Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Study Says Weed Can Fight Diabetes, Make You Thinner

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM


Can firing up a joint help prevent diabetes? Are stoners skinnier than non-stoners? A new scientific study suggests that, yeah, dude. Tooootally.

Regular marijuana smokers have better blood sugar control, which can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from the American Journal of Medicine. Not only that, but the stoners studied had thinner waists and higher levels of "good" HDL cholesterol than non-tokers.

These results are a bit surprising given marijuana's famous side effects. But science!

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Enviro Lawsuits Against NCRA Dismissed

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM


A pair of lawsuits against the North Coast Railroad Authority have been dismissed by a Marin County judge, who ruled that federal law has precedence over state environmental regulations when it comes to railroad operations.

Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) filed separate suits against the NCRA two years ago, challenging an Environmental Impact Report on resumed rail service between Napa and Willits. The nonprofits alleged that the EIR violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Friends of the Eel said the report should have addressed the NCRA's entire line, from Schellville near the north end of San Pablo Bay north to Arcata. (The line is currently active only from Schellville to Windsor, in Sonoma County.)

But with today's ruling, which confirms a tentative ruling made last week, Judge Roy O. Chermus sided with the NCRA, whose lawyers argued that CEQA didn't apply because railroad operations are the jurisdiction of the federal Surface Transportation Board, which had already granted the agency permission to resume service.

For more on these lawsuits and the current state of the NCRA, pick up a copy of this week's Journal, on newsstands today and online tomorrow.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Manhunt Continues for Shasta County Triple Homicide Suspect

Posted By on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM


Nearly a week into the manhunt for triple-homicide suspect Shane Franklin Miller and still no sign of him since his gold Dodge pickup was spotted near the mouth of the Mattole last Wednesday. There are now more than 70 law enforcement officers searching the Mattole Valley, the King Range Conservation area and nearby communities. They're pulling out all the stops — conducting roadblocks, going door-to-door, interviewing Miller's relatives and flying choppers overhead. They've even brought in cadaver dogs.

Shane Miller
  • Shane Miller

To recap, Miller is suspected of killing his wife and two children on May 7 in Shingletown, a small Shasta County community. According to a guest post on the Lost Coast Outpost, Miller left a note in his truck expressing anger at family members.
A community meeting will be held at the Honeydew School tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Continue reading »

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Pelican Bay Named One of America's 10 Worst Prisons

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

The notorious supermax to our north landed at number six on Mother Jones' list of the 10 worst prisons in the country. The magazine has done some of the best reporting on our country's prison system over the last couple of years, including this disturbing investigative piece on Pelican Bay from former hostage Shane Bauer. After visiting the Secure Housing Units where prisoners are kept in solitary confinement for 22 1/2 hours per day, Bauer concluded that conditions there are worse than what he experienced as a hostage in Iran.

Continue reading »

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Go, Burns!

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

The Journal’s Ryan Burns is first in investigative reporting, first in local government coverage and first in writing, says the California Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.

And our whole staff comes in second in breaking news coverage, for our June 2012 election edition.

The honors, for weekly papers in our size category from all over California, were handed out in late April, while everybody at the Journal was scurrying to get our new website up and running. But we finally had a chance to take a deep breath and take notice. So go, Ryan!

Announced earlier, by the way, were five honorable mentions for illustration, cartooning, feature writing, environmental reporting and investigative reporting. You can find links to all the Journal's winning entries here.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Mountain lion killed after attacking a ranger and his dog

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM


An off-duty park ranger and his dog were attacked by a mountain lion Thursday evening at Crescent Beach just south of Crescent City.

The ranger was fishing on the beach around 7:30 p.m. when he saw a lion chasing his dog, according to a National Park Service press release. When the ranger started yelling, the lion attacked him — swiping at him and tearing his jeans. The man kicked and hit the lion with his fishing pole before it gave up and ran away. Neither the ranger nor his dog were hurt.

California Fish and Wildlife and National Park rangers cleared the beach and a nearby campground while they searched for the lion. They found it hiding in driftwood nearby and shot it around 9:15 p.m.

The lion’s body will be studied further at Fish and Wildlife’s forensics lab in Sacramento.

Wildlife experts say not to run if attacked by a mountain lion as it may trigger the cat’s chase instinct. From the press release:

In this particular incident, the individual who was attacked responded swiftly and appropriately by not running away from the attacking mountain lion and fighting back aggressively, striking the animal with his fishing poles and kicking the animal until the mountain lion retreated.

Mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, according to the Park Service. The last attack (and only other recorded in Redwood National Park) happened in 2007.

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Mapping #hate

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Screenshot of the Hate Map
  • Screenshot of the Hate Map

Humboldt State University professor Monica Stephens and her undergraduate students just released an interactive map showing where hate speech pops up on Twitter around the U.S.

Students searched a year’s worth of geocoded tweets — more than 150,000 — that contained certain “hate words” and individually ranked them positive, negative or neutral, depending on context. Counties with more negative comments than the national average were marked on the map with a color gradient — pale blue for fewer tweets to bright red for higher concentrations.

“We’re really looking at these ways that the Internet relates to material space, how data online reflects material conditions,” Stephens said. “There have been a lot of conversations about the impacts of online bullying and the use of these words on the Internet to target specific groups.”

Continue reading »

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Local Tribes Stage Protest at HSU

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Local Native American tribe leaders have organized a protest at the Humboldt State University quad today, and they accuse the school's president, Rollin Richmond, of trying to eliminate key support services for their community. In a press release issued this morning, Yurok Chairman Thomas O'Rourke Sr. said Richmond is ignoring recommendations from a working group that spent more than a thousand hours trying to improve and reorganize programs that serve Native Americans.

“HSU President Richmond flat out ignored the work group’s reorganizational plan and recommendations,” O’Rourke said in the release. “This plan would have greatly increased our students’ ability to succeed, at a time when Native American enrollment at the University is in a freefall because of how it treats indigenous people."

In response, HSU spokesman Paul Mann pointed out that the work group failed to reach a consensus recommendation on how best to reorganize the school's Native American programs. And he said that HSU leaders are still reviewing the matter.

The full press releases are below.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Update: County and HumCPR settle for $100k

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace — the sole dissenting vote on the supervisor-approved settlement — explained his decision in an email this afternoon:

"Ultimately, I believe this case was politically motivated from the start, and I'm confident the court would have recognized that the County has consistently complied with the public records act in good faith every step of the way. Given that, I don't believe the people of Humboldt County should be on the hook for the excessive payout being agreed to here."

Here’s a little more on the settlement, which was filed today and is still waiting for a judge’s approval:

Still in question after the county turned over records in February were redactions that HumCPR attorney Allison Jackson said went too far. The county had removed details on travel, meal and lodging expenses in some cases.

The settlement indicates that two of the nearly 300 documents turned over will be restored in part by the county so that only attorney-client privileged information is removed.

Attorney Bill Bragg, who was hired to defend the county, said HumCPR agreed to limit the changes to two documents in the interest of saving time.

“They agreed to … focus on just the ones they were interested in,” Bragg said.

Per the settlement, the county also turned over some limited information about how much staff time was spent on particular litigation. HumCPR had demanded a full accounting, which the county said doesn’t exist.

Bragg said several county attorneys and planners kept time sheets that indicated the hours spent on lawsuits targeted by HumCPR’s request — but the practice was not standard procedure. After negotiation, those records, along with some accounting paperwork, were enough to satisfy HumCPR and lead to the settlement.


A dispute over public access to attorney’s fees appears to have ended this week with the county agreeing to pay the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights’ lawyer $100,000 for her costs in bringing a lawsuit against the county.

The supes voted in closed session Tuesday to approve a settlement negotiated between HumCPR and county counsel. Supervisor Mark Lovelace was the only dissenting vote.

In addition to paying Hum CPR attorney Allison Jackson, the settlement resolves a dispute over a public records act request filed in 2011. It wasn't immediately clear what the county ultimately agreed to provide, or what records HumCPR may have given up on.

It all started when Lee Ulansey — then the executive director of HumCPR, who stepped down from that position after being appointed to the county planning commission this year — asked the county how much it was spending on outside counsel in several ongoing land use lawsuits.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Airport Manager Resigns

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Jacquelyn Hulsey's Facebook photo
  • Jacquelyn Hulsey's Facebook photo

The years-long, controversial tenure of Humboldt County Airport Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey is over — she handed in her resignation this week just as budget shortfalls were threatening several county aviation jobs.

Hulsey drew fire for her handling of an airplane disappearance in 2009 that left two men presumably dead and a months-long unexplained paid leave. Her leadership was marked by complaints from former employees, business leaders and former members of the county's Aviation Advisory Committee.

Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg confirmed that Hulsey resigned, but no further details were available. It’s unclear why she made the decision.

The resignation was announced by county staff during the supervisors meeting this morning. On the agenda was a projected $2.9 million budget shortfall, and county staff had recommended layoffs of four employees in the Department of Public Works Aviation Division, including program coordinator Emily Jacobs, who has been active in the county’s push for additional airline service. Jacobs helped managed the airport during Hulsey’s leave.

Following news of the resignation, supervisors voted to not to lay off Jacobs while new management is found, according to the Lost Coast Outpost, and approved the other three layoffs.

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