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Fortunes come and go, little fly~ yesterday you may have thought yourself one of the privileged few, evading the pumpkin spider’s web and flying in the open door from the garden, finding a warm haven in advance of last night’s killing frost, And this morning, basking on the edge of the counter, rubbing your hindmost legs together, breathing the scent of coffee in my sunny kitchen, You may have felt blessed indeed just before the sudden snap of my black screen fly swatter dropped you to the floor. Were you feeling at that moment as I am now the wonder of tiny pleasures and the immensity of being alive? Fran Ransley…

‘No Fish Means No Food’

How Yurok women are fighting for their tribe’s health Keeping salmon in her children’s diet is “an entire job,” says Georgiana Gensaw, a Yurok Tribe member and mother of four in Klamath Glen, a community whose only easily accessible food store is a fried chicken shop attached to a gas station a few miles away. The nearest grocery store, Safeway in Crescent City, lies 24 miles away along a stretch of road frequently plagued by landslides and toppled redwoods — last summer it was closed for 20 hours a day due to a washout — making queues to get through the roadwork up to five hours long. As a lifelong reservation resident, Gensaw recalls when fresh food was abundant. “I grew up with fish patties, rice and fish, noodles and fish, salmon sandwiches, dried fish,” she remembers fondly. “We never understood how lucky we were, that it was going to go away.” The Yurok reservation where Gensaw lives sits on a a remote strip of land that snakes shoulder to shoulder with the final 44 miles of the Klamath River alongside the misty Northern California…

Around Mount Tamalpais

In the footsteps of the Beats I grew up in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. I explored fire roads and trails, even sneaking onto the peak the night before high school graduation with friends and then toasting the sunrise with oranges and champagne before hiking down to the Mountain Theater for graduation. I also grew up in the shadow of the Beat Generation and in high school fell in love with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder. Little did I know how connected those threads were. Until recently, I had never read Snyder’s poem “The Circumambulation of Mount Tamalpais.” Snyder studied Buddhism in Japan, where the monks trained him in the spiritual practice of circling a peak. When he returned to the U.S., he enlisted his friends Phillip Whalen and Allen Ginsberg to circumnavigate Mount Tamalpais, complete with Buddhist and Hindu prayers, sutras and the sounding of a conch at 10 stops along the route. People who’ve read his poem about it have been following in their footsteps for the last 56 years. In fact, Snyder once led thousands of people…

Civil Grand Jury Reportedly Investigating Auditor-Controller

The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury is investigating allegations of “deficiencies” and “poor service” in the Auditor-Controller’s Office, Fortuna Union High School District Superintendent Glen Senestraro told his Board of Trustees at its Nov. 10 meeting. The board voted unanimously at its September meeting to send a complaint to the grand jury detailing allegations of how poor management in the Auditor-Controller’s Office has financially impacted the district, potentially leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost funds. While introducing a letter of no-confidence in Auditor-Controller Karen Paz Dominguez to the board Nov. 10, Senestraro said he’s already been interviewed as a part of the grand jury’s probe. “I can’t go into any more than that because I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” Senestraro said, noting that the civil grand jury process is strictly confidential. News of the grand jury investigation — and the school board’s subsequent unanimous approval of a scathing letter of no confidence — add to a growing chorus of criticism of Paz Dominguez’s office amid concerns over its ability to fulfill its various duties. It also adds to a growing body of…

Bob’s Footlong Closing After 72 Years

Cheyenne Moreno places a split open footlong hot dog on the flat-top grill behind the counter at Bob’s Footlong. The link hisses louder when she drops a grill press on it and turns to warm the bun on the neighboring grill. She flips the dog and covers it in cheese slices and an aluminum dome to speed the melting. A minute later, with the hot dog splayed over its mustard-streaked bun, she’s spooning on a flood of mild meat-and-bean chili, asking more of the fluted paper tray than it can manage. Shredded cheese, a handful of chopped onions and Fortuna’s signature forearm-length chili cheese dog — destroyer of shirts and resolutions — is ready. According to the brief history on the shop’s website, Bob’s Footlong was founded in 1949 by Bob Broome and Lula Mclure as a mobile business set up at the Humboldt County Fair and later by the Fortuna movie theater on Main Street. For the last three years, Cheyenne’s parents Jose and Tanya Moreno have owned and run the local institution at the brick and mortar location on 12th Street, where it’s…

Little Graces

Sara Milonovich and Greg Anderson at the Arcata Playhouse Lately I’ve been focusing on small graces and pleasures: a walk in nature with a loved one, a good meal, seeing a cool bird, or reading something full of brilliance and (maybe a bit too much) hope, like Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent novel The Ministry for the Future. Even a chance meeting with an old friend has the potential for a weighted burst of meaning and emotion these days. I met one recently whom I hadn’t seen since she barely survived a tough pregnancy last year, and shooting the shit with her again was an experience that haunted me with its humble purity. There is so much that is wrong with our path as a nation, as a species, as moral and ethical beings, that nearly anything that isn’t greasing the skids of annihilation can contain a gloriously delicate and effervescent beauty like butterfly dust. As Leonard Cohen said, “Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows.” So it was in that headstate that I agreed to attend the first touring act show at the Arcata Playhouse since…

Coastal King Season Winding Down

The surge in flows brought by the atmospheric river in late October was a blessing in so many ways. It put an end to another horrible fire season, began to fill our parched reservoirs and created perfect river conditions for the late-run fall king salmon to make their way from the Pacific to their spawning grounds. On the flipside, it washed away hopes of a prolonged salmon season for us anglers. The Smith, Chetco and Eel are all on the tail end of the runs that would typically still be going strong. Me personally, I’ll take an atmospheric river event any day if it means three to four years down the road our rivers will once again see healthy returns of salmon. So, as the salmon take care of business in their home tributaries, we’ll sit back and wait for signs of the impending winter steelhead run and know our salmon future looks a little brighter. The Oceans Eureka The Pacific halibut season came to a close Monday and the fishing was good right up to the end. Tim Klassen, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing,…

Public Health Confirms 24 New COVID-19 Cases, New Hospitalization

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases today — making 116 so far this week — along with one new hospitalization. Today’s cases — which come on the heels of 204 confirmed last week — come after laboratories processed 133 samples with a test-positivity rate of 18 percent. After recording a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent in July — the highest for any month since the pandemic began — the rate in Humboldt County jumped to 15.9 percent in August and 15.2 percent in September. In October, it dipped to 12.1 percent and, through the first 17 days of the month, it sits at 14.3 percent in November, still far outpacing those of the state (2 percent) and nation (5.4 percent). Public Health also reported today that local vaccinators have administered 1,203 doses of vaccine over the past week, with 520 residents having newly become fully vaccinated. New countywide masking and quarantine orders, meanwhile, went into effect Nov. 8. Earlier this month, the county issued a provider alert warning that the greater Fortuna area is seeing case rates higher than those of the…