Government

Thursday, April 2, 2020

HCOE Recommends Schools Remain Closed for the Term

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 11:55 AM

According to a press release, the Humboldt County Office of Education plans to follow the advice of Public Health Officer Teresa Frankovich and the recommendation of Gov. Newsom and advise local school facilities to remain closed through the end of the school year. Distance learning implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 will continue. The individual district closures and status of graduations and other end-of-year events are to be determined and announced by each district.

Read the full press release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Humboldt County School Closures

Yesterday in a press conference, Governor Gavin Newsom, with the backing of Superintendent of Schools, Tony Thurmond, shared the expectation that all school districts and charters in California continue to provide distance learning opportunities for students and their families for the remainder of the school year.

Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) and local school districts, have consulted with Public Health Officer, Dr. Teresa Frankovich, who advises all school districts in Humboldt County follow the Governor’s recommendation and plan for continued closure of facilities through the end of the school year.
According to Dr. Frankovich, “The situation is changing quickly and there is increasing evidence, as we look at impacted areas across the country, that aggressive social distancing can significantly help to slow transmission of this infection. Maintaining distance learning and keeping school facilities closed through the end of the school year will allow schools and families to plan appropriately. Schools and Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and should circumstances allow for an earlier return to school, we will make that decision together.”
Humboldt County schools began school facility closures on March 16 and have been developing and delivering high quality distance learning instruction for students, providing students with meals, and working on systems for childcare. Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Chris Hartley, supports the campuses being physically closed through the end of the academic year and applauds district efforts in meeting student needs, including the massive response in providing school meals.
“Schools are critical in assisting Public Health in emphasizing the importance of shelter in place and social distancing. We are thankful for their proactive efforts,” states Dr. Frankovich.
“Our main priority is the health and safety of our students, families, and staff,” states Hartley. “Social distancing remains critical as cases of COVID-19 continue to increase, and while we recognize the difficulty and challenges this poses to many, maintaining closure of school facilities is prudent and allows our educators and HCOE to continue developing and improving distance learning education for students.”
All HCOE school programs will remain physically closed. Local districts will be working with their respective Boards to weigh local needs and state and local recommendations in determining their district plans for distance learning and facility closures, and announce to their communities accordingly. Additionally, in-person graduation events, promotions, and activities are yet to be fully determined and will be evaluated and communicated by individual districts as time draws.
HCOE will continue to partner with districts to improve upon the distance learning programs, services, and supports for districts and families in our community. Hartley reassures, “School is not over. Humboldt County schools are the heartbeat of our communities. They will continue to provide essential services for students and families by embracing innovation and collaboration.”
News, information, and resources for families, including meal distribution schedules, are available and regularly updated at hcoe.org/covid-19.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Property Taxes are Still Coming Due Although Late Waivers May Apply

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 9:56 AM

The Humboldt County Treasurer-Tax Collector Office may be closed but property taxes are still due. - FILE
  • File
  • The Humboldt County Treasurer-Tax Collector Office may be closed but property taxes are still due.
The second installment of Humboldt County property taxes is still due by April 10 regardless of the COVID-19 shutdown, although officials say late penalties may be waived.

The payments were actually owed in February but the stiff fees and interest accrued for missing the deadline don’t begin accumulating until after the two-month grace period ends.

Humboldt’s Treasurer-Tax Collector John Bartholomew — like many of his colleagues across the state — is reminding property owners about the importance of paying on time.

“At times like these we all need to help each other and therefore we urge everyone who is in a position to pay property taxes on time to do so, as required by state law,” he said in a press release. “Humboldt County citizens rely on services provided by teachers, fire fighters, public health and safety officers, and other county services. Property tax revenues are vital to keeping their agencies, departments, and schools funded and services uninterrupted.”

The release also notes that the installment deadlines are set in state law and not continuing the tax collections could have a “catastrophic impact on local funding” of the essential services.

At least two California counties — Santa Clara and Los Angeles — are going to allow partial payments, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.


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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Arcata Fire District Will Close One of its Fire Stations April 1

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 2:44 PM

Firefighters at the scene of a fatal apartment fire in the 100 block of Samoa Boulevard on Feb. 2. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARCATA FIRE DEPARTMENT
  • Photo courtesy of the Arcata Fire Department
  • Firefighters at the scene of a fatal apartment fire in the 100 block of Samoa Boulevard on Feb. 2.

The Arcata Fire District is closing one of the three fire stations in its area of service tomorrow as a result of the voters defeating Measure R, a special property tax that would have increased the district's budget by $2.2 million and allowed for maintaining current staffing levels and rebuilding depleted reserve funds.


“The failure of Measure R comes with layoffs and demotions to critical frontline personnel of the fire district,” reads the press release from AFD.


The Arcata Fire District Board of Directors will rotate station closures weekly to evaluate which station will permanently close.

Source: Arcata Fire Department - © 2020 NORTH COAST JOURNAL / SHUTTERSTOCK
  • © 2020 North Coast Journal / Shutterstock
  • Source: Arcata Fire Department

“Unfortunately, due to station closures and the rise in overlapping calls for service,

we may be delayed getting to your emergency. With our District covering 62 square miles, this means potentially waiting significantly longer to receive our services when you are in need. Please, when you need our service, call 911 EARLY,” the release states.

However, the department is emphasizing that the safety of the community is its top priority. 


Read the full release below:


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Blue Lake Rancheria Delivers Meals to Tribal Elders During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 1:00 PM

BLUE LAKE RANCHERIA
  • Blue Lake Rancheria

The Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe’s Elder Nutrition Program is delivering three weeks' worth of meals to the 70 tribe elders enrolled in the meal program amid the COVID-19 outbreak.


“We know coronavirus poses a greater threat to the elderly,” Jason Ramos, Blue Lake Rancheria tribal council member, said in a press release. “So we are determined to safely deliver food to elders, so they can shelter-in-place at home and not worry about their next meal.”


According to the release, more than 12,000 meals have been prepared and stored for delivery later this week. The tribe is delivering meals from Rio Dell to Weaverville.


The food program is also seeing an increase in demand as members of other organizations and tribes in the area can be added to the list of food deliveries.


“We are really pulling together our resources to take care of the elderly, who especially depend on us right now,” Arla Ramsey, the tribe’s vice-chairperson said in a press release.


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Monday, March 30, 2020

Sheriff Declares Local Emergency Amid COVID-19

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 5:19 PM

Sheriff William Honsal - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Sheriff William Honsal
Sheriff William Honsal today declared a local emergency in response to the coronavirus, a move described as a proactive step to allow the county of Humboldt “to request all available response and recovery assistance from state and federal agencies.”

“[T]he imminent threat posed by aforesaid conditions warrant and necessitate the proclamation of a Local Emergency to enable the County of Humboldt and other local government entities to adequately plan, prepare and preposition resources to be able to effectively respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and to warn Humboldt County residents and visitors of the threat posed by COVID-19 and enable them sufficient time to plan and prepare,” he says in a release.

The local emergency declaration is for seven days, which the board of supervisors can extend.

Things have escalated quickly on the region’s coronavirus front, which saw its first confirmed case in mid-February. The latest available numbers from Public Health today showed 21 active cases, up three from Saturday's numbers, several of which were under investigation as to transmission cause.


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

HSU Partners with Public Health to Produce COVID-19 Test Kits

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2020 at 10:23 AM

Preparing COVID-19 Test Kits at HSU. - COURTESY OF HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY
  • courtesy of humboldt state university
  • Preparing COVID-19 Test Kits at HSU.
Humboldt State University announced it is partnering with Public Health to locally produce desperately needed COVID-19 test kits.

According to a university press release, a group of HSU faculty, staff and alumni spent Thursday in the Department of Biological Sciences developing 1,250 test kits, supplies that are in high demand and short supply locally and nationally.

“We are pleased to do a small part in supporting the local health care professionals who are servicing our region,” said HSU Biological Sciences Chair Amy Sprowles in a press release.

For more information, see the full release copied below:

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Friday, March 27, 2020

County Announces Virtual Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 Response

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 4:25 PM

Humboldt County Public Health is urging local residents to participate in a virtual town hall meeting with local officials Monday evening to discuss the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting, which will be be broadcast and streamed live, will include Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services Director Connie Beck, Board of Supervisors Chair Estelle Fennell, Health Officer Teresa Frankovich, Sheriff William Honsal and Public Health Director Michele Stephens. The Journal will be moderating the meeting, asking questions submitted by all local media outlets, and the public. (Questions can be emailed in advance to COVIDinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or submitted via several other options included in the press release below.)

The meeting, which is slated to go from 6:30 to 8 p.m., will be broadcast live on Access Humboldt Channel 11 and on KZZH-LP 96.7. There are also a variety of streaming options, which you can find in the press release copied below.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

County Sets Up COVID-19 Compliance Tip Line

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 2:27 PM

COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT
  • County of Humboldt
Humboldt County has set up a COVID-19 compliance tip line for residents concerned about certain business operations or gatherings in the community that do not appear in line with the shelter-in-place order.

Essential businesses include grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware stores, car repair and supply shops, delivery services, restaurants with to-go orders, banks, pharmacies, agriculture-related businesses from breweries to creameries and more.

For a rundown on shelter in place and what it means, click here.

The tip line number is 441-3022 but for general coronavirus information call 441-5000. The business support information line is 268-2527.

According to the county's Facebook post, callers can leave a message on the tip line and emergency operation center staff will look into the information. Callers can be anonymous and messages are confidential. To receive a call back, residents can leave their number.
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UPDATED: Watch Huffman's COVID-19 Town Hall

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 10:19 AM

UPDATE:
North Coast Congressman has posted video of last night's town hall meeting on COVID-19 to his Facebook page. We've embedded it below.



PREVIOUSLY:
Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman has announced he will host an "online 'shelter in place community town hall" on Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m.

"In compliance with shelter in place orders, this is not an in-person event," an email announcing the town hall makes clear.

But folks can join their representative via Facebook Live to hear from him, as well as Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis, Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke and Small Business Administration spokesperson William Koontz.

From the list of speakers, it appears the town hall may focus largely on the southern part of Huffman's sprawling congressional district. But for those on the North Coast wanting to join in, the good news is the commute time is minimal.

"Hope you can virtually join us," the invite reads.

See the full invite from Huffman's office below:


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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Newsom Announces 'Soft Closure' of Parks, Beaches

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 10:15 AM

FILE
  • FILE

Following a sunny weekend when Californians flocked to beaches and hiking trails despite a government order to stay home, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday a “soft closure” of state parks to curb the spread of coronavirus.

While not completely blocking access to natural open spaces, the governor’s action immediately closes parking lots at many state parks and beaches, in an effort to drastically reduce the number of visitors.

“We can’t see what we saw over the weekend happen again,” he said, adding that rangers will step up enforcement to keep people six feet away from each other. A list of park closures is available here.

Newsom also delivered more sober news about how the pandemic is affecting Californians: He said unemployment claims in the state have skyrocketed over the last week — to a new daily average of 106,000, from what had been an average of 2,500.

And he said the state is anticipating a need for far more hospital beds than originally forecast to care for Californians who become sick with COVID-19. California needs 50,000 hospital beds to cope with the epidemic, Newsom said Monday — up from the 20,000 hospital beds he projected last week.


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