Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Cooperation Humboldt Plants Fruit Trees for Everyone

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 1:50 PM

Eva Hogue, a Cooperation Humboldt garden installer, planting a fruit tree. - COOPERATION HUMBOLDT
  • Cooperation Humboldt
  • Eva Hogue, a Cooperation Humboldt garden installer, planting a fruit tree.
Cooperation Humboldt's mission to make food more available to all is steadily growing, with the local nonprofit planting an additional 130 fruit trees throughout the county this year.

“We believe that nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and our projects aim to put that belief into practice in very tangible ways,” said Tamara McFarland, who coordinates the Cooperation Humboldt's food program. “Growing public food in common spaces is an important step toward our goal to return Humboldt County to the regenerative, life-sustaining food forest and ecological haven that it once was.”

This year marks the third round of fruit tree planting. In 2019, 23 trees were planted and 56 trees last year, totaling around 209 public fruit trees. Once the trees begin fruiting, neighbors will be able to visit the tree and harvest.

Cooperation Humboldt's mission is to create a more equitable economy and empower people to learn skills that were once necessary for basic survival, like gardening and harvesting.

“Cooperation Humboldt's community fruit tree program has helped Two Feathers NAFS move toward Food Sovereignty, which we believe is an inherent right of Native Peoples — to self-determine food systems that rebalance healthy communities and Mother Earth," said Amy Mathieson, a family support coordinator and member of the Food Sovereignty Team at Two Feathers Native American Family Services (NAFS). "Over 40 youth joined us in both Hoopa and McKinleyville to plant 20 trees. They were able to learn how they can be active participants in Food Sovereignty, but just as importantly they were able to connect with nature, their community, Two Feathers staff, and each other. These connections are vitally important to the mental health and wellness of our youth and families.”

Through their food programs, Cooperation Humboldt has provided Little Free (Blue) Pantries to facilitate neighborhood food sharing, converted unused front lawns into gardens, empowered inexperienced gardeners to learn to grow food through free mini gardens, published the annual Community Food Guide and offered a variety of educational opportunities relating to food production.

To learn more about Cooperation Humboldt and their work, visit their website at www.cooperationhumboldt.org.

Read the full press release below.
LOCAL GROUP PLANTS FRUIT TREES FOR THE FUTURE

EUREKA, CA (March 31, 2021) –Local nonprofit social change organization Cooperation Humboldt has kicked off 2021 by planting over 130 fruit trees throughout Humboldt County. The trees were planted in publicly accessible locations with the specific intent of making food available to anyone who wants it. Everyone who received a tree has agreed to share its fruits with their neighbors once the trees begin to produce, and signage will be added to that effect.

“We believe that nutritious food is a fundamental human right, and our projects aim to put that belief into practice in very tangible ways,” says Tamara McFarland, who coordinates the organization’s food program. “Growing public food in common spaces is an important step toward our goal to return Humboldt County to the regenerative, life-sustaining food forest and ecological haven that it once was.”

“This opportunity means much more than just planting fruit trees for me. It is so valuable to connect with people by growing something together to empower our community,” reports Saimie Koontz, a garden installer for Cooperation Humboldt. “Working towards food sovereignty during a pandemic gives me hope for a stronger, kinder Humboldt.”

Amy Mathieson, Family Support Coordinator and Member of the Food Sovereignty Team at Two Feathers Native American Family Services (NAFS) shares, “Cooperation Humboldt's community fruit tree program has helped Two Feathers NAFS move towards Food Sovereignty which we believe is an inherent right of Native Peoples - to self-determine food systems that rebalance healthy communities and Mother Earth. Over 40 youth joined us in both Hoopa and McKinleyville to plant 20 trees. They were able to learn how they can be active participants in Food Sovereignty, but just as importantly they were able to connect with nature, their community, Two Feathers staff, and each other. These connections are vitally important to the mental health and wellness of our youth and families.”

This year’s undertaking builds on the success of the organization’s first two rounds of planting, which resulted in 23 trees planted in 2019 and 56 trees in 2020. A map of all locations can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/coop-humb-fruit-trees. The significant growth of the program this year was due to Cooperation Humboldt’s participation in the 2020 Disaster Recovery COVID National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG). The grant provides disaster-relief and humanitarian assistance employment to dislocated workers to minimize the employment and economic impact of the COVID Pandemic, and is administered through the Smart Workforce Center at The Job Market.

Cooperation Humboldt’s food team also provides Little Free Pantries to facilitate neighborhood sharing, converts unused front lawns into productive gardens, empowers inexperienced gardeners to learn to grow food through their free mini gardens, publishes the annual Community Food Guide, and offers a variety of educational opportunities relating to food production. Learn more at cooperationhumboldt.org.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

HumCo Remains in Red Tier, Three New COVID-19 Cases Reported

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 2:56 PM

Humboldt County Public Health reported three new COVID-19 cases today — making 29 so far this week — as well as a new hospitalization.

The new cases came after laboratories processed 60 samples with a test-positivity rate of 5 percent, bringing the county's cumulative count to 3,476.

The state of California, meanwhile, updated its COVID-19 risk tiers today, keeping Humboldt County in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.2 percent and a daily case rate of 4.6 per 100,000, both of which decreased slightly from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 1.8 percent test-positivity rate and 4.8 cases per 100,000.

The county's Joint Information Center will be closed tomorrow in honor of Cesar Chavez Day, so no new test results will be reported until Thursday.

Yesterday, the county recorded its 36th COVID-related death and its second in three days, bringing the virus' local death toll to 36. Public Health also reported yesterday that it is updating its guidance to recommend testing before and after travel outside the area, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations, though health officials still strongly discourage non-essential travel beyond 120 miles from one's residence.

Humboldt County Public Health reported Thursday that it expects to receive nearly 7,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses from the state this week, representing a 25-percent increase from the prior week's allocation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced last week that California will open up vaccination eligibility to all residents age 50 and older Thursday, with those age 16 and older then becoming eligible beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

In the latest update of vaccine numbers last week, the county reported that 49,378 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. More than 18,800 local residents had been fully vaccinated and 23.4 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, while more than 55 percent of residents age 75 and older are fully vaccinated, the county reported.

Vaccination clinics remain by appointment only and residents are urged to fill out a vaccine interest form so they can be notified when they are eligible.

The state has also announced that beginning Thursday outdoor sports events and live performances will be cleared to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots, with the first vaccine clinic for the food and ag sector set for next week. The clinics remain by invitation only to control exposure risks and ensure vaccinations are administered according to the county's priority tiers, with residents urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

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Two-Hour Delays at Last Chance Grade

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 1:33 PM

CALTRANS FACEBOOK
  • Caltrans Facebook
Caltrans is reporting that drivers should expect two-hour delays on U.S. Highway 101 at Last Chance Grade south of Crescent City on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., beginning today.

Motorists can expect shorter delays of 30 minutes outside of the 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. window.

According to the Facebook post, Caltrans anticipates "these 2-hour delays on weekdays to continue until further notice. These plans are subject to change."

Check out the Facebook announcement below.

Beginning Tuesday, March 30, motorists should anticipate 2-hour delays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays on U.S. 101 at...

Posted by Caltrans District 1 on Monday, March 29, 2021
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Is California Blowing it on Unemployment Reform?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 12:33 PM

Lance Hastings, president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, in Sacramento on March 26. CMTA has received 16 fraudulent EDD claims using their former address, each with different Social Security numbers, since September. - ANNE WERNIKOFF/CALMATTERS
  • Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters
  • Lance Hastings, president of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, in Sacramento on March 26. CMTA has received 16 fraudulent EDD claims using their former address, each with different Social Security numbers, since September.
If not for a persistent mail carrier, Lance Hastings might not have discovered all of the fake unemployment claims.

Last September, the head of the California Manufacturers & Technology Association got the first jobless claim from a worker he’d never employed. Mistakes happen, he thought, and reported the letter sent to the group’s boarded-up former Sacramento office as suspected fraud.

“They even used our old CEO’s name and address,” said Hastings, the association’s current CEO. “When we got that one, our spidey sense really got activated.”

But in recent months, as the mail carrier delivered more than a dozen other bogus letters with unfamiliar names and Social Security numbers, Hastings’ skepticism has given way to frustration — especially now that taxpayers like his organization will likely have to help pick up the tab for California’s $21 billion and counting in unemployment debt.

Now, he worries that higher unemployment taxes could make it harder for businesses in California’s already expensive manufacturing sector to recover from the shock of the year-long pandemic. “I think it’s unprincipled,” Hastings said. “These are just nails in the coffin that concern me greatly.”


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Drug Task Force Reports Seizing 5K Fentanyl Pills

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2021 at 11:08 AM

Fentanyl, cocaine and firearms seized as a part of a weeks long investigation stemming from a string of fentanyl overdoses. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE
  • Humboldt County Drug Task Force
  • Fentanyl, cocaine and firearms seized as a part of a weeks long investigation stemming from a string of fentanyl overdoses.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force reported today making a handful of arrests and seizing more than 5,000 counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl after a weeks-long investigation initiated after multiple fentanyl overdoses were reported in the Hoopa Valley.

According to a  press release, the investigation started March 5 when a Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy working in the Trinity Valley reported to the task force a potential overdose death attributed to pills known on the street as "perc30," which were allegedly being sold by Christian "Punky" Colegrove, 23, and a 17 year old. A little more than a week later, a 13 year old reported overdosed after taking the same pills but was revived when responding officers used Narcan.

The investigation reportedly led to Anthony Dion Medina, 24, of Eureka, who was allegedly picking up "large quantities" of pills in the San Jose area and then selling them in Humboldt County. After as surveillance operation, task force agents reported observing Medina returning from a trip to San Jose along State Route 299 when he stopped in Willow Creek to meet Colegrove and Warren "Pops" Sloan, 23.

Agents contacted the men and served as each warrant on Medina's vehicle and reported finding a total of 5,002 "perc30" fentanyl pills. A passenger and an infant were also in Medina's vehicle, according to the press release.

When agents served a search warrant at Medina's residence in Eureka, they reported finding a number of firearms — including a 9 mm "ghost gun" with a 30-round magazine drum — and more than 8 grams of cocaine.

Local officials have become increasing concerned about fentanyl locally, as it has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths, following a national trend. After being found in one overdose victim locally in each 2016, 2017 and 2018, the coroner's office found fentanyl in at least seven of the county's 46 overdose deaths in 2019.

"Something changed," Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Lt. Sam Williams told the Journal last year. "It's a marked difference."

Fentanyl is considered to be especially dangerous because of its potency. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, a lethal dose of heroin is generally considered to be roughly 30 milligrams, while a 3-milligram dose of fentanyl — which looks like a few grains of salt — is enough to kill an average adult male. That potency makes it attractive for drug traffickers, officials say, as a tiny bit can be used to stretch illicit street drugs or counterfeit pharmaceuticals. But if the drug isn't blended sparingly, thoroughly and evenly, it can prove deadly.

Read more about local officials' concerns about fentanyl in the Journal's Feb. 6, 2020, cover story "Third Wave."

Sloan was issued a misdemeanor  citation on suspicion of loitering with intent to purchase drugs, while Colegrove was taken into custody on active warrants. Medina and his passenger were arrested on suspicion of possessing and transporting a controlled substance for sale, child endangerment and conspiracy.

The task force asks anyone with information related to this investigation to call 267-9976.

See the full task force press release copied below.


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Monday, March 29, 2021

Public Health Confirms 36th Local COVID Death

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 4:23 PM

A 36th Humboldt County resident has died with COVID-19, Public Health reported today.

The county's 36th COVID death was of a resident in their 80s, Public Health announced in a press release, while also confirming 26 new cases of the virus locally. The new cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 632 samples with a test-positivity rate of 4.1 percent, bringing the county's cumulative count to 3,473.

The 40 cases confirmed last week were the fewest since the first week in November, when the county tallied 34 cases.

Public Health also reported today that it is updating its guidance to recommend testing before and after travel outside the area, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations, though health officials still strongly discourage non-essential travel beyond 120 miles from one's residence. (Find more information in the press release copied below.)

Humboldt County Public Health reported Thursday that it expects to receive nearly 7,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses from the state this week, representing a 25-percent increase from the prior week's allocation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced Thursday that California will open up vaccination eligibility to all residents age 50 and older Thursday, with those age 16 and older then becoming eligible beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

In the latest update of vaccine numbers last week, the county reported that 49,378 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. More than 18,800 local residents had been fully vaccinated and 23.4 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, while more than 55 percent of residents age 75 and older are fully vaccinated, the county reported.

Vaccination clinics remain by appointment only and residents are urged to fill out a vaccine interest form so they can be notified when they are eligible.

When the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, Humboldt County remained in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.3 percent and a daily case rate of 5.3 per 100,000, both of which decreased from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2 percent test-positivity rate and 5.5 cases per 100,000.

The state has announced that beginning April 1 outdoor sports events and live performances will be cleared to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots, with the first vaccine clinic for the food and ag sector set for next week. The clinics remain by invitation only to control exposure risks and ensure vaccinations are administered according to the county's priority tiers, with residents urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

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Volunteers Needed for Expanded COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 2:35 PM

Dale Stocky celebrates his 75th birthday by getting the COVID-19 vaccination he'd newly become eligible for at a Mad River Community Hospital vaccine clinic Jan. 23 at Pacific Union Elementary School. - FILE
  • File
  • Dale Stocky celebrates his 75th birthday by getting the COVID-19 vaccination he'd newly become eligible for at a Mad River Community Hospital vaccine clinic Jan. 23 at Pacific Union Elementary School.
With California residents 50 and older becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine this week, and then residents 16 years and older a couple of weeks later, Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center is going to need all the help it can get to vaccinate the majority of adults in the county.

The EOC is currently looking for volunteers to help facilitate the upcoming expanded COVID-19 vaccine distribution at public health clinics.

Last Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is expanding, beginning with California residents age 50 and older this week on April 1, and a couple of weeks later those 16 years and up. However, officials warn that it will take time to get all California residents vaccinated.

Those with medical licenses are preferred but there are also non-medical positions that need to be filled, including checking in appointments, paperwork and directing people.

“People who want to help their community and can be flexible in their roles are encouraged to reach out to us,” said EOC Logistics Chief Natalie Chapman. "The need will become greater as more supply becomes available, which will enable us to hold more clinics and vaccinate our community faster.”

According to the release, more than 120 Disaster Health Care Volunteers (DHVs) have been sworn in so far to assist with the ongoing vaccination effort.

EOC Director Ryan Derby said this is the largest and most prolonged disaster volunteer effort in Humboldt County history. “Despite there being a large pool of volunteers, we’ll need additional personnel in the coming weeks and months as vaccine becomes increasingly available to residents,” he said. “People answering the call to help their neighbors, friends and loved ones is how we’ll end this pandemic. I couldn’t be more thankful for our volunteers.”

Read the full press release below:


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County COVID Response Costs Exceeds $11 Million

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2021 at 10:46 AM

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began a little more than a year ago, Humboldt County's response, from ramping up testing capacity to the now expanding vaccination efforts, has reached $11.7 million.

According to a county's press release, "the state and federal governments have already allocated or committed to future allocations totaling just over $14 million for Humboldt County’s COVID-19 response. Of those funds, the county has received or claimed nearly $6.6 million. The remaining $7.5 million in allocations will be used to fund ongoing response and recovery operations in order to preserve local funds for specific needs."

The county's response, expenses and efforts related to the pandemic include initial efforts to expand testing resources, build an alternate care site and establish contact tracing investigation teams, and current efforts to offer technical support to re-opening businesses, administ direct financial relief to families facing evictions and, most recently, build and scale up mass vaccination clinics.

The COVID-19 response also includes a total of 265 part- or full-time staff that had been working at the Humboldt County Public Health and Emergency Operations Center last April. There are now 90 employees assigned to the response.

The Humboldt County Office of Economic Development has also provided direct support to local businesses and families impacted by the pandemic through $3.5 million in grant requests for nearly 700 businesses. The Department of Health and Human Services' Eviction Protection Program, meanwhile, funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, administered rental and mortgage assistance totaling $553,393 to 163 local families. And DHHS's HOME program used CARES Act funding and state funding to provide 20,533 nights of housing in local motels for 328 residents experiencing homelessness.

According to the EOC Finance Unit, the total cost of the Emergency Operations Center and Public Health Response has cost $7.4 million, the total cost of a medical surge response, testing, contact tracing and vaccination operations has totaled $1.6 million and the cost of non-congregate sheltering has reached $2.6 million, all totaling $11.7 million.

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Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's Going to Get Gusty: Gale Force Winds Expected

Posted By on Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 1:19 PM

165373256_4137488142963012_5411228418315364617_o.jpg
A small craft advisory will be in effect starting at 11 p.m. today and a gale warning starting at 3 a.m. Monday for what are expected to be rough conditions off the coast.

The National Weather Service office in Eureka is forecasting that a cold front will make its way across coastal waters tonight with winds that will "abruptly strengthen out of the north."

The small craft advisory, which runs through 3 a.m., is followed by the gale warning, which cover areas from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino, with wind gusts picking up to 40 mph, including gusts of up to 50 mph, and seas at 10 to 15 feet.

"Strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility," the NWS warning states.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

County Records 35th COVID-19 Death

Posted By on Fri, Mar 26, 2021 at 3:54 PM

Public Health reported today that Humboldt County has recorded its 35th COVID-19 death — this one in a resident in their 80s — as well as eight new cases of the virus.

The new cases were reported after laboratories processed 276 samples with at test-positivity rate of 2.9 percent, bringing the county's cumulative case count to 3,448.

The 40 cases confirmed this week are the fewest since the first week in November, when the county tallied 34 cases.

Humboldt County Public Health reported yesterday that it expects to receive nearly 7,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses from the state next week, representing a 25-percent increase from this week's allocation.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced yesterday that California will open up vaccination eligibility to all residents age 50 and older April 1, with those age 16 and older then becoming eligible beginning April 15, based on an expected increase in vaccination supply. County health officials, however, warned that a "significant increase in supply" would be necessary to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16.

The county reported Tuesday that it and partners are expanding capacity of vaccination clinics this week after receiving 1,655 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Providence health care system. Four large-scale clinics will be held this week, the county reported, estimating that more than 3,500 doses will be administered.

In the latest update of vaccine numbers, the county reported that 49,378 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered. More than 18,800 local residents had been fully vaccinated and 23.4 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of vaccine, while more than 55 percent of residents age 75 and older are fully vaccinated, the county reported.

Vaccination clinics remain by appointment only and residents are urged to fill out a vaccine interest form so they can be notified when they are eligible.

When the state of California updated its COVID-19 risk tiers Tuesday, Humboldt County remained in the red "substantial" tier, meaning restaurants, movie theaters, churches and other organizations are allowed to continue limited indoor operations.

Data shows the county with a seven-day average test-positivity rate of 2.3 percent and a daily case rate of 5.3 per 100,000, both of which decreased from the previous week. California as a whole, meanwhile, has a 2 percent test-positivity rate and 5.5 cases per 100,000.

The state has announced that beginning next week outdoor sports events and live performances will be cleared to reopen with fans and spectators, so long as facial coverings are worn at all times, venues follow tier-based capacity restrictions and provide reserved, assigned seating. (Read more here.)

Currently, local residents over the age of 65, healthcare workers, teachers, first responders, food and agricultural workers, and residents ages 16 to 65 with one of a specific list of high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible to receive their shots, with the first vaccine clinic for the food and ag sector set for next week. The clinics remain by invitation only to control exposure risks and ensure vaccinations are administered according to the county's priority tiers, with residents urged to complete the county's vaccination interest form to be notified when they are eligible.

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