Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rail service not coming to Humboldt anytime soon.

The Times Standard did a story on the futility of the North Coast Rail Authority (NCRA). Things to take from this story: NCRA has not been receiving payment by the Operator (North Western Pacific Co.) to haul Freight in Marin and Sonoma County. Operator has no desire to continue rail service north of Healdsburg. The North Coast Rail Authority has Operating Revenue of $500,000 and Expenses of $700,000 per year for a Operating deficit of $200,000. There is no identified or earmarked  state funding for the NCRA. Any opportunity for an excursion train from Samoa to Scotia has no chance until about 2025-30. But the piece of trail from Arcata to Bracut will be fine addition this next year but no plans for the construction continuation to Eureka until 2021. I have continually said in public I want to see a trail around the bay before I die. Don't know if I will make it that long.  

Saturday, September 02, 2017

EHS grads Madsen and Hanson starting Linemen for Division 1 football schools!

And both were All Academic for their conferences also! I cannot remember the last time we had 2 players playing lineman on Division 1 schools at the same time.

Jake Hanson is starting at center at 6'5" and 302 for the Oregon Ducks and has helped the Ducks have a great running attack in the Pac 12. He garnered All Conference honorable mention last year.
Nathan Madsen has started at Nose Tackle for a few years at for the Fresno State Bulldogs. I was talking to his father James not too long back and he and his wife Terra are going to travel to watch Nate play against #1 Alabama next week and then follow up with a trip to # 8 Washington. What player in Humboldt County history has had a chance to play back to back top 10 teams in two weeks? I would say none ever.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Why are Dems so paranoid of Progressives?

This cartoon pretty much says it all. The Dems are becoming conservative curmudgeons and Republicans are just lost and sitting there waiting to be taken over. Click on the cartoon for bigger version. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

SF Gate reports on Rapid Transit victory in Marin. Coming soon Cloverdale.

Nine years after voters approved a commuter train system for the North Bay, it will start service Aug. 25.

The opening comes after more than two years of delays for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit System, known as SMART. By the end of next week, riders will be able to hop aboard trains at 10 stations from the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa to downtown San Rafael, a 43-mile route along old Northwestern Pacific Railroad tracks.

“We are proud to say that we are ready to roll,” said SMART Board of Directors Chairwoman Debora Fudge in a statement. “This is the result of years of hard work from SMART’s staff. ... We will remember this day for generations to come.”

Full service will begin at 12:49 p.m. on Aug. 25 after a 9 a.m. opening ceremony at the Santa Rosa Downtown Station. Fares will be free the first day, and 50 percent off through Sept. 4.

The last delays to the system were because of federal red tape, agency officials said. The system hadn’t received final approval for a $50 million safety feature called positive train control, which is designed to automatically stop trains if it senses a potential collision or problem. That happened this week.

Operators are planning 34 trips every weekday between Santa Rosa and San Rafael starting before sunrise and into the evening, with one-way fares payable by Clipper card and ranging from $3.50 to $11.50. New stations and connections are already in the works, including Larkspur and downtown Novato.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Relics win Senior Tournament. Mickey Ayala wins HR contest. Next Senior Tourney Aug. 26?

The Relics had to rally for 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th to slip by the Bears 11-10 to reach the championship game and barely held on to beat the Classics 5-4 to garner the 1st Place Trophy donated by Samoa Athletic Club. The Rookies took down the Bears 15-8 for 3rd Place.
From Bottom Left for Relics: Stuart Rosenburg 3B, Al Wolski 2B, Kathy, Mark Raymond OF, Robert Ruehl 1st and Tom Marking SS. Top: Softball King OF, David Damme OF, Tim Ash 1st, Paul Pennington P, Paul Barrett OF and Pat Higgins C.  Average age 64.45. 
Mickey Ayala hit 3 out 5 swings out of the park to win a very competitive Home Run contest. Doc Jones hit 2 out of 5 and hit the fence on another and Scott Wooley, Jeff Powers and Buzz Johnson also cleared the fence.
Very spirited Saturday! Big Thanks to Buzz Johnson and Tom Marking for the help with field prep. I hope we can do this again in August.
Thank You to all who participated and patronized the Snack Bar helping out Mad River Girls Fastpitch Softball League.
Here is the top 21 hitters by Base % in the Tournament:
1.       Paul Pennington               .777        Relics
2.       Stuart Rosenburg             .777        Relics
3.       Pat Higgins                        .777        Relics
4.       Mike Conboy                     .777        Bears
5.       Mike Powers                     .727        Rookies
6.       Tom Pagano                      .727        Rookies
7.       Tim Ash                              .700        Relics
8.       Kent Froblom                    .700        Classics
9.       Scott Wooley                     .700        Classics
10.   Bill Hicks                            .667        Classics
11.   Doug Pace                         .667        Classics
12.   Carlos Avelar                     .636        Rookies
13.   Mickey Ayala                     .636        Bears
14.   Kieth Morison                   .636        Bears
15.   Mark Raymond                 .636        Relics
16.   Paul Barrett                       .636        Relics
17.   Robert Ruehl                     .625        Relics
18.   Dave Schlosse                   .600        Bears
19.   Rick Mitchell                     .600        Bears
20.   Paul Woodland                 .600        Bears
21.   Earl Eddy                            .600        Bears

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rail meeting 7/12/17. Rail gone forever in Humboldt?

Healdsburg City Councilman David Hagele was welcomed aboard and attended his first meeting as at large city representative. And it was a lively one.
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) was on the forefront of the NCRA July meeting. There seemed to be a demand of the Commission for the NCRA to produce a working business plan or a shut down plan by October. It is to note that the CTC has no Jurisdiction over the NCRA.  As I am on the Finance Committee I have been privy to the projected budget for next two years and can confidentially say the NCRA will be able to pay their bills thanks to a settlement with AT&T over encroachment issues in Ukiah. That, of course, is contingent on no emergencies. The CTC speculated that the NCRA was selling properties purchased with public dollars to cover debt incurred and wanted accountability of those funds. A land transaction with the Judicial Council of California at Ukiah’s old train depot was supposed to generate $1.3 million for 4.1 acres has been in the works for a few years. The hope is to build a new Mendocino Court House at the location.
NCRA Executive Director Mitch Stogner explained that his organization has Operating Expenses of about $700,000 and Revenues of $500,000. That statement in itself usually gets attention. You have to remember that the NCRA is not legislatively funded so operating expenses have been “smoke and mirrors” or creative financing for years. One of the ways the NCRA has been able to exist is having NWPco make $15,000 payments to the NCRA for a Rail Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) 3.1 million dollar loan that was made in 2011 for track repairs with NCRA acting as Co-Borrowers with NWPco. Another critical financial burden for future consideration is the millions that is pending in lawsuits against the NCRA. Our audit calls us a "ongoing concern."
NWPco counsel and former North Coast Congressman Doug Bosco explained that the original legislative creation of the NCRA did nothing to fund the ongoing operations. Mr. Bosco said NWPco announced to the CTC Commission no plans to service the 240 miles north of Windsor. Currently they are only operating at night and have had to battle flooding. A proposed rail spur that was initially estimated at $150,000 has now been priced at $800,000 at Lagunita’s Brewery in Petaluma. Mr. Bosco said the NWPco is profitable in Marin and Sonoma County. But what about Mendocino, Humboldt and the Port at Eureka? Not in the plans at this time.

When you compare some of the numbers for transportation concerns, it is hard not to consider the $459 million for the 6 mile bypass at Willits or the $440 million to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART).  Is train service even being considered by our local legislators? The bottom line is that the NCRA need legislative help as quickly as possible. The rail line is an important asset for the North Coast. As freight service or as recreational trail.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Crabs vs Bombers all day!

Times Standard writer Danny Penza wrote a story on how the Humboldt Crabs and Humboldt B52 Bombers need to play more games against each other. There used to be a time when the Crabs were very local and those days seemed to have slipped away. Back in the 70's there were open tryouts at HSU (they don't even have a field or official team anymore) and many local players could participate. Now only a few token players seem to have the chance. The B52's give that chance for local players in their later 20's to keep on playing. My wife and I were regulars at Crab's park until they dismantled the wooden bleachers and replaced them with those awful metal ones. Another advantage for the Bombers. Redwood field has nice seats and great food! So lets see more games!