Monthly Archives: March 2012

Now a wind advisory!

From the NWS:

Event: Wind Advisory
Alert:
…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 5 PM PDT
SATURDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN EUREKA HAS ISSUED A WIND
ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 5 PM PDT
SATURDAY.

* WHAT…SOUTHERLY WINDS BETWEEN 20 AND 30 MPH WITH LOCAL GUSTS UP
TO 45 MPH. HIGHEST WINDS WILL BE ACROSS COASTAL AREAS OF DEL
NORTE COUNTY.

* WHEN…STRONGEST SATURDAY MORNING AS A COLD FRONT MOVES THROUGH
THE REGION. WINDS WILL DECREASE BY LATE MORNING ONLY TO INCREASE
ONCE AGAIN FOR THE AFTERNOON HOURS AS AN AREA OF LOW PRESSURE
ADVANCES TOWARD THE COAST.

* WHERE…THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL BE FROM TRINIDAD HEAD NORTHWARD.

* IMPACTS…THESE WINDS MAY RESULT IN DOWNED BRANCHES AND POWER
LINES. WITH SOILS SATURATED FROM THE RECENT RAINS DOWNED TREES
MAY ALSO OCCUR.
Instructions: A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WIND GUSTS OF 45 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT…ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.
Target Area:
Redwood Coast

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Front page 3.28.12

To read the entire newspaper, please buy a copy today. Click here for a list of retail locations and newspaper racks in Mckinleyville, Trinidad, Fieldbrook, Arcata and Eureka.

Our spring subscription drive is underway! Click here to subscribe.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Flood Watch!

Raw from the NWS in Eureka:

Event: Flood Watch
Alert:
…HEAVY RAIN TO AFFECT NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA THU INTO SAT…

.A POTENT SYSTEM WILL BEGIN TO AFFECT NW CALIFORNIA LATE WED
NIGHT WITH HIGH SNOW LEVELS AND HEAVY RAIN. A STEADY STREAM OF
PRECIPITATION WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE REGION THROUGH SAT
MORNING BEFORE TURNING TO SHOWERS SAT AFTERNOON. THIS HEAVY RAIN
WILL CAUSE RIVERS TO RISE QUICKLY WITH SOME RIVERS ACROSS DEL
NORTE COUNTY APPROACHING FLOOD STAGE.

…FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY
MORNING…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN EUREKA HAS ISSUED A

* FLOOD WATCH FOR A PORTION OF NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA…INCLUDING
THE FOLLOWING AREAS…NORTH COAST INTERIOR AND REDWOOD COAST.

* FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING

* A STEADY STREAM OF PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BRING 3 TO 8
INCHES TO MOST AREAS. DEL NORTE COUNTY AND RAIN PRONE AREAS IN
HUMBOLDT COUNTY MAY EXPERIENCE VALUES OF 8 TO 12 INCHES WITH
ISOLATED TOTALS OF UP TO 16 INCHES.

* HEAVY RAIN WILL CAUSE RAPID RISES IN RIVERS…LOCAL AND SMALL
STREAM RISES…AND MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES
ACCORDINGLY.
Instructions: A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS. YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP.
Target Area:
North Coast Interior
Redwood Coast

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Windy Advisory

From the NWS in Eureka:

Event: Wind Advisory
Alert:
…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM PDT
TUESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN EUREKA HAS ISSUED A WIND
ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 5 PM PDT
TUESDAY.

* WHAT…WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS LOCALLY TO 45 MPH AS A
DEEPENING LOW MOVES ACROSS NW CALIFORNIA. HIGHEST WINDS WILL BE
ACROSS COASTAL AREAS OF DEL NORTE COUNTY.

* WHEN…A PROLONGED WIND PERIOD IS EXPECTED FROM TONIGHT THROUGH
TUESDAY AFTERNOON. HIGHEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED AROUND SUNRISE
TUESDAY MORNING.

* WHERE…THE MAIN CORE OF THE WINDS WILL BE FROM TRINIDAD HEAD
NORTHWARD…WITH THE HIGHEST WINDS EXPECTED IN DEL NORTE COUNTY.
Instructions: A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 35 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT…ESPECIALLY FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES. USE EXTRA CAUTION.
Target Area:
Redwood Coast

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Front page 3.21.12

Here is this week’s front page. To read the entire issue, please buy a copy today. You can click here for a list of racks and retail locations in McKinleyville, Trinidad, Fieldbrook, Arcata and Eureka.

Better yet, why not subscribe? You can click here and get the mighty McK Press delivered to your home every week.

If you like our reporting and want to support community journalism, you can click here and make a contribution.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Front page 3.14.12

I was out of town last week and unable to update the blog or website. I’m putting this up for archival purposes. – Jack

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

McK may get riverfront park

From the March 14, 2012 edition:

 

By Jack Durham
Press Editor

McKinleyville may soon have a 33-acre riverfront park that could eventually include a boat ramp, kayak access and a pavilion where couples could get married on the banks of the Mad River.
The McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tonight, March 14, to discuss purchasing the undeveloped property, located at the junction of North Bank Road and Azalea Avenue.
The board will accept public comment at the meeting, then adjourn to closed session to discuss negotiations with property owner Granite Construction Co.
In an interview last week, MCSD Manager Norman Shopay said he couldn’t reveal how much the district would pay for the property. The price will be discussed in closed session and revealed after the negotiations with the property owner are completed.
The property, Shopay said, could be used by both the MCSD’s Parks & Recreation Department and Water Department.
The land would serve as a river-side park, with possibly a boat ramp, kayak access, an area to swim, a picnic area, trails and maybe even a pavilion for special events like weddings and family reunions.
The Water Department, Shopay said, could use the property for backup water wells. Those wells could serve McKinleyville in the event that the district’s water supply from the Humboldt Municipal Water District is cut off due to an earthquake or other emergency.
The MCSD meeting takes place at Azalea hall, 1620 Pickett Road, McKinleyville.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Pot economy is slouching

From the March 14, 2012 edition:

 

By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer

A local banker has named $1 billion as the minimum value of the county’s marijuana economy and she’s warned the Board of Supervisors of the potential effects of its decline.
In a presentation to supervisors at their March 6 meeting, Jennifer Budwig, the vice president of Redwood Capital Bank and its Fortuna branch manager, said she’s conservatively estimated that 800,000 marijuana plants are grown annually in the county. The yearly marijuana mass amounts to $1 billion, which is 26 percent of the county’s economy, she continued.
But the recent emergence of a “supply glut” has undermined prices. “As I’m sure a lot of you are aware of, we’ve seen a drop in the price of marijuana which has already depleted dollars out of our economy,” Budwig said.
Ten years ago, the price of indoor-grown marijuana was $4,500 to $5,000 a pound, she continued, dropping to $4,000 a pound as of five years ago. She said indoor pot is now valued at $2,500 a pound.
The price of outdoor pot, ranging from $3,500 to $4,000 a pound a decade ago, has also dropped sharply, down to as low as $700 a pound, Budwig said.
“So as these prices continue to drop, unless people are growing more, what happens is that those margins are decreasing and ensuring there’s less discretionary income being spent in our economy,” she continued.
Studies have predicted as much as a 90 percent drop in pot prices if legalization occurs, said Budwig.
Several statewide marijuana legalization efforts are focusing on the November election and legislative lobbying. Proposition 19 failed in 2010, with 54 percent of the county’s voters opposing it, apparently due to fear of economic impacts.
Budwig said that if legalization is approved, the impacts would depend on how it’s implemented and the extent of federal interference. But the county would “see a dwindling of these monies” and recent trends suggest a continued decline.
“With pot prices already coming down because of the increase in supply there’s been cushion to the erosion but many people feel this is only the beginning,” said Budwig. “And there’s going to be a lot of discretionary income pulled out because of those margins shrinking.”
Long term impacts “have the potential to be devastating,” she continued, and the best hedge against the loss of marijuana income is a diversified economy.
Saying the county is “at a crossroads,” Budwig said the marijuana industry “backfilled” losses from the declines of the timber and fishing industries and “if those dollars continue to leave, the question is, what’s going to backfill that?”
Budwig said attracting new businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship are key to diversifying the county’s economy and making it less dependent on marijuana income.
Her $1 billion annual estimate is based on the amount of plants seized by law enforcement, which in recent years has averaged about 200,000 plants. Budwig said police think they’re seizing only two percent of the county’s total yield but she gave them credit for 25 percent to ensure that her estimate falls well on the conservative side.
She told supervisors that she thinks marijuana actually accounts for much more than 26 percent of the local economy.
Supervisors acknowledged the value of Budwig’s research but Supervisor Jimmy Smith vouched for the contributions of the county’s natural resources industries. He said the county is still the number one timber producer in the state, the fishing industry has stabilized and this year’s Dungeness crab season has been the best ever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Audit of DA’s office seeks to untangle years of grant mismanagement

From the March 14, 2012 edition:

 

 

By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer

A consulting firm specializing in grant regulation compliance is reviewing management of grant funds in the District Attorney’s Office and its work has expanded to include what a county staff report describes as “all prior year grants and revenue sources.”
The firm’s expanded contract is said to be connected to a personnel matter. The District Attorney’s Office’s legal business manager is on administrative leave and a separate county investigation has reviewed the job performance of that employee.
Failure to claim grant revenues is one of the issues being analyzed and it’s one that’s been noted by the county’s Grand Jury. District Attorney Paul Gallegos had refuted the 2010 Grand Jury report’s finding that two quarters of grant funding reimbursements for a victim-witness program hadn’t been claimed in the 2006-07 fiscal year.
But the accuracy of Gallegos’ response is in serious doubt. The DA’s Office, the County Administrative Office and the county’s Auditor-Controller’s Office noticed that grant revenues failed to materialize in the 2010-11 fiscal year, said Assistant County Administrative Officer Cheryl Dillingham.
“Money hadn’t been claimed,” she said, leading to “a lot of backwards research to maximize revenue.”
The Sacramento-based consulting firm, Intellibridge Partners, was hired by the DA’s Office to look into the situation. Originally contracted for $30,000, Intellibridge began work on June 14, 2011 and its contract has been extended to March 31 for a total cost of $147,805.
Dillingham said that once Intellibridge began its review, it was determined to be “cost effective” to enlist the firm for additional work.
At the March 6 Board of Supervisors meeting, the DA asked for and got approval of transfers from asset forfeiture funds to pay for the contract, which is part of a larger supplemental budget funding request.
“The underlying reason for hiring the outside consultant somewhat emanated out of a personnel matter but certainly, it’s important for us to make sure all the funds we received, both from grants and from the General Fund, are actually being spent as they should be,” Gallegos told supervisors when asked about the Intellibridge contract.
Irregularities in DA’s Office grant management were publicized through the Grand Jury’s report and media coverage of concerns raised by the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) last summer. The agency informed Gallegos that county public safety departments weren’t being notified of the availability of hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant monies.
At the time, a spokesman for CalEMA said that “management papers weren’t being filed and the state doesn’t like to delay getting money to locals.” But CalEMA has not responded to several messages requesting follow-up information.
Gallegos said that so far, one grant from the federal Office on Violence Against Women has been identified as having been affected by lack of reimbursement. “In and of itself, it’s not an issue, it depends on the magnitude of what wasn’t reclaimed,” he continued.
Asked if there’s a grasp on the magnitude, Gallegos said there isn’t. He said he isn’t certain if the grant is the same one that the Grand Jury focused on in its finding.
The grant mentioned by the DA is related to domestic violence services and spanned multiple years. Gallegos said it was discontinued in 2008 but the staffing that it supported remained in place because the funding was thought to be active until last year, when its non-renewal was discovered.
Gallegos declined to say more about the situation due to its status as a personnel matter. But he acknowledged responsibility for it.
“It is my fault? Yes, because it was my employee and I allowed it to happen,” Gallegos said.
Linda Forbes, Intellibridge’s director of marketing, said the firm will draft a report when it completes its work. The firm won’t release the report to the public, she continued, as that decision will be left to the county and the DA’s Office.
Gallegos said anything in the report related to the personnel matter won’t be disclosed but information on the status of grant funding will be.
Forbes said Intellibridge is “providing critical fiscal services related to grant management, ensuring that requirements are followed concerning the use of grant funds.” Responding to a question, she said there’s no indication that grant funds have been misused.
“It’s just a matter of meeting their compliance needs,” she continued.
The county has handled the situation as a personnel matter. An inquiry to the County Administrative Officer last month was referred to Amy Nilsen, the county’s risk manager, for response.
Nilsen declined comment, saying personnel matters can’t be discussed. She also declined comment for the same reason when asked for general information about the status of grants.
Gallegos said that all grants affecting his office’s services are now being properly managed. The county agrees.
“I feel fairly confident about what’s going on up there now,” said Dillingham. “They have a good handle on what’s going on with all of their grants.”

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Winter Storm Warning

POTENT COLD FRONT MAY BRING SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL TO
TRINITY COUNTY MONDAY NIGHT…

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH
TUESDAY EVENING ABOVE 1500 FEET…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN EUREKA HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM
WATCH ABOVE 1500 FEET…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING
THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.

* SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE
INTO TUESDAY BEFORE SNOW LEVELS RISE. COLDER AIR TRAPPED IN THE
VALLEYS OF EASTERN TRINITY COUNTY MAY ALLOW FOR SNOWFALL TOTALS
OF 4 TO 8 INCHES…WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF OVER A FOOT ABOVE 4000
FEET.

* SLOW DOWN…ALLOW EXTRA TIME IF TRAVELING. HWY 3…HWY 299 AND
HWY 36 WILL LIKELY SEE AREAS OF SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATION.

* CHECK THE LATEST FORECASTS AND CALL 1-800-427-7623 FOR CURRENT
ROAD CONDITIONS AND CHAIN REQUIREMENTS BEFORE TRAVELING.
Instructions:    A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW…SLEET…OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.
Target Area:
Upper Trinity River

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized