A state-mandated $450,000 cut to the Southern Humboldt Unified School District’s transportation funds meant the district would run out of money to operate school buses by mid-February. In response, a caravan of 250 students, parents, teachers, district staff, and concerned citizens traveled to Sacramento to protest the cuts. Although governor Jerry Brown was not available to receive their petition, the caravan made a big impression on state legislators who later passed a bill sponsored by local state senator Noreen Evans, which restored funding for school buses until the end of the school year.
Friends of the Eel River chose Scott Greacen, formerly executive director for the Environmental Protection Information Center, as FOER’s new executive director. Founder and departing executive director Nadananda promised to remain active as a member of FOER’s board of directors.
Some members of the public were upset by the large raise Southern Humboldt Healthcare District’s governing board gave to administrator Harry Jasper. After four months of research and negotiation, the board approved an increase in Jasper’s salary from $102,000 to $180,000 a year with the possibility of increases of up to $30,000 per year if Jasper met certain benchmarks.
All ten candidates vying for the open seat in the newly-created second congressional district participated in a debate at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. All of them, even Dan Roberts, the sole Republican, agreed on almost all the issues raised, however. Roberts parted from the rest of the field on the question of climate change, which he does not believe in, but joined the pack in support of legalizing marijuana.
Residents of Northern Mendocino got together as Team Standish, an ad hoc group determined to keep open Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area, slated for closure due to state budget cuts.
Garberville airport manager and flight instructor Dennis Lichti was seriously injured when the Cessna 172E he was piloting crashed in a field near Dinsmore. Lichti was airlifted first to Mercy Medical Center in Redding and then to UC Davis Medical Center with a broken leg and other injuries. His passenger, Tyler Lewis, who was Lichti’s student and the owner of the plane, sustained only minor injuries. Two Caltrans employees and a local resident who wished to remain anonymous saw the crash and rushed to aid pilot and passenger.
Local resident and business owner Ray Wilcox was honored as a Red Cross Real Hero at the 10th Annual Humboldt Red Cross Heroes Luncheon. Wilcox was driving northbound on Highway 101 on Sept. 17, 2011, when he saw a man standing beside an overturned logging truck. Although the man appeared to be all right, he was unable to get over a tall fence that had him trapped next to the burning truck. Wilcox saved the driver’s life by pulling down the fence with a chain he had in his own truck.
Governor Brown signed state Senate Bill 81, sponsored by local state senator Noreen Evans, which restored $248 million to the statewide School Transportation Fund, which ensured that SHUSD’s buses would continue to run for the rest of the school year.
Sisters Sharon Culbert and Linda Davis lost their home in an early morning fire in Phillipsville. Luckily they were both able to climb out windows in their single-wide mobile home, but they lost all their belongings. The local Red Cross chapter stepped in to help with temporary housing and emergency supplies, and donations were sought from the community to help the women get back on their feet.
Team Standish found a non-profit, the Mendocino Area Parks Association (MAPA) to help them in their effort to keep Standish-Hickey SRA open. Representatives of Team Standish attended a workshop in Fort Bragg to learn how to “partner” with the California Department of Parks in local management of parks. John Porter, owner of the Benbow Inn, also attended because of his concern over the probable closure of Benbow Lake SRA.
Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District’s plans to hire Dr. Marcin Matuszkiewicz, a Canadian citizen, as the district’s new full-time doctor were stalled by visa troubles. Otherwise, Dr. Matuszkiewicz was deemed a “good fit” for the district. Arrangements were being made with Valley Medical Staffing of Lafayette, CA, to hire Dr. Matuszkiewicz on behalf of SHCHD and for legal help to obtain a waiver allowing him to practice medicine in the U.S.
School district trustees met with South Fork students, who minced no words in voicing their concerns. Bullying was at the top of the list, followed by the lack of good drinking water on campus, problems with sanitation, unheated classrooms, boring classes and the loss of electives.
SoHum resident and former KMUD news director Estelle Fennell made her candidacy for the Humboldt County 2nd district supervisorial seat official, swearing in at the county elections office in Eureka. Her only opponent was the incumbent, Clif Clendenen.
A federal judge determined that Caltrans omitted a large redwood tree from a map of Richardson Grove and allowed more time for litigants to dispute the agency’s findings. A coalition of environmental groups and concerned local citizens sued Caltrans, alleging that it violated the California Environmental Quality Act.
The Humboldt Local Agency Formation Commission gave the go-ahead to four SoHum volunteer fire departments to hold elections to enable the formation of fire protection districts and to create parcel taxes to support the new districts financially. Elections for Briceland, Fruitland Ridge, Palo Verde, and Bridgeville were set for August.
After one of the driest winters on record, rainy early-spring weather brought creeks and rivers in Southern Humboldt back to life.
SHN engineers presented the Garberville Sanitary District with several options to cut costs to their proposed drinking water improvement project, which included a new treatment plant they were planning to build on private property next to the Southern Humboldt Community Park and a million gallon storage tank.
Mary Krissie Branzei resigned from the governing board of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District. A member of the public read a statement from Branzei in which she stated that she thought the board had misused the Brown Act, and that board members were more concerned with “personal gain and power” than the quality of patient care. Members of the public expressed concerns about the district’s financial condition and the district board’s decision-making process.
Public comment period opened for the General Plan Update draft Environmental Impact Report.
A U.S. district court judge ordered Caltrans to revise its redwood tree mapping for the Richardson Grove realignment project based on discrepancies found in the agency’s data and those provided by the case’s plaintiffs.
About 50 people attended a debate between Humboldt County 2nd district supervisorial candidates, incumbent Clif Clendenen and challenger Estelle Fennell at the Mateel Community Center. The candidates defended their positions on the General Plan Update, shaded parcels, the State Transportation Improvement Program funds, homelessness and county code enforcement.
The Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights (HumCPR), a private property rights organization, filed a lawsuit against Humboldt County, stating it needs to stop the practice of shading parcels, or marking properties with an uncertain legal status.
Tina Tvedt started her new job as executive director of Redwoods Rural Health Center.
The Southern Humboldt Unified School District hired Leggett Valley School District superintendent Catherine Scott to fill the vacancy left when SHUSD superintendent Jim Stewart resigned.
Garberville Sanitary District continued to puzzle over how to move forward with their annexation plans.
Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District finalized arrangements to have Dr. Marcin Matuszkiewicz begin seeing patients at the Garberville clinic in August. Two candidates, Christina Huff and Clif Anderson, announced their intention to apply for the hospital district’s governing board seat vacated by Mary Krissie Branzei.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Willits Environmental Center, The Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the environmental review for the proposed freeway bypass around the town of Willits.
Only about 20 people, evenly divided in allegiance, attended another supervisorial candidate debate between incumbent Clif Clendenen and challenger Estelle Fennell, this one put on by the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project at the Veteran’s Hall in Garberville.
Women’s Crisis Shelter in Southern Humboldt was awarded a federal grant for $132,000.
Team Standish was able to keep Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area near Leggett open to hiking, swimming and camping, but not to cars, while negotiating with the state for local management.
The Garberville Post Office cut their counter hours to 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. due to a “reduced need for services,” according to a U.S. postal service spokesperson.
Following a hard-fought campaign, challenger Estelle Fennell edged out incumbent Clif Clendenen for Humboldt County’s 2nd district supervisorial seat. Local voter turnout was only about 40 percent.
Construction began at Redway School in the first phase of school site improvements funded by Measure L bonds.
Clif Anderson was appointed to fill the empty seat on the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District governing board.
The comment period for General Plan Update draft environmental impact report closed.
An air of celebration prevailed as interim county planning director Martha Spencer presented the draft General Plan Update to the county board of supervisors. Comments to slow down the approval process and to speed up the approval process were made by the public. Board chair Virginia Bass said she thought the timeline presented by county planning staff was a bit aggressive and the supervisors decided to give themselves some downtime between hearings to catch up and do their homework.
Peter Ryce, founder and executive director of Beginnings, Inc. in Briceland retired after 39 years.
The economic impacts of the marijuana industry were explored by participants in Prosperity 2012, an economic development strategy adopted by Humboldt County in 1999.
The Humboldt County Drug Task Force, assisted by the Humboldt County sheriff’s office conducted a probation search at the Lone Pine Motel in Garberville and found one-half ounce of methamphetamine in the toilet bowl and six pounds of processed marijuana.