The Harbor Working Group keeps on keeping on.

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group’s meeting last Wednesday (Feb 24) was not well-attended. They had missed their connection with the Times-Standard again so there was no publicity and the attendees were those like myself who mark our calendars for the last Wednesday on the month. There were less than 20 of us including Dan Hauser, Karen Brooks, Nick Angeloff, Marian Brady, Dave Hull, Richard Marks and the ever-affable Leo Sears.

(Background/Disclosure; I served on the 2012 Prosperity task force that recommended a study be done of the feasibility of an East-West railroad. It WAS done but hope springs eternal and the folks on the task force who disagreed with its finding that the E-W route was impractical sort of morphed into the Harbor Working Group which is also a descendant of the old Committee for Port Development. Pay attention, there will be a test. Personally, I’m an advocate of spending a billion or so to rebuild the north-south route through the Eel River Canyon with passenger-grade rail.  This is an investment  that would pay off many times over but I can’t get anyone interested.)

So those of us gathered at the Samoa Cookhouse heard from a knowledgeable gentleman named Bill Carlson who works for the USDA in Oregon and knows a lot about  agriculture and its markets. He considers PHB (an acronym for Port of Humboldt Bay)  to be the “most underdeveloped deep-water port on the West Coast”.  Grays Harbor, WA, near Aberdeen, ended up with a giant shipping and transfer facility run by the shipping giant PASHA, for which PHB was one of the competitors. PHB lost out because of not having rail access.  One of Grays Harbor’s big customers is a Midwest soybean co-op.

Currently agricultural products from the Central Valley are shipped south to Oakland for transfer.  This includes a lot of alfalfa and hay to Japan.  Almond hulls and walnut shells are shipped for use as abrasives (!)  All these could be shipped out of PHB,  along with rice to Japan.  The whole conundrum of the E-W scheme is: what is there to ship?  There is a Walmart distribution center in Gerber, where Union Pacific has 20 acres available for development as a ag hub.

The most striking assertion, to me, was that a route from Gerber to PHB could be patched together using existing rail lines which would only require 12 miles of new rail.  That’s a lot different and a lot cheaper than building a 200-mile stretch of rail from scratch.

I hope that the Group will make Mr Carlson’s presentation available on its website HERE as it used to do in the past but the website  looks like no one is paying it much mind. Still, you should pay attention to what these folks are up to. They just might be on to something.  12 miles??

I’ll be posting the meeting notices from now on. Last Wednesdays!

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Do You Hate Cilantro? You’re In Good Company.

If you know what it is, you’re probably one of the people who hate it.

That’s ten percent of the population, and it includes me.  There are several websites that discuss the leafy offender sometimes known as “Chinese Parsley” .  HERE’S one of them. To those of us who have the anti-cilantro gene, it tastes like soap. While you can generally go into a Mexican restaurant and order “no cilantro”  (forget the salsas- they all have cilantro)  with at least some response, I’ve never had any luck avoiding cilantro in Thai or SE Asian places. I just stay away from Thai. 

What bought this to mind was a recent conversation with a relative who is very well-informed and yet was completely unaware of the cilantro issue. But word is getting around;.  The network comedy Undateable had the following dialogue:

“I’m going to start calling you Cilantro”.

“Why”

“Because you spoil everything”

Do you hate it too? Let us know.

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UBER is now in Redding, Eureka soon?

The ride-share program UBER is now available in Redding, details HERE.

The Uber website states that services are not currently available in Eureka but that could change momentarily when people start signing up to be drivers. 

This is certainly a welcome development for businesses and seniors, if not for the taxi services in the county. Whoever provides the best service will prevail and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I normally drive everywhere but if I can get a ride to COSTCO at a reasonable price WITHOUT HAVING TO LOOK FOR A PARKING PLACE I just might do it. Rides to Humboldt State, with its horrible parking situation,  are another possibility. 

Let us know if you’ve tried UBER, here or elsewhere. It SOUNDS like a great idea. And please don’t send us any links to the Kalamazoo story.  It’s horrible  but irrelevant.

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Neighborhood Watch Run Amok?

Thank God this didn’t happen in Eureka, but over in Redding an overenthusiastic neighborhood patrol volunteer is up for charges that he pepper-sprayed a neighborhood resident who ran a stop sign.  Details HERE.

I generally support a neighborhood watch if the residents really believe they need it and are willing to staff it. Unfortunately, there are always a few idiots in any civic group who let their egos take over. If this creep had pulled up on MY lawn I’d take the max action allowed by the law.  Maybe this guy needs a few lawsuits as a reality check. Or Maybe the Redding police need to be more deeply involved in the programs they sponsor.

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A COSTCO moment

I am apparently the last person on earth not to have chosen up sides in the Bernie v. Hilary matter. I like them both and I would happily vote for either one for President.

So I was at the counter in the COSTCO pharmacy and couldn’t help overhearing the problem a couple was having  with a prescription which had increased from $60 or so to $160 in one month. I’ve never paid more than $20 for a prescription in my well-insured government employee life so I am always horrified to hear these conversations, which I hear frequently, and always, it seems, involving seniors. 

The clerk was trying different ways of figuring their deductables etc but hadn’t been able to help much at the point where I was ready  to leave. I felt something rising up inside me. The wife was busy with the clerk so I spoke to the husband as I brushed past him. “The hell with this shit!’ I said. “Vote for Bernie!”.  He smirked. 

But I really meant it.

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Eating Out: The Stuf’d Potato

I told my friend we’d eat anywhere she wanted. I was surprised that she picked the Stuf’d Potato. I’d eaten there a couple of times when It was in Henderson Center and thought it was okay but hadn’t checked out the new location on Broadway. The “new” location is in the Victoria Place, a strip mall tucked behind the Big Five and unless you were looking for it you would never find it.  This is not a location people just stumble upon.

There were two other diners at 1230 on a Thursday.  We didn’t see anyone else coming or going.  Signs were posted for a festive Valentine’s Dinner, bacon -wrapped filet at $45. The interior is pleasant and the chairs were comfortable.  I note this because  I’ve been to a couple of places lately that DON’T have comfortable seating. The place is immaculate.   I could imagine that in the evening, with candlelight and music, you could forget the strip mall aspect and it could be a creditable date restaurant.  If nothing else, you could talk about the food, which is at least a bit unusual for Eureka.

The menu seems like the same one from Henderson Center.  I’d had the potato with chicken in wine sauce before (10.95) and it would still be my pick but for a change I ordered their Reuben  (also $10.95) which was fine. In a perfect world the pastrami would be thinner sliced but it was good, as was the potato salad. My friend had a chicken filet sandwich (ALSO $10.95) but it turned out she really wanted the bread pudding ($4.50) which she took home.  She reported back that it didn’t seem as good as when she had had it before but I couldn’t help because I loathe bread pudding.  If I go back I will definitely try one of the crepes. 

The server was very friendly and encouraged us to stay as long as we wanted. We could have had a confidential business meeting. The reason for the lack of traffic is probably the name of the restaurant, which gives the impression that potatoes all all they have. The Yelp reviews point this out.

So if you’re looking for a place to have a quiet business lunch, or maybe a date night, check out the Stuf’d Potato.  Not so great for networking, though.

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Eating Out: Finally Made It to the 6th and Eatery

This long-underutilized venue, catty-corner from the KAEF studios and the SBDC office, opened to what have been pretty close to rave reviews. They’ve been open since Hallowe’en and are owned by the same wonderful lady, Christine, who brought us the Humboldt Soup Company. I finally got there Thursday.

We arrived at 130 and the place was pretty empty, which was a good thing because the seating is extremely uncomfortable- we had a choice between high barstools that I couldn’t even sit in and rickety seats at a wobbling table. We snagged one of the banquettes and things immediately improved. 

I had the blue cheese burger, which I ordered well-done. I usually don’t worry about degree of doneness with a burger-  it’s a burger, right?- but at this place they ASK you how you want it.  Mine was pretty darned pink for well-done but I ate it; it was basically an excellent burger.  But the surprise was the onion rings. They were THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD.  I hope it wasn’t a fluke. They were crispy, light. Just incredible.

My friend had a plain burger  which she enjoyed and she also thought the rings were incredible. They also have fish tacos and a lamb burger- lots to explore on future visits.

No website.  Like a lot of restaurants locally they are trying to get by with just a Facebook page.  Get a website, folks. You’re ready.  

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