Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here's Why Arcata's 'California Welcome Center' Might Close

Mike Dronkers / Monday, June 1 @ 3:51 p.m. / Business , Community Services

Via Google Streetview

The California Welcome Center can't keep its doors open if it doesn't find some help soon, Arcata Chamber of Commerce executive director Sandy Scott told KHUM today.

According to a press release, the chamber is "looking for new partners in running the CWC or another organization to take it over. Our hope is that this will lead to positive discussions about its value to the tourism industry in Humboldt County."

Part of a statewide network, the local California Welcome Center [CWC] franchisee is managed by the chamber, which Scott said absorbs its ~$30,000 deficit annually.

"We pay for the privilege of having this as a franchise," she said in a followup interview. She emphasized that CWC sends tourists to points all over Humboldt, not just Arcata. "We're honored to be serving the whole county."

Asked to explain the value of the CWC, Scott said it "supports local business, and that what we want to do - help our local businesses be and stay successful." Hear her elevator pitch below:

Scott's Elevator Pitch

Scott is "very optimistic" that a solution will arise in time. She said that despite Yelp and GPS-assisted mobile search options, visitors still appreciate the human touch. 

"We just had two, maybe 21 or 22 year-olds in here and they walked away with brochures even though they had their smartphone in their hand. People like to have that.

Certainly it's probably less imperative than it was 30 years ago, but people still like to walk in and have that personal contact. Sometimes we'll ask them how can we help them, and they don't even know what questions to ask."

Hear the full KHUM interview below. 

Scott KHUM audio

From the Arcata Chamber of Commerce:

Dear Members,

We are writing to inform you of discussions about the California Welcome Center (CWC) in Arcata, which is housed and managed by the Arcata Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber Board has determined that we need to make changes in the way the CWC is run, making it more effective and self-sufficient. We are seeking partners to play a larger role in helping with the CWC, or, alternately, another organization to take over stewardship of it.

The CWC has been a major project of the Arcata Chamber for the last 15 years. It hosts nearly 15,000 visitors annually, and they all get a warm greeting along with tips about things to do, places to eat, and lodging. The link to the larger network of California Welcome Centers throughout the state is positive. We believe the Center plays an important role in serving visitors, which, in turn, benefits the businesses and economy of our region. That’s why we’ve worked hard to keep it active and functioning.

However, the CWC has also become more than the Arcata Chamber can handle on our own.

This is a reality that the Board has had to acknowledge after many months of discussions. The primary reason is financial. Over the years, and especially during the recent recession, the Chamber’s funding from other organizations has slowly dwindled, while costs have continued to rise. That’s not to cast blame, but it is the reality, and we don’t expect that prior levels of funding will be restored. We’re also not prepared to ask Chamber members to pay higher dues to subsidize the CWC.

That leaves us looking for new partners in running the CWC or another organization to take it over. Our hope is that this will lead to positive discussions about its value to the tourism industry in Humboldt County. Our goal, ultimately, is a stronger CWC and a Chamber of Commerce that is more financially secure.

We hope to have a plan in place by September of this year, with changes underway no later than December, and we will strive to keep you informed. Feel free to contact us at 822.3619 if you have questions or concerns.


Humboldt Roller Derby This Saturday

Cliff Berkowitz / Friday, May 29 @ 9:07 a.m. / Event

This morning I spoke with "Castastrophy" about this weekends bout with Viva Roller Derby up from Chico to take on the Widow Makers. Doors open at 5pm, the bout begins at 6pm.


In Studio: Eilen Jewell Was On Morning Edition & KHUM In The Same Day

Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, May 27 @ 4:47 p.m. / I Don't Believe You

The singer talks about moving back to her homestate, touring with her mother in law, and what it's like to be featured on NPR's Morning Edition. [Also, the panoramic photo above reveals a glitch in the matrix.]

Listen to Eilen Jewell's music and chitchat below.

EilenJewell on KHUM


INNOVATE! Business Challenge Winners

Cliff Berkowitz / Wednesday, May 27 @ 9:01 a.m. / Education

This morning I spoke with Connor Callison of Eureka High who took first place and Genevieve Regli who took 2nd place in the INNOVATE! Business Challenge. They competed with about 150 other students from area high schools. Both winners get a cash prize to help start their businesses and more money to help promote it.


Orick Finally Gets Wired Broadband

Mike Dronkers / Tuesday, May 26 @ 3:44 p.m. / Internet

Photo: Google Street View

According to a press release from Access Humboldt, the squelchy sound of a dial-up modem will continue its death march into the Library of Extinct Sounds. 

Via Access Humboldt: 

According to their Community Services District website (, "Orick is located in Humboldt County, CA approximately 45 miles north of Eureka. Orick is a rural town whose population of 352 is surrounded by Redwood National and State Parks and private forests. Redwood Creek meanders through town and the agricultural lands, flowing into the Pacific Ocean."

Orick has ocean, mountains and spectacular Redwood forests with amazing natural beauty in every direction, but what Orick didn't have until today is internet access faster than dial-up.

Today (May 14, 2015) Eureka based wireless internet service provider Tsunami Wireless ( launched a new service that is now available for businesses and residents throughout the town.

Ron Barlow, Chairman of the Orick Community Services District said, "we're really happy to have a new service that makes fast internet available to our community." Last night the District Board heard an update on the pending sale of the landline telephone system in Orick. Verizon currently owns the local exchange phone system and is seeking California Public Utilities Commission approval to sell their wireline systems statewide to Frontier Communications.

Access Humboldt's executive director Sean McLaughlin said, "we advocate for universal access to open internet and prefer to have local ownership of local infrastructure - so this new development by a local wireless internet service provider Tsunami Wireless is great news!"

Todd Williams, owner/operator of Tsunami Wireless said, "we are pleased to make service available to the community - thanks to our partner 101 Netlink and especially Green Diamond Resource Company for their support to make it possible." 

Potential subscribers to the service can find more information online at the company's website: or by calling their service at: 530-324-2322


In other Orick news, this exists.

Kinetic 2015 Final Results

Amy Berkowitz / Tuesday, May 26 @ 12:13 p.m. / Event

Well, here we all are, and we have survived another glorious World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race. This year’s Kinetic Grand Championship was truly a world-class course with the new day 3 claiming many a machine and dashing ACE hopes for several teams on the rocks. To their credit, many teams crossed the finish line in a style that would have certainly delighted our Glorious Founder, Hobart Brown. To give proper glory:

Extra honor to the indomitable June Moxon & her Flying Pink Elephant who in June’s 35th year crossed the finish line long after it closed before going to the banquet so as to actually finish the race.

Glory to Funguy for carrying his art across the finish line after his wheel was ripped from his machine, thus completing the race in style.

And additional glory goes to the CCC and their Corpie Cruiser who crossed the finish line rolling their remaining wheel (which they then gave to KHUM reporter Callista).

To be honest, every team that was able to cross the finish line (in any fashion) deserves a great deal of credit; this is a very difficult race. Kudos also to anyone who even started this daunting event. Having said that, here is a recap of the awards.

Also in a Kinetic First, while there have been several weddings during the race, we celebrated our first at the finish line with Whale of a Wedding. We wish Kate and Elliot every happiness!

(Please note that the judges re-tabulated the art awards, they are not as announced at the banquet. All those involved have been notified).


ACE Teams (they did the whole course from start to finish with no illegal pushes, pulls or other assistance with all pilots remaining for the duration in original seats). When you see these folks, stand up and salute them with the traditional honorific of “Professor!”

104  Tempus Fugatives: Drilling for Glory

144  Packrat

102  Flaming Farmer

111  Spud Bug

112 Tri-Lo-Bike

133  Buggy for Glory

106  Melvin (Mighty Melvin)

144  Flying Spaghetti Monster


The Highway 1 Bicycleers award: 133 Buggy for Glory


Kinetic Paranormal Society Most Supernatural Awards

3rd  112 Tri-Lo-Bike “Most Resurrected”

2nd  131 A Stitch In Time “Most Future Potential”

3rd  144 Biking Fools Snail Trail “Most Mythological”


You Klever Rascal (Best Engineering for non-ACE machine) 108 Horseless Carriage


They Came From Out of Town 118 No Guts, Know Glory (Butte College)


Teddy Bear Awards

2nd 101 Team Goddess Busy Bee

1st 124 Meri, the Monarch


Spirit of the Glorious Founder Judi Kofford (the Teddy Bear Lady)


Spectators’ Favorite 130 Hot Roddenberrys


Second to Last 138 Team Hoosier Daddy Mariners


Racers’ Choice 117 Whale of a Wedding


Volunteer (voted by racers) Alice Pitt (Goddess Jen-0 stand in) Timer


Volunteer (voted by volunteers) Libby Monstar, Volunteer Coordinator


Port Townsend Committee Choice 119 Mite Make It


One for the Little Guy 142 Moonshine Banditos


Never Give Up (Poor Pitiful Me) 105 Lotechnotech


Most Improved 112 Tri-Lo-Bike


Golden Flipper (sand) 130 Hot Roddenberrys


Golden Flipper (water) 120 CCC Corpie Cruiser


Golden Dinosaur (1st to break down after leaving the Plaza) 109 Screwball


Goddess Jen-0 Award 103 Running Road Runner Down


Corvallis da Vinci Days Committee Choice 107 Pineapple Express


Biggest Splash 132 Heads Up


Best Pit Crew 137 Funguys Too 2.0


Best Junior 121 We Are Colfax


Best Campsite:

6th place: 126 NSA (Not Seriously ACE’ing)

5th place: 123 Top of the Mountain TO YOU

4th place: 122 June’s Flying Pink Elephant

3rd place: KHUM

2nd place: 116 Shell’s Angels

1st place: Kinetic Paranormal Society’s Sgt. Button’s Lonely Hearts Strings Band


Best Bribe 130 Hot Roddenberrys


6:32 Award (First ACE to miss closure day 1 & lose ACE) 129 Pear Chopper


Lifetime Achievement Award Rob “Rob Dog”Corpstein


Mediocre Award (finish dead middle) 123 Top of the Mountain TO YOU



3rd: 101 Team Goddess Busy Bee

2nd: 114 Team Hoosier Daddy Sirens

1st: 130 Hot Roddenberrys


Time (must be ACE machine)

3rd: 133 Buggy for Glory (13 hours, 15 minutes)

2nd: 106 Melvin (11 hours, 26 minutes)

1st: 141 Flying Spaghetti Monster (10 hours, 35 minutes)



3rd: 130 Hot Roddenberrys

2nd: 116 Shells Angels

1st: Team 420 Bite Me……PUNK


Engineering (must be ACE machine)

3rd: 102 Flaming Farmer

2nd: 106 Melvin

1st: 112 Tri-Lo-Bike


GRAND CHAMPION (best of art, speed, & engineering)

104 Tempus Fugitives Drilling for Glory         

(They are repeat Grand Champions, back-to-back)


Congratulations to all the winners and participants. Thanks to everyone who assisted in any way. You can help support the race by donating to Kinetic Universe at fundmehumboldt


Kinetic Sculpture Results!

Mike Dronkers / Tuesday, May 26 @ 9:58 a.m. / Kinetic

Special thanks to Eli Rohl for sending us his notes from the awards ceremony, which read as follows:

Most Supernatural: 
Stitch in Time
Snail Trail
You Klever Rascal - non-ACE engineering
Horseless Carriage
They Came from Out of Town
No Guts Know Glory

Teddy Bear Award: 
Team Goddess
Meri the Monarch
The Spirit of the Glorious Founder
Judi the Teddy Bear Lady
Spectators' Favorite
Hot Roddenberrys
Second to Last
Hoosier Daddy: Mariners
Racers' Favorite
Whale of a Wedding
Mite Make It
One for the Little Guy
Moonshine Banditos
Poor Pitiful Me
Lotec Notec
Most Improved
Golden Flipper
Sand - Hot Roddenberrys
Water - Corpie Cruiser
Golden Dinosaur
Goddess Jen-O Award
Running Over Road Runner
Lifetime Achievement Award
Rob Dog
Favorite Volunteer
Libby Monstarr
Biggest Splash 
Heads Up
Best pit crew
Best Jr Award
We Are Colfax
Best Campsite
Sgt. Button
Best Bribe
Hot Roddenberrys
6:32 Award
Pear County Chopper
3 Team Goddess
2 Sirens
1 Hot Roddenberrys
3 Buggy for Glory
2 Melvin
1 Flying Spaghetti Monster
3 Shell's Angels
2 Bite Me, Punk
1 Funguuuuuuy
3 flaming farmer
2 Melvin
1 Tri-Lo-Bike
Grand Champion
Tempus Fugitives: Drilling for Glory
Mediocre Award
Top of the Mountain To Ya