October 17, 2008

We met last Friday at the Arcata Fire Station, with a delicious breakfast provided by the volunteer firefighters.

There was only one birthday for President Mark to call our attention to, so all eyes turned to Karen Burgesser. Her natal day was Sunday, October 12th, but she “really didn’t do anything special.” She was in the garden most of the day, and hubby Steve fixed a nice dinner.

Dan and Kendra Johnson’s 16th anniversary was September 26th, but they both were out of town for their kids’ soccer events – but in different cities! Dan assured us that they will catch up on the celebration stuff.

A Taste of the Holidays is about a month away now, so sell those tickets! Scott Heller is ready to receive your ticket moola and give you replacements, if needed.

Scott is also ready to give you a guided tour of the Arcata Sunrise Rotary stretch of California State Highway 255, also known as Samoa Boulevard on November 15th. It’s a Saturday this time, so you NFL fans have no excuse!

You are invited to show off your artistic abilities at this month’s Final Friday meeting. We will hold our semi-occasional Jack O’Lantern Contest on October 31st. Granted, 7 am is not usually considered the Witching Hour, but bring in your pumpkin – carved, decorated, or otherwise appropriately altered for the holiday.

Next Friday, we will meet at Humboldt State’s Athletics Facility. Dan Collen said that we will have no problem parking on the lower level. We’ll probably be there before most of the students are up anyway.

Our esteemed Finemaster, Jessica McKnight, posed a deceptively simple question to “The Donnie” (aka Don Rosebrook) at our last meeting: “How’s your daughter?” He replied that he had to have a talk with her (Mae or Grace?). Donnie wants to let her know that proper use of playgound equipment does not include launching oneself from the highest point – at least not without bungee cords, a helmet, and lots of bubble wrap. The good news? The cast is off!

John Wesa said that he needs “material for the novel I’m writing”. That’s part of the reason he can now be found on occasion at McKinleyville Ace Hardware. “I grew up with a machinist father,” he said, “now I’m falling back on a trade.” With art sales off in a shaky economy, John says, “I’m a helpful hardware man.”

Amy Bohner was truly surprised to hear Jessica call on her to explain a news article about a recent “Neighborhood Solar Tour”. Although she (or maybe Alchemy Construction) was (were) described as a superstar player / performer in the field, Amy hadn’t heard about it. Jessica plans to revisit the issue soon.

Jessica then asked Dan Johnson about the fire in Samoa last month, which burned a historic building. Dan said that the old Guard Shack took a beating. He said that there were a lot of fire trucks there. One of the firefighters in the room said that four different fire departments responded to the emergency.

It’s important to listen carefully to the last syllable when you hear Jessica say, “Bob Good …” Last Friday, she was calling on “… not the winemaker [Bob Goodman], but the golfer [Bob Goodman]”. The golfer explained that he was absent a couple of weeks ago, playing four days of golf at four different courses in the Quincy area. His favorite was a fancy resort above Portola.

PROGRAM: A Discussion of the Firehouse Fundraiser and Building Progress
At our meeting, President Mark said that we have been working with the Arcata Volunteer Fire Department for the past six years on our joint Spring Fundraiser. In that time, we have raised $315,000 for the AVFD and we have also raised quite a bit of money for our Club. Past President Lori Breyer asked us to thank Dan Johnson with a found of applause – he has chaired the event from the beginning and, Lori told us, “He’s doing it one more time!” The photo at left shows us presenting the firefighters with their portion of the proceeds from the 2008 event – $34,900. Arcata Fire Chief John McFarland thanked us, saying, “We look forward to one more grand extravaganza.”

Chief McFarland talked about the make-up of what is really two entities – the Arcata Fire Protection District (the governmental side, which includes him and a few other paid staff) and the Arcata Volunteer Fire Department (all volunteers). The common mission is “to protect the lives, environment, and property of the communities we serve”.

The Chief noted that they are working to achieve several goals:

  • Financial stability is their Number One goal
  • Two firefighters on duty at two stations
  • Establish a replacement cycle for an aging fleet of vehicles
  • Have a dedicated dispatch service

The last goal has already been achieved. Now 911 calls are routed through CalFire in Fortuna, which has a staff of dispatchers trained specifically for fire and medical emergencies. Chief McFarland called them “very professional and efficient”.

“We’ve mastered the art of grantwriting,” he said. John cited a recent grant that was obtained that allowed the department to purchase equipment for cleaning their turnouts – the protective clothing worn by firefighters. In addition, they have been able to purchase new fire engines that boast technology that improve the efficiency of the fire hoses. All of the new equipment will be paid off in just a couple of years.

Desmond Cowan, the Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Chief told us about a bad fire that occurred recently. The home was lost, but thanks to improved equipment that was acquired as a result of the recent successful benefit assessment vote, the adjacent homes survived with only some paint blistering and other relatively minor damage.

Tim Citro is the President of the AVFD, which is a non-profit organization. He said that the Arcata Sunrise Rotary is the “largest supporter of the [firehouse construction] project”. Tim said that the group is ready to start building at the proposed Sunset Avenue site across from the Arcata Skate Park. But there is still one hurdle – they need the Arcata Planning Commission to approve a lot line adjustment to allow the proposed parking lot to be moved to accommodate the City’s plans to extend Baldwin Street. He encouraged all of us to attend the next Planning Commission meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, October 28th, when this issue will be heard.