SHORT RIBS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS Sept 18 2018

– Weird Phone Calls: I got a call supposedly from Apple ordering me to call 877 252 7540. When I googled the number, it came up as a scam. I wonder if they even USE phones at Apple?   I also got a robocall, supposedly from United Healthcare, telling me to call but the recording was so bad I couldn’t understand it. When I called the number on the back of my card, the rep said it was a scam.  Just sayin’.

IS Chic-Fil-A coming to Mt Shasta Mall??? Lots of rumors from the Searchlight-Record. Like THIS.

This will be a dilemma  for CFA fanatics like me.   NO,  it is not okay to drive two hours for a sandwich!  Is it?

OUR NO-CLASS PRESIDENT continues to distinguish himself by trashing the victims of last years’ Hurricane so he can aggrandize himself.  Thank God he’ll be gone soon.   Meanwhile the damage from Florence is still being assessed.  We stayed a couple of days in New Bern few years ago in a B&B beautifully appointed and preserved. The proprietors  were Christians and wanted  us to pray before breakfast. We cheerfully complied.  I hope those prayers did them some good.  New Bern is a beautiful little town which contains the oldest school house in the US, from the 1600’s. Prayers for all the victims.

IS BRETT KAVANAUGH A RAPIST or a would-be rapist?  I don’t know and I’m not sure I care. I don’t have much respect for  people who sit on grievances for years and then bring them forth, but it’s not politically correct these days to question them.  I hope he’s rejected  for his weasel testimony,  not for  this last-minute character question.

THE BENBOW EFFECT-  For the last few years, my family has been having its summer reunion at the Benbow.  We skipped last year because of the big construction project and were eager to see how the place looked.  The new construction has been done so artfully it’s unobtrusive.  You could walk right past the new entrance.  But they haven ruined anything, only enhanced. I asked for an ADA room and was placed in the new 4th floor, where the rooms have been constructed out of what used to be offices. The bathroom was huge! We were apprehensive because there had been a rash of negative Yelp reviews  I swear to God, I can’t figure out why.  The service was snappy and the food was  better than ever. We were there during the week and there were no weddings or the like going on but the eight of us gave the staff a workout.  The youngster who adjusted our cooler was from Serbia. We loved the  lox benedict and of course the salmon was good.  We love going down during Christmas.  For $12 you get a world-class lunch and you’ll feel like a millionaire for a couple of days.  Works for me, anyway.

END

 

 

HARBOR GROUP TO MEET WEDNESDAY, August 29

A release from the Harbor Group:

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group will be having its monthly luncheon this Wednesday, the 29th.  But instead of having a guest speaker, we will be having a general discussion about Pacific Northwest Railroad’s plans for rail connect between the deep-water sea port of Humboldt Bay and the truck-rail hub terminal at Gerber near Red Bluff.

At our last two luncheons, representatives of PNR gave us an overview of what they are planning. It wants to connect the Port of Humboldt Bay to the national rail network.  The goal is more efficient, reliable, and—consequently—economical shipping of containerized goods between our nation and the Asia market. Their project is threefold: (1) the inland terminal, (2) the sea port, and (3) the rail connection between the two.

Our luncheon discussion will focus on the plans for the rail connect. We want to discuss what we see will happen to our port with the rail connect…what will we get with rail connection to the rest of the Nation; what are the positives and negatives we foresee of doing it?  Further, what might happen without the rail connect…are there advantages of not having rail connection to the rest of the Nation?

The luncheon is at the Samoa Cookhouse and is a “no host” event. Lunch starts being served at noon; and the discussion will start around 12:20.

We invite and encourage you to attend and participate in the discussion.

Larry Henderson, Chair

Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group

845-7855

EAST-WEST Rail Grant Video and O Those Willow Creek Peaches

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group presented an overview of Trinity County’s recently obtained grant to study an East-West rail route.  Will this be the study that  finally drives the stake through the vampire’s heart?  I’m all in favor of studies. They’re nonpolluting, for the most part,  and they keep State and County employees off the street. So I say, Study ON!  Study it to death!!  Good training for fledgling Associate Governmental Program Analysts, or whatever they’re called these days.

Anyway, the recent program was a preview of the study.  The only concrete fact that stayed in my mind after the meeting (and I’m still thinking about it) is this: there are NO incorporated cities in Trinity County.  None.

Charlie Bean provided the following  two videos of the presentation.

HERE is Part One.

And HERE is Part Two.  Many thanks, Charlie.

Well, all this talk of Points Eastward coincides with the appearance, however ephemeral , of WILLOW CREEK PEACHES at Murphy’s. They had some last week  that were about the size of tangerines and really ugly,  but God were they good!  Eating-over-the-sink good.  Hopefully they’re be back soon. And all this talk of Willow Creek peaches reminds me of the several happy years I spent as a member of the Eureka Kiwanis. Kiwanis used to have a powwow during the summer hosted by the Willow Creek Club that everyone looked forward to all year. They had a pit bbq, excellent food and everyone had a great time and everyone went home with something.  I came home with a lug of tomatoes so big and ripe I carried them around to the  neighbors that very night.  And I don’t like tomatoes! but these were fantastic.

One year my big shepherd jumped into the river and couldn’t get out because he was so weighed down by his wet fur.  Ben Doane of the HCSO waded in and rescued him.  (Thanks, Ben! I’ve never forgotten that.) I don’t know if Kiwanis still has its Willow Creek barbecue, but go if you’re invited. Hearts are broken and mended, careers are trashed and salvaged and there’s lots of good eating. A lot of the folks I knew from then have  passed but I hope the Willow Creek club is still going strong. Good people.

End

HARBOR GROUP TO MEET WEDNESDAY JUNE 29- THA to present

The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group is having its monthly luncheon on Wednesday, June 29 at the Cookhouse which will feature a presentation by the Timber Heritage Association. Those are the great folks who bring out the speeder trains on holidays and are working on a round-the-Bay tourist train.  

The flyer for the event is HERE.   Pork steak! See you there!

END

NonStop Sac to Boston, Siemens Shows Off

“Please come to Boston in the springtime..” Remember that song? Well, you might not make it by springtime but starting June 18 and continuing till September you’ll be able to fly to Boston NONSTOP from Sacramento on Jet Blue for as little as $199 each way. Take your kids on the Freedom Trail! Or catch the train up to Montreal- a one day ride- and show them a foreign country. That last would be my plan and I’m almost excited enough about it to consider flying again.

In other transportation news, Siemens is having a kind of expo on February 25 and 26 on the Capitol Steps to advertise its bid re: the HSR contracts. Again, it sounds like a lot of fun for train freaks (like me) and kids (like me.)  Check it out here or if the link doesn’t work check the Feb 12 edition of the Sacramento Business News.

Planes and Trains- Transportation Updates

AIR- Redding gets a grant.  Redding has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the Dept of Transportation in the form of a revenue guarantee to help SkyWest defray the cost of replacing their current turboprop (Embraer Brasilia) service with Canadair Regional Jets, according to the Redding Searchlight Record. The grant requires a $50K match and does NOT guarantee that jets will return to Redding but is a necessary first step in that direction. SkyWest recently pulled out of Modesto and is discontinuing service to Chico in December.

RAIL-HSR is on the way.   The California High-Speed Rail Authority took the first step toward actually buying trains, opening bids for a billion-dollar contract to build trains and maintenance facilities. Siemens, which has a location in Sacramento, will be among the bidders, and interest from Chinese and Japanese manufacturers is expected to be strong. The specs are that the trains must be able to deliver passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in three hours. If Siemens prevails, the economic benefits to the Sacramento area would be substantial.

MORE RAIL– The Economist reminds us that HSR is nothing new, in fact it’s been around for 50 years, just kinda slow in coming to California. Fifty years ago this week the Osaka-Tokyo line commenced operations and has “since whisked 5.6 billion passengers across the country without a single serious accident.  Punctuality?  The average delay is  less than a minute.” Japan’s HSR, at 200 mph,  is actually pokey compared with China’s Shanghai maglev  (430 kph) or the maglev being developed to update the Tokyo-Osaka run to a speedy 500 kph, about an hour’s time. This will cost $47B, but the Japanese have a government that is willing to invest in infrastructure. 

STILL MORE RAIL– Closer to home, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Appellate court found that the North Coast Railroad Authority and its partner the Northwestern Pacific Railroad can expand freight service without further environmental review.  Specifically, the panel found that freight rail traffic is interstate commence and not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.  The envronmental groups that brought the suit, Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, had not announced at press time whether they would appeal. The NCRA’s next step is to raise $5M to rehabilitate the tracks between Windsor and Cloverdale and to recruit customers for the freight service between Napa and Windsor which currently runs twice a week. 

END

Graduation Day- “Reach for the Stars”

Saturday the 14th was my cousin’s kid’s graduation day from UC Santa Barbara. I wasn’t expecting much aside from heat and chaos so I was pleasantly surprised that the graduation speaker actually had something to say that was memorable.

His name is Jose Hernandez and he was born in French Camp. If you’ve ever known anyone from French Camp, you know it is a migrant labor settlement. He spoke of following his parents as they moved from job to job picking  strawberries, lettuce, whatever. Finally a teacher took an interest in the family and convinced the parents to settle near Stockton so that the kids could get a real education.

One night in 1972, the family watch Gene Cernan walk on the moon. Jose told his father, “That’s what I want to do”.   His father told him that he could do it but he needed to make himself a roadmap to follow. “And don’t skip any of the steps.”

Jose graduated from high school in Stockton although he had not learned English until he was twelve. He earned a BSEE from the University of the Pacific and then an MS from UC Santa Barbara. He joined the Johnson Space Center and held a number of assignments while applying for the astronaut program. He applied again, was rejected again.  NASA let it be known they would like their personnel to know some Russian (for space station work). He learned Russian.  He pursued every avenue they suggested. Finally,  after TWELVE TIMES,  he was accepted into the 2004 astronaut class and on August 28, 2009 he achieved his dream: two weeks on the Space Shuttle Discovery. He sent the first tweet from space in Spanish.

 Since then he has run for Congress, unsuccessfully. Clearly we haven’t heard the last from him.  His “Reach for the Stars” foundation encourages kids to explore careers in space.  The gloom and doom which was underlying the ceremony due to the recent murders in Isla Vista could have taken over, but didn’t have a chance after Jose finished speaking. It was a good day, and he didn’t skip any of the steps.

FOOTNOTE: The road from the Bay Area up here is an AWFUL ROAD which seems to get worse every year. I kept thinking how much it would be to be riding a bus or a nice relaxing TRAIN. Talk about reaching for the stars! 

 

 

 

“Fighting Intensifies Following Election”

My heart sank when I read this. It CAN’T get any worse, can it?  Then I realized I was reading about Ukraine. Here, to give you something to think about besides the elections are accounts of two meetings in the last 48 hours, the County Airport Advisory Committee and the Humboldt Harbor Working Group.  On the  latter website, look up at the banner and click on “Community Forums” to see what’s coming up.

The Airport group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month, currently at the Prosperity Center, 520 E Street. Eureka. I won’t give a blow-by-blow description because they have a very competent secretary, Mr. Fenton,  who provides minutes of the meetings, so here’s just a few of the juicier items that came up.

-The Quest For Another Carrier.  A small delegation from ACV ( Gregg Foster and Emily Jacobs, according to the Fly Humboldt Facebook page) staff will travel to Edmonton for a meeting on June 3 with THREE major airlines. These meetings were described as something like Shark Tank with numbers and load factors being bandied about. Apparently we were the only small airport to get meetings with THREE possibles, so that’s good work. This is against a backdrop of United cutting service to Vegas and cutting a Portland route which also serviced Eugene. Not specifically addressed at the meeting but clearly on everyone’s mind was trend by UAL and other majors to dump their low-volume routes in favor of jumbo jets (the “Dreamliner”) carrying big crowds to big cities. We wish the ACV folks well in Edmonton.  If you’ve ever been there, you know they’re not going for fun.

-Infrastructure issues at ACV are going to be critical as the new Courthouse spurs expansion. Right now there isn’t even a safe way for pedestrians to get from the Holiday Inn to the airport without running across Airport Road with their baggage and limited visibility. HCOAG was at the meeting yesterday to present their initial plan for ground access. This will be a high priority since killing tourists  is bad for business. The remarks was made that “We have so many needs,  and not much money.”  The word “insurance” was used at least 30 times during the meeting, just another factor in a complex operation. They will be working with Moser Properties to develop safe pedestrian and bus access

-The FAA is not the easiest agency to work with.

-The proposal to rename the airport the gawdawful “California Redwood Coast -Humboldt County Airport” is alive and well and the Committee will be writing to the BOS and to Jared Huffman soon for backing. Those of us who want to stop this abomination should act quickly.  This County has already provided enough fodder for the late-nite comedians.  Maybe the FAA will save us from ourselves.

EAST-WEST CONNECT- Ryan Burns was at the sparsely-attended Harbor group meeting and provided his usual excellent reportage on LOCO so I won’t duplicate him, not that I could. Bottom line is they’re looking for $300,000 for another study and have already been turned down by CALTRANS.  This will be a long slog, but I’m a north-south advocate, so what do I know?