Recent Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Debi’s making a diff

Once again I’ve committed (or should be committed) to ride in the AIDS Lifecycle. I will be making another go at riding my bike 545 miles from San Francisco to LA. I’m excited and nervous. Memories of last years ride are still fresh. It was a pleasure to join thousands of people riding together to help end HIV/AIDS.

You might remember that last year’s ride was the culmination of the massive health goal I set for myself. I had participated as a volunteer, but the thought of actually riding in the event was something I never believed was possible.

From the moment I left my home in Humboldt County I was in the AIDS Lifecycle fog (not to be confused with the San Francisco Fog). My mind was bursting at the seams, filled with all the knowledge of bike safety, nutrition and just amped because AIDS Lifecycle was a dream that I was going to fulfill.

It was up to me, to believe in myself, and remember MY reason for riding. The last year of calculating calories to the 3rd decimal point, constant training and overcoming obstacles I never thought I could had been all about me. I wanted and NEEDED to be part of something that was much bigger. In the end, the experience was more powerful than anything I’ve ever felt.

As I rode with people that were now  more than friends, they were my team, every rotation of my feet, every hill I climbed, every bag of chips I ate, and every new friend I met along the way had deep meaning. My inspiration for riding was no longer just the culmination of a personal goal but a chance to remember friends lost to HIV/AIDS those still fighting to live.

Every time I wanted to say, “I can’t climb this hill or, I quit,” I was able to press on with the thought that “I ride BECAUSE I’M healthy and alive! Because I want to make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. To be honest, when it was over and I sat looking at the bruises and feeling the deep aches and pains I thought I would never do it again.

Once again however, 3,000 riders will be cycling through Santa Cruz, King City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Ventura, and finishing the ride in LA and I will be with them.

From June 2  through June 8, I will ride my bike 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in AIDS/LifeCycle 12. I’ve committed to raising a minimum of $5,000 and I need your support. The funds I raise will enable the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to help those impacted by HIV get the treatment and care they need, and provide targeted prevention efforts for high risk populations.

Please consider making a donation to my ride by clicking the link below or write a check to AIDS Lifecycle and mail it to Debi Farber Bush, 1924 Ridgewood Drive, Eureka CA 95503. Together we can and will make a difference in this world.

Thanks very much,

Debi Farber Bush



Preserve preservation

April 15, 2013

Jeff Cummings

Dean, Career and Technical Education

College of the Redwoods

7351 Tompkins Hill Rd

Eureka, CA  95501


Dear Dean Cummings:

Eighteen years ago, the President of College of Redwoods saw the importance of a historic preservation program and HPRT was born. The President directed the Construction Technology division to implement the program. HPRT now benefits Humboldt County and HPRT teaches the intricacies of historic preservation in all of its aspects.

The HPRT program has trained 10 DANCO employees at the Samoa site, now DANCO advertises his company as having the ability to do historic rehabilitation. This training made different for the Town of Samoa, which is listed as a historic resource and owned by DANCO.

HPRT has been able to obtain over $300,000 in grant funding from the Carl Perkins Endowment for Career Technical education in the form of tools. The Ink People have received $94,000 through community donations for the Annie B. Ryan House, which is a hands on HPRT project. In addition, another $45,000 has been donated towards the Annie B. Ryan House because of HPRT.

Significant projects that HPRT has been involved in is the Point Cabrillo restoration funded by the California Coastal Conservancy, the Falk Engine House completed by six HPRT students for Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest Service, hands on training for employees of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, mold casting of the intricate details on the upper façade of the Arkley Center which had been slated for permanent removal, Carson Mansion/Ingomar Club floor plan documentation which had not existed, completion of 50 State survey forms and the completion of 35 DPR 523 forms, and barn assessments (barns are a defining characteristic of our rural landscape) and training for the CCCs.

After the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco Bay Area was rebuilt using local Redwood. As our building stock ages, we need vast numbers of trained craftspersons in all aspects of trades of historic preservation to address their needs. The HPRT program is the only program West of the Mississippi that teaches students how to restore historical buildings.

The spinoff of this program has long lasting effects on our communities and how we care for our environment. Thank you for your reconsideration of the HPRT program and its finality


Alexandra Stillman



Demand preservation

Jeff Cummings

Dean, Career and Technical Education

College of the Redwoods

7351 Tompkins Hill Rd

Eureka, CA  95501


Dear Dean Cummings,

The City of Arcata’s Historic Landmark Committee (HLC) has recently learned of the College of the Redwoods (CR) plan to consider putting the Historic Preservation and Restoration Technology (HPRT) program through the “Program Revitalization and Discontinuance” process. We feel that this action would not be in the best interest of our local and regional communities which have benefitted from the knowledge and skills gained by graduates of this program.

Few would argue that Humboldt County and many other communities throughout California, the American West and the world, are lacking in historic structures. There is a broadly accepted belief here in Humboldt County, and specifically in the Cities of Arcata and Eureka which have established government commissions and committees to address impacts to historic resources, that our cultural and built environment is of critical importance in the maintenance of housing stock, economic development, tourism and conservation.

The importance of a local community college trades program that trains students to identify, assess and undertake appropriate repairs to the older buildings that populate the majority of the communities in Humboldt County and the United States cannot be understated. It is unlikely that California will undergo another housing boom. As the existing housing stock and commercial and industrial buildings age, qualified trades people with the skills acquired through programs like CR’s HPRT will be in demand. There are several students enrolled in the program right now who have uprooted their lives and relocated to Humboldt County specifically to enroll in this program to obtain these specialized skills.

The CR HPRT program is known internationally thanks to the dedication, hard work and tireless ability of its Director/Instructor, Bill Hole. Bill is well known and respected throughout the community as a reliable source of information on materials, techniques and all things relating to the preservation of historic resources. After graduating from this program, Bill’s students have gone on to provide significant contributions towards protecting and preserving our area’s historic resources.

This program is a valuable resource not only to the students who are successful in obtaining certification, but also to our community and to those communities elsewhere to which these graduates carry on the business of historic preservation. The Arcata Historic Landmark Committee strongly encourages you and the administration at CR to reconsider any actions that would negatively affect this program.


The City of Arcata’s Historic Landmark Committee: Bob Felter, Kathleen 

Stanton, Donald Tuttle, Susan McPherson, Rachel Sundberg


Preservation prorities

Jeff Cummings

Dean of Career and Technical Education

RE: CR Historic Preservation Program

Dear Jeff,

I’m a general contractor with 40 years of experience, and moved to Humboldt County in 2003. Soon after, I met Bill Hole at the Wood Fair, where he volunteered his time in order to promote the Historic Preservation program. His dedication and knowledge are impressive and I could hardly wait to take a class. My first was Intro to Historic Preservation, which introduced me to the architecture and history of the area, increasing our appreciation of where my wife and I now lived.

Subsequent classes taught me more. In fact the Field School was a turning point in my life, introducing me how to properly repair the old buildings the area is so fortunate to preserve, along with tools, techniques and products I knew nothing about. I signed up for the class three times and would take it again because I always learned something new that I could use on a job. In addition to “old,” Bill is including recent energy efficiency techniques into the program as well.

I realize that times are tough in the education system, but if we don’t prepare people who need new and proper skills, society and our historic building stock will suffer the consequences. CR’s program changed my life, both in jobs for someone new to the area without many connections, and guided me in a new direction. Others need the same opportunities.

The CR Preservation Program is a perfect fit for this area. I hope, as your e-mail implies, that much planning will be put into the “revitalization” of the program that you mention rather than its discontinuance.


Bob Felter

Member of the Arcata Historic Sites Committee

Active volunteer with the Humboldt County Historical Society

Volunteer with the Historic Sites Society of Arcata

Active volunteer with the Timber Heritage Association


Pun-off thanks

A new Pun-tiff has been crowned! Despite the moans and groans of the audience, the judges—aka Masters of Pun-ishment—determined there was enough evidence from the contestants to proceed with the event and award prizes and plenty of laughs. The winner has entered the Witless Protection Program and remains anonymous.

Yes, the 22nd Almost Annual PUN-OFF was held March 2 at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. The contest was a benefit for Making Headway Center for Brain Injury Recovery, a nonprofit that helps brain injury survivors cope and adjust to their challenging lives.

Making Headway would like to thank all the partici-pun-ts, the judges (who are all noted punsters and punsterettes), Burlyman Dana Hall, who emceed the evening, and let’s not forget Jeff Smoller for his organizational skills, advance work and generally re-pun-sive behavior. Well, maybe we should forget. We would also like to thank “Sound Judgment,” the band that provided lively jams and bizarre riffs whether anyone was listening or not. Lara Cox is also to be held responsible for allowing this to happen at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. And finally, many thanks to Rotary of Southwest Eureka for not only condoning but sponsoring this behavior—always the do-gooders.

This was the most ex-pun-sive way ever to commemorate March as Brain Injury Awareness Month!


Jim Peaker, president, Board of Directors

Making Headway Center for Brain Injury Recovery


HSU’s broken promises

At 12 p.m. today, hundreds of Native American tribal members will protest in the Humboldt State University Quad to bring attention to the University’s effort to eradicate services critical to American Indian student success.

“Humboldt State is failing in its attempt to become ‘exemplary partners’ with tribal nations,” said Yurok Chairman Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr. “We’re asking that HSU honor the goals lined out in the institution’s Strategic Plan, one of which is to ‘expand the curriculum to reflect the region’s interests and needs.’”

In the summer of 2011, the Northern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association and Humboldt State formed the NCTCA HSU Workgroup. HSU President Roland [sic] Richmond charged the Workgroup with reallocating the existing $1.1 million budget for Native programs, which includes Native American Studies. The University President instructed the group to restructure, with a focus on student success, the University’s Native student support and community outreach programs. The special group was also tasked with aligning the students, faculty and program objectives with the needs of the communities in the region.

The Northern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association is comprised of the leaders of 11 tribal nations and represents nearly half of all Native American’s in the state. The NTCA advocates for Native American issues at the local, state and federal level.

The main programs at risk, some of which have been operating for more than 25 years, include: Indian Tribal Education Personnel Program (ITEPP), Indian Natural Resources, Science and Engineering Program (INRSEP), Center for Indian Community Development (CIDC) and the Office for Indian Economic Development and Community Development. Countless Native students have benefited from the programs and have gone on to contribute positively to both tribal and non-tribal communities.

“These programs provide an invaluable service to Native American Tribes across the United States and should not be dismantled,” Chairman O’Rourke Sr. said. “Many of the Yurok Tribe’s employees, who currently occupy leading roles in the Tribe’s government, have used one or all of these versatile, time-tested programs.”

The NCTCA HSU Workgroup is comprised of six tribal and six university officials appointed by Richmond, and is jointly chaired by a representative from each group. In good faith, the stakeholder group put in more than a thousand hours developing a detailed plan to better meet the needs of the Native student population and the local community. The group completed the painstaking work of reorganizing the programs — complete with new job classifications and an organizational chart.

Within the new plan, the group also made several recommendations including: consolidating existing services, creating a tribal liaison position, providing more recruitment and support services for Native students, continuing to protect the substantial native language collections and cultural archive and making these more accessible to the students’ and putting all the programs under one roof. Currently, the programs are located in various parts of the HSU campus.

“HSU President Richmond flat out ignored the workgroup’s reorganizational plan and recommendations,” Chairman O’Rourke Sr. said. “This plan would have greatly increased our students’ ability to succeed, at a time when Native American enrollment at the University is in a freefall because of how it treats indigenous people. We worked hard to come up with a cogent process to transform the university into a place that embraces the diversity tribal people bring to the institution, in exchange for preparing our people for the tribal workforce.”

American Indians, as a sub group, currently have the lowest six-year graduation rate for all sub-groups at Humboldt State University.  As the largest tribe in California, the number of Yurok tribal members attending HSU has been on a steady decline over the past few years.  Yurok students are choosing Sacramento State, Southern Oregon University and other universities in far-off locations, according to statistics compiled by the Tribe’s Education Department.  Local Yurok families choosing campuses that are far away creates more hardships on tight-knit tribal families, due to the financial expenses and the long distances. At other colleges, tribal students do not get the tribal nation building curriculum and tribal natural resources courses available at HSU.

Additionally, having a four-year university so close to tribal nations is important to tribal people because it allows Native students to continuously live cultural lives and pursue educational goals. Achieving a balance between practicing culture and participating in higher education is a proven route to long-term success for Indian people.

During the past few years, the Native support and community outreach programs have been operating in a state of limbo. They are currently suffering from a hiring freeze, and the programs are unable to hire new employees. With no clear guidance from the Richmond Administration, the programs have become fragmented and are not serving students at the level they deserve. New potential native students don’t have a clear sense of what is being offered to them by HSU.

HSU should and can be a university that is a model of service to the native tribal communities, as its mission statement clearly states: “Our region is unmatched in the number and size of vibrant indigenous Native American cultures.”

Jim McQuillen, Education Director

Yurok Tribe



Humboldt State University spokesman Paul Mann offered this response: 

When the HSU/NCTCA working group was unable to reach a consensus recommendation on restructuring Native American programs, President Richmond took prompt action on March 11, directing a systematic review and reorganization of all student support programs, aimed at augmenting student retention and graduate rates across-the-board.

Our objective is student success, period. If programs should be reorganized, consolidated or replaced to achieve that success, that is what the University will do. There is no question, as President Richmond noted March 11, that we need to improve student success. We are making incremental progress but it is not enough. The full-scale review he ordered involves broad consultations with the University Senate and with our in-house strategic planning and enrollment management officers.

Working groups are moving on the president’s directive as I write, and they are reviewing the roles and activities of dozens of relevant units across campus, including Native American support programs. We’re confident we can wrap up this review in the near-term.

In the meantime, we will continue to encourage communication with tribal representatives, as we always have. The NCTCA working group’s inability to reach a consensus in recent months certainly doesn’t bar further discussion and collaboration. Our door is always open.


Nonviolence is effective

“War is peace.”

“The presence of guns prevents gun violence.”

“My family is safer with a gun in the house.”

Which statement is as factually wrong as it is illogical? All three.

Which of these is a despicable act of terrorism? Walking among people with bomb strapped to chest? Planting an IED in a roadway? Controlling a drone assault from a remote computer screen?

We are so steeped in the assumption of the occasional necessity of violence, that we quickly resort to armed force rather than apply our active imagination and problem-solving skills. We know of some considerable successes of non-violence. (U.S. Civil Rights campaign, protection of Jews from Nazis in Denmark, dissolution of the Soviet empire all come quickly to mind.)

However, we often fail to acknowledge the essential non-violent campaigns, from our American Revolution to the “Arab Spring,” that awakened a populace to their inherent power and facilitated basic and major changes. It seems our assumption that “violence gets the job done” clouds our vision and our memory.

Non-violent campaigns win hearts and minds; armed struggles provide excuses for greater repression. The shift from the bright hope of “Arab Spring” to the civil wars in Libya, Syria, etc. provide sad examples. We too easily lose faith in our personal and collective power to create change.

The “slow” pace of reform can make us, after a month or week or moment of frustration, abandon proven methods and turn to violence, which has always, over millennia, been a failure. We must pledge peace in our homes, in our communities and in our world.

Chip Sharpe 


Glimmer of thanks

The Glimmer of Hope Afghan School Project dance and fundraiser was a fabulous success! There are so many in our generous community to thank. Veterans for Peace Chapter 56 provide the project with name recognition and acts as the umbrella organization for non-profit status. Attendees danced the night away to the jazzy music of Bayou Swamis.

Delicious Afghan food was served by Lauren Sarabia of Comfort of Home Catering. Jan West, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan decorated the hall with her impressive collection of Afghan souvenirs. Michael Welch and Jere Cox lent there expertise as beer consultants and Mad River Brewing Co. donated beer.

Mashaw McGuinnis, local writer, put the GHASP story in print and had it published. It was a “peace” I used time and time again to publicize the event. Businesses and individuals, too numerous to name here but who will receive a personal thank you, generously donated a plethora of items and services for the silent auction and raffle which Jane Riggan of VFP56 helped organize.

Raven Cziglenyi, one of my former students and her dad Tobin took charge of the letter writing and art table. Mid-evening they passed the responsibility on to Dylan Hutt, another of my former students. Eight AFS high school students from across the globe, volunteered in the kitchen as part of their National Day of Service. Many community members kept the event running smoothly as they volunteered in various capacities throughout the evening. Judging by the success of the event; local TV, radio and publications did a great job spreading the word.

Thank you to my daughter Erika Rose and her fiancé, Don Hoeler for not only taking charge the night of the fundraiser but for their loving support during Sunny’s year of deployment. Sunny Rose and his Afghan interpreter are to be commended for the humanitarian bond they developed, treating one another with respect and integrity while serving in the midst of political war. The stories of their friendship they shared with their families back home are what inspired this project.

With the money raised, $1,500 has been sent directly to our friends, the teachers in Afghanistan. They will purchase and distribute school supplies to 2,000 female students. $1,000 has been put in the interpreter’s college fund to help pay for his tuition and books, at the college he attends in Canada, where he now lives with his wife and children. $500 was given to Veterans for Peace Chapter 56 to help fund the fourth annual Peace Poetry Contest for local high school students to be held Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Fellowship in Bayside. The remainder has been used to cover all expenses related to the fundraiser.

I’d like to end this letter with words from a letter sent with a donation from a local father in memory of his son-in-law, a schoolmate of my children, recently killed in action in Afghanistan. “Thanks for your creative work! Projects like yours are the solution to our social conflicts and apparent divisions. Ultimately all of the families of the world are looking for the same thing – love, peace and happiness.”


Judith Rose



About that Oyster Fence

So, Arcata Main Street has heard complaints about the Oyster Fest not being family friendly in the past.

In response, they will make it even less family friendly by charging $10 a person admission. Crazy!

For example, my 88-year-old mother doesn’t eat oysters nor does she drink alcohol, but she loves to people watch and has enjoyed her time at the Oyster Fest in the past. Give her a bench and a hot dog to nibble on and a soda to sip and she’s happy for a couple of hours while my husband and I buy all types of oysters and their tasty trappings.

Not this year, though. We won’t be going. I think we’re just the kind of mellow folks you might want but are pushing away.

My family and I come from Chicago. Yes, Chicago, with all the bad press about violence and gangs. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret. Chicago has lots of wonderful neighborhood festivals throughout the summer and they also have challenges with security, sanitation, etc.

But, instead of jailing away the participants behind fences, most of them just put out donation jars at the entrances, explaining that they need help to put on such festivals, and that seems to work.

Can’t we think more creatively than fences, Arcata?

Mary Ann Madej