Reflections from the Redwood Record of July 11, 1985

Although Southern Humboldt experienced less than a normal rainfall the previous year, the availability of water in the summer months were not thought to be a concern for most residents.

"We have a normal summer coming up," Dave Toronto, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service office in Eureka said, "The rivers are lower than usual and rainfall is about half of what it normally is."

"It's real hard to say what the year is going to be like," said Bill Hansell, flood forecaster for the California Department of Water Resources in Eureka. "Since the first of January we've had practically no rain, the rivers are way down — it's going to be tight unless we get some rainfall this summer."

Toronto said the seasonal outlook for the summer was showing "near normal rainfall," and that the past year's snowpack was 82 percent of normal. As far as the possibility of a drought was concerned, Toronto said he doubted it that year.

*****

The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) was scheduled to arrive in the Southern Humboldt area that week to begin eradication efforts.

Earlier that year CAMP officials set their mid-July opening day of Operation E.T., a reference to what officials called the Emerald Triangle of pot growing regions in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties.

CAMP spokesman Jack Beecham said the program was on schedule and teams would "begin the regular eradication phase in your area."

Beecham said plans for five eradication teams operating here were intact. He said a base camp had been set up at the Eel River Conservation Camp at Dean Creek. Along with an office set-up and phone lines, helicopter landing pads had been installed. A complete staff would man the "instant command system," Beecham said.

Altogether about 100 CAMP personnel would be in Southern Humboldt.

CAMP helicopter pilots and command staff had been in Sacramento that week for field training and for a briefing on the ruling the previous year of Judge Robert Aguilar concerning CAMP's use of helicopters.

*****

State senator John Doolittle's apple maggot bill, SB 354, passed the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, effectively funding the multimillion dollar program for the remainder of that year.

While the Doolittle bill only specified $600,000 for funding, the language of the legislation freed another $2 million to be spent on the eradication effort.

For opponents of the state's spray program, the passage of SB 354 did not come as much of a shock.

"It wasn't much of a surprise to me," said an organic farmer from Weott who raised vegetables as well as apples and was one of the nine individual plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the state to halt the spray program. As a result of the lawsuit that was scheduled for the subsequent week, the attorney general had granted exemptions to all plaintiffs from the spray.

Earlier that year when assemblyman Dan Hauser (D-Arcata) introduced two apple maggot measures, a group of organic farmers and the Humboldt Herbicide Task Force approached the legislator with a package of amendments to the bills. Those amendments, which provided for non-toxic alternatives to the spray program, were never included in the final package.

*****

The arrest of a Redway man was thought to signal the end of a two-month, $40,000 burglary and check forging spree in Southern Humboldt, the Humboldt County sheriff's substation in Garberville said.

A suspect was arrested without incident on a warrant charging him with forgery and possession of stolen property, sheriff's officers in Garberville said.

Sergeant Floyd Gustin and deputy Gary Holder said their office began investigating a string of local burglaries and forgeries in May of that year. The property loss in May from burglaries allegedly tied to the suspect was $5,300. Checks stolen in those thefts were later allegedly floated by the suspect, the sheriff's investigators said. At least $1,000 in bad checks were allegedly passed here and investigators said other checks were "spread from here to Redding."

The burglar's pace picked up the previous month, when sheriff's officers estimated the suspect allegedly removed $32,000 in property from local residences.

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