Volume XI, Issue 42: June 1, 2012

Star-Spangled Crabgrass?

Thanks to Laura Montagna for this photo

 Throughout President Scott’s reign, we have started each meeting with the playing or singing of our National Anthem. Last Friday, we were treated to a surprise rendition by  the Crabgrass Band, in honor of our Kids, Crabs, and Rotary event coming that Sunday. (It was believed to be the first Arcata Sunrise visit by the Crabgrassers since the inauguration of Your Editor as Club President back in the 1990’s.)

Thank you also, Karen Burgesser

Noëmi’s Nëws

Exchange Student Noëmi Schönenberger had her first encounter with Kinetic Sculptures over Memorial Day Weekend, and her reaction was, “I’ve never seen anything like that before!” Only in Humboldt County (and maybe a few other places, now). She also said that she received her Arcata High School yearbook last week, which was also a first for her. Noëmi said that they don’t have yearbooks in Switzerland. After she gets home and shows it around, maybe she’ll start a new trend! 
Maggie’s Back!
Honorary Sunriser Maggie Kraft returned early from her Peace Corps posting in Botswana, and she is now the new Executive Director of the Area 1 Agency on Aging. Maggie said that she had worked hard during her time in Africa, and it was hard to leave. Although she is looking forward to the challenges of her new position, “It’s really weird to go someplace and really immerse yourself in it.” 
Humboldt Live 
Jim Ritter was at last Friday’s meeting to talk about Humboldt Live. The program used to be known as JCS/SBMS Live, but it continues to expand. Humboldt Live engages junior and senior high school students, offering mentorship and career exploration opportunities. Their activities this school year have included job shadowing and panels of professionals discussing their careers. 

Jim Ritter, Lynn Jones, and Tristan Czerwinski

Sunny Brae Middle School teacher Lynn Jones said that this year, Humboldt Live was offered as an elective, and it had quite an impact on the students who participated. Student Tristan Czerwinski told us that he enjoyed the job shadowing program. He plans to be a helicopter pilot someday, and he said that he learned that “actually having a job means that you’re not having fun all the time”. 

Program participants were able to hear from panels of doctors, veterinarians, coaches and student athletes, and attorneys. Sunriser and attorney Mark Bruce was a member of one of the panels. Overall, 81 students participated in the program this year.

Fly Humboldt!

Our featured speaker last week was Don Ehnebuske, the Executive Director of the Redwood Region Economic Development Corporation (RREDC). With him was Emily Jacobs, of the Aviation Division of the Humboldt County Public Works Department. Don noted that the Arcata-Eureka Airport (ACV) is a significant economic driver for Humboldt County. Many of our local businesses rely on the airport to ship their goods, to bring in customers, and for many other reasons. 
Don Ehnebuske of RREDC

The average cost to passengers flying into and/or out of ACV increased sharply when United Airlines became the only option for travelers. The Fly Humboldt effort is recommending that a coalition of organizations once again offer a minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) to an airline to provide competition. Previous MRGs were in place with Alaska Airlines and Delta, and significant benefits were seen, Don said. 

The main benefits come in the form of jobs – construction jobs at the airport, export jobs in several industries, and professional jobs. Don said that the “hidden economic benefit” comes from the 30,000 to 40,000 additional passengers we would see each year. Each of those passengers pays $4.50 to an airport construction fund, for a total of about $135,000. That amount is then matched on a 19 to 1 basis by the Federal Aviation Agency for local construction. The FAA mandates that local contractors should be used on these projects if possible. Historically, about 90% of the work has benefited local construction firms.
Don said that he anticipates that the following entities will provide funds for the MRG:
  • $750,000 – Small Community Air Service Development Program Grant (SCASDP)
  • $250,000 – Headwaters Fund
  • $200,000 – County of Humboldt Funds
  • $100,000 – Businesses, Local Governments, and Community Funds

This would mean a total of $1,300,000 available for a miminum revenue guarantee. Don emphasized that the funds would not be paid to the airline until the services were provided. 

Don said that he is hoping for letters of support to local government agencies to encourage them to participate. The expected return on investment is high; Don said that it should bring millions of dollars to the local economy. For more information and to follow the effort, keep an eye on the Fly Humboldt page on Facebook.

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