Far North

Strange Looks at the Beach

A trip to the beach in search of night light yielded a few views to share from Humboldt’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Though most poignant was an image of a dead skate lying on the beach (“Ray of Beauty at Moonstone Beach,” Sept. 27), its tail in the still waters of Little River where it emptied into the ocean, it was the beauty of the world seen from a cave that called to me most. I would have let the cave image stand alone. It should, in a way, but in working with it, other things started happening. The image took me on a visual trip of its own as I played with it. I noticed the shapes and forms, the symmetry, and how things might line up. I moved the image around, trying this and that until, as I looked through the cave’s opening, a face stared back at me. Hmm. I played some more. More faces. I will leave you with them now and let your imagination do the rest. To keep abreast of David Wilson’s (he/him) latest photography or purchase a print, visit…

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Stars through bare trees And Aleutian geese. The climb to the higher dune drowns The motor sounds Lets in the surf. Across the bay 101 strung with colored lights Burning holes in the weave That keeps us watertight. Monte Merrick…

Grace under Fire

Monica Coyne at the Morris Graves Museum of Art Artist and blacksmith Monica Coyne works in steel and her sculptures are riddled with reminders of the forge. That’s enough to make them strange. We’re used to thinking of steel as a substance that comes in identical prefab units, from I-beams and girders at construction sites to the machine-finished tools hanging on the wall at the hardware store. We’re not accustomed to making the connection from human hand to forged implement. But Coyne’s sculptures treat these obdurate materials in a way you very possibly haven’t seen before. This body of work showcases steel pleated like an accordion, folded like linens and crimped like the hairstyles of the 1980s. This estranges but also humanizes the material, making it relatable. A sculpture like “Contrapposto,” in which you see the transition of unarticulated steel to sinewy likeness, reminds that steel does in fact belong to nature; it does not emanate direct from the abstract object-world that 20th century visionaries proposed as nature’s replacement. It’s 2020 and even those who never sought out the poetry of William Butler Yeats are…

Born Too Soon

Pre-Title IX, Karen Logan ruled the court When I was a kid, boys rode their Schwinns around Humboldt County neighborhoods, sneaked through the alleys and climbed on Main Street rooftops at night; they played pickup baseball games at the park in the summer. Each town had a sliding hill for cardboard on the dry grass, basketball courts and open gyms in Samoa and Scotia.  Funny, I never thought back and wondered what the girls were doing. But a few years ago I heard stories about how there was a girl in one neighborhood who got picked first whenever she showed up with her brothers and friends for a game of baseball, football or basketball. Her name was Karen.  In the 1950s and ’60s, there weren’t the same organized sports for girls in local high schools. There was a Girls Athletic Association (GAA) and many local schools participated, but sharing gym time with the boys was tough.  Title IX legislation moved sports toward gender equality in the 1970s but before that girls’ sports were limited at all levels. Even under Title IX, change was slow. For…

Haunted House 2020

In the darkness, a whisper like a branch scratching a windowpane: “Get out.” “Who’s there? What are you doing in my house?” “Get out … leave this place.” “How did you get in — did you wash your hands?” “I don’t — get out! You are not welcome here!” “I know this isn’t a gentrification thing. Wait, is it because I’m Asian?” “What? No. I’m not — I’m a spirit who has pierced the veil between the living and the dead. My restless soul is tied to the creaking bones of this house and the very earth beneath it. Leave this place at once!” “Holy hell, my house is haunted. I better … um. Hmm.” “Flee while you can!” “Hold on, lemme check something.” “I said flee. What are you doing?” “Oh, it’s this app for checking the air quality, it’s pretty cool, actually. Aaaaand it looks like the wildfires are still burning and we’re pretty smoky. Yeah, I’m staying in today.” “You’re staying. Even though your house is a cursed shell in which the dead walk.” “Yeah. I go out there, I might as…

A Simpler Time

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Bad Hair BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM. There is the impulse to refer to bygone times as “simpler” and, by extension, better. But the past is not always simpler than the present. I suggest this because 1) I would rather not believe that Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) was released 14 years ago and 2) the realization of that fact made me sigh and wistfully intone the cliché, stopping when it dawned on me that it’s bullshit. The year 2006 was a hideously complicated time, some of us just had simpler perspectives. It was the beginning of the third act of the capitalist takeover of American democracy. The PR machine was hard at work pitching the holy war; President Cheney was using 9/11 to punch holes in the Constitution, metastasize his influence throughout the offices of the government and hand out defense contracts to his hunting buddies (presumably the ones he didn’t shoot in the face). The internet, like many of its current figureheads/billionaires/demons, was in its infancy. We were living in the prelude to…

‘Erasure’

Working on the North Coast, where the American Civil Liberties Union has had an ongoing presence since 2007, when it filed a landmark class-action lawsuit against Del Norte Unified School District on behalf of Native American students, Tedde Simon says she came to see there was what she described as a “widely understood issue.” In Humboldt County — home to seven federally recognized tribes and proportionately one of the largest Native populations in the state — Native students were experiencing dismal educational outcomes and it was no secret, says Simon, an investigator and acting Indigenous justice program manager at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. Rather, she says, it was “widely understood” that local Native students were far less likely to meet basic educational benchmarks and far more likely to be suspended, expelled or suffer chronic absenteeism. So when the ACLU complied “Failing Grades,” a scathing report on the state of North Coast education for Native youth that was released Oct. 27 and is partly aimed at creating the first citable, published report documenting the problem, she said the findings weren’t exactly surprising. “It really…

UPDATE: Vegetation Fire Northwest of Pecwan

A vegetation fire is burning off the north end of Highway 169 and threatening multiple structures near the community of Johnson northwest of Pecwan, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Savona. The call came in about 4:07 p.m., he said. “Aircraft are currently at the scene of a 1/4 to 1/2 acre fire,” he said. “Air will work to slow the fire with retardant until ground resources which are on the way get there.” Savona said that Sawyer Fire, Hoopa Fire, Yurok Fire, and Willow Creek Fire have been dispatched to the scene of what is now called the Church Fire. UPDATE 5:54 p.m.: “Forward progress stopped,” Savona said. …

One New COVID Hospitalization Reported

Public Health reported no new COVID-19 cases were confirmed today, leaving the county’s total case count at 568, but one new hospitalization has occurred. Humboldt County continues its tenuous hold to the “minimal” risk tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” according to California Department of Public Health data released Tuesday, with a positivity rate of 1.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 2.8 per 100,000. This week, health officials reminded residents that “two consecutive weeks of a case rate greater than 2.0 would move the county fully into the orange tier.” Meanwhile, the state has an overall positivity rate of 3.2 and case rate of 7.2. Right now, under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Read more about what it means here. The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was recently updated to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which are reported in “a range of 0 to 5…

Tea Hehe Turns from Festivals to Delivery

One million years ago in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Alina Alishoev and Lily Gene were running pop-up tea lounges at music festivals and other events around California and Oregon. But with the festivals, still banned under current shelter-in-place restrictions, went Tea Hehe’s self-serve, donation-based business. But Alishoev, who began her journey into teas with a course at the Dandelion Herbal Center, says, “I just wanted to share the healing power of plants with people.” So she and Gene, who handles most of the business side as well as “all the tasting,” put their dream of a tea truck on hold and came up with tea totes, deliverable tea-time sets complete with teas, baked goods and snacks. The totes each contain “a mini tea party for two or more,” including, of course, tea (of which there are 22 available varieties, and treats like lavender or ginger cookies, maple tea bread and more. The baked goods are gluten- and dairy-free, and most ingredients are sourced locally, thought the organic herbs for the tea come from an Oregon farm. A tea- for-two tote is packed with tea (and…

McKinleyville Stabbing Under Investigation

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a McKinleyville stabbing that resulted in one man being taken to the hospital, with another claiming he acted in self-defense after an apparent road rage incident on Haven Lane. According to a news release, the suspect contacted the sheriff’s office following the stabbing that took place just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Deputies collected evidence from the individual, a 24 year old, who was released. The incident apparently started when the 24 year old flipped off the 34 year old who was stabbed while driving on Haven Lane, leading to a confrontation on Chance Lane, where the stabbing occurred. “Deputies responded to the area and made contact with the 34-year-old male stabbing victim, providing lifesaving first aid until medical crews arrived,” the release states. “The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.” His condition was not immediately available. According to HCSO, no arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation. Read the release below: On Oct. 27, 2020, at about 4:24 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the 1100 block…

Worried it’s Too Late to Send in Your Ballot? Don’t Panic

Less than a week before Election Day and anxiety over the postal service’s ability to ferry voters’ ballots to county election administrators on time has ratcheted up yet again. Back in May, the United States Postal Service’s top lawyer advised voters across the country to put their ballots in the mail no later than 7 days before Election Day “to account for delivery standards and to allow for contingencies.” On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling effectively barring election administrators in Wisconsin from counting mail-in ballots that are postmarked before the polls close but which don’t arrive until after Election Day. Democrats and liberal court watchers were particularly alarmed by the opinion penned by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which seemed to reflect the justice’s ambivalence about the practice of accepting ballots after the polls close. “States want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election,” Kavanaugh wrote. It’s almost as if he were writing about California. But election administrators and legal experts have…

NCJ Archive: Bring on the Bugs

Editor’s Note: It’s that time of year again, the pumpkin spiders (aka cross orb weavers) are back. And while the world around us may seem a bit, well, scary right now, at least nature is staying the course by delivering up a cadre of crawling critters just in time for Halloween. So, here’s a story on their annual arrival from the fall of 2007, a simpler time, perhaps, but isn’t it also nice to know some things haven’t changed. There has been a lot of bug action at my house lately. On warm nights, the chorus of crickets from the front yard is loud enough to get a little embarrassing. If I go outside and walk up and down the street, it becomes obvious that the entire cricket scene is happening at my house alone. They have made themselves very, very comfortable in the tall grasses and asters in my front yard. That’s great, but their enthusiasm can be a bit much after a while. I keep waiting for the neighbors to step outside and tell them to keep it down. The spiders have moved…

Humboldt Hits Three Weeks in Minimal Tier

Public Health reported one new COVID-19 case today, bringing the county’s total case count to 568. For a third week, Humboldt County remains in the “minimal” risk tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” according to California Department of Public Health data, with a positivity rate of 1.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 2.8 per 100,000. “Fortunately, our internal data review for the past week looks favorable for remaining in yellow when the next state assessment is released on Nov. 3,” Humboldt County Health Officer Teresa Frankovich in a news release. “It is critically important to the entire community that we adhere to safety measures and keep our case rates low going forward.” However, according to the release, “two consecutive weeks of a case rate greater than 2.0 would move the county fully into the orange tier.” By comparison, the state overall has a positivity rate of 3.2 and case rate of 7.2. Right now, under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the…

ACLU Releases Report on Educational Disparities Among Indigenous Students in Humboldt County

The ACLU Foundation of Northern California has released a report outlining the educational disparities Indigenous students face in Humboldt County. “Although roughly 85 percent of Native American students in Humboldt County graduated high school in the 2018-2019 school year, 90 percent of those graduates did not meet entrance requirements for California universities and an overwhelming majority of Indigenous students in many districts do not meet California’s college and career readiness metric,” the release states. According to the news release, Indigenous students experience higher rates of exclusionary disciplines like expulsion and suspensions and lower academic outcomes than their non-Indigenous peers. “Indigenous students continue to face overwhelming systemic barriers, including attending schools where there is an overuse of exclusionary discipline such as suspension and expulsion,” said Tedde Simon, Indigenous Justice Program Manager at the ACLU of Northern California. “Also sorely lacking is a culturally relevant curriculum that includes Indigenous worldviews, and a failure to provide school-based student supports with nurses and psychologists who are trained in trauma-informed practices. Simply put, Indigenous students are not made to feel that they belong in public schools.” Read the full report and…

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