Far North

Bake a Cake Already

A pep talk for the hesitant Instagram and reality TV can crush your confidence. I’m talking about your baking confidence here. While endlessly looped video of buttercream smoothing over the sides of spinning six-layer cakes can be deeply soothing, they can also skew your expectations for your own baking. The same goes for binge-watching the Great British Baking Show — possibly worse than the fondant-fests of American baking competitions because the modest enthusiasm of its contestants can make you forget how much skill and experience they have as they attempt multi-tiered masterpieces. Previous generations of home bakers, whether state fair winners or beginners, may have struggled with perfectionism in the kitchen, too, but they did so without mentally competing with the Instagram highlights of some French pastry chef in Vegas. The baking industrial entertainment complex has brainwashed us into thinking we’ve got to be professionally trained or stick to the box cake aisle. Box cakes are fine and convenient — they exist for a reason. But here’s my thing: You’re still measuring and mixing. You’re still greasing and flouring pans. You’re still washing up mixing…

Responding to the Climate Crisis

Editor: Thanks for reporting on local governments’ climate action planning (“County Climate Action Plan Plods Forward,” Jan. 30). The graph of our county’s emission sources also gives a sense of what we individual citizens can do. With transportation impacts so great, we already know we can carpool, drive 55, ride a bus or bike. We can also push local governments for wise land use decisions, in McKinleyville for example, or make bus passes free. We can eat lower on the food chain and support local schools in creating gardens to help kids eat healthy lunches while learning a lower-carbon food habit. We can invest in heat pump water heaters connected to RCEA’s low-carbon electricity, as we also support local governments in reducing “stationary emissions,” the graph’s term for the 12 percent of emissions mostly coming from gas appliances. And we can support Arcata City Council members who intend to enlist their city in an expanding group of California cities and counties that have banned natural gas in new buildings. Those cities have recognized that new gas lines increase Greenhouse emissions while also boosting the cost…

Eureka Man Faces 40 to Life For Shooting His Friend in 2017

A Eureka man faces up to 40 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder today for the August 2017 shooting death of his decades-long friend. According to a Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office press release, David Kobak was convicted at the conclusion of a three-week trial, which included testimony that Frederick Loftus, 58, was hit eight times, with six of the gunshot wounds potentially fatal on their own. Kobak, who was 75 at the time, called 911 after the shooting, according to officials, and told investigators that he and his friend of 30 years had been in a fight when he went to grab his rifle and fired. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20. Read the full press release from DA’s Office copied below: Today a Humboldt-County jury found David Kobak, age 75  (at the time of the shooting) of Eureka, guilty of second degree murder for the killing of 58-year-old Frederick Loftus. The jury also concluded that he used a firearm to commit the murder. Kobak killed Mr. Loftus on Aug. 25, 2017. The victim…

UPDATE: Fortuna Denies Abatement Appeal at Longtime Problem Property

UPDATE: The Fortuna City Council voted unanimously last night to deny Floyd Hoisington’s appeal of the city’s decision to declare his property in the 1300 block of Rohnerville Road a public nuisance and to order it abated at Hoisington’s expense. But the council also granted Hoisington a bit of a reprieve, giving him until March 3 to dispose of hazardous materials on the property, establish residential water, sewer and electric service, and bring electrical wiring up to code. If he can meet that March 3 deadline, the council directed staff to work with him on a timeline for completing other work, which includes mold and mildew remediation, clearing of accumulated trash and debris and structural repairs. But if Hoisington fails to complete the work required by the deadline, the council’s action would allow the city to step in and clean up the place while billing Hoisington for the expense. PREVIOUSLY: At a special meeting tonight, the Fortuna City Council will consider an appeal of a finding that a residence in the 1300 block of Rohnerville Road constitutes a public nuisance that needs to be abated.…

Social Media Rumors of Local Coronavirus Case Are False, Per Official Sources

Rumors spreading on Facebook this evening about a confirmed Coronavirus case locally are categorically false, per multiple sources. The rumors began spreading around 8 p.m., warning that a case of the virus that originated in Wuhan, China, had been confirmed in a patient — or two — at St. Joseph Hospital. But they are false, according to St. Joseph spokesperson Christian Hill. “No patient at St. Joseph Hospital Eureka has the 2019 Novel Coronavirus that has been in the news,” Hill wrote in a text message to the Journal. “Furthermore, it is absolutely safe to seek care at our emergency department. Any rumors to the contrary on both counts are false.” Numerous other sources who would have been briefed on a confirmed case stated no one locally has been diagnosed with the virus. “Not true,” said Sheriff William Honsal. There are plenty of sick people (at St. Joe’s). None have the coronavirus. The closest case is in the Bay Area.” It’s worth noting that the term coronavirus covers a broad spectrum of viruses that cause infection in the nose, sinuses and upper throat, and that the…

Fortuna Mulls Abatement Appeal at Longtime Problem Property

At a special meeting tonight, the Fortuna City Council will consider an appeal of a finding that a residence in the 1300 block of Rohnerville Road constitutes a public nuisance that needs to be abated. The hearing comes nine years after the property and its owner, Floyd Hoisington, were featured on an episode of the television show Hoarders and almost a year after the city began abatement efforts there. Specifically, City Manager Merrit Perry upheld findings that the property contains unsafe wiring, an “illegal gravity-fed water system that discharges” wastewater into the city’s sewer system without an account or permission, dilapidated structures, evidence of an illegal water diversion and hazardous materials stored in dilapidated vehicles. Additionally, inspectors reported finding “extensive trash, debris and dilapidated vehicles … throughout the site.” The city ordered Hoisington to clean up the property in November but a January inspection found the conditions persisting and Perry declared the property a nuisance and ordered it abated at Hoisington’s expense. He’s filed an appeal of that order, which will be heard by the council today at 5 p.m. In a hand-written seven-page letter…

Running Wild: Photos from the Clam Beach Run

The weather gods delivered a calm, dry Saturday morning for around 700 participants in the 55th annual Trinidad to Clam Beach Run Honoring Ford Hess. The race and fun run featured 5 3/4-mile and 8 3/4-mile options starting north of Trinidad — the “fun” for the longer races includes a wet crossing of Little River along the scenic route. A 3-mile race/walk option ended in Trinidad. Check out the slideshow below for highlights of the day. The finish line on Clam Beach featured music by the Humboldt State University Marching Lumberjacks and a tent with hot chili for runners along with the usual snacks. The race raises money for Chamber of Commerce scholarships and other Trinidad community events. See the race results here. …

HumBug: Worms, Ticks and Hand Sanitizer

During the damp months of the year, dozens of robins at a time visit my yard. They hop about, stopping, tilting their heads, then driving their beaks into the ground, sometimes pulling up an earthworm. This is an important component of their diet, sustaining them throughout the winter. Any comprehensive study of ecology must include them. Digesters of organic waste, soil aerators and all-around good guys, they are at the base of many food chains. It has been asserted that a healthy pasture contains a greater tonnage of worms beneath the surface than cattle above. Charles Darwin studied them for 39 years before publishing his book on them. They are an important part of every ecology in which they are present. Shortly after the robins left the yard, a black Pheobe arrived to perch and await prey. The dearth of insects sent it on its way after only a few minutes. In my last piece, I mentioned an engorged tick I found. Although I don’t seriously collect, I always kill ticks when I find them. This one gave me the opportunity to try out a…

One Found Dead After Arcata Apartment Fire

One person was found dead after in an apartment fire that broke out in Arcata before dawn this morning, according to Police Chief Brian Ahearn. “Arcata Fire located one body inside of a ground floor unit,” Ahearn said. “The person was deceased.” The cause of the fire, which broke out just before 5:30 a.m. in a building in the 100 block of Samoa Boulevard near Crescent Way, remains under investigation. According to scanner traffic, one person was taken by ambulance to the hospital from the scene. According to the incident commander speaking over the scanner about 6:10 a.m., two apartment units were badly damaged and there was slight damage to the third. “Be advised we have had one person jump from the second floor,” the dispatcher relayed to firefighters about 5:33 a.m. “Heavy fire showing through the roof,” a firefighter said over the scanner a minute later. In addition to the structure fire Ahearn said that a vehicle next to the building caught fire, too. Ahearn says agencies will issue a press release later today with additional information. “It is very early in the investigation,”…

Wiener Dog of the Sea

Aka harbor porpoises Once while wading in a little cove during a beautiful sunrise, I noticed a harbor porpoise swimming surprisingly close to me. And she had a tiny baby porpoise at her side. I’m guessing she had recently given birth and was in the safety of the shallows helping Junior learn to swim. As I stood in awe, it occurred to me that the baby porpoise looked like an aquatic wiener dog. It was the size and general shape of a wiener dog, but with little flippers instead of stubby legs and an up-and-down tail rather than a side-to-side wagging one. Since then I’ve thought of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) as “wiener dogs of the sea” (Dachshund delmar). And I think of my mom’s dog as a “wiener dog of the couch.” A few years after this personal revelation, tragedy struck. I found a young wiener dog of the sea washed up dead on the beach. I fell to my knees and sobbed uncontrollably. I pounded my fists into the sand and kicked my legs with such ferocity that my body heaved over and…

Destinations

Where can we go Half as nice as here Beneath towering trees Reaching to the Heavens With Pacific Waves Embracing Lost Coasts and Shorebirds leaving Priceless footprints In each moment Kirk Gothier…

A Longer Short Month

January becomes February this week and it’s a leap year, so we get an extra day out of the month. It seems almost too much that 2020 is going to be just a little bit longer than most years, doesn’t it? Well, here we are. We are compelled by the calendar to go through the days so how about we have some fun? Piece by piece, one week at a time. Let’s go. Thursday My favorite local wild man, freak-scene Cumbia band Los Dune Bums is playing a free gig this evening at the Depot tonight at 6 p.m. If that’s a little too early for you or you prefer your shows to be off campus, you can catch them tomorrow night at Blondies at 8 p.m. for the same price with a bigger bill. Word is that the fantastic soul/funk duo Icarus and Sons will be joined by Disco Consultant and a host/emcee calling themselves The Grouch (not the famed Bay Area rapper, I assume) for an evening of dancin’ o’plenty. Friday Sondra Sun-Odeon is an experimental drone composer and songwriter from Brooklyn whose…

‘Unhealthy’

Editor: Regarding Jan. 16 article “The Whistleblower:” Difficult, unhealthy situation that can be viewed as an end result of the de-evolution of our medical system. After World War II, President Truman promoted a single payer-like system that was rejected by the American Medical Association and American Hospital Association because it would “make doctors slaves” to the system. The term slave is obviously out of proportion but I, myself, would rather answer to a government agency in which there is an emphasis on population health rather than a business model where the emphasis is on profit and influence. It is far healthier for a person and society to think of others and community rather than self and power. In our medical system, resources follow the money. Rural hospitals, like Mad River, have a difficult time breaking even. Most rural hospitals lose money on obstetrics while orthopedic expertise pays the bills. Although there are true orthopedic emergencies, the consequences of perinatal emergencies can have devastating human and financial effects. Is a total joint in a well-off Baby Boomer truly worth more than a well-staffed OB department? This is…

Incumbents Hold Large Cash Advantage in Supes Races

When it comes to financing a supervisorial campaign, it sure is nice to be an incumbent. That’s the primary takeaway from the first round of campaign finance disclosure reports filed with the Humboldt County Elections Office in advance of the March 3 primary, which will see five challengers battle a pair of incumbents for seats representing the county’s first and second districts on the county Board of Supervisors. The disclosures show both incumbents — Rex Bohn in the First District and Estelle Fennell in the Second District — entered the year with hefty cash reserves — money donated in prior years or left over from prior campaigns. Their challengers, meanwhile, generally seem to be struggling to bring in the donations needed to start purchasing advertising, signs and other materials, and in some cases have gone into debt or self-funded the initial effort. The scheduled disclosures come under the California Political Reform Act, which aims to promote transparency by requiring donors and candidates to disclose who they’re giving money to and who they’re getting it from, allowing voters to take that into account and make informed…

Windfall Apples

Humboldt Cider Co. and Food for People’s collaboration When life hands the farmers and home gardeners of Humboldt too many apples, many hand the excess to Food for People. Last year they donated some 57,000 pounds of excess produce and meat to the organization’s gleaning program, according to Food for People, which redistributed the food to people in need. Some of that was produce that’s unsaleable — bruised or too ugly for market — and some is from bumper crops that just couldn’t be moved in time to remain fresh. And some came from the backyard trees of folks inundated with more apples than they could turn into sauce, pies, jellies and crisps. And so the nonprofit, which operates 17 food banks around the county, partnered with Humboldt Cider Co. to turn the bushels of apples it couldn’t store or send home with clients into a hard cider that will raise funds for the gleaning program. Starting Feb. 4, the cider producer’s taproom in Eureka will be serving pints of Cider for the People, with a portion of the proceeds going to Food for People.…

Welcome to the Fun House

Or rather Fun Home – the Bechdel kids’ name for the inherited funeral home they grew up in and the latest production at Ferndale Repertory Theatre. Alison Bechdel, oldest of the three children, published a groundbreaking graphic autobiography of the same name in 2006, charting her coming-of-age and coming-out as she watches her parents’ marriage and her father’s life falling apart. The stage version, with book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, won five Tony Awards in 2015 and the Ferndale production, directed by Leira Satlof, more than does this challenging material justice. The story is told in nonlinear flashbacks as the adult Alison (Molly Severdia) is creating the autobiography. It’s an engaging approach that allows us to understand how Alison experienced these different stages of her life as they happened rather than relying solely on memory. Small Alison (Karsyn Hammer) is a tomboy who’d rather wear dungarees than dresses. With her brothers Christian (Paul VandenBranden) and John (David Hendrickson), she mostly revels in being a carefree kid, creating hysterical fake television commercials for the funeral home and exploring her creative…

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