Monday, March 09, 2020

Greatest Humboldt D1 Softball Player ever. Hailey Dolcini. Baseball? Rick Lundblade.

Former Fortunan Huskie pitcher Hailey Dolcini recently pitched Nationally #25 ranked Fresno past #3 Texas. Hailey leds the Bulldogs with a 10-1 record this year. No other Humboldt County native has put up anywhere close to these types of numbers in Division 1 softball. She is currently 42-17 for her career with around a 2.00 era. 

But who is the best male Division 1 player all time out of Humboldt. Again, not close. Rick Lundblade played for Stanford from 1982 to 1985 and was MVP of the league in 85' when he hit 25 home runs and had 92 RBI's topping Barry Bonds that year. He is listed as one of Stanfords all time starting lineup and is in the Hall of Fame. Overall Rick hit 42 home runs in college and was drafted by Philadelphia and made it to Triple AAA. Rick is currently an attorney in southern Oregon. 

So there you have it. Hailey the best women's college softball player ever from Humboldt, Rick the greatest college baseball player.  

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Excursion Train or Bust? "You Eder Fer it or Agin it! It is not that easy.

My wife Robin and I attended the latest Humboldt Harbor Working Group and the Timber Heritage Association (THA) special luncheon presentation concerning an excursion train around the bay. The meeting was led by Randy Gustafson (of Stone Consulting) who recently completed Bay Rail "Feasibility Study Update and Assessment Report." I heard the report was paid for by the Humboldt Lodging AssociationThis report was to address program and funding opportunities to enhance rail use on Humboldt Bay. Topics were to include speeder rides and rallies, pedal-powered rail cycles, and excursion trains. About 70 or so people were present, as well as the Executive Director and three Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioners. All seemed excited to hear this subject matter.

Mr. Gustafson outlined the physical attributes of the existing line and complimented the Timber Heritage Association (THA) for perseverance of the assets around the bay. THA President Pete Johnston and his 400 volunteers have logged over 10,000 volunteer hours and are passionate for Timber History and especially the historical train element. The THA has been on the forefront of creating a “Rail with Trail” program in Humboldt that has been successful. Gustafson was clear to explain that our local track around the bay would only qualify for Federal Rail Administration (FRA) Class 1 transportation  which would restrict travel speeds to 10-15 MPH taking into consideration of our gauge of ties and condition of the rail line. Gustafson was good at showing other excursion train models and how they have used other abandoned rail lines that have rail with trail and no fences barricading each other. He also pointed out that there was a 20% boost in tourism when you add the element of Train with Boat like the Madaket

So everyone seems to like the excursion train concept and very little opposing voices seemed to be involved.

What is holding up this type of project?

Mr. Gustafson was just at this meeting to point out the viability. He did not address some of the blockades. Here are a few:

Legislation. Senate Bill 1029 (McGuire)-This bill creating the “Great Redwood Trail” requires the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) to undertake an assessment of the North Coast Rail Authority assets and liabilities and to submit a plan to the state legislature to dissolve the (NCRA).

Funding Source- There will be no funding or grants available until the process above is complete. Period.

New Trail Agency- There will be a creation of a successor trail agency with a mandate to facilitate the creation of interconnected, multi-use recreational trails along the NCRA right of way in Humboldt County. During workshops and Rail Authority meetings there has never been a topic brought forward on any agenda concerning an excursion train.

Proposal would be unprecedented- Even if a nonprofit business would like to obtain a lease or license for an excursion train use along the NCRA Corridor, on a railroad track way transitioning to state ownership the jurisdiction over an “active” rail line is in the legal hands of the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

Decisions have to wait for use of track- So basically discussion on the use of this right of way around the bay has been ongoing between the CalSTA-SB 1029 Project Manager, California Transportation Commission (CTC), Senator McGuire staff and NCRA legal counsel and all agree that until the successor agency is named, no new plains for rail use will be fruitful.

Nuts and Bolts- Mr. Gustafson was showing in his presentation how to build up levee damaged rail around the bay by using Riprap as an easy fix. He admits that process would have to be approved by the California Coastal Commission. Could be years for that process. 

If anyone is going to lead this idea of an excursion train, first do a reality check. I talked to my fellow Harbor Commissioner Larry Doss and he wants to co-organize a workshop and invite as many participating agencies in the process to see if an excursion train is even viable. I agreed.

Stay tuned or comment. 

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

"That Hippy Liberal Marks won again?" Thank you to 4th District Dems. Bob Service in election tightrope.

Seems that I might have won another term as a member of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC). It is not official yet as I am only leading by 88 votes. So thank you to the Democrats in the 4th Supervisory District who voted for me. It is kind of a surprise since I did not campaign for this position. This race became a war between Progressives vs Moderates and I left themselves to fight for the positions.

This race has the Democratic Chair Bob Service up by 22 votes for the 4th and final position just ahead of Mario Fernandez. This is not unfamiliar territory for Bob as he was down by 4 votes after the Last count in 2008. There were 3,347 votes at the Final count in 2008 but then when all of the other votes came in the last count was 4,622 votes and Bob squeaked in by 14 votes. The Last Count for this election was 6,403 with a whopping 4,587 undervotes! So there could be well over 1,000 votes left to count for this race. So if I am passed at that final count, let me say congratulations to my opponents who ran a good clean campaign.

Anyways, I am humbled by the support of my fellow Eureka, Myrtletown, Samoa, Finntown and Fairhaven constituents. Thank you all!