Friday, July 27, 2007

on hiatus

Well, folks, it's been a fun run, but one chapter of the Postmaster's life is about to close and a new one begin. We'll keep the NCP here for your perusal and – who knows? – perhaps be back. But for now, a long-overdue vacation is about to begin.


Media incest, update – and redux! – and really, this must stop

From her former cohorts at the ER, news that the "wicked smart" Ashley Ramone is returning to KSLG where she'll join the er, awfully nice, Arcata Eye Scene Editor Jen Savage.

And, to connect the dots once again:

KSLG's Monica Topping writes an entertainment column for the T-S. (And dates "Humboldt County's youngest elected official" and a former, albeit briefly employed, Eye-staffer, Shane Brinton.) Way to rob the cradle, M!

The Journal editor, Hank Sims, has a talk show on one of Lost Coast Communication's other stations, KHUM.

Arcata Eye editor and publisher Kevin Hoover also sets loose Frank Zappa upon an unsuspecting population on KHUM, as well as serves up some mildly objectionable news features on both KHSU and KMUD.

The Fat Guys on Film, too big to remain confined by the pages of the T-S, broadcast on KSLG as well.

Eye photog extraordinaire Terrence McNally sings Judas Priest, while Fat Guy Chris Durant does a little Republican Duck Hunting.

Then you have the folks content to simply, oh, do good work. At least for a few more days.
The ever-vigilant Kevin Hoover has pointed out the following:

Jack Durham of the McKinleyville Press also does news for KHSU once a
week, as does Christine Sackey of the Humboldt Beacon.

Wendy Butler does Art Waves on KHSU.

Kevin and possibly Hank Sims do an occasional Friday Focus for KZPN
Bayside (JPR).
(While we at the NCP do not make a habit of encouraging vices – well, not all the time – we must insist you only listen to Wendy Butler interviewing artists after smoking copious amounts of the best weed you can get your hands on. Trust us, it's for the best.)
OK, one more, courtesy of Durant:

"James is in a band too. Anchorite and Mystic, they're playing all over the place in the next couple months. In fact we're playing together at Six Rivers Brewery, Aug. 11. Come on out and introduce yourself."

Everyone loves the ER! (Especially the advertisers!)

At first we thought Judi Pollace had moved to Oregon! But, noooooooooooooo.

Just your run-of-the-mill confusion. Oregon, California, same diff.

Out in Oregon, the Eureka Reporter was born out of a web site started in August 2004. After six months, it began printing as a free weekly, and in January 2006 it went daily with a circulation of about 10,000.

The family-owned paper’s philosophy is that no one should have to pay for news about their community and that ad rates should be kept affordable so that small businesses can flourish.

“We’ve gone back to basics,” says Judi Pollace, publisher. “This is what a community newspaper was 100 years ago. We’re hyperlocal. That’s why everyone loves the paper.

By all indications the philosophy is working.

Bolstered by ad rates that are kept in line with circulation at $17 an inch, compared with the competition’s $27-an-inch rate, the Reporter’s ad sales are up. So is circulation, to 25,000. That puts it ahead of its paid competition at 19,000, after just two and one half years.

Take that, "competition" – ha!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Imagine this as a bouquet of flowers

Oh, how completely remiss of us to not point out that GFS is back! Regrettably, his brush with death did nothing to sharpen up his writing whatsoever.
"Eureka has way too many traffic collisions and, in my opinion, leading the intersections for the potential worst-case scenario is the haphazard Myrtle and Sixth Street 'intersection,' if it can even be called that."

I prefer to call it “the intersection designed by those oblivious to the realities of the road.

Yes, Glenn-o, we get that it's your opinion – hence the name attached to the column. Oh shucks, he is kinda cute when he's got a cause isn't he?
Besides, international policy-makers (you and I know them as "the deciders") can finally start moving ahead, now that Glenn's back!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Damn-near Dandy worthy

"Taking the stand in Judge David Higgs's courtroom, Par Ridder couldn't have looked more like a rich boarding-school kid. The 38-year-old publishing scion was decked out in country-club navy blue with a haircut that was square in every sense of the word.

"His counterpart, MediaNews CEO William Dean Singleton, a self-made media mogul from Graham, Texas, cracked wise with reporters in the gallery outside the courtroom. Shuffling on legs hobbled by multiple sclerosis, the 55-year-old was in town just to enjoy the show — and to watch Ridder squirm."

Media geeks*, enjoy!

*And yes, we include the NCP, of course.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Reporting on oneself is so rarely done gracefully #2

Really? Really? This is the best space-filler you could come up with? A feature on your own production?

Sigh. Sadly in character.

Fishwrap staffs bulking up?

The perenially understaffed print media outlets have been especially desperate of late -- even the limitless pockets of their owner haven't kept the folks at the movie set from feeling the pressure. So it is with pleasure that we look forward to the contributions of those new on the various teams.

New at The Journal: Japhet Weeks.

Bringing the freshness to the ER: Steve Spain.


In news of the other sort, Humboldt County's favorite young communist Democrat Shane Brinton has left the Eye before we could even address his presence there. Shane, we hardly knew ye!

Meanwhile, over at the T-S, with parent company MediaNews laying off staff left and right and left again, even the fat guys might start looking a bit lean.

Editorial nonsense, part 3

Ah, how did we miss this?

But Andrew, scintillating as your essay on editorials is, when you say, "The Times-Standard editorial page has improved under Rich Somerville," you destroy any credibility you might've had.

"...hard-hitting and direct... blunt and often scathing" -- uh, yeah, right.
Like these gems?
To all those involved in the recent high-speed chase from Arcata to Crescent City, putting others at risk. Luckily, no one was injured.
To all the firefighters putting their lives on the line to save others and their property. Thank you."

Wow. Condemning criminals and praising firefighters? That's taking a risk, for sure!
What's next? Strong words against child molesters? Kudos for the Food Bank? We're aglow with anticipation.
Oh, and this? A direct rip-off of this.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Arcata du Blanc

From "The White City" to _____________?

The 150th Anniversary Committee met again last week to further plan the City of Arcata’s birthday next year.... A logo contest is planned, as is a “re-branding” effort intended to recast Arcata as “a great place to live,”...

'Cause right now, as we all know, it's nothing but homeless and druggies!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Editorial nonsense, con't

And in the other corner:

"The plaza in Arcata is the center of that community, both geographically and psychologically, so it is no small concern when the City Council considers ordinances that will impact that gathering place."

So wait... The plaza is not only the center of the town, but the center of the community's mind? Heavy...

"Residents aren't the only ones who love the plaza. So do the homeless and druggies...."

Oh, no! Homeless and druggies?! How do the people of Arcata survive such an invasion?

"Creating more reasons for residents and visitors to gather at the plaza could mean more reasons for street people to move their activities somewhere else."

When you say "street people," you mean the homeless and druggies, right? And yeah, they oughta go somewhere else! And take those smokers, drinkers, dog-walkers and sidewalk sitters with you!

"Unfortunately, Arcata doesn't seem ready for that experiment... In the end, such a half-hearted experiment will end up benefiting no one."

Look, if they're not ready for an experiment, then they can't also be performing a half-hearted one. Hello?! Consistency?

"Making the plaza a compelling and safe place to visit... will require creative ideas."

Again with the deep thoughts. Really, thanks for stating the obvious. So... Do you have any actual ideas on how to wrest the plaza from the tar-stained hands of the poor and the addicted?

T-S, you depress us.

Editorial nonsense

The writing that is. This one's a three-drinker.

The whole thing makes our heads hurt.

Here's a highlight: " removal of the trees absolutely necessary or can trucks safely meander through the grove if drivers are steadfastly careful?"

The excerpt begs the questions, "Can trucks meander?" and "What if the drivers are merely careful, but not 'steadfastly' so?"

The big finish: "Perhaps all options have been studied and this is the net effect of that cycle, but it should be pointed out that a bypass around the grove has been on the table for decades without the state acting on it as it should have done."

Whoa. What? Can you hear those poor words screaming in pain as they're twisted into unnatural positions and made to form a sentence so vague and passive as to utterly fail in imparting meaning?

Thought so.

Feeling blue? w/additional update

Just as we supposed – Charles Horn, fired from KHSU 90.5 FM, has been hired for air duty by Ferndale-based KHUM 104.7/104.3 FM. Horn's popular blues show, 'The South Side,' will air on KHUM in its former KHSU time slot, 8 to 10 p.m. Friday evenings beginning August 3. MMMmmmmmreeeeeow!

What we wonder now is, who is the "female former station associate who requested anonymity for professional reasons"?

Someone who also defected to Lost Coast Communications? Hmmm... Could be interesting...

From your "diverse public radio" station KHSU: Sources report underwriter/business head honcho Charles Horn is now former Development Director Charles Horn. Further, despite the station's staid exterior, this firing is only the latest in a series of unpopular decisions made by General Manager Elizabeth Hans-McCrone.

With all the budget cuts"Then there was a report from the University Budget Committee, a group of faculty, staff and students who compiled a report ranking the importance of various university departments and programs. The committee was unanimous in placing First Street Gallery and the campus radio station KHSU dead last in importance to the school’s central mission" – is this a way to ensure H-M's own $82K salary remains unaffected?

Or will the loss of Bluesman Horn send the station further into financial decline?

Will Horn be swept up into the ever-growing tentacles of Lost Coast Communications (KHUM, KSLG and the Point), who employs not only other former KHSU employees/volunteers, Michael Moore, "Dr." Syd Reagan, and Jennifer Savage, but also The Journal's Hank Sims and the Arcata Eye's Kevin Hoover?

(Hoover also does news spots on KHSU and KMUD as well. Busy guy!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Staff meeting wrap-up

"Everyone! Attention, please! Stop the whispering and eye-rolling. This is Ms. Ivoria Tower. She's been gracious enough to come to our office and will now share her thoughts on this week's paper. Do have the courtesy to at least pretend to pay attention!"

"Thank you. First of all, what a lovely and expansive office you have. It's amazing what money can buy, isn't it? Like you, I reside in a world that has little to do with the reality most journalists face – the daily toils, the dark dungeon-like working conditions, all those unpleasantries – which makes me the perfect person to help you, don't you think? Please tell Mr. Arkley you think so, won't you? All these budget cuts at HSU have me the slightest bit worried... But I digress. Let's look at your delightful paper.

"First of all, your Arts section? Stunning. Wendy Butler – yes, you, Wendy – sure can turn a phrase, can't she? You'd do well to follow her example. Also – and excuse me, you two there? Do you have something you'd like to share with the rest of us? No? OK, then? – after carefully reading everyone's work, I must say, I cannot believe Laura Provolt is a mere intern! Fine work, Laura. Excuse me, sir, but what is that you keep sneaking? Is that a flask? Oh, dear."

"All right, team! Yeah! Nice work as always, Johnny boy. James, whose the fat guy now, huh? That's right, buddy! Don't leave me hanging! Hand me one of those donuts, will ya? Who says we don't take care of our people? That's what I'm talking about!"

"I think I could've fit one more color on the front page, but otherwise, it's a decent issue, aside from that unfortunate headline typo on the front page of course. Oh well, let's try again this week. Everyone have stories? OK. See you all on deadline. I'll bring snacks. Terrence, your photos are stunning as always. This week, don't be afraid to go artsy. I think I'm really going to push the envelope design-wise."

"OK, guys, we've got a big story coming up. Let's take some time to get it right. Love being a weekly. Love it. But we'll need some filler this week. Bob, think you could write something, oh, I don't know, about yourself this week? Super."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Did you hear something?

Property buy falls through; Redwood Teen Challenge back to drawing board
Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard

EUREKA -- After weeks of public outcry and heated debates at City Council meetings, plans to convert the dilapidated church building at 321 West Wabash into a Redwood Teen Challenge facility died quietly this week.

Oh so quietly... So quietly, in fact, that the ER had nothing about it.

'Course, given the covoluted prose of previous coverage, we might want to be thankful for that.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Does it fly?

I had much to learn, and Driscoll was ever the willing teacher.
Like the great artist Pablo Picasso had his Blue Phase, Dr. Driscoll at the time was in his bird period. He had perfected the use of birds in a lede, and he wanted all ledes coming out of the T-S newsroom to have that same resonance, that same lift, the same energy.
They need to take flight, he often said.

"MANILA -- The Board of Supervisors today will consider allowing Manila to poll its residents on whether they want fluoride added to their drinking water."

An average afternoon at the ER

"Um, excuse me... I don't know who to point this out to... I mean, there's not many of us left and Nathan's looking really worn out and I don't want to be the one to push him over the edge – "

"What is it, girl?! Spit it out already. I've reservations at Avalon in 15!"

"It's just that... Well, I've noticed that sometimes the headlines – "

"What about the headlines? I don't want to hear about the headlines! Now, where are my keys?"

"No, I mean, the headline, the front page headline... Well, sometimes the way they juxtapose over the front page photo..."

"You're killing me. Do you have a point? Who are you any way?"

"Um, the new intern... And, well, I just noticed that sometimes it's kind of funny, but not in a way we would want to be funny – "

"We do not want to be funny! We are serious! And I am serious about the fact that if I am not sitting in a window seat at Second and G with a martini in hand in ten minutes, you'll never intern in this town again!"

"Okay, so I noticed that we have this headline, "Local Girl Makes Good," overtop a photo of Shane Brinton."

"That communist?! What's he doing in our paper?!"

"Er, he's trying to bring John Edwards to – "

"Hush! Be quiet right now. I will not tolerate this! Who wrote that story?"

"Uh, Rebecca..."

"That short-timer! What does she care? What does anyone care? Everyone's running amok, thinking for themselves! What's happening to us?!"

"But... but... the headline about the 'Local Girl'... That's all I wanted to say... It looks like it goes with the Shane Brinton photo."

"Communism! Anarchy! What's next? Democracy?! Now, where the hell are my keys? You're on notice, intern!"

"It's just a minor layout adjustment!"

"Excuse me? Excuse me? What did you say?"

"Um... Adjust the layout?"

"You obviously don't know how things are done around here, do you? Well, let me give you a little lesson – guards! Guards! Take her away! Off with her head!... Ah, that's better. And here are my keys. Wonderful. Avalon, here I come. Oh, how the world will improve once I put my gin-colored glasses on... 'Change the layout,' indeed. Now that's funny."

Friday, July 6, 2007

When he poured, he reigned

We owe Mr. Rushton an apology.

We don't get out much. Sure, we'd like to, but the world is so big. And scary. And often cold. Typically, we huddle over the keyboard, one hand gripping a coffee mug filled with – on a good week – Jameson's. But to stave off the rumors of impending alcoholism, we sometimes find ourselves drinking "socially." During one of those unfortunate* outings, we discovered Nathan Rushton's former career slinging cocktails at a particular bar on, as the Arcata Eye refers to it, Tavern Row. Singularly focused as we are, we failed to delve deeper into Nathan's legacy.

For that, we are truly sorry.

Let the record show, Rushton's expansive bartending credentials include The Ritz, Lost Coast Brewery, Plaza Grill and Abruzzi. We have no doubt he makes a mean martini.

* The "unfortunate" had nothing to do with NR and everything to do with a certain blonde with a penchant for fruity drinks and maladjusted men. But we digress.

Whither The Driscollator?

He told us it might happen:

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District is poised to hire the Port of Oakland's former maritime director to oversee shipping and related activities here. Wilson Lacy was a key contact for the harbor district during his three-year stint in Oakland, and will jump aboard to direct port operations if commissioners approve his employment at their meeting tonight.

But when it did, we never saw a word about it – in the T-S, that is.

Nathan got it:

As part of a new staffing reorganization, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District board of commissioners voted unanimously Thursday night to hire Port of Oakland Maritime Director Wilson Lacy to take the helm of the district’s new director of maritime commerce post.

Jennifer Savage (a name almost too good to be true) expanded out of the Eye's B section and covered it:

A vote to approve the hiring of Wilson Lacy for the newly created position of Director of Maritime Commerce was a foregone conclusion. Three of the four commissioners present at last week’s Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District meeting – Third District Commissioner Mike Wilson was absent – had already praised Lacy and the staff’s recommendation to hire him.

Hank did a Dandy job with it:

Well, good news then that the district has hired former Port of Oakland official Wilson Lacy to be its new “director of maritime commerce,” at a salary of $100,000 per year. In his new role, Lacy will bring his heavyweight Port of Oakland credentials to bear on developing Humboldt Bay’s shipping operations.

$100,000 a year – of taxpayer money – to advertise a port that doesn't actually exist?

Seems like JD would've been on that.

One of these things is not like the other

Two of these stories offer original reporting and even some – dare we say it? – personality. One of them appears to be a touched up press release.

One is by Kevin Hoover of Arcata's mildly objectionable Arcata Eye.
One is by young Thadeus Greenson of the tenacious T-S. (Actually, we don't know if he's young, but we like to imagine him as a sort of bold upstart in his early '20s, still idealistic and willing to aggressively pursue the story, no matter where it leads...)
One is from the Eureka Reporter.

How quickly can you match'em up?

DeVries, Pellatz save Arcata's fireworks
“I tried everything,” DeVries said. “I actually offered the guy flowers for his office every week for a year. I said, ‘You know what? You’re gonna be looking at the flowers every day, thinking what a good deed you did for Arcata.’”

But it was no use. “There was absolutely no way they could do it,” DeVries said.

He related the bad news to Pellatz, who had one last trick up his sleeve. A longtime member of the Arcata Volunteer Fire Department, Pellatz recalled a visit to a pyrotechnic firm called Fireworks By Boom Boom, located near the Hayfork office of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Pellatz paid Boom Boom a personal call – very personal. Entering the company’s office, he asked, “How far down on my knees and how much whining do I have to do to get fireworks for Arcata?” The firm forewent the offer of kneeling, but buckled after an estimated 10 minutes or so of Pellatzian whining – possibly some wheedling and cajoling as well, though this wasn’t confirmed – and agreed to handle the Arcata fireworks display.

Sparks to fly at Arcata jubilee
The Arcata Chamber of Commerce announced Friday that its “fun-filled and family-friendly” Fourth of July Jubilee Festival will go on as scheduled Wednesday — with fireworks, through the help of a prominent Arcata businessman.

Although the chamber officially canceled the fireworks earlier this month, citing increased costs and slower-than-usual donations, Lane DeVries, chief executive officer of The Sun Valley Group, stepped up in recent days, agreed to underwrite the fireworks and fronted the $10,000 cost.

Benefactor saves Arcata's July 4
Thanks to a last ditch effort by Sun Valley Floral Farms President and CEO Lane DeVries, it looks as if pyrotechnics might light up Arcata's Fourth of July sky after all.

”I'm so excited right now, it's unbelievable,” DeVries said Thursday evening, moments after hearing the news that he might have saved Arcata's fireworks.

Earlier this month, the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, which runs the annual July Fourth Jubilee, announced that it had come up short in raising funds for the event's pyrotechnics. To make matters worse, Pam Godwin, president of the chamber's board of directors, said that the deadline for a deposit on the fireworks had passed in April and the situation appeared hopeless.

Apparently, DeVries didn't get the memo, saying he only found out about the situation Wednesday.

(Extra credit if you can name how DeVries found out!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Keeping the "new" in news

Didn't we know all of this already?

We are a bit concerned about a guy who deems himself "The Playa," but maybe that's what the kids are into these days.

This might've been a good time to shoot

Hitting a van with bricks?
At his mother's house?
We sure hope her big brothers show up to kick his ass.

And, oh yeah, looks like the Grand Jury was right – those EPD officers could use a wee bit more training with them Tasers.

Monday, July 2, 2007

ER visit

We were feeling a bit down last week, what with the slew of emails (okay, three) begging us to ease up on a certain well-endowed daily rag.

"Don't pick on the editor! He's very ill!"

"You know, she barely survived a car accident. You should cut her some slack!"

And our favorite –

"You stupid bastard! If you had to actually work here, you'd know how fucking hard it is and shut the hell up. Do you even have a job? You obviously don't have a life!"

True, all of it, as far as we can tell – certainly the "no life" bit rings the ol'accuracy bell – but we're used to that. In fact, we rather enjoy the odd tongue-lashing. We've even been known to attempt putting out fire with gasoline.

But adding to the suffering in the world? We abhor suffering. We change channels whenever we see it. We can barely suffer through the immature, convoluted and pompous writing eroding the our local rags like some unstoppable flesh-eating disease – a bottle of gin and a dose of the Dandy must be kept nearby at all times.

So we were understandably saddened to hear these dark tales. Rumor has it that a certain someone is on a bender (and we don't mean the redhead). Reporters are fleeing left and right (and we do mean the redhead). The salacious Christine Bensen-Messinger moved away... And with the boss out sick? Who will advise the governor? The president? We feared the free world and all we hold dear might collapse.

That's the pit of pain we found ourselves writhing in Friday night. But then, like the dawn of a new day... Saturday morning brought hope. "This Grand Jury report thing is all right!" we thought. Blue Lake Police Chief busted! Eureka Police trained to kill! Dog pound doing good! Yeah!

The kids'll be fine, just fine.

Which means we don't feel the slightest bit of shame in making fun of today's front page photo. What the hell? Dandelions? A rag? An intersection? Is this story about weeds on street corners? Litter? Loneliness? Despair?Was a mountain lion sighted near here?

Solomon's no O'Neill, but he's been giving it a decent go. Someone should remind him that a little relevance goes a long way.