My Favorite Businesses: Jeff W’s Lawn Service

I’d like to give a shout out to a business in which I have no financial stake at all. Jeff Wickizer has been doing my lawn for three or four years now and does a great job. He shows up when he says he will and works quickly. His cleanup is great and his suggestions are helpful.  In other words, he gets five stars.

You can reach Jeff by email to or on his cell which is 601-2090.  He’s also the General Foreman and Estimator at Professional Tree Services and you can reach him there at 839-TREE (8733). Jeff is a hardworking young guy with a family (they just had a baby a few weeks ago) and I say anyone ambitious enough to start their own company on top of a full-time job is the type of entrepreneur who deserves your support. Besides, he does good work. Give him a call and tell him I sent you. You won’t regret it. 


Tidbits and Gossip August 19 2015

One thing leads to another: I called the Kyoto Restaurant because I saw one of these liquor license notices in the window and wondered if they had changed hands.  Not so, said Jenny Masaki,  wife of owner Eric Masaki.   The liquor license transfer came about because Eric has been hired as a Deputy Sheriff and was only pinned a day or so ago. A corporate “split” was necessitated because law enforcement personnel are prohibited by law from selling booze. Good luck in your new assignment, Deputy Masaki!

The Cutten Inn is still in a holding pattern.  No less a personage than the owner’s brother gave us the word on when the Inn will be open again: “Sometime”.

I apparently don’t get  out enough or I wouldn’t be the last person on earth to know that The Works, our hallowed indy record store, has left its digs on “C” Street and is now located at 434 Second Street. They have less space but lots more visibility.  Bandon hasn’t thrown a grand opening party yet but let’s keep asking. The old space on “C” Street was taken over by neighboring Mantova’s Two Street Music.

I signed up for Newsmax by mistake- and it’s been enlightening. One of the out-of-town papers I read is showing a lot of Trump ads and when I clicked on a poll I somehow ended up with a trial subscription. I’ll be bailing soon because most of their “news” is about health matters and topics of interest to the elderly. I had expected a lot of right-wing politics,  not so much the alzheimers-and-diabetes  ads. I guess they know their market.

The ONLY fast-food chain that I would cheerfully welcome into Humboldt County,       Chick-fil-A, is opening a new store today in Rancho Cordova at 2234 Sunrise Boulevard. The closest CFA fix remains the Santa Rosa store at 1452 Mendocino Avenue. Ave. For those of us who are truly addicted, there are days when we have to stop ourselves from hitting the road in  pursuit of the Magic Sandwich. To go from the sublime to the ridiculous, I’m even having pangs for KFC lately.  We are truly a chick-deprived community.

CNBC’s latest series, “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” is an oddball show, to judge from its first episode. They followed two inventors through the initial pitch.  The first was a woman from an events-planning background whose invention was a kind of chocolate fountain but instead of chocolate, it showers down cascades of marinara sauce! I didn’t find it appetizing at all;  it reminded me of chainsaw massacres and Edgar Allen Poe, but maybe some one will find it charming.  The contraption kept breaking down, since marinara sauce is much thicker than chocolate, fountain chocolate anyway.  Maybe they should try alfredo sauce.  The other invention was a device to be worn by athletes which signals when one is in danger of sustaining a concussion. The two Silicon Valley types who pitched this came away with some seed money and a lot of compliments and encouragement from the investor. THEIR  invention didn’t remind anyone of a slasher movie.  Continues Wednesdays at 7pm, repeats at 10pm, on CNBC, Suddenlink Channel 51.  I’m in.



Art Bell Is Back- and Riding StreamGuys

“Dark Matter Digital Network, a burgeoning online radio network focused on science, paranormal and related topical radio shows, has selected StreamGuys to provide all content delivery network (CDN) and streaming services for its programming, including dynamic ad insertion.” according to a press release from StreamGuys.

It continues, “The appointment of StreamGuys as the network’s exclusive CDN and streaming partner coincides with paranormal radio legend Art Bell’s return to broadcasting. Mr. Bell’s new Midnight in the Desert program premieres this week, airing weeknights on Dark Matter Digital Network at 12 midnight ET.”

(Calls to KINS and to BiCoastal Media,  formerly the local outlet for Bell’s late night show, established that they currently have no plans to carry his new show but a barrage of phone calls could perhaps change their minds.  Bell fans are vociferous in their devotion. KXL in Portland, 101.1 FM, is carrying the broadcasts as are KNYE in Pahrump NV,  95.1 FM and four SoCal stations. Does anyone besides Art Bell really live in Pahrump NV?)

Here is an interview from RadioLink.  

More from the release:

“Keith Rowland, owner of Dark Matter Digital Network and a longtime webmaster and engineer for Art Bell, has gradually built a live talent roster since launching the network in 2013. With the return of Art Bell and the addition of The Other Side of Midnight, a new show from Richard C. Hoagland airing immediately after Midnight in the Desert, Rowland sought to offload the growing responsibilities that come with a busier live streaming schedule—and a quickly growing audience.

A recommendation from TuneIn, the popular stream aggregator that will carry Midnight in the Desert via its mobile app, brought StreamGuys into the picture. StreamGuys quickly established a robust, cloud- based streaming architecture that can quickly scale up or down to accommodate audience sizes from show to show, along with redundant mp3 and AAC+ streams to accommodate most media players. Rowland also signed on for StreamGuys’ dynamic ad insertion service, ensuring a simple path to stream monetization without the burden of managing ad schedules and delivery.”

“StreamGuys developed a strong combination of hardware and streaming infrastructure that covered everything from dynamic user numbers to ad delivery,” said Rowland. “They built a redundant server backbone to handle thousands of connections seamlessly, with automatic failover to backup systems as needed. It’s an intelligent configuration that can determine which server and data center location is best equipped to handle each connection.  And the ad insertion service happens entirely server-side, which means we simply have to send a toe down the audio chain to trigger ads. They do all the heavy lifting, which removes the headaches of manual ad management from the client side.”

The monetization angle is especially important for Dark Matter Digital Network as a quickly growing streaming network. While 22 over-the-air radio stations in North America have signed on to pick up Midnight in the Desert from a relay stream, Rowland emphasizes that his operation is primarily an internet streaming network—a vision that he sees quickly gaining momentum.

“Increasingly, broadcasters who leave the corporate market recognize independent internet streaming as the next logical step,” said Rowland. “Even when Art Bell was on terrestrial and later satellite radio, more listeners were switching to a concurrent internet stream with each passing week. This was the next natural step for Art, and it’s exactly where we want to be as Dark Matter Digital Network. We can control everything we do, and streaming is a more exacting technology when it comes to financials. We understand our demographics, we know our audience numbers and we can monetize everything easily compared to the surveys and averages of terrestrial radio. StreamGuys is helping us achieve our monetization goals.”

About StreamGuys, Inc.

In business since 2000, StreamGuys is an industry-leading service provider of live and on-demand streaming, podcasting delivery, and SaaS toolsets for enterprise-level broadcast media organizations. The company brings together the industry’s best price-to-performance ratio, a robust and reliable network, and an infinitely scalable cloud-based platform for clients of any size to process, deliver, monetize and playout professional streaming content. StreamGuys supports many of the world’s largest Podcasts, global TV and radio broadcasters, video and audio production companies, houses of worship, retail and hospitality businesses, government organizations, medical and healthcare services, and live venues for sports and entertainment. The company excels in developing and deploying technologies for business growth and revenue generation, including dynamic ad insertion, mobile streaming and detailed business and data analytics.

Finally, here is an interview with The Man himself from Dark Matter, including a link for those who wish to sign up for Midnight in the Desert.  Enjoy!



The BEST Strawberries on the Planet

Those of you who know about Saechow’s strawberries in Fortuna, you can skip this. Those who don’t, you owe me a big favor for telling you.

What: Mr. Chan Yan Saechow began growing strawberries after he was laid off from Eel River Sawmill. Thank God he was laid off, because he grows the best strawberries you have ever had. They have vegetables,  too, but the berries are the thing. And we still have a good chunk of summer left.

Where: Take the Kenmar exit and when you reach the bottom of the ramp go left. (Right takes you to the River Lodge). Then go about a block and make the first right, where you see signs  advertising berries,  butterflies , burls, a gun range , etc.  Saechow’s stand is about a mile own the road on your left and you won’t miss it. 

When: When I went there Saturday, they handed me a business card with their number and suggested calling ahead to see when they’re open.  There were a few traumatic weeks when they were NOT open but now they’re back. Just call 707-845-3930 to make sure.

And you’re welcome.


Have You Tried Sammy’s BBQ Catering in King Salmon?

No one goes to King Salmon by accident. You have to want to go ‘way out there. When I heard about Sammy’s it was from friends in Washington State,  go figure.
So when my friend and I checked them out on Tuesday, they had already been open for a year. The first thing we learned was, don’t go late. We thought showing up at 1:30 was the right thing to do, but they were already out of tri-tip by then. As you can gather from their website,  they usually have tri-tip, kalua pork, pork ribs, teri chicken, and meatballs.

The sides include chop suey, unusual for Humboldt but considering it’s a Tongan family that runs the place it all makes sense.  The menu is similar in part to that of the Banana Hut and it would be interesting to do a side-by-side tasting of the two versions of kalua and the two versions of pineapple gravy. The chop suey is made with glass noodles which I hadn’t seen before.  They also have a pineapple cole slaw which I didn’t expect to like, but I did.

I had the kalua pork, salty as heck but I can never resist it, and the ribs , which could have used more cooking. They were okay but not falling off the bone.  My friend got ribs which were too fatty.  The lady who was serving was slow about offering to replace them, and an unseemly discussion ensued during which my friend pointed out the layers of fat on her rib. Hers were too fat, mine were not. I liked the potato salad, wasn’t crazy about the meatballs. Things would have gone a lot better if we’d gotten there early enough for the tri-tip. 

The whole family works the restaurant .  When I lived on Oahu I had Tongan friends who used to come and visit me out on the North Shore and every time they would find an excuse to clean my house, which was not up to their standards. Sammy’s is spotless.

I see an ad for Sammy’s in the Times-Standard this morning, but the print is so muddy you can’t read it.  I hope they got their money back. Sammy’s will be open tomorrow and Friday but closed on the Fourth.  Check them out and have  a great holiday.


ZOE Coming to Henderson Center.

“Gonna be a Chinese restaurant!” said the beefy security guard in front of the BofA on F Street in Henderson Center. 
I was squinting at the chalked message on the window of the former Safeway Pharmacy and wondering how another Chinese restaurant would fit in, considering the Hunan is well established a block away.

When I caught up with the owner, Marsa Jordan, she explained that “Zoe” is actually the Greek word for ‘Life”. She also explained that the restaurant will not be Chinese and will be more upscale than anything currently in Henderson Center. “Casual sophistication” is the byword, and she will be offering organic, vegetarian and vegan choices as well as catering services.

Marsa, who’s originally from Fortuna, is also emphasizing original touches such as homemade hand-made crackers. Do fresh-baked oyster crackers sound good? With one of at least two homemade soups daily? I thought so. She’s still waiting for her permit but Zoe should be serving beer and wine by the time it opens, and seating 65 customers.

Marsa has shared her DRAFT menu and opening night menu with us.  Since the restaurant is still settling equipment issues, there will be changes before the opening,  but this is a chance to see the direction she’s going in.  Sadly, I couldn’t get the link to work and so I’ll have to leave you with “Appetizers: Caramelized onion with Gruyere in pastry, Cream puffs filled with Salmon and dill mousse, Baked brie with fruit compote, served with our house made crackers..” as a hint of what is to come.

Turning a retail location into a restaurant is a mighty undertaking so we’re not looking at an opening sooner than September. A sign in the window is already announcing that resumes for servers and other staff may be forwarded to Marsa at : 

The advent of an upscale place is an exciting development in Henderson Center, where the long-anticipated “Henderson Center Marketplace”, which was supposed to go into the Robert’s space, is apparently wrecked on the shoals of we-couldn’t-get-financing although none of the principals have seen fit to answer my phone calls. On the same block, work is continuing on The Diver, a bar with an excellent logo that is already visible from the streetside. (Their menu was printed in the recent NCJ Menu of Menus but it’s awfully hard to read.) Lots going on in Henderson Center and the guard at the bank will keep you informed. I hope somebody’s already told him Zoe is not going to be a Chinese restaurant. I don’t want to be the one to break it to him.


“Best of the North Coast”? Yeah, right.

The Times-Standard published its “Readers’ Choice Awards” this morning. We’ve had a lot of fun with these lists in the past and they will never be credible until the T-S starts publishing their tabulations (and a system to prevent duplicate voting).  Still,  they’re a basis for discussion. And some of them are actually well-deserved. 

I was pleased to see that Bob’s Footlong retained its rightful place on the top of the hot dog pyramid. I don’t know what it is about Bob’s that makes their dogs taste so good but I rarely go to Fortuna without stopping by.  It is gratifying to see Eureka’s AA Bar & Grill retain its rightful place at the head of the “steak” list and CC Market is definitely a great caterer. But I have a quibble with listing Hole-in-the-Wall as BOTH “Best Delicatessen” and “Best Sandwich Shop”.  It is a great sandwich shop but if you’ve ever been to Cantor’s or David’s or Katz’s,  you know that Hole-in-the-Wall is a sandwich shop, not a deli.  We are long overdue for a REAL kosher deli up here. I don’t know if I’ll live to see it.

I was really surprised  to see Ferndale’s Ivanhoe listed as the “Best Restaurant, (Overall)”. Really? Anyone been there? What do you think?

Finally,  I was pleased to see Redwood Acres recycling receive some recognition. This is one of my favorite businesses in  Humboldt County.  Great people, and they make the recycling experience almost fun. 

So what do you think of the “Best of the North Coast”?  Did they get it right?  Did they leave out your favorite? Let us know what you think!



Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.


Radio Shack Closing

…at Bayshore Mall.  The other stores in the County (Arcata, Fortuna, Myrtle Avenue) will remain open for the time being while radio Shack closes thousands of its locations. The staff at the Mall was very helpful when I asked why Fortuna and Myrtle weren’t answering their phones. It’s because they help live customers over phone calls- don’t you wish everyone did that?-and the stores don’t have answering machines. Yup, that’s right.  They sell them, but don’t have one . The liquidation of the Mall location is well along and is the only store closing I’ve ever heard of that’s being advertised on Craig’s List. Entrepreneurs, check it out. They may have something you can use. 

Happy Retirement, Wally Cunningham

I took my car into Old Town Brake and Auto at 4th and D as I have for the past 15 years and Wally told me he’s retiring at the end of the month, turning the shop over to his son Brian (whose own shop, Eureka Brake & Automotive, on Second Street, will remain open.) Wally has achieved the American dream- a successful business to pass on to his kids and as far as I can figure he did it the old -fashioned way-through hard work. Keeps the same employees around for years too. Stop by and say goodbye to Wally and Sharon, who are remaining in the area. We’ll miss ya, Wally. 

And I’ll be offline for a few days while St. Joseph’s installs my new knee. Or should that be, my knew knee?  Blessings of the season to all of you.