Friday, March 25, 2022

El Leñador Takes Home Awards

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2022 at 3:23 PM


Cal Poly Humboldt’s student-run bilingual newspaper El Leñador and its staff won a number of awards, including the “People’s Choice” award in Best of Show, at a college newspaper conference earlier this month.

The paper published in English and Spanish was also recognized with first place wins for Best Special Issue/Section, Best Arts and Entertainment Story and Best Illustration along with more nods to the staff’s work in photography, infographics and feature writing.

“El Leñador was rewarded for all of our passion and hard work. It filled my journalist soul with happiness and excitement to do more,” said Co-editor in Chief Karina Ramos Villalobos, who won the first place award for Best Arts and Entertainment story.

Ramos Villalobos joined El Leñador reporter Ricardo Lara Nava and public relations manager Steffi Puerto in presenting a workshop at the Associated Collegiate Press conference about their work putting out a monthly bilingual publication that focuses its coverage on Latinx and diverse communities.

“El Leñador strives to publish local Spanish news because of the lack of information to local Spanish speakers in Humboldt County,” Lara Nava said. “We are a small team who wear many hats to get the newspaper out.”

Read more about El Leñador and the paper’s awards below:

ARCATA, CA - El Leñador, the student-run bilingual newspaper at Cal Poly Humboldt, won the first-place “People’s Choice” award in Best of Show at the Associated Collegiate Press national conference in Long Beach on March 5. The newspaper also won three first-place awards in the 2022 California College Media Association statewide competition and these awards were presented at the same conference.

The English and Spanish newspaper, which focuses on covering Latinx and diverse communities, took first-place awards for Best Special Issue/Section, Best Arts and Entertainment Story, and Best Illustration. Staff also won five additional awards.

“El Leñador was rewarded for all of our passion and hard work. It filled my journalist soul with happiness and excitement to do more,” said Co-editor in Chief Karina Ramos Villalobos, who also won the first-place award for Best Arts and Entertainment story.

El Leñador staff, Ramos Villalobos, reporter Ricardo Lara Nava, and public relations manager Steffi Puerto also held a workshop at the ACP conference about how they produce a bilingual college news publication.

“El Leñador strives to publish local Spanish news because of the lack of information to local Spanish speakers in Humboldt County,” Lara Nava said. “We are a small team who wear many hats to get the newspaper out.”

About El Leñador

El Leñador is an award-winning monthly bilingual news publication. You can find El Leñador online at or the print editions distributed on campus and in Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna, McKinleyville, and Trinidad. In 2016, El Leñador was named Best Non-weekly Newspaper by the California College Media Association and the “Best All-Around Student Newspaper” in Region 11 by the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2020 Mark of Excellence competition.

2022 Associated Collegiate Press Spring National College Media Conference

First Place

People’s Choice: Newspaper

Best of Show Award Competition

Third Place

Newspaper / Four-year campus, 10,000 students or fewer

Best of Show Award Competition

2022 CCMA awards

First Place Awards

Best Special Issue/Section - El Leñador Staff - La Leñadora: Women’s Issue

Best Arts and Entertainment Story - Karina Ramos Villalobos - Local Nigerian reggae musician Ju Drum uses his platform for social justice message

Best Illustration - Raven Marshall - May 2021 Cover: COVID-19: What you need to know right now

Second Place Awards

Infographic - Sergio Berrueta, Nancy Garcia, Alexandra Gonzalez - What you need to know about COVID-19 now

Feature Photograph - Ricardo Lara Nava - BIPOC Surfer

News Photograph - Lupita Rivera - Justice for Josiah: Four years later, the fight continues

Third Place Awards

Feature Story - Ricardo Lara Nava - Eureka Chinatown Project 

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Clintons Swing Through Humboldt, Reportedly Filming Docuseries

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 9:13 AM

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Intramural Fields at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Intramural Fields at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Former U.S. Secretary of State, Senator, Democratic Presidential Nominee and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spent some time in Humboldt County over the weekend, and even hit up a local food truck.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal confirmed that Clinton was in town for a couple of days and left Sunday, saying his department provided her U.S. Secret Service detail with “some assistance.”

While plans initially included a trip up to Del Norte County where Clinton had “some business with the Yurok Tribe,” Honsal said, they ended up taking care of that in Sue-Meg State Park north of Trinidad.

Rumors of Clinton’s visit started spreading after her crew placed a sizeable order to South G. Kitchen, the food truck parked over at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. in Arcata. Danny Emmenecker, the truck’s owner, says it got a $600 order from Left/Right TV on Dec. 11 to be picked up Dec. 12. When an assistant swung by to pick up the food, they said it was for Hillary Clinton who’s in town with her daughter Chelsea filming a documentary.

The Clintons recently started a television company, HiddenLight Productions, and are reported to be working on a number of projects, having optioned several books. Among those, is a docuseries Gutsy Women, based on a book the pair wrote titled The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

Honsal says he knows the Clintons were in town filming some kind of documentary and believes it involved Yurok Tribal Court Chief Judge Abby Abinanti, who seems she would certainly fit the Gutsy Women profile. The first Native member of the California State Bar, Abinanti grew up on the Yurok Reservation and has served as the tribe’s chief judge since 2007, earning renown for her work to bring the justice system in line with Native values.

The Journal reached out to the Yurok Tribe, Hidden Light Productions, Left/Right TV and Hillary Clinton’s office seeking additional information about her visit but received no immediate replies.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

770 New Laws Coming to California

Posted By on Tue, Oct 12, 2021 at 2:27 PM

You’d be forgiven for not knowing Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the largest expansion of California’s college financial aid system in a generation — he did so during the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants’ first playoff game Friday night.

Hours later, it was all over: Newsom signed his final bills on Saturday, a day ahead of the Oct. 10 deadline to act on the 836 proposals state lawmakers sent to his desk. Of those, he signed 770 (92 percent) and vetoed 66 (7.9 percent), according to Sacramento lobbyist Chris Micheli.

Here’s a look at the significant new laws coming to the Golden State — as well as ideas Newsom prevented from becoming law.

Signed into law:


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 16, 2021

North Coast Journal Inc. Purchases Ferndale Enterprise

Posted By on Thu, Sep 16, 2021 at 12:39 PM

The North Coast Journal Inc. has purchased The Ferndale Enterprise, keeping the 143-year-old weekly newspaper in local hands, and will take over publishing the paper next month.

Caroline Titus, who has served as editor and publisher of the award-winning Enterprise for 25 years, said she’s excited to start another chapter in life and to have found a local buyer for the iconic paper.

“After putting to bed more than 1,300 consecutive issues, it’s time I take a break,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier that such a reputable and prestigious publication has purchased Ferndale’s history book and the oldest business in town. It just feels so right.”

Titus, who purchased The Enterprise in 1998 and has served as its editor — and essentially its one-person staff — since 1995 plans to continue reporting for the Enterprise as a contributing editor.

Journal Publisher Melissa Sanderson, who purchased North Coast Journal Inc. from its longtime owners in April, plans to expand the Cream City’s paper to cover the entire Eel River Valley, which has been without regular newspaper coverage since the Humboldt Beacon closed in 2011.

“As a lifelong resident of the Eel River Valley, I’m honored to be trusted with this amazing piece of Humboldt County history,” Sanderson said. “I can’t thank Caroline enough for her 26 years of dedicated work and keeping this important First Amendment publication alive and thriving for our community."

The Enterprise, which published its first edition in May of 1878 and has continuously published since, has earned renown throughout the journalism industry for its unflinching coverage of local issues while stacking up more than 35 state and national awards. In 2019, Titus was named the Cal Press Foundation’s Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year and, in 2016, she won freedom of information and government transparency awards from the First Amendment Coalition, the Nor Cal Society of Professional Journalists and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

“Caroline Titus’ news operation has served Ferndale with honor,” said Joe Wirt, director of affiliate relations with the California Newspaper Publishers Association. “It has also inspired and impressed publishers throughout the state and across the country. May The Enterprise continue to uphold the ideals of California newspapers.”

Journal news editor Thadeus Greenson said the Journal’s editorial staff is excited to take the baton from Titus and help write the paper’s next chapter.

“I’m humbled to carry on The Enterprise’s 143-year tradition of gathering the news that Ferndale needs to know, and excited to work toward bringing regular, reliable and impactful news coverage back to the entire Eel River Valley,” he said.

Sanderson, who can be reached at or 498-8370, said she is excited about the expansion of North Coast Journal Inc. and what the future holds for its publications. She is happy to answer any questions — and to hear any ideas — the community may have.

For information on purchasing subscriptions to the Journal and The Enterprise, visit For information about advertising opportunities, contact North Coast Journal Inc. Sales Manager Kyle Windham at or 496-2950.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, April 30, 2021

Journal to Run Free Online Obituaries

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 11:34 AM

  • León Villagómez
The North Coast Journal is now running free online obituaries, allowing people to share news of a loved one's passing with the community and celebrate their life.

Readers can submit obituaries honoring the life of a North Coast resident — also called death notices — with or without photos — to at least three days before they'd like to see them posted to our website. Please include your name and contact information. Submissions will be lightly edited for spelling and grammar. (For some tips on how to write a compelling remembrance, click here.)

The Journal will also continue to run paid obituaries in our weekly newspaper as an option for those who would like to see them print. For more information on print obituaries, contact Mark Boyd at or (707) 442-1400, extension 314.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , ,

Monday, April 26, 2021

HSU's Student-Run News Outlets and Reporters Win Awards; El Leñador SPJ 'Best All-Around Student Newspaper'

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 12:04 PM

El Leñador newspaper 2020 covers - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • El Leñador newspaper 2020 covers

Humboldt State University's El Leñador newspaper was awarded the "Best All-Around Student Newspaper" by the Society of Professional Journalists for Region 11, a multi-state competition, at the 2020 Mark of Excellence regional awards.

“Winning this award means that people, even outside of this community, recognize the important work that our team puts into producing El Leñador,” said Nancy Garcia, one of three El Leñador editors-in-chief. “That's a really good feeling because we work hard."

El Leñador was founded in 2013 after students majoring in journalism and Spanish came together to create the school's first bilingual newspaper, the only newspaper in Humboldt County that prints news stories in Spanish. Since then, El Leñador has won multiple awards, including the best non-weekly student newspaper in the state by the California College Media Association in 2016.

"Spanish-speaking people in Humboldt County don't have many sources to turn to for news and information so we're trying to bridge that gap, especially in the pandemic,” Garcia said. “Along with that, we also try to cover stories that are relevant to Humboldt's other diverse communities.”

HSU's weekly newspaper The Lumberjack won the Online/Digital Sports Videography award and over at the school's magazine, The Osprey, reporter and photographer Julie Navarro won the Feature Photography award.

El Leñador reporter and artist Kassandra Rice, a political science major and recent graduate, was a finalist in the Editorial Cartooning category for her COVID-19 cartoons.

Thomas Lal, The Lumberjack’s editor-in-chief this semester, was also a finalist in the Breaking News Photography category for his work,“Eureka protests erupt after George Floyd murder.”

Read the full press release below.

Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, the story mislabeled the competition region of the Society of Professional Journalists awards. The competition was a multi-state competition for Region 11, compromising Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada and Mariana Islands. The Journal regrets the error.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Journal Changes Ownership

Posted By on Thu, Apr 1, 2021 at 1:00 AM

Clockwise from top, former Journal owners Carolyn Fernandez and Judy Hodgson, new owner Melissa Sanderson and her husband Chris. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Clockwise from top, former Journal owners Carolyn Fernandez and Judy Hodgson, new owner Melissa Sanderson and her husband Chris.

The North Coast Journal Inc. — a media company that includes the 15,000-circulation weekly newspaper and website, plus nearly a dozen publications serving Humboldt County, California — has been sold.

The buyer, Melissa Sanderson, 37, took over as president and publisher March 31. She has worked for the company since 2014, first as sales manager and the past three years as general manager.

The sellers are two long-time friends and business partners, Judy Hodgson and Carolyn Fernandez, who purchased the newly established monthly newspaper in June of 1990, converted it to a weekly in 1998 and launched a string of successful, hyper-local publications. Those include the Insider, a quarterly tourism magazine; the annual Menu of Menus and Wedding Guide; and more recently, the bi-monthly North Coast Trader, a classified paper that reaches six coastal counties in California and Oregon. One Journal publication launched in 2017, the Humboldt Cannabis Magazine, is distributed twice a year to dispensaries throughout California.

Over the past three decades, the Journal has won dozens of major awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia for writing and reporting, design and photography, as well as numerous freedom-of-information awards. The newspaper has been recognized numerous times by the Society of Professional Journalists and the League of Women Voters.

While preparing this press release, Hodgson and Fernandez realized they actually had been working together for 45 years. Hodgson wrote a column, "Fieldbrook Footnotes," for the Union weekly newspaper in Arcata beginning in 1976 while attending Humboldt State University (HSU). She graduated in 1978, joined the staff as a reporter and from 1983 to 1988, served as editor. Fernandez joined the Union in 1976 as a graphic artist, later becoming head of the production department. Both left in 1988 after a change in ownership and, in 1989, worked together again at an advertising agency before purchasing the Journal. The paper was immediately rebranded and redesigned from a quarter-fold into the magazine tabloid format that exists today.

The two now-septuagenarians had been searching to find just the right "next owner" of the Journal for more than two decades. "We are super happy to sell to one of our great employees and a fourth-generation Humboldt County woman half our age," Hodgson said. (Fortunans may recognize Sanderson's maiden name of Huber and the Senestraro branch of the family.)

Sanderson has been in publishing since grade school. She made copies and distributed the Fortuna Spartan to all the classrooms in fifth grade. At Fortuna Union High School, where she "majored in at least four sports" as well as FFA, she was ad manager for the Husky Howler and wrote a sports column for Fortuna's weekly newspaper, the Humboldt Beacon. After graduation, she attended both College of the Redwoods and HSU at the same time. She married her husband, Chris Sanderson, and landed her first professional job in the marketing department of the new Bear River Casino in 2005. She was an account rep for the Times-Standard and then managed a radio station until joining the Journal in 2014.

Most new owners of a news media company hope to reassure readers and say they will not change a thing, and then things do, which is what happened at the Union in 1988, according to Hodgson and Fernandez. But Sanderson said she really means it.

"We have strength throughout the company — in sales, design and production, and support staff," she said, but particularly in the award-winning editorial department.

"It's a great publication. We have a strong mission statement. We do really good journalism for this community and I want to keep that going."

Sanderson said her strengths are on the business side of publishing, with a focus on marketing and digital, and she is confident in the Journal's future.

While there were some layoffs and furloughs last year due to the pandemic, the Journal is back up to 21 employees. Circulation, which dipped from 21,000 to 12,000 when many businesses closed and tourism shut down, is back to 15,000.

Sanderson said she is grateful for the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan that helped the company retain employees during the pandemic.

Her plans for 2021 are "to concentrate on growing the Journal, for sure, and help other local businesses" recover and grow.

The Journal's glossy publications, including the Insider magazine, were suspended during the pandemic. They are expected to return to newsstands this year.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Supes Send Letters Seeking Help in TV Programming Standoff

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2021 at 12:02 PM

A dispute between two large media companies has kicked local stations off some local televisions. - FILE
  • File
  • A dispute between two large media companies has kicked local stations off some local televisions.
To the annoyance of thousands of Suddenlink customers, access to two local stations – KIEM (Channel 3) and KVIQ (Channel 6) — disappeared Jan. 8 and Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson brought the matter to the attention of the Board of Supervisors at its meeting Tuesday, though the board has no real power over the situation.

The stations are owned by Cox Media Group Broadcasting, which reportedly wants more money for programming fees than Suddenlink is willing to pay. An online statement from Suddenlink described the increases as “exorbitant.”

“This disruption in service prevents residents from receiving local programming and news, which is especially important considering local conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” states a county staff report.

Over the past 15 years, the ability of local governments to regulate media companies has been superseded by new state and and federal laws. Stations that were once independently owned and operated were bought and sold by large corporations. In 2014, California passed the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA), basically giving the state more control over cable companies' operations.

In 2019, North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman attempted to bring back some local control with a bill dubbed  the “Local and Independent Television Protection Act,” though it did not pass. A spokesperson from Hufffman’s office said he is currently speaking to Cox Media and trying to remedy the problem.

County Deputy Administrative Officer Sean Quincey confirmed that the problem was a “breakdown in contract negotiations between two large corporations” — adding that local government had little or no legal authority to intervene.

“DIVCA has eviscerated local jurisdictions’ authority to protect ourselves. It took away all the oversight that the counties and the cities have” commented
Access Humboldt Executive Director Sean McLaughlin. He noted that the rates charged by Suddenlink to transmit local programming have increased dramatically over the past few months.

“Six local stations in Eureka are now owned by two absentee owners," McLaughlin said. "Sinclair owns four and Cox Media Group owns two. What can Humboldt do about it? Not much. ... You used to be able to talk to the owners of the stations. Part of the frustration now is that there’s nobody local you can talk to. You have to call Texas or Atlanta to talk to management.”

The supervisors unanimously authorized sending two letters  — one to Huffman and the other to Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, asking them to promote legislation that would give some control back to local communities.

“We need our federal and state policymakers to recognize the essential role that
local media play to meet local needs for: public health and safety; education; economic and community development; culture and arts; and civic engagement. Local governments and our communities stand ready to take back local media and rebuild our information ecosystem to secure competition, diversity and localism in the marketplace of ideas,” said the letter to the senators, which was signed by Board Chair Virginia Bass.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 21, 2021

State Awards $8.6 Million for Hoopa Broadband Project

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 1:05 PM

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved an $8.6 million grant application that will bring high-speed broadband internet service to the Hoopa Valley.

"The beautiful and rural Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation has needed technological upgrades for decades," Tribal Chair Byron Nelson Jr. said in a press release. "As Chairman, I thank the CPUC for helping the Hoopa Valley Tribe achieve this goal. (The project) will allow our people to have access to increased opportunities that will have a positive benefit for all."

The project will bring broadband to the 92,000 acre reservation, California's largest, through fiber optic and wireless infrastructure that will reach nearly 1,200 unserved households and increase speeds to others. Hunter Communications, a fiberoptic services provider in Southern Oregon and Northern California, will lead the project in partnership with the Hoopa Valley Tribe and EnerTribe, a Native-owned consulting firm.

Linnea Jackson, general manager of the Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District, said the project is "years in the making."

"I am so proud to be a part of the solution to meet this long-standing critical need for our community," she said. "These (California Advanced Services) funds will have a huge impact on our tribal community, including providing students the ability to adequately access online learning, increasing employees' ability to effectively work from home, providing adequate bandwidth for online educational goals, increased access for tele-medicine, improved communications for emergency services and economic development opportunities."

Read the full press release from the Hoopa Valley Tribe here, another from the CPUC here and CPUC's resolution authorizing the grant here.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

WaPo Publishes Scathing Investigative Report on Owner of Humboldt Skilled Nursing Facilities

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2021 at 7:00 AM

  • Shlomo Rechnitz
In case you missed it, The Washington Post recently published a scorching investigative report on Brius Healthcare, which, with 80 nursing homes in California, including four in Humboldt County, is the state's largest for-profit nursing home operator.

The story details how Brius received more than $800 million in Medicare and Medicaid funding in 2018 to care for residents at its 80 homes and spent more than 70 percent of it paying "so-called related parties — companies they or their family members partially or wholly own" in a scheme to increase profits. The Post's analysis found that Brius homes pay about "40 percent more per bed on average to related parties than other for-profit nursing homes in California." While the Post notes it is "impossible to determine profits or losses" from any of these privately held related companies from the public record, tax returns "offer a glimpse."

The Post's investigation found that in 2013 alone, Shlomo Rechnitz, Brius' owner, and his wife reported income of at least $31 million from four of these related companies that regularly provide services to Brius' nursing homes. In 2018 alone, the Post reports, Brius paid more than $100 million to dozens of related companies "for everything from medical supplies to rent."

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recent Comments


Facebook | Twitter

© 2022 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation