Newsom Proposes Expanding California’s Stimulus Checks to Middle Class

At the start of the pandemic a year ago, today’s news would have seemed unimaginable: The Golden State is sitting on a budget surplus so big, it’s considering giving $600 stimulus checks to California workers making up to $75,000, paying off back rent of tenants affected by COVID and helping millions of residents catch up on their water and electricity bills.  “California is not just back, California is roaring back,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said today in announcing a whopping $75.7 billion surplus that’s enabling him to propose what he claims is the largest state tax rebate in American history. Facing a line of Republican challengers in an upcoming recall, the first-term Democratic governor seized the opportunity to showcase California’s budgetary good fortunes by kicking off a statewide tour ahead of a formal budget update Friday. Billed as a $100 billion California comeback plan, the Newsom administration is able to leverage $26 million in federal relief funds as well as a windfall from California’s richest residents who have seen their wealth soar during the pandemic, even as the virus has wreaked havoc on the lives and…

Humboldt Sees 20 New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Today

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 20 new COVID-19 cases today, making 86 so far this week, and no new hospitalizations. According to a state database, 11 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally, including three receiving intensive care. Officials are pointing to the local presence of the B.1.1.7 variant for a recent and continuing surge in cases that saw a combined 287 cases confirmed in the past two weeks. “Genomic sequencing of local COVID-19-positive samples has identified more than 40 total cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, now the most dominant strain of the virus in the state and nation,” the Joint Information Center news release states. “This variant is associated with a 50 percent increase in transmission and can lead to more severe illness as well as hospitalizations and deaths in unvaccinated individuals.” Today’s cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 352 samples, bringing the county’s cumulative case total to 3,935, as health officials continue to urge Humboldt residents to get tested, with more screening sites opened throughout the region. Public Health also reported this week that it has requested 6,600 vaccine doses next week through…

Two New Public Art Projects to be Installed in Creamery District

See what students from Fieldbrook Elementary and Redwood Coast Montessori have been working on this past year at Art and the Environment: Keeping the Giant Jolly, the unveiling of two new public art projects being installed in the Creamery District this Saturday, May 8 at 11:45 a.m. The students, working with Playhouse Arts’ Education team, created a mural depicting the plant and animal life of the Jolly Giant Creek. Additionally, artist James Hildebrandt designed and created two 14-foot stainless steel sculptures based on the ecosystem of the creek that will be permanently installed along the L Street bike path at Eighth and Ninth streets. Be there at 11:45 for the unveiling of these impressive projects and for music by Bandemonium. Read more in the press release from Arcata Playhouse: Spend Saturday in the Creamery District As a partnership between artist and scientist, Playhouse Arts coordinated the collaboration of many minds to create art installations in the Creamery District that highlight the unique ecosystem of the Jolly Giant Creek. Two new public art projects, a permanent sculpture installation and a mural project, will be installed in…

Hominids and Homicide

Sasquatch goes into the woods SASQUATCH. I imagined a collective groan when trailers for Hulu’s Sasquatch rolled across screens on the North Coast. Another exploitative, sensationalist “documentary” on the Emerald Triangle to make a buck off a bunch of curious outsiders, great. That wouldn’t be unfair, given the impact of Murder Mountain. We’re a proud and insular bunch, not necessarily unfriendly to outsiders but certainly to the misconceptions that breed outside of the redwood curtain. I didn’t watch Murder Mountain and, unlike this column’s regular writer, I have largely steered clear of the true crime/documentary boom of the streaming age. I enjoyed the podcast Serial, an honest exploration of the journalistic process, a messy, ambiguous journey fraught with uncertainty. My few other forays into the contemporary genre — Three Identical Strangers, Making a Murderer — left me incensed with their careless and borderline unethical treatment of the subjects and their stories. But back to Sasquatch, which, for its faults, is an astute, entertaining portrait of a quirky, dangerous, insular community most North Coast viewers are familiar with. The three-part series, directed by Joshua Rofé (Lorena),…

Breezy Start to the Saltwater Season

Mother Nature can be so cruel. In the week leading up to Saturday’s rockfish and Pacific halibut openers, ocean conditions out of Eureka were pristine. Then, as if someone was playing a bad joke, the north winds picked up and the ocean swells grew steep, spoiling the weekend plans of the Eureka fleet. That’s the bad news. The good news is the seas have since subsided and boats will be headed out through Humboldt Bay Wednesday in search of the season’s first haul of halibut and rockfish. But the weather window could be small. Winds will begin to pick up Friday and the weekend is again looking very breezy. There’s plenty of season ahead of us and this won’t be the last time Mother Nature has her way. Razor clam fishery opens back up in Del Norte After a five-year closure, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife director has re-opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure…

Stick the Landing

Parenting tips for transitions There’s a good reason getting everyone out the door on-time — with their shoes on — can feel like a major accomplishment for parents. It’s more or less the same reason bedtime is the number one topic parents contact me to discuss. Whether it’s the transition from the living room to the car seat or bath-time to sleep-time, periods of adjustment from one thing to another are times when even the most on-top-of-it parents can find the situation going sideways. The same strategies I once used in class to get 20 5 year olds happily seated on the rug and ready to read after playing on the swings can get the job done in your home, too. Right now, as we round out a full year of uncertainty and limitation, packs of kids are readjusting to in-person class just in time to get ready for one of the biggest annual transitions of all: the end of the school year. As a parent or caregiver, you might be looking for ways to make these, and other ordinary changes more manageable. The most…

Not So Dark Ages

“All the objects shone in the sunshine as on the day they were buried.” — Basil Brown’s diary, August of 1939. Britain’s “Dark Ages” may have formally ended in a field in Suffolk, England, on July 21, 1939. That’s when archaeologist Peggy Piggott uncovered a tiny gold pyramid encrusted with garnets from the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Within days, the excavators had discovered a fabulous Anglo-Saxon hoard of precious metal objects. They had been buried alongside a local king, Raedwald, within a 90-foot-long ship. He died in 624 A.D., thus dating the site to nearly 1,500 years ago. The so-called “Dark Ages” weren’t dark any more. In one stroke, Sutton Hoo changed archaeologists’ understanding of early English culture. If the inhabitants of fifth-century Britain (in the middle of “the darkest of the Dark Ages,” according to the Oxford Illustrated Histories) were capable of making, or acquiring by trade, such intricate objects — see illustration — buried with their king, they can hardly be considered as anything other than enlightened. Check out The Dig, a dramatized version of the find (with Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown,…

Man Found Guilty in Skateboard Attack Death of Good Samaritan

A Humboldt County jury today found a man guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Bernhard “Ben” Bertain, who died on Christmas in 2018, three days after interceding in an altercation at the Burre Center in Eureka. Bertain, 58, was struck several times with a skateboard by Jason Ryan Barnes, now 48, while coming to the side of a laundromat employee who was standing between Barnes and a woman he was screaming in the parking lot, according to police reports at the time and a release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office. While Bertain declined medical aid following the Dec. 22, 2018 incident, he later told family members he felt like his ribs had been broken and was found unresponsive three days later after he called 911 for help. Bertain died during flight to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa. “An autopsy by Napa County Forensic Pathologist Joseph Cohen determined that Mr. Bertain’s spleen had ruptured due to an expanding hematoma caused by blunt force trauma to the torso,” the district attorney’s office release states. Barnes was also found guilty of…

Public Health Confirms 9 New COVID-19 Cases, 3 New Hospitalizations

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases today, making 53 so far this week, as well as three new hospitalizations. According to a state database, 13 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 locally — up from 11 yesterday — including four receiving intensive care. Officials have blamed the recent surge in cases, which saw a combined 267 cases confirmed in the past two weeks, on the virus’ B.1.1.7 variant, also known as the UK variant, which is up to 50 percent more contagious and said to be widespread locally. Public Health also reported today that 54 percent of eligible residents — everyone age 16 and older — have received at least one dose of vaccine to date. Today’s cases were confirmed after laboratories processed 326 samples with a test-positivity rate of 2.8 percent, bringing the county’s cumulative case total to 3,903. Public Health reported Friday that it would receive 6,360 doses of vaccine this week — 3,894 of Pfizer, 2,116 of Moderna and 350 of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. Of those, Public Health plans to administer more than 4,900 doses at second-dose…

Humboldt Company Fined $2M for Clean Water Act Violations

A U.S. District Court judge this week ordered a Humboldt County company to pay just more than $2 million in civil penalties for discharging pollutants into Hall Creek, a tributary to the Mad River, in violation of the Clean Water Act and for noncompliance with state and federal pollution control measures. According to the May 2 order signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, Kernen Construction Co. admitted to “the key allegations in the complaint” filed by the Arcata-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics. The fines, according to the order, were for 9,461 violations in connection with the company’s facility at 2350 Glendale Drive in McKinleyville, with 11 related to polluted storm water discharge and the remainder for failure to comply with “plans, technologies, monitoring and other preventative procedures and mechanisms” required by the state and the Clean Water Act. “The Court finds these violations to be serious, as CAT has shown that (1) the water sampling data shows discharges of at least four toxic pollutants (lead, copper, pentachlorophenol, and zinc) that are harmful to animal and human life; and (2) the degree to which the…

Rio Dell COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic This Week

A free COVID-19 clinic offering the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine is taking place Thursday from 10a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fire Hall in Rio Dell. Because of the vaccine being offered, only those 18 or older can receive a shot, although a flier lists the clinic as being available to 16 and up. Only Pfizer is approved for teens 16 and 17 years old. A Journal analysis of vaccine data last week found that Rio Dell had one of the lowest per-capita vaccination rates in the county, with its residents having received an average of 0.36 vaccine doses per person. Walk-ins will be accepted at the clinic, according to a news release from the city of Rio Dell, but those interested are asked to use the MyTurn.ca.gov website to register, if possible. Transportation is available by calling 707-764-3532. Participants are asked to bring a photo identification and health insurance card, but insurance is not necessary to receive a free vaccination. …

South G Kitchen’s Gastropub Fare on Wheels

After a soft opening April 29, Danny Emmenecker’s fledgling food truck South G Kitchen has settled into the spot behind the Arcata Redwood Curtain Brewery (550 S. G St., Arcata), serving “pub fusion,” food that’s “familiar but elevated,” with elements like kale slaw for the fish and chips and homemade pickles. “The beer at the Redwood Curtain is for a sophisticated palate and I believe our food truck is, too,” he says. Originally from Michigan, Emmenecker says he worked in kitchens there, in Colorado and the Bay Area before settling in Humboldt six years ago. Some of the draw is the natural landscape and his love of trail running, which is how he spends his time off. Locally, he lists Mazzotti’s, Salt, Harvest, Brett Shuler Catering and Loco Fish Co. on his resume. “I’ve always love line cook culture,” he says, “food is my creative outlet.” The menu is stacked with items like a miso-dressed salad with black rice and fried kimchi, a French onion cheesesteak and calamari with a sprinkling of hot peppers and fried lemon slices, as well as a room for specials.…

Seascape Restaurant to Reopen

The Seascape Restaurant is scheduled to reopen tomorrow after closing down earlier this month due to a COVID-19 positive individual who was infected as part of an outbreak connected to a Eureka church being at the Trinidad eatery. “All employees who had contact with the one positive case have been tested and received COVID negative results,” a news release from the Trinidad Rancheria states. “Seascape Restaurant has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by an independent cleaning company following CDC guidelines.” The outbreak traced back to the Eureka the Pentecostal Church congregation is driving a surge in local infections and hospitalizations, with health officials saying last week that offshoot cases were continuing to show up. More than 40 cases have been tied to services at the church in early April and dozens of others have involved secondary contact with individuals who attended services and then interacted with them Meanwhile, Humboldt County Public Health announced this afternoon that there’s growing evidence the more infectious B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, or the UK Variant, which was first discovered in Humboldt County last month, is circulating widely and to blame for…

Ornament Call: Thousands of Handmade Decorations Needed for Local Trees Heading to D.C.

A tree from the Six Rivers National Forest will serve as this years U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and it’s going to need a lot of ornaments  — some 4,000 large ones, in fact. So, the call is on for California residents to help with the effort for the main tree, which will sit on the West Lawn, as well as 130 others being sent to light up the offices of Washington, D.C., officials, which will need an additional 11,000 ornaments along with tree skirts. “The Six Rivers has the great responsibility of identifying and providing the Peoples Tree for the upcoming holiday season,” Ted McArthur, forest supervisor, said in a news release. “What better way to showcase the uniqueness and beauty of our great state than by decorating it with ornaments and tree skirts handmade by Californians.” The theme for the decorations is “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree”  and those interested are encouraged “to help showcase the diverse peoples and ecology of California and its North Coast” and to use recycled, recyclable or naturals materials. For details and how to participate, read the full…

Countdown to the Redwood Sky Walk’s Opening (with Slideshow)

The two-week countdown is on until the much-anticipated opening of the Redwood Sky Walk at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Starting May 14, zoo visitors can access the 100-foot-high suspended pathways through the trees, which is the longest in the western United States, according to the zoo, at just under a fourth of a mile to the end and back. “The Redwood Sky Walk is a tremendous new asset that will bring many benefits to our community,” city of Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman said in a news release. “Both locals and visitors alike will, undoubtedly, enjoy seeing our special park from this new perspective, and the Redwood Sky Walk’s new interpretive signage and programming will help more people than ever before to understand the delicate intricacies and dependencies of our local ecosystem.” A grand opening event is planned for June 4. With the May 14 launch comes a change in zoo admission prices, with differing amounts for Humboldt County residents and out-of-town visitors. For adults (age 13 and older) the cost will be $14.95 and $24.95, children ages 3 to 12 at $10.95 and $11.95 and…

Public Health Confirms 19 New COVID-19 Cases, Making 137 This week

Humboldt County Public Health confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases today — making 137 for the week, the highest tally since the first week in February — while also reporting one new hospitalization. Today’s cases were reported after laboratories processed 313 samples with a test-positivity rate of 6 percent, bringing the county’s cumulative case count to 3,852. Public Health also reported today that it will receive 6,360 doses of vaccine next week — 3,894 of Pfizer, 2,116 of Moderna and 350 of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. Of those, Public Health plans to administer more than 4,900 doses at second-dose mass vaccination clinics next week. That leaves about 1,100 for first doses, in addition to the 350 Johnson & Johnson doses. Yesterday, the county reported that nearly a third of eligible residents are now fully vaccinated. Tuesday, Public Health reported that the federal government had confirmed a positive local case of the UK variant of COVID-19, which has proven to be more contagious than other varieties. Humboldt County Health Officer Ian Hoffman said at a press conference yesterday that officials suspect the variant played a role…

California Dolphin