Mayor Michael Winkler: Welcome, Arcata Students – January 24, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mayor Michael Winkler

Mayor Michael Winkler

Special to the Eye

Welcome HSU Students!

You have made a great choice in coming up to HSU in Arcata to go to school.

Back in 1997, I myself came here as a returning student to pursue a degree in Environmental Resources Engineering. Arcata is unique. It offers an unrivaled combination of natural beauty, a friendly small-town atmosphere, an active cultural and arts community and a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The hub of Arcata is the Arcata Plaza, a traditional town square dating back to the 1850s. The Plaza is where our many festivals happen. These include the North Country Fair, the Oyster Festival, Pastels on the Plaza and the Kinetic Sculpture Race and the All Species Parade. During most of the year the Plaza hosts the Arcata Farmers’ Market with some of the best locally grown food anywhere in the USA and music by local musicians. It is a true festival every week.

We have a very lively local arts scene with our monthly Arts Arcata hosted by local businesses, open studios twice a year, the North Country Fair and a wide variety of local galleries and studios. For younger people the City of Arcata sponsors the Arts in the Afternoon program.

For classic movies and live music close to the Plaza we have the restored Arcata Theater Lounge. Slightly west of the Plaza is the Arcata Playhouse which hosts live theater and music.

Protecting our local and global environment is very important in Arcata. We have a variety of local groups that you can get involved in including the Northcoast Environmental Center, Baykeeper, Green Wheels, the Humboldt Trails Council, Friends of the Marsh (FOAM) and the Jacoby Creek Land Trust, to name only a few. Volunteering with any of these great local organizations not only helps you protect the environment but helps you gain the valuable experience that employers so highly value.

There are also excellent opportunities to develop your business skills not only through your classes, but also through taking the first steps to develop your own business. If you have a great idea for a business the Economic Fuel Contest offers prizes of up to $25,000 in seed money to start your own business.

There are many great outdoor recreational opportunities in our area. Within walking or bicycling distance we have beautiful redwood forests, restored marshes, Arcata Bay, Lanphere Dunes and the Pacific Ocean. Whether your preference is mountain biking, hiking, birding or surfing all of these are available close by.

We may not have all the variety of San Francisco or Los Angeles, but we have a wide variety of restaurants and fresh local foods.

Respect is a two-way street. We respect you as newcomers to our area, but we also expect you to respect us and the town and local environment that we so highly value. On New Year’s and Halloween and on weekends having a good time is great, but you need to respect your neighbors and not leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

In Arcata we are avid recyclers and do our best to minimize our impact on the local environment. Cars have their place, but I encourage all of you to walk, bike skateboard or take the bus (using your Jack Pass, included in your tuition) whenever you can.  Best of all and lowest cost would be not to have a car at all.

I hope all of you have a very meaningful, fun and rewarding experience in Arcata and that many of you choose to make this your permanent home.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything that I mentioned in this article or any other questions about Arcata city government – e-mail me at