Business / Economy

Friday, August 3, 2018

Bridge Linking Scotia and Rio Dell Reopens

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 11:51 AM

The Eagle Prairie Bridge reopened this morning. - CITY OF RIO DELL
  • City of Rio Dell
  • The Eagle Prairie Bridge reopened this morning.
The Eagle Prairie Bridge that connects Rio Dell and Scotia reopened today just in time for Wildwood Days after a four-month closure for repainting.

As detailed in the July 5 North Coast Journal cover story “Just Across the Bridge,” the shut down pushed many Rio Dell businesses to the brink at the height of the tourist season and caught many owners off-guard after they received a scant two-weeks of notice about the work from Caltrans.

"I walked out of my door and it was like a nuclear bomb had gone off," Adam Dias, who founded the Eagle Prairie Arts District and runs a custom wood gallery on Main Street, told the Journal. "There was nobody on the street, no traffic."

The opening comes earlier than expected and coincides with the opening day of Rio Dell’s Wildwood Days event. Read more about the weekend of festivities here.


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Monday, July 30, 2018

After Several Arrests, Logging Protest Planned for Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 3:21 PM

The Rainbow Ridge area where Humboldt Redwood Co. holds two approved timber harvest plans. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • The Rainbow Ridge area where Humboldt Redwood Co. holds two approved timber harvest plans.
A group of environmental activists is planning a protest Thursday in front of the Humboldt Redwood Co.’s Scotia office with the hopes of preventing planned logging activities in the Mattole River watershed.

The protest comes a week after several people were arrested on Humboldt Redwood Co. land in the Rainbow Ridge area of the Mattole River watershed west of Redcrest. The protesters, who erected a logging road blockade, say they are working to protect about 1,100 acres of what they call pristine forest — meaning it hasn’t been logged — primarily consisting of old growth Douglas fir. But a crew from Lear Asset Management, a private security firm, removed the blockade and arrested a total of three protesters July 22 and 23. The protesters allege the security contractors brandished Tasers and used other aggressive tactics that put them in danger.

After another group of protesters briefly chained themselves to an access gate near Rio Dell last week, the group reportedly agreed to stand down after Humboldt Redwood Co. assured them no logging would take place on the property for at least a week.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Huffman Applauds Allocation of $29 Million in Fisheries Disaster Relief Funds

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:16 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman announced today that the federal government has allocated $25.8 million in disaster assistance to those affected by the 2015-2016 closure of California’s commercial Dungeness and rock crab fisheries and another $3.9 million to the Yurok Tribe stemming from the collapse of the fall Chinook fishery in 2016.

“For far too long, the North Coast has been waiting for this federal support to relieve the economic burden from several disastrous fishing seasons,” Huffman said in a statement. “I know that the path to recovery for our fishing communities is long but I’m grateful to see some help is finally on the way.”

The federal allocation from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross comes after Congress passed a bipartisan budget deal in February that provided $200 million in fishery disaster relief.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Huffman Visits Cannabis Farm, Hears About Concerns

Posted By on Sun, Jun 3, 2018 at 10:27 AM

Robert May explains to the Congressman some of the issues that cannabis farmers are facing. - KYM KEMP
  • Kym Kemp
  • Robert May explains to the Congressman some of the issues that cannabis farmers are facing.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on www.kymkemp.com and is reposted here with permission.

With pot prices plummeting, it can sometimes feel as if Humboldt’s economic sky is falling. But on a federal level, the interest in easing restrictions on ganja is growing. North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman visited a smaller-sized cannabis farm Friday in what might indicate an interest on his part to join some senators pushing decriminalization.

According to a 2014 Mother Jones article, Huffman said our district grows 60 percent of the marijuana produced in America, so a national policy change could have a dramatic effect on the area.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Four Local Starbucks Close in Nationwide Training Effort

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Four Humboldt County Starbucks are closing Tuesday for racial-sensitivity training. - STARBUCKS
  • Starbucks
  • Four Humboldt County Starbucks are closing Tuesday for racial-sensitivity training.
Four Humboldt County Starbucks locations are closing at 2:30 p.m. today (May 29) for racial sensitivity training as part of a nationwide effort by the company following the highly-publicized arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store after the manager called 911.

In an open letter to customers, the company’s Executive Chairman Howard Schultz called the sessions taking place at more than 8,000 stores “a new chapter” in Starbucks history.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Redwood Coast is Lonely Planet's Best in the U.S. 2018

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 7:58 AM

LONELY PLANET
  • Lonely Planet

If you're old enough to have traipsed around unfamiliar turf hauling a hefty Lonely Planet guidebook, this win will taste even sweeter: The go-to travel guide/app publisher has named California's Redwood Coast the No. 1 domestic travel destination on its 2018 list.

Lonely Planet picks its top 10 with the help of editors, contributors, researchers and locals — in this case, those locals include the Eureka-Humboldt Visitors Bureau. In a press release, the bureau's Tony Smithers says, “This is a huge endorsement from one of the world’s top travel brands ... We've always known that the Redwood Coast is one of the most special places on Earth. We’re honored and glad to see that Lonely Planet and others are starting to see it, too.”


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Monday, January 8, 2018

Direct Flight from HumCo to LA Coming in June

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 9:41 AM

UNITED
  • United
Humboldt County residents with the yen to leave the Redwood Curtain will have a new option beginning June 7, with United Airlines and the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission announcing this morning that the airline will add a new direct flight to Los Angeles.

“A direct flight to Southern California has been a top priority for our air service recruitment efforts,” said Humboldt County Aviation Program Coordinator Emily Jacobs in the press release. “Market research has shown that demand for this service from our community is strong. Our previous service to LAX was very popular with tourists and businesspeople."

This news comes six months after the startling announcement that PenAir, which had been operating out of ACV for less than two years, would suspend all flights out of the California Redwood Coast Humboldt County Airport. The company then filed for bankruptcy and gained permission from the federal Department of Transportation to terminate what’s known as “Essential Air Service” to the Del Norte County airport. PenAir's exodus left United as the Redwood coast's lone carrier, with daily flights to San Francisco. The "tourists and businesspeople" cited by Jacobs will still need to catch connecting flights to destinations other than the the City of Angels or SF, but it seems as though FlyHumboldt's long courtship of carriers is yielding some success.


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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Korbel Sawmill to Reopen Next Month

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 9:45 AM

The last log to come off the Korbel Mill when it closed in 2015. The mill had been in operation on and off since 1884. - PHOTO BY WILLY WARD
  • Photo by Willy Ward
  • The last log to come off the Korbel Mill when it closed in 2015. The mill had been in operation on and off since 1884.
The Korbel Mill, closed in February of 2015 after a century of operation, and purchased from the Green Diamond Resource Co. by the Trinity River Timber Co. in May of 2016, will fire up again Dec. 18.

"It's been a journey, that's for sure," said Ken Dunn, general manager of Schmidbauer Lumber, which is the Eureka branch of the Trinity River company. Dunn has been working on the project since the mill's initial closure. "I've been working on it form concept to design to construction to implementation. There's challenges around every corner."

The mill will primarily produce Douglas fir commodities for the housing market and new construction, to be shipped across the state. Dunn acknowledges that a recent hike in gas tax, which increases the sales tax on diesel from 1.75 to 5.75 percent, may have an overall effect on the bottom line as relates to shipping costs, but its full impact has yet to be seen. 

"It’s early to say but yeah it will eventually ... impact freight costs," Dunn told the Journal, adding that the big trucks can be hard on roads. "You got to pay to play sometimes."

Trinity River President Frank Schmidbauer said in the 2016 press release announcing the sale, "The Korbel mill is a great addition. It is located in close proximity to timber supplies and good transportation both east and south." The sale came with an existing agreement from Green Diamond to supply logs from its timberlands.

It doesn't appear as though the reopening will add any new jobs, as Schmidbauer will be transferring 45 of its current employees from its Eureka site to Korbel. Those employees were working the second shift (4 p.m. to midnight) at the Eureka location, which the company had decided to curtail. 

"Instead of laying them off we allowed them a one-time transfer to keep their benefits and their seniority," Dunn said.

More shifts and employees could be added later on, he said. He estimates the mill will process 100 million board feet per year.


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Synapsis Studio's Future up in the Air

Posted By on Sat, Sep 23, 2017 at 4:05 PM

An aerialist performing at the soon-to-be-vacated Synapsis Studio. - COURTESY OF LESLIE CASTELLANO
  • Courtesy of Leslie Castellano
  • An aerialist performing at the soon-to-be-vacated Synapsis Studio.

A couple of weeks ago, Synapsis Performance Collective, a group of artists, dancers and performers that has been renting a space at 47 W. Third St. in Eureka for the past 13 years, learned that in six weeks, its rent would be doubling from $1,065 to $2,200 per month as of Oct. 1. It's a substantial hike but maybe not out of nowhere when you consider the original rent was established between 2004 and 2006. As the letter from Synapsis' landlord Gross Family LLC states, "now it's time for this property to yield market rate for the family." That's a market rate that's gone up of late, given that the property is located in "extraction alley," but whether it's a case of cannabis gentrification is unclear.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

County Warns Employees Personal Info May Have Been Compromised

Posted By on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 5:39 PM

Humboldt County Courthouse - FILE
  • file
  • Humboldt County Courthouse
The county of Humboldt just sent a letter to all of its more than 2,000 employees, warning that their personal information — including driver's license numbers, social security numbers and bank routing information — may have been compromised.

According to the letter, it’s unclear how many county employees this affects.

In the letter, which is signed by Sheriff William Honsal and County Administrative Officer Amy Nilsen, the county states that the sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip that led to its serving a search warrant in Trinity County, where it recovered “several file boxes” of county documents, including payroll records.

Honsal told the Journal that the tip came via a Trinity County sheriff's deputy who had been approached by a resident there who said he'd recovered what appeared to be Humboldt County payroll records from a residence. The Trinity County Sheriff's Office then alerted Humboldt County on Sept. 7, and Honsal put an investigative team on it that readied a search warrant for the residence in question.

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