Thursday, July 30, 2020

Newsom Appeals to Warren Buffett in Effort to Save Klamath Dam Removal Deal

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 1:58 PM

The four Klamath River dams slated for removal. - MILES EGGELSTON
  • Miles Eggelston
  • The four Klamath River dams slated for removal.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed to one of the world's richest men in an effort to save the Klamath dam removal deal.

The groundbreaking deal to remove four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River was reached in 2016 and would constitute one of the largest dam removal projects in history. Under the deal, the dams' owner Pacificorp would surrender them to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, a nonprofit, which would then oversee their removal, which area tribes and environmental groups believe is crucial to saving salmon species. But on July 16 the Federal Energy Regulatory Corporation (FERC) complicated that plan, saying it would only allow Pacificorp to transfer the dam's licenses — a crucial step — if Pacificorp remained listed as a co-licensee, saying the nonprofit has "limited finances" and "no experience with hydropower dam operation or dam removal."

But Pacificorp spokesperson Bob Gravely told the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, Oregon, that the company is now concerned it may be exposed to liability if the costs of dam removal "spiral" beyond the allocated $450 million and that the company may just look to relicense the dams itself and continue operating them.

Yesterday Newsom appealed directly to Warren Buffett, the famous CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Pacificorp, in an effort to keep the power company from walking away from the deal.

Copco Dam on the Klamath River. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR.
  • Photo courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
  • Copco Dam on the Klamath River.
"Since time immemorial, the indigenous peoples of the Klamath Basin have stewarded the Klamath River, the second-largest river in California and once the third-biggest salmon-producing river on the west coast," Newsom wrote in a letter. "It served as a centerpiece of community, culture and sustenance. Then beginning 100 years ago, construction of dams threatened this way of life, devastated salmon runs and altered the characteristics of the river itself. A century later, the river is sick, and the Klamath Basin tribes are suffering.

"We stand at an unprecedented moment of reckoning about our past and, more importantly, our future," Newsom continued. "In this moment, we have the opportunity and obligation to see ourselves clearly and decide whether we are living up to the values that I firmly believe all Californians stand for: equity, inclusion and accountability."

In a joint statement, the Karuk Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, American Rivers, California Trout, Klamath Riverkeeper, Trout Unlimited, Save California Salmon and Sustainable Northwest applauded Newsom's letter.

“With every year that passes, Klamath River salmon edge closer to extinction," reads the statement. "While we are gratified that PacifiCorp remains willing to talk, we can’t afford any more delays in this process. It’s time for Warren Buffett’s PacifiCorp to do the right thing and allow this dam removal agreement to move forward. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s in the financial interests of PacifiCorp’s ratepayers and Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholders. The agreement offers PacifiCorp unprecedented liability protections and $250 million in public funding. Walking away from the agreement will put PacifiCorp ratepayers on the hook for all the risks and liabilities associated with fish kills, toxic algae blooms, lawsuits, and violations of Tribal rights. We urge Warren Buffett and PacifiCorp to end the delays and move the dam removal process forward immediately.”

For more on the historic dam removal agreement, which brought together a diverse group of stakeholders through years of negotiation, read past Journal coverage here and here.
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UPD Arrests Virginia Murder Suspects

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 9:12 AM

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Humboldt State University police arrested two people suspected of a Virginia murder yesterday while conducting a routine patrol, according to a press release.

Sgt. Joe Jones and officer Billy Kijsriopas were patrolling the University Corporation Yard off Samoa Boulevard at about 1 a.m. Wednesday when they found an unoccupied vehicle with stolen license plates parked on the east side of the building, according to the release. The officers approached on foot and found three people sleeping near the car on the building's stairwell.

The officers roused the people and ran their names, at which point they learned that two — Daniel Fish, 37, and Ashleigh Nicole McCallister, 23 — were wanted on a murder charge out of Henry County, Virginia. The two were taken into custody without incident and police determined the third person — "an unsuspecting traveler" — was not connected to the murder.

Fish and McCallister — along with Douglas Gillespie, 25, who was arrested in Texas last month — stand accused of gunning down Robert Wayne Williams at his Henry County apartment on the night of June 5 and face second-degree murder charges.

See the press release from UPD copied below:


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Redwood Region Economic Development Commission Eureka to Receive a $5 Million CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grant

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 6:01 PM

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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is granting over $5.5 million in Recovery Assistance grants allocated by Congress in the CARES Act for Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) which provide critical gap financing to small businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout California’s second congressional district.

According to the release, the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission in Eureka will receive a $5 million EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to respond to the pandemic by providing RLF loans to impacted businesses in Humboldt County.

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Man Medivacked From ATV Accident Southwest From Manila

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 4:55 PM

Cal Fire’s Copter 102’s path on FlightRadar. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Cal Fire’s Copter 102’s path on FlightRadar.
Just before 4 p.m., a man riding an ATV by himself on the ocean side of the Samoa Peninsula crashed and was injured, according to Fire Captain Specialist Tran Beyea of Cal Fire.

Samoa Fire and City Ambulance responded to the area but needed assistance.

“There was difficulty locating him,” Beyea told us. “Our helicopter was dispatched.”

Copter 102 flew to the area and found the injured man. A medic from the ground crews was then able to locate the man. Beyea said that the medic “determined the patient needed transport to Saint Joe’s.”

Copter 102 flew the patient and the medic to the hospital.

Read the full Arcata Fire District press release below.

Coordinated Rescue for Injured ATV Rider
(Manila, CA) – July 29, 2020 – Arcata Fire District was dispatched to ATV accident in Manila after receiving a 911 call for a single patient with significant injuries. CAL FIRE Copter 102, Samoa Fire District, and City Ambulance of Eureka were also dispatched to the incident. A Rescue Team made access to the patient using a 4x4 vehicle while Copter 102 arrived by air. Both resources coordinated patient care and setting up a secondary landing zone so a paramedic could be picked up.
Once the patient was loaded, Copter 102 lifted off and landed at the Manila Community Center to pick up the paramedic. The paramedic was briefed by firefighters then began Advanced Life Support as the helicopter lifted off and transported the patient to St. Joseph Hospital.
Battalion Chief Campbell reports, “This rescue went very smooth. The Fortuna Command Center sent everything we needed to make this rescue a success. Ground crews coordinated well with the helicopter and the patient was transported very quickly.”
Arcata Fire District would like to remind everyone to have an emergency plan when involved in outdoor recreation activities. Have a cell phone, first aid kit, emergency blanket, water, food, and make sure you tell someone where you are.
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Public Health Confirms Seven New COVID-19 Cases

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 4:40 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases today, making 23 so far this week and 95 for the month, as the local spike in caseloads continues.

In a press release, the county reminded that travel in and out of Humboldt and multi-household social gatherings continue to be "significant drivers of new infections."

“Many of the places local residents are traveling to or having visitors from are experiencing much higher rates of COVID-19 infections, which makes interacting with someone who is ill with COVID more likely,” Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in a press release.

California’s State Health Officer and Frankovich have both asked residents to stay close to home and limit travel as much as possible.

“We are so lucky to have some of the most beautiful areas in the world right here in our backyard,” Frankovich said in the release. “I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of that and postpone or cancel any non-essential, out-of-area trips. And please, ask your friends and family to wait for a safer time to visit you here in Humboldt. It’s the best way to protect your family and your community.”

The spike in confirmed cases comes as Humboldt County — like much of the state — has seen increasing challenges with testing. The OptumServe testing site set up at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds through a partnership with the state has been a growing source of frustration, as a huge increase in statewide demand and supply chain issues have caused regular delays of a week or more in getting test results. These delays pose problems for contact investigators and public health officials looking to contain clusters of the virus.

Frankovich offered the Board of Supervisors a bit of good news on this front, saying the Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory — which currently has a daily capacity of testing about 100 samples — was successful in getting a new piece of equipment that will allow the testing of up to 300 samples.

"That's hugely helpful," Frankovich said, explaining that while the turnaround time at corporate laboratories is currently a week or more, the public health lab can regularly turn around results in 24 to 72 hours, greatly enhancing the ability of contact investigations to limit exposures and isolate people who may have the virus before they can spread it.

The state's contract with OptumServe ends in August, and Frankovich said the county is actively looking at other possibilities, feeling a more rapid testing infrastructure is crucial to the county's ability to monitor and control the virus moving forward.

With today's cases, the county has confirmed 53 over the past 14 days, which equates to about 439 cases per 100,000 residents over that span, far eclipsing the 25 cases per 100,000 residents that is one component of which counties land on the state's watch list, which puts them under tighter restrictions. While that number is concerning, Frankovich told the board that the county is currently still well short of the positivity metric that would also have to be met to put the county on the list. While the state has set the threshold of 8 percent of a county's cases coming back positive, Humboldt County has seen a 3.8 parent positive test rate over the past two weeks.

Today's results come after 85 samples were tested. Of Humboldt's 228 confirmed cases to date, 44 remain active.


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North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District Releases Air Quality Report for the North Coast

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 2:08 PM

FILE
  • File
The North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District has released an air quality report for the North Coast as fires have been breaking out throughout the region.

According to the report, Humboldt County coastal areas are expected to continue having a “Good” air quality index with periods of “Moderate” air quality index possible during the evening. Orleans, Weitchpec, and Hoopa should see “Good” to “Moderate” conditions with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."

The report states that "the current weather forecast of high temperatures and low humidity for the next several days will result in increased fire activity and smoke impacts to areas adjacent to the fires."

Read the full air quality report below.

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The Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative Receives $10 Million from California Public Utilities Commission

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 1:08 PM

COURTESY OF THE YUROK GIS PROGRAM
  • Courtesy of the Yurok GIS Program
The California Public Utilities Commission's Advanced Services Fund has contributed $10 million into the Karuk and Yurok Tribes' Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative (KRRBI).

The KRRBI project will install modern internet infrastructure to homes that have slow internet speeds and have never been connected to the internet. The release states that the project will provide high-speed internet connection to nearly 670 tribal and non-tribal households and to 170 non-residential entities including health care facilities, public schools and tribal offices.

Read the full release and statements from the Karuk and Yurok Tribe Chairmembers below. 
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HumCo COVID: Faceshields and Masks

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:45 PM

The HumCo COVID Facebook page uploaded a post about facial coverings including the use of face shields. 
humco_covid_fb_profile_pic.png

"Face shields are NOT a replacement for facial coverings," the post states, adding that face shields are designed as eye protection and are meant to be used with a covering fitted over your nose and mouth.

Check out the full Facebook post below.

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Eureka Social Security Office Offering Services Online and by Phone

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:32 PM

STOCK IMAGE
  • Stock Image
The Eureka Social Security Office would like to remind residents that although its office is closed to walk-in appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's still able to provide services online and by phone.

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College of the Redwoods to Offer Virtual Pharmacy Technician Program

Posted By on Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:54 AM

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College of the Redwoods Workforce and Community Education will offer an expanded pharmacy technician program virtually for the Fall 2020 semester.

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