Neither Saint Nor Cynic

In an attempt to better understand the ancient world (which, for the purpose of this article, I will define as any period before my brain came online in the late 1980s), I have been reading about the philosophy of the Cynics of Greece. So far as I can tell, their prime character, Diogenes of Sinope, mostly trafficked in contrarian takes in the form of vulgar aphorisms and rude attitudes toward the ruling class of his time. In that respect, the shallow anecdotes about his philosophical crapulence resembles my own attitude toward writing this column, and much of my unfortunate social media presence. Crude and vulgar asceticism does seem attractive in a world built by wealthy psychopaths on a teetering pile of exploitation and murder. Looking deeper, though, and there is a deep humanity and blind longing within the lives of these contrarian shitheads, perhaps no better on display than in Lucian’s work on the life of Peregrinus Proteus, a man who threw himself on an Olympic funeral pyre in a successful bid to permanently rid himself of the madding crowd. And while I might have

‘The Void’

Editor: After reading Mark Larson’s piece in the Jan. 12 issue (“KHSU MIA After Quake”), I was also struck by the void which has been left by KHSU since April of 2019. For decades I was a KHSU supporter and listened to much of the diverse programming. At times it felt like KHSU was the most important community outreach effort made by the university since it amplified local voices and issues. Further, in times of crisis, KHSU volunteers from around the county provided much needed information concerning local communities. I realize the former KHSU operations must have appeared something like anarchy to the top management of the university. While I do not know the specific issues which precipitated the closure decision, I suspect that a vital community service function must contain some flexibility in its operation and involvement of volunteers. Is there no way to reconnect KHSU to the local communities? Is this not what the mission of KHSU is supposed to be? John Filce, Eureka…

Humboldt’s Grisly History of Illegal Abortions

George Landgren was not a good husband or father. In 1913, he abandoned his wife, Alma, and their two little boys, and headed south. When the local sheriff forced him back to Humboldt County to care for his family, he spent just enough time with them to avoid being charged with desertion — and to impregnate his wife with their third child. When Alma died after an illegal abortion on Oct. 31, 1913, instead of grieving that evening, Landgren attempted to extort the man he thought responsible, threatening to accuse him of murder if he didn’t pay up. By 1910, Alma Landgren seemed to have known where her marriage was headed and had been working as an apprentice in a Eureka drugstore, but having two young children in quick succession likely made working difficult. When she found herself pregnant again in 1913, the prospect of having another child must have been terrifying but the solutions weren’t much better. Women had few job opportunities and a single mother even fewer. A third child would have made employment untenable, so Alma sought an abortion. “Illegal operations,” as

‘Absolutely Disgraceful’

Editor: I found it absolutely disgraceful to hear about the ignorance of pastor Tyrel Bramwell of St Mark’s Lutheran Church in Ferndale (“Old Steeple Cancels Drag Event over Safety Concerns,” posted Jan. 13). Every single war since the beginning of time has been started in God’s name. God is an entity that no one can prove exists. I am highly educated in comparative religions. Karma comes back. Bad Karma comes back threefold. The only remedy for ignorance is education. People with closed minds are sadly more difficult to educate. In a free society, loving people are who make the world a better place. Suzanne Hart, Eureka…

Weekend Jazz Shows

Couple of great local jazz shows this weekend that you won’t want to miss. Westhaven Center for the Arts presents its Third Friday bi-monthly jazz series, featuring RLA jazz trio and various guests. This Friday, Jan. 20, catch RLA w/Claire Bent at 7 p.m. at Trinidad Town Hall ($10-20 sliding scale). Bent’s powerhouse energy and the smooth stylings of veterans Tim Randles (piano), Ken Lawrence (bass) and Mike Labolle (drums) will have you dancing all night. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Snacks and drinks available.  And on Sunday, Jan. 22, treat yourself to An Afternoon of Jazz with Paula Jones & Friends from 3 to 5 p.m. at Morris Graves Museum of Art ($5, $2 students/seniors/military, free for museum members, children under 18 and families with an EBT card). In the words of Ms. Jones herself: “Listeners can expect well-dressed performers, movement, dance, spirituality and an abundance of gratitude. We will present a mix of jazz and R&B, and the audience will hear this music performed in a kind of stream of consciousness style; each song is taken as a vehicle for free interpretation.” Snap. Snap. Snap…

A New Year in Birding

The start of 2023 — earthquakes, torrential rain and bomb cyclones notwithstanding — has been an exciting time for birders. It begins with the ritual of that very first bird of the year. What will it be? For me, it was a tie between two birds: an American robin and a hermit thrush, both alighting in tandem practically at my feet as my dog and I were strolling around the neighborhood. Pretty cool birds to kick off the year after a string of dark birds, including last year’s common raven and the prior year’s turkey vulture. And then there are the lists. Many birders keep a life list — a record of every species they’ve seen — and it’s also fun to keep a yard list of birds that visit, fly over or call within hearing distance of your property. You might be surprised at the variety of birds that surround you once you start keeping track. But there are also yearly lists that revert to a blank slate on Jan. 1. Recently I’ve started keeping one for Humboldt County, hoping to see a few

Grow Responsibly!

Editor: As one who walks the marsh, I have a chance to ponder sea level rise daily. Recently, with the unusually high tides and heavy rains, water laps at the paths’ edges often. I imagine a time when the paths will be under water, as will parts of U.S. Highway 101, Old Arcata Road and many more of our roads. We see flooding in many places that are not ordinarily under water for such long periods of time. Those living on Howard Heights Road in Freshwater have been flooded three times over the past two weeks, preventing them from leaving except by canoe. Will we all be canoeing to get from point A to point B as they are? We know there is a housing crisis, but there is a climate crisis, as well (“‘Time is Running Out,'” Nov. 10). In addition to sea level rise, we now have atmospheric rivers that threaten us. The Arcata Planning Commission continues to be laser focused on the Gateway Plan. Sea level rise is just one issue our community has with this plan. Equally important is fire protection

While a Constitutional Right, Abortion Access Remains Limited in Humboldt

When someone finds out they’re pregnant at the Open Door Women’s Health Clinic, they’re met with a discussion about options for how — and whether — they want to proceed with their pregnancies. “We ask them, ‘What would you like to do? What’s best for you?'” said Humboldt County gynecologist Kim Ervin, whose been providing women’s health care in the community for the past 20 years, currently at Open Door Health Clinic. “Then there’s the information. We tell them, ‘Go back and talk to your families and decide what you want to do, and we can help direct you to the care you need. We have our sister clinic that does obstetrical care, and we have access to procedural and medical termination at Planned Parenthood.'” Pregnant people always have a choice about whether they want to continue their pregnancy at Open Door and throughout California. Abortion is considered a reproductive freedom that California voters enshrined into the state’s constitution in November. In rural Humboldt County, however, abortion access is limited based on pregnancies that have not reached 14 weeks gestation, or 14 weeks from the

Medi-Cal to Keep More Insurance Plans after Pushback

In a significant course change, the California Department of Health Care Services announced that it has negotiated with five commercial health plans to provide Medi-Cal services in 2024, scratching a two-year-long bidding process for the coveted state contracts.   This upends the state’s previous plans of awarding contracts to only three health plans. It means more Medi-Cal enrollees — who comprise roughly a third of Humboldt County’s population — will likely get to keep their current insurer and doctors, averting a confusing re-enrollment process for most members and preventing disruption to patient care. It also means the state will avoid a protracted legal battle amid lawsuit threats from insurers who had previously been left out.  The big winners: Blue Shield and Community Health Group will get a contract after initially having lost bids, and Health Net will get to keep at least some of its Los Angeles enrollees.  “To bring certainty for members, providers and plans, the state used its authority to work directly with the plans to re-chart our partnership and move with confidence and speed toward the implementation of the changes we want to see,”