Monthly Archives: October 2008

Halloween: Don’t Let the Night Go By Without Having Some Fun

This article appears in the current edition of the McKinleyville Press, available now in news racks all over town, including Safeway, Denny’s and Tastebud’s.

Frightfully Fun Halloween Events for All Ages

Halloween promises to be a dark and moonless night, but Humboldt County offers plenty of festivities to brighten your spirit.

For the under-10 crowd, the Eighth Annual Halloween Carnival offers games and goodies in a safe and fun environment. This event lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will be at the Arcata Community Center. The cost is only $2 per person, and proceeds benefit local youth through the Youth Development Scholarship Fund.

For those under 12, the Halloween Party at Dow’s Prairie Grange in McKinleyville features carnival games, a costume contest and a haunted house. This free event lasts from 5 to 8 p.m. and is a safe trick-or-treat alternative for young children.

Trick-or-treat on the Plaza in Arcata is from 4 to 6 p.m. and will feature a costume parade at 5 p.m. led by the HSU Marching Lumberjacks marching band. Afterward, participants will receive a sweet treat on the Plaza, sponsored by Arcata Main Street and Safeway. Downtown merchants will award prizes for the best costumes in four age categories, 0-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-8 years and 9-12 years.

Haunted Houses are not for the faint of heart, and this year there are three. The Carnival of Chaos Haunted House will scare and entertain visitors of all ages. Located at 2962 Janes Road, next to Pacific Union School in Arcata, the Carnival of Chaos starts at 6:30 p.m. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

For those 14 and up, the Haunted Kinetic Lab of Horrors feature the creative ingenuity of local artist Duane Flatmo. The lab will be open from 7 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, Oct. 29 through Friday, Halloween. No one under 14 will be admitted due to the grotesque and startling nature of the Lab of Horrors. The cost is $5.

The Coast Guard’s annual Haunted House will be open Tuesday, October 28 through Friday, Halloween. This very popular event starts at 7 p.m. and is located at the Coast Guard Barn at the end of Terrace Way across from Lafayette School in Eureka. The cost is $4 for children under 12 and $6 for those 12 and older. Baked goods, hot chocolate and apple cider will be available for purchase.

For adults, the 5th Annual Pirates Ball at Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville starts at 5 p.m. Music will feature the Pine Box Boys, a country/bluegrass/Americana band from San Francisco.

Other local taverns and coffee houses have special Halloween festivities planned including the Boiler Room, Humboldt Brews and Muddy’s Hot Cup in Arcata and the Pearl Lounge in Eureka.

If you like horror flicks, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is playing Friday at the HSU Studio Theater. The 42nd Humboldt Film Festival & Psychotic Cabaret present cult classic along with live actor accompaniment. Come in costume and be prepared to do the Time Warp. Cost is $10-15, tickets are available at the Works and seating will be limited.

At local theaters, “Saw V” and “Quarantine” promise plenty of thrills and chills.

Finally, if theater is more to your taste you will enjoy “The Horror Experiment,” which offers three “bone chilling plays in the original style of the theatre of horror”: “Random Hookup,” “The Office of Dr. Mangel” and “Acid Bath.” The Horror Experiment will be at the Arcata Playhouse starting Thursday, October 30 through Saturday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. The cost is $8 to $10. These plays are not recommended for children or the faint of heart, organizers say.


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Help Make the McK Press Better!

Dear readers,

We at the McKinleyville Press want to put out a paper every week that serves the communities of McKinleyville, Blue Lake, Fieldbrook and Trinidad. To do this right, we need to hear from you, our readers.

Of course we love pats on the back to boost our morale at the newspaper office. And we’re also open to criticism of the constructive variety (translation: be kind).

  • Which sections/columns/features are your favorites?
  • What would you like to see us add or develop?
  • Do you know about some unsung hero here in our community? If you hear of any good story ideas, drop us an email at
  • Would you like to get the word out about your upcoming event? Coming soon: Our new brochure explaining how to write a good press release.

Thank you for your help!


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Nichols launches smear campaign

Guest Opinion
10.7.08 McKinleyville Press

By John Frederick

Last week’s guest opinion by Pete Nichols, the Executive Director of the Humboldt Baykeepers, was an attempt to try to discredit Dennis Hunter by laying smoke screens to mask the truth. He tried to make these smears look like the truth. Disgusting. Blaming Dennis for the problems at the Eureka Ice plant, when in fact Dennis did not operate nor manage that facility, is a smear. Stating that Dennis has not offered a solution to the problem of supplying ice to the fishermen – a smear. The ice plant is being rehabilitated and Pete Nichols has nothing to do with that. Acting as though the Humboldt Baykeepers actually care about the fishermen is a joke.
The Humboldt Baykeepers are no friends of the fishermen.
To state that the last place the fate of the fishermen should lie is in the hands of the harbor district is just so much BS. Wait until these people run someone against Dennis Hunter and watch them state how the fishermen are a prime concern for the harbor commissioner wanna-be. Just say whatever works to further your cause.
When the Woodley Island Marina needed to be dredged because the boats were bumping the bottom at low tide, the Humboldt Baykeepers threatened a lawsuit because they wanted the dredge spoils tested for toxins. After the Harbor District spent $200,000 for the testing, all the while delaying the dredging and boats were being damaged, no toxins were found. The harbor district has agreed to suspend using the pipe to the dunes for beach disposal of the spoils at a cost of $3 million, and now will take the spoils out 3 miles to the approved dredge disposal site at a cost of $10 million. So should we taxpayers appreciate the Humboldt Baykeepers taking care of the bay? That would be a no.
Blaming Dennis Hunter for a fishing vessel that sunk in the south bay is another smear. Dennis never owned the boat and certainly did not own it at the time it sank. Stating that “Hunter Enterprises had dodged the massive fines that could/should have been his fate” – they did not own the boat so just how does that logic work? I sell Pete Nichols my car and he gets drunk and hurts someone and I am to blame? That is the nonsense reasoning Pete Nichols uses.
So what was that guest opinion all about? Pete Nichols wants to make Dennis Hunter look bad, as though he is derelict in his duties as a harbor commissioner. Pete Nichols wants to get Dennis Hunter off the harbor commission so that nothing will be built unless it is for recreation or conservation. No marine terminal, no harbor improvements, no big freighters and let’s just put another shovelful of dirt on the railroad. Let’s just stop all job creation activities. Let that school enrollment go down because the parents of those children have to move out of the area to find a job and raise a family. Let those doctors move out of the area because there are not enough employers with qualified health care plans to keep them interested in the area. We don’t need no stinking jobs.
And by the way, it is not the Bay District, it is the Humboldt Bay (the area of jurisdiction) Harbor Recreation & Conservation District, sometimes shortened to the harbor district. They are Harbor Commissioners, not Bay Commissioners. Development of the harbor is the main concern of the State of California. If you need proof take a look at the Harbors and Navigation Code for the State of California. This is the how and why of the Harbor District’s formation. Check out the California Harbors and Navigation Code, Section 4061. The “board” referred to is the County Board of Supervisors:
“If the commission, after a careful survey, investigation and examination, finds and reports to the board that the improvement, development or protection of the harbor is not practicable, or that it would involve too great an expense, its report shall be filed, and if it is approved by the board, the harbor commission shall cease to exist. If the commission finds that the harbor can be improved, developed
or protected, and that the public will be benefited by its improvement, development or protection, and the cost will not be disproportionate to the benefits to be derived, it shall provide detailed plans and specifications for the best and most feasible plan of improvement, development or protection of the harbor.”
It will be interesting to see how the vote comes out on the Marine Terminal Improvement Project which would fulfill the requirements laid down by the state. Stay tuned for further developments.

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Frost Advisory

Bring in the dogs! Take care of your “sensitive” vegetation! Pour yourself some Irish coffee and snuggle up with a beautiful person to stay warm! Frost is coming.

It won’t be as cold as the end of January, when this photo was taken at Prairie Creek. But it will be cold enough that the National Weather Service issued the following:

Head’s up for some cold nights and frost…

Frost is likely Thursday through Saturday nights for protected inland valleys were low temperatures during the early morning hours may drop into the mid 30s. Areas protected from the wind and low lying areas may drop below freezing into the low 30s. This will be caused by a deep through of low pressure that will develop over the Great Basin later this week, brining much cooler and drier air over NW California. Longer nights and dry air will result in good radiational cooling, bringing cold overnight temperatures for interior valleys and along the coast.


Check for our current Special Weather Statement for this frost event.

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Fishermen should have their own cold storage

Guest Opinion from 9.30.08 issue

By Pete Nichols

The most recent blow to the Humboldt Bay fishing industry – the closure of the dilapidated Eureka Ice Company owned by Hunter Enterprises – is yet another reason to question the powers charged with implementing the future vision for Humboldt Bay.
In 2005, Humboldt County Environmental Health informed Eureka Ice of issues related to the safety of the operation, stating that failure to address these problems would pose a significant risk to public health and the environment. No action was taken at that time by Eureka Ice to remedy these serious issues. In January of this year, the county laid out a plan for Eureka Ice to come into compliance and to avoid, as noted by an EPA official, “…a threat to the surrounding community” from the release of anhydrous ammonia gas into the Old Town area. The response from Eureka Ice was a 5-year plan that failed to address any of the issues raised by the county or the EPA.
Now, due to the blatant negligence of Hunter Enterprises, led by Dennis Hunter – President of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District – the community, and the fishing community in particular, are left to fend for themselves for cold storage and a steady supply of ice to support their already economically-challenged fishery. How could a representative of the governing body charged with maintaining the health and viability of the commercial fishery here around Humboldt Bay be SO negligent in managing the most basic of his duties and responsibilities as a business owner, employer and public official?
Worse yet, with crab season on the horizon, Mr. Hunter has offered no solution to the problem. One would think that he would be working day and night to ensure, and fund, a contingency plan to be enacted until a more permanent solution is put in place. To date, we have heard nothing beyond that another former Hunter Enterprises decrepit fishing vessel has sunk at the dock, spilling diesel and its associated toxic stew into Humboldt Bay, and that Hunter Enterprises has dodged the massive fines that could/should have been his fate.
So, once again, the onus falls upon the fishermen to seek a solution. Many local fishing representatives have approached the City of Eureka to act as the savior for this impending crisis. While the city may be well intentioned, I believe that their efforts will fall short of meeting the needs of the fishing community over the long-term. It is time for the fishing community (the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association in particular) to follow the lead of many of their colleagues throughout the Pacific Northwest to pursue operating and maintaining a cold storage facility – for the fishing industry, by the fishing industry.
There are many successful examples of cooperative cold storage and ice facilities from Seattle to Sitka, and there is no reason why our local fishing leaders should not take this opportunity to free themselves from the reliance on third parties to support and market their product. Creating and maintaining their own facilities will empower the fishing industry, create a sense of ownership and pride surrounding their product, and produce some of those ever-illusive jobs that the Harbor District keeps promising to deliver.
In many a crisis lays opportunity, and I believe this is one opportunity that the fishing community should seize upon. There are existing models to bring cooperative cold storage to ailing fishing communities. Most of these ventures are not so fortunate as to have institutions in place that could provide financial support to 1) provide immediate relief for the current crisis, and 2) secure funds to implement the long-term vision of a modern, fishermen-run community cold storage facility.
The Headwaters Fund was designed, and is uniquely situated, to accomplish both of these tasks. In the wake of funding the boondoggle of the Redwood Marine Terminal feasibility study and business plan, one would think that they would see the development of a cooperative cold storage facility as both a refreshing and realistic opportunity to fulfill the Headwaters Fund’s mission.
The Humboldt Bay community is best served by maintaining and supporting a strong fishing fleet. Not only is it our heritage, but it is one of the best suited industries for this region. Commercial fishermen are famously independent and self-reliant, and once again it has fallen to them to control their own fate. This may be a blessing in disguise, since the last place their fate should lay is in the hands of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District.
(Pete Nichols is the Executive Director of Humboldt Baykeeper and Pacific Northwest Representative to the Board of Directors of the International Waterkeeper Alliance.)


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Lifestyle & planning are inseparable

My Side of the Street column from 9.30.08 McKinkleyville Press

By Elizabeth Alves

The death of a local bicycle commuter on his way home from work last month shocked the North Coast. It would always have been a blow to his family and friends, but Greg Jennings was an example of the most careful kind of cyclist, one who should have been the safest. He was wearing a helmet and bright clothing, and riding to the far right edge of the paved shoulder on State Highway 299 near Blue Lake.
The accident happened in daylight when a motor vehicle ran off the edge of the roadway, striking and fatally injuring Jennings. The final accident report hasn’t been issued, so we don’t know why the driver left his lane. It was a scary reminder of how vulnerable people on bicycles are to motorized traffic.
To tell the truth, I’ve always believed mixing motor vehicles and bicycles in the same space is needlessly dangerous, and I’d be happy to have some of my gas taxes used to construct separate bike paths. But even if everyone agreed, which many don’t, it would take decades to complete them on just the main routes. So I started wondering what “feasible” measures might help.
It’s been a long time since I rode a bike on the street, so I turned to the Internet to begin my research, and backed it up by seeking e-mail interviews with three locals who do ride. McKinleyville Press Editor/Publisher Jack Durham regularly does long distances; fellow columnist Geoff Spenceley, who is in his eighth decade, rides about 10 miles on alternate days; Scott Kelly is an engineer as well as the president of the Humboldt Bay Bicycle Commuters Association.
They all agreed that many bicyclists are injured while not following safe riding practices. They all thought rumble strips between the motor vehicle lanes and shoulder would probably help, although Kelly noted that rumble strips require a five-foot shoulder, wider than many local roads have. Durham suggested cones, Spenceley wondered about reflective buttons, double striping or plastic stanchions. They all mentioned that trash in bike lanes or on the shoulder of a highway can create problems for bicyclists.
I was most surprised that they all regard Central Avenue as good cycling territory – at least between Airport and School roads. I’d think that all those turning opportunities would be a nightmare. Durham replied “The turning opportunities require diligence on behalf of the rider.”
According to Kelly, “Riding safely in an urban area requires an awareness of what the cars and trucks are doing around you. The slower speeds in town give everyone more time to react to conflicts, but there are also many turning points on each of these roads that create potential conflicts.” Spenceley wrote “(O)ver 20 years biking in McKinleyville I  have found drivers  to be amazingly courteous.”
Everyone faces risk-benefit issues regularly, but bicyclists have even more decisions to make than drivers. Just a week or so after the fatal accident on 299, Durham asked himself “Is a narrow rural road without a decent shoulder safer than a freeway with a big, wide shoulder?”
“On Labor Day I went from Mack Town to Kneeland, climbed over the top, dropped down to Butler Valley, went north and then popped out at Korbel and went to Blue Lake. From there, I needed to get back to McKinleyville. You can believe that I was thinking about the poor fellow who got killed.
“It’s my understanding that he got killed on 299 between Blue Lake and Glendale. For this stretch, I took Glendale Drive. There’s a long stretch that keeps you off the freeway.”
In this case he was weighing less traffic at slower speeds against a few more feet of space between his bike and motor vehicles. Stir in a generous dose of unease due to the fatality, and he opted for Glendale Drive. “But we mustn’t live in fear. I like to assess the risk and make choices. Sometimes I take more risks, sometimes less.”
Bicyclists run a greater risk of death from traffic-related injuries, but the exercise reduces their risk of other health problems. They may find biking less stressful than driving, and that has health benefits as well. For some, there’s an earth-friendly component that offsets some of the downside.
There are no easy answers and no magic solutions. Humboldt County is considered friendly to bikes, but it will take many years and many millions of dollars build a basic network of bike paths that allow commuters and long-distance cyclists to pedal in safety, separated from cars and trucks.
So what can we do in the meantime? Next week I’ll get down to the nuts and bolts.
(Elizabeth Alves knows a math teacher who says bicyclists should now be safe on State Highway 299 near Blue Lake for a very long time, but it’s human nature to feel the opposite. Comments and suggestions are welcome care of the Press or to

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Discovery Ride postponed

Due to the rain, Saturday’s Discovery Ride is postponed until Oct. 11.

Here’s a press release received today from the North Coast Redwood Interpretative Association:

The Discovery Ride Through the Ancient Forest at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park that was scheduled for Saturday, October 4th will be postponed until Saturday, October 11th on account of rain. This free bike ride along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and Coastal Drive will start at the Elk Prairie Campground and Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. for those taking the Tree to Sea Ride and at 10:00 a.m. for those taking the Old Growth Ride. An After-Ride Party will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Additional information is available by calling (707) 465-2144 or (707) 488-2169.


This is a great ride because it’s geared toward all fitness levels. You can meander up the road for a short distance and admire the ancient redwoods, or you can pedal all the way to the Klamath River and back. Here are some photos from last year’s ride:

Look for Bigfoots.

Here’s the old WWII radar station disguised as a farm house.

Here’s a piece of the old Klamath Bridge, which was washed out in the big flood of 1964.

Here’s the Klamath.

Here’s Gold Bluffs Beach as viewed from Coastal Drive.

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