and one in McKinleyville. We've operated down there for a couple of years now, and we're learning more and more.

NCJ: It seems like the Minor doesn't show as many independent or foreign movies as it used to. Is that just the nature of the business now?

Schweiger: Absolutely not. [Here's where he addressed Arcata's vocal citizenry.] We are aware that that theater specializes in art and foreign films. But, number one, you can't show them if there are none available. Supply is up and down. Those smaller films are distributed by smaller companies, and we never really know when they're coming in. Number two, we have three screens in there. Sometimes we wrestle with, do we get another [print of] Avatar ? We're trying to get away from that [and] turn the Minor into a true art theater, with foreign, documentaries and independent films.

NCJ: Really? That's exciting.

Schweiger: Yes, that is our plan.

NCJ: What about those commercials before the movies?

Schweiger: It is very, very clear that the whole world is changing as far as how information is being disseminated out there. Newspapers are going to the Web sites, and advertisers are looking for the venues where people will see their message. Also, everyone tries to hold down costs. If you watch a football game, count how many times it gets interrupted by commercials. Then count how many times a movie is interrupted by commercials. ... And we get a lot of compliments that people find them very informative and people appreciate them. We hear both sides. But if we want to eliminate screen ads, we could raise the price of tickets 35-40 percent. So take your choice.

NCJ: But with a football game, people can put commercials on mute or leave the room.

Schweiger: They can walk out of the theater, too. They're only shown before the movie starts. It's kind of like the concessions. The number one complaint in the industry is the cost of concessions. But it's because our ticket prices are so small on a comparative basis. You can't go to an NBA basketball game or a concert without paying $75 or more per ticket. We're still under $10 for crying out loud. ... Where else can you go for under $10 and spend two, three hours and get a lifetime experience? I can remember going to the movies when I was ten years old and younger. I can still remember some of the movies I saw and some of the experiences I had. ... You have to have a ticket to go in, but you don't have to have a candy bar.

NCJ: Will fewer screens mean less variety?

Schweiger: Absolutely not. We will be able to serve the market very, very well from the Broadway. It will help us be more efficient and do, I think, an even better job.

At the close of the interview, Schweiger said the Bayshore Mall already has a new tenant lined up for The Movies' spot. He said he's "not sure" what's going in, but that it won't stay a theater. Bayshore Mall Manager Sue Swanson was not available for comment.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Movies to Close

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 2:05 PM


As 2009 becomes history Thursday night, so will one of Humboldt County's movie venues. The Movies at the Bayshore Mall will close its doors permanently when its lease expires at the end of the year.

"Honestly, it's high time," General Manager Anibal Polanco said Tuesday afternoon. Attendance had dwindled in recent years to a measly trickle as the mall theater became a dumping ground for second-run films. Still, it's kinda sad to see the place come to such a piteous end. I recall watching the Shelly Long vehicle Troop Beverly Hills there when I was in seventh grade. OK, that particular film may not be worthy of whimsy, but the mall is also where I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, Titanic and Out of Sight .

The staff will be transferred down the street to the Broadway Cinema, Polanco said. If you'd like one last mall-movie hurrah, I suggest you go to a closing day showing of Fantastic Mr. Fox or Brothers. Then again, the disaster-bonanza of 2012 might be a more fitting end.

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Not In Wyoming You Don't, Sonny

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 12:04 PM

A Wyoming newspaper reports that one of our own knuckleheads escaped Fortuna and was found galavanting on a CLOSED Wyoming highway in the wee hours of Christmas morning with five pounds of pot in his buggy.

According to the report, Wyoming CHP -- out looking for a missing motorist -- stopped the car driven by Jared L. Frisinger because, you know, the road was closed and, also, he was obviously not a local boy:

... the trooper noticed out-of-state license plates, "which meant it was not a local resident coming to town." [said Patrol Sgt. Steve Townsend in a news release]

According to the release, Frisinger, 28, handed over a joint after the trooper said he was gonna let his drug dog have a sniff around. The dog nosed right in on the wrapped Christmas presents in the back seat, which contained pot. Our boy was booked "on suspicion of felony marijuana sales or delivery and misdemeanor traveling on a closed road," says the paper. He went to court Monday, where bond was set for $10,000.

The newspaper ends the piece with a plug for Humboldt:

Jail records indicated Frisinger is from Fortuna, Calif., which is in Humboldt County, known for its marijuana cultivation in the rugged terrain near the state's northern coastline.


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That Was Copenhagen

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Throughout most of December, the Journal carried weekly reports from the COP15 Climate Change summit in Copenhagen. (See here and here and here.) These had been sent to us by local residents David Simpson, Jane Lapiner and Dan Ihara, each of whom had dealt with the topic of global climate change in their work -- Simpson and Lapiner as playwrights, Ihara as an economist. The three were going to Copenhagen anyway, but the Journal helped finagle press passes for them in exchange for some coverage.

We ran Ihara's wrap-up of the proceedings last week. His take was that the accord that the conference produced wasn't great, but was probably the best that could be expected. Now Simpson files his much more gloomy final thoughts, which, alas, we don't have space for in the paper this week.

Take it away, David Simpson.


The Great Climate Circus is over, the giant tents struck. The clowns have wiped off their greasepaint and the elephant manure, no longer steaming, has been swept into neat piles. (Six Republican Congressman and one Senator had made cameo performances that might just as well have been in whiteface.)

The halls of Copenhagen's Bella Center have been cleared of the enormous detritus that this effort at climate salvation left behind, incalculable reams of paper now strewn about that had been the thick schedules of events handed out each morning still warm from the machines as fast as thousands of hands reached for them. There, too, were the voluminous stacks of leftover literature; newsletter, brochures, founding papers, the studies, the handsomely tricked out propaganda of hundreds of civil society and NGO groups and region-specific efforts at adaptation and sustainability that had graced these halls offering the passersby their wildly diverse experiences, their concepts and missions that collectively, with sufficient support, might add up to the possibility of a better world.

Endless faux plastic coffee cups and dinnerware that had been so proudly vaunted by their hosts as...voila!...recyclable, but then thrown into inadequately marked sorting containers, have by now been gathered together by the cleanup staff and sent off, one fears, to the landfill--illusions of sustainability like games of three card monte out on the midway, a small diversion for the now-vanished rubes along the course of their larger fool's errand.

Right after the holidays, the Home Furnishing and Design Exhibit is scheduled to move into the Bella and a little later, the semi-annual International Fashion Fair will fill the hall. Apparently, in a relative world, these events are of equal social importance to the climate change event and perhaps draw as many people. They are likely fated, though, for greater success.

Oh that our mission had been so fashionable, our goals so simple and comfortable as a Danish sectional sofa! Is selling furniture intrinsically different or easier, really, than selling the perpetuation of the biosphere? Perhaps next year in Mexico survival will once more be in fashion. It is tempting to just stretch out on that sofa and watch the ship go down almost as if one weren't on it. Sometimes it seems that this is what we are all doing.

It would all be forgivable, the dragging of the feet of the great powers, some of them newly minted as such. This deep-seated resistance by nations to forgo even the smallest advantage and prerogative would be tolerable were it not so damnably delusional, so shallowly rooted. Yes, yes, this is a vastly complex job, this business of realigning our human systems, our so-called civilizations, with the biosphere out of whose womb we have come. Yes, yes, we don't want to upset the applecart more than we have to. After all, let's be realistic. Our ships of State bristle with interests like little bands of buccaneers on the same boat waiting to grapple onto fresh targets filled with delicious cargo. It is indeed unreasonable to stand between privateers and their prey.

Okay, let's be truly realistic then. Science says-loudly and clearly above even the newly contrived din of the skeptics--20 foot sea level rises are not only possible but likely were we to accept the Copenhagen Accords as the upper limit of our accomplishment. Glaciers will melt, leaving the vast Indian subcontinent to the south and the rich Chinese paddies to the east beneath the Tibetan Plateau devoid of snowmelt water that sustains agriculture and thus life itself for billions. Northern polar ice will thin out and then disappear altogether in the summer-and on and on and God knows how many other tipping points will have by then been tipped. This is reality. It is hard to imagine that anyone, fully grasping it, could tolerate the tragically laughable half-measures we as a species are currently taking.

As this COP 15 and its tepid, patched-together agreement retreat rapidly in our rear view mirrors how should we, mindful ever of our tailpipe emissions and their impact on our future, think about what transpired. For some, our President included, it was an "unprecedented breakthrough". For others, many in small island nations or in drought-ridden reaches of Africa, the very word Copenhagen itself might come to resonate like 'Munich', a metaphor for betrayal and the weakness of good intentions freed of specific commitment.

I questioned many African delegates in the Bella Center after the last press conference and out into the airports. They were long on D words--"Disaster", "disgrace", "disilusionment". These unwilling victims of our unwitting emissions feel that the so-called Copenhagen Accord and its three pages of vapid text, it's two pages of empty commitment lists, expose them to a potential anshlus of unmediated disasters spewing out of a warmed and wounded biosphere.

Flying homeward a little toy airplane-like figure with a long white tail played over a roughly outlined map on the TV screens above us in the cabin of our actual aircraft prior to commencement of the flight's scheduled movies. Just before the playing of Julia and Julia, the little plane had us perched above Greenland and showed us on a trajectory that would take it and us over Baffin Island and then down over upper Hudson Bay and west and south toward the Canadian Rockies.

Below us, cloud clover obstructed our view of the land and sea. Way off on the south- eastern horizon, a wan sun raced us westward. Across the airplane's isle, the view north was of half darkness all day. We were skirting the Arctic Circle and it was, magically, the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year when the northern hemisphere was tipped as far back and away from our sun as it would get.

I turned away for a moment and when I turned back, the sky had miraculously opened and I saw revealed below me a seascape I could not understand or interpret. The sea seemed to in a great horizontal gyre, a semi-cyclonic vortex of churning water and churned ice that seemed from 35,000 feet to be some kind of massive stately processional.

Ignorant of what I was really seeing, I let myself imagine for a moment that I was witnessing a major engine of the biosphere, the exchange of warm and cold, where the great Atlantic current had brought from far lower latitudes water that still contained heat from the tropic sun to be churned, submerged, chilled and ultimately forced back the way the waters had come but purged of its load of cloying biotic impurities that southern climes, and civilization, could breed, the Arctic cold performing its essential cleansing role.

COP 16 is scheduled for Mexico City late in 2010. There needs to be preparation for it on a grand scale. The so-celled world leaders need to march toward it with a new imperative jabbing their ribs like a sharp stick and we who have accepted the reality of living in the biosphere need to wield the stick. It is our job, simple as that. Let us not, in the name of our grandchildren and the planet's ongoing engines, shirk it.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tsunami! (maps)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:19 PM

Just in time for Xmas! New maps to show us how to get the heck to high ground when the big one rocks and swooshes!

To check out these new coastal inundation maps -- mostly mapped by Professor Aggeliki Barberopoulou and courtesy the state and the USC Tsunami Research Center -- and see who'd get inundated during the worst-case run-ups, go here.

And for the behind-the-scenes run down on this statewide coastline hedge-o-protection project, go the USC Viterbi School of Engineering website.


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Monday, December 21, 2009

Dead Blue Whale Report: Permit Violations

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:52 PM


Remember the dead blue whale that washed ashore near Fort Bragg in October, after having been hit and mortally gashed by a research vessel? The vessel, "Pacific Star," was mapping the sea floor to gather habitat data for the state's Marine Life Protection Act implementation process.

Well, reports Dan Bacher of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, State Lands Commission staff have found that the vessel was in violation of its permit terms at the time it struck the whale.

Staff found that the company:
-Did not notify the State Lands Commission prior to its survey activity
-Did not have marine wildlife observers on board.

SLC staff recommended the permit be revoked until Jan. 17, 2010. The commission voted Dec. 17 not to revoke the permit, but said it must be followed in the future -- and that means having those marine wildlife observers aboard.

Bacher and others with strong antipathy toward the way the MLPA Initiative is unfolding on Cali's shores say the SLC staff's finding against the vessel is yet another blot on the "sordid" MLPA process.

For a less-bitter (more balanced) take on the SLC's findings, check out the Santa Rosa Press Democrat 's report .


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Friday, December 18, 2009

Hazelnut Recall

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM

hazelnuts Newburg, Ore. company Willamette Shelling is recalling 114,350 pounds of shelled raw hazelnuts. Both the Eureka and Arcata Co-ops carry them in their bulk food departments.

According to a press release from North Coast Co-op Merchandiser Ron Sharp, the nuts could be contaminated with Salmonella, a nasty organism that can cause fatal infections in young children, the elderly or anyone who's immuno-compromised.

Here's the scary disclosure:

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

If you have any of the bum nuts, take 'em back to the Co-op customer service desk.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Local Doctor On H1N1

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 4:55 PM

From Dr. Michael Fratkin:

Hello Community....

I have something to contribute regarding H1N1 Influenza.  My comments are predicated on a deep respect for your autonomy and your capacity to make good decisions for your self and your family.  They are also based on 15 seasons caring for the most critically ill hospitalized patients in a rural community, as well as 7 seasons working long hours in a community health center with the more mundane and miserable.

This flu is different.

I just spent this week supporting and caring for Debra and her family in our ICU.  A 50 year old other of three adults, the middle sister of three, and a nonsmoking, non-drinking schoolteacher.  She had no significant medical problems, wasn't obese, unhappy, or otherwise unhealthy.  After two weeks in the ICU, she died yesterday morning, despite the technological kitchen sink being thrown at her.  No medical mistakes were made, she had insurance, and she and her family were treated with respect and understanding.  She would have died if she was cared for at the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins or Stanford.  She would have died two weeks ago if she lived in most places in the developing world.  She is the third such person in our community (< 50,000) that has died of influenza this year and it's not even November.

Over the years, I have cared for hundreds of people with influenza and expect that by March, a few of the very old, the very young, and the very sick will die from complications of influenza.

This flu is different.

Over the years, I have cared for thousands of people in the clinic miserable for a few days with routine illness from influenza.  This year people are sicker for longer and missing more work.

This flu is different.

I have no financial interest in pharmaceutical companies, no great love for corporations in general, no blind trust of public health missives, and no interest in scaring or alarming anyone about anything. I too wonder if future science will identify mistakes made that will have caused avoidable harm ( i.e. vaccines, GMO's, amalgam fillings, EMR, radon in our basements, cell phones, red dye #13, monosodium glutamate, bad vibes, etc...) I just thought you might want to know....

This flu is different.

That a potentially effective vaccine has been developed and produced this quickly is extraordinary.  The technology that has created it is well understood and is very likely safe.  No guarantees there or anywhere.  Those of us that receive the vaccine may enjoy a modicum of protection, though we won't know until we look back.  Those of us that do not receive it will also benefit from the vaccine, by its ability to impair this virus's ability to move through our population.  Whether you choose to be vaccinated or not, you will likely enjoy some protection provided by your neighbors willingness to consciously or unconsciously take a small risk in your interest.

This flu is different.

Regardless of your choice, how much you wash your hands, or how much you wring your hands about H1N1 Influenza, please consider opening your heart to the millions that will suffer in your somewhat more extended neighborhood....our planet.  Around the world, this influenza will cause suffering that will make your own anxieties seem trivial.  Consider sending your love and opening your eyes and settling your self and broadening your view of your place in the family of humans.

Love, Michael


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