Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Cal Fire Tanker 96 Crashed at Rohnerville Airport; No One Injured

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 6:54 PM

Tanker 96 Stock photo
  • Tanker 96 Stock photo
UPDATE 6:57 p.m.: According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Savona, the tanker is repairable. He explained that Cal Fire airbases are located so that aircraft can respond to anywhere in the state within 20 minutes and he reassured the public, "We do have reserve aircraft available. We will always be ready to respond."

He added that the crash is "currently under investigation."

Previous: At approximately 6 p.m., Cal Fire Tanker 96 crashed at the end of the Rhonerville Airport. It “hit the ground” and “the left tire has popped,” according to personnel reporting from the scene over the scanner.

Below is a recording of about eight minutes of scanner traffic at the time. The first two minutes contain most of the information.

No one was injured and there is no fire at this time, according to emergency personnel speaking from the scene.
Tanker 96 was leaving and returning in quick round trips prior to the accident.
  • Tanker 96 was leaving and returning in quick round trips prior to the accident.
Editor's Note: This post was updated from a previous version to correct the spelling of Rohnerville. The Journal regrets the error.
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Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation Fundraiser Zootini Going Virtual

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 5:37 PM

The Red pandas have surprises in store for people on Aug. 8 during the virtual broadcast. - SEQUOIA PARK ZOO FOUNDATION.
  • Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation.
  • The Red pandas have surprises in store for people on Aug. 8 during the virtual broadcast.
Just like many other events, the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation's annual fundraiser Zootini will be going virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.

The foundation announced this year's virtual event will be family-friendly and can be viewed on their Youtube and Facebook page.

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Street Resurfacing Project in Arcata to Begin Aug. 11

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 5:16 PM

city-of-arcata-logo-clean.gif
The city of Arcata announced that the 2020 street resurfacing project is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Aug. 11.


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County COVID-19 Testing Capacity to Increase Threefold

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 4:31 PM

The new equipment that will increase the county's Public Health Laboratory's COVID-19 testing capacity. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY JOINT INFORMATION CENTER
  • Humboldt County Joint Information Center
  • The new equipment that will increase the county's Public Health Laboratory's COVID-19 testing capacity.
The Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory's COVID-19 testing capacity will increase threefold due to new testing equipment obtained by the lab through state and federal grant funding.

“Adding this new COVID-19 test and automated extraction platform is a game-changer for our county. Not only will we triple our local testing capacity, but we will maintain multiple testing options, so that we are not at the mercy of stressed reagent and consumable supply chains and have flexibility to respond locally to the COVID-19 pandemic," Laboratory Manager Jeremy Corrigan said.

The equipment is slated to be fully operational by the end of August.

According to the release, the new equipment — known as the Kingfisher Flex by ThermoFisher Scientific — automates the extraction of RNA, the genetic material that microbiologists use to determine if a patient sample contains markers for the virus.

The lab currently processes about 85 samples per day but will be able to process up to 250 per day when the machine is operational and lab staff is trained to use it.

The release also states that the increased efficiency will allow staff to work on testing and services unrelated to COVID-19 that were deferred by the pandemic.

“We’re isolated in Humboldt County, and while that helps us to manage the pandemic more effectively in some ways, it also limits our quick access to commercial labs and other testing resources that other areas have more readily available,” she said. “This new equipment will leave us better positioned to handle a surge in COVID-19 locally and identify new cases quickly so we can prevent further spread of this virus," Public Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said.

Read the full release below.
July 28, 2020 - Local COVID-19 Testing Capacity to Nearly Triple

The Humboldt County Public Health Laboratory (PHL) will nearly triple its capacity to conduct testing for COVID-19 thanks to a new piece of equipment paid for with state and federal grant funding.

The Kingfisher Flex by ThermoFisher Scientific automates the extraction of RNA, the genetic material that allows a microbiologist to determine if a patient sample contains markers for the COVID-19 virus. This automation will allow approximately 94 samples to be prepared for the next step in the process in less than 30 minutes, up from 10 per hour when the work is done by hand.

The lab currently processes about 85 samples per day but will be able to run up to 250 per day when the machine is operational and staff are fully trained in its use, anticipated by the end of August. This increased efficiency will allow staff to work on testing and services unrelated to COVID-19 that were deferred by the pandemic.

Laboratory Manager Jeremy Corrigan said, “Adding this new COVID-19 test and automated extraction platform is a game changer for our county. Not only will we triple our local testing capacity, but we will maintain multiple testing options, so that we are not at the mercy of stressed reagent and consumable supply chains and have flexibility to respond locally to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The KingFisher and associated supplies cost approximately $73,000, and is paid for through the California Department of Public Health Community Surveillance Grant and the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The State of California also provided $150,000 worth of reagents that will allow the local lab to run 4,000 samples with the new machine.

Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich said she was excited to be able to leverage state and federal funding to support local needs. “We’re isolated in Humboldt County, and while that helps us to manage the pandemic more effectively in some ways, it also limits our quick access to commercial labs and other testing resources that other areas have more readily available,” she said. “This new equipment will leave us better positioned to handle a surge in COVID-19 locally and identify new cases quickly so we can prevent further spread of this virus.”

For the most recent COVID-19 information, visit cdc.gov or cdph.ca.gov. Local information is available at humboldtgov.org or during business hours by contacting covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or calling 707-441-5000.
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Public Health Confirms Four New COVID-19 Cases, Making 88 This Month

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 4:14 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, which on the heels of yesterday's dozen makes 88 so far this month.

In a presentation to the Board of Supervisors this morning, Health Officer Teresa Frankovich noted that while it took Humboldt County 105 days to get to 109 cases, that number had doubled over the past 45 days.

"It's no secret that our numbers are definitely increasing," she said. "They're being driven by travel, gatherings or the two of those things combined."

Humboldt County has seen a total of 221 cases to date, and Frankovich noted that she's seeing a growing percentage of those cases in people under the age of 50. While that demographic is statistically less likely to suffer the critical outcomes that lead to hospitalizations, intensive care and death, she said it's worrisome because the more the virus gains a foothold in the local community the more likely it is to transfer to at-risk populations.

"What we are likely to see here is what's been seen elsewhere," she said. "There's an increase in case numbers, followed down the road by increases in hospitalizations, ICUs and even deaths, because COVID moves through other parts of the population."


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HSU Receives $15,000 Grant for Open Educational Resources Program

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 1:42 PM

Humboldt State University has received a $15,000 grant for it's Open Educational Resources (OER) program which permits free reuse and repurposing of teaching and learning resources.

The grant was allocated through CSU's Affordable Learning Solutions program and will support faculty and lecturer training, improve awareness of resources on campus, improve the OER research guide and facilitate adoption, states the release.

The OER program has also saved students more than $1 million in textbooks and more than $1.3 million in academic materials.

"Open Educational Resources, in addition to the HSU Library’s textbook rental program, helps students get the educational materials they need to succeed as well as their basic needs to thrive," Kyle Morgan, scholarly communications librarian and HSU press publisher said in the release.

Read the full release below. 
New Funding for Program that’s Saved Students more than $1 Million on Textbooks

HSU continues to support affordable learning for students, with new funding from the CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions program.

The $15,000 grant supports Open Educational Resources (OER), teaching and learning resources that permit free use and repurposing. The funding will go to support faculty and lecturer trainings, improve awareness of resources on campus, improve the OER research guide (annually one of the top-viewed research guides at the library) and facilitate adoption. Last year, those that transferred from commercial textbooks to free or lower cost resources saved students $292,492.

HSU’s OER program has been working to support affordability for five years, during which time students have saved more than $1.3 million in academic materials. This Fall, there are 20 required textbooks that cost $250 or more per title, which can have a huge impact on students, especially those taking multiple courses.

That can mean students having to choose between class materials and meals. Open Educational Resources, in addition to the HSU Library’s textbook rental program, helps students get the educational materials they need to succeed as well as their basic needs to thrive, says Kyle Morgan, Scholarly Communications Librarian and HSU Press Publisher.

In addition to that benefit to student financial wellbeing, independent studies have shown OER adoption leads to:
•Lower class withdrawal rates
•Improved student success, especially for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students
•Higher student satisfaction

For more information, visit the Library’s HSU Sustainable Learning website.
The CSU system’s Affordable Learning Solutions program helps faculty to choose and provide more affordable class materials, and helps students advocate for and find low or no cost resources.

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PG&E Responding to Gas Leak In Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 1:22 PM

PG&E responded to reports of a gas leak on Fourth and M Streets in Eureka after a construction crew struck a gas line with a saw.

Highway 101 was closed to make the area safe and stop the flow of gas but has since reopened.

Read the full statement from PGE representative Deanna Contreras below.

The safety of our customers, crews and communities we serve is our most important responsibility.  PG&E has responded to reports of a gas leak at 4th and M Streets in Eureka, after a construction crew, unrelated to PG&E, struck a gas line with a saw.  This happened after 11:20 am.  Crews are working with first responders at the scene to make the area safe and stop the flow of gas.  Gas to two customers is currently impacted.
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Salmon Fire Which is Spreading Into Three Counties Started Yesterday and is Estimated to be 220 Acres and Have 0 Percent Containment

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2020 at 11:49 AM

The Salmon Fire east of Weitchpec burning late Monday evening. - SHASTA TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST SERVICE
  • Shasta Trinity National Forest Service
  • The Salmon Fire east of Weitchpec burning late Monday evening.
Directly east of Weitchpec, where the tip of Trinity County nudges between the southwestern edge of Siskiyou County and the northeastern edge of Humboldt County, a 220-acre fire blew up yesterday. The Salmon Fire was first reported about 11 a.m. in Trinity County, according to Carol Underhill, spokesperson for the Shasta Trinity National Forest. She confirmed that the fire has since spread into Siskiyou County and nudged into Humboldt County also. [Note: InciWeb reports as of 11 a.m. that the Salmon Fire is now 550 acres]

InciWeb describes the fire as located “at the top of Eight Mile Creek in the New River Basin in the far northwest portion of the Trinity Alps Wilderness.”

The Red Fire, another new and much smaller fire than the Salmon, is burning entirely in Humboldt County to the northwest of the Salmon Fire. If an Incident Management Team is brought in for the large fire, they will likely take on the Red Fire also.
Using CalTopo and adding text, we created this map. The orange circles show heat spots that showed on satellite imagery. Note the red area entirely within Humboldt County is the Red Fire. The much larger Salmon Fire is at the intersection of the three counties. - KYM KEMP
  • Kym Kemp
  • Using CalTopo and adding text, we created this map. The orange circles show heat spots that showed on satellite imagery. Note the red area entirely within Humboldt County is the Red Fire. The much larger Salmon Fire is at the intersection of the three counties.
The Salmon Fire is burning in the scar of the 2009 Backbone Fire, according to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center. “Steep and rugged terrain poses a challenge to firefighting resources,” the Center points out.

Yesterday, according to InciWeb, a number of resources were assigned to the Salmon Fire: “2 crews, 4 smokejumpers, 7 helitack firefighters, with aviation support including air tankers that have made several retardant drops and a helicopter. More resources are on order.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.: InciWeb reports as of 11 a.m. that the Salmon Fire is now 550 acres.
Smoke from the Red Fire and the Salmon Fire are indicated by a red arrow. - IMAGERY FROM THE GOES WEST SATELLITE ON JULY 28
  • Imagery from the GOES West Satellite on July 28
  • Smoke from the Red Fire and the Salmon Fire are indicated by a red arrow.
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Monday, July 27, 2020

Fire Burning on the Samoa Peninsula

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 5:21 PM

Smoke from a fire on the Samoa Peninsula. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Smoke from a fire on the Samoa Peninsula.
Firefighters are responding to flames in the wildland on the Samoa Penninsula.

“I think I have two separate wildland fires,” the Lincoln Incident Commander stated about 4:55 p.m. The first one is off of Simpson Contractor Road. And the other is off of Lincoln. The fire off of Lincoln is close to an apartment building.

Cal Fire is requesting assistance.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: More engines have been dispatched to the fire in the 2200 block of Bendixsen Street.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.: Blue Lake Fire and Loleta Fire are being asked to respond to one of the two Samoa peninsula fires. The first fire is at the 2200 block of Bendixsen Street and the second is in the 2300 block of Lincoln Avenue. They are close together.

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County Sets Grim Record with 12 new COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Today

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 5:04 PM

Humboldt County set a single-day record with a dozen new confirmed COVID-19 cases announced by Public Health, continuing a spike that has now seen 84 cases confirmed this month.

The county's previous single-day high for confirmed cases was nine, reached twice, first April 2 then again June 24. Since the county started announcing daily test results March 16, it has announced six or more cases in a single day just eight times. Four of those have come since July 15.  For further perspective, the dozen cases announced today are as many as the county recorded in total during the first 23 days in June.

Today's results come after 285 samples were tested, and are the first results announced since Friday's.

In a press release, the county noted that of the 28 cases confirmed since last Monday, only two were in people over the age of 50, prompting Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich to remind that the long-term impacts of the disease are still largely unknown, even for people in good health.

“We’ve seen many positive cases associated with gatherings of friends and related to travel,” Frankovich said in the release. “I’d ask everyone to consider their own health and the health of their loved ones, especially those who are medically vulnerable before getting together with friends. It’s vital that we all do what we can to limit spread of this virus.”

During her media availability Friday, after watching a total of 24 cases confirmed last week, prompting the county to raise the overall alert level to 3, Frankovich also warned that travel and multi-household social gatherings continue to be the primary drivers of local cases.

"A big driver of our local cases is related to both travel or gatherings, and sometimes the two of those combined," she said. "And all of it goes to increase the circulation and prevalence of virus in our community."

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