Sunday, February 24, 2019

Big Changes Considered for 101 Through Eureka

Posted By on Sun, Feb 24, 2019 at 10:45 AM

Eureka Police Sgt. Gary Whitmer has worked traffic 13 of the 20 years he’s been on the force and said high collision rates have always been a problem. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Eureka Police Sgt. Gary Whitmer has worked traffic 13 of the 20 years he’s been on the force and said high collision rates have always been a problem.

Few people drive through Eureka for the fun of it. If you approach the town from the north during the morning commute, you're often greeted by a long line of stalled traffic waiting to get through the intersection at V and Fourth streets. On a bad day, the back-up may begin out on the freeway. Once you get past V Street, the same situation repeats at R Street.
The intersections of Fourth Street at V and R streets are prone to backups during the morning commute. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • The intersections of Fourth Street at V and R streets are prone to backups during the morning commute.
The signals never seem to synchronize, so that you have to stop at a lot of red lights as you drive through town. Then, on Broadway, some of the intersections are almost surreally bad and making a left turn can feel like a life-threatening venture. And that's if you're a driver, in the relative safety of a vehicle, to say nothing of the poor pedestrian trying to cross Broadway, or Fourth or Fifth streets in the many areas that lack traffic signals.

Bicyclists also take their lives in their hands, scuttling along the narrow shoulder of the street between the 30 mph traffic and parked semis, ever on the lookout for opening car doors and vehicles scooting in front of them to grab a parking space.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, among 94 similar sized cities throughout the state, Eureka had the second highest number of pedestrians hit on its streets in 2016 and 11th highest number of accidents involving bicyclists. Overall, it had the 17th most injury collisions of California cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Hey, People, Leave Those Pups Alone

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2019 at 2:03 PM

Seal pups are cute, but don't touch. They are just waiting for mom to return. - FILE
  • File
  • Seal pups are cute, but don't touch. They are just waiting for mom to return.
The Northcoast Marine Mammal Center is reminding the public that pupping season is here and that adorable little baby seal on beach is likely just waiting for its mom to return from a food-finding foray.

In other words, as the center emphasizes, “please do NOT touch it!”

“Most likely its mom is foraging offshore and knows exactly where she left her pup and she will not return if people and/or animals are near,” a Facebook post states.
The center has a stranding line at (707) 951-4722 or you can use the “call now” function on the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

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Harbor District Declares State of Emergency

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2019 at 9:13 AM

harbor_logo.png
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District voted unanimously at a special meeting yesterday to declare a state of emergency due to increased sedimentation in the channel into Humboldt Bay that is causing dangerous conditions and imperiling the county’s fuel supply.

The vote came after the district received the results of depth testing by the Army Corps of Engineers, which found that the 48-foot deep channel is currently at about 21 feet, filled with sediment that washed out of the Eel River during storms last month. The shallowing of the channel is creating large cross waves and “extremely large sneaker waves” around Buoy 9, an area known as “Rock and Roll Alley,” according to a staff report. The conditions are imperiling local recreational and commercial fishing boats, as well as the commercial shipping industry, including the fuel ships that deliver 6 million gallons of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel to the Chevron fuel dock every nine days.

“These conditions place an extreme hazard to life, property and the environment,” the staff report states.

Chevron released a statement this morning through the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office indicating that operations are not currently being disrupted.

"The Chevron Eureka terminal is currently operating at normal levels of supply and has not experienced any supply issue related to Humboldt Bay shoaling," the statement says. "Chevron and our shipping agents are aware of the recent shoaling (silt buildup) at the Humboldt Bay entrance, and we understand that the Harbor Safety Committee has a plan in place to address the shoaling impacts on others such as our community's commercial ships and fishing fleet. Chevron has supplied fuel to the North Coast reliably for generations without interruption and we plan to continue that practice."

The district — as well as other local agencies that have similarly declared a state of emergency — are hoping the Army Corps will move quickly in dredging the channel. But the dredging season doesn’t start up again until June and the Corps’ dredges are currently in dry dock, prompting Harbor District Executive Director Larry Oetker to caution the board that the earliest reasonable hope for dredging would be in April. In the meantime, conditions are likely to worsen.

As a result, the district is urging some forward planning. It has asked Chevron to consider making smaller, more frequent deliveries — which would make for safer passage through the channel — and is also urging local fuel providers to store as much gas on site as possible.

In the meantime, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman told the Times-Standard that his office is working with the Army Corps of Engineers, trying to speed up its timeline for dredging.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

North Coast Night Light: Freshwater Lagoon

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Sept. 2, 2018, at Freshwater Lagoon. - PHOTO BY DAVID WILSON
  • Photo by David Wilson
  • Sept. 2, 2018, at Freshwater Lagoon.
Sometimes a creative urge will drive me nutty unless I can find a way to make something. I’m an artist but I am only interested in one medium: photography, which of course includes working with photos after taking the picture, whether with current digital tools or in the darkrooms of old as I started out. At the moment I am driven to take nighttime photos. I don’t know why. I just go with it.

But it can conflict with my highly developed inclination toward self preservation when it comes to places I don’t feel safe to be alone at night. There are times when I want terribly to go photograph but can’t find anyone to accompany me. Family and friends are wonderful companions, and they have given me many of their nights to come out with me to make long exposures or paint with light in the dark of night. I am grateful for the time they’ve given me and for the times yet to come. Thank goodness for them.

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PIT Count Finds Almost 1,500 People Without Shelter in Humboldt

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 3:11 PM

A homeless man in Eureka. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A homeless man in Eureka.
Almost 1,500 people spent the night of Jan. 22 without shelter in Humboldt County, according to results of the Point in Time count released by the county Department of Health and Human Services.

The biennial count held Jan. 23 found that 1,473 people had experienced unsheltered homelessness the night before, more than double the number counted in 2017. That puts Humboldt County's rate of homeless people per 10,000 in population at about three times the state average of 34, according to U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development data.

The PIT count is part of a national effort to tally sheltered and unsheltered homeless people, as requirement by HUD. The numbers are then used to designate funding to help address homelessness and housing insecurity. On a single day in January, volunteers all over the U.S. head out to count and survey homeless people.

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McKinley to be Removed, Sent to Ohio in Very Near Future

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 10:30 AM

McKinley will be coming down in the very near future. - FILE
  • File
  • McKinley will be coming down in the very near future.

President William McKinley’s days on the Arcata Plaza are officially numbered.

The Arcata City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward with the removal of the statue of McKinley at the city’s center and to have the statue moved to Canton, Ohio, which has promised to fund the effort.

Without any discussion, the council voted to approve an environmental review of the project and to move forward with taking McKinley down from the center of the Arcata Plaza, where he has stood for more than a century. After the vote, the council briefly discussed relocation options before forming a consensus that Canton is the best future home for the statue of the nation’s 25th president.

But the council also stressed a sense of urgency, with councilmembers Paul Pitino and Sofia Pereira asking staff to get the statue down as soon as possible and not to delay as plans are worked out to ship the statue to its new home.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

California, 15 Other States Sue Trump Over 'Manufactured' Crisis

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 12:20 PM

gavel.jpg
Sixteen states, including California, are suing the Trump administration over the border national emergency declaration, filing a complaint Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The states are alleging that Trump’s move is “unlawful and unconstitutional” and based on a “manufactured ‘crisis’” despite evidence that unlawful border entries are at a 20-year low, immigrants are less likely than to commit crime and illegal drugs are usually smuggled via official ports of entry.

“He is willing to manipulate the Office of the Presidency to engage in unconstitutional theatre performed to convince his audience that he is committed to his ‘beautiful’ border wall,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a Feb. 18 press release.

“Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre.” he continued.


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Monday, February 18, 2019

Hello there, Super Snow Moon

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 12:30 PM

An aircraft taking off is seen passing in front of full moon in December of 2017. - NASA/BILL INGALLS
  • NASA/Bill Ingalls
  • An aircraft taking off is seen passing in front of full moon in December of 2017.
Move over Super Blood Wolf Moon, it’s the Super Snow Moon’s turn to shine.

Sure it’s not as snazzy a name and Tuesday’s moon lacks that added je ne sais quoi of a lunar eclipse, but the celestial orb will “look extremely large when it rises and sets,” according to NASA, the result of an illusion that occurs when the Moon is close to the horizon and our brain is “tricked into thinking the Moon is much closer to the objects that are in our line of sight.”

And, hey, it’s the second to the last one for the year, so enjoy. According to the website Time and Date, moonset in Eureka will occur at 7:22 a.m. Tuesday  — with the full moon reached at 7: 53 a.m. — and rise at 6:17 p.m.

The National Weather Service, however, forecasts rain is likely for that evening.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Arcata Poised to OK Relocating McKinley. The Question is, Where?

Posted By on Sat, Feb 16, 2019 at 10:33 AM

Arcata City Council poised to OK McKinley relocation Wednesday. - FILE
  • File
  • Arcata City Council poised to OK McKinley relocation Wednesday.
The Arcata City Council is poised Wednesday to take a big step toward ridding the the city’s center of the statue of President William McKinley, where it has stood for more than a century.

Earlier this week, the city’s planning commission voted unanimously to recommend that the council certify an environmental impact report on the removal project, make necessary general plan amendments and find that there are “social concerns” that override the need to maintain the Arcata Plaza’s historic nature. On Wednesday, staff is recommending the city council approve the environmental review, approve the relocation and give some guidance as to just where McKinley will go.

There appear to be a number of options for the statue, which was unveiled on the plaza in 1906 but has become — in the eyes of some — a symbol of American imperialism and the suffering inflicted on native people throughout the world, prompting the council to vote last year to remove it. The environmental review document proposes the statue be moved to a city storage facility but the council can choose to modify that.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Remains Found by the Eel River in 2016 Identified

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2019 at 1:54 PM

George Preston Daniels - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • George Preston Daniels
When George Preston Daniels didn’t show up at the Humboldt County Courthouse on March 24, 2016, for charges stemming from what authorities said they believed was a marijuana rip-off, he became a wanted man. But, most likely, he was already dead.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed today that remains found along the Eel River in May of 2016 were identified last month as belonging to Daniels.

Over the spring and summer of 2016, bounty hunters from a local bail bonds office had scoured the area — even hiring a small plane at one point to search for Daniels’ vehicle — to no avail, in spite of a reward offered by his bail bondsman.

In fact, his body had been found in May of that year by a person canoeing the Eel River near Stafford. At the time, Chief Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart said it appeared the body had been there "quite some time" and the case was being treated as a homicide.

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