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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Eureka, There's a New City Manager in Town

Posted By on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 3:31 PM

Dean Lotter - NEWBRIGHTONMN.GOV
  • newbrightonmn.gov
  • Dean Lotter
Dean Lotter will be sworn in tonight as Eureka’s new city manager, the latest in a series of milestones for him in recent weeks, including moving into a new home here in town with his wife Wendy and their rescue dog Queso, as well as celebrating his 50th birthday.

Hailing from the Midwest, Lotter comes with 23 years of city management experience, last serving in New Brighton, a suburb of the Twin Cities.

In an interview before landing permanently in Eureka, Lotter told the Journal he is not "naïve" to the many issues facing the city but also sees great potential in the seaside town.

“I wouldn't invest the later portion of my career in a city I didn't feel had opportunity," Lotter said.

Read the full story here.

The 6 p.m. Eureka City Council meeting takes place at City Hall, 531 K St. Click here for a link to the agenda.
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North Coast Night Lights: Vacancy at 4th & E Streets, Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 10:21 AM

banner-2020-01-01_bench-4th_e_2500px.jpg
For years, driving by, I would see her lonely figure sitting on the bench. I never stopped, but in time I grew used to her presence there and I would look to touch base visually when I passed. Huddled inward and completely covered, she had erected a shell between herself and the outside world, perhaps retreating to the safety of her own thoughts to live in a world of her own choosing. I could identify with that on some level.

I don’t recall ever seeing what she looked like, for in my recollection she was always completely covered. She was consistently there for years, eventually becoming a part of that corner. And then, without realizing when exactly the transition occurred, I began noticing that she was no longer there. The bench was empty. A part of the corner felt missing.

The corner has long called to me to come photograph it some night. The street corner itself is stylish as street corners go, now that the utility box near the bench has been painted as part of Eureka’s utility box beautification project (its handle is at the right edge of the image). The curved wood and iron bench is fashionable and smart. There is a small shade tree, which was out of view behind me, and beneath everything a classic brick sidewalk ties it all together. I had thought to photograph the scene in its entirety, but looking into the camera’s viewfinder it felt like something was missing from the composition. It was the woman on her bench. What ever became of her? I didn’t know. And then oddly, almost by necessity, everything fell away as the mystery of the empty bench drew me to it. The missing element became the subject, and I photographed an empty bench.
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I shared the image in one of Humboldt County’s Facebook pages, thinking maybe someone would see the empty bench and remember the person who used to occupy it. I was amazed to find an outpouring of heartwarming stories from people who had noticed her there and remembered her. In a flood of personal tales, people told their stories of meeting the woman or simply of being accustomed to seeing her there. Many shared feelings about the empty bench left behind. It touched the humanity within me that so many people had noticed her, and that she had become such a part of that place for so many. The corner without the woman is an outdoor art exhibit, a living installation with its shade tree, a brick sidewalk, a three-dimensional mural and a pretty bench — and for a long time a living human was a part of it, and her absence was felt by many.

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Sunday, January 5, 2020

HSU Wildlife Professor and Arcata Marsh Pioneer Stanley "Doc" Harris Dies at 91

Posted By on Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 9:14 AM

Stanley Harris at a scholarship reception at Humboldt State University. - HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY
  • Humboldt State University
  • Stanley Harris at a scholarship reception at Humboldt State University.


Stanley “Doc” Harris, a retired Humboldt State University wildlife professor, passed away Dec. 27. He was 91 years old. In addition to having inspired thousands of students, Harris helped establish Arcata's wastewater facility as a wildlife sanctuary and shared his love of ornithology with birdwatching hobbyists in the North Coast.


Harris ,who worked as a professor at HSU  from 1959 to 1992, helped shape the wildlife department into the renowned department that it is today as “he quickly assumed leadership in the department and was one of the early members who grew it to the size that it is now,” said Mark Colwell, a a fellow wildlife professor at HSU and good friend of Harris'.


Harris also contributed significantly to bringing the ornithology program to the university, said Rick Botzler, a retired HSU wildlife professor who also worked with Harris.


Botzler and Colwell both said Harris cared tremendously for his students and wanted to see them succeed, adding that he was also a big influence on them.


“If you look across the western United States, you’re likely to encounter people who were influenced by Stan,” Colwell said. “Fifty-plus graduate students finished their Master’s degree with him.”


On top of teaching waterfowl and wetlands classes, Harris played a significant role in creating the Wildlife Museum that houses more than 14,000 species in the wildlife department building.


“In my opinion, he more than anyone was responsible for the development of the museum,” Botzler said. “Lorie, his wife, also contributed. She was an artist who helped paint the finishing touches and put together the museum. They were a team.”


Colwell said that to the end of his days, Harris was still a part of the department, adding that not too long ago Harris visited the museum to meet with its curator and offer advice on the live mount of the California condor that was going on display.


“He took great pride in the department and always showed his inquisitiveness for wildlife,” Colwell said.


During his time at the university, Harris was a strong believer in and advocate for field-based learning. He believed in incorporating practical experience in his teachings to give his students hands-on experience. According to Botzler and Colwell, Harris took his students on field trips to local national and state wildlife refuge centers, the Arcata Marsh and wherever there were waterfowl or wetlands, so much so that in 2001 the city of Arcata dedicated a low-lying pond at the Arcata Marsh in his name.


According to the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary map and guide pamphlet, No-Name Pond — which was named by Harris and a few of his students — was dedicated to Harris to honor his work in local ornithology and wetland ecology.


Harris was also one of the “original proponents” who sought to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility into a natural wetland, said Julie Neander, the deputy director of the Community Services department for the city of Arcata — who also grew a relationship with Harris over the years.

A bouquet of flowers sits below the No-name Pond plaque at the Arcata Marsh days after Harris' passing. - IRIDIAN CASAREZ
  • Iridian Casarez
  • A bouquet of flowers sits below the No-name Pond plaque at the Arcata Marsh days after Harris' passing.


“He was instrumental in [the city] having good data to continue to make the marsh better,” she said, adding that, like many other professors and students at HSU, Harris played a pivotal role.


Along with helping create the Arcata Marsh, Harris also brought the world of ornithology to people outside of the professional realm of HSU. Botzler said that Harris spent time identifying and documenting which species lived in the North Coast.


“He opened up the opportunity for them to understand each species, habitats and the larger species composition,” Botzler said. “He was a good person and he will be missed.”

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

No War With Iran Protest (Photos)

Posted By on Sat, Jan 4, 2020 at 11:41 AM

A couple dozen people turned up at the Humboldt County Courthouse on Friday evening, most carrying signs, for a hastily planned protest of the prospect of a U.S. war with Iran.

The protest followed the Jan. 2 U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and commander of Iran's clandestine Quds Force. Both widely revered and feared within the region, Soleimani has been a major force in conflicts across Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and polls have shown him to be Iran's most popular political figure. He's also regarded by the United States as the head of a terrorist organization, one blamed for the deaths of a host of U.S. troops in multiple conflicts, including by flooding Iraq with improvised explosive devices in the mid 2000s. (Read a stunning profile of Soleimani by the renowned Dexter Filkins here.)
Protesters warn against war with Iran. - PHOTO BY ZACH LATHOURIS
  • Photo by Zach Lathouris
  • Protesters warn against war with Iran.
While few in the United States are arguing Soleimani was not a serious threat to U.S. lives and interests, some fear his killing will escalate tensions between the U.S. and Iran and put additional American lives at risk. As evidenced by yesterday's protest, some fear another full-blown war.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

The Biggest Wave and Bomb Cyclone: A Record-Breaking Year of Wild Weather

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2020 at 3:57 PM

Looking back at 2019 from a weather standpoint, things were a bit on the wild side at times. So, the Journal reached out to climate specialist Matthew Kidwell in the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, who compiled what he saw as the most notable weather incidents to take place last year.

Along with those events, 2019 hit a record for breaking records, with 18 total set, according to Kidwell, that included 11 high temps and seven minimum temps.

The closest other years were 2004 and 2014, which saw 10 and nine record highs, respectively. But 2013 edged out 2019 to stay in the lead for most minimum records at 10.

Damaging Waves in Shelter Cove: On Jan. 17, waves upward of 30 feet crashed into eight homes on Lower Pacific Drive in Shelter Cove causing extensive damage, included flooding, mud covered floors, broken windows and ruined furniture.

Cheryl Antony, spokesperson for Shelter Cove Fire, told Redheaded Blackbelt at the time that one of the homes had approximately 10 broken windows and some had up to 4 inches of water inside.
A member of Shelter Cove Fire inspects the damage including water on the floor of this custom-built home. - CHERYL ANTONY OF SHELTER COVE FIRE
  • Cheryl Antony of Shelter Cove Fire
  • A member of Shelter Cove Fire inspects the damage including water on the floor of this custom-built home.
“We had to put life jackets on to walk around [to assess damage],” Antony said. “We have never seen waves like this before. One came over the whole deck we were standing on. We had to run.”


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North Coast Night Lights: 2019 Night Light in Review

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2020 at 11:03 AM

The stars arc across the sky in their nightly parade in this view looking south from Boat Launch Beach, or Indian Beach, beneath the town of Trinidad, California. The star trails you see are the result of the stars’ motion across the sky during this several-minute exposure of the camera. In summer months the sky in this view would contain the core of our galaxy, the visually richest portion of the Milky Way. January, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The stars arc across the sky in their nightly parade in this view looking south from Boat Launch Beach, or Indian Beach, beneath the town of Trinidad, California. The star trails you see are the result of the stars’ motion across the sky during this several-minute exposure of the camera. In summer months the sky in this view would contain the core of our galaxy, the visually richest portion of the Milky Way. January, 2019.
We live in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s a flattened pinwheel shape, and our solar system is out on one of the arms. Our galaxy gets its name from the bright band of stars called the Milky Way, which we can see stretching across the night sky. The band is an edge-on view of our galaxy from within the galaxy; it is what we see as we look through the thick part of the pinwheel comprising all of the stars, nebulae and everything else that lie between us and the other side of the galaxy. When one looks into the night sky to either side of the Milky Way’s band, we are looking outward from the galaxy’s plane. Here there are fewer stars, and beyond them lies the great space between galaxies.

The brightest, most detailed area of the Milky Way is the galactic core. We can’t always see the core because as Earth moves around our sun in its year-long trek, each night of the year our dark side faces a slightly different view of the sky. As a result, some times of the year the core of Milky Way is not in view at night. During winter in the northern hemisphere, Earth’s night side faces the fainter stretches of the Milky Way. As we leave winter and spring approaches, we begin to have a view of the core in the early pre-dawn hours. The Milky Way will rise earlier each morning; toward the end of May the Milky Way’s position in the sky at 1:30 a.m. is similar to the pre-dawn view of late March. In late June, the core will be low on the southeastern horizon when darkness falls, and it will be higher in the sky each night immediately after dark through the summer.
In a few of the images through the year I have labeled celestial points in the sky. While the Milky Way and stars always follow the same paths across our skies through the seasons, the planets move independently against the starry backdrop. They travel in their own orbits around our sun, and because they’re closer to us than the stars are (by a lot), their independent motion relative to us causes them to move across the otherwise fixed star field. It’s the same principal at work as when you look into the distance and sway from side to side: you will see nearer objects appear to move back and forth relative to more distant objects. This year we had Jupiter and Saturn straddling the Milky Way all season; next year they’ll both be close together to the left of the Milky Way. Last year Mars was close to the Milky Way, but nowhere near it this year.

The night sky is fascinating in its variations. Here on the North Coast, we are blessed to live in an area where the skies are dark enough to enjoy its bejeweled wonders, and we are fortunate that it is not yet too crowded with space junk. Please enjoy these image of Night Light from our precious North Coast from the year 2019 just gone by.


To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019: The Year in Photos

Posted By on Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 11:04 AM

Participants in the Kinetic Grand Championship arrived at the finish line on Ferndale's Main Street. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Participants in the Kinetic Grand Championship arrived at the finish line on Ferndale's Main Street.
As we enter 2020, it seems fitting to look back on 2019 on the North Coast. Together, we marched and protested, laughed and cried, fought and danced. We even zombied. And local photographer Mark Larson was there to capture much of it, camera in hand and a smile on his face. Below we share a slideshow of some of his favorite shots from 2019.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

Buzzkill on Roadkill: New Law Doesn't Allow for Collecting Killed Game, Yet

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2019 at 12:50 PM

Remember all the buzz about Senate Bill 395 giving folks the chance to take home a side of roadkill and whip up a dinner? Well, that’s not quite how it works, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In a recent release, the department notes that while the law was “enacted with the intent to eventually make available for utilization the roadkill meat of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope or wild pig,” there are still some more steps to bring that to fruition and it is “still illegal to collect or possess roadkill animals and violators could face citation, even after Jan. 1, 2020.”

Blacktail deer. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wilflife.
  • Blacktail deer. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wilflife.
What the law did was authorize the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt regulations for a program that would allow for the utilization of game animals found on a road or highway. That would take place “in consultation” with the California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

"Many Californians think it will be legal to possess and utilize roadkill on Jan. 1, which is the technical effective date of the Wildlife Traffic Safety Act, but that's not the case," said David Bess, CDFW deputy director and chief of the Law Enforcement Division. "There is no collection or utilization program in place. We are trying to avoid any confusion by misinformed citizens who think it is lawful to collect roadkill animals."

Read the full CDWF release below:


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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Yurok Tribe Celebrates Solar Power System

Posted By and on Thu, Dec 26, 2019 at 11:38 AM

Yurok Chairman Joseph L. James, accompanied by Yurok Tribal Council, Yurok Planning & Community Development Department and Schatz Energy Research Center celebrate the installation of a 28 Kw photovoltaic (solar panel system).
  • Yurok Chairman Joseph L. James, accompanied by Yurok Tribal Council, Yurok Planning & Community Development Department and Schatz Energy Research Center celebrate the installation of a 28 Kw photovoltaic (solar panel system).
The Yurok Tribe is celebrating the installation of a solar power system and has announced that another is being planned in an effort to bring electricity to the roughly 40 percent of families in the Weitchpec and Pecwan areas who do not have access to the grid.

According to a press release, the 28 kW photovoltaic system was grant funded and is a “first step” in fulfilling the Tribe’s energy vision, which seeks to ensure all members in Yurok Ancestral Territory “have access to reliable, affordable, modern, cost-effective energy services” and “promotes energy self-sufficiency, environmental sustainability, use of local renewable resources, job creation and economic opportunity.”

“To date, roughly 40 percent of the families living within the Weitchpec and Pecwan districts do not have access to grid electricity,” the release states. “Most of these residents get their electricity from gas or diesel-powered generators, which pose health risks for residents, pollute the environment and cost up to four times more than conventional grid electricity.”

The Yurok Tribe is also planning on installing a 24 kW photovoltaic system on the Tulley Creek Firehouse, the release states, and both projects were done in partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center of Humboldt State University.

Likewise, the microgrid system of the Blue Lake Rancheria was build in collaboration with the Schatz center and proved to be an island of refuge during the Public Safety Power Shutdowns that darkened the region in October. With its grid keeping the power running, the Rancheria was not only able to keep its hotel open through the blackout, it also gassed up thousands of vehicles, distributed thousands of bags of ice and opened a community respite center that allowed people to charge their phones and medical devices.

Chris Marnay, a senior scientific fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who wrote the definition of microgrid that is used by the U.S. Department of Energy, told CalMatters that these systems are going to be more and more important to California in the future. “California is a bit behind the curve,” Marnay said in the CalMatters article.

“The fires are going to be our Superstorm Sandy. They are going to bring about change.” Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast in 2012, leaving millions of customers in 21 states without power for days and weeks. The superstorm’s aftermath brought about policy changes in several states in the Northeast. Connecticut became the first in the country to create a statewide system of microgrids to provide emergency power.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Holiday Magic

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2019 at 11:46 AM

It certainly looked a lot like Christmas in Old Town, Eureka. I’d gone down to photograph some nighttime holiday lights, and what should happen by but a wooden Santa ornament.  It hobbled stiffly out of the store as if nothing were amiss, and I swear I heard it muttering about the Christmas rush. Then he paused to peer into the window display at Many Hands Gallery, cocking his wooden head from side to side on his stocky neck. Suddenly he chuckled, threw me a wink, and scuttled quickly back inside. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • It certainly looked a lot like Christmas in Old Town, Eureka. I’d gone down to photograph some nighttime holiday lights, and what should happen by but a wooden Santa ornament. It hobbled stiffly out of the store as if nothing were amiss, and I swear I heard it muttering about the Christmas rush. Then he paused to peer into the window display at Many Hands Gallery, cocking his wooden head from side to side on his stocky neck. Suddenly he chuckled, threw me a wink, and scuttled quickly back inside.
I’m used to odd things. I especially love when they visit me during the holidays, those special times when people want to do good things, and odd things find a welcome home. These times bring out the magical things; one doesn’t usually find Santa or the elves or Easter bunnies running about outside of their respective holidays.

But it’s all fair game during a holiday. My family put up our tree earlier this week, a little later than normal. My favorite ornaments are a little set of wooden Santas, elves, angels, sleighs, snowpeople, and the like. I’ve always felt closest to the Santas, cute little two and three quarter-inch figurines that remind me of the stop-motion Christmas specials of my childhood. They’re the things of which dreams are made, and the tiny figures danced and played in my dreams that night.
Festive lighting and Ferndale’s great Christmas tree lent holiday vibes to Ferndale’s Main Street. My wife kept a lookout for cars while I captured the image. December 19, 2019 in Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Festive lighting and Ferndale’s great Christmas tree lent holiday vibes to Ferndale’s Main Street. My wife kept a lookout for cars while I captured the image. December 19, 2019 in Humboldt County, California.
Later in the week my wife and I traveled into Ferndale to find some holiday night light and see what magic might be about in town to photograph. Main Street Ferndale was beautiful, a fully decked-out corridor with lights adorning most of the stores. The towering Christmas tree at the end of the street was visible for many blocks. But periodic showers kept most people inside, and they sent us home before I’d quite gotten what I wanted. I wanted magic, but that kind of thing has to come along when it’s ready.

A couple nights after our Ferndale visit I found myself down in Old Town Eureka. Many businesses were cleverly illuminated for the holidays and open for business, but many were not. I ended up outside the particularly beautiful windows of Many Hands Gallery at about 8p.m. With the view down the sidewalk and the glow from the window it gave me the best window/sidewalk/view I could find for a holiday photograph.
Evening holiday foragers found interesting things in Mind’s Eye Manufactory & Coffee Lounge in Ferndale on December 19, 2019. Look closely, for they were turned to blurs by the camera’s long exposure. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Evening holiday foragers found interesting things in Mind’s Eye Manufactory & Coffee Lounge in Ferndale on December 19, 2019. Look closely, for they were turned to blurs by the camera’s long exposure. Humboldt County, California.
But magic wasn’t happening yet… the photo needed something, or it needed someone, to give the foreground a story element. I was on the point of posing myself for the photo just to get something into the foreground when the strangest thing happened. I could swear even now that it had been a dream like those from the other night, but for the photographic evidence my camera recorded.

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