Wild.Life.

The recent story in the Times-Standard about the possible return of the Shasta wolf pack made me think of the wildlife we have around my house in Cutten. Here’s an inventory:

Wolves-  no wolves in Cutten. If I ever saw one I’d probably faint. I wish them well.  Of course I don’t own livestock. 

Foxes-  my neighbor claims we have foxes in Cutten.  I’ve never seen one.  Foxes, like wolves, are pretty reclusive. 

Bears- I’ve had bears in my backyard on two occasions that I know of.  About five years ago, in the predawn hours, my dog was going crazy in the backyard, barking and barking.  I couldn’t see what she was barking at. After awhile I had a Sheriff’s deputy at the door. Some folks clear over in Quail Ridge had called about the noise. he deputy- a very nice female- and I went out into the back yard just as it was starting to be light.  We both  saw the bear jump over my six-foot fence.  I was glad I had a witness. It’s happened at least one other time, without a deputy. 

Deer- the last time was a couple of weeks ago. They come up a trail from the greenbelt to the house across the street and walk up T Street.  I see them over by the Cutten Post Office too. They must be getting their mail. 

Raccoons- all over the place.  Sometimes they congregate on Fern Street.  When they have something they’re eating, they hold their ground and won’t move for cars or anything else. At night they’re  positively scary with their glowing eyes. Look like little demons. 

Skunks-a baby skunk came into the yard and the dog went nuts.  The baby was under a little table and the dog just kept barking  and barking.  It was so cute that momentarily I would have traded the dog for it.  I learned on North Woods Law last night that skunks deplete their scent glands when they spray and then you have a few hours when you can approach without fear.  I love my junk TV.

That’s about it for wildlife out here.  You have to go over to Sequoia  Park for squirrels.  What critters do you host? This is one of the things I love most about living in Eureka.

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The PD Mess

It’s always distressing when the County administrators can’t accomplish a simple function. Like hiring staff.  Every time they blow it, they cost you and me money since someone always sues.

I am not familiar with the Public Defender’s office in this County but I worked for years in HR and labor relations for the State and Federal governments. The current controversy re: the newly hired PD is a question:  does he actually qualify for the position?  From what I understand, he has multiple years of qualifying  experience  in other counties but has been out of the field  for the past couple of years. Does the law actually require him to have the qualifying experience immediately before his hire? If so, he would be knocked out of contention because of his recent past working in Florida.  Nine of his subordinates have complained to the BOS and one attorney has filed a suit alleging he does not qualify.  The Times-Standard carried a good summary by Manny Araujo on March 29.

I don’t know if there is case law on this point but in the Federal arena, specs like that are carefully defined. Generally, if you have qualified for a position, that’s it. You don’t have to go back and prove yourself again.  If it were otherwise, employees would be reluctant to change jobs, which is unhealthy in any organization.

However, “in all the circumstances”  including the fact that none of us know what the politics were behind this hire,  and that nine of the deputies have basically cast a “no confidence” vote re: the Supervisors’  selection.  I’m inclined  to think the whole process should be done over.  

What a mess.

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Zöe, we hardly knew you.

Zöe, the upscale cafe in Henderson Center, is up for sale after barely a year in business.

The reviews all along were mixed. I only ate there once but I thought they had the  food down pretty well. There were a lot of complaints about the service. The owner has posted on the Zöe Facebook page that the closure is due to illness Damn shame,  and we  wish all the  best to her.  Ironically,  both Zöe AND The Diver had wood-fire pizza ovens so HC will be supplied for good pizza no matter who takes over Zöe.

Let’s hope that happens soon.  There is already an unhealthy amount of empty storefront space in everyone’s favorite neighborhood.  The patrons of The Diver are using the former Robert’s (“Henderson Center Marketplace”) parking lot and thank God it’s open because parking can definitely be tight.  I hate to see any business close.  Let’s hope someone can make that space work.

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The Diver IS A Winner

That long-anticipated Diver Bar & Grill is open in Henderson Center, and doing well, from what we saw on Friday.  Contrary to what you would think from the name, it  is neither a dive bar nor a seafood restaurant. It’s a killer pizza place in a town that is probably over-supplied with pizza.  But The Diver rules.

We showed up at 1pm and the place was half-full. Service was cheery and prompt.  Besides pizza, they have a GOOD chowder,  along with salads and burgers,  They have mussels! which are not that common on Eureka menus.  But the pizza is the thing.  It’s wood-fired and light as a feather.  Putting that pizza oven in must have been a real project but worth the wait. I haven’t had pizza this good since we got takeout from Blaze in Chicago, back in October.

I had the bacon and spinach.  I took most of it home since I’d already had the chowder.  It heated up well.  I would order it again. My friend had the Buffalo chicken pizza.  She wanted to send it back because it was “burned”.  I explained that “wood-fired” is not going to look like Papa Murphy’s and after she tried it, she liked it.

Sean, the owner, circulated among the tables.  They have a good selection of beers and I had a decent iced tea.  The pizzas run about $14, the chowder was $6.  The dinner menu, only available after 5pm,  includes a rib eye for $24  and they have seafood items du jour.

The place was almost full again  when we left.  We will be back. The Diver is here to stay. When you go,  be sure to check out  the ceiling!

The Diver is at 2824 F Street,  phone is 798-6184.

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Is Wells Fargo Going To Tank?

I‘ve asked  the  question before on this board:  why does anyone still do business with Wells Fargo?  I personally know TWO people who still bank with them. One has a loan with them so I guess he’s locked in.  But how much longer can a bank survive without growth and new customers?

This article from the SF Business Times says it all.

Read the whole thing HERE.

Thrift Stores

Do you shop at thrift stores?  Do you donate to the charitable ones?

I don’t shop at them because it’s just too time-consuming.  The odds of finding exactly what you want at a thrift store just aren’t good odds.  I have two objects in my house that came from a thrift store. One is a tiny dish I found at the Rescue Mission store and the other is a  pillow I bought at the Discovery Shop.  The pillow had a very attractive Chinese graphic and looks great on my sofa;.  When I showed it to my Chinese friend, he said the graphic was just something made up, but it looks cool anyway.

I used to donate exclusively to the Discovery Shop, not sure why. (The Discovery Shop is the Cancer Society store in Henderson Center at 2942 F Street,) I stopped giving to them because they just make it too hard.  You have to negotiate a packed parking lot to access their drop-off location, which is accessed (and I use the word loosely) by climbing up an unstable ramp without handrails. If you make it to the top, you have to ring a bell and hope someone answers. More than once I had to lug my donations all around to the store entrance on F Street. Unsat!

Then I found out that the Eureka Rescue Mission Thrift Shop (1031 Broadway, next block down from the main Post Office) has a painless drop-off.  You just turn right off Broadway to go around in back of the store and a couple of helpful people are always there to help. Now THAT’S user-friendly!!

In closing, I’ll put in a word for Anglin Second Hand (2016 Broadway).  Although it’s not a charity endeavor, it feels like one and it’s everyone’s favorite junk store.  If I were looking for furniture I’d be sure to check them out.

In our low-income community, these stores fill a critical function, so donate and support them when you can.  Happy Hunting!

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The VISTA is back, bigtime

Back in my parents’ day, the Vista Del Mar was the hottest spot in town. They actually had dance bands in the relatively small space. We’re talking about the ’50s, now.  The earliest memory I have is from about 10-15 years ago when it was painted garishly and went by the moniker,  Go Fish.  For about a year and a half  they made the best fish & chips on the planet.  Then suddenly they closed.  Then they opened  as The Barfly, which has to be the worst name for an eating/drinking establishment ever. Somewhere along the line the awful red paint went away and the building now looks like a restaurant again.

Since December, they’ve been holding comedy nights and serving food till late. They have no website, only a Facebook page. I hate when they do that.  But they’re there, and answering the phone at 443-3770, and open from 1130 to 2am.. We checked them out on Friday and found a clean and welcoming space with the affable owner, Kito Vorobik, handling the front of the house by himself with one other person in the kitchen.  There was only one occupied table when we arrived but by the time we finished the place was almost full. Seemed like a nice crowd and I’m sure their happy hour (4pm to 6pm M-F,  dollar off) is well-attended.

The food is good, no question. I had the clam chowder.  It took a little while, and when I inquired I was told that they were making it to order.  They were! The clam chowder ($6) is a nice bowl with croutons and two pieces of freshly baked bread!  It was excellent and definitely worth returning for.  We both had the fish & chips ($14),  which were also excellent. Four or five pieces of cod with a nice light batter, reheated well later. I’m not big on chips/fries but my friend liked them fine. Other menu items include:  wings $6,  potato skins $7, fish tacos $5 and a Cubano for $12. If you haven’t had a Cuban sandwich, it involves ham, roast pork, pickles and a sandwich press.  In Florida it’s the standard grab-and-go supermarket lunch and I will definitely be trying the Vista’s.

Go check out the Vista- a noble piece of Humboldt history.  Good food and you no longer have to shade your eyes as you approach.   Good place to drop in after Arts Alive!  You know where it is.

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The Cutten Chalet Is Open! And Getting A Stop Light!

The former Cutten Inn has finally reopened, almost two years later than the owner originally projected. There’s no website but the parking lot is fuller every day. They’re open now for breakfast and lunch, eventually for dinners.

I’ve lived three blocks from the old Cutten Inn for 20 years now and have eaten there twice. Years ago I had a client who worked there and I dropped in to see how he was doing.  He fixed me the awfullest, greasiest breakfast I had ever had.  A couple of years later there was a period when they were trying to be a dinner house. I took someone there and the dinners were okay- I had a pepper steak.  But that didn’t last long. Everyone out here has been chomping at the bit for a chance to chomp down on a Chalet omelette.  Everyone but me, since I’m not into omelettes, which is why I’ve never visited the original Chalet. So this was all new to me.

We checked the Cutten Chalet out recently and showed up at 11am on  Friday. Place was about half-full. The decor was garish.  I can’t think of another word. Chandelier-like light fixtures and lace curtains.  Well, you can’t eat the decor. Service was swift and pleasant.

I had the corned beef hash ($10.95) which may have come from a can but was good anyway. They offered either “country  potatoes” for a dollar extra or hash browns. I always order “country potatoes” because you never know what you’re going to get. These were cubes of potato which had been deep-fried. The waitress told us they heated up well. They charge $3 for a small glass of juice but I guess that’s the going rate these days. I would give my meal a B+.  My friend had the Cobb salad, ($10.95) which was really interesting. To me a Cobb Salad is a pile of lettuce topped with a geometrical construction of chopped bacon or ham, egg, and blue cheese. This was tossed so that the toppings were mixed into the lettuce.  I think it’s a great idea. She took a lot of it home, but it was a huge salad.  I will definitely be back. They’re working on an outdoor seating area, which will be pleasant during the good weather.  If we ever have good weather again.

As I write this,  the construction work is continuing on the stoplight at Walnut and Fern that my neighbors and I petitioned for FIFTEEN YEARS AGO.  I hope it’s everything we had hoped for.  If not, you can always cut through the Murphy’s parking lot.  Good things take time.

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Check This Out! In 1956, It Was MEXICO That Wanted A Wall!!

I’ve been fooling around with a site called Newspapers.com. You can look up old papers and even print them out. FREE 7-day trials too. Here’s what I found from the “Eureka Humboldt Standard” of August 6, 1956.

(Background: A newspaper editor in Tijuana had recently been assassinated.)

HEADLINE:  Mexico Border May Be Closed

San Diego- Gov Braulio Maldonato of Baja California was prepared yesterday to close the Mexican border to American tourists in order to clean up vice conditions in Tijuana, Mex., a border city 23 miles south of here.

Maldonato told Mexican and American newsmen Saturday he is “sick and tired” of hearing complaints about prostitution,  gambling and narcotics traffic in Tijuana.

He said he has taken personal charge of a clean up campaign.

“If it is necessary to sacrifice economic interests to clean up Tijuana, we will close the border to American tourists,” he said.  “Perhaps we both will gain,  you Americans in health and we in dignity”.

Acosta Mesa was conducting a drive against Tijuana’s prostitution houses and narcotics trade when he was murdered.  A gunman shot the editor three times when the victim answered the door at his fashionable home.

It’s tempting to say, the more things change  the more they stay the same.

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