Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sour milk news. As the churn turns.

West coast milk producer Crystal was bought by East Coast dairy giant HP Hood LLC. This has caused nearly half of the dairy farms in Sacramento to be threatened with closure. Future sours for some small dairies: Milk-processing limits, sale of Crystal threaten nearly half of county's farmers. I wonder if this affects any of our local dairies? I buy mostly Humboldt Creamery - Company products. The milk just tastes better.

I understand milk is world globally traded dairy commodities (cheese, milk powder, butter and whey) so the price is regulated, but why does it seem to follow the trend of Gasoline? (Both around $3.79 a gallon locally.) If we are producing too much, we should have a mechanism to get more of the dairy products to our schools or food banks at a lower cost. Or sent overseas to nations in desperate need.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Goodbye Arizona. Hello rain.

Robin and I took a break from baseball to check out the Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale. The Sonoran Desert exhibit was fascinating. Seeing how the Native Americans lived in the harsh settings showed innovative adaptive behavior we should tap into today.

We stayed at the Ramada Plaza in Glendale, which is centrally located and has a great breakfast buffet. They have renovated since Robin and I were there last year. Kind of a Yuppie weird motif. The ventilation system was so bad that you could hear conversation from the next room....clearly. Kind of weird. The motel was infested with teenage ballplayers that caused havoc in the pool and hot tub. When we checked out, I grabbed the receipt and handed it to Robin and commented about the double tax. (State and City) She noticed a $65 charge from the cafe that we did not use. I had to go back and have them check the receipts and sure enough, they made a mistake. I wonder how many people would not check the receipt and pay that "mistake?"

Rob and I drove across the desert to Palm Springs Thursday. We called the Best Western for a room for the night and were quoted $179. I told them I was a gold card Best Western Member and AAA member and they knocked the price to $169. I said no thanks and used a coupon for the Palm Court motel for $47. Their rooms were clean and their pool and hot tub area was huge and accessible. Very nice. Thursday night was Main Street on Palm Canyon Drive. A fair street fare, but the Arcata Plaza celebrations and Farmers Market blow them away art wise, veggie wise, music wise and people wise. (Although I did like the "Nearly Willie" dude that imitated Nelson.) And people of Palm Springs, get your dogs and children under control!

We left the high desert today and ended up in Sacramento in the rain. Looks like we will drive home tomorrow in lousy rainy weather. Oh well. I look forward to seeing green again!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seen AWPPW Local 49 Ernie Ghesetti in Scottsdale.

What are the odds of meeting up with a fellow past co-worker Ernie all the way out here in Arizona? Ernie and his wife travel and live in Deer Valley during the winter. Robin and I ran into him at the Giants/Cubs game in Scottsdale. Small world.

Robin and I took a long walk to 5th St in hot weather that wiped both of us out. It took a rack of ribs from Lone Star to get me even keeled.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Broke down in Arizona! Robin's PT Cruiser protests much!

Yesterday when we were leaving the Maryvale ballpark (Over 10,000 in attendance and we sat in front of an HSU graduate.) after watching the Brewers and Diamondbacks, I noticed the fog light display lit up on the panel. I tried to shut it off, but it must have been shorted. This morning Robin and I knew we would have to get up early to go to Scotsdale to try to score Giant tickets. The battery was dead. I mean nothing. I found local dealers for Chrysler near Glendale and Robin called AAA for a jump. I figured we would have to have PT towed somewhere, so I did map search while Robin waited by the car for the AAA guy. By the time I was done with the search and went to the parking lot, the AAA guy had jumped the car and took the fuse out for the fog lights, as they would not turn off on the switch. They were there in just minutes!

So we headed to Scotsdale but could not score tickets. We may have to use a scalper tomorrow. Then we headed to Hohokam park and watched the Cubs and Rangers. It was hot. The Rangers played sloppy. Some poor kid was nailed by a line drive in the section in front of us. Must have been around 5. Scary. He seemed to be alright, but the family left and the boy was given an ovation.

Just an observation: The Arizona drivers are nuts! I have seen more poor driving habits here the last two years than I have anywhere else in the western states.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ has risen! Paul Pitino, Union Label and vacation.

Happy Easter. He has risen!

Paul Pitino has been out canvassing the Peninsula. He put (or a volunteer) a card under our door at Local 49 in Manila on Wednesday. Looks like he is seriously going to try a door to door with no endorsers or fundraising. That may work for an Arcata City Council seat, but not on the County level.

I went to an AWPPW California Council meeting Thursday and Friday. I was appointed California Council political lobbyist. I am replacing Frank Messineo who has been involved forever and now will enjoy retirement.

While at the council meeting, we took some time to tour our Dopaco plant in Stockton. They make containers and cups for McDonalds, In and Out Burger, Kentucky Fried, Taco Bell, Burger King and every other fast food outlets you can probably think of. They employee 380 who do some labor intensive work. They have tight security for the special promotions like McDonalds monopoly games. It was interesting that they have an indoor smoking room for the workers. It has special ventilation system I guess that meets requirements. The plant was well organized and clean considering the many things they do.

We talked about the lack of the “union label” on products our union produce. Remember the jingle “look for the union label?” I hope we can maybe remedy this with our prospective companies.

Robin and I spent Friday night in Palm Springs. It was in the mid 80’s! Just a great warm night! I actually went swimming in the morning! Our motel had many guys and not many women. Robin filled me in why. Oh yeah. Palm Springs.

We are spending a few days in Phoenix watching spring training games. It is supposed to be around 90 for the time we are here. I saw that the weather in Samoa was 38 this morning. Eat your heart out!

Sad Easter Update: CNN just announced that total US Military Casualties has hit 4,000 today. When we illegally started this occupation, gas was $1.73 an hour. We are now at this time more in debt than any time in US history. If you are under 40, you most likely will not collect Social Security, or see the retirement age raised to keep the account solvent. Ouch.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Richard Lyon RIP. Man, What a rotten year.

Richard Lyon passed away way to young (46). I played softball with his brother Jim for awhile on James Hill Trucking. His father Jim played on my Basketball team until a few years ago. (He was in his sixties) Richard led the umpires in Eureka a few years ago, and I worked under him. This was a shock to me. I don't know what happened.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crab player Hop Sullivan playing for Bethany College Swedes of the NAIA!

Hop Sullivan is playing third base for Bethany College who are 15-2 for the season! My fellow worker June Sullivan is Hop's mom and she was on the road with the team this last week and they won 8 out 9! Hop played 3rd and SS for McKinleyville High and SS for CR before getting a scholarship to play ball at Bethany. (I feel his future in the minors will be as pitcher) The BC Baseball team has 35 roster players and 6 red shirts. He will be on the field this summer for the Crab's I am sure!

Too bad that HSU doesn't have a collegiate baseball team. They did back in the 70's. They have a "Club Team" that competes, but they should have the real thing. I pitched a few games against them 2 years ago with the Eel River Hardball team at Arcata Ball Park. They should be playing other Division 2 teams.

Speaking of the Crabs, I tried out for the team at HSU baseball field after spending a year on the College of the Redwoods baseball team in 79'. I was the oldest on the team at 21. Lou Bonomini cut me after I had fanned a few HSU players. I was driving home with my buddy Stacey Morgan who had a tough tryout but made the team. He tried to console me about being cut: "Man, that is too bad Richard, but you know, they took my picture for the program last week!" I was fit to be tied. Stacey also was a star QB on the CR football team and played on the Basketball team. He was drafted by the Philles. Dave Stone, Mark Suchanek, Mike and Ron Spini from our CR team played for the Crabs. They cut Keith Ambrosini who I thought was one of the best I ever saw in center field. 4 players from that team played for pay. I play to this day for fun. Wish I was good enough to play in the minors. Just average. But I was on the Dean's list grade wise during the season!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Evergreen Pulp joins Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

SFI: Sustainable Forestry Initiative. I guess the bottom line is that we and our wood chip/log suppliers will all have to be SFI certified to have our pulp environmentally marketable . The logging practices of those suppliers will be under scrutiny. It is all a movement forward as far as I can see toward sustainable forestry practices. I am sure some anonymous wiener will point out some negative scenario.

Friday, March 14, 2008

HCDCC endorsement a kiss of death? I think not! Go Estelle!

The last local election in November was tell-tale of how much an endorsement of the Humboldt County Central Committee means. Seven candidates received the HCDCC endorsement, and all seven are now in office. Slice it and dice it all you want, it is an important step in any potential candidates attempt at public office. Fennell gets nod from Democratic Committee is nothing but good news for her campaign. Just thought I would throw that out there since I have seen all of the anonymous wieners postings regarding Estelle on other blogs. If you have any worthy posts, please identify yourselves, otherwise you will not be taken seriously. By me at least.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wilson, Ulansey and Lehman out in the 3rd District! Bryan Plumley in!

After some last minute movement, Bryan Plumley is the newly adorned front runner for the 3rd District Supervisor seat. Chris Lehman and Mike Wilson were at the Humboldt County elections office a few minutes before the deadline to see if any new maneuverings took place. Mike dropped out and Chris decided the timing was just not right. So no Richard Mostranski, Lee Ulansey, Elizabeth Conners, Dave Meserve or Mark Wheetley.

After the dust has settled, Paul Pitino, Mark Lovelace and Plumley are the potential new 3rd District Supervisor. Would have never guessed that this is how it would pan out. This race should be interesting. Sounds like Plumley will have many powerful endorsements.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Top Grubbing closures in Eureka area.

Reflecting recently on the closure of OH’s Townhouse, I thought about the different local grubbing establishments that closed that affected my trough feeding. Here are my top closures in the Eureka and how they played a roll in my life:

10. Lila’s Taco shop- Their garbage burrito was a great sloppy mess!

9. Shakey’s/Andy’s Prosperous Pizza- Many good times spent there with the kids. They had a great munch lunch.

8. L & M Burger- Robin and I went for their sub sandwiches.

7. Volpi’s- Classy place for a serious date. Miss the great view Robin and I seemed to hardly get.

6. A & W- Paul Maisenbach took us kids for Root Beer floats if his LP fast-pitch team won their games! I loved the fake pressed fries. No really!

5. King’s Table- Remember that Santa Claus look alike that used to hang out there around X-Mas? I used to save our LP meal tickets to take the kids there for a special treat.

4. OH’s- Last time my mom, dad and us kids and grandkids got together. No more, “union rings or green beans?”

3. Michael’s- Great memories of ditching the kids for a night. (Sorry Jake and Jordan) Used to leave them with my mom for the night and went out with “grown ups.”

2. Shang Hai Low-Miss the wontons and the little juke boxes for each table for the kids to mess with. But the Toms’ seemed ready to retire. (This was one of the last local union restaurants.)

1. Verla’s/Tom’s Sourdough- Verla’s had the greatest burgers years back. Tom’s Sourdough was a favorite after softball hangout. It was really something after Robin’s LP Treetopper women’s softball team played. The women on the team had over 30 kids! Then we husbands and families made the place crazy!

Here are others that almost made the cut: Lazio’s, Captain’s Galley, Eureka Inn, OH’s Hamburger King, Stanton’s Red Barn, Dennis and Geri’s, Betty Mae's and Enrico’s Deli.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Jake Pickering running for HCDCC!

the PLAZOID &- Jake Pickering - is running for a spot on the HCDCC - Democratic Central Committee. He ran for a spot a few years back and lost. He has also ran for Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District against Bruce Rupp. And for HUMBOLDT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION TRUSTEE AREA THREE GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER against Sharon Omey. GEMS ELECTION RESULTS.

I am not sure what his current agenda is about. Haven't seen him at any meetings. I have to admit that he has quite the moxy to stand for his values.

The Fourth District representation for the HCDCC has been re-aligned population wise and the Fourth lost one spot. So there are 4 positions up for grabs. If 5 people turn in there signature requirements, there will be an election for the 4 spots. It may be Jake Pickering, and incumbents (appointed or elected) Richard Marks (The softball guy), Bob and Pam Service and Charlene Cutler-Ploss. Another election this June. Yee!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Samoa Softball Field being renovated.

Miller Farms is working on the Samoa Softball Field. I imagine it won't be ready for play this year, maybe next spring. It will be a good extra field for little league and either Senior softball or adult wood bat tournaments. A new red clay infield will make this a nice field. Drive by and check the progress some time. Thanks to Dr. Mary Beth Woolford and the "Take me out to the ballgame" fundraiser she put together to raise monies for the field.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Baseball is here! Arcata and Eureka JV teams tie!

Went to watch Cody Weatherbee play for the Eureka JV baseball team against Arcata. The Redwood field in Cutten was in good shape considering the weather. Rex Bohn said it took about $300 to get it playable. Kudos to the volunteers. I would guess the Temp around 50 and wind chill at 45. Brrr. There was a great crowd and they were treated to a solid, clean performance by both teams. The final score was 6-6 in 6 innings. The game was called rightly by umpire Dave Rhodes in the top of the 7th due to darkness.

One issue I have with high school baseball: They should have a pitch count for these kids! The Arcata pitcher had to be well over 100 pitches in his stint. No High school pitcher should be allowed to go over this limit. Professional pitchers and college hurlers are not allowed or are monitored to stay under this limit. I feel high school should do the same. And Babe Ruth too!