Saturday, February 12, 2011

olives @ the market this morning

Posted By on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 at 10:47 AM


Went yard saleing this morning. The car was low on gas so we stopped at the 76 by the Plaza, where they still actually pump your gas.
While the car was filling, I dashed across the street to the mini-farmers' market at Café Brio. Picked up some Brussels sprouts from Willow Creek Farms (we'll try one of Jada's recipes tonight).


Henry Robertson of Henry's Olives was there - he's totally excited about his latest addition: the long-awaited collaboration with Winnett Vineyards, the first brined olives from their trees in Willow Creek. Local Humboldt grown olives! Very cool indeed...


Winnett Vineyards Humboldt Made vid after the jump...

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Egypt - Rise to Freedom Mix1.5

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM

In the wake of the events in Egypt, Natacha Atlas, who brought her band to the Arcata Theatre Lounge late last year, worked with her producer/arranger Samy Bishai to create a new remix and a video in solidarity with the Egyptian people. (Her heritage is part Egyptian.)

"Egypt - Rise to Freedom Mix1.5" is a remix of material from  her album Mounqaliba inspired by recent news from Tahrir Square.

Translation :

<< Mubarak : "My fellow citizens..A fine line lies between freedom...and chaos." >>

Natacha :

Let us stand together and awaken ,

Let us question, learn and study;

Listen, understand and think.

Let us understand,

Permit us to know-

Permit us to know freedom.

Let us know there is a land

where words are the purveyors of truth,

heads are held high,

And human will is regarded above all.


Where the world is not split into a thousand fragments,

Under siege, forgotten, or lost -

Let us perceive of it,

Let us know that place.

Let us know our land,

where words are the purveyors of truth.

<< Mubarak : "My fellow citizens..A fine line lies between freedom...and -" >>


On her blog Natacha writes: such an amazing feeling to see fellow egyptians on the news celebrating and feeling a tremendous sense of achievement and relief, there's no way that anyone watching can fail to be moved by these events,

and it shows once again that through unity, all things are possible...

i would dearly love to see all of the worlds impoverished people rise up against the corruption and the thieves posing as governments because more than three quarters of the world are suffering because of a relatively few elite blood sucking bastards who are grabbing more than their fair share, all governments are criminal is what one albert camus said .... so there is still more work to be done, however today is a great day and celebration is its order!

18 days ago , we were watching the news completely stunned to see (live) what we never expected to see  in our lifetimes

we were thus inspired to remix some tunes from mounqaliba that we thought were relevant and poignant to the events as they unfolded.

We dedicated the video/song to the egyptian people and their strength before mubarak resigned and today's victory is hopefully the start of many more like it.....


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$2.5 Million For Hansen's Truck Stop

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 4:24 PM

On Wednesday, a jury awarded Hansen's Truck Stop $2.5 million in the eminent domain case between the truck stop and Caltrans.

(We wrote about the Caltrans-Hansens case in December; you can read that story here.)

The Hansens, who've long operated a multi-faceted empire just south of Fortuna, have had notorious battles with the state agency over the years -- with old man Charlie Hansen Sr., who's gone now, leading the charge. This latest fight, which Charles "Chas" Hansen Jr. and Charlene Hansen took over after their dad died, involved the state's new interchange project down thataway, which Caltrans says was required for safety. The Hansens said the interchange configuration hurt the truck stop and restaurant -- which they closed on Christmas Eve, laying off 17 employees, following a report from the family's accountant that the business was bleeding $10,000 a month.

Earlier in the case, Caltrans had offered the Hansens $800,000 in settlement. Charles Hansen Sr. had countered with a demand for $5 million, later shaved down to $3 million.

Friday afternoon, by phone, Chas Hansen, his voice scratchy from a sore throat, sounded chipper enough about the verdict. He said the jury awarded them $500,000 for loss of the roughly 2 acres Caltrans seized by eminent domain; about $1,740,000 for the loss of property value because their access openings from Highway 101 were removed by the new construction; and $300,000 for the loss of business goodwill.

"Plus they have to pay our attorney's fees," said Hansen. "That'll be at least three, four hundred thousand."

Hansen said he didn't know what they'd do with the money yet, and that that was something he and his siblings would be discussing real soon.

And, this afternoon, Julie East, public information officer for Caltrans District 1, which covers Del Norte and Humboldt counties, offered this official statement about the verdict and jury's award:

The accident history and highway operations situation at the junction of Routes 101 and 36 warranted the building of an interchange.  To build the interchange, it was necessary to acquire a narrow portion (1.7 acres) of property of the 13.5+ acre holding on which Hansen's Truck Stop and other Hansen operations were doing business.  The Hansens would retain ownership of the remaining 11.8+ acres of land, which included the main portions of the truck stop.  The building of the interchange also required closure of an access opening from the truck stop directly onto Route 101.  The truck stop would continue to have access to and from Sandy Prairie Road, which leads directly to the new overpass near the Hansen land.  Caltrans' acquisition of the 1.7 acres of property led to an eminent domain lawsuit, where Caltrans proposed to pay the owners an amount of just compensation based on what the property was worth.  The owners did not agree with the Caltrans' assessment of value, so the case went to trial.  The first part of the trial was held in September 2009, when Judge John Feeney decided issues purely legal in nature.  The second part of the trial involved the jury deciding on the amount of compensation.  That part finished up on February 9, 2011, when the jury rendered a verdict.

Caltrans would have preferred to settle the case, and offered about $800,000 to do so before trial started.  The Hansen owners demanded $5 million before the first part of the trial began, an amount that exceeded even the Hansens' experts' opinions on value.  Caltrans could not justify settling the case for such an amount.  The owners revised their settlement demand to about $3 million after the death of Charles Hansen, Sr., but that amount equated the highest amount of their experts' testimony, and Caltrans did not view it as an attempt to compromise.  Caltrans even attempted a partial settlement of undisputed issues in the case, which would have still allowed trial to go forward on the remaining issues, but the owners declined.  Ultimately, although the jury awarded the Hansens a total of $2.5 million, that amount still fell short of their last settlement demand.  The Hansens' valuation theory was that the change in access to their property essentially destroyed all potential to use of the property as a truck stop, or any other commercial business.  Time will tell if this assessment was correct.

Caltrans received legal rulings in the first of the trial which strongly impacted the rest of the case.  In the weeks ahead, Caltrans will be reviewing its options to pursue an appeal of those legal rulings.  We respect and are appreciative of the  hard work and attention given by the jurors in this case; they are a vital part of the Constitutional aspects of proceedings  like these.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

CR President Jeff Marsee is Job Hunting

Posted By on Thu, Feb 10, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Jeff MarseeIn an e-mail to colleagues and members of the board of trustees last night, embattled College of the Redwoods President Jeff Marsee announced that he's one of three finalists for the position of president/superintendant at San Joaquin Delta Community College District in Stockton. The revelation caught many off guard.

"It was definitely a surpise to me and, I think, most on campus," CR spokesman Paul DeMark said when reached by phone Thursday afternoon. 

Since becoming president in July 2008, Marsee led the college down an ambitious, often controversial path, expanding the campus to include new instructional sites (in Garberville, Arcata and McKinleyville, plus a thwarted attempt to acquire the Jefferson School property in Eureka) and making sweeping changes to the college's class schedule, calendar and administrative structure.

After resolving some issues surrounding organization and communication, CR was removed from warning status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in February of last year. However, the turmoil had not ceased.

In April, the college's employee union delivered a vote of "no confidence" in the college's Board of Trustees, essentially blaming them for not keeping Marsee in check. They were perturbed by the fact that Marsee had removed the results of an employee satisfaction survey from the college's website. Shortly thereafter, Marsee put the results back online and issued a conciliatory statement.

DeMark said he's not sure what to make of Marsee's latest move. Marsee himself was unavailable for comment as he had traveled to the CR instructional site in Hoopa, according to DeMark. Asked if the president would remain employed at CR should he fail to get the job in Stockton DeMark replied, "I assume so. He has a contract here."

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Video of the Richardson Grove Protest

Posted By on Wed, Feb 9, 2011 at 2:01 PM

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: Lt. Murl Harpham of the Eureka Police Department responds to the "moments that deserve further explanation." Plus, an apology from this reporter after the break.

Access Humboldt today posted this video, which shows footage from the rally that took place Monday outside the Eureka offices of Caltrans in protest of the planned road-widening project through Richardson Grove. According to the credits, the video was produced independently from the new activist coalition Redwood Grove Action Now! 

At least one anonymous commenter has claimed that police officers used Tasers during the event. Unfortunately, this 14-minute video does not provide conclusive evidence one way or the other, owing to the limited perspective, chaotic camerawork and the inexplicable dopey music bed that has been laid beneath the video.

There are, however, a few moments that deserve further explanation:

  • At 4:58 a protester being lifted by two officers, one holding each arm, suddenly goes limp.

  • At around 8:05 a protester who's draped over a railing, surrounded by officers, seems to flinch. This is followed by a man's shouts, and the shouts sound pained, though their source is indeterminate and the generalized yelling soon escalates, further confusing matters.

  • 8:35 -- A woman starts screaming at the police officers. Much of it is indecipherable, though one line is clear: "Get that fuckin' shit off his ankle right now!"

  • 9:00 -- Protesters start chanting, "Shame!"

  • At about the 10-minute mark, officers start herding protesters away from the building, and at 10:15 you can see an officer holding what appears to be a Taser in his left hand. The moment is preceded by a few loud shouts/screams.

  • Shortly past the 11-minute mark, protesters, who have been locked out of the building, start pounding on the glass doors as officers inside drape yellow plastic over the glass, evidently to obscure the view. (Between 11:50 and 12:05, protesters can be heard encouraging a fellow activist to desist with the door-banging. "Stop! Nonviolent! Nonviolent!")

Take a look for yourself and see if you spot anything else of note. 

UPDATE: In a phone conversation this afternoon, Lt. Murl Harpham of the Eureka Police Department responded to questions raised by the video.

Addressing the protester who goes limp, Harpham said, "That's something they do -- go limp so they have to be carried. That's very typical. Some of 'em, a lot of times, are on drugs so they don't feel much pain when you try to do pain compliance."

Though he was present throughout the rally, Harpham did not see the moment at 8:05 when a protester seems to flinch (and he couldn't get the video to work on his computer) so he could not respond specifically. Regarding the screaming he said simply, "There was a lot of screaming going on."

Regarding the woman screaming about "his ankle" Harpham explained that officers were applying nunchucks to a protester's ankle to stop him from kicking them. [And here I need to apologize to an anonymous commenter: In the story about the rally that appears in this week's print edition of the Journal I expressed skepticism about the claim of nunchuck usage. Shows what I know.]

Harpham said the man was repeatedly kicking officers. "I was one of the ones he kicked," he said. He explained that the nunchuck technique works as follows: "Wrap 'em around like a handcuff, then squeeze, which causes pain. ... . That's the way you get 'em to quit kickin' ya. And there's nothin' damaging."

Harpham acknowledged that it's possible one of his fellow officers unsheathed his Taser but that he's positive none was actually used. The devices are programmed, he explained, to report when they were last used and for how long, and none of their Tasers were activated Monday.

Regarding the plastic that was draped over the windows Harpham said that it's a technique commonly used in law enforcement to reduce screaming and yelling. Asked about people's right to see what was happening he said no such right exists. Once the protesters are deemed to be tresspassing (among other potential crimes), it becomes a crime scene and officers can order everyone, media included, to leave the scene, Harpham said.

In closing, Harpham said that two women protesters approached an EPD sergeant as the events of the day were calming down and told him they didn't want the demonstration to turn out the way it did, that it had been taken over by members of Redwood Curtain CopWatch.

Oh, and he called back while I was writing this post to respond to Jeff Muskrat's comment below: "The only sparks flying was when the grinder ground the arm bars [inside the lobby]." And he added that the EPD has two videos showing a protester hurling a full coffee cup at officers. We'll post that as well when and if it's made available.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Richardson Grove Protesters Rally at Eureka CalTrans Office

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM


More than 100 protesters gathered this afternoon outside the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 1 office in Eureka to voice their opposition to the Richardson Grove Improvement Project. The project, which has already received environmental approvals, would remove several trees along Hwy. 101 through Richardson Grove State Park to facilitate a road realignment. The adjustments to the road's curves would allow longer, industry-standard cargo trucks to pass through the ancient grove.

(Read the Journal's coverage of the controversial project here and here.)

None of the trees scheduled for removal are old-growth redwoods, but opponents of the project say the roadwork could damage the ancient root systems and overall health of the trees. Lawsuits have been filed in both state and federal court challenging the project. Caltrans Public Information Officer Julie East said the agency is currently advertising the project to contractors for bid, and construction will begin no earlier than this summer.

While Caltrans describes the project as "minor adjustments to the roadway alignment," protesters issued a harsher assessment today: "They're gonna fuck up our community! They're gonna take away everything we love!" one angry picketer yelled.

More images of the protest below.


This youngster (age 13) was brought to the rally by his family. Asked why he wasn't in school he looked embarrassed. "I'm sick?" he said. 

At the scheduled start time of noon, attendance was still a bit thin. But the crowd grew steadily over the next 20 minutes, and before long the languid drum circle (or "drum triangle," since I counted just three "drummers") gave way to defiant chants of, "One demand -- cancel the plan!"


Speakers took to the PA system to announce a new activist supergroup -- Richardson Grove Action Now! -- with a new approach to resistance: direct action. An "action camp" training is scheduled for this weekend. (Meanwhile, materials provided by that group, including a rally poster showing tanks, emblazoned with the Caltrans logo, rolling through the redwoods and displaying the battle cry "RESIST INVASION," have sparked a mini-controversy in their own right.)


While activists created their own cardboard protest signs, police officers took to the roof for a better view.


Word came in this afternoon that protesters had locked themselves together in metal pipes inside the Caltrans offices.


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Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Poem from the Poem Store

Posted By on Sun, Feb 6, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Jacqueline Suskin's Poem Store set up shop at Eureka Books for February's Arts Alive!

Her method: You pick the subject and the price, she creates a custom poem.


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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spendy Votes

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has enforced a $4,000 conflict-of-interest fine against Dendra Dengler for her failure to disclose that she had a financial interest in some projects she voted on as president of the Manila Community Services District.

Travis Sanford acerbically critiques the situation for the Courthouse News Service:

"In exchange for a $4,000 fine for abusing conflict of interest rules, the president of the Manila Community Services District can enjoy a conservation park next to her house in Humboldt County. ... To pave the way for the district to buy land for use in its parks and conservation program, Dengler voted on numerous agenda items, including the final vote to purchase."

Dengler, in her defense, denied she was acting upon anything other than the community's behalf.

She has lots of company in the doghouse; at its Jan. 28 meeting the CFPPC made similar enforcement decisions against four other public officials for conflicts of interest voting, and against several dozen others for various violations. You can read all about those here.

And, last December, the T-S's Donna Tam wrote about the charges against Dengler.

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