Dec 15, 2012

Konaloha coffee: locally owned and roasted fresh in Humboldt County

Sometimes businesses are planned, sometimes they are meant to be. The latter is the case with the Konaloha Coffee Company. Ruth Koontz and her husband John Koontz have lived in Humboldt County for 22 years. Five years into their relationship, still very much in love, they wanted to see where life would lead them next, professionally and personally.
The pair traveled to Nicaragua, Costa Rica and then to Hawaii. In 2009, they found a property there where they considered building a home and relocating -- a five-acre coffee farm in the famous Kona Coffee Belt region.

"We decided not to live there at that time,” said Ruth Koontz. “It was a small welcoming farm community and we decided to continuing growing coffee. We fell into this business venture. We had not planned it.”

After the first crop, the couple had a lot of coffee beans and decided to roast them and make Christmas gifts for their friends. This led to designing labels for the bags, researching roasting options, and such great feedback on the coffee that they got a business license. They started out by roasting and making orders for fundraisers and special orders, and count their participation in a 2010 fundraiser for the construction of the new northeast tower at St. Joseph Hospital as their first success. Now, their unique 100 percent Kona coffee is available through their website,, 16 local retailers such as North Coast Co-op  Ray's and Murphy's, and several retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Whole Foods.

The business is family-owned and run by the couple and Ruth Koontz's daughter Jennifer, and the local connection goes beyond just ownership. Muddy Waters roasts their coffee weekly. They partner with businesses such as Drake Glen's Creations that makes Kona coffee chocolates; they are a part of the Go Local campaign, do demos at local stores and Humboldt State University, and donate to various local charities.

Besides selling 100 percent Kona coffee and not a blend, they offer a product that is made from hand-picked beans, is less acidic than other coffees and is pesticide-free.

The owners travel to the farm several times a year to oversee and participate in the farming and to make sure that the latest horticultural practices and sustainable farming principles are followed.

Ruth Koontz attributes their success to the customers. “The credit goes to our dedicated consumers who are very conscientious of buying local and buying a U.S. product.” Ruth Koontz said regardless of the economy, what she focuses on is advice given at a business seminar: “The key to building a business is persistence, persistence, persistence.”

For more information on the Konaloha Coffee Company, call 496-1942 or email .

Ruth doing a demo at the Northcoast Coop in Eureka.

Nov 17, 2012

Times Printing and Eureka Printing merge

Times Printing started business in 1854 and Eureka Printing in 1899. On November 16, 2012 these two businesses  combined resources and merged.  24 hours ago, escrow closed on the Eureka Printing building. The new venture will be owned by Seth Strope, who is the 4th generation to carry on the family business.

Another first for

Nov 16, 2012

Riverbend Cellars Tasting Room in Eureka

Riverbend Cellars fans will have an opportunity to sample wine in Eureka in 2013. A tasting room is scheduled to open in Eureka at the location where Shorelines Gallery is currently located.

The saying "when one door closes, another one opens" has been true lately for Old Town businesses. Instead of businesses just closing, with empty storefronts, new businesses are moving into former locations. Whiplash Curve and HealthSpot by the Bay switched locations, Hurricane Kate's closed but now there is 511.

Support Old Town and all your local businesses in their investment into your community. Remember, that once again, you heard it here first on

Oct 26, 2012

Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center

Some people talk, others do. Betty Chinn has quietly been serving the homeless for 30 years with her own money and her time. As more people have gotten involved, Betty's work with the homeless has grown and so has the support.

Yesterday, about 100 people showed up at 133 7th street in Eureka to hear about the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center. This is a partnership between the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation and the Catholic Charities Diocese of Santa Rosa.

There were community members, representatives from other organizations that work with the homeless, local Catholic church members, business owners, elected officials that included Virginia Bass, Rex Bohn, Marian Brady, Mike Newman, Lance Madsen, Melinda Ciarabellini and City Council candidate Joe Bonino. The people gathered were a diverse group that normally don't gather in one room. But the most noteworthy attendees for me were Jeremy and Ryan, the two men that help Betty every day and maintain the shower facility operated by St. Vincent's.

Pastor Dan Price, board chair for the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation opened the meeting and explained how this idea came about and mentioned other board members which include Kurt Kramer, Paul Gallegos and David Tyson. He and others mentioned how their view of the homeless has changed by knowing Betty.

The day center that is proposed at this site has been funded by an anonymous donor from Fortuna who now lives in Santa Rosa. Many businesses are donating time and finances to the renovation. They have funding that will allow them to operate for a year. There is a wish list of items that people can help with if they don't have money or volunteer time.

Betty, the board members and City Council members visited the successful program in Sonoma County and wanted a similar program here in Humboldt County. They explained what services will be offered, how this day center will work and what services will be provided and answered questions about safety, protocols, finances.

The mission of the the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center is "to honor all of humanity by providing direct response to immediate needs and helping the destitute achieve the dignity needed to return to society as contributing members."

Stan Cordero, director of programs, said last night, "Homeless is a community challenge and only a community can solve it."

If every person reached out to another person, this is a problem we can overcome. And to those who think this help comes with conditions because Catholics are involved, it does not, it is given without strings attached. Just a hand up to lift up those who  need to be seen, believed and respected and valued as any other human being.

In Betty's work, I see the gift God gave her and the strength. Betty has lived through as a child what the homeless go through each day and for her this is not a job. As she said at the meeting, "I show the love that was shown to me."

I can relate to what Betty said. When I had no where to go and no hope and felt less than worthy, it has been people who live these values that showed me love and believed in me. It made a difference in my life.

My gratitude to Betty and all involved and you can definitely count on me being a part of this community effort.

Oct 17, 2012

Marketing the Northern California Region

On October 11 and 12, the City of Eureka and Upstate California Economic Development Council hosted a 2 day conference at the Wharfinger Building. This included a reception and dinner at the Sequoia Park Zoo. Representatives from the Governor’s Office, Counties of Shasta, Butte, Humboldt, Trinity and Tehama, Headwaters Fund, SBDC, Humboldt Made as well as local elected officials from the City of Eureka, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors attended.

 The Upstate California Economic Development Council (Upstate CA EDC) was founded in 1989. Today, it is supported by the pooled resources of 13 Northern California community-based economic development organizations as well as the California Trade and Commerce Agency and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It is a non-profit whose goal is market profit-making opportunities in the region to a global audience.

 Upstate EDC has a new mission this year, focusing on food production activities, which is a growing business activity within the Upstate members.  Presentations focusing on increasing growth opportunities for Ag related businesses took the forefront on October 11th.

 There was an update by City Manager David Tyson and Consultant David Hull on the East-West Railway Project. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Upstate California Economic Development Council, The City of Eureka, Humboldt County and the Counties of Trinity and Tehama supporting a feasibility study for this project.  “We are not proposing that we build a rail tomorrow,” said Tyson. “We are proposing we do a feasibility study. The port is very important to our economy and rail is important to it.”

 Before Tyson spoke, Debra Lucero from Butte EDC had given an excellent presentation on the future of pulses processing and how that could benefit Northern California counties represented in both national trade and international trade. Debra also shared her innovative Agricultural Speed Dating Program that matches food processors with local and regional restaurants, and commodity based buyers.

 Other featured presenters/speakers included GoBIZs newly appointed Deputy Director Leslie McBride, North State Super Region representative Dan Wayne and Stephen Wahlstrom. Also, present were TeamCalifornia the statewide marketing program experts, Mary Ingersoll and Tim Kelley.

 The program concluded with the recommendation for the Upstate group to focus significant resources and effort on the small value added food processors in the region.



Oct 9, 2012

Humboldt Beer Works moves to a new location

On October 5, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager, Council members Marian Brady and Mike Newman, Eureka Main Street Director Charlotte McDonald as well as  Chamber members and Ambassadors showed up to support  the Ribbon cutting celebration for Humboldt Beer Works new location at 110 Third Street, Suite D in Eureka.

Humboldt Beer Works is a homebrew supply store established in 2011 by owners Jamie Ashdon and Josh Reed. The new company started out focusing on the homebrew supply shop, and quickly gained a following. Known for quality service, availability and for having the best selection of homebrew supplies and equipment in 150 miles, Humboldt Beer Works moved to a shop space four times the size of the previous location in less than a year. They will soon offer on-site commercial craft beer to promote craft brewing education, the art of beer making and classes for new homebrewers. Future phases  include a specialty bottle shop and tap room.

Humboldt Beer Works has 45 grains in stock and dozens of hop varieties and yeast strains. They handle  special orders. They have a commitment that Grain milling will always be free.

To learn more about Humboldt Beer Works, go to
Ribbon Cutting ceremonies are sponsored by the Eureka Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the investment and vote of confidence demonstrated by new and expanding business members.

Oct 7, 2012

Globe Properties Turns 50

Barbara Maxon and Charlotte McDonald at the open house held to mark the 50th anniversary of Globe Properties which also featured a look at Whiplash Curve the new business located at the Historic Buhne General Store and an opportunity to view Bob Maxon's "Captain's Loft" collection and to visit the new location of HealthSPORT by the Bay.

Oct 6, 2012

Local insurance agent marks quarter century in trade

The Times-Standard

Gary Harner started his career in the insurance business 25 years ago with Liberty Mutual, a company he now represents as an independent agent. Harner feels he can represent his customers better by offering them choices of companies rather than the “one-fits-all concept.” Four years ago, Harner became an associate of Stan Smith Insurance Services and California Meridian Insurance Services, which represents more than 20 different insurance carriers.
Harner specializes in two programs exclusive to the agencies he represents. A low-cost flood policy that Harner says gives the client equal or better coverage than the National Flood Program and is usually 50 percent less in premium without sacrificing quality. The other program is a low-cost auto insurance program through Mercury Casualty that Harner says will save the average person as much as 40 percent on their personal auto insurance.
Harner can provide any kind of insurance you are looking for including life, health, commercial, homeowners or auto, with offices in the Ming Tree Building, Suite 3-4-5- and 9, at 509 J Street, Eureka. For more information, email or call 269 4312.

Sep 27, 2012

Humboldt Young Republicans

Humboldt County’s new group of the California Young Republicans held a reception for registered Republicans between the ages of 18 and 40 at 5:30-7:00 p.m. last night at the Sea Grill in Eureka. A new chapter is in the process of being formed.

The new chapter will be a focal point for young Republicans to socialize and create their own programs to advance the party and aid its candidates according to the organizers.

I attended the event and it was great to be with like minded peers, knowledgeable about the issues and those  interested in making a difference in the community.

Adam Ellison, northern regional vice-chair from the California Young Republicans Federation , Peter Hannaford, Chairman of the Humboldt County Republican Party, and Joe Bonino, candidate for Eureka City Council spoke to the group with brief introductions from the event organizers, Darus Trutna and Blaine O'Shaughnessy.
Joe spoke about public safety, jobs, clean environment and fiscal accountability and responsibility. I liked how Joe explained how these issues impact us locally and how his experience as a resident and business owner relate to his insight and what he will bring to City Council. He also was very eloquent about young people getting involved and gave an excellent analysis of how local politics impact the average citizen compared to large cities.

Peter spoke about the Humboldt GOP and how people can be involved. Adam provided information on what support his organization provides and how being involved in such chapters has benefited him.

All age-eligible Republicans are invited to attend the next meeting which will be held at the same location on October 17, 2012 and there is no charge. If you plan to attend, please send  an e-mail at or go to the group's Facebook page for further information.

Sep 24, 2012

Gabriel's new bar

Last Friday, Gabriel's in Old Town was packed with the opening of their new bar. This week help them celebrate with happy hour specials all week.

Sep 14, 2012

For owner, Latte Love a labor of love

John Chiv/For the Times-Standard

Shanell Beyzade opened Latte Love, located at 2228 4th St. in Eureka, in May. Operating successful businesses is something she has been doing for over two decades.
She and her husband own Kebab Cafe in Arcata, which has been around for 15 years. For the past 20 years, Beyzade, an interior designer, has also run the home-based business Creative Decorating & Design, which specializes in custom window coverings and custom draperies.
Beyzade purchased Latte Love's location in December of 2011. “My vision was to decorate the interior with the skills that I have and to make it as unique and comfortable as possible,” she said. “I choose very nice colors and colorful photos of peacock feathers to achieve the effect you see at the coffee shop.”
Then Beyzade began searching for a coffee supplier. Her choice was Strawhouse, in Junction City. “They have the finest coffee that I have ever tasted,” said Beyzade. “It is all organic, fair trade and they roast their beans at their shop. The coffee is delivered fresh weekly, and we are the only coffee shop on the North Coast that serves Strawhouse.” Many customers have commented on the uniqueness of the flavor. Besides coffee, Latte Love offers chai tea and fruit smoothies which are 100 percent fruit with no preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners. You can customize your smoothie by adding fresh ginger or mint.
”My signature drink is Latte Love,”said Beyzade. “It is basically a latte with a hint of lavender. My daughters helped me invent this while I was setting up the shop. Another specialty of ours is Lavender Love, which is cold black tea with ice, a splash of half-and-half and lavender.”
All of the food served is prepared locally. Choices include Kebab Cafe pita bread served with baba ganoush or hummus, Los Bagels' bagels with cream cheese and a variety of toppings and Rita's burritos. The muffins, scones and bread are all purchased from local stores. Latte Love strives to be as vegetarian-friendly and as accommodating of customers' needs as they can be. Milk options include almond milk, soy and rice milk.
”It makes me very happy when people comment on how much they enjoy our coffee shop,” said Beyzade. “When I hear this and see them smile, my soul smiles and I am content. I just want to share this business with everyone and especially with people in Humboldt County because this is my home and where I was born and raised.”
Latte Love is open Monday through Friday. 6:30 a.m to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check them out on Facebook or call 707-442-1200 for more information.

Sep 12, 2012

Eric Martin at the Ironside Gallery for Arts Arcata

Eric Martin says his goal with his photography is to challenge the viewer to take a second look and try to notice hidden subtleties in his work, and figure out what he is trying to convey. The name of his business, 2ndsights Photography, came about as a result of this goal.
He graduated from HSU's Studio Art Department in 2007 and has been a photography enthusiast since his first black-and-white film class at HSU with well-known photography professor Don Anton. While he was always interested in photography, Martin didn't know much about the medium. In fact, as a teenager he dreamed of becoming a career potter, having used the potter's wheel since he was 14. At HSU he focused on ceramics, but since he graduated, he started devoting more time to developing a style with photography.
Now 29, Martin aims to create visually striking work by overlapping multiple photos of common objects, places, textures and quiet phenomena, things and people one might pass by every day and may not appreciate.
His work references a common darkroom technique often called sandwiching, which he first learned about and tried during a beginning black and white film class at HSU. While several other ways to achieve the same effect using film, Martin works digitally to create the final product the viewer sees.
Sometimes his subject matter is easily identified, but often it is not on purpose. The layered imagery that results from his process could be said to hold a mysterious and even dreamlike quality, with a familiarity that draws the viewer to explore deeper.
Since he graduated, Martin and his partner have lived in Grass Valley, where he worked for an Americorps program, then Chico, where she received a teaching credential and he worked as a professional picture framer. They moved back to Humboldt in June 2010 because, he said, they missed the nature, ocean, family and friends who live here.
Martin says his biggest challenge has been figuring out the right career path to follow.
”I'm married now and we want to be able to purchase a home and raise a child, so I need to have consistent, reliable employment,” he said. “For most people that precludes being a career artist. I'm still working towards a career that can help provide us all these things. So I do my art at night and on the weekends.”
Once he moved to Old Town in 2011, Martin started displaying his work often in the local shops and says he has received positive responses.
”For now, my goal is to just keep displaying locally, so my work becomes recognizable,” he said. “Eventually I would like to market my photographs in the Bay Area and some of the places in between here and there. My goal is to have my photography generate a more substantial part of our income. Since we live in a globalized economy, I look forward to expanding my customer base to include people from the East Coast and even different countries.”
Martin can be reached through his online shop, or 845-9479.

Sep 10, 2012

Kay Recede is Texas bound

My favorite local reporter Kay Recede is Texas bound. Her last day with Channel 3 is on Friday. Kay covering local news for TV is not an easy task. You did it with style, you kept it fair and balanced in a community that is passionate about issues, and I will miss seeing you around.

I wish you the best.

Aug 29, 2012

What's Unique About Eureka Main Street

“You hear me before you see me,” states Marty L’Herault owner of Old Town Carriage and Company. Marty and his two horses Barney and Buster, are adored by the public. The clip clop of hooves herald the familiar sight many of us are see daily if we live or work in Old Town Eureka.

According to Marty, this is one of the few horse and carriage companies within 500 miles. “I am the only one who does this six days a week. Ninety percent of the people get into the business as a hobby or do it part-time.”

Marty’s love for horses goes back to the 1980s when he drove a carriage in New York’s Central Park. In 1989, he and his wife opened the business in Eureka. In 1995, he sold it to someone in Sacramento. “There was no carriage locally for about 6 or 7 years, so I bought and started a new business.”

Marty only charges $28 for a 20-25 minute ride and $47 for a 40-45 minute ride. This charge is not per person but for the whole carriage. Even with a display sign, Marty has to explain the charges to people. They are very surprised at how reasonable his prices are and Marty has 2 regular narrated historic tour routes.

“I am very fortunate that all of the businesses and the City of Eureka want me to be here,” said Marty. Many larger areas his peers are facing extinction.

Romantic rides, families enjoying a leisurely activity, visitors learning about the area; Marty has been there for all these good times. His eyes light up when he mentions people who used to ride the carriage as children come up to him now as adults and share childhood memories.

Asked to explain why his business is so popular among both locals and tourists, Marty said he remembered what an Amish gentleman told him years ago. “The more we rush into the future, the more we want reach back into something familiar of the past.”

Aug 19, 2012

Come meet Joe

Joe Bonino has either been a business member or a board member or president or volunteer for the following: City of Eureka Budget Advisory Committee, Easter Seals Society , Ink People, Italian Catholic Federation , Eureka Sons and Daughters of Italy, St. Bernard’s Parish, Humane Society of Humboldt County,  Clarke Museum/Old Town, and Eureka/Humboldt Co. Bed & Breakfast Association.

He is also for clean air, water, the environment. On Tuesday, August 21, Joe will formally announce his candidacy for Ward 2, Eureka City Council at 12:15 in front of the Eureka High auditorium.

From Joe's community service, it looks like he appeals to a wide range of constituents. Joe and I share some of the same interests and values. I know him personally yet he did not take my support for granted. He took the time to speak with me and answer questions. Come hear Joe speak, meet him, and decide for yourself.

Aug 15, 2012

Mekong Café to celebrate fourth anniversary in Old Town

John Chiv/For the Times-StandardCreated:   08/15/2012 02:37:12 AM PDT

Mekong Café located at 307 2nd St. in Eureka will celebrate its fourth anniversary this December. They are starting their celebration a few months early by offering an updated menu starting this August and specials featuring Humboldt Grassfed Beef.
The name reflects cuisine which is typical of the region near the Mekong River. “We offer Thai food with a Laotian influence,” said owner Gina Sydathong.
She credits her husband John for opening Mekong since meeting him is what introduced her to the dishes offered. “The love for the food came first, the love for the man later,” said Sydathong.
John Sydathong's family opened the first Southeast Asian store in Humboldt in the late 1980s. They sold the business. John and Gina both worked at Cher-ae Heights Casino and fell in love. They owned Red Eye Espresso in Myrtletowne and wanted to offer food but it wasn't the right timing. After they sold the Red Eye, Gina was training to be a medical assistant but she loved cooking more and Mekong Café was the result.
Cultural pride and offering food similar to what they eat at home is one of the few things that sets Mekong apart, according to Nicole Williams, who has worked at Mekong for three years. The restaurant has daily specials, offering food customized to different spice levels; you can create your own version of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), and the vegetarian selections have vegetables different than those that are
usually available at most Asian restaurants. Local support is very important to Gina. She uses tofu from The Tofu Shop, purchases produce as often as she can from the farmers market, and has started using Humboldt Grassfed Beef for her specials. You can get entire platters of items such as Whole Cornish Game Hen, Roasted Duck and the recently added Deep Fried Trout as a part of the regular menu.
The improved menu offers a lot of options which is familiar to patrons of Asian restaurants. Their Pad Thai (stir-fried rice noodles) is prepared as it is in the Chiang Mai region. Dishes on the menu are prepared with herbs grown by Gina so you get that fresh flavor.
They always have live music on Arts Alive. Call 707-269-0555 for more information.

Aug 14, 2012

Decision on courthouse ordinance continued until Sept 25 meeting

After hearing from the Humboldt Human Rights Commission and public comment at this morning's meeting, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors took no action and voted to continue the item regarding the  courthouse urgency ordinance until the September 25 meeting. They also included in the motion a request to the Humboldt County Sheriff's office, the Eureka Police Department and the District Attorney's office not to prosecute certain parts of the ordinance so citizens can have candlelight vigils and exercise their First Amendment Rights.

The Humboldt Human Rights Commission is a group of fine folks. I served with them. Let's see if the good faith demonstrated by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and Human Rights Commission is returned in word and action by those who continue to throw hissy fits and be disrespectful.

Free speech comes with responsibility. And the right to express opinions extends to all. When I see that courtesy given to me and others;  when I see an effort on part of the Occupiers and their allies to respect and balance needs of all citizens; when I see the local media give equal voice to other than just the a few Occupiers and their views, the First Amendment will be applied fairly.

Aug 11, 2012

He Walks The Talk

You already know he is running against Linda Atkins . You know he is employed by Humboldt State. Here is a little more about Joe Bonino.

Public transit is one of the many issues important to Joe. He rides his bicycle and he takes the bus to work every day. He has been doing this since 1995. Clean air, the environment is something he has been passionate about long before the election.

Public safety and job creation are also important to Joe. He told me that there are 3 immediate and crucial issues that Eureka City Council will be dealing with: a new police chief, a new city manager, and the General Plan. "What kind of council member do you want ?," he asked me. Linda Atkins believe in "expanding government" and "I believe in limited government."

Joe will have a website up soon. Instead of listening to me or any one else, take the time to check it out. Meet Joe and decide for yourself.

Aug 10, 2012

Joe Bonino to challenge Linda Atkins

As of 5 PM on August 10, No one is running against Melinda Ciarabellini for Ward 4 in Eureka. Joe Bonino is the challenger to Linda Atkins for Ward 2.

Whiplash Curve spotlights local jewelry

John Chiv/For the Times-Standard

Sometimes one ending is a new beginning.
Whiplash Curve is the new business and brainchild of Bonnie Stephens and Eleanor Mattingly.
The store had a soft opening on July 31 and is located at 423 1st St. in Eureka. Stephens and Mattingly are the former owners of Graystone Jewelers.
”Whiplash curve” is jewelry term widely present in art nouveau and represents a different style and direction that Stephens and Mattingly are taking with their business. When they decided to downsize a few months ago due to recession, Stephens and Mattingly had a few options. They eventually decided to concentrate on offering selections of their own work and certain select vendors.
Health Sport by the Bay was looking for a larger location and Whiplash Curve needed a smaller location. Both properties are managed by the same landlord and so the businesses switched locations. “It was serendipity,” said Stephens.
Stephens and Mattingly did offer their own creations at the old store, but at Whiplash Curve there will be more items available on display, and they say they are going to do a lot more custom work.
”This is an opportunity for us to highlight more of our own designs,” said Mattingly. Offering local and regional items allows them to work directly with the jeweler and cuts out the middleman.
Stephens and Mattingly also want to offer jewelry mostly available in the U.S because “the diamonds are conflict-free”and the items are recyclable.
The store is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 707-407-3520 for more information.

Aug 6, 2012

It's Official, Rex Bohn Sworn in today

Rex Bohn was sworn in at noon today by Hon. Judge Watson and the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor Chamber was packed with family and friends.

Former 1st District Supervisor Jimmy Smith was one of the many elected officials and personal friends that showed up to congratulate Rex. Rex's speech was short, simple, and humble. He thanked his family and wife, Jimmy Smith, long-time friends, fellow supervisors and staff.

"I look forward to protecting people's rights" and "We need to take off the handcuffs from small businesses. We need jobs, not just for young people but everybody" are two subjects Rex mentioned in his speech. The last is one that rings very true and is a concern close to me. It is one of the many reasons I supported Rex. He gets what the daily struggle is for someone like me. He gets to the point.

Kay Recede of Channel 3 asked him "what issues will you tackle first?" After humorously referring to the field drainage issue in Fields Landing that he got a call about at 8:05 AM this morning, Rex responded with "General Plan issues". He said he wants to do what is best for the citizens of Humboldt County and that the Plan getting published and distributed was a great step. He also added that when he was out walking during his campaign, this was not the biggest issue.

Aug 1, 2012

What Makes Eureka Main Street Unique

 You have been on the boat, now meet the goat.

Gelou, a Nigerian dwarf goat is the new mascot for the famous 1910 Madaket and was raised on the boat yard that also housed the famous local ferry.

Gelou is pictured here with Dalene and Leroy Zerlang. Most locals are already familiar with the Zerlang family and the Madaket connection. If you have not yet experienced a cruise or want to know more, visit

The Madaket is the last of seven ferries on Humboldt Bay. The ferry system was the main transportation from the Peninsula to the mills and was closed down in 1971. So what makes the Madaket unique?

It is the oldest certified passenger carrying vessel in continuous service in the Unites States. It has the smallest licensed bar in the State of California, hence the affectionate name, “the booze cruise”.  Besides the cocktail cruise, there are narrated cruises which allow you to see Eureka from a different perspective.

Leroy explained that “instead of looking at the water, you are looking at the city of Eureka from the boat. Views you don’t see when you are normally driving through.”

The day I was talking to Leroy and Dalene, passengers awaiting a cruise were more interested in getting their photo taken with Gelou than local history. Gelou made a rare appearance that day and seems to be a natural for the camera.

Jul 5, 2012

Wedding planner celebrates 10 years in Humboldt

John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted:   07/04/2012 02:36:18 AM PDT

In Nancy Burrow's own words, “anyone who needs a good Italian-Portugese to run the show and make sure every tiny detail is taken care of” should hire 2 Moms Party Planning and Weddings.
Burrow, the owner of a successful business that will celebrate its 10th anniversary this month, has clients all over Humboldt County and even travels as far as Yreka. This year she plans to go global to promote her business and the redwoods. Many of her wedding clients are from Southern Humboldt and Miranda Gardens is Burrow's favorite location.
Burrow, a Bay Area native with a background in Italian restaurants and event planning, moved to Humboldt in 1996 and went into business with another mom, her neighbor, in 2002. The business grew and in a couple of months, according to Burrow, her partner decided to let her fly solo because the business required a lot of time.
A go-getter, Burrow started by printing up 800 business cards and cold-calling. In her first week, she got three clients: St. Joseph, her first wedding, and a sweet sixteen, and hasn't looked back since. 2 Moms Party Planning and Weddings now employs many moms and dads now on an event-by-event basis.
”I didn't do this for the money; this is my passion,” said Burrow. “My clients are like my family. They trust me.”
She travels to where her clients need her, or sets them up before they land. Burrow and her crew will even help you propose to your beloved – a new service they offer.
2 Moms  works with many local vendors. Regulars include catering by Perfect Palate, music by DJ Dub Cowboy, flowers by Flora Organica, photography by L and M Photography, and ceremonies officiated by Dana Hope.
”Anything is possible if you just believe you can do it and give 100 percent every single time,” is Burrow's advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs. For more details, call 707-502-5000 or visit

Jun 26, 2012

Take the Gallagher's experience
John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted:   06/26/2012 02:37:07 AM PDT

Gallagher's Irish restaurant and pub, located at the Eagle House, 139 2nd St. in Eureka, opened its doors eight years ago. The family-friendly Irish pub has always made changes in an effort to reach out to customers who have yet to have the Gallagher's experience and to keep the regulars coming back.
Starting Wednesday, Gallagher's is introducing a late-night menu which will offer items under $5 and 50 cents off drinks from 9:30 p.m. to closing, Wednesday through Saturday. Classics such as the Gallagher burger and their fish and chips will be available for $10.
Another change is a recent website featuring all that Gallagher's has to offer.
This year marks the second annual private tasting events, a partnership with Myrtletown Liquors and John's Fine Cigars, which features three tastings a year with special menus. A tequila tasting is set for July. This idea was largely executive chef Schulyer Schoell's idea, according to owner Reed Paden. Schoell previously worked at the Josephine Room at the Gunhouse in Sonora.
”Irish pubs are known for their hospitality and good food,” said Manager and Event Coordinator Kelly Erben. “Patrons are drawn to our pub and its comfortable charm. These customers include loyal locals who eat lunch or dinner on a daily or weekly basis, overnight guests staying at the Eagle House Inn or tourists just passing through.”
Family-owned and operated, this is owner Reed Paden's first local restaurant. His initial venture into the food business was The Rock in Twain Harte. The Padens moved up to Humboldt County from the Bay Area because they wanted to raise their children here. Paden named The Rock after a famous landmark near the pub. Gallagher's is named in honor of his grandfather.
Open seven days a week, Gallagher's Irish pub and Irish restaurant's menu is periodically updated but always features fish and chips. On Irish Thursdays, a specific menu is offered just that day, and on Fridays and Saturdays, you can get prime rib. There is live music Wednesday through Saturday with rotating guests, among them local musician Seabury Gould. Gallagher's has always had one resident artist, Ron Thompson. Stop by for a beer and have your own personal Arts Alive experience since he is one of the regulars.
Gallagher's also caters events and parties. These can be at your home or you can reserve the Eagle House banquet facility, which accommodates from 80 to 100 people.
Visit or call 707-442-1177 for reservations or more information.

Jun 20, 2012

Comic relief at the City Council meeting

Forget Hulu, forget cable, I have all the free entertainment I need here by just attending the Board of Supervisor and City Council meetings.

Issues people feel compelled to comment on always amaze me. At last night's City Council meeting, the City Council budget had no public comment, but the ordinance updating regulations regarding beekeeeping took well over an hour.

Councilwoman Marian Brady had the best comment of the entire night. "Everything in Eureka is complaint driven!" 

Next time, I am bringing popcorn. 

At the Board of Supes meeting, we heard yet again from the Occupiers about the same ole same ole rhetoric that has been repeated since last October. It was like being stuck watching reruns of Groundhog Day. The irony is that after I just commented that I was heckled and harassed for speaking up by Occupiers and not conforming to their views, I walk out and it happens again.

Rational dialogue cannot occur with people in denial.

Jun 12, 2012

Puttin' on the Ritz in Old Town Eureka
John Chiv/for the Times-Standard
Posted:   06/12/2012 02:38:20 AM PDT

Jack Wu has a penchant for offering good fare, and thanks to him, the lights are on at the Ritz again. The historic Ritz at 240 F St. in Eureka's Old Town reopened quietly on June 1 with a tasting menu. With only word of mouth so far, they have had steady business.
On June 5, the restaurant unveiled its full menu. The Ritz offers modern cuisine featuring French-style plates with a range of Thai flavors. Chef Eric Nelson and Sous Chef Rudy Mujianto tempt your palate with tapas, small plates and savory selections such as Ritz eggplant chevre rolls on wood-fired pita bread, scallop and bay shrimp fritters with Ritz mild curry, grilled duck breast with spicy hoisin glaze, shrimp and crab pizza with lime thyme, tobiko and enoki mushrooms and sun-dried tomato and garlic cream and desserts such as banana bread pizza with strawberries and frozen nutmeg whipped cream.
Prices range from $6 to $18. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
How did they arrive at what kind of food to offer? Building owner Dan Olivier had a wood-fire oven put in a few months ago. Nelson's background is in French cooking, specifically Southern France. Wu wanted a Thai influence. The result is the Ritz's current French-Thai fusion with seasonal and local ingredients.
The Ritz is open seven days a week and currently offers beer and wine. A full bar will be available soon. Works by local artists Andrei Hedstrom and Jennifer Mackey adorn the walls.
Samuel Santangelo is the front-house manager who oversees a staff of 30 employees, many of whom will be familiar faces to regular patrons of Old Town. In the first week, many diners complimented Santangelo on his excellent recommendations and great customer service.
”The community and nearby businesses have been very supportive,” said Santangelo, “and we plan to be good neighbors and return that generosity and welcome.”
Customers in this first week have had a chance to give feedback on their favorite dishes. Like a painting in process, the Ritz menu will evolve and update.
”The Ritz is one of the best locations in town,” Wu said. “In my travels, I was inspired by some places I visited and wanted to offer a local option which was artistic, different, comfortable and fun. This business brings together my love for good food, support for the arts and to offer Old Town a chance to share in my dream becoming a reality.”
The Ritz has been a landmark of Old Town since 1947. Olivier purchased the building and restored it in 1978. The renovation and design took place over a 14-year period. The Ritz operated as a successful nightclub during that time and since then has been home to many an upscale establishment.
The Ritz's grand opening will be on Friday. Nelson said a couple of new dishes will be introduced that day and some specials. For reservations and more information, call 707-497-6294.

Jun 2, 2012

The Ritz is open!

The Ritz had a soft opening last night. I have been waiting to try the food and last night, I went back twice to sample the delightful fare by Chef Eric. From the time the doors opened until they closed, people kept coming in and this with no formal announcement, just word of mouth. I want to compliment Jack and his staff because they did a fantastic job accommodating the unanticipated rush.

A special shout out to Samuel for his recommendations which were all spot-on. Until next week, the Ritz is offering a tasting menu and asking for feedback. In a week the Ritz will be offering a full-menu.

I am hoping with Arts Alive today and personal recommendations from last night, the second night will be just what is needed to kick-off a successful launch of this new incarnation of the Ritz.

I enjoyed everything I tried but the must haves include the scallop and Bay shrimp Fritters, the duck Pot Stickers, the eggplant rolls with pita bread and for dessert, the banana bread pizza with strawberries and  nutmeg whipped cream. The chicken satay and the shrimp, crab and sundried pizza were good as well. There are different sauces and flavors for each dish. Hoping the curry lemon aioli I tried with the breadsticks is a staple.

For the last few months, on Arts Alive, people have been enjoying pizza made in the wood brick oven but you  have to sample this menu to really appreciate the flavor.

In addition to good food, what warmed me most was the support by the community. My fellow diners included several people I see frequently including Brian and Gailen from Oberon Grill, Gregg Foster from Redwood Capital Bank, Emily Jacobs from Fly Humboldt, and Michele from The Spa at Personal Choice. And a special mention to Laurel at the Speak Easy for reminding me of the opening.

I went out and took menus and told people about the Ritz. Although, this is now my living, last night was about supporting my favorite local businesses, investing in my community and good company.

May 22, 2012

Eureka Cornerstone Rededication Ceremony

Attending the rededication of the Eureka City Hall cornerstone on May 19 reminded me of the many reasons I enjoy living here. History takes a whole new meaning when you know the people involved.

Kudos goes to Billy Lenhoff, owner of Cornerstone Construction, Eureka Main Street Executive Director Charlotte McDonald and the board and staff, the Eureka Heritage Society, and the Masons who preserved this stone when the building was demolished.

I know Billy and Charlotte, and the city and county officials that attended and this is just one of the many every day events and efforts that they participate in that make living here in Humboldt a joy. I am proud to call them friends. I got to meet the other people involved that day. There have been media releases and reports and photos of the event you can read.

For me, sitting at the corner of 3rd and G, watching the ceremony was emotional. In a small community like ours, the city, the businesses, the civic organizations came together and showed what is possible when we work together for the benefit of all.

Through their personal stories, they bought alive for me memories that I did not experience, since I did not grow up here. The Honor Guard marching with the flags, the Masons and their sharing of traditions and the entire event exemplified all that is good in fraternal brotherhood, patriotism, good honest work and most of all Faith in God.

It could have been just another sunny day in Eureka but I left the event that day feeling hope and pride that the values that sustain me are still alive.

I started this blog as a way to showcase examples of my work and to feature businesses I have promoted. It is evolving into a place for me to also share my opinions and an opportunity to write about the best of Humboldt.



Apr 4, 2012

Look at people as individuals, not labels


Alert the citizens. There is an epidemic loose locally, nationally and globally, and it has reached epic proportions in Humboldt. It seems to be targeting an endangered species: moderate folks with common sense. A side effect of this epidemic is misdirected anger.
The invisibility and gradual disappearance of this species has upset balance and any reasonable dialogue is impossible. In Humboldt, toxic zealots have taken over the majority of valid liberal and civil right causes and claim to be true progressives. If you don't follow the far-far-left party line, you are automatically labeled clueless, a puppet, not a true Democrat and the ultimate zinger: Conservative or Republican. Those on the left that are the foot soldiers and truly believe in justice and empowerment are skewered by their own.
The others or those held responsible for all ills by the far-far left fanatics include the working poor and struggling middle class as well sensible, hard-working business people. There are indeed a few people in this group who are ill-equipped to handle power or wealth. Unfortunately the rants of the far-far-left are not directed at these few individuals but at the wrong individuals. The brunt is born by responsible and contributing members of the wealthy that wish to encourage private initiative and create opportunities for people to move ahead.
This relates to two recent hot button issues locally: Walmart and Occupy Eureka.
Despite the outcry, Walmart is here.

And it is not located at the Marina Center. There was no closure of local coffee shops or lost jobs when Starbucks came into town. Same for Costco, K-mart, Target.
The people who blog and get the masses riled up about local jobs need to put their money where their words are. That would require not sitting in front of a computer everyday preaching to the rest of us and supporting ALL jobs so people have legitimate money and could compete with people with “wads of untaxable, illegal income.”
The Occupy movement nationally and locally is a big failure. When it was against Wall Street and about the 99 percent, it had focus and a message that united. Now it has become a free for all with blame, no solutions and people playing victim. Protesting in front of the Courthouse or anywhere for months with tactics that are harassing and costing the 99 percent has resulted in a loss of sympathy. Why is it that people who support the Occupy movement always want someone else's money to fix things? Homelessness, and poverty is not a government or tax the rich issue; it is a community failure that can be resolved if more people invested in one other person.
I do know what it means to be hungry, to appreciate a hot shower, to be dependent on the mercy of someone else for the basics in life. I do understand the anger when life seems so hopeless and overwhelming. I have felt the judgment of a few people who don't have a clue what it takes get on your feet in today's economy. However, more often, I have experienced love and support and kindness and encouragement.
When I was in college, I thought I could change the world and save it. Rebelling and speaking out and telling others what was wrong was youthful passion. Then I grew up. I had bills to pay. I had dreams. I continue to speak out against injustice and for the underdog. Today, what that means is first and foremost holding myself responsible for where I am. Then, working within the system to educate people on both the left and the right of what the average person goes through when they are disenfranchised. And in seeing the human condition and suffering due to greed that cuts across the lines of color, gender and political parties.
We need to stop letting people divide us and empower each other. We can start by looking at people as individuals and not labels.
John Chiv

Emergency ordinance is not the problem

Letter to the Editor

Unfortunately the problem is not the ordinance. Until Occupy Eureka, people protested and there were no problems.
The ordinance was not necessary until Occupy Eureka. All those bemoaning the new county ordinance could have put the same effort into getting through to the agitators. Since the ordinance, Occupy Eureka has continued to protest, the difference is that the rest of us can actually work in peace and walk on the sidewalk without being yelled at; if you haven't lived it daily, don't claim to know what goes on.
Since last October, this last couple of days has been the first time that some of us near the courthouse can actually get work done and walk freely inside the courthouse and to nearby businesses without non-stop music, yelling, harassing, trash and rudeness. There are businesses that stay open late and during  9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Private property near the courthouse is not getting trashed.
On one hand, Occupy Eureka says the problems are caused by the homeless and mentally ill. Yet aren't they the ones that Occupy Eureka supposedly wants help for? Can't have it both ways. When people don't want help and solutions, it does not matter what you do. They will never be happy.
The blame for any loss of liberty should not be put on the county but on those people that only believe in 1st amendment and free speech for themselves.
It is an emergency interim ordinance. So all this outcry is a bit dramatic.

Mar 27, 2012

Silver Lining lights up McKinleyville dining scene

John Chiv/For the Times-Standard

At The Silver Lining restaurant in McKinleyville, you get more than just a dining experience, you are a guest of the Lakeys.
Mandala Lakey owns the restaurant with her husband Damian Lakey and his twin brother Josh Lakey. What can you expect when you walk into The Silver Lining? This is how Mandala described their customer philosophy: “When someone walks into our restaurant, we want them to feel completely taken care of, so they can relax and have fun. When I train my staff, I ask them to imagine planning a dinner party for your family and friends. The care you put into the details of planning the menu, making your house beautiful and preparing everything meticulously, create a heightened desire to achieve a magical experience for everyone.”
The Lakeys have owned The Silver Lining restaurant for nine years. Damian worked as a server, bartender, prep cook and line cook for seven years for the previous owners and has extensive experience in the hospitality industry. All three of the Lakeys can recall dining at The Silver Lining before a McKinleyville High dance, and often joke that the restaurant has always been a part of their lives.
The Silver Lining offers a casual menu for both travelers and locals in a beautiful atmosphere overlooking either the runway or the ocean. In addition to great food, they have recently added Tuesday Night Karaoke and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The Lakeys have enjoyed a warm reception from the public, who appreciate the addition to McKinleyville's nightlife.
In September they lowered their prices, expanded their lunch menu and transitioned from fine dining to a more casual cuisine in an attempt to reach out to a community hurt by the recession.
Although the Lakeys have a passion for fine dining, Mandala said this change resulted in tremendous support from their regular customers, and this new vision has created a renewed feeling of excitement around the restaurant for the owners and the staff.
The Lakeys feel fortunate raising their children and running their business in the town they all grew up in. “We have always felt supported by the locals, and hope that we offer them an excellent experience in return, and that as we grow and change, and adapt with the times, that we may offer them much more to come.”
To stay up to date on events and discounts, “like” them on Facebook at or call 707-839-0304.

Mar 26, 2012

Wine Spot in Eureka: Where everybody knows your name
By John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 04/02/2011 02:43:05 AM PDT

Boston has Cheers; Eureka has the Wine Spot.
Regulars will tell you the Cheers theme song is very appropriate for this new business that opened a little over three months ago in Old Town but their own tagline, “where old friends go to meet new ones” more aptly describes the atmosphere owner Kat Combs works to create everyday.
A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday at the Wine Spot, 234 F St.
When Art of Wine closed, there was no place left in Eureka where people could go wine-tasting. Manager Tim Hendrix, who worked at the Art of Wine, was looking for investors to open a similar business. He knew Combs and her husband Ron from Art of Wine, and although there were a few investors interested, Hendrix picked Combs.
Combs was born in Crescent City, left Humboldt and most recently lived in Calaveras County -- where she met Ron. She has run many successful businesses including a karaoke and DJ business that kept them busy traveling five counties in Central California. Ron is now retired from PG&E and works as a consultant for the energy industry. Combs had been going to wineries for years and always wanted to open a wine bar.
Both Hendrix and Combs wanted The Wine Spot to be different. The focus is on wine-tasting and wine sales but they also offer beer, water, juice and non-alcoholic wine. Hendrix wanted to “take the stuffiness and mystery” out of wine and make it more about the sharing of friends and discovery.

To make the atmosphere more inviting, art adorns the walls above the wine racks and each day, there is an additional incentive for customers to come “hang out.” Tuesdays, there is a wine seminar and game night; Wednesdays, karaoke; Thursdays and Sundays potlucks and on Fridays they spin vinyl records. On Mondays, when they are closed, the Eureka Rotaract meets there.
Customer comments indicate that the Wine Spot has achieved its goal. The clientele is diverse, ranging in age, political beliefs and why they come to the Wine Spot. According to Jessica Ponsano, “It has a family atmosphere and not a bar set-up.” For Carly Robbins, it is getting to meet different people that she would normally not encounter. Ponsano added that “it is not intimidating and snooty” and that the environment makes it very open and welcoming for people to learn about wine. She looks forward to the Monday emails with details about the week's events.
Tracy Brand echoed the feelings of her friends at a nearby table: “The owners are social. The selection here is amazing and I don't feel pressured about buying.” Angie DePew likes that she can “hang out with my adult kids and that this is not a sleazy bar.”
Listening to these customer's feelings at Sunday brunch made Combs smile. She said she wanted to create an atmosphere “where ladies can come in after work, have a glass of wine with friends and feel comfortable and relax. Everyone here feels like family. We are very open to customer feedback and the ambiance just happened naturally.”
Promoting California, especially Humboldt, is obvious in all aspects of the business. They feature wines from the best of Humboldt County wineries; all over the West Coast and are branching out to international selections. Each month, the Wine Spot features Humboldt County local artists on a rotating basis.
Since she moved to Humboldt in 2001, community has been very important to Combs. On Tuesdays and Fridays, Combs and friends feed the homeless on the corner of Fairfield and Hawthorne. The Wine Spot is just another way Combs said she can contribute to a positive atmosphere to the place she calls home. When asked if she thought a wine bar was a risky proposition in today's economy, especially Humboldt, Combs commented, “It was a little scary at times at first but it is starting to pay its own way.”
For more information on the Wine Spot, call 497-6236.