Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: HumCo's Year in Photos

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 3:11 PM

McKinley, whose fate was sealed in 2018, stands sentry over the plaza, clad in Poseidon's robes, for Oyster Fest. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • McKinley, whose fate was sealed in 2018, stands sentry over the plaza, clad in Poseidon's robes, for Oyster Fest.

It's been quite a year. We've gathered, celebrated, protested, marched, mourned, reveled, danced, politicked and raced. And for much of it, local photographer Mark Larson has been there to document our community as it came together. Here's a look back on the year, with some of Larson's favorite photographs from 2018.

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State Staff Recommends Funding Final Leg of Bay Trail

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 12:01 PM

A map of the Humboldt Bay Trail. The 4-mile section in red has yet to be completed. - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • A map of the Humboldt Bay Trail. The 4-mile section in red has yet to be completed.
Folks eagerly awaiting the completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail got a bit of a New Year's gift this morning with the county's announcement that state staff is recommending allocating a $13.3 million grant to finish the last 4-mile stretch of waterfront trail.

The recommendations will come before the California Transportation Commission at its Jan. 31 meeting.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors approved an environmental impact report for the project back in July and, assuming the commission follows staff's recommendation to fund the project next month, construction is expected to begin in 2021.

See the full release from the county copied below:


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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Cancellation of Eureka's Women's March Goes National

Posted By on Sun, Dec 30, 2018 at 6:06 PM

A group of young girls carries the Women's March banner at the head of the procession. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A group of young girls carries the Women's March banner at the head of the procession.

News that organizers of Eureka’s Women’s March have canceled this year’s event amid concerns that past incarnations have been “overwhelmingly white” have gained national attention.

Today, The Washington Post, Fox News, Newsweek, Slate, The Hill, Breitbart and other media outlets have all published stories about local organizers’ decision.

The 2017 Women’s March in Eureka drew as many as 8,000 people and is believed to have been the largest march or rally in Eureka history. Last year’s event wasn’t as well attended, but still drew as many as 5,000 to Old Town, Eureka, to hear a handful of speeches and march through the streets to protest Trump, promote the #MeToo movement, advocate women’s rights and other issues of the day.

News that this year’s event was being canceled came as a shock to most in the community. The march’s organizing committee sent out a press release Friday announcing the move, saying it made the decision “after many conversations between local social-change organizations and supporters of the march.”

“The local organizers are continuing to meet and discuss how to broaden representation in the organizing committee to create an event that represents and supports peoples who live here in Humboldt,” the press release stated. “UP to this point, participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community. Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach. Our goal is that planning will continue and we will be successful in creating an event that will build power and community engagement through connection between women that seek to improve the lives of all in our community.”


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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Landslide Closes Down 299 in Trinity County

Posted By on Sat, Dec 29, 2018 at 10:35 AM

caltrans.jpg
State Route 299 remained closed this morning after a landslide came down on the roadway around 7:45 p.m. the night before about 3 miles west of Junction City in Trinity County.

About 9 a.m., Caltrans reported that “the slide was still active” and there was “no ETA for opening.” Message signs had been turned on near Willow Creek to warn of the closure, but a request went out this morning to extend the alert out to U.S. Highway 101.

Rocks, mud, and a tree crossed the road last night between Helena and Junction City in Trinity County making it “impassible,” according to updates on the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page, which reported at 5:21 a.m. that the road will possibly be open “in the next couple hours.”
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Friday, December 28, 2018

Coast Guard Members to Get Paid Despite Shutdown, for Now

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 5:13 PM

FILE
  • File
The U.S. Coast Guard has informed its service members — including more than 200 in Humboldt County — that they will receive paychecks as scheduled Dec. 31 after a last-minute deal was reached with the Trump administration and Department of Homeland Security officials to find a way for the Coast Guard to cut paychecks despite the government shutdown.

Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray announced the deal in an email to all Coast Guard service members this afternoon but cautioned this is a stop-gap measure and will not extend into January, when it appears, absent an end to the shutdown, Coast Guard members will be working without pay.

Prior to today, Coast Guard officials had counseled members and their families to seek short-term loans and to contact their banks about forbearing mortgage payments and other debt payments.

Today’s news is undoubtedly welcome to the approximately 245 Coast Guard service members stationed at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, who had been bracing for the likelihood they wouldn’t receive their first paycheck after Christmas.

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Reports Find Cannabis Bank Infeasible; Five Things You Need to Know About Public Banking in California

Posted By on Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 11:19 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY SAM ARMANINO
  • Illustration by Sam Armanino
Once an idea batted around mostly in Occupy Wall Street circles, public banking is attracting a surge of interest among policymakers in several states, including California.

“We must break Wall Street’s chokehold on state finance and develop our own state bank,” Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said on the campaign trail.

If California had a bank controlled by the government rather than profit-hungry shareholders, public banking advocates argue, the state could fund social goods that often get the cold shoulder from commercial institutions: infrastructure projects, low-interest student loans and affordable housing. California’s treasurer and attorney general just published two studies that look at whether a state bank could help the newly legal weed industry by providing a safe repository for cash that major banks won’t accept.

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Brown Commutes Sentences of Two Local Women Convicted of Murder

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 at 4:05 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown - OFFICE OF THE GOVENOR
  • Office of the Govenor
  • Gov. Jerry Brown
Among the 131 people who had their criminal sentences commuted by Gov. Jerry Brown on Christmas Eve was Dianna Mae Preston, a Trinidad woman who came to be known as the “vigilante granny” for chasing down and fatally shooting a Eureka man she wrongly believed had molested her granddaughter.

Brown set a record for pardons and commutations handed out during his term in office, with this latest round containing two other Humboldt County cases, including another murder.

With Brown’s action, Preston will become eligible to apply for release from prison. She had been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of first degree murder, premeditated murder with the special allegation of lying in wait and using a firearm in commission of a felony in 2003.

“I have spent 15 years in prison and at 73 I am no longer the same person I was all those years ago,” Preston wrote in her application to the governor. “I know what I did was wrong, and nothing can truly compensate for the life I took. But I continue to try to make amends in the only was possible, which is living every day as a better person than I was then.”

Wearing a wig and sunglasses, Preston ambushed Kevin R. LaPorta outside of his Eureka acupuncture business in July of 2002, shooting him several times as he reportedly begged for his life before reloading her weapon as he fled into a Chinese restaurant, where she followed him inside to fire the fatal shots, according to media reports at the time.

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North Coast Night Lights: The Changing Milky Way

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 at 10:58 AM

On Feb. 21, 2018, the Galactic Core (I think of it in capitals) rose at 02:57AM, appearing just a little south of east. By 05:00 when I photographed it, it was 18º above the horizon, and the dawn would soon chase it away. The streaks of light in this self portrait are from my light as I walked up the hill during the exposure. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • On Feb. 21, 2018, the Galactic Core (I think of it in capitals) rose at 02:57AM, appearing just a little south of east. By 05:00 when I photographed it, it was 18º above the horizon, and the dawn would soon chase it away. The streaks of light in this self portrait are from my light as I walked up the hill during the exposure.
I think many people take the night sky for granted, not realizing all that is happening in our view. It’s the night sky, what is there to think about, right? When the weather is clear, it is full of stars, there is a moon, which is probably full or else it’s a crescent, and maybe the Milky Way. Oh, and some of those stars could be planets. And, hey look, isn’t that the Big Dipper? But as I have been photographing and observing the heavens, my own appreciation has grown.


Admittedly, I’m no authority on the subject of astronomy. But my nighttime photographs do serve as studies of the sky. And, though, while taking them my thoughts are mostly on the aesthetics of the shot, examining the images I’ve taken over the last year does reveal to me some of the ways our night sky changes through the months and seasons.

In particular, the portion of the Milky Way that we can see shifts dramatically through the year as Earth’s night side — our window to the stars — changes its angle of view night by night in our journey around the sun.
By mid-May, catching the Milky Way’s core is no longer an early morning activity. Its position above the horizon a little after 10 p.m.is similar to where it was in February at 5 a.m. This photograph is from somewhere on Monument Road outside of Rio Dell with model Morgan Crowl, May 14, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • By mid-May, catching the Milky Way’s core is no longer an early morning activity. Its position above the horizon a little after 10 p.m.is similar to where it was in February at 5 a.m. This photograph is from somewhere on Monument Road outside of Rio Dell with model Morgan Crowl, May 14, 2018.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Before the $4.7 Billion Baby Powder Verdict, There Was One in Humboldt

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 2:31 PM

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
By now, you’ve probably heard about Reuters’ investigative bombshell showing that Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos while the company publicly insisted on the “safety and purity” of its iconic product.

If this is news to you, check out the story here, which relies on scores of interviews and internal company documents. Johnson and Johnson currently faces more than 11,000 plaintiffs in a swath of lawsuits who allege the company’s talc contained asbestos and caused their ovarian cancers and mesotheliomas. And this is after a July verdict in Missouri that awarded $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women suffering from ovarian cancer, which came about a year after a California jury awarded $417 million to another woman with ovarian cancer.

Johnson and Johnson has denied the allegations — and Reuters’ report — saying that decades of scientific testing and regulatory approvals show its talc to be safe and asbestos free.

But wading through all this reporting, what you probably won’t see is that just last month a Humboldt County jury cleared Johnson and Johnson of liability in a lawsuit brought by Carla Allen, who alleged her mesothelioma — a tissue cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure — was caused by prolonged use of Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder. The case had caused significant interest in the Humboldt County Courthouse, spanning seven weeks and featuring a variety of out-of-town lawyers.

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Local Healthcare Company Focus of WaPo Story

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Michael Fratkin. - TOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Tobin Photography
  • Michael Fratkin.
In case you missed it, The Washington Post recently put a spotlight on local palliative care company ResolutionCare.

The Post’s story, which published Dec. 15, uses the story of Hoopa brothers-in-law Gordon Surber and Mark Hailey — both of whom have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — to explore the impact of palliative care and the inequities of how insurers cover the costs. The story notes that while Congress has mandated that insurers provide coverage for hospice care, they have not taken similar steps for palliative care.

“Like hospice, palliative care includes a physician’s help in managing pain and other symptoms, the services of a social worker and a home health nurse, and spiritual counseling,” the article states. “Unlike hospice, it can be provided at any stage of illness and it can be offered alongside curative care.”


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