Monthly Archives: January 2011

REMINDER: Deadline this Friday for Valentine edition

Don’t forget to get your Valentines to us by Friday, Feb. 4, so we can get them in our Feb. 9 Valentine’s edition.

You can write a simple love note, or the world’s greatest poem. Send a Valentine to your wife, your lover, a good friend, your parents, your grandma or your grandchildren.

Click on this link for the form.

If you own a business, this don’t miss out on this advertising opportunity. Buy an ad, and we’ll place it next to readers’ Valentines.

Click here for advertising information.

By the way, we’re throwing in free color for your ads. That’s a $50 value right there!

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Mayo Out, Masten In

Press release:

Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg appointed Susan Masten of Hoopa to the Humboldt County Planning Commission today. Masten is the former chairperson of the Yurok Tribe and has held a number of key federal, State and County appointments.

“As one of the most accomplished citizens of the 5th District, Susan Masten brings a wealth of experience to the Planning Commission as it works to chart Humboldt County’s future,” said Sundberg. “I am delighted that Susan has agreed to serve and I look forward to her steady, thoughtful contributions to the work of the Commission.”

Ms. Masten, who has testified before Congress and conferred with Presidents, has worked for decades to protect fish, fishing rights and water quality in the Klamath River.

“I look forward to using my expertise to help complete and implement the General Plan Update and to bringing a rural perspective to the process,” said Masten. “My goal is to work with people both in the 5th District and throughout Humboldt County to protect and sustain the quality of life that we enjoy – and that we want our children to enjoy.”

Sundberg noted that elements of the General Plan Update are of particular importance to McKinleyville, the population center of the 5th District. “I totally support Susan’s position that the residents of McKinleyville be provided the opportunity to influence the direction of their community and to preserve their way of life,” said Sundberg.

Masten replaces Dennis Mayo, who served as Planning Commissioner from November 2009 until his term was completed this month.

“I appreciate the knowledge, expertise and effort that Dennis has contributed to the Planning Commission and Humboldt County,” said Supervisor Sundberg. “We give him our heartfelt thanks for serving in this unpaid yet important and demanding position.”

Ms. Masten was appointed by the U.S Secretary of the Interior to serve as a Yurok transition team member to implement the Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act of 1988. She was elected by the base-roll members of the Tribe to serve on the interim Yurok Tribal Council in 1991 and, with the Tribe’s formal establishment completed, she served as Chair of the Yurok Tribal Council from 1997 until 2004.

Ms. Masten has served as vice chair of the Intertribal Monitoring Association on Indian Trust Funds, as co-chair of the Department of the Interior Trust Reform Task Force, as vice chair of the Klamath Fisheries Management Council and as chair of the Klamath River Traditional Indian Fishers Association.

She is a past president of the Klamath Chamber of Commerce; she chaired the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee; has served on the California Democratic Central Committee and, as a California delegate, addressed the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

Ms. Masten’s extensive public service includes appointment to the Humboldt County Commission on the Status of Women, Founder and Board Member of Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods Charter High School, President of the Humboldt Business and Professional Women’s Association, as committee chair for the Humboldt County League of Women Voters, Founder and Co-Chair of Woman Empowering Women for Indian Nations, President of the National Congress of American Indians, and currently she is chair of the Indian Law Resource Center.

Since 1976, Susan Masten has served as the Mistress of Ceremonies at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, and is a Festival Board Member.

She has been selected as an “Outstanding Young Woman of America,” Humboldt County’s “Outstanding Citizen,” Del Norte County’s “Young Woman of the Year” and has been listed in numerous “Who’s Who” publications. She recently was Vice President of Union Bank of California for the Native Market Division.

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Planners mull marijuana money

From the 1.26.11 issue. To read all of the articles in the Press, subscribe.

By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer

The county’s economy is more diverse than most people realize, the Planning Commission has been told, but assessing one of its most significant contributors remains elusive.
At their Jan. 20 meeting, commissioners noted that marijuana production is missing from the economic graphs and pie charts that accompany the economic development chapter of the draft General Plan Update.
County Economic Development Director Jacqueline Debets presented a snapshot summary of local wage generation and the industries that deliver it. Upon learning that assessments of various industries are based on payroll data, commissioners quickly asked about the industry whose payouts are often delivered under the table.
“Obviously, if you’re growing marijuana, you’re not paying taxes so it wouldn’t show up,” said Commissioner Mel Kreb.
He noted the high level of awareness promoted by the emergence of Proposition 19 and added, “Somehow, as we move along here, we’re going to have to bring the elephant into the living room and talk about it.”
And that’s what commissioners did, with Kreb fostering the discussion by further noting that the industries being analyzed are “probably being supported by people paying cash.”
“I’m not sure how we would treat marijuana,” Debets said. “It’s very difficult to get data on it.”
Talk drifted away from pot, with Debets explaining how economic contributions are gauged and how industries like information technology have grown while forestry and logging has shrunk.
Commissioner Denver Nelson brought the elephant back into the room when he related that a few years ago, he’d mentioned marijuana at an economic conference and “it was like I used the F-word in public.”
He added, “No one wanted to talk about it – at least people are talking about it now.”
Nelson doubted the veracity of a color-coded pie chart showing percentages of economic contribution. “I hate to say this, but there’s a lot of people that supplement their income in all of those industries by growing dope,” he said. “Marijuana is the real growth industry in this county and there isn’t even a color there.”
He suggested “bright green” and told Debets, “If we are going to base the future, ten years from now, on what’s going on here, you really have to include marijuana whether you like it or not.”
“It’s a big subject – I’m not sure how much you want me to get into it,” Debets replied. “At this moment, I think it would detract us.”
Community Development Services Director Kirk Girard reined in the discussion by telling commissioners that marijuana is difficult to handle from an economic development policy perspective.
“Are you suggesting that we should promote the growth of marijuana, to develop the economy or perhaps retard it?” he asked.
Girard said the only above-the-surface aspect is medicinal marijuana, and “it’s a touchy subject because that really is just a crack in the door of the much larger illegal market.”
He described marijuana production as “a policy black hole” that “truly is a hands-off subject” from a planning perspective.
Commissioners continued to note its relevance, however. Commissioner Dennis Mayo said that at an economic forum held during the last election cycle, building contractors proclaimed that they’re having a hard time hiring plumbers, electricians and other specialists because “they’re growing pot.”
Mayo asked if pot money is being “captured” in economic considerations.
“It’s cash circulating in the economy,” Debets replied. “From an economic point of view – it’s good, cash is good to an economy.”
But she added that a downside is that it “distracts labor” and sways people away from learning marketable job skills and eventually securing stable wages and benefits.
As for the payroll percentage contributions of the less interesting but more reliable industries – government is at 14 percent, education and research accounts for 12 percent and health services contributes 11 percent of the county’s total. Ten percent is from retail, six percent tourism, six percent construction, five percent professional services and four percent is from manufacturing.
Arts and culture, media and information services, fishing, dairy and specialty agriculture all contributed one percent shares but Debets pointed out that even the “slivers” on the pie chart represent contributions of “tens, twenties of millions of dollars.”
Commissioners began reviewing the chapter’s goal statements and continued the hearing to Feb. 10.
The Jan. 27 hearing on the county’s controversial plan to rezone properties for low income housing was cancelled because of commissioner absences and was rescheduled for Feb. 17.

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Trinidad to Clam Beach Run

Read about it in Wednesday’s newspaper. Meanwhile, enjoy this:

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Mack Town Weather

The Weather Report is now available online.

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Supervisors support raw milk ban

From the 1.19.11 edition. To read all of the articles, please purchase a copy or subscribe.

By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer

Having lost their supporter on the Board of Supervisors, raw milk advocates stand little chance of lifting a county ban on a product they say is safe but health officials warn against.
Supervisors affirmed the value of the county’s raw milk ban by unanimously voting to keep it in place at their Jan. 11 meeting. The action was described as a non-action, however, as any supervisor can re-agendize the ban reversal issue if they choose to.
But it’s not likely to return as an agenda item anytime soon. The reason why the raw milk debate emerged last August is because former Supervisor Bonnie Neely supported re-examining the ban and she was defeated in the November election by current Supervisor Virginia Bass.
Bass and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, who is also recently elected, were to meet with raw milk supporters after the meeting and said they’re willing to consider their arguments. County health officials will continue to strongly support the ban, however.
Their cautionary presentation on raw milk was a response to the one given by raw milk advocates last summer. Health and Human Services Director Phil Crandall read a letter from a federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official urging the county to keep the ban.
“None of the claims made by the raw milk advocates that we have examined can withstand scientific scrutiny,” the letter reads, adding that “the false health benefit claims of raw milk advocates” might cause the people most at risk of getting sick from raw milk to quaff it.
“The FDA strongly encourages Humboldt County to continue to protect public health by prohibiting the production and sale of unpasteurized milk,” the letter concludes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are among the agencies that concur.
During public comment, Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy, the state’s largest producer of raw milk, differentiated between raw milk “intended for pasteurization” and raw milk produced for direct consumption.
“Nowhere in any of the responses … does it say anything about raw milk in California and the standards for raw milk in California and the incredible cleanliness and the tests that it has to pass,” he said.
The county is one of only three in the state that have raw milk bans. Jessica Bittner of Bayside read from government code and said the state legislature has declared that certified raw milk should be available to consumers.
She added the state’s standards for raw milk “result in a product with lower pathogen levels than ordinary commercial pasteurized milk.”
Traci Webb of the Northwest Institute of Ayurveda told supervisors that raw milk consumption has been going on for thousands of years and graduates of her school are recommending it to their patients. And she warned that the county’s ban creates a raw milk underground.
“People are buying it regardless – we’re getting it from the guy on the corner and god forbid that something bad should turn up in one of those batches,” she said.
Several more raw milk supporters vouched for its benefits but local dairymen said it’s risky and could give the county’s dairy industry a bad name.
Supervisor Clif Clendenen asked staff members about the percentage of raw milk consumption in California compared to the percentage of illnesses caused by it. The staffers only had nationwide data.
Crandall said the FDA stats for the years 1973 to 2005 show a .5 percent raw milk consumption rate in the U.S. with a 49 percent share of food-borne illness outbreaks.
After the vote to keep the ban in place, Board Chairman Mark Lovelace invited the raw milkers to continue their advocacy and lobby for their interests.

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Body found

Sad news. Condolences to her family and friends.

Here’s the unedited press release from the Sheriff’s Dept.

On 01-25-11, approximately 11:15 am, members of the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office Posse located a deceased female body on the beach, approximately 2 miles south of Dry Lagoon, on the beach. The Humboldt County Coroners office responded to the scene and with the help of family members confirmed the deceased was Veronica Dickison.

Veronica and her spouse, Jamie Dickison, 27 years, also of Red Bluff, and their three dogs were swept off a rock at Dry Lagoon, Orick, by a large wave on Friday, 01-21-11, at approximately 10:00 a.m. Jamie Dickison and two of the dogs were able to make it to shore on their own. Veronica Dickison and one of the dogs were carried further out into the ocean.

The Humboldt County Sheriffs Office would like to remind the public that area beaches can be extremely dangerous, especially this time of year when winter storms generate large waves. If visiting local beaches always keep an eye on the surf. This is especially true if small children are with you.

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