Garberville Rotary donates $8,500 to KMUD, KHSU and Hurricane Sandy survivor

Redwood Times

At the Garberville Rotary Club’s Christmas Party last Tuesday at Cecil’s in Garberville, KHSU and KMUD each accepted separate donations of $3,000. For KHSU, this comes as part of a very specific capital campaign focused on preserving and upgrading the station’s signal in Southern Humboldt by acquiring a construction permit for a full power station on Pratt Mountain.

The current equipment works - but it requires expensive modifications in order to keep the construction permit. KHSU currently uses a translator, or a low power repeater, to broadcast its signal in this part of the county. They hope to upgrade to a full power transmitter at some point in the future, but KHSU Development Director David Reed says this donation from the Rotary Club has raised enough revenue to at least rebuild their transmitter at an estimated cost of $15,000.

"Basically - we go into the guts of the translator, change it all over, and satisfy the requirements of the FCC until we can afford to buy a permanent [full power] transmitter. And we’re really close," Reed said.

"There are still donations coming in from Southern Humboldt for this project," he added.

A pending deadline is one of the main factors driving this recent series of events. In order for KHSU to acquire the construction permit, KMUD had to relinquish their permit to build a broadcast facility in Shelter Cove. According to Simon Frech, KMUD’s technical director, the board of directors agreed to release the permit to KHSU on the condition that KMUD had to be reimbursed for engineering, legal and staff costs.

"We said that $8,000 was a fair amount, and KHSU agreed - so KHSU has a construction permit for a full power station on Pratt Mountain," Frech said.

Garberville Rotarian Shon Wellborn believes that Southern Humboldt is an extraordinarily generous community.

"Whenever someone has a significant need, people show up," she said. "I moved here from Los Angeles 13 area years ago, and I have never seen the commitment to community that we have here."

Wellborn hosted a fundraising event at her house that she says raised an estimated $2,000. She says that after fundraising for Arcata-based KHSU, the Garberville Rotary Club felt it was appropriate to also support their own locally based non-commercial radio station. In the interest of fairness, they also gave a matching $3,000 donation to KMUD.

"I look to KMUD for local news," said Wellborn, "and I look to them in times of an emergency. But it’s not my regular station. KHSU is my regular station. And there’s a huge need for both here."

Roughly 3,000 miles away in West Creek, New Jersey, Joann Cohalan is also experiencing Southern Humboldt’s generosity. Cohalan is trying to get back on her feet after losing her home in Hurricane Sandy.

She also owns a small marina that was seriously damaged during the storm. Five boats were missing. More were damaged. Several were smashed to pieces in the yard of her home - which is no longer inhabitable.

Her brother is local resident and Garberville Rotary Club member Brian Harper, of Specialized Woodworks in Redway. Harper says the idea came from the True Value Hardware store - where Craig Parkinson was matching his customer’s donations to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Then, at a recent Rotary meeting ... "Ernie Branscomb stood up and said, ‘We should raise some money and send it back to your sister,’" Harper explained.

At their Thanksgiving luncheon, the Rotarians "passed the hat," raising $1,365 among the assembled membership. At the organizational level, the Garberville Rotary Club also donated $1,135 more - raising a total of $2,500.

"She is ecstatic, and is feeling very blessed," Harper said. "They got into a rental finally, but that’s going to be temporary ... They’ll need to find another place to live.

"I think that we have an awesome community here, and I thank them," Harper added. "I’m so pleased to be part of it."

photo captions:


1. KMUD treasurer Julia Minton, left, accepts a check from Garberville Rotary president David Katz. KMUD’s technical director Simon Frech and board member Marcy Stein were also on hand to accept the donation.

2. KHSU general manager Ed Subkis accepted a check from Katz at last week’s Garberville Rotary Club Christmas party at Cecil’s in Garberville.