Thursday, November 21, 2019

St. Joseph Hospital and Redwood Memorial Hospital Healthcare Workers on Strike

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 3:50 PM

St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial Hospital healthcare workers striking in front of the St. Joseph Lane entrance to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka. - IRIDIAN CASAREZ
  • Iridian Casarez
  • St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial Hospital healthcare workers striking in front of the St. Joseph Lane entrance to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka.
Employees at St. Joseph and Redwood Memorial hospitals donned red shirts and held picket signs demanding fair labor practices as they crowded the corner of the  entrance into St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka yesterday.

They were protesting the hospital’s staffing shortage and the state of new employee salary negotiations, according to a press release sent by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents about 500 healthcare workers in Humboldt County. According to the release, 92 percent of caregivers at the two hospitals reported that “their shifts are understaffed at least once a week” and that “nursing assistants reported having to care for as many as 20 patients at a time.”

The release also states that the hospital’s health system, Providence St. Joseph Health, made more than $197 million in operating profits (including $63 million from both hospitals in Humboldt County) in the last year but isn’t investing its resources to alleviate staffing problems. The release also alleges Providence is also looking to cut employee health benefits, reduce vacation time and offer just a 1.5 percent raise in each of the next two years.

“We need caregivers to provide quality patient care,” Kellie Shaner, a monitor technician at St. Joseph, said in the release. “And our hospitals won’t be able to recruit or retain quality workers if we can’t make enough money to support our families.”


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North Coast Night Lights: Lights Out in Eureka During the PSPS of 10/27/19

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 12:44 PM

All city lights were out in Eureka, California, during PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff on October 27, 2019. The headlights of a few passing cars illuminated the scene, leaving trailing streaks from their taillights. 4th & G Streets, Eureka. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • All city lights were out in Eureka, California, during PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff on October 27, 2019. The headlights of a few passing cars illuminated the scene, leaving trailing streaks from their taillights. 4th & G Streets, Eureka.
When the PG&G Public Safety Power Shutoff of Oct. 27 cast its shadow on Humboldt County, the chance to explore Eureka in light of the unusual darkness was irresistible. Just 16 days earlier I’d had the opportunity to traipse around a darkened Arcata and capture some unusual images of the city under the light of a large moon. And when the second outage hit. I was looking forward to doing the same in Eureka. But as fate would have it, other obligations cut my Eureka explorations short and I was only able to bring back an image of the darkened city from the corner of Fourth and G streets.

The feeling was different from that of an unexpected power outage. No one was caught by surprise out in the dark and people had mostly stayed home. But though the city was relatively quiet, there were some fellow explorers also taking in the unusual sights of a sleeping city. The sidewalks and roads were dark with the street lights out, and it was odd to see a flashlight bobbing where someone walked. Staring coldly vacant, windows poured their darkened forebodings onto the streets.
A little free advertising above? Maybe so, but my eye was on the lines and shapes and the strange light. I was aware of the oval sign hanging above me as another shape, and to tell the truth, in my mind ,I felt I was crouched beneath a tavern’s swinging sign. Turned out less romantic. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A little free advertising above? Maybe so, but my eye was on the lines and shapes and the strange light. I was aware of the oval sign hanging above me as another shape, and to tell the truth, in my mind ,I felt I was crouched beneath a tavern’s swinging sign. Turned out less romantic.
Occasional cars pierced the darkness with their beams, flashing glimpses of cityscape brightly in their passing glare and sending shadows scurrying crazily across. Then all dimmed again to silhouettes until the next car came: darkness, the glare of headlights, red glow of taillights and darkness again. Such it appeared to my eye.

But not so to the camera; it was an instance in which the camera could capture the scene differently from the eye. If I left the shutter open long enough, the light from successive cars passing would build up on the image captured, each car’s headlights adding to the brightness in the final photograph. While I saw the light rise and fall with the passing of the cars, the camera would simply gather it as it came and present it all at the end. The cars themselves would be transparent, for they would move so quickly through the view that the camera wouldn’t even register them; it would see right through them. The car lights themselves would show up very well, though, appearing as bright streaks as they traveled across the view while the shutter was open. The fascination of seeing a scene one way, and then using the camera’s weird eye to create a photograph that looks another way is probably what keeps me fiddling with this stuff. At least, that’s part of it.


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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Why California’s top court just struck down the state’s Trump tax return law

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 11:26 AM

gavel.jpg
Many constitutional law experts, former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Republican Party are now all officially entitled to say, “I told you so.”

This morning the California Supreme Court unanimously struck down a new state law that would have required presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns before appearing on the primary ballot.

Passed by the supermajority of Democrats in California’s Legislature and signed by new Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the law was the statutory embodiment of California’s place at the front of the anti-Trump “Resistance.” It was a blatant dig at the GOP president — and one that generated plenty of national media attention.

But to some constitutional law scholars, the law was also obviously unconstitutional. Gov. Brown shared those concerns when he vetoed identical legislation in 2017.

Trump declined to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign, breaking with a precedent set in 1976 by President Jimmy Carter following the Watergate scandal.

“First, it may not be constitutional,” Brown wrote in his veto message at the time. “Second, it sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?”

All seven justices of California’s Supreme Court were similarly persuaded.

“The Legislature may well be correct that a presidential candidate’s income tax returns could provide California voters with important information,” wrote Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee. But, she added, the state constitution makes clear “it is the voters who must decide” whether a presidential candidate’s refusal “to make such information available to the public will have consequences at the ballot box.”

The chief justice is a former Republican who told CalMatters last year that she had left the GOP and switched her voter registration to no party preference — citing her increasing discomfort with the direction of the Republican Party.

The ruling was predicted by many who watched the expedited hearing the court held on the case earlier this month.

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Vocality Gives Big to SoHum Nonprofits

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 9:31 AM

Southern Humboldt Community Hospital received $100,000 also. - PHOTO BY JENNY EARLY
  • Photo by Jenny Early
  • Southern Humboldt Community Hospital received $100,000 also.
Last night may have been chilly but hearts were warmed at the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce’s Mixer in Garberville when Vocality Community Credit Union unexpectedly donated a total of $200,000 to Southern Humboldt’s two main medical organizations.

Both Redwoods Rural Health Care and Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District received $100,000 checks.

“People were totally surprised,” said the chamber’s board President Michelle Bushnell. “They are very much being good to our community with community earned money. … It’s keeping the money local.”

Vocality also revealed the NOMAD mobile banking vehicle at the mixer with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The completely self-contained vehicle has an ATM and will be able to process loan applications, open new accounts and provide credit counseling, according to an earlier interview with Pat Neighbors, president and CEO of Vocality.

Bushnell said she is excited about the possibilities of the Freightliner van.
“It’s going to the Cove [today],” she told us. “There are a lot of elderly out there who don’t come into town a lot. … If a disaster happens, it can be used for emergency response. … It can be taken to festivals … and go to places that are remote.”


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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sheriff's Office Releases Stats on Marijuana Enforcement Team

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 3:07 PM

One of the grows the Marijuana Enforcement raided. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • One of the grows the Marijuana Enforcement raided.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has released stats for its Marijuana Enforcement Team, or MET, which just wrapped up its 2019 grant season.

According to a release, the team conducted 86 operations on unpermitted grows that eradicated more than 200,000 cannabis plants, seized nearly $100,000 in cash and resulted in the arrest of 16 people between October of 2018 and September.

Those operations, according to the sheriff’s office, were funded by a $200,000 grant from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which has provided money to Humboldt County for the last two decades.
The scene at one of the operations. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • The scene at one of the operations.
Over the summer, the National Guard was brought in to survey areas of Humboldt County for “illicit cannabis” grows.

“The National Guard is here at my request and they’re working with us to assist us with the illicit marijuana industry that has been a problem here in Humboldt County for years,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said at the time in a Facebook video posted after concerns were raised about the flights.

The sheriff also said that his office’s actions were “complaint driven” and anonymous reports about potentially illegal grows could be made to the sheriff’s office hotline.

Read the full HCSO release below:

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Briceland Road to Close Saturday for Repair Prep

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 at 11:17 AM

A culvert area in Whitmore Grove west of Redway is failing and undercutting the asphalt. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY SUPERVISOR ESTELLE FENNELL
  • Photo provided by Supervisor Estelle Fennell
  • A culvert area in Whitmore Grove west of Redway is failing and undercutting the asphalt.
Briceland Road will close Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. for the installation of a detour road that will allow traffic to continue to flow on one of the county's busiest rural roads as crews work on a culvert repair.

The closure at mile marker 11.20 is expected to last until 7 p.m. During that time, travelers will need to use Old Briceland Road as a detour, according to a county release.

While that may cause some inconvenience, the original plan was to shut down the road for the entire repair period, which is expected to span two weeks. Upgrades were made to Old Briceland Road in anticipation of an uptick in traffic.

Last week, County Road Division Manager Steve Finch said that the county had a new proposal for the collapsing culvert that could keep Briceland Thorn Road open while it is worked on, allowing one lane traffic to pass through the area during construction.

Briceland Thorn Road, which serves Shelter Cove and Whitethorn, among other coastal communities, sees an estimated 2,000 vehicle trips daily.

Find out more here and here.

Read the county release below:

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Crab Quality Delays Commercial Season Opening

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 12:46 PM

Another crab season, another delay. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • Another crab season, another delay.
The commercial crab season for Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties is being delayed due to “poor crab meat quality tests,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But there’s still hope for crab by New Year's,  if not Christmas.

In a Nov. 15 memo, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham wrote that “quality tests conducted on Nov. 3, 2019, indicate the crabs will not be ready for harvest on Dec. 1, 2019.”

For now, the season is pushed back to Dec. 16. Another round of testing will take to place around Dec. 1 to determine if the crabs have fattened up enough, otherwise the start date could be delayed again until Dec. 31.

“The season can be delayed no later than Jan. 15, which is what happened in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons,” the CDFW release notes.


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Teen Rescuers Featured in Washington Post

Posted By and on Mon, Nov 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM

Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York. - COURTESY OF EVA YORK
  • Courtesy of Eva York
  • Spenser Stratton, Taj Ortiz-Beck and Adrian York.
This morning’s Washington Post feature’s a story about four local teenage surfers who rescued two brothers on Nov. 11 in the waters off Trinidad State Beach.

The rescue, first reported in the North Coast Journal, took place around 1:30 p.m. after the 15 year old and 20 year old visiting from out of town were swept out past the breakers on a foggy afternoon.

The four teens (hailing from Trinidad, Westhaven and Arcata, according to Dillon Cleavenger, a lifeguard with the State Parks who knows them) were surfing when they saw the two brothers in distress. “[T]hey noticed two men panicked and screaming for help as they were being sucked out against their will in a rip current,” Cleavenger said.

According to the Post’s article, “We told them, ‘Calm down — we got you!’ ” said one of the rescuers, Narayan Weibel, age 16. “Being out in that cold water without a wet suit is like taking an ice bath. They were having a hard time keeping their heads above water and thought they were going to die.”


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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Overflow Crowd Again Turns Out for Public Hearing on Controversial Wind Farm Proposal

Posted By on Sun, Nov 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM

The debate over the proposed Terra-Gen wind energy project seemed no closer to resolution after a second heated five-and-a-half-hour public hearing at the County Planning Commission on Thursday.

Once again, the Supervisors Chamber was packed with people standing in the aisles. About 40 people who could not fit into the crowded room stood outside in the hallway, and another 50 or so people filled a conference room down the hall, where the proceeds of the meeting were piped in. People in the hallway yelled en masse, “We want in!” and “We can’t hear you!,” and despite Chair Robert Morris' admonitions, frequently applauded — and occasionally booed — speakers.
Project Site Boundaries and Surrounding Land - SOURCE: HUMBOLDTGOV.ORG

More people seemed to speak in favor of the project than the at the commission’s first hearing a week earlier, citing the necessity of doing something about earth’s relentless global warming. However, they were still in the minority. Most people stated that, regardless of planetary threats, the proposed project — which would see 47 600-foot-tall wind turbines erected on Monument and Bear River ridges south of Scotia to produce enough electricity to power more than 30,000 homes — was at an inappropriate site and would do more harm than good. Twelve members of the public supported the project, while 54 opposed it.

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Charmaine Lawson Holds 31-month Vigil for Her Son, Hopes Documentary Will Bring Outside Attention to Unsolved Case

Posted By on Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 10:30 AM

It has been 31 months since Humboldt State University sophomore David Josiah Lawson was killed.

On Friday, the anniversary of her 19-year-old son’s death, a group of a few dozen students and community members surrounded Charmaine Lawson at a small vigil at the Arcata Methodist Church, during which the group watched Who Killed Josiah?, a short documentary by the Southern California station KCET that they hope will bring renewed attention to the still-unsolved killing. (Find the documentary embedded below.)

31st_vigil.jpeg
The documentary describes Arcata as a town “polarized over allegations of racism and police incompetence surrounding the death of college student Josiah Lawson.” For Charmaine Lawson, the documentary is an emotional roller coaster.

“Watching it the first time was heartbreaking,” she says. “When I saw the documentary the first time, I didn’t talk to anyone for two weeks. I was in another zone — very difficult to watch.”

David Josiah Lawson, a criminology major from the city of Perris in Riverside County, was stabbed to death at an off-campus party around 3 a.m. April 15th 2017. Kyle Zoellner, a then 23-year-old McKinleyville man, was arrested at the scene and charged with Lawson’s murder but the charge was dismissed weeks later, when Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholsten found insufficient evidence to hold him.

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