Saturday, August 29, 2020

Kayaker Shares Harrowing Shark Scare

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 11:20 AM

David Alexander and the shark’s toothmarks in his kayak.  David Alexander - COURTESY OF DAVID ALEXANDER
  • Courtesy of David Alexander
  • David Alexander and the shark’s toothmarks in his kayak. David Alexander
Yesterday afternoon, a shark chomped onto the end of a kayak in Shelter Cove and threw the kayaker into the water where they were eye to eye. But, fortunately, the kayaker lived to tell us the story of his terrifying experience.

David Alexander, Superintendent at Bellevue Union School District in Southern Santa Rosa, said with the fires and the stresses of the recent time, he knew he needed a break.

He decided to go to fishing at Shelter Cove but didn’t have a partner. “You never go alone,” he said. So he reached out through an online group and found a partner. “I don’t even know his last name. His handle is Three money J. His real name is John. I met him for the first time at Shelter Cove.”

They launched about 6:30 in the morning and had a good day of fishing and wildlife encounters.

“Earlier in the day I saw the most interesting whale,” Alexander said. “It came straight at me and he goes right under my boat.” Alexander said he was worried about accidentally hooking the whale but luckily did not.

Then, he said, “About a half hour later, he comes back and cuts right in front of my boat….Typically I like seeing whales…but that was close.”

The two kayakers were through for the day and heading in, Alexander said. “We were heading south and…rounding the lighthouse…I heard a thud…It felt like the front of my boat was lifting up …I heard a sound sort of sandpaperish…a grinding sound. For a second I thought I was being lifted up onto a wash rock…I saw gray and then I said, ‘That’s not a rock. That’s a shark!’

What Alexander saw then keeps replaying in his head. He saw the shark chomp down on either side of the tip of his vessel.

“He had the front of my kayak literally in his mouth…It was like he was smoking it like a cigar…It was surreal.”
Simultaneous to seeing the shark, Alexander was being thrown from the kayak. “I hear the thud.. feel the push and I’m rolling to the right,” he said. With his gear and his glasses falling into the water with him, he went under then bobbed up.

“I was probably about 4 feet from the shark,” he told us. “I’m in the water…I don’t know if he is looking at me, but I’m looking at him….When he hit the boat, I fell off on the same side his face…I could see both eyes–one side more than the other…His eyes are so dark…I could see his teeth and his gums. You see those rows of teeth…that’s something else.”

He paused, ”I wonder how many times that is going to play in my head.” He said he asked himself, “What do you do when he let’s go?”

Alexander said he really thought the shark would let go of the boat and then come after him.


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Friday, August 28, 2020

Frankovich: New State Guidelines Will Go Into Effect Locally Next Week

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 5:13 PM

Masked, gloved and good to go at Arcata Pizza and Deli. - PHOTO BY ZACH LATHOURIS
  • Photo by Zach Lathouris
  • Masked, gloved and good to go at Arcata Pizza and Deli.
Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich is still reviewing a new state COVID-19 monitoring system, which places tiered restrictions on individual counties, and hopes to implement the new framework early next week.

In a press release, Frankovich said the new system — which places Humboldt County in Tier 3, or "moderate" risk status — will allow some businesses and services that had been closed under the prior state framework to reopen, but it will also place new, "unanticipated restrictions" on other businesses.

“I think this is good news for Humboldt County, but some of our businesses may look a little different under these regulations,” she said in the release. “Both the county and our local business owners need time to ensure that we all understand what is required in this framework and to make sure that it is a good fit locally.

“The State has obviously had a lot of time to review and modify this guidance and it is critically important that we here in Humboldt have that same opportunity before leaping forward,” she continued. "I expect to align closely with this new framework, but until we actually have the opportunity to review the guidance, Humboldt remains at status quo under the Health Officer’s authority. I expect that we will move forward possibly as early as Monday or Tuesday.”

The state's monitoring system relies on two metrics — average new positive cases confirmed per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period and test positivity rates. According to the state, Humboldt County has been averaging 3.6 new cases per 100,000 residents with a test positivity rate of 1.4 percent, placing it in the moderate risk category.

According to the state's website, the new guidelines would allow Humboldt County restaurants to reopen for dine-in services at 50 percent capacity and bars to open for outdoor service with modifications.

Humboldt County confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, making making 24 this week and 135 so far this month. Earlier today, Public Health announced it was lowering its own local risk assessment to Level 2, or moderate.

See the county's full press release copied below.


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Public Health Confirms Four New COVID-19 Cases, Lowers Threat Level

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 4:27 PM

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, making 24 this week and 135 so far this month.

The results come after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced sweeping revisions to the state's program governing what businesses, services and organizations can open throughout the state and how they must modify operations. The new system does away with the watch list, replacing it with a four-tiered risk assessment based on a seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents and testing positivity rates, with tiers ranging from "minimal" to "widespread." Humboldt, averaging 3.6 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past week with a positivity rate of 1.4 percent, according to the California Department of Public Health, is listed as "moderate."

As of this afternoon, it was unclear exactly what the state's new program would mean for local restrictions.

Public Health also announced today that it has lowered the county threat assessment from level three to two.

According to a press release, this reflects both a small decline in Humboldt County’s case rate per 100,000 and an improvement in the percentage of cases due to community transmission.

“The commitment of residents in our community to prevention measures and the dedication of our contact investigation teams have helped move us into a lower alert level which is really good news for everyone," Health Officer Teresa Frankovich said in the release. "If we all continue to work together, we can help to decrease transmission and keep our friends and neighbors safer.”

Today's cases come after Public Health tested 435 samples with a positivity rate of about 1 percent.

To date, Humboldt county has seen 368 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 21 hospitalizations and four deaths. Nationally, 5.8 million cases have been confirmed with 180,165 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. California, meanwhile, has recorded 683,529 confirmed cases with 12,550 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.

Humboldt County Public Health is urging residents who aren't experiencing symptoms to get tested free of charge at the mobile testing site at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. (People experiencing symptoms should contact a healthcare provider, officials say.) Asymptomatic individuals can make an appointment to be tested by visiting https://Lhi.care/covidtesting or calling (888) 634-1123. Tests will be administered free of charge, whether or not people have health insurance.

Basics of COVID-19


The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.

Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken, and bluish lips or face.

In an emergency situation:

Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask.

Symptoms or possible exposure:

In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at hhsphb@co.humbldt.ca.us or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has started a rumor-control webpage that can be found here.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

Read the county's release below.


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Crescent City Man Killed in Logging Accident

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 10:17 AM

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has launched a death investigation after a logging accident killed a 70-year-old man on a rural property near Orick yesterday.

According to a press release, two pieces of logging equipment collided, injuring the John Henry Sims Jr., of Crescent City, who died at the scene. Cal OSHA is also investigating the incident, according to the release.

For more information, see the full press release copied below:

Industrial logging accident death investigation

On August 27, 2020, at about 10:36 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a rural property in the area of Johnson Road and Bald Hills Road near Orick for the report of an industrial logging accident with one injured.

According to witnesses on scene, two pieces of logging equipment reportedly collided injuring a 70-year-old man. Lifesaving efforts were performed on the man, however, he succumbed to his injuries and was declared deceased shortly after.

The deceased has been identified as John Henry Sims Jr. of Crescent City. An autopsy of Sims will be scheduled for next week.

This case is under investigation by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and CAL OSHA.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office extends our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Sims. We would also like to thank the following agencies for their assistance and response to this incident: CAL FIRE, Arcata-Mad River Ambulance and REACH Air Medical Services.
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Look Up: Redwood Skywalk in Progress

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 10:15 AM

A recent walk past Eureka’s Sequoia Park entrance gate and a right turn on the path going behind the zoo revealed what at first looked like Ewoks at work high up in the redwoods. But instead of seeing the fictional species of small mammal bipeds from Endor at work building arboreal huts (see the 1983 Star Wars film Return of the Jedi), I caught glimpses of men and women from the Tigard, Oregon-based company Synergo at work creating the Redwood Sky Walk, an elevated 100-foot-high walkway.

One of the Synergo aerial construction employees paused to wave at walkers on the trail below while installing one of  several Redwood Sky Walk platforms that encircle redwood trees. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • One of the Synergo aerial construction employees paused to wave at walkers on the trail below while installing one of several Redwood Sky Walk platforms that encircle redwood trees.

The future walkway, mostly ADA accessible, will be include a network of suspended bridges connecting a stand of old growth and mature second growth redwood trees within and beyond the zoo’s border. While most of the Skywalk will be about 60 feet above ground, one bridge will be 100 feet from the forest floor, approximately one third of the way up the 250-foot-tall redwoods.

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Frankovich Urges People to 'Reach Out and Check in' with Older Community Members

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 10:03 AM

Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich.
Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich is worried about our older community members, and  not just because they are more vulnerable to critical outcomes from COVID-19 — they're also more likely to be socially isolated during the pandemic.

“It’s up to all of us to reach out and check in with our older friends, family and neighbors” she said in a press release. “Calling is a simple thing to do and it as important to the safety and well-being of our community members as all of the prevention efforts we use every day.”

The Public Health press release, which is copied below, lists of a host of services available for local seniors, from meal program and friendship lines to online courses and Tai Chi.

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Public Health Pledges Support for Latinx Community, Assures it Won't Ask About Documentation Status

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2020 at 9:44 AM

Health Officer Teresa Frankovich
  • Health Officer Teresa Frankovich
Humboldt County Public Health issued a statement of support for the local Latinx community — whic h has experienced a disproportionate impact form COVID-19 — and pledging that its contact investigators will not ask people about their "documentation status."

According to the statement, the Latinx community makes up about 12 percent of Humboldt County's population but accounts for 40 percent of local confirmed COVID-19 cases. Statewide, nearly 60 percent of confirmed cases and 47 percent of deaths have been recorded in Latinx people, who account for about 40 percent of California's population. (For more on the disparity, see our coverage from last month.)

The Public Health statement indicates these disparities stem from everything from differences in access to healthcare, insurance and occupations, as well as language barriers.

"Housing is another factor for people who, for economic or cultural reasons, live in crowded conditions and with extended, intergenerational family members," the statement reads. "This results in increased risk for exposure to COVID-19 and other underlying health problems. For some immigrant communities, fear of deportation and language preference may be added layers of stress and barriers to seeking treatment. Racism and xenophobia on their own have enormous negative impacts on public health outcomes and fears of racist treatment and deportation compound that impact for people of color and immigrant communities."

The statement goes on to note that state law and a local ordinance prohibit local agencies from sharing information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and pledges that Public Health contact investigators tasked with finding people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in an effort to limit the virus' spread will not ask people about their immigration or documentation status.

"Nobody should be afraid to seek health care," reads the statement. "Health care providers and other government agencies should not be sharing information with or otherwise coordinating with ICE, when serving that community. ... During a health crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, trust is critical for people to seek out the help they need including access to testing and health care. Humboldt County Public Health supports policies and practices that help promote trust and equity for all members of our community."

In partnership with Centro de Pueblo, the Latino Community Providers’ Network and the Humboldt County Office of Education, Public Health will be hosting a Spanish language town hall meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.

For more information, see the full statement from Public Health copied below:


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Thursday, August 27, 2020

COVID-19 Testing for Hoopa Residents

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 6:38 PM

The K'ima:w Medical Center (contracting with AB Med Healthcare Solutions) will be providing COVID-19 testing for Hoopa residents who aren't showing symptoms next week at three different locations.

To be eligible for testing residents must be a Hoopa Valley Tribal member, a Hoopa Valley Tribal employee or live on the Hoopa Valley Tribal reservation.

Testing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are mainly limited to Hoopa Valley Tribal employees, but open to the public from 4-6 p.m. and from 10 a.m.- 6p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

The testing sites are located at the north end of Marshall Lane (enter from Highway 96), the Neighborhood Facility Building parking lot and the Hoopa Modular yard.

"Testing will give our medical team a more thorough picture of how our community is impacted by COVID-19 and help determine next steps for stopping the spread of COVID-19. Together, we can help protect eachother, especially our Elders," reads the release.

Read the full press release below. 
08-27-20-psa-mass-testing.jpg
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Virtual Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Garberville Campus Complex

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 6:09 PM

A digital imagining of the Garberville Campus Complex - HUMBOLDT COUNTY
  • Humboldt County
  • A digital imagining of the Garberville Campus Complex
The county of Humboldt will be holding a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the start of construction for the new Garberville Campus Complex on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The $2.6 million Garberville Campus Complex will replace the current buildings and will serve as a more modern, energy-efficient community center for southern Humboldt residents that will house a library, a sheriff’s substation and a conference room.

“We’re excited for this new complex that will be accessible to all,” said 2nd District Supervisor and board Chairwoman Estelle Fennell. “After years of planning and hard work, the county has invested money and resources into this project that will provide much needed services for the community and will be such an improvement over the facilities we have had to live with and work in for so long.”

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Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center Donates $10,000 to Northern California Community Blood Bank

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 4:52 PM

(From left to right) Tiffany Armstrong, director of donor services, Kate Witthaus, CEO, Northern California Community Blood Bank, Heather Ponsano and John Friedenbach of Kiwanis of Henderson Center. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • (From left to right) Tiffany Armstrong, director of donor services, Kate Witthaus, CEO, Northern California Community Blood Bank, Heather Ponsano and John Friedenbach of Kiwanis of Henderson Center.
The Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center has made a $10,000 donation to the Northern California Community Blood Bank that will contribute to the bank's $350,000 total expense for a new bloodmobile.

 According to the release, the new mobile will replace a "17-year-old Bluebird bus that has, by Blood Bank estimates, served over 70,000 local donors and made thousands of trips from Garberville to Smith River and Petrolia to Orleans."

For more information about the fundraising effort and to donate go to www.bloodmobile2020.org.

Read the full press release below. 
BLOODMOBILE FUND RECEIVES BIG BOOST FROM KIWANIS CLUB OF HENDERSON CENTER

The Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center has made a sizable donation toward the purchase of a new bloodmobile by the Northern California Community Blood Bank, the blood bank which serves Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

The $10,000 gift was presented to CEO Kate Witthaus and Director of Donor Services Tiffany Anderson at a ceremony held recently at the Blood Bank’s Harrison Ave. headquarters. This contribution brings the Blood Bank closer to the $350,000 total expense for the vehicle which is currently being designed with input from Anderson and will be built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio.

The new bloodmobile will replace a 17 year old Bluebird bus that has, by Blood Bank estimates, served over 70,000 local donors and made thousands of trips from Garberville to Smith River and Petrolia to Orleans.

More information about the fundraising effort and to donate go to bloodmobile2020.org.

Kiwanis is a global organization dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time. The Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center, formed in October 1950, has served our local Humboldt community and youth since that time. We currently improve our area by sponsoring Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, FFA, and provide scholarships to local graduates. In addition, we support our community through our Women In Business Luncheon, Keep Eureka Beautiful, Salvation Army, Eureka Rescue Mission, Northern California Blood Bank, Sequoia Park Zoo, Wild Souls Ranch, and many others. Look for our pancake breakfast on Sunday following the Rhody Parade, or at our "Soon to Be World Famous" root beer float booths on the 4th of July in Eureka or at the Fortuna Redwood Auto Expo. Find us on Facebook – Kiwanis Club of Henderson Center.

The Northern California Community Blood Bank (NCCBB) was established in 1951 to provide a safe and adequate supply of blood to the patients we serve. In our 68 year history, we have grown into a blood center that provides blood components efficiently for our local community and beyond. We have a fixed site location in Eureka, and three bloodmobiles that travel throughout Humboldt and Del Norte counties. We collected over 10,000 donations in 2018. Those were used to produce 12,000 blood products for transfusion to patients. NCCBB provides 55 local jobs and offers thousands of individuals the opportunity to make meaningful, lifesaving contributions to their community.
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