Thursday, October 17, 2019

Large Power Outage in SoHum

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 10:44 AM

UPDATE:

Power was restored around 10:50 a.m.

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A widespread outage in Southern Humboldt has left 4,200 PG&E customers without power and forced Southern Humboldt Unified School District to shutter its campuses for the day, with power expected to be out until this afternoon.

Power went out last night at 11:09 p.m. to almost all of the Southern Humboldt region. While PG&E had planned maintenance in the area today, a company spokesperson says the outage is unrelated — noting it is also not a part of any of the company's planned Public Safety Power Shutoffs — and the company has helicopters, which took off as soon as the fog lifted this morning, out checking lines from Bridgeville to Garberville.
SCREENSHOT OF PG&E'S OUTAGE MAP
  • Screenshot of PG&E's outage map
“Multiple personnel are in the area working on the issue,” the spokesperson said, adding that the outage appears to stem from a pocket of outages in the Leggett area.

According to the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services, “The Humboldt Alert test scheduled for 10:17 this morning has been canceled due to the unscheduled power outage in southern Humboldt. Drills and notification tests are always subject to cancellation if the message or activity may be confusing during a real event.”

PG&E representative Deanna Contreras sent the following press release:


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UPDATE: Humboldt Alert Test Canceled Due to SoHum Outage

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 at 10:15 AM

It's time for the ShakeOut earthquake drill. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • It's time for the ShakeOut earthquake drill.
UPDATE:

The Humboldt Alert test set for today to coincide with the ShakeOut at 10:17 a.m. has been canceled due to a power outage in Southern Humboldt.

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When the Humboldt Alert system triggers at 10:17 a.m. tomorrow, there’s no need to panic. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services will be testing the warning program as part of the ShakeOut earthquake drill. The alert, the OES notes, “will be clearly identified as a test."

The annual shakeout has millions of people around the world at schools, business, government agencies and more taking the time to “drop, cover and hold on” as a drill for what to do when an earthquake hits. And, if 10:17 a.m. doesn’t work, just pick another time, organizers say.

Not signed up for the Humboldt Alert system? There's still time, just click here.

And with the blackout barely behind us, this is also a great time to look at making sure that survival kit is stocked and ready, especially after the brief glimpse we all just had at what things might look like when the next big one strikes — whether it’s a quake, storm or Public Safety Power Shutoff.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Yurok Tribe to Buy Mad River Brewing

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 12:23 PM

Hold onto your Steelhead. The Yurok Agricultural Corporation, which is owned by the Yurok Tribe, announced today it’s in the process of purchasing the 30-year-old Mad River Brewing and its taproom and restaurant. This will make the Yurok Tribe one of the few tribes in the U.S. to own and/or operate a brewing company, along with the Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma, the Stillaguamish Tribe in Washington and the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians in San Diego. The sale of the shareholder-owned company is expected to take some 60 to 90 days to complete.
Mad River Brewing's restaurant and taproom in Blue Lake. - FILE
  • File
  • Mad River Brewing's restaurant and taproom in Blue Lake.

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Large Surf Headed to Local Beaches

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 10:58 AM

large_surf.png
The National Weather Office in Eureka is reminding Humboldt County residents of the oft-said mantra — never turn your back on the ocean — especially with the first major winter swell set to hit local beaches late today.

The west-northwest sets could hit heights of 16 to 20 feet for west-northwest facing beaches, with the largest waves expected to come ashore Thursday, but the swell will last through Friday, according to a NWS Facebook post.

“Increased wave action may overtop jetties and rocks, as well as enhance how far waves will run up beach slopes,” the post reads. “Remember, never turn your back to the ocean.”
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Resident in Critical Condition After House Fire Rescue

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2019 at 9:12 AM

A house fire left one person in critical condition. - HUMBOLDT BAY FIRE
  • Humboldt Bay Fire
  • A house fire left one person in critical condition.
Firefighters rescued one person from an early morning house fire after neighbors awoke to smoke and flames.

Humboldt Bay Fire crews arrived at the house on the 6300 block of Purdue Drive near Humboldt Hill about 12:45 a.m. to find the residence “well-involved in fire,” according to a release. After conducting a search, firefighters found one resident in the home. That person is in critical condition.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Losses were estimated at $250,000.

Read the Humboldt Bay Fire release below:


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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Eureka, County Seek Info on Impacts of Shutdown While Newsom Wants PG&E to Pay

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 10:47 AM

Eureka and the county of Humboldt want to hear from you about last week's power shutdown. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Eureka and the county of Humboldt want to hear from you about last week's power shutdown.
The city of Eureka and the county of Humboldt are asking residents to help officials assess the economic damages and impacts to families as a result of PG&E’s Oct. 9 shutdown of the power grid.

The blackout was what is known as a “public safety power shutoff,” a mechanism enacted by PG&E when certain weather outlooks arise — in last week’s case dry conditions and strong winds — that substantially increase the risk of a devastating wildfire.

According to a release from Eureka, the city is seeking the information via email reports because it is “pursuing a State Emergency Declaration that may in turn offer assistance to those businesses that incurred a loss.”

“Even if Eureka is not successful in securing the Emergency Declaration, we would like to know what this loss of power cost each of our businesses,” the city’s release states.

The county’s survey, which is available online (click here), is more extensive and looks to measure not just economic losses, but also how residents found out about the shutdown and how prepared they were, as well as how they were able to receive information during the outage.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent a letter to PG&E urging the company to pay $100 per residential customer and $250 per small business “as some compensation for their hardships,” according to a release from his office.

“Californians should not pay the price for decades of PG&E’s greed and neglect,” Newsom says in the release. “PG&E’s mismanagement of the power shutoffs experienced last week was unacceptable. We will continue to hold PG&E accountable to make radical changes — prioritizing the safety of Californians and modernizing its equipment.”

Read the Eureka release below:
The City of Eureka is asking all businesses to provide the City with a report regarding estimated losses related to PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shut-off. Eureka is pursuing a State Emergency Declaration that may in turn offer assistance to those businesses that incurred a loss. Even if Eureka is not successful in securing the Emergency Declaration, we would like to know what this loss of power cost each of our businesses.

Please e-mail an estimate of the losses your business sustained due to the power outage. Include the name of your business, address and amount of financial loss of either product or revenue due to the outage. This information will be used to establish an overall loss sustained by businesses and government during the Public Safety Power Shut-off.

Information can be emailed to:
Swan Asbury, Economic Development
sasbury@ci.eureka.ca.gov

Facebook post from the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services:
Humboldt County is powered up and back in business! Please keep an eye out for a survey that will be posted on the county website and linked here. We would like to hear from the community about how the power outage affected your family and/or business, and how we can improve preparedness and communication efforts.
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Monday, October 14, 2019

UPDATE: Officials: The 'Outage' Letter Circulating on Social Media is Fake

Posted By on Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 12:09 PM

UPDATE: It’s official. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services says the letter is a fake.
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The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services says a letter that purports to PG&E about planned outages for Oct. 16-Oct.19 mak
No one wants to do this again anytime soon. - KALI COZYRIS
  • Kali Cozyris
  • No one wants to do this again anytime soon.
ing the rounds on social media “appears to be a fake.”

In a Facebook post, the agency says the letter, which was apparently sent to someone in Fortuna, is modeled after the real maintenance outage sent before shorter scheduled outages in a specific area.

HCOES says it has contacted PG&E.
Residents of Humboldt are, of course, just coming off the massive power outage that darkened the entire county last week.

Read the letter OES Emergency Services Manager Dorie Lanni sent to partner agencies and institutions:

We are aware that letters are being received by some Humboldt County residents ambiguously notifying three counties of a power outage scheduled for three days, October 16-19. This is a fake letter modeled after the real letters that PG&E sends to customers when there is a scheduled outage in their area. I asked PG&E to confirm all scheduled outages in Humboldt County, when they are scheduled, and in what areas. So far, I am aware of one short-term maintenance outage on October 27, and such scheduled outages typically affect a smaller area for only a few hours.

This is the statement that PG&E will be issuing:

“There is a fraudulent PG&E letter alerting customers of an upcoming planned outage for maintenance work, starting on the 16th, which indicates it could impact several counties. This letter is a fake and there is no such outage or Public Safety Power Shutoff planned. This letter has been widely shared on social media and indicates an extended county-wide outage.

PG&E does routinely schedule planned power outages for maintenance. In order for crews to safety make repairs, we have to de-energize the line in targeted areas. Customers will receive a letter several days in advance directly to their address we have on file.

In addition, the letter in question has a return address of Fortuna. Again, there is not a planned outage scheduled for Fortuna for October 16-19.

We have our Corporate Security department looking into the origins of the letter. Thank you.”



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Eureka Announces New City Manager

Posted By on Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 11:35 AM

The city of Eureka announced today that Dean Lotter of New Brighton, Minnesota, will be the next city manager.

Lotter’s official employment agreement will be coming before the city council at its Nov. 5 meeting, with an official start date coming at the end of the year after current City Manager Greg Sparks retires, according to a release.
eureka.jpg


“I am truly honored to be selected as the next city manager of Eureka,” Lotter says in the release. “My wife, Wendy, and I are very much looking forward to moving to Eureka and embracing the area and all of its people, opportunities and challenges.”

Lotter adds that he and his wife enjoy hiking, camping and walking their rescue dog Queso. Mayor Susan Seaman says in the release that she is expecting a “smooth transition.”


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Sunday, October 13, 2019

McGuire at Town Hall: Legislature 'Hyper-Focused' on Holding PG&E Accountable

Posted By on Sun, Oct 13, 2019 at 10:17 AM

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire talks with constituents in Blue Lake. - SAM LEISHMAN
  • Sam Leishman
  • North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire talks with constituents in Blue Lake.
At Blue Lake’s “Community Conversation and Coffee” with Sen. Mike McGuire on Thursday, there was plenty on the agenda but the conversation started, ended and repeatedly returned to the previous day’s power outage that had left Humboldt County in the dark for more than 24 hours.

McGuire was quick to open by admonishing Pacific Gas and Electric for its priorities: “If they were to invest, as they’ve invested for the bottom line of their shareholders, rate payers wouldn’t be impacted like they are today. There was no fire weather here in Humboldt County ... it was because of a lack of investment.”

The blackout especially impacted the most vulnerable population, McGuire noted, adding that hospitals had to transfer some patients out of the area for critical procedures.

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Eureka Schedules Ceremony for Return of Duluwat Island to the Wiyot Tribe

Posted By on Sat, Oct 12, 2019 at 9:17 AM

After 160 years — and some unforeseen delays — it looks like the city of Eureka is prepared to finally and officially return Duluwat Island to the Wiyot Tribe later this month.

While details are still being worked out, the city of Eureka is planning a special council meeting to formally approve the island's return and "a public ceremony to return sacred Duluwat Island (also referred to locally as Indian Island), to the Wiyot people,” according to an event posted to the city's Facebook page titled “Return of Tuluwat,” a reference to a sacred village site on the island. The event is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 21 at the Adorni Center, 1011 Waterfront Drive.

Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks said in an  email to the Journal that the special city council meeting will be followed by a celebration. "We are really looking forward to the return of Tuluwat," he said.

Tuluwat, on Duluwat Island, also referred to locally as Indian Island. - FILE
  • File
  • Tuluwat, on Duluwat Island, also referred to locally as Indian Island.
The city and the tribe have been working to facilitate the return of sacred Wiyot land since the Eureka City Council’s unanimous and historic Dec. 4 vote to direct City Manager Greg Sparks to finalize the official transfer of 200 acres of the island to the Wiyot Tribe, for whom the island was home for at least 1,000 years, according to an archeologist, and since time immemorial, according to the tribe. The island is considered the physical and cultural center of the Wiyot universe, a sacred piece of land with the power to bring balance to all else.

Efforts to return the island to the tribe have been slow moving, frustratingly so at times for those involved. Back in May, after already suffering some delays, Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks told the Journal that the unprecedented repatriation of native land was likely a month away, having then been bogged down by some unanticipated issues with the State Lands Commission.

The island was home two Wiyot villages — Etpidohl and the sacred Tuluwat — up until February of 1860, when, in the midst of the tribe’s World Renewal Ceremony, groups of white militiamen raided the island while the Wiyot men were away from the village gathering supplies. As the villages’ women, children and elders slept the militiamen slaughtered them, killing up to 250 people, by some estimates. The groundwork for the theft of the land had already been laid with a claim filed with the Federal Land Claims Office under the Swamp Overflow Lands Act and a “certificate of purchase” for the property issued a month before the slaughter. After the massacre, the stolen island passed through a variety of hands. It was used for cattle grazing for a stretch before a series of lumber mills and a dry dock boat-repair shop combined to leave a toxic legacy.
A vigil crowd gathers for the last time on Woodley Island to mourn and remember the Wiyot people massacred on Indian Island in February 1860. - PHOTO BY TERRENCE MCNALLY
  • Photo by Terrence McNally
  • A vigil crowd gathers for the last time on Woodley Island to mourn and remember the Wiyot people massacred on Indian Island in February 1860.
Eureka purchased 250 acres of the 280-acre island in the 1950s from Ida Bohn Gates and for decades the island lay largely fallow, save for four private residences on its Eureka-facing side. After the tribe purchased back 1.5 acres of the island from the city in 2000 for $106,000, the city donated an additional 40 acres in 2004, and the tribe secured a variety of grants to clean up the toxic contamination left by the mills and the shipyard.

In 2014, tribal members gathered in Tuluwat to finish the World Renewal Ceremony that had been interrupted by the militia’s invasion more than 150 years prior.
The Wiyot Tribe's acquisition of Indian Island - NORTH COAST JOURNAL/JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • North Coast Journal/Jonathan Webster
  • The Wiyot Tribe's acquisition of Indian Island
Experts consulted by the Journal agree the repatriation of this much land by a local municipality to a Native tribe is without precedent in the United States.

"I think it's a big deal," said Bob Anderson, director of the Native American Law center at the University of Washington School of Law who for six years served in the Interior Department, providing legal advice on issues with Indian law and sovereignty. "It seems to me this could be a shining example of what's possible."

As to the tribe’s current plans after taking back ownership of the island, Tribal Chair Ted Hernandez told the Journal previously that fundraising is underway to hold another World Renewal Ceremony in 2020 and that plans are under way to remove invasive Spartina grass from the island and bring “it back to health.”

Read the Journal’s story detailing the push for the island’s return here and check back for more information on the ceremony scheduled for Oct. 21.
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