Business / Economy

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Flights to Hollywood Burbank Airport Coming this May

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2021 at 11:32 AM

The California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport. - FILE
  • File
  • The California Redwood Coast – Humboldt County Airport.
Humboldt County's regional airport, the California Redwood Coast Humboldt County Airport (ACV), in McKinleyville will now be offering flights to the Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) through Avelo Airlines beginning May 19.

"Avelo’s announcement is further evidence of the recovery of the airline industry and, more importantly, the desirability of the Redwood Coast as a destination,"  the press release from the county's aviation department and Fly Humboldt states.

Initial flight offering start at $19 one-way for a limited time, according to an announcement from the airline.

Flights to Phoenix, Arizona, from ACV were also announced earlier this year that non-stop flights to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX).

Read the full press release below.

The County of Humboldt Aviation Department and Fly Humboldt are pleased to announce that Avelo Airlines will begin service from Humboldt County to the Hollywood Burbank Airport starting May 19, 2021. 

Avelo’s announcement is further evidence of the recovery of the airline industry and, more importantly, the desirability of the Redwood Coast as a destination.  We look forward to welcoming Avelo to ACV and look forward to a long and productive working relationship with them. We know that this service will be a huge success and will benefit our community and the tourism industry.

Tickets are on sale now at https://www.aveloair.com/

Read the release from Avelo Airlines below:
BURBANK, Calif., April 8, 2021 — America’s first new mainline airline in nearly 15 years — Avelo Airlines — premiered today at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) with travel-inspiring routes and bag-packing low fares. Introductory one-way fares start at $19 on all routes. Avelo will offer everyday low fares coupled with a smooth and convenient travel experience, flying non-stop unserved routes between BUR and 11 destinations across the Western U.S.

Flights are open for booking at aveloair.com starting today at 8 a.m. PDT / 11 a.m. EDT, taking flight starting April 28, 2021 with current availability through Sept. 15, 2021. “Avelo has a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel,” said Avelo Founder, Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy. “People are ready to reconnect with family and friends and explore new places. Avelo is a different and better kind of airline, built from scratch to offer an affordable, convenient and caring travel experience.”

The Avelo leadership team represents more than 200 years of collective aviation experience. Previously co-founder and president of Allegiant Air and CFO of United Airlines, Levy brings more than two decades of airline leadership experience. In addition to Allegiant and United, Avelo’s leadership team includes former senior executives from Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Northwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines.

“After more than 20 years of steadily shrinking consumer choice, the American flying public wants and deserves more options and lower fares,” said Levy. “Avelo offers both — along with a refreshingly smooth and convenient experience.” LA’s Best Airport Avelo has selected Hollywood Burbank Airport as its first base. BUR’s convenience to Greater Los Angeles, Customer-friendly compact size and lower costs were all important considerations. In fact, Fodor’s Travel named BUR the “Best U.S. Airport” in 2019.

“Locals know that BUR is LA’s best airport,” said Levy. “No airport is closer to downtown LA, Hollywood, Pasadena and Southern California’s many other attractions than BUR. As the San Fernando Valley’s hometown airport, BUR will give you easy access to an abundance of beautiful and relaxing new non-stop destinations across California and the Western U.S. And for those considering LA for their next vacation or long weekend getaway, BUR is the ultra-convenient, stress-free gateway to Greater LA and the world-famous fun-in-the-sun activities Southern California is known for.”

Whether Customers are departing or arriving, BUR promises a refreshingly hassle-free experience. BUR offers seamless curbside pickup and drop-off, smaller crowds, shorter walking distances from curb to gate, unrivaled speed for plane-to-carousel bag delivery, and shorter TSA security lines. Customers will be at their gate in a flash while also saving on parking and ground transportation traveling to and from the airport.

“Hollywood Burbank Airport exemplifies the convenient, caring and smooth experience that distinguishes Avelo,” said Levy. “We’re grateful for the enthusiastic partnership that BUR Executive Director Frank Miller, the airport’s commissioners and staff have welcomed us with. It’s not surprising why BUR is LA’s favorite airport.”

Recreational Destinations Avelo will initially serve a collection of beautiful and relaxing destinations that are currently unserved from BUR. Avelo’s inaugural routes focus on outdoor recreation, national parks, and coastal and mountain terrain – as well as providing air service for an increasing population of remote workers: Arcata / Eureka, CA (ACV), Victorian charm in the heart of California’s Redwood Coast Bend / Redmond, OR (RDM), where the snow-capped Cascades surround the high desert Bozeman, MT (BZN), the onramp to Big Sky Country and Yellowstone National Park Eugene, OR (EUG), where the Willamette Valley begins Grand Junction, CO (GJT), where the Colorado River meets dramatic red rock landscapes Medford, OR (MFR), a launchpad to the Rogue Valley and Oregon’s wine country Pasco, WA (PSC), 300 days of sun in the heart of Washington’s wine country Phoenix / Mesa, AZ (AZA), a stress-free airport alternative to a year-round desert oasis Odgen, UT (OGD), a convenient Salt Lake City alternative to Utah’s famed mountains Redding, CA (RDD), 600 square miles of state and national parks beckon the adventure seeker Santa Rosa, CA (STS), the gateway to California’s wine country

Pay Less. Travel More The airline will initially operate single-class, fuel-efficient 189-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft – offering a more comfortable experience than the regional aircraft often utilized by the airports Avelo serves. Avelo’s surprisingly low everyday fares include no change fees or call center fees for Customers who choose to make reservations by phone. Avelo also offers several unbundled travel-enhancing options at industry-low prices that give Customers the flexibility to pay for what they value: First Checked Bag: $10 Carry-On Overhead Bag: $35 Priority Boarding: $10 Pet in the Cabin: $95 Seating Options: Customers may choose from several seating options. Avelo’s 189-seat 737-800 aircraft will offer 129 standard slimline 29-inch pitch seats. Pre-reserved window and aisle seating starts at $5. Avelo aircraft will also feature 60 seats with 31 to 38 inches of pitch. These seats start at $18.

Fly with Confidence Avelo takes every precaution to protect Customer health at the airport and during their flight. Avelo airplanes are regularly cleaned and disinfected. Tray tables, galleys, lavatories and all other touch surfaces are sanitized every evening with Calla 1452 (hospital-grade) disinfectant. In addition to disinfecting and cleaning daily, Avelo treats the entire airplane regularly with an advanced antimicrobial protectant that kills viruses, germs and bacteria on all surfaces. This Zoono treatment forms a colorless, odorless protective shield and is safe to human contact. Additionally, the cabin air is refreshed every two to three minutes by the Boeing 737’s top-down air filtration and ventilation system. The system directs air flow from the ceiling to the bottom of the seat — not front to back — and greatly reduces particle movement throughout the cabin. All Avelo airplanes operate with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that remove 99.9% of air particles, including viruses like the coronavirus, in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. All Customers will receive a convenience package containing a hand sanitizer, as well as a bottled water and small snack. Federal law requires everyone — including Avelo Customers and Crewmembers — to wear a face mask at the airport and on the aircraft (unless eating or drinking). Avelo also encourages social distancing best practices whenever possible.

$19 fares may be unavailable or less available over Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31, 2021. $19 is a one-way fare only – additional fees for carry-on and checked bags, assigned seats and other modestly-priced optional services apply. See aveloair.com. High-res media assets, including aircraft photos, launch photos and video, and b-roll, are available for download via Getty Images.

About Avelo Airlines Avelo Airlines was founded with a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. Operating a fleet of next-generation Boeing 737 aircraft, Avelo offers Customers a refreshingly smooth experience, time- and money-saving convenience, and surprisingly low everyday fares. Avelo will provide non-stop service between 11 destinations across the Western U.S. and its initial base at Hollywood Burbank Airport. For more information visit aveloair.com.   
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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Orange Tier Means Some Restrictions Lifted, Modifications

Posted By on Wed, Apr 7, 2021 at 10:30 AM

Blueprint for a Safer Economy - CALIFORNIA DEPT. OF PUBLIC HEALTH
  • California Dept. of Public Health
  • Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Humboldt County's move to the state's "moderate" or orange COVID-19 risk tier yesterday — coupled with new state guidelines on events and performances — means things will be opening up here on the North Coast.

Crabs fans may be excited to learn that outdoor sporting and other seated spectator events are now allowed. In the orange their, venues must limit attendance to 33 percent of capacity, though they can increase that to 67 percent if they require guests to show proof of a vaccine or negative test results within 72 hours of attendance.

Those some attendance limitations will apply to school graduation ceremonies held this spring.

Indoor events like concerts and theatrical performances, meanwhile, will be allowed beginning April 15, with capacity capped in the orange tier at 15 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer. That would increase to 35 percent with vaccination and testing requirements in place.

With Humboldt's move into the orange tier, movie theaters and restaurants can now increase indoor capacity to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer, while retail shops are now able to open without capacity restrictions so long as they have other modifications in place.

Outdoor playgrounds and recreation facilities, hair salons and barber shops, personal care services can all be open with modifications.

Places of worship can all be opened at 50 percent capacity, as can museums, zoos and aquariums.

Family entertainment centers can open indoor operations with modifications, like masking except for when eating, restricting food and beverage consumption to designated areas. Capacity will be capped at 25 percent capacity, though that can increase to 50 percent if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination prior to entry.

Bars, meanwhile, can open outdoors with modifications.

According to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy (which can be found here), private indoor gatherings are still highly discouraged but allowed with modifications, like social distancing, masks and limiting the maximum number of households gathering to three.

Beginning April 1, private outdoor events — like meetings, receptions and conferences — will be capped at 100 people unless all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination, which would increase capacity to 300 people. For indoor events, if all guests are tested and show proof of full vaccination, a maximum of 150 people will be allowed to gather.

The state moved Humboldt County into it's orange risk tier yesterday after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state had met a goal of administering 4 million vaccines in socio-economically disadvantaged zip codes in the state, which triggered higher thresholds for the state's risk tiers and gave Humboldt the chance to move into the less restrictive tier.

The state data released yesterday showed that Humboldt County has a test positivity rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a 1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt's daily case rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

Newsom also announced yesterday that the state's tier system is slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Eureka City Council to Talk Animals, Premium Pay for Grocery Workers

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 3:34 PM

A proposed animal ordinance in Eureka would require cat owners with more than four to get a fancier's license while dog owners would need to do the same with four or more dogs and reptile owners with more than 10. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • A proposed animal ordinance in Eureka would require cat owners with more than four to get a fancier's license while dog owners would need to do the same with four or more dogs and reptile owners with more than 10.
Tonight, the Eureka City Council is set to discuss an update to the city’s animal ordinance which includes some major changes to the number and type of animals — big and small — people can keep in city limits.

The council will also consider requiring certain grocery stores to pay workers a premium wage, something the Arcata City Council considered last month before deciding to spend more time researching the issue.

The animal ordinance before the Eureka council has been a “work in progress for the better part of five  years,” Eureka Police Department Capt. Brian Stephen said during a March 9 workshop on the proposed changes.

Most of the ordinance now on the books dates back to 1959, with some minor adjustments in the 1990s, and it was in need of an overhaul to “address outdated issues,” according to Eureka Animal Control Officer Celeste Villarreal, who went through an overview of the updates.

The new version, she said at the workshop, is aimed at promoting responsible animal ownership rather than the previous focus on animal containment.

Villarreal noted the language has been revised several times in response to public input, including expanding the poultry section to allow for a wider range of birds and tweaks to the exotic pet section that removed length restrictions on snakes and caps on the number of reptiles that could be owned.

But, having more than 10 means an owner needs to obtain a “fanciers” license, with similar requirements applied to cat (more than four) and dog (four or more) owners.

Any license fees would be waived for foster and service animals, Villarreal said.

Other changes include new licensing for mini pigs and goats, which are limited to two over the age of 4 weeks, as well as allowances for certain livestock, if a property can “reasonably accommodate the animals.”

For larger animals, such as a cow or horse, a property would need to be at least 21,000 square feet instead of the 30,000 square feet now on the books.

Read the full proposed ordinance at the end of the story.

In other business, the city council will consider enacting an emergency ordinance on a pay requirement for grocery workers, who were among those still on the frontlines during the last year as much of the rest of Humboldt County went on shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The draft ordinance included in the agenda would require a premium pay of an additional $4 at grocery stores that employ more than 500 workers nationally and more than 15 per store in the city of Eureka or an additional $3 per hour at stores with more than 25 employees but fewer than 500 workers in the city.

Under the draft, a grocery store is defined as “a retail store that is located within the geographic limits of the city, and that sells primarily household foodstuffs for offsite consumption, including the sale of fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods.

Also include would be a “retail store of any kind located within the geographic limits of the city that devotes 15 percent or more of its interior space to the sale of household foodstuffs for offsite consumption, including the sale of fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods.”

The city council will be discussing premium pay just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state aims to reopen to pre-pandemic levels in mid-June, as long as hospitalizations and vaccine supplies remain stable. (Read more here.)

To view the full agenda and for more information on how to view the 6 p.m. meeting, click here.

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State Slated to Reopen in Mid-June, Humboldt Moves to Orange Tier

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 11:55 AM

Humboldt County has been moved into the state's "orange," or moderate COVID-19 risk ranking, after long stays in the more restrictive "red" and "purple" tiers.

The new status will allow more business sectors open and expand indoor operations capacity for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, places of worship and other organizations. (Find more information here.)

The news comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the tier system is slated to end June 15, with businesses and other activities across the state allowed to reopen to pre-pandemic levels, depending on two main factors: hospitalizations and vaccination supply numbers. Mask mandates will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, he said.

"This disease is as deadly as it's even been, the thing we've done is suppress the spread," Newsom said at a press conference, noting health officials are mindful of variants and masks are an important part of controlling the disease's spread.

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghalys said in a news release. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

By the end of the month, Newsom said he anticipates the state will have distributed 30 million doses.
California opened up the vaccine line to those 50 years and older on April 1, with residents 16 years and older able to receive a shot starting April. 15.

Humboldt County residents looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine need to register through the state's My Turn site as part of a transition to Blue Shield taking over vaccine distribution and registration.

Those who filled out the county's vaccine interest form will have to do so again on the state's My Turn website (which can be found here) as county information will not be rolled over to the state's database.

County residents who have already received one dose do not need to use My Turn for scheduling and should receive an email from Public Health or contact from the original provider about second dose information, according to a news release.

The state data released today shows Humboldt County with a test positive rate of 2.0 percent (compared to 2.2 percent last week) and a daily case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 compared to California overall, which has a1.8 positivity rate and 5.1 cases per 100,000. Last week, Humboldt daily cases rate was 4.6 per 100,000.

The move to orange brings Humboldt into the least restrictive zone since late November, when a surge in cases catapulted the county from the “minimal” risk tier, over the “moderate” and straight to the red zone before quickly moving into the "purple," or widespread COVID-19 risk rank.

Except for a brief stint in January, Humboldt stayed in the most restrictive tier before moving back to the red zone in late February.

Over the last few months, the county’s test positivity rate has gone from 3.6 percent in November, to 7.3 percent in December and 9.9 percent in January, before dropping to 6.5 percent in February. In March, it dropped to 4.5 percent.

Humboldt's new ranking officially goes into effect at midnight.

Read the release from the governor's office below:
SACRAMENTO – As California surpasses a major milestone in the fight against COVID — administering more than 20 million vaccine doses, including 4 million in the state’s hardest-hit communities, and with hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline — Governor Gavin Newsom today outlined the state’s next step in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. On June 15, California will fully open its economy if two criteria are met:

If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated; and If hospitalization rates are stable and low

Everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, to prevent illness and promote health.

The state will continue contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain spread of the virus. The entire state will move into this new phase as a whole. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.

“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” said Governor Newsom. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”

“California has made incredible progress controlling the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, masking, and getting vaccines out quickly to Californians in every corner of the state, including in those communities hardest hit by this pandemic,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “In order to take the next step, we must continue to do our part to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and that means continuing to wear a mask and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine.”

When California fully reopens the economy, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end. However, common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings. For more information on the state’s move beyond the Blueprint, click here.

All sectors listed in the current Blueprint for a Safer Economy grid may return to usual operations in compliance with Cal/OSHA requirements and with common-sense public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and with vaccinations encouraged. Large-scale indoor events, such as conventions, will be allowed to occur with testing or vaccination verification requirements. California is able to reopen fully and safely because of our commitment to the equitable distribution of vaccines.

Today, the state reached a total of 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to Californians in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, less than a month after delivering 2 million doses to these communities. The state, in partnership with local government, health care providers and community-based organizations, will continue its extensive efforts to get eligible Californians vaccinated, including its support of expanded hours and access through community clinics and providers, public education campaign, and support for community-based strategies such as canvassing. Equity continues to be the focus of our vaccine efforts, especially as we prepare to fully reopen.

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state had set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for the hardest-hit communities and established an equity metric to increase vaccinations in those communities. Doing so recognizes that the pandemic did not affect California communities equally.

Forty percent of COVID cases and deaths have occurred in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI), which provides overall scores and data that predict life expectancy and compares community conditions that shape health across the state. California continues to plan for the vaccination of Californians under 16 years of age, protection against new variants and continued tracking and containment of spread. The state stands ready to mobilize additional resources if there is an increase in cases.
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Monday, April 5, 2021

McGuire Looks to Create Statewide TOT Tax Collection System for Short-term Rentals

Posted By on Mon, Apr 5, 2021 at 4:23 PM

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGure has introduced a bill that looks to create a statewide system for collecting taxes from short-term rentals to aid cities and counties in accessing "untapped revenue," according to a release from his office.

Senate Bill 555 would require short-term rental services like Airbnb and VRBO to collect the taxes from customers as they signed up the online platform, with those monies given over to the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration for distribution to the corresponding city or county.

“Hundreds of cities and counties don’t collect bed taxes from short-term vacation rentals and this is a simple statewide solution that will collect and invest in vital services that will help California cities and counties thrive,” McGuire said. “SB 555 will provide cities and counties the ability to opt-in to a statewide program to collect bed tax revenue from tourists, which will in turn be reinvested into fire and police services, local parks and libraries, and economic development projects. It also ensures that all short-term vacation rental platforms do their part and even the playing field.”

The release states the program would be opt-in. SB 555 past the Senate Governance and Finance Committee in a 5-0 vote and is headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Read the release from state Sen. Mike McGuire's office below:

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s bill that would create a new, innovative system for collecting and dispensing revenue from Transit Occupancy Taxes (TOT) for short-term vacation rentals has passed its first committee in the Senate.

The bill is a critical step in supporting local governments as they try to collect tens, and very likely, hundreds of millions in revenue statewide to support vital city and county services like fire and police, public health, good roads, and for parks and libraries.

In California, nearly every city and county levies TOT, and the revenue collected is typically used to support essential government services. Unlike with hotels and motels, local jurisdictions often have an incredibly difficult time collecting TOT on short-term vacation rentals because hosts are not always aware of the requirement to collect and remit these taxes, and local governments do not always know what properties are being used for short-term vacation rentals.

SB 555 will help cities and counties collect this untapped revenue by creating a statewide TOT collection program administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) for local jurisdictions who choose to participate.

This program would require short-term vacation rental platforms, such as Airbnb or VRBO, to collect the appropriate TOT from customers when a short-term rental is booked through the platform. The platform would then remit the funds collected to CDTFA, who would then distribute the revenue to the city or county.

“Hundreds of cities and counties don’t collect bed taxes from short-term vacation rentals and this is a simple statewide solution that will collect and invest in vital services that will help California cities and counties thrive,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “SB 555 will provide cities and counties the ability to opt-in to a statewide program to collect bed tax revenue from tourists, which will in turn be reinvested into fire and police services, local parks and libraries, and economic development projects. It also ensures that all short-term vacation rental platforms do their part and even the playing field.”

This program would be an opt-in for local municipalities, and those municipalities would be required to enact an ordinance to participate. This bill does not prohibit local agencies who want to continue with their own Voluntary Collection Agreements with platforms from doing so. Rather, SB 555 gives jurisdictions who have not found success in entering Voluntary Collection Agreements, which are the majority of cities and counties across California, with hosting platforms the ability to collect this vital and untapped revenue.

SB 555 passed unanimously, 5-0, last week in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. It will head to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.
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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Journal Changes Ownership

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Clockwise from top, former Journal owners Carolyn Fernandez and Judy Hodgson, new owner Melissa Sanderson and her husband Chris. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Clockwise from top, former Journal owners Carolyn Fernandez and Judy Hodgson, new owner Melissa Sanderson and her husband Chris.

The North Coast Journal Inc. — a media company that includes the 15,000-circulation weekly newspaper and website, plus nearly a dozen publications serving Humboldt County, California — has been sold.

The buyer, Melissa Sanderson, 37, took over as president and publisher March 31. She has worked for the company since 2014, first as sales manager and the past three years as general manager.

The sellers are two long-time friends and business partners, Judy Hodgson and Carolyn Fernandez, who purchased the newly established monthly newspaper in June of 1990, converted it to a weekly in 1998 and launched a string of successful, hyper-local publications. Those include the Insider, a quarterly tourism magazine; the annual Menu of Menus and Wedding Guide; and more recently, the bi-monthly North Coast Trader, a classified paper that reaches six coastal counties in California and Oregon. One Journal publication launched in 2017, the Humboldt Cannabis Magazine, is distributed twice a year to dispensaries throughout California.

Over the past three decades, the Journal has won dozens of major awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia for writing and reporting, design and photography, as well as numerous freedom-of-information awards. The newspaper has been recognized numerous times by the Society of Professional Journalists and the League of Women Voters.

While preparing this press release, Hodgson and Fernandez realized they actually had been working together for 45 years. Hodgson wrote a column, "Fieldbrook Footnotes," for the Union weekly newspaper in Arcata beginning in 1976 while attending Humboldt State University (HSU). She graduated in 1978, joined the staff as a reporter and from 1983 to 1988, served as editor. Fernandez joined the Union in 1976 as a graphic artist, later becoming head of the production department. Both left in 1988 after a change in ownership and, in 1989, worked together again at an advertising agency before purchasing the Journal. The paper was immediately rebranded and redesigned from a quarter-fold into the magazine tabloid format that exists today.

The two now-septuagenarians had been searching to find just the right "next owner" of the Journal for more than two decades. "We are super happy to sell to one of our great employees and a fourth-generation Humboldt County woman half our age," Hodgson said. (Fortunans may recognize Sanderson's maiden name of Huber and the Senestraro branch of the family.)

Sanderson has been in publishing since grade school. She made copies and distributed the Fortuna Spartan to all the classrooms in fifth grade. At Fortuna Union High School, where she "majored in at least four sports" as well as FFA, she was ad manager for the Husky Howler and wrote a sports column for Fortuna's weekly newspaper, the Humboldt Beacon. After graduation, she attended both College of the Redwoods and HSU at the same time. She married her husband, Chris Sanderson, and landed her first professional job in the marketing department of the new Bear River Casino in 2005. She was an account rep for the Times-Standard and then managed a radio station until joining the Journal in 2014.

Most new owners of a news media company hope to reassure readers and say they will not change a thing, and then things do, which is what happened at the Union in 1988, according to Hodgson and Fernandez. But Sanderson said she really means it.

"We have strength throughout the company — in sales, design and production, and support staff," she said, but particularly in the award-winning editorial department.

"It's a great publication. We have a strong mission statement. We do really good journalism for this community and I want to keep that going."

Sanderson said her strengths are on the business side of publishing, with a focus on marketing and digital, and she is confident in the Journal's future.

While there were some layoffs and furloughs last year due to the pandemic, the Journal is back up to 21 employees. Circulation, which dipped from 21,000 to 12,000 when many businesses closed and tourism shut down, is back to 15,000.

Sanderson said she is grateful for the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan that helped the company retain employees during the pandemic.

Her plans for 2021 are "to concentrate on growing the Journal, for sure, and help other local businesses" recover and grow.

The Journal's glossy publications, including the Insider magazine, were suspended during the pandemic. They are expected to return to newsstands this year.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

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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Monday, March 29, 2021

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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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Yurok Broadband Project Connects Reservation's Most Remote Areas to High-Speed Internet

Posted By on Tue, Mar 16, 2021 at 12:47 PM

The newly completed 150-foot tower bringing high-speed internet to one of the most remote parts of the Yurok Reservation. - YUROK TRIBE
  • Yurok Tribe
  • The newly completed 150-foot tower bringing high-speed internet to one of the most remote parts of the Yurok Reservation.
The Yurok Connect Broadband Project team finished installing a new 150-foot tower in Wautec yesterday, linking one of the remote parts of the Yurok Reservation to high-speed internet.

“Access to high-speed internet will significantly improve the everyday lives of Yurok citizens and non-Indian reservation residents,” said Yurok Tribal Chair Joseph L. James. “This project will facilitate progress in several key areas, including, education, healthcare and economic development. When it comes to developing a prosperous community, internet access is just as important as the basic utilities.”

Operated by the Yurok IT Department, Yurok Connect launched in 2013 as a tribal-owned wireless internet service provider and, with the help of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Yurok Connect will be able to expand.

"For example, it will greatly improve emergency communications on the reservation during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tribe will be able to spread out its workforce to keep its staff safe. Yurok Connect customers will be able to schedule telehealth appointments, instead of driving for two hours to the nearest doctor’s office. Students will be able to participate in online learning at home because of the high-speed service," among other important necessities, the release states.

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Thursday, March 11, 2021

10 Years Later: The Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2021 at 10:17 AM

A damaged dock at the Crescent City Harbor after the March 11, 2011 tsunami generated by a devastating earthquake in Japan. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A damaged dock at the Crescent City Harbor after the March 11, 2011 tsunami generated by a devastating earthquake in Japan.
One decade ago, after the Tohoku earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated a wide swath of Japan’s Pacific coast, Futoshi Toba — the mayor of Rikuzentakata — sent out a haunting message to the world: ”We do not want to be forgotten. This is our hope.”

His city was one of the hardest hit as waves up to 62-feet high swept through the port town. Nearly 2,000 men, women and children — almost one in 10 of Rikuzentakata’s residents— were killed on March 11, 2011, including Toba’s wife. More than 3,300 buildings there were completely or partially destroyed. The city’s center was swept into the sea.

Across Japan, the loss was unfathomable: Nearly 16,000 died, more than 6,000 were wounded, whole communities were destroyed and thousands went missing.

About 10 hours later, waves generated by the same earthquake traveled nearly 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to reach the Crescent City Harbor. While most of the Del Norte County-based fishing fleet was able to leave in the early morning hours before the surges hit, 35 boats were crushed and many of the docks were swept away, leaving behind $20 million in damage.

Last to leave was the fishing vessel Amanda B in a daring— and life-threatening — run.

“It was a white-knuckle experience getting out,” fisherman Alan Mello recalled in a video testimonial, one of several put together by the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group on a website dedicated to marking the somber anniversary. “Not one of the brighter things I’ve ever done in my years of fishing."

(Read the Journal’s March 31, 2011 story, “Last Man Out” and see video of the frightening ride caught on camera by a Coast Guard helicopter here.)

Crescent City, with its own history of destructive tsunamis, was otherwise spared.

For the most part, other areas of the North Coast were also largely left unscathed, in part because the tsunami arrived during low tide. One person, 25-year-old Dustin Douglas Weber, was killed after being swept into the ocean near the mouth of the Klamath River.

Two years later, in April of 2013, a 21-foot panga boat covered in barnacles washed ashore just south of Crescent City with “Takata High School” handwritten in Japanese characters.

It was from Rikuzentakata and became the first documented piece of tsunami debris to reach California’s shores.

The discovery of the skiff,  called "Kamome," soon forged an international bridge between the two cities, leading to a sister-school exchange between Takata High School and Del Norte High School as well as a sister-city relationship between Crescent City and Rikuzentakata that continues to this day.

"A decade marks an important milestone after a disaster and provides a moment of attention to not only look back but also to focus on tsunami awareness and how better to protect ourselves before the next tsunami hits,” geophysicist Lori Dengler, a Humboldt State University professor emeritus and tsunami expert, says in a news release about the Redwood Coast Tsunami Working Group project to commemorate the March 11, 2011 event.

Ten years later, Toba is still mayor of Rikuzentakata, a place forever altered by the geological forces unleashed on that fateful day. In a March of 2019 Japan Today article, he recalled "how it was first time in my life I knew what true despair was."

"I evacuated to the roof of the town hall and watched as the city was swallowed up, wave by wave. People were clinging to rooftops, cars, lumber — whatever they could grab on to — and screaming and calling out for help. All I could do was yell to them, 'Hang on! Hang on! Don’t let go!' But I knew they wouldn’t survive," he said. "It was like a horror movie. I didn’t know immediately, but my wife was one of those who died. Her body was found a few weeks later. I became mayor, a widower and a single father all within six weeks. No one can possibly prepare for a major life shift such as this. My life changed forever. Everything changed."

In a message marking the approach of the 10-year anniversary, Toba offered his condolences to the quake's victims and those still searching for answers about the fate of their loved ones. He also expressed gratitude to those from around the world and in Japan who have offered their support to Rikuzentakata, which continues to rebuild.

"We will work together with the citizens to realize; 'Rikuzentakata, a city full of dreams, hopes and love that will lead to the next generation, a city of symbiosis and interaction,' where you can live in your own way while staying close to the feelings of the citizens," he wrote. "We look forward to your continued support."

One way to help those impacted in Japan is by purchasing "Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction: An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories," which includes a contribution from Journal arts and features editor Jennifer Fumiko Cahill, who was living in Japan with her family when the quake hit. Find more information here and here.
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