CALTRANS ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY that Judge Dale Reinholtsen of the Humboldt County Superior Court has found for Caltrans in the “Richardson Grove Improvement Project,” a road-widening project opposed by much of the population of Southern Humboldt County. The judge, his prose sounding very, very annoyed, put it this way:
“CALTRANS is not going to cut down or otherwise remove any old-growth redwoods from Richardson Grove State Park… There is absolutely no basis in reality for believing that Caltrans ‘wants’ to ‘destroy’ old-growth redwoods. The evidence is quite obviously and overwhelmingly to the contrary. The Court has not found a violation of CEQA [California Environmental Quality Act] at this time.”
IN HIS 30 page opinion, the judge rejected everything the array of opposed organizations and individuals had asserted except for “additional information … to show that Caltrans has adopted a reporting or monitoring program that is designed to ensure that it will employ the impact minimization measures discussed in its environmental study.” Big Orange and the groups opposed are supposed “to meet and agree on the timing for Caltrans to present this additional information to the Court.”
CALTRANS was of course pleased with the decision, undoubtedly viewing the protesters as a rag-tag collection of nuts and neo-druids. The agency's jubilant press release read in part, “Today’s ruling brings the challenges to the project a major step closer to resolution. Route 101 at Richardson Grove has been under study for more than ten years and Richardson Grove Improvement Project has been actively in development since 2006. Minor changes to the existing alignment will be made without removal of any old growth redwood trees in order to allow industry-standard sized truck access along this portion of Route 101. As the court emphasized in its decision, the project was planned and designed to avoid removing any old-growth trees, and many measures are in place to protect the surrounding trees throughout the area. In light of the Court’s ruling substantially rejecting the Petitioner’s arguments, Caltrans will proceed as soon as possible to comply with the State Court’s remaining request. In addition, Caltrans will be finalizing the re-survey of nearly 1,500 trees ordered by the federal court in its April 2012 decision. Caltrans will be able to provide an estimated completion date of both these aspects later this summer.”
A FELLOW called Raymond Chadwick has been named interim superintendent of the Willits schools. In Jennifer Poole's account of Chadwick's appointment in The Willits News, we learn that Chadwick won his edu-bones as an administrator in the Ukiah school system. In fact, he ran the whole show for a while.
THE WILLITS superintendent, Debra Kubin, is now running the Ukiah schools. (Will the circle be unbroken!) Chadwick's photo accompanying the story doesn't exactly scream “Scholar!” but you could also say that about most scholars nowadays, Paul Tichinin of the Mendocino County Office of Education, for example, a noted philologist away from his day job.
CHADWICK says he's been “consulting and doing special projects” since leaving his Ukiah sinecure, and took the Willits post because he thought it would be “a lot of fun.”
THE POINT? IS THERE a point to these sarcasms? Not really, other than to say that I've lived in Mendocino County since 1970, and in all that time I've met maybe three school administrators I'd trust with my own kid's education, and none of them were from Willits, Ukiah, Laytonville, or Covelo.
WILL SIEGEL & FRIENDS with their trademark Americana Roots & Roll and Country Sweetheart McKENNA FAITH will perform in Todd Grove Park at 6pm in Ukiah. McKenna Faith is a well known country music singer/songwriter from Ukiah.
MILL FIRE UPDATE, July 9, 2012, 8pm — Summary: The Mill Fire continues to show significant growth. However, Firefighter efforts helped slow fire growth on the north and east flanks (near Fouts Springs). The fire showed some growth today on its southern flank. Fire perimeter mapping showed total size at approximately 10,000 acres. This growth has happened progressively over the last two days. However, accurate size assessment (via aircraft) was not possible until today. Fire behavior including active torching, and spotting in advance of the main fire. Afternoon winds unique to this area continue to drive fire growth. Northern California Team 2 (NorCal2), a Type 2 Interagency Incident Management Team is in command of the fire. Time/Date Started: July 7, 2012. Location: Mendocino National Forest, north and east of Letts Lake. Cause: Under investigation. Fuels: Timber, brush. Size: 10,000 acres. Containment: 10%. Cost: $1,000,000. Resources Committed: 10 Type 1 crews, 4 Type 2 crews, 7 helicopters, 59 engines, 19 dozers, 2 water tenders. Total personnel = 700. Predicted Weather: Unseasonably high temperatures and low relative humidity remain in the forecast. Afternoon winds are erratic and gusty, influenced by coastal marine influences mixing with the dry valley air. Evacuations and Closures: Evacuations are in effect for the communities of Fouts Springs, Bonnie View, and Board Camp Springs and campgrounds within the Upper Letts Lake area. Portions of the community of Stonyford are under voluntary evacuation, The Fouts Spring Road (The M10 Road) is closed at Stonyford. The Goat Mountain Road is closed at the Stonyford Lodoga Road. The Lake View Loop Road to the Goat Mountain Road is under voluntary evacuation. An Advisory has been issued to residents west of the Stonyford Lodoga Road between Stonyford and Goat Mountain Road to be prepared for a possible evacuation. An Area Closure is in effect for the Mendocino National Forest for all roads, trails, recreational facilities for the Stonyford Recreation Area within the Grindstone Ranger District. — CalFire Press Release