Monthly Archives: December 2011

Buckets of rain today, but a dry weekend ahead

Raw from the NWS:

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EUREKA CA
319 AM PST FRI DEC 30 2011

.SYNOPSIS…WET WEATHER WILL CONTINUE TODAY AS RAIN SPREADS EAST
AND SOUTH ACROSS THE REGION. DRY WEATHER WILL RETURN TONIGHT THROUGH
THE WEEKEND. VALLEY FOG CAN BE EXPECTED EACH NIGHT AND INTO THE
MORNING HOURS THIS WEEKEND.

&&

.DISCUSSION…PERSISTENT ONSHORE FLOW CONTINUES TO BRING ABUNDANT
MOISTURE INTO THE HUMBOLDT AND DEL NORTE COUNTIES. PRECIPITABLE
WATER IS CURRENTLY IN EXCESS OF ONE INCH AND THE MOISTURE PLUME
STRETCHES FAR BACK WEST INTO THE PACIFIC. AS OF 2 AM THE MOISTURE
PLUME CONTINUES TO BE FOCUSED INTO EXTREME SOUTHERN
OREGON…HOWEVER AS THE COLD FRONT AND UPPER LEVEL TROUGH MOVE
EAST TOWARD THE REGION THE FOCUS WILL SHIFT SOUTH WITH TIME. BY
EARLY MORNING THE PRIMARY FOCUS WILL BE OVER OUR REGION WITH
RAINFALL RATES IN SOME LOCATIONS OF DEL NORTE AND NORTHERN
HUMBOLDT COUNTY EXCEEDING 0.30 INCH PER HOUR. TOTAL
RAINFALL…INCLUDING RAINFALL SINCE MIDNIGHT…SHOULD RANGE FROM
2-3 INCHES IN DEL NORTE COUNTY TO AROUND AN INCH IN SOUTHERN
HUMBOLDT COUNTY…AND A QUARTER INCH IN SOUTHERN MENDOCINO COUNTY
TODAY. AS THE UPPER LEVEL TROUGH…CURRENTLY CENTERED NEAR 42N
139W…MOVES EAST TOWARD NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND OREGON TODAY IT
WILL PUSH THE COLD FRONT THROUGH THE CWA BEGINNING LATE IN THE
MORNING THROUGH THE EARLY AFTERNOON. AT THE SAME TIME SNOW LEVELS
WILL DROP FROM AROUND 6-7K FT CURRENTLY TO NEAR 3-4K FT BY TONIGHT
ACROSS THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE CWA. POST FRONTAL SHOWERS WILL
LINGER THROUGH THE AFTERNOON INTO THE EVENING AND WILL LIKELY
ALLOW FOR SOME SNOWFALL ABOVE ELEVATIONS NEAR 4K FT WHERE A FEW
INCHES WILL LIKELY FALL…ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE HIGHEST TERRAIN OF
DEL NORTE COUNTY. BY LATE THIS EVENING MOST SHOWER ACTIVITY WILL
COME TO AN END AS UPPER LEVEL RIDGING BUILDS BACK OVER THE WEST
COAST. TEMPERATURES TONIGHT WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THEN THE
PAST FEW NIGHTS AS DRIER…COOLER AIR FILTERS IN OVER THE REGION
BEHIND THE COLD FRONT. TEMPERATURES WILL FALL WELL BELOW FREEZING
INLAND WITH LOWER TO MIDDLE 30S EXPECTED NEAR THE COAST. FOG WILL
ALSO BE OF CONCERN IN VALLEY LOCATIONS WITH CONSIDERABLE LOW LEVEL
MOISTURE FROM THE RECENT RAINS.

AS THIS RIDGE BUILDS A WARM FRONT WILL DEVELOP AHEAD OF THE NEXT
APPROACHING SYSTEM WELL OFF THE COAST. MODELS ARE IN GREAT AGREEMENT
NOW WITH THE GREATEST UPPER LEVEL DYNAMICS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS
FRONT REMAINING OFF THE COAST AND LEAVING THE CWA DRY. 850 MB TEMPS
WILL STEADILY RISE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AS SOUTHERLY FLOW DEVELOPS
ACROSS THE REGION. TEMPERATURES ON SUNDAY WILL LIKELY BE ABOVE
NORMAL WITH LOWER TO MID 60S INLAND AND UPPER 50S TO NEAR 60 NEAR
THE COAST. BY SUNDAY NIGHT MOISTURE WILL INCREASE ALONG THE COAST
AND STRATUS MAY BECOME AN ISSUE OVER THE COAST WATERS AND COASTAL
LOCATIONS. ADDITIONALLY VALLEY FOG WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP SATURDAY
AND SUNDAY NIGHTS.

BY MONDAY THE NEXT TROUGH WILL ADVANCE TOWARD THE COAST. MODELS ARE
IN BETTER AGREEMENT OF SOME PRECIP REACHING THE COAST AS THE UPPER
LEVEL VORT IS NOW FORECAST TO MOVE MUCH FURTHER SOUTH THEN WAS
PREDICTED A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. STILL MOISTURE WILL BE LIMITED WITH
THIS SYSTEM AS ONLY A NARROW PLUME OF MOISTURE IS FORECAST TO MOVE
OVER THE REGION. THUS PRECIP WILL LIKELY REMAIN WELL BELOW A HALF
INCH IN MOST LOCATIONS. THE UPPER LEVEL VORT WILL THEN EJECT
NORTHEAST OF THE REGION MONDAY NIGHT WITH RIDGING BUILDING BACK IN
ITS WAKE. SOUTHERLY FLOW WILL PERSIST BEHIND THIS SYSTEM WITH GOOD
BOUNDARY LAYER MOISTURE ALONG THE COAST. THUS STRATUS MAY
REMAIN…BUT AT THIS TIME CONFIDENCE IS TOO LOW TO INCLUDE ANY
COASTAL FOG MENTION. VALLEY FOG WILL STILL BE OF CONCERN OVERNIGHT
INTO THE MORNING HOURS.

MODELS ARE THEN IN AGREEMENT WITH RIDGING OVER THE REGION FOR
TUESDAY BEFORE ANOTHER TROUGH ADVANCES TOWARD THE COAST WEDNESDAY
INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT. AMAZINGLY THE GFS…ECMWF…AND GEM MODELS ALL
ARE INDICATING THE NEXT FRONTAL PASSAGE IN THE SAME 12 HR PERIOD
WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THUS POPS HAVE BEEN INCREASED ABOVE CLIMO WEDNESDAY
NIGHT INTO THURSDAY AND THEN REMAIN NEAR CLIMO THURSDAY NIGHT AS
POST FRONTAL SHOWERS WILL LIKELY LINGER. RPA

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Front page 12.28.11

To read the entire newspaper please buy a copy today. Newspapers are available in Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Fieldbrook and Trinidad. We now have coin-operated newspaper racks in front of the Arcata Post Office and the Arcata CVS store. You can subscribe to the paper by clicking here.

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Scam alert

Just in the Sheriff’s Dept.:

On 12-20-2011, approximately 8:00 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a citizen regarding an attempted theft/ extortion by fraud. The Cutten area resident reported receiving a phone call from a man identifying himself as “ Mike Bishop”. The caller told the victim he was a “ Repo Agent ”, and threatened to repossess the victims car if they failed to send him money. When the citizen asked the suspect to identify which vehicle he was going to repossess, and asked the caller more questions the caller got angry with the citizen and rude. The victim hung up on the suspect who called three more times demanding money., and only quit calling after the victim told the caller she was notifying law enforcement. The victim told the Sheriff Deputy investigating the crime that she had not had a vehicle payment in twenty years.  The phone number listed on the victim’s phone was 707-385-9251 and her caller I.D. listed the caller location as Healdsburg. The victim tried calling the number and received a message that stated they reached a “Pinger Number”.

 

                        On 12-20-2011, approximately 9:00 p.m. the Sheriffs Office received a similar complaint from a Humboldt Hill Resident. The suspect threatened to Repo the victim’s vehicle unless money was sent, however could not describe the vehicle, or give information on the agency he worked for or any other relevant information.  At one point during the conversation the suspect threatened to assault the victim unless money was sent. The call originated from the same number as the first complaint.

            The investigating deputy learned a “Pinger number “ is a free service where you can download applications for your I-Phone and Android based cell phones. It allows you to obtain a free anonymous phone number to text and make calls from your computer.

            The Sheriffs Office would like to remind the public to ask questions of callers, and not take callers claims at face value. Do not give out your personal information over the telephone.

           

           

           

           

                                                                                                                                    Mike Downey                                                                                                                                                Sheriff

 

 

 

####

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Front page 12.21.11

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Front page 12.14.11

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Holiday Greetings

It’s too late for the coming edition, but you can still be part of our “Holiday Greetings” section in the Dec. 21 issue. The cost is only $20. For this you get a nice square ad measuring 3″ wide by 2″ tall. It comes with all the yummy soy inks you want – full color. You can advertise your business, tell people Merry Christmas, surprise your wife or husband, put your child’s photo in the paper. It’s up to you. We’ll make the ad for you free of charge, or you can make it yourself. The deadline is noon Saturday, Dec. 17. Don’t miss out.

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RNSP proposes to thin forests

This arrived too late for last week’s edition. The meeting is Tuesday night.

From RNSP:

Redwood National Park (NPS) will host a public meeting to discuss a proposal to thin second growth forests within the park near Orick. The proposed project would accelerate the restoration of old growth forest conditions by thinning second growth forests to reduce overall stem density and increase redwood dominance.
The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Humboldt Area Foundation, 373 Indianola Road, Bayside, California.

The NPS proposes to thin second growth forest stands within about 1048 acres in the Middle Fork of Lost Man Creek using variable density thinning (a silvicultural method) and cable yarding (a wood removal operation), methods which were not used in previous forest restoration plans within Redwood National Park.

The NPS is proposing the following:
• Thin 335 acres using a low thinning silvicultural method; variable density thinning is proposed on an additional 57 acres. Woody debris would be removed using ground-based yarding operations.
• Thin 242 acres using a low thinning silvicultural method. Woody debris would be removed using cable-yarding operations.
• Thin 414 acres using a crown thinning silvicultural method with lop-and-scatter operations and no woody debris removal.
• Fallen trees from approximately 634 acres will be removed offsite, and the available merchantable timber may be sold by the logging contractor to offset costs for conducting the work.

Redwood National Park Vegetation Management staff will give a short presentation and be available for a question and answer session.

If you have further questions regarding this meeting, please contact Jason Teraoka at 707-465-7783 or via e-mail at Jason_Teraoka@nps.gov, or visit the project home page at http://parkplanning.nps.gov and search under Redwood National Park for Middle Fork Lost Man Creek forest restoration.

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A closer look at the death of a newspaper and what it means for the community

From the Dec. 7, 2011 edition of the McKinleyville Press. To read all of the newspaper’s content, please buy a copy today. You can subscribe by clicking here.

By Jack Durham

& Kevin L. Hoover

 

For 110 years, the Humboldt Beacon has served the people of Fortuna and the Eel River Valley, persevering through two world wars, The Great Depression, the Humboldt flood of ’64 and an untold number of other trials and tribulations.

On Thursday the Beacon will put out its final edition, ending over a century of service to the community. It’s a sad day for Humboldt County, especially for the 12,000 residents of Fortuna. The Beacon has played an important role in their lives, as well as ours.

We both worked for the Humboldt Beacon as Northern Humboldt Bureau Chiefs back in 1996 after the demise of The Arcata Union. Basically that meant one of us and an ad person in a Jacoby’s Storehouse office, a few doors down from where the Arcata Eye is now.

The Beacon, Union and Redwood Record in Garberville were owned by Patrick O’Dell of Humboldt Group, a mini-conglomerate of his holdings. In the fall of 1995, after pledging never to do so, O’Dell closed the Union and the Redwood Record, and in the worst way. He declared that both papers were now “consolidated” into the Beacon. As Union employees who had helped modernize and re-launch the paper, we had zero input on any of this. It was all planned in Fortuna.

If you were a subscriber to the Union or the Redwood Record, instead you now received the Beacon in your mailbox every Thursday.

With the consolidation, O’Dell had a vision – the Beacon would become a county-wide newspaper. It would cover everything – Garberville, Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Trinidad and everything in between.

It was a bold idea, but there were at least two problems – it was a fundamentally flawed business model, and he didn’t commit the resources to adequately cover the county.

For everything from Eureka north to the Del Norte County line, the Beacon had one full-time reporter. Covering a region that large is an impossible task for one person, but even harder when the reporter spends two days a week laying out pages in Fortuna. That left the reporter three days to cover Northern Humboldt.

Also undermining the whole premise was that an editorial office in Fortuna processed the information coming in from Arcata. These two towns obviously had, and have, distinctly different sensibilities. At the time, there were as many of those red “RUSH IS RIGHT” bumper stickers stuck to the smog-belching pickup trucks of Fortuna as there were “JAIL HURWITZ” stickers plastered to the smog-belching Volvos of Arcata.

The product of all this was a spotty newspaper which covered lots of different communities, but didn’t cover any single community with any depth. Even Fortuna suffered, with its local newspaper now watered down of local content, the paper’s resources spread thin all over Humboldt.

Both of us were happy to be practicing journalism and getting paychecks, as well as working with the fine newspaper people who staffed the Beacon at the time. But at the same time, we also saw that O’Dell’s vision was doomed to fail. It was the usual story: an eager team on the front lines and crippling dysfunction in management.

After the way the Union ended, many Arcatans and Mack Towners simply refused to touch, much less read the Beacon. It was like one hand clapping. We kept doing the work, but readers told us they didn’t want anything to do with it, and increasingly, neither did we.

Instead of covering everything, we thought it would be far superior to focus on a community or two and get hyper-local. Basically, do everything exactly opposite of O’Dell’s vision.

So, less than a year later, in 1996, the McKinleyville Press was born, followed nine weeks later by the Arcata Eye.

The Beacon then began reverting to its innate DNA as an Eel River Valley paper. Its half-baked effort to cover the entire county faded away, the names of the newspapers it “absorbed” disappeared from its logo and within a year or two it was once again a Fortuna paper. The Beacon was better off for it, as were the residents of Fortuna.

Like any paper, the Beacon had its strengths and weaknesses, but it was there in Fortuna covering the community, striving to be fair and accurate. Trained reporters answered phones and took notes when people told them their news. It gave the community a voice and a place to debate local issues on the opinion page. It reflected Fortuna.

People have said they can’t imagine Arcata without the Eye, and that – when it is at its best – it reflects its brash, vigorous and colorful town. In that, it is no different from other micro-papers around here that embody the community they cover. The McKinleyville Press physically looks like McKinleyville, the Ferndale Enterprise, Ferndale.

As O’Dell shed his properties, it was said that he would never close the newspaper his dad, J.D. O’Dell had left him. But once it was down to that and the winery, he seemingly lost interest in publishing. In 2005, he sold the Humbldt Beacon to Denver, Colo., based MediaNews Group, which owns the Times-Standard along with 54 other newspapers in 11 states.

After MediaNews took over the Beacon, it was a slow march downhill. MediaNews closed the Beacon’s Fortuna office in 2009 and moved operations to Eureka. Last week, Times-Standard Publisher Dave Kuta announced that the Beacon’s last issue is Thursday, Dec. 8. The reason for the paper’s closure: Advertising revenue has fallen, while the cost of producing and distributing has gone up.

That’s something we understand. Advertising dollars at both the Eye and the Press are scant. Sometimes it’s a struggle to just come up with enough money to pay the printing bill. We both do our best to survive, but sometimes it’s pretty dicey. It’s been that way from the start.

While ad revenue can be a roller coaster, the costs of putting out the papers never go down, only up.

Against this journalism-punishing backdrop, the mid-county now has to identify serious sources of news, and how to pay for them. Unless someone steps up to the plate to take over where the Beacon left off, Fortuna will be without any consistent, reliable community news.

Sure, you’ll read or hear about Fortuna somewhere if there’s a major fire, a murder or a scandal erupts at City Hall. And you’ll still get your ration of feel-good pics of – to use Anderson Valley Advertiser Editor Bruce Anderson’s worst nightmare – cocker spaniels and kids frolicking in lawn sprinklers.

But you won’t get regular updates on what happened at the City Council meetings, or how that ties into county machinations. You won’t read about the projects under consideration by the planning commission or what’s going on at the local schools. You might not even read about that major scandal because there won’t be a reporter snooping around City Hall and cultivating sources.

Residents will basically get a form of hit-and-run journalism – outside media outlets will cover a high-profile story, especially if it has visuals, then disappear and ignore the town for weeks or months at a time.

There may be a blogger or two that writes about the town, and there may be some information provided to the public by city officials, but this hardly replaces real journalism. Maybe Facebook will evolve into a serious news source, but it has a long way to go.

Bloggers, with some exceptions, tend to be activists with an ax to grind, many anonymous. While they can add to the political discourse, they rarely strive to provide balanced coverage of anything. They cherry-pick information and push their own agenda.

Newsletters and online documents from city officials can be very informative, but they’re mostly slanted to advance the institution’s own interests.

Visit a town that doesn’t have a newspaper providing regular coverage and ask the residents what they know about the workings of their local government, community services district, etc. The answer: Not much. In such places, information available to the public is sketchy, much of it based on neighborhood gossip, or the rantings of local gadflies. Who’s telling the truth? Where is the town’s record?

There’s no replacement for real community journalism, that operates with standards, discipline and attribution.

How can other communities with newspapers prevent what happened in Fortuna? What can people do to help make sure that community journalism continues?

Simple: Buy a subscription to your local paper. If you own a business, advertise. If you’re part of a local non-profit, club or organization, you should also try to advertise. Even a small display ad and your one-time legal ads when you need to run one. Send in pictures of your kids’ achievements and letters to the editor. Criticize the news coverage.

The big picture is this: without a community news-gathering entity, the town begins to lose self-awareness. Decisions are made without complete information. The normal level of dysfunction has every opportunity to deepen.

Supporting hyperlocal media costs you less than you spend on other quality of life things like, say, tea, or DVDs. But it’s something that, with decent support, can help catalyze a town.

Beyond that, even supporting your local journalists and publishers is only part of the picture. We need to participate in all of our local institutions – government, culture and, yes, media.

Some will, some won’t. Whether our communities wish to support a mainstream news operation is up to us all, and at the rate things are going, our future is uncertain. What we do know is that in terms of news media, this community will get exactly what it is willing to support.

 

(Jack Durham is the Editor/Publisher of the McKinleyville Press. Kevin L. Hoover is the Editor/Publisher of the Arcata Eye,)

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by | December 7, 2011 · 3:49 pm