Bowing to neighbors' objections, Commercial Radio and Electronics owner Ben Hoover withdrew his request to the Eureka City Council for a zoning variance to build a 142-foot radio tower on Broadway. Instead, he'll likely build a 60-foot one, which he can legally do without a variance, and a second, much taller tower elsewhere.
"We plan to go ahead with the building, lot development and shorter tower," Hoover said about his plans for the property that is the home of the electronic Super Lotto billboard. He said plans for the taller tower are uncertain.
The second tower site under consideration is at 15th and Octavia streets, the city's corporation yard.
The U.S. Attorney's Office granted another slot-machine reprieve to California's tribal casinos, which include two North Coast casinos: Trinidad Rancheria's Cher-Ae Heights and the Hoopa Tribe's Lucky Bear Casino.
In May the feds agreed with Gov. Wilson that the tribes' video slots and poker machines were illegal and must be removed. But the deadlines were extended several times and in October they were granted an indefinite grace period while the Wilson administration negotiates the issue with the Pala Tribe in Southern California. (Under federal gaming law, states must attempt to negotiate gaming "compacts" with the tribes, which are otherwise under federal jurisdiction.)
McKinleyville opened its new branch library Oct. 4. The Pickett Road facility is owned by the McKinleyville Community Services District and operated by the county. It's open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Wednesday, 3-8 p.m.
Next door the services district is building an 1,800-square-foot building for the use of sheriff's deputies, volunteer patrol officers, probation officers and other law enforcement personnel. Like the library, it's a grassroots project relying on community support.
"We've raised $65,000 in cash donations, which we're using to buy building materials," said MCSD Manager Bruce Buel. "About eight or 10 contractors have volunteered their services." Mad River Rotary Club has recruited the contractors and is managing the construction.
A majority of the five-member McKinleyville Community Service District board is up for grabs Nov. 4 in what many residents see as a referendum on the status quo.
Two incumbents are defending their seats against four challengers. The third seat is vacant due to the Aug. 15 death of Director Lewis Klein.
While many in the community are divided over the issue of growth and density, that is handled by Humboldt County, not the MCSD. Controversial issues facing the MCSD include design, operation and costs of the district's sewer system and public participation at MCSD meetings.
"I hope the people of McKinleyville are as tired as I am of the same old dirty politics," wrote Pat Hassen in a letter to the McKinleyville Press. "Some (MCSD directors) have had their roots here too long and have root rot. Let's pull them up by their roots and give them a good shake. ... Let's see some new faces and individual thinkers at the MCSD meeting after November."
Jill Geist, Jim Whaling, David Elsebusch and Ordell Murphy are the four challengers.
The Press has also printed many letters and editorials supporting incumbents Ed Estes and Don Harling. Bette Williams recently wrote to applaud the MCSD board for "our wonderful new library, the community's new sports fields, the lowest (sewer) rates in the area and one of the most successful recreation programs around."
Other races scheduled for Nov. 4 decisions:
School boards: Blue Lake; College of the Redwoods Area 2 & 3 Trustees; Cuddyback; Ferndale; Fieldbrook; Fortuna High School; Freshwater; Hydesville; Klamath-Trinity; Northern Humboldt Union. Community Service Districts: Carlotta, Manila, McKinleyville, Orick, Willow Creek. Misc. Districts: Samoa Peninsula Fire Dist.; Resort Improvement Dist. No. 1/Shelter Cove. (Many areas have ballot measures; call 445-7481 for info).
The timber industry and fish-protection groups are sharply divided over looming Endangered Species Act protections for salmon and steelhead, but the two sides joined this summer to support a new state law to help the troubled fish.
On Aug. 18, Republican Gov. Wilson signed legislation by Democratic State Sen. Mike Thompson to put $8 million per year into restoring and protecting salmon-bearing streams and rivers.
"We supported the effort by Sen. Thompson and the fishing folks," said Dave Bischel, president of the California Forestry Association. "We see it as part of an overall strategy to help recover salmon and steelhead across their range."
"It's a big increase in funding, and the bill has broadened restoration substantially from some of the narrower visions of the past," said Tom Weseloh, regional director of CalTrout.
Weseloh and other fish advocates are particularly gratified that the bill mandates that most restoration work be done "upslope." This means fixing and decommissioning old logging roads that, if untreated, will continue to erode into streams and make gravel beds lethal for salmon hatchlings.
The bill will also provide an immediate economic boost to the North Coast. It excludes the Sacramento River basin (where restoration is funded through other programs), so North Coast restoration outfits like the Redwood Community Action Agency and Pacific Coast Restoration Association are likely to win substantial grants. That means they'll put more restoration crews to work in the woods by early spring.
For more information call the Department of Fish and Game, (916) 654-6505.
The noisy, nocturnal Mad River asphalt plant run by Walton Paving and Guynup Enterprises will not cease its night-time operations. The Sleepless Neighbors Association lost its Oct. 14 appeal, asking the Board of Supervisors to revoke the plant's conditional use permit.
"It was a judgment call, a very close one," said Supervisor Paul Kirk, whose district includes the Blue Lake area. "No doubt there's noise from the plant, truck traffic as well as Ultrapower and other industrial uses ... but the finding of nuisance could not be made."
Kirk voted with Supervisors Bonnie Neely and Roger Rodoni to uphold the Planning Commission's August decision supporting the plant. Supervisors John Woolley and Stan Dixon voted to revoke its permit.
The 1997 California Coastal Cleanup resulted in more than five tons of trash whisked from 105 miles of Humboldt County beaches Sept. 19-22.
The Northcoast Environmental Center gathered data on the 13th annual global beach cleanup. Numbers show that Humboldt County had 751 volunteers who cleared 10,123 pounds of debris from 105.4 miles. Some 1,300 pounds of that total was recycled.
Aside from cigarette butts, commonly found items included auto parts, spent fireworks and shell casings. A washing machine, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner were recovered as were bed springs and carpet remnants.