Far North

Today’s Temps Another One for the Record Books

Well, this summer’s record list just got a little bit longer today, with the National Weather Service reporting that the temperature at the Woodley Island office hit 78 degrees just after 1 p.m. today, taking away another title. So far this summer, the coast has broken a few records, including the June 11 heatwave where the mercury hit 85 degrees — taking the hottest day ever in June since records began title — and Aug. 13 when another daily record was set at 71 degrees. Editor’s note: A previous version incorrectly stated a famous event that took place on the previous record holding date. …

North Coast Night Lights: Metal Beast and Stardust Skies

Late one night along a dirt road in the hills in the middle of nowhere in southern Humboldt County, California, a couple of guys rendezvoused to photograph an old metal beast crouching in the dirt beneath the stardust skies of the cosmic realm through which we float, as a species almost completely unaware of the larger significance of our tiny insignificance. I was one of them, and my friend Kris was the other. The opaque blue sky ceiling of daytime shutters our eyes to the space in which Earth floats, and insulates us against thoughts of our minute scale in the vast scheme of things. But at night our vision punches through the blue dome and we see the magnificence of the greater cosmos in which our little dustball drifts. Most of our waking lives we don’t even see the stars, let alone consider our place among them. Growing up under the dark skies of a rural area allowed me to enjoy the heavens whenever it was clear. If ever I forget how precious that gift is, when I take folks who are coming from…

Local Officials Warn Against Cannabis Use During Pregnancy

Officials from the local group Perinatal Substance Use Disorder Project presented research on the risks of cannabis use during pregnancy to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The group — which started meeting in 2016 to examine the high rates of perinatal substance use in the county — informed the board that research shows cannabis use during pregnancy can increase the risk of low birth weight and affect a baby’s brain development. The group also posed “a resolution stressing the importance of women who are pregnant, contemplating pregnancy or breast feeding to avoid using cannabis. “With the legalization of cannabis for adult use, the conversation about recommendations for the use of cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding has been emphasized statewide. Without research-based messaging, women are relying on their peers and CBD or cannabis businesses for information.” DHHS Public Health Director Michele Stephens said in a release from the Department of Human Health and Services.  Stephens added that there is no research that shows what amount of cannabis is safe and, until more information is available, it is important to avoid it in any form…

Photos from the 57th Klamath Salmon Festival

Given the last few years of wildfire smoke-filled skies, it was a relief for a large crowd of attendees to only smell smoke from the traditional salmon fire pit at the 57th annual Klamath Salmon Festival on Saturday, Aug. 17. This year’s theme was “Skue’n ‘Owook, Can’t Wait for Tomorrow,” which linked Yurok Tribe plans for the removal of the Klamath River dams and the reintroduction of the California condor in Northwestern California. (See the slideshow below for highlights of the event.) The festival featured the usual long lines of attendees waiting to enjoy the traditional meal of salmon steak. Other activities included live music, Indian card game and stick game tournaments, and 105 vendors of Native American jewelry, clothing and other food options including a fresh fruit and vegetable stand by the Potowat Community food Garden. Saturday morning began with the Ney-Puey Color Run, followed by the festival parade that ended amid the 10th annual Classic Car Show organized by Yurok elder George Smoker and his wife, Marla. The annual parade featured four grand marshals including Joe Pitt Sr., of Klamath, Nellie McNeal, of…

‘The Bay is Back in Business’ After Dredging

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Conservation and Recreation District announced today that shipping restrictions have been lifted after roughly 1.1 million cubic yards of sediment were removed from the Humboldt Bay entrance channel. During the winter, “significant sediment deposits” accumulated near buoy No. 9, which caused “extremely dangerous shoaling conditions” and the closure of Humboldt Bay to commercial shipping, according to the district. With breaking waves inside the bay in an area dubbed “Rock and Roll Alley” by local fishermen due to the often rough conditions, boats became susceptible to tipping over and an emergency was declared on the local and state level. Harbor district Executive Director Larry Oetker says it’s very fortunate that no one was injured. “We owe the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Congressman Jared Huffman and Leroy Zerlang a debt of gratitude for all the extra effort they put into removing the hazardous conditions,” he says in the release. “The bay is back in business.” Read the harbor district release below: Over the last several months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers removed approximately 1.1 million cubic yards of sediment from the…

Newsom Signs Landmark Police Use-of-Force Bill

California will soon have a tougher new legal standard for the use of deadly force by police, under legislation Gov. Gavin Newsom signed today that was inspired by last year’s fatal shooting of a young, unarmed man in Sacramento. Newsom signed the legislation amid unusual fanfare, convening numerous legislators, family members of people who have died in police shootings and advocates including civil-rights leader Dolores Huerta in a courtyard at the Secretary of State’s building used in the past for inaugurations and other formal events. The governor contends that with Assembly Bill 392 in place, police will turn increasingly to de-escalation techniques including verbal persuasion, weapons other than guns and other crisis intervention methods. “I would hope that if AB 392 had been law last year, that our family would not have to be mourning Christopher’s first angelversary today,” Barbara Okamoto said in a statement. Her grandson, Christopher Okamoto, was killed in Bakersfield last Aug. 19, when police responded to a domestic violence call. He had a pellet gun. The law reflects a compromise between civil-rights advocates who want to limit when police can shoot…

UPDATE: Missing Humboldt Hiker Found Dead After Massive Search Effort

A massive search effort for a missing hiker ended today after rescuers recovered his body in a remote wilderness area near Mirror Lake in the Trinity Alps. According to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Daniel Komins, an EMT and volunteer with Blue Lake Fire, was located after a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew spotted what appeared to be a backpack and search efforts narrowed in on the area. Komins, 34, was an experienced hiker. He was reported missing when he did not return home as planned on Aug. 14. In a Facebook message, Blue Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ray Stonebarger thanked the rescue teams who searched for Komins as well as those who spread the word he was missing on social media and donated to the search efforts. “For all of us that knew Daniel, we were blessed. For those that never had the pleasure, I’m sorry that you didn’t get that opportunity,” he wrote. “He really did put a smile on your face. Let’s keep his family and friends tight in our arms and guide them through these coming days. According to…

Missing Humboldt Hiker Found Dead After Massive Search Effort

A massive search effort for a missing hiker ended today after rescuers recovered his body in a remote wilderness area near Mirror Lake in the Trinity Alps. According to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Daniel Komins, an EMT and volunteer with Blue Lake Fire, was located after a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew spotted what appeared to be a backpack and search efforts narrowed in on the area. Komins, 34, was an experienced hiker. He was reported missing when he did not return home as planned on Aug. 14. According to the release, a preliminary investigation indicates that he “may have fallen in the steep and rocky terrain.” “Although this was not the outcome that was wanted, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office as well as family members of Komins, wanted to thank the Search and Rescue members as well as all other volunteers, for assisting in bringing Daniel Komins home,” the release states. Read the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office release below: The Search and Rescue efforts pertaining to Daniel Komins continued throughout the day of August 18, 2019. The twelve Search and Rescue teams,…

Piping Up: Photos from the Highland Games

Blue Lake’s Perigot Park was awash in tartan and the music of bagpipes on Sunday during the Highland Games. Competitors brought the hammer down — or rather up — throwing 12-pound hammers and cabers (basically logs, folks) for distance. Attendees got down to Celtic rock from Tempest and got sentimental to pipes and drums from the Humboldt Highlanders Pipe Band and the Jefferson Pipe Band. A good time was had by all at the annual celebration of Scottish culture, as evident in the slideshow below by photographer Mark McKenna. And no surprise, the haggis sold out. …

Intent is the Same

Editor: What counts as a mass shooting? (“31 Points,” Aug. 8.) Recently there have been three mass killings: in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton. The day before the Gilroy massacre, there was also a mass shooting in Brooklyn, New York. So why didn’t we see headlines about this? The reason is that, although 12 people were injured, only one died so it wasn’t a mass killing. So why discriminate between mass killings and mass shootings? I assume the intent is the same; wound and kill as many individuals as possible. And the impact on the general public is the same; it adds another brick in the wall of fear one may have in being out in a public place with others. There is no uniform definition for mass killings. Time magazine just published a list of 2019 events using the standard of three or more killed. Much of the problem is due to the National Rifle Association. It has a history of pressuring government into not keeping any statistics that might reflect negatively on gun ownership in fear they will promote gun control. I think…

Trinidad Rancheria Hotel Project Gets Conditional OK, Off Ramp Moving Forward

The California Coastal Commission went against the recommendation of its staff Aug. 8 and gave the Trinidad Rancheria the go-ahead — or a “conditional concurrence” — to build a five-story hotel on its property off Scenic Drive south of the city. This means that the Coastal Commission, which is tasked by law with protecting the California coastline, will not stand in the way of the Bureau of Indian Affairs granting the Rancheria a lease and a loan guarantee so that the project can move forward. The “conditional” part of the concurrence means the commission is giving the Rancheria six months to come up with a reliable water source — either through an agreement with the city of Trinidad or by proving its newly drilled well has the capability to provide the 14,000 gallons of potable water per day that the hotel will require without draining neighboring wells. Meanwhile, as the controversial hotel project has captured much of the public’s attention in recent months, the Rancheria is also moving forward with plans to build a new off-ramp of U.S. Highway 101 between Westhaven and Trinidad that…

‘Lipstick on a Pig’

Editor: John Andersen’s attempt to put lipstick on a pig is certainly from the ” PALCO playbook” (“Come See for Yourself,” Aug. 1) The log decks are sky high and the word is Humbodt Redwood Co. is still refusing logs from smaller operators in an attempt to impact market prices. We haven’t seen forest liquidation like this since the days of Maxxam/PALCO’s hostile take over of the Murphy family-run business. HRC adjusted the current timber harvest plans (before their FSC audit) because they were so egregiously out of alignment with the FSC standards. As I recall, only the steepest slopes of the helicopter units were excluded. When John Andersen refers to “saving old growth,” it’s important to point out that a single tree popping up on a cut over landscape does not a forest make. When he refers to set-asides, it’s important to know this is not the same as permanent protection or preservation. There is no long-term, in perpetuity agreements in writing for any area of the company’s holdings in the Mattole. The language they have developed is very misleading to the public. They claim that turning our landscape into monoculture…

Dimming Hopes

Editor: As each month passes, my hopes dim for ever having an NPR station with the same relevance to the local community that we had in KHSU prior to April of this year (“HSU Enters Interim Agreement to Farm Out KHSU Management,” posted online Aug. 9). The latest plan to transmit programming from Capital Public Radio (Sacramento) at the KHSU frequencies doesn’t appear to leave any avenue for providing local information or perspectives that we would identify as community radio of the North Coast. James Floss sums up the situation with a witty welcome to this year’s incoming students to “CSU Northmost” in his Aug. 11 Times-Standard letter to the editor. The gist of his witty piece is that listeners to KHSU will no longer hear anything that reflects the mash-up of cultures, perspectives and experiences that result in the unique, multi-faceted personality of the North Coast. I still haven’t gotten over the disrespectful treatment of the volunteers, programmers and staff of KHSU last April. I can’t find the words to express my gratitude for the work that was put into all the local radio…

Clarification

It his come to the Journal’s attention that some information contained in our Aug. 1, 2019, story headlined “The Grove” was inaccurate. Although the Journal reported the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury’s findings accurately, the grand jury report itself contained a pair of errors due to the grand jury’s misconstruing data regarding homeless and housing insecure college students. In fact, 19 percent of Humboldt State University students reported being “housing insecure” at some point in the prior year and 11 percent of College of the Redwoods students who applied for scholarships indicated they were either “homeless” or “housing insecure.” The Journal regrets any confusion.

Graphene: The Future of Desalination?

“Water, water everywhere/Nor any drop to drink.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ancient mariner was plagued by the same predicament as many people today who live near the ocean: They’re short of fresh water and unable to drink from our planet’s salty oceans. The problem is seawater is about 3.5 percent salt by weight but our kidneys can’t make urine from liquid containing more than 2 percent salt. So paradoxically, if you ingest seawater, you’ll be thirstier because your kidneys use any available water in your body to dilute that extra salt. Drink too much seawater and you’ll die from dehydration. With climate change creating drought conditions in many vulnerable places around the globe, researchers are pursuing new techniques to figure out how to desalinate salt water cheaply and efficiently, since there’s so much of it. Of the many methods in use, the most popular is reverse osmosis (RO), in which salt water is forced through a polymer membrane that filters out the salt ions. Currently, RO is inefficient and costly, mainly due to the high pressure required (between 500 and 1,000 psi — the air in…

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