by Judy Hodgson, Editor and Publisher


Two former Journal cover subjects are still very much in the news. Dr. Richard Ricklefs ("Medicine Man," April 1996) recently was awarded the 1998 Frederick K.M. Plessner Memorial Award for the California physician who best exemplifies the practice and ethics of a rural practitioner.

Ricklefs, you may recall, settled in Hoopa in 1952 and served the people of the Hoopa Valley for more than 30 years. He was instrumental in building the Klamath-Trinity Hospital, opened in 1959, and started a rural HMO where people paid a flat $25 per year for medical care and medicine. As a non-Indian physician, Ricklefs helped bridge the gap between modern medicine and Indian culture, using Native American healing practices and traditional Western medicine, often on the same patient.

Then there's Frank Cheek ( "The Winningest Coach," April 1994 ). In 1991, after 20 years of amazingly successful coaching of the Humboldt State University wrestling team, Cheek had the pins knocked out from under him when the university cancelled the program. Never the quitter, Cheek simply switched sports -- to women's softball -- and the rest, they say, is history. As we go to press, the Lady Jacks are finishing their season and headed for the playoffs ranked No. 1 in the nation. HSU may host the regionals May 8-9. The NCAA finals are May 15-18 in Pensacola, Fla.

This month on our cover is builder Gene Callahan. I had wanted to do a story about Gene for many years but was hesitant. First, he is a Fieldbrook neighbor and a good friend. Second, he remodeled my own house a number of years ago, so naturally I am prejudiced. Then, of course, my son-in-law works on Gene's merry crew of carpenters (page 14). Plus, there are many good homebuilders in Humboldt County -- artists, really, who work on very large canvases.

These conflicts were all reasons not to do the story.

Then Fine Homebuilding magazine selected one of Gene's houses to feature in its annual "10 Best" edition that just came out May 1 -- one of 10 stunning homes selected from across the United States. (I know the edition is out on newsstands now because just as we were going to press I had a call from a friend in San Diego saying, "Hey, you've got a builder up there that made Fine Homebuilding. You should do a story on him!")

So here it is, written by staff writer Rosemary Edmiston who, with Herculean effort this month, also wrote the bulk of our political coverage.

Finally, my son-in-law isn't the only Journal relative on the pages of this edition. Food writer Betty Thompson needed some models for her "Kids cook brunch for mom" column and enlisted as models for the photographs her three grandchildren: James Van Buskirk, 8 (in the table of contents), Elle McCall, 9, and Chelsea Van Buskirk, 9, in the article itself. (By the way, all recipes were prepared by the three budding chefs.)

Talk about shameless self promotion!

The North Coast Journal Table of Contents