Saturday, December 12, 2015

City Revisits Plan for Sanctioned Homeless Camp

Posted By on Sat, Dec 12, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Trash waiting to be picked up by the city the day before the PalCo Marsh camp's designated clean up day. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Trash waiting to be picked up by the city the day before the PalCo Marsh camp's designated clean up day.
The Eureka City Council agenda for Tues. Dec. 15 went out yesterday replete with a vintage item: discussing the feasibility of a temporary sanctioned homeless camp. Within an hour, it was yoinked back via an emailed retraction, with the note that the item would be back on the table at the Jan. 5 meeting, when all city council members will be present to discuss it. Councilmember Melinda Ciarabellini was not available for next week's meeting.


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Friday, December 11, 2015

Rain Streak Continues as Humboldt Hits Monthly Rainfall Averages

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Wetness in Old Town. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Wetness in Old Town.
Cozy up for the weekend, ‘cuz there’s another storm rolling in on the tail of our latest one, which dumped inches of rain on the North Coast and caused power outages (directly) and AT&T outages (indirectly) over the last couple days.

Eureka is also in its 12th consecutive day of rainfall, the longest streak since 2009. Between 6 a.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. this morning, Woodley Island recorded 1.88 inches of rain. Much of the Humboldt County coastal areas saw the same, but inland saw loads of precipitation: 5.12 inches in Miranda, 4.12 inches in Hoopa, 2.16 inches in Orick.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

AT&T, PG&E Outages Hit Countywide

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 1:06 PM

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Storm conditions have contributed to both a loss of communication and loss of power across Humboldt County as rain, hail and wind continue to batter the coast.

According to the county Public Information Officer Sean Quincey, CalTrans crews were clearing a culvert between Fortuna and Rio Dell yesterday morning  in preparation for last night's storm when they accidentally severed a fiber optic cable, plunging AT &T customers into a communications blackout. Crews worked through the night to splice the line together, restoring communication at 8:15 a.m., after nearly 24 hours of disruption. Sen. Mike McGuire said an estimated 90,000 cell phone, land line and internet connections were affected. 


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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

COP 21: The First Week

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Plaza de République, Paris, on Nov. 30. - DAVID SIMPSON
  • David Simpson
  • Plaza de République, Paris, on Nov. 30.

Editor's Note: The following is an opinion piece by Petrolia playwright David Simpson, who co-founded the Mattole Salmon Group and currently sits on its board of directors. A climate change activist, Simpson is attending the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris and will be sharing his thoughts with the
Journal periodically.

At the outset of the hugely ballyhooed United Nations climate summit in Paris this past week, there seemed to be good reason for climate activists to sense impending disappointment. There had already been years of inaction in the history of these massive annual efforts ostensibly aimed at reducing the effects of climate change on society. Back in 2009, COP 15 in Copenhagen had been widely billed as ‘Hopenhagen” before it quickly become almost synonymous with the failure of hope — one of the great disappointments in the annals of environmentalism and, in some respect, the history of humankind. America, among other nations, had dirty hands from its role there. (COP is UN-talk for “Conference of the Parties,” the “parties” being the nations involved.)


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Grinchmas: Toys for Tots Sign Vandalized

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 1:29 PM

TOYS FOR TOTS FACEBOOK
  • Toys for Tots Facebook
Determined thieves may have ruined Christmas for some little girls and boys this year. Dale Bridges, the paymaster for Toys for Tots, reports that the flashing signs his organization rented to encourage donations have been vandalized twice, with four industrial batteries having been removed, cables cut and a tire deliberately punctured. He estimates the financial hit to top out at $400.

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Hot Bird: Public Sculpture Theft in Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 11:42 AM

"Following Current Events" with all its birds intact. - COURTESY OF THE INK PEOPLE
  • Courtesy of the Ink People
  • "Following Current Events" with all its birds intact.
Somewhere between the night of Thursday, Dec. 3 and the following morning, someone pried one of the enormous metal birds off Jack Sewell's "Following Current Events," the kinetic sculpture at the C Street Market Square. The birds, made of 1/4-inch-thick aluminum, are positioned between 11 and 15 feet up, with wingspans of 5 1/2 feet. 

If you're the vandal/thief/cheapskate art collector trying to mount it over your couch right now — or if you, like, found it — you can turn it in anonymously at the Eureka Main Street office at 525 Second St. #105 and they will be totally cool about it. Likewise, if you see someone hopelessly trying to feng shui said bird in his or her apartment, please call Charlotte McDonald of Eureka Main Street at 442-9054.

The shining silvery web of metal, which stands 23 feet tall and rotates with the wind over a pool of water, took 700 pounds of steel and $30,000 to create. The Eureka Art and Culture Commission selected Sewell's design for the location in and paid for his work with redevelopment funds. In an interview with the Journal just before he installed the sculpture in 2012, Sewell said of public art, "Every chance you get to kind of take someone out of their cell phone mode and over into looking at something and taking their minds off of things for just a few moments, well then public art has been successful to that degree." 
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Humboldt Hits Grim Mark: Suicides at Five Year Peak

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 10:03 AM

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The recent death of a 30-year-old man from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head brings the county to 40 suicides in 2015, its highest mark in five years, surpassing its 2012 total of 37, according to numbers from the Humboldt County Coroner's Office. It also places Humboldt County at nearly three times the California average of 10.2 suicides per 100,000 residents, as reported by the California Department of Public Health.

Suicide is just one of the nine health status indicators for which Humboldt sits near the bottom of the chart. Out of 58 counties, we rank 51st for fatal motor vehicle crashes, 52nd for cancer deaths, 55th for both chronic liver disease and accidental injuries, and 57th in drug-induced deaths.

Chief Deputy Coroner Lt. Ernie Stewart blames alcohol and other drugs for the above average suicide rate in Humboldt County.

"True mental health issues on their own are rarely debilitating," he says. "We have a problem in this county. In my opinion we need to set up a more readily available treatment facilities for people with mental health and substance abuse issues."

Stewart says the new addition to the county jail, which will provide re-entry services to inmates that include mental health counseling, should be an "immense help."

A report from the county Department of Health and Human Services, which uses amalgamated data from 2010 to 2014, shows that the rate of suicides has increased and that the suicide rate "per 100,000 persons remains approximately two to 2.5 times that of California."

The median age for suicides between 2010 and 2014 was 51, with white men at a substantially higher risk for taking their own lives. The majority of people used firearms. 

Susan Buckley, public health director at the Department of Health and Human Services, says the trend is "very concerning."

The county has used funding from the Mental Health Services Act to bring in more training in recent years, but Buckley says a more thorough look at the root causes, a suicide death review, is needed. This will give the county an idea of what populations are at the highest risk, and what the risk factors might be. This review is dependent on multi-agency cooperation, however, including the participation of county mental health. Buckley says that implementation of the review is "resource-dependent."

"I think the readiness is there to do that," she says. "I can’t say that we can put the leadership resources into it for at least another three to four months."

Some locals have participated in an "Out of the Darkness" walk for awareness and a training as part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The foundation offers training, education and support. Heather Freitas, a local field advocate, says that, for now, the group is operating out of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter, but hopes to have a local chapter active within the next two years.

"The organization really thrives on grassroots efforts," says Freitas, adding that there will be a community presentation on Jan. 7 from national leaders (details are still in the works). "I've met people who expressed their need for resources, and their need to grieve."

For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, click here. For immediate, local help, the 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line is 445-7715.


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Monday, December 7, 2015

UPDATE: Supes to Discuss Marijuana Grower Registration Program

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 5:28 PM

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UPDATE:

County planner Steve Lazar has released the draft medical marijuana cultivation ordinance that county supervisors will look at next week. Click on the pdf for details on the permit tiering and other regulations recommended by the planning commission.

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Santa on the Plaza

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 4:54 PM

MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
Organizers of Arcata Main Street's Lighting Ceremony on Friday evening were greatly relieved by the mild weather. The kick-off event for the Season of Wonder & Light drew a large crowd of adults and children to the Arcata Plaza. Fueled by cider, cookies, candy canes and mandarins, the crowd listened to Donald Forrest's dramatic reading of an excerpt from A Christmas Carol, songs from the Redwood Coast Choir and community blessings. Santa and Mrs. Claus first circled the plaza in a horse-drawn carriage before pulling up to a line of children waiting to meet the jolly bearded fellow. In all ways, a good night. Click on the slideshow below to get yourself in the holiday spirit. 

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

HumBug: Walking on Water

Posted By on Sun, Dec 6, 2015 at 4:58 PM

The remarkable, spindly-legged water strider. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The remarkable, spindly-legged water strider.

A quick flick of movement across a calm spot on the water brought a water strider to my attention. Although they might resemble spiders with their with spindly legs and dark bodies, they are actually members of the order Hemiptera (half wing) or “true bugs.” Their remarkable ability to skate so adroitly across the surface always makes me stop and watch for a little while. In clear water I often see their shadows gliding along the bottom before I ever see the actual insects.

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