Government

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

'It's a Different World'

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 4:00 PM

SWAP Farm manager Jeff Dishmon and  Correctional Deputy Samantha Freese in a clip from the video. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • SWAP Farm manager Jeff Dishmon and Correctional Deputy Samantha Freese in a clip from the video.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office posted a tear jerker of a video to Facebook today showing SWAP Farm manager Jeff Dishmon seeing color for the first time after Correctional Deputy Samantha Freese and other deputies pitched in to get Dishmon special glasses that for the first in his life allowed him “to see all the colors.”

See what happens for yourself in the video below:


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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Huffman Takes on New Role in Democrat Held House: Subcommittee Chair

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Congressman Jared Huffman - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Congressman Jared Huffman
When Congressman Jared Huffman begins his fourth term in office after easily cruising to an election night victory on Nov. 6, he will also be taking on a new leadership role after the Democrats took over the majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

“There’s going to be a new sheriff in town,” said Huffman, D-San Rafael, told the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa.

When the 116th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, Huffman will become chair of the House’s Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, one of five subcommittees of the Natural Resources Committee.

With this being the first time Huffman will be able to serve as a member of the majority, the congressman is quoted in the article as saying Democrats will partake in a “robust debate” over where to go next as they take on a new oversight role.
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Arcata Selects New Police Chief

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 12:05 PM

Brian Ahearn - CITY OF ARCATA
  • City of Arcata
  • Brian Ahearn
The city of Arcata announced today that the selection of a new police chief will be officially ratified by the council Friday during a noon special meeting followed by his swearing-in ceremony.

The city selected Brian Ahearn out of a pool of 20 candidates in a process that included “multi-panel interview process and extensive background research and interviews,” according to a release.

“I am excited to begin my service as Arcata’s Chief of Police,” Ahearn said in the release. “I look forward to supporting the men and women of the Arcata Police Department on a daily basis and working closely with members of the community, students, City leaders and staff, and other local law enforcement and public safety agencies. Together, we will help maintain a safe environment for all who live, work and visit Arcata.”


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Monday, November 5, 2018

Arborist Recommends Eucalyptus Removal to Make Way for Bay Trail

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 11:49 AM

COUNTY STAFF REPORT
  • County Staff Report
The eucalyptus must go.

That was the conclusion drawn by a professional arborist hired by the county to determine if there is a viable way to mitigate the risks of the 219 eucalyptus trees on the U.S. Highway 101 corridor north of the former California Redwood Company mill while making way for the last leg of the Humboldt Bay Trail, a 4-mile stretch that would connect the trail to already constructed segments south of Arcata and north from Eureka.

Citing liability concerns related to falling trees and tree limbs, county staff recommended back in July that the county remove all the trees north of the mill as part of the trail plan. On July 31, the board voted unanimously, with First District Supervisor Rex Bohn absent, to approve an environmental impact report for the trail that included the trees’ removal. But the board also asked county staff to hire a certified arborist, or two, to conduct a risk assessment of the trees to determine if county staff was being overly cautious and if there is a way to keep the trees and build the trail without dramatically increasing maintenance costs or county liability.

In a 17-page letter that will come before the board tomorrow, certified arborist Torrey Young writes that “the trees as a whole are in an advanced state of physiological decline.” They have gone prolonged and heavy trimming, Young writes, and are growing in an inhospitable environment with high concentrations of salts in the soil. Additionally, he writes, there is some documented decay.

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After Heated Meeting, Planning Commission Sends Zoning Changes to Supes

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 10:05 AM

Things got heated in Supervisors Chambers at the courthouse during the Nov. 1 Humboldt County Planning Commission meeting. - FILE
  • File
  • Things got heated in Supervisors Chambers at the courthouse during the Nov. 1 Humboldt County Planning Commission meeting.
For the second time this year, Mercer-Fraser Co., a well-known road construction company, aroused public alarm via a requested zoning change that some fear could endanger the drinking water of more than half of Humboldt County's population.

The company owns a parcel of land next to the Mad River intake wells of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, which sells drinking water to 88,000 customers. Mercer-Fraser came to the forefront of public awareness in January when it requested a change in zoning from Agricultural-General to Heavy Industrial and applied for a permit to operate a cannabis extraction business on the site, which would have placed dangerous chemicals in close proximity to the intake wells. After furious public controversy — and the threat of a lawsuit — Mercer-Fraser withdrew the request for the permit. However, apparently the accompanying request for a zoning change to industrial use remained on the table (Mercer-Fraser CEO Justin Zabel told the Times-Standard that plans for the cannabis extraction facility on the site are “off the table.”)

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sweeping Zoning Changes Before Planning Commission Raise Concerns About Mercer-Fraser Reviving its Mad River Cannabis Facility

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 1:22 PM

Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District General Manager John Friedenbach and staff address the County Planning Commission in January with concerns about Mercer-Fraser Co.'s proposal. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District General Manager John Friedenbach and staff address the County Planning Commission in January with concerns about Mercer-Fraser Co.'s proposal.
The Humboldt County Planning Commission is set to consider sweeping zoning changes at its meeting tomorrow for hundreds of thousands of acres of properties throughout the county.

The zoning text amendments and reclassifications are being proposed to implement the county’s general plan update, which the board passed last year. But they are coming before the planning commission tomorrow night along with 30 owner-requested zoning changes, including a couple from Mercer-Fraser Co. that some worry will re-open the door to a controversial proposal to build a cannabis manufacturing facility along the Mad River near where the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District pulls the area’s drinking water.

As a whole, the agenda item seems poised — if approved — to make sweeping changes to land use designations throughout the county, a possibility that caused a flurry of meetings. The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water Board is holding an emergency meeting this afternoon, the Willow Creek Community Services District discussed it at a recent meeting and the Willow Creek Chamber of Commerce held an emergency meeting Monday.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Update on Courthouse White Powder Incident

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:45 PM

A Hazmat suit protects personnel outside of the Courthouse Clerk’s Lobby as seen from inside the lobby. - COURTESY OF MICHELLE BISHOP
  • Courtesy of Michelle Bishop
  • A Hazmat suit protects personnel outside of the Courthouse Clerk’s Lobby as seen from inside the lobby.
The white substance found smeared on the outside of the county court clerk’s office was not identified as a “chemical or biological agent” in initial tests but more will be conducted by an out-of-town lab.

One person did come into contact with the powder-like material, prompting “precautionary measures” to be taken, according to a release from the county. The FBI was also contacted.

“So far, there have been no reported symptoms of concern from this incident,” the release states.

The discovery of the substance around 9 a.m. Monday led to I Street being shut down between Fourth and Fifth streets and Humboldt County Court Clerk’s Office was closed for the remainder of the day due to “public safety concerns.”

Find previous Journal coverage here.

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