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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fair Factor

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 3:50 PM

Majestic food stall flags in the wind. - FILE
  • File
  • Majestic food stall flags in the wind.
Editor’s note: It’s official — the Humboldt County Fair is back. To help our readers prep for what many see as the most important fair experience — the food — here’s a look back at a 2015 walk through of edible attractions at the Ferndale tradition.

You can smell the fryers from the parking lot as you stumble through the lumpy pasture toward the whirring rides and tinny pop music playing on the other side of the turnstiles. Once inside the Humboldt County Fair, the maze of traveling food stands and the barrage of signs for jumbo and beer battered everything can overwhelm. How do you best use the limited real estate in your belly and will you be able to keep it down if you hop on the Tilt-a-Whirl?

Here are some of the heaviest hitters scored 1-5 for three criteria: fair factor, or how on-theme the food is; value, the cost vs. satisfaction and/or bragging rights, keeping in mind that most prices are slightly inflated at these things; and fair tummy, the gentlest way to describe how much this treat is going to hurt you, especially on the Gravitron.
Sausage and peppers on a roll. - FILE
  • File
  • Sausage and peppers on a roll.
Banger on a roll with onions and peppers, $8

Available at a stand that also advertises "Kurly Fries," the hefty pork sausage is snappy and peppery, and the bun is soft, though nothing special. It's a solid actual food item on the off chance you are truly hungry and not just driven by midway hedonism. Sausage and peppers still has that classic street food cachet without a crippling amount of grease.
Fair factor: 4
Value: 4
Fair tummy: 3
Lamb from the Lions. - FILE
  • File
  • Lamb from the Lions.
Lamb burger, $7

The Ferndale Lions are selling lamb — there's a joke in there somewhere. In any case, they're keeping it rural by parking their yellow truck right by the livestock barns and offering locally raised lamb patties a bun's throw from the wool stand. Follow the grill cook's suggestion and just add salt, pepper and a deep red slice of tomato. It's juicy and not too gamey, plus the 4-H atmosphere ups its fair factor. Shucks, it's downright wholesome.
Fair factor: 4
Value: 4
Fair tummy: 2
Dairy Princess Sarah Richardson scoops away. - FILE
  • File
  • Dairy Princess Sarah Richardson scoops away.
Humboldt Creamery ice cream, free

Dairy princess Sarah Richardson is in her crown and sash scooping four flavors of the local ice cream every day of the fair. If there's something more county fair than that, let us know. The crown is very sparkly, and she and the other servers are handing out little paper cups to fairgoers at no charge, blithely pretending not to notice the same faces returning for multiple cups. The scoop is modest, so if you get back in line and make yourself ill with five servings, that's on you.
Fair factor: 5
Value: 5
Fair tummy: 2
A gator you can wrestle. - FILE
  • File
  • A gator you can wrestle.
Alligator tail nuggets, $9

Is it really alligator? Go ahead and ask to see the frozen packages of meat. The eight surprisingly tender bits of white meat are fried in a highly salty, spicy batter and served with — what else? — chipotle mayo. And just as you suspected, it kind of tastes like chicken. How can something that can drag you into a death roll taste the same as a chicken? In any case, this is one of those only-at-the-fair things and some of its cost is justified by checking an item off your bucket list. And didn't you just pay $1 to see the giant alligator in that trailer? Just go easy if you're going on any rides more jostling than the carousel.
Fair factor: 5
Value: 4
Fair tummy: 5
Marionberry cobbler for sweet-tooths. - FILE
  • File
  • Marionberry cobbler for sweet-tooths.
Marionberry cobbler, $6

While a berry pie or cobbler carries serious fair creed, this one looks better than it is. The filling is tooth-achingly sweet and the dough is heavy and bready. It's a generous portion, to be sure, but only the most committed jam freaks will be able to finish it, and they will pay for it in the end.
Fair factor: 3
Value: 2
Fair tummy: 5
Fried pickles. - FILE
  • File
  • Fried pickles.
Fried pickles, $6

If nothing else, it's truth in advertising. And if you're not ready to commit to a massive pile of pickles, you can talk the guy at the counter into selling you a half order for $3. The pickles are hot and crispy, salty and sour, but maybe too much so. The batter is a little hard and seriously greasy. Those who want even more vinegar, salt and spice can give the "awesome sauce" bottle a squeeze. If nobody in your party is CPR certified, you may want to keep moving.
Fair factor: 4
Value: 3
Fair tummy: 5
Behold: funnel cake. - FILE
  • File
  • Behold: funnel cake.
Funnel cake with powdered sugar, $6

All hail the ultimate fair food. It's at once down-home and bizarre, like a frizzled coral reef of deep-fried batter. The first few bites are spent marveling at the crisp lightness of it as you pick at the edges. Next thing you know, you're gasping for air with a face full of powdered sugar resembling Al Pacino in Scarface. But we both know you're going to get one anyway.
Fair factor: 5
Value: 4
Fair tummy:5
Deep-fried Snickers bar on a stick. - FILE
  • File
  • Deep-fried Snickers bar on a stick.
Deep fried Snickers bar, $4

Dear God in heaven. All is lost. You might think this will be like those fried Oreos you tried at BarFly. Instead, it's like being struck square in the chest with a deep-fried sledge hammer that's been dipped in chocolate, peanuts and caramel, and then having someone drizzle chocolate syrup over your broken body. Is it worth $4? Maybe for the bragging rights or if you're planning on a Leaving Las Vegas-style exit via insulin shock. And make no mistake, if you get on a ride, you will regret it. Just listening to them rattling and shaking in the background might do it.
Fair factor: 5
Value: 2
Fair tummy: 5
Fried peaches count as health food at the fair. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Fried peaches count as health food at the fair.
Fried peaches, $6

The same stand that sells the Snickers bar will fry you up two canned peach halves in batter topped with soft-serve ice cream and whipped cream. The sprinkle of cinnamon sugar is gilding the lily a bit, but it's the fair, after all. And after the Snickers bar, this is practically a salad. It's not half bad and the generous portion doesn't make you want to go into the light, but give it another 30 minutes before you risk the Pharo's Fury. That thing goes faster than it looks.
Fair factor: 4
Value: 5
Tummy: 4

In fact, follow the 30-minute rule for everything, including the bumpy ride out of the parking lot.
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Report Finds Firefighter Killed in Carr Fire Tornado; Smoke Impacts Continue

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 12:21 PM

Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl." - CALFIRE/NWS
  • Calfire/NWS
  • Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl."
With wildfires continuing to scorch the West, the resulting smoke is continuing to have an impact on air quality in Humboldt County that ranges from good to unhealthy depending on the area.

The deadly Carr Fire to the east has burned nearly 215,000 acres and killed at least eight people, including a Redding firefighter who a recent report says died after becoming engulfed in a tornado of fire, according to multiple media reports.

A San Francisco Chronicle story detailing Calfire’s report on Jeremiah “Jeremy” Stoke’s death states the 37 year old was overcome by a massive fire whirl with winds up to 165 miles and a base the size of three-football fields.


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

'Justice for Josiah' Protest Disrupts Arcata Council Meeting

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 9:18 PM

Protestors disrupt Wednesday's Arcata City Council meeting. - PHOTO BY RYAN HUTSON
  • Photo by Ryan Hutson
  • Protestors disrupt Wednesday's Arcata City Council meeting.
Wednesday’s Arcata City Council meeting was rescheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday after protestors demanding movement on an investigation into the fatal stabbing of Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson took over the council chambers.

Video footage from local media outlets showed the group lined up along the aisles of the room and in front of the council’s dais while clapping and chanting, “Justice for Josiah, now” and “Bring Tom Parker back.”

Both Parker and Josiah Lawson’s mother Charmaine Lawson spoke to the crowd via phone, according to a reporter at city hall. Protestors were vowing to stay until Arcata agreed to bring Parker back.

Parker, a retired FBI agent who had been assisting the Arcata Police Department with the case pro bono, resigned in April, saying the department was not following his recommendations and he believed investigators were withholding information from him. Then Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman abruptly stepped down less than 24-hours later.

At the time, City Manager Karen Diemer didn’t dispute Parker’s contentions about detectives withholding information but said the lack of trust had developed after a confidentiality breach.

Lawson, a 19-year-old sophomore, died April 15, 2017, after being stabbed at an off-campus party.

Editor's note: A version of this report first appeared on www.kymkemp.com and is reposted here with permission
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Bright Lights, Small Town

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 1:39 PM

The view from the Ferris wheel at the Humboldt County Fair. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The view from the Ferris wheel at the Humboldt County Fair.

Editor’s note: With the Humboldt County Fair marking its 122nd opening day tomorrow, here’s a look back at Peri Escarda’s 2017 It’s Personal column on the annual event, the arrival of which means that summer is once again drawing to an end.

Growing up in Humboldt County, there was nothing more exciting than the day my parents would announce that we were going to the Fair. They would bundle us kids into the car and make the rambling trek to Ferndale. As we crossed the bridge and headed into the summer fog, I would wait for that moment when the Ferris wheel would sprout from the cow fields. As we approached, we would hear the screams and hard rock emanating from the Tilt O’ Whirl. My feet would begin to tingle and my palms to sweat, as I wondered if I would have the necessary courage — not to mention, height — to attempt what we called the “upside down rides.”

Once in the grounds, my parents would hand out some bills with the stern command to “make it last,” and then head off to the horse races. Whenever we got tired or hungry, we could make our way to the stands and join them. There was always the clang of the starting bell, the echoing voice of the commentator, the blur of the horses thundering past. I would sit with my corn dog and fries, watching not the horses but the sparrows. They would soar in aerial battles right above the stands, tumbling within feet of the spectators’ heads. Somehow, my parents always could be convinced to hand out another fiver, if only we would disappear for a bit longer.

The fair only got better in adolescence. My crew would meet up hours before to “get ready,” and emerge in a cloud of hairspray, our hair feathered back to precision, faces glowing with make-up we didn’t need. Sometimes we were sent back by our parents for skirts that were too short or shirts cut too low. But eventually we would arrive at the fairgrounds, free of our parents’ watchful eyes. Arranging ourselves with careful derision, we were aware of every boy who passed. I came to regret the choice of the particular boy that I let take me up on the Ferris wheel but I’ll never regret the kiss I got there. The wind had stilled and the wheel had stopped, and the two of us hung suspended, with the fields spread out to the horizon and beyond.

Anybody who could regret such a kiss doesn’t know how to live. If you’ve never been kissed on a Ferris wheel, I recommend you rectify that as soon as possible.
I was to return many times to the Humboldt County Fair, eventually as a mother myself: handing out the cash with dire warnings about making it last — and yet holding back a couple of bills, just for that moment when I would relent and hand the money over. I would watch my little ones try their hands at milking a goat or take a ride on a pony or outstretch their palms to pet the warm flank of a gentle cow. And, in later years, I would watch them slink off as teenagers, while my husband and I would wander over to the barns alone, watching the harried mothers wrangle their small children with both a sense of longing and overwhelming relief.

There is so much I could tell a person about the Humboldt County Fair. I know that if the sun comes out, it is likely to be mid-day, but the fog bank will return by late afternoon. I know that it is always worth it to watch the daredevil show, no matter how corny it might appear. I know that Friendship Square is the best place to eat your pie and get away from the wind. I know that the building that houses the quilts and jams will be as peaceful as a chapel, and just as restorative to the soul. I know that if you want to have faith in the next generation, just go to the barns and watch the teenagers ready their animals for the big show. Watch the young men have their ties straightened by their mothers before leading their cows along to be judged. Take the time to sit and talk to an old person; they are everywhere at the fair and what they know will always surprise you. Don’t forget to ride that Ferris wheel — reach for someone’s hand and be open to the possibility of a kiss. But if that kiss doesn’t happen this year, don’t despair. The thing about the County Fair is that, just like summer, it always returns.

Peri Escarda was born and raised in Humboldt County and worked for two decades as an instructional aide. Now that her kids have moved out, she's busy writing.
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UPDATED: Possible Double Homicide Investigation in SoHum

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 9:19 AM

sheriff.png
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed an investigation into a possible double homicide in Southern Humboldt after two bodies were discovered in a burning vehicle last night.

“We are investigating two suspicious deaths in the area of Ettersburg Junction. We are still on the scene actively investigating the incident,” HCSO spokesperson Samantha Karges said. “At this time, we are not expecting to release more details, but I expect to have more information made available to the public later today.”

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office stated in a release this afternoon that more information is expected to be released after the autopsies, which were still being scheduled, are completed.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Photos from the Lantern Floating Ceremony

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 5:52 PM

Volunteer Tony Wallin, of Arcata, helped move the lighted lanterns away from the shore into the gentle breeze blowing across Klopp Lake. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Volunteer Tony Wallin, of Arcata, helped move the lighted lanterns away from the shore into the gentle breeze blowing across Klopp Lake.

The Saturday morning lantern-making workshop on the Arcata Plaza was busy with people of all ages making lanterns with personalized remembrances or social commentary for that evening’s 36th annual Lantern Floating Ceremony at Klopp Lake in the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Lantern Floating Ceremony is based on the Japanese Obon tradition of honoring the departed. Our local event was first organized by the city’s Nuclear Free Zone Committee as a memorial for those affected by the WWII bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to increase awareness about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. See the slideshow below for photos of the ceremony.


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Mendo Complex Gets Containment Date, but no Estimate for Carr Fire

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Satellite imagery of wildfire smoke in the state. - NOAA
  • NOAA
  • Satellite imagery of wildfire smoke in the state.
While a string of fires continue to burn to the north, south and east of Humboldt County, air quality is expected to be in the good to moderate stage although some inland areas, such as Garberville, will have “widespread haze,” according to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.

Fire officials are now giving an estimated containment date of Sept. 1 for the Mendocino Complex — the merging of the Ranch and River fires, which currently stands as the largest in California history. The blaze has burned more than 300,000 acres and destroyed 119 homes with another 9,200 structures threatened, according to Calfire.

The cause remains under investigation.

To the east, the deadly Carr Fire, which has claimed at least eight lives, burned more than 180,000 acres and destroyed 1,077 homes, has no estimated date for full containment.

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Want to Run for Office? The Deadline is Looming

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 5:19 PM

Candidates, it's time to turn in those nomination papers. - FILE
  • File
  • Candidates, it's time to turn in those nomination papers.
Time is running out for candidates to file their nomination papers to run for council and mayor in cities across Humboldt County — the exception being Ferndale, which closed its nomination period today. All others have deadlines tomorrow. That is unless an incumbent does not seek a return to office, in which case the filing periods are extended to Aug. 15.

Qualifications vary a bit depending on the city, so it’s best to check in with your respective city clerk for all the details. Here’s a rundown of which seats are open:

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UPDATE: EPD: Uninjured Baby Found in Room with Couple Dead in Murder-Suicide

Posted By on Thu, Aug 9, 2018 at 10:39 AM

FILE
  • FILE
The Eureka Police Department today identified the couple found dead in a D Street home Aug. 3 in a murder-suicide, releasing for the first time that a 7-month-old baby was found on a bed in the same room.

Officers responding to a welfare call found the scene around 8 p.m. after forcing entry in the home after trying for several minutes to contact the occupants, stating in an earlier release that the decision was based “on the details of the call, the lack of contact, and observations made at the scene, officers believed exigent circumstances existed.”

According to the release, Astraia Marie Muir, 39, died of “multiple incised wounds” and had to be identified using her fingerprints due to the extensive injuries to her face. The man, identified as Matthew Orion Julius Muir, 42, was found hanging in a nearby closet with “superficial lacerations to his wrists.” The cause of death was asphyxia.

The child was taken to St. Joseph Hospital for evaluation but appeared to be uninjured, and was later released to Child Welfare Service staff, the EPD states.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Astraia Muir’s two children. Many who posted on the site describe her as a passionate nurse and dedicated mother with what one person called an “infectious smile” The site can be found here.
The Times-Standard reports she had recently filed for divorce from the man who police say killed her.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Eureka Council Moves Forward With H and I Street Changes, Cannabis Lounges

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2018 at 4:21 PM

eureka.jpg
The Eureka City Council voted last night to move forward with reducing the number of lanes on H and I streets, establishing an advisory committee on needle exchange and directed staff to bring back a proposed ordinance for cannabis lounges.

Council members selected the first of three options for creating traffic calming measures on two of the city’s most well-traveled thoroughfares, which includes adding striping on Harris Street to denote parking, creating bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements such as “bulb-outs,” flashing beacons and lighted crosswalks at intersections.


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