Far North

HumBug: Preserved for Posterity

I recently did something I haven’t done in a long time. I went looking for glow worms in my backyard. Locally I’ve found them to be amazingly common in the leaf litter beneath our local redwoods but lately they had been absent from our usual haunts. This time though, I was greeted by at least half a dozen in my little area. (For a more detailed introduction to our local luminaries check out my previous post “Glow Worm vs. Snail,” Dec. 11, 2016.) I was bemoaning the cold, wet weather and short days signaling the annual lull in insect activity when I noticed a large critter walking across a camera case in my house. I collected it in a jar and found it dead the next day. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I set about setting it to dry for my collection of local insects. I no longer actively hunt them but when one dies in my possession, or I find a particularly well preserved specimen, I will add it to the little box I keep for display when I give talks about bugs.…

With Covered California Deadline Approaching, Officials Say New Subsidies and Eligibility Requirements Are Available

If you want to sign up for health insurance through Covered California and enter 2020 insured, you’re running out of time. The Dec. 15 deadline to sign up in time to start the New Year with coverage is approaching and state officials are reminding California residents without health insurance that they will face a penalty next year. While Congress reduced the penalty for failing to get insured under the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, the California Legislature enacted its own version this year, meaning residents who don’t have health insurance next year could face penalties of up to $695 per person. But the looming penalties promise to bring more people into the insurance pool, which will reduce costs, said Covered California spokesperson James Scullary. Rates for next year are only going up 0.8 percent statewide, Scullary said, the lowest rate change in the program’s history. And in Humboldt County, he said, the average rate change is a 1.7-percent reduction. There are also more subsidies available than in previous years, Scullary said, and they are available to a wider swath of customers. Customers who…

Photos: Dell’Arte’s ‘Return to Oz’

The 39th annual Dell’Arte 2019 Holiday Show: Return to Oz is now at one of the many traveling and free venues coming up before its return to Blue Lake in two weeks. The storyline of Dorothy as an angst-ridden, friendless, guitar-playing teenager (you likely know one or used to be one) begins with her unhappiness at being back in Kansas, missing her Oz friends. The creative twists on the original plot are in good hands with director Michael Fields and an international cast. Cleo DeOrio, James Hildebrandt and others created an amazing production and set that now has to go on the road for multiple shows. Enjoy a slideshow of the highlights below. Dorothy is happily transported by a tornado back to the Land of Oz and meets up with a hyperactive Bellina the chicken and the Scarecrow — only to find Oz is in terrible conditions due to the despotic Nome King who’s now wearing the ruby slippers and holding the Tin Man and the Lion in prison. Follow a brief synopsis of the rest of the plot in the slide show below. And yes, it’s…

Brave Girls

Dell’Arte’s Return to Oz and FRT’s Matilda Return to Oz After battling high winds on State Route 299, I was braced for Dell’Arte’s 2019 holiday show, Return to Oz, and the on-stage hurricane that carries Dorothy away from the world where Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, and everyone at school think she’s a little crazy and back to a version of L. Frank Baum’s Oz. As the dust settles, Dorothy (Sara Kei Wegmüller) is delighted to find she’s back in Oz (and therefore not crazy for continuing to believe in it) and that her beloved pet chicken has turned into a human-sized walking, talking, blue-ribbon-winning egg layer Billina (H. Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody). But Oz looks broken down and desolate. No cheery munchkins singing or bluebirds flying over the rainbow, just litter and abandoned buildings. At first, her spirits are lifted when her old friend Scarecrow (Andrew Lupkes) tumbles in, but, when he explains why Oz looks so bad, she’s crushed. The self-described “bigly” Nome King (Joël Vining) has used all the emeralds from Oz on bad investments (in PG&E) and made himself all-powerful by stealing the…

FDA: CBDon’t

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a stern warning this week about the potential dangers of cannabidiol, the cannabis-derived compound sweeping the nation. Commonly known as CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid has been the subject of a wellness craze that has credited it with everything from treating acne and joint pain to cancer and neurological conditions. The CBD movement went mainstream late last year, when Congress included amendments to the Farm Bill to federally legalize industrial hemp and CBD, paving the way for CBD balms, ointments and tinctures to show up on shelves from pharmacies to gas stations. The stuff has even made its way into tampons (“This is Not a Weed Tampon,” June 13) and fast food (“The CBD Burger and the Evangelist Editor,” April 25) . The problem, as the FDA notes, is that there is an absolute dearth of science to support claims of CBD’s health benefits or even the notion that it isn’t harmful. “The FDA is concerned that people may mistaken believe that trying CBD ‘can’t hurt,'” the FDA warning reads. “The agency wants to be clear that we have…

What’s Woke

Editor: Mr. Yeo used the word “woke” to shape his Nov. 7 column (“Love the Alien”). What is woke and what isn’t? The Nov. 14 Ana Daksina and Jake Pickering letters mocked it (Mailbox). Woke is a new take on the word as Webster’s had it in 1998. I suggest woke could mean living daily life by the light of a fact: that the day will come when we disappear as a human body. Born innocent, we continue a form of life present when we were born into it. Not cookie-cutter made, we have lineage and agency. As homo sapiens we are today’s version of homo erectus and how far back do you want to go? There was a time when there was no planet Earth! As our body begins to die in our 30s, it begins to release experience that shaped it from the outside — love, work, loss, etc., even as more is added. The changes create a new you: the residue of a life. What if we consider this residue a new expression of the body we got at birth — the…

One Word: Plastics

Editor: Regarding “Recycling’s New Reality” (Nov. 21). I couldn’t help but notice the word “plastic.” I mean, maybe six or eight times in almost every paragraph? It is obvious that plastic is the recycling industry’s major stumbling block. But plastic is in nearly everything. From toys to tools, packaging to parts, building materials to machinery encasements. I am typing on plastic keys and reading what I wrote on a plastic screen. Where would we all be without plastic? Worldwide! Probably 99 percent of plastic is made from a petroleum by-product. I bet the petroleum industry is pleased that it can sell its waste, oops, I mean by-product worldwide. How much better to profit from your waste than have to deal with it in a safe, environmentally friendly way? That is left up to the recycling industry. One word I didn’t hear in the whole article was biodegradable, as in biodegradable plastic. Plastic made from hemp or corn. Of course, the petroleum industry uses corn for the ethanol additive to gasoline. Chalk up another one to the petroleum industry. And it’s even kinda good for the…

Crosswinds

Editor: As your Nov. 21 editorial (“Protect Tsakiyuwit, Deny Terra-Gen’s Wind Farm”) states, “due to Terra-Gen’s ownership’s other investments, its proceeds could well be used to fund other power sources that will continue to pollute the environment.” This reality undercuts the Terra-Gen’s entire project. The wind farm will worsen, and hasten climate breakdown. It is imperative, of course, that we act on a local level to reduce our carbon footprint. However, world-scale toxic activities, such as pipelines, oil extraction, fracking and deforestation, can only be restrained by political action. Our military generates more greenhouse gas than any other entity, with the exception of 34 entire countries. Yet Congress approves, even increases, its budget almost without dissent. The interests involved here are deeply entrenched and changing them will involve economic upheaval. Only the people can do it. We’re not used to large-scale political action any more. Nonetheless, we have to find our voice, as we did in the supervisors’ chamber last week, to abate the approaching world climate catastrophe. Ellen Taylor, Petrolia Editor: I am rarely surprised when mega-corporations like Terra-Gen try to bend public opinion…

3.8 Earthquake Strikes Redway

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 3.8 earthquake that struck Redway at 11:40 a.m., close to the Garberville-Briceland fault zone. According to the USGS “Did You Feel It?” Community Internet Intensity Map, the earthquake was lightly felt in Myers Flat, Whitethorn and even in Petrolia. …

Fortuna’s Chief Dobberstein to Retire

The city of Fortuna announced today that Police Chief William Dobberstein will be retiring next month. Dobberstein, who started with the city’s force in 1994, has been at the department’s helm since 2011. According to a release, Dobberstein was “instrumental in the department adding a drug task force agent, school resource officer, two police detectives,” as well as increasing community policing efforts. “Chief Dobberstein is grateful to the Fortuna City Council, members of the Fortuna Police Department and our community for the opportunity he has had to serve as a member of the Fortuna Police Department and the chief of police,” the release states. His official retirement date is Jan. 17. Read the announcement from the city of Fortuna below: Fortuna Police Chief, William Dobberstein has served the members of our community and City of Fortuna honorably for over twenty five years. Chief Dobberstein started his law enforcement career with the City of Fortuna in 1994. Throughout his career he worked as a Reserve Officer, Dispatcher, Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Police Sergeant, Police Lieutenant and in 2011 he became the Chief of Police for…

North Coast Night Lights: Looking for a Monocerotid Unicorn

The other week I was finally made aware of the existence of an elusive annual celestial phenomenon nicknamed the Unicorn meteor shower, or Alpha Monocerotids. So dubbed in part no doubt for its mercurial habits, the name is also eponymous for the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn, from which the meteors appear to radiate. The constellation itself is faint and difficult to see, and the shifty meteor shower can vary widely in its intensity from one year to the next. The Alpha Monocerotid shower occurs when Earth’s orbit takes it through the trail of debris left by an unknown comet at some point time in the past. It’s a narrow trail by cosmic standards, and we don’t always intersect with it perfectly as we ride our planet around the sun. This year Earth was predicted to hit the thick of it, but because the trail is so thin we would pass through it quickly and enjoy only a short window of possibly intense meteor action. I’m not an astronomer, just an observer with an imagination. I imagine a comet’s trail of particles to be similar to…

Photos from the Thanksgiving Vigil

This morning, while many were preparing for holiday feasts with friends and family, some 50 people gathered on the steps of the Humboldt County Courthouse to hold a vigil for those immigrant families and individuals who are spending Thanksgiving in detention centers. As attendees held protest signs, speakers from Centro del Pueblo the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People and other organizations addressed the crowd, and a symbolic Thanksgiving table stood empty of guests.  Organizers also announced a planned caravan to Yuba City Jail on Dec. 14 in support of ICE detainees there. See the slideshow below for photographer Mark McKenna’s images from the vigil. …

A Harry Potter Party at Redwood Raks World Dance Studio

Are you Sirius? Make sure to show off your house pride (calm down, Gryffindor) on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. as Redwood Raks World Dance Studio hosts an all-house, all-schools kids’ party with music, themed activities, treats and a splendor of Hogsmeade. Kids ages 5 and up are welcome but must be signed in and out by an adult. $8 per child. Bring on the butterbeer.

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